Fleur Anderson

Labour - Putney

Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

(since January 2021)


Department Event
Thursday 14th July 2022
09:30
Cabinet Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
14 Jul 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Cabinet Office (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Scheduled Event
Friday 16th September 2022
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Plastics (Wet Wipes) Bill: Second Reading
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Division Votes
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 147 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 273 Noes - 205
Speeches
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
I am glad to hear about those regular meetings. During COP26 in Glasgow, both the UK and the Scottish Governments …
Written Answers
Monday 4th July 2022
Students: Loans
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is his policy to increase the size of student loans …
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
Monday 20th June 2022
Plastics (Wet Wipes) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to prohibit the manufacture and sale of wet wipes containing plastic; and for connected purposes.
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 31st January 2022
8. Miscellaneous
On 24 December 2021, I received a collection of children's books worth £800 from the Publisher Association, which I have …
EDM signed
Monday 25th October 2021
Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Fleur Anderson has voted in 521 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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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
Kemi Badenoch (Conservative)
Minister for Equalities
(20 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
(18 debate interactions)
Rebecca Pow (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(17 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(67 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(32 debate contributions)
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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 would like the Government to ban all animal testing UK, including for the development of cosmetics, household products and medicines. Alternatives need to be actively funded. Many products that are tested on animals end up not being suitable for humans. Animal testing is outmoded and should end.

The Government must recognise the urgent need to use animal-free science and publish a clear and ambitious action plan with timetables and milestones to drive the phase-out of animal experiments. As well as preventing animal suffering, this will benefit public health and business.

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

23rd September 2021
Fleur Anderson signed this EDM on Monday 25th October 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 97
Scottish National Party: 16
Liberal Democrat: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
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
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.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Fleur Anderson

Thursday 9th December 2021

5 Adjournment Debates led by Fleur Anderson

Tuesday 28th June 2022
Friday 21st January 2022
Wednesday 14th April 2021
Monday 12th October 2020
Tuesday 10th March 2020

2 Bills introduced by Fleur Anderson


A Bill to prohibit the manufacture and sale of wet wipes containing plastic; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to prohibit the manufacture and sale of wet wipes containing plastic; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Monday 20th June 2022
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 16th September 2022
Order Paper number: 5
(Possibly be Debated)

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


717 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
35 Other Department Questions
16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in what timescale the verification of developer-led remediation of unsafe buildings to PAS9980 standards will take place including during remediation and following remediation works being marked as complete by a developer.

In signing the pledge, developers have committed to working at pace with government to finalise arrangements and commence remediation or mitigation work as quickly as reasonably possible. We also expect such developers to demonstrate that work is being progressed as quickly as reasonably possible as part of agreed monitoring arrangements.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department is taking steps to protect existing leaseholders from regularly doubling ground rents which may eventually result in unaffordable costs.

The Government is committed to protecting leaseholders from abuse and poor service.

We have already taken action to end unfair practices in the leasehold market, beginning with the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022, which will come into force on 30 June. The Act makes homeownership fairer and more transparent for thousands of future leaseholders, by preventing landlords under new residential long leases from requiring a leaseholder to pay a financial ground rent.

We understand the difficulties some existing leaseholders face with high and escalating ground rents. This is why we asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate potential mis-selling of homes and unfair terms in the leasehold sector


The CMA has secured commitments from Aviva, Persimmon, Countryside Properties and Taylor Wimpey to amend their practices, including commitments to remove lease terms that led to doubling ground rents, houses sold as leasehold and to support leaseholders to buy the freehold at the original price quoted. This is a hugely important step and demonstrates our determination to support affected leaseholders. We welcome this action and urge other developers to follow suit.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has had discussions with officials in his Department on the legislative processes that will be required to be brought forward in the event that it proceeds to end marriage value.

The Government is committed to creating a fairer and more transparent housing system that works for everyone and to delivering the second phase of our major two-part leasehold reform within this Parliament.

In January 2021, the Government announced a package of reforms on enfranchisement valuation, including the removal of marriage value.

Under the current system, too many leaseholders find the process for extending their lease or buying their freehold prohibitively expensive, too complex and lacking transparency. The Government is addressing this historic imbalance to ensure fairness for leaseholders, whilst taking account of the legitimate rights of freeholders.

Ministers regularly meet with officials to discuss leasehold reform. This is a long-term reform programme; it is complex with many interdependencies and will take time to get the detail right. Once it is enacted the effect will be felt for generations and so we are determined this work considers all the implications with care.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps the Government is taking to deliver on its commitment to abolish marriage value.

The Government is committed to creating a fairer and more transparent housing system that works for everyone and to delivering the second phase of our major two-part leasehold reform within this Parliament.

In January 2021, the Government announced a package of reforms on enfranchisement valuation, including the removal of marriage value.

Under the current system, too many leaseholders find the process for extending their lease or buying their freehold prohibitively expensive, too complex and lacking transparency. The Government is addressing this historic imbalance to ensure fairness for leaseholders, whilst taking account of the legitimate rights of freeholders.

Ministers regularly meet with officials to discuss leasehold reform. This is a long-term reform programme; it is complex with many interdependencies and will take time to get the detail right. Once it is enacted the effect will be felt for generations and so we are determined this work considers all the implications with care.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to abolish marriage value.

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

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to provide financial support for buy to let owners of multiple flats facing cladding remediation costs.

Over 35 developers have agreed to take responsibility for all necessary work to address life-critical, fire-safety defects on buildings 11 metres and over that they had a role in developing or refurbishing over the past 30 years. This includes non-cladding.

In addition to the commitment made by firms to fix buildings they have played a role in developing in the last 30 years we will establish a new 11-18m cladding remediation scheme through which to fund work on buildings where a responsible developer cannot be identified. The new scheme will be funded by expanding the scope of the Building Safety Levy to raise an additional estimated £3bn, providing the necessary funds to address cladding issues on these remaining buildings.

In addition, leaseholders who are buy-to-let landlords are able to benefit from funding from the Building Safety Fund for eligible remediation works on residential buildings 18 metres and above in England, subject to the relevant subsidy control requirements. Eligibility criteria for the Building Safety Fund can be found in the Building Safety Fund Prospectus at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#prospectus---outlining-eligibility-for-the-fund(opens) and specific guidance on subsidy control and declarations can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#subsidy-control-guidance-and-declaration(opens ).

The Building Safety Bill introduces further leasehold protections. It eradicates the idea that leaseholders should be the first port of call to pay to fix historical building safety defects. Those responsible, and otherwise those with the broadest shoulders, will be the first who are required to pay. Where there is no party that clearly should pay in full for non-cladding defects, and only in this scenario, our approach spreads the costs and ensures above all that the most vulnerable leaseholders are protected. Importantly, any leaseholder contributions for non-cladding defects and interim measures will be subject to a fixed cap. Going forward, most qualifying leaseholders will pay less than the cap, and many will pay nothing at all.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what the contracting process is for providing the pairing information for refugees with hosts in the Homes for Ukraine scheme; and which organisation will be the humanitarian partner.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils. There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors. Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what the contract process is for the contract for providing safeguarding checks on hosts for the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

I refer the Hon Member to my answer to PQ UIN 141196 on 21 March 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that abandoned and unused buildings are utilised to increase the number of bed spaces available to homeless people.

This Government has committed over £800 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping this year. This includes £202 million through the Rough Sleeping Initiative, funding up to 14,500 bed spaces and 2,700 support staff across England. The £433 million Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme will provide 6,000 move-on homes and accompanying support services to those who are rough sleeping or who have a history of sleeping rough.

The Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme (RSAP) has placed a strong emphasis on the use and refurbishment of empty or moribund housing, stock with notable examples in the North of England. This includes the 'Right Sizing' initiative in Liverpool to modernise 70 empty and largely 2-bed properties with downstairs bathrooms, by moving the bathroom upstairs and creating high quality housing for single people or couples. Fairmount Lodge in Bradford has modernised a long-term empty building to create modern homes for 18 rough sleepers, and Champions Court in St Helens has taken two blocks of long-term empty, fire damaged or small flats and created modern homes for 28 rough sleepers.

In addition, whilst the Affordable Homes Programme is focussed on the development of new supply, through the Programme, grant funding is available to turn empty private sector homes into new social and affordable homes.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure that there are sufficient beds to accommodate all homeless people in the UK.

The Government has committed over £800 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping this year. This includes £202 million through the Rough Sleeping Initiative - an 80% increase from last year - funding up to 14,500 bed spaces and 2,700 support staff across England.

We are also helping people find longer term accommodation: the £433 million Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme will provide 6,000 move-on homes, available as long-term assets, and accompanying support services to those who are rough sleeping or who have a history of sleeping rough.

The Government will be spending over £2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the next 3 years, with multi-year funding enabling local partners to better plan services and maximise efficiencies - demonstrating our commitment to build on recent progress.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much his Department has spent on producing social media videos and graphics for use on ministerial social media accounts since January 2020.

We are now in a digital age, where social media and digital communications are an essential part of government, helping inform the public directly about matters which may affect their lives or interests.

In addition to the Civil Service Code, the Government Communications Service offers propriety in digital and social media guidance and is available to discuss questions relating to social media when working with ministers.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities employs an in-house social media team to use digital channels and create content to communicate departmental policies online. It is often appropriate for content relating to Government policies, guidance and announcements, created by civil servants, to be amplified or posted on other channels including ministers' own social media accounts where this helps drive wider engagement from the public.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many staff in his Department are managing ministerial social media accounts as either (a) their primary responsibility or (b) as part of their role.

We are now in a digital age, where social media and digital communications are an essential part of government, helping inform the public directly about matters which may affect their lives or interests.

In addition to the Civil Service Code, the Government Communications Service offers propriety in digital and social media guidance and is available to discuss questions relating to social media when working with ministers.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities employs an in-house social media team to use digital channels and create content to communicate departmental policies online. It is often appropriate for content relating to Government policies, guidance and announcements, created by civil servants, to be amplified or posted on other channels including ministers' own social media accounts where this helps drive wider engagement from the public.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what role local authority building control departments have in helping to tackle unsafe cladding.

Building work must comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations. The building control body will inspect building work on site at appropriate stages. The local authority has the power, under Section 36 of the Building Act, to take enforcement action against non-compliant work. It is the duty of anyone responsible for building work to understand and meet their legal obligations.

Local authorities have duties under the Housing Act 2004 to keep under review the conditions of residential buildings in their areas, as well as powers to act (including formal enforcement) where they consider significant hazards exist. The Government has set out its expectation that local authorities play a key role in addressing the risks of unsafe cladding on high-rise residential buildings in their areas.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what financial support is available for residential blocks under 11 metres whose building owners or property managers are carrying out cladding remediation works.

