Grahame Morris Portrait

Grahame Morris

Labour - Easington

Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee)
9th Mar 2020 - 6th Jul 2020
Consolidation Bills (Joint Committee)
9th Mar 2020 - 6th Jul 2020
Transport Committee
5th Feb 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Consolidation Bills (Joint Committee)
6th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee)
6th Nov 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Consolidation Bills (Joint Committee)
9th Nov 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee)
9th Nov 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Shadow Minister for the Constitutional Convention
28th Jun 2016 - 7th Oct 2016
Opposition Whip (Commons)
18th Sep 2015 - 28th Jun 2016
Health and Social Care Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 30th Mar 2015


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 26th October 2021
15:00
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 27th October 2021
09:30
Transport Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Work of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency 2021
27 Oct 2021, 9:30 a.m.
At 9.30am: Oral evidence
The Baroness Vere of Norbiton - Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at Department for Transport
Loveday Ryder - Chief Executive at Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
Peter Hearn - Operations Director (North) at Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
View calendar
Division Votes
Friday 22nd October 2021
Prayers
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 114 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 3 Noes - 336
Speeches
Friday 22nd October 2021
Employment and Trade Union Rights (Dismissal and Re-engagement) Bill

Despite the hoots of derision from the Government Benches, does my hon. Friend accept the survey evidence that shows that …

Written Answers
Friday 22nd October 2021
Disability: Children
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding of Scope and the …
Early Day Motions
Monday 18th October 2021
Alcohol strategy
That this House notes that Public Health England data revealed there were 6,983 alcohol-specific deaths in 2020, an increase of …
Bills
Monday 1st September 2014
Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2014-15
A Bill to amend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to apply its provisions to private healthcare companies and other …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 18th October 2021
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Unite the Union
Address of donor: 128 Theobalds Rd, London WC1X 8TN
Amount of donation or nature …
EDM signed
Friday 22nd October 2021
Giving every child the best start in life
That this House notes the work of WAVE Trust and its 70/30 campaign to reduce levels of child abuse, neglect …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021
A Bill to make provision for guidance to schools about the costs aspects of school uniform policies.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Grahame Morris has voted in 270 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

30 Dec 2020 - Sittings of the House - View Vote Context
Grahame Morris voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 7 Labour Aye votes vs 183 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 335 Noes - 212
20 Dec 2019 - European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - View Vote Context
Grahame Morris voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 6 Labour Aye votes vs 162 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 358 Noes - 234
View All Grahame Morris Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Paul Scully (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(12 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(9 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(15 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(15 debate contributions)
Department for Transport
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Grahame Morris's debates

Easington 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).

Petitions with highest Easington signature proportion
Petitions with most Easington signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Enact legislation to protect retail workers. This legislation must create a specific offence of abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker. The offence must carry a penalty that acts as a deterrent and makes clear that abuse of retail workers is unacceptable.

Government should support vulnerable children & #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals & activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger & increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme

During the pandemic government workers have delivered vital public services and kept our country safe and secure. After ten years in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship. The Government must start to restore the real value of their pay with a 10% increase in 2020.

The government is helping private firms to protect jobs by paying up to 80% of staff wages through this crisis. If it can do this why can it not help key workers who will be putting themselves/their families at risk and working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

12 kids in the UK are diagnosed with cancer daily. 1 in 5 will die within 5 years, often of the deadliest types like DIPG (brainstem cancer) - fatal on diagnosis & other cancers on relapse. Yet there has been little, or no, funding for research into these cancers and little, or no, progress.


Latest EDMs signed by Grahame Morris

12th May 2021
Grahame Morris signed this EDM on Friday 22nd October 2021

Giving every child the best start in life

Tabled by: Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democrat - Bath)
That this House notes the work of WAVE Trust and its 70/30 campaign to reduce levels of child abuse, neglect and domestic abuse by 70 per cent by 2030; further notes that over two-thirds of this House have endorsed that campaign, including a majority from all parties; recognises the role …
94 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 33
Labour: 30
Liberal Democrat: 12
Conservative: 8
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Independent: 2
23rd September 2021
Grahame Morris signed this EDM on Thursday 21st 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 …
72 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 45
Scottish National Party: 9
Liberal Democrat: 9
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 2
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
View All Grahame Morris's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Grahame Morris, 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.


Grahame Morris has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Grahame Morris has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Grahame Morris


A Bill to amend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to apply its provisions to private healthcare companies and other bodies seeking health service contracts; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 1st September 2014

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to amend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to apply to private healthcare companies; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 8th October 2013

715 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
9 Other Department Questions
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he received Durham County Council’s application seeking approval for a selective licensing scheme; and when he plans to make a determination on that application.

We received Durham County Council's application for a selective licensing scheme on 23 December 2020. Each application is assessed case by case on its merits against the statutory criteria. We will update on the outcome of the application.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will introduce an enforcement mechanism for the Equality Act 2010 for circumstances where a disabled person does not have the financial means to enforce their rights in civil court.

The Government is committed to ensuring effective access to judicial and/or administrative procedures in the courts for everyone, including disabled people, who think they have experienced discrimination.

As with all civil law in Great Britain, enforcement of the Equality Act 2010 falls to the individual or their agent or representative and the question of cost is one of the factors that must be weighed in their decision whether to proceed.

Legal aid for legal advice and representation may be available, subject to means and merits tests, for cases alleging unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation under the Equality Act 2010. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has powers to assist someone bringing a case under the Equality Act 2010, and uses these powers to intervene in cases which it considers to be of strategic importance. Any individual who requires advice on disability issues generally or in relation to service provision can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service for free bespoke advice provision. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) also provides free and impartial advice to disabled employees/candidates in relation to employment-related disability cases.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will implement section 1 of the Equality Act 2010.

The Government has no plans to commence Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 in England. We have stated on many occasions that this duty, which requires a public body, in taking strategic decisions, to have due regard to the desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage, would be ineffectual. As merely a “due regard” duty, it requires no specific action from the public body concerned, and risks becoming a tick-box exercise, complied with to minimise the risk of litigation rather than to promote real change in society. The duty is also wrongly focussed on equalising socio-economic outcomes rather than opportunities.

The Government’s preferred approach is to progress specific policies and practical actions that will deliver real change. We are promoting social mobility and tackling inequality through a range of initiatives – for example in education, through reforms to the welfare system, and by giving greater developmental devolution in England and rebalancing the economy through schemes such as the Towns Fund.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Jan 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what assessment has been made of trends in the level of sickness-related absence of staff working on the Parliamentary estate since March 2020.

Levels of sickness absence are regularly reviewed and discussed weekly in the Covid operations group and in the weekly Trade Union meetings.

Sickness data is recorded for staff where they are unavailable to work due to illness. As the estate has seen different levels of required staff attendance over the last 12 months, comparison between periods is of limited use.

Absence rates have been reviewed against those from other areas of the public sector. Increases in absence can be identified in March 2020, December 2020 and January 2021.

The absence rates in the House have remained at comparable levels to previous years and below the wider public sector.

Description

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

Average working days lost per employee

5.09

4.94

4.71

4.66

4.58

4.43

4.33

4.23

5.39

% long term sick

58.55%

59.24%

59.09%

61.33%

62.01%

62.10%

63.68%

66.06%

52.61%

Please note the data is based on a rolling 12-month period, so the data for December 2020 is from 01/01/2020 to 31/12/2020.

The average working days lost per employee is the number of working days lost in the rolling 12-month period divided by the staff headcount.

The % long term sick is the percentage of sickness absences which were part of a period of absence of over 28 calendar days in the rolling 12-month period.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
18th Jan 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what discussions representatives of the House authorities have had with trade unions representing staff employed on the Parliamentary estate on Public Health England's recommendations on the risks to those staff of contracting covid-19 in their place of work.

The House authorities have met with representatives of the trade unions (including PCS) for staff in the House of Commons and PDS formally at least once per week since the beginning of March 2020, and with representatives of MPSA and Unite as representatives of Members’ staff.

All trade unions recognised by the House were provided with the opportunity to comment on the covid-19 risk assessments.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what systems are in place to monitor and record veteran suicide rates.

Data about suicide rates amongst the general polulation across England and Wales are reported by the Office for National Statistics using information provided to registrars by coroners in their records of inquest. Historically, governments have relied on specific studies relating to the cause of death, including suicide, amongst veterans’ cohorts from specific campaigns, for example the Falklands campaign and the 1990/91 Gulf conflict.

In order to ensure that the Government has the most up-to-date understanding of the prevalence of suicide in the Armed Forces community, two further studies are being conducted. The first is documenting all causes of death, including suicide, amongst those who have served in the Armed Forces since 2001. This study will continue on an ongoing basis to provide real-time data about causes of death, including suicide, in the Armed Forces community. A second study is looking at the factors in the year leading up to any confirmed suicide in the Armed Forces community in the last five years.

Whilst these studies will provide updated and improved data about the prevalence of suicide in the veteran community, the importance of this issue means that the Government is committed to exploring other routes, including a potential role for coroners, by which suicide amongst the veteran community could be recorded accurately and consistently so as to help inform improved support and interventions aimed at preventing suicide.

9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether a health and safety committee will be formed for any building shared by two or more Departments, where a request has been made under Regulation 9 of the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 by two safety representatives.

Government Departments are committed to meeting their obligations under legislation, and work together to put appropriate arrangements in place where buildings are shared.

Where multiple departments occupy a building, arrangements can be managed at the appropriate Building Committee or User Group, which can include attendance of Trade Unions. Issues identified in these fora are then escalated as appropriate to each department’s own Health & Safety Committee.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what steps the Commission is taking to ensure that Parliamentary staff are protected in the event that they raise health and safety concerns.

The health and safety of all those who work for, or visit the House, continues to be a key priority of the House of Commons Commission. This has included the creation of a safety and security at work module, covering health and safety and the routes to raise concerns, mandatory training which all Parliamentary staff are required to complete on an annual basis.

Staff are actively encouraged to report safety queries or concerns through their line manager, safety coordinator, a trade union safety representative or one of the safety advisers in the Parliamentary Safety Team.

All passholders on the estate are expected to follow the behaviour code, which are designed to protect and support all those on the estate. Should a member of staff have concerns that this would not be the case a fully independent process exists for raising safety concerns through the whistleblowing policy.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, when his Department’s current non-executive directors were appointed; what oversight officials of his Department had of the Ministerial appointments of those non-executive directors; and what assessment his Department made of the applicants' experience against the requirements for breadth and depth of experience set out in the Cabinet Office guidance on Departmental Boards of November 2014.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) does not have any non-executive directors sitting on its board. Whilst the AGO aligns its governance structures as closely as possible to Cabinet Office guidance, the appointment of non-executive directors would not be proportionate given the size of the AGO (headcount 54).

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what declarations of interests have been made by his Department’s non-executive directors; and where those interests are published.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) does not have any non-executive directors sitting on its board. Whilst the AGO aligns its governance structures as closely as possible to Cabinet Office guidance, the appointment of non-executive directors would not be proportionate given the size of the AGO (headcount 54).

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, 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.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) does not have any non-executive directors sitting on its board. Whilst the AGO aligns its governance structures as closely as possible to Cabinet Office guidance, the appointment of non-executive directors would not be proportionate given the size of the AGO (headcount 54).

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what private companies are contracted to provide security services at his Department’s buildings that contain Ministerial private offices; and whether there are closed circuit television cameras in any Ministerial private offices within his Department's estate.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, it is not government policy to comment on security procedures in government buildings.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) employees, (b) limb (b) workers, and (c) independent contractors, broken down by region.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Paragraph 5 of the Civil Service Management Code, what guidance governs (a) the circumstances in which Ministers may make undertakings that legislation which does not bind the Crown will be applied as if it did so and (b) the procedure for issuing such undertakings; and if he will publish that guidance.

As referenced in my answer to PQ 5182 on 26 May 2021, the Civil Service has not applied any legislation which is not binding on the Crown as if it were so binding. Paragraph 5 simply makes clear that departments must fully comply with legislation that binds the Crown. There is no guidance covering when legislation that does not bind the crown should be applied as if it did so.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 21 May 2021 to Question 5182 on Civil Service: Conditions of Employment, if he will specify (a) whether the legislative provisions which apply to civil servants but are not binding on the Crown refers solely to those arising from paragraph 5 of the Civil Service Management Code or (b) what other such legislative provisions apply on that basis.

As referenced in my answer to PQ 5182 on 26 May 2021, the Civil Service has not applied any legislation which is not binding on the Crown as if it were so binding. Paragraph 5 simply makes clear that departments must fully comply with legislation that binds the Crown. There is no guidance covering when legislation that does not bind the crown should be applied as if it did so.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken to ensure that the proposed pay changes announced as part of the Government Property Agency’s 10 South Colonnade Facilities Management contract in May 2021 comply with the Cabinet Office’s Principles of Good Employment Practice with regards to employee engagement.

The Government Property Agency contracts with Mitie for the provision of Total Facilities Management services for some of the Whitehall estate and London, 10 South Colonnade.

The Government Property Agency has not currently undertaken a formal assessment of Mitie’s internal policies nor specifically raised concerns about Mitie’s treatment of their staff. Mitie has assured us that they are consulting with their employees and recognised representatives about the proposed changes and that a solution can be found through negotiation and agreement.

An informal assessment indicates that Mitie holds an annual all employee engagement survey and local activities such as staff newsletters, town halls and engagement forums. They have consulted with their employees working at 10 South Colonnade on the proposed pay harmonisations and held meetings with those affected. This is consistent with principle six of the Cabinet Office Principles of Good Employment Practice.

GPA has a Social Value Plan in development that will, amongst other things, ensure social value is properly taken into account in the award of new GPA contracts.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how Mitie Group Plc has performed against the Government Property Agency’s Facilities Management contract requirement to give its staff an effective voice.

The Government Property Agency contracts with Mitie for the provision of Total Facilities Management services for some of the Whitehall estate and London, 10 South Colonnade.

The Government Property Agency has not currently undertaken a formal assessment of Mitie’s internal policies nor specifically raised concerns about Mitie’s treatment of their staff. Mitie has assured us that they are consulting with their employees and recognised representatives about the proposed changes and that a solution can be found through negotiation and agreement.

An informal assessment indicates that Mitie holds an annual all employee engagement survey and local activities such as staff newsletters, town halls and engagement forums. They have consulted with their employees working at 10 South Colonnade on the proposed pay harmonisations and held meetings with those affected. This is consistent with principle six of the Cabinet Office Principles of Good Employment Practice.

GPA has a Social Value Plan in development that will, amongst other things, ensure social value is properly taken into account in the award of new GPA contracts.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what contracts the Government Property Agency has for facility management with Mitie.

The Government Property Agency contracts with Mitie for the provision of Total Facilities Management services for some of the Whitehall estate and London, 10 South Colonnade.

The Government Property Agency has not currently undertaken a formal assessment of Mitie’s internal policies nor specifically raised concerns about Mitie’s treatment of their staff. Mitie has assured us that they are consulting with their employees and recognised representatives about the proposed changes and that a solution can be found through negotiation and agreement.

An informal assessment indicates that Mitie holds an annual all employee engagement survey and local activities such as staff newsletters, town halls and engagement forums. They have consulted with their employees working at 10 South Colonnade on the proposed pay harmonisations and held meetings with those affected. This is consistent with principle six of the Cabinet Office Principles of Good Employment Practice.

GPA has a Social Value Plan in development that will, amongst other things, ensure social value is properly taken into account in the award of new GPA contracts.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to paragraph 5 of the Civil Service management code, if he will provide details of all legislation that Ministers have undertaken to apply as if it were binding on the Crown.

The Civil Service has not applied any legislation which is not binding on the Crown. However, certain legislative provisions, which do not apply to the Crown, apply to Civil Servants as set out within the Civil Service Management Code and within departmental policies.

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 estimate he has made of the current cost of all communication staff within the scope of the centralisation of communication project.

The Reshaping Government Communication Service programme will further strengthen and unify the Government Communication Service (GCS), to be an even more effective and efficient service. Cabinet Office is leading the programme and working closely with ministerial departments and other public sector bodies. The programme has completed its discovery phase and is in its design phase, both of which will contribute to the outline business case and will help to identify the potential savings.

All communications staff are considered to be in scope for the RGCS programme. Last year, we received some initial data from departments and Arms Length Bodies, however more work will be done over the coming months to gather the necessary data to inform decision making.

The Cabinet Office has confirmed that its intention is for departments to have core teams for press, social media and rebuttal. We are working with departments to consider what a streamlined service could look like, in order to support statutory, operational or programme delivery.

Cabinet Office is continuously tracking and reviewing spending on cross-government campaigns, to ensure our communications are efficient. We will not spend more than is needed to be effective. Cabinet Office publishes expenditure on government communication spend, including our national campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements at the link below:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/cabinet-office-spend-data.

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 estimate he has made of the current spend on communications for those bodies within the scope of the centralisation of communication project.

The Reshaping Government Communication Service programme will further strengthen and unify the Government Communication Service (GCS), to be an even more effective and efficient service. Cabinet Office is leading the programme and working closely with ministerial departments and other public sector bodies. The programme has completed its discovery phase and is in its design phase, both of which will contribute to the outline business case and will help to identify the potential savings.

All communications staff are considered to be in scope for the RGCS programme. Last year, we received some initial data from departments and Arms Length Bodies, however more work will be done over the coming months to gather the necessary data to inform decision making.

The Cabinet Office has confirmed that its intention is for departments to have core teams for press, social media and rebuttal. We are working with departments to consider what a streamlined service could look like, in order to support statutory, operational or programme delivery.

Cabinet Office is continuously tracking and reviewing spending on cross-government campaigns, to ensure our communications are efficient. We will not spend more than is needed to be effective. Cabinet Office publishes expenditure on government communication spend, including our national campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements at the link below:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/cabinet-office-spend-data.

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, with reference to the restructuring of Government communications, what criteria were used in setting the expected maximum figure of 30 communications staff per Department.

The Reshaping Government Communication Service programme will further strengthen and unify the Government Communication Service (GCS), to be an even more effective and efficient service. Cabinet Office is leading the programme and working closely with ministerial departments and other public sector bodies. The programme has completed its discovery phase and is in its design phase, both of which will contribute to the outline business case and will help to identify the potential savings.

All communications staff are considered to be in scope for the RGCS programme. Last year, we received some initial data from departments and Arms Length Bodies, however more work will be done over the coming months to gather the necessary data to inform decision making.

The Cabinet Office has confirmed that its intention is for departments to have core teams for press, social media and rebuttal. We are working with departments to consider what a streamlined service could look like, in order to support statutory, operational or programme delivery.

Cabinet Office is continuously tracking and reviewing spending on cross-government campaigns, to ensure our communications are efficient. We will not spend more than is needed to be effective. Cabinet Office publishes expenditure on government communication spend, including our national campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements at the link below:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/cabinet-office-spend-data.

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, how many and what proportion of staff are in scope of the centralisation of communication project, by (a) Department and (b) Arm’s Length Body.

The Reshaping Government Communication Service programme will further strengthen and unify the Government Communication Service (GCS), to be an even more effective and efficient service. Cabinet Office is leading the programme and working closely with ministerial departments and other public sector bodies. The programme has completed its discovery phase and is in its design phase, both of which will contribute to the outline business case and will help to identify the potential savings.

All communications staff are considered to be in scope for the RGCS programme. Last year, we received some initial data from departments and Arms Length Bodies, however more work will be done over the coming months to gather the necessary data to inform decision making.

The Cabinet Office has confirmed that its intention is for departments to have core teams for press, social media and rebuttal. We are working with departments to consider what a streamlined service could look like, in order to support statutory, operational or programme delivery.

Cabinet Office is continuously tracking and reviewing spending on cross-government campaigns, to ensure our communications are efficient. We will not spend more than is needed to be effective. Cabinet Office publishes expenditure on government communication spend, including our national campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements at the link below:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/cabinet-office-spend-data.

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 recent estimate he has made of the range of savings from the centralisation of communication project.

