Emma Lewell-Buck Portrait

Emma Lewell-Buck

Labour - South Shields

Shadow Minister (Education) (Children and Families)
9th Oct 2016 - 14th Mar 2019
Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government)
6th Jan 2016 - 29th Jun 2016
Work and Pensions Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 1st Feb 2016
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
10th Jun 2013 - 30th Mar 2015
Draft Protection of Charities Bill (Joint Committee)
6th Nov 2014 - 3rd Feb 2015


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 21st September 2021
08:45
Defence Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: The Navy: purpose and procurement
21 Sep 2021, 8:45 a.m.
At 9.00am: Oral evidence
Christopher Pyne, Former Australian Minister of Defence
Professor Tetsuo Kotani - Professor at Meikai University, and Senior Fellow at The Japan Institute of International Affairs
View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Protecting the Public and Justice for Victims
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 0
Speeches
Thursday 16th September 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

The reality is that there has been limited progress on this matter. South Shields is home to many independent musicians, …

Written Answers
Wednesday 8th September 2021
Universal Credit
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 15th September 2021
Support for the Plant Based Treaty
That this House welcomes the Plant Based Treaty aiming to put food systems at the heart of combating the climate …
Bills
Tuesday 13th October 2020
School Breakfast Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require schools to provide breakfast club facilities; and for connected purposes.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 23rd November 2020
8. Miscellaneous
From 15 October 2015 until 29 October 2020, trustee of Feeding Britain; a charity concerned with food banks and access …
EDM signed
Tuesday 14th September 2021
National care service
That this House notes £7.7 billion has been cut from social care budgets since 2010; further notes that this has …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 5th September 2017
School Holidays (Meals and Activities) Bill 2017-19
A Bill to require local authorities to facilitate the delivery of programmes that provide free meals and activities for children …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Emma Lewell-Buck has voted in 259 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Emma Lewell-Buck voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Labour No votes vs 176 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
20 Dec 2019 - European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - View Vote Context
Emma Lewell-Buck voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 6 Labour Aye votes vs 162 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 358 Noes - 234
20 Dec 2019 - European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - View Vote Context
Emma Lewell-Buck voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 173 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 353 Noes - 243
View All Emma Lewell-Buck Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(26 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(21 debate interactions)
Johnny Mercer (Conservative)
(17 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(34 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(23 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(19 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Emma Lewell-Buck's debates

South Shields 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).

Emma Lewell-Buck has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Emma Lewell-Buck

15th September 2021
Emma Lewell-Buck signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Wednesday 15th September 2021

Support for the Plant Based Treaty

Tabled by: Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour - South Shields)
That this House welcomes the Plant Based Treaty aiming to put food systems at the heart of combating the climate crisis by encouraging a shift to healthier and sustainable plant-based diets, while simultaneously working to reverse the damage to ecosystems and biodiversity; and calls on the Government to use COP26 …
10 signatures
(Most recent: 17 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 6
Liberal Democrat: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
13th September 2021
Emma Lewell-Buck signed this EDM on Tuesday 14th September 2021

National care service

Tabled by: Jon Trickett (Labour - Hemsworth)
That this House notes £7.7 billion has been cut from social care budgets since 2010; further notes that this has resulted in 1.4 million older people not having the care they need for essential daily tasks and that 300,000 people are now on local authority waiting lists for adult social …
28 signatures
(Most recent: 16 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 22
Independent: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Emma Lewell-Buck's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Emma Lewell-Buck, 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.


Emma Lewell-Buck has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Emma Lewell-Buck has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

3 Bills introduced by Emma Lewell-Buck


Parallel Parliament Note:

The proposals laid down in this bill were subsequently incorporated into the Family Resources Survey. See here for more information.

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 Government to monitor and report on food insecurity; to make provision for official statistics on food insecurity; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 29th November 2017
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require schools to provide breakfast club facilities; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Tuesday 13th October 2020
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to undertake a review of funeral affordability and costs; to require the providers of funeral services to offer a Simple Funeral Service; to require the Secretary of State to make certain arrangements relating to Funeral Payments; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 9th December 2014

274 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
1 Other Department Questions
12th Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, whether developing countries affected by loss and damage incurred by extreme weather and climate-linked disasters will receive additional finance, separate from the £100 billion climate finance goal commitment.

The UK Presidency is clear about the importance of developed countries meeting and surpassing the commitment to jointly mobilise $100bn of climate finance a year through to 2025, from a range of public and private sources.

At COP25, countries highlighted that existing sources of funds from a wide variety of sources, including disaster reduction and response funds respond to loss and damage. It also urged donors and these other funds to scale up support relevant to averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage in the most vulnerable countries. At COP26 and in the run up we will push for progress on these actions and to renew calls for coherent action using climate, development and disaster preparedness and response finance.

Through the COP26 Presidency we are also calling for greater quantity, quality and access to finance and for responses to be joined up. The Taskforce on Access to Finance aims to align support behind the national climate action plans of developing countries to improve access to climate finance. The outcomes will be to agree a new approach to access, marshalling coherent, programmatic support for countries’ own, nationally-determined climate priorities, alongside specific, implementable recommendations to address the system of climate finance as a whole which includes enabling them to better prepare, build resilience and respond to disasters – averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Attorney General, how many prosecutions for causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child there have been under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in each year since its enactment.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides offences relating to the sexual exploitation of children, under Sections 10, 14 and 47 – 50.

  • Section 10 makes it an offence for a person aged 18 or over intentionally to cause or incite a child aged under 16 to engage in sexual activity.
  • Section 14 makes it an offence for a person intentionally to arrange or facilitate any action which will involve an offence under any of sections 9 - 13 being committed against a child.
  • Section 47 – 50 provides a number of child exploitation offences including paying for the sexual services of a child and controlling a child in relation to sexual exploitation.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record of the number of offences in which a prosecution commenced, including the offences charged by way of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Since the Act came into force, and up to the end of March 2020, the number of child exploitation offences charged by way of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is as follows:

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 10 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 14 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 47 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 48 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 49 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 50 }

2004-2005

62

6

0

1

0

0

2005-2006

327

29

15

26

1

2

2006-2007

528

57

18

21

8

0

2007-2008

507

48

19

22

3

1

2008-2009

589

41

37

32

2

2

2009-2010

732

59

15

33

7

7

2010-2011

1001

92

12

51

4

8

2011-2012

949

83

18

57

3

17

2012-2013

943

78

26

90

8

10

2013-2014

995

81

36

89

9

39

2014-2015

1310

132

49

198

3

31

2015-2016

1556

163

79

277

11

11

2016-2017

2020

190

38

263

15

67

2017-2018

1978

184

57

191

7

28

2018-2019

1240

100

48

160

7

7

2019-2020

977

277

33

72

0

4

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

There is no indication of the number of individual defendants prosecuted for these offences or the final outcome of the prosecution proceeding or if the charged offence was the substantive charge at the time of finalisation. It is often the case that defendants will be prosecuted for more than one offence in the same set of proceedings.

It is not possible to separately report the nature of, or type of sexual exploitation carried out on victims of child sexual offences other than by manually examining case files at disproportionate cost.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Attorney General, how many prosecutions for controlling a child in relation to sexual exploitation there have been under Section 49 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in each year since its enactment.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides offences relating to the sexual exploitation of children, under Sections 10, 14 and 47 – 50.

  • Section 10 makes it an offence for a person aged 18 or over intentionally to cause or incite a child aged under 16 to engage in sexual activity.
  • Section 14 makes it an offence for a person intentionally to arrange or facilitate any action which will involve an offence under any of sections 9 - 13 being committed against a child.
  • Section 47 – 50 provides a number of child exploitation offences including paying for the sexual services of a child and controlling a child in relation to sexual exploitation.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record of the number of offences in which a prosecution commenced, including the offences charged by way of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Since the Act came into force, and up to the end of March 2020, the number of child exploitation offences charged by way of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is as follows:

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 10 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 14 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 47 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 48 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 49 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 50 }

2004-2005

62

6

0

1

0

0

2005-2006

327

29

15

26

1

2

2006-2007

528

57

18

21

8

0

2007-2008

507

48

19

22

3

1

2008-2009

589

41

37

32

2

2

2009-2010

732

59

15

33

7

7

2010-2011

1001

92

12

51

4

8

2011-2012

949

83

18

57

3

17

2012-2013

943

78

26

90

8

10

2013-2014

995

81

36

89

9

39

2014-2015

1310

132

49

198

3

31

2015-2016

1556

163

79

277

11

11

2016-2017

2020

190

38

263

15

67

2017-2018

1978

184

57

191

7

28

2018-2019

1240

100

48

160

7

7

2019-2020

977

277

33

72

0

4

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

There is no indication of the number of individual defendants prosecuted for these offences or the final outcome of the prosecution proceeding or if the charged offence was the substantive charge at the time of finalisation. It is often the case that defendants will be prosecuted for more than one offence in the same set of proceedings.

It is not possible to separately report the nature of, or type of sexual exploitation carried out on victims of child sexual offences other than by manually examining case files at disproportionate cost.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Attorney General, how many prosecutions for arranging or facilitating exploitation of a child there have been under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in each year since its enactment.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides offences relating to the sexual exploitation of children, under Sections 10, 14 and 47 – 50.

  • Section 10 makes it an offence for a person aged 18 or over intentionally to cause or incite a child aged under 16 to engage in sexual activity.
  • Section 14 makes it an offence for a person intentionally to arrange or facilitate any action which will involve an offence under any of sections 9 - 13 being committed against a child.
  • Section 47 – 50 provides a number of child exploitation offences including paying for the sexual services of a child and controlling a child in relation to sexual exploitation.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record of the number of offences in which a prosecution commenced, including the offences charged by way of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Since the Act came into force, and up to the end of March 2020, the number of child exploitation offences charged by way of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is as follows:

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 10 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 14 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 47 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 48 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 49 }

Sexual Offences Act 2003 { 50 }

2004-2005

62

6

0

1

0

0

2005-2006

327

29

15

26

1

2

2006-2007

528

57

18

21

8

0

2007-2008

507

48

19

22

3

1

2008-2009

589

41

37

32

2

2

2009-2010

732

59

15

33

7

7

2010-2011

1001

92

12

51

4

8

2011-2012

949

83

18

57

3

17

2012-2013

943

78

26

90

8

10

2013-2014

995

81

36

89

9

39

2014-2015

1310

132

49

198

3

31

2015-2016

1556

163

79

277

11

11

2016-2017

2020

190

38

263

15

67

2017-2018

1978

184

57

191

7

28

2018-2019

1240

100

48

160

7

7

2019-2020

977

277

33

72

0

4

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

There is no indication of the number of individual defendants prosecuted for these offences or the final outcome of the prosecution proceeding or if the charged offence was the substantive charge at the time of finalisation. It is often the case that defendants will be prosecuted for more than one offence in the same set of proceedings.

It is not possible to separately report the nature of, or type of sexual exploitation carried out on victims of child sexual offences other than by manually examining case files at disproportionate cost.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Attorney General, how many prosecutions for offences against children there have been for human trafficking under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in each year since its enactment.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record of the number of offences in which a prosecution commenced, including offences charged by way of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This data may be further disaggregated by the child abuse case monitoring flag. The CPS definition of child abuse covers any case where the victim was under 18 years of age at the time of the offence and includes allegations or crimes perpetrated by both adults and under 18s.

Since the Act came into force and up to the end of March 2020, the number of Modern Slavery Act offences flagged as child abuse is as follows:

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

2018-2019

2019-2020

Modern Slavery Act 2015 { 1 }

0

0

0

3

0

Modern Slavery Act 2015 { 2 }

1

21

26

5

30

Data Source: CPS Management Information System

There is no indication of the number of individual defendants prosecuted for these offences or the final outcome of the prosecution proceeding or if the charged offence was the substantive charge at the time of finalisation. It is often the case that defendants will be prosecuted for more than one offence in the same set of proceedings.

It is not possible to separately report the nature of, or type of exploitation carried out on victims of modern slavery or trafficking offences other than by manually examining case files at disproportionate cost.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Attorney General, how many prosecutions for offences against children there have been for the offence of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in each year since its enactment.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record of the number of offences in which a prosecution commenced, including offences charged by way of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This data may be further disaggregated by the child abuse case monitoring flag. The CPS definition of child abuse covers any case where the victim was under 18 years of age at the time of the offence and includes allegations or crimes perpetrated by both adults and under 18s.

Since the Act came into force and up to the end of March 2020, the number of Modern Slavery Act offences flagged as child abuse is as follows:

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

2018-2019

2019-2020

Modern Slavery Act 2015 { 1 }

0

0

0

3

0

Modern Slavery Act 2015 { 2 }

1

21

26

5

30

Data Source: CPS Management Information System

There is no indication of the number of individual defendants prosecuted for these offences or the final outcome of the prosecution proceeding or if the charged offence was the substantive charge at the time of finalisation. It is often the case that defendants will be prosecuted for more than one offence in the same set of proceedings.

It is not possible to separately report the nature of, or type of exploitation carried out on victims of modern slavery or trafficking offences other than by manually examining case files at disproportionate cost.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, in pursuant to the Answer of 17 December to Written Question 128992, what number of meetings occurred; and which Cabinet members attended at each such meeting.

As stated in the answer to PQ 105615, in line with the practice of successive administrations, details of the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, how often they have met, and who attended is not normally disclosed.

Membership of the National Security Council is publicly available on GOV.UK.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many times the National Security Council has met to discuss the covid-19 pandemic; and which Cabinet members were in attendance at each such meeting.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ105615 on 22 October.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, on how many death certificates has covid-19 been recorded as (a) the primary cause and (b) a contributory factor since the start of the covid-19 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 (Cabinet Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 29 May 2020 to Question 45531 on Mortuaries: Coronavirus, how many of the of the procured temporary mortuary spaces have (a) been built and (b) are in use.

Further to the answer given to PQ 45531 on 29 May 2020, additional mortuary capacity has been procured by a range of organisations in the private and public sectors, including central government, to ensure that the deceased are treated with dignity and respect. Cabinet Office does not hold complete data on specific utilisation of additional storage units.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many temporary mortuaries (a) have been built and (b) are in use as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and what the capacity is of each of those facilities.

Additional mortuary capacity has been procured by a range of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including central government departments, NHS trusts, local authorities and funeral directors, to ensure that the deceased are treated with dignity and respect. We do not hold detailed information on the capacity or utilisation rate of unlicensed private sector sites maintained by the estimated 5,000 or so funeral directors in England.

The Cabinet Office has procured units to provide up to 30,000 additional temporary mortuary spaces across the UK, as part of the government’s responsible contingency planning for a reasonable worst case scenario.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is working closely with local partners to support them in their preparations. The Ministry of Justice are working to support the sector, and are working with DWP to ensure the bereaved are supported, including speeding up the processing time for Funeral Expense Payments.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made on the publication of a timetable for the delivery of the national space strategy.

This Government is committed to making the UK a global science and technology superpower and a meaningful actor in space. This will be achieved through the UK’s first comprehensive national space strategy that unleashes growth and innovation in the UK space sector. The strategy is progressing and will be published in due course.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has plans to import the plant-based covid-19 vaccine produced by Medicago in Canada; and whether his Department has plans to make a vegan-friendly covid-19 vaccine available in the UK.

The Government continues to take a portfolio-based approach to Covid-19 vaccine procurement, which monitors the landscape of vaccines in development in the UK and internationally. Although we continue to investigate further potential vaccine candidates worldwide, we are currently not able to give any further information on these candidates owing to commercial sensitivity. If we enter into further agreements, we will publish details of those in the usual manner.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much has been allocated to local authorities through the Additional Restrictions Grant; how much of that funding has (a) been spent and (b) remains unspent to date; and what the timeframe is for local authorities to be allocated that grant funding.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) is a discretionary scheme aimed at supporting businesses, including those that have not been mandated to close but have had their trade adversely affected by the nationalised restrictions. Local Authorities have been allocated a further £500m in discretionary funding via the ARG, in addition to £1.1bn already allocated in November 2020. Local Authorities can use the ARG to support businesses in their local area, as they see fit. We expect Local Authorities to use this additional resource quickly to support businesses in their area. Local Authorities are able to use the Additional Restrictions Grant until the end of the financial year 2021/2022.

This data relates to allocations and grant payments made by Local Authorities to businesses up to 17 January 2021:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support deployment of infrastructure at ports to facilitate an increase in offshore wind capacity.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister recently announced on £160 million of new funding towards investment to upgrade ports and infrastructure, to ensure UK ports have the necessary facilities and capabilities to meet the future needs of offshore wind developers.

The expected rapid deployment of offshore wind across the UK, Europe and globally over the next decade, together with the increasing size of turbines, means that there is a need for a major expansion in manufacturing capacity in the coming years.

The ‘Offshore wind manufacturing investment support scheme’ aims to accelerate the development of large-scale manufacturing portside hubs, which could see financial support to strengthen the UK’s offshore wind manufacturing capability, creating employment and investment in both coastal communities and the wider supply chain.

Following the Request for Information in October 2020, the Department has now launched a formal competitive process on a single large coastal manufacturing site for the offshore wind industry. This would generate manufacturing clusters where several large-scale producers can co-locate.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the planned timescale is for seafarers to receive the National Minimum Wage, announced on 1 October 2020.

The National Minimum Wage (Offshore Employment) (Amendment) Order 2020 came into force on 1 October 2020. It extended the National Minimum Wage (NMW) to all seafarers working domestically in the UK territorial waters. Changes apply regardless of where the vessel is registered or the nationality of the seafarers, provided they are working domestically in the UK territorial waters.

If seafarers believe they are not being paid the NMW, they should contact HMRC who will consider every complaint they receive, call the ACAS helpline (0300 123 1100), or use the online helpline tool for free, confidential advice about their rights and entitlements.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing a fuel poverty debt relief programme for winter 2020-21.

The Department is working with Ofgem to assess the level and impact of domestic consumer energy debt this winter and we will continue to review options to support energy customers in debt, including those in or at risk of fuel poverty.

Ofgem rules require energy suppliers to offer customers at risk of, or in debt, the facility to repay their debt in instalments. Suppliers are also required to take all reasonable steps to take into account a customers ability to pay when calculating this. Ofgem issued an open letter in June, stating they would “not tolerate sharp practice or aggressive debt collection and suppliers could face enforcement action where this is the case”.

The Department secured an agreement with energy companies on 19th March 2020 to support their customers impacted by Covid-19, that, based on the circumstances could include reassessing, reducing or pausing debt repayments for households in financial distress. Companies have also agreed to refer customers who are struggling to pay their bills to third party debt advisors.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timescale is for the introduction of the Government's proposed Home Upgrade Grants.

Under the £2 billion Green Homes Grant funding announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8th July to save households money, cut carbon and create green jobs, £500 million has been earmarked for Local Authority delivery in England to improve the energy efficiency of low-income households.

The first phase of this funding, launched on 4th August, will see up to £200 million available to Local Authorities directly through a bidding process. The remaining £300 million will be allocated to the five regional Local Energy Hubs later this year to procure services that support upgrading eligible homes.

This funding represents a significant and accelerated down payment on decarbonising buildings to help stimulate the economic recovery and create green jobs.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what employment protections are in place for kidney organ donors.

The Government is fully supportive of all types of donation whether by living donors or not.

Most employees are entitled to employment protection such as statutory sick leave, protection from unfair dismissal and protection from unlawful discrimination. We would generally expect employers to be sympathetic when, for example considering requests for extra leave, which may be needed in these circumstances.

NHS England will also reimburse living donor patients in order to ensure that the financial impact on the donor is cost neutral. Through this scheme, living donors can receive a refund for loss of earnings and some other costs such as travel.

The policy on reimbursement was revised in 2018 in collaboration with NHS Blood and Transplant and is published on the NHS England website - https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/comm-pol-reimbursement-expenses-living-donors-v2.pdf

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to regulate pricing of stock in small newsagents to prevent fluctuations on essential items during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government condemns exploitative pricing practices in the light of the Covid-19 outbreak. The Competition and Markets Authority has created a Covid-19 taskforce to address concerns that some businesses are exploiting consumers through their pricing practices. The taskforce has already been in contact with traders about excessive hand sanitiser prices. Enforcement authorities will take action against companies that have broken competition or consumer protection law, and the Government continues to monitor these practices closely.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of giving workers on zero-hours contracts the right to a contract with guaranteed minimum hours.

We are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business. As announced in the Queen’s Speech we will be bringing forward an Employment Rights Bill to deliver the greatest reform of workers’ rights in over 20 years.

These reforms include taking firm action to tackle what Matthew Taylor termed one-sided flexibility, where some businesses have transferred too much business risk to the individual, sometimes at the detriment of their financial security and personal well-being.

We will also give all workers the right to request a more stable contract, which aims to encourage conversations between employers and businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155057, on Gaming: Coronavirus, for what reason licensed betting offices with gaming machines are a greater social and economic priority than adult gaming centres with those machines.

The Government has designed the roadmap for reopening premises following careful consideration of the evidence and scientific advice. The roadmap strikes a balance between mitigating the social, health and economic impacts of closures and the need to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections. It also takes account of the cumulative impact of easing restrictions and the need to assess the impact at each step. Under the current roadmap, all non-essential retail will open at Step 2, not before 12 April. Indoor entertainment and indoor leisure will open at Step 3, not before 17 May.

As the business of Adult Gaming Centres consists entirely of customers playing machines within the premises, they are considered to be entertainment and will open at Step 3. The customers of Licensed Betting Offices (LBOs) may enter the premises, place a bet and leave with a betting slip, a transaction more similar to purchasing goods in a shop. While LBOs will be permitted to open at Step 2, they will be subject to a number of additional restrictions as set out in the previous Tier 3 guidance. These include showing no live sport or racing and having no chairs, as well as early closure. Under normal circumstances LBOs are limited to offering a maximum of four gaming machines and only two may be made available under these restrictions.

In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, the Chancellor announced an enhanced package of support at the Budget, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which must remain closed beyond Step 2.



John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason the Government's policy is that adult gaming centres are unable to open on 12 April 2021; and what the evidential basis is for that policy.

The Government has designed the roadmap for reopening premises following careful consideration of the evidence and scientific advice. The roadmap strikes a balance between mitigating the social, health and economic impacts of closures and the need to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections. It also takes account of the cumulative impact of easing restrictions and the need to assess the impact at each step. Under the current roadmap, all non-essential retail will open at Step 2, not before 12 April. Indoor entertainment and indoor leisure will open at Step 3, not before 17 May.

As the business of Adult Gaming Centres consists entirely of customers playing machines within the premises, they are considered to be entertainment and will open at Step 3. The customers of Licensed Betting Offices (LBOs) may enter the premises, place a bet and leave with a betting slip, a transaction more similar to purchasing goods in a shop. While LBOs will be permitted to open at Step 2, they will be subject to a number of additional restrictions as set out in the previous Tier 3 guidance. These include showing no live sport or racing and having no chairs, as well as early closure. Under normal circumstances LBOs are limited to offering a maximum of four gaming machines and only two may be made available under these restrictions.

In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, the Chancellor announced an enhanced package of support at the Budget, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which must remain closed beyond Step 2.



John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the covid-19 roadmap guidance will be updated to cover fairgrounds and travelling fairgrounds; and whether that guidance will include discretionary guidance for local authorities.

We will re-enable outdoor events such as funfairs and fairgrounds in Step 2 of the roadmap, as referenced here, subject to local authority approval where required. Step 2 will take place at least 5 weeks after Step 1 and no earlier than 12 April, subject to an assessment of the data.

Whilst outdoor events are not currently able to proceed due to the national restrictions, my Department looks forward to working across Government and with Local Authorities, Public Health England and the sector itself to get funfairs running safely and successfully once they are permitted.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether adult gaming centres will reopen at the same time as other retail venues listed in the Government’s shops and branches guidance when covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Prime Minister announced on Monday 22 February that indoor entertainment venues, which will include Adult Gaming Centres, will open at Step 3 of the roadmap, not before 17 May. The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, while preserving the health and safety of the country.

At next week’s Budget the Chancellor will set out the next phase in our economic support package to reflect the steps set out in the Prime Minister’s roadmap to easing restrictions, tailoring support for individuals and businesses to reflect the changing public health restrictions.

Further details will be announced in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance his Department has provided on the reopening of Adult Gaming Centres.

