Fleur Anderson

Labour - Putney

Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

(since January 2021)


Department Event
Monday 18th October 2021
22:00
Cabinet Office
Adjournment - Main Chamber
18 Oct 2021, 10 p.m.
Tributes to Sir David Amess MP
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 19th October 2021
09:25
Elections Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
19 Oct 2021, 9:25 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 19th October 2021
14:00
Elections Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
19 Oct 2021, 2 p.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 21st October 2021
11:30
Elections Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
21 Oct 2021, 11:30 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 21st October 2021
14:00
Elections Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
21 Oct 2021, 2 p.m. View calendar
Scheduled Event
Tuesday 2nd November 2021
Ten Minute Rule Motion - Main Chamber
Plastics (Wet Wipes)
View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Elections Bill (Sixth sitting)
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 4 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 9 Noes - 6
Speeches
Thursday 23rd September 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

I, too, congratulate you, Mr Speaker, on your chairing of the G7 Speakers conference and welcome the Chancellor of the …

Written Answers
Monday 11th October 2021
Coronavirus: Disease Control
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which companies and organisations (a) are taking and (b) …
Early Day Motions
Monday 24th February 2020
Clean water and climate change
That this House is very concerned that 2.2 billion people around the world still don’t have a reliable source of …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 12th July 2021
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: All England Lawn Tennis Club
Address of donor: Church Road, London SW19 5AG
Amount of donation, or …
EDM signed
Monday 18th January 2021
Godfrey Colin Cameron
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Fleur Anderson has voted in 334 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Fleur Anderson 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
Alan Whitehead (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(14 debate interactions)
Rebecca Pow (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(13 debate interactions)
Julia Lopez (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(43 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(19 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Fleur Anderson's debates

Putney Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

We have the second most expensive childcare system in the world. A full time place costs, on average, £14,000 per year, making it completely unaffordable for many families. Parents are forced to leave their jobs or work fewer hours, which has a negative impact on the economy and on child poverty.

There should be a public inquiry into Government contracts granted during Covid-19. Many contracts have been granted without full and open procurement processes. A public inquiry would be able to ascertain whether contracts had been procured fairly and represent value for money for tax payers.

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

To not decide to scrap free travel for those who are under 18. As a teenager who has relied so much on free travel, it has allowed for me to go to school without the worry of an extra expense and explore around the beautiful city of London also. Destroying free travel would hurt so many of us.


Latest EDMs signed by Fleur Anderson

14th January 2021
Fleur Anderson signed this EDM on Monday 18th January 2021

Godfrey Colin Cameron

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary security staff and member of the PCS trade union who passed away aged just 55 after contracting covid-19; extends our sincere condolences to his devoted wife Hyacinth, children Leon and …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 117
Scottish National Party: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
4th May 2020
Fleur Anderson signed this EDM on Wednesday 22nd July 2020

Children and Young Persons

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (S.I., 2020, No. 445), dated 21 April 2020, a copy of which was laid before this House on 23 April 2020, be annulled.
48 signatures
(Most recent: 1 Sep 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 42
Liberal Democrat: 4
Green Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Fleur Anderson's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Fleur Anderson, 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.


Fleur Anderson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Fleur Anderson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Fleur Anderson has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Fleur Anderson has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


494 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
9 Other Department Questions
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to tackle ageism in society.

The Equality Act prohibits age discrimination in a variety of fields, including employment, the provision of services and the exercise of public functions. Differential treatment based on a person’s age is permitted, but only where this can be objectively justified.

Other legislation in recent years has also helped to tackle ageism – for example the abolition of the default retirement age in 2011 – but our approach goes beyond basic legal protections. For example, to support older workers to remain in work, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers are working with employer organisations – including CIPD, British Chambers of Commerce, ACAS and Local Enterprise Partnerships – to encourage employers to support their older workers, retain them in the workforce and benefit from their skills and experience.

For those who become unemployed, the Government’s Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people, including those aged 50 and over, get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and to build the skills they need to get into work. As part of the Jobcentre Plus offer for people aged 50 and over, we are also providing dedicated support through 50 PLUS Champions, to ensure they fully benefit from the Plan for Jobs package and existing Jobcentre Plus support.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what engagement the Government has had with community groups on tackling the climate emergency ahead of COP26.

As Presidency, we are committed to securing an outcome that respects and reflects the interests of all Parties, including those most impacted by climate change. We are working with civil society to amplify the voices of those on the front line of climate change to deliver a truly ‘all of society’ and inclusive COP. Civil society organisations, with their links to on-the-ground communities and practitioners, are agents of change and their knowledge and leadership is necessary to deliver effective local solutions. I have established a civil society and youth advisory council which includes community groups and Indigenous Peoples from around the world. I also meet with civil society and youth groups on my international visits.

Ahead of COP26, we have launched the ‘Together for our Planet’ campaign to engage the public in the run-up to COP26 and to celebrate the work people across the UK are doing to combat climate change. The campaign aims to drive awareness and create opportunities for people across the UK to participate in the run-up to COP26.

The Together for our Planet campaign is building momentum in the lead-up to COP26 by showcasing how people across the UK are going One Step Greener to tackle climate change. Our One Step Greener ‘Climate Leaders’ will show how much inspirational action on climate change is already taking place.

We also encourage MPs across the UK to engage with their local communities in the run up to COP, in order to support this. We shared an MP engagement pack with the House to this effect.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, how many Freedom of Information requests have been referred by her Department for advice on handling to the Cabinet Office’s clearing house for Freedom of Information requests in each year since 2016.

The Equality Hub is an integral part of the Cabinet Office, therefore I refer the hon. Member to the response given to PQ 21941 on 29 June 2021.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether her Department operates a red, amber and green rating system for categorising Freedom of Information requests according to their presentational sensitivity.

The Equality Hub does not operate a traffic light system for FOIs.

All FOI requests are treated exactly the same, regardless of who the request is from and their occupation.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to WhatsApp communications dated 27 April 2020, published by Dominic Cummings on 16 June 2021, whether he held discussions with officials in his Department on 27 April 2020 on his confidence in the competency of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in managing his Department's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout this pandemic, the whole of Government’s priority has been to save lives, protect the NHS, and support people’s jobs and livelihoods, right across the United Kingdom. We have stood side-by-side with the private sector, procuring enormous volumes of goods and expertise with extreme urgency – often, these were literally matters of life and death. This has delivered:

  • The biggest vaccination programme we have ever undertaken.

  • The largest diagnostic network in British history – with over 190 million tests conducted.

  • A stockpile of over 32 billion items of PPE as a result of a phenomenal cross-government, international purchasing effort.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, with reference to WhatsApp communications dated 27 April 2020, published by Dominic Cummings on 16 June 2021, whether he had (a) discussions and (b) WhatsApp communications with his Senior Adviser, Dominic Cummings, on 27 April 2020 on the adequacy of the supply of PPE during the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout this pandemic, the whole of Government’s priority has been to save lives, protect the NHS, and support people’s jobs and livelihoods, right across the United Kingdom. We have stood side-by-side with the private sector, procuring enormous volumes of goods and expertise with extreme urgency – often, these were literally matters of life and death. This has delivered:

  • The biggest vaccination programme we have ever undertaken.

  • The largest diagnostic network in British history – with over 190 million tests conducted.

  • A stockpile of over 32 billion items of PPE as a result of a phenomenal cross-government, international purchasing effort.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to tackle age discrimination.

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection for adults against direct and indirect age discrimination in employment, the provision of goods, services, public functions and in private clubs. The 2010 Act makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee or a job applicant because of their actual or perceived age or the age of someone they are associated with. Similar rules apply to service providers.

A person who believes that they have experienced discrimination because of age may take their case to an employment tribunal or a County Court (Sherriff’s Court in Scotland) in non-employment cases. The Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS), the helpline for anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against in the provision of goods, services and public functions, can provide free bespoke advice and in-depth support. The EASS can be contacted via its website - www.equalityadvisoryservice.com, by telephone on 0808 800 0082, or by text phone on 0808 800 0084. Acas can assist in relation to employment discrimination issues, their number is 0800 464 0979.

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

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of commissioning an inquiry on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on frail and elderly people.

The Government is putting its full efforts into fighting the virus and remains committed to supporting all people during this time, including the frail and elderly.

This includes the work I am carrying out with the Race Disparity Unit to examine the disparities in the risks and outcomes of COVID-19 following the PHE Review.

The terms of reference can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-steps-for-work-on-covid-19-disparities-announced and age is one of the factors being considered.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Independent report entitled Findings of a Review into the Development and Use of Supply Chain Finance in Government, published on 22 July 2021, what recent assessment he has made of (a) transparency in Government and (b) management of ministerial lobbying.

I refer the hon. Member to my written statement of 15 July.

The Government will respond to Mr Boardman’s findings, and any recommendations, in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 16 July 2021 to question 30420 on on Public Bodies: Ventilation, what (a) budget has been made available for enforcement activities and (b) enforcement action has been taken in respect of ventilation in buildings in which civil servants work in each of the last ten years; and when he last met (i) civil service permanent secretaries, (ii) chief executives of arms-length bodies and (iii) representatives of civil service trade unions to discuss ventilation in buildings in which civil servants work.

As outlined in the response to PQ 30420 on 16 July 2021, the safe return of more civil servants to the workplace will be enacted by departments in line with updated Safer Working guidance from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and guidance from the Health and Safety Executive. This includes guidance for ventilation.

The enforcement of this guidance lies with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Any budgets for any action taken in respect of ventilation in buildings has been managed by each department responsible for the buildings.

Details of official Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on gov.uk.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to preclude Secretaries of State from appointing (a) sitting elected representatives with party affiliation and (b) current special advisers as departmental non-executive directors.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life published an interim report last month which recommended that the appointment process for Non-Executive Board Members of government departments should be regulated. We are grateful for the work being undertaken by Lord Evans and his Committee and will respond formally to the Committee’s final recommendations when they are published in the Autumn.

Departments publish their register of interests for all members of the departmental board alongside their Annual Report and Accounts.

As employees of departments, current Special Advisers are not eligible to be appointed as Non-Executive Board Members of departments, and none have been so appointed. The Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies sets out that where appointed as a Non-Executive Board Member, there is no bar on elected representatives taking a political party whip relating to their political role. They must exercise proper discretion on matters directly related to the work of the body and recognise that certain political activities may be incompatible with their role as a board member.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to require every Government Department to publish a quarterly register of interests that includes each member of their departmental board.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life published an interim report last month which recommended that the appointment process for Non-Executive Board Members of government departments should be regulated. We are grateful for the work being undertaken by Lord Evans and his Committee and will respond formally to the Committee’s final recommendations when they are published in the Autumn.

Departments publish their register of interests for all members of the departmental board alongside their Annual Report and Accounts.

As employees of departments, current Special Advisers are not eligible to be appointed as Non-Executive Board Members of departments, and none have been so appointed. The Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies sets out that where appointed as a Non-Executive Board Member, there is no bar on elected representatives taking a political party whip relating to their political role. They must exercise proper discretion on matters directly related to the work of the body and recognise that certain political activities may be incompatible with their role as a board member.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to incorporate existing guidance on the appointment of departmental Non-Executive Directors into the Governance code on public appointments.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life published an interim report last month which recommended that the appointment process for Non-Executive Board Members of government departments should be regulated. We are grateful for the work being undertaken by Lord Evans and his Committee and will respond formally to the Committee’s final recommendations when they are published in the Autumn.

Departments publish their register of interests for all members of the departmental board alongside their Annual Report and Accounts.

As employees of departments, current Special Advisers are not eligible to be appointed as Non-Executive Board Members of departments, and none have been so appointed. The Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies sets out that where appointed as a Non-Executive Board Member, there is no bar on elected representatives taking a political party whip relating to their political role. They must exercise proper discretion on matters directly related to the work of the body and recognise that certain political activities may be incompatible with their role as a board member.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he or any of the Ministers of his Department use personal email addresses to conduct Government business.

Further to the answers given on 8 July 2021, Cabinet Office Guidance to departments on the use of private emails provides guidance on this issue.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether (a) indices of deprivation and (b) measures of median wages will be integrated into the Government's levelling up framework.

Levelling up is at the heart of the Government’s agenda to build back better after the pandemic and to deliver for citizens in every part of the UK. As per the Prime Minister’s speech, deprivation levels in London have been dramatically reduced but there is still much more to do. The details of how we plan to level up will be published later this year, as part of our landmark Levelling Up White Paper, setting out bold new policy interventions to improve livelihoods and opportunity in all parts of the UK, including London.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Prime Minister's speech of 15 July 2021, which areas of London have been identified within the Government's levelling up agenda.

Levelling up is at the heart of the Government’s agenda to build back better after the pandemic and to deliver for citizens in every part of the UK. As per the Prime Minister’s speech, deprivation levels in London have been dramatically reduced but there is still much more to do. The details of how we plan to level up will be published later this year, as part of our landmark Levelling Up White Paper, setting out bold new policy interventions to improve livelihoods and opportunity in all parts of the UK, including London.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to improve response times to correspondence from (a) hon. Members and (b) Peers.

The Government places great importance on the effective and timely handling of correspondence. While each department and agency is responsible for its own performance, the Cabinet Office published data on response timeliness for each department on 15 July 2021, and will publish data more frequently in the future. While the overall performance against departmental targets decreased from 85% in 2019 to 70% in 2020, the volume of correspondence sent from MPs and Peers to the Government increased by 81% between 2019 and 2020.


To further improve the timeliness of correspondence, the Cabinet Office will shortly publish a revised Guide to Handling Correspondence to remind departments and agencies of their obligations and the expected standard of service.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the value is of covid-19-related contracts awarded to Topham Guerin (a) in total and (b) without competitive tender.

Details of government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what guidance he (a) has issued or (b) plans to issue to civil service permanent secretaries and chief executives of arms-length bodies on ensuring adequate ventilation in buildings where civil servants work to reduce the risks of transmission of covid-19 infection; to what standards they should (i) plan and (ii) measure such ventilation; whether his Department plans to undertake enforcement to ensure that the risk is reduced; and whether he proposes to make funds available to improve standards of ventilation in those building.

The Prime Minister has set out the arrangements that will be in place in England once we move to Step Four of the Government roadmap. It will no longer be necessary for the government to instruct people to work from home and so employers, including the Civil Service, will be able to support the safe return to the workplace. The safe return of more civil servants to the workplace will be enacted by departments in line with updated Safer Working guidance from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and guidance from the Health and Safety Executive. This includes guidance for ventilation.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what financial payments his Department makes to its non-executive directors; how many times his departmental Board will meet in 2021-22; and what work the non-executive directors undertake.

All financial payments to non-executive directors, their work and the work of the Board are published in the publicly available annual report and accounts, available on GOV.UK. For 2019/20: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2019-to-2020

All CO non-executive directors’ declarations of interest are published annually on GOV.UK here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/920469/Register_of_Non_Executive_Board_Members__Interests_August_2020.pdf

Appointment dates for the department’s non-executives are published in the annual report and accounts for each year on GOV.UK. For current non-executives see 2019/20 report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2019-to-2020. For previously appointed non-executives, the relevant annual report is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2018-to-2019

The process of NEDs is set out in Guidance: Role of government non-executives and departmental boards https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/role-of-government-non-executives and the overarching Code of Practice 2017, both published and available on GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/corporate-governance-code-for-central-government-departments-2017

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government has a policy on procuring (a) products and (b) services that have involved child labour.

This government is committed to preventing modern slavery occurring in public sector supply chains.

The Cabinet Office has published commercial policy and guidance setting out the steps that all Government departments must take to identify and mitigate modern slavery and labour abuse risks throughout the commercial life cycle focussing on the areas of highest risk. This policy is mandatory for all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies. The policy can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0519-tackling-modern-slavery-in-government-supply-chains

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the Government's policy is on the procurement of products that contain cotton from Xinjiang, China; when that policy was introduced; where that policy is stated; and whether that policy includes mandatory provisions; and to which parts of the public sector that policy applies.

The Cabinet Office has published commercial policy and guidance setting out the steps that all Government departments must take to identify and mitigate modern slavery and labour abuse risks throughout the commercial life cycle focussing on the areas of highest risk. This policy is mandatory for all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies. The policy can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0519-tackling-modern-slavery-in-government-supply-chains

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to incorporate workplace rights and protections into Government procurement policy.

Regulation 32 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 sets out the grounds in which contracting authorities can procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances. In our recently published Green Paper, we have set out our proposals to clarify these rules, learning from the experience in the pandemic.

The process of implementing the Boardman recommendations began immediately, and the programme is being assured by the Cabinet Office Audit and Risk Committee. We committed to provide an update on implementation six months after publication.

All G-Cloud suppliers must publicly show their security certifications, standards and approach to personnel security on the Digital Marketplace. Suppliers must also maintain physical and IT security that follows good industry practice to ensure there is no unauthorised access to any confidential information and data. Along with this, suppliers must inform Crown Commercial Service of any data breaches within 48 hours and Crown Commercial Service has the power to undertake security audits of suppliers.

Transforming Government Procurement will make it easier to take into account issues relating to workplace rights and protections through aligning the value for money definition with that of the Green Book, and removing in certain circumstances the need for wider policy considerations to be linked to the subject matter of the contract.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to prevent data breaches when awarding contracts for cloud services to multi-national corporations.

Regulation 32 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 sets out the grounds in which contracting authorities can procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances. In our recently published Green Paper, we have set out our proposals to clarify these rules, learning from the experience in the pandemic.

The process of implementing the Boardman recommendations began immediately, and the programme is being assured by the Cabinet Office Audit and Risk Committee. We committed to provide an update on implementation six months after publication.

All G-Cloud suppliers must publicly show their security certifications, standards and approach to personnel security on the Digital Marketplace. Suppliers must also maintain physical and IT security that follows good industry practice to ensure there is no unauthorised access to any confidential information and data. Along with this, suppliers must inform Crown Commercial Service of any data breaches within 48 hours and Crown Commercial Service has the power to undertake security audits of suppliers.

Transforming Government Procurement will make it easier to take into account issues relating to workplace rights and protections through aligning the value for money definition with that of the Green Book, and removing in certain circumstances the need for wider policy considerations to be linked to the subject matter of the contract.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on implementing the recommendations of the Boardman Review on Cabinet Office procurement processes, published on 8 December 2020.

Regulation 32 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 sets out the grounds in which contracting authorities can procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances. In our recently published Green Paper, we have set out our proposals to clarify these rules, learning from the experience in the pandemic.

The process of implementing the Boardman recommendations began immediately, and the programme is being assured by the Cabinet Office Audit and Risk Committee. We committed to provide an update on implementation six months after publication.

All G-Cloud suppliers must publicly show their security certifications, standards and approach to personnel security on the Digital Marketplace. Suppliers must also maintain physical and IT security that follows good industry practice to ensure there is no unauthorised access to any confidential information and data. Along with this, suppliers must inform Crown Commercial Service of any data breaches within 48 hours and Crown Commercial Service has the power to undertake security audits of suppliers.

Transforming Government Procurement will make it easier to take into account issues relating to workplace rights and protections through aligning the value for money definition with that of the Green Book, and removing in certain circumstances the need for wider policy considerations to be linked to the subject matter of the contract.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether there are minimum capital requirements criteria under the Government's emergency procurement rules for the awarding of procurement contracts.

Regulation 32 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 sets out the grounds in which contracting authorities can procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances. In our recently published Green Paper, we have set out our proposals to clarify these rules, learning from the experience in the pandemic.

The process of implementing the Boardman recommendations began immediately, and the programme is being assured by the Cabinet Office Audit and Risk Committee. We committed to provide an update on implementation six months after publication.

All G-Cloud suppliers must publicly show their security certifications, standards and approach to personnel security on the Digital Marketplace. Suppliers must also maintain physical and IT security that follows good industry practice to ensure there is no unauthorised access to any confidential information and data. Along with this, suppliers must inform Crown Commercial Service of any data breaches within 48 hours and Crown Commercial Service has the power to undertake security audits of suppliers.

Transforming Government Procurement will make it easier to take into account issues relating to workplace rights and protections through aligning the value for money definition with that of the Green Book, and removing in certain circumstances the need for wider policy considerations to be linked to the subject matter of the contract.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to provide large-type accessible postal ballots for people who are partially sighted for the elections in May.

Whilst large print ballot papers can be provided for information, it is not possible for large print ballot papers to be voted on and submitted to the count as this could make it possible to identify who the ballot paper belonged to and thus undermine the secrecy of the ballot. If electors require documents in accessible formats they should contact their local electoral services office.


The Government is committed to ensuring that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote and is working with the RNIB to consider options to improve the voting process for blind and partially sighted people.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reversing the requirements for UK small businesses that only sell their products within the UK to have an EU address on products for goods that will subsequently be sold within Northern Ireland.

There is no requirement for an EU Member State address for any goods to be sold in Northern Ireland. Where rules applied by the Protocol mean that manufactured goods must be labelled with importer information in addition to manufacturer details, the relevant address may be either in Northern Ireland or the EU.

In the case of food labelling, specifically the requirement for a food operator address, a proportionate and risk-based enforcement approach is in any case being implemented to support businesses. Full guidance on the specific rules that apply in each case is available on gov.uk.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress his Department has made on guaranteeing interviews for veterans applying to the civil service; and what the timeframe is for the roll-out of the pilot scheme for that policy.

As part of the Government’s commitment to making the Civil Service a Great Place to Work for Veterans any veteran applying for a Civil Service post will be interviewed, as long as they meet the minimum criteria for the role. Veterans can already apply to Civil Service roles and the addition of this scheme will further open up a broad range of exciting opportunities in the Civil Service, alongside existing schemes such as the Going Forward Into Employment Programme, and make it easier for the Civil Service to benefit from the talents and skills that veterans have to offer. We are committed to rolling out the pilot for this new scheme as soon as we can. Further details will be announced in the usual way.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure adequate Parliamentary scrutiny of the future trading relationship with the EU.

Further to the comments I made during the debate on the EU-UK’s Partnership in the House on 4 June 2020, this Government is determined to give Parliament appropriate opportunity for scrutiny.

On 27 February the Government laid a Command Paper before Parliament setting out its approach to negotiations. On 19 May the Government published 12 draft legal texts which represent the legal articulation of the document published on 27 February and which have been used in discussions with the EU.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has appeared before the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union three times since negotiations began.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions the Government has had with the EU on extending the transition period in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave to PQ 28064 on 11 March 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many meetings he has held or attended to discuss the potential merits of introducing a scheme to replace the Green Homes Grant scheme since applications to that scheme have closed; and with whom those meetings were with.

Details of meetings held by Ministers in the Department are published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the threats posed by the climate emergency following the extreme weather events in (a) the UK, (b) Germany and (c) China.

Recent global weather and climate extremes observed in the UK, Germany and China are consistent with expectations from climate research that we will see increases in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events. This is being borne out by observations; the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the Physical Science Basis of Climate Change says, “the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events have increased since the 1950s over most land area for which observational data are sufficient for trend analysis (high confidence), and human-induced climate change is likely the main driver.”

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research.

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) receives its core funding from the MRC and BBSRC which are part of UK Research and Innovation. Core funding is reviewed every five years as part of the assessment of the impact of the NC3Rs and the quality of its work. The review includes robust international peer review and assessment by an independent expert committee.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether she plans to (a) review and (b) decrease the use of (i) rats and (ii) other live animals in testing procedures.

In the UK, the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 regulates the use of animals in science and the regulator only authorises the use of animals in science where there are no alternatives and only to the minimum degree needed to meet the scientific research objectives and gain the benefit from the research.

The Government is committed to supporting the development of new approaches and technologies such as computer models and complex cell cultures that reduce the use of laboratory animals. This is primarily delivered by the NC3Rs which has made awards of over £100M for research and innovation to find alternatives which either replace or reduce the use of animals or improve their welfare.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps she has taken to reduce the use of dogs for research purposes.

The NC3Rs has recently launched a £2.6 million call for the development of a virtual dog for assessing the safety of new medicines during drug development. The call is part of the NC3Rs CRACK IT Challenges competition and aims to build virtual canine tissues and organs using advanced computational and mathematical modelling approaches, ultimately to help replace the use of dogs. The Challenge builds on an international project led by the NC3Rs that has demonstrated that there are opportunities to use one rather than the standard two species for some studies in drug development.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the national shortages of building materials reported by the Construction Leadership Council in May 2021, what steps he is taking to help ensure that (a) micro, (b) small and (c) medium-sized construction firms continue to have access to building materials.

The Government is aware that a range of building materials are in short supply nationally. This is driven by demand and increased global competition to secure supplies.

In light of this, and in view of more local disruptions in the supply of some products, the Construction Leadership Council’s Coronavirus Task Force has established a Product Availability Working Group, comprised of product manufacturers, builders’ merchants and suppliers, contractors of all sizes, and housebuilders. The Task Force continues to monitor the supply and demand of products, and identify those in short supply.

The Task Force also issues regular statements on product availability. The Task Force has set out that where products are in short supply, any allocation systems should be as transparent as possible so that all customers can be seen to be treated fairly. Additionally, the Task Force has emphasised the importance of good forward-planning and clear communication within the industry. The Task Force has also recommended that where relevant, production for major projects should not be seen to adversely affect volumes available for smaller, regular customers.

The product availability statements also include detailed updates on the availability of specific products in affected material areas in order to keep the market informed. These can be accessed at: https://www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk/.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has not made an assessment of the potential effect of the current shortage of building materials on the Government’s ability to fulfil its commitment to upgrade as many homes as possible to EPC Band C by 2035.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to (a) phase out the subsidies for electricity companies that burn wood from cutting down forests and (b) increase subsidies for the production of electricity from solar and wind power.

This Government has a long tradition of supporting clean electricity, and we have announced ambitious plans to support up to 12GW capacity of renewable electricity in the next allocation round of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, which would be double what was secured in the previous round.

The Government announced in March 2020 that solar projects, onshore wind, floating wind and remote island wind will be able to bid for contracts in the next CfD allocation round, which is planned to open in December this year. The scheme has already awarded contracts to around 800MW of onshore wind and solar capacity combined, alongside 13GW of offshore wind.

We recently announced that coal-to-biomass conversions will be excluded from future CfD allocation rounds. This means there will be no new coal-to-biomass conversions under the scheme. We have no plans to remove support for biomass conversions prior to 2027 for generating stations that are already supported under the Renewables Obligation and CfD schemes.

In the Government’s response to the Climate Change Committee’s annual progress report to Parliament, we announced that we will publish a new Biomass Strategy in 2022. This strategy will review what amount of sustainable biomass could be available to the UK and how this resource could be best utilised across the economy to help eliminate the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.

Sustainable Biomass is a renewable organic material, such as food waste, wood residues or other plant material which has a wide array of applications including as a substitute for fossil-fuel based energy production, but with lower associated carbon emissions because the carbon that is released from the organic material was sequestered recently from the atmosphere, compared to fossil fuels where the carbon was sequestered millions of years ago.

The UK only supports biomass which complies with strict sustainability criteria which take into account a range of social, economic, and environmental issues including protecting biodiversity, land use rights, sustainable harvesting, and regeneration rates. They ensure that the carbon stock of the forest from which the pellets are derived is not decreased, by requiring that biomass fuels are from forest waste wood and residues and the forest owner adheres to the relevant legal requirements, to protect biodiversity and the environment.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what will replace the Green Homes Grant scheme.

Following a review, the Green Homes Grant Vouchers scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021. We will refocus efforts and funding on alternative approaches which will maximise delivery of home retrofits for consumers who are most in need.