The fire risk is lower in buildings under 18 metres and costly remediation work is usually not needed.  Where fire risks are identified, they should always be managed proportionately.  The Government has therefore focussed its financial support on high-rise residential buildings over 18 metres because we know that the risk to multiple households is greater when fire does spread in buildings of this height. The Building Safety Bill will deliver improvements across the entire built environment, including for buildings under 11 metres.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to prevent developers and freeholders from passing on cladding remediation costs to residents through increases to the service charge.

We are clear that building owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders, and leaseholders living in their own medium and high-rise buildings should not have to pay to remediate historic cladding defects that are no fault of their own. That is why we are bringing forth statutory protections in the Building Safety Bill to ensure leaseholders are protected. Developers and freeholders should not be passing on cladding remediation costs to leaseholders in flats over 11 metres through increases to the service charge.

The Government believes very strongly that service charges should be transparent and communicated effectively. The law is clear that service charges and any increase in costs must be reasonable and, where costs relate to work or services, the work or services must be of a reasonable standard. We established an independent working group chaired by Lord Best to raise standards across the property sector, which also considered improvements to the transparency of service charges. The working group published its final report to Government (available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulation-of-property-agents-working-group-report) and we are considering the report’s recommendations.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what (a) meetings were had and (b) electronic communications were sent between his Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on the evacuation of animals from Pen Farthing's Nowzad animal shelter in Afghanistan.

I have been asked to reply. The evacuation from Afghanistan under Op Pitting from 14 August to 29 August was entirely organised and controlled by the Ministry of Defence.

Ben Wallace
Secretary of State for Defence
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, whether any non-pass holders attended the meeting in the gardens of Downing Street on 15 May 2020.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Terms of Reference for the Cabinet Office investigation, which have been deposited in the Library of the House. It would not be appropriate to pre-empt that that process.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, whether any cost to the public purse was incurred for the purchase of (a) food and (b) alcoholic beverages at the gathering held in the gardens of Downing Street on 15 May 2020.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Terms of Reference for the Cabinet Office investigation, which have been deposited in the Library of the House. It would not be appropriate to pre-empt that that process.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, whether minutes were taken at the meeting held in the gardens of Downing Street on 15 May 2020.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Terms of Reference for the Cabinet Office investigation, which have been deposited in the Library of the House. It would not be appropriate to pre-empt that that process.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, which officials attended the meeting in the gardens of Downing Street on 15 May 2020.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Terms of Reference for the Cabinet Office investigation, which have been deposited in the Library of the House. It would not be appropriate to pre-empt that that process.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what the purpose of the meeting held in the gardens of Downing Street on 15 May 2020 was.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Terms of Reference for the Cabinet Office investigation, which have been deposited in the Library of the House. It would not be appropriate to pre-empt that that process.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, whether the Metropolitan police maintain records of visitors to Number 10 when they pass through security screening.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given by the Paymaster General to 90472.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, if (a) he or (b) Number 10 officials will meet with the Metropolitan Police to facilitate a police investigation into allegations of gatherings in Number 10 offices during December 2020.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given by the Paymaster General to 90509.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, whether the Cabinet Secretary will be given access to (a) mobile phone messages and (b) other electronic communication relevant to his investigation into the gatherings held at Number 10 in 2020 during Tier 3 restrictions.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given by the Paymaster General to 90509.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will bring forward the Renters Reform Bill.

The Government remains committed to building back fairer and delivering a better deal for renters. We will publish a White Paper which sets out a package of reforms to create a fairer private rented sector. This will include further detail on repealing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, and on targeted enforcement measures that drive out criminal landlords.

We are undertaking robust and structured stakeholder engagement, working closely with the sector to inform our plans, while also learning from impact of the pandemic on the sector. We will bring forward legislation in due course, following the publication of the White Paper.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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 the (a) Cabinet Office and (b) the Department for Health of Social Care held ministerial responsibility for the negotiation of PPE contracts on 27 April 2020.

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
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment the Government has made of the impact of its plans to pause civil service fast-stream recruitment on (a) organisational effectiveness and (b) diversity in recruitment.

The Fast Stream is a talent pipeline for government departments and professions. It is only right we pause bringing in candidates as departments set out how they might achieve the Prime Minister’s commitment to return the Civil Service to the size it was in 2016.

Whilst we pause the Fast Stream for the 2023 intake, we will take the opportunity to further improve the Fast Stream offer. This reform will ensure that when the scheme reopens, it is focused on driving up specialist skills in the Civil Service, as well as improving the regional representation of the Fast Stream. In this sense, both organisational effectiveness and diversity recruitment can be enhanced.

We will also seek to maintain other approaches towards diversity and inclusion in recruitment - such as continuous improvement of our assessment and selection approaches. The Declaration on Government Reform set out our commitment to a skilled and capable Civil Service, our united Campus for government training and Curriculum framework will enable all Civil Servants to access quality, relevant training.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
26th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether all staff members employed by Number 10 who were asked to complete questionnaires by the Metropolitan Police as part of its investigation into breaches of covid-19 regulations completed them.

Details of the Metropolitan Police Service's investigation are rightly an operational matter for the police, not the Government.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of recent civil service pay freezes on employee recruitment and retention.

Recruitment and retention data covering the period of the public sector pay pause is not currently held. In 2020/21, Civil Service turnover (includes all moves out of the Civil Service) was 5.9%.

In light of the pay pause, which was necessary in order to help protect public sector jobs and protect investment in public services, the Government ensured that the lowest paid across all of the public sector were protected. Anyone below a full time equivalent salary of £24,000 received an uplift of £250 or the new National Living Wage rate, whichever was greater. This was c.128,000 civil servants around the time the pay pause was announced in November 2020.

As the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on October 27th 2021, the temporary public sector pay pause will be lifted. Pay awards will be made to public sector workers over the next three years as we return to a normal pay-setting process. It is for departments to monitor and consider their recruitment and retention challenges when determining future pay awards.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason the inquiry into the Government's handling of the covid-19 pandemic has not started.

The Prime Minister has appointed the Rt Hon Baroness Heather Hallett DBE to chair the public inquiry into COVID-19. The inquiry will be established on a statutory basis, with formal powers, and will begin its work in Spring 2022.

Draft terms of reference will be published in due course, following consultation with Baroness Hallett and ministers from the devolved administrations. As set out in the Prime Minister’s statement on 15 December, Baroness Hallett will then lead a process of public consultation, including with bereaved families and other affected groups, before the terms of reference are finalised.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the draft terms of reference for the covid-19 public inquiry will be published.

The Prime Minister has appointed the Rt Hon Baroness Heather Hallett DBE to chair the public inquiry into COVID-19. The inquiry will be established on a statutory basis, with formal powers, and will begin its work in Spring 2022.

Draft terms of reference will be published in due course, following consultation with Baroness Hallett and ministers from the devolved administrations. As set out in the Prime Minister’s statement on 15 December, Baroness Hallett will then lead a process of public consultation, including with bereaved families and other affected groups, before the terms of reference are finalised.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the investigation led by Sue Gray into allegations of breaches of covid-19 regulations will include the gathering held in the gardens of Downing Street on 15 May 2020.

As the terms of reference for the inquiry into staff gatherings make clear, where there are credible allegations into other gatherings, these may be investigated. This includes the allegations relating to 15 and 20 May 2020.



Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether an alarm was triggered at Number 10 offices on the evening of 18 December 2020.

It is a long-standing practice that administrations do not comment on security arrangements on the Downing Street estate.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether (a) the Cabinet Secretary and (b) any officials working on the Cabinet Secretary's Inquiry into government staff parties were in attendance at any of the gatherings under investigation.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Cabinet Office update from the Second Permanent Secretary which has been published on GOV.UK and placed in the Library of the House.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish any covid-19 risk assessment undertaken before any parties that took place on Government premises in November and December 2020.

In relation to government policy on risk assessments, I refer the Hon. Member to my answer to PQ89703.

In relation to alleged gatherings, I refer the Hon. Member to the update from the Second Permanent Secretary, which is in the Library of the House and on GOV.UK.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the scope of the Cabinet Secretary's investigation into social events in Downing Street will include the costs to the public purse of any catering and alcohol supplied for the attendees.

The Terms of Reference for the Cabinet Office’s investigations into staff gatherings have been published on GOV.UK and deposited in the libraries of both Houses.

It would not be appropriate to comment on the specifics of an ongoing process. The Government has committed that the findings of the investigations will be made public in due course.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which gatherings are currently under investigation by the Cabinet Secretary as of 9 December 2021.

The Terms of Reference for the Cabinet Office’s investigations into staff gatherings have been published on GOV.UK and deposited in the libraries of both Houses.

It would not be appropriate to comment on the specifics of an ongoing process. The Government has committed that the findings of the investigations will be made public in due course.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Answer to the Question from the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green at Prime Minister's Questions on 8 December 2021, if he will instruct the Cabinet Secretary to undertake an inquiry into allegations of an additional party held on 13 November 2020.

I refer the Hon Member to the answers given by my Rt Hon Friend the Prime Minister at Prime Minister's Questions on 8 December and those given by me in the House on 9 December. Copies of the terms of reference for the Cabinet Secretary’s investigations have been placed in the Libraries of the House and are also available on the GOV.UK website.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken in response to the recommendations from the Interim Operational Reviews of the Covid-19 National Foresight Group.

Government Ministers and officials working on the response to COVID-19 regularly meet with a range of stakeholder groups to learn from them and to consider their recommendations.

The Government’s decision-making has always, and will continue to be, guided by the relevant data, science and evidence available at that time.

The Government is reviewing the recommendations from the C19 National Foresight Group Interim Operational Reviews and is also considering the findings from the Lincolnshire Interim Operational Review - also published by the group.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has met the National Foresight Group to discuss their reports on the Government response to covid-19 and the recommendations made in those reports.

Government Ministers and officials working on the response to COVID-19 regularly meet with a range of stakeholder groups to learn from them and to consider their recommendations.

The Government’s decision-making has always, and will continue to be, guided by the relevant data, science and evidence available at that time.

The Government is reviewing the recommendations from the C19 National Foresight Group Interim Operational Reviews and is also considering the findings from the Lincolnshire Interim Operational Review - also published by the group.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the readiness of each local resilience forum to respond to future emergencies.

Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) have well established plans to respond to emergencies and routinely review their preparedness.

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA), and the associated Regulations, place statutory duties on Category 1 responders (those organisations at the core of the response to most emergencies including the emergency services, local authorities, NHS bodies) to conduct risk assessments and maintain emergency plans. Duties under the CCA rest with responders but can be exercised through the LRF.