The government has published guidance to help businesses understand how to make workplaces Covid-secure and help tackle the spread of the virus. When they are open, Adult Gaming Centres should follow the shops and branches guidance in addition to Bacta’s specific guidance for FECs and AGCs to ensure they can operate as safely as possible.

As announced by the Prime Minister, we intend to publish our plan for taking the country out of lockdown in the last week of February. That plan will depend on the continued success of our vaccination programme, and on a sustained reduction in Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to publish information on how the Soft Drinks Industry Levy has been allocated in each year since 2016.

The 2016 Budget announced that, alongside the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, the Department for Education would receive funding to invest in a number of related programmes. The funding has been used as follows.

The Primary PE and sport premium was increased to £320 million per year and has been maintained at that level. The Department publishes annual allocations, which can be accessed here: https://skillsfunding.service.gov.uk/view-latest-funding/national-funding-allocations/PSG/2020-to-2021.

£100 million was used for the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund in the 2018/19 financial year. Allocations for each local authority and multi-academy trust who were eligible to receive a direct allocation were published in March 2018 and are available here: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20190212204720/https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/capital-allocations. Details of successful Healthy Pupils Capital Fund projects funded through the Condition Improvement Fund have been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/condition-improvement-fund-2018-to-2019-outcome.

Funding of nearly £22 million was allocated between 2017 and 2019 for an Essential Life Skills programme to enable disadvantaged children and young people living in some of the most deprived parts of the country to participate in regular extra-curricular activities. The Essential Life Skills programme targeted disadvantaged children and young people aged five to 18 across 12 opportunity areas. Areas received £7.95 million in financial year 2017/18 and £13.8 million in financial year 2018/19. Details of the grants are published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/essential-life-skills-grant-s31-grant-determination-and-letters.

The Department has funded £38 million for the National School Breakfast Programme between March 2018 and July 2021, to help set up or improve breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas and sustain them in the longer term.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many secondary schools have received funding from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy in each year since 2016.

The 2016 Budget announced that, alongside the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, the Department for Education would receive funding to invest in a number of related programmes. The funding has been used as follows.

The Primary PE and sport premium was increased to £320 million per year and has been maintained at that level. The Department publishes annual allocations, which can be accessed here: https://skillsfunding.service.gov.uk/view-latest-funding/national-funding-allocations/PSG/2020-to-2021.

£100 million was used for the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund in the 2018/19 financial year. Allocations for each local authority and multi-academy trust who were eligible to receive a direct allocation were published in March 2018 and are available here: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20190212204720/https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/capital-allocations. Details of successful Healthy Pupils Capital Fund projects funded through the Condition Improvement Fund have been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/condition-improvement-fund-2018-to-2019-outcome.

Funding of nearly £22 million was allocated between 2017 and 2019 for an Essential Life Skills programme to enable disadvantaged children and young people living in some of the most deprived parts of the country to participate in regular extra-curricular activities. The Essential Life Skills programme targeted disadvantaged children and young people aged five to 18 across 12 opportunity areas. Areas received £7.95 million in financial year 2017/18 and £13.8 million in financial year 2018/19. Details of the grants are published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/essential-life-skills-grant-s31-grant-determination-and-letters.

The Department has funded £38 million for the National School Breakfast Programme between March 2018 and July 2021, to help set up or improve breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas and sustain them in the longer term.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding his Department has allocated to South Tyneside Council to provide (a) the holiday activities and food programme and (b) for food and fuel poverty emergency assistance in the last 12 months.

The Department for Education-funded Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, which has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children, has been expanded to every local authority across England this year – backed by up to £220 million. It builds on previous programmes, including last summer’s programme, which supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities.

South Tyneside Council has been allocated a maximum of £831,630 to deliver HAF programmes over Easter, summer and Christmas 2021.

In summer 2020, South Tyneside received £220,000 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ £63 million grant.

Since 1 December 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions has operated the COVID Winter Grant Scheme, which has subsequently been renamed as the COVID Local Support Grant. Funding has been provided to local authorities in England to support families with food and essential utility bills. On 21 June, the government extended this temporary scheme for a final time, with an additional £160 million in funding through to 30 September, taking total funding under the scheme to £429 million. This funding recognises that, while restrictions are planned to end in July, families might need additional help to get back on their feet as the vaccine rollout continues and our economy recovers. South Tyneside Council has received £1,506,852.06 since 1 December through this scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the successful applicants of the Further Education Capital Transformation Fund bid are planned to be announced.

All further education (FE) colleges and designated institutions in England were invited to apply to stage 1 of the two stage FE Capital Transformation Fund in January, by setting out proposals for investment to tackle poor condition across their estates.

Stage 1 of the bidding process closed to colleges on 22 March and the department is assessing bid applications. We received a high number of applications, and the planned announcement of the stage 1 outcomes has been delayed.

We hope to inform colleges of the outcomes of stage 1, and publish the stage 2 guidance this summer. We will assess bids submitted at stage 2 before making final decisions on award of funding.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the successful applicants for the School Breakfast Club Programme 2021-23 tender are planned to be announced.

The Breakfast Clubs procurement has only recently been completed and is currently undergoing final checks. These details will be made available upon conclusion of the procurement process, through Contract Award Notices via the usual channels. We hope to inform the successful applicants as soon as proper procedure will allow.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children are registered as having SEND; how many children with SEND are enrolled in schools; and what information his Department holds on attendance rates of children with SEND.

The department collects data on school children who have special educational needs (SEN), but does not collect data on those with disabilities specifically.

We publish annual figures on the number of children and young people (aged 0 to 25 years) for whom local authorities have issued education, health and care (EHC) plans, available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans. Data relating to January 2021 was published on 13 May 2021.

We publish annual figures on school pupils with SEN based on January school census data, which is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england. Data relating to January 2021 will be published in June 2021.

Our routine absence statistics include figures for pupils with SEN at state-funded schools.

The most recent full-year absence statistics are for academic year 2018/19 and can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england. The most recently published part-year absence statistics are for autumn term 2019 which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england-autumn-term. Data relating to autumn term 2020 will be published on 27 May 2021.

Data on the attendance of pupils with EHC plans during the COVID-19 outbreak has also been collected on a daily basis via the Education Settings Survey and published weekly at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children in England are off-rolled; how many of those children (a) have an EHIC plan and (b) are diagnosed SEND; and what the average length of time is that they have been off-rolled.

The information requested is not held by the Department and cannot be derived from current data sources.

The Government is clear that off-rolling is unacceptable in any form. We will continue to work with Ofsted to define and tackle it. Ofsted already considers records of children taken off roll and the revised framework in September 2019 strengthened this focus. Where inspectors find off-rolling, this will always be addressed in the inspection report, and where appropriate, could lead to a school’s leadership being judged inadequate.

A pupil’s name can lawfully be deleted from the admission register on the grounds prescribed in regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended. All schools must notify the local authority when a pupil’s name is to be deleted from the admission register under any of the grounds prescribed in regulation 8, as soon as the ground for removal is met and no later than the time at which the pupil’s name is removed from the register.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the National School Breakfast Programme, what selection process his Department plans to implement in the event that all of the schools that qualified for funding apply.

Up to £24 million will be available to extend our support for school breakfast clubs until 2023, to make sure thousands of children in disadvantaged areas have a healthy start to the day.

Our new breakfast clubs programme will target schools which are eligible through our criteria for disadvantage, prioritising schools in Opportunity Areas. For the new programme, we are aiming to provide funding to around 2,500 schools as a minimum.

This approach to eligibility is per the current programme, which is supporting up to 2,450 schools. We have worked with the current supplier to recruit these schools, and not all schools eligible for breakfast provision have signed up to receive support.

It is unlikely that all eligible schools will sign up, because many already have breakfast clubs in place that are funded through other sources, and some choose not to offer a breakfast club.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the consultation on the renewal of Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, how many responses supported the extension.

The public consultation to seek views on extending and amending the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 received 212 responses.

Analysis showed that the majority of respondents agreed with the proposals to extend existing flexibilities in relation to virtual visits, medical reports (for fostering and adoption) and the minimum frequency of Ofsted inspections.

The table below sets out the number of respondents on each flexibility:

Flexibility

Number of respondents in agreement to extend existing flexibilities

Medical Reports

202

Virtual Visits

193

Ofsted inspection cycle

176

The government’s response to the consultation has been published and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-adoption-and-children-coronavirus-amendment-no-2-regulations-2020.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding he plans to allocate to school breakfast provision in each of the next three years; whether the sugar tax levy will be used to fund that programme; how many schools that programme will provide for; and what the eligibility criteria will be for that funding.

Up to £24 million will be available to extend our support for school breakfast clubs until 2023. For the financial year 2021-22, £9 million has been allocated (two school terms). For the financial year 2022-23 (three school terms), we currently estimate that the contract would require £11 million. For 2023-24 (one term), we estimate that £3-4 million will be required.

The Soft Drinks Industry Levy, announced in 2016, provides funds for investment in a number of children’s health initiatives including the National Schools Breakfast Programme from March 2018.

We are aiming to provide funding to around 2500 schools. The department has put out an invitation to tender for the delivery of the future programme, which can be accessed here under ‘View Opportunities’: https://education.app.jaggaer.com/web/login.html.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's press release, Unregulated accommodation banned for vulnerable children under 16, published on 19 February 2021, who made the decision to change policy on unregulated care; which organisations contributed to the consultation ahead of that policy change; which organisations consulted were (a) in favour and (b) against the change; and how many of those organisations that were in favour of the change are in receipt of contracts or financial awards from his Department.

Every child in the care system deserves to live-in a high-quality setting that meets their needs and keeps them safe. Anything less is unacceptable. Local authorities have statutory duties to meet the needs of children whom they look after and to ensure that there is sufficient provision.

We are clear that independent and semi-independent provision has an important role to play in the care system, where it is high quality and meets the needs of older children. However, we know that reform is needed to improve the quality of this provision and to ensure that placement practice is appropriate. That is why, following our consultation last year – through which we received views from over 230 respondents and 160 care experienced young people – we will be proceeding with ambitious measures to do just this.

These settings cannot meet the needs of children under the age of 16. These children are too young to be placed in independent and semi-independent provision and should be placed in foster care or children’s homes – that is why we are banning the practice from September 2021. Over three quarters of respondents to our consultation supported this ban.

The government will also introduce national standards for unregulated settings that are accommodating 16 and 17 year old children in care and care leavers, to raise the bar for the quality of this provision and ensure consistency across the country. The department will shortly launch a consultation on these new national standards which will ensure that, as more older children come into the care system, a high-quality option is available where they can receive the support they need to prepare for adult life. Over three quarters of respondents to our consultation were positive about the introduction of national standards.

The government will also be moving forward with plans for legislating to give Ofsted new powers to take enforcement action against illegal unregistered providers. This will enable Ofsted to take quicker action to register or close down these homes, building on their existing powers to prosecute providers operating without the correct registration and strengthening the options available to them. 85% of respondents to our consultation supported this proposal.

Alongside our response to the consultation, the department published an analysis of the responses we received to the consultation: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/962725/Unregulated_childcare_provision_-_Analytical_Report_Final1.pdf.This breaks down support for the proposals by type of organisation.

We have provided a list attached to this response of the organisations who responded to the consultation. There are 180 organisations on this list. This list does not tally with the total number of responses received to the consultation as some responses were made by individuals and some organisations responded multiple times from different positions within the organisation. 66 of the organisations named in the list provided currently hold an active grant or contract with the Department for Education.

We have considered your request to provide a breakdown of how each individual organisation responded to each policy proposal in the consultation, and whether those in favour of the measures are in receipt of a grant or contract. This breakdown of information is not readily available and could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Children's Social Care Review, how many applications were made to join the Experts by Experience Group; what criteria were used to assess those applicants; who decided which applications were accepted and rejected; which of those accepted applicants are employed or in receipt of contracts or financial awards from the Department of Education.

The Experts by Experience Group is one of the ways in which the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care will be giving anyone who has had a social worker (either themselves or a child in their care) a voice in the review. The group will be responsible for helping the review to capture the views, experiences and opinions of care experienced children, young people, adults and families. The group will also be responsible for allowing us to test and refine emerging findings with children, young people, adults and families throughout the review and guiding the review on how best to engage and hear the voices of other children, young people and families that have experience of the care system.

Following an open expression of interest process the review has now established an Experts by Experience Board.

The review received 1,011 applications to join the board. The panel, chaired by the Lead Reviewer, Josh McAlistair, assessed every application and have appointed a small number of individuals that met the criteria detailed in the Expression of Interest application:

The criteria was as follows:

1. Have lived experienced of the children’s social care system, whether current or previous, through:

  • interaction with a social worker as a child
  • personal experience in care
  • the family of a child who has interacted with a social worker
  • the family of a child who has been placed in care

2. Are comfortable contributing respectfully alongside people who may have had very different experiences to their own.

3. Have the ability to communicate views about children’s social care clearly and concisely, and also the views of others with experience of children’s social care.

Board members have been asked to declare any conflicts of interest, which will be checked and recorded at the Board’s first meeting. The names of all the Experience by Expert Board members are available on the website:https://childrenssocialcare.independent-review.uk/experts/.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2021 to Question 148802 on Children's Social Care Independent Review, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the process of recruiting the others, as referred to in that Answer, will be transparent; whether that process will follow the requirements for public appointments; how those appointments will be remunerated; and whether there is an agreed budget for those additional appointments.

All recruitment to the review team is carried out in line with the department’s processes for appointing and remunerating staff and contractors. All pro bono work will be recorded in the department’s registers in the usual way. The department publishes details of contracts and grants as part of transparency returns. The department will work with the lead reviewer to ensure there are sufficient resources available to undertake the review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2021 to Question 138450 on Children's Social Care Independent Review, whether the chair of the review is working with a review team; and how and by whom will members of that team be selected.

The review of children’s social care will be bold, broad and independently led, taking a fundamental look at what is needed to make a real difference to the needs, experiences and outcomes of the children supported by children’s social care.

The review launched on 15 January, and my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has asked Josh MacAlister, the founder and Chief Executive of Frontline, to lead the review. The review will also make use of a wide range of expertise to inform its work. This includes an experts by experience group, who will advise the reviewer on how to bring the voices of people with experience of children’s social care into the review.

The reviewer will be independent of the government, with freedom to make ambitious recommendations based on his findings. The reviewer will report his findings to ministers, and the government will respond to the review recommendations. The reviewer will be supported by a secretariat team, which will operate independently. In line with comparable reviews, the majority of the team will be made up of civil servants from a range of backgrounds and disciplines, and others will be recruited by the reviewer as needed to support his work.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much money from the public purse has been provided to schools for the provision of free school meals but has not been used.

Maintained schools, academies and free schools are required to provide benefits-related free school meals (FSM) under section 512ZB of the Education Act 1996.

Schools fund FSM from their core budget. For the academic year 2020/21, a factor value of £450 was included in the national funding formula for each FSM pupil. However, both local authorities and schools can apply their own local formulae. Schools must meet their statutory requirements to provide meals free of charge to eligible pupils, but they can decide how much of their budget to allocate to this.

During the current school opening restrictions, we have asked schools to continue providing support to free school meal pupils who are eligible for benefits-related FSM, and who are learning at home. We will provide £3.50 in top-up funding per eligible child per week for schools providing lunch parcels and £15 per eligible child for vouchers. This is in addition to the usual funding schools receive.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 19 November 2020 to Question 115686 on Children in Care, when his Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals to amend the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations (2020) to make explicit reference to the importance of children living in care having contact with all their siblings.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to reaffirm the government’s commitment to updating the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 as we set out during the passage of the Children and Social Work Bill in 2017.

Due to the circumstances over the past year, where our priority has been to keep children, young people, and those who work with them safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, we have been unable to identify an appropriate opportunity to consult on this amendment so far. However, I would like to reassure you that this remains an important action and we will seek to complete it as soon as possible.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what Parliamentary scrutiny there will be of the (a) Children's Social Care Review and (b) the findings of that review.

The independent review of children’s social care was launched on 15 January 2021. The terms of reference for the review can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952624/terms_of_reference_independent_childrens_social_care_review.pdf.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education asked Josh MacAlister to lead the review. He will be remunerated for his work on the review in line with government practice when commissioning independent reviews. Josh MacAlister will be supported by a secretariat team, which is currently being recruited.

The reviewer will consult widely to ensure that a broad range of views, particularly from those with experience of the children’s social care system, are reflected in the review. This will include with interested parliamentarians as appropriate. The reviews recommendations will be published, and the government will respond to the review.

The review is also in the process of recruiting for an Expert by Experience group which will further support the independent reviewer, more information on this group can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/independent-review-of-childrens-social-care#get-involved.

The department will set out the expected timescales for the review in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the terms of reference are of the Children’s Social Care Review.

The independent review of children’s social care was launched on 15 January 2021. The terms of reference for the review can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952624/terms_of_reference_independent_childrens_social_care_review.pdf.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education asked Josh MacAlister to lead the review. He will be remunerated for his work on the review in line with government practice when commissioning independent reviews. Josh MacAlister will be supported by a secretariat team, which is currently being recruited.

The reviewer will consult widely to ensure that a broad range of views, particularly from those with experience of the children’s social care system, are reflected in the review. This will include with interested parliamentarians as appropriate. The reviews recommendations will be published, and the government will respond to the review.

The review is also in the process of recruiting for an Expert by Experience group which will further support the independent reviewer, more information on this group can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/independent-review-of-childrens-social-care#get-involved.

The department will set out the expected timescales for the review in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which organisations and individuals will be consulted as part of the Children's Social Care Review.

The independent review of children’s social care was launched on 15 January 2021. The terms of reference for the review can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952624/terms_of_reference_independent_childrens_social_care_review.pdf.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education asked Josh MacAlister to lead the review. He will be remunerated for his work on the review in line with government practice when commissioning independent reviews. Josh MacAlister will be supported by a secretariat team, which is currently being recruited.

The reviewer will consult widely to ensure that a broad range of views, particularly from those with experience of the children’s social care system, are reflected in the review. This will include with interested parliamentarians as appropriate. The reviews recommendations will be published, and the government will respond to the review.

The review is also in the process of recruiting for an Expert by Experience group which will further support the independent reviewer, more information on this group can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/independent-review-of-childrens-social-care#get-involved.

The department will set out the expected timescales for the review in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what process will be used for recruiting the Chair of the Children’s Care Review; what the remuneration will be for that role; what other roles have been formerly hired as part of that review; and what the (a) recruitment process and (b) remuneration was for those roles.

The independent review of children’s social care was launched on 15 January 2021. The terms of reference for the review can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952624/terms_of_reference_independent_childrens_social_care_review.pdf.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education asked Josh MacAlister to lead the review. He will be remunerated for his work on the review in line with government practice when commissioning independent reviews. Josh MacAlister will be supported by a secretariat team, which is currently being recruited.

The reviewer will consult widely to ensure that a broad range of views, particularly from those with experience of the children’s social care system, are reflected in the review. This will include with interested parliamentarians as appropriate. The reviews recommendations will be published, and the government will respond to the review.

The review is also in the process of recruiting for an Expert by Experience group which will further support the independent reviewer, more information on this group can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/independent-review-of-childrens-social-care#get-involved.

The department will set out the expected timescales for the review in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the planned timescale is for concluding the Children's Social Care Review.

The independent review of children’s social care was launched on 15 January 2021. The terms of reference for the review can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952624/terms_of_reference_independent_childrens_social_care_review.pdf.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education asked Josh MacAlister to lead the review. He will be remunerated for his work on the review in line with government practice when commissioning independent reviews. Josh MacAlister will be supported by a secretariat team, which is currently being recruited.

The reviewer will consult widely to ensure that a broad range of views, particularly from those with experience of the children’s social care system, are reflected in the review. This will include with interested parliamentarians as appropriate. The reviews recommendations will be published, and the government will respond to the review.

The review is also in the process of recruiting for an Expert by Experience group which will further support the independent reviewer, more information on this group can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/independent-review-of-childrens-social-care#get-involved.

The department will set out the expected timescales for the review in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what companies have been awarded contracts to deliver free school meals during school closures; and what the value is of each contract.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government.

School catering contracts are agreed locally, and the department does not hold a contract with Chartwells UK or any other provider to provide free school meals of lunch parcels to children. We have guidance in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for their pupils. This can be through lunch parcels, local vouchers or the national voucher scheme.

The images circulating of poor-quality food parcels are unacceptable. On 13 January 2021 my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education met with Chartwells and other leading school food suppliers and caterers to insist on urgent action to make sure lunch parcels meet the standards we expect. We are grateful to those firms who are working hard with schools to provide nutritious, balanced lunches for children.

If a parent is concerned about the standards of their lunch parcel, they should speak directly with their school. If a parent cannot resolve their concern through their school, they can contact the department. The department will make contact with suppliers where concerns are escalated, to ensure they are following the good practice guidance we have set out. We will also alert the school to confirm appropriate contract management arrangements are in place, so that immediate improvements are made.

We do not collect data on families that do not take-up their free school meals entitlement.

We know that take-up of free school meals is high, and 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 (ECS) 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 have provided 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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the cost to the public purse is of the contract with Chartwells UK for providing free school meals parcels to children.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government.

School catering contracts are agreed locally, and the department does not hold a contract with Chartwells UK or any other provider to provide free school meals of lunch parcels to children. We have guidance in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for their pupils. This can be through lunch parcels, local vouchers or the national voucher scheme.

The images circulating of poor-quality food parcels are unacceptable. On 13 January 2021 my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education met with Chartwells and other leading school food suppliers and caterers to insist on urgent action to make sure lunch parcels meet the standards we expect. We are grateful to those firms who are working hard with schools to provide nutritious, balanced lunches for children.

If a parent is concerned about the standards of their lunch parcel, they should speak directly with their school. If a parent cannot resolve their concern through their school, they can contact the department. The department will make contact with suppliers where concerns are escalated, to ensure they are following the good practice guidance we have set out. We will also alert the school to confirm appropriate contract management arrangements are in place, so that immediate improvements are made.

We do not collect data on families that do not take-up their free school meals entitlement.

We know that take-up of free school meals is high, and 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 (ECS) 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 have provided 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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what specification his Department provided to Chartwells UK for the composition of free school meals parcels.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government.

School catering contracts are agreed locally, and the department does not hold a contract with Chartwells UK or any other provider to provide free school meals of lunch parcels to children. We have guidance in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for their pupils. This can be through lunch parcels, local vouchers or the national voucher scheme.

The images circulating of poor-quality food parcels are unacceptable. On 13 January 2021 my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education met with Chartwells and other leading school food suppliers and caterers to insist on urgent action to make sure lunch parcels meet the standards we expect. We are grateful to those firms who are working hard with schools to provide nutritious, balanced lunches for children.

If a parent is concerned about the standards of their lunch parcel, they should speak directly with their school. If a parent cannot resolve their concern through their school, they can contact the department. The department will make contact with suppliers where concerns are escalated, to ensure they are following the good practice guidance we have set out. We will also alert the school to confirm appropriate contract management arrangements are in place, so that immediate improvements are made.

We do not collect data on families that do not take-up their free school meals entitlement.

We know that take-up of free school meals is high, and 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 (ECS) 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 have provided 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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children are eligible but not registered for free school meals in each local authority.

The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government.

School catering contracts are agreed locally, and the department does not hold a contract with Chartwells UK or any other provider to provide free school meals of lunch parcels to children. We have guidance in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for their pupils. This can be through lunch parcels, local vouchers or the national voucher scheme.

The images circulating of poor-quality food parcels are unacceptable. On 13 January 2021 my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education met with Chartwells and other leading school food suppliers and caterers to insist on urgent action to make sure lunch parcels meet the standards we expect. We are grateful to those firms who are working hard with schools to provide nutritious, balanced lunches for children.

If a parent is concerned about the standards of their lunch parcel, they should speak directly with their school. If a parent cannot resolve their concern through their school, they can contact the department. The department will make contact with suppliers where concerns are escalated, to ensure they are following the good practice guidance we have set out. We will also alert the school to confirm appropriate contract management arrangements are in place, so that immediate improvements are made.

We do not collect data on families that do not take-up their free school meals entitlement.

We know that take-up of free school meals is high, and 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 (ECS) 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 have provided 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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the planned timescale is for Care Review, announced in December 2019.