The Government will be expanding its funding commitment in financial year 21/22 for both the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and the Local Authority Delivery element of the Green Homes Grant scheme with £300 million of new funding and up to £100 million of recycled funding from the Green Homes Grant Vouchers, depending on take up.

All valid applications made to the voucher scheme up to 31st March 2021 will be processed, and all vouchers issued will be honoured.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who will deliver the planned training courses advising business and organisations on how to submit an honours nomination.

The Department wants to raise awareness of the honours process to encourage the nomination of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to public life and to our economic future. We do not provide a training course on how to submit an honours nomination.

Prior to the publication of an honours list the Department will write to stakeholders known to BEIS inviting them to consider nominating individuals who they think are worthy of recognition and, where appropriate, to encourage their members to consider nominations.

Several hundred stakeholders are contacted including businesses, business representatives, employee representatives, academics, science and technology representatives and charities. Our aim is to ensure that the honours system reflects our diverse society and is a source of inspiration to others. The stakeholders who receive a letter are representative of a wide range of sectors, fields, and communities from across the UK.

In order to support our awareness raising effort, Cabinet Office and BEIS officials will host three webinars on 29th and 31st March. The webinars will provide a brief overview of the honours system, provide an opportunity to hear from recipients of honours and cover the guidance about how to write a nomination that can be found at: www.gov.uk/honours.

The webinars are open to anyone and people wanting to attend can register on the Eventbrite internet page by searching ‘honours’. The same material will be covered at each webinar.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will set out the content of the training courses advising businesses and organisations on how submit an honours nomination.

The Department wants to raise awareness of the honours process to encourage the nomination of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to public life and to our economic future. We do not provide a training course on how to submit an honours nomination.

Prior to the publication of an honours list the Department will write to stakeholders known to BEIS inviting them to consider nominating individuals who they think are worthy of recognition and, where appropriate, to encourage their members to consider nominations.

Several hundred stakeholders are contacted including businesses, business representatives, employee representatives, academics, science and technology representatives and charities. Our aim is to ensure that the honours system reflects our diverse society and is a source of inspiration to others. The stakeholders who receive a letter are representative of a wide range of sectors, fields, and communities from across the UK.

In order to support our awareness raising effort, Cabinet Office and BEIS officials will host three webinars on 29th and 31st March. The webinars will provide a brief overview of the honours system, provide an opportunity to hear from recipients of honours and cover the guidance about how to write a nomination that can be found at: www.gov.uk/honours.

The webinars are open to anyone and people wanting to attend can register on the Eventbrite internet page by searching ‘honours’. The same material will be covered at each webinar.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria were used to select the businesses and organisations that were contacted with the opportunity to attend training courses on submitting an honours nomination.

The Department wants to raise awareness of the honours process to encourage the nomination of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to public life and to our economic future. We do not provide a training course on how to submit an honours nomination.

Prior to the publication of an honours list the Department will write to stakeholders known to BEIS inviting them to consider nominating individuals who they think are worthy of recognition and, where appropriate, to encourage their members to consider nominations.

Several hundred stakeholders are contacted including businesses, business representatives, employee representatives, academics, science and technology representatives and charities. Our aim is to ensure that the honours system reflects our diverse society and is a source of inspiration to others. The stakeholders who receive a letter are representative of a wide range of sectors, fields, and communities from across the UK.

In order to support our awareness raising effort, Cabinet Office and BEIS officials will host three webinars on 29th and 31st March. The webinars will provide a brief overview of the honours system, provide an opportunity to hear from recipients of honours and cover the guidance about how to write a nomination that can be found at: www.gov.uk/honours.

The webinars are open to anyone and people wanting to attend can register on the Eventbrite internet page by searching ‘honours’. The same material will be covered at each webinar.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a list of businesses and organisations that have been contacted by his Department with the opportunity to attend training courses on how to submit an honours nomination.

The Department wants to raise awareness of the honours process to encourage the nomination of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to public life and to our economic future. We do not provide a training course on how to submit an honours nomination.

Prior to the publication of an honours list the Department will write to stakeholders known to BEIS inviting them to consider nominating individuals who they think are worthy of recognition and, where appropriate, to encourage their members to consider nominations.

Several hundred stakeholders are contacted including businesses, business representatives, employee representatives, academics, science and technology representatives and charities. Our aim is to ensure that the honours system reflects our diverse society and is a source of inspiration to others. The stakeholders who receive a letter are representative of a wide range of sectors, fields, and communities from across the UK.

In order to support our awareness raising effort, Cabinet Office and BEIS officials will host three webinars on 29th and 31st March. The webinars will provide a brief overview of the honours system, provide an opportunity to hear from recipients of honours and cover the guidance about how to write a nomination that can be found at: www.gov.uk/honours.

The webinars are open to anyone and people wanting to attend can register on the Eventbrite internet page by searching ‘honours’. The same material will be covered at each webinar.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to classify scrubs as personal protective equipment.

Scrubs such as those for use in health care environments do not fall within the definition of personal protective equipment (PPE) set out in the PPE Regulation 2016/425. There are no plans to change the scope of products which fall in the definition. Scrubs are designed to promote a hygienic environment for patients and have not been manufactured to meet the essential health and safety requirements necessary for PPE. Guidance for PPE within the health and care settings can be found within the UK Infection Prevention and Control guidance which is agreed by the UK’s four chief Medical and Nursing Officers and is published by Public Health England.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of requiring the country of origin to be displayed on (a) textiles and (b) other consumer goods.

Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, traders are banned from using misleading statements about the geographical or commercial origin of products including in response to requests for information by consumers. Aside from certain specified products such as food there is no requirement for goods to be labelled with their country of origin. The Government does not have plans to introduce such a requirement.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many applications for Green Homes Vouchers have been (a) received and (b) successful; and what the financial value is of those successful vouchers in the 2020-21 financial year.

As of 8th February, 71,953 applications have been received for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme, with 22,165 vouchers having been issued to customers. The value of these vouchers is currently £94.1 million.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing dry cleaners, which are currently classed as essential retail, to access a wider range of support funds in response to a loss of income resulting from the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The Government continues to offer an unprecedented support package for business including loan schemes, grant funding, tax deferrals, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all of which have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

Local authorities have been allocated a further £500m in discretionary funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant to support those businesses that are significantly impacted by the restrictions even though they may not be required to close. This is in addition to £1.1bn already allocated in November 2020. Local authorities have discretion to use this funding to support businesses in the way they see fit. For example, this could include supporting businesses such as dry cleaners or those which supply the retail sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he is offering to businesses that have been allowed to remain open but suffered a significant loss in income due to reduced trade and footfall during the covid-19 outbreak.

Local Authorities have been provided with funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). The ARG is a discretionary scheme aimed to support 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.

During the period of localised restrictions, Local Authorities were provided with similar discretionary funding via the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) when entering Tier 2 (High) or Tier 3 (Very High) restrictions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will enable open air car wash businesses which operate safely to remain open during the covid-19 outbreak.

Only automated car washes can operate during the current National lockdown restrictions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will temporarily suspend the requirement of a 14-day refund period stipulated in travel packages regulations for small travel companies unable to process refunds.

The Government has no plans to suspend consumers’ right to a refund within 14 days for package holidays. The Government recognises the challenges some businesses are experiencing in processing refunds for cancelled travel arrangements, andtravel businesses are encouraged to utilise the generous and comprehensive financial support packages put in place by the Government to help minimise the disruption caused by COVID-19, which includes two business interruption loan guarantee schemes, grant funding, tax deferrals and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Many travel businesses are already offering consumers credit notes or alternative dates, which consumers are able accept if they choose to. However, the Government has always been clear that consumers must be offered a genuine choice between a refund or a credit note and be able to choose a refund if that is their preference.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will suspend Sunday trading hours and extend them in December 2020 to allow for social distancing during the Christmas shopping rush on the limited number of Sundays between the end of lockdown and Christmas.

The Government has regular conversations with the retail sector and other key stakeholders,?and many have advocated a temporary change to?Sunday trading rules to?help manage social distancing.? We currently have no plans to change the legislation,?but?we will keep measures like this under review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the eligibility for the Green Homes Grant to all homes without wall or floor insulation.

The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme is open to owner occupiers, park homeowners and landlords who let privately or through the social rented sector. Solid wall, cavity wall and under floor insulation are all eligible for grant funding as primary measures, although the suitability of each type of insulation will vary by property.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether (a) lettings agents and (b) other independent businesses, required by covid-19 guidance to restrict activity, that are in shared access premises qualify for the Retail and Hospitality grant if they pay business rates and meet the relevant thresholds.

Businesses in England that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on 11 March?with?a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the following cash grants per property via the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund:

  • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to?and including?£15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
  • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Only businesses with their own assessment for business rates and eligible for the Expanded Retail Discount, with a rateable value below £51,000, will be eligible for the grant. Businesses which are not ratepayers are not eligible.

We understand for some shared space/service offices, individual users do have their own rating assessment and may be eligible. In these cases we encourage landlords to support local government in ensuring the grant reaches eligible ratepayers.

In addition, on?1 May,?the Government announced that up to £617 million has been made available to local authorities?in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. The?Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that are not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has established a second wave business support plan to prepare for a potential second wave of covid-19 (a) infections and (b) lockdowns.

The Department is working with the Department of Health and Social Care and Joint Biosecurity Centre to monitor Covid-19 incidence rates and the need for local responses.

We have pressed for a smarter, more targeted approach to local lockdowns to help reduce business impacts, including shaping the new, targeted regulations that allow local authorities to avoid widespread business closures.

We will take decisions on further business support for local lockdowns on the basis of evidence of need, recognising that the Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the feasibility of enabling beauty salons that have adequate (a) safety measures and (b) personal protective equipment to re-open as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We have now provided close contact services – like beauty salons – in England, except Leicester, with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues on a number of issues.

As the largest Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending department after the Department for International Development (DfID), the Department works very closely with DfID on delivery of its ODA programmes.

The Secretary of State recently met with Lord Goldsmith to discuss linkages between his Department, DfID, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs regarding ODA spending on climate policy.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend the Coronavirus Small Business Grant scheme to all active businesses, including (a) limited companies and (b) sole traders registered with HMRC who are not eligible for business rates relief.

The two existing business grants schemes have helped support many thousands of small businesses. In order to ensure that Local Authorities can help businesses that are not eligible for the grant schemes, the Government has allocated an additional £617 million funding to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants.

The following businesses should be considered as a priority for these funds:

· Businesses in a range of shared workspaces;

· Regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment;

· B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and

· Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to prevent panic buying.

The UK is well prepared for this type of outbreak; we are taking all necessary precautions to protect the public, such as engaging with industry and businesses to discuss their preparedness planning. We will continue to work closely with sectors, companies, and business representative organisations to ensure we are fully aware of the issues and how to best provide support.

In order to help the industry respond to Covid-19, we will work with local authorities to extend delivery hours for supermarkets and other food retailers. This will allow retailers to increase the frequency of their deliveries and move stock quickly from warehouses to shelves.

The Government has also announced a temporary relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland, and Wales. This extends to drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of food, non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning), and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Additionally, we have announced a temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours, allowing delivery drivers to work the hours needed to meet the demand for home deliveries.

The Government has also announced the temporary relaxation of elements of competition law to allow supermarkets and retailers to work together. Legislation is being laid to amend elements of the Competition Act 1998, which prevents certain types of anti-competitive behaviour.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the insurance sector on extending compensation for individuals affected by covid-19-related cancellations not covered by their insurance policy.

The Government is well prepared for this type of outbreak. We will continue to take all necessary precautions, such as engaging with key industry partners and employer organisations, to understand the potential effect of Covid-19 on workers and to discuss their preparedness planning. The Secretary of State is frequently communicating with Business Representative Organisations and businesses, including the Association of British Insurers, to gain intelligence on Covid-19’s impacts and share the latest guidance and information with them.

On 17 March, the Government announced unprecedented support for businesses and workers to protect against the economic emergency caused by Covid-19. This includes unlimited loans and guarantees to support firms and help them manage their cashflows through this period. The Government will also make an initial £330 billion of guarantees available – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with multi-national corporations on their role in reducing carbon emissions.

We are committed to delivering on our world-leading target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050. The UK was the first major economy to legislate for a net zero target, which will end our contribution to climate change.

With our expert scientists, business leaders and innovators, the UK has already excelled at cutting emissions while creating wealth and we will continue to engage with domestic and international businesses of all sizes to look at opportunities to reduce their carbon emissions and also invest in and develop low carbon technologies, services and systems.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will reintroduce subsidies for home solar panel installation.

The cost of household solar panels has more than halved since 2011. Government support through the Feed-in Tariff between 2010 and 2019 supported over 830,000 small solar projects – and helped drive this reduction in cost.

Now, under the Smart Export Guarantee, we have given scale low-carbon electricity generators, such as?homes with?solar?panels, the right to?be paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid. This reflects our continued commitment to ensuring that low carbon electricity – whether at the household level or the national level –?is?central to the?transition to?the?smart?and flexible?energy systems of the future. Unlike the previous Feed-in Tariff scheme, the Smart Export Guarantee is a market-driven mechanism and paves the way to projects being deployed without subsidies.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will bring forward proposals to strengthen age verification for legal pornography in the Online Safety Bill.

The strongest protections in the draft Online Safety Bill, published in May 2021, are for children. Where pornography sites host user generated content or facilitate online user interactions (including video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming), they will be in scope of the Online Safety Bill.

The online safety regime will capture the most visited pornography sites, social media platforms, video-sharing sites, forums and via image or video search engines. Companies will be required to protect children from harmful content such as online pornography, or face enforcement action by the regulator, which could include significant fines or, in the most egregious cases, Ofcom can apply for access to be restricted in the UK.

The Government recognises the concerns that have been raised about protecting children from online pornography on services which do not currently fall within the scope of the Bill. The Government will use the draft Bill’s pre-legislative scrutiny to explore ways to provide wider protections for children from online pornography, including on sites that do not fall within scope of the duty of care.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to celebrate the recent achievements of the England football team.

The England team enjoyed a magnificent run in Euro 2020 and I once again pass on my huge congratulations to the team for their work on and off the pitch.

We continue to work closely with the FA on ensuring their players get the appropriate recognition, and recognise that they are already focused on qualification for the Qatar World Cup next year.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2021
What plans he has to help charities to support the recovery of the civil society sector from the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government has provided a multi-billion-pound package of support for Britain's charities to continue their vital work and mitigate the risks created by the pandemic.

Charities continue to benefit from the extension of cross-economy support, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We continue to monitor sector health closely. Government is working with charity sector representatives to shape a future programme of work to support a strong and resilient charity sector.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with (a) social media, (b) gaming and (c) e-sports companies on cross-platform online harms risks; and what plans he has to tackle those risks in the proposed online safety Bill.

We have published the interim codes alongside the full government response to the Online Harms White Paper to provide companies with our expectations of what they should be doing to address Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and terrorist content. The interim codes are voluntary and will enable companies to take swift action in tackling the most serious of online harms before the regulator is established.

We engaged extensively with industry stakeholders, civil society organisations and non-government organisations in the development of the interim codes.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders on a variety of issues, including cross-platform online harms risks. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website. The Online Safety Bill, which will be ready this year, will require all in scope companies to put in place systems and processes to keep their users safe.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with (a) gaming companies, (b) e-sports companies and (c) gaming ancillary chat platforms on (i) online harms and (ii) those companies' plans to improve (A) user safety and (B) child protection in line with the Interim Codes of Practice on online safety, published on 15 December 2020; and if he will make a statement.

We have published the interim codes alongside the full government response to the Online Harms White Paper to provide companies with our expectations of what they should be doing to address Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and terrorist content. The interim codes are voluntary and will enable companies to take swift action in tackling the most serious of online harms before the regulator is established.

We engaged extensively with industry stakeholders, civil society organisations and non-government organisations in the development of the interim codes.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with a wide range of stakeholders on a variety of issues, including cross-platform online harms risks. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website. The Online Safety Bill, which will be ready this year, will require all in scope companies to put in place systems and processes to keep their users safe.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the health risks of allowing tennis courts and golf clubs to re-open during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

Sports and physical activity are crucial for our mental and physical health and I recognise golf and tennis are a popular choice for many to get active.

Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister has said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. This is something we cannot allow to happen and is why the current national lockdown was introduced.

The current restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions and in order for these measures to have the greatest impact, we will all need to sacrifice doing some things that we would otherwise like to do, for a short period of time. These regulations were voted on by the House on 6 January and are expected to last until the situation in hospitals improves.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 14th December 2020 to Question 127515, what additional funding allocations he plans to make available for cinemas seeking financial relief as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises the significant cultural and economic value of cinemas, and has supported them through both sector-specific and economy-wide measures. In the first round of the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, more than 200 independent cinemas have so far received funding from a £30m pot. This funding was administered by the BFI on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, as part of the biggest ever single investment in this country’s cultural sectors.

Grants have been awarded to cinema sites in every corner of the country, with cinemas outside London benefitting from 78% of funding to date. Further to this, we announced in December that cinemas will be able to apply for another £14 million in grants as part of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund in 2021. This will support cinemas as they transition back to a viable and sustainable way of operating in the months ahead. Cinemas have also been eligible to apply to the second round of Arts Council England’s Repayable Finance scheme, with a total of £100m available.

Cinemas have been able to benefit from the further extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until 30 April 2021, which sees employees receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. In addition, the government has supported cinemas through the VAT cut on tickets and concessions and a business rates holiday. In light of recent tightening in restrictions, businesses in England that are forced to close will receive up to £3,000 for each 28 day period affected. We have also recently announced that businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors can apply for a one-off grant worth up to £9,000 per property.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to make a decision on the timescale for SportCheer England to be granted approval on its Return to Play guidance document.

SportCheer England's Return to Play guidance was approved in October 2020 and they are on the list of approved governing bodies on the GOV.UK team sport guidance page.

However, the virus is spreading rapidly and incidence rates are rising across the country which is why we have taken decisive action to protect the NHS. Under the current national restrictions, which were introduced on Monday 4 January 2021, grassroots sport cannot take place. Outdoor exercise within households, or with one other person is permitted so people can continue to stay active together safely. We will make grassroots sports' return an immediate priority as soon as it is possible to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what targeted support the Government is providing to the events and exhibitions sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Events businesses have been able to access a number of the Government’s support measures throughout this period. In the context of new national restrictions, events businesses and individuals can continue to seek support in the form of various government-backed loans, new business grants and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes. The recently announced discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant guidance for Local Authorities specifically refers to businesses in the events sector.

We are engaging with stakeholders, including through the Tourism Industry Council and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to assess how we can best support the sector’s safe reopening. The business events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will provide a timetable for the resumption of conferences and exhibitions.

We are aware that many in the sector support the notion of publishing a timetable for reopening conferences and exhibitions.

We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Tourism Industry Council and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to assess how we can best support the sector’s safe reopening. The business events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

We also recognise that the new national restrictions will have a significant impact on jobs and the economy, as well as on mental health and wellbeing. We’ve confirmed that there will be an extensive package of financial support in place, including the extension of various government-backed loans, new business grants and the extended furlough and self-employed support schemes.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether outdoor tennis played by people from (a) one household or (b) different households respecting social distancing guidelines is possible during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

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

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

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

People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise and recreation outdoors, with their household or alone, or with one person from another household or support bubble.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling amateur music groups to resume rehearsals and performances during the covid-19 outbreak.

In Medium Local Covid Alert Level areas (Tier 1) it is against the law to gather in groups of more than 6, unless everyone is from the same household and support bubble. In High (Tier 2) and Very High (Tier 3) areas, it is against the law to gather indoors in groups which do not consist only of the same household and support bubble. A number of exemptions apply. For example, some activities - such as those organised for under-18s including education or training supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities - are exempt.

In addition, in a COVID-secure venue or public outdoor place, non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between separate and distinct groups of no more than 6 (In Medium areas and outdoors) or individual households (in High and Very High areas) at any time (depending on Local Covid Alert Level restrictions). If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups (depending on Local Covid Alert Level restrictions) - including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising - then such non-professional activity should not take place. Local Covid Alert Level guidance (Medium, High, Very High) provides details on group size.

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

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the planned timescale is for allowing (a) conferences and (b) exhibitions to be held during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise the events industry’s disappointment at the delayed reopening of large business conferences and exhibitions.

We have always been clear that our roadmap to recovery is dependent on continued progress against the virus. Due to the sharp rise in cases over recent weeks, we needed to pause the planned 1st October reopening of business conferences and exhibitions.

Meetings of up to 30 for training, education and work purposes can still take place in permitted venues, as per the Covid-19 Secure guidance for the visitor economy. Since 11 July, a range of outdoor events have been able to take place, although again this is subject to COVID-secure guidelines.

We are also aware that many in the sector support the notion of a publishing a timescale for reopening events. We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to assess how we can best support the sector’s safe reopening. The business events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what financial support he is providing to the events and exhibitions sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

We also recognise that the new national restrictions will have a significant impact on jobs and the economy, as well as on mental health and wellbeing. We’ve confirmed that there will be a full package of financial support in place, with the Job Retention Scheme extended for this period of lockdown. Businesses can continue to apply for government-backed loans, and self-employed individuals can access the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

We continue to engage with stakeholders, including through the Tourism Industry Council and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to monitor the situation facing the sector. The business events pilots we carried out in September will ensure that the correct advice and guidance is put in place to help larger events reopen when it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to permit the reopening of (a) small tuition and (b) therapy swimming pools as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and whether the reopening of those pools will be earlier than the reopening of larger leisure centre swimming pools.

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

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

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether dance studios can reopen for educational activities for school children if they adhere to the same covid-19 social distancing measures as schools.

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

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

Providers who offer indoor sports activities for children should refer to the guidance for Keeping workers / volunteers and customers safe during COVID-19 for providers of grassroots sports and gym / leisure facilities. As announced on the 9 July, indoor gyms, sports courts and fitness and dance studios will be able to reopen from 25 July. They cannot be used for holiday clubs and activities for children until that point.

Sports activities that would typically take place in a gym, sports venue, or a fitness or dancing studio are permitted to take place in any venue legally able to open, such as an indoor community facility, subject to DfE guidance on protective measures being followed.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

I have regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues on the full range of our international activity, including through Official Development Assistance (ODA). My Department supports international development through excellent ODA projects such as our Cultural Protection Fund and the International Tech Hubs programme. I welcome the creation of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and will continue to work closely with Ministerial colleagues to promote the UK's interests around the world.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with broadband providers on ensuring service reliability whilst social distancing is being advised.

The industry has well established business continuity arrangements to ensure that the sector remains resilient. DCMS is working with the industry and Ofcom to closely monitor such arrangements.

28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to independently regulate the media.

Ofcom is the independent regulator of television and radio, which sets rules for licensed broadcasters to meet under the Communications Act 2003 and Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996. The Government will continue to ensure that Ofcom has the right balance of tools and powers to effectively regulate broadcasters.

There exists an independent self-regulatory system for the press. The majority of traditional news publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of IPSO. A small number of publishers have joined Impress, while others have chosen to stay outside either self-regulator with their own detailed self-regulatory arrangements.

We have recently published an initial government response to the public consultation on last year’s Online Harms White Paper. Our plans for legislation will make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online, especially children, and will help build trust in digital markets. Online Harms proposals do not seek to regulate journalistic content. Full details about an exemption for journalistic content will be published in the full Government Response to the Online Harms Consultation later this year.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will review early years funding before the Comprehensive Spending Review.

We keep early years funding and market sufficiency under regular observation and review.

We are making our usual preparations for the imminent Spending Review, which will conclude the government’s funding for 2022 to 2023 and beyond.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether any of his Ministers plan to visit (a) schools, (b) nurseries or (c) colleges in the Putney constituency in the next six months.

Currently there are no plans for any ministers to visit schools, nurseries, or colleges in the Putney constituency in the next six months.

The Department is keen for providers to continue to focus on delivering education for children and young people.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it has been difficult for the Department to plan visits too far ahead. The Department will review visiting opportunities as COVID-19 restrictions are eased further.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to provide clear facemasks to enable lip reading for deaf children in schools during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 10 May, the Department published updated guidance for schools, which included updated advice on face coverings in line with step 3 of the roadmap. The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, based on the current state of the COVID-19 outbreak and the positive progress being made, it is no longer necessary to recommend the additional precautionary face coverings measures put in place from 8 March.

From 17 May, in line with step 3 of the roadmap, face coverings will no longer be recommended for pupils in classrooms or communal areas in schools. Face coverings will also no longer be recommended for staff in classrooms. This is supported by Public Health England.

In all schools the Department continues to recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible.

The reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students or staff may be advised for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks, including variants of concern. In all cases, any educational drawbacks should be balanced with the benefits of managing transmission. The Local Action Committee structure (bronze/silver/gold) should be used in such circumstances to re-introduce the use of face coverings. Immediate outbreak response (at the level of individual settings or a cluster of settings) remains for local directors of public health to advise on.

Where face coverings are recommended, our guidance remains that some individuals, including those who rely on visual signals for communication and those who communicate with or provide support to those who do, are exempt from wearing face coverings and the Department expects staff and pupils to be sensitive to those needs.

Where our guidance recommends face coverings, transparent face coverings can also be worn. Transparent face coverings may be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. However, the evidence to support this is currently very limited. Face coverings (whether transparent or cloth) should fit securely around the face to cover the nose and mouth and be made with a breathable material capable of filtering airborne particles.

The main benefit from a transparent face covering is that they can aid communication, for example enabling lip-reading or allowing for the full visibility of facial expressions, but this must be considered alongside the comfort and breathability of a face covering that contains plastic, which may mean that the face covering is less breathable than layers of cloth.

Schools have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils and students to support them to access education successfully. The Department has made this point clear in guidance.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, from what date university students will be able to return to campus and resume in-person teaching as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

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

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

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

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing a covid-19 recovery plan for disabled children and their families.

We are committed to helping all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to make up learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have plans for COVID-19 recovery, which we are continuing to develop. As part of this, both special schools and alternative provision (AP) settings will be able to access funding to provide summer schools and the National Tutoring Programme, and we recognise the additional costs associated with offering provision to pupils in specialist settings. This means that eligible pupils in special schools, special units in mainstream primary and secondary schools and AP settings will attract a higher rate of the new one-off Recovery Premium funding worth £302 million, as well as funding for summer schools. We have consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings in our Recovery Premiums to schools by providing additional uplifts both in 2020 and in 2021.

Young people with SEND aged 19 to 24 who have an education, health and care plan will be eligible for support via the 16 to 19 tuition fund, where they meet the fund criteria. Providers are asked to have regard to the needs of students with SEND when prioritising students that would benefit most for small group tuition. Furthermore, the proposals to support early language and literacy catch-up will benefit all children, including those with SEND.

£200 million will be available to all secondary schools, including specialist settings, to deliver face-to-face summer schools. Schools will be able to target provision based on pupils’ needs. The size and shape of the summer schools will be decided by school leaders who know best what a most effective summer school will look like for their pupils, allowing them to tailor support for pupils, including those with SEND.

Sir Kevan Collins has also been appointed as the Education Recovery Commissioner. He is considering how schools and the system can more effectively target resources and support at pupils in greatest need.

The department will continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent COVID-19 recovery plans on all pupils, including those with SEND, to ensure that it targets support across the system most effectively.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether there is an exemptions from the requirement for children to attend school if they live with a parent who is clinically extremely vulnerable who is shielding during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is important that children attend school for their education, well-being, mental health and long-term development. School attendance is mandatory and children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable should still attend school. This position is informed by the latest medical evidence and has been agreed with the Deputy Chief Medical Officer.