The Reshaping Government Communication Service programme will further strengthen and unify the Government Communication Service (GCS), to be an even more effective and efficient service. Cabinet Office is leading the programme and working closely with ministerial departments and other public sector bodies. The programme has completed its discovery phase and is in its design phase, both of which will contribute to the outline business case and will help to identify the potential savings.

All communications staff are considered to be in scope for the RGCS programme. Last year, we received some initial data from departments and Arms Length Bodies, however more work will be done over the coming months to gather the necessary data to inform decision making.

The Cabinet Office has confirmed that its intention is for departments to have core teams for press, social media and rebuttal. We are working with departments to consider what a streamlined service could look like, in order to support statutory, operational or programme delivery.

Cabinet Office is continuously tracking and reviewing spending on cross-government campaigns, to ensure our communications are efficient. We will not spend more than is needed to be effective. Cabinet Office publishes expenditure on government communication spend, including our national campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on gov.uk as part of routine government transparency arrangements at the link below:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/cabinet-office-spend-data.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many military veterans have died from suicide in each of the last five years.

Historically, governments have relied on specific studies relating to the cause of death, including suicide, amongst veterans’ cohorts from specific campaigns, such as the 1982 Falklands campaign and the 1990/1991 Gulf conflict. There are currently two studies which will provide important data on suicide within the veteran community. The MoD is finalising a study to track causes of deaths, including suicides, in all personnel who have served in the UK armed forces since 2001 and all future veterans. The study will be updated on an ongoing basis to provide near real-time monitoring of suicides in veterans. This will be complemented by a study being conducted by Manchester University, funded by MOD and NHS England & Improvement, looking at the antecedents to suicide in both serving personnel and veterans focusing on the year prior to the death. The study will include all suicides between 1995-2017 and is due to complete in August 2022.

We recognise the importance of accurately measuring suicide within the veteran community, in order to help inform support and interventions aiming to prevent suicide. In addition to the above ongoing studies, we are working on developing a new and robust method for measuring suicide within the veteran community. This is as part of our broader commitment to improve data collection and analysis, to ensure the Government has the insights needed to provide the support and services our veterans deserve.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much and what proportion of the cost to the public purse of errors with civil service pensions has been recovered by the Government from pensions scheme administrator MyCSP.

In the last full financial year (19-20), £605,000 was paid by MyCSP to Cabinet Office in lieu of erroneous overpayments. MyCSP and Cabinet Office have an agreement whereby Cabinet Office is refunded for overpayments arising from a MyCSP error.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will take steps to ensure that legal action will not be taken against the pensioners affected by inaccurate payments by civil service pension scheme administrator MyCSP in cases identified by the Internal Control Framework Review.

Pension schemes are only allowed to make payments that are “authorised payments” (those payments that members are legitimately entitled to under the scheme).

Any other payments made from the scheme that are not ‘authorised’ are referred to as ‘unauthorised payments’ and are potentially subject to unauthorised payment tax charges of up to 55% for members and the scheme. In most cases, overpayments would be considered unauthorised payments if not recovered.

Any potential recovery is carefully considered, including the cost effectiveness of doing so (e.g. the relative costs of recovering very small amounts). Members have the opportunity to submit evidence should they believe that either recovery should not take place or where they might require a longer repayment plan. Members overpaid and identified by the Internal Controls Framework Review (ICFR) were treated in the same way as other members where overpayments had occurred as part of business as usual.

We do not have a separate record for the total value of pension underpayments under the ICFR as these formed the majority of the rectifications needed, and members received topped up pensions accordingly as part of business as usual activities, rather than as part of a separate project to recover any amounts due.

To date £20,610 has been paid in compensation awards through the Internal Dispute Resolution process to pensioners affected by overpayments identified during the ICFR.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the monetary value is of the underpaid pensions by civil service pension scheme administrator MyCSP in cases identified by the Internal Control Framework Review.

Pension schemes are only allowed to make payments that are “authorised payments” (those payments that members are legitimately entitled to under the scheme).

Any other payments made from the scheme that are not ‘authorised’ are referred to as ‘unauthorised payments’ and are potentially subject to unauthorised payment tax charges of up to 55% for members and the scheme. In most cases, overpayments would be considered unauthorised payments if not recovered.

Any potential recovery is carefully considered, including the cost effectiveness of doing so (e.g. the relative costs of recovering very small amounts). Members have the opportunity to submit evidence should they believe that either recovery should not take place or where they might require a longer repayment plan. Members overpaid and identified by the Internal Controls Framework Review (ICFR) were treated in the same way as other members where overpayments had occurred as part of business as usual.

We do not have a separate record for the total value of pension underpayments under the ICFR as these formed the majority of the rectifications needed, and members received topped up pensions accordingly as part of business as usual activities, rather than as part of a separate project to recover any amounts due.

To date £20,610 has been paid in compensation awards through the Internal Dispute Resolution process to pensioners affected by overpayments identified during the ICFR.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to overpaid pensions by civil service pension scheme administrator MyCSP in cases identified by the Internal Control Framework Review, what assessment has been made as to the (a) sums involved, and (b) cost-effectiveness of recovering those sums.

Pension schemes are only allowed to make payments that are “authorised payments” (those payments that members are legitimately entitled to under the scheme).

Any other payments made from the scheme that are not ‘authorised’ are referred to as ‘unauthorised payments’ and are potentially subject to unauthorised payment tax charges of up to 55% for members and the scheme. In most cases, overpayments would be considered unauthorised payments if not recovered.

Any potential recovery is carefully considered, including the cost effectiveness of doing so (e.g. the relative costs of recovering very small amounts). Members have the opportunity to submit evidence should they believe that either recovery should not take place or where they might require a longer repayment plan. Members overpaid and identified by the Internal Controls Framework Review (ICFR) were treated in the same way as other members where overpayments had occurred as part of business as usual.

We do not have a separate record for the total value of pension underpayments under the ICFR as these formed the majority of the rectifications needed, and members received topped up pensions accordingly as part of business as usual activities, rather than as part of a separate project to recover any amounts due.

To date £20,610 has been paid in compensation awards through the Internal Dispute Resolution process to pensioners affected by overpayments identified during the ICFR.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to overpaid pensions by civil service pension scheme administrator MyCSP in cases identified by the Internal Control Framework Review, how much has been paid in compensation awards to affected pensioners through Internal Dispute Resolution to date.

Pension schemes are only allowed to make payments that are “authorised payments” (those payments that members are legitimately entitled to under the scheme).

Any other payments made from the scheme that are not ‘authorised’ are referred to as ‘unauthorised payments’ and are potentially subject to unauthorised payment tax charges of up to 55% for members and the scheme. In most cases, overpayments would be considered unauthorised payments if not recovered.

Any potential recovery is carefully considered, including the cost effectiveness of doing so (e.g. the relative costs of recovering very small amounts). Members have the opportunity to submit evidence should they believe that either recovery should not take place or where they might require a longer repayment plan. Members overpaid and identified by the Internal Controls Framework Review (ICFR) were treated in the same way as other members where overpayments had occurred as part of business as usual.

We do not have a separate record for the total value of pension underpayments under the ICFR as these formed the majority of the rectifications needed, and members received topped up pensions accordingly as part of business as usual activities, rather than as part of a separate project to recover any amounts due.

To date £20,610 has been paid in compensation awards through the Internal Dispute Resolution process to pensioners affected by overpayments identified during the ICFR.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of drug-related deaths registered in 2019 involved combinations of cocaine with (a) opiates, (b) fentanyl and (c) other synthetic opiates.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil service jobs are based in London.

Cabinet Office published Civil Service Statistics 2020 on 26 August. This is available on GOV.UK.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 21 September 2020 to Question 88289 on Veterans: Suicide, if he will make representations to the Secretary of State for Justice on amend guidance to help ensure that (a) coroners reports and (b) death certificates record whether deceased served as a member of the armed forces.

The Government takes the issue of suicide among the Armed Forces community very seriously. As set out in the previous answer, we are exploring how improvements could be made in recording of veterans suicide, to inform support services and interventions aimed at prevention. Officials at the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) and the Ministry of Justice are working to identify possible options.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many workers employed on outsourced Government contracts as facilities management staff have died due to suspected covid-19 by (a) ethnicity, (b) job role and (c) employer.

The Cabinet Office does not hold this information.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the increase in the National Living Wage announced by the Government on 31 December 2019, what discussions he is having with private sector companies undertaking facility management work for his Department to ensure that the cost of wage increases for their employees are not passed on to his Department.

The Government Property Agency holds contracts on behalf of the Cabinet Office. They continue to have regular discussions with facility management contractors.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has adequate funds to pay the increase in the National Living Wage announced by the Government on 31 December 2019.

Cabinet Office does have adequate funds to pay the increase in the National Living Wage, announced by the Government on 31 December 2019.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what proportion of staff in his Department would receive an increase in their salary in the event that their hourly pay rate was (a) £8.72 (b) £9.30 (c) £10.

The National Living Wage is currently £8.21 per hour, set with effect from 1 April 2019.

Cabinet Office is compliant with this rate.

The Government announced on 31 December 2019 that the new National Living Wage, effective from 6 April, will be £8.72 per hour.

The table below sets out the number and proportion of staff in my Department, at 31 December 2019, who would receive an increase in their Annual Salary if their hourly pay rate was increased to the rates shown:

Proposed Pay Rate

£8.72

£9.30

£10.00

No of Staff pay Increases

86

162

189

% of Workforce

1.2%

2.2%

2.5%

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing grants to support the transition of the GKN Driveline factory in Birmingham to produce components for electric vehicles.

The Government has no role in setting the strategic direction or priorities of private sector businesses. As part of the mandatory consultation process on the future of the GKN Driveline factory in Birmingham, the government secured assurances from GKN Automotive that they would consider viable alternatives to closure, including repurposing the plant to produce components for electric vehicles.

Alternative proposals were submitted as part of the consultation. After careful consideration, GKN regrettably concluded there were no viable alternatives to closure.

The government is maintaining a dialogue about the site’s future, actively marketing the site and is working with GKN and local partners to provide support and guidance to the GKN employees. Any potential future commercial propositions for the Birmingham site will be assessed on their own merits.

The Government remains fully committed to working in partnership with industry to support the automotive sector’s transition to zero emission vehicles. Nearly £500m has been made available through the Automotive Transformation Fund to build an internationally competitive electric vehicle supply chain as part of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan. This will create thousands of well-paid green jobs in our industrial heartlands, including the West Midlands.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will maintain the existing ban on animal testing for cosmetics and the sale of newly tested cosmetics ingredients.

Animal testing of cosmetics for the purposes of meeting the Cosmetics Regulation has been banned in the United Kingdom since 1998. No animal testing on finished cosmetic products, or ingredients or combinations of ingredients may take place in the United Kingdom. There are no plans to change this position.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support is available to businesses forced to close as a result of staff shortages from employees self-isolating following a notification from the NHS Test and Trace app.

As of 16 August, fully vaccinated individuals in England are exempt from self-isolation. They are instead advised to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test following a notification from the NHS COVID-19 app or a call from NHS Test and Trace. Those who are not yet fully vaccinated and those who test positive for COVID-19 are still required to self-isolate following a notification from the app or a call from NHS Test and Trace.

Daily contact testing (DCT) was also introduced to further support businesses in critical sectors, such as energy and food supply, and help them remain open. DCT enables employees to take a supervised test at their workplace every day instead of self-isolating. This has helped to minimise disruption to critical sectors and ensured staff are not put at risk.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses and employees, such as through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In England, the Government has provided £25 billion through cash grants, including through Restart Grants of £18,000 per business premises and over £2 billion in discretionary grant funds made available to local authorities to provide support in their local areas.

Eligible businesses have also not had to pay business rates in the 15 months to 30 June 2021. Most businesses continue to receive 66% relief for the remainder of the year.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the development of the review of research bureaucracy, what recent discussions he has had with third sector organisations that are working to reduce and replace animal experiments.

The Review of Research Bureaucracy is continuing its evidence gathering across the research sector. To date, there have been no discussions with third sector organisations about animal experiments.

The use of animals in research is carefully regulated and remains important in ensuring new medicines and treatments are safe. At the same time, the Government believes that animals should only be used when there is no practicable alternative and it actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs). This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs, which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research. Across the UK, the NC3Rs has invested £71 million in research through grants to universities, and almost £27 million in contracts through its CRACK IT Challenges innovation scheme to UK and EU-based institutions, mainly focusing on new approaches for the safety assessment of pharmaceuticals and chemicals that reduce the use of animals.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans for there to be a public consultation as part of the review of research bureaucracy.

The Review of Research Bureaucracy has been engaging broadly across the research sector. The intention is to launch a call for evidence to build on this initial engagement.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much and what proportion of the Government’s £14.9 billion funding for research and development in 2021-22 will be allocated to developing non-animal methods of testing.

Overall Government spending on R&D in 2021/22 is at its highest level in four decades, this means UK scientists will have access to more public funding than ever before.

We recognise the importance of the independence of researchers and our investment in multiple disciplines and methodologies will be guided by experts.

We are not able to provide figures on the proportion of R&D funding dedicated to developing non-animal methods of testing as funding is not categorised in this way.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to hold a public consultation on the Innovation Strategy.

In the recently published ‘Build Back Better: our plan for growth’, published alongside the Budget, we announced the publication of a new Innovation Strategy in the summer.

As well as working across Government and with our Innovation Expert Group, BEIS has been engaging with the innovation community on the development of this work, to ensure the evidence base is sound and the policy proposals in the Strategy are well developed. As part of this process, BEIS has met with over 300 organisations and businesses already.

Our engagement with the community will continue during the implementation phase after the publication of the Strategy and beyond we look to drive innovation across the UK.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to hold a public consultation on the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy.

The 2017 Life Sciences Strategy was a joint document between industry and the Government. It was written following significant engagement with organisations, companies, and charities across the life sciences sector. Further to the publication of the Government’s Plan for Growth, we are now developing a new Life Sciences Vision, together with industry and the wider sector, which will build on the successes of the 2017 Strategy.

In developing the Life Sciences Vision, the Department is undertaking extensive engagement with stakeholders representing small and large businesses, charities, patient interest groups, and businesses representative organisations around the country, as well as the NHS and the devolved administrations.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government's policy to increase funding for the life sciences sector will incentivise the (a) development and (b) uptake of non-animal research methods.

Overall Government spending on R&D in 2021/22 is £14.9 billion, its highest level in four decades. UK scientists will have access to more public funding than ever before and our investments confirm the Government’s commitment to cementing the UK's status as a science superpower. The overall UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) budget for 2021/22 will be £7.9 billion, this represents a significant increase on UKRI’s £7.3 billion budget in 2019/20. Our investment across multiple disciplines will be guided by expert researchers.

UKRI work with a variety of stakeholders across the community in the development and uptake of non-animal research methods. Cross-sector collaboration has been at the heart of the success of the work of the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) which is funded by UKRI, and their CRACK IT Challenges programme. NC3Rs partners with the third sector to offer collaborative awards with the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK to speed progress in uptake of the 3Rs (replacing, reducing and refining the use of animals in research) in heart disease and cancer research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with third sector organisations working to reduce and replace animal testing in developing plans to increase funding for the life sciences sector.

Overall Government spending on R&D in 2021/22 is £14.9 billion, its highest level in four decades. UK scientists will have access to more public funding than ever before and our investments confirm the Government’s commitment to cementing the UK's status as a science superpower. The overall UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) budget for 2021/22 will be £7.9 billion, this represents a significant increase on UKRI’s £7.3 billion budget in 2019/20. Our investment across multiple disciplines will be guided by expert researchers.

UKRI work with a variety of stakeholders across the community in the development and uptake of non-animal research methods. Cross-sector collaboration has been at the heart of the success of the work of the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) which is funded by UKRI, and their CRACK IT Challenges programme. NC3Rs partners with the third sector to offer collaborative awards with the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK to speed progress in uptake of the 3Rs (replacing, reducing and refining the use of animals in research) in heart disease and cancer research.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the new Innovation Strategy will incentivise the (a) development and (b) uptake of non-animal research methods.

The use of animals in research is carefully regulated and remains important in ensuring new medicines and treatments are safe.   At the same time, the Government believes that animals should only be used when there is no practicable alternative and it actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs).  This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs, which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research.  Across the UK, the NC3Rs has invested £71 million in research through grants to universities, and almost £27 million in contracts through its CRACK IT Challenges innovation scheme to UK and EU-based institutions, mainly focusing on new approaches for the safety assessment of pharmaceuticals and chemicals that reduce the use of animals.

In ‘Build Back Better: our plan for growth’ published alongside the Budget, the Government announced the publication of a new Innovation Strategy in the summer. We are currently working across government and with our Innovation Expert Group to develop the Strategy. The Strategy will outline how we look to achieve our ambitions in innovation and where we want to focus our efforts over the next decade. It will aim to set out the strategic objective and create the confidence for increased business investment in R&D and innovation.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with third sector organisations working to reduce and replace animal testing in developing the new Innovation Strategy.

The use of animals in research is carefully regulated and remains important in ensuring new medicines and treatments are safe.   At the same time, the Government believes that animals should only be used when there is no practicable alternative and it actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs).  This is achieved primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs, which works nationally and internationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research.  Across the UK, the NC3Rs has invested £71 million in research through grants to universities, and almost £27 million in contracts through its CRACK IT Challenges innovation scheme to UK and EU-based institutions, mainly focusing on new approaches for the safety assessment of pharmaceuticals and chemicals that reduce the use of animals.

In ‘Build Back Better: our plan for growth’ published alongside the Budget, the Government announced the publication of a new Innovation Strategy in the summer. We are currently working across government and with our Innovation Expert Group to develop the Strategy. The Strategy will outline how we look to achieve our ambitions in innovation and where we want to focus our efforts over the next decade. It will aim to set out the strategic objective and create the confidence for increased business investment in R&D and innovation.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to publish an update to the Public Attitudes to Animal Research survey last published in 2019.

The Government understands the importance of this research; the Department is working to ensure that this survey can be undertaken and the results published as soon as possible.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March 2021 to Question 164417, when the Government plans to respond to the Acas findings on fire and rehire shared with his Department's officials on 17 February 2021; and if he will place in the Library a copy of those findings.

The Department engaged ACAS to gather evidence of how fire and rehire is being used and they have concluded their work.

ACAS engaged with a range of groups, including employer bodies and trade unions, as well as professional bodies with advisory contact with employers, such as employment lawyers, accountants, and payroll services.

Officials are now giving this evidence due consideration, and the Government will communicate our response in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons coach tour operators are ineligible for a Restart Grant payment.

Coach Tour Operators are not eligible for the Restart Grant Scheme. This is because eligible businesses must offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises, in the relevant sectors.

However, they may be able to access discretionary support through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an additional £425m will be made available via ARG meaning that more than £2bn has been made available to local authorities since November 2020. This funding gives Local Authorities the ability to provide support that suits their local area including to support those businesses not required to close but which have had their trade severely affected by the restrictions. Guidance for the Additional Restrictions Grant identifies that group tour and coach operators can be considered for support through this funding.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the exclusion of coach tour operators from the definition of a leisure business in the Restart Grant: guidance to local authorities, what sector definition coach operators come under.

The Restart Grant guidance to local authorities seeks to define in-scope sectors for the purpose of the grants only and not in general terms.

Coach Tour Operators are not eligible for the Restart Grant Scheme. This is because eligible businesses must offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in fixed rate-paying premises, in the relevant sectors.

They are eligible for support through the Additional Restrictions Grant.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of 24 February 2021, Official Report, column 939 on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Uber, if he will place in the Library a copy of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service's report to his Department on fire and rehire.

Acas engaged with a range of groups, including employer bodies and trade unions, as well as professional bodies with advisory contact with employers, such as employment lawyers, accountants, and payroll services. They shared their findings with BEIS officials on 17 February 2021.

Officials are currently considering these findings, and the Government will respond in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of 24 February 2021, Official report, col 939, when he plans to communicate his Department’s response to the findings by ACAS.