The review of children’s social care will be broad and bold and take a fundamental look across children’s social care, with the aim of better supporting, protecting and improving the outcomes of vulnerable children and young people. The urgent local and national response to COVID-19 has delayed launching the review, but we are making preparations to launch as soon as possible and will set out further details at that point.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria is being applied to the selection of a chair for the Care Review, announced in December 2019.

The review of children’s social care will be broad and bold and take a fundamental look across children’s social care, with the aim of better supporting, protecting and improving the outcomes of vulnerable children and young people. The urgent local and national response to COVID-19 has delayed launching the review, but we are making preparations to launch as soon as possible and will set out further details at that point.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Court of Appeal's ruling of 24 November 2020, Case No: C1/2020/1279, if he will take steps to reintroduce safeguards for children in care removed by the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into force on 24 April 2020 and expired on 25 September 2020. Further regulations continuing a small number of these amendments came into force from 25 September 2020 (Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020) following a public consultation over the summer. This is to ensure that services are maintained during the COVID-19 outbreak. These amendments are in place until 31 March 2021.

Where local authorities deemed it appropriate to make use of the amendments, taking account of all available information, every decision had to be agreed at senior manager level. The amendments were monitored by the department based on a triangulation of information gathered from a variety of sources, including local authorities, charities and key partners, including Ofsted.

As a departmental official, the Chief Social Worker is routinely involved in the development of policy on children’s social care, providing independent expert advice.

The legal cost for the initial Judicial Review (High Court) and the appeal (Court of Appeal) are estimated to total £80,000.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Court of Appeal's ruling of 24 November 2020, Case No: C1/2020/1279, what discussions he had with the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families prior to the introduction of the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into force on 24 April 2020 and expired on 25 September 2020. Further regulations continuing a small number of these amendments came into force from 25 September 2020 (Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020) following a public consultation over the summer. This is to ensure that services are maintained during the COVID-19 outbreak. These amendments are in place until 31 March 2021.

Where local authorities deemed it appropriate to make use of the amendments, taking account of all available information, every decision had to be agreed at senior manager level. The amendments were monitored by the department based on a triangulation of information gathered from a variety of sources, including local authorities, charities and key partners, including Ofsted.

As a departmental official, the Chief Social Worker is routinely involved in the development of policy on children’s social care, providing independent expert advice.

The legal cost for the initial Judicial Review (High Court) and the appeal (Court of Appeal) are estimated to total £80,000.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what was the cost to the public purse of legal fees for the Court of Appeal case against him Case No: C1/2020/1279.

The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into force on 24 April 2020 and expired on 25 September 2020. Further regulations continuing a small number of these amendments came into force from 25 September 2020 (Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020) following a public consultation over the summer. This is to ensure that services are maintained during the COVID-19 outbreak. These amendments are in place until 31 March 2021.

Where local authorities deemed it appropriate to make use of the amendments, taking account of all available information, every decision had to be agreed at senior manager level. The amendments were monitored by the department based on a triangulation of information gathered from a variety of sources, including local authorities, charities and key partners, including Ofsted.

As a departmental official, the Chief Social Worker is routinely involved in the development of policy on children’s social care, providing independent expert advice.

The legal cost for the initial Judicial Review (High Court) and the appeal (Court of Appeal) are estimated to total £80,000.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Court of Appeal's ruling of 24 November 2020, Case No: C1/2020/1279, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the effects on children of the removal of safeguards for children in care.

The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into force on 24 April 2020 and expired on 25 September 2020. Further regulations continuing a small number of these amendments came into force from 25 September 2020 (Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020) following a public consultation over the summer. This is to ensure that services are maintained during the COVID-19 outbreak. These amendments are in place until 31 March 2021.

Where local authorities deemed it appropriate to make use of the amendments, taking account of all available information, every decision had to be agreed at senior manager level. The amendments were monitored by the department based on a triangulation of information gathered from a variety of sources, including local authorities, charities and key partners, including Ofsted.

As a departmental official, the Chief Social Worker is routinely involved in the development of policy on children’s social care, providing independent expert advice.

The legal cost for the initial Judicial Review (High Court) and the appeal (Court of Appeal) are estimated to total £80,000.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer on 28 June 2018 to Question 156433, how many additional places for children in secure accommodation were achieved through his Department’s £40million capital grants programme for secure accommodation; how much of that £40million budget he plans to spend by 31 March 2021; and if he will provide a breakdown of how the capital grants were spent.

The department’s capital grants programme for the current spending review period will, once completed, increase available placements by 17 beds across the secure children’s home estate. This includes some beds which are for use as ‘step-down’ provision. The grants programme has, in total, funded approximately 130 projects across the estate. We expect that the budget will be spent in full by March 2021, however, the completion of some projects has been delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Applications for grants were assessed and awarded to various projects which ensured secure children’s homes could continue to operate in safe, secure, and well-functioning buildings, and that children needing a secure placement have their education, welfare, and well-being promoted and supported by the home’s environment.

On 25 November 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced as part of the Spending Review that the government will provide £24 million during the 2021/22 financial year to start a new programme to maintain capacity and expand provision in secure children’s homes. This will provide high quality, safe homes for some of our most vulnerable children, and will mean children can live closer to their families and support networks, in settings that meet their needs. This is the most significant one-year investment in the secure children’s homes estate in the last 10 years. We will set out further details in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to section 7.3 of the Spending Review 2020, what estimate he has made of the number of additional places in secure children's homes that will be made available through the £24 million announced for such homes; and what the planned timescale is for making those places available.

The department’s capital grants programme for the current spending review period will, once completed, increase available placements by 17 beds across the secure children’s home estate. This includes some beds which are for use as ‘step-down’ provision. The grants programme has, in total, funded approximately 130 projects across the estate. We expect that the budget will be spent in full by March 2021, however, the completion of some projects has been delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Applications for grants were assessed and awarded to various projects which ensured secure children’s homes could continue to operate in safe, secure, and well-functioning buildings, and that children needing a secure placement have their education, welfare, and well-being promoted and supported by the home’s environment.

On 25 November 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced as part of the Spending Review that the government will provide £24 million during the 2021/22 financial year to start a new programme to maintain capacity and expand provision in secure children’s homes. This will provide high quality, safe homes for some of our most vulnerable children, and will mean children can live closer to their families and support networks, in settings that meet their needs. This is the most significant one-year investment in the secure children’s homes estate in the last 10 years. We will set out further details in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education in the Adjournment debate on Children in the Care System: Sibling Contact on 4 March 2020, Official Report, col 957, when the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 are planned to be updated.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, spoke in the adjournment debate on sibling contact for children living in care in March 2020. The Secretary of State for Education, said, during the debate, the current legislative framework places a duty on local authorities to promote contact between the child and their family members, unless this is not reasonably practical or consistent with the child’s welfare. Schedule 2 of the Children and Families Act (2004) requires local authorities to promote contact between a looked-after child and any relative, friend or other person connected with the child (including siblings), as long as it is consistent with the child’s welfare and reasonably practical.

Furthermore, we recognise the importance of sibling relationships and have made it clear – in The Children’s Act (1989) Guidance and Regulations: Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015) - that sibling groups should be placed together where it is appropriate and possible and in the best interests of all children within the group. Where this is not possible, we understand the importance of maintaining an ongoing relationship between children living in care and their siblings, whether they are in care or not. However, we are clear that the child’s needs, wishes, and welfare are the most important considerations when making decisions about their care and who they keep in touch with, when and how. For many children, having contact with family, friends and others is hugely valued, and may help towards a stable and successful placement.

During the debate, the Secretary of State for Education re-affirmed the government’s commitment to amending the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations (2020) to make explicit reference to the importance of children living in care having contact with all their siblings, where that is appropriate and consistent with the welfare of all siblings.

Given the circumstances since the debate was held in March 2020, we have been unable to identify an appropriate opportunity to consult on this amendment. However, this remains an important action and we will seek to complete it as soon as we are able to.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department provides to support breakfast clubs in England; how many (a) schools that funding is allocated to and (b) children that funding covers; what the cost per child of that funding was in each year since that funding was introduced; and what plans the Government has for that funding after March 2021.

The department is investing up to £35 million into the National School Breakfast Programme. This includes our extension of the programme by a further year until March 2021, with up to £11.8 million being invested during the current 2020-21 financial year. Overall, this money will kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas, making them sustainable in the long run.

Our supplier Family Action has estimated that 280,000 pupils, in more than 1,800 schools, had access to a healthy nutritious breakfast every school day between March 2018 to March 2020. Over this period the government spent £23,672,238.23. More information can be found here: https://www.family-action.org.uk/content/uploads/2019/07/NSBP-Impact-report-v11-LOWRES.pdf.

The government is considering how it can support breakfast clubs beyond March 2021 and recently issued a Prior Information Notice to gather evidence in relation to future policy and delivery for breakfast clubs. Future spending remains subject to the Spending Review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children are registered as having SEND; how many children with SEND are enrolled in schools; what information his Department holds on attendance rates of children with SEND.

The department collects and publishes data on the number of children and young people aged 0 to 25 who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan because of their special educational needs (SEN). This data is available at https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/213f4e4b-e441-4996-b3f9-b614a0fd03bf.

The department also publishes data on the number of children enrolled in schools who have SEN, which includes both children with an EHC plan and children receiving SEN support. This data is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/5bb4617e-2bd3-4b08-b665-1035fe9c3666.

Additionally, the department collects data on the number of schools that have indicated that they have sent children home due to COVID-19 containment measures, and the department also holds attendance data for schools that have done this. Published information on this is available at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. The latest data available, which is from 5 November 2020, shows that attendance was at 83.3% for pupils with an EHC plan in all state-funded schools.

Normally, in times not affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, the department collects data on the number of sessions missed by pupils and the broad reason for this. The department also publishes data on the absence rates of pupils, including a breakdown by SEN status and whether the absence was authorised by the school or not. This data is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/96c0510a-4687-47f7-820d-07e9314fa077.

We know that for children and young people with SEN, attending their educational setting is crucial so that they can receive high-quality teaching and the specialist professional support that they need. It remains our priority to keep education settings open for vulnerable children and young people, including those who have an EHC plan.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the time taken for Black children to be found an adoptive family.

Ensuring the right adopters come forward for the children we have waiting for forever homes remains a priority for the government. That is why we have given Regional Adoption Agencies (RAAs) £1 million to develop a sector led recruitment campaign during the 2020-21 financial year. This campaign, launched on 16 September 2020, is challenging preconceived conceptions about who can adopt and encouraging more potential adopters to come forward.

Part of the campaign has a specific focus on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities through outreach work in two pilot areas, London and Birmingham. The RAAs are also funding the voluntary sector organisation, Home for Good, to run a triage service to support prospective adopters from these pilot areas. This will include a safe space to explore adoption and ask further questions, but also seek extra support during the process. Lessons learnt from this work will be spread to all RAAs and Voluntary Adoption Agencies.

The Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board regularly monitor adoption data including children who are waiting to be matched with a family. Ensuring children from BAME backgrounds are placed without delay is a priority for the Board.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support Black prospective adopters going through the adoption assessment process.

Ensuring the right adopters come forward for the children we have waiting for forever homes remains a priority for the government. That is why we have given Regional Adoption Agencies (RAAs) £1 million to develop a sector led recruitment campaign during the 2020-21 financial year. This campaign, launched on 16 September 2020, is challenging preconceived conceptions about who can adopt and encouraging more potential adopters to come forward.

Part of the campaign has a specific focus on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities through outreach work in two pilot areas, London and Birmingham. The RAAs are also funding the voluntary sector organisation, Home for Good, to run a triage service to support prospective adopters from these pilot areas. This will include a safe space to explore adoption and ask further questions, but also seek extra support during the process. Lessons learnt from this work will be spread to all RAAs and Voluntary Adoption Agencies.

The Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board regularly monitor adoption data including children who are waiting to be matched with a family. Ensuring children from BAME backgrounds are placed without delay is a priority for the Board.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of SEND pupils have been unable to return to school since term began in September.

The department does not hold this information.

The department collects data on the number of schools that have indicated that they have sent children home due to COVID-19 containment measures, and have attendance data for schools that have done so. Published information is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We know that for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, attending their educational setting is crucial so that they can receive high quality teaching and the specialist professional support they need. It remains our priority to keep education settings open for vulnerable children and young people, including those who have an Education Health and Care plan.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which organisations have been provided with funding as a result of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy; and how much each of those organisations received, in each year since its introduction.

The Budget 2016 announced that the Department would receive funding of £575 million, linked to the revenue from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL), for a number of programmes.

Since September 2017, the funding has been used to double primary PE and Sport Premium, with SDIL revenue contributing an additional £160 million a year towards the total of £320 million. School-level allocations are available here: https://skillsfunding.service.gov.uk/single-funding-statement/latest/start.

Allocations from previous years are available on The National Archives’ website: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/search/result/?q=pe+and+sport+premium.

From the revenue generated from the SDIL, £100 million was used for the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund in the 2018-19 financial year. Allocations for each local authority and multi-academy trust, who were eligible to receive a direct allocation, were published in March 2018 and are available here: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20190212204720/https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/capital-allocations.

Details of successful Healthy Pupils Capital Fund projects funded through the Condition Improvement Fund have been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/condition-improvement-fund-2018-to-2019-outcome.

Funding of nearly £22 million was allocated, between 2017 and 2019, to an Essential Life Skills (ELS) programme to enable disadvantaged children and young people living in some of the most deprived parts of the country to participate in regular extra-curricular activities. These activities will enable them to develop essential life skills and get the best start in life. The ELS programme targeted disadvantaged children and young people aged 5-18 across 12 opportunity areas. Areas received £7.95 million in the 2017-18 financial year and £13.8 million in the 2018-19 financial year. Details of the grants are published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/essential-life-skills-grant-s31-grant-determination-and-letters.

The Department is investing up to £35 million from the SDIL to fund the National Schools Breakfast Programme over 3 years from March 2018. Overall, this money will start or improve breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas, making them more sustainable in the long run. The focus of these clubs has been to target the most disadvantaged areas of the country, including the Department’s opportunity areas, to help make sure every child gets the best start in life.

The Department confirmed in July that children from more than 1,800 schools in England, who are currently part of our Breakfast Clubs programme, would be offered healthy breakfasts over the summer months: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thousands-of-children-offered-nutritious-breakfasts-during-summer.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children have experienced a parental death due to covid-19.

The government does not collect information from schools or local authorities on the number of primary and secondary school pupils who have suffered a family bereavement since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. There are no official estimates of the number of children who are affected by family bereavement, neither usually nor since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children and young people. Access to mental health support, including bereavement support, is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak and the department has taken action to ensure schools and colleges are equipped to support children and young people.

We have worked hard to ensure that all pupils and learners were able to return to a full high-quality education programme in September. Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package, with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020-21 academic year, is supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place.

Staff need to be equipped to understand that some pupils may have experienced bereavement. Our guidance for the full opening of schools signposts to further support and resources, and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

This includes the MindEd website which has specific material on bereavement and dealing with death and loss, and their website is available here: https://www.minded.org.uk/.

This is in addition to the department’s remote learning guidance and the National Children’s Bureau’s (NCB) self-review tool, ‘Preparing for recovery: Self-review and signposting tool’, which signposts online support from the Childhood Bereavement Network and Child Bereavement UK. More details on the NCB’s self-review tool is available here: https://www.ncb.org.uk/resources-publications/mental-health-and-wellbeing-primary-schools-preparing-recovery.

The website for the Childhood Bereavement Network is available here: http://www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk/.

The website for Child Bereavement UK is available here: https://www.childbereavementuk.org/.

These materials were supported by webinars over the summer which reached thousands of school and college staff.

We are also investing £8 million in the Wellbeing for Education Return Programme. This will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and practical skills they need to support teachers, students and parents, to improve how they respond to the emotional impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The programme is funding expert advisers in every area of England to train and support schools and colleges during the autumn and spring terms. The training includes specific examples of supporting bereaved children.

School and college staff are not mental health professionals, and it is important that more specialist support is available for children and their families. All NHS mental health trusts have ensured that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. We have also provided £9.2 million of additional funding for mental health charities, including charities such as Young Minds, to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time.

In addition, Public Health England and Health Education England have developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. This includes a specific section on dealing with grief and bereavement. The resources are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including foster carers in the list of critical workers.

The department recognises that this is a very difficult time for foster families, who are caring for some of our most vulnerable children and play a vital role in caring for looked after children.

The government considers foster carers to be essential to the country’s response in tackling the COVID-19 outbreak, and as such, foster carers have been prioritised for access to COVID-19 testing where they are symptomatic. They are also able to access personal protective equipment supplies, via their fostering service, where they need them.

In some areas, fostering services have started to find ways to deliver respite to give foster families a break via household bubbles. We recognise that the government’s revised rules around social distancing and the experience of local lockdowns in some areas of the country may mean that respite is not available for all foster families. We would encourage respite carers to approach their agencies to see how they can be most useful and for fostering services to draw upon the experience and skills of respite carers when looking at how they can continue to best support children and their foster families.

The department remains committed to taking the necessary action to ensure that foster parents receive the respect and support that they need and deserve. We are considering options to help those services to boost their recruitment and maintain support for respite carers but have yet to publish plans. The role of foster parents is invaluable, especially now, and we want to drive forward change to empower them to care for our vulnerable children.

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 outbreak.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that foster carers that normally offer (a) respite care and (b) short breaks placements but are unable to offer those services during the covid-19 outbreak are paid a retainer fee.

The department recognises that this is a very difficult time for foster families, who are caring for some of our most vulnerable children and play a vital role in caring for looked after children.

The government considers foster carers to be essential to the country’s response in tackling the COVID-19 outbreak, and as such, foster carers have been prioritised for access to COVID-19 testing where they are symptomatic. They are also able to access personal protective equipment supplies, via their fostering service, where they need them.

In some areas, fostering services have started to find ways to deliver respite to give foster families a break via household bubbles. We recognise that the government’s revised rules around social distancing and the experience of local lockdowns in some areas of the country may mean that respite is not available for all foster families. We would encourage respite carers to approach their agencies to see how they can be most useful and for fostering services to draw upon the experience and skills of respite carers when looking at how they can continue to best support children and their foster families.

The department remains committed to taking the necessary action to ensure that foster parents receive the respect and support that they need and deserve. We are considering options to help those services to boost their recruitment and maintain support for respite carers but have yet to publish plans. The role of foster parents is invaluable, especially now, and we want to drive forward change to empower them to care for our vulnerable children.

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 outbreak.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children in England are (a) eligible and (b) registered for free school meals.

As of the schools January 2020 census, the number of children known to be eligible for
benefits-related free school meals in England was 1,440,778. Additionally, at the same census point, a further 1.4 million received a free meal under the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy. More information is available here:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to implement a national holiday activities and food programme during the 2021 school summer holidays.

This summer, our £9 million Holiday Activities and Food Programme worked across 17 local authority areas, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, building on the success of the programme in 2018 and 2019.

Future policy and spending decisions will be set following completion of the current Spending Review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to continue the National School Breakfast programme beyond March 2021.

The department is investing up to £35 million into the National School Breakfast Programme. This includes our extension of the programme by a further year until March 2021, with up to £11.8 million being invested during this current financial year. Overall, this money will kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas, making them sustainable in the long run. Any further investment in school breakfast clubs beyond March 2021 is subject to the upcoming Spending Review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons covid-19 cannot be cited as a reason to grant additional (a) study skills and (b) mentoring hours to higher education students that qualify for Disabled Students’ Allowances.

All students requiring a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) must undertake a Study Needs Assessment to ascertain the type and level of support that they require to access the teaching and learning provided by their higher education provider.

Where a student’s DSA support needs to change, for whatever reason, they should contact Student Finance England to request a DSA re-assessment. This can be for reasons related to COVID-19 or for any other reason.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 Jul 2020 to Question 60772 on Free School Meals: Voucher Schemes, whether a child that becomes eligible for free school meal vouchers during the summer period can be granted a voucher for the remaining weeks.

New applicants are eligible up to the end of a school’s summer term. If a school receives a claim for an eligible child after the final ordering date of at least one week before their school term ends but before the start of the school’s summer holidays, it will be possible for the school to place an exceptional order for that child via the Edenred system.

If families are facing hardship, they can access the Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant. Further government support is available for families struggling as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. If families need urgent help, they can contact their local council to find out what services are available in their area:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-local-help.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to make available funding from the £1 billion catch-up fund for tutoring school pupils; and what the criteria is for the allocation of those funds.

The £350 million National Tutoring Programme will increase the availability of high-quality tutoring across England, enabling schools to access provision for disadvantaged pupils at a subsidised rate. It will also place high-calibre graduate coaches in the most disadvantaged schools across the country to support pupils to catch up in key subjects. We will say more about the programme in due course.

The wider £650 million catch-up fund recognises that all pupils, irrespective of their background or location, have lost time in education. Whilst school leaders will decide how it is used, the intention is that this money will be spent on the most effective interventions. On 19 June the Education Endowment Foundation published a guide to help school leaders and staff decide how to use this universal funding to best support their pupils. https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Publications/Covid-19_Resources/Covid-19_support_guide_for_schools.pdf

We will announce more details, including allocations, in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (S.I., 2020, No. 445); i); if he will publish the (a) local authorities, (b) organisations and (c) social workers who asked for the changes; and whether those (i) organisations and (ii) individuals were consulted on the Regulations.

The urgency with which the Regulations needed to be drafted meant that a formal consultation was not possible, views were sought from the department’s key delivery partners and stakeholders. As a departmental official, the Chief Social Worker is routinely involved in development of policy on children’s social care providing independent expert advice.

The department does not intend to publish the names of local authorities, organisations and social workers who provided views on the regulation changes as we did not seek the information on that basis.

Our approach to monitoring the Regulations is based on a triangulation of information gathered from a variety of sources, including local authorities, charities and key partners including Ofsted. I have committed to reporting to Parliament before summer recess on the outcome of the work the department has done to monitor the use of the amended regulations and the frequency in which they have been used.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (S.I., 2020, No. 445); on what date he met with the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families For England to discuss the Regulations; and what representations the Chief Social Worker made to him on them.

The urgency with which the Regulations needed to be drafted meant that a formal consultation was not possible, views were sought from the department’s key delivery partners and stakeholders. As a departmental official, the Chief Social Worker is routinely involved in development of policy on children’s social care providing independent expert advice.

The department does not intend to publish the names of local authorities, organisations and social workers who provided views on the regulation changes as we did not seek the information on that basis.

Our approach to monitoring the Regulations is based on a triangulation of information gathered from a variety of sources, including local authorities, charities and key partners including Ofsted. I have committed to reporting to Parliament before summer recess on the outcome of the work the department has done to monitor the use of the amended regulations and the frequency in which they have been used.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in relation to Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (S.I., 2020, No. 445); if he will publish the local authorities that have enacted the changes contained in those Regulations; what changes those local authorities have made; and what processes his Department has put in place to monitor compliance with those regulations.

The urgency with which the Regulations needed to be drafted meant that a formal consultation was not possible, views were sought from the department’s key delivery partners and stakeholders. As a departmental official, the Chief Social Worker is routinely involved in development of policy on children’s social care providing independent expert advice.

The department does not intend to publish the names of local authorities, organisations and social workers who provided views on the regulation changes as we did not seek the information on that basis.

Our approach to monitoring the Regulations is based on a triangulation of information gathered from a variety of sources, including local authorities, charities and key partners including Ofsted. I have committed to reporting to Parliament before summer recess on the outcome of the work the department has done to monitor the use of the amended regulations and the frequency in which they have been used.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what is the (a) minimum and (b) maximum number of days a child can reside in care without a visit from their social worker.

We expect local authorities to conduct social worker visits to children in care within the statutory timeframes set out in Regulation 28 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010. The statutory timeframes have not changed and the minimum and maximum requirements for visits will depend on the type of placement the child is in.

In exceptional cases, where these visits cannot be made within the prescribed timeframes, such as during periods of significant staff shortages as a result of COVID-19, temporary flexibility has been provided through The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. This includes allowing visits from the child’s responsible authority to be conducted as soon as reasonably practicable and by telephone, video, or other electronic means.

Flexibilities should only be used when absolutely necessary, with senior management oversight, and must always be consistent with the overarching safeguarding and welfare duties that remain in place.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children’s’ social workers have been (a) shielding and (b) in self isolation in each month since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what are the current legal monitoring requirements for children placed on short break placements.