The Department has asked schools to continue to implement a range of protective measures to ensure they are as safe as possible. Regular testing of children in schools will further reduce the risk of transmission. Most clinically extremely vulnerable adults will now have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Where parents are anxious about their child's attendance, they should speak to their child's school about their concerns and discuss the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk. They should also discuss other measures that can be put in place to ensure that their children can regularly attend school.

As usual, schools are also able, in exceptional circumstances, to grant leaves of absence to pupils. Schools should consider applications for leaves of absence from parents on an individual basis, taking into account the specific facts and circumstances, and the relevant background context behind the request. Where leave is granted, we would expect this to be for a limited period of time and reviewed on a regular basis.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many universities have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism; and what action is being taken against those universities that have not adopted that definition.

The government has asked all English higher education providers registered with the Office for Students (OfS) to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The IHRA definition is an important tool in tackling antisemitism. Adopting this widely recognised definition sends a strong signal that higher education providers take these issues seriously. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to higher education leaders, most recently in October 2020, to reiterate the importance of the definition and to urge all providers to consider adopting it.

The government is pleased to report that at least 91 providers have now adopted the definition, with many more preparing to adopt. The decision on adoption of the definition rests with individual providers, but the government will continue to urge them to adopt the definition, and ensure that higher education is a genuinely fulfilling and welcoming experience for everyone.

I am proud that so many providers have taken a positive step towards eradicating antisemitism by adopting the IHRA definition, but further progress is still needed to stamp it out. This is why, in the Secretary of State’s most recent strategic guidance letter to the OfS, the government asked the OfS to undertake a scoping exercise, to identify providers which are reluctant to adopt the definition. The letter asked them to consider introducing mandatory reporting of antisemitic incident numbers by providers, with the aim of ensuring a robust evidence base, which the OfS can then use to effectively regulate in this area.

The Secretary of State also asked the OfS to ensure that, if antisemitic incidents do occur at a provider, they should consider if it is relevant in a particular case whether the provider has adopted the IHRA definition when considering what sanctions, including monetary penalties, would be appropriate to apply.

We will continue to work across government to ensure that racism and religious hatred of any kind is not tolerated anywhere, including in our world-leading universities.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether safeguarding measures have been implemented for pupils returning from international boarding school who have been required to quarantine in hotels during the covid-19 lockdown.

Arrangements for the quarantine of international boarders attending schools in England should be in place before boarding school pupils travel. Pupils can serve their quarantine within their boarding school (although different arrangements apply depending on whether they have travelled from a ‘red list’ country or not). Boarding school pupils have been able to return to the UK early so that they could serve the required quarantine period before school started on 8 March 2021.

Arrangement for boarders arriving from non-red list countries are laid out in the schools’ COVID-19 operational guidance published by the Department. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

Arrangements for boarders that meet the relevant UK entry requirements and will arrive from ‘red list’ countries (or having travelled through a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days prior to arrival) must be in line with the guidance available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarantine-arrangements-for-boarding-school-students-from-red-list-countries.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether safeguarding measures have been considered and implemented for those returning international boarding school pupils made to quarantine in hotels.

Arrangements for the quarantine of international boarders attending schools in England should be in place before boarding school pupils travel. Pupils can serve their quarantine within their boarding school (although different arrangements apply depending on whether they have travelled from a ‘red list’ country or not). Boarding school pupils have been able to return to the UK early so that they could serve the required quarantine period before school started on 8 March 2021.

Arrangement for boarders arriving from non-red list countries are laid out in the schools’ COVID-19 operational guidance published by the Department. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

Arrangements for boarders that meet the relevant UK entry requirements and will arrive from ‘red list’ countries (or having travelled through a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days prior to arrival) must be in line with the guidance available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarantine-arrangements-for-boarding-school-students-from-red-list-countries.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of quarantining boarding school pupils who have returned from abroad in boarding accommodation that is operated by the school during the covid-19 lockdown.

Arrangements for the quarantine of international boarders attending schools in England should be in place before boarding school pupils travel. Pupils can serve their quarantine within their boarding school (although different arrangements apply depending on whether they have travelled from a ‘red list’ country or not). Boarding school pupils have been able to return to the UK early so that they could serve the required quarantine period before school started on 8 March 2021.

Arrangement for boarders arriving from non-red list countries are laid out in the schools’ COVID-19 operational guidance published by the Department. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

Arrangements for boarders that meet the relevant UK entry requirements and will arrive from ‘red list’ countries (or having travelled through a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days prior to arrival) must be in line with the guidance available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarantine-arrangements-for-boarding-school-students-from-red-list-countries.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking ensure the return of international boarders to boarding school during the covid-19 outbreak before 8 March 2021.

Arrangements for the quarantine of international boarders attending schools in England should be in place before boarding school pupils travel. Pupils can serve their quarantine within their boarding school (although different arrangements apply depending on whether they have travelled from a ‘red list’ country or not). Boarding school pupils have been able to return to the UK early so that they could serve the required quarantine period before school started on 8 March 2021.

Arrangement for boarders arriving from non-red list countries are laid out in the schools’ COVID-19 operational guidance published by the Department. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964351/Schools_coronavirus_operational_guidance.pdf.

Arrangements for boarders that meet the relevant UK entry requirements and will arrive from ‘red list’ countries (or having travelled through a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days prior to arrival) must be in line with the guidance available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarantine-arrangements-for-boarding-school-students-from-red-list-countries.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the total value of contracts awarded to Computacenter in 2020 was to help the Government’s response to covid-19.

The names of Department employees that have taken part in the procurement activities for the Get Help with Technology programme contracts, including Computacenter’s, cannot be shared due to General Data Protection Regulations. The Department can share the role titles of the individuals involved, which are the following: Commercial Lead, Commercial Practitioner, Associate Commercial Specialist, Commercial Deputy Director and Commercial Director. Representatives from the Get Help with Technology programme and legal advisors also supported discussions.

The total value of contracts and associated variations awarded to Computacenter in 2020 in response to COVID-19 activities is £229,133,959.90 excluding VAT.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the attendees at negotiations for the contracts awarded to Computacenter to help deliver the Government’s covid-19 response.

The names of Department employees that have taken part in the procurement activities for the Get Help with Technology programme contracts, including Computacenter’s, cannot be shared due to General Data Protection Regulations. The Department can share the role titles of the individuals involved, which are the following: Commercial Lead, Commercial Practitioner, Associate Commercial Specialist, Commercial Deputy Director and Commercial Director. Representatives from the Get Help with Technology programme and legal advisors also supported discussions.

The total value of contracts and associated variations awarded to Computacenter in 2020 in response to COVID-19 activities is £229,133,959.90 excluding VAT.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the value is of service credits applied to Computacenter Ltd’s contract for providing laptops for schoolchildren.

There have been multiple contracts let with Computacenter Ltd (amongst other suppliers) through the course of the Get Help with Technology Programme. Across these, the Department has not applied Service Credits to the supplier due to Service Levels being met and a high level of performance delivered.



2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the value is of service credits applied to Edenred’s contract for free school meal vouchers to date.

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 are held by the school, academy trust or the local authority. The department does not hold a contract with Chartwells UK or any food company for the provision of free school meals or 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, locally arranged vouchers, or the national voucher scheme.

Edenred are contracted to deliver the national voucher scheme. The department does not comment on the commercial arrangements of third parties but can confirm that we have only paid for the face value of goods delivered, in this case vouchers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what value of service credits has been applied to Chartwells’ contract to provide food hampers as free school meals.

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 are held by the school, academy trust or the local authority. The department does not hold a contract with Chartwells UK or any food company for the provision of free school meals or 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, locally arranged vouchers, or the national voucher scheme.

Edenred are contracted to deliver the national voucher scheme. The department does not comment on the commercial arrangements of third parties but can confirm that we have only paid for the face value of goods delivered, in this case vouchers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish the forthcoming review of children’s social care in England.

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

The terms of reference of the review are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952624/terms_of_reference_independent_childrens_social_care_review.pdf.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the forthcoming Children’s Social Care Review is planned to address racial disparities in adoption and fostering.

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

The terms of reference of the review are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952624/terms_of_reference_independent_childrens_social_care_review.pdf.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the International Baccalaureate organisation on exams due to take place in academic year 2020-21.

Ofqual, as the regulatory body for qualifications in England, is responsible for overseeing how individual awarding organisations award grades in qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to Ofqual on 13 January 2021, stating that the Department cannot guarantee that all students will be in a position to sit their exams fairly this summer and that alternative arrangements may be needed to award qualifications. The letter set out the Secretary of State for Education’s view that some other general qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate, which are similar to GCSEs and A levels, should be subject to similar alternative arrangements to those for GCSEs and A levels. The Department will be taking forward a consultation alongside Ofqual to consider these arrangements and how we can seek to ensure fairness for all students.

The letter is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/951797/Letter_from_Gavin_Williamson_to_Simon_Lebus.pdf.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that students due to sit International Baccalaureate exams in the UK in the 2020-21 academic year are not at a disadvantage compared with students able to sit the baccalaureate in other countries.

The Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework published by Ofqual sets out how qualifications, including the International Baccalaureate, can be adapted to mitigate disruption from COVID-19 to the teaching, learning and assessment of qualifications.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to Ofqual on 13 January 2021 stating that the Department cannot guarantee that all pupils will be in a position to sit their exams fairly this summer and that alternative arrangements may be needed to award qualifications. The letter set out the Secretary of State for Education’s view that some other general qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate, which are similar to GCSEs and A levels, should be subject to similar alternative arrangements to those for GCSEs and A levels. These arrangements will be considered through consultation the Department is taking forward with Ofqual, which includes consideration of how the arrangements will seek to ensure fairness for all pupils.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that home-schooled pupils will be able to achieve the qualifications they are working towards at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Department will not be asking students to sit GCSE, AS and A level exams this summer as planned. The Department is working at pace to understand the implications of cancelling exams in all circumstances, including for home schooled pupils.

The Department has been clear that it is important to find an accessible route for private candidates, and those not in school this year, to be assessed and receive a grade. A rapid consultation on how to fairly award all pupils a grade that supports them to progress to the next stage of their lives will be launching shortly. We will continue to engage with a range of relevant stakeholders when developing plans for our policy on GCSE, AS and A level assessments in 2021, as will the exams regulator Ofqual. A full equalities impact assessment, informed by the results of the consultation, will be published in due course.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the long-term support available to clinically extremely vulnerable teachers working during the covid-19 outbreak.

As set out in the published guidance for schools on restricting attendance during the national lockdown, following the reintroduction of shielding on 5 January 2021, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are advised that they should not attend the workplace: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf#page=30&zoom=100,72,76. Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are those identified through a letter from the NHS or a specialist doctor as in the group deemed clinically extremely vulnerable (clinically extremely vulnerable or shielding list). The guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

Clinically extreme vulnerable people will get priority access to vaccination against COVID-19 before the general population and in line with the priority ordering set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Individuals will be contacted by the NHS with more information on when and how they will be invited to get the vaccine.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE) to develop specific guidance for school settings. All staff who attend school settings should follow the measures set out in the system of controls section of the published guidance to minimise the risks of transmission. Where schools implement the system of controls, in line with their own workplace risk assessment, PHE and DHSC confirm that these measures create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will) provide additional financial support to nurseries during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown period.

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

On 17 December 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that both the CJRS and SEISS will be extended to April 2021. We also updated the CJRS guidance for early years so that all providers who have seen a drop in their overall income are able to furlough any staff (who were on payroll on or before 30th October) and who are not required for delivering the government’s funded entitlements. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Where Early Years providers are struggling financially, they may be eligible to access support from the Additional Restrictions Grant, if not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant schemes. Further information on both grants is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-additional-restrictions-grant and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-local-restrictions-support-grant-for-open-businesses.

We stay in regular contact with the early years sector and will keep under constant review whether further action is needed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether teachers and school staff will receive priority for covid-19 vaccination to protect staff, reduce disruption and increase the chances of exams being able to go ahead in the summer.

Receiving face-to-face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement. The Department will continue to review the restrictions on schools, colleges and universities, and will ensure that children and young people return to face-to-face education as soon as possible.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them.

JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.

Regarding the next phase of vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other Government departments. The Department will input into this cross governmental exercise.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many more laptops and data packages are needed to allow all pupils in Wandsworth to access learning online.

The Government is investing over £300 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing over one million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This includes over 560,000 laptops and tablets that have already been delivered to schools, academy trusts, and local authorities in 2020.

As of 18 December 2020, 617 laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools in Wandsworth local authority. Devices have also been delivered to academy trusts in Wandsworth which are not included in these figures. This information is published here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

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

Where schools need additional devices, to support disadvantaged children, they should contact the Department for Education’s service team at covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of children in Years 3 to 11 who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

The Department has partnered with the UK’s leading mobile network operators, such as EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone, to provide free data to disadvantaged families, which will support access to education resources, including Oak National Academy, and other websites.

Families will benefit from this additional data until July 2021. Schools will be able to request free mobile data uplifts via the Get Help with Technology service.

In addition, the Department has already provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year, and continue to provide 4G wireless routers where children need to access remote education.

11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that universities provide Kosher food options to Jewish students who have been forced to self-isolate due to the covid-19 outbreak.

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

HE providers are autonomous institutions, independent from government, and have a responsibility to students when delivering services, including the provision of pastoral support, and taking steps to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of students.

To support universities with this responsibility and ensure students are well looked after during self-isolation, the department has provided advice on self-isolating students in the ‘higher education reopening buildings and campuses’ guidance and the ‘end of term and spring term’ guidance. These can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

Universities UK have also produced a checklist for supporting students who are required to self-isolate, available here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2020/uuk-checklist-support-self-isolating-students.pdf.

Furthermore, and to impress the importance of supporting self-isolating students, I have previously written to Vice Chancellors, asking them to ensure that all self-isolating students have a range of choices available for access to food and other essential supplies. This includes providing food that is free or at a price that can be afforded within a student’s budget.

I expect this support to continue in the spring term and for universities and other HE providers to be sensitive to the diverse needs of their student population in providing this support.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reversing the reduction in teacher training bursaries announced in October 2020.

The Department reviews the bursaries that we offer for initial teacher training (ITT) before the start of the annual recruitment cycle. In doing this, we take account of a number of factors including forecast economic conditions, previous recruitment, and teacher supply need in each subject. Being able to change bursary amounts gives us the flexibility to respond to the need to attract new teachers and means the Department is spending money where it is needed most.

The Department will next review the bursaries that we offer ahead of the annual recruitment cycle for ITT courses starting in academic year 2022/23.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the cost to the public purse is of his Department's contracts with (a) accountancy and (b) auditing for the purposes of supporting universities to access finances during the covid-19 outbreak.

Higher education providers are autonomous organisations and are responsible for their own arrangements for in-house and contracted expertise to support their financial management. The Department for Education does not contract with accountancy and audit firms on behalf of providers.

On 16 July my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced arrangements for the Higher Education Restructuring Regime which may be deployed as a last resort, if a decision has been made, to support a higher education provider in England at risk of financial failure, when other steps to mitigate the risks or preserve its viability have not proved sufficient.

The department will draw in accountancy and auditing expertise from external firms, on a call-off basis, to support demand-led individual casework as necessary.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to provide guidance to schools on the use of the covid-19 catch-up premium for SEND children who do not have an education, health and care plan.

Head teachers have discretion over how to use their catch-up premium funding to best support the needs of their students, but we expect them to prioritise those who need the most catch up support. To help schools make the best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published a support guide for schools with evidence-based approaches to catch up for all students, available here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/#nav-covid-19-support-guide-for-schools1 and a further school planning guide, available here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/guide-to-supporting-schools-planning/. The EEF support guide provides guidance on interventions to support specific groups of pupils, including those with identified special educational needs or disabilities.

Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 disruption on the attainment and progress of all pupils, including those with additional needs, is a research priority for the Government, and we have commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to consider catch up needs and monitor progress over the course of the year.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure schools that do not use pupil premium funding to offset income lost as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The pupil premium conditions of grant set out the purpose of the funding. The conditions of grant are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

Pupil premium is provided to help schools improve the outcomes of their pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. School leaders choose how to use the grant to arrange extra support addressing their pupils’ needs.

The Department established the Education Endowment Foundation with £137 million to research and share the most effective approaches to improving pupil outcomes. School leaders are encouraged to consult its extensive resources, including its 2019 Pupil Premium Guide, when deciding how to use the grant.

Schools must publish an annual statement explaining their pupil premium strategy, including how much is spent on each activity. School leaders are held to account for their choices through performance tables and inspection.

Each school’s pupil premium expenditure is subject to the same rigorous annual auditing requirements as the rest of its funding.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that roles in (a) recruitment, (b) student support and welfare and (c) other administrative functions are protected in higher education institutions.

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

Since my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced this government’s unprecedented package of support to help keep staff employed and support businesses, the department has provided guidance for HE providers so that they are aware of the support that is available to them. This included guidance on how they may access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

On 31 October, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that the CJRS has been extended. It will now remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

We recognise that many students are facing additional challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Protecting students’ health and wellbeing is a priority and we expect providers to ensure that students are well looked after by staff with the right skills and experience to deliver the support they need. This includes the cleaning and security staff keeping campus safe and the catering staff providing meals, particularly for those self-isolating in halls, as well as those providing mental health, wellbeing and pastoral support. However, HE providers are independent institutions and are responsible for their own decisions on staffing and employment issues. They should make employment decisions according to their own operational needs and the needs of their wider staff and student community.

I wrote to Vice Chancellors on 16 October to thank staff for the work that has taken place to support students over the first term of this academic year and to emphasise that student wellbeing and mental health should continue to remain a priority for all HE providers as we move through the autumn and winter terms.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to fill gaps in school attendance data to inform catch up plans.

Since March the Department has been collecting daily attendance data from Schools and nurseries. The latest attendance data is published here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2020-week-42.

We have also introduced a new category of non-attendance for schools to use in the school census: ‘not attending in circumstances related to COVID-19’, to ensure that they record attendance accurately and consistently over this period.

In light of the disruption earlier in the year, the summer 2020 school census did not occur, and data for absence in the spring term 2019/20 was not collected. To reduce the burden on schools, the Department took a decision not to collect attendance data in the autumn 2020 school census relating to the summer 2019/2020 term.

Census data collection will resume in the spring 2021 census, collecting data on the autumn 2020/21 school term.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools provided wrap around care in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020; and what funding is available for the provision of wrap around care.

According to the Spring School Census captured the following data, there were 16,161 schools providing school childcare in January 2020. This includes before school, after school, under 5s and holiday childcare either provided on site or signposted to by the school. In 2019, there were 16,073 schools providing the same provisions.

From the start of the autumn term, all schools should work to resume their breakfast and after-school provision, where possible. We have provided guidance to support schools on full opening. The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

In addition, the department is investing up to £35 million into the National School Breakfast Programme from March 2018 to March 2021, using funds from Soft Drinks Industry Levy revenues. This includes an extension to the programme by a further year until March 2021 with up to an additional 650 schools being recruited and up to £11.8 million being invested. 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. There are already more than 1,800 schools benefitting from the programme.

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

However, we also want to give parents the freedom, support and choice to look after their children in the way that works best for them. That is why from 2021 we will be investing £1 billion to help create more high-quality wraparound and holiday childcare places. We will announce further details on this significant new investment in due course.

The government has also sought to make financial support available to employers and businesses that have found themselves adversely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Wraparound providers adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak can find out what financial support is available for their business at:
https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

They may be eligible for tax relief, loans or cash grants depending on their circumstances.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will highlight changes in guidance to schools to ensure that teachers are easily able to find small changes in long documents.

The response to COVID-19 is a fast-moving situation and, as it has evolved, guidance for schools has been needed on a range of issues. The Department have continued to update our guidance in response to feedback from school leaders and stakeholders, and to ensure that it reflects the most up-to-date medical and scientific information to make sure that teachers, parents and young people are as well-informed as possible in the current rapidly changing circumstances.

The Department published guidance for schools on full opening on 2 July, to support schools to prepare for the autumn term. We have kept this under review and updated it when needed. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Guidance from the Department lists any changes at the start of all documents to enable school staff and others to see what has been updated. The Department have also made efforts to reduce the number of different guidance documents on our website so that leaders can, as far as possible, access all the information they need in fewer places.

17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has established a second wave nurseries, schools and universities plan to prepare for a potential second wave of covid-19 (a) infections and (b) lockdowns.

The Government has developed plans for the next academic year to ensure that children and young people can return to nurseries, schools, further and higher education. We have put inplace a system of controls that will reduce the risk of transmission for students and staff, as well as contingencies in the case of local lockdowns to ensure there is a high-quality remote education alternative.

We continue to work closely with the education sector to prepare for the autumn term.

Links to the relevant guidance are provided below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/what-fe-colleges-and-providers-will-need-to-do-from-the-start-of-the-2020-autumn-term;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

We will keep guidance under review and adjust and adapt our approach as necessary.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 70510 on Schools: Coronavirus, if he will make emergency funding available to schools that have been affected financially by the covid-19 outbreak.

We are providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources.

Schools are eligible to claim for: increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who are not in school, where schools are not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements. Schools are able to claim online until 21 July, and a second claims window will run in the autumn.

Where schools have members of staff delivering services funded from self-generated income, we have advised that they should first look to redeploy these staff or use existing budgets to absorb the cost. After having looked at all other options, schools have been able to consider using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff, and meet their other regular financial commitments.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with external organisations on the inclusion of Black British history in the national curriculum.

On behalf of the Department, my officials have discussed the flexible scope of the history curriculum with a range of organisations such as the Historical Association, Runnymede Trust and The Black Curriculum.

The national curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject. The curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The Department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their pupils, and to make choices about what they teach.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experience of Black people. The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about Black history across the spectrum of themes and eras set out in the curriculum.

We will continue to explore what more we can do to support the teaching of Black history and welcome the perspectives of committed individuals and groups, building on previous discussions.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help mitigate the loss of income from facility hire by schools during the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

We recognise that over the last three months, schools will have lost income from facility hire and this will put pressure on budgets.

Where schools have members of staff delivering services funded from self-generated income, we have advised that they should first look to redeploy these staff or use existing budgets to absorb the cost. After having looked at all other options, schools have been able to consider using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The Department has provided additional guidance for schools in this situation which can be found at:

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

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a bespoke support package for universities in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The government understands that the COVID-19 outbreak poses significant financial challenges to the sector. In May 2020, the government announced a package of measures combining different ways to give further support to higher education providers at this time of financial pressure.

We have stabilised admissions and are pulling forward an estimated £2.6 billion worth of forecast tuition fee payments to ease cashflow pressure this autumn. We are also bringing forward £100 million of quality-related research funding for higher education providers in England in the current academic year.

This is on top of the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced, to help pay wages, keep staff employed and support businesses whose viability is threatened by the outbreak. We recently confirmed universities’ eligibility for these schemes, which the Office for Students estimates could be worth at least £700 million, depending upon eligibility and take-up.

In June, the government announced further UK-wide support in the form of the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s research stabilisation package. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-university-research-and-innovation-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

In July, the government announced the higher education restructuring regime, under which support for restructuring can be given, as a last resort, when other steps to preserve a provider’s viability and sustainability have not proved sufficient. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-restructuring-regime.

To prevent exploitative admissions processes, the Office for Students introduced a temporary registration condition designed to address specific circumstances relating to the impact of COVID-19. To ensure a fair, structured distribution of students across providers, temporary student number controls have been put in place for full-time, undergraduate domestic and EU students for academic year 2020-21 (with certain specific exemptions).

We are reminding providers, as part of existing programmes and using established procedures, that the department will consider purchasing land and buildings where they can be used for new or expanding schools and colleges in England. In this financial year, we have budgeted up to £100 million to acquire sites for planned projects in England.

The government has been clear that our world-leading universities, will always be open to international students. Our review of the International Education Strategy this autumn will respond to the new context and the challenges posed by COVID-19 across all education settings to ensure we can continue to welcome international students in the future.

The government has worked with the Office for Students to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. Providers are able to use the funding – worth around £23 million per month for Apri, May, June and July – towards student hardship funds.

The Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have set up a University Research and Knowledge Exchange Sustainability Taskforce to consider how best to respond to the challenges universities face on research as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This year, students will be able to access better and more personalised information, advice and guidance, and an easy-to-use means to swap course or provider if, having reflected further and taking into account their calculated grades, students decide to change their firm choice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether holiday clubs in schools will be permitted to open over the summer in 2020.

As per my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 June, holiday clubs and out-of-school clubs for children will be able to restart over the summer, with safety measures in place. Adjustments to current measures for these clubs will be part of Step 3 of the recovery strategy (from 4 July). We have published guidance for the sector on how to implement the protective measures necessary to open:

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

Holiday clubs that open should implement this guidance from the end of summer term, when state schools in their local area have closed. Until then, while schools are open in a provider’s local area, they should follow the same protective measures as schools to limit different groups of children mixing.

We are not asking schools to open over the summer holidays; however, we are aware that some headteachers may be considering using their catch-up premium to provide summer school activities for their pupils. Schools may also consider hiring out their premises to holiday clubs. Where this is the case, they have the flexibility, discretion, and autonomy to decide how they want to do this.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he last met the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education regularly meets with his Cabinet colleagues, including my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development, to discuss a range of issues.

20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of suspending student loan repayments for people who experience reductions in income due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The repayment of student loans, which includes borrowers from Wales, is governed by the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009 (as amended). Department officials are in regular contact with the Devolved Administrations and will continue to liaise with them on Student Loan Repayment policy.

The current system protects borrowers if they see a reduction in their income. Repayments are made based on a borrower’s monthly or weekly income, not the interest rate or amount borrowed, and no repayments are made for earnings below the repayment thresholds. Repayments are calculated as a fixed percentage of earnings above the relevant repayment threshold - if income drops, so do repayments made. Any outstanding debt is written off at the end of the loan term with no detriment to the borrower.

If, at the end of the year, the borrower’s total income is below the relevant annual threshold, they may reclaim any repayments from the Student Loans Company made during that year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support will be available to the (a) childcare sector and (b) child minders in the event of school closures and enforced social distancing.

On 17 March 2020, the Chancellor confirmed the government would continue to pay for free early years entitlement places for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds even if settings were closed on the advice of the government, or children were not able to attend due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

We expect local authorities to continue early entitlements funding for all childminders, schools and nurseries.

Further, the government has announced a package of support for workers and businesses which will benefit childcare providers.

Childcare providers will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year. That means non-local authority providers of childcare (registered with Ofsted and providing early years foundation stage) will pay no business rates in 2020 to 2021, from 1 April. Local authorities will be working on this.

Nurseries in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief will benefit from small business grant funding of £10,000.

Some settings operate from shared spaces which may now benefit from a 100% rates relief. We strongly encourage those shared spaces to reflect any business rates saving in their rent charges.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme means that for employees who are not working but kept on payroll, the government will contribute 80% of each worker’s wages of up to £2,500, backdated to 1 March 2020. Providers can access this scheme while continuing to be paid the early entitlements funding via local authorities.

The Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be interest-free for 12 months (rather than 6 months).

VAT payments due with VAT returns between now and end June 2020 will be deferred, UK VAT registered businesses will not need make those payments until the end of the financial year.

Working tax credit has been increased by £1000 a year.

The government has also announced a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element and an increase in the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest third of local rents.

For the self-employed (including childminders) the minimum income floor will be temporarily relaxed, meaning Universal Credit can be accessed at a rate to match statutory sick pay.

Further information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#funding and

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the level of (a) financial and (b) other support for (i) Eastwood nursery Roehampton and (ii) other state nurseries.

The Government recognises that Maintained Nursery Schools (MNS) are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services to disadvantaged children.