Acas engaged with a range of groups, including employer bodies and trade unions, as well as professional bodies with advisory contact with employers, such as employment lawyers, accountants, and payroll services. They shared their findings with BEIS officials on 17 February 2021.

Officials are currently considering these findings, and the Government will respond in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of 24 February 2021, Official report, col 939, on what date ACAS shared its insights with his Department.

Acas engaged with a range of groups, including employer bodies and trade unions, as well as professional bodies with advisory contact with employers, such as employment lawyers, accountants, and payroll services. They shared their findings with BEIS officials on 17 February 2021.

Officials are currently considering these findings, and the Government will respond in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of 24 February 2021, Official report, col 939, which stakeholders ACAS conducted its fact-finding exercise with.

Acas engaged with a range of groups, including employer bodies and trade unions, as well as professional bodies with advisory contact with employers, such as employment lawyers, accountants, and payroll services.

Officials are currently considering these findings, and the Government will respond in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ensure that businesses that are unable to operate due to covid-19 lockdown rules but have not been mandated to close are eligible for the Additional Restrictions Support Grant.

Businesses who are not mandated to close but have had their trade adversely affected by the Covid-19 restrictions may be eligible for the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). The Additional Restrictions Grant is a discretionary scheme with eligibility set by Local Authorities, who are responsible for the administration of the funding. Local Authorities may use this funding for grants for those business not mandated to close or for other related business support as they see fit.

Local Authorities have been allocated a total of £1.6 bn in Additional Restrictions Grant; £1.1 bn in November 2020 and a further £500m in January 2021.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he bring forward proposals to ban employers dismissing workers on medical grounds where an employee is waiting for a medical procedure which has been delayed due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout this crisis, our priority has been to protect lives and livelihoods, this includes peoples’ health, their jobs, their businesses, and their financial security. The NHS continues to work hard to deliver the maximum amount of elective activity as possible, with £1 billion announced at Spending Review to address backlogs and waiting lists by facilitating up to 1 million extra checks, scans and additional operations.

Employees who believe they have been dismissed unfairly may be able to raise their case with an employment tribunal which will give special consideration to cases where the employee has been dismissed as a result of ill health. Employers must also behave reasonably in relation to dismissal and avoid discriminating against employees on the grounds of a protected characteristic.

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, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of negotiating an agreement with China, similar to that recently agreed between the French Government, and China on allowing for exemptions on animal testing when exporting ordinary cosmetics from the UK to China.

The UK Government recognises the potential benefits to UK businesses of an agreement with China that allows cosmetic products not tested on animals onto the Chinese market. BEIS is working with the Department for International Trade and UK industry to create a certification system that would allow UK businesses to comply with Chinese regulations and take advantage of this growing market whilst maintaining the UK’s clear position and domestic ban on animal testing in cosmetics.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of eligible businesses have received (a) Local Restrictions Support Grants and (b) the one-off grants announced in January 2021.

The Government has put forward an unprecedented package of support to help businesses which are severely affected by restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives. This support includes the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) scheme, announced in September 2020, through which businesses that are required by law to close have been able to access grants of up to £4,500 for every six weeks of closure. On 5 January 2021, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced one-off top-up grants of up to £9,000 per property to help retail, hospitality and leisure businesses affected by the new closures through to Spring. This is in addition to the Additional Restrictions Grant, announced in November and which received a £500 million top-up in January, to support other businesses affected by the new lockdown rules.

This funding is shared between all Local Authorities in England and we are working closely with Local Authorities to ensure that support is delivered to businesses that are in scope as quickly as possible.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish regular updates on how many and what proportion of eligible businesses have received the (a) Local Restrictions Support Grants and b) the one-off grants announced in January 2021.

The Government has put forward an unprecedented package of support to help businesses which are severely affected by restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives. This support includes the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) scheme, announced in September 2020, through which businesses that are required by law to close have been able to access grants of up to £4,500 for every six weeks of closure. On 5 January 2021, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced one-off top-up grants of up to £9,000 per property to help retail, hospitality and leisure businesses affected by the new closures through to Spring. This is in addition to the Additional Restrictions Grant, announced in November and which received a £500 million top-up in January, to support other businesses affected by the new lockdown rules.

We are working closely with Local Authorities to ensure that funding is delivered to businesses that are in scope of these schemes as quickly as possible.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how his Department is monitoring the extent to which local authorities are paying available grants to eligible businesses for periods (a) during covid-19 lockdown and (b) when a tier system of covid-19 restrictions was in place.

The Government has put forward an unprecedented package of support in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This support includes extensive grant funding support for businesses that have been required by law to close, or have been severely impacted by, localised and national restrictions.

We are working closely with all local authorities to deliver funding to businesses that are in scope of these schemes as quickly as possible, while safeguarding public funds. As part of this, we have provided detailed guidance and FAQs to local authorities, as well as regular briefings and one-to-one support from ministers and officials. Local authorities provide reports to the Department on their progress in delivering grants to businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what remedial action is being taken where local authorities are not paying grants to eligible businesses for periods of (a) covid-19 lockdown and (b) when a tier system of covid-19 restrictions was in place.

The Government has put forward an unprecedented package of support in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This support includes extensive grant funding support for businesses that have been required by law to close, or have been severely impacted by, localised and national restrictions.

We continue to work closely with all local authorities to deliver funding to businesses that are in scope of these schemes as quickly as possible, while safeguarding public funds. As part of this, we have provided detailed guidance and FAQs to local authorities, as well as regular briefings and one-to-one support from ministers and officials.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the regional distribution is of institutes receiving funding through Government sources for the development and application of New Approach Methodologies.

The Government funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research primarily through funding for the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs). The NC3Rs works nationally to drive the uptake of 3Rs technologies and ensure that advances in the 3Rs are reflected in policy, practice and regulations on animal research. Across the UK, the NC3Rs has invested £71 million in research through grants to universities, and almost £27 million in contracts through its CRACK IT Challenges innovation scheme to UK and EU-based institutions, mainly focusing on new approaches for the safety assessment of pharmaceuticals and chemicals that reduce the use of animals.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding is allocated to the development and uptake of New Approach Methodologies; and which sources that funding comes from.

BEIS’ R&D settlement has increased to £11.1bn for 2021/22. This settlement supports our commitments set out in the R&D Roadmap and helps consolidate our position as a science superpower. We are revitalising the science, research and innovation ecosystem and releasing its potential. We recognise the importance of the independence of researchers and our investment in multiple disciplines and methodologies will be guided by experts.

Specific funding is subject to our Departmental allocations process, which is now underway and progressing at pace.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of Government science, research and innovation funding is allocated to New Approach Methodologies.

BEIS’ R&D settlement has increased to £11.1bn for 2021/22. This settlement supports our commitments set out in the R&D Roadmap and helps consolidate our position as a science superpower. We are revitalising the science, research and innovation ecosystem and releasing its potential. We recognise the importance of the independence of researchers and our investment in multiple disciplines and methodologies will be guided by experts.

Specific funding is subject to our Departmental allocations process, which is now underway and progressing at pace.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the timeframe for the European Commission's response to the UK’s notification of 20 October 2020 requesting approval for providing greater support to businesses under the Temporary Framework.

On 20 October, the Government notified the European Commission that it wished to amend the Covid-19 Temporary Framework for UK authorities to increase the budget of the scheme from £50bn to £80bn, to provide for subsidised interest rates for subordinated loans and to include support for uncovered fixed costs.

The Commission approved the re-notified scheme on 8th December 2020. This was within the two-month period which the Commission has to make a preliminary examination of notified aid.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much of the £14.6 billion for Research and Development, announced in the Spending Review 2020 will be allocated to medical research.

Medical research is an important part of the UK research landscape. The Government recognises this and already provides significant support within the tax system, the research funding system and through the many measures that have been introduced to counter the impacts of the pandemic.

Despite the fiscal challenges, the Government has set out plans at Spending Review to cement the UK’s status as a global leader in science and innovation by investing £14.6 billion in R&D in 2021/22. Departments will now undertake an allocations process to decide how this funding should be spent across the R&D activities for which they are responsible. Funding for medical research will be subject to this allocations process and further details of how funding will be allocated will be announced in due course.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November 2020 to Question 109298 on Small Businesses: Coronavirus, on what date the Government notified the European Commission of its intention to take up that new provision; and what the timetable is for the Commission to provide its approval to the UK Government relating to that provision.

The UK authorities submitted a notification to the European Commission, under its Temporary Framework, on 20 October 2020. The notification included a request to take advantage of the new measure to enable greater support to companies facing a decline in turnover during the eligible period of at least 30% compared to the same period of 2019, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The European Commission is currently considering the notification and will provide a response in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 12 October 2020 to Question 100352 on Small Businesses: Coronavirus, if he will take account of the European Commission’s revised framework allowing for an additional provision of €3m funding for businesses materially impacted by the covid-19 outbreak and notify local authorities of that increased provision immediately.

On October 13 2020 the European Commission announced a further amendment to its State aid Framework - introducing a new measure to enable greater support to be provided to companies facing a decline in turnover during the eligible period of at least 30% compared to the same period of 2019 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The UK has notified the European Commission of its intention to take up this new provision and must await approval to do so.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of (a) notifying the European Commission that local authority grants to businesses impacted by local lockdown restrictions fall outside of any state aid provisions restricting businesses receiving full compensation and (b) directing local authorities that payments can be made to local businesses outside of such state aid restrictions.

The United Kingdom left the EU on 31 January 2020. Under the Withdrawal Agreement, EU State aid rules continue to apply during the transition period, subject to regulation by the EU Commission.

In administering the Local Restrictions Support Grant, the Government will provide to an eligible business up to £1,500 of funding for each three-week period that the business is required to close by local restrictions implemented by Government. Local authorities administering the schemes must be satisfied that all State Aid requirements have been fully met and complied with when making grant payments.

Although payments under this scheme and certain other Covid-19 related business grant schemes are treated as State aid and therefore count toward the total de minimis State Aid limit of €200,000, if firms have reached that threshold they may still be eligible for funding under the Covid-19 temporary State aid framework where the limit is €800,000.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to include heat pumps in the Green Homes Grant.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Further detail on the range of measures will be announced in the coming days, before the scheme’s full launch.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will include ground source heat pumps in the Green Homes Grant.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Further detail on the range of measures will be announced in the coming days, before the scheme’s full launch.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason (a) version 2 of the Construction Leadership Council guidance stated that no construction work should be carried out on site if social distancing could not be enforced and (b) version 3 of that guidance changed those guidelines.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has developed Site Operating Procedures (SOP), which align with Public Health England (PHE) guidance on social distancing. The SOP were developed in consultation with the construction industry, and provide practical advice to those seeking to implement the guidance on construction sites so they can work safely.

This approach is based on the Health and Safety Executive(HSE) Hierarchy of Controls and HSE should consider enforcement action if a site is not consistently implementing the measures set out by PHE .

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy whether he has plans to enforce staggered start times for construction sites to enable the social distancing of construction workers on public transport during rush hour.

The health and safety of construction workers is a priority for the Government. In order to help ensure that it is safe for construction workers to operate in their workplace, the Government has worked with Public Health England (PHE) to develop sector-specific guidance on social distancing. We have also worked with the Construction Leadership Council to develop Site Operating Procedures (SOP), which provide practical advice to those seeking to implement the guidance.

The SOP set out that sites should consider introducing staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion and contact, and plan site access and egress points to enable social distancing. The Health and Safety Executive should consider enforcement action if a site is not consistently implementing the measures set out by PHE.

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 allow local authorities to retain any surplus funding allocated for the business support grant to distribute further grants to local businesses that did not qualify under that scheme’s initial criteria.

The Department is in regular contact with local government to understand how the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund are rolling out, as well as the impact they are having on businesses. The main priority of the Government is that funding can get out to eligible businesses as quickly as possible.

On 1 May 2020, the Business Secretary announced the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund, which is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs - not linked to the business rates system. Where local authorities have surplus funding from their original allocations, they can use up to 5% of their allocation to provide these discretionary grants. Local authorities that have used, or expect to use, all of their allocation will receive an additional 5% to meet the cost of these discretionary grants.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of funding for science and research and development has been allocated to new approach methodologies to replace animal experiments.

The National Centre for Replacement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3R) is the UK’s national centre dedicated to replacing, refining and reducing the use of animals in research and testing (the 3Rs). Their core funding is from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), both of which are part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Over the last five years the NC3Rs, as the main conduit for research to develop new methods that replace the use of animal experiments, has committed £20.39 million.

Further detailed plans, will be set out at Spending Review later this year.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of the £400 million in funding for research, infrastructure and equipment announced in Budget 2020 for 2020-21 will be allocated to the development of new approach methodologies to replace animal experiments.

The National Centre for Replacement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3R) is the UK’s national centre dedicated to replacing, refining and reducing the use of animals in research and testing (the 3Rs). Their core funding is from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), both of which are part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Over the last five years the NC3Rs, as the main conduit for research to develop new methods that replace the use of animal experiments, has committed £20.39 million.

Further detailed plans, will be set out at Spending Review later this year.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department will take to ensure that the additional equity commitments from the Life Sciences Investment Programme to the British Business Bank announced in Budget 2020 are allocated to support innovative health and life sciences firms that are developing new approach methodologies to replace animal experiments.

The Life Sciences Investment Programme (LSIP), delivered by the British Business Bank, will provide investment to support innovative health and life science companies that are looking to grow and scale in the UK. This programme is intended to support all areas of UK life science innovation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding to support new approach methodologies to replace animal experiments.

My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State has regular discussions with ministerial colleagues, including my rt. hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer on a range of issues.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will reinstate the traditional May Day Bank Holiday on Monday 4 May 2020 and make Friday 8 May 2020 an additional bank holiday in 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The Government has no plans to revisit the decision regarding the early May Bank Holiday.

Moving the early May Day Bank Holiday to mark VE Day is a right and fitting tribute to our heroes of the Second World War, and an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices of a very special generation. The decision ensures as many people as possible have the opportunity to pay a fitting tribute to members of the Armed Forces who have served and who continue to serve our country.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it remains his policy to make sure that no Mansfield miner, or any other miner signed up to the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme, is out of pocket; and what his policy is on the surplus sharing arrangements for that Scheme.

The Government provides a Guarantee for the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme that ensures that:

  • A member’s guaranteed pension, including inflation increases, will always be paid; and
  • A member’s total pension (including bonus pension) will not fall in cash terms.

In addition, the Government has agreed to changes to the scheme rules that will protect all bonuses that have accrued to date. The Government continues to work with the scheme Trustees on implementing those changes.

The surplus sharing arrangements have worked well for all parties and I do not intend to review those arrangements.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to review the existing surplus sharing arrangements of the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme.

The Government does not intend to change the current surplus sharing arrangements that have worked well for all parties. I have, however, agreed to the Trustees’ proposals for changes to the scheme that include protection of bonuses already accrued. BEIS officials are working with the Trustees to implement the changes.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will allocate research and development funding to reduce the time it takes to fully charge an electric vehicle at a charging point.

The Government has committed £274m between 2017-2021 into the Faraday Battery Challenge to support the research, development and scale-up of world-leading battery technology in the UK. The aims of the Faraday Battery Challenge include developing batteries with higher energy and power densities and longer life, to enable electric vehicles with long-range on a single charge and quick recharging.

The Government, through Innovate UK, is also supporting a range of infrastructure innovation projects including on street and wireless charging. In addition, action from both Government and industry has resulted in the installation of over 24,000 public chargepoints.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on raising the small brewers relief threshold.

HM Treasury is reviewing small brewers relief and further announcements will be made in due course through the Budget process.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans her Department has to extend the Warm Home Discount scheme beyond 2021.

We are currently considering the future of the scheme past 2021 with the aim of consulting in the first half of this year. This will include the consideration on the expansion of data matching to allow more households to receive rebates automatically.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to increase the reach of the Warm Home Discount scheme by using current data matching powers to allow more households to receive rebates automatically.

We are currently considering the future of the scheme past 2021 with the aim of consulting in the first half of this year. This will include the consideration on the expansion of data matching to allow more households to receive rebates automatically.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she is taking to promote the UK Space Agency’s SateLife Competition to young people living in Easington constituency.

The UK Space Agency’s SatelLife competition is a national competition open to anyone aged between 11-22 who is resident in the UK. The UK Space Agency launched the competition on the 14th Jan 2020 on their website, and gave interviews on national TV and radio channels (Radio 4, BBC5 live, BBC News Channel) also offering information to all local radio stations across the country (11 took up an interview offer from the UK Space Agency). The competition has also been promoted through multiple social media channels including including in the North East.

The North East has had three previous winners of the SatelLife competition, one every year:

  • 2017 – Razzia Gafur, from Newcastle – Imaging in Space, using satellite data to support virtual reality activities.
  • 2018 – Jasmine Hurley, Jack Whinnom, Megan Goss, Kieron Robson, and Matthew Jones from Bedlington, Northumberland – Displaced Person Aid. An idea that looks at people who are internally displaced and how satellites can help meet their needs rather than those who are refugees.
  • 2019 – Race Spectator – Daniel Currie, from Middlesbrough – This app will allow supporters to track friends and family members competing in running races.

The UK Space Education and Resource Office, ESERO-UK which is co-funded by the European Space Agency, the UK Space Agency and the Science and Technology Facilities Council and provides resources to promote the teaching of STEM topics, has a regular e-mail shot that is sent to almost all schools across the UK – this will include the SatelLife competition.

Should the Honourable Member know of further opportunities to promote the SatelLife competition in Easington, the UK Space Agency, supported by my office, would be pleased to do so.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she is taking to reduce the number of households in fuel poverty in Easington constituency.

Improving energy efficiency is the best long-term solution to tackle fuel poverty and the Energy Company Obligation Scheme provides such support for low income and vulnerable households. Since ECO launched it has delivered energy efficiency measures to more than 2 million households.

ECO has delivered improvements to more than 4000 homes in Easington, representing 11% of households in the area.

Tenants living in energy inefficient properties are some of the most at risk of fuel poverty. The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards now require landlords spend up to £3500 improving their properties to energy efficiency Band E before renting them out.

In addition to support to improve energy efficiency the Warm Home Discount provides support to more than 2 million low income and vulnerable households each year through a £140 rebate. Over £2.7 billion has been provided by the scheme over the last nine years.

Our 2020 Fuel Poverty Strategy will set out further detail around our future plans to tackle fuel poverty.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the increase in the National Living wage announced by the Government on 31 December 2019, what discussions she is having with private sector companies undertaking facility management work for her Department to ensure that the cost of wage increases for their employees are not passed on to her Department.

We value the work of all staff, whether employed directly by the Department or employed by our contractors. All staff employed by our facilities management contractor are already paid above the rates of the National Living Wage for 2020.

Our facilities management contract is sourced from the Crown Commercial Service Framework and reviewed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index and is not linked to any increase in the National Living Wage.

In order to ensure value for money to the UK taxpayer, a fixed fee formula is used. The fixed fee means that any significant cost changes beyond the annual Consumer Price Index are negotiated with the contractor to ensure the financial viability of the contract and value for money. We have set contractor pay rates following this process.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of staff in her Department would receive an increase in their salary in the event that their hourly pay rate was (a) £8.72, (b) £9.30 and (c) £10.

This government is committed to paying people a decent living wage, which is being addressed through the statutory National Living Wage. In April 2020, the National Living Wage increases to £8.72 per hour. By 2024 the National Living Wage will rise to £10.50 per hour, reaching 66% of median UK earnings. The scope will be expanded to everyone aged 21 and over and is expected to benefit over 4 million low paid workers

All Civil Servants working in BEIS are paid above these hourly rates.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will make it her policy to introduce a support framework for low-carbon heating after March 2021.

In the 2019 Spring Statement, the Government committed to support low carbon heating by accelerating the decarbonisation of our gas supplies. We will consult on how to deliver our commitment to increase the proportion of green gas in the gas grid in due course.