Local authorities are required to monitor short break placements as set out in Regulation 48 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010. The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amended Regulation 48 to provide temporary flexibility, allowing visits to take place at regular intervals during a short break, as agreed with the child’s parents (or anyone else with parental responsibility for the child) and their Independent Reviewing Officer. The 2020 Regulations also specify that these visits can be conducted by telephone, video-link or other electronic means.

Timings for reviews of the child’s case have also been temporarily amended by the 2020 Regulations. The responsible authority must first review the child’s case as soon as is reasonably practicable from the start of the first placement, and subsequent reviews must be carried out at regular intervals during any short break.

These flexibilities should only be used when necessary on a case by case basis and only when consistent with the child’s safety and wellbeing.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to debate on 10 June, Official Report, col 353, when will she update the House on the changes made by Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (S.I., 2020, No. 445).

I will report to Parliament before summer recess on the outcome of the work the department has done to monitor the use of the amended regulations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when will funding be made available for free school meals for children during summer 2020; when vouchers will be available to all children on free school meals and what the cut off date for eligibility will be.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government understands that children and parents face an entirely 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 children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period.

Our guidance on the COVID Summer Food Fund is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-summer-food-fund.

Through the COVID Summer Food Fund, schools can support eligible pupils with a £90 voucher to cover the 6-week holiday period. Schools must order the vouchers at least one week before their school term ends.

Schools should continue to accept and verify free school meal applications up until the end of the summer term. The eligibility criteria for free school meals can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals. If a school receives a claim for an eligible child during the final week before the school’s summer holidays, it will be possible for the school to place an exceptional order for that child via our supplier Edenred.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish details of the successful bids for the 2020 Holiday Activities and Food programme.

The Holiday Activities and Food scheme is integral to our approach to provide healthy food to children over the summer. It will ensure thousands of disadvantaged children have access to healthy meals and holiday activities in summer 2020, building on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes.

On Saturday 20 June, we published the list of successful bidders for 2020. The 10 co-ordinators delivering across 17 local authorities are:

  • StreetGames (Newcastle, North East region)
  • Gateshead Council (Gateshead - North East region)
  • Edsential (Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, Wirral - North West region)
  • Spring North (Blackburn with Darwen - North West region)
  • Leeds Community Foundation (Leeds and Bradford - Yorkshire and the Humber region)
  • Voluntary Action Sheffield (Sheffield - Yorkshire & the Humber region)
  • Suffolk County Council (Suffolk - East of England region)
  • Mayor’s Fund for London (Lambeth and Southwark - London)
  • Tower Hamlets Local Authority (Tower Hamlets - London)

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that foster carers who have had to shield during the covid-19 outbreak are financially supported until they can return to fostering.

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

We are continuing to work with fostering services and sector organisations to better understand the specific challenges that foster carers are facing, including those who have had to shield during the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that local authorities and fostering agencies are responding to the challenge by finding innovative ways to continue to support their foster carers.

We want to ensure that the right level of support is put in place to keep foster families together, retain capacity and provide stability for children in foster care. This includes working closely with Fosterline, an independent advice and support line funded by the department, to consider what additional support can be offered to foster families struggling at this time.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) the fostering workforce and (b) retention levels in that workforce are supported during and after the covid-19 outbreak.

It is vital that we continue to support foster families both during and after the COVID-19 outbreak, to keep them together and continue to provide safety and stability for vulnerable children. We understand the pressures that foster families have been under during this difficult time and our priority has been to protect foster carers.

We have ensured that foster carers are able to request personal protective equipment should they need it from their local authorities and that children in foster care are eligible to receive free IT devices and equipment to support their education.

In addition, the government has provided a national scheme to offer supermarket vouchers, worth £15 a week, to families of children who receive benefits-related free school meals. This is to cover the cost of meals for children who are currently unable to attend school.

The department continues to fund Fosterline, an independent advice service for current and prospective foster carers, to provide impartial and free-to-access support. We are working closely with sector organisations and fostering services to better understand the challenges currently faced by foster families, and the ways in which the needs of these families can be met going forward. We also want to support fostering services to build capacity to ensure that we have enough of the right carers in the right places as we emerge from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children have been reported missing from care since the introduction of the covid-19 lockdown.

Nothing is more important to this government than children’s safety and doing all we can through local authorities and their partners, to prevent children from going missing. Regrettably, sometimes children do go missing, and we must make sure they can return safely to their carers or families. Statutory safeguarding duties on local authorities are in place to underpin this, and they remain in place as strongly as ever during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The department’s statutory guidance to local authorities for the care and support of children who go missing – or who are at risk of going missing – makes the government’s position and expectations very clear. This statutory guidance reiterates that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is a key duty on local authorities and it actively promotes effective joint working between agencies and professionals to minimise the risk of children going missing. The statutory guidance applies to all children whether in care or living with their families. If children are in care settings, the safeguarding duties on local authorities apply regardless of the setting in which the child is placed. The statutory guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-who-run-away-or-go-missing-from-home-or-care.

The data on the number of children who have been reported missing from care since the introduction of the COVID-19 lockdown is not available in the form requested. The department is currently in the process of collecting looked after children data from local authorities for the reporting year ending 31 March 2020. Information on the number of children missing from care in 2019-20 will be published later this year. Local authorities will submit information on children who have been reported missing from care after 1 April 2020 in the 2020-2021 annual return.

The latest annual figures on children missing from care were published in ‘Additional tables: children looked after missing from their placement 2018 to 2019’ and in the underlying data of the statistical release, ‘Children Looked after in England including adoptions 2018-19’, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The department does not collect datasets on children reported missing who are not in care, or ‘looked after’ by the local authority. Individual police forces hold information about current missing persons incidents. Annual missing persons statistics, including how many children are reported missing to the police are published by the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Missing Person’s Unit. The NCA intends to publish missing persons data for 2017-18 and 2018-19 later this month (June), with publication of data for 2019-20 expected at the end of 2020. The Home Office is the department that is responsible for liaising with the NCA on collection and publication of these datasets. It is important to recognise that NCA datasets are not comparable with data for looked after children that the department collects and publishes annually.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to (a) local authorities, (b) foster carers, (c) children’s homes and (d) semi-independent unregulated accommodation on the (i) reporting of and (ii) response to children going missing from care during the covid-19 lockdown.

Nothing is more important to this government than children’s safety and doing all we can through local authorities and their partners, to prevent children from going missing. Regrettably, sometimes children do go missing, and we must make sure they can return safely to their carers or families. Statutory safeguarding duties on local authorities are in place to underpin this, and they remain in place as strongly as ever during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The department’s statutory guidance to local authorities for the care and support of children who go missing – or who are at risk of going missing – makes the government’s position and expectations very clear. This statutory guidance reiterates that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is a key duty on local authorities and it actively promotes effective joint working between agencies and professionals to minimise the risk of children going missing. The statutory guidance applies to all children whether in care or living with their families. If children are in care settings, the safeguarding duties on local authorities apply regardless of the setting in which the child is placed. The statutory guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-who-run-away-or-go-missing-from-home-or-care.

The data on the number of children who have been reported missing from care since the introduction of the COVID-19 lockdown is not available in the form requested. The department is currently in the process of collecting looked after children data from local authorities for the reporting year ending 31 March 2020. Information on the number of children missing from care in 2019-20 will be published later this year. Local authorities will submit information on children who have been reported missing from care after 1 April 2020 in the 2020-2021 annual return.

The latest annual figures on children missing from care were published in ‘Additional tables: children looked after missing from their placement 2018 to 2019’ and in the underlying data of the statistical release, ‘Children Looked after in England including adoptions 2018-19’, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The department does not collect datasets on children reported missing who are not in care, or ‘looked after’ by the local authority. Individual police forces hold information about current missing persons incidents. Annual missing persons statistics, including how many children are reported missing to the police are published by the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Missing Person’s Unit. The NCA intends to publish missing persons data for 2017-18 and 2018-19 later this month (June), with publication of data for 2019-20 expected at the end of 2020. The Home Office is the department that is responsible for liaising with the NCA on collection and publication of these datasets. It is important to recognise that NCA datasets are not comparable with data for looked after children that the department collects and publishes annually.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children have been reported missing from the family home since the introduction of the covid-19 lockdown; and how many of those incidents had domestic abuse citied as a contributing factor.

Nothing is more important to this government than children’s safety and doing all we can through local authorities and their partners, to prevent children from going missing. Regrettably, sometimes children do go missing, and we must make sure they can return safely to their carers or families. Statutory safeguarding duties on local authorities are in place to underpin this, and they remain in place as strongly as ever during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The department’s statutory guidance to local authorities for the care and support of children who go missing – or who are at risk of going missing – makes the government’s position and expectations very clear. This statutory guidance reiterates that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is a key duty on local authorities and it actively promotes effective joint working between agencies and professionals to minimise the risk of children going missing. The statutory guidance applies to all children whether in care or living with their families. If children are in care settings, the safeguarding duties on local authorities apply regardless of the setting in which the child is placed. The statutory guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-who-run-away-or-go-missing-from-home-or-care.

The data on the number of children who have been reported missing from care since the introduction of the COVID-19 lockdown is not available in the form requested. The department is currently in the process of collecting looked after children data from local authorities for the reporting year ending 31 March 2020. Information on the number of children missing from care in 2019-20 will be published later this year. Local authorities will submit information on children who have been reported missing from care after 1 April 2020 in the 2020-2021 annual return.

The latest annual figures on children missing from care were published in ‘Additional tables: children looked after missing from their placement 2018 to 2019’ and in the underlying data of the statistical release, ‘Children Looked after in England including adoptions 2018-19’, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The department does not collect datasets on children reported missing who are not in care, or ‘looked after’ by the local authority. Individual police forces hold information about current missing persons incidents. Annual missing persons statistics, including how many children are reported missing to the police are published by the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Missing Person’s Unit. The NCA intends to publish missing persons data for 2017-18 and 2018-19 later this month (June), with publication of data for 2019-20 expected at the end of 2020. The Home Office is the department that is responsible for liaising with the NCA on collection and publication of these datasets. It is important to recognise that NCA datasets are not comparable with data for looked after children that the department collects and publishes annually.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to (a) local authorities and (b) police forces on the (i) reporting of and (ii) response to children going missing from the family home during covid-19 lockdown.

Nothing is more important to this government than children’s safety and doing all we can through local authorities and their partners, to prevent children from going missing. Regrettably, sometimes children do go missing, and we must make sure they can return safely to their carers or families. Statutory safeguarding duties on local authorities are in place to underpin this, and they remain in place as strongly as ever during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The department’s statutory guidance to local authorities for the care and support of children who go missing – or who are at risk of going missing – makes the government’s position and expectations very clear. This statutory guidance reiterates that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is a key duty on local authorities and it actively promotes effective joint working between agencies and professionals to minimise the risk of children going missing. The statutory guidance applies to all children whether in care or living with their families. If children are in care settings, the safeguarding duties on local authorities apply regardless of the setting in which the child is placed. The statutory guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-who-run-away-or-go-missing-from-home-or-care.

The data on the number of children who have been reported missing from care since the introduction of the COVID-19 lockdown is not available in the form requested. The department is currently in the process of collecting looked after children data from local authorities for the reporting year ending 31 March 2020. Information on the number of children missing from care in 2019-20 will be published later this year. Local authorities will submit information on children who have been reported missing from care after 1 April 2020 in the 2020-2021 annual return.

The latest annual figures on children missing from care were published in ‘Additional tables: children looked after missing from their placement 2018 to 2019’ and in the underlying data of the statistical release, ‘Children Looked after in England including adoptions 2018-19’, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The department does not collect datasets on children reported missing who are not in care, or ‘looked after’ by the local authority. Individual police forces hold information about current missing persons incidents. Annual missing persons statistics, including how many children are reported missing to the police are published by the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Missing Person’s Unit. The NCA intends to publish missing persons data for 2017-18 and 2018-19 later this month (June), with publication of data for 2019-20 expected at the end of 2020. The Home Office is the department that is responsible for liaising with the NCA on collection and publication of these datasets. It is important to recognise that NCA datasets are not comparable with data for looked after children that the department collects and publishes annually.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, on what date he informed the Children’s Commissioner for England that children’s social care regulations were being amended; and whether the Commissioner was able to contribute to those changes.

The department shared a list of the children’s social care regulation changes with the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) on 16 April 2020 and provided further detail of the changes in response to the OCC’s questions.

The OCC has also commented on the revised COVID-19 guidance for local authorities on children’s social care. The guidance provides information on the regulation changes and is due to be published shortly.

The department shared the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 with key stakeholders, including the Children’s Commissioner, when they were published on 23 April 2020. The regulations and guidance will be under continuous review, in close co-operation with the sector.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, on what date his Department provided a copy of The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 to the Children’s Commissioner for England.

The department shared a list of the children’s social care regulation changes with the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) on 16 April 2020 and provided further detail of the changes in response to the OCC’s questions.

The OCC has also commented on the revised COVID-19 guidance for local authorities on children’s social care. The guidance provides information on the regulation changes and is due to be published shortly.

The department shared the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 with key stakeholders, including the Children’s Commissioner, when they were published on 23 April 2020. The regulations and guidance will be under continuous review, in close co-operation with the sector.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many local authorities have informed his Department that they have been unable to arrange for a social worker to have a telephone or video link call with each child in their care at least once every six weeks during the covid-19 outbreak.

The safety of vulnerable children remains a high priority, and we have taken a number of steps to ensure this is prioritised during the COVID-19 outbreak, including ensuring that vulnerable children can continue to attend education and childcare settings that are closed to the majority of children.

The vast majority of statutory duties on children’s social care remain unchanged. However, in light of the current pressures COVID-19 is bringing on social care services, and the risk of such pressures increasing, we have reviewed our regulations to allow some temporary and limited flexibility, to be used where absolutely necessary, to enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children in the most effective and safest way during the outbreak. The regulatory changes will be kept under continuous review and will expire on 25 September 2020 unless extended.

The department consulted a wide range of stakeholders and local authority practitioners about what changes to children’s social care regulations would be appropriate and has carried out an internal review of all existing regulations over the last couple of months since the start of the outbreak. The changes made anticipate the potential issues children’s social care may face during this period, as well as those currently being dealt with. Our starting point has been to make minimal changes to ensure the safe functioning of children’s social care during COVID-19. The additional flexibilities should only be used when absolutely necessary and in line with overarching safeguarding and welfare duties.

The department has produced COVID-19 guidance for local authorities on children’s social care which is currently being updated to include a plain English explanation of what each regulation change does. This guidance is due to be published very shortly and will be kept under review alongside the Regulations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, on what date he discussed with the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families for England the amendments to the children’s social care regulations; and what her response was to those proposed changes.

The safety of vulnerable children remains a high priority, and we have taken a number of steps to ensure this is prioritised during the COVID-19 outbreak, including ensuring that vulnerable children can continue to attend education and childcare settings that are closed to the majority of children.

The vast majority of statutory duties on children’s social care remain unchanged. However, in light of the current pressures COVID-19 is bringing on social care services, and the risk of such pressures increasing, we have reviewed our regulations to allow some temporary and limited flexibility, to be used where absolutely necessary, to enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children in the most effective and safest way during the outbreak. The regulatory changes will be kept under continuous review and will expire on 25 September 2020 unless extended.

The department consulted a wide range of stakeholders and local authority practitioners about what changes to children’s social care regulations would be appropriate and has carried out an internal review of all existing regulations over the last couple of months since the start of the outbreak. The changes made anticipate the potential issues children’s social care may face during this period, as well as those currently being dealt with. Our starting point has been to make minimal changes to ensure the safe functioning of children’s social care during COVID-19. The additional flexibilities should only be used when absolutely necessary and in line with overarching safeguarding and welfare duties.

The department has produced COVID-19 guidance for local authorities on children’s social care which is currently being updated to include a plain English explanation of what each regulation change does. This guidance is due to be published very shortly and will be kept under review alongside the Regulations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which organisations were consulted on changes to regulations in children’s social care before the publication of the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020; and over what period were those organisations consulted.

The safety of vulnerable children remains a high priority, and we have taken a number of steps to ensure this is prioritised during the COVID-19 outbreak, including ensuring that vulnerable children can continue to attend education and childcare settings that are closed to the majority of children.

The vast majority of statutory duties on children’s social care remain unchanged. However, in light of the current pressures COVID-19 is bringing on social care services, and the risk of such pressures increasing, we have reviewed our regulations to allow some temporary and limited flexibility, to be used where absolutely necessary, to enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children in the most effective and safest way during the outbreak. The regulatory changes will be kept under continuous review and will expire on 25 September 2020 unless extended.

The department consulted a wide range of stakeholders and local authority practitioners about what changes to children’s social care regulations would be appropriate and has carried out an internal review of all existing regulations over the last couple of months since the start of the outbreak. The changes made anticipate the potential issues children’s social care may face during this period, as well as those currently being dealt with. Our starting point has been to make minimal changes to ensure the safe functioning of children’s social care during COVID-19. The additional flexibilities should only be used when absolutely necessary and in line with overarching safeguarding and welfare duties.

The department has produced COVID-19 guidance for local authorities on children’s social care which is currently being updated to include a plain English explanation of what each regulation change does. This guidance is due to be published very shortly and will be kept under review alongside the Regulations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 24 June 2019 to Question 266173 on Children in Care, on what date his Department began assessing changes to the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 which have been included in the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

The safety of vulnerable children remains a high priority, and we have taken a number of steps to ensure this is prioritised during the COVID-19 outbreak, including ensuring that vulnerable children can continue to attend education and childcare settings that are closed to the majority of children.

The vast majority of statutory duties on children’s social care remain unchanged. However, in light of the current pressures COVID-19 is bringing on social care services, and the risk of such pressures increasing, we have reviewed our regulations to allow some temporary and limited flexibility, to be used where absolutely necessary, to enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children in the most effective and safest way during the outbreak. The regulatory changes will be kept under continuous review and will expire on 25 September 2020 unless extended.

The department consulted a wide range of stakeholders and local authority practitioners about what changes to children’s social care regulations would be appropriate and has carried out an internal review of all existing regulations over the last couple of months since the start of the outbreak. The changes made anticipate the potential issues children’s social care may face during this period, as well as those currently being dealt with. Our starting point has been to make minimal changes to ensure the safe functioning of children’s social care during COVID-19. The additional flexibilities should only be used when absolutely necessary and in line with overarching safeguarding and welfare duties.

The department has produced COVID-19 guidance for local authorities on children’s social care which is currently being updated to include a plain English explanation of what each regulation change does. This guidance is due to be published very shortly and will be kept under review alongside the Regulations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which organisations requested changes to the (a) Residential Family Centres Regulations 2002, (b) Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005, (c) Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005, (d) Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure (England) Regulations 2006, (e) Education and Inspections Act 2006 (Inspection of Local Authorities) Regulations 2007, (f) Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010, (g) Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011, (h) Children Act 2004 (Joint Area Reviews) Regulations 2015, (i) Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015 and (j) Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Fees and Frequency of Inspections) (Children’s Homes etc.) Regulations 2015 which were subsequently incorporated into the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

The safety of vulnerable children remains a high priority, and we have taken a number of steps to ensure this is prioritised during the COVID-19 outbreak, including ensuring that vulnerable children can continue to attend education and childcare settings that are closed to the majority of children.

The vast majority of statutory duties on children’s social care remain unchanged. However, in light of the current pressures COVID-19 is bringing on social care services, and the risk of such pressures increasing, we have reviewed our regulations to allow some temporary and limited flexibility, to be used where absolutely necessary, to enable children's services to continue to support vulnerable children in the most effective and safest way during the outbreak. The regulatory changes will be kept under continuous review and will expire on 25 September 2020 unless extended.

The department consulted a wide range of stakeholders and local authority practitioners about what changes to children’s social care regulations would be appropriate and has carried out an internal review of all existing regulations over the last couple of months since the start of the outbreak. The changes made anticipate the potential issues children’s social care may face during this period, as well as those currently being dealt with. Our starting point has been to make minimal changes to ensure the safe functioning of children’s social care during COVID-19. The additional flexibilities should only be used when absolutely necessary and in line with overarching safeguarding and welfare duties.

The department has produced COVID-19 guidance for local authorities on children’s social care which is currently being updated to include a plain English explanation of what each regulation change does. This guidance is due to be published very shortly and will be kept under review alongside the Regulations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the continuation of the (a) School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme and (b) delivery of free sanitary products to schools whilst schools are closed during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We are currently working with officials at the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to consider plans for the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme during this period and will provide more information shortly. The scheme is led by the DHSC and is managed by NHS Supply Chain. It is jointly funded by the DHSC and the Department for Education.

Schools and colleges that continue operating throughout the COVID-19 outbreak will continue to be able to order products from the Period Products Scheme and distribute them to students who need them.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether vouchers for children eligible for free school meals during the covid-19 school closures will cover the cost of breakfast.

While schools are closed to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, they will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops for families. The government has confirmed that the total value of vouchers offered to each eligible child per week will exceed the rate it pays to schools for free school meals.

In addition to this, we are working to consider options to support children who receive a free breakfast through our contracts with Family Action and Magic Breakfast.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many local authorities use the National Accreditation and Assessment Programme; and how many social workers within those local authorities have (a) started and (b) completed the programme.

56 local authorities are currently participating in the National Assessment and Accreditation System and figures on the number of social workers who have completed their assessment is in the attached table.

The programme is voluntary for local authorities.

The cost of the programme to date has been £24 million, of which £12 million has been in grant funding to local authorities.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether introduction of the National accreditation and assessment programme is voluntary for local authorities.

56 local authorities are currently participating in the National Assessment and Accreditation System and figures on the number of social workers who have completed their assessment is in the attached table.

The programme is voluntary for local authorities.

The cost of the programme to date has been £24 million, of which £12 million has been in grant funding to local authorities.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the cost to the public purse has been of the roll-out of the National Accreditation and Assessment Programme to date.

56 local authorities are currently participating in the National Assessment and Accreditation System and figures on the number of social workers who have completed their assessment is in the attached table.

The programme is voluntary for local authorities.

The cost of the programme to date has been £24 million, of which £12 million has been in grant funding to local authorities.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he provides to schools in England on allocating pupil premium funding to the provision of free breakfasts.

??Schools are allocated around £2.4 billion each year through the pupil premium to improve outcomes for their disadvantaged pupils. School leaders have the freedom to use the grant in a way that best meets the needs of their school and its pupils and are encouraged to make evidenced based decisions, drawing on information from the Education Endowment Foundation, in particular the recently published Pupil Premium Guide, available here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Publications/Pupil_Premium_Guidance_iPDF.pdf.

The guide recommends that, as well as focusing on developing high-quality teaching and targeted academic programmes, schools should invest their pupil premium in wider strategies that support pupils’ readiness to learn - this may include providing a breakfast meal.

In addition, the Department is investing up to £35 million into the National School Breakfast Programme between 2018 and 2021, using funds from Soft Drinks Industry Levy revenues. This includes our recent announcement that the programme will be extended by a further year until March 2021, with an aim of helping to establish or improving up to 650 more clubs, further details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/free-meals-and-summer-holiday-activities-for-children.

Overall, this money will help to establish or improve breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much pupil premium schools have used in each category in the most recent two years for which data is available.

In each of the last two years, we have allocated £2.4 billion to schools through the pupil premium to enable them to improve their disadvantaged pupils’ outcomes. The allocations, by category of pupil premium, are published for 2018-19 and 2019-20 on gov.uk:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2019-to-2020.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-conditions-of-grant-2018-to-2019.

While head teachers are empowered to use the grant in ways that best serve their schools, we look to them to use the money well, taking account of effective practice evidence. The Education Endowment Foundation’s ‘Pupil Premium Guide’ recommends that schools focus their pupil premium on developing high quality teaching, targeted academic programmes and wider strategies that support pupils’ readiness to learn. Schools are required to publish details of their pupil premium strategy and its impact and Ofsted looks at provision for disadvantaged pupils during school inspection.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of pupils who are entitled for free school meals on the grounds of low household income but are not registered to receive them, by local authority.

The provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government. There are currently 1.3 million pupils eligible for and claiming a free nutritious school meal, saving families around £400 per year.

We do not routinely collect information on the proportion of pupils that would be entitled to a free school meal but do not make a claim. Our most recent estimate is that take-up is around 89% of those who are entitled.

Whilst take-up of free school meals is strong, 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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jul 2021
What steps he is taking to help ensure untreated sewage is not discharged into rivers, inland waterways and the sea.