Last October, we announced increases in hourly funding rates paid to local authorities for the early education entitlements for 2020-21.

In 2020-21, all local authorities will see an increase of 8p an hour to the hourly funding rates for the 2-year-old entitlement and an increase of 8p an hour for the vast majority of areas for the 3- and 4-year-old entitlement.

In addition to the hourly funding rates above, we invest approximately £60 million in ‘maintained nursery school supplementary funding’ each financial year, to allow local authorities to preserve MNS funding levels and last October we announced that this additional funding will continue at its current level for the whole of the 2020-21 financial year.

Details of funding paid to local authorities can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-funding-2020-2021.

The Government remains committed to funding for MNS in the longer term. Any reform to the way they are funded in the future will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections. The Government plans to spend more than £3.6 billion on early education in 2020-21.

13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department holds data on air quality for (a) Putney constituency and (b) Wandsworth borough for each of the last five years.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to reflect this. Local authorities in London are required to review and assess local air quality and report their data to the Mayor.

In addition, the London Air Quality Network provides data on automatic air quality monitoring in London to the public.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to prevent the killing of (a) hen harriers, (b) golden eagles, (c) peregrines, (d) goshawks and (e) other birds of prey in the uplands and support the recovery of each species' populations.

All wild birds including birds of prey are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which provides a powerful framework for the conservation of wild birds, their eggs, nests and habitats. The Government is committed to ensuring the protection afforded to birds of prey is effectively enforced. There are strong penalties for offenders, including imprisonment.

To address concerns about the illegal killing of birds of prey, senior government and enforcement officers have identified raptor persecution as a national wildlife crime priority. Defra sits on the police-led Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group, which takes forward activities to raise awareness and facilitate intelligence and incident reporting, leading to increased prevention and enforcement activity. The group focuses on ‘hotspot’ areas of the country (which will include some upland areas) rather than specific species, although the golden eagle, goshawk, hen harrier, peregrine and white-tailed eagle have been identified as being of particular concern.

Additionally, the Hen Harrier Action Plan seeks to secure the long-term future of the hen harrier as a breeding bird in England. It includes measures to stop illegal persecution, and an action to reintroduce the hen harrier in the south of England. The long-term plan was published in January 2016 and we believe that it remains the best way to safeguard the hen harrier in England. This year has seen a further increase in the number of breeding hen harriers in England. 84 chicks fledged from nests across the uplands in County Durham, Cumbria, Lancashire, Northumberland and Yorkshire. These are the highest numbers for hen harrier breeding in England since the 1960s.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to streamline the plant passport system.

The plant passport system exists to protect our industry and our natural environment from plant pests and diseases, and to ensure consumers receive the highest standard of products. It also helps maintain the UK’s reputation as a nation with high plant health standards, with businesses from which plants and plant products can be sourced reliably and safely. We have worked with key stakeholder groups through our Plant Health Advisory Forum to ensure that policies are pragmatic and minimise burden to businesses where possible, while protecting biosecurity, and we have taken a number of measures to streamline the plant passport system.

For example, we allow single plant passports to cover trolleys of mixed plants and plant products when they are supplied to retailers, to avoid operators having to label each individual plant. This system maintains the traceability of such plants and plant products without unnecessarily impacting businesses. We have also introduced a free e-learning module for traders to use to make compliance with the plant passport system easier.

It has also been communicated that amateurs and hobbyists do not need to issue plant passports. Therefore, home gardeners growing plants to be given to charity or to swap with other home gardeners (with no intention of making profit) do not need to be authorised to issue plant passports, acknowledging that regulating such plants movements would be disproportionate to the biosecurity risk involved.

Pre-printing of many plant passports is also made simpler because traceability codes on plant passports are not required on plants ready for sale to the final consumer, but only on plants for commercial growing on.

Furthermore, under EU legislation plant passports of ‘Protected Zone’ commodities were supplied to consumers in all cases, even face to face sales in retail outlets. In Great Britain this is no longer required as we believe that such a policy would be overly burdensome and disproportionate to the biosecurity risk. Since leaving the EU we have also removed the need for some commodities which are of a low plant health risk in Great Britain, such as rice seed and citrus fruit with leaves, to be passported.

Finally, we intend to consult stakeholders on the introduction of electronic plant passports to ensure that legislation to enable their implementation is fit for purpose. Introduction of an electronic plant passport system would give operators more options in how to participate in the plant passport system.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to ban imports of fur from (a) foxes, (b) minks and (c) coyotes.

Fur farming has been banned in England and Wales since 2000, and 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Whilst there are existing import restrictions on seal, cat and dog fur, we still import other fur from abroad and fur from foxes, minks and coyotes is legal to import. Now the transition period has finished, the Government is considering further steps it could take in relation to the fur trade.

The Government wants to hear from all interested parties as we look to develop proposals and form views on what the fur trade might look like. In order to do this, the Government has concluded a call for evidence to provide both stakeholders and the public with the opportunity to provide evidence and views on this important matter. We will publish a summary of responses shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy not to implement proposals for additional labelling of plant imports in 2022.

There are no current plans for additional labelling of plant imports in 2022 for phytosanitary reasons.

Certain high priority plants imported from the EU have been imported with phytosanitary certificates since 1 January 2021, and the remaining categories of regulated plants and plant products imported from the EU will require a phytosanitary certificate from January 2022. This is in line with the arrangements which already apply for such imports from non-EU countries. Unlike plant passports which were required for imports of plants from the EU before the end of the transition period, and were attached by industry, phytosanitary certificates are single documents issued officially and covering whole consignments.

Normal international rules on labelling apply to seed and other propagating material imported into GB for marketing. Where the UK participates in an OECD scheme, seed and forest reproductive material must carry an OECD certificate and labelling, and for agricultural seed also have an ISTA Orange International Certificate. The label must include ‘GB rules and standards’. This will show that seed meets standards for variety identity, variety purity and seed quality equivalent to GB standards.

Standard seed of vegetables and ornamental plant material can be marketed under retained EU labelling requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the health of (a) reptile and (b) amphibian populations in the UK.

Natural England recently worked with the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation charity to undertake an assessment of the extinction risk of all native amphibians and reptiles in Great Britain. The report was published in August 2021 and found that of the 13 species assessed, 7 were classified as ‘Least Concern’, meaning no imminent risk of extinction from Great Britain. The common toad and adder were classified as ‘Near Threatened’, the smooth snake, natterjack toad and sand lizard as ‘Endangered’ and the northern pool frog as ‘Critically Endangered’.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to enhance ecological protections for (a) pine martens, (b) red squirrels, (c) adders, (d) water voles and (e) slow worms.

Pine martens, red squirrels, adders, water voles and slow worms are all protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

All of these species are also priority conservation species listed under Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 which requires public authorities to have regard to these species when carrying out their day to day functions.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) recently commenced its seventh Quinquennial Review of protected species listed on schedules to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Following public consultation, the JNCC will make evidence-based recommendations for the Secretary of State later this year as to which species, in its view, warrant additional legal protections. We will then carefully consider these recommendations before making any decisions.

As part of the recently announced Green Paper, my department will begin a review of species legislation with a view to enhancing and modernising it. We intend to publish the Green Paper and seek views later this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of air quality in (a) London and (b) Putney constituency.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to reflect this.

As part of these responsibilities the Mayor of London carries out monitoring of air quality in London. Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and in London they report their data to the Mayor.

The London Air Quality Network provides data on air quality in London accessible to the public.

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 – emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. We are continuing to deliver our ambitious plans to improve air quality. To tackle local nitrogen dioxide exceedances, we are providing £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those impacted by these plans. Our Clean Air Strategy set out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. Our Environment Bill delivers key parts of this Strategy and makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables local authorities to take more effective action to tackle air pollution in their areas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the (a) criteria and (b) methodology he plans to use when carrying out a review of reproductive toxicity under Article 138(9) of REACH.

In accordance with UK REACH legislation the Secretary of State will carry out a review of the testing requirements for reproductive toxicity within 18 months of the end of the Transition Period. We are developing our approach to this review and as part of this we are considering how to inform and involve stakeholders and other interested parties.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when a review of reproductive toxicity will take place under Article 138(9) of REACH; and when he plans to publish the results of that review.

In accordance with UK REACH legislation the Secretary of State will carry out a review of the testing requirements for reproductive toxicity within 18 months of the end of the Transition Period. We are developing our approach to this review and as part of this we are considering how to inform and involve stakeholders and other interested parties.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing (a) a target to reduce the use of single plastic by 50 per cent by 2025 and (b) other legally binding targets to substantially reduce waste at source.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. We are making great strides to tackle plastic pollution. In December 2018 we published the Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out how we want to achieve this and move towards a circular economy. Our approach is focused on increasing supply and demand for secondary materials to be recycled in the UK. We know more needs to be done, and for the most problematic plastics we are going faster - which is why we have committed to work towards all plastic packaging on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

The UK Government has a manifesto commitment to ban exports of plastic waste to non-OECD countries. The Government has committed to consult on this measure and work to deliver this is underway. Defra has commissioned research to have a better understanding of plastic waste recycling capacity in the UK and OECD member countries, and this research will be key to the development of policy options to implement the manifesto commitment. We currently plan to consult before the end of 2022 on options to deliver the proposed ban.

Legitimate imports of plastic waste into the UK will be destined for recovery operations. The UK Government does not permit the import of plastic waste for disposal. The UK Government has not assessed the benefits of a ban on plastic waste imports and has no plans to do so.

The Environment Bill includes a requirement for the Government to set at least one long-term target on resource efficiency and waste reduction. This target will take a holistic approach to reduce consumption of all materials, including plastics, increasing resource productivity and reducing the volume of waste we generate. Work is already underway to develop these targets. In order to help guide the Government, the Resources and Waste Targets Expert Group has been formed. More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/resources-and-waste-targets-expert-group. Moreover, the Government is exploring packaging recycling targets under our proposals for extended producer responsibility for packaging. The consultation on our more detailed proposals closed on the 4 June.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when and how the rules to avoid duplicate testing on vertebrate animals required by Title V, Section 5 on safety testing of plant protection or biocidal products of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement will be established.

Under the terms of the Chemicals Annex of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, exchanges of non-confidential information between the UK and the EU will need the agreement of both parties. This could potentially include study summaries relating to animal testing, but that would need to be agreed with the EU and will depend on the status of the studies. We will continue to work with the EU on how the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement will be put into operation going forward

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. This includes the “last resort” principle on animal testing.

This means that under UK REACH, we will recognise the validity of any animal tests on products that have already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing. The grandfathering of all existing GB-held EU REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration


We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows the registration dossier is inadequate or there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical, especially to human health.


The Biocidal Products Regulation and the Plant Protection Product Regulation both contain mandatory data sharing provisions to avoid duplicative animal testing which are maintained in retained EU law and apply in Great Britain.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the provision included in Title V, Section 5 of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, on safety testing of plant protection or biocidal products, that states that each Party shall establish rules to avoid duplicative testing on vertebrate animals, does not also apply to other categories of products.

Under the terms of the Chemicals Annex of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, exchanges of non-confidential information between the UK and the EU will need the agreement of both parties. This could potentially include study summaries relating to animal testing, but that would need to be agreed with the EU and will depend on the status of the studies. We will continue to work with the EU on how the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement will be put into operation going forward

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. This includes the “last resort” principle on animal testing.

This means that under UK REACH, we will recognise the validity of any animal tests on products that have already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing. The grandfathering of all existing GB-held EU REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration


We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows the registration dossier is inadequate or there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical, especially to human health.


The Biocidal Products Regulation and the Plant Protection Product Regulation both contain mandatory data sharing provisions to avoid duplicative animal testing which are maintained in retained EU law and apply in Great Britain.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Articles 7.2 and 7.4 of Annex TBT-3 Chemicals of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement which allows both parties to exchange only non-confidential information, what specific steps he is taking to ensure that duplicate tests are not performed by different companies to satisfy the separate UK and EU chemical safety regimes.

Under the terms of the Chemicals Annex of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, exchanges of non-confidential information between the UK and the EU will need the agreement of both parties. This could potentially include study summaries relating to animal testing, but that would need to be agreed with the EU and will depend on the status of the studies. We will continue to work with the EU on how the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement will be put into operation going forward

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. This includes the “last resort” principle on animal testing.

This means that under UK REACH, we will recognise the validity of any animal tests on products that have already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing. The grandfathering of all existing GB-held EU REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration


We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows the registration dossier is inadequate or there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical, especially to human health.


The Biocidal Products Regulation and the Plant Protection Product Regulation both contain mandatory data sharing provisions to avoid duplicative animal testing which are maintained in retained EU law and apply in Great Britain.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Articles 7.2 and 7.4 of Annex TBT-3 Chemicals of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement which allows both parties to exchange only non-confidential information, what specific steps he is taking to ensure that companies will not have to repeat animal testing of chemical substances for UK REACH that has already been carried out for EU REACH.

Under the terms of the Chemicals Annex of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, exchanges of non-confidential information between the UK and the EU will need the agreement of both parties. This could potentially include study summaries relating to animal testing, but that would need to be agreed with the EU and will depend on the status of the studies. We will continue to work with the EU on how the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement will be put into operation going forward

UK REACH retains both the fundamental approach and key principles of REACH with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment and enhancing competitiveness and innovation. This includes the “last resort” principle on animal testing.

This means that under UK REACH, we will recognise the validity of any animal tests on products that have already been undertaken and so avoid the need for further testing. The grandfathering of all existing GB-held EU REACH registrations into the UK system will further avoid the need to duplicate animal testing associated with re-registration


We are determined that there should be no need for any additional animal testing for a chemical that has already been registered, unless it is subject to further evaluation that shows the registration dossier is inadequate or there are still concerns about the hazards and risks of the chemical, especially to human health.


The Biocidal Products Regulation and the Plant Protection Product Regulation both contain mandatory data sharing provisions to avoid duplicative animal testing which are maintained in retained EU law and apply in Great Britain.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that bombs detonated under the ocean uses the deflagration method to protect marine wildlife.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is responsible for licensing marine activities in the seas around England, including the removal of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) from the seabed. In determining any application for a marine licence, the MMO considers all relevant matters including the method proposed e.g. deflagration or other methods, and the need to protect the marine environment. This involves assessing any potential impacts on marine life under an environmental assessment. Such assessments are made on the specifics of each case and involve consultation with the MMO’s primary advisors, including Natural England.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the impact assessment that will be published alongside the second consultation on a deposit return scheme will include an analysis of the potential for consumers to switch from aluminium cans in multi-packs to large plastic bottles in response to the cumulative effect of the fee.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 21 September 2020, PQ UIN 88938.

[questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-11/88938]

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the impact assessment that will be published alongside the second consultation on a deposit return scheme will include an analysis of the potential for consumers to switch from aluminium cans in multi-packs to large plastic bottles due to the cumulative impact of the fee.

We will seek further evidence on consumer purchasing habits as a result of the introduction of a deposit return scheme as part of our forthcoming consultation planned for early 2021. The impact on multipack purchases will not be fully analysed in our consultation-stage Impact Assessment as we do not currently have sufficient evidence to be able to model the impact in detail.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has not met bilaterally with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending. ODA is discussed at the National Security Council. Officials are in regular contact on this matter.

Lord Goldsmith is the responsible Minister for Defra’s ODA spending. As joint Minister for Defra, DFID and FCO, Lord Goldsmith meets regularly with the Secretary of State for International Development and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that trade negotiations contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of food production.

We believe that environmental sustainability should be at the heart of global production and trade, and are committed to upholding our environmental standards and supporting global decarbonisation. We are exploring all options in future trade agreements to ensure that future trade is sustainable.

We are clear that trade doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment and nothing in our trade deals will prevent us delivering our commitment to net zero by 2050.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a pollution hot spot fund for areas with high levels of air pollution.

The Government is investing £572 million to support local authorities to take action as part of the Nitrogen Dioxide Plan.

In addition, the Air Quality Grant Scheme provides funding to eligible local authorities to help improve air quality. This scheme has awarded over £61 million in funding to a variety of projects since it started in 1997.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much of the £50 million in funding from her Department matched with funding from Unilever, has been disbursed to date.

As at July 2020, the Department for International Development has disbursed £15,958,394 through the Hygiene, Handwashing & Behaviour Change Coalition for COVID-19 Response.

This relates to 14 contracts and Memoranda of Understandings with implementing partners, with a total value of £34,806,976.

Additional contracts are currently being negotiated.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how many (a) people have been advised on the importance of hygiene and (b) products have been distributed through the Hygiene, Handwashing and Behaviour Change covid-19 response programme.

The Hygiene, Handwashing and Behaviour Change Coalition for COVID-19 response programme aims to reach up to 1 billion people with hygiene messaging to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Implementation is underway with 21 partners working across 37 countries. While totals have still to be verified, for Phase 1 partners alone, we are on track to reach over 300 million of the most vulnerable across countries including the DRC, Bangladesh, Yemen and Ethiopia, including in refugee settings.

Over 20 million hygiene products have already been delivered to frontline NGOs, with 60 million more being prepared for distribution by Unilever.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the CDC Group's climate strategy, published on 2 July 2020, what assessment her Department has made of the compliance of CDC Group's on-going investments with the standards set out in that climate strategy.

CDC has published an ambitious new climate strategy that commits CDC to a portfolio-wide approach to achieving net zero by 2050, a just transition and stronger focus on adaptation and the building of climate resilience. A target to invest 30% of total annual commitments in 2021 in climate finance has been set.

DFID has closely engaged with CDC on the development of their new climate strategy. The commitments set out are forward-looking and will ensure CDC’s approach to aligning with the Paris Agreement is fully embedded within its investment processes.

The new climate strategy builds on steps taken by CDC over recent years to integrate climate risks and opportunities into investment decision making, whilst continuing to focus on the world’s poorest countries. Over the last 3 years, CDC has made climate related investments totalling over $1 billion in renewable energy, forestry and energy and water efficiency projects.

This policy is not retrospective. Investments made prior to the launch of the climate strategy were made in accordance with policies and requirements at the time those decisions were made.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the CDC Group's climate strategy, published on 2 July 2020, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that all existing CDC investments made prior to July 2020 comply with the standards set out in that climate strategy.

DFID has closely engaged with CDC on the development of their new climate strategy. The commitments set out are forward-looking and will ensure CDC’s portfolio-wide approach to aligning with the Paris Agreement is fully embedded in its investment processes.

This policy is not retrospective. Investments made prior to the launch of the climate strategy were made in accordance with policies and requirements at the time those decisions were made.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department has allocated funding from the 2020-21 (a) central contingency budget and (b) Official Development Assistance crisis reserve budget.

DFID do not hold a central contingency budget and have not requested any funding from the central exchequer reserve held by HM Treasury.

The UK ODA Crisis Reserve is an annual allocation of £500 million. This consists of a £200 million un-allocated reserve and a £300 million re-deployable reserve. This enables ?exible, quick and effective cross government responses to crises as they happen as set out in the UK Aid Strategy published in 2015. We do not report on expenditure drawn down from the ODA Crisis Reserve.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will publish the budget reprofiling and repurposing for 2020-21 of each regional programme in each country office as a result of the forecast fall in gross national income.

DFID’s Annual Report and Accounts is due to be published on 14 July and will set out baseline programme budgets for 2020/21 spend by DFID spending unit.

DFID has a good record on transparency and meeting our reporting and publication requirements. We fully intend to maintain these standards.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department has allocated fifty per cent of Official Development Assistance to support the response of fragile states to the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID will continue to meet its commitment to spend 50% of its budget in Fragile and Conflict States.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department is providing to (a) local markets, (b) SMEs and (c) the informal economy in fragile and conflict affected states during the covid-19 pandemic.

We have adapted existing bilateral health, humanitarian, economic and social protection programmes across 35 countries and regions as part of our COVID-19 response. We are assessing secondary impacts on local agriculture and food markets in fragile and conflict affected states, and helping to mitigate these through multilateral initiatives such as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP).

As a shareholder and leading donor to the Multilateral Development Banks, we have been working with them to ensure that they are rapidly providing much-needed working capital to SMEs and supply chains that workers and farmers in developing countries depend on. This includes $8 billion of fast-tracked support from the International Finance Cooperation.

We are also exploring how DFID’s private sector development finance programmes can respond and complement this support. For example, CDC is supporting its existing portfolio of investee companies, and their workforces, to weather the crisis, and is looking to make new investments that provide systemic liquidity to companies, including SMEs. We are also working to support businesses with supply chains in developing countries to ensure their most vulnerable workers and suppliers are prepared for the anticipated economic and social shocks.

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how overseas aid is being used to mitigate the economic effect of the covid-19 pandemic by supporting people in the informal economy in fragile places.

The poorest and most fragile countries have limited economic tools to respond to the global economic downturn. We are working through the International Financial Institutions and our bilateral programmes to ensure Governments and businesses in fragile states can access affordable financing and advisory support; and to urgently establish safety nets to protect the most vulnerable.

DFID currently supports social protection and/or humanitarian cash transfer programmes in 35 countries, including Fragile and Conflict Affected States, which support people who are vulnerable to the economic impact of COVID-19.

We are also advising 20 of the poorest cities in the world to strengthen their response to COVID-19, by identifying urban areas and informal settlements, including slums, that are particularly vulnerable due to dense populations and lack of access to water and sanitation.

5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how Overseas Development Assistance is helping communities manage social tensions that are being exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is taking steps to ensure that both our immediate responses to COVID-19 and long-term recovery efforts do not exacerbate social tensions and instead help to build peace, improve governance and strengthen social cohesion. We are encouraging our implementing partners to demonstrate accountability, strengthen local ownership and leadership and adopt inclusive, conflict sensitive approaches. We are further working with partners, governments, media providers, civil society and local leaders to counter mis- and disinformation.

We particularly recognise the importance of working with local women’s rights and women-led organisations to deliver more effective and safer responses, and believe that greater engagement of local partners ensures continuity and builds social cohesion as efforts shift to the medium and longer term recovery.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to tackle disparities of access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in developing countries among (a) women and girls and (b) marginalised people and groups.

Women and girls are particularly disadvantaged when adequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities are not available, as women bear the primary burden for collecting water. The DFID approval process screens all programmes for compliance with the International Development (Gender Equality) Act at the point of approval to assess whether a programme is likely to reduce gender inequalities. DFID water and sanitation programmes are targeted to people without access to water and sanitation, which includes marginalised people and groups. Of the water and sanitation results that have been disaggregated by gender from 2015 to 2019, DFID programmes have reached 18.6 million women.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to improve water and sanitation systems in developing countries.

DFID funds water and sanitation improvements in developing countries. In 2018, the last year for which spend data is published, DFID spent £204 million on water and sanitation bilaterally. In the same year, the UK also spent approximately?£275 million?on water and sanitation through multilateral organisations. DFID funding has led to over?51?million people gaining access to improved drinking water or a toilet since 2015.?This builds on our success in helping over 64 million gain access to water and sanitation services between 2011 and 2015.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with non-governmental organisations on improving water, sanitation and hygiene access in the response to the covid-19 pandemic.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are major partners for delivering DFID water and sanitation programmes and accounted for about a third of the results achieved over the last ten years. The UK has pledged new funding for civil society to support the international COVID-19 response, including £20 million for international NGOs. Since the onset of the pandemic DFID has increased our work with NGOs on water, sanitation and hygiene. Nine NGOs are now funded under a new partnership with Unilever on the COVID-19 response. I personally met NGO heads, including the WaterAid CEO, for discussions on the COVID-19 response last month.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to raise the importance at multilateral level of water, sanitation and hygiene in responding to the covid-19 pandemic in developing countries.

Alongside our own bilateral programme funding, DFID seeks to influence multilateral organisations to improve the quality of water, sanitation and hygiene in the international COVID-19 response. We have funded a hub at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to provide evidence and advice to all partners including multilateral organisations on hygiene elements of the COVID-19 response. DFID provides funding to the Public Health Department of the World Health Organisation to provide international technical leadership on the response. We announced funding to UNICEF’s COVID-19 appeal, and DFID is a founding member of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, which convenes parties including multilaterals on COVID-19 action. I recently spoke on a panel with the World Bank, UNICEF and African Development Bank on the importance water, sanitation and hygiene in the international COVID-19 response.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that data collated by international development agencies is disaggregated by (a) age, (b) gender and (c) ethnicity to inform responses to support women and girls in vulnerable communities facing a heightened risk of gender-based violence.

DFID’s Inclusive Data Charter Action Plan sets out our ambitions to increase the collection and use of disaggregated data, and to work with the United Nations and others to improve disaggregation at a global level. This is critical to understand who is being left behind, why, and how to reach them. Our focus is on disaggregation by sex, age, disability status and geography in the first instance, whilst we work with others in the international system to develop tools to disaggregate by other variables. In the longer term, we will move towards additional disaggregation variables; we expect this to include income, race and ethnicity.

DFID is investing £6 million to support the UN Women-led flagship programme initiative on gender data – Making Every Woman and Girl Count – and the joint UN Programme on Violence Against Women and Girls data. These programmes are working with developing country governments to improve the production, availability, accessibility and use of quality data and statistics on gender equality and gender-based violence. This includes developing new global standards for measuring violence against older women. The programme is currently supporting rapid assessment surveys focused on understanding gendered impacts of COVID-19 across a number of countries.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much of the funding that her Department has allocated to international development multilaterals has been passed through to frontline NGOs and local groups responding to the covid-19 pandemic.

NGOs are key partners for DFID in responding to the unprecedented challenges arising from COVID-19. We know that in many places NGOs will be best placed to meet the needs of those most at risk. About one quarter of our country programmes are delivered through CSOs.

The Secretary of State recently announced a further £200 million for charities and international organisations to tackle coronavirus in developing countries, which brings DFID’s total support to date to £744 million. This includes funding for NGOs, including UK charities.

DFID is also adapting its programmes across our country network to respond to COVID-19 and we have committed significant new funding through the multilateral system. NGOs are also receiving significant extra funding through the DFID COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition. We will continue to keep our humanitarian investments under review.

DFID has been engaging regularly with the NGO sector to understand the challenges they are facing in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, including regular virtual meetings with Baroness Sugg and our Permanent Secretary, Nick Dyer. There will also be a roundtable on 21 May with the Secretary of State.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to adapt existing programmes to respond to the covid-19 pandemic in developing countries.

We have focused our portfolios to respond to COVID-19 to ensure we are operating as flexibly and quickly as possible, responsive to need and context – and linking the health response with the economic response and social protection. This includes focusing over one hundred existing bilateral health and humanitarian programmes relevant to the COVID-19 response across 35 countries and regions to support developing countries and provide a safety net for the most vulnerable.

The UK is also at the forefront of the multilateral response and we are actively working with international partners to better track, monitor and respond to the impact of COVID-19.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to co-ordinate its response to covid-19 in developing countries with local community groups.

We are playing a leading role in the global response to COVID-19. The UK has, to date, pledged up to £744 million of UK aid to mitigate the health, humanitarian, and economic risks and impacts of COVID-19 in support of the poorest and most vulnerable.

We are working hard to ensure that our help reaches those most in need through close collaboration with our partners. Civil society plays a particularly important role in ensuring UK aid reaches the most vulnerable communities. Much of our work is delivered through our extensive country office network. We are currently reviewing our programme portfolio to be more responsive to COVID-19. For example, we are working with groups in Bangladesh to support and help mobilise a nationwide network of 50,000 Community Health Workers and volunteers to raise awareness of COVID-19 in their communities.

The UK is also providing £55 million to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. They play a unique role in slowing the spread of this virus at the community level, by supporting local preparations and public communication on how to reduce risk.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding her Department has allocated to support international health NGOs to continue pre-existing immunisation programmes in developing countries during the covid-19 pandemic.