The budget for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has been set out to the end of March 2021. Decisions on the future funding for the RHI and any other low-carbon heat support schemes will be a matter for future fiscal events.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will allocate new capital grant funding for the installation of heat pumps after March 2021.

The budget for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has been set out to the end of March 2021. Decisions on the future funding for the RHI and any other low-carbon heat support schemes will be a matter for future fiscal events.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will undertake a review the Standard Assessment Procedure to ensure that it includes the carbon savings that can be delivered by (a) heat pumps and (b) other electricity-based heating systems.

The Department is commencing work on the development of the next version of Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), SAP 11. As a part of this we are considering how we can ensure that SAP remains accurate, which will take into account a range of technologies including heat pumps and other electricity-based heating systems.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to implement a nationwide training programme to develop high professional standards and skills for energy efficiency and low carbon heating in the building and heat supply trades.

Building a highly skilled workforce is key to delivering our net zero ambitions on energy efficiency and low carbon heating.

In October last year, the Department announced that the TrustMark scheme would be expanded, so that any contractor installing energy efficiency measures under the Energy Company Obligation must be registered with the scheme. Industry is now delivering training to comply with the scheme, which ensures contractors meet industry standards and are committed to good customer service.

The Department is also working closely with industry to improve the offer to those seeking to train to become low carbon heating installers, and we are testing a range of options through engagement with industry, including where there might be opportunities for standardisation in the approach to training. Further details on this will be provided later this year.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will bring forward proposals to part-refund television licenses for people affected by the Bilsdale transmitter fire.

Under the Communications Act 2003, the BBC are entitled to make refunds for the TV licence fee in such circumstances as they may determine.

Following the Bilsdale mast fire, the BBC has announced that affected households which have been unable to receive TV coverage for over a month, and are also unable to view BBC programming through BBC iPlayer, and satellite and cable platforms, will be able to claim a refund or be offered a free extension to their TV Licence, depending on their TV Licensing payment plan. The BBC will make information available on these arrangements from 10 September on the TV Licensing website: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/transmitter.

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to protect television signal infrastructure following the Bilsdale transmitter fire and the time taken to restore television services.

Arqiva - a private infrastructure company - operates the UK’s terrestrial broadcast transmitter sites which carry BBC and commercial operators’ TV services. We remain in close contact with Arqiva and broadcasters who are working as fast and as safely as they can to restore TV and radio services in the areas served by Bilsdale by using existing and new alternate transmission sites.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to increase public awareness of the copper broadband switch off and the potential effect of that switch off on internet access.

There is currently no set date for the withdrawal of the copper broadband network. Ofcom, the independent telecoms regulator, set out clear criteria in their April 2021 wholesale fixed telecoms market review for the withdrawal of copper services, which includes 100% ultrafast broadband coverage in the exchange area.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will prohibit the use of wooden telegraph poles for communication cabling where a less visibly obtrusive alternative, such as underground cabling, is available.

The Electronic Communications Code gives Code Operators the rights to install apparatus for the purposes of providing electronic communication networks. The apparatus installed is subject to commercial considerations and any relevant planning requirements. Operators are also expected to adhere to the Cabinet and Pole Siting Code of Practice to ensure new apparatus is installed sensitively.

15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to assist the UK Safer Internet Centre in securing a long-term funding settlement.

The UK Safer Internet Centre plays an important role in improving online safety in the UK, particularly for children, and is a valued member of the UK Council for Internet Safety. Officials engage regularly with the Centre on its funding position following the UK’s exit from the EU.

The Centre has applied for further funding from the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility programme for the calendar year of 2021, for which the government provided a letter of support. We understand the Centre has been successful in its bid for funding but we await formal confirmation from the Centre regarding its outcome.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will have discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Transport on support for the coach industry to maintain capacity in that sector to help sustain the leisure and tourism sector post-covid.

We will continue to engage across the Government to monitor the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the coach industry. I have discussed the problems facing the coach travel sector in detail with my Ministerial counterparts in the Department for Transport, who hold overall responsibility for coach travel. My Department also continues to engage with the Coach Tourism Association via the Tourism Industry Events Response Group (TIER).

Coach tour operators can access the Government’s support package - including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, various government-backed loans, plus the new Local Restriction Support Grants and Additional Restrictions Grants delivered via Local Authorities.

We are engaging with a broad range of stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery, and we recognise the importance of coaches in connecting visitors with tourism destinations.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish guidance on the conditions required to facilitate the safe return of fans to football league grounds.

We are committed to getting spectators back into stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so. The evidence we received from the Chief Medical Officer was very clear that at a time of rapidly rising infections, and when we were considering restrictions elsewhere, it was not the right time to undertake any further easements.

We will continue to work closely with a whole range of sports, including football, to understand the latest thinking that might allow spectators to return. This includes the creation of a new Sports Technology Innovation Working Group of sporting bodies and health experts to analyse new technologies which might support this. This will supplement the draft government guidance, and the SGSA supplementary guidance to their Green Guide, which has been internationally welcomed.

We will take the earliest opportunity to look again at getting spectators safely back into stadiums but this must clearly be very carefully judged against the prevailing health conditions. When these conditions are right, we will revisit our draft guidance in this area.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had and with whom on the financial viability of English Football League Clubs while they are unable to generate matchday revenues.

Football clubs are the bedrock of our local communities and it is vital they are protected. That is why we have provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many football clubs have benefited from.

We have worked closely with football throughout the pandemic including getting the Premier League and English Football League back behind closed doors and continue to do so. We have been clear that we expect the game - where it can at the top tiers - to support itself. The Government will then focus our support on those in the sector most in need as a result of the October 1 decision not to readmit spectators.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will bring forward proposals for a Premier League funded financial assistance scheme for English football clubs.

Football clubs are the bedrock of our local communities and it is vital they are protected. That is why we have provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many football clubs have benefited from.

We have worked closely with football throughout the pandemic including getting the Premier League and English Football League back behind closed doors and continue to do so. We have been clear that we expect the game - where it can at the top tiers - to support itself. The Government will then focus our support on those in the sector most in need as a result of the October 1 decision not to readmit spectators.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will have discussions with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) Secretary of State for Transport on the importance of coach operators in supporting the UK leisure and tourism sector.

Coach tour operators play a vital role in the UK tourism sector, connecting holidaymakers with our country’s vibrant seaside resorts and areas of natural beauty.

We recognise that these remain extremely difficult conditions for tourism businesses, and we are alert to the specific pressures that coach tour operators face.

My officials and I regularly speak with the Association of British Travel Agents through the Visitor Economy Working Group, as well as the Coach Tourism Association through the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group.

I will continue to engage with my colleagues in the Treasury and the Department for Transport on the importance of all aspects of the tourism sector, including coach operators.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from the BBC on the decision to remove the free TV licence for pensioners aged 75 and over.

The Secretary of State has met with the Chairman of the BBC Board and the Director-General of the BBC and asked them to do more to help those affected by the BBC’s decision.

The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those aged over 75 and in receipt of Pension Credit.

We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe that they should be funded by the BBC.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many and what proportion of staff in her Department would receive an increase in their salary in the event that their hourly pay rate was (a) £8.72, (b) £9.30 and (c) £10.

No members of staff in DCMS would receive an increase in salary.

This government is comitted to paying people a decent living wage, which is being addressed through the statutory National Living Wage. In April 2020, the National Living Wage increases to £8.72 per hour. By 2024 the National Living Wage will rise to £10.50 per hour, reaching 66% of median UK earnings. The scope will be expanded to everyone aged 21 and over and is expected to benefit over 4 million low paid workers.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the increase in the National Living wage announced by the Government on 31 December 2019, what discussions she is having with private sector companies undertaking facility management work for her Department to ensure that the cost of wage increases for their employees are not passed on to her Department.

Facilities Management is provided to DCMS through arrangements with other government departments. DCMS therefore has no discussions with such private sector companies about cost increases.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to ensure that pop-up adverts in mobile gaming apps for children are age appropriate.

Advertising in the UK is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the industry’s independent regulator, which for online advertising enforces the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) through a system of self-regulation. The CAP Code incorporates all relevant legislation, and sets standards for accuracy and honesty to which advertisers must adhere, including specific conditions on advertising to children, causing offence and social responsibility.

The ASA has issued guidance to advertisers (https://www.asa.org.uk/resource/children-age-restricted-ads-online.html) on using data and targeting tools to minimise children’s exposure to age restricted or age inappropriate advertising online, including in mobile gaming apps, in order to ensure compliance with the CAP Code.

Last year the government also announced its intention to review how online advertising is regulated in the UK, looking at how well the current regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by developments in the market.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the finding of Scope and the Disabled Children’s Partnership’s report, The gap widens, published September 2021, that there is a £573 million funding gap in disabled children’s social care, what steps he is taking to ensure that every family with a disabled child can access the care they need.

The department believes it is right for local authorities, who know their areas’ needs best, to determine what services are required locally, including early help.

In line with this, respite care services for disabled children are provided on the basis of an individual assessment of each child and family’s needs.

This year councils have access to £51.3 billion to deliver their core services, including a £1.7 billion grant for social care. The government has also given over £6 billion in unringfenced funding directly to councils to support them with the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including children’s services.

The department will continue to work with other government departments, including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, to ensure the upcoming Spending Review reflects the needs of children’s services.

In addition to statutory services, the department is providing £27.3 million to the Family Fund in financial year 2021-22 to support over 60,000 families on low incomes raising children and young people with disabilities or serious illnesses. Grants can be used for a range of purposes, including family breaks.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will introduce compulsory education focused on water safety and drowning prevention for school aged children and young people.

Swimming and water safety is a compulsory element of the physical education curriculum at Key Stages 1 and 2. It sets out the expectation that pupils should be taught to swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres, use a range of strokes effectively, and perform safe self rescue in different water based situations.

The Department has made new virtual water safety lessons available through Oak National Academy and has supported the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s Drowning Prevention Week 2021. The Department is working closely with Swim England, Royal Life Saving Society UK and other organisations to support pupils returning safely to swimming and promoting water safety education.

17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Disabled Children’s Partnership’s No End In Sight report, if he will implement ring-fenced catch-up funding for disabled children’s services to support (a) physical and mental recovery from the covid-19 pandemic and (b) disabled children to catch up with their non-disabled peers.

The Department is committed to helping all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We recognise that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education, health and wellbeing. Sir Kevan Collins has been appointed as the Education Recovery Commissioner and is considering how schools and the system can more effectively target resources and support at pupils in greatest need.

As part of the £1.7 billion funding announced so far for education recovery, the £302 million Recovery Premium will help schools to deliver evidence based approaches for supporting the most disadvantaged pupils. Whilst funding is not ring fenced, the Department has applied additional weighting to special schools, alternative provision and hospital schools to recognise the significantly higher per pupil costs they face. Eligible pupils attending special units within mainstream schools will also attract the higher funding rate.

The Department is also making £200 million available to all secondary schools, including specialist settings, to deliver face to face summer schools, providing opportunities for social interaction. The aim of the programme is for secondary schools to deliver a summer school which offers a blend of academic teaching and enrichment activity. Schools have the flexibility to target provision towards those pupils they feel would benefit the most as well as determining the size and shape of the summer schools, allowing them to tailor support for pupils with SEND. Eligible pupils in special schools, special units in mainstream primary and secondary schools and alternative provision will attract a higher rate of funding for summer schools.

In addition, the National Tutoring Programme provides additional, targeted tuition to disadvantaged children who have been hardest hit from disruption to their education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 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.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the minimum number of teaching hours required to be taught at (a) primary and (b) secondary schools is per week.

The Education (School Day and School Year) (England) Regulations 1999 require all maintained schools to be open to educate their pupils for at least 380 sessions (190 days) in each school year.

Academies are not bound by the School Day and School Year regulations and can make changes to their term and holiday dates.

Schools should organise the school day and school week in the best interests of their pupil cohort, to provide them with a full-time education suitable to their age, aptitude and ability.

16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report by the Disabled Children’s Partnership entitled Loneliest lockdown, if he will ensure that the Government’s education recovery, led by Sir Kevan Collins, will include a dedicated recovery policy for disabled children and their families that addresses the physical and mental health impacts of the covid-19 pandemic on those groups.

The Department is committed to helping all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We recognise that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education, health and wellbeing. We are committed to supporting them and their families.

We have and continue to develop plans for COVID-19 recovery. Sir Kevan Collins has been appointed as the Education Recovery Commissioner and is considering how schools and the system can more effectively target resources and support at pupils in greatest need. In the development of this recovery plan, Sir Kevan is regularly meeting with a variety of stakeholders including disabled young people and their families. Sir Kevan is reviewing how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had not just on academic outcomes, but on the physical and mental health of children and young people.

As part of this plan, both special schools and alternative provision will be able to access funding to provide summer schools and the National Tutoring Programme. We recognise the additional costs associated with offering provision to pupils in specialist settings, and eligible pupils in special schools, special units in mainstream primary and secondary schools and alternative provision settings will attract a higher rate of funding for summer schools. We have also consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts both in the 2020 Catch-up Premium and in the 2021 Recovery Premium.

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. Colleges are asked to have regard for 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.

In addition, £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. We also announced, on 10 February 2021, over £42 million SEND funding for the 2021-22 financial year to continue funding projects to support children with SEND. This investment will ensure that specialist organisations around the country can continue their work to help strengthen local area performance, support families, and provide practical support to schools and colleges. It will strengthen participation of parents and young people in the SEND system – ensuring they have a voice in designing policies and services and have access to high quality information, advice, and support.

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

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Disabled Children Partnership’s report, The Longest Lockdown, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing a cross-departmental covid-19 catch-up plan for disabled children covering (a) education and (b) health and wellbeing.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been extremely challenging for many families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Supporting them is a priority for this government, and their wellbeing remains central to our response to the outbreak.

We want pupils and students with SEND, including those in specialist settings, to continue to receive high-quality teaching and specialist professional support. This is because we know that these pupils and students and their families can be disproportionately impacted by being out of education.

We have put in place a range of measures to support children and young people with SEND through the outbreak. We have provided £40.8 million for the Family Fund in financial year 2020-21 to support over 80,000 families on low incomes raising children with disabilities or serious illnesses. This includes £13.5 million to specifically respond to needs arising from the outbreak, which may include, for example, assistive technology to aid remote learning. The National Tutoring Programme has increased access to high-quality tuition for disadvantaged pupils, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackle the attainment gap between them and their peers. We have announced a major investment in education, including an additional £730 million into high needs in the 2021-22 financial year, coming on top of the additional £780 million in the 2020-21 financial year, which means high needs budgets will have grown by over £1.5 billion, nearly a quarter, in just two years. Additionally, 16-19 tuition fund providers are asked to have regard to the needs of students with SEND when prioritising students that would benefit most from small group tuition.

A priority of the education recovery work is to ensure the specific needs of children and young people with SEND are considered, so they do not fall further behind their peers. Sir Kevan Collins has been appointed as the Education Recovery Commissioner to deliver this work.

On 24 February, the government announced a new £700 million package for a range of additional measures to give early years settings, schools, providers of 16-19 education, including specialist settings, the tools they need to target support for all students. This builds on the £1 billion catch-up package announced in June 2020, and forms part of the wider response to help pupils make up their lost learning.

Specific targeted support for children and young people with SEND includes a new one-off Recovery Premium for state primary and secondary schools, building on the Pupil Premium, which will be provided to schools to use as they see best to support disadvantaged students. This funding can be used to lay on additional clubs or activities or for other evidence-based approaches for supporting the most disadvantaged pupils, including those with SEND, from September.

We continue to encourage local authorities to prioritise respite support for disabled children, and to consider flexible and pragmatic options to deliver that support including using direct payments and carrying out activities virtually. Where children and young people with an education, health and care plan are in receipt of health provision, settings should work collaboratively with their local authority, Clinical Commissioning Group and health providers to agree appropriate support in view of the latest and current local public health guidance. Therapists and other professionals may continue to visit education settings to provide therapies and support, where this is reasonably necessary.

We are committed to supporting children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during this period. We have recently announced a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, including through Mental Health Support Teams.

Schools can use their additional funding from the COVID-19 “catch-up” package for pastoral support for mental wellbeing where pupils need it. We have also set up Wellbeing for Education Return, an £8 million scheme funding expert advisers and training in every local authority area, to support education staff to respond to the emotional and mental health pressures some children and young people may be feeling because of COVID-19.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to extend the availability of school attendance to the children of people who are not classed as key workers but are expected to by their employers to attend the workplace.

During this period of national lockdown, schools should allow only vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend. All other pupils should not attend and should learn remotely. We have resisted restrictions on attendance at schools since the first lockdown but, in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we now need to use every lever at our disposal to reduce all our social contacts wherever possible. Limiting attendance is about supporting the reduction of the overall number of social contacts in our communities.

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. The guidance for children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings sets out who is able to attend school to receive face-to-face education, in order to support these parents to provide vital services: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision. The document sets out the high-level role types, and the list in the guidance is not exhaustive, but it should offer sufficient information to help parents and carers to identify if their work falls under one of the umbrella groups.

We will continue to review the restrictions on schools and will ensure that children and young people return to face-to-face education as soon as possible.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will bring forward proposals for a tuition fee rebate for students who have had to study remotely as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and the government is working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies. The government’s clear and stated expectation is that universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have the resources to study remotely. This is more important than ever now, with the vast majority of students studying solely online.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees, up to a maximum of £9,250 for approved (fee cap) institutions. The Office for Students (OfS), as regulator for higher education (HE) providers in England, has made it clear that HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected, regardless of whether a provider is delivering its courses through face-to-face teaching, remote online learning, or a combination of both. The OfS has published information for providers providing practical guidance on how best to ensure students continue to receive a high-quality academic experience. The OfS is actively monitoring providers to ensure: that they maintain the quality of their provision; that it is accessible for all; and that they have been clear in their communications with students about how arrangements for teaching and learning may change throughout the year.

Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student. If students have concerns, there is a process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

The OIA website is available via the following link: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly. This is available via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds.

The OfS has also published guidance on student consumer protection during the COVID-19 outbreak which is available via the following link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/for-students/student-and-consumer-protection-during-coronavirus/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to funding for schools from Parent Teacher Associations, what assessment his Department has made of (a) the amount and (b) the potential merits of meeting the decrease in that funding as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Getting all children and young people back into school for the new academic year has been a national priority. To support schools with this, they have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020/21 financial year, £4.8 billion in 2021/22 and £7.1 billion in 2022/23, compared to the 2019/20 financial year. On average, schools are attracting 4.2% more per pupil in 2020/21 compared to 2019/20.

The Department recognises that many publicly funded schools were not able to secure income from private sources during the period of lockdown, for example letting their facilities, providing wrap around childcare or offering catering services. As schools continued to receive their core funding allocations, regardless of any periods of closure or reduced operation, lost self-generated income was not covered by the exceptional costs fund.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the results of the fourth covid-19 survey conducted by Parentkind, published 17 November 2020; and if he will increase the frequency of parent consultation on the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department works with, and uses information provided from, a wide range of stakeholder organisations, including those that represent the views of parents, to inform its response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes organisations such as Parentkind.

The Department is continuing to do all that it can to support schools and to reassure parents that schools are the best place for children to be. We have published guidance for parents, together with online information leaflets, and delivered online live Q&As with parents. Relevant guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-in-the-autumn-term. Further to this, the Department has carried out parent consultation in the form of various pieces of research.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, who will be responsible for (a) setting up and (b) managing the Parent and Pupil Online Panel to help monitor the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on children and young people.

Researchers at the Department for Education are currently developing a research panel with pupils and parents. We will confirm how this will be set up and managed in due course.

As is standard practice, the research data and analysis will be used to underpin policy decisions and communications. Data from pupils and parents will also help us monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on these groups.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how information from the Parent and Pupil Online Panel will be used to inform education policy.

Researchers at the Department for Education are currently developing a research panel with pupils and parents. We will confirm how this will be set up and managed in due course.