The Cabinet Office's Civil Contingencies Secretariat has developed National Resilience Standards for LRFs which are intended to establish a consistent and progressive means for LRFs and their constituent local responder organisations to: assure their capabilities, assure their overall level of readiness, and guide continuous improvement against mandatory requirements.

The Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities have a network of regionally-based resilience advisers who offer support and challenge to LRFs on their preparedness for the range of emergencies that could occur in their respective local areas.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
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)
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 treat departmental Non-Executive Directors in a manner equivalent to other members of public boards; and whether that role will be regulated by the Commissioner for 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)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to bring forward regulations to require new portable electronic devices to use a USB Type-C charger.

The Government is aware of the proposal of the EU for a single charging solution for certain electronic devices. There are currently no plans to introduce similar requirements in domestic law, but we will monitor developments in this area.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the impact on businesses of Recovery Loan Scheme repayments; and if he will publish the findings of that assessment.

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) provides financial support to businesses across the UK as they recover and grow following the coronavirus pandemic. Finance advanced under the Recovery Loan Scheme may be in the form of loans, overdrafts, asset finance or invoice finance. These facilities are supporting growth and investment across the UK.

Borrowing through the Recovery Loan Scheme is subject to a lender’s affordability assessment of the borrower. The checks and approach taken to this assessment may vary between lenders. The business remains 100% liable for repayment of the facility.

An evaluation of the Recovery Loan Scheme will be carried out in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of UK companies that have set up EU businesses and registered for EU VAT numbers in (a) 2022 as of 17 March 2022 and (b) each of the last four years.

The Department does not collect this data.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to introduce a national minimum wage to help with the cost of living.

The Government considers the independent and expert independent advice of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) when setting the NMW rates. The Low Pay Commission conducts extensive consultation, analysis and evidence gathering when recommending the minimum wage rates balancing the requirements between the needs of workers, the affordability for businesses and the impact on the economy.

On 1 April 2022, the Government will increase the National Living Wage (NLW) for over 23s by 6.6% to £9.50. This keeps the Government on track to achieve its manifesto commitment for the NLW to equal two-thirds of median earnings by 2024. This 59p increase is the largest increase to the NLW since its introduction. A full-time worker on the rate will see their annual earnings rise by over £1,000.

All the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates for younger workers and apprentices will also increase on 1 April 2022. We expect the increases to the NLW and NMW in April 2022 to give a pay rise to around two and a half million workers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made on the implementation on the recommendations of the Competition and Market Authorities' report on secondary ticket sales, published on 16 August 2021.

The Department, working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, is considering the CMA’s report and we will issue a government response shortly.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to increase safety of toys being sold online; and whether he plans to bring forward a strategy for online marketplaces to (a) improve their verification and complaints processes, (b) inform consumers when they are buying from a third party, (c) remove unsafe products, and (d) proactively identify unsafe products, such as recalled goods.

All toys placed on the UK market must meet essential safety requirements under the UK Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011. This includes toys sold online, and online marketplaces have a significant role to play with regards to consumer safety.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is leading a national programme of regulatory action to tackle the risks from unsafe and non-compliant goods sold on online marketplaces. In 2021, 12,500 products (including toys) have been removed from supply due to OPSS interventions. OPSS is also running an expanded test purchasing programme, examining more than 1,000 products sold on online marketplaces to help ensure gifts given at Christmas are safe for families.

In parallel, the Government is undertaking a thorough review of the UK’s product safety framework, including the impact of e-commerce. Our aim is to ensure the framework remains robust and is future-proofed – so that it continues to protect consumers while enabling businesses to safely innovate and grow. A Call for Evidence to inform the review has been completed and the Government’s response is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/uk-product-safety-review-call-for-evidence. In light of this, we are developing a full range of options to address the sale of unsafe products online and intend to consult in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department categorises burning trees as a source of renewable energy.

The Government considers biomass a renewable, low-carbon energy source. The Government only supports the use of biomass where it complies with strict sustainability criteria. The sustainability criteria require that where biomass is sourced from forests, these should be ‘forest waste or residues’ derived from existing forestry operations and not whole trees purposely grown for bioenergy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to tackle rising energy costs for households.

Rising energy costs are the result of unprecedented increases in the wholesale price of gas in global energy markets. The Energy Price Cap will continue to protect households, ensuring they pay a fair price for their energy.

The Government will continue to support low income and fuel poor households with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount which provides eligible households with a £140 discount. Further, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments, ensure that the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to (a) regulate the gig economy, (b) ensure that gig economy workers are receiving pay for all working time and (c) ensure that unfair dismissals in the gig economy sector are being reduced.

This Government is clear that that everyone deserves to be treated fairly at work and rewarded for their contribution to the economy, both in terms of fair pay and fair working conditions.

An individual’s entitlement to rights at work is determined by their employment status, employee, worker or self-employed. Gig economy workers can be classed under any of these depending on their employment relationship.

Employees are entitled to all rights including being protected against unfair dismissal (subject to qualifying periods) and have responsibilities towards their employer. An employer needs to have a valid reason and take appropriate steps if they are to dismiss an employee. Employees who consider that their dismissal was unfair can complain to an employment tribunal, generally subject to a qualifying period of two years’ service.

Workers have more flexibility over when, how much, and where they work but they are entitled to core protections such as minimum wage and holiday pay. If any worker is concerned they are not being paid at least the minimum wage, they should complain to HMRC who enforce the minimum wage. HMRC consider every complaint they receive, and since 2015 have ordered employers to return £100m to 1 million workers who had been underpaid. We have doubled the budget for minimum wage enforcement since 2015.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of (a) the effect of rising sea levels on the proposals for Sizewell C in Suffolk and (b) the impact of the proposed site on (i) SSSI RSPB Nature Reserve and (ii) species in surrounding areas.

The examination of the application for development consent for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station closed on 14 October 2021 and the Examining Authority is now writing its report which will set out its conclusions and recommendations on the proposals.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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 shortage of building materials reported by the Construction Leadership Council in May 2021, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of that shortage on the Government’s ability to fulfil its commitment to upgrade as many homes as possible to EPC Band C by 2035.

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
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
25th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential effects of the Online Safety Bill on requirements for voice recognition or other voice services to (a) remove illegal content from their services and (b) set terms and conditions to address legal but harmful content.

The Online Safety Bill will apply to all companies that allow users to post content online or to interact with each other. This will include a broad range of websites, apps and services, some of which will enable voice recognition. The Bill will make sure that the UK is the safest place to be online, requiring all in-scope companies to take robust action against illegal content.

Additionally, the largest and riskiest services will face additional duties, including specifying in their terms and conditions what measures they are taking for the most harmful content to adults, and must enforce these rules consistently.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason Section 103, Chapter 8 of the Draft Online Safety Bill, relating to Media Literacy did not appear in the Online Safety Bill introduced on 11 May 2022; and if she will make a statement.

Ofcom has an existing statutory duty to promote media literacy under section 11 of the Communications Act (2003). Clause 103 of the draft Online Safety Bill clarified Ofcom’s responsibilities under this duty but did not grant Ofcom any new powers or duties. On 6 December 2021, ‘Ofcom’s Approach to Online Media Literacy’ was published. This strategy document published by Ofcom outlined its plans to expand its media literacy programme in a manner which substantially met the responsibilities set out in the draft Bill. As such, it is no longer necessary to include these clarifications in primary legislation.

The Online Safety Bill increases Ofcom’s powers relating to media literacy. Ofcom’s transparency reporting and information gathering powers cover media literacy and give Ofcom enhanced oversight on industry spend and activity. DCMS’s Secretary of State has powers to direct Ofcom’s media literacy activity in special circumstances, for example where there is a significant threat to public health as a result of health misinformation. The Bill also directs in-scope companies to consider measures to promote users’ media literacy as part of the risk assessment process.

Media literacy remains a vital part of the government’s agenda to support online safety. In April 2022 the government published its second Media Literacy Action Plan which sets out an ambitious expansion of its media literacy programme, supported by over £2m of funding.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will take steps to help prohibit all Russian players from the Wimbledon Tennis Championship 2022.

Russia’s assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated and barbaric attack against a sovereign democratic state. President Putin must not be allowed to exploit major sporting and cultural events on the world stage to seek to legitimise his regime’s invasion.

In response, the UK Government, alongside 36 other nations, issued a joint statement calling on international sporting federations to endorse the principles that:

  • Russia and Belarus should not be permitted to host, bid for or be awarded any international sporting events.

  • Individual athletes selected by Russia and Belarus, administrators and teams representing the Russian or Belarusian state should be banned from competing in other countries, including those representing bodies, cities or brands that are effectively representing Russia or Belarus, such as major football clubs.

  • Wherever possible, appropriate actions should be taken to limit sponsorship and other financial support from entities with links to the Russian or Belarusian states.

The issue of Russian or Belarusian individual sports persons participating in a truly neutral capacity - in the UK and overseas - adds further complexity, and our position will have the greatest impact if it is taken in line with other nations.

We are engaging with national governing bodies, including the All England Lawn Tennis Club, and international counterparts in order to reach an agreed position that can be implemented as consistently as possible.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to breaches in the security of Wembley Stadium during the Euro 2020 final, what steps she is taking to help ensure that large sports fixtures are not susceptible to security breaches by people without tickets.

The UK Government has been working with relevant departments and external organisations to ensure lessons are learned from the disorder on 11 July. This includes working with partners - including sports grounds (and their safety management teams), who are ultimately responsible for safety within the grounds, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), the Football Association and the police, who are responsible for safety outside of sports grounds - to ensure action is taken based on the findings of the review conducted by Baroness Casey of Blackstock.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will publish the names of the members of the Advisory Assessment Panel for the appointment of the Chair of the National Lottery Fund.

The appointment of the Chair of the National Lottery Community Fund is made by the Secretary of State. The appointment is made in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments, which is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Membership of the Advisory Assessment Panel has been publicly available since the campaign launched in August 2020 at https://publicappointments.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/. The Panel for this campaign was chaired by Sam Lister, Director General for Strategy and Operations at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He was joined by Senior Independent Panel Member Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle and Emma Boggis, Vice-Chair of the National Lottery Community Fund.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will increase the number of support workers available to support young people engaged in or at risk of involvement in gangs and youth violence.

£130.5 million has been made available to tackle serious violence this year. This investment will support Violence Reduction Units to deliver a range of early intervention and prevention programmes for young people, including funding support workers, youth and sports clubs. It will also provide funding for early intervention programmes, including trauma-informed training for frontline professionals as well as therapy and specialist support for children and young people in crisis moments.