It is vital that routine immunisation programmes continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. If immunisation coverage is not maintained, we will face far worse public health emergencies around the world if measles, polio, yellow fever, cholera, and other deadly diseases spread in the absence of routine immunisation. That is why the UK’s commitment of the equivalent of £330 million per year for the next five years to fund Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s work is so critical. This will help fund the immunisation of up to 75 million children in the world’s poorest countries. Gavi is an alliance, working hand in glove with international health organisations such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The UK’s commitment of £400 million to polio for the next four years will support not only the vaccination of over 450 million children every year against polio, but also broader health systems that are currently proving essential to the COVID-19 response in many countries. Polio vaccinations will continue to be delivered where possible during the pandemic.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions she has had with her international counterparts on developing a debt-relief plan for developing countries.

The UK Government is deeply concerned about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the public finances of low-income developing countries. In this time of crisis, it is vital that creditors work together to ensure that servicing debts does not prevent countries protecting their citizens and economies.

The UK, alongside the G20 and the Paris Club of official creditors, has committed to a temporary suspension of debt service repayments from the poorest countries. This official sector effort could provide up to $12 billion of additional fiscal space until the end of the year, allowing countries to redirect finances towards mitigating the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

In the future, some countries, especially those entering the crisis with significant debt vulnerabilities may require debt relief. If debts do require restructuring or reduction, this will need to be done evenly amongst creditors, including non-Paris Club G20 creditors and the private sector. The G20 initiative provides more time to assess countries’ debt positions and explore possible solutions with other stakeholders whilst, importantly, freeing up resources to allow countries to respond to the crisis.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to help tackle the economic effects of covid-19 on local economies in developing countries.

The UK is actively supporting the poorest countries and most vulnerable people at a time when the secondary economic impacts of COVID-19 are running ahead of the health impacts in many countries.

First, we are supporting countries to free up the fiscal space that they need to reorient spending to responding to the crisis. The UK has made a leading contribution of up to £150 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, to fund the poorest countries’ debt repayments to the IMF. The UK and other G20 countries have also committed to suspend debt service payments for International Development Association-eligible and the UN Least Developed Countries until the end of 2020, providing up to $12 billion of additional fiscal space. We are also providing advisory support to countries covering economic policy and their broader response, including trade-offs associated with containment measures.

Second, we are working with the International Financial Institutions to make additional resources available. We have committed to doubling our existing £2.2bn loan to the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, to support concessional financing for the poorest countries. The UK also pushed early for a capital increase of the World Bank in 2018 and, thanks to these efforts, the World Bank Group has been in a position to respond rapidly to this crisis, making $160bn of financing available over 15 months.

Third, at a time when many investors are retreating from these markets, CDC, the UK’s Development Finance Institution,?is committed to investing patiently and working alongside other Development Finance Institutions to help companies access the finance they need and to protect supply chains and jobs overseas.

Fourth, the UK is also committed to directly supporting the most vulnerable people affected by the economic fallout of COVID-19. We are currently supporting social protection and/or humanitarian cash transfer programmes in 35 countries, in addition to wider support through multilateral institutions.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what financial support she is allocating to international NGOs to adapt pre-existing humanitarian assistance and food supply programmes to ensure continuity during the covid-19 pandemic.

To date, the UK has committed £744 million to support global efforts to combat COVID-19. The UK is at the forefront of supporting those in need of humanitarian assistance and we are actively working with international partners to better track, monitor and respond to the impact of COVID-19 on food security for the most vulnerable. NGOs are a critical partner in meeting this huge challenge of tackling the virus. In addition to new and reallocated direct funding to NGOs, much of the UN’s work will be delivered on the ground by NGOs and the UK’s funding to the UN agencies will support these efforts.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help support the informal economy in developing countries during the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID currently supports social protection and/or humanitarian cash transfer programmes in 35 countries, enabling the most vulnerable people - including those who work in the informal sector - to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19.

Beyond social protection, other DFID programmes are being adapted to support informal sector workers in response to COVID-19. For example, we are supporting the Kampala Capital City Authority with emergency provisions to assist the most vulnerable in the city, including providing shelter to vendors in the informal markets.

We have supported the Multilateral Development Banks to provide much-needed working capital for small businesses and supply chains, which informal workers depend on in developing countries.? This includes $8 billion of fast-tracked support from the International Finance Cooperation.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to engage with (a) international NGOs and (b) UK charities on their response to the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID is committed to working with and alongside international NGOs and UK charities to meet the challenges posed to both the UK and internationally by COVID-19. DFID is taking forward a structured approach to engagement with UK and international Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), incorporating strategic and technical discussions to help inform the sector’s response to the pandemic. Specifically, Baroness Sugg has chaired two round table discussions with the Chief Executive Officers from key CSOs on 3 April and the 1 May to update the sector on DFID’s COVID-19 response to date, engage with concerns across the sector, and explore how to mitigate the threats posed by COVID-19 to sector resilience.

DFID has pledged new funding specifically for civil society, including UK-based CSOs, to support the response. This includes £20 million, the majority of which will be allocated through the Rapid Response Facility, and significant funding through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition. In addition, INGOs will receive funding through multilateral organisations as downstream partners as part of the UK’s response.

DFID is offering support to suppliers and partners where this is appropriate, in line with the UK government position and will apply the provisions of the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note and associated guidance for grants, which allows for relief on services and goods provided in the UK, to DFID aid programmes as a last resort and on a case-by-case basis for DFID contracts and grants.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will publish the monitoring and evaluation framework her Department is using to assess the efficacy of UK overseas aid in tackling the spread of covid-19.

The UK has so far pledged £744 million of UK aid to end the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible: tracking the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of that spend is essential.

We have a strong, coordinated monitoring, evaluation and learning system to ensure accountability for decision making and resource allocation to these priorities. This will also ensure DFID and other government departments learn from and use evidence to improve current and future responses to crises in developing contexts. This is part of DFID’s overall approach to ensuring that our investments in tackling COVID-19 are driven by the best evidence and latest scientific advances.

As programmes adapt and mobilise to tackle the impact of COVID-19, so too will our monitoring, evaluation, and learning approach and framework. The COVID-19 response will draw on the systems and expertise we already have on monitoring, evaluation and learning. Our existing Evaluation Strategy, the key points of which were published in the Evaluation Annual Report 18-19, will direct our monitoring, evaluation and learning response to COVID-19 interventions. This Strategy enables DFID to use the best evidence tools for learning and improving throughout our programmes, as well as prioritising investment in rigorous central evaluations in the most strategic areas.

DFID’s overarching results indicators under the Single Departmental Plan are public. We will also publish information on our monitoring, evaluation and learning approach to COVID-19 as part of our Evaluation Annual Report.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, which (a) international NGOs and (b) UK charities have been allocated funding from the public purse to tackle the spread of covid-19; and how much funding each of those organisations has received.

The UK has so far pledged up to £744 million of UK aid to support the global effort to combat COVID-19. As part of this package, we are providing funding for a range of international NGOs, including UK charities, in particular through the Rapid Response Facility. We expect to make announcements on the detailed allocations and successful Rapid Response Facility partners in due course.

DFID is also adapting its programmes across our country network to respond to COVID-19 and we have committed significant new funding through the multilateral system - we expect NGOs to play a key role in delivery through both these channels but are not able to give an exact breakdown given that, in many cases, funding will go indirectly to NGOs through partners such as the UN. In addition, extra funding has also been allocated to NGOs through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what criteria were used to select the 15 countries which are eligible for Rapid Response Facility (RRF) funding.

DFID launched a call under the Rapid Response Facility to support the preparedness, mitigation and response to COVID-19 among vulnerable populations. The fifteen countries selected were prioritised on the basis of need, vulnerability, and risk.

DFID is also adapting its programmes across its country network to respond to COVID-19 and has also committed significant funding through the multilateral system to ensure our support reaches the most vulnerable.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what proportion of UK donations to multilateral organisations has been spent on (a) personal protective equipment, (b) testing and (c) water, sanitation and hygiene during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK has so far committed £744 million of aid to the global fight against COVID-19. Along with other donors we are supporting UN agencies, the Red Cross and NGOs to respond to COVID-19 in developing countries. This includes helping the world’s poorest countries in a range of ways including accessing critical medical supplies. By supporting developing countries to properly respond to COVID-19, the UK is helping end the global pandemic sooner and prevent future waves of infection coming to the UK.

As part of our overall package, up to £318 million will support finding a vaccine, new drugs, therapeutics and research and development for COVID-19.

The UK government is also working with Unilever to fund a global hygiene programme, with £50 million of support from DFID, to urgently tackle the spread of COVID-19. It will reach up to a billion people worldwide, raising awareness and changing behaviour, to make sure people are washing their hands with soap regularly and disinfecting surfaces. The programme will also provide over 20 million hygiene products in the developing world, including in areas where there is little or no sanitation. This is in addition to our many existing projects on water, sanitation and hygiene.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance her Department has allocated to climate change adaptation projects in each of the last three years.

The Department for International Development (DFID) spent £482 million in 2016, £371 million in 2017 and £522 million in 2018 on climate change adaptation projects as part of its share of UK international climate finance. 2019 figures are not yet available.

The UK has committed to spend £5.8 billion on international climate finance from the Official Development Assistance budgets of DFID, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) over the period 2016-17 to 2020-21. DFID’s share is £3.6 billion over the same period. The UK aims to achieve a balance between projects to tackle climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to (a) water, (b) sanitation and (c) hygiene in developing countries.

Since 2015, DFID has helped over 51 million poor people in Africa and Asia get access to a drinking water supply or toilet for the first time. Over 64 million people gained access to water, sanitation or hygiene services between 2011 and 2015.

We plan to deliver more sustainable and scalable water and sanitation programming by increasing our focus on strengthening national systems to deliver services, as part of the UK’s commitment to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children by 2030.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to remove trade barriers to imports of medical scrubs.

To make sure that those working on the frontline can access vital equipment easily, the United Kingdom introduced a temporary zero tariff rate on products deemed critical in the fight against COVID-19 in March.

This relief, which applies retrospectively to goods imported since 30th January 2020, waives the tariff and VAT on these products, including medical scrubs, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies from non-EU countries. A list of goods that the relief can be claimed on can be found on GOV.UK in the ‘COVID-19 Commodity Codes List’.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that child health is prioritised when discussing food standards during negotiations on future trade agreements.

Child Health is an extremely important matter for HM Government.

Our manifesto is clear that we will not compromise on our high food safety standards. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 transfers all existing EU food safety provisions, onto the United Kingdom’s statue book.

Our food standards agencies will continue to make sure that all food imports comply with the United Kingdom’s high safety standards, and that consumers are protected from foods that do not meet our standards.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of Brazil’s proposed new legislation (PL 2633/2020) on the ability of UK supermarkets to trade with Brazil.

I am aware of the proposed legislation to which the Hon. Lady has drawn attention. It will not, in itself, affect the legal capacity of British companies to trade with Brazil, but I am aware of concerns raised by a number of supermarkets over the environmental implications.

HM Government is concerned about deforestation in the Amazon and is working closely with Brazil to combat illegal deforestation. We have already committed £200m through international climate finance programmes that are aimed at tackling this issue.

Trade does not have to come at the expense of the environment. We are working closely with international partners and British businesses to grow trade in legal, sustainable products.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when she last met the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

The Secretary of State for International Trade and the Secretary of State for International Development meet at the Cabinet to discuss a broad range of issues. Officials from the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for International Development (DFID) meet regularly to discuss Official Development Assistance (ODA), and provide updates to Ministers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department plans to undertake sustainability impact assessments of trade deals agreed after the UK leaves the EU.

As set out in the February 2019 Command Paper, ‘Processes for making trade agreements after the United Kingdom has left the European Union’, at the end of negotiations the Government will publish a full impact assessment of a new free trade agreement alongside the full treaty text.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of British Airways on financial support for (a) cabin crew and (b) pilots.

Ministers and officials have engaged extensively with the aviation industry throughout the pandemic and continue to do so. In total, we estimate that by the end of September 2021 the air transport sector (airlines, airports and related services) will have benefited from around £7bn of Government support since the start of the pandemic. This included the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), Covid Corporate Financing Facility and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Scheme.

On 3 March 2021, the Government extended the CJRS until 30 September 2021 and furloughed employees will continue to receive 80% (up to £2,500) of their current salary with the Government currently contributing 60% of this.

British Airways reported that it expected to receive a total of £279m in relief under the CJRS for the 12 months to the end of December 2020 and had applied the CJRS to more than 30,000 cabin crew and ground-based employees; and it has continued to make use of the CJRS in 2021.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which of his Department's non executive directors were appointed through open competition.

All DfT Non-Executive Board Members were recruited according to the guidance set out in the Corporate governance code for central government departments.

DfT announces the appointments (including reappointment dates) of Non-Executive Board Members, as well as their experience, in the Annual Report and Accounts. Our current Non-Executives are covered in the following Annual Report and Accounts: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dft-annual-report-and-accounts-2019-to-2020

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he or any of the Ministers in his Department use personal email addresses to conduct Government business.

Departmental business is conducted through the official DfT email systems. Any correspondence to external addresses will be directed to our official DfT channels.

All DfT staff and ministers have DfT email accounts and sign up to acceptable use and cyber security operating policies, which state that departmental business must be conducted via DfT email addresses, and not personal email or other web-based mail system.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council and (b) the Mayor of London on securing a viable long term funding arrangement to repair Hammersmith Bridge.

Following the Government’s investment of £4m toward emergency mitigation works, the Board responsible for the Case for Continued Safe Operation made the decision to reopen Hammersmith Bridge to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic on 17 July. This is a very welcome development, especially for the people and businesses that use the Bridge.

The next step to permanent reopening lies with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF), as asset owner, who must submit a satisfactory business case to the Department for Transport. The submission of such a case is a condition for the release of any Government contribution to the cost of repairing the Bridge.

The Government has set out a clear commitment to support LBHF in finding a long-term solution for the Bridge. As agreed in the Transport for London extraordinary funding and finance agreement of 1 June 2021 the Government will contribute up to 1/3 of the total costs, but no more.

The Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce, chaired by Baroness Vere of Norbiton, met on 20 July. The Leader of LBHF and London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport were present.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Prime Minister on the construction of a third runway at Heathrow airport.

The Government has always been clear that Heathrow expansion remains a private sector project which must meet strict criteria on climate change, air quality, and noise, as well as being privately financed, affordable, and delivered in the best interest of consumers.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with Prime Minister on a wide range of transport matters.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to learn from steps taken effectively by New Zealand and Australia and introduce stronger border controls alongside increased covid-19 restrictions to restrict the spread of the virus into the UK.

The UK already has some of the strongest safeguards against importing COVID-19 in the shape of mandatory 10-day quarantine for the vast majority of arrivals outside of those covered by travel corridors.

As the pandemic is continually evolving, we continue to work alongside global partners to learn lessons and implement new measures if and when needed.

Passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before entering the UK to help protect against rising infection rates and new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally.

The move is in addition to robust existing measures the Government is taking to reduce the risk of imported cases. Passengers arriving from countries not on the Government’s Travel Corridor list will still need to self-isolate for ten days regardless of their pre-departure test result, to provide robust protection.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to fund the (a) restoration of Hammersmith suspension bridge and (b) construction of a temporary bridge at that location.

As owners of Hammersmith Bridge, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is responsible for the maintenance, repair and decision-making on its upkeep. The borough is currently considering proposals for a temporary bridge but no decisions have been taken.

We are committed to ensuring Londoners can cross the river again as soon as safely possible. That is why the Government ensured that £4m was put towards the stabilisation and repair of Hammersmith Bridge via the extraordinary funding and financing package agreed with TfL on 31 October 2020. A further condition of TfL’s bailout was the provision of a ferry service via its active travel fund.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he taking to ensure that electric vehicles bought prior to the implementation of regulations on Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems will be made compliant with those regulations.

Requirements to fit sound generators, known as Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS), on quiet electric and hybrid-electric vehicles will become mandatory for new vehicles being registered from 1 July 2021. These requirements do not apply retrospectively to vehicles already on the road. Manufacturers may optionally choose to install AVAS in vehicles ahead of this date, and some have chosen to do so.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) motorcycles, (b) scooters and (c) mopeds were registered in Putney, Roehampton and Southfields in (i) 2019 and (ii) 2020.

The following table shows the number of motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds registered to an address in the constituency of Putney at the end of June in both 2019 and 2020.

Licensed vehicles

End June 2019

End June 2020

Motorcycle (incl. those with sidecar)

1,396

1,412

Scooter

350

355

Moped

119

102

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government's plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 includes (a) motorcycles, (b) scooters and (c) mopeds.

The government's plans to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 does not include motorcycles, scooters or mopeds. Recognising that the market for plug-in motorcycles is still at an early stage of development, grant funding for zero emission two wheelers is available until 2023 alongside other plug in vehicle grants. Purchasers of eligible mopeds and motorcycles can receive a grant of 20% up to a maximum of £1,500 to reduce the up-front purchase price and take advantage of the lower running costs.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to enable those who were unable to take their practical driving test during the first covid-19 lockdown and whose theory driving test has since expired to take their practical test.

The two-year validity period of the theory test certificate is set in legislation and the Government has taken the decision not to lay further legislation to extend it. The primary reason is that the two-year validity is in place to ensure that a candidate’s theoretical knowledge and hazard perception skills are up to date at the critical point they drive on their own for the first time. Extending the validity would provide less reassurance that this is the case. Those whose certificate previously expired and have since passed the theory test will now have a further two years in which to pass the practical test.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when motorcycle driving tests can resume as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the safety of its staff and the wider public. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

From 4 July 2020, people will be able to take motorcycle and moped compulsory basic training, and motorcycle direct access scheme training.

Motorcycle and moped module 1 and module 2 tests will be available from 13 July 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when practical driving tests will be allowed to resume as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has produced detailed standard operating procedures and is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.

Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry. This will help candidates prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure people working the airline sector are not made redundant.

The Government recognises the importance of the UK aviation industry, which is why the Chancellor set out his commitment to support the industry.

The Government has announced a package of measures, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which help firms to retain employees. This Scheme will allow businesses to put employees on temporary leave, with the Government paying cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month, providing the business keeps the person employed.

10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) local authorities and (b) communities to implement (i) walking and (ii) cycling strategies.

The Department has provided a £2 million programme of support to enable 46 local authorities to prepare Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs). The Department is also working with the sector to develop further support for authorities on scheme development. Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 11 February, the Government will provide further funding support to local authorities to deliver new cycling and waking schemes that have been prioritised in LCWIPs. Further details will be announced in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) Putney Heath and (b) other wildlife sites are protected from air traffic pollution if a third runway is built at Heathrow Airport.

Following designation of the Airports National Policy Statement, it is now down to an applicant for development consent to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment that identifies any likely significant effects of the proposed project on the environment. This will include a detailed assessment of the air quality impacts of its scheme, including during construction, and put forward an appropriate package of mitigations that address air quality impacts and demonstrate compliance.

In order to grant development consent, the Secretary of State would need to be satisfied that, with mitigation, the scheme would be compliant with legal obligations.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with Heathrow Airport Ltd on surface access to the airport from Putney in the event that a third runway proceeds to development.

As part of the surface access requirements in the draft Airports National Policy Statement, Government has specified that any applicant for development consent should set out the mitigation measures that it considers are required to minimise and mitigate the effect of expansion on existing surface access arrangements.

The Department is engaging with a range of stakeholders, including Heathrow Airport Ltd, about surface access to the airport. Following the publication in November 2019 of the potential strategic objectives for a new Southern Access to Heathrow scheme, the Department has been discussing with Heathrow how such a scheme could be taken forward and its future role. Subject to the scheme development, this has the potential to provide improved rail links from Putney and South West London to Heathrow Airport.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on the assessment of the potential merits of funding options for the repair of Hammersmith Bridge.

As the owners of Hammersmith Bridge, it is for the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham to assess the merits of different funding options for its repair. Transport for London, on behalf of Hammersmith & Fulham, has recently submitted a proposal to the Department to make a funding contribution towards the repairs needed to the bridge. The Department is assessing this proposal in the context of other funding requests, and in view of the devolution settlement for London.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support young people with SEND into employment.

All unemployed young people, including those with SEND, have access to work-focused coaching and referral to additional support tailored to address specific needs. There are a range of DWP initiatives that support disabled people to stay in and enter work. These include the Work and Health Programme, the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, Access to Work, Supported Internships, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advice in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services.

As part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, the Kickstart programme is aimed specifically at young people. Disabled people or people with long-term health conditions can access the Kickstart programme, supported through Access to Work if required.

We have also increased the number of Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs) to 1000 nationally. DEAs work alongside Work Coaches, including Youth Employability Coaches, specialising in finding the right support to help all customers that have a disability or health condition.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which of her Department's non executive directors were appointed through open competition.

All Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Non-Executive Board Members were recruited according to the guidance set out in the Corporate governance code for central government departments.

DWP announces the appointments (including reappointment dates) of Non-Executive Board Members, as well as their experience, in the Annual Report and Accounts. Our current Non-Executives are covered in the following Annual Report and Accounts.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-annual-report-and-accounts-2020-to-2021//

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she or any of the Ministers in her Department use personal email addresses to conduct Government business.

Ministers will use a range of digital forms of communication for discussions in line with relevant guidance on information handling and security.

Ministers will have informal conversations from time to time, in person or remotely, and significant content relating to government business from such discussions is passed back to officials.

The Cabinet Office has previously published guidance on how information is held for the purposes of access to information, and how formal decisions are recorded for the official record. Ministers are also given advice on managing the security risks inherent in electronic communications.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to allow EU citizens who miss the deadline to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to continue to claim benefits.

Access to benefits for non-UK nationals depends on their immigration status. EEA and Swiss nationals, and their family members, resident in the UK at the end of the transition period need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to maintain entitlement to taxpayer funded benefits.

Those currently receiving benefits will not see their payments stop automatically from 1 July. It is, however, important that anyone who hasn’t applied to the EUSS does so quickly, including if the HO contacts them following the deadline, to ensure that benefit payments don’t stop.

The Government has been running a national communication campaign to make sure individuals are aware of the need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme ahead of the 30 June deadline. In addition to the national campaign, HM Government has been contacting DWP claimants to make sure that they are aware of the need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme ahead of the deadline to protect their rights.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many letters have been sent to dual UK nationals in error informing them of changes to their entitlement to state pension.

The Government has been running a national communication campaign to make sure individuals are aware of the need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme ahead of the 30 June deadline.

In addition to the national campaign, HM Government has been contacting DWP claimants to make sure that they are aware of the need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme ahead of the deadline to protect their rights. The letter also made it clear for individuals who had already attained British citizenship to disregard the letter.

State Pension remains payable without regard to nationality based on an individual’s national insurance record.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for social fund funeral expenses her Department has approved since April 2020.

In the period 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020, there were approximately 25,800 applications awarded for Funeral Expenses Payments, in England and Wales.

This figure is an estimate using unaudited internal DWP figures on the number of FEP loans. It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official / National statistics.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for social fund funeral expenses payments her Department has received since April 2020.

In the period 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020, there were approximately 34,000 applications received for Funeral Expenses Payments, in England and Wales.

This figure is drawn from the Social Fund Policy, Budget, and Management Information System. It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official / National statistics.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he has taken to support (a) tenants and (b) property managers through the regulation of best practice measures for the Gas Safe Industry.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations places duties on landlords to maintain gas fittings and flues in a safe condition, and to have these checked for safety annually. To support tenants and property managers understand these duties, and what landlords need to do to comply with them, extensive guidance can found on the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) website - www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/index.htm.

The Gas Safe Register (delivered on behalf of HSE) also provides advice for tenants and landlords - Gas safety in rented properties. Landlord and Tenant Guides - Gas Safe Register

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will extend the criteria for the Kickstart scheme to include people under 25 who (a) had an Education Health and Care Plan before leaving education and (b) claim Employment Support Allowance.

A young person is eligible for a job on the Kickstart scheme if they are aged 16-24, on Universal Credit (UC), and considered to be at risk of long term unemployment by their Work Coach. If a young person has been identified as having an EHCP at school this would not prevent them from being referred to a Kickstart Scheme Job as it is open to all young people who are on UC as long as they meet the eligibility/suitability criteria. Existing ESA claimants cannot be referred at this time and the Department of Work and Pensions has no current plans to extend the eligibility for the scheme but will keep that under review.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the Kickstart scheme on supported internships.

We have been working closely with Department for Education colleagues who deliver the Internship programme to support those young people with special educational needs. We are confident that Kickstart is complementary to other programmes underway, including supported internships. Employers applying for Kickstart funding must demonstrate that any job they plan to offer through Kickstart is additional and would not have otherwise existed or been previously planned. Young people are referred to the Kickstart scheme by their Work Coach, who are able to make the best judgement as to the appropriate work programme for them.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing support measures for out of work homeowners similar to the support available to renters.

The Department has no plans to change current support available for homeowners.

Support for homeowners in receipt of an income related benefit is provided through the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme. SMI helps people maintain their existing, reasonable mortgage commitments so they can remain in their homes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what stepss he is taking to ensure that baby banks and food banks are being provided with clear and effective guidance to facilitate the provision of formula milk to vulnerable infants who cannot safely be fed any other food.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. Decisions about which donations to accept and make available to food bank users are therefore a matter for food bank providers.


Healthy Start vouchers support pregnant women or households with children under four, who are on a low income, with the cost of milk (including infant formula), fruit and vegetables helping to boost children’s long-term health. We are increasing the weekly value of these vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether an Equality Impact Assessment will be published for the Kickstart scheme.

The Department of Work and Pensions will publish an Equality Impact Assessment on its Kickstart Scheme in due course.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that people seeking employment are able to access in-person work-related training under (a) the November 2020 and (b) future covid-19 restrictions.

Jobcentres have remained open to provide a face to face service to those who need it, in a Covid-19 secure environment. In addition to that we have supported claimants via telephone/digital channels to ensure they receive the appropriate help and support which could involve a referral to appropriate training.

In relation to contracted employment support, the safety of contracted employment provider staff and customers has been paramount during the Covid-19 period. DWP has worked with its contracted providers to continually adapt the support offered to ensure it best meets our customers’ needs, keeping them safe and operating in line with current social distancing measures.

Where face to face interactions have not been possible, we have worked with providers to look at alternative service delivery options including digital options and providing a telephony service to ensure support has continued.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

The Secretary of State meets with her Cabinet colleagues, including the Secretary of State for International Development, on a regular basis.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will extend universal credit eligibility to self-employed individuals residing in the UK on overseas visas.

Eligibility for Universal Credit depends on a person’s immigration status in the UK. DWP operates a Habitual Residence Test (HRT) in order to assess whether individuals have legal right to reside for the purpose of accessing benefits and are factually habitually resident.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will publish written guidance for jobcentre staff on benefit claimants who are self-isolating and therefore not able to meet work-related requirements including where there is a vulnerable member of the household other than the claimant.

Recognising the need for DWP staff to focus on the processing of claims, we will not be checking conditionality compliance with work search requirements for the next three months. This means no sanctions should be applied for that reason for the next three months, though we still encourage people who can work to seek work. Regulations will be introduced to bring this change into effect.

We have taken the decision to temporarily suspend the requirement for face-to-face Jobcentre Plus appointments from 19th March for all claimants in Universal Credit, Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Income Support. This means that claimants are not expected to contact their Jobcentre Plus while this temporary suspension is in place. They will continue to receive benefits as normal and they will not be sanctioned for not taking part in interviews with Jobcentres.