We have set up the Storm Overflows Taskforce which has already resulted in increased investment of £144 million and this Government has amended the Environment Bill to introduce measures on storm overflows. Water companies are currently investing £3.1 billion in storm overflow improvements between 2020 and 2025. On 9 July, Southern Water was fined £90 million for pumping raw sewage into protected waters, the largest ever fine imposed on a water company.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the £63m local welfare assistance to be used by local authorities announced by the Prime Minister on 10 June 2020, what steps he is taking to ensure that the funding is spent by local authorities on local welfare assistance; and what processes his Department plan to use to monitor the effect of that funding on local welfare assistance.

We will issue guidance to local authorities to make clear that this additional funding is to be spent on local welfare assistance. This guidance will be available imminently, and details of a proportionate approach to monitoring will be outlined within this. The strategic objective of this funding is to support individuals and families who are unable to afford food and other essential items during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2020 to Question 57983 on Welfare Assistance Schemes; when he plans to make that funding available; and what formula he plans to use to allocate that funding to each local authority.

We are working at pace to establish an allocation model to focus support where it is most needed and to disburse the money to local authorities as soon as we can.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th 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 his timescale is for (a) publishing guidance on use of that funding and (b) making that funding available.

Defra will distribute the funding directly to local authorities to ensure they can support people facing severe financial difficulty who may be struggling to afford food and other necessities. Local authorities set the criteria for eligibility for welfare assistance schemes. We recognise that local authorities have set up different structures and schemes to support their communities during COVID-19 according to local need.

This funding is a one-off boost to local authorities in recognition of the fact that some people in our communities are facing sudden and severe financial difficulties. The COVID-19 pandemic is an extraordinary event and it is right that we take extraordinary measures in response to it.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to publish an interim report on the independent review led by Henry Dimbleby entitled Developing a National Food Strategy.

Henry Dimbleby was commissioned to lead an independent review to develop recommendations to shape a National Food Strategy, which will address challenges such as food security, health and climate change.

The independent review was due to publish the National Food Strategy Part 1: Diagnosis and Vision in Spring 2020. This has been delayed to focus efforts on the COVID-19 response. Although no firm date for publication can be given at this time, the National Food Strategy remains a priority for the Government and work will resume as soon as possible.

The Government remains committed to responding to the review’s final recommendations in the form of a White Paper within 6 months of the release of the final report.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the organisations and companies that received contracts from the Government to deliver food supplies to people considered clinically vulnerable during the covid-19 outbreak; and on what date each contract was entered into.

Bidfood and Brakes both received Defra contracts to deliver food parcels to the clinically vulnerable. Contracts commenced on 27 March 2020 under letters of intent and formal contracts were signed on 24 April 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to secure the food supply for key workers.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they have adapted quickly to these changes in demand to ensure people have the food and products they need. Food supply into and across the UK is resilient.

To help the industry to respond to this unprecedented demand we have introduced new measures to support businesses to keep food supply flowing on to shelves and into homes. These include temporary relaxation of competition laws to allow supermarkets to work together, extending delivery hours to supermarkets and flexing rules on drivers’ hours to allow a higher frequency of deliveries to stores to ensure shelves are being replenished more quickly.

Supermarkets are already protecting shopping time for certain key workers. For example, several supermarkets have priority shopping hours for NHS staff and social care workers. We remain in close contact with industry on how they can support keyworkers.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many people his Department estimates are in need of food assistance; and what proportion of those people (a) were vulnerable before the covid-19 outbreak and (b) are newly vulnerable.

The Government has been and remains in close contact with representatives across the food supply chain and civil society to ensure that vulnerable groups have access to the food and products that they need.

We initially estimated that 1.5 million people would fall into the clinically extremely vulnerable group. We have put in place measures to ensure that those identified by the NHS as being extremely clinically vulnerable and who are without a support network of friends and family receive basic food and essential supplies when requested via the online NHS webportal or via the phone. Packages of essential supplies are being delivered across England within seven days of a request for support, as soon as their status as a shielded person is verified, and supermarkets are putting these customers at the front of the queue for online delivery slots.

Over 750,000 people across England signed up as NHS Volunteer Responders via the mobile app GoodSam. Over 600,000 volunteers have been verified as NHS Volunteer Responders via the Good Sam platform, and can now receive tasks to help those in their communities. These volunteers will help vulnerable people in England who are at most risk from coronavirus to stay well, including through shopping for vulnerable people for food and essential supplies.

We are working quickly to support people who do not fall into the category of being clinically vulnerable, but still need help getting essential food supplies. Government is working with industry, charities, other government departments and Devolved Administrations to ensure whatever support is needed is delivered in a coordinated and consistent manner. We welcome measures that supermarkets have put in place to support the elderly and other vulnerable groups.

We have been working closely with the third sector to understand the impacts the outbreak has had on food aid organisations, and how best to ensure that those who are financially vulnerable still have access to essential supplies. Food redistribution organisations across England are benefiting from £3.25 million of government funding to help them cut food waste and redistribute up to 14,000 tonnes of surplus stock.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department made of the potential merits of varying the terms of licences issued for the export of arms to Israel in response to the violence in that country and the neighbouring Palestinian Territory in May 2021.

I refer the Hon. Lady to the answer I gave on 21st July 2021 (UIN: 34507).

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, for what reason information on licences granted for the export of arms to Israel is not released for six months after those licences were granted.

Official licensing statistics are published on a quarterly basis, three and a half months after the end of the reported time period. For example, data for 1st January to 31st March 2021 was published 13th July 2021.

This is to allow for any reporting delays to be captured in the data, checking processes to be carried out, etc. These processes are to ensure accurate and reliable statistics in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of varying the terms of any licences issued for the export of arms to Israel as a result of the violence in that country and the neighbouring Palestinian Territory in May 2021.

HM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories closely, and we will take action to suspend, refuse or revoke licences – in line with the Consolidated Criteria – if circumstances require.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 17 December 2020 to Question 115685 on Arms Trade Export Controls; what those errors were; what period of time elapsed before those errors were identified and the licences revoked; whether any inappropriate deliveries were made under those licences before revocation; and what steps her Department is taking to prevent similar errors recurring.

One OIEL had one destination revoked (Isle of Man). The Isle of Man is a British Crown Dependency and we do not licence exports of military goods to there from the United Kingdom. A licence was issued on 9th January 2014, the error was identified on 10th February 2015 and the licence revoked 11th February 2015.

One OIEL for a variety of goods to a large number of countries had some items for three destinations (Hong Kong, Mongolia and Taiwan) recommended for rejection by one adviser. A licence was issued on 12th May 2015, the error was identified on 29th May 2015, and the licence revoked on 3rd July 2015. The procedure for partial refusal recommendations from advisers has now been amended.

One OIEL had 31 destinations revoked (Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Gibraltar, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, New Caledonia and Dependencies, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, St Helena, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Uruguay). The items included on this application required import authorisation from recipient countries before an export licence is granted specifying quantities, which could not be obtained. A licence was issued on 12th February 2019 and the error identified on 15th July 2019; the licence was revoked 17th July 2019.

Two OITCLs for Sierra Leone had goods revoked because the licences were issued in error (Criterion 1). The activity licenced, which was the promotion of supply of less-lethal weapons, was outside the scope of policy as set out by Lord Howell on 9th February 2012. One licence was issued on 5th January 2017 and another on 14th June 2017. The errors were identified on 22nd July 2019 and the licences revoked 29th July 2019.

We keep our processes under constant review and have an ongoing staff training programme. We do not hold information on any transfers that took place under these historic licences, but these licences have been corrected now. We have implemented a transformation programme which, amongst other things, will be improving our processes and control mechanisms, as well as implementing recommendations from an internal audit report.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many times the Government has suspended or revoked an existing Arms Export licence in the last five years; what the grounds were for those actions; and which countries those licences were for.

Since 2015, we have taken revocation action 74 times on individual licences; and suspended licences, pending further investigations, four times.

I have provided the Hon. Lady with instances below where a licence was revoked in full; where a country was removed; where goods were removed; or where goods for a country were removed.

  • 9 SIELs for Ukraine were revoked following increasing tensions in the region (Criterion 3).
  • 3 SIELs for Yemen and 1 OIEL destination were revoked further to the deteriorating situation in-country and the risk of diversion (Criteria 3, 7)
  • 1 OIEL had seven destinations revoked (Taiwan, Spain, Qatar, Greece, Canada, Australia and Afghanistan) when extended beyond its original validity date.
  • 1 OIEL has one destination revoked (Isle of Man) having been issued in error.
  • 1 OIEL had three destinations revoked (Japan, Norway and Switzerland) due to the sensitivity of the goods (Criterion 5)
  • 1 SIEL for the Philippines was revoked following a change of situation in country and the risk of items being used to commit abuses of rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2)
  • 3 SIELs for Germany, Italy and the United States were revoked where the goods were for onward export to Venezuela following the introduction of restrictive measures by the EU in 2017 (Criterion 1).
  • 2 SIELs and 13 OIEL destinations for Venezuela were revoked following the introduction of restrictive measures by the EU in 2017 (Criterion 1).
  • 1 OIEL had three destinations revoked (Hong Kong, Mongolia and Taiwan), having been issued in error.
  • 1 SIEL for Iraq was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion (Criterion 7)
  • 1 SIEL for Bangladesh was revoked following the provision of additional technical information on the capabilities of the equipment, giving rise to concerns over rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2)
  • 1 OIEL destination for Belarus was revoked because of the risk of contravening EU financial sanctions including asset freezes (Criterion 1)
  • 2 SIELs for China were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion (Criteria 5a and 7)
  • 1 SIEL and 3 OIEL destinations for Myanmar (Burma) were revoked following the expansion of EU Sanctions there in 2018 (Criterion 1)
  • 1 OIEL had 31 destinations revoked (Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Gibraltar, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, New Caledonia and Dependencies, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, St Helena, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Uruguay), having been issued in error.
  • 6 SIELs for China were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion (Criteria 5a and 7), 4 of these SIELs were initially suspended.
  • 1 SIEL for Pakistan was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a WMD programme (Criterion 1)
  • 2 SIELs for Sweden and Saudi Arabia and 2 OIEL destination for Jordan and Saudi Arabia were revoked because they were contrary to Secretary of State’s commitment to Parliament that no new licences would be granted for export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia or its coalition partners for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.
  • 1 OIEL destination for Saudi Arabia was revoked because of the risk of internal repression and violations of rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2a)
  • 2 OITCLs for Sierra Leone had goods revoked because the licences were issued in error (Criterion 1).
  • 1 SIEL for Turkey was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1 and 7)
  • 1 SIEL for Uganda was revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1 and 7)
  • 1 SIEL and 1 OIEL destination for Iraq was revoked following a change of situation in country and the risk of items being used to commit abuses of rights and responsibilities (Criterion 2)
  • 3 SIELs for Israel were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1, 5a and 7)
  • 3 SIELs for South Africa, Spain and Jordan, 3 SIELs for the United Arab Emirates and 1 OIEL destination for the United Arab Emirates were revoked following new information indicating a risk of diversion to a third country of concern (Criteria 1 and 7)

In seeking to be open with the Hon. Lady, this data is provided from management information and may, therefore, not align with published official statistics. My department has identified some instances where revocations were not reported. For example, following the introduction of EU restrictive measures in 2017, we revoked Venezuela from 13 OIELs, but five were not reported. My department has identified the cause of this and put in place measures to ensure there is no re-occurrence. The data will align with the next official statistics update and the official estimates will be revised.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to her Written Statement of 7 July 2020 on Trade Update and the Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 68798, what criteria were used to determine whether the 535 incidents which, for the purpose of the Government’s analysis are being treated as violations of International Humanitarian Law, constituted a pattern.

Our analysis as to whether or not an incident constituted a ‘possible’ breach of international humanitarian law (IHL) was applied to over 300 incidents. The assessments used all available sources of information, including some that are necessarily confidential and sensitive. As a result, we are not able to provide details of individual assessments for national security reasons.

We have assessed that there were a small number of incidents that were ‘possible’ violations, which have been treated for the purposes of this analysis as ‘violations’ of international humanitarian law.

The Statement made by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade on 7th July was clear that we sought to determine whether these ‘violations’ were indicative of:

(i) any patterns of non-compliance;

(ii) a lack of commitment on the part of Saudi Arabia to comply with IHL; and/or

(iii) a lack of capacity or systemic weaknesses which might give rise to a clear risk of IHL breaches.

Our analysis did not reveal any such patterns, trends or systemic weaknesses.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what (a) volume and (b) type of arms and equipment have been sold to Saudi Arabia through open licences since March 2015.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK and these reports contain detailed information, including the overall value, the type (e.g. Military, Other), and a summary of the items covered by these licences.

This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data and the most recent publication was on 14th July 2020, covering the period 1st January to 31st March 2020.

HM Government does not hold complete records on the amount of equipment sold to Saudi Arabia – nor any other country – and this can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what (a) amount and (b) type of (i) arms and (ii) equipment have been sold to Saudi Arabia under open licences since March 2015.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK and these reports contain detailed information, including the overall value, the type (e.g. Military, Other), and a summary of the items covered by these licences.

This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data and the most recent publication was on 14th July 2020, covering the period 1st January to 31st March 2020.

HM Government does not hold complete records on the amount of equipment sold to Saudi Arabia – nor any other country – and this can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what licences for the sale of artillery and associated targeting equipment the Government has granted to Saudi Arabia in the last five years.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK and these reports contain detailed information, including the overall value, the type (e.g. Military, Other), and a summary of the items covered by these licences.

This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data and the most recent publication was on 14th July 2020, covering the period 1st January to 31st March 2020.

HM Government does not hold complete records on the amount of equipment sold to Saudi Arabia – nor any other country – and this can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has granted arms sales open licences to Saudi Arabia which include dual-use weaponry.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK and these reports contain detailed information, including the overall value, the type (e.g. Military, Other), and a summary of the items covered by these licences.

This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data and the most recent publication was on 14th July 2020, covering the period 1st January to 31st March 2020.

HM Government does not hold complete records on the amount of equipment sold to Saudi Arabia – nor any other country – and this can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2020 to Question 52663, which countries in Africa have been identified as key markets.

The Department for International Trade’s Defence and Security Organisation has identified the following key markets in Africa for defence and security opportunities in 2019-20:

Algeria

Egypt

Morocco

Nigeria

South Africa

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the Defence and Security Organisation's key markets are for 2019-20; and if she will make a statement.

The Department for International Trade’s Defence and Security Organisation has identified the following key markets for 2019-20 with defence and security opportunities:

Africa

Australia

Austria

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Belgium

Canada

Central European Network (Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria)

France

Germany

India

Indonesia

Italy

Japan

Kuwait

Latin America (Columbia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Panama, Argentina, Mexico)

Malaysia

New Zealand

Netherlands

Nordic Baltic Network (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia)

Oman

Philippines

Portugal

Qatar

Republic of Korea

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

Spain

Switzerland

Thailand

Turkey

United Arab Emirates

United States of America

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
29th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many staff worked for the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) on 1 April 2020; how many of those staff are in the export support team; and what the DSO's budget is for 2020-21.

As of 1 April 2020, the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) had 110 staff of which 18 worked for the Export Support Team.

DSO’s budget for 2020-21 is £9,514,191.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support his Department is providing to maintain the international competitiveness of UK seafarer training.

The Department for Transport have established a Maritime Skills Commission (MSC) to lead the sector’s work in ensuring the maritime sector has a pipeline of talented people to serve all parts of the sector. The Commissions has recently completed and published a review of seafarer cadet training. Working with stakeholders the MSC and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will look at taking forward these recommendations.

Refreshing the seafarer training system in the UK will allow the well-regarded UK maritime training sector to strengthen its position internationally and meet the future skills needs of the sector.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May to Question 258 on Joint Maritime Security Centre; what the financial contributions are of (a) his Department, (b) the Ministry of Defence and (c) the Home Office; which other Departments contribute financially; what the financial contribution is of those other Departments; and which Department has lead responsibility.

In 2020/21, the Joint Maritime Security Centre received £16m funding for its ongoing operations and investment in maritime security capability specific to the end of the Transition Period. This funding was contributed by the Department for Transport, Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and their agencies. JMSC is governed by cross-Whitehall structures comprising the funding departments, as well as ongoing Ministerial oversight including via the Maritime Security Ministerial Small Group.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how often the Ministerial Board of the Joint Maritime Security Centre has met since its creation; and which Ministers have attended each of those meetings.

The Maritime Security Ministerial Small Group meets regularly and has convened four times since Autumn. Meetings have been attended by Ministers from the Department for Transport, Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Cabinet Office and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Maritime security risk assessment, policy development and Ministerial oversight and engagement also continues outside of these meetings.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which Government department holds responsibility for the (a) governance and (b) budget of the Joint Maritime Security Centre.

The Joint Maritime Security Centre (JMSC) is the multi-agency organisation responsible for ensuring the UK maintains its understanding of the UK maritime domain and develops the cross-government coordination frameworks to respond to threats to security, law and order, and the marine environment. The Department for Transport, Ministry of Defence and Home Office are the major financial contributors to JMSC but, mirroring its multi-agency remit, funding is also provided by a range of other Whitehall departments and agencies with maritime security interests. Cross-Whitehall governance structures are in place to oversee the strategic direction and financial management of JMSC at both official and Ministerial level.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 7 September 2020 to Question 84269 on Food Banks, what the timescale is for the publication of her Department's update of the literature review of the factors driving the use of food banks.

The Department reallocated resources to prioritise work to help the COVID-19 effort. As such, we will update on the literature review on the factors driving the use of food banks in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to publish the results of the responses to the 10 new food security questions introduced to the Family Resources Survey in 2019.

The Family Resources Survey has collected data on food security since April 2019.

The results for the 2019-20 survey year will be released in March 2021. The exact date of publication will be announced at least 4 weeks in advance, in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

The inclusion of results from the food security questions is subject to the usual quality assurance processes which accompany all DWP statistical publications.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department's policy is on yellow card warnings and benefit sanctions.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 78683 on 1st September 2020.

The increase in claimants due to Covid has led to a pause in this testing in order to prioritise support for claimants during this difficult time.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether all applicants for personal independence payment, whose assessments are currently telephone-based, are offered the option of recorded assessments.

Audio recording of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) telephone assessments is live in all areas. Claimants are required to make a request to the Assessment Provider in order to have their PIP assessment recorded, thereby opting-in to the recording of their assessment being undertaken.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants were subject to a deduction; and what the average sum deducted was in (a) South Shields and (b) the UK, in the most recent month for which data is available.

The Department’s deductions policy strikes a fair balance between a claimant’s need to meet their financial obligations and their ability to ensure they can meet their day-to-day needs. It maintains our policy to enforce social obligations such as the payment of court fines, ensure Government debt is recovered and vitally to safeguard claimants from the potential impacts of not repaying priority debts, such as homelessness or loss of utilities. Since October 2019, Universal Credit deductions are a maximum of 30% of a claimant’s standard allowance down from 40% previously. The Budget 2020 also set out that the maximum level will be further reduced, so that standard deductions will not exceed 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance from October 2021.

For Universal Credit payments due during August 2020:

a) 4,700 of 8,600 claims in the South Shields parliamentary constituency had a deduction, with £73 on average being deducted from these claims.

b) 1,847,000 of 4,536,000 claims of all GB claims had a deduction, with £70 on average being deducted from these claims.

Notes:

1. The number of claims per constituency are rounded to the nearest 100, total claims at GB level rounded to the nearest 1,000.

2. Deductions include advance repayments, third party deductions and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.

3. Numbers are affected by the impact of the temporary suspension of some deduction types due to Covid-19. During April 2020, government deductions were temporarily suspended and only began to be reinstated from July.

4. Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to bring forward with immediate effect the proposal to allow universal credit claimants an extended period to repay advances and other debts through monthly deductions.

The Government has already taken significant steps to extend the repayment time for advances from 6 months to 12 months. This will increase to 24 months from October 2021 as announced in the 2019 Budget.

The Government has also reduced the normal maximum deduction from 40% to 30% of a claimant’s standard allowance from October 2019 and this will be further reduced to 25% from October 2021. For claimants who do find themselves in unexpected hardship, advance repayments can be deferred for up to three months.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish her Department's evidence review on the drivers of food bank usage.

The Department reallocated resources to prioritise work to helping the COVID-19 effort. As such, we will update on the literature review on the factors driving the use of food banks in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of amending the universal credit application form and online journal to enable her Department to automatically (a) assess and (b) register children for free school meals.

The eligibility criteria for free school meals are the responsibility of the Department for Education in England, and the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Department for Education already provides an electronic eligibility checking service to all local authorities in England, which is used to confirm eligibility for free school meals.

Universal Credit (UC) claimants may currently be entitled to a number of other benefits because they are in receipt of UC. These are known as passported benefits and include free school meals and free prescriptions. The eligibility criteria for each passported benefit remain the responsibility of relevant departments and the devolved administrations that own them.

The Department needs to ensure that there is a high level of security to protect claimants’ personal information, and has no plans to amend either the UC claim form or online journal to obtain an applicant’s consent to register eligible children for free school meals.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to Answer of 24 February to Question 725, what plans she has to extend the Yellow Card warning system to other locations across the United Kingdom.

The Department committed to look at processes to give claimants a written warning, instead of a sanction, for a first sanctionable failure to attend a Work-Search Review and to undertake a series of small-scale Proof of Concepts of this warning system. The Department would like to complete all testing before making an assessment of the merits of extending such a system.

We have now gathered internal staff feedback on the first Proof of Concept and we are looking at informing our next steps. As this was a small proof of concept, we do not plan to publish this feedback.

Sites for future stages of the Proof of Concept are chosen in such a way that ensures we are able to assess the concept / policy under consideration. To do this effectively we consider what data can be collected from the site, whether the site is appropriate given its characteristics and if this can be done in a manner to ensure findings are sufficiently robust.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish an assessment of the effectiveness of a Yellow Card warning system based on the Proof of Concepts undertaken by her Department.

The Department committed to look at processes to give claimants a written warning, instead of a sanction, for a first sanctionable failure to attend a Work-Search Review and to undertake a series of small-scale Proof of Concepts of this warning system. The Department would like to complete all testing before making an assessment of the merits of extending such a system.

We have now gathered internal staff feedback on the first Proof of Concept and we are looking at informing our next steps. As this was a small proof of concept, we do not plan to publish this feedback.

Sites for future stages of the Proof of Concept are chosen in such a way that ensures we are able to assess the concept / policy under consideration. To do this effectively we consider what data can be collected from the site, whether the site is appropriate given its characteristics and if this can be done in a manner to ensure findings are sufficiently robust.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to work with Feeding Britain to identify additional locations in which to pilot a Yellow Card warning system.

The Department committed to look at processes to give claimants a written warning, instead of a sanction, for a first sanctionable failure to attend a Work-Search Review and to undertake a series of small-scale Proof of Concepts of this warning system. The Department would like to complete all testing before making an assessment of the merits of extending such a system.

We have now gathered internal staff feedback on the first Proof of Concept and we are looking at informing our next steps. As this was a small proof of concept, we do not plan to publish this feedback.

Sites for future stages of the Proof of Concept are chosen in such a way that ensures we are able to assess the concept / policy under consideration. To do this effectively we consider what data can be collected from the site, whether the site is appropriate given its characteristics and if this can be done in a manner to ensure findings are sufficiently robust.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2020 to Question 52025 on Unemployment: Immigrants, what support her Department is providing for people who fall outside of all of the coronavirus financial support packages as a result of no recourse to public funds being a condition of their indefinite leave to remain settlement status.

Non-UK nationals and family members who are issued with a residence permit with a NRPF condition are not eligible to access taxpayer-funded benefits such as Universal Credit, Child Benefit or housing assistance for the duration of their leave. Public funds does not include contributions-based benefits and the State Pension. DWP has no powers to award taxpayer-funded benefits to an individual whose Home Office immigration status specifies no recourse to public funds. The Home Office determine whether persons granted leave to enter or remain in the UK are eligible to access public funds.

However, as part of its response to COVID-19, the government announced in the Budget on 11 March that it would provide local authorities in England with £500 million of new grant funding to support economically vulnerable people and households in their local area.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of universal credit are repaying an advance payment.

Universal Credit advance repayments are made gradually over 12 months, and deductions are capped at 30% of claimants’ standard allowance. This is further to the reduction of the overall maximum level of deductions from 40% to 30% of the standard allowance since October 2019.