Universal youth services, including youth and sports clubs, help to reduce the risk factors associated with involvement in gangs and youth violence. Following the 2021 Spending Review, we are investing £560 million in youth services in England over the next 3 years, to support young people. This investment will provide up to 300 new or refurbished youth facilities in deprived areas across the country and create hundreds of thousands of positive activities for young people.

In addition, we set out our commitment to grassroots sports, investing £205 million to build or transform up to 8,000 multi-use sports facilities; £21.9 million to refurbish park tennis courts; and up to £30 million per year to increase access to school facilities.

We are continuing to provide bursaries to help increase the number of qualified youth workers available to support young people. Over the past two years we have worked with the National Youth Agency to help more than 900 youth workers gain qualifications.

Furthermore, the government has made a £200 million investment over 10 years in the Youth Endowment Fund, to test what works in preventing young people from becoming involved in violence.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with representatives of (a) live music venues and (b) theatres on Government support since the publication of Government guidance on the transmission of the Omicron covid-19 variant on 8 December 2021.

The Government remains committed to working closely and collaboratively with all our sectors whilst we mitigate the risks of the coronavirus pandemic. Ministers meet regularly with representatives from the music and performance arts sectors to discuss the impacts of Covid-19. A ministerial roundtable was held on 17 December, which included attendees from HM Treasury, to listen to and understand the challenges faced by our sectors at this time.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to regulate online rental companies that accept bookings in cities that are subject to stay at home orders.

Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs, short term lets and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing.

As such, accommodation providers have not been required to stop accepting bookings under the current national restrictions, nor have the online platforms that facilitate those bookings.

Accommodation businesses should take all reasonable steps to encourage guests to adhere to government restrictions, including informing guests of restrictions when taking bookings and communicating to all customers. We expect people to act responsibly and in line with the law. Accommodation businesses should not intentionally facilitate bookings that do not adhere to government restrictions. Those not complying with these responsibilities may be at risk of the premises being closed.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is his policy to increase the size of student loans in line with the rate of inflation.

The department is currently reviewing options for uprating maximum grants and loans for the 2023/24 academic year.

Maximum grants and loans for living costs were increased by 3.1% this academic year, and the department has announced that they will increase by a further 2.3% in the 2022/23 academic year.

In addition, we are freezing maximum tuition fees for the 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. By the 2024/25 academic year, maximum fees will have been frozen for seven years.

The 2022/23 financial year guidance to the Office for Students (OfS) confirms universities will continue to be able to support students in hardship through the student premium. Ministers’ Strategic Priorities Grant guidance letter to the OfS asks that the OfS looks to protect the student premium in cash terms for the 2022/23 financial year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to (a) include anti-racism teaching in the national curriculum and (b) introduce anti-racism training for Ofsted school inspectors.

The department condemns and strives to tackle all forms of racial discrimination, prejudice, and harassment. Under the Equality Act 2010, schools have a duty to take steps to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation, to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations across all protected characteristics, including between people of different ethnic backgrounds.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies. This includes learning how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and can include experiences and voices of people from all backgrounds. The curriculum offers many opportunities for schools to do this, notably through citizenship education and relationships education. The history curriculum also gives teachers the flexibility to include the contribution of black and minority ethnic history into lessons. This aligns with the school’s duty to promote and foster good relations across all characteristics, including race.

Relationships education is now compulsory in all schools. The relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) curriculum has a strong focus on equality, respect, the harmful impact of stereotyping, as well as on the importance of valuing difference. Guidance on the implementation and teaching of RSHE curriculum can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health. The national curriculum content for citizenship can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-citizenship-programmes-of-study.

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

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of including the Ukraine Holomodor in the National Curriculum.

The national curriculum is a framework which sets out the content the department expects schools to cover in each subject. The department believes teachers should use their expertise to determine how they teach their pupils, and to make choices about what they teach.

Pupils can be taught about the Holodomor in the 1930s as part of the history curriculum, which gives teachers the freedom to use specific examples when teaching about the history of Britain and the wider world. For example, the Holodomor could be taught as part of the statutory key stage 3 theme, ‘challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day’.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the National Curriculum on disordered eating.

The department has no plans to assess the impact of the curriculum on disordered eating, but the white paper is clear that ensuring pupils are taught a broad and ambitious curriculum, which also supports their health, wellbeing, and wider development, is crucial, particularly as we recover from the pandemic.

Body image and mental wellbeing are explicitly covered in the relationships, sex, and health education curriculum and, at secondary level, teachers may choose to discuss disordered eating when teaching these topics. Although schools are not medical professionals, it is important that school staff understand eating disorders to inform the pastoral support that they offer to pupils and when to seek specialist support where it is needed.

To support this, the government’s £8 million for the ‘Wellbeing for Education Return’ programme funded advisers in every local authority in England. Further information on this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wellbeing-for-education-return-grant-s31-grant-determination-letter. This is reaching up to 15,000 schools with free expert training, support, and resources for education staff to help them understand and respond to the mental wellbeing issues faced by children and young people.

The department has provided an additional £7 million in 2021/22 financial year to extend this with an additional focus on directing schools towards the right local support.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ensure that Education and Health Care Plan forms are available in languages other than English.

The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) code of practice makes clear that the format of an education health and care (EHC) plan is agreed locally. Local authorities must decide on the languages that EHC plans are available in, depending on local need. The SEND code of practice is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/398815/SEND_Code_of_Practice_January_2015.pdf

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether schools and colleges will be required to collect further evidence of students' work in the event that exams are cancelled in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The government is fully committed to exams going ahead this summer and does not expect that to change except in the unlikely case of a public health emergency that prevents students being able physically to sit exams. However, it is right that contingency arrangements are in place.

For GCSEs, AS and A levels, Ofqual guidance published in November 2021 asked schools and colleges to collect evidence of their students’ performance covering the breadth of content usually seen in exams and assessment objectives. Once schools and colleges have this evidence, they are not obliged to collect any more. They should take a proportionate approach and, where sufficient evidence has already been collected, no school or college is obliged to continue collecting evidence into the summer term.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure children from Gypsy, Travelling and Roma communities are placed with families from their own communities if they are taken into care.

A child’s background is an important consideration when placing a looked after child. This is evidenced in the law. When making a decision with respect to a looked after child (or one that they are proposing to look after), a local authority must (under s.22 (5) of the Children Act 1989) give due consideration to the child’s religious persuasion, as well as their racial origin, cultural and linguistic background.

When it comes to placing a looked after child, the local authority must give preference to a placement with family or friends as foster carer. Where this is not possible, the local authority must place the child in the most appropriate available placement.

As part of this decision, the local authority must comply with several factors. These include enabling the child to live near their home and not disrupting their education unless this is not reasonably practicable. Whilst a child’s background is important, local authorities have additional factors to consider to ensure the child’s needs and best interests are met.

In relation to foster placements, regardless of whether a child is placed with a foster carer from their own religious, ethnic, cultural, or linguistic background, the Care Standards Act 2000 includes the National Minimum Standards for Fostering. These standards outline the necessity for care providers to ensure children are cared for in a way that ensures a positive self-view, emotional resilience, and knowledge and understanding of their background. This is also covered by reg 17 of The Fostering Services Regulations 2011.

The department has invested in behavioural insights research on fostering recruitment. This is done to test the ways we can support fostering service providers to attract carers able to meet the needs of looked after children locally. This includes increasing numbers of diverse foster parents, notably Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic carers. This will be published in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when alternative finance to student loans will be made available to students.

I refer the hon. Member for Putney to the answer I gave on 18 October 2021 to Question 53884.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will increase the number of teachers of the deaf.

Over 41,000 new trainee teachers were recruited to start training in 2020/21. This is 23% more than in academic year 2019/20.

The department is determined that all children and young people, including those who are deaf or have a hearing impairment, receive the support they need to succeed in their education. It is a legal requirement for qualified teachers of classes of pupils with sensory impairments to hold the relevant mandatory qualification (MQSI). To offer MQSIs, providers must be approved by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education.

It is the responsibility of local authorities, schools, and colleges to commission appropriately qualified staff to support the education of children and young people in their area.

As a result of the Spending Review settlement, the department will make significant investment to ensure all children receive the support they need. This includes:

  • An additional £4.7 billion for the core schools’ revenue budget by financial year 2024-25, including an additional £1.6 billion for schools and high needs in 2022-23, on top of the funding we announced last summer.
  • £2.6 billion over the next three years to deliver new places and improve existing provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities or who require alternative provision.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
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)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many false positives from lateral flow tests have been reported by schools; and what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of changing the guidance to allow a correct negative from a subsequent PCR test to be allowed to reduce the number of pupils being sent home.

The Government has removed confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for lateral flow tests taken at test sites following advice from Public Health England that, when COVID-19 prevalence rates are high, the performance of lateral flow devices (LFDs) and PCRs are broadly comparable when used at test sites, significantly reducing the need for routine confirmatory testing.

All positive results from rapid tests undertaken at home do need to be confirmed with a standard PCR test. Despite the low risk of false positives, this requirement is in place because tests at home are not conducted in a controlled environment with trained staff. When testing at the home, the individual should report positive, negative and void results to the school/college. If the result is positive, the individual and close contacts should isolate, and the school/college should help with contact tracing. The individual will also need to arrange a PCR test either online or via 119 to confirm the result. If the PCR test is negative, it overrides the LFD home test, and a child can return to school.

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.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to give City Hall more power over air quality policy in London.

Responsibility for air quality in the capital is already devolved to the Mayor of London and as such, City Hall has a number of powers including:

- Oversight of London borough air quality action plans, including the power to issue guidance to which London boroughs must have regard when carrying out their air quality duties under the Environment Act 1995.

- The power to issue directions to require London boroughs to take action to address local air pollution as set out in section 85 of the Environment Act 1995.

Under the same legislation, local authorities in London are required to assess local air quality and to take action to reduce pollution if air quality objectives are not met. They must also report on their data and actions to the Mayor of London, to whom they are accountable.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring manufacturers to show in plain English on all forms of product packaging whether and in what way that packaging can be recycled.

I would direct the hon. Member to the recently published response to consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility, where the Government set out its intention to introduce clear mandatory recyclability labelling on all packaging.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department (a) holds data and (b) has undertaken a impact assessment into air quality in the boroughs of (a) Wandsworth, (b) Richmond, (c) Hammersmith and Fulham and (d) Hounslow following the closure of Hammersmith Bridge to vehicle traffic.