All Jobcentre staff have received updated guidance, which has been reinforced through calls with team leaders.

Claimants have also been informed by text message and via their online journals that they are no longer required to attend appointments. Additional information will also be provided in the FAQs accessible through a claimant’s online account.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that NICE publishes the ME/CFS Guidelines in their current form to help prevent harm from Graded Exercise Therapy.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent body and is responsible for developing its guidelines in line with its established methods and processes. NICE paused the publication of its updated guideline on myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome due to concerns raised by stakeholders. NICE plans to host a roundtable event in October to better understand how it can gain support for the guideline to ensure effective implementation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will amend the current rule of only investigating three consecutive miscarriages to investigate all cases of miscarriage.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is reviewing its guidelines regarding recurrent miscarriages and expects to publish its updated guidance later this year.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support people with damaged lungs as a result of air pollution.

The Department is working with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to treat those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance ‘Air pollution: outdoor air quality and health’, also provides advice for people with chronic respiratory or cardiovascular conditions and the impacts of air pollution. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs181

NHS England and NHS Improvement are taking a whole system approach to asthma management which includes addressing environmental triggers. The children and young people's transformation programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short and long-term adverse effects of air pollution on children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the covid-19 vaccine app will be changed to enable people of 17 years and 9 months to book a vaccine appointment.

A COVID-19 vaccine app which allows vaccine appointments to be booked in the United Kingdom does not exist. COVID-19 vaccinations can be booked via the National Booking System which can be accessed online or by calling 119, or alternatively, by booking through an individual’s General Practice. On 12 August 2021, SMS messages were sent to all individuals aged over 17 years and 9 months inviting them to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to adult social care.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing an individual’s eligibility for care and support as set out in the Care Act 2014 and where the individual is eligible for financial support, for meeting those needs. Where individuals are not eligible for financial support, local authorities will support them, should they require assistance, to make their own arrangements for care services.

The forthcoming Health and Care Bill will introduce the Department’s plans to develop an enhanced assurance framework to improve adult social care oversight across England. This includes a new duty for the Care Quality Commission to review and make an assessment of local authorities’ delivery of their adult social care duties to help drive quality and outcomes for care users.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which of his Department's non executive directors were appointed through open competition.

The Department currently has three non-executive board members. Kate Lampard and Gerry Murphy were appointed through separate open competitions. Doug Gurr was appointed directly by Ministers from a pool of appointable candidates from an open competition for non-executive directors for NHS England.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which Government departments have taken part in the covid-19 daily testing pilot.

The Border Force as part of the Home Department, and the Cabinet Office have participated or are participating in the workplaces daily contact testing pilot evaluation scheme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent engagement he has had with participants on the Novavax trial.

Ministers have had no recent engagement with trial participants.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that participants of the Novavax trial are treated equitably with regards to international travel.

We are working with clinical research sites to add participant information into the National Immunisation Management Service to allow participants to access their NHS COVID Pass for domestic and international travel. Discussions are ongoing with other countries, the G7, the European Commission and the World Health Organization to shape the approach taken around the world to sharing health status for travel, including vaccination status.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which Government Ministers have taken part in the covid-19 daily testing pilot scheme.

We do not hold information on the occupations of people taking part in the workplace daily contact testing pilot evaluation scheme. Information for the daily contact testing clinical study, trialling home testing for members of the general public, is also anonymised.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has created a (a) centralised contract register for the Department and (b) log of declarations of interest in relation to contracts; and how many of his Department's staff have completed data protection training for owners of declaration logs.

The Department has a central contracts register database. All Senior Civil Servants within the Department log declarations of interests, including those involved in the procurement of contracts and have a contractual delegation authorising them to sign and execute contracts on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whilst abiding by the Department’s financial controls framework and procurement policy. All staff within the Department are required to complete a training module on data protection.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the roles to which (a) George Pascoe-Watson, (b) Lord Feldman and (c) Lord O'Shaughnessy were appointed to assist his Department with the response to the covid-19 outbreak were (i) consultancy or (ii) temporary civil service roles; and whether the (A) Civil Service Code and (B) Code of Conduct for Special Advisers applied to those appointees in those roles.

George Pascoe-Watson, Lord Feldman and Lord O’Shaughnessy were Ministerial advisors and the Civil Service Code applied to them in these roles.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department centrally records a single point of contact for every contract awarded under the emergency covid-19 procurement process.

A commercial and an operational lead are assigned to every contract awarded and this is recorded on the Department’s central contracts register.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on ensuring that recipients of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine are treated equitably within international travel arrangements.

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

The Serum Institute of India (SII) manufactures Vaxzevria and Covishield and both branded vaccines are the same as the COVID-19 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 ‘Vaxzeveria’. 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 EU.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether any conflicts of interest were declared during the procurement process for the contract awarded on the 2 April 2021 to Verita to assist Public Health England with the transition to UK Health Security Agency.

No conflicts of interests were recorded by Public Health England in the award of the contract with Verita.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that those suffering with terminal medical conditions have dignity at the end of their lives.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out how the provision of healthcare is being updated to give people more control over their own health and more personalised care, including at end of life. The establishment of the Personalised Care Institute has made training available to help staff identify and support patients and to introduce proactive and personalised care planning for everyone identified as being in their last year of life. This enables meaningful conversations to take place and allows staff to help patients and families, address their concerns and to explain the breadth of services available in the local area. Clinicians should continue to utilise existing guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence which includes specific reference to maintaining comfort and dignity in the last days of life. ‘Care of dying adults in the last days of life’ is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng31/resources/care-of-dying-adults-in-the-last-days-of-life-pdf-1837387324357

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the comments of the second permanent secretary in the departmental minutes of December 2020, what a sub approval is in connection with Government covid-19 contracts.

A reference to a ‘sub approval’ in this context is referring to Ministerial decisions which take into account advice from officials presented to them in the form of a written submission for approval.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what role Ministers in his Department had in the approval of contracts under the emergency procurement processes during the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers were advised by officials to make decisions in response to COVID-19, which included consideration of procurement and contracting options with suppliers. Under the Department’s standing Financial Control Framework Ministers delegate to the Department’s Accounting Officers to deliver their decisions and provide support in handling public funds. The Accounting Officer should ensure the Department operates to a high standard of probity and has safeguards in place to ensure value for money and appropriate risk management procedures. Under this Framework, assurance processes to assess offers from suppliers were put in place and undertaken by officials in relation to all individual contracts awarded in response to COVID-19 using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations, which allows for a direct contract award due to extreme urgency or the absence of competition.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the value is of covid-19-related contracts awarded to Topham Guerin (a) in total and (b) without competitive tender.

The Department has not awarded a contract to Topham Guerin.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what work was carried out by staff in his Department with companies offering to provide covid-19 tests that were designated as fast track.

All proposed business cases and contract awards were triaged by the NHS Test and Trace approvals secretariat and routed to appropriate delegated authorities or boards for review depending on value and nature of the required investment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reducing the time between covid-19 vaccine doses for pregnant women in line with priority groups 1 to 9.

To protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that appointments for a second dose of the vaccine should be brought forward from 12 to eight weeks for those in priority cohorts one to nine. Pregnant women in these cohorts can therefore book their second dose eight weeks after their first.

Pregnant women are advised to discuss the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccination with their clinician.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how long each person in hospital with a spinal chord injury has been in that setting.

The following table shows the number of acute spinal cord injury (SCI) patients referred for treatment in a SCI centre, by injury, since March 2020.

Injury type

Number of patients

High Tetraplegia

573

Low Tetraplegia

404

High Paraplegia

335

Low Paraplegia

369

Cauda Equina

350

Total

2,031

Source: National Spinal Cord Injury Database

The average length of stay of patients who are currently in a SCI centre is 72.8 days.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have sustained a spinal cord injury since March 2020, by level of injury.

The following table shows the number of acute spinal cord injury (SCI) patients referred for treatment in a SCI centre, by injury, since March 2020.

Injury type

Number of patients

High Tetraplegia

573

Low Tetraplegia

404

High Paraplegia

335

Low Paraplegia

369

Cauda Equina

350

Total

2,031

Source: National Spinal Cord Injury Database

The average length of stay of patients who are currently in a SCI centre is 72.8 days.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to concerns raised by the British Psychological Society, if he will review the High Intensity Network’s serenity integrated mentoring.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have written to the medical directors of National Health Service mental health trusts asking them to review the implementation of Serenity Integrated Mentoring and similar models in trusts, in partnership with local patient representatives and those who might have been in the care of such models.

NHS England and NHS Improvement intend to gather learning from these local reviews, to inform the expansion and transformation of community and crisis care services for adults and older adults with mental health needs as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government plans to publish a strategy for the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

We have no current plans to do so.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking in response to complaints about the quarantine conditions in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Heathrow; and whether he is reviewing that contract.

The Department has worked closely with the hotel’s management and other service providers to increase staffing levels and improve the quality of food offered. Whilst there are no plans to review the contract, we are continuing to monitor the service through our on-site liaison officers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that pregnant women can access either a Pfizer or Moderna covid-19 vaccine.

NHS England currently advise pregnant women to speak to a healthcare professional before booking their first dose, so that they can be directed to a venue offering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The National Booking System has been updated to recommend that pregnant women should speak to a healthcare professional such as an obstetrician, midwife or general practitioner before booking their first dose appointment.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what Supply Chain Coordination Ltd's policy is on the procurement of products and services where the production has involved child labour; when that policy was introduced; and whether the Category Tower Service Providers are mandated to follow that policy.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information he holds on Supply Chain Coordination Limited's policy on the procurement of products that contain cotton from Xinjiang, including (a) when that policy was introduced, (b) where that policy was stated and (c) whether the Category Tower Service Providers are mandated to follow that policy.

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

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons a PCR covid-19 test required for travel is more expensive in the UK than in other European countries.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the details of the contract for personal protective equipment supplies awarded to Crown Salvage on 13 April 2020.

The contract is available at the following link:

https://atamis-1928.cloudforce.com/sfc/p/#0O000000rwim/a/4J000000kHkx/O0SzPUcLh0QLRGRyvlsW0.Hwrcy4A4Zjp_Dr.A9HYDM

Some information concerning pricing and the precise amounts of personal protective equipment ordered has been redacted as this is considered commercially sensitive.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidential basis for including Uruguay on red list of travel ban countries; and when he plans to review that country's inclusion.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his department's guidance is for extremely clinically vulnerable people who are shielding and have children who have returned to school as the covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are advised to shield until 31 March, at which point new guidance will be issued.

Shielding advice is only for the clinically extremely vulnerable person and does not extend to other members of the household, such as children, who should continue to attend their school or college. In a household containing someone considered clinically extremely vulnerable, it is particularly important to follow Government guidance on social distancing. More guidance about living in a household with someone who is considered clinically extremely vulnerable is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/guidance-for-households-with-grandparents-parents-and-children-living-together-where-someone-is-at-increased-risk-or-has-symptoms-of-coronavirus-cov

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific basis for including people with severe asthma in the group 6 priority group of the covid-19 vaccine rollout programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has concluded that only a subset of those with asthma are at clinically high risk from COVID-19. This group are defined as adults with asthma who require continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission and will be vaccinated as part of priority group six. An individual with a more severe case of asthma may have been included in the clinically extremely vulnerable group and would have received a letter from the National Health Service or their general practitioner, in which case they will be vaccinated as part of priority group four.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) machines and (b) tests have been purchased through the Government's contract with Optigene to date; and how many tests have been carried out using those machines.

A total of 600 machines and 39 million tests have been purchased through the contract with Optigene. As of 26 March 2021, 276,941 tests have been carried out using these machines.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of care home (a) residents and (b) staff in Wandsworth have received a first covid-19 vaccine dose; and how many have refused the vaccine.

Information is not held in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the results of the consultation on the increased prescription of anti-psychotics to people with dementia during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor the monthly data published by NHS Digital on the prescribing of antipsychotic medication for people diagnosed with dementia. No formal consultation has been undertaken. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to have regular conversations with regional clinical network leads and local services to understand the patterns in prescribing and potential reasons for trends.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) minors travelling alone and (b) boarders returning to school are exempt from the covid-19 quarantine rules; and if he will ensure that relevant guidance is updated to take account of those circumstances.

Boarding school students must quarantine within accommodation provided for or arranged by their boarding school. Full guidance for students from ‘red list’ countries is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarantine-arrangements-for-boarding-school-students-from-red-list-countries

Other individuals, including children, who have not travelled from or through a red list country in the previous 10 days must quarantine in accordance with the guidance on how to quarantine on arrive in England. Children arriving in England from a red list country should not be travelling alone. If it is not possible to travel with the child, the parent or guardian is expected to join their child in managed quarantine on arrival.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the financial costs of covid-19 testing for UK arrivals who have had to travel abroad for essential reasons.

For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of these costs there is an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking, in particular for individuals who receive income related benefits. We have set out how to apply for this on GOV.UK. We keep all our measures under constant review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people who were on the waiting list for NHS operations who have now received private operations.

Between March and December 2020, 562,620 patients across England were removed from the National Health Service waiting list following treatment by private providers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many FFP3 masks there are in his Department's four-month personal protective equipment stockpile; and what proportion of NHS staff has access to those masks.

The information is not yet available in the format requested. The operational process to build stockpiles is supported by a range of detailed operational and management information. We currently are working to fully validate this data.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the attendees at negotiations for the contracts awarded to Medacs to help deliver the Government’s covid-19 response.

A range of Government officials conducted the negotiations for the contracts awarded to Medacs.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the total value of contracts awarded to Globus in 2020 was to help the Government’s response to covid-19.

All offers of personal protective equipment (PPE) from suppliers received the same eight stage assurance process which selected suppliers based on the product type, clinical acceptability, price, forecasted delivery dates, volume and financial standing. This was managed by a team of around 450 officials from a number of Government Departments, who conducted the negotiations.

The value of the contract awarded to Globus for the supply of PPE was £93.7 million. The Contract Award Notice and contract have been published at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/c0a249e7-5453-40f2-b047-bb5da9a1941b?origin=SearchResults&p=1

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the attendees at negotiations for the contracts awarded to Globus to help deliver the Government’s covid-19 response.

All offers of personal protective equipment (PPE) from suppliers received the same eight stage assurance process which selected suppliers based on the product type, clinical acceptability, price, forecasted delivery dates, volume and financial standing. This was managed by a team of around 450 officials from a number of Government Departments, who conducted the negotiations.

The value of the contract awarded to Globus for the supply of PPE was £93.7 million. The Contract Award Notice and contract have been published at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/c0a249e7-5453-40f2-b047-bb5da9a1941b?origin=SearchResults&p=1

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that covid-19 vaccination centres are accessible to disabled people.

Vaccination centres are subject to the same standards to support people with accessibility needs including visual impairment as all health care services. This includes ensuring good lighting and clear signage. In addition, marshals and staff help people attending vaccination centres to navigate safely. When sent an invitation for vaccine by letter, the public are directed to the location’s individual details on accessibility.

Local vaccination services also coordinate and deliver vaccinations to people who are unable to attend a vaccination site, including by visiting care homes, the homes of housebound individuals, residential facilities for people with learning disabilities or autism, prisons and reaching vulnerable groups such as those who are experiencing homelessness.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of prioritising covid-19 vaccinations for the relatives of care home residents to enable those relatives to be able to resume visits to those residents.

Although the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has not made an explicit consideration of including relatives of care homes residents, this does not prevent them visiting their loved ones. It is not a condition of visiting that the visitor or the resident should have been vaccinated. However, it is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents take up the opportunity to be vaccinated when they are invited to do so through the national programme.

As part of the roadmap publication on 22 February, we confirmed that new visiting arrangements would start on 8 March. From then, every care home was asked to ensure that each resident can nominate one named person who can have regular, indoor visits.

Those residents with the highest care needs can nominate an “Essential Care Giver”. These visitors will be able to visit more often in order to provide essential care. They will have the same testing and PPE arrangements as care home staff so that they can safely provide extra support, like help with washing and dressing or eating well. Of course, over time an increasing proportion of visitors will be vaccinated by virtue of their age or other factors such as being an unpaid carer.

Guidance on care home visiting can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward proposals to allow for two children under the age of 12 to meet outdoors with an adult present for very limited interactions under covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Under the current restrictions, people cannot leave home for recreational or leisure purposes. It is against the law for anyone, including children under 12 years old, to meet socially with friends outdoors, including if an adult is present, unless they are part of their household or support bubble.

The Government keeps the restrictions under continual review and will make changes if the data and science support it.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the value is of service credits applied to Ayanda Capital’s contract for personal protective equipment which was later found to be unsuitable.

Service Credits are not used in the contracts the Department has awarded to personal protective equipment suppliers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the value is of service credits applied to SITEL’s contract to run the Isolation Assurance Service.

Public Health England has not awarded any service level credits to the contractor working on the Isolation Assurance Service.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what conflict of interest criteria have been applied to the awarding of contracts via the high priority lane for procurement since 1 March 2020.

Regulation 24 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 requires contracting authorities to take appropriate measures to effectively prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest arising in the conduct of procurement procedures. The Department has robust rules and processes in place to ensure that conflicts of interest do not occur, including declaration from suppliers, publication of ministerial interests and robust departmental guidance.

These all applied to the procurement of personal protective equipment last year by the Department, including the use of a high priority lane to consider the most credible

offers from suppliers which needed to be reviewed with more urgency.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the deadline date for all London prison officers to have received a covid-19 vaccine.

We do not hold data on the number of vaccinations administered to occupational groups other than health and social care workers, therefore no such assessment has been made.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the deadline date for all prison officers to have received a covid-19 vaccine.

We do not hold data on the number of vaccinations administered to occupational groups other than health and social care workers, therefore no such assessment has been made.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prison staff (a) in total and (b) based in London have received a covid-19 vaccine.

We do not hold data on the number of vaccinations administered to occupational groups other than health and social care workers, therefore no such assessment has been made.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding from the public purse Sitel has received under the terms of its contract with the Government to run the Isolation Assurance Service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Isolation Assurance Service (IAS) is undertaken through an existing Public Health England (PHE) contract which has been formally updated and is on a rolling agreement with two-weeks’ notice. Sitel is the only company working on the IAS. The spend on setting up and running the IAS to end of September 2020 was £664,000.

The performance indicators for Sitel’s contract for the IAS are contained in the original Crown Commercial Services roster agreement and within the PHE contract. The PHE contract is amended as requirements change.

There are no penalties, however both the Crown Commercial Service Framework Agreement and the PHE contractual side have performance sections in them. These refer to items such as regular review meetings, staff training, timely submission of reports, billing, agreed stand up times for staffing and cancelation of the contract. PHE does have the ability to retain 5% of the fees for poor performance.

Sitel was contracted under direct award as an existing supplier who had successfully assisted in previous urgent and sensitive situations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are penalties for underperformance in the terms of Sitel's contract with the Government to run the Isolation Assurance Service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Isolation Assurance Service (IAS) is undertaken through an existing Public Health England (PHE) contract which has been formally updated and is on a rolling agreement with two-weeks’ notice. Sitel is the only company working on the IAS. The spend on setting up and running the IAS to end of September 2020 was £664,000.

The performance indicators for Sitel’s contract for the IAS are contained in the original Crown Commercial Services roster agreement and within the PHE contract. The PHE contract is amended as requirements change.

There are no penalties, however both the Crown Commercial Service Framework Agreement and the PHE contractual side have performance sections in them. These refer to items such as regular review meetings, staff training, timely submission of reports, billing, agreed stand up times for staffing and cancelation of the contract. PHE does have the ability to retain 5% of the fees for poor performance.

Sitel was contracted under direct award as an existing supplier who had successfully assisted in previous urgent and sensitive situations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether an open tendering process was undertaken in advance of the Government awarding the contract to Sitel to run the Isolation Assurance Service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Isolation Assurance Service (IAS) is undertaken through an existing Public Health England (PHE) contract which has been formally updated and is on a rolling agreement with two-weeks’ notice. Sitel is the only company working on the IAS. The spend on setting up and running the IAS to end of September 2020 was £664,000.

The performance indicators for Sitel’s contract for the IAS are contained in the original Crown Commercial Services roster agreement and within the PHE contract. The PHE contract is amended as requirements change.

There are no penalties, however both the Crown Commercial Service Framework Agreement and the PHE contractual side have performance sections in them. These refer to items such as regular review meetings, staff training, timely submission of reports, billing, agreed stand up times for staffing and cancelation of the contract. PHE does have the ability to retain 5% of the fees for poor performance.

Sitel was contracted under direct award as an existing supplier who had successfully assisted in previous urgent and sensitive situations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the criteria are for the assessment of the performance of Sitel under the terms of its contract with the Government to run the Isolation Assurance Service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Isolation Assurance Service (IAS) is undertaken through an existing Public Health England (PHE) contract which has been formally updated and is on a rolling agreement with two-weeks’ notice. Sitel is the only company working on the IAS. The spend on setting up and running the IAS to end of September 2020 was £664,000.

The performance indicators for Sitel’s contract for the IAS are contained in the original Crown Commercial Services roster agreement and within the PHE contract. The PHE contract is amended as requirements change.

There are no penalties, however both the Crown Commercial Service Framework Agreement and the PHE contractual side have performance sections in them. These refer to items such as regular review meetings, staff training, timely submission of reports, billing, agreed stand up times for staffing and cancelation of the contract. PHE does have the ability to retain 5% of the fees for poor performance.

Sitel was contracted under direct award as an existing supplier who had successfully assisted in previous urgent and sensitive situations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what grounds the Government awarded the contract to Sitel to run the Isolation Assurance Service during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Isolation Assurance Service (IAS) is undertaken through an existing Public Health England (PHE) contract which has been formally updated and is on a rolling agreement with two-weeks’ notice. Sitel is the only company working on the IAS. The spend on setting up and running the IAS to end of September 2020 was £664,000.

The performance indicators for Sitel’s contract for the IAS are contained in the original Crown Commercial Services roster agreement and within the PHE contract. The PHE contract is amended as requirements change.

There are no penalties, however both the Crown Commercial Service Framework Agreement and the PHE contractual side have performance sections in them. These refer to items such as regular review meetings, staff training, timely submission of reports, billing, agreed stand up times for staffing and cancelation of the contract. PHE does have the ability to retain 5% of the fees for poor performance.

Sitel was contracted under direct award as an existing supplier who had successfully assisted in previous urgent and sensitive situations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve waiting times for trans young people to access safe and supportive medical care.

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is currently undergoing a review led by Dr Hilary Cass. This review will make recommendations regarding how the service is planned and delivered including matters that may impact on clinical capacity, workforce recommendations and the relationship with other NHS services.

In addition, following the publication of a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection which rated the service as inadequate and identified long waiting times as an area of concern, the board of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has submitted a plan to the CQC that includes actions to improve management of the waiting list.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that services that support trans young people provide them with medical care to (a) transition or (b) prevent puberty where appropriate.

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) run by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust offers psychosocial support to young people, allowing individuals to explore their feelings and wants in a understanding environment, while building an individualised treatment plan.

The service is currently undergoing a review led by Dr Hilary Cass, this review is wide ranging in scope and will make recommendations on how to improve the service for its users. Treatment to ‘prevent puberty’ is currently subject to ongoing legal proceedings as such the Department is unable to comment on this.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of NHS dental contract holders delivered 45 per cent or more of their historic activity levels in each of the last three months for which figures are available.

This data is not currently available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether physiotherapists and other healthcare staff providing patient-facing services in (a) charitable hospices, (b) care homes and (c) community services will have the same access to asymptomatic covid-19 testing as NHS employees.

Since November 2020, twice weekly lateral flow device (LFD) testing has been available for all National Health Service patient-facing staff who may conduct visits in the community including to care homes and charitable hospices. In addition, all hospices and care homes in England have access to LFD tests, which can be used to test all visiting professionals prior to admission into those vulnerable settings.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) physiotherapists and (b) other healthcare staff providing patient facing NHS services, but employed by independent providers, will have the same access to asymptomatic covid-19 testing as NHS employees.

All National Health Service patient facing staff in acute, mental health, ambulance and community trusts have been provided with lateral flow tests to enable them to test themselves at home twice a week. Lateral flow tests are also being issued across primary care including general practice, community pharmacy, dentistry and optometry. Tests have been provided to independent sector providers and organisations providing patient facing NHS services to enable them to conduct twice a week testing in line with NHS employees.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to formally consult organisations representing non-GP members of primary care multi-disciplinary teams, before negotiating the next GP contact, DES and ARRS.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement engage on an ongoing basis with a wide range of professional groups on issues relating to primary care. These groups’ views and feedback help to inform priorities for negotiations with the British Medical Association on the GP Contract.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what Government funding is available to physiotherapists who wish to train as first contact practitioners in general practice.

Whilst the Government does not provide direct funding to allied health professionals to become first-contact practitioners, Health Education England is investing in the development of capability frameworks and credentials to support advanced practice across nursing, midwifery and allied health professions including physiotherapy.

In particular, it is supporting experienced physiotherapists to reach the capabilities necessary to practice as a first contact practitioner through education and training programmes and the offer of high-quality supervision.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the delivery of increased numbers of physiotherapists as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

As part of the new funding package for healthcare students non-repayable, training grants of at least £5,000 per academic year are available to eligible new and continuing pre-registration physiotherapy students, studying at English universities. The indications are that the new financial support package has been a significant driver of demand and this year acceptances on physiotherapy courses have increased by 27% compared to the same time last year.

Health Education England is undertaking extensive allied health profession health careers work and is working with various stakeholders including the Office for Students and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy to raise the profile of physiotherapy careers. A survey of former healthcare professionals who have joined the Health and Care Professions Council temporary registers, including physiotherapists, indicated that around 50% across were interested in continuing to work in the health and social care system.

There are existing return to practice schemes designed to support physiotherapists who have been out of the workforce for a number of years to safely re-start their careers.

NHS England is working with the Department and other local employing organisations to consider a range of flexible options to make it easier for professionals, including physiotherapists, who are interested in re-joining the NHS workforce to do so. Since 2017, NHS England and NHS Improvement have supported trusts with an intensive retention support programme, which is reducing retention by working with trusts to help them address the reasons that staff have left.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help retain physiotherapists who have entered NHS employment temporarily from the private health sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of the new funding package for healthcare students non-repayable, training grants of at least £5,000 per academic year are available to eligible new and continuing pre-registration physiotherapy students, studying at English universities. The indications are that the new financial support package has been a significant driver of demand and this year acceptances on physiotherapy courses have increased by 27% compared to the same time last year.

Health Education England is undertaking extensive allied health profession health careers work and is working with various stakeholders including the Office for Students and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy to raise the profile of physiotherapy careers. A survey of former healthcare professionals who have joined the Health and Care Professions Council temporary registers, including physiotherapists, indicated that around 50% across were interested in continuing to work in the health and social care system.

There are existing return to practice schemes designed to support physiotherapists who have been out of the workforce for a number of years to safely re-start their careers.

NHS England is working with the Department and other local employing organisations to consider a range of flexible options to make it easier for professionals, including physiotherapists, who are interested in re-joining the NHS workforce to do so. Since 2017, NHS England and NHS Improvement have supported trusts with an intensive retention support programme, which is reducing retention by working with trusts to help them address the reasons that staff have left.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason there is a shortage of scrubs in hospitals and vaccination clinics; and who holds the contracts for scrubs provision.

NHS Supply Chain are the main provider of consumables and equipment into the National Health Service, which includes scrubs. It contracts with 14 suppliers on a framework contract to supply scrubs to NHS trusts. NHS Supply Chain report that none of their suppliers have received large scale enquiries which they are unable to fulfil and that all orders can be fulfilled within reasonable lead times.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of including Nuclear Medicine Technologists on the Health and Care Professions Council register.