As is standard practice, the research data and analysis will be used to underpin policy decisions and communications. Data from pupils and parents will also help us monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on these groups.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his announcement in June 2020 that parents will not be fined for the non-attendance of children in school during the covid-19 outbreak, what his policy is on the length of time that moratorium will be in operation for.

In March when the COVID-19 outbreak was worsening, we made clear no parent would be penalised or sanctioned for their child’s non-attendance at school.

Now the circumstances have changed and it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the outbreak on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development.

This means that from the beginning of the autumn term, the usual rules on school attendance will apply. This includes parents’ duty to ensure their child attends school regularly, where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age, and the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices, in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report entitled Rapid evidence assessment examining the potential impact of school closures on the attainment gap, published on 2 June 2020 by the Education Endowment Foundation, what steps he is taking to mitigate any attainment gap among students due to school closures during the covid-19 outbreak.

As plans continue for a full return to education from September, we have announced a £1 billion COVID-19 ‘catch-up’ package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time.

£650 million will be provided to schools over the 2020-21 academic year. This one-off grant to support pupils recognises that all young people have lost time in education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of their income or background.

Whilst school leaders will decide how it is used, the intention is that this money will be spent on the most effective interventions. On 19 June, the Education Endowment Foundation published a guide to help school leaders and staff decide how to use this universal funding to best support their pupils:
https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Publications/Covid-19_Resources/Covid-19_support_guide_for_schools.pdf.

In addition, a National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million, will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people. This will help to accelerate their academic progress and tackle the attainment gap between them and their peers.

This £1 billion package is on top of the £14.4 billion three-year funding increase announced last year – recognising the additional work schools will need to do to help pupils to catch up. Schools continue to receive pupil premium, worth £2.4 billion this year, to help them support their disadvantaged pupils.

Our commitment of over £100 million to support remote education and social care is providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10 and those receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, and care leavers. Where these pupils do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers so that they can learn at home. Over 200,000 laptops and tablets have been ordered. We started deliveries to local authorities and academy trusts in May and these deliveries are continuing throughout June. To date, we have shipped over 150,000 devices.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report entitled Rapid evidence assessment examining the potential impact of school closures on the attainment gap, published on 2 June 2020 by the Education Endowment Foundation, whether his Department plans to offer additional home-learning resources to disadvantaged families to mitigate any attainment gap following school closures during the covid-19 outbreak.

As plans continue for a full return to education from September, we have announced a £1 billion COVID-19 ‘catch-up’ package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time.

£650 million will be provided to schools over the 2020-21 academic year. This one-off grant to support pupils recognises that all young people have lost time in education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of their income or background.

Whilst school leaders will decide how it is used, the intention is that this money will be spent on the most effective interventions. On 19 June, the Education Endowment Foundation published a guide to help school leaders and staff decide how to use this universal funding to best support their pupils:
https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Publications/Covid-19_Resources/Covid-19_support_guide_for_schools.pdf.

In addition, a National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million, will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people. This will help to accelerate their academic progress and tackle the attainment gap between them and their peers.

This £1 billion package is on top of the £14.4 billion three-year funding increase announced last year – recognising the additional work schools will need to do to help pupils to catch up. Schools continue to receive pupil premium, worth £2.4 billion this year, to help them support their disadvantaged pupils.

Our commitment of over £100 million to support remote education and social care is providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10 and those receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, and care leavers. Where these pupils do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers so that they can learn at home. Over 200,000 laptops and tablets have been ordered. We started deliveries to local authorities and academy trusts in May and these deliveries are continuing throughout June. To date, we have shipped over 150,000 devices.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to make an announcement on Schools Sport Premium funding for 2020-21.

The Government will confirm arrangements for the PE and Sport Premium in the 2020/21 academic year as soon as possible.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to enable parents to request that their child resits the current school year in the event that educational progress has been significantly affected by the covid-19 outbreak and subsequent school closure.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers.

We do not currently anticipate that children and young people will need to repeat a school year as a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to look at all options to make sure children and young people get the support they need to continue their education and make up for time spent out of school. However, it remains possible for headteachers to agree this in individual cases, if they think it is appropriate.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the medical and scientific advice on covid-19 transmission that indicates it will be safe to re-open schools.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) established the Children’s Task and Finish Working Group to provide consolidated scientific health advice to the Government. This advice has been used, alongside other sources of information, to inform decision making on potential schools’ reopening options.

SAGE are publishing papers from SAGE meetings in tranches. The first batch was released on 20 March 2020 and a second on 5 May 2020. Further batches will be released regularly.

The list of papers to be released to date are available by following the link below, including several schools-related papers. This list will be updated to reflect papers considered at future meetings:
https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons different rules on social distancing are being applied in schools compared to other sectors.

Keeping people safe continues to be the Government’s main priority. We want all children and young people to be able to get back into school as soon as the scientific advice allows – it is the best place for them to be educated and we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers and teachers.

Our approach for education and childcare settings to prepare for a gradual returning of pupils from 1 June is underpinned by our latest understanding of the science, which indicates that we need to take a phased approach to limit the risk of increasing the rate of transmission. We have specifically factored in:

  • severity of disease in children – there is high scientific confidence that children of all ages have less severe symptoms than adults if they contract coronavirus;
  • the age of children – there is moderately high scientific confidence that younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with coronavirus;
  • numbers of children going back – which needs to be limited initially then increased gradually as the science permits; and
  • systems to reduce the size of the groups coming into contact with each other – such as smaller class sizes spread out across setting.

Early years and primary age children cannot be expected, unlike older children and adults, to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, we have also taken this into account. Protective measures are possible which, when implemented, substantially reduce the risk of transmission of infection.

It is still important to reduce contact between people as much as possible, and we can achieve that and reduce transmission risk by ensuring children, young people and staff where possible, only mix in a small, consistent group; and that small group stays away from other people and groups. Public Health England is clear that if early years settings, schools and colleges do this, and crucially if they are also applying regular hand cleaning, hygiene and cleaning measures and handling potential cases of the virus as per the advice, then the risk of transmission will be lowered. Where settings are able to keep children and young people in those small groups 2 metres away from each other, they should do so. We have published guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings to support settings to get this right, available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he has issued to schools on maintaining social distancing within schools with (a) early years children and (b) limited classroom space.

The safety of pupils and staff returning to school is key. We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, we are taking this into account. Protective measures are possible which, when implemented, substantially reduce the risk of transmission of infection. Schools should therefore work through the hierarchy of protective measures:

  • avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms;
  • frequent hand cleaning and good respiratory hygiene practices;
  • regular cleaning of schools; and
  • minimising contact and mixing.

It is still important to reduce contact between people as much as possible, and we can achieve that and reduce transmission risk by ensuring children, young people and staff where possible, only mix in a small, consistent group and that small group stays away from other people and groups. Public Health England is clear that if early years settings, schools and colleges do this, and crucially if they are also applying regular hand cleaning, hygiene and cleaning measures and handling potential cases of the virus as per the advice, then the risk of transmission will be lowered. Where schools are able to keep children and young people in those small groups 2 metres away from each other, they should do so.

Each school's circumstances will be slightly different. Any school that cannot achieve these small groups at any point should discuss options with their local authority or trust. This might be because there are not enough classrooms or spaces available in the school. Solutions might involve children attending a nearby school, or schools prioritising the younger age groups of newly eligible children.

We have published guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings to support settings to get this right, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make additional funding available to schools for increased costs of supply staff to cover absences during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department understands the sector’s concerns about the additional cost pressures associated with COVID-19, especially following our announcement on 18 March, about schools only remaining open to make provision for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

The Department recognises that schools may face additional costs as a result of COVID-19. We are working with other Government departments and public sector buying organisations with the aim of prioritising schools. All schools will continue to receive core funding payments as normal, and we will put in place a new process to reimburse schools for exceptional costs that they face as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department will discuss how best to deliver this funding with stakeholders over the next few days. We will publish details of the scheme shortly and we trust that this will give head teachers the reassurances they need to enable them to concentrate on their vital role in supporting the nation through this crisis.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to protect school staff required to work during advised covid-19 social distancing from infection with that disease.

All of those who work in our schools, colleges, nurseries and other registered childcare settings rightly take their place next to our NHS staff and other critical workers as central to our efforts as a country in battling COVID-19 and we recognise their contribution.

It is important to underline the fact that schools, colleges, nurseries and all other registered childcare settings remain safe places for children and staff. The fewer children making the journey to school and the fewer children in school, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

On 24 March, guidance on implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings was made available to staff working in settings providing childcare for the most vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. This seeks to support staff working in schools and other childcare settings to operate in the safest way possible, focusing on measures they can put in place to help limit the risk of the virus spreading further within local communities. This guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding allocated by his Department to support the provision of free (a) activities and (b) food during school holidays.

We have invested £2 million on this programme in 2018 and £9 million in 2019 and have previously announced a £9 million programme for summer 2020.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children and received 53 eligible bids for funding in 2019 that were unsuccessful with a total value of £29.8 million. We also received 28 further bids that did not meet the basic eligibility criteria for the fund and so did not receive substantive assessment. Feedback was offered to all the unsuccessful bidders.

For our 2020 programme, we have received 9 bids from the North East region and 62 bids in total across England. The total value of bids in the North East is £6.3 million and the total across England is £41.4 million. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to increase the level of funding allocated to the provision of free school holiday activities and food in the 2019 Parliament.

We have invested £2 million on this programme in 2018 and £9 million in 2019 and have previously announced a £9 million programme for summer 2020.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children and received 53 eligible bids for funding in 2019 that were unsuccessful with a total value of £29.8 million. We also received 28 further bids that did not meet the basic eligibility criteria for the fund and so did not receive substantive assessment. Feedback was offered to all the unsuccessful bidders.

For our 2020 programme, we have received 9 bids from the North East region and 62 bids in total across England. The total value of bids in the North East is £6.3 million and the total across England is £41.4 million. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's news story of 4 January 2020, Free meals and summer holiday activities for children, how many bids have been received for the £9milllion of allocated funding from organisations operating in (a) the North East and (b) England.

We have invested £2 million on this programme in 2018 and £9 million in 2019 and have previously announced a £9 million programme for summer 2020.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children and received 53 eligible bids for funding in 2019 that were unsuccessful with a total value of £29.8 million. We also received 28 further bids that did not meet the basic eligibility criteria for the fund and so did not receive substantive assessment. Feedback was offered to all the unsuccessful bidders.

For our 2020 programme, we have received 9 bids from the North East region and 62 bids in total across England. The total value of bids in the North East is £6.3 million and the total across England is £41.4 million. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's news story of 4 January 2020, Free meals and summer holiday activities for children, what the total value of bids received was for the £9milllion of allocated funding from organisations operating in (a) the North East and (b) England.

We have invested £2 million on this programme in 2018 and £9 million in 2019 and have previously announced a £9 million programme for summer 2020.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children and received 53 eligible bids for funding in 2019 that were unsuccessful with a total value of £29.8 million. We also received 28 further bids that did not meet the basic eligibility criteria for the fund and so did not receive substantive assessment. Feedback was offered to all the unsuccessful bidders.

For our 2020 programme, we have received 9 bids from the North East region and 62 bids in total across England. The total value of bids in the North East is £6.3 million and the total across England is £41.4 million. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the number of children living in poverty in (a) Easington constituency, (b) County Durham and (c) the North East who are unable to access the provision of free school holiday activities and food.

Since 2018, the department has invested £11 million of funding to provide free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas during the summer school holidays, including thousands in the North East.

The department has announced our programme for 2020 where we will again invest £9 million to support children and their families. Officials are currently processing the bids received and we will announce the outcome in due course.

The department has also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East. This will be published in 2020.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2020 to Questions 6080, 6081 and 6082 on Holiday Activities and Food Research Fund, what the total value was of the unsuccessful bids received by his Department for the provision of free holiday activities and food in 2019.

We have invested £2 million on this programme in 2018 and £9 million in 2019 and have previously announced a £9 million programme for summer 2020.

In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children and received 53 eligible bids for funding in 2019 that were unsuccessful with a total value of £29.8 million. We also received 28 further bids that did not meet the basic eligibility criteria for the fund and so did not receive substantive assessment. Feedback was offered to all the unsuccessful bidders.

For our 2020 programme, we have received 9 bids from the North East region and 62 bids in total across England. The total value of bids in the North East is £6.3 million and the total across England is £41.4 million. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the reasons for holiday hunger that resulted in the piloting of funding for free holiday activities and meals for disadvantaged families.

In January 2018, following the All-Party Parliamentary Group report “Hungry Holidays” and the subsequent Private Members' Bill introduced by Frank Field, we announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays.

The department awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.

In summer 2019, we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children and we will announce the winners of the summer 2020 bidding round in due course.

We have commissioned an independent evaluation of the programme which will be published in 2020.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria his Department used to determine which regions received funding from the free holiday activities and meals for disadvantaged families scheme.

In December 2018, we announced £9 million for the Holiday Activities and Food Programme 2019 and invited organisations to bid to coordinate free holiday provision for disadvantaged children in a local authority area during the 2019 summer holidays.

92 bids were received and each bid was assessed against the criteria published in our “Invitation to Bid”, which has been attached.

Each bid was then ranked according to their score and we selected the highest scoring bid from each of the nine English regions for funding, along with two further high scoring bids. The level of funding allocated to each successful bid was in line with the scale and nature of their proposed programme, as detailed in their respective bids.

For the North East region, the StreetGames programme in Newcastle was selected as the highest scoring bid, with an allocation of £1,028,000. Our allocations to the other successful areas were as follows:

  • Gateshead - £204,000
  • Leeds - £507,000
  • Bradford - £799,000
  • Cheshire West and Chester - £555,000
  • Leicestershire - £799,000
  • Birmingham - £1,999,000
  • Suffolk - £999,000
  • Croydon - £657,000
  • Hampshire - £766,000
  • Plymouth - £604,000

We received a bid from Durham County Council which included coverage of the Easington and County Durham constituencies but the bid was unsuccessful as it scored lower than a number of other bids in the North East region, including those in Newcastle and Gateshead. Officials provided feedback to Durham County Council in May 2019.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons his Department decided not to allocate funding from the free holiday activities and meals for disadvantaged families scheme to (a) Easington constituency and (b) County Durham.

In December 2018, we announced £9 million for the Holiday Activities and Food Programme 2019 and invited organisations to bid to coordinate free holiday provision for disadvantaged children in a local authority area during the 2019 summer holidays.

92 bids were received and each bid was assessed against the criteria published in our “Invitation to Bid”, which has been attached.

Each bid was then ranked according to their score and we selected the highest scoring bid from each of the nine English regions for funding, along with two further high scoring bids. The level of funding allocated to each successful bid was in line with the scale and nature of their proposed programme, as detailed in their respective bids.

For the North East region, the StreetGames programme in Newcastle was selected as the highest scoring bid, with an allocation of £1,028,000. Our allocations to the other successful areas were as follows:

  • Gateshead - £204,000
  • Leeds - £507,000
  • Bradford - £799,000
  • Cheshire West and Chester - £555,000
  • Leicestershire - £799,000
  • Birmingham - £1,999,000
  • Suffolk - £999,000
  • Croydon - £657,000
  • Hampshire - £766,000
  • Plymouth - £604,000

We received a bid from Durham County Council which included coverage of the Easington and County Durham constituencies but the bid was unsuccessful as it scored lower than a number of other bids in the North East region, including those in Newcastle and Gateshead. Officials provided feedback to Durham County Council in May 2019.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding in real terms has been allocated to schools in Easington constituency in each of the last five years.

Funding for schools is given to local authorities through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), which in turn distribute this money to schools in their area through their own local formulae. The following table outlines the schools block DSG allocations for Durham County Council since 2015-16 in cash terms. Prior to the introduction of the National Funding Formula (NFF), schools block allocations were only calculated at local authority level.

Schools block DSG allocations for Durham

Funding per pupil (£)1

Total schools block (£)

2015-16

£4,641

£287.1 million

2016-17

£4,649

£288.8 million

2017-18

£4,674

£293.0 million

2018-19

£4,694

£298.6 million

2019-20

£4,758

£306.1 million

2020-21

£4,937

£319.5 million

Since 2018-19, schools block allocations have been calculated through the NFF, based on individual schools’ characteristics. The following table outlines in cash terms notional NFF allocations for schools in Easington in 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21.

NFF allocations for Easington

Funding per pupil (£)

Total cash funding (£)

NFF 2018-192

£4,817

£51.6 million

NFF 2019-202

£4,862

£52.8 million

NFF 2020-212

£5,012

£54.7 million

To smooth the transition to the NFF, local authorities have continued to be responsible for designing the distribution of funding in their areas in 2018-19 through to 2020-21. The actual amount that schools receive may be different from the amount they are attracting through the NFF. Local authorities set their local formula in consultation with local schools. The Department will now move to a single national formula as soon as possible to complete our reforms to make the funding system fair and equitable for every school in the country.

1 The schools block unit of funding has been calculated by dividing the local authority’s total schools block allocation.

2 Notional NFF allocations for individual schools were calculated based on available pupil data at the time, which was pupil data from the previous year. Final allocations given to local authorities were calculated based on updated pupil data. The figures in these tables are therefore not directly comparable.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which Parliamentary constituencies were allocated funding for the free holiday activities and meals for disadvantaged families scheme; and how much funding was allocated to each project.

In December 2018, we announced £9 million for the Holiday Activities and Food Programme 2019 and invited organisations to bid to coordinate free holiday provision for disadvantaged children in a local authority area during the 2019 summer holidays.

92 bids were received and each bid was assessed against the criteria published in our “Invitation to Bid”, which has been attached.

Each bid was then ranked according to their score and we selected the highest scoring bid from each of the nine English regions for funding, along with two further high scoring bids. The level of funding allocated to each successful bid was in line with the scale and nature of their proposed programme, as detailed in their respective bids.

For the North East region, the StreetGames programme in Newcastle was selected as the highest scoring bid, with an allocation of £1,028,000. Our allocations to the other successful areas were as follows:

  • Gateshead - £204,000
  • Leeds - £507,000
  • Bradford - £799,000
  • Cheshire West and Chester - £555,000
  • Leicestershire - £799,000
  • Birmingham - £1,999,000
  • Suffolk - £999,000
  • Croydon - £657,000
  • Hampshire - £766,000
  • Plymouth - £604,000

We received a bid from Durham County Council which included coverage of the Easington and County Durham constituencies but the bid was unsuccessful as it scored lower than a number of other bids in the North East region, including those in Newcastle and Gateshead. Officials provided feedback to Durham County Council in May 2019.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of staff in his Department would receive an increase in their salary in the event that their hourly pay rate was (a) £8.72, (b) £9.30 and (c) £10.

There are no Department for Education staff who would receive an increase in their salary if their hourly pay rate was either £8.72, £9.30 or £10 as all staff are already paid above these hourly rates.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the increase in the National Living wage announced by the Government on 31 December 2019, what discussions he is having with private sector companies undertaking facility management work for his Department to ensure that the cost of wage increases for their employees are not passed on to his Department.

Facilities Management (FM) at the Department for Education offices is delivered via the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) FM contract.

Changes to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage are covered by the ‘change of law’ provisions within the MoJ FM contracts. As a result, the MoJ discusses with each of the FM service providers the potential impact of any such changes in order to assess the financial impact, considering the overall contractual terms and conditions.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the findings of the Children’s Society in its report entitled Children and young people’s services: Funding and spending 2010-11 to 2017-18, that funding per child and young person has fallen by 32 per cent, if he will provide additional funding for local children’s services in County Durham.

For 2020-21, the government has focused on providing early certainty and stability though a fast-tracked Spending Round, ahead of a full spending review next year.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that for 2020-21 local authorities will have access to £1 billion additional funding for social care, including children’s social care. This is in addition to the continuation of the existing £410 million adult and children’s social care grant. The settlement is the largest increase in core spending power since 2015 and is an estimated increase of 4.4% in real terms.