From October 2021, the repayment period will be extended from 12 months to 24 months and the reduction of the deductions cap from 30% to 25%.

For those who find themselves in unexpected hardship, advance repayments can be deferred for up to three months in certain cases.

For Universal Credit payments due in February 2020, 43% (1,068,000 claims) had a deduction for an advance repayment.

Notes:
1. Claim numbers may not match official statistics caseloads due to small methodological differences

2. Claim numbers are rounded to the nearest 1,000.

3. Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department is providing to people who have been made unemployed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and who do not have recourse to public funds following their indefinite leave to remain settlement.

Access to DWP income-related benefits such as Universal Credit flows from an individual’s immigration status. The Home Office determine whether persons granted leave to enter or remain in the UK are eligible to access public funds.

Those unable to access DWP income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit, may be eligible to access DWP contributions-based benefits, providing they meet eligibility criteria.

Government measures to support workers and their families through Covid-19 are also available for those who meet the eligibility criteria. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-employed Income Support Scheme and Statutory Sick Pay.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will implement with immediate effect the policy announced in the Budget 2020 on lowering the repayment rate and extending the repayment period for universal credit advances, which is currently not due to take effect until October 2021.

The Government has already taken action to mitigate the impact of repaying advances. In the short-term, the temporary increase to the Standard Allowance of over £80 a month will immediately help absorb the impact of repaying advances. In October 2019, the level of standard deductions was reduced from 40% to 30% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance. In addition, the repayment period for advances has already been extended from 6 months to 12 months, and claimants can ask to defer advance repayments for up to 3 months in certain circumstances.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on household food insecurity of the introduction of the 10 new food security questions in the Family Resources Survey in 2019.

The first results from the food insecurity questions added to the Family Resource Survey in April 2019 are due to be published in 2021.

The information that will be published will be dependent on the results being robust and meeting the quality assurance processes which all DWP statistical publications are subject to.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the number of people who have ceased their child maintenance payments having been made unemployed since March 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

DWP is a learning Department and we will look to understand the impact of the health emergency.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new universal credit applicants there have been in each month since March 2020; and how many of those new applicants have successfully applied for a universal credit advance loan payment.

The department publishes weekly management information, every Tuesday, on the number of Universal Credit declarations (claims) and Universal Credit Advances paid by the four advance types. It is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-declarations-claims-and-advances-management-information

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in receipt of universal credit before March 2020 have not received the 1.7 per cent increase in that benefit on 6 April; and how many new claimants have received that increase.

All existing and new universal credit claims will have their claim assessed on the increased rates of benefit for the relevant assessment period from 6 April 2020.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the time it takes to (a) process and (b) decide on disputes lodged by universal credit claimants regarding their real-time information calculations.

The data requested is not available.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 725, what the locations of the are of the small-scale Proof of Concepts for the warning system; and what the timescales are for (a) those proof of concepts and (b) reporting to the House on her Department's assessment of their effectiveness.

The small scale proof of concept took place in South London and we hope to complete the internal evaluation by the Spring at which point further decisions can be made on the next stages.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 727 on Universal Credit, how many universal credit claimants successfully disputed the Real Time Information on which their awards were based (a) from February 2016 to January 2017, (b) from February 2017 to January 2018 and (c) from February 2018 to January 2019.

The Department has been working closely with HMRC since Universal Credit went live in 2013 to support and inform employers who report earnings to emphasise the importance of timely reporting via the Real Time Information (RTI) system.

HMRC have guidance to reiterate to employers the importance of reporting accurate dates and the impact on payment cycles; the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is also working closely with HMRC and employers to encourage accurate reporting dates. Please see the table below for the relevant data on the total successful RTI disputes.

Total RTI calculations

RTI calculation disputes

Percentage (%) of disputes to total calculations

Number of successful disputes

July 2017 – January 2018

3,902,052

11,133

0.3%

2,226

February 2018 – January 2019

13,566,745

61,246

0.4%

11,636

Notes:

  • The earliest available data is from July 2017.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 727 on Universal Credit, how much has been paid back to universal credit claimants as a result of Real Time Information disputes being upheld in the most recent 12 months for which data are available.

The information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims have been (a) closed in error and (b) reopened in each of the last 24 months for which data is available.

The information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims have been closed in each of the last 24 months for which data is available; and what the reasons were for the closure of those claims.

Information surrounding Universal Credit (UC) claim closure reasons and volumes for the last 24 months of available data are shown in the attached tables.

Monthly assessment periods align to the way the majority of employees are paid and also allows UC to be adjusted each month. This means that if a claimant’s income falls, they will not have to wait several months for a rise in their UC.

If a claimant’s earnings are sufficient enough in an assessment period to reach and/or exceed their nil earning threshold, their UC claim will be closed. Should the claimant then choose to reclaim, a claimant only has to update or confirm their information, rather than making a full new UC claim. This process allows claimants to return quickly and easily to UC by minimising the administrative burden on them.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of personal independence payment decisions have been challenged (a) successfully and (b) unsuccessfully at (i) mandatory reconsideration and (ii) tribunal.

Data on Mandatory Reconsiderations (MR) and appeals for initial decisions following a PIP assessment can be found in Table 5A of the “Data tables: PIP award rates, clearance/outstanding times and tracking of initial decisions following a PIP assessment through to mandatory reconsiderations or appeals, to October 2019” available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/personal-independence-payment-april-2013-to-october-2019

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have successfully disputed the Real Time Information on which their awards have been based in the most recent 12 months for which data are available.

The Department has been working closely with HMRC since Universal Credit went live in 2013 to support and inform employers who report earnings to emphasise the importance of timely reporting via the Real Time Information (RTI) system.

HMRC have guidance to reiterate to employers the importance of reporting accurate dates and the impact on payment cycles; the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is also working closely with HMRC and employers to do this.

Between February 2019 to January 2020 the Department completed over 23 million Universal Credit earnings calculations using RTI data. Of these, 107,463 were disputed and 20,418 were upheld.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring all personal independence payment assessments to be recorded.

I refer the Rt.Hon Member to the answer I gave on 10 February 2020 to Question UIN 12293.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she will make an assessment of the potential merits of giving in-work universal credit claimants the option to move their assessment period to reflect more closely the dates on which they receive their earnings.

The Department has been working closely with HMRC since Universal Credit went live in 2013 to support and inform employers who report earnings to emphasise the importance of timely reporting via RTI system.

Employers should already record on HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Real Time Information (RTI) system the date a salary is scheduled to be paid, rather than the date it is paid, where it is earlier due to a weekend, bank holiday or at Christmas.

HMRC have updated their guidance to reiterate to employers the importance of reporting accurate dates and the impact on payment cycles; the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is also working closely with HMRC and employers to do this.

Universal Credit takes earnings into account in a way that is fair and transparent. The amount paid reflects, as closely as possible, the actual circumstances of a household during each monthly assessment period. This allows Universal Credit awards to be adjusted on a monthly basis, ensuring that if claimant’s incomes falls, they do not have to wait several months for a rise in their Universal Credit award. Currently there are no plans to change assessment periods.

Claimants can discuss queries about how fluctuating income effects Universal Credit with their case managers and work coaches, who can also signpost to services appropriate to individual circumstances.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have received an advance payment in the most recent 12 months for which data is available.

Universal Credit is now the main system of working age welfare support across the country. It is available in every Jobcentre, with a caseload of 2.8 million claimants, growing every month, now able to access the additional support and flexibilities it offers.

Between December 2018 to November 2019, 1,996,000 claimants received an advance payment.

As the overall Universal Credit caseload grows, we expect the volume and value of advance payments to increase in correlation. This shows that claimants are being made aware of advances and are using it where they need this help.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a yellow card warning system for benefit sanctions in England.

The Department committed to look at processes to give claimants a written warning, instead of a sanction, for a first sanctionable failure to attend a Work-Search Review and to undertake a series of small-scale Proof of Concepts of this warning system. The Department would like to complete all testing before making an assessment of the merits of introducing such a system.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on the inclusion of food insecurity questions in the Family Resources Survey; and what the timeframe is for publication of the results of that survey.

Food security questions were included in the Family Resources Survey questionnaire from April 2019 onwards. Data are being collected throughout the current financial year. The extent of information published will be subject to the usual quality assurance processes, which are applied to both survey responses and DWP statistical publications. If the data on food security are sufficiently robust, publication would take place in the first quarter of 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his officials are having with their counterparts in the European Commission on potential travel restrictions for UK citizens who have had the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India.

The Government continues to engage the European Union on certification to ensure that travel between the United Kingdom and the EU is unhindered and supported by a common approach.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) manufactures Vaxzevria and Covishield and both branded vaccines are the same as the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. All SII-made doses approved by the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and administered in the UK were branded as the ’COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca’ which is now known commercially as ‘Vaxzevria’. The MHRA has not approved doses branded as ‘Covishield’ and none have been administered in the UK. All AstraZeneca vaccines given in the UK are the same product and appear on the NHS COVID Pass as Vaxzevria. The European Medicines Agency has authorised Vaxzevria vaccine and it is therefore recognised by the EU.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to create a network of early support hubs across the country for young people who experience mental health issues.

While we are investigating the early access model of support, there are no current plans to create such a network. In England, there are approximately 60 ‘hubs’ offering early intervention and prevention services. They are locally designed and funded and often provide several different services such as sexual health clinics or careers advice. Clinical commissioning groups and local authorities work with local partners to understand local needs and commission services on that basis.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what evidence his Department used to calculate the total savings an individual can acquire before they are required to self-fund their own care.

The upper capital limit or the level of savings or assets above which an individual is expected to self-fund their care and the lower capital limit or the level of savings and investment above which an individual is expected to make some contribution was set in April 2010 by the previous administration.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions her Department has held with stakeholders on whether seafarers and other maritime key workers will be exempt from hotel quarantine measures relating to the covid-19 pandemic.

We have undertaken a range of engagement with the maritime industry at both official and Ministerial level and continue to discuss the operation of the scheme with the sector. Exemptions to the requirement to book and enter managed quarantine if a person has been in a ‘red list’ country at any point in the 10 days prior to their arrival into England are kept under regular review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the length of the shelf life of Healthy Start vitamin supplies containing three months' worth of tablets that are provided by the Government to eligible people.

The shelf-life of Healthy Start Vitamins tablets for women is 24 months and the shelf-life of Healthy Start Vitamins drops for children is 15 months. Both products are supplied in containers which contain eight weeks’ supply.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department is using to allocate covid-19 vaccines to GP surgeries in (a) South Shields and (b) the rest of the country.

General practices are delivering COVID-19 vaccinations at scale, coming together in Primary Care Network (PCN) groupings to deliver the vaccine as local vaccination services. Over 1,000 PCN-led local vaccination service sites are now offering the vaccine across England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are aligning the supply of the vaccine with the number of people in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority cohorts yet to receive their vaccination, to ensure an equitable distribution across England. This means the frequency and quantity of vaccine delivered may vary between local vaccination services in line with local need. Each week, all available vaccine is allocated, so local vaccination services are supplied with the vaccine as soon as it is available.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to the medical profession on whether covid-19 is recorded as (a) the primary cause and (b) a contributory factor when registering a death.

In response to the provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 in relation to death certification, the General Register Office/Home Office and the Office for National Statistics published revised guidance to medical practitioners completing medical certificates of cause of death (MCCD) for a period of emergency. This guidance confirms that COVID-19 is an acceptable direct or underlying cause of death for the purposes of completing the MCCD.

The cause of death is certified by a medical practitioner. The medical profession is not responsible for registering a death – this is the role of the registrar.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he will issue guidance to schools on using locally grown produce in the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme.

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme is run centrally by the Department of Health and Social Care, and funded jointly by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education. It is not commissioned locally by schools themselves.

The Scheme is operated by a private contractor on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care and produce grown in the United Kingdom is used as part of the Scheme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to make enzyme replacement therapy accessible outside of London for patients suffering from Batten Disease.

Enzyme replacement therapy for CLN2 (Batten disease) is available through a managed access agreement. In Batten disease, the enzyme replacement therapy is administered into the cerebrospinal fluid by infusion via a surgically implanted intracerebroventricular access device. It can only be given in a healthcare setting by a trained healthcare professional knowledgeable in this specific administration. Given the complexity of the procedure, the training, equipment and governance required and the small numbers of patients with the disease, this is currently provided by one expert centre. NHS England is evaluating whether other centres have the expertise and infrastructure to provide the drug.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there is no delay to the diagnosis of Batten Disease as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to improving the lives of those affected by rare diseases such as Batten disease. NHS England as a direct commissioner of services and clinical commissioning group commissioners are currently working with all service providers to restore diagnostic capacity for all patient care groups. They will continue to look at what services can continue to be delivered successfully through virtual communication technology such as telephone consultation and videoconferences. Where services do need to be delivered face-to-face, including the diagnosing of new cases, NHS England will work with providers to ensure that patients have a safe journey through the hospital to the treatment area.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what advice his Department has published on shielding for patients with Batten Disease.

Batten disease is not one of the specific health conditions identified by expert clinicians and signed off by the Chief Medical Officer that put someone at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Some patients with Batten disease may have been advised to shield, but this will be because they have been recommended to do so by their general practitioner or hospital specialist, due to other health conditions or individual clinical circumstances. National shielding advice has been paused since 1 August, although it remains in place for some local areas where incidence of the disease remains high.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support has been provided to families of people diagnosed with Batten Disease during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the vital role unpaid carers play, especially during this difficult period now more than ever, and we recognise the difficulties this pandemic has placed on those caring for family, relatives and their loved ones. On 8 April we published guidance for unpaid carers on GOV.UK, which includes general advice, links to other information and support, and advice on caring where someone has symptoms. We have provided funding to extend Carers UK’s helpline, information and advice services so unpaid carers are able to access trusted information and advice. We have listened to unpaid carers’ concerns about getting access to testing and have made them a priority group for COVID-19 testing. We will continue to work closely with carer organisations and others to support unpaid carers during this period.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer received on 5 June 2020 to Question 52035 on Hospitals: Coronavirus, of the total number of covid-19 deaths in each NHS Trust containing a Nightingale Hospital, how many of those deaths occurred within the Nightingale Hospital.

The data provided in response to the previous question indicated all recorded deaths within Nightingale hospitals as at 3 June 2020.

Data on COVID-19 deaths is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which Minister in the Government signed off the guidance entitled, Coronavirus (COVID-19): admission and care of people in care homes, published on 2 April 2020.

The Department working with Public Health England and the National Health Service are closely monitoring the international evidence, to ensure best practice is reviewed and can be applied.

Guidance documents are informed by expert advice before publication to ensure that they are based on latest evidence.

As the pandemic progresses we will continue to review and update guidance in line with the latest evidence and are continuing to seek further evidence as national and international experience accrues and is published.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many times the Social Care Taskforce has met; and when the minutes of its meetings will be published.

Since being commissioned, the Social Care Taskforce has met on 18 June and 1 July. A third meeting is due to take place on 15 July. A fourth meeting is due to take place on 29 July.

The Department for Health and Social Care shares summaries of topics discussed through regular communications with adult social care stakeholders.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding has been reallocated from the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme since March 2020; and where that funding was reallocated to.

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme budget for the summer term was around £14 million. Funds which were not used for the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme during the summer term were instead used to support the Government’s key priorities during the pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to resume the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme.

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme will resume in September when all children will return to school. As before, all children in Key Stage 1 in state-funded primary schools will receive a free piece of fruit or vegetable every school day.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what awards have been made under the Pharmacy Integration Fund in each year of its operation.

The Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF) was announced in December 2015, with an engagement exercise that ran until the end of March 2016 to identify priority areas for investment. For the initial financial year 2016/17, up to £2 million was available. From 2017/18 onwards, up to £40 million per year has been available for investment. The PhIF does not make ‘awards’, but rather invests in the development and integration of clinical pharmacy. Key areas of investment over the last four years are listed in the attached table.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support was provided to pharmacies in response to the closure of GP surgeries during the initial phase of the covid-19 lockdown.

The Human Medicines Regulations 2012 outline provisions for emergency supply by a pharmacist, including one when a pandemic is declared or imminently anticipated. This specific provision has been utilised at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, to allow NHS England and NHS Improvement to commission a local enhanced service - where one is needed, for example when a general practitioner surgery closes – to enable pharmacists to supply medicines, which patients have been previously prescribed, without a prescription, and at the same time reducing administrative burden on pharmacies.

Funds were also made available to support pharmacies to deliver medicines to shielded population and, since March, we have made available £350 million in extra advance payments to alleviate cash flow pressures.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what scientific evidence was used to support the policy that covid-19 tests were not provided to care homes with residents under 65.

We initially prioritised testing for homes that specialise in caring for older people and those living with dementia in line with Public Health England and Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies advice, as they are at higher risk of adverse consequences if they get the virus.

All adult care homes can now access whole care home testing for all residents and asymptomatic staff through a digital portal.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which contractors participated in building each (a) Nightingale and (b) field hospital; and how much funding each contractor was awarded for that work.

Current estimates provided by NHS England and NHS Improvement to the Department indicate that the total set up costs for all seven Nightingale hospital sites equates to approximately £220 million.

Contracts in the form of licences to occupy have been entered into for the Nightingale hospital sites by the National Health Service. However, disclosure of these contracts is likely to harm the legitimate commercial interests of the site owners. Information contained in the contracts has been provided in confidence and in circumstances where disclosure would amount to an actionable breach of confidence. These contracts will not be published.

Each Nightingale hospital has a host trust to provide healthcare services. Host trusts put in place contracts for necessary works/facilities and management matters and contract award notices should be published in accordance with applicable requirements.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a list of the contractors involved in building each NHS Nightingale hospital; and how much each contractor was awarded for that construction work.

Current estimates provided by NHS England and NHS Improvement to the Department indicate that the total set up costs for all seven Nightingale hospital sites equates to approximately £220 million.

Contracts in the form of licences to occupy have been entered into for the Nightingale hospital sites by the National Health Service. However, disclosure of these contracts is likely to harm the legitimate commercial interests of the site owners. Information contained in the contracts has been provided in confidence and in circumstances where disclosure would amount to an actionable breach of confidence. These contracts will not be published.

Each Nightingale hospital has a host trust to provide healthcare services. Host trusts put in place contracts for necessary works/facilities and management matters and contract award notices should be published in accordance with applicable requirements.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much each of the NHS Nightingale hospitals cost to construct; and what estimate he has made of the running costs of each of those hospitals.

Current estimates provided by NHS England and NHS Improvement to the Department indicate that the total set up costs for all seven Nightingale hospital sites equates to approximately £220 million.

Contracts in the form of licences to occupy have been entered into for the Nightingale hospital sites by the National Health Service. However, disclosure of these contracts is likely to harm the legitimate commercial interests of the site owners. Information contained in the contracts has been provided in confidence and in circumstances where disclosure would amount to an actionable breach of confidence. These contracts will not be published.

Each Nightingale hospital has a host trust to provide healthcare services. Host trusts put in place contracts for necessary works/facilities and management matters and contract award notices should be published in accordance with applicable requirements.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS GoodSAM Responder App, how many volunteers (a) applied, (b) were successful and (c) have been utilised since the app was launched.

As of 23 June 2020, out of the 750,000 people who have signed up to the NHS Volunteer Responders programme, 589,450 have completed the necessary identity checks to begin helping those most vulnerable.

We do not hold the data on number of volunteers utilised in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to review the Path to Excellence in respect of South Tyneside Hospital as announced in December 2019.

There are currently no plans for the Secretary of State to review the Path to Excellence in respect of South Tyneside Hospital.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 29 May 2020 to Question 43030 on Coronavirus: Hospitals, what information his Department holds on the number of (a) admissions and (b) deaths in (i) all and (ii) each Nightingale hospital.

NHS England collects and publishes information on the deaths of patients who have died in hospitals in England and had tested positive for COVID-19 or where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. This data is currently available for two of the Nightingale hospitals (NHS Nightingale Hospital London and NHS Nightingale Hospital North West).

Data is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued on the (a) provision and (b) use of personal protective equipment in mental health services that are commissioned by the NHS and delivered by third-sector providers.

The Government launched its three-strand plan for the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) on 10 April. There is a specific section on social care which can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-plan

The guidance on PPE is part of ‘COVID-19: infection prevention and control’ guidance and includes mental health services. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Government's policy is on the distinction between (a) high risk individuals that need to shield and (b) high risk individuals that need to practise social distancing in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government’s policy on those people considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable and needing to shield is set out at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

This is based on the specific medical conditions that clinicians have identified as placing someone at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

A list of those groups of people who are considered to be clinically vulnerable but not in the highest clinical risk category is set out at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

Clinically vulnerable people are not advised to shield as the additional benefit gained from this extra measure needs to be weighed against any impact on mental and physical wellbeing from a significant loss of social contact and needing to stay in the home for a long period of time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been tested for covid-19 in each region as at 15 May 2020.

The ‘people tested’ measure was initially used to count people who had not been previously received a test, deliberately excluding subsequent instances an individual would have been tested if they had been tested once or more previously. It no longer usefully reflects the volume of tests carried out as, for example, a healthcare worker receiving their second, third or fourth test since the start of the pandemic would not be counted as they have been tested once before. Therefore, the people tested figure will be published on a weekly basis within the NHS Test and Trace statistics rather than daily and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-test-and-trace-statistics-england-weekly-reports

The Department has also published transparency data for the number of people tested for coronavirus (England): 30 January to 27 May 2020 which is weekly and covers the period before Test and Trace. This is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-people-tested-for-coronavirus-england-30-january-to-27-may-2020

Daily data for the period 20 March to 2 July is available for the United Kingdom as daily and cumulative people tested (discontinued measure) as part of the time series of testing statistics. This data is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

This data is not available to finer resolutions than whole UK or England depending on the publication.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued on the use of personal protective equipment in mental health trusts.

The overall infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance applies to any healthcare setting, including services provided by mental health trusts in both mental health inpatient units and outpatient settings. It is available to view at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/881489/COVID-19_Infection_prevention_and_control_guidance_complete.pdf

The recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance for mental health inpatient settings is outlined in the IPC guidance, and the guidance for outpatient/community settings including mental health can be viewed at the following links: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879107/T1_poster_Recommended_PPE_for_healthcare_workers_by_secondary_care_clinical_context.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878750/T2_poster_Recommended_PPE_for_primary__outpatient__community_and_social_care_by_setting.pdf

Other PPE guidance such as putting on and taking off PPE is applicable for all health and care workers, in health and social care settings. This guidance can be seen at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-use-for-non-aerosol-generating-procedures

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people diagnosed with covid-19 have been discharged from hospital into residential care since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government does not hold data on the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 who have been discharged from hospital into residential care since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are working closely with local authorities, the care sector and NHS England

to understand the impact of COVID-19 on care homes, and ensure everyone has access to the right care in the most appropriate setting for their needs.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we will continue to work closely with the sector to keep our policies and data under review as the pandemic goes on.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many admissions have there been to Nightingale hospitals; and how many deaths have occurred within them.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the organisations and companies which received contracts from the Government to deliver personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak; and on what date each contract was entered into.

We've contracted with over 175 new suppliers able to deliver at the scale and pace the UK requires.

Lord Deighton, formerly Chief Executive of London 2012 Olympics, has been appointed to lead on our domestic efforts to increase the supply of PPE. The Department has now signed contracts for over 2 billion items of PPE through UK-based manufacturers, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons, ensuring we build and maintain a domestic base for the future.

Procurement Regulations require the publication of Contract Award Notices, containing information on the final agreed value of the contract, in the Official Journal of the European Union and we publish certain information on Contracts Finder about contracts awarded.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of kidney organ donors that develop health problems after donating a kidney.

Data on the number of kidney donors that develop health problems after donating a kidney is not held centrally.

However, evidence suggests that living kidney donation is safe and life-time risks are low provided that the living donor is carefully assessed in the context of his/her own individual health risks. All potential kidney donors undergo a comprehensive evaluation to ensure their suitability and to minimise the risk of donation.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many hospital admissions there have been for (a) scurvy, (b) rickets and (c) vitamin D deficiency in each of the last three years.

A table showing admissions with a primary diagnosis of ascorbic acid deficiency (scurvy), rickets and vitamin D deficiency nationally, 2016-17 to 2018-19, is attached.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many admissions there have been for malnutrition in England in the latest period for which figures are available, by age group (a) 0 to 5 years, (b) 5 to 10 years, (c) 10 to 16 years and (d) 16 years plus.