The Government has no plans to extend statutory regulation to nuclear medicine technologists. The statutory regulation of healthcare professionals should only be used where the risks to public and patient protection cannot be addressed in other ways, such as through employer oversight or accredited voluntary registration.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure adequate supplies of glaucoma medication procured from EU suppliers.

Our priority is to ensure that patients continue to have access to the medicines they need, including glaucoma medication. We continue to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service, and others in the supply chain to deliver the shared goal of continuity of safe patient care under all circumstances.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of placing people with learning disabilities in a higher covid-19 vaccination priority category.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that those with severe and profound learning disabilities and those with learning disabilities residing in residential care, should be offered the vaccine as part of priority group six. Those with a wide range of neurological conditions have also been advised to be vaccinated in this group.

In addition, on 24 February, it was clarified that everyone on their general practitioner’s learning disability register will be invited for vaccination as part of priority group six.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the disproportionate effect of diabetes in areas with greater health inequalities.

We recognise that diabetes is a disease that can affect anyone and there is increased prevalence in deprived areas. The NHS Long Term plan has committed to providing a targeted support offer and access to weight management services in primary care is available for people with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and/or hypertension, with a Body Mass Index over 30, which is adjusted appropriately for ethnicity.

NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise that obesity is strongly associated with deprivation and the Weight Management Innovation Platform will target higher levels of tailored support for people from deprived communities to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support his Department is providing to people living with diabetes who are more likely to experience serious complications from covid-19.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic diabetes care has remained a priority and general practice has supported patients with long term conditions to access care and support.

Recognising that access to face to face care has been limited, NHS England and NHS Improvement have expedited a procurement, to make two remote programmes available to provide education and self-management support for children and adults living with type 1 diabetes. The national diabetes programme team has also developed an on-line education programme of resources for people living with type 2 diabetes.

The NHS England and NHS Improvement Diabetes Programme Team has helped to develop a COVID-19 risk prediction model to support shared decision making between clinicians and patients based on more accurate information as well as discussions on how to reduce risk of COVID-19 for all, including those with diabetes.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what process is in place for carers who attend the homes of their clients to obtain regular covid-19 testing.

Home care workers employed by Care Quality Commission-registered organisations are able to access weekly PCR tests, which can be self-administered at home. This will help identify whether any home care workers have COVID-19 asymptomatically and thereby provide further protection – in addition to the use of personal protective equipment to those they care for.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many companies hold procurement contracts for scrubs with his Department; and how many procurement contracts for scrubs his Department has put out to tender in the last 12 months.

NHS Supply Chain, the main provider of consumables and equipment into the National Health Service, reports that the NHS Supply Chain Hotel Services Tower, which manages supply of scrubs, has not put any tenders out to the market in the last 12 months. The NHS Supply Chain Hotel Services Tower has an existing framework contract which enables NHS trusts to purchase scrubs compliantly from a proven source of supply. There are 14 suppliers on this Framework which supply scrubs to NHS trusts.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who the primary supplier of NHS scrubs is.

NHS Supply Chain, the main provider of consumables and equipment into the National Health Service, reports that the NHS Supply Chain Hotel Services Tower, which manages supply of scrubs, has not put any tenders out to the market in the last 12 months. The NHS Supply Chain Hotel Services Tower has an existing framework contract which enables NHS trusts to purchase scrubs compliantly from a proven source of supply. There are 14 suppliers on this Framework which supply scrubs to NHS trusts.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps is he taking to improve supply chains for the chemicals used to process blood tests.

The Department has well established procedures to deal with shortages of medical products if and when they arise and works closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, NHS England and industry to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when they do arise. These procedures operate at a national, regional and local level to address any supply-chain related issues that might arise.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are providing support to pathology networks and suppliers of chemicals and other diagnostics products to ensure continuity of supply and delivery of pathology services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the availability of Hormone Replacement Therapy supplies during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the pandemic, we are doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines. We are aware of supply issues that have affected some hormone replacement therapy (HRT) preparations for various reasons, including regulatory or manufacturing issues and commercial decisions made by some companies to divest some products. While a very limited number of HRT products are currently affected, most, including alternatives to those experiencing supply issues are available.

We have been working closely with all suppliers of HRT medicines to maintain overall access to patients and have provided regular updates about these issues and management advice to the National Health Service. The overall situation has been improving since the end of February 2020 and will continue to improve in the coming months.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support parents to mitigate the detrimental effects of covid-19 lockdown on the social development of (a) new born babies and (b toddlers.

Community health services have continued to provide support during the pandemic with greater use of digital and remote technologies providing support and prioritising higher needs families. Health visitors, as the lead for the Healthy Child Programme, and maternity settings will continue to be key contacts between the health system and families. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s community health services prioritisation/restoration document and standard operating procedure make clear that these services will continue to perform vital functions, virtually or face to face if there is a clinical or safeguarding concern.

The Early Years Health Adviser (Rt hon. Andrea Leadsom MP) is carrying out a review focusing on the period from birth to age two and a half. The review will look at the lessons learned from COVID-19, including minimising the risks from the pandemic to very young children.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that women working in the NHS are provided with a full range of scrubs and personal protective equipment in sizes that meet their needs.

We are committed to understanding workers’ needs. Following anecdotal feedback, NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a project led by the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer to gather the robust evidence and data we need to understand any problems and take action.

Getting a range of the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) frontline staff require is of paramount importance. Our buying teams are aware of the various different categories they need to buy, and source as many different sizes as possible.

We are moving from a system of quality control to quality assurance, with the onus on quality assurance at source, while building user confidence around product quality and reliability in addition to driving a more efficient supply with lower waste and higher user acceptance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to expand mental health services in the event of a second national lockdown.

We recognise the pressures on mental health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated measures. We have released tailored guidance on the Every Mind Matters website and GOV.UK giving advice and practical steps for people to support their mental health and wellbeing. National Health Service mental health services have remained open for business throughout this time, including delivering support digitally and by phone. For those with severe needs or in crisis, NHS mental health providers have set up 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent mental health helplines. We have also provided over £10 million funding for mental health charities supporting people through the pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to schools on managing and administering tests for covid-19.

As part of the Government's commitment to reopening schools, all schools in England have been provided with a small number of home testing kits to be offered in the exceptional circumstance that a school believes a pupil or staff member will not get a test by another route.

All schools were provided with an initial supply of kits ahead of the start of the new school year, and schools are now able to re-order a small number of kits, proportionate to their size. They are able to place these orders every 21 days.

The Government publishes guidance for schools about all aspects of COVID-19, including testing on GOV.UK.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the (a) accuracy of data and (b) criteria for measuring children’s wellbeing.

The Government continues to expand data and information on children and young people’s wellbeing.

The Department for Education recently published the second annual ‘State of the Nation: Children and Young People’s Wellbeing’ report. It is intended to help Government, children and young people’s services, schools, parents, and anyone interested in children and young people’s wellbeing to understand their experiences of the pandemic, the measures put in place to reduce the impact of the pandemic, and the broader effects on society.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are on waiting lists for joint replacement treatment in the London Borough of Wandsworth.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) social, (b) economic and (c) personal effects of (i) beta-thalassaemia and (ii) chronic genetic illnesses on the communities in which those illnesses occur.

NHS England, as the commissioner of services for patients with beta-thalassaemia and other chronic genetic illnesses, is not responsible for assessing the social, economic and personal effects of the conditions on the communities in which they occur. However, all service specifications and policies are developed in conjunction with stakeholders, including patient groups and patient representatives, and all are subject to engagement and consultation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department takes to measure patient experience for people with beta-thalassaemia.

NHS England has looked to address health inequalities within the Haemoglobinopathy patient population, which includes beta-thalassaemia patients. In the latter part of 2019 NHS England concluded a review of Haemoglobinopathy services; resulting in the development of services which will provide the opportunity to capture patient experience at a local level. This includes the National Haemoglobinopathy Register which can capture some elements of patient experience as part of the patient’s annual review. Furthermore, in October 2019 the national conversation on rare diseases survey was launched to identify the major challenges faced by those living and working with rare diseases. We received almost 6,300 responses which, alongside lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, will be used to shape the post-2020 UK Rare Diseases Framework.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to restart the school fruit and vegetable scheme; and whether he plans to extend that scheme to all primary school pupils.

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme resumed in September when children returned 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.

There are currently no plans to extend this scheme to all primary school pupils.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Urgent Care Centre at Queen Mary's Hospital will be reopening.

A date has not yet been set for the reopening of the Urgent Treatment Centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital.

The Trust and local commissioners are undertaking work to agree a new COVID-secure model of care. The unit cannot use the model previously in place due to social distancing requirements and to infection prevention and control pathways.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS staff members have died from covid-19 since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Office for National Statistics publish mortality data for deaths involving COVID-19 for healthcare workers and social care workers in England and Wales. The last iteration of this release showed that in England there were 305 deaths among healthcare workers and 307 deaths among social care workers registered between 9 March and 12 October 2020 in England, of those aged 20-64 years, using last known occupation. The definition of healthcare workers used will include not only those employed in the National Health Service but wider healthcare sector workers.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the effects of the covid-19 outbreak and lockdown on children’s (a) physical agility and (b) weight gain.

We published ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ in July. The strategy demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity and sets our measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service. The strategy continues to deliver actions set out in the childhood obesity plan including promoting a national ambition for every primary school to adopt an active mile initiative. We have also confirmed that schools in England will benefit from £320 million from the PE and Sport Premium during the academic year 2020-21.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has established a second wave health and social care to prepare for a potential second wave of covid-19 infections.

To prepare the National Health Service for winter, the Government is providing an additional £3 billion of funding. This includes funding to allow the NHS to maintain the Nightingale surge capacity and continue to use the extra hospital capacity available within the independent sector.

Effective local management of any outbreaks is the first line of protection against a second wave that might overwhelm the NHS. To support local authorities, we made £300 million available and they already have robust plans in place to respond to outbreaks.

We have also made significant strides in our Test and Trace service. We have established one of the world’s largest testing programmes, with capacity at around 350,000 tests every day and we have already traced around 250,000 people who may have unknowingly spread the virus.

NHS winter preparations include delivering a very significantly expanded seasonal flu vaccination programme for priority groups.

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, what steps he is taking to provide scrubs to (a) hospitals, (b) care homes and (c) dentists which rely on donations of scrubs from charitable volunteers.

NHS Supply Chain, the main provider of consumables and equipment into the National Health Service, report that its suppliers have sufficient supplies of scrubs for NHS customers to order. Care homes and dental practices access scrubs from their business as usual wholesalers and we have set up a number of new access points and distribution routes whereby all items of personal protective equipment, including gowns and aprons, can be ordered.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if will he make an assessment of the potential merits of enabling the backdating of pre-payment prescription claims to more than one month.

Legislation currently prohibits backdating certificates beyond one month. We have no plans to change this.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the guidance on shielding in England and Wales.

The Government has set up the Shielding Behavioural Survey to monitor whether the clinically extremely vulnerable population in England who had been advised to shield were following shielding guidance and to collect other information such as support that helps this group continue shielding, impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health and wellbeing and changes in their mental and physical health.

The survey was produced in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Work and Pensions, Government Digital Service and Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS has published two reports for the periods: 9 June to 18 June 2020, published at 29 June 2020 and 28 May to 3 June 2020, published at 15 June 2020.

As health is a devolved issue, shielding guidance in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Government.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what dates the Government has made announcements in the names of the Chief Dental Officer and the General Dental Council on the operation of dental practices since the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will publish the guidance accompanying each of those announcements.

The Government has made no announcements in the name of the General Dental Council (GDC). The GDC is the body responsible for the regulation of dentists and dental care practitioners in the United Kingdom and is independent of Government.

The Chief Dental Officer and NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued a series of letters and guidance notes throughout the pandemic to dental practices. All letters and guidance notes are available on the NHS England and NHS Improvement website and also the GDC’s website.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps is he taking to support patients with long-term symptoms arising from contracting covid-19.

The National Health Service and the wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of the COVID-19 virus, including the severity and duration of symptoms. The UK Research and Innovation – National Institute for Health Research ‘Rapid Response Rolling Call’ has funded a large post-hospitalisation study. The study, announced in July, will establish a national consortium and a research platform embedded within clinical care to understand and improve long-term outcomes for survivors following hospitalisation with COVID-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to develop a digital, interactive, personalised recovery programme for people recovering from COVID-19. The new ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service, which was announced on 5 July, forms part of NHS plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but have not fully recovered.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he last met with the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has many discussions with the Secretary of State for International Development in conducting his Ministerial duties.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to seek justice for those patients who died prematurely at Gosport Hospital.

The police assessment of evidence relating to the events at Gosport War Memorial Hospital has now turned into an independent police lead investigation. This investigation is independent from the Department and the Government. Since this announcement the Department has been liaising closely with police colleagues to understand their approach. The key points are that Operation Magenta are now in its investigative stage of which there will be several potential outcomes.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help protect, shield and test adults with (a) severe learning disabilities and (b) serious medical conditions.

We recognise that COVID-19 poses specific challenges for people with a learning disability, autistic people and their families and carers. We are working hard across Government, the National Health Service, social care and with delivery partners to ensure that we mitigate these challenges as much as possible and to ensure the safety of people with a learning disability and autistic people, including in inpatient mental health settings.

Expert doctors have identified specific medical conditions that, based on what we knew about the virus so far, place someone at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19. These patients have been asked to shield themselves in accordance with the guidance on shielding 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

Guidance on COVID-19 testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested is set out at the following link:

www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to protect people with disabilities from covid-19.

The Government is working to protect disabled people from Covid-19. This includes:

- Providing guidance on social distancing and advice for people with specific conditions who are considered to be clinically vulnerable to Covid-19:

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

- Advising people with specific health conditions, who are deemed to be extremely clinically vulnerable to Covid-19, to shield, and providing direct support to the shielded population. Support provided includes weekly boxes of basic supplies, priority for supermarket deliveries and help to meet basic care needs.

- Providing guidance and advice for health and social care providers and professionals to mitigate risks of Covid-19:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/wuhan-novel-coronavirus#adult-social-care

- Making available the NHS Volunteer Responders programme to help support people who are vulnerable but not shielding, including disabled people.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to issue detailed guidance on physical distancing to non-cohabiting couples.

During March 2020 the Government introduced a series of social distancing measures based on scientific advice. These are strict measures, but they are measures that we must take in order to protect the National Health Service and save lives.

On 1 June the Government made some changes to these measures that were a cautious next step in bringing families and friends, including non-cohabiting couples, back together whilst limiting the transmission risk. The latest guidance on social distancing rules can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

The Government will continue to review the measures, assessing them to ensure that they continue to be necessary and proportionate based on available scientific evidence.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the double-counting of covid-19 tests.

The Department has moved to split out the recording of numbers of tests sent out and the recording of numbers of tests processed in our laboratories. This has made double-counting very unlikely.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, will he bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a statutory requirement for care workers to receive a real living wage.

We are incredibly proud of social care workers and are determined to do everything we can to show they are truly valued. The National Minimum Wage and Living Wage apply across social care, and we expect local authorities to work with providers to determine a fair rate of pay.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to carry out mass covid-19 testing of NHS staff.

Testing is a crucial part of the United Kingdom's response to the coronavirus pandemic and the Government is working on multiple fronts to deliver additional testing capacity into the system. On 4 April 2020, the Government published its testing strategy 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) Scaling up our testing programmes'. The strategy sets out five pillars and the second pillar focuses on the mass swab testing for critical key workers in the National Health Service.

The document is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-scaling-up-testing-programmes/coronavirus-covid-19-scaling-up-our-testing-programmes

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the supply of personal protective equipment to (a) primary care facilities and (b) GP staff.

As of 14 April, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak we have delivered over 923 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to 58,000 different health and care settings including National Health Service trusts, general practitioners, pharmacies and community providers. We have provided PPE equipment to over 26,000 care homes including home care and hospices across the country. Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, over 48 million PPE items have been delivered.

We are working around the clock to give the NHS and the wider social care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak. We have brought together the NHS, industry and the Armed Forces to create a new nationwide PPE distribution network, delivering critical PPE supplies to those who need it.

We have a 24 hours a day, seven days a week helpline for those experiencing supply disruption with business as usual ordering channels. Where there may be any shortages, we act on this immediately. Local Resilience Forums are also supporting care homes, hospices, home care and primary care in getting hold of PPE equipment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure supply of generic drugs and repeat prescriptions of (a) paracetamol, (b) thyroxine, (c) warfarin and (d) insulin during the covid-19 outbreak.

The country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of COVID-19 and we have stockpiles of generic drugs, in the event of any supply issues or significant increases in demand.

The Department is working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

The steps being taken to protect United Kingdom supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak were set out in the Department’s press statement issued on 11 February 2020. This statement can be read at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-monitor-impact-of-coronavirus-on-uk-medicine-supply

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether personal protective equipment will be provided to (a) police officers (b) front line workers in pharmacies and (c) front line workers in community organisations.

The Government published ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): personal protective equipment (PPE) plan’ on 10 April. It incorporates guidance on who needs PPE and when they need it, routes to ensure those who need it can get it at the right time and sets out actions to secure enough PPE to last through the crisis.

The PPE stock in Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) should be distributed only where there is a clear and pressing need and in line with the latest clinical guidance. This is intended to support LRFs who have been advised to prioritise local distribution to those that have close unavoidable contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases including highly vulnerable groups. This may include services such as police, community pharmacies and some other vital community services, only where they are unable to obtain PPE through their usual supply routes for PPE and there remains an urgent need for additional stock.

PPE is not required when frontline workers can remain more than two metres away from anyone showing signs of COVID-19. Local services should make every effort to redesign services to minimise the number of frontline workers in close contact with symptomatic people, both to protect those workers and to minimise demand for PPE.

The plan can be found at the following link:

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance has been published for community groups on implementing safety measures to protect people from the covid-19 outbreak.

The latest guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance

The guidance is being regularly updated as further announcements are made.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many ventilators the NHS (a) has and (b) plans on purchasing.

Ventilator machines are usually linked to patients in Intensive Care Units/Critical Care/High Dependency Units, although some patients may have them at home or use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines to assist with their breathing.

We are scaling up intensive care beds. NHS England is looking at National Health Service organisations critical care capacity - including the availability of additional facilities of independent sector providers.

It is also making sure that they have as much ventilation equipment as possible and, crucially, the skilled and trained people to use it.

Information on critical care bed capacity is published by NHS England and can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/critical-care-capacity/

Availability of an NHS critical care bed indicates the associated number of NHS staff with the appropriate skills and training are available to deliver the required treatment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to (a) the homeless community to prevent the spread of covid-19 and (b) homeless shelters to set up self-isolation facilities.

The Government recognises the challenges faced by those who are homeless or sleeping rough during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department is working closely with NHS England, Public Health England, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the sector to minimise the risk for vulnerable people and those currently unable to self-isolate.

Public Health England has published guidance for hostels or day centre providers of services for people experiencing rough sleeping.

As an initial first step the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced £3.2 million in emergency funding for local authorities to help rough sleepers and those at risk of sleeping rough to self-isolate. This funding will assist local authorities with providing accommodation and support to vulnerable people who are at risk of, or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to publish guidance on protecting vulnerable individuals from coronavirus for carers caring for (a) ill and (b) elderly people at home.

Published guidance on how carers can protect vulnerable individuals is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

The guidance highlights the importance of ensuring carers follow advice on good hygiene.

Further information is also available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-on-home-care-provision

This guidance is aimed at those who support and deliver care to people in their own homes, setting out key messages to support planning and preparation in the event of an outbreak or widespread transmission of COVID-19.

We will continue to revise and update this guidance, as required.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the level of mental health workforce vacancies on the quality of mental health services.

The transformation of mental health services would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of National Health Service staff. We recognise the scale of the challenge challenge but we have made progress on increasing the mental health workforce, including; addressing pensions tax concerns; increasing university clinical placements for all nursing specialities by over 5,000 more; introducing £5,000 maintenance grants for nursing students and an additional £1,000 grant for students in specialisms where we have greater workforce shortages including mental health; and bolstering the workforce through greater international recruitment.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle health inequalities.

This Government has been clear that it will address the needs of those communities which have been left behind - where too many people lose their independence through ill-health and disability. We are taking action to improve access and outcomes from health services, supporting people to lead healthy lives and working across Government to address the wider determinants of health.

Prevention is a priority for this Government. We set out in our Prevention Green paper our ambition to deliver five extra years of healthy independent life and to close the gap between richest and poorest. We will publish our response in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to improve mental health services for children and young people.

The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 sets out that an additional 345,000 children and young people in England will have access to support via National Health Service-funded mental health services and school-or college-based mental health support teams by 2023/24.

The first 59 mental health support teams are becoming operational and 123 teams will be in place by early 2021 with the programme rolling out to at least 20-25% of the country by 2023.

We are also piloting a new four-week waiting time for children and young people’s mental health services in 12 areas and incentivising every school or college to identify and train a senior lead for mental health.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commission an independent inquiry into the causes of shortages of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) medications and products.

The Department is aware that the ongoing supply issues with some hormone replacement therapy (HRT) preparations are due to a range of issues including manufacturing issues, regulatory issues and problems accessing the raw pharmaceutical ingredient as well as commercial decisions made by some companies to divest these products. Although some HRT products are affected by supply issues, supplies of other alternative HRT products remain available.

We are in regular discussion with all HRT suppliers about the underlying causes behind these issues and are working with them closely to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. We therefore have no plans to commission an independent inquiry.

We anticipate the overall supply situation for HRT products will improve from the end of this month.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to strengthen relations and cultural exchange between the UK and (a) New Zealand, (b) Canada and (c) Australia.

The UK has strong relations with New Zealand, Canada and Australia through our modern partnerships built on shared values and history. These partnerships are reinforced by close friendship, prosperity, people-to-people links, commonwealth membership and cultural exchange. The Foreign Secretary is in regular contact with their counterparts in New Zealand, Canada and Australia, and has spoken to each of them in the last month. One example of the close cultural exchanges and people-to-people connections we share with these countries is the UK/Australia Season. Minister Adams spoke at the season launch event on 1 September at the British Museum, where he welcomed a joint British Council / Australian Government project that highlights our shared history and culture while reflecting on modern Britain and Australia.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of (a) the prevalence of forced marriage, (b) the status of women's rights and (c) access to education for girls under the incoming Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

We are appalled by the reports of human rights abuses in the areas controlled by the Taliban including persecution of minority groups, harsh restrictions on women, and allegations of forced marriage. The UN Security Council has called for an inclusive, negotiated political settlement, with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, that upholds human rights, including for women, children and minorities. The G7 likewise made clear that the Taliban must adhere to obligations under international human rights law, including the rights of women, girls, and minority groups, and that it will be judged by its actions not its words. We have made huge gains in Afghanistan in the last twenty years on girls' education and women's rights and we will continue to work with our international partners to protect those gains.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with NGOs and aid charities who continue to operate in Afghanistan on ensuring the protection of their staff.

To ensure aid reaches the people that need it most, the FCDO are in daily contact with partners in Afghanistan and will continue to engage with them directly as the situation develops. Last week in London we hosted a round table with NGOs to better understand how we can support their life-saving work. On 20 August, the FCDO convened a meeting with 30 NGOs working in the areas of development, humanitarian support, human rights and media freedom, to listen to the issues they are currently facing in country. A further meeting took place on 26 August, with 30 organisations to discuss continued humanitarian access and the longer-term development needs.
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what information his Department holds on the number of people currently stranded in Afghanistan from (a) Wandsworth Borough and (b) Putney constituency.

We have worked tirelessly to safely evacuate the overwhelming majority of British Nationals and Afghans who worked for us. We have asked all British nationals who remain in Afghanistan to register their presence with us to give us a detailed picture of those remaining, and an additional means, beyond our publicly-available Travel Advice, for us to be able to send regular updates and advice on what they should do next. That process is ongoing. We continue to look at all possible avenues to ensure that any British Nationals are able to leave safely if they wish to.
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to work with countries neighbouring Afghanistan on keeping their borders open and resettling refugees that flee by land.

The Foreign Secretary visited Qatar and Pakistan from 1-3 September and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon visited Uzbekistan and Tajikistan from 1-3 September. The Foreign Secretary has also had telephone conversations with the Uzbek Foreign Minister on 6 September, the Tajik Foreign Minister, on 2 September, and with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan on 27 August. Lord Ahmad has additionally called the Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, on 3 September, the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan on 25 August and Deputy Foreign Minister of Tajikistan on the same day. They held discussions with counterparts on securing safe passage for those fleeing Afghanistan and advancing the government's international priorities. In addition, FCDO Rapid Deployment Teams have been sent to Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to reinforce our Embassy staff to process arrivals from Afghanistan.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which of his Department's non executive directors were appointed through open competition.

All Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Non-Executive Directors were recruited according to the guidance set out in the corporate governance code for central government departments. Baroness Helena Morrissey was directly appointed on 27 July 2020 as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Lead Non-Executive Director. She transferred to the FCDO as Lead Non-Executive Director on 2 September 2020. John Coffey, Beverley Tew and Ann Cormack were appointed Non-Executive Directors to the FCDO through open competition.

The FCDO announces the appointments (including reappointment dates) of Non-Executive Directors, as well as their experience, in the Annual Report and Accounts; the FCDO Annual Reports and Accounts 2020-2021 is due to be published shortly. The biographies for all four FCDO Non-Executive Directors are available on www.gov.uk.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he or any of the Ministers in his Department use personal email addresses to conduct Government business.

Ministers will use a range of digital forms of communication for discussions in line with relevant guidance on information handling and security. Ministers will have informal conversations from time to time, in person or remotely, and significant content relating to government business from such discussions is passed back to officials.

The Cabinet Office has previously published guidance on how information is held for the purposes of access to information, and how formal decisions are recorded for the official record. Ministers are also given advice on the security of electronic communications.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the security situation in Durban, South Africa.

The UK is concerned by the outbreak of violence and looting in the South African provinces of KwaZulu-Natal (home to Durban) and Gauteng in recent days, which has sadly resulted in loss of life, injuries, and substantial damage to buildings and businesses. We welcome the South African Government's determination to restore calm and strongly supports President Ramaphosa's emphasis on the importance of the rule of law. Our High Commission remain in regular contact with the South African authorities. As a long-standing friend of South Africa, the UK will continue to partner closely with the South African Government, business and civil society on a shared agenda of security, health, economic and social issues.

15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his South African counterpart on the security in Durban, South Africa.

The UK is concerned by the outbreak of violence and looting in the South African provinces of KwaZulu-Natal (home to Durban) and Gauteng in recent days, which has sadly resulted in loss of life, injuries, and substantial damage to buildings and businesses. We welcome the South African Government's determination to restore calm and strongly supports President Ramaphosa's emphasis on the importance of the rule of law. Our High Commission remain in regular contact with the South African authorities. As a long-standing friend of South Africa, the UK will continue to partner closely with the South African Government, business and civil society on a shared agenda of security, health, economic and social issues.

8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with the (a) Israeli Ambassador and (b) Palestinian Consulate on the provision of covid-19 vaccines to people living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The British Embassy Tel Aviv and the British Consulate-General Jerusalem are in regular contact with the relevant parties and continue to raise the issue of timely access to vaccines. The Foreign Secretary most recently raised this during his visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 26 May. The UK is committed to global equitable access to effective vaccines as demonstrated by our £548 million contribution to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) - the international initiative to support global equitable access to vaccines. We are pleased that the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) were among the first to benefit from the COVAX scheme with its first delivery on 17 March 2021. Since that initial shipment, we are pleased that several further deliveries have arrived in the OPTs, including most recently on 2 June 2021.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Israeli Ambassador and (b) Palestinian Ambassador on (i) equitable access to covid-19 vaccines and (ii) protecting human and children's rights in that region.