We are also investing £84 million in targeted, evidence-based interventions to improve the support provided to vulnerable children and their families.

Beyond 2020-21, longer term funding decisions will be taken at the spending review. The government will continue work to make the funding formula fairer and increase the amount of business rates growth which local authorities retain, aiming to implement major reforms in 2021-22.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will introduce a statutory duty for water companies to display pollution alerts near bathing waters for at least 48 hours after a sewage discharge event.

We currently have no plans to introduce such a statutory duty. Local authorities are required to display signage providing the classification of all designated bathing waters. Throughout the bathing season, the Environment Agency will issue warnings of any forecasted pollution risk on its Swimfo website, covering over 170 sites. Signs are also put up at these swimming spots to inform bathers about a possible dip in quality as a result of factors like rainfall, wind and high tides. Members of the public can also access real time information on water quality using data on storm overflow spills direct from water companies using the Safer Seas app, a collaboration between Surfers Against Sewage and the Environment Agency.

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, on what dates water samples have been taken at (a) Seaham Beach and (b) Seaham Hall Beach for the Environment Agency Bathing Water Quality tests for the current bathing season.

The Environment Agency (EA) took water samples at Seaham Beach on the following dates of the current bathing season:

06/05/2021

18/05/2021

24/05/2021

01/06/2021

07/06/2021

16/06/2021

22/06/2021

01/07/2021

08/07/2021

15/07/2021

23/07/2021

29/07/2021

03/08/2021

08/08/2021

16/08/2021

The EA took water samples at Seaham Hall Beach on the following dates of the current bathing season:

06/05/2021

18/05/2021

24/05/2021

01/06/2021

07/06/2021

16/06/2021

22/06/2021

01/07/2021

08/07/2021

15/07/2021

23/07/2021

29/07/2021

03/08/2021

08/08/2021

16/08/2021

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, if he will introduce a public awareness campaign targeting young people on water safety and drowning prevention.

The Environment Agency encourages safe and responsible recreation on inland and coastal water and is responsible for safety on waterside assets it owns, operates or occupies (such as locks, weirs and bridges). It has published advice on how to stay safe while visiting waterways: www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-around-water. The Environment Agency is also a member of the National Water Safety Forum.

Local councils often play an important role in ensuring that people stay safe around water in public spaces in their areas. The Local Government Association has published a water safety toolkit for councils: Water safety toolkit | Local Government Association.

Fire and rescue services have also been pivotal in raising public awareness in this area, through their work with landowners and partner organisations.

Water safety is a vital life skill, which is why it is a mandatory part of the curriculum for Physical Education at primary school. The Department for Education recognises that children have missed out on opportunities to learn to swim due to COVID-19 restrictions and is working closely with Swim England and other swimming and water safety organisations to support pupils returning safely to swimming and promoting water safety education.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the European Environment Agency's assessment entitled State of bathing water 2020, what assessment he has made of the reasons for which UK bathing water quality regularly lags behind that of other European countries.

Bathing water quality for the UK was reported to Europe for the last time in 2020 even though no classification was produced in England and Scotland due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 European Environment Agency (EEA) league table ranked the UK last because this missed all of the normally ‘Excellent’ English and Scottish bathing waters that were not classified.

The most recent classification, from 2019, showed that in England 98% of bathing waters met at least the minimum standard of the Bathing Water Directive and the percentage of ‘Good’ and ‘Excellent’ bathing waters was 93%, with 72% in the highest ‘Excellent’ category.

The UK’s ranking is usually better, but it traditionally still appears in the lower rankings of the league table for a number of reasons. The EEA figures ranking countries by compliance against Directive standards takes no account of the geographical challenge faced by northern European countries versus those in the south.

Bathing waters in southern Europe benefit from the natural disinfection effect of bright sunlight and infrequent runoff from rainfall, so the task of ensuring compliance is much easier for some countries than for the UK with a northerly latitude, frequent rainfall and a high population density.

The EEA ranking of countries also doesn’t take account of the different standards applicable to fresh and coastal waters. Coastal bathing waters are subject to standards that are twice as stringent as those for freshwater bathing waters. As an island nation, nearly all of our bathing waters are on the coast and subject to the more stringent standards. This is in contrast to many countries in mainland Europe who have many more freshwater bathing waters; subsequently, this has an effect on the UK’s ranking versus other countries’.

If English bathing waters are compared to other equivalent northern European coastal bathing waters, our position is broadly comparable, despite the arguably larger challenges from high population density, high rainfall totals and often turbid waters. That being said, this Government is committed to delivering clean and plentiful water, as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan, and will shortly be setting ambitious targets for water quality under the Environment Bill framework to drive further action in this area.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase the number of blue flag award beaches on the North East coast of England.

Blue Flag is an international award of the Foundation for Environmental Education for beaches and marinas which meet a range of criteria. Blue Flag is independent of government and in England is administered by Keep Britain Tidy. There are four criteria for a Blue Flag:

  • Water quality - beaches must be classified as ‘Excellent’
  • Environmental education and information
  • Environmental management
  • Safety and services

In 2019, 72% of bathing waters in England were classified as ‘Excellent’ - the highest water quality standard. The Government has made clear that we will keep working to improve our environment and make sure it is protected for future generations. The 25 Year Environmental Plan sets out our commitment to continue to improve the cleanliness of our waters.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislation to (a) end the private monopoly in water and (b) bring water into public ownership.

The Government has no plans to bring water into public ownership.

Since privatisation, the private water sector model has unlocked more than £150 billion of investment. This is equivalent to around £5 billion annually in investment and has delivered a range of benefits to customers and the environment.

The Government considers that the private model, supported by strong economic regulation, generates investment, protects consumers, and provides a stable framework for companies and investors. Ofwat, the independent regulator, protects the interests of consumers by controlling prices, making sure water companies carry out their statutory functions and are financially resilient, as well as holding them to account on overall performance and the delivery of essential services.

Holding a monopoly licence to provide these services is a privilege and the Government and regulators have high expectations of the corporate and financial behaviours of owners and investors.

Fully supported by the Government, Ofwat introduced reforms to financial and corporate practices delivered through the 2019 price review, which require water companies to:

  • share any benefits of higher levels of debt with customers;
  • increase financial resilience; and
  • be transparent about how executive performance pay and dividends relate to services for customers.

These reforms strengthen the private model and provide better outcomes for customers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to end the private monopoly in water through introducing consumer choice.

The Government currently has no plans to introduce competition for household customers.

The Government considers that the private model, supported by a strong independent regulatory system, has generated investment and improved performance, by setting prices, protecting consumers and providing a stable framework for companies and investors.

The Government opened the water retail market for non-household customers in April 2017, giving businesses, charities and public sector organisations choice over their water retailer. The market is still in its infancy. We therefore do not believe that this is the right time to introduce a competitive market for households.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many people have been employed by the Environment Agency to cover the North East of England, in each of the last five years.

The table below provides the Environment Agency staff numbers in the North East Area for the end of the last five years. The headcount is the total number of people employed, not all of whom work full-time. The Full Time Equivalent is the number of full-time posts that the headcount equates to.

Year end

Full Time Equivalent

Headcount

2021

294.82

307

2020

308.6

325

2019

290.38

308

2018

288.14

307

2017

289.7

310

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to end sewage discharges into bathing waters by 2030.

Over £2.5 billion has been invested by English water companies to improve bathing water quality since privatisation. In the early 1990s, just 28 per cent of bathing waters met the highest standards in force at that time. By 2019 this had gone up to 98.3% of bathing waters in England passing the minimum standard. Of these, 72% of bathing waters were classified as 'Excellent' - the highest water quality standard.

Tackling sewage discharges into all our waters, including bathing waters is one of my priorities. I set up the Storm Overflows Taskforce, which brings together Government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs. This Taskforce has now agreed to a long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows.

Between 2020 and 2025, water companies will invest £3.1 billion in storm overflow improvements. This includes £1.9 billion investment on the Thames Tideway Tunnel super sewer, as well as £1.2 billion of other investment throughout England. £143 million of this is new, additional investment as a result of a call to action from the Storm Overflows Taskforce.

I recognise there is more to be done. On 8 June 2021 the Government tabled amendments to the Environment Bill to introduce measures on storm overflows. These measures complement the ongoing work of the Storm Overflows Taskforce by implementing a statutory requirement for the Government to produce a plan to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows by September 2022 and to report progress to Parliament on implementing that plan.

We are also introducing duties requiring water companies and the Environment Agency to publish data on storm overflow operations on an annual basis. These legally-binding obligations on water companies and government will help to reduce pollution in rivers - protecting wildlife and public health.

Water companies are for the first time currently producing comprehensive Drainage and Sewerage Management Plans to assess the capacity of their wastewater networks. We are also taking steps through the Environment Bill to require water companies to produce such Plans on a statutory basis. These plans will be another tool to help address the risks that storm overflows pose to the environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that false marketing of fresh, wholegrain, artisan and sourdough bread will be prohibited by law in order to protect the customer and prevent SME Real Bread bakeries from being undercut by large manufacturers using such descriptors to market fundamentally different products.

Consumers are already protected from false and misleading marketing by both general consumer protection law and specifically by food information law. The rules on the provision of food information to consumers, taken together with requirements on the control of additives in food production, ensure that food is produced safely and labelled effectively in order for consumers to make informed choices on the food they buy and consume.

Bakers, including traditional and artisan bakers of high-quality bread, have the ability to effectively market their products on their own merits and legislation supports such marketing so long as it is not misleading. Any information provided with food, whether in words, pictures or symbols, must not be misleading to consumers.

Officials have had extensive discussions with the Real Bread Campaign over a number of years, have taken their views fully into account and will continue to do so.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the proposed date is to reinstate the General Licence for Gatherings to permit the return of pigeon racing.

The ban on gatherings for birds remains in place. No date for lifting the ban has yet been set.

The general licence for bird gatherings was suspended on 11 November 2020. This followed the first case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in England in 2020 and the risk assessment which concluded that the likelihood of the presence of infection in wild waterfowl had increased to high and the likelihood that poultry would be exposed to disease to be medium.

The risk assessment also found that the likelihood of disease introduction through gatherings was increased because of the cumulative risk relating to multiple places of origin of the birds attending and that the impact of an introduction of infection to poultry because of gatherings could be very severe. The ban is regularly reviewed, including whether gatherings of bird species of lower risk, such as pigeons, might be permitted before allowing gatherings of higher risk species such as ducks and geese.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the seven participating supermarkets in the priority delivery slots scheme on reducing minimum spends on deliveries for people using those slots so that they are not penalised financially for following official guidance to stay at home.

Defra is continuing to hold regular conversations with each of the seven supermarkets participating in the priority access to online deliveries offer: Asda, Iceland, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. The department uses these meetings as an opportunity to convey any concerns raised by charities or local authorities around topics such as delivery charges and minimum spends. Although Defra cannot legally dictate the delivery costs and minimum spends applied by supermarkets, our regular conversations ensure that supermarkets understand the impact that delivery charges and minimum spends can have in preventing a clinically extremely vulnerable person from being able to access food.

Alongside encouraging supermarkets to seriously consider the impact delivery charges and minimum spends can have on clinically extremely vulnerable people, the department also monitors delivery charges and minimum spends and circulates this information to local authorities to allow them to advise their residents accordingly.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to end all sewage discharges into UK bathing waters by 2030.

During periods of significant rainfall, untreated sewage diluted by rainwater will discharge through storm overflows to prevent streets, premises and sewage treatment plants from being flooded. Storm overflows are a last resort in modern sewer design, but the age of our sewerage systems means their complete elimination is not practicable or affordable.

However, I recognise that there is more to do with regard to the management of sewage pollution. To achieve this, I have set up a new Taskforce bringing together government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs to work urgently on options to tackle this issue.

As announced on 22 January, this Taskforce has agreed a long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows. Water companies have also agreed to make real-time data on sewage discharges available at bathing sites all year round. This data will be made available to help surfers, swimmers and other recreational water users to check the latest information and make informed choices on where to swim.

We recognise there is more that needs to be done beyond providing more and better information, and so we will continue to work with the industry to reduce frequency and harm of discharges from storm overflows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the request made to his Department by the PCS union under Regulation 9 of the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 to form a building-wide health and safety committee for 2 Marsham Street.

Consideration has been given to the request made to Defra by the PCS union to form a building-wide health and safety committee for 2 Marsham Street. For the purposes of the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 health and safety remains a delegated matter for which each individual departmental employer is responsible.

However, in recognition of Defra’s responsibilities for cooperation and coordination with other employers in shared workplaces, Defra is supportive of trade union health and safety representatives joining the existing 2 Marsham Street joint “House Committee”. We consider this to be a positive step forward in the interest of constructive trade union dialogue in relation to the spaces that are shared between the separate employers based in the building.

I understand that other departments who occupy 2 Marsham Street are also supportive of this approach and the Home Office, who are the lead occupier at 2 Marsham Street, will be working with PCS to take this forward on behalf of all occupants.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of penalties for fly-tipping in reducing the occurance of that offence.

Fly-tipping is an unacceptable blight on local communities and the environment, and in its manifesto, the Government committed to increase the penalties for fly-tipping.

Local authorities have a range of powers available to tackle fly-tipping. These include the power to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) of up to £400 for fly-tipping offences, including to those caught fly-tipping and householders who pass their waste to a fly-tipper. Local authorities also have enhanced powers to search and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers. Recent figures showed that there were 76,000 fixed penalty notices issued by Local Authorities in 2018/19, up by 11% from 2017/18.

Local authorities also have the ability to take those accused of fly-tipping to court. If a prosecution is successful, then a fly-tipper can receive a fine of up to £50,000 or 12 months imprisonment if convicted in a Magistrates' Court, or an unlimited fine and up to 5 years imprisonment if convicted in a Crown Court. Local authorities carried out a total of 2,397 prosecutions for fly-tipping offences in England in 2018/19, an increase of 7% on 2017/18. The value of total fines increased by 29% to £1,090,000 compared to 2017/18. The success rates for prosecution actions against fly-tipping are consistently above 95% and have been since records began in 2007/08.

The Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) published in December 2018 includes a number of commitments to improve sentencing of fly-tippers, including working with the Sentencing Council to increase magistrates’ awareness of the prevalence and importance of waste crime; helping local authorities improve the quality of cases; and ensuring the Environmental Offences Definitive guideline is kept up to date and magistrates are effectively trained on it. Defra will continue this work to help to secure tougher penalties in line with our manifesto commitment.

The Environment Bill also delivers commitments set out in the RWS. The Bill amends the Environment Act 1995 to make it easier for enforcing officers to search premises to seize evidence. Additionally, the Bill ensures that FPN levels can be revised as needed to keep them at an adequate level to be an effective and proportionate enforcement tool for local authorities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 13 February 2020 to Question 14705 on Cremation, when the next process guidance review for crematoria will take place.

The Crematoria process guidance was last reviewed in 2012. In line with the Government ambition to review process guidance notes every 6-8 years it is due to be reviewed shortly.

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 take steps to prohibit the opening of any new crematorium that is not fitted with DENOx Technology used to reduce the release of toxic nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide.

All crematoria are required to have an environmental permit in accordance with standards set out in the relevant statutory Process Guidance Note (PGN). The PGN contains guidance on how crematoria can reduce nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide during the cremation process.

PGNs are reviewed on a cyclical basis, as part of a collaborative approach with industry. When the PGN for Crematoria is next reviewed, we will take into account latest developments in best available abatement technologies and techniques for reducing NOx during the cremation process.

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 introduce a requirement for all crematoriums to install DENOx Technology, to reduce the release of toxic nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, within the next 12 months.

All crematoria are required to have an environmental permit in accordance with standards set out in the relevant statutory Process Guidance Note (PGN). The PGN contains guidance on how crematoria can reduce nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide during the cremation process.

PGNs are reviewed on a cyclical basis, as part of a collaborative approach with industry. When the PGN for Crematoria is next reviewed, we will take into account latest developments in best available abatement technologies and techniques for reducing NOx during the cremation process.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the increase in the National Living wage announced by the Government on 31 December 2019, what discussions she is having with private sector companies undertaking facility management work for her Department to ensure that the cost of wage increases for their employees are not passed on to her Department.

Defra’s facilities management (FM) contract will not be affected by the announcement on 31 December 2019 of the increase in the National Minimum Wage. This is because we require, and the contract states, that the FM provider will pay the Foundation Living Wage which is already higher than the National Living Wage. As a result there is no need for a contract variation or engagement with the supplier on this subject.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many and what proportion of staff in her Department would receive an increase in their salary in the event that their hourly pay rate was (a) £8.72, (b) £9.30 and (c) £10.

This Government is committed to paying people a decent living wage, which is being addressed through the statutory National Living Wage (NLW). In April 2020, the NLW increases to £8.72 per hour. By 2024 the NLW will rise to £10.50 per hour, reaching 66% of median UK earnings. The scope will be expanded to everyone aged 21 and over and is expected to benefit over 4 million low paid workers.

No staff in core-Defra would require an increase in salary in the event that their hourly pay rate was either £8.72 or £9.30.

Less than 5 staff (0.09% of all staff) in core-Defra would require an increase to salary in the event that their hourly rate of pay was £10.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to (a) reduce plastic pollution and (b) increase plastic recycling.

The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) for England, published in December 2018, sets out our plans to reduce, reuse, and recycle more plastic than we do now. Our target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan, but for the most problematic plastics we are going faster - that is why we are working towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

We have already made good progress. The Government’s 5p plastic bag charge has led to a 90% reduction in the use of plastic carrier bags in the main retailers, and last year we consulted on plans to extend the charge to all retailers and on increasing the minimum charge to at least 10p. A summary of responses will be published in due course. We have also introduced a world-leading ban on the sale of microbeads in rinse-off personal care products.

The Government is committed to increasing recycling rates. The Environment Bill, which was cited in the Queen’s Speech, introduces legislation so that a core set of materials, including plastics, will be collected from households and businesses from 2023. We will also introduce measures, through an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme, to encourage producers to use plastic packaging that can be recycled. The Government also consulted on proposals to introduce a world-leading new tax on the production and import of plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content and the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme. Together these measures will increase the quality and quantity of plastics collected for recycling.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to reduce the amount of recyclable plastics going to landfill.

The Government is committed to increasing recycling rates. The Queen’s Speech committed the Government to bring forward our ambitious Environment Bill which introduces legislation so that a core set of materials, including plastics, will be collected from households and businesses from 2023. We will also introduce measures, through an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme, to encourage producers to use plastic packaging that can be recycled. The Government also consulted on proposals to introduce a world-leading new tax on the production and import of plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content and the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). Together these measures will increase the quality and quantity of plastics collected for recycling.

The Government also continues to incentivise the diversion of waste away from landfill, through the Landfill Tax. For example, the standard rate of Landfill Tax, which applies to household waste, has increased from £11 to £88.95 per tonne between 2000 and 2018; the proportion of local authority collected waste sent to landfill decreased from 79.0% to 10.8% over a similar period (2000/01 to 2018/19).

We will soon consult on proposals to implement changes made to the Landfill Directive as part of the Circular Economy Package, which will restrict waste that has been separately collected for recycling, such as plastic waste, being accepted at landfill sites.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, how many and what proportion of staff in his Department would receive an increase in their salary in the event that their hourly pay rate was (a) £8.72, (b) £9.30 and (c) £10.

There are no DExEU employees who would receive an increase to their salary in the event that their hourly rate was (a), (b) or (c). This is because the lowest paid member of DExEU staff hourly rate is higher than these amounts.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, with reference to the increase in the National Living wage announced by the Government on 31 December 2019, what discussions he is having with private sector companies undertaking facility management work for his Department to ensure that the cost of wage increases for their employees are not passed on to his Department.