Under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995, the Mayor of London has reserve powers and is responsible for air quality in the capital. 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.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he will publish the findings of the Consultation on Commonly Littered Single Use Plastic Items.

The call for evidence on commonly littered and problematic plastic items closed on 12 February 2022. We are currently analysing responses and will provide a further update in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish the outcomes of his Department's call for evidence on commonly littered single-use plastic items.

The Government's call for evidence on commonly littered and problematic plastic items closed on 12 February 2022. We received over 2100 responses, which we are currently in the process of analysing and an update will be provided in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce paper junk mail in the context of tackling climate change.

The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, published in 2018, sets out how we will better manage our material resources by minimising waste, promoting resource efficiency and moving towards a circular economy. We are keen to ensure that goods and materials are kept in circulation for as long as possible and last year we consulted on a new ‘Waste Prevention Programme for England: Towards a Resource Efficient Economy'. We expect to publish a new Programme shortly.

We do not have any specific policy initiatives focusing on junk mail. To reduce unsolicited mail, individuals can register with services such as the Mailing Preference Service, or that run by the Royal Mail. A “no junk mail” notice may also be effective in deterring hand delivery of unwanted advertising material.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much his Department has spent on producing social media videos and graphics for use on ministerial social media accounts since January 2020.

We are now in a digital age, where social media and digital communications are an essential part of government, helping inform the public directly about matters which may affect their lives or interests.

In addition to the Civil Service Code, the Government Communications Service offers propriety in digital and social media guidance and is available to discuss questions relating to social media when working with ministers.

Defra employs an in-house social media team to use digital channels and create content to communicate departmental policies online. It is often appropriate for content relating to Government policies, guidance and announcements, created by civil servants, to be amplified or posted on other channels including ministers' own social media accounts where this helps drive wider engagement from the public.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many staff in his Department are managing ministerial social media accounts as either (a) their primary responsibility or (b) as part of their role.

We are now in a digital age, where social media and digital communications are an essential part of government, helping inform the public directly about matters which may affect their lives or interests.

In addition to the Civil Service Code, the Government Communications Service offers propriety in digital and social media guidance and is available to discuss questions relating to social media when working with ministers.

Defra employs an in-house social media team to use digital channels and create content to communicate departmental policies online. It is often appropriate for content relating to Government policies, guidance and announcements, created by civil servants, to be amplified or posted on other channels including ministers' own social media accounts where this helps drive wider engagement from the public.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to take steps to end trail hunting on government-owned land.

Our manifesto was clear that no changes will be made to the Hunting Act. The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs, except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act. Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law.

Issuing a license or giving permission for trail hunting is an operational matter for the landowner and those organisations with a land lease or agreement in place for government land.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to (a) review the 25 year Environment Plan and (b) include public consultation in that review process.

We have begun work on the first review of the 25 Year Environment Plan. We will complete the review by the end of January 2023 and any revised plan will be subject to the relevant parliamentary laying procedures as set out in the Environment Act 2021.

The Government is issuing a series of public consultations relating to environment policy this year. These include consultations on new long-term, legally binding targets and on proposals to ban the supply of single-use plastic plates, cutlery and balloon sticks and expanded and extruded polystyrene food and drink containers. We will also publish a public consultation on Nature Recovery in due course. We do not plan to overlay these with a further public consultation, adopting the same approach as we did for the original 25 Year Environment Plan. The development of the revised plan will be open and collaborative so we can draw on expertise available outside Government. It will also be subject to the relevant accountability and scrutiny procedures as set out in the Environment Act.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many responses there have been to the call for evidence on commonly littered and problematic plastic items to date.

Whilst we are still counting the last few responses, we have received over 2,100 responses so far.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many submissions her Department has received from (a) members of the public and (b) stakeholders in response to its Consultation on proposals to ban commonly littered single-use plastic items in England.

23,000 so far, of which 88% of those responding via our online consultation site were responding as members of the public. The consultation does not close until 12 February, so I would encourage as many as possible to have their say.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason he has granted permission for the use of Cruiser SB.

A detailed statement of reasons for the decision on the application for emergency authorisation for the use of Cruiser SB on sugar beet crops in 2022 has been published on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/neonicotinoid-product-as-seed-treatment-for-sugar-beet-emergency-authorisation-application.

The Secretary of State found that requirements for emergency authorisation were met and that there are clear and substantial benefits to crop production from the use of Cruiser SB in a year with high pest pressures. Potential risks to bees can be mitigated to a low level and, with strict conditions being placed upon use, are outweighed by the benefits of use in these circumstances.

A threshold has been applied to the decision such that the seed treatment may only go ahead should the threshold be met.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the Environment Agency's policy is on responding to reports of minor hazardous waste dumping in fresh water systems.

The Environment Agency receives over 100,000 incident reports a year, every one of which is recorded and assessed. The Environment Agency focuses its efforts on where they will have the most impact – so those which pose the greatest risk to the environment.

Any report received by the Environment Agency within its remit which is assessed as having the potential to cause serious or significant harm to the environment or human health will be responded to immediately. Reports which are assessed to have a minor impact on the environment or human health will be logged and used to inform future regulatory interventions where resources allow.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to enshrine in law sustainable development goal 12.3, on halving per capita food waste by 2030.

The UK is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 target, which seeks to halve global food waste at consumer and retail levels by 2030. There is a programme in place to achieve this domestically including support for the Courtauld Commitment 2030 voluntary agreement with industry and consumer campaigns. Robust estimates of national food waste volumes are made periodically and used to monitor and report progress against the SDG 12.3 target. The Government has no plans to make this target legally binding.

Since 2007, action to reduce food waste in the UK has contributed to a reduction in post-farm gate total food waste between 2007 and 2018 of around 15% (1.7Mt). Excluding inedible parts, the reduction was 21%.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what records his Department holds on (a) meetings and (b) correspondence with the hon. Member for Rugby since March 2020.

No record of meetings with the hon. Member for Rugby is held.

Defra has received 18 items of correspondence from the hon. Member for Rugby since March 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Press release of 28 August 2021 entitled Next steps to tackle plastic waste, whether the Government's consultation on single-use plastics will include a specific section on plastics in wet wipes.

The Government intends to publish this consultation before the end of the year and our intention is that it will be open for responses for up to 12 weeks. Further information about the details of the consultation and the items included will be shared in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Press release of 28 August 2021 entitled Next steps to tackle plastic waste, on what dates he plans to (a) open and (b) close his Department's consultation on single-use plastics.

The Government intends to publish this consultation before the end of the year and our intention is that it will be open for responses for up to 12 weeks. Further information about the details of the consultation and the items included will be shared in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to ban the manufacture and sale of wet wipes containing plastic.

We are considering a range of options to tackle the drain blockages and fatbergs caused by wet wipes and are working to assess the effects of wet wipes containing plastic on sewers to identify possible solutions. In general, we prefer to help people and companies make the right choice, rather than banning items outright. Alongside our upcoming consultation on single-use plastic items, we will be asking some questions about wet wipes to help us build our evidence base, inform our policy approach and take appropriate action.

The Defra guidance on making an environmental claim has been updated recently to include the Competition Markets Authority’s published guidance available here: Make an environmental claim for your product, service or organisation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). This guidance aims to help businesses understand and comply with their existing obligations under consumer protection law when making any environmental claims.

We will continue to encourage the water industry and wet wipe manufacturers to work together to raise consumer awareness about the appropriate disposal of wet wipes and other non-flushable products, and to ensure that the labelling is clear. This will be crucial for generating meaningful behavioural change with consumers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has had recent discussions with stakeholders on the long term effects of pesticides on wild bees and other pollinators.

Linking pesticide usage directly to changes in wild bees and other pollinators remains challenging because of the range of pressures which affect pollinators, in addition to the complexities of assessing and attributing pesticide usage and risk to impacts. In 2019, alongside leading academics, we published evidence statements on what is known, and not known, about the status and responses to pressures and management of pollinators, including in relation to pesticide use.

We have funded research into the exposure of honeybees to pesticides through analysing pesticide residues in honey samples from across the country and using metabarcoding to understand how honeybees are exposed to these pesticides. We expect the results of this work to be published soon. We are also currently funding research looking at how we could develop our monitoring to better understand the effects of pesticides on pollinators, as well as routes of exposure.

Furthermore, Defra is developing a Pesticide Load Indicator which takes account of both the chemical properties of pesticides used and the weight applied. This uses pesticide usage data, ecotoxicity and environmental data to better understand how the pressure from pesticides on the environment, including bees, has changed over time. Much of this research will be published in 2022.

We also publish an indicator of the status of pollinating insects, which measures how widespread each of almost 400 species is in each year since 1980. It shows long-term decline, but minor change over the short term. Although not yet definitive, there are encouraging signs of improvement, for example the average distribution of wild bees has shown some stability over recent years. We are keeping these trends under review and continue to discuss all these issues with stakeholders, including with our advisory group under the National Pollinator Strategy.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve assessments on the long term effects of pesticides on wild bees and other pollinators.

Linking pesticide usage directly to changes in wild bees and other pollinators remains challenging because of the range of pressures which affect pollinators, in addition to the complexities of assessing and attributing pesticide usage and risk to impacts. In 2019, alongside leading academics, we published evidence statements on what is known, and not known, about the status and responses to pressures and management of pollinators, including in relation to pesticide use.

We have funded research into the exposure of honeybees to pesticides through analysing pesticide residues in honey samples from across the country and using metabarcoding to understand how honeybees are exposed to these pesticides. We expect the results of this work to be published soon. We are also currently funding research looking at how we could develop our monitoring to better understand the effects of pesticides on pollinators, as well as routes of exposure.

Furthermore, Defra is developing a Pesticide Load Indicator which takes account of both the chemical properties of pesticides used and the weight applied. This uses pesticide usage data, ecotoxicity and environmental data to better understand how the pressure from pesticides on the environment, including bees, has changed over time. Much of this research will be published in 2022.

We also publish an indicator of the status of pollinating insects, which measures how widespread each of almost 400 species is in each year since 1980. It shows long-term decline, but minor change over the short term. Although not yet definitive, there are encouraging signs of improvement, for example the average distribution of wild bees has shown some stability over recent years. We are keeping these trends under review and continue to discuss all these issues with stakeholders, including with our advisory group under the National Pollinator Strategy.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what measures are in place to assess the long term effects of pesticides on wild bees and other pollinators.

Linking pesticide usage directly to changes in wild bees and other pollinators remains challenging because of the range of pressures which affect pollinators, in addition to the complexities of assessing and attributing pesticide usage and risk to impacts. In 2019, alongside leading academics, we published evidence statements on what is known, and not known, about the status and responses to pressures and management of pollinators, including in relation to pesticide use.