The British Embassy Tel Aviv and the British Consulate-General Jerusalem are in regular contact with the relevant parties and continue to raise the issue of timely access to vaccines. The Foreign Secretary most recently raised this during his visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 26 May.

The UK continues to engage with the Israeli government on human rights issues in the context of the occupation, including the treatment of children. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation. We also continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, in particular the need to protect children.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent progress he has made with his international counterparts on helping to support children's rights in (a) Gaza and (b) the West Bank.

The UK continues to engage with the Israeli government on human rights issues in the context of the occupation, including the treatment of children. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation. We also continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, in particular the need to protect children.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of children's rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The UK continues to engage with the Israeli government on human rights issues in the context of the occupation, including the treatment of children. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation. We also continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, in particular the need to protect children.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps he has taken with international partners to improve the supply of clean water for (a) human consumption, (b) agriculture and (c) sanitation in Sri Lanka.

The UK Government is aware of the challenges Sri Lanka faces around water management and quality and the unique challenges faced by communities in Northern Sri Lanka. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo raised the issue of water quality during a visit to the North in July 2020. The Minister of State for South Asia, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, also discussed this issue with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK in December 2020.

A number of public bodies in Sri Lanka, including the national water supply and drainage board, have conducted tests and compensation has been offered to those affected by water pollution caused by the Chunnakam Power plant. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo discussed this issue in May 2021 with a contact in Jaffna, and we understand that in March 2021 discussions took place with the Northern Provincial Council that also involved further testing.

We will continue to engage with the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka in support of clean water provision.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of non-governmental organisations on the (a) water security and (b) environmental situations in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

The UK Government is aware of the challenges Sri Lanka faces around water management and quality and the unique challenges faced by communities in Northern Sri Lanka. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo raised the issue of water quality during a visit to the North in July 2020. The Minister of State for South Asia, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, also discussed this issue with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK in December 2020.

A number of public bodies in Sri Lanka, including the national water supply and drainage board, have conducted tests and compensation has been offered to those affected by water pollution caused by the Chunnakam Power plant. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo discussed this issue in May 2021 with a contact in Jaffna, and we understand that in March 2021 discussions took place with the Northern Provincial Council that also involved further testing.

We will continue to engage with the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka in support of clean water provision.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Sri Lankan counterpart on the (a) water security and (b) environmental situations in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

The UK Government is aware of the challenges Sri Lanka faces around water management and quality and the unique challenges faced by communities in Northern Sri Lanka. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo raised the issue of water quality during a visit to the North in July 2020. The Minister of State for South Asia, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, also discussed this issue with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK in December 2020.

A number of public bodies in Sri Lanka, including the national water supply and drainage board, have conducted tests and compensation has been offered to those affected by water pollution caused by the Chunnakam Power plant. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo discussed this issue in May 2021 with a contact in Jaffna, and we understand that in March 2021 discussions took place with the Northern Provincial Council that also involved further testing.

We will continue to engage with the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka in support of clean water provision.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the water security situation in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

The UK Government is aware of the challenges Sri Lanka faces around water management and quality and the unique challenges faced by communities in Northern Sri Lanka. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo raised the issue of water quality during a visit to the North in July 2020. The Minister of State for South Asia, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, also discussed this issue with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK in December 2020.

A number of public bodies in Sri Lanka, including the national water supply and drainage board, have conducted tests and compensation has been offered to those affected by water pollution caused by the Chunnakam Power plant. Staff at the British High Commission in Colombo discussed this issue in May 2021 with a contact in Jaffna, and we understand that in March 2021 discussions took place with the Northern Provincial Council that also involved further testing.

We will continue to engage with the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka in support of clean water provision.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the G7 on increasing the level of international aid to Yemen.

The UK regularly engages with international partners and the UN to co-ordinate the humanitarian response in Yemen and to discuss ways to improve the conditions for NGOs on the ground. The most recent meeting was the Senior Humanitarian Officials meeting on 1 June. On 5 May, G7 Foreign and Development Ministers, through their London Ministerial meeting communiqué and the Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Crises compact, confirmed their commitment to provide humanitarian funding to Yemen and other humanitarian crises. They further called on all parties in Yemen to agree to UN proposals for an immediate ceasefire, the free flow of imports through Red Sea ports, the reopening of Sana'a airport, full humanitarian access and the resumption of inclusive political talks. We remain a leading donor to Yemen, committing at least £87 million in aid this year and over £1 billion since the conflict began.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, for what reason people are required to have full medical insurance when applying for a 180 day tourist visa to France and other Schengen countries.

The EU has legislated such that British Citizens can travel visa-free in the Schengen area for short stays, such as for tourism, for up to 90 days in any rolling 180-day period. British Citizens who are planning to stay longer will need permission from the relevant Member State, which may require applying for a visa and/or permit. British Citizens who apply for visas for longer stays in an EU Member State will also need to meet the healthcare requirements of that country. They may be able to join local healthcare schemes, or they may have to take out private insurance. They should check all entry requirements with Member State authorities before they travel.

The provisions in the Protocol on Social Security Coordination in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) mean that reciprocal healthcare arrangements are in place, allowing people to continue to have access to urgent or necessary healthcare cover when travelling in the EU. However, the Government still recommends that individuals take out comprehensive travel insurance which covers healthcare costs when travelling abroad. Reciprocal healthcare arrangements only cover emergency and necessary healthcare costs and so may not cover all healthcare costs that might arise when travelling.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on ensuring access to covid-19 vaccines in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

The British Embassy Tel Aviv and the British Consulate-General Jerusalem are in regular contact with the parties and will continue to raise the issue of timely access to vaccines. The UK is committed to global equitable access to effective vaccines as demonstrated by our £548 million contribution to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) - the international initiative to support global equitable access to vaccines. We are pleased that the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) were among the first to benefit from the COVAX scheme with delivery of over 61,000 doses that arrived on 17 March. A second shipment of 72,000 doses from COVAX arrived in the OPTs on 19 April with more due later in May.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking to help ensure that COP26 increases the (a) quality and (b) quantity of finance for climate adaptation; and what assessment he has made of how that finance can be used to support access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities globally.

As COP26 Presidency, we are clear that we must deliver for people at the front line of climate change. We continue to call on donors to demonstrate the required action now, including meeting and surpassing the goal of mobilising $100 billion of climate finance a year for developing countries. The UK is leading by example - we have committed to double our International Climate Finance to £11.6 billion over the next five years - and we are calling on others to be equally ambitious. We are also committed to addressing concerns about the quantity, quality and composition of climate finance, and the recent UK-hosted Climate and Development Ministerial was an important moment to listen and respond to the concerns of developing countries on these issues.

The impacts of climate change can be felt most acutely in the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). At the same time investing in WASH is an important measure for strengthening adaptation and resilience, and this is why the UK is prioritising a range of water-related resilience initiatives, including the Water Resilience Accelerator and the Adaptation Action Coalition Water initiative.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take in 2021 to improve the global provision of facilities for handwashing, particularly in healthcare facilities, as part of global efforts to help prevent the spread of (a) covid-19 and (b) future pandemics.

The UK Government recognises the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in health care facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and bolster preparedness for future pandemics. In January 2021, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office joined a variety of civil society, multilateral and governmental partners to form an international taskforce, to accelerate the provision of WASH services in global healthcare facilities over the next two years. Similarly, we continue to support the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, bringing together donors, the private sector and NGOs to help governments increase access to WASH services in healthcare facilities, as part of our wider global leadership on WASH.

Additionally, through our COVID-19 hygiene partnership with Unilever, we have jointly provided 2.6 million WASH products and services to over 10,000 health care facilities to strengthen their hygiene and infection prevention and control practices. This has included installing 2,400 handwashing stations, of which the majority are accessible for those with disabilities and older persons, and distributing nearly 1.5 million bars of soap in facilities. Partners have also trained over 10,000 healthcare workers, using innovative tools and technology in light of COVID restrictions. This partnership will continue in 2021.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take during its presidency of the G7 to ensure the 2021-25 replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education is fully funded.

The UK has placed girls' education and broader gender equality at the heart of our G7 Presidency. We have set out two ambitious global objectives to get 40 million more girls into school, and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 in the next 5 years. We are using our G7 Presidency to rally others in getting behind these objectives, and stand up for every girl's right to 12 years of quality education.

A well-funded Global Partnership for Education (GPE) will be central to delivering these global objectives, especially in securing education financing from developing countries' domestic budgets. We are looking forward to hosting the Global Education Summit to refinance GPE with the Government of Kenya in July. Details of the UK's next contribution to GPE will be announced in due course.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of pledging funding to the 2021-25 replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education on meeting his Department's target to get 40 million more girls into education globally and get 12 million girls literate by the age of 10.

The UK has placed girls' education and broader gender equality at the heart of our G7 Presidency. We have set out two ambitious global objectives to get 40 million more girls into school, and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 in the next 5 years. We are using our G7 Presidency to rally others in getting behind these objectives, and stand up for every girl's right to 12 years of quality education.

A well-funded Global Partnership for Education (GPE) will be central to delivering these global objectives, especially in securing education financing from developing countries' domestic budgets. We are looking forward to hosting the Global Education Summit to refinance GPE with the Government of Kenya in July. Details of the UK's next contribution to GPE will be announced in due course.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Colombian counterpart on reports of Colombian police using live ammunition against protesters in Bogota on 9 and 10 September 2020.

We are aware of concerning reports regarding the police response to protests in Colombia in September 2020. We are clear that we support the right of all Colombians to protest peacefully, and we look to the Colombian authorities to investigate fully any reports of excessive use of force against protestors, and take appropriate action against those responsible. Security services must be held accountable for their actions, and any complaints thoroughly investigated.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much and what proportion of the £11.4 million of UK aid to the Tigray region has been distributed; and what assessment he has made of the accessibility of that aid to civilians in Tigray.

In response to the crisis in Tigray the UK has allocated £15.4m to humanitarian agencies. All funds have been disbursed to partners. We continue to work with the UN to promote and monitor access and the delivery of humanitarian support to all those who need it, including to civilians in contested areas. We do not think that civilians have sufficient access to that aid. I re-enforced the urgency of the need for humanitarian access when I spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador on 24 February. The Government of Ethiopia must act now to protect its people.

11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to support peace talks and the end of conflict in Tigray.

We are concerned about the fighting in Tigray and have consistently urged all parties to avoid conflict spill-over into neighbouring regions, prioritise the protection of civilians and security and allow unfettered humanitarian access. We have, and will continue to advocate that a political process is essential to bring a full end to fighting and a sustainable settlement for Tigray. The Foreign Secretary raised these points when he met with Prime Minister Abiy on 22 January and pressed for a political dialogue to bring a lasting peace to Tigray. I also pressed for political dialogue to end the conflict when I spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK on 24 February.

11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports of (a) Human Rights Watch and (b) the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission of the (i) massacre in Axum and (ii) potential scale of human rights abuses in Tigray.

Over recent weeks multiple reports - including from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission - have begun to document the scale of abuses and violations in Tigray. Since the conflict started, the UK has consistently called for an end to fighting, and for all parties to the conflict to prioritise the protection of civilians. On 26 February I stated that we are deeply saddened and concerned by the reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on the human rights violations of civilians in Axum, Ethiopia. These require a serious and urgent response from the Government of Ethiopia. We continue to call for independent, international investigations into these and other crimes reported in Tigray, including in multilateral fora, such as the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council, and for the Government of Ethiopia to ensure full access for human rights organisations. We have made this clear to the Government of Ethiopia.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations the Government has made to the Government of Pakistan on the killing of (a) Dr Tahir Mahmood in November 2020 and (b) other Ahmadi Muslims in that country.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against religious communities in Pakistan, including against the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

We are concerned and saddened by the murder of Dr Tahir Mahmood in November 2020 in Punjab province. The Minister of State responsible for South Asia and Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has publicly condemned the killing and called on the perpetrators to be held to account.

We continue to urge the Government of Pakistan at senior levels to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, regardless of their belief. Lord Ahmad raised our concerns about the recent murder of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 16 November. Lord Ahmad also raised the need to protect religious communities, including the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, with Pakistan's Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for the Interior, Shahzad Akbar, on 7 December.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterpart in Pakistan on returning to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community educational institutions that were nationalised by the Pakistani Government.

The UK remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against religious communities in Pakistan, including against the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The Minister of State for South Asia spoke at the launch event of the APPG for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's Report on the 21 July and expressed the UK's deep concern regarding discrimination and violence against Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan.

We engage at a senior level with the Government of Pakistan on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of minority religious communities, including the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The Minister for South Asia, raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief, including inclusion and tolerance in education, with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 19 October. On 1 October, The Minister for South Asia met with Pakistan's Minister for Education, Mr Shafqat Mahmood, and on 8 September with the Governor of Punjab, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, to discuss inclusive and tolerant education.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many staff of his Department are working on gender-based projects.

This information is not held centrally. The UK International Development Act (Gender Equality) 2014 makes a consideration of gender equality in all UK development assistance a legal requirement. The Act puts the UK ODA commitment to gender equality on a statutory footing and ensures that gender equality remains at the heart of the UK's and the FCDO's ODA work.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which British-based International Development NGOs he has met with since April 2020.

The Foreign Secretary's external meetings will be published on GOV.UK in due course.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Government of Pakistan and the Supreme Court of Pakistan to help ensure that Ahmadi Muslims are represented within the National Commission for Minorities Rights while having the right to self-identify as Muslims.

We welcome the establishment of the National Commission for Minorities and would stress the importance of ensuring the new Commission is established in line with the UN Paris Principles as it begins its important work, specifically focusing on its independence, funding and membership. The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan.

We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, in accordance with international standards. Most recently, the Minister for South Asia, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, raised our concerns about human rights, including Freedom of Religion or Belief and the National Commission for Minorities, with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 15 July. Our High Commissioner to Pakistan discussed the National Commission for Minorities with Dr Mazari in a meeting on 8 June.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the (a) Government of Pakistan and (b) Supreme Court of Pakistan to help ensure that Ahmadi Muslims are represented within the Commission for Minorities Rights while having the right to self-identify as Muslims.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan. We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, as laid down in the constitution of Pakistan and in accordance with international standards.

On 5 June, the Minister for South Asia, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, wrote to Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, about the National Commission on Minorities in Pakistan. He welcomed its establishment and highlighted the importance of ensuring the new Commission is established in line with the UN Paris Principles as it begins its important work, specifically focusing on its independence, funding and membership. Our High Commissioner to Pakistan raised these issues about the National Commission on Minorities with Dr Mazari in a meeting on 8 June.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he last met the Secretary of State for International Development to discuss Official Development Assistance spending.

The Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State meets with his Cabinet colleagues, including the Secretary of State for International Development, on a regular basis.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps he is taking to support high street businesses to recover from the covid-19 outbreak.

To support high street businesses in response to the pandemic, the Government provided an unprecedented business rates holiday for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England. This meant eligible properties paid no business rates for 15 months from 1 April 2020 and, thanks to the new 66% capped relief which took effect on 1 July 2021, over 90% of eligible businesses are estimated to see a 75% reduction in their business rates bill across this entire financial year to next April.

The Prime Minister also launched a strategy for the high street in July to transform town centres into vibrant places to live, work and visit. Derelict buildings will be transformed, streets will be cleaned up, and communities across the UK will be given the chance to own their local pubs, theatres, sports grounds and corner shops. 15 Town Deals worth £335 million to revitalise towns across England were also confirmed.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions has he had with representatives of the banking sector on local bank branch closures.

Treasury ministers and officials engage with stakeholders on a variety of issues. However, the decision to close branches is a commercial issue for banks and building societies and the Government does not intervene in these decisions.

However, the Government firmly believes that the impact of branch closures should be understood, considered and mitigated where possible so that all customers and businesses continue to have access to banking services. That is why the Government continues to be supportive of the Access to Banking Standard which commits firms to ensure customers are well informed about branch closures, the bank’s reasons for closure and options for continued access to banking services. Alternative options for access include the Post Office, which allows 95% of business and 99% of personal banking customers to carry out their everyday banking at 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK.

In September 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority also published guidance setting out its expectation of firms when they are deciding to reduce their physical branches or the number of free-to-use ATMs. Firms are expected to carefully consider the impact of a planned closure on their personal and small business customers’ everyday banking and cash access needs and consider possible alternative access arrangements. This will ensure the implementation of closure decisions is undertaken in a way that treats customers fairly.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department holds information on local access to free ATMs in (a) London, (b) Wandsworth, (c) Putney constituency and (d) West Putney ward.

The Government recognises that cash is important to the daily lives of millions of individuals and businesses across the UK, and has committed to protecting access to cash for those who need it and ensuring that the UK's cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.

The Government made legislative changes via the Financial Services Act 2021 to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase, which will allow shops and other businesses to offer a new form of cash withdrawal service to local communities.

On 1 July the Government published a consultation on broader legislative proposals to protect access to cash. These proposals seek to ensure that people only need to travel reasonable distances to pay in or take out cash, and that the right regulatory oversight for cash access is in place for the future. The consultation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/access-to-cash-consultation.

Regarding access to free-to-use ATMs, there are already measures in place. LINK (the scheme that runs the UK's largest ATM network) has commitments to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs and is held to account against these commitments by the Payment Systems Regulator. Specifically, LINK has committed to protect free-to-use ATMs more than one kilometre away from the next nearest free ATM or Post Office, and free access to cash on high streets (where there is a cluster of five or more retailers) that do not have a free-to-use ATM or a Post Office counter within one kilometre. Furthermore, LINK's members have made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

LINK publishes the total number of free-to-use ATMs across the UK online. As of May 2021, it reported that there were around 41,000 free-to-use ATMs in the UK. LINK’s Monthly ATM Footprint Report also includes information monthly ATMs at a local level.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has held with the (a) Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and (b) Secretary of State for Communities, Housing and Local Government on community access to free ATMs.

The Government recognises that cash is important to the daily lives of millions of individuals and businesses across the UK, and has committed to protecting access to cash for those who need it and ensuring that the UK's cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.

The Government made legislative changes via the Financial Services Act 2021 to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase, which will allow shops and other businesses to offer a new form of cash withdrawal service to local communities.

On 1 July the Government published a consultation on broader legislative proposals to protect access to cash. These proposals seek to ensure that people only need to travel reasonable distances to pay in or take out cash, and that the right regulatory oversight for cash access is in place for the future. The consultation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/access-to-cash-consultation.

Regarding access to free-to-use ATMs, there are already measures in place. LINK (the scheme that runs the UK's largest ATM network) has commitments to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs and is held to account against these commitments by the Payment Systems Regulator. Specifically, LINK has committed to protect free-to-use ATMs more than one kilometre away from the next nearest free ATM or Post Office, and free access to cash on high streets (where there is a cluster of five or more retailers) that do not have a free-to-use ATM or a Post Office counter within one kilometre. Furthermore, LINK's members have made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

LINK publishes the total number of free-to-use ATMs across the UK online. As of May 2021, it reported that there were around 41,000 free-to-use ATMs in the UK. LINK’s Monthly ATM Footprint Report also includes information monthly ATMs at a local level.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the Government policy is on local communities which do not have access to a free ATM.

The Government recognises that cash is important to the daily lives of millions of individuals and businesses across the UK, and has committed to protecting access to cash for those who need it and ensuring that the UK's cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.

The Government made legislative changes via the Financial Services Act 2021 to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase, which will allow shops and other businesses to offer a new form of cash withdrawal service to local communities.

On 1 July the Government published a consultation on broader legislative proposals to protect access to cash. These proposals seek to ensure that people only need to travel reasonable distances to pay in or take out cash, and that the right regulatory oversight for cash access is in place for the future. The consultation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/access-to-cash-consultation.

Regarding access to free-to-use ATMs, there are already measures in place. LINK (the scheme that runs the UK's largest ATM network) has commitments to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs and is held to account against these commitments by the Payment Systems Regulator. Specifically, LINK has committed to protect free-to-use ATMs more than one kilometre away from the next nearest free ATM or Post Office, and free access to cash on high streets (where there is a cluster of five or more retailers) that do not have a free-to-use ATM or a Post Office counter within one kilometre. Furthermore, LINK's members have made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

LINK publishes the total number of free-to-use ATMs across the UK online. As of May 2021, it reported that there were around 41,000 free-to-use ATMs in the UK. LINK’s Monthly ATM Footprint Report also includes information monthly ATMs at a local level.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that communities have local access to free ATMs.

The Government recognises that cash is important to the daily lives of millions of individuals and businesses across the UK, and has committed to protecting access to cash for those who need it and ensuring that the UK's cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.

The Government made legislative changes via the Financial Services Act 2021 to support the widespread offering of cashback without a purchase, which will allow shops and other businesses to offer a new form of cash withdrawal service to local communities.

On 1 July the Government published a consultation on broader legislative proposals to protect access to cash. These proposals seek to ensure that people only need to travel reasonable distances to pay in or take out cash, and that the right regulatory oversight for cash access is in place for the future. The consultation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/access-to-cash-consultation.

Regarding access to free-to-use ATMs, there are already measures in place. LINK (the scheme that runs the UK's largest ATM network) has commitments to protect the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs and is held to account against these commitments by the Payment Systems Regulator. Specifically, LINK has committed to protect free-to-use ATMs more than one kilometre away from the next nearest free ATM or Post Office, and free access to cash on high streets (where there is a cluster of five or more retailers) that do not have a free-to-use ATM or a Post Office counter within one kilometre. Furthermore, LINK's members have made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

LINK publishes the total number of free-to-use ATMs across the UK online. As of May 2021, it reported that there were around 41,000 free-to-use ATMs in the UK. LINK’s Monthly ATM Footprint Report also includes information monthly ATMs at a local level.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the reclaim period for additional stamp duty for properties unable to sell as a result of issues relating to cladding and external wall survey forms.

A refund of the higher rate of SDLT paid can be claimed if an old main residence is sold within three years of the purchase of the new main residence. For most people, three years is enough time to sell a previous main residence. However, someone who purchases a new main residence on or after 1 January 2017 will still be eligible to apply for a refund if exceptional circumstances meant they were unable to sell their previous main residence in three years and they sold the property as soon as possible after those exceptional circumstances ended.

Where a person is not permitted to sell a previous main residence, such as due to fire safety issues, the circumstances may be considered exceptional. HMRC will consider each case on its own merits.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the bank overdraft penalty rate for the remainder of the covid-19 outbreak.

The pricing of financial products, including the interest rates charged on overdrafts, remains a commercial decision for firms and the Government does not seek to intervene in such decisions.

In April 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced a series of temporary proposals to provide emergency support for consumer credit customers who were facing short-term cash flow problems as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. On overdrafts, firms were expected to provide up to £500 interest free buffer for customers, if requested, and make sure that customers did not see increased overdraft fees.

In September 2020, the FCA announced updated guidance to ensure that firms continued to provide tailored support for users of consumer credit and overdraft products who continue to face payment difficulties due to Covid-19. Where a customer needs further support, firms are expected to use measures such as reducing or waiving interest, agreeing a programme of staged reductions in the overdraft limit, or supporting customers to reduce their overdraft usage by transferring the debt.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support he plans to provide for hairdressers who have had to pay national insurance, pension contributions and other additional furlough costs on top of rent for several months without income and who face losing their businesses as a result of further lockdowns.

The Government recognises the extreme disruption the necessary actions to combat Covid-19 are having on businesses and workers in the beauty industry across the UK.

In response to the new restrictions, the Chancellor announced further support to businesses on top of the support already announced in the Winter Economy Plan and our previous economic responses. These support measures are carefully designed to complement each other to ensure we protect jobs and livelihoods.

This support includes a new one-off grant of up to £9,000 to support businesses in England which are legally required to close. This comes in addition to the existing monthly grants for closed businesses of up to £3,000 per month. Local authorities will also receive an additional £500m, to a total of £1.6bn, of discretionary funding to allow them to support their local businesses.

As measures to control the virus change, it is right that government support should also evolve. Because of this, we continue to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequacy of the regulation of loan companies during the second covid-19 lockdown.

The Government has fundamentally reformed regulation of the consumer credit market, giving control of this area to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2014.

This more robust regulatory system is helping to deliver the Government’s vision for a well-functioning and sustainable consumer credit market which is able to meet consumers’ needs.

The Government has given the FCA strong powers to protect consumers. The FCA assesses every lender’s fitness to trade as part of the authorisation process, and it has put in place binding standards on these firms. It proactively monitors the market, focusing on the areas most likely to cause consumer harm, and it has various methods to punish breaches of its rules – there is no limit on the fines it can levy and, crucially, it can force lenders to compensate consumers.

The FCA have also asked Christopher Woolard, former Interim Chief Executive of the FCA, to conduct a review into change and innovation in the unsecured credit market. He will report his findings in early 2021. The review will concentrate on how regulation can better support a healthy unsecured lending market. It will take into account the impact of COVID-19 on employment security and credit scores, changes in business models and new developments in unsecured lending, including the growth of unregulated products in retail and the workplace.

We continue to work closely with the FCA to monitor the consumer credit market through the ongoing restrictions to ensure that any emerging risks are identified, and we will take action where necessary.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will offer a settlement opportunity for people affected by loan charges.

In 2017 HMRC offered settlement terms to taxpayers who used disguised remuneration (DR) tax avoidance schemes and who may have been liable to pay the Loan Charge unless they chose to settle with HMRC.

Taxpayers who provided the necessary information to HMRC by 5 April 2019 and worked with HMRC to conclude settlement by 30 September 2020 were able to settle under these 2017 terms, enabling them to keep clear of the Loan Charge.

Later this year, HMRC will publish settlement terms for taxpayers who pay the Loan Charge and still have remaining liabilities, arising from HMRC enquiries into their DR scheme use, which have yet to be resolved.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of banks on the provision of free-to-use ATMs; and if he will make a statement.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis.

The Government recognises that cash remains important to millions of people across the UK, which is why it has committed to legislate to protect access to cash and to ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable in the long term. The Government is working at pace, engaging with industry and the regulators – the Financial Conduct Authority, Payment Systems Regulator, and Bank of England – whilst designing legislation. To inform the development of this legislation, the Government published a Call for Evidence on 15 October seeking views on the key considerations associated with cash access, including deposit and withdrawal facilities, cash acceptance, and regulatory oversight of the cash system.

LINK, the scheme that runs the UK’s largest ATM network, has existing arrangements in place to protect free-to-use ATMs that do not have another free-to-use ATM or Post Office within 1 kilometre. LINK’s members have also made £5 million available to fund ATMs at the request of communities with poor access to cash.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has established a second wave economic support plan to prepare for a potential second wave of covid-19 (a) infections and (b) lockdowns.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government delivered one of the most generous and comprehensive packages of economic support globally, protecting people’s incomes and supporting businesses.

The Government has since set out a phased, cautious approach to reopening our economy to minimise the risk of a second peak of the virus, and has produced COVID-19 secure practical guidelines to support businesses to reopen and for workers to feel confident, safe and empowered to return to work. Public Health England, the Joint Biosecurity Centre and NHS Test and Trace constantly monitor levels of infection across the country, and will work with local authorities to implement additional measures if needed.

On 8 July the Chancellor set out a package of measures to support jobs across the UK, including a Job Retention Bonus to help firms keep furloughed workers and a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people. The Chancellor has announced support for those sectors hardest hit, with a £1.57 billion package for the arts, and a cut in VAT to 5% for accommodation, attractions and the hospitality sector.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2020