Any private sector companies undertaking facilities management work for the Department for Exiting the European Union are managed and employed by building owners. The department operates, and has memorandum of terms of occupations (MOTO’s) with those building owners. As part of those agreements, those building owners employ and manage any third-party facilities management companies, so is therefore not the responsibility of the department. The department was recently onboarded to the Government Property Agency to manage the estate and the contracts between the department and those third-party companies. This responsibility would therefore sit with the Government Property Agency.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how many and what proportion of staff in his Department would receive an increase in their salary in the event that their hourly pay rate was (a) £8.72, (b) £9.30 and (c) £10.

All DFID staff are paid at an hourly rate above £10, and therefore would not require a salary increase in any of these scenarios.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the increase in the National Living wage announced by the Government on 31 December 2019, what discussions he is having with private sector companies undertaking facility management work for his Department to ensure that the cost of wage increases for their employees are not passed on to his Department.

The Department for International Development has two headquarter buildings in the UK, one at 22 Whitehall and the other at Abercrombie House in East Kilbride.

Both HQ buildings share a contract for facilities management. The staff contracted under this agreement are paid London Living wage in Whitehall and National Living wage in Abercrombie House. DFID covers the additional costs associated with the Living wage increases. This is reviewed annually in line with the increments set out by the Living Wage Foundation.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to promote British food and drink exports in foreign markets.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) promotes UK food and drink excellence globally. We have dedicated food and drink export advisers both throughout the UK and globally who deliver a wide range of activities in support of our food and drink producers. These activities include brokered meetings with key overseas food and drink importers and retailers, trade missions, financial support for companies to exhibit at overseas trade fairs, as well as showcasing events aiming at changing perceptions of UK food and drink.

DIT also works in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and industry to target specific market access issues, helping to open markets overseas for high quality UK produce.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of protections of the (a) human rights and (b) safety of workers building the British pavilion for the Dubai Expo in the UAE; and whether there has been any violations of those rights and protections.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has ensured that stringent contract provisions are in place with the suppliers who have been appointed to construct the UK Pavilion, requiring all work to be carried out in accordance with the Expo 2020 Workers Welfare Minimum Standards (which are higher than the UAE’s standard welfare regulations). These suppliers are monitored closely by DIT’s project management supplier to ensure performance against their contractual conditions.

According to the last health and safety audit by the Expo 2020 Dubai authorities the UK was amongst the most positively scored Pavilions. In addition, DIT has appointed a specialist risk management organisation (with expertise in carrying out worker welfare audits in line with the Expo 2020 standards) to carry out regular independent audits of the UK pavilion site and its contractors. Where any issues have been raised, all parties have worked together to rectify these.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the increase in the National Living wage announced by the Government on 31 December 2019, what discussions she is having with private sector companies undertaking facility management work for her Department to ensure that the cost of wage increases for their employees are not passed on to her Department.

The Department for International Trade does not hold any facilities management contracts with private sector companies. All of the department’s facilities management services are provided via the Government Property Agency.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many and what proportion of staff in her Department would receive an increase in their salary in the event that their hourly pay rate was (a) £8.72, (b) £9.30 and (c) £10.

All civil servants are paid at least the current statutory National Minimum or National Living Wage rates of £7.70 and £8.21 per hour respectively.

All Department for International Trade employees currently on payroll, including UK Export Finance employees, are currently paid above the hourly rates outlined in this question. Therefore, none of the Department’s employees would see a change in their salary if these rates increased.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many candidates have received a (a) full and (b) partial refund where a complaint was raised concerning the curtailment of a driving test due to covid-19 safety measures.

The legal requirement for the on-road part of the practical car driving test is 30 minutes. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has no plans to change legislation with regards the minimum length of on-road practical driving tests. As a result of the pandemic, the DVSA has implemented a temporary policy whereby candidates are directed back to the test centre upon failure. This is to minimise the exposure and risk given the very close proximity of the vehicle occupants. The DVSA will keep this measure under review.

All candidates are encouraged to ensure that they properly prepared before applying for the driving test. The DVSA trains each examiner to treat all candidates equally and fairly, and to carry out practical driving tests consistently. Each candidate must demonstrate they can drive to the required standard in order to pass their test and drive independently.

Since the start of the pandemic, the DVSA has received 8 complaints from candidates who have had their practical car driving test curtailed. No candidates have received a full or partial refund as their test was found be assessed correctly.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the equalities impact of the curtailment of driving tests due to covid-19-safety measures.

The legal requirement for the on-road part of the practical car driving test is 30 minutes. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has no plans to change legislation with regards the minimum length of on-road practical driving tests. As a result of the pandemic, the DVSA has implemented a temporary policy whereby candidates are directed back to the test centre upon failure. This is to minimise the exposure and risk given the very close proximity of the vehicle occupants. The DVSA will keep this measure under review.

All candidates are encouraged to ensure that they properly prepared before applying for the driving test. The DVSA trains each examiner to treat all candidates equally and fairly, and to carry out practical driving tests consistently. Each candidate must demonstrate they can drive to the required standard in order to pass their test and drive independently.

Since the start of the pandemic, the DVSA has received 8 complaints from candidates who have had their practical car driving test curtailed. No candidates have received a full or partial refund as their test was found be assessed correctly.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with refence to the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency, whether he plans to change the legal requirements for the length of on road time for inspectors of driving tests.

The legal requirement for the on-road part of the practical car driving test is 30 minutes. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has no plans to change legislation with regards the minimum length of on-road practical driving tests. As a result of the pandemic, the DVSA has implemented a temporary policy whereby candidates are directed back to the test centre upon failure. This is to minimise the exposure and risk given the very close proximity of the vehicle occupants. The DVSA will keep this measure under review.

All candidates are encouraged to ensure that they properly prepared before applying for the driving test. The DVSA trains each examiner to treat all candidates equally and fairly, and to carry out practical driving tests consistently. Each candidate must demonstrate they can drive to the required standard in order to pass their test and drive independently.

Since the start of the pandemic, the DVSA has received 8 complaints from candidates who have had their practical car driving test curtailed. No candidates have received a full or partial refund as their test was found be assessed correctly.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many complaints his Department has received from (a) candidates and (b) others on the lack of availability of driving tests as a result of covid-19 restrictions.

Since March 2020, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has received 1,124 of complaints about the lack of driving test availability as a result of covid-19 restrictions. The data held by the DVSA does not separate complaints received from ‘candidates’ and complaints received from ‘others’.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many driving tests the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency curtailed as a covid-19 safety measure since March 2020; and of those, how many tests were curtailed in the first 10 minutes under that measure.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has minimised the amount of time examiners and candidates spend in the vehicle during the driving test. Since May 2020, candidates who make a serious or dangerous fault on test, which means they have failed their test, are directed by the examiner back to the driving test centre where the test will end. The DVSA will keep this measure under review.

Between 1 May 2020 and 18 July 2021, 398,131 driving tests have been curtailed upon the candidate making a serious or dangerous fault. The DVSA does not record the number of minutes a driving test has been running when it is terminated.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of (a) the new filter used in the ventilation system of Reading Buses and (b) the potential merits of that system across the UK in preventing covid-19.

Officials have been engaging with the Confederation of Passenger Transport and their members regarding ventilation on buses. Buses typically rely on opening windows for passenger ventilation and the industry uses a range of methods to ensure windows are kept open. The Department does not hold information on Reading Buses specifically.

More widely, guidance on ventilation is included within the Department’s ‘Safer Transport Guidance for Operators’.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many ratings were trained on tonnage tax qualifying vessels in (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21.

Based on the training commitment returns provided by companies paying tonnage tax prior to the commencement of each academic year, we have recorded that 25 ratings trainees were scheduled for 2019-20 and 20 were scheduled for 2020-21.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of seafarer (a) officer and (b) ratings jobs that will be created in the UK from Irish Ferries' planned operation of cross-Channel ferry services later in 2021.

The Department has not made any formal assessment on the number of seafarer jobs that will be created in the UK from Irish Ferries planned operation of a Channel ferry service. It is understood that the provision of a third operator on the Dover-Calais route has resulted in a small number of new jobs in the Port of Dover.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of Irish Ferries' planned operation of cross-Channel ferry services on the number of UK (a) officers and (b) ratings in training each year.

The training of seafarers and the nationality of those seafarers is a commercial decision for the operator and no assessment has been made on the potential effect of Irish Ferries planned operations for Dover-Calais on the number of UK officers and ratings trained each year.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he last met representatives of the Maritime Register of Cyprus to discuss maritime safety standards on Cypriot registered ferries operating on international routes from UK ports.

The Secretary of State for Transport has not met with officials from the Maritime Register of Cyprus to discuss maritime safety standards on Cypriot registered ferries operating on international routes from UK ports.

Cypriot registered vessels are inspected by Marine Surveyors from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as part of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control to ensure that the vessels comply with the relevant safety standards and regulations.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on the Port State Control inspection of the Irish Ferries' vessel, Isle of Inishmore, which is planned to operate on the Dover to Calais route later in 2021.

The Isle of Inishmore is not due a Port State Control (PSC) inspection until 30 November 2021. However, when the vessel formally declares its intention to operate on the new route, the French maritime authorities are obliged to carry out a pre-commencement inspection under the EU ferry directive (2017/2110).

The MCA will carry out a PSC inspection on or after 30 November at an appropriate time in Dover.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of Irish Ferries' planned operation of cross-Channel ferry services on the terms and conditions of employment of UK seafarers on ferry services between Dover and ports in France.

The Department has not made an assessment of the potential effects of Irish Ferries’ planned operation of cross-Channel ferry services on the terms and conditions of employment of UK seafarers on those services. The Dover-Calais route is an international route, the vessel that Irish Ferries are bringing to the route is currently registered with Cyprus and subject to Cypriot law.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the value for money for the public purse of South Western Railway’s recent decision to withdraw their fleet of Class 442 trains.

The impact of Covid-19 on passenger numbers travelling on South Western Railway services has been significant, and is not expected to return to previous levels when restrictions are lifted for some time. The Class 442 fleet is no longer needed to deliver SWR’s planned timetable. SWR has decided to withdraw it with immediate effect and cease the programme of modifications that were underway to avoid incurring further costs to the taxpayer to reintroduce and operate these trains. The withdrawal of the fleet is expected to save circa £8million per year in operational costs.

The Class 442s would have been withdrawn in August 2024 in any event as the trains are not compliant with requirements for Persons with Reduced Mobility. This decision brings this forward and removes a fleet that is not fully accessible from the Rail Network sooner than originally planned.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 158241, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: Remote Working, when the findings of the Deloitte report were presented to (a) the DVLA, (b) Chief Executive Julie Lennard and (c) other parties or bodies.

The review was carried out by both internal Driver and Vehicle Licensing (DVLA) and external expertise and focused on what could be done to reduce the backlogs that had built up during the initial lockdown in 2020, not specifically on home working. Some recommendations have been implemented but others require more significant changes that are still being worked through. The review was an iterative process which involved discussions with various personnel across the DVLA and the final report was recently presented to the DVLA’s Board.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 158241, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: Remote Working, whether any of the Deloitte report’s recommendations on options for DVLA staff to work from home have been implemented.

The review was carried out by both internal Driver and Vehicle Licensing (DVLA) and external expertise and focused on what could be done to reduce the backlogs that had built up during the initial lockdown in 2020, not specifically on home working. Some recommendations have been implemented but others require more significant changes that are still being worked through. The review was an iterative process which involved discussions with various personnel across the DVLA and the final report was recently presented to the DVLA’s Board.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 158241, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: Remote Working, without reference to the DVLA’s IT systems, what assessment he has made of what proportion of staff implementation of the Deloitte report’s findings would have enabled to work from home.

The review was carried out by both internal Driver and Vehicle Licensing (DVLA) and external expertise and focused on what could be done to reduce the backlogs that had built up during the initial lockdown in 2020, not specifically on home working. Some recommendations have been implemented but others require more significant changes that are still being worked through. The review was an iterative process which involved discussions with various personnel across the DVLA and the final report was recently presented to the DVLA’s Board.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 158241 on Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: Remote Working, if he will place a copy of a suitably redacted version of the Deloitte report on options for DVLA staff to work from home in the Library.

There are no plans to place either a full or redacted version of reports which include references to the DVLA’s IT system in the public domain.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the Deloitte report on options for DVLA staff to work from home.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has thoroughly reviewed its processes and systems, using both internal and external expertise, and understands the limitations and opportunities for where there is scope for enabling more operational staff to work from home. Any reports which contain information relating to the DVLA’s IT systems are not routinely placed in the public domain due to security requirements.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of including the coach industry within the Additional Restrictions Support Grant.

Additional Restrictions Grant funding is intended to support businesses that are not legally required to close, but which are nonetheless experiencing a severe impact on their business due to the national lockdown. Some local authorities have provided coach operators with Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funding. However, allocation of ARG funding is at local authorities’ discretion.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the Average Working Days Lost was for (a) female and (b) male civil servants in his Department in the calendar year (i) 2019 and (ii) 2020.

The table below shows the average working days lost split as requested above.

2019

MCA

VCA

DVSA

DVLA

DfTc

Male

6.77

2.96

8.74

7.76

2.9

Female

9.44

5.55

12.45

11.02

3.9

2020

MCA

VCA

DVSA

DVLA

DfTc

Male

4.77

2.58

5.24

6.22

2.4

Female

6.46

5.66

7.42

9.93

3.9

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the Average Working Days Lost was for civil servants in his Department (a) who have declared themselves as having a disability and (b) who have not declared themselves to have a disability in the calendar year (i) 2019 and (ii) 2020.

The table below shows the average working days lost split as requested above.

2019

MCA

VCA

DVSA

DVLA

DfTc

Declared Disabled

16.8

Not Available

19.37

18.3

11.9

Not Declared Disabled

7.14

Not Available

8.56

8.28

2.9

2020

MCA

VCA

DVSA

DVLA

DfTc

Declared Disabled

11.24

Not Available

11.92

12.95

7.5

Not Declared Disabled

5.04

Not Available

5.16

7.14

2.8

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the Average Working Days Lost was for civil servants in his Department aged (a) 30 and younger, (b) 30 to 50, (c) 50 to 60 and (d) over 60 in the calendar year (i) 2019 and (ii) 2020.

The table below shows the average working days lost split as requested above.

2019

MCA

VCA

DVSA

DVLA

DfTc

30 and Younger

8.71

3.54

8.34

10.13

1.5

30-50

6.66

4.6

8.05

9.4

3.1

50-60

7.39

1.44

9.47

8.95

4.1

Over 60

13.2

4.35

15.13

12.24

10.7

2020

MCA

VCA

DVSA

DVLA

DfTc

30 and Younger

3.64

1.47

5.96

9.42

2.1

30-50

5.58

4.39

4.98

7.75

2.8

50-60

5.56

2.8

5.1

7.55

3.9

Over 60

7.03

4.33

9.5

12.34

6.7

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the Average Working Days Lost was for civil servants in his Department (a) from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and (b) recording themselves as White in the calendar year (i) 2019 and (ii) 2020.

The table below shows the average working days lost split as requested above.

2019

MCA

VCA

DVSA

DVLA

DfTc

BAME

4.46

Not Available

9.08

7.45

3.5

White

7.92

Not Available

9.78

9.78

2.8

Not Declared

8.37

Not Available

9.98

Not available

4.2

2020

MCA

VCA

DVSA

DVLA

DfTc

BAME

4

Not Available

6.47

9.33

3.3

White

5.51

Not Available

6.04

8.09

2.2

Not Declared

5.69

Not Available

5.33

Not available

4.7

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many flights have been chartered by the shipping industry (a) to and (b) from UK airports in each month since 20 March 2020 to date to facilitate crew changeovers on merchant ships docked at UK ports.

The chartering of flights is normally a commercial decision and we do not capture this data. There is no existing regulatory requirement for companies to provide this data and it would not be possible to compare what activity was caused by factors due to the pandemic and what activity is considered normal.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change; and whether it is still his policy to classify seafarers as key workers in the context of crew changeovers at UK sea and airports.

As the first state to declare seafarers as keyworkers we welcome the Neptune Declaration. We remain committed to working domestically and internationally to protect the mental health and wellbeing of crew of all nationalities, and to find solutions to facilitate transit and transfer across all countries during the pandemic.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the (a) budget and (b) spend is in real terms on protecting Network Rail infrastructure assets from weather-related impacts in each year of the control period 2019–24.

Please see the table attached. This information is in line with the information provided in the rail resilience report published 1 September 2020.

Network Rail is investing a total of £1.247bn in CP6 (1 April 2019- 31 March 2024) to maintain and renew earthworks and drainage, supporting weather resilience improvements on the railway. This is a real term increase of 20% on CP5 (April 2014 to March 2019).

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the spend was in real terms on protecting Network Rail infrastructure assets from weather-related impacts for each year of the control period 2014–19.

Please see the table attached. This information is in line with the information provided in the rail resilience report published 1 September 2020.

Network Rail is investing a total of £1.247bn in CP6 (1 April 2019- 31 March 2024) to maintain and renew earthworks and drainage, supporting weather resilience improvements on the railway. This is a real term increase of 20% on CP5 (April 2014 to March 2019).

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the two taskforces established after the Stonehaven train derailment to examine Networks Rail’s response to climate change will report their findings.

Both taskforce reports have recently been submitted to Network Rail. Network Rail is currently discussing the content of the reports with the taskforce leaders, Lord Robert Mair and Dame Julia Slingo, and will provide an update to the Secretary of State for Transport within the next month.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of inspections and works in relation to protecting Network Rail infrastructure assets is undertaken by staff (a) directly employed by Network Rail and (b) employed by sub-contractors.

Earthwork inspections are entirely outsourced to specialist engineering contractors on four out of Network Rail’s five regions . Earthwork inspections are partly outsourced on Network Rail’s North West & Central region. As a devolved organisation, the work of these contractors is overseen and quality controlled by Network Rail’s regions.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment has been made of the effect of a reduction in enhancements for the 2019-24 control period on the protection of Network Rail infrastructure assets from weather-related effects.

There will be no impact on the maintenance and renewal of the railway.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's guidance on Category 1 goods that can be transported on government-secured freight capacity contracts, updated on 1 February 2021, what estimate he has made of the (a) volume of freight moved and (b) number of sailings to date under each contract with operators in the Irish Sea.

There has been minimal disruption to the flow of freight and Category 1 goods following the end of the transition period. Volumes have been relatively low compared to the same period in previous years, although some hauliers continue to arrive at ports without the necessary COVID-19 and customs paperwork. We continue to monitor for potential disruption that may affect the flow of essential Category 1 goods.

Government secured freight capacity is provided by four ferry operators (Brittany Ferries, DFDS, P&O and Stena Line) across 9 routes, operating from 8 ports (Poole, Portsmouth, Newhaven, Felixstowe, Harwich, Tilbury, Teesport, Hull) to mainland Europe. There is no GSFC secured between England and the island of Ireland. Hauliers carrying Category 1 Goods who wish to use the land bridge to reach Ireland are still eligible to access GSFC to enter England from mainland Europe.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of potential redundancies at Hitachi Rail UK Ltd’s Bounds Green and Craigentinny Train Maintenance Centres on LNER; and what steps he is taking to reduce those costs.

LNER directs the day to day operation of their railway services and as a result they are responsible for the management of their contract with Hitachi Rail. However, as LNER is owned and overseen by the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Public Sector Operator, DfT OLR Holdings Ltd the Government ultimately holds full cost and revenue risk.

The negotiations between Hitachi Rail and LNER are currently ongoing. The final cost to the taxpayer has not been confirmed at this stage of the negotiations and will depend on a number of factors under discussion, including final agreement on the number of redundancies.

We are in regular contact with both Hitachi Rail and LNER and are monitoring their ongoing discussions with regards to this matter closely. However, these discussions are ultimately a commercial and contractual matter for both parties to negotiate. LNER and Hitachi will need to work together to resolve this issue in a manner that ensures the best outcome for passengers, employees and the taxpayer.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 132861, what documentation his Department has considered relating to requests for sector-specific support for the coach industry.

The Government continues to work closely with representatives of the coach sector to understand the challenges facing the coach sector and how these can be addressed.