We have funded research into the exposure of honeybees to pesticides through analysing pesticide residues in honey samples from across the country and using metabarcoding to understand how honeybees are exposed to these pesticides. We expect the results of this work to be published soon. We are also currently funding research looking at how we could develop our monitoring to better understand the effects of pesticides on pollinators, as well as routes of exposure.

Furthermore, Defra is developing a Pesticide Load Indicator which takes account of both the chemical properties of pesticides used and the weight applied. This uses pesticide usage data, ecotoxicity and environmental data to better understand how the pressure from pesticides on the environment, including bees, has changed over time. Much of this research will be published in 2022.

We also publish an indicator of the status of pollinating insects, which measures how widespread each of almost 400 species is in each year since 1980. It shows long-term decline, but minor change over the short term. Although not yet definitive, there are encouraging signs of improvement, for example the average distribution of wild bees has shown some stability over recent years. We are keeping these trends under review and continue to discuss all these issues with stakeholders, including with our advisory group under the National Pollinator Strategy.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's policy is on the regulation of single use wet wipes containing plastic.

My officials are currently working to assess the issues associated with plastic-containing disposable wet wipes and to identify possible solutions. We will be providing details later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing protections granted to wildlife classified in schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 already provides strong legal protection for all bird species and those animals and plants listed. The Act provides a comprehensive suite of protections against killing, injuring or taking of a protected species as well as disturbing or damaging places they use for shelter.

It is important to ensure that our wider legislative framework for species protection supports our ambitions for nature recovery, including a requirement under the Environment Bill to set a target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030. That is why, as part of the recently announced Nature Recovery 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)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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 (Minister for Europe)
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 (Minister for Europe)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the UK's (a) progress towards the net zero target and (b) food standards are improved as a result of the UK-Australia trade deal.

The UK is committed to making progress towards reaching net-zero and the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) recognises our right to regulate to do so. The FTA includes provisions which affirm our commitments under the Paris Agreement and strengthen our cooperation in areas including biodiversity, emissions reduction, and green technologies.

Our FTA with Australia will also remove tariffs on goods which benefit the low-carbon economy, for example tariffs of up to 4% on imports of Lithium will be eliminated on entry into force of the agreement.

The agreement protects the rights and freedom of both countries to regulate to uphold food safety standards. Consumers can be confident in the safety of food imported as imports will still have to meet our existing and future standards under this deal.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the UK-Australia trade deal will be subject to sufficient Parliamentary scrutiny.

The Government put in place extensive parliamentary scrutiny arrangements including publishing negotiating objectives, economic scoping assessments and regular statements to Parliament.

Now that the agreement has been signed, there will be opportunity for further scrutiny including time for the relevant Select Committees and the Trade and Agriculture Commission to produce reports on the deal. Parliament can resolve against ratification of the agreement through the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. Any legislative changes required to give effect to the agreement will need to be scrutinised and passed by Parliament in the usual way before it can be brought into force.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that UK farmers are not disadvantaged as a result of the UK-Australia trade deal.

Farmers are protected from the tariff elimination in the deal through staged liberalisation, tariff quotas and product specific safeguards for beef and sheep. A general bilateral safeguard mechanism, which applies to all products, will also provide a temporary safety net for industry if they face serious injury, or threat thereof, from increased imports as a result of tariff elimination under the free trade agreement.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how much her Department has spent on producing social media videos and graphics for use on ministerial social media accounts since January 2020.

We are now in a digital age, where social media and digital communications are an essential part of government, helping inform the public directly about matters which may affect their lives or interests.

In addition to the Civil Service Code, the Government Communications Service offers propriety in digital and social media guidance and is available to discuss questions relating to social media when working with ministers.

The Department for International Trade employs an in-house social media team to use digital channels and create content to communicate departmental policies online.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many staff in her Department are managing ministerial social media accounts as either (a) their primary responsibility or (b) as part of their role.

We are now in a digital age, where social media and digital communications are an essential part of government, helping inform the public directly about matters which may affect their lives or interests.

In addition to the Civil Service Code, the Government Communications Service offers propriety in digital and social media guidance and is available to discuss questions relating to social media when working with ministers.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (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)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he last met with Treasury (a) Ministers and (b) officials to discuss financing options for the reopening of Hammersmith Bridge.

Ministers and officials at the Department for Transport have met counterparts in Her Majesty’s Treasury regularly to discuss the ongoing support provided to Transport for London. Hammersmith Bridge has been discussed as part of wider funding settlement arrangements.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps he has taken to ensure Hammersmith Bridge reopens to motor traffic.

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) is responsible for the repairs to Hammersmith Bridge. LBHF is developing a business case to examine the options for strengthening the bridge to reopen it to motor traffic, which it will share with Transport for London and my Department when complete.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) TfL and (b) Hammersmith and Fulham Council on the progress of the strengthening works taking place on Hammersmith Bridge.

Department for Transport officials meet regularly with their counterparts in London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and Transport for London to monitor the progress made with the strengthening works, and my noble friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport is regularly updated with the results of these discussions.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Hammersmith Bridge Task Force will next meet.

The Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce will meet when members have put forward substantive agenda items for discussion. At present, the focus is on completing the stabilisation works and continuing the development of the business case for strengthening.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to allocate funding for the restoration and reopening of Hammersmith Bridge.

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) owns and is responsible for the maintenance of and repairs to Hammersmith Bridge.

The full reopening of Hammersmith Bridge to all users including motor vehicles remains a ministerial priority. As agreed in the 01 June 2021 Transport for London (TfL) extraordinary funding and finance deal, the government will fund up to one third of the total for the project with LBHF and TfL committing to do the same.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring all bicycles to include a bell.

Rule 66 of The Highway Code recommends that bells are fitted to cycles, and that people who cycle should always be considerate of other road users, including by calling out or ringing their bell if they have one. All cycles are required at point of sale to be fitted with a bell, but we do not intend to legislate to make the use of bells on cycles mandatory, as there are other ways for people who cycle to warn other road users of their presence.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to reinstate the hard shoulder on SMART motorways while an investigation into the accidents that have occurred on SMART motorways is carried out.

On 2 November 2021, the Transport Select Committee published its report, The Rollout and Safety of Smart Motorways, which agreed that the Government was right to focus on upgrading the safety of All Lane Running smart motorways, rather than reinstating the hard shoulder, which the Committee recognised could cause more deaths or serious injuries on our roads.

Having carefully considered the Committee’s report, the Department will be taking forward all its recommendations. This includes the recommendation to pause the roll out of future All Lane Running schemes until a full five years’ worth of safety data is available. During the pause, we will continue to make sure all existing All Lane Running smart motorways are made as safe as they can possibly be.

We will also take forward the recommendations to pause the conversion of Dynamic Hard Shoulder smart motorways to All Lane Running until the next Road Investment Strategy. We will additionally retrofit more Emergency Areas across existing All Lane Running schemes; conduct an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of stopped vehicle detection technology; explore the introduction of the emergency corridor manoeuvre into the Highway Code; and, investigate the benefits of health and safety assessments being undertaken by the Office of Rail and Road.

Taken together, these measures will help ensure that our roads continue to be among the safest in the world, helping drivers not just to be safe, but crucially, to feel safe and confident when driving.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many staff in his Department manage ministerial social media accounts as either (a) their primary responsibility or (b) as part of their role.

We are now in a digital age, where social media and digital communications are an essential part of government, helping inform the public directly about matters which may affect their lives or interests.

In addition to the Civil Service Code, the Government Communications Service offers propriety in digital and social media guidance and is available to discuss questions relating to social media when working with ministers.

Department for Transport employs an in-house social media team to use digital channels and create content to communicate departmental policies online. It is often appropriate for content relating to Government policies, guidance and announcements, created by civil servants, to be amplified or posted on other channels including ministers' own social media accounts where this helps drive wider engagement from the public.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much his Department has spent on producing social media videos and graphics for use on ministerial social media accounts since January 2020.

Department for Transport employs an in-house social media team to use digital channels and create content to communicate departmental policies online. It is often appropriate for content relating to Government policies, guidance and announcements, created by civil servants, to be amplified or posted on other channels including ministers' own social media accounts where this helps drive wider engagement from the public.

Content creation is one part of the digital team’s responsibilities, there is no individual cost per video or graphic created. The creation of these assets and any other communications products, is funded by the Department for Transport Communications Directorate staffing budget.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to extend eligibility for disabled parking badges to people with short-term disabilities.

The Blue Badge scheme is primarily about helping those with permanent mobility issues access the goods and services they need to use. Anyone may be entitled to a badge if they meet the eligibility criteria. The Department has no plans to amend the current eligibility criteria.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Transport, what recent steps he has taken to tackle the shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers.

The Government has taken 32 specific measures to deal with the shortage of HGV drivers. These include funding for apprenticeships, 11,000 places on Skills Bootcamp training backed by £34 million, increasing the supply of vocational driving tests, prioritising vocational driving licence applications, and investing £32.5 million in roadside facilities for HGV drivers. These are listed on gov.uk.

Our measures are working. The number of available HGV driving tests has increased by 90% compared to pre-pandemic levels and currently stands at 3,200 tests per week. Test capacity now exceeds demand and the provision of vocational tests is not a barrier to people becoming HGV drivers. Despite the increase in vocational driving licence applications and licence renewals, there are no delays in processing and all new applications are being processed within five working days, unless further medical checks are required. Recent assessments by industry bodies such as Logistics UK suggest that the shortfall in drivers has started to reduce.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to meet with the Mayor of London to discuss a long-term financial settlement for Transport for London.

In addition to regular discussions between officials and TfL, the Minister responsible for this issue, Baroness Vere, is due to meet the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport in January 2022.

The Government is committed now, and in the future, to mitigating loss of fare revenue because of the pandemic, in a way that is fair to national taxpayers.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has met with the Mayor of London to discuss Transport for London's December 2021 financial settlement.

In addition to regular discussions between officials and TfL, the Minister responsible for this issue, Baroness Vere, met the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport on 9 December.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason South Africa remains on the covid-19 red list as at 14 December 2021; and when he plans to review that matter.

South Africa was removed from the red list at 4am on 15 December. As Omicron cases rise in the UK and in countries around the world, the travel red list is less effective in slowing the incursion of this variant from abroad and managed quarantine measures are no longer proportionate. Additional temporary testing measures remain in place to help prevent additional cases of Omicron from entering the UK and will be reviewed in early January.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the level of Government funding for the restoration of Hammersmith Bridge will be agreed.