A table showing finished admission episodes with a primary diagnosis of malnutrition by selected age groups in England for 2018/19 is attached.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether any licences issued for the export of arms to Israel have been revoked as a result of the violence in that country and the neighbouring Palestinian Territory in May 2021.

The Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We consider all export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard. The Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the terms of any licences issued for the export of arms to Israel have been varied as a result of the violence in that country and the neighbouring Palestinian Territory in May 2021.

HM Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We consider all export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and keep all licences under careful and continual review as standard. HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. If extant licences are found to be no longer consistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, those licences will be revoked.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the trends in the level of international humanitarian law breaches committed as a result of shelling in Yemen.

The UK takes alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and human rights law extremely seriously. Whenever the UK receives reports of alleged violations of IHL, we routinely seek information from all credible sources, including from non-governmental and international organisations.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the impact on the Exchequer of ending the £20 uplift to universal credit.

The Government has always been clear that the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit was a temporary measure to support households whose incomes and earnings were affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Extending the uplift permanently would come at a very significant annual cost, equivalent in 2022-23 to adding 1p on the basic rate of income tax, in addition to a 3p increase in fuel duty.

The Government is maintaining its focus on helping people back into work. As part of the comprehensive Plan for Jobs, the Government announced the new three year Restart programme, which will provide intensive and tailored support to over one million unemployed Universal Credit claimants across England and Wales, and the £2 billion Kickstart scheme, which will create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people at risk of long-term unemployment.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the support available to businesses in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services across the UK.

We have put in place an economic package of support totalling £352 billion through the furlough and self-employed income support schemes, support for businesses through grants and loans, business rates and VAT relief.

At the Budget, the Chancellor extended this package of economic support to accommodate even the most cautious view about the time it might take to exit restrictions and to provide certainty and continuity to business. The Government continues to keep all impacts and policies under review.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much funding his Department has received from revenues from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy since that levy was introduced on 6 April 2018.

The money raised through the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is not linked to any specific programmes, or departmental spending. Departmental spend is allocated through Spending Reviews, by the Treasury.

Since its introduction in April 2018, the provisional total for revenue raised from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy up to and including March 2021 is £878 million. This consists of the following amounts raised per financial year:

2018-19: £240 million

2019-20: £337 million

2020-21 (provisional): £301 million

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much funding his Department has received from revenues from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy since that levy was introduced on 6 April 2018.

The money raised through the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is not linked to any specific programmes, or departmental spending. Departmental spend is allocated through Spending Reviews, by the Treasury.

Since its introduction in April 2018, the provisional total for revenue raised from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy up to and including March 2021 is £878 million. This consists of the following amounts raised per financial year:

2018-19: £240 million

2019-20: £337 million

2020-21 (provisional): £301 million

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much funding his Department has received from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.

The money raised through the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is not linked to any specific programmes, or departmental spending. Departmental spend is allocated through Spending Reviews, by the Treasury.

Since its introduction in April 2018, the provisional total for revenue raised from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy up to and including March 2021 is £878 million. This consists of the following amounts raised per financial year:

2018-19: £240 million

2019-20: £337 million

2020-21 (provisional): £301 million

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much funding his Department has received from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.

The money raised through the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is not linked to any specific programmes, or departmental spending. Departmental spend is allocated through Spending Reviews, by the Treasury.

Since its introduction in April 2018, the provisional total for revenue raised from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy up to and including March 2021 is £878 million. This consists of the following amounts raised per financial year:

2018-19: £240 million

2019-20: £337 million

2020-21 (provisional): £301 million

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which Departments received funding from revenues from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy during Spending Review 2020.

The Soft Drinks Industry Levy is not linked to any specific programmes, or departmental spending. Departmental spend for children’s food and to promote children’s health is allocated through Spending Reviews. This provides departments with certainty over their programme budgets, as tax revenues vary year-to-year.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the expected (a) turnaround time and (b) service level is for recipients of child benefit who are pursuing outstanding claims and queries; and whether those (i) turnaround times and (ii) service levels have been met over the last two years.

HMRC aim to process new claims and changes of circumstances from UK Child Benefit and tax credit customers in 22 days. For international customers HMRC aim to process new claims and changes of circumstances in 92 days. For other priority post items HMRC aim to deal with those queries in 15 days. Those targets have been met in each of the last two years.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much revenue has been raised by the Soft Drinks Industrial Levy in each year since its inception; and how much of that revenue has been spent in each year.

HM Revenue and Custom’s January 2021 publication of tax receipts shows that, since its introduction in April 2018, the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) has raised the following amounts during each full financial year:

2018-2019 £240 million

2019-2020 £337 million

The provisional 2020-21 year to date (April to December 2020) total is £224 million.

There is no formal link between SDIL revenues and specific spending programmes. However, the Government will continue to invest in supporting public health.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his Department is taking to support small business owners who have had their NatWest bank accounts suspended or closed after applying for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The Government launched the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to support businesses’ access to finance during the pandemic. As of 24 January, the scheme has supported more than 87,000 businesses access more than £20bn of finance.

Decisions about what products are offered to individual businesses, including business bank accounts, remain commercial decisions for banks and building societies, it would therefore be inappropriate for the Government to intervene in these individual decisions.

There is no requirement in the scheme rules for an applicant to have a business bank account with the lender they apply with. The Government believes any dispute arising between banks and their customers is best resolved by the parties involved. Should individuals be unsatisfied with their bank's response to their complaint, they may wish to consider an approach to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) who provide a free, independent dispute resolution service for bank customers, including eligible small businesses.

Currently there are over 100 accredited lenders offering CBILS, and individuals may wish to consider approaching one of these various lenders to access support.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason the VAT reduction to five per cent was not granted to amusement arcades.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT was introduced on 15 July to support the cash flow and viability of over 150,000 businesses and protect 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors, and will run until 31 March 2021.

Hospitality for the purposes of this relief includes the supply of food and non-alcoholic beverages from restaurants, cafes, pubs and similar establishments for consumption on the premises. It also includes the supply of hot food and non-alcoholic hot beverages to take away. Where an amusement arcade provides such hospitality, that hospitality will benefit from the reduced rate.

While the Government keeps all taxes under review, this relief comes at a significant cost to the Exchequer, and there are currently no plans to extend the scope of the reduced rate. This policy will cost over £2 billion, and while some businesses in some sectors are disappointed, a boundary for eligibility had to be drawn.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what comparative estimate he has made of how much money was in dormant assets on (a) 1 January 2020 and (b) 17 November 2020; and what the budgetary headings are for how those funds have been spent.

The Government does not currently have estimates for the increase in dormant assets money over the period set out in this question. We have been working with industry stakeholders to estimate the value of dormant assets in the insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors, and will be publishing our findings in due course.

The distribution of dormant accounts money is governed by the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008. The Act dictates that all dormant accounts money must be used to fund initiatives that have a social or environmental purpose, with a specific focus on youth, financial inclusion and social investment in England. Since 2011, over £745m has been released for such initiatives across the UK through The National Lottery Community Fund.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 71066 on Life Insurance: Mental Illness, what steps his Department is taking to encourage insurance companies to take into consideration the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on people who have taken their own lives when processing life insurance claims.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector regarding its response to this unprecedented situation.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them. The Government is working closely with the FCA to ensure that the rules are being upheld and supports the regulator in its role.

In July 2020, the FCA launched further consultation on updated guidance for firms on the treatment of vulnerable consumers. This guidance also takes into consideration the impact of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the vulnerability of consumers. The FCA expects to finalise this guidance by early 2021.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Prudential Regulatory Authority on the provision of life insurance for people with diagnosed mental health conditions.

The Government is determined that all insurers should treat customers fairly.

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) is responsible for the prudential regulation (the amount of capital that must be held) of a number of financial service providers, including insurers, while the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sets the conduct standards required of insurance firms in relation to their business. The FCA requires firms dealing with all customers, including those with mental health issues and other vulnerabilities, to act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with their customers' best interests; to pay due regard to the interests of their customers and treat them fairly; and communicate information to them in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading.

Where the FCA becomes aware that firms are treating customers, including customers with vulnerabilities such as mental health issues, unfairly, they will consider this on a case-by-case basis and use the full range of regulatory and supervisory powers to put things right.

The FCA has placed access and vulnerability at the core of its Mission and Business Plan. In July 2019, the FCA launched a consultation on guidance for firms on the treatment of vulnerable consumers, including those with mental health conditions. The FCA planned to issue a further consultation on the Guidance in early 2020, but this was postponed due to the Covid 19 pandemic. It will now be published later this year.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of employees that are eligible for furlough that have been made unemployed.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has so far protected over 7.5 million workers and almost 1 million businesses. While there is no obligation for employers to take up the scheme, the Government encourages all firms affected by coronavirus to treat their employees fairly and carefully.

The Government is also supporting people on low incomes who may need to rely on the welfare system through a significant package of temporary measures. These include a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a nearly £1bn increase in support for renters through increases to the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants.?These changes will benefit all new and existing claimants. Anyone can check their eligibility and apply for Universal Credit by visiting?https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether respite and day carers for children and adults that are unable to work as a result of the covid-19 outbreak are eligible for financial support from the Government.

Individuals who are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 may have access to support through either the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) or the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

To be eligible for the CJRS, employees must have been on their employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and HMRC must have received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020. Eligible employees can be on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, fixed-term, flexible or zero hour contracts.

The SEISS will allow eligible individuals to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months, and capped at £7,500 in total. Self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, are eligible if they have submitted their Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, continued to trade, and have been adversely affected by COVID-19. To qualify, their self-employed trading profits must be less than £50,000, with more than half of their income deriving from self-employment. Some 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment could benefit from this scheme, based on 2017-18 data.

Those not eligible for these schemes may have access to other support Government is providing, including a package of temporary welfare measures and up to three months’ mortgage payment holidays for those in difficulty with mortgage payments.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the document entitled The UK’s Points-Based Immigration System - Further Details, published 13 July 2020, what steps she will take to prevent employers in the shipping industry from filling vacancies for seafarer occupations that require skills below level 3 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework with migrant workers on rates of pay below the National Living Wage.

The further details statement published on 13 July sets out that employers must undergo checks to demonstrate they are a genuine business, are solvent, and that the roles they wish to recruit into are credible and meet the salary and skills requirements, before they can be granted a licence to sponsor Skilled Workers.

We will conduct regular checks of PAYE records for all skilled workers to confirm they are being paid the correct salary, and take action where necessary.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the document The UK’s Points-Based Immigration System - Further Details, published 13 July 2020, if she will list the seafarer (a) officer and (b) ratings occupations (i) included and (ii) not included in the skills test accompanying the proposals on the points-based immigration system.

Under our new Skilled Worker route, we will expand the range of jobs which qualify under the current system for non-EU nationals, from graduate level roles (RQF level 6 and above) to those requiring skills equivalent to A-level (RQF level 3 and above).

The further details statement we published on 13 July lists all the occupations which qualify, including those in seafaring.? This list is based on the advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).? The details for each occupation are taken from the widely-used SOC code system, developed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).? The ONS publishes a variety of guidance to help employers and individuals find the appropriate SOC code for a particular job.

As we set out in our previous policy statement of 19 February, we will not introduce a general route for jobs below the skills threshold.? Due to the shorter periods of training required, it is reasonable to ask employers to focus their efforts on the resident workforce, rather than relying on cheap labour from overseas.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on demand in the shipping industry for seafarers in occupations that require skills below level 3 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework; and if she will make a statement.

Under our new Skilled Worker route, we will expand the range of jobs which qualify under the current system for non-EU nationals, from graduate level roles (RQF level 6 and above) to those requiring skills equivalent to A-level (RQF level 3 and above).

The further details statement we published on 13 July lists all the occupations which qualify, including those in seafaring.? This list is based on the advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).? The details for each occupation are taken from the widely-used SOC code system, developed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).? The ONS publishes a variety of guidance to help employers and individuals find the appropriate SOC code for a particular job.

As we set out in our previous policy statement of 19 February, we will not introduce a general route for jobs below the skills threshold.? Due to the shorter periods of training required, it is reasonable to ask employers to focus their efforts on the resident workforce, rather than relying on cheap labour from overseas.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to include all seafarer ratings' occupations in the skills test requirements of the proposed points-based immigration system.

Under our new Skilled Worker route, we will expand the range of jobs which qualify under the current system for non-EU nationals, from graduate level roles (RQF level 6 and above) to those requiring skills equivalent to A-level (RQF level 3 and above).

The further details statement we published on 13 July lists all the occupations which qualify, including those in seafaring.? This list is based on the advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).? The details for each occupation are taken from the widely-used SOC code system, developed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).? The ONS publishes a variety of guidance to help employers and individuals find the appropriate SOC code for a particular job.

As we set out in our previous policy statement of 19 February, we will not introduce a general route for jobs below the skills threshold.? Due to the shorter periods of training required, it is reasonable to ask employers to focus their efforts on the resident workforce, rather than relying on cheap labour from overseas.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Red Notices have been issued by Interpol for the location and provisional arrest of a UK citizen pending extradition.

The Home Office does not hold the information requested.

The National Crime Agency is the UK Interpol Bureau and operates independently of government.

It would be contrary to the Interpol Rules of Processing Data for a Member State’s authorities to disclose details of alerts circulated by other Member States.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress she has made on the establishment of the national missing persons database; and what the timeframe is for that database to be operational.

People that go missing include some of the most vulnerable in our society. The Government is determined that missing people and their families receive the best possible protection and support; from Government, statutory agencies and the voluntary sector.

The Government’s 2011 Missing Children and Adults Strategy highlighted the importance of this issue and provided a core framework for local areas to consider what more can be done to protect children and vulnerable adults who go missing. These measures are kept under constant review. Protecting and supporting vulnerable missing children is also a key element of our action to tackle exploitation and abuse, including sexual abuse and county lines exploitation, given the clear links between children who go missing and these broader harms.

The existing Police National Computer (PNC) already allows police forces to report a person as missing and for that missing report to be visible to all UK police forces. The PNC is being decommissioned as part of the Home Office led National Law Enforcement Data Programme (NLEDP). As part of this process the Programme, working with the national policing lead for Missing Persons and the NCA’s UK Missing Persons Unit will deliver a National Register for Missing Persons (NRMP) which will provide additional functionality around the reporting of missing and associated found incidents across force boundaries.

The NLEDP will be delivered in phases to mitigate the risks of a ‘big bang’ deployment, beginning at the end of 2020, with the early phases focused on the highest priority functions, including replacing the current PNC capabilities. The anticipated delivery date for the phase including the NRMP is early 2022.

The Home Office does not hold data centrally on the number of people reported missing. Individual police forces hold information about current missing persons incidents. Annual missing persons statistics, including how many children are reported missing, are published by the National Crime Agency’s Missing Person’s Unit:

http://missingpersons.police.uk/en-gb/resources/downloads/missing-persons-statistical-bulletins

The NCA intends to publish missing persons data for 2017-18 and 2018-19 later this month (June), with publication of data for 19/20 expected at the end of 2020.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the timeframe is for her Department to undertake a review of the 2011 Missing Children and Adults strategy.

People that go missing include some of the most vulnerable in our society. The Government is determined that missing people and their families receive the best possible protection and support; from Government, statutory agencies and the voluntary sector.

The Government’s 2011 Missing Children and Adults Strategy highlighted the importance of this issue and provided a core framework for local areas to consider what more can be done to protect children and vulnerable adults who go missing. These measures are kept under constant review. Protecting and supporting vulnerable missing children is also a key element of our action to tackle exploitation and abuse, including sexual abuse and county lines exploitation, given the clear links between children who go missing and these broader harms.

The existing Police National Computer (PNC) already allows police forces to report a person as missing and for that missing report to be visible to all UK police forces. The PNC is being decommissioned as part of the Home Office led National Law Enforcement Data Programme (NLEDP). As part of this process the Programme, working with the national policing lead for Missing Persons and the NCA’s UK Missing Persons Unit will deliver a National Register for Missing Persons (NRMP) which will provide additional functionality around the reporting of missing and associated found incidents across force boundaries.

The NLEDP will be delivered in phases to mitigate the risks of a ‘big bang’ deployment, beginning at the end of 2020, with the early phases focused on the highest priority functions, including replacing the current PNC capabilities. The anticipated delivery date for the phase including the NRMP is early 2022.

The Home Office does not hold data centrally on the number of people reported missing. Individual police forces hold information about current missing persons incidents. Annual missing persons statistics, including how many children are reported missing, are published by the National Crime Agency’s Missing Person’s Unit:

http://missingpersons.police.uk/en-gb/resources/downloads/missing-persons-statistical-bulletins

The NCA intends to publish missing persons data for 2017-18 and 2018-19 later this month (June), with publication of data for 19/20 expected at the end of 2020.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many children were reported missing in (a) 2017-18, (b) 2018-19 and (c) 2019-20; and when he plans to publish missing persons data for those periods.

People that go missing include some of the most vulnerable in our society. The Government is determined that missing people and their families receive the best possible protection and support; from Government, statutory agencies and the voluntary sector.

The Government’s 2011 Missing Children and Adults Strategy highlighted the importance of this issue and provided a core framework for local areas to consider what more can be done to protect children and vulnerable adults who go missing. These measures are kept under constant review. Protecting and supporting vulnerable missing children is also a key element of our action to tackle exploitation and abuse, including sexual abuse and county lines exploitation, given the clear links between children who go missing and these broader harms.

The existing Police National Computer (PNC) already allows police forces to report a person as missing and for that missing report to be visible to all UK police forces. The PNC is being decommissioned as part of the Home Office led National Law Enforcement Data Programme (NLEDP). As part of this process the Programme, working with the national policing lead for Missing Persons and the NCA’s UK Missing Persons Unit will deliver a National Register for Missing Persons (NRMP) which will provide additional functionality around the reporting of missing and associated found incidents across force boundaries.

The NLEDP will be delivered in phases to mitigate the risks of a ‘big bang’ deployment, beginning at the end of 2020, with the early phases focused on the highest priority functions, including replacing the current PNC capabilities. The anticipated delivery date for the phase including the NRMP is early 2022.

The Home Office does not hold data centrally on the number of people reported missing. Individual police forces hold information about current missing persons incidents. Annual missing persons statistics, including how many children are reported missing, are published by the National Crime Agency’s Missing Person’s Unit:

http://missingpersons.police.uk/en-gb/resources/downloads/missing-persons-statistical-bulletins

The NCA intends to publish missing persons data for 2017-18 and 2018-19 later this month (June), with publication of data for 19/20 expected at the end of 2020.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the refresh of the National Shipbuilding Strategy is planned to include a commitment that Government-funded vessels will be built in the UK through a competitive process.

The Defence and Security Industrial Strategy set out the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) policy that the procurement approach for each class of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel will henceforth be decided on a case-by-case basis. As well as considering the specific capability requirements, we will consider the long-term industrial impact of different options, including delivering value for money for our overall programme and maintaining the key industrial capabilities required for operational independence. Overall, we consider that a regular drumbeat of design and manufacturing work is needed to maintain the industrial capabilities critical for our national security and to drive efficiencies which will reduce longer-term costs in the shipbuilding portfolio.

Other Government-funded shipbuilding programmes will be run in accordance with our international treaty obligations and the UK's procurement regulations. The Government is also taking steps to continue the roll out of a minimum of 10 per cent social value weighting to defence procurement.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many female service personnel had an abortion whilst serving between 2000 and 2020; and how many were subsequently discharged from service after the termination.

Between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2020, 1,275 Armed Forces personnel had a read code in their electronic medical record for a termination of pregnancy. Like for like data prior to 1 January 2010 is not held, as this preceded the roll-out of the Defence Medical Information Capability Programme, the source of electronic, integrated healthcare records of Armed Forces personnel.

Of the 1,275 personnel, 486 are no longer serving as at 1 January 2021. It is not possible to determine an association between their termination of pregnancy and subsequent discharge from service. However, between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2020 there were no medical discharges officially recorded with a principal or contributory cause of termination of pregnancy.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the new independent body proposed in the Armed Forces Bill will allow people and external organisations to review historical decisions made by the Military Police or Army Legal Services where the survivor thought the investigation into an alleged rape and/or sexual abuse case was unsatisfactory and unjust.

The Armed Forces Bill will create a new regime for complaints against the Service Police. The proposal seeks to create a new statutory police complaints regime that mirrors the framework in place for independent oversight of the civilian police forces in England and Wales.

The Service Police Complaints Commissioner (SPCC) will oversee the new regime and will have an equivalent role to that carried out by the Director General of the Independent Office for Police Conduct in England and Wales. The Commissioner will carry out investigations into the most serious allegations against the Service Police and will also have overall responsibility for securing the maintenance of suitable arrangements for making complaints and dealing with other serious matters.

The new procedures will only relate to the Service Police forces. We are giving careful consideration to how the procedures will work in practice and how the new regime might apply to historic cases. These procedures will be detailed in a set of regulations that will undergo Parliamentary scrutiny before they are formalised.

The new regime will set out the role of the SPCC, as well as those already responsible for the three Service Police forces as well as the forces themselves. It will not give other people or organisations a role in the new complaints system.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) will be involved in super-complaints about the Service Police, as super-complaints about civilian forces in England and Wales are made to HMICFRS. Organisations who might be designated to make such a complaint will be detailed in the super-complaints regulations that will be made in due course.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether there any ongoing investigations regarding maltreatment of recruits at any of the army training centres that host under-18s.

The recruitment of under 18 year olds by the Army meets all legal obligations. Both recruits and instructors are empowered to raise concerns where the maltreatment of an individual is suspected. There are a number of routes of investigations that can be undertaken, these usually interlink and can be captured multiple times when incidents involve more than one individual.

The table below provides the total number of ongoing investigations at Army Training Centres that host under 18’s, but does not show the number of investigations involving under 18’s rather the whole establishment irrespective of the age of those involved.

Type of Investigation

Number

RMP Investigation

20

Service Complaint

-

Discipline/Admin Action Service Requests

80

Notes/Caveats

  1. This data has been provided from a single service source rather than official statistics produced by Defence Statistics as they do not collate this information.
  2. There can be multiple service requests relating to one incident (i.e. one incident may involve two or more perpetrators).
  3. Investigation data includes reports of maltreatment by both other recruits and instructors, and other disciplinary matters.
  4. Figures show incidents at any Army Training Centre that host under-18s. They include incidents involving recruits over and under 18 years of age.
  5. Royal Military Police (RMP) investigations can run alongside Disciplinary Service Requests. Thus incidents in row one may also appear in the figure in row three. The table includes RMP investigations for offences such as Battery, Fighting, Disgraceful Act, Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order, Harassment, actual bodily harm (ABH).
  6. Discipline/Service requests will remain open/ongoing until the conclusion of any Court Martial, Summary hearing or Admin Action. This could be several months following the conclusion of an RMP investigation.
  7. Discipline/Admin Action Service Requests shown in this table reflect all open/ongoing JPA Discipline Service Law and Warning and Sanction Service Requests, looking at allegations of violence, bullying or other maltreatment/mistreatment towards Junior Soldiers, recruits or trainees.
  8. Service Complaints can be made by all Serving or former members of the UK armed forces if they feel they have been wronged on a matter that arises when they are subject to service law.
  9. “-” denotes zero or rounded to zero.
  10. Figures have been rounded to 10 for presentational purposes. numbers ending in "5" have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.
James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many COBRA meetings regarding the Covid-19 pandemic he attended.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not normally shared publicly.

Ben Wallace
Secretary of State for Defence
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 4 Nov 2020 to Question 109376 on Army: Young People, what the outcomes were of the 60 cases of violent behaviour by staff.

It will take some time to gather the information required to answer the hon. Member's question and I will write to her shortly.

2nd Nov 2020
What assessment he has made of the effect on the delivery of integrated operations in support of the UK’s continuous at-sea deterrent of the move from a single source supplier at HM Naval Base Clyde to multiple contractors.

As the Future Maritime Support Programme is currently under commercial tender and negotiation, the number of future providers is yet to be finalised. My Department always looks to secure improvements in performance where possible, maximising efficiencies and incentivising delivery to time and cost.

The transition of support services at HM Naval Base Clyde from the existing Maritime Support Delivery Framework will be carefully managed in order to avoid any adverse effect on operations.