Where appropriate, the Department for Transport has sought and/or considered information and data from representatives of the coach sector to inform its approach. For example, the Department invited operators of scheduled services to submit data regarding planned service levels over Christmas in order to develop a £3 million Christmas support package. The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) also provides frequent data on the wider coach sector to the Department, which is used to inform policy decisions.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will facilitate the extension of finance holidays for operators to support the coach industry.

The Government understands that many operators are concerned about meeting their finance payments, and appreciates that the current situation is one that coach operators could not be expected to have foreseen. The Government urges operators to speak to their lenders.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has extended the deadline for payment holiday applications on mortgages and other forms of consumer credit until 31 March 2021. Lenders can agree to give payment holidays of up to six months in total for these arrangements. The customer must apply for a payment holiday and they are granted at the lender’s discretion.

More widely, there are measures available to support UK businesses, including coach operators. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Coach operators may also apply for either the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) or the coronavirus Bounce Back Loan (BBL).

There may be other sources of support available to coach operators depending on their individual circumstances. A ‘support finder’ tool has been launched to help businesses quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them.

In addition to payment holidays, the Government has introduced a range of schemes offering direct financial support to businesses.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason coach operators are not automatically eligible for payments made to support the leisure and tourism industry.

The Government is providing grant support to hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses that are required to close, as well as discretionary grant funding to support those businesses that are severely impacted but not required to close.

It is for Local Authorities to administer these schemes and determine on a case-by-case basis who is and is not entitled to funding. Coach companies that believe they may be eligible should contact their Local Authority.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many staff in his Department who have a right to 31.5 days annual leave, accrue annual leave at their standard rate when on long-term sick leave.

All staff at the Department for Transport, regardless of their contracted working hours, are entitled to accrue annual leave while on long term sick leave. Public holidays and the privilege day are excluded as employees are expected to have taken these days during their sick leave.

The information requested on the number of staff who have a right to 31.5 days and 30 days annual leave by age, sex and ethnicity can only be produced at disproportionate cost.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether staff on long-term sick leave in his Department accrue privilege leave.

All staff at the Department for Transport, regardless of their contracted working hours, are entitled to accrue annual leave while on long term sick leave. Public holidays and the privilege day are excluded as employees are expected to have taken these days during their sick leave.

The information requested on the number of staff who have a right to 31.5 days and 30 days annual leave by age, sex and ethnicity can only be produced at disproportionate cost.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of staff in his Department have the right to (a) 31.5 days and (b) 30 days annual leave, by (i) age, (ii) sex and (iii) ethnicity.

All staff at the Department for Transport, regardless of their contracted working hours, are entitled to accrue annual leave while on long term sick leave. Public holidays and the privilege day are excluded as employees are expected to have taken these days during their sick leave.

The information requested on the number of staff who have a right to 31.5 days and 30 days annual leave by age, sex and ethnicity can only be produced at disproportionate cost.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve cycling infrastructure and investment in Easington constituency.

The Government is investing £2 billion in cycling and walking schemes this parliament, supported by a new long term vision to deliver better streets for cycling published in July.

£2.2 million was allocated to the North East Joint Transport Committee area in June from tranche 1 of the Active Travel Fund. Tranche 2 allocations will be announced shortly. Decisions on allocating the remaining funding this parliament will be confirmed in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what restrictions he plans to place on the payment of dividends by train operating companies as a condition of the Emergency Recovery Management Agreements.

Franchisees will remain in ‘lock-up’ for the duration of the Emergency Recovery Management Agreements (ERMAs), meaning that payment of dividends may not made without the Secretary of State’s consent. Consent to the payment of a Permitted Dividend will not be unreasonably withheld or delayed, subject to franchisees fulfilling their financial obligations under the ERMAs to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State and complying with their Companies Act obligations. For any franchisee year the Permitted Dividend will be limited to the value of the fees paid to the franchisee net of Corporation Tax.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he is taking steps to reduce the costs of maintenance contracts with rolling stock companies as part of negotiating the Emergency Recovery Management Agreements.

Under the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements, operators have been placed on far more demanding management agreements, with tougher performance targets and lower management fees. The new contracts allow us to make an early start on key reforms, including requiring operators to co-ordinate better with each other and driving down the railways' capital costs.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what comparative assessment he has made of the merits of (a) directly procuring rolling stock and (b) leasing trains from rolling stock companies.

The Secretary of State has not currently made assessments of procuring or leasing rolling stock directly from manufacturers or rolling stock owning companies. The UK rolling stock market has been a vibrant one and passengers are benefiting from private investment in new trains across the country.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to continue to cover the cost of rolling stock company contracts under the new Emergency Recovery Management Agreements; and if he will make a statement.

The Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement (ERMA) arrangements cover the operators’ costs including the costs of rolling stock contracts for the duration of the ERMAs.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ban foreign-registered planes from being based in the UK for longer than 90 days.

The Department for Transport and the CAA do not currently believe there is any justification on safety grounds for such a measure, and therefore will not be pursuing this. This is due to the findings of the recent independent General Aviation safety review finding both that non-UK / European registered aircraft operating in the UK have an accident rate no higher than average, and that there is no evidence that these aircraft are maintained to a lower standard. Legislation of this type would also impact aircraft registered in the EU that are currently able to circulate freely between the UK and the EU.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to discourage UK-based aircraft from using foreign registration systems with less onerous regulatory requirements.

The majority of third country registered aircraft based in Europe are non-complex aircraft registered in the US, used for recreational aviation. The Department for Transport recently commissioned an independent review into the safety of recreational General Aviation. Both the review and evidence from the CAA show there is no evidence that overall non-UK registered aircraft are maintained to a lower standard than UK registered aircraft, and that overall non-UK and European registered aircraft do not have a higher accident rate. Introducing restrictions could unnecessarily impact aircraft registered in Europe that are operated and maintained to the same standards as those in the UK.

For these reasons, the Department for Transport does not consider there to be a safety case to proactively discourage UK-based aircraft from being registered to third countries. Further, changes made at European level, which the UK has adopted, have removed some of the incentives for registering an aircraft with a third country. We are closely following proposals by the European Aviation Safety Agency on this topic, and will consider whether a parallel approach would be appropriate for the UK post-Transition Period.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his letter to the Permanent Secretary of his Department of 20 March 2020 on urgent expenditure during the covid-19 outbreak, if he will publish the reasons given by his Department’s Investment and Portfolio Committee for recommending Emergency Measures Agreements rather than extending the Operator of Last resort to maintain rail services during Covid-19.

The Department’s Investment, Portfolio and Delivery Committee considered the options to maintain services, including extending the Operator of Last Resort. Ministers agreed with the committee’s recommendation to offer Emergency Measures Agreements to franchised train operators. Advice to Ministers is not normally published.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his letter to the Permanent Secretary of his Department on 20 March 2020 on urgent covid-19 expenditure, what estimate his Department’s Investment and Portfolio Committee has made of the (a) total cost and (b) cost by franchise which would result from (i) extending the Operator of Last Resort to all rail operators and (ii) placing all rail operators onto Emergency Measures Agreements to maintain rail services during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s Investment, Portfolio and Delivery Committee considered the options to maintain services, including extending the Operator of Last Resort. Ministers agreed with the committee’s recommendation to offer Emergency Measures Agreements to franchised train operators. Advice to Ministers is not normally published.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his letter to the Permanent Secretary of his Department on 20 March 2020 on urgent covid-19 expenditure, what time period the estimated financial effect of £588 million relates to; and what the additional monthly financial effect was for the rail sector since the start of the 2020 financial year.

The £588 million is an estimate that relates to the month of March 2020. It was an estimate made part way through month itself as it became apparent that the Covid-19 pandemic would have a large and immediate impact on rail revenues. The Department is reviewing the data on payments made to train operators under the Emergency Measures Agreements since they were introduced. This information has not yet been finalised but will be published in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the comparative cost of extending (a) rail operators’ Emergency Measures Agreements and (b) the Operator of Last Resort from September 2020.

The Department is reviewing its approach to potential contractual arrangements following the expiry of the Emergency Measures Agreements. Work is underway to consider a range of options and to determine the most appropriate approach. This work will take account of the potential impact of COVID-19 on demand for passenger rail travel in both the short and long term, and the associated economic and financial impacts on the railway, including analysis of Value for Money to taxpayers.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his policy is on delivering net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 on the rail network.

The Government is developing an ambitious Transport Decarbonisation Plan to achieve net zero emissions across all modes of transport. We will use electrification and alternative technologies such as battery and hydrogen trains to remove diesel trains from the network and decarbonise the railway.

Ongoing work led by Network Rail will inform decisions about the pace of rail decarbonisation to achieve net zero and the deployment of different decarbonisation technologies on each part of the network.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, will he will make it his policy to establish a criteria that promotes UK manufacturing in procurement contracts for rail rolling stock after the end of the transition period.

The end of the transition period presents an important opportunity for wider reform of our public procurement framework to ensure it meets our national needs, drives improved commercial outcomes, removes complex and unnecessary bureaucratic rules, and reduces burdens on business, whilst continuing to comply with the UK's obligations under its international trade agreements. This includes the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement, which the UK will accede to as an independent member at the end of the transition period. We will continue to work closely with industry, including rail businesses, to promote skilled employment and manufacturing in the UK.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps is he taking to increase the level of renewable technology used on the rail network.

The Government supports the use of new technology on the railway to deliver our legally binding target of net-zero UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The Department for Transport is working with Network Rail and the rail industry to determine which parts of the network are best suited to use of hydrogen or battery trains, as well as further electrification. DfT is also supporting the development of hydrogen and battery technology through innovation funding and research to overcome safety and other barriers to their deployment.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the number of coach operators who (a) have ceased business and (b) are at risk of closure due to the financial impact of covid-19.

We are encouraging coach operators to make use of the wide range of support measures the Chancellor announced. These amount to £330 billion of loans and guarantees for businesses, including the Covid-19 Jobs Retention Scheme to help firms retain members of staff, which has been extended until the end of October 2020. We are continuing to engage with the coach sector to understand what the ongoing risks and issues are, and how these could be addressed in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make financial support available to coach operators during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are encouraging coach operators to make use of the wide range of support measures the Chancellor announced. These amount to £330 billion of loans and guarantees for businesses, including the Covid-19 Jobs Retention Scheme to help firms retain members of staff, which has been extended until the end of October 2020. We are continuing to engage with the coach sector to understand what the ongoing risks and issues are, and how these could be addressed in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons coach operators were not included in the financial support package for bus operators.

We are encouraging coach operators to make use of the wide range of support measures the Chancellor announced. These amount to £330 billion of loans and guarantees for businesses, including the Covid-19 Jobs Retention Scheme to help firms retain members of staff, which has been extended until the end of October 2020. We are continuing to engage with the coach sector to understand what the ongoing risks and issues are, and how these could be addressed in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his Answer of 8 June 2020 to Question 49667, on Northern Rail: Coronavirus, how many additional cleaners have been employed by ISS to clean train stations managed by Northern Trains since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

ISS is in the process of recruiting more cleaners, who will all be in position in July. The total number of additional cleaners it will employ to carry out touch point cleaning with its new enhanced cleaning chemical will be 25.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Congestion Charge fee will to be reimbursed for Metropolitan Police staff travelling to work at central London sites.

Transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and delivered by Transport for London. The implementation of the congestion charge, including possible exemptions from the charge is a matter for the Mayor.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 2 June to Question 49660 on Rolling Stock: Coronavirus, how much money from the public purse the Government has paid to Train Operating Companies to cover the contractually agreed rental costs for rolling stock during the period of the Emergency Measures Agreements.

With reference to the answer to Question 49660 of 2 June, Train Operating Companies are continuing to pay the contractually agreed rental cost for rolling stock as they were prior to the Emergency Measures Agreements. Statistics on costs are published by the Office of Rail and Road in tab 2.13 at https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/excel_doc/0020/42563/uk-rail-industry-financial-information-2018-19.xlsx.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 2 June 202 to Question 49663 on Rolling Stock: Coronavirus, whether he requested that rolling stock companies suspend the payment of dividends in those meetings.

The rolling stock companies are privately owned businesses and no request has been made for them to suspend dividend payments.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which members of the Rail Delivery Group are entitled to a free network-wide rail travel pass.

The Department holds no information on which members of Rail Delivery Group are entitled to a free network-wide rail travel pass

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of (a) Northern Rail and (b) other train operating companies proving in-house cleaning services for trains during the covid-19 outbreak.

Northern do not use sub-contractors for train cleaning. Other Train Operating Companies decide on an individual basis as to what approach they take to meeting their cleaning requirements, and so no assessment of the type referred to in the question has been made.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how frequently Northern Rail (a) trains and (b) stations were deep cleaned (i) before and (ii) during the covid-19 outbreak.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, Northern Trains Limited had a comprehensive daily cleaning regime which included a deep clean of its trains every 72 days. Since the outbreak began, this regime has continued but increased with the use of anti-viral sanitiser and the additional cleaning of panels, carpets and toilet areas to ensure a safe environment for its staff and passengers.

NTL has followed Rail Delivery Group guidelines on the cleaning of stations and has carried out a robust cleaning schedule since the outbreak which, alongside its usual regime, includes regularly sanitising 'touch' points. The station cleaning visits varies between one and five visits per week where they are covered by mobile cleaning teams and between five to seven days a week attendance on those covered by station based cleaners.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the cleaning of Northern Rail’s trains and stations, what hygiene and health targets are used; and on which occasions sub-contractors have failed to meet those targets since the Operator of Last Resort took over the franchise.

The Department monitors customer perception of cleanliness through the National Rail Passenger surveys. Whilst Northern’s train cleaning is done in house, cleaning for stations is sub-contracted and so any cleaning targets for stations are set and managed directly through the contracts between Northern Trains Ltd and the contractor.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what additional payments have been made by Northern Rail to its cleaning sub-contractor, beyond those already agreed in its existing contract, as a result of the need to enhance the cleaning regime on its trains and stations in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Whilst Northern’s train cleaning is done in house, cleaning for stations is sub-contracted and so any payments made for the cleaning of stations are a commercial matter between Northern Trains Ltd and the contractor.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State of 7 April 2020 to the Transport Select Committee, how much has been paid to rolling stock companies as a result of the Emergency Measures Agreements with the Train Operating Companies.

Train Operating Companies are continuing to pay the contractually agreed rental cost for rolling stock as they were prior to the Emergency Measures Agreements. Statistics on costs are published at: https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he his taking to protect the public from the high costs of operating leases on privately owned rolling stock as a result of the Emergency Measures Agreements with train operating companies.

Rolling stock contracts are fixed over the term of the original franchise and were competitively procured by the operators; the same payments will continue through the period of the EMA.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to introduce a derogation from contractual obligations to pay operating lease charges for rolling stock.

These leases were competitively procured and contractually binding. The operators will require all their rolling stock to manage social distancing.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to help ensure adequate provision of cleaning staff to provide a safe environment on Northern Rail (a) trains and (b) stations during the covid-19 outbreak.

To help tackle the spread of coronavirus, rail operators and Network Rail are doing more to ensure our trains and stations are clean. The kinds of steps being taken include a greater focus on cleaning high-touch areas in trains and at stations (such as hand rails and ticket machine screens), more intensive cleaning and ensuring toilets are well stocked with soap.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) capping or (b) suspending the payment of operating lease charges for rolling stock during the the covid-19 outbreak.

There has been no assessment made as these are legally binding contracts between the train operator and the rolling stock company. The expectation is that all contracted rolling stock will be required to manage social distancing on trains. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began I have met with the main rolling stock companies to discuss how they can support industry and the country during this time.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of rolling stock companies on the suspension of the payment of dividends during the covid-19 outbreak.

There has been no discussion with rolling stock companies on suspension of dividends. Rolling stock companies are owned by private sector shareholders and suspension of payment of dividends will be a matter for them. I have met with the main rolling stock companies to discuss how they can support industry and the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will establish an aviation sector group comprising Ministers, aviation unions and the private sector, to (a) assess the issues facing the industry as a result of covid-19 and (b) develop a strategic plan for the sector.

The aviation sector is important to the UK economy and the government recognises the challenging times it is facing as a result of COVID-19. Our transport systems are critical to support the restart of the wider economy and we are working closely with the wider aviation sector, including unions, on these restart plans and the longer-term recovery of the sector.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with British Airways on (a) worker safety, (b) job protections and (c) financial assistance from the Government to that company during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Transport is engaging on a regular basis with airlines, unions and Public Health England on the application of public health measures in aviation

The Chancellor has set out unprecedented support for workers of airline companies. Measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are being used across the aviation industry to protect the sector against the Covid-19 economic crisis.

These measures, alongside other Government support measures such as Coronavirus Large Business Loan Interruption Scheme and the CCFF, are helping airlines of all sizes get through this crisis and beyond. The Chancellor has noted that under exceptional circumstances bespoke support could be provided to airlines.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he had with FlyBe prior to that company entering administration on (a) worker safety, (b) job protections and (c) financial assistance from the Government due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Government was in discussion with Flybe’s shareholders and directors, exploring multiple options to find a solution?that would ensure a long-term future for the company. However, keeping the company?operating?was not deemed viable by its directors.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Ryanair on (a) worker safety, (b) job protections and (c) financial assistance from the Government during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Transport is engaging on a regular basis with airlines, unions and Public Health England on the application of public health measures in aviation

The Chancellor has set out unprecedented support for workers of airline companies. Measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are being used across the aviation industry to protect the sector against the Covid-19 economic crisis.

These measures, alongside other Government support measures such as Coronavirus Large Business Loan Interruption Scheme and the CCFF, are helping airlines of all sizes get through this crisis and beyond. The Chancellor has noted that under exceptional circumstances bespoke support could be provided to airlines.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of publicly financing (a) smaller airports, (b) air traffic control and (c) specific routes to retain regional connectivity after the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The aviation sector is essential to the UK economy, and we encourage airports, airlines and other businesses in the sector to draw on the unprecedented package of measures we have made available to support them through this time. This includes schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees. The measures have been designed to ensure that companies of any size receive the help they need to get through this difficult time – which could include small airports as well as large, and others in the aviation supply chain.

The Government is willing to consider the situation of individual firms, so long as all other government schemes have been explored and all commercial options exhausted, including raising capital from existing investors. Any intervention would, of course, need to represent value for money for taxpayers.

The Government recognises the importance of regional connectivity to the nations and regions of the UK, and the positive impact that regional airports have on local economies, including providing domestic and global connectivity, employment opportunities, and a hub for local transport. The Department for Transport has set up a Restart, Recovery and Engagement unit to work with the aviation sector on the immediate issues around restart, and its longer-term growth and recovery.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect on regional connectivity of the problems in the aviation sector resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

Her Majesty’s Government recognises that the aviation sector is vital for providing domestic and global connectivity, employment opportunities, and a hub for local transport.

We are committed to supporting the recovery of the sector to support our levelling up agenda through regional connectivity and strengthen ties within the Union. We recognise the importance of maintaining a thriving competitive aviation sector in the UK to deliver connectivity.

1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will provide financial support for (a) airports and (b) airlines in return for shareholdings.

The aviation sector is essential to the UK economy, and we encourage airports, airlines and other businesses in the sector to draw on the unprecedented package of measures we have made available to support them through this time. This includes schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

We have set out that the Government is prepared to enter discussions with individual companies seeking bespoke support as a last resort, having exhausted all other options. Any intervention would also be on commercial terms and need to represent value for money for taxpayers.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the oral evidence of 28 October 2019 to the Transport Committee, Qq42-44, if he will publish the evidence on passenger views of public ownership which has informed the ongoing Williams rail review.

In April 2019, the Williams Rail Review published ‘Trust in the Rail Sector’, a research report into passenger views on the rail sector. This is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/797926/trust-in-the-rail-sector.pdf.

Further research will be published alongside the White Paper based on the Review’s recommendations.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy and (b) accessibility of electric vehicle infrastructure in areas of high density terrace housing.

The uptake of zero emission vehicles is a priority for this Government, to ensure we meet our net zero ambitions by 