The Government remains committed to supporting the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) in up to one third of the costs of the project. However, the Government cannot commit specific sums of money until LBHF completes and submits a business case, clearly setting out the engineering options and their costs, for each stage of the repairs. These business cases, which must conform to the Government’s Green Book standards, are under development by LBHF and the Government eagerly awaits their completion.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the recent progress of the Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce.

The Government remains committed to supporting the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) in finding a long-term solution for Hammersmith Bridge. The Department for Transport, Transport for London and LBHF must first scrutinise and agree the necessary business cases which are being developed by the borough and are not yet complete.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason Chile was only removed from the red travel list on 8 October 2021.

Decisions on red list assignment and associated border measures are taken by ministers, who take into account the UKHSA risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors. Chile remained on the red list until 10 October 2021 due to the ongoing detection of variants of concern in the country.

Given the success of the vaccination programme in the UK and the latest evidence of variants across the world, including the fact that the Delta variant is now dominant in many countries as it is in the UK, Chile was removed from the red list on 11 October 2021.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress he has made on securing the reopening of Hammersmith Bridge to vehicles.

Hammersmith Bridge is owned by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) and therefore responsibility for reopening the bridge to motor vehicles and making decisions on its repair lies with the borough.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he or Baroness Vere plans to visit Hammersmith Bridge in the next six months.

My Noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Baroness Vere of Norbiton, visited Hammersmith Bridge at the invitation of London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham when the bridge reopened to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic on 17 July 2021. Any invitations issued by the borough for a Ministerial visit to the bridge will be given due consideration.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether a recent assessment has been made of the impact of the Hammersmith bridge closure on air quality in (a) Wandsworth Borough, (b) Richmond Borough, (c) Hammersmith & Fulham Borough and (d) Hounslow Borough.

As Hammersmith Bridge is owned by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF), the Department for Transport has not undertaken any assessments of the impact on air quality due to the closure of the bridge or its impact on local authorities. This assessment will form part of the business case being developed by LBHF for the repairs to the bridge.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions have taken place with (a) community stakeholders and (b) disabled stakeholders on the introduction of e-scooter trials.

The department has taken a keen interest in the trials and how they may affect those with disabilities and accessibility needs and have engaged frequently with a range of key stakeholders. For example, I met with the Inclusive Transport Stakeholder Group last year, to discuss e-scooters and our local trials. Membership of this group includes representatives from: Age UK, Scope, Alzheimer’s Society, National Autistic Society, Disability Rights UK, DPTAC, Guide Dogs and Leonard Cheshire. Since then I have hosted four e-scooter roundtable discussions - the most recent on 7 June - attended by several groups that represent the interests of disabled people and older people to update them on the progress of the trials and listen to their concerns.

The Department has in place a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation programme for the trials. This evaluation includes a range of data sources and approaches including data sharing arrangements with operators, surveys, interviews and focus groups with users and non-users and interviews with key local and national stakeholders.

Local authorities are responsible for running the trials and we have instructed them to engage throughout the trial period with disability groups in their areas to ensure their concerns are being heard.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has spent on producing social media videos and graphics for use on ministerial social media accounts since January 2020.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a Digital Communications team to create content to communicate departmental policies online via corporate channels. It is often appropriate for this content to be amplified on ministers' own social media accounts where this helps drive wider engagement from the public.

Content creation is one part of the digital team’s responsibilities, there is no individual cost per video or graphic created. The creation of these assets, as well with other communications products, is funded by the DWP’s Strategic Communications staffing budget.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many staff in her Department manage ministerial social media accounts as either (a) their primary responsibility or (b) as part of their role.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a Digital Communications team to create content to communicate departmental policies online via corporate channels. It is often appropriate for this content to be amplified on ministers' own social media accounts where this helps drive wider engagement from the public.

Content creation is one part of the digital team’s responsibilities, there is no individual cost per video or graphic created. The creation of these assets, as well with other communications products, is funded by the DWP’s Strategic Communications staffing budget.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have been affected by the underpayment of benefits after transitioning from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance in Putney constituency.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 19th January to question number 104377.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the trends in levels of funding for individual job centres since 2019.

We do not assess funding at individual Jobcentre level. We use forecasts to determine what level of funding is required to meet demand nationally and in districts based on forecast workloads.

There has been an increase in resources dedicated to Jobcentres across all four Nations reflecting the change in the economic environment and increased caseloads since 2019 including recruiting over an additional 13500 Work Coaches.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that job centres run efficiently.

Our Jobcentre teams are committed to delivering a quality service to ensure all claimants receive the best possible support to meet their individual circumstance. We operate a service delivery framework which sets out the service expectations for our Jobcentre network and the requirements for how they deliver their services efficiently. It provides information on why these expectations are set, and ways that Jobcentre leaders and Work Coaches should implement the expectations.

Jobcentre staff undergo a comprehensive learning journey designed to equip them with the tools, skills and behaviours required to provide a high quality, efficient service to all claimants. They receive on-going learning in their roles and have access to guidance which is refreshed at regular intervals. Jobcentre Team Leaders are responsible for monitoring and assuring the quality and efficiency of services provided to individual claimants. Through a combination of observation of interviews, feedback, coaching and appraisal.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what fiscal steps she is taking to reduce child food poverty.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting low-income families, including through spending over £110 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22 and by increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 from April 2022.

As our recovery gathers pace and with record vacancies, our focus now is on continuing to support parents into, and to progress in, work. This is because we know that work, particularly where it is full-time, substantially reduces the risks of child poverty and improves long-term outcomes for families and children.

Given clear evidence that parental employment, particularly where it is full-time, substantially reduces the risks of child poverty, we are focusing on supporting employment. With record vacancies in the economy, there are opportunities available across the UK and our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, is helping people to access them.

Universal Credit recipients in work will soon benefit from a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, while eligible in-work claimants will also benefit from changes to the Work Allowance. These measures represent, for the lowest paid in society, an effective tax cut of around £2.2 Billion in 2022-23, and will benefit almost two million of the lowest paid workers by £1000 a year on average.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials.

To support low income families further we have increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins, and we are also investing over £200m a year from 2022 to continue our Holiday Activities and Food programme which is already providing enriching activities and healthy meals to children in all English LAs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to reduce the number of disabled people living in poverty in the UK.

Spending on benefits for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions is currently the highest it has ever been. In 2021/22 we are forecast to spend £59 billion. Latest statistics (2019/20) show that rates of absolute poverty, both before and after housing costs for individuals living in disabled families are down since 2009/10.

We are working to make sure that money spent on supporting disabled people and people with health conditions has a positive impact on their lives and we want to go further to support and empower disabled people and people with health conditions. Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper, published earlier this year, is one key way we are seeking to do this. The Green Paper seeks to ensure the welfare system is an enabler to work through improving our strong and effective package of employment support. Alongside the Green Paper, the National Disability Strategy and the Health Is Everyone’s Business consultation response form part of a holistic approach to enable disabled people and people with health conditions to live independent lives.

Whilst the consultation period for this publication has now closed, we are working through over 4,500 responses from individuals, charities, and organisations to analyse responses and improve health and disability policies. We continue to engage with stakeholders, particularly on the broader aspects of the paper that focus on future reform and remain committed to responding to this Green Paper consultation with a White Paper in mid-2022.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy that there be transitional protection on income entitlements for those transitioning from the legacy benefit system to the Universal Credit system.

When required to move to Universal Credit from legacy benefits, having been notified to do so by this Department, eligible claimants will be awarded transitional protection. This will ensure that their Universal Credit is not less than the sum of their legacy benefit payments at the point that they move to Universal Credit.

Claimants may also move from legacy benefits to Universal Credit when they experience a significant change in their circumstances that triggers a new claim to benefit. Transitional protection is not generally awardable in these cases as a claimant making a new claim due to changes in their circumstances has always been likely to receive a different benefit entitlement than on their previous benefit. This would be the case whether the new claim had occurred pre-Universal Credit system or on Universal Credit.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
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)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if the Government will increase the capped portion of the social fund funeral expenses payment.

On the 8 April 2020, the value of the capped portion of the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment rose by 43 per cent, from £700 to £1000. There are no current plans to increase this.

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)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that social care support is accessible to older and disabled people in the context of rising living costs.

Local authorities are best placed to understand and plan the care and support needs of the local population. We have made an additional £3.7 billion available for councils for 2022/23, which includes £1 billion specifically for social care. Councils can also use funding from un-ringfenced grants and council tax to meet inflationary and demographic pressures on these services.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Novovax vaccine will be available to patients in the UK.

We continue to be guided by the advice of the independent Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the vaccines which should be deployed in the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. In line with the JCVI’s current advice, the Novavax vaccine is not currently being deployed in the UK. We will consider further advice from the JCVI in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many children have died while (a) detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 or (b) in the care of a mental health setting as a voluntary patient in (i) NHS and (ii) private settings in each year between 2016 and 2022.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the recruitment and retention of midwives in the NHS.

We have invested £127 million to increase staffing in maternity and neonatal services. Of this, £34 million will be allocated to strengthen leadership and implement Independent Senior Advocates and £51 million allocated to the maternity and neonatal workforce over two years to reduce vacancies. This is in addition to £95 million to support the recruitment of 1,200 more midwives and 100 more consultant obstetricians. Approximately £8 million has been provided to enable supernumerary capacity across 157 units, with a focus on support to newly qualified, student and late career midwives.

The NHS People Plan includes a programme for organisations to retain staff through prioritising staff health and wellbeing, building an inclusive and compassionate culture in the National Health Service and strengthening support for flexible working. The People Plan is supported by the NHS Retention Programme, which seeks to understand why staff leave, resulting in targeted interventions to support staff to stay whilst keeping them well.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time is for individuals admitted to hospital under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timeframe is for implementing the hormone replacement treatment single annual payment scheme.

We are working with the NHS Business Services Authority to implement a new hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescription prepayment certificate as soon as possible. From April 2023, the annual cost for all HRT products will be the cost of two prescription charges, which is currently £18.70.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the psychological impact of displaying calorie information on menus.

The Department published an impact assessment and an equalities assessment detailing the likely effect of the policy. As part of these assessments, we have considered the available evidence around eating disorders and displaying calorie information. The Department will continue to evaluate the impact of the out of home calorie labelling Regulations, including on people living with eating disorders. We will review the Regulations and publish a post-implementation review within three to five years.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will change Government guidance to allow use of the term probiotic on food labels of products that contain probiotic microorganisms subject to agreed criteria.

Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 governs the use of nutrition and health claims on foods protecting consumers by ensuring any health claims made are backed by substantiated scientific evidence. Under the Regulation, the term ‘probiotic’ is not currently permitted, as this implies it has a relationship to a function of the body. Such claims are required to be evaluated by the UK Nutrition and Health Claims Committee and authorised by the appropriate authority, prior to their use.

Applications for the use of health claims can be made to the Department and subject to a positive scientific assessment and risk management decision, authorised as permitted for use. If a successful claim is made, the nutrition and health claims guidance will then be amended.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans for a new national uniform policy including a social value weighting with factors including sustainability and UK manufacture of smart scrubs.

NHS Supply Chain, with NHS England and NHS Improvement, issued a consultation paper in April 2021 asking the workforce if they were supportive of the introduction of a national uniform, and 82% responded in favour of this approach. As part of the sourcing process, potential suppliers have been asked to submit a design for a smart scrub and provide a range of garments in different sizes which could be trialled across the NHS.

Once a preferred design has been agreed, further trials will take place to ensure this design meets the needs of the NHS before being finalised. NHS Supply Chain hope to complete this process by the end of this year. Both sustainability and social value form a significant element of the evaluation process. As this is an active procurement process, details of the evaluation approach cannot be declared but these areas will be addressed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to trial a national uniform policy following the NHS-wide consultation; and what the timescale is for those plans.

NHS Supply Chain, with NHS England and NHS Improvement, issued a consultation paper in April 2021 asking the workforce if they were supportive of the introduction of a national uniform, and 82% responded in favour of this approach. As part of the sourcing process, potential suppliers have been asked to submit a design for a smart scrub and provide a range of garments in different sizes which could be trialled across the NHS.

Once a preferred design has been agreed, further trials will take place to ensure this design meets the needs of the NHS before being finalised. NHS Supply Chain hope to complete this process by the end of this year. Both sustainability and social value form a significant element of the evaluation process. As this is an active procurement process, details of the evaluation approach cannot be declared but these areas will be addressed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the results were of the consultation on having a national uniform policy for the NHS.

NHS Supply Chain, with NHS England and NHS Improvement, issued a consultation paper in April 2021 asking the workforce if they were supportive of the introduction of a national uniform, and 82% responded in favour of this approach. As part of the sourcing process, potential suppliers have been asked to submit a design for a smart scrub and provide a range of garments in different sizes which could be trialled across the NHS.

Once a preferred design has been agreed, further trials will take place to ensure this design meets the needs of the NHS before being finalised. NHS Supply Chain hope to complete this process by the end of this year. Both sustainability and social value form a significant element of the evaluation process. As this is an active procurement process, details of the evaluation approach cannot be declared but these areas will be addressed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) ensure equal access to IVF treatment for LGBTQ+ people and (b) tackle regional disparities in the cost of that treatment for same-sex couples.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Ealing Central and Acton on 31 January 2022 to Question PQ112645.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve early diagnosis of genetic haemochromatosis.

Genetic testing for haemochromatosis is available through the NHS Genomic Medicine Service for patients in England who show unexplained iron overload suggestive of hereditary haemochromatosis. This testing is outlined in the National Genomic Test Directory and is delivered via the national genomic testing network of NHS Genomic Laboratory Hubs.

The UK Rare Diseases Framework outlines four priorities to improve the lives of those living with rare diseases, such as some forms of genetic haemochromatosis. Further details regarding plans to improve diagnosis of rare diseases will be provided in action plans, which will be published by each of the four United Kingdom nations within two years of publication of the Framework. England’s action plan will be published in February 2022.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are the Government taking to ensure a steady and sustainable supply of lateral flow tests manufactured in the UK.

In October 2020, the Government commissioned work to support the United Kingdom’s diagnostic industry, to secure a lateral flow antigen test and increase domestic production capacity. The Make UK programme delivered two clinically validated and regulatory approved UK lateral flow antigen tests​ and provided investment in capital equipment and facilities expansion at UK manufacturing companies​.

Over 100 million tests have been produced for UK Health Security Agency deployment and UK production capacity of lateral flow antigen test has increased by 3,500%. The first UK-made self-test lateral flow device has been deployed in January 2022. The Make UK programme has also increased capacity and resilience for current and future public health challenges​.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to provide a way of displaying covid-19 vaccination status for people without smartphones.

Those without access to a computer or smartphone can contact 119 to request a Domestic or Travel NHS COVID Pass letter. A carer or family member can also request a letter on their behalf online at NHS.UK.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people with severe allergies who are eligible for a covid-19 vaccine exemption pass.

Severe allergies are a potential basis for exemption from vaccination and testing. We estimate that 90,000 people in England are eligible for an exemption, excluding pregnant women. However, information on the number of people in this cohort with severe allergies who would be eligible for a medical exemptions NHS COVID Pass is not held.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to (a) bring forward legislative proposals to make caring by people under the age of 16 illegal and (b) ensure that in future that care is undertaken by a paid adult.

We have no plans to bring forward legislative proposals to make caring by people under the age of 16 years old illegal. However, the Government believes that young people should be protected from inappropriate and excessive caring responsibilities. Adult and children’s services should take a whole family approach to the identification and support of young carers.

Changes to section 17 of The Children Act 1989 introduced via the Children and Families Act 2014, extended the right to a assessment for all young carers. Local authorities must carry out an assessment upon request or on the appearance of need. Such an assessment must consider whether it is appropriate or excessive for the young carer to provide care for the person in question, considering the young carer’s needs and wishes.

In addition, local authorities have a duty under the Care Act 2014 to produce a care and support plan and offer a personal budget following a needs assessment to ensure that the person being cared for and their carer’s needs are adequately met. Personal budgets can be used to provide alternative care arrangements should the person being cared for wish to do so.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether vaccination records issued on the NHS Scotland app can be fully transferred to the NHS (England) app.

The status certification service an individual accesses depends on where their general practitioner (GP) is registered. NHS Digital has established bi-directional live data flows between England and Scotland which update both the GP record and NHS COVID Pass status. Individuals who have received one or both of their primary course vaccines administered in Scotland can access the NHS COVID Pass, provided they are registered with a GP in England or have a National Health Service number. To use the NHS COVID Pass within the NHS App, an individual must be registered with a GP. However, any individual with an NHS number can access the NHS COVID Pass via NHS.UK.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to make an assessment of the potential merits of the use of Vitamin C as a treatment for covid-19.

Although some clinical trial results do show promise for vitamin C to support COVID-19 treatment and recovery, the studies are limited by small sample sizes, early termination of some of the studies, differences in dose and duration, lack of placebo controls, and no pre-and post-intervention plasma vitamin C concentrations. However, vitamin C is currently being trialled in the REMAP-CAP study for patients with COVID-19 acquired pneumonia.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that each local NHS area is taking steps towards parity of esteem between mental and physical health.

The NHS Mandate states that NHS England must seek to treat mental health with the same urgency as physical health. This is monitored through three metrics:

- Mental health services real terms expenditure growth;

- Number of people accessing Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services; and

- Number of children and young people accessing National Health Service-funded mental health services.

In October 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement published ‘2021/22 priorities and operational planning guidance: October 2021 – March 2022’ which states that local areas must continue to meet the mental health investment standard, continue to increase access to children and young people’s NHS-funded community mental health services and NHS-funded talking therapies for adults.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the £50 million in funding allocated to targeted motor neurone disease research can be accessed.

The Government has committed to make £50 million available for motor neurone disease (MND) research over the next five years through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The NIHR and UKRI rely on researchers submitting high-quality applications to access funding. All applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating funding for research into the impact of social media on mental health.

The Department has funded a systematic review through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to explore the relationship between social media and other online content and body image and disordered eating in children and young people. The review is being led by the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centres. The NIHR also funds the Mental Health Policy Research Unit, which in collaboration with McPin Foundation and the Centre for Mental Health, conducted research into screen use and adolescent mental health from the perspective of young people, their parents and educators.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidence base is for the policy of offering mammograms at three year intervals on the NHS, and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of offering those tests more frequently.

The UK National Screening Committee’s recommendation to routinely offer women in the United Kingdom breast screening at three yearly intervals was adopted following the Swedish Two-County Trial. This showed a substantial reduction in the numbers of women dying of breast cancer with an interval of just under three years in women 50 years of age and over. A UK Frequency Trial on breast screening also showed little benefit in terms of lives saved from offering more regular screening.

Screening intervals are kept under regular review. A proposal to change the current screening interval from three yearly would be for the UK National Screening Committee to consider through its programme modification proposal process.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to recognise domestic abuse as an official cause of female mental ill-health.

We recognise that women experiencing domestic abuse are more likely to experience mental ill-health based on current evidence.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what records his Department holds on (a) meetings and (b) correspondence with the hon. Member for Winchester since March 2020.

The information requested on records of meetings is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. The following table shows the number of correspondence cases recorded on the Department’s central database for the hon. Members requested between 1 March 2020 and 14 March 2022.

The Rt hon. Member for Chingford and Wood Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP)

78

The Rt hon. Member for the Vale of Glamorgan (Alun Cairns MP)

221

The hon. Member for Huntingdon (Jonathan Djanogly MP)

184

The hon. Member for Winchester (Steve Brine MP)

13

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to increase funding for mental health research.

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). In 2020/21, the NIHR spent £109.5 million on mental health research. We are also funding the Mental Health Research Initiative to expand current mental health research activity. The Initiative works across the NIHR’s programmes and infrastructure scheme to build the capacity and capability of mental health research in regions which are currently underrepresented. While it is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions, the NIHR’s funding is available through open competition and we encourage researchers to submit applications in this area.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what records his Department holds on (a) meetings and (b) correspondence with the hon. Member for Huntington since March 2020.

The information requested on records of meetings is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. The following table shows the number of correspondence cases recorded on the Department’s central database for the hon. Members requested between 1 March 2020 and 14 March 2022.

The Rt hon. Member for Chingford and Wood Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP)

78

The Rt hon. Member for the Vale of Glamorgan (Alun Cairns MP)

221

The hon. Member for Huntingdon (Jonathan Djanogly MP)

184

The hon. Member for Winchester (Steve Brine MP)

13

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what records his Department holds on (a) meetings and (b) correspondence with the hon. Member for the Vale of Glamorgan since March 2020.

The information requested on records of meetings is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. The following table shows the number of correspondence cases recorded on the Department’s central database for the hon. Members requested between 1 March 2020 and 14 March 2022.

The Rt hon. Member for Chingford and Wood Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP)

78

The Rt hon. Member for the Vale of Glamorgan (Alun Cairns MP)

221

The hon. Member for Huntingdon (Jonathan Djanogly MP)

184

The hon. Member for Winchester (Steve Brine MP)

13

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what records his Department holds