Ben Wallace
Secretary of State for Defence
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the data recorded in the Joint Personnel Administration system, how many complaints have been made by Junior Soldiers or their parents or guardians about (a) violent behaviour by staff and (b) inappropriate relationships between Junior Soldiers and staff since 1 January 2014.

Any reports of such behaviour are taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly. Anyone found to be not upholding the high standards that we expect of our personnel will be dealt with accordingly.

Year Incident(s) Reported

Number of cases: a) violent behaviour by staff
(includes allegations of assault/battery/ill-treatment of subordinate)

Number of cases: b) inappropriate relationships between Junior Soldiers and staff

01 January 2014 – 31 October 2020

60

0

Notes/Caveats

  1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest ten. Rounding is used as a means of disclosure control and the preservation of anonymity.
  2. Each case relates to one suspect but may include more than one alleged incident and/or victim. One suspect may have more than one case recorded.
  3. JPA is a live system which is updated for retrospective complaints/allegations and therefore data can be subject to change.
  4. In each case a judgement was made as to whether an allegation constituted violent behaviour.
  5. These figures are single service estimates only and are not official statistics produced by Defence Statistics.
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many formal complaints of violent or abusive behaviour by staff at the Army Foundation College have been made by (a) Junior Soldiers or (b) their parents/guardians since 2014.

The number of Service Complaints made by Junior Soldiers at the Army Foundation College (Harrogate) since 2014 is so low that to supply actual numbers would be considered disclosive. For this reason, the figure has been suppressed in order to preserve anonymity.

I can confirm that fewer than five Service Complaints have been received from Junior Soldiers attending the College since 2014.

All Serving or former members of the UK Armed Forces can make a Service Complaint if they feel they have been wronged on a matter that arises when they are subject to service law. A Service Complaint cannot be raised on behalf of another individual, therefore figures can only be provided in response to part (a) of the hon. Member's question.

However, any allegation of unacceptable behaviour raised locally to the Chain of Command, either by serving personnel or from a parent/guardian is investigated accordingly.?There are robust procedures in place to ensure all forms of unacceptable behaviour are handled appropriately.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many UK military (a) personnel and (b) advisers are operating in targeting centres in Saudi Arabia.

We have a very small number of liaison officers in Saudi Armed Forces headquarters. The role of the liaison officers is to provide the UK with greater insight into Saudi processes and operations. All UK military personnel in Saudi Arabia remain under UK command and control. More specifically, as my predecessor said in his reply to Question 228123, our liaison officers working in the Saudi Air Operations Centre observe Saudi-led coalition air operations in Yemen to help the UK support Saudi compliance with International.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Service Complaints his Department received from armed forces personnel 15 to 18; and what the outcome was of those complaints.

The Service Complaints (SC) procedure exists to provide recourse to members of the Armed Forces (or those who are subject to Service Law) who are aggrieved due to the actions of either individuals, or the Service as a whole. SCs can cover a range of issues, from allowances and promotions to bullying and harassment. I can confirm that in the last calendar year (1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec 2019), less than five SCs were received from Service Personnel aged 16 - 18. As 16 is the lowest age a person can join the UK Armed Forces, there were no SCs from those aged 15. Due to the figure being less than five (this has been rounded to comply with data protection), the outcomes cannot be given, to protect the identities of those concerned.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many staff in his Department worked on the export campaigns for (a) Eurofighter Typhoon, (b) complex weapons and (c) F-35 sustainment as of 1 April 2020; in which teams those staff are placed; and what the budget is for those campaigns in 2020-21.

The Ministry of Defence Exports team lead on strategic export campaigns including Eurofighter Typhoon and Complex Weapons for the Department. The team is currently comprised of three RAF, one contractor, one industry secondee and seven civil servants, who, alongside their industry colleagues, provide policy and technical expertise to export campaigns. The team's budget is drawn from the wider Security Policy and Operations budget, so we are unable to provide a staffing cost for the team. Budgets for export campaigns are a commercial matter for industry.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has held with Cabinet colleagues on the Agent of Change principle and the protection of pre-existing cultural venues and businesses within the planning system.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer to Question UIN 35676 on 22 July 2021.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to enshrine the Agent of Change planning principle in primary legislation to help protect and preserve cultural venues from new housing development proposals.

The Government is supportive of ensuring that existing facilities, including cultural venues and businesses, do not have unreasonable restrictions put on them because of changes in their area due to new developments. That is why the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) includes the 'agent of change' principle. This sets out that planning policies and decisions should ensure that new development can be integrated effectively with existing business and community facilities. It also makes clear that the person or business responsible for the change of use of land is responsible for managing the effect of the change.

As this Agent of Change principle can be achieved through policy as demonstrated in the current NPPF, the Government does not believe it is necessary to include this in primary legislation. We were clear in Planning for the Future that the reformed planning system will continue to protect the places of environmental and cultural value which matter to us. We will have the opportunity to review the principle and how it will be applied under the new planning system when we review the NPPF as part of the planning reforms.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much funding from the £64 million Changing Futures programme will be allocated to South Tyneside.

Changing Futures will work in 15 local areas to test new approaches to improve outcomes for adults experiencing multiple disadvantage, with almost £64 million in total programme funding from the Government's Shared Outcomes Fund (£46 million) and aligned funding from The National Lottery Community Fund (£17.9 million)


Northumbria is one of these local partnerships, covering South Tyneside and five other local authority areas (Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Sunderland). The Northumbria partnership will receive £5.089 million in grant between 2021/22-2023/24 to support their delivery plan for the Changing Futures programme

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the Agent of Change principle and the protection of pre-existing cultural venues and businesses within the planning system.

The Government is supportive of ensuring that existing facilities, including cultural venues and businesses, do not have unreasonable restrictions put on them because of changes in their area due to new developments. That is why the National Planning Policy Framework includes the ‘agent of change’ principle. This sets out that planning policies and decisions should ensure that new development can be integrated effectively with existing business and community facilities. It also makes clear that the person or business responsible for the change of use of land is responsible for managing the implications of the change.

Planning practice guidance on Noise provides further detail on how the risk of conflict between new development and existing businesses, or facilities can be addressed. Whilst we have not undertaken further assessment of the principle, local authorities will consider the effects on a case by case basis.

We were clear in Planning for the Future that the reformed planning system will continue to protect the places of environmental and cultural value which matter to us. We received 44,000 responses to the Planning for the Future White Paper consultation. We announced in the Queen’s Speech that we will be bringing forward a Planning Bill in the current session of Parliament, and we will publish a response to the White Paper consultation. This will set out our decisions on the proposed way forward.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what role the Agent of Change principle will have in the Government’s proposed changes to the planning system.

The Government is supportive of ensuring that existing facilities, including cultural venues and businesses, do not have unreasonable restrictions put on them because of changes in their area due to new developments. That is why the National Planning Policy Framework includes the ‘agent of change’ principle. This sets out that planning policies and decisions should ensure that new development can be integrated effectively with existing business and community facilities. It also makes clear that the person or business responsible for the change of use of land is responsible for managing the implications of the change.

Planning practice guidance on Noise provides further detail on how the risk of conflict between new development and existing businesses, or facilities can be addressed. Whilst we have not undertaken further assessment of the principle, local authorities will consider the effects on a case by case basis.

We were clear in Planning for the Future that the reformed planning system will continue to protect the places of environmental and cultural value which matter to us. We received 44,000 responses to the Planning for the Future White Paper consultation. We announced in the Queen’s Speech that we will be bringing forward a Planning Bill in the current session of Parliament, and we will publish a response to the White Paper consultation. This will set out our decisions on the proposed way forward.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Agent of Change principle in protecting pre-existing cultural venues since its inclusion in the National Planning Policy Framework; and what plans the Government has to put that principle on a statutory footing.

The Government is supportive of ensuring that existing facilities, including cultural venues and businesses, do not have unreasonable restrictions put on them because of changes in their area due to new developments. That is why the National Planning Policy Framework includes the ‘agent of change’ principle. This sets out that planning policies and decisions should ensure that new development can be integrated effectively with existing business and community facilities. It also makes clear that the person or business responsible for the change of use of land is responsible for managing the implications of the change.

Planning practice guidance on Noise provides further detail on how the risk of conflict between new development and existing businesses, or facilities can be addressed. Whilst we have not undertaken further assessment of the principle, local authorities will consider the effects on a case by case basis.

We were clear in Planning for the Future that the reformed planning system will continue to protect the places of environmental and cultural value which matter to us. We received 44,000 responses to the Planning for the Future White Paper consultation. We announced in the Queen’s Speech that we will be bringing forward a Planning Bill in the current session of Parliament, and we will publish a response to the White Paper consultation. This will set out our decisions on the proposed way forward.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support his Department is providing to increase economic activity in coastal communities.

We are committed to increasing economic activity in our coastal communities. Our coastal areas have already benefited from over £250 million through successful bids into Town Deals and from the Future High Streets Fund. At Budget 2021, the Chancellor announced 7 Freeports in coastal areas, which will boost economic activity further in these communities


This is all in addition to the £6 million available through the Welcome Back Fund to support coastal areas; offering assistance of up to £100,000 to help address the unique challenges facing these areas as restrictions ease. Further support will be available through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need. Coastal places can also bid into the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much funding his Department has received from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.

The money raised through the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is not linked to any specific programmes, or departmental spending. Departmental spend is allocated through Spending Reviews, by the Treasury.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which organisations have received funding from the Reopening High Streets Fund; how much funding they received; and what the criteria was for its allocation.

Our £50 million Reopening High Streets Safely Fund (RHSSF) is playing an important role in getting people back to work, supporting our businesses and helping to reinvigorate our local communities.

This funding has been allocated to 314 local authorities in England on a per capita basis, with a minimum limit of £30,000.?Each local authority is responsible for deciding how the grant should be spent whilst ensuring that the activity is eligible under the terms of the grant.

The full RHSSF criteria, including an Annex detailing local authority funding allocations, can be found in the fund guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reopening-high-streets-safely-fund-guidance.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which organisations have received funding from the Coastal Communities Fund; how much funding they each received; and what the criteria was for its allocation, in each year since the fund's creation.

This Government believes in the considerable potential of the Great British Coast and is determined to strengthen its appeal as a place to live, work and visit and to see it thrive all year round.

Please be aware that a full list of successful Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) applicants or projects, their funding allocations and guidance outlining the priority funding criteria is publicly available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coastal-communities

Through this link you can browse information relating to all five rounds of CCF since its launch in 2012.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which organisations have received funding from the Town Deals Fund; how much funding they received; and what the criteria was for its allocation, in each year since its creation.

The £3.6 billion Towns Fund includes £1 billion for the Future High Streets Fund, as well as funding for 101 places that have been selected to develop proposals for Town Deals.

In 2019, we paid all places shortlisted for the Future High Streets Fund grants of up to £150,000 revenue funding to develop full business cases. In December 2019 we paid out £16.4 million in capacity funding to local authorities from the initial 100 towns selected for Town Deals to establish Town Deal Boards and develop their proposals. In both cases the money was paid to the lead local authority.

In May 2020, following a competitive tender and pre-market engagement exercises, we appointed an Arup-led consortium to provide commercial support to all 101 towns selected for Town Deals to help develop their plans and proposals to bid into the fund. Further details about the contract can be found at: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/18a3b1d6-1624-42c4-a0fb-70311c335584.

In September 2020, we paid £81.5 million in accelerated funding to the lead local authorities for the 101 towns selected for Town Deals. Each town received between £500,000 and £1 million to help them respond to the immediate challenges of Covid-19.

On 27 October 2020, Government announced the first seven places in England set to benefit from up to £178.7 million in new Town Deals: Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Darlington, Norwich, Peterborough, Torquay and Warrington. Work has begun to confirm final funding for these places. Further announcements on more Town Deals will be made in due course.

Full details of these payments are on gov.uk.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which organisations have received funding from the Future High Streets Fund; how much funding they received; and what the criteria was for its allocation, in each year since its creation.

Capital funding has not yet been allocated to successful local authorities for the Future High Streets Fund competitive process. However, we are in the final stages of the assessment and we expect to announce the outcome of the competition soon. £107 million (CDEL) of the Future High Streets Fund is allocated to DCMS to support the regeneration of heritage high streets through ‘Heritage Action Zones’.

Some revenue funding (RDEL) from the fund has been allocated to the High Streets Task Force, Business Improvement Districts and to develop a new parking code. Capacity funding grants of up to £150,000 were paid to 101 local authorities selected to prepare full business cases for the Future High Streets Fund Competition. Please see more details here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/1-billion-future-high-streets-fund-expanded-to-50-more-areas.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the announcement by his Department on 21 March 2020 on measures to protect people at highest risk from coronavirus, what plans his Department has to support the delivery of food; whether his Department has plans to support food initiatives in local communities; and what support local authorities will provide.

On 23 March, the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for this Department announced steps to protect 1.5 million extremely clinically vulnerable individuals. These individuals received letters asking them to shield themselves and self-isolate for the next 12 weeks.

To support these high-risk individuals, we are working with local authorities, the food industry, local resilience and emergency partners, and voluntary groups to ensure these individuals have essential items such as groceries and medicine through deliveries and priority supermarket delivery slots, if they do not have alternative means of accessing these.

The system to deliver food packages is now up and running and capacity is building in line with current demand. We have now delivered over 280,000 food packages direct to people’s doorsteps and will be ramping up our food deliveries over the coming weeks.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 15 April to Question 179142 on Young Offender Institutions: Restraint Techniques, if he will publish the (a) terms of reference and (b) names of panel members of the independent restraint and behaviour panel established by the Youth Custody Service; and what (i) criteria and (ii) selection process was used to appoint those members.

The terms of reference for the Youth Custody Service Independent Restraint Review Panel are attached. In order to provide the names of the panel members, we would need to obtain individuals’ permission, and therefore I will write to the Honourable Member once this has been received.

An application has been made by the Ministry of Justice Appointments Team for the Chair to be a direct appointment, subject to ministerial approval, who will lead on the application process for subsequent appointments. The terms of reference have been agreed and signed off by the current panel. A meeting is held fortnightly to review progress.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the recommendations of Charlie Taylor's review into the use of pain-inducing restraint in the youth secure estate, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that (a) the Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint syllabus does not train escorts to secure training centres and secure children's homes in pain-inducing restraint techniques, (b) escort staff are not allowed to use restraint on children for good order and discipline and (c) escorts taking children to and from young offender institutions are trained in Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint.

Following Charlie Taylor’s review into the use of pain-inducing techniques the Ministry of Justice responded to all recommendations in June 2020. It remains the case that restraint should only be used where there is no other suitable alternative. In the first instance, the approach should always be to use behaviour management techniques that focus on de-escalation and diversion. In cases where restraint is used, it must always be necessary, proportionate and in accordance with the law.

To improve the monitoring of these instances, the Youth Custody Service established the independent restraint and behaviour panel in December 2020 as a multi-sector partnership with members providing independent and expert scrutiny on the use of pain-inducing techniques in establishments. The panel who reports to Ministers on a quarterly basis, reviews the use of pain-inducing techniques at a single youth secure establishment each month (rotating the establishment monthly) and then supports the establishment with actions focussed on the reduction of use.

The Ministry of Justice committed to removing pain-inducing techniques from the Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint (MMPR) syllabus in June 2020. Since then, the Youth Custody Service has been working on developing and implementing training to ensure that the revised syllabus is rolled out later this summer through the training of all staff. The use of pain-inducing techniques will be taught separately, for use as a last resort to prevent serious harm to a child or adult, in line with Recommendation 9.

Escorts transferring children to and from Secure Training Centre’s, Secure Children Homes and Young Offending Institutions have all received training in the MMPR syllabus which no longer includes training on pain-inducing techniques. The department is currently reviewing the policy in line with recommendation 14.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the recommendation of Charlie Taylor's review into the use of pain-inducing restraint in the youth secure estate, what steps his Department has taken to remove pain-inducing techniques from the Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint syllabus.

Following Charlie Taylor’s review into the use of pain-inducing techniques the Ministry of Justice responded to all recommendations in June 2020. It remains the case that restraint should only be used where there is no other suitable alternative. In the first instance, the approach should always be to use behaviour management techniques that focus on de-escalation and diversion. In cases where restraint is used, it must always be necessary, proportionate and in accordance with the law.

To improve the monitoring of these instances, the Youth Custody Service established the independent restraint and behaviour panel in December 2020 as a multi-sector partnership with members providing independent and expert scrutiny on the use of pain-inducing techniques in establishments. The panel who reports to Ministers on a quarterly basis, reviews the use of pain-inducing techniques at a single youth secure establishment each month (rotating the establishment monthly) and then supports the establishment with actions focussed on the reduction of use.

The Ministry of Justice committed to removing pain-inducing techniques from the Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint (MMPR) syllabus in June 2020. Since then, the Youth Custody Service has been working on developing and implementing training to ensure that the revised syllabus is rolled out later this summer through the training of all staff. The use of pain-inducing techniques will be taught separately, for use as a last resort to prevent serious harm to a child or adult, in line with Recommendation 9.

Escorts transferring children to and from Secure Training Centre’s, Secure Children Homes and Young Offending Institutions have all received training in the MMPR syllabus which no longer includes training on pain-inducing techniques. The department is currently reviewing the policy in line with recommendation 14.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the recommendation of Charlie Taylor's review into the use of pain-inducing restraint in the youth secure estate, what steps his Department has taken to establish an independent restraint and behaviour panel.

Following Charlie Taylor’s review into the use of pain-inducing techniques the Ministry of Justice responded to all recommendations in June 2020. It remains the case that restraint should only be used where there is no other suitable alternative. In the first instance, the approach should always be to use behaviour management techniques that focus on de-escalation and diversion. In cases where restraint is used, it must always be necessary, proportionate and in accordance with the law.

To improve the monitoring of these instances, the Youth Custody Service established the independent restraint and behaviour panel in December 2020 as a multi-sector partnership with members providing independent and expert scrutiny on the use of pain-inducing techniques in establishments. The panel who reports to Ministers on a quarterly basis, reviews the use of pain-inducing techniques at a single youth secure establishment each month (rotating the establishment monthly) and then supports the establishment with actions focussed on the reduction of use.

The Ministry of Justice committed to removing pain-inducing techniques from the Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint (MMPR) syllabus in June 2020. Since then, the Youth Custody Service has been working on developing and implementing training to ensure that the revised syllabus is rolled out later this summer through the training of all staff. The use of pain-inducing techniques will be taught separately, for use as a last resort to prevent serious harm to a child or adult, in line with Recommendation 9.

Escorts transferring children to and from Secure Training Centre’s, Secure Children Homes and Young Offending Institutions have all received training in the MMPR syllabus which no longer includes training on pain-inducing techniques. The department is currently reviewing the policy in line with recommendation 14.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to clause 138 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, whether providers running secure 16 to 19 academies will be required to follow The Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015.

Secure 16 to 19 academies will be a new form of 16 to 19 academy and secure children’s home combined, legislation for both these entities will form the statutory basis for secure schools. They will require approval by the Secretary of State to provide secure accommodation and by Ofsted to register as children’s homes. Providers will therefore be required to apply to Ofsted for registration as children’s homes. As secure children’s homes, they will be subject to the Children’s Home (England) Regulations 2015.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many children were in solitary confinement in (a) young offender institutions and (b) secure residential homes in England over the Christmas 2020 period.

Youth Custody Service (YCS) is committed to ensuring that every child in its care receives meaningful contact with staff and partner agencies throughout the course of every day.

YCS does not centrally collect individual child level data on the number of hours children have been in their rooms per day. YCS does collect management information on the average time out of room (TOOR) from the under 18 Young Offender Institutions (YOIs).

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prosecutions for the offence of sexual assault by penetration under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 were made in cases where the victim had experienced county lines exploitation in each year since 2015.

The Government recognises the devastating impact of county lines activity on children and vulnerable people which can include both sexual and criminal exploitation. Prosecutions data involving offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 held centrally by the MoJ does not include such detailed information about the victim to indicate whether they had been a victim of county lines exploitation previously. This information may be held on court record, however to identify it would require access to detailed court records and transcripts, which would incur disproportionate cost.

However, the Ministry of Justice has published information on prosecutions, up to December 2019, for the following offences: ‘Sexual assault on a female – penetration’, ‘Sexual assault on a male – penetration’, Sexual assault of a male child under 13 - penetration’, ‘Sexual assault of a female child under 13 – penetration’ and ‘Causing sexual activity without consent – penetration’. These are available in the Outcomes by Offence data tool:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888664/outcomes-by-offence-tool-2019.xlsx

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what training juries receive on dealing with historical sexual abuse cases; and how regularly that training is provided.

Juries are randomly selected, independent and make decisions purely on the basis of the facts presented to them by the prosecution and defence. Jury members receive no advice or training prior to being called to serve on any case. However, they are guided and supported by the trial judge who advises them on the relevant points of law and reminds them of their role. Judges hearing serious sex offence cases are required to have specialist training.

There is guidance provided to judges in the Crown Court Compendium (a publicly available document) as to what directions may be given to juries in appropriate circumstances. This includes guidance on how to advise juries in serious sexual offence cases.

https://www.judiciary.uk/publications/crown-court-compendium-published/

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his Department's policy in on the use of character witnesses during trials for (a) victims and (b) perpetrators of historical sexual abuse.

In criminal trials, including of offences of historical sexual abuse, rules of evidence do not permit the Crown to call evidence of the good character of a prosecution witness in order to bolster their credibility. The law assumes victims to be truthful and credible, and restricts the ways in which their veracity and credibility can be challenged by the defence; evidence of a victim’s good character is therefore not relevant to what is in issue, and is not admissible.

Defendants also are assumed to be of good character unless there is evidence to the contrary. Where the prosecution does rely on bad character evidence against the defendant (and there are fewer restrictions on the admissibility of evidence of a defendant’s alleged bad character than there are in relation to a witness’ bad character), then character evidence might be relevant to contradict it.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 21 January 2020 to Question 4350 on Children: Restraint Techniques, when the Charlie Taylor review on restraint techniques and children will be published; and what the time table is for the publication of the Government's response to that review.

We are considering Charlie Taylor’s findings and recommendations and will shortly publish the report and the Government’s response together.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will take steps to ensure that children who have been subjected to unlawful restraint in Medway Secure Training Centre are informed of their right to seek legal advice and redress.

The safety and welfare of young people held in custody is our highest priority, and we take seriously any incident of restraint of children in the youth secure estate, including at Medway Secure Training Centre . There are already processes and mechanisms in place at Medway STC to support Children and Young People following incidents of restraint that facilitate them to seek legal advice and redress. Every incident of restraint, including those involving personal safety techniques, is reviewed by the local Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint (MMPR) co-ordinator. Any serious injury or warning sign (SIWS) is also appraised by the national team, with any issue of concern leading to a child protection referral and, potentially, the local authority and police for investigation.

Furthermore, the Independent Children’s Rights and Advocacy Services (ICRAS) at Medway Secure Training Centre is commissioned to follow and adhere to the legal frameworks of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Convention on Human Rights to promote the rights of Children and Young People (CYP). These services support CYP in helping them understand and exercise their rights throughout their time in custody.

ICRAS has local protocols in place so that the establishment notifies them as soon as possible following the first restraint incident. The child will be proactively supported by an advocate, including discussing whether the child or young person has any concerns about how or why they were restrained, and whether they wish to make a complaint or safeguarding referral.

Restraint is only ever to be used in accordance with the Secure Training Centre Rules 1998 and as a last resort, where there is a risk of harm, and no other form of intervention is possible or appropriate.

Charlie Taylor, Chair of the Youth Justice Board but acting in an independent capacity, has reviewed our policy in relation to pain-inducing techniques. The Government will respond to his review in the coming weeks.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many children categorised as restricted status have been held in (a) Feltham A and (b) Wetherby prisons in each of the last five years.

A Restricted Status prisoner is any female, young person or young adult prisoner under the age of 18, convicted or on remand, whose escape would present a serious risk to the public and who is required to be held in designated secure accommodation. Separate procedural security arrangements apply to Restricted Status prisoners.

Unlike Category A prisoners, Restricted Status prisoners do not have escape risk classifications. The designated secure accommodation and security procedures are deemed sufficient to achieve the aim of making escape impossible for these prisoners.

There have been a total of 25 Offenders categorised and held as Restricted Status in the past 5 years. Offenders are allocated between both sites;

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

HMYOI Feltham ‘A’

0

1

0

4

1

7

HMYOI Wetherby

0

0

1

4

1

6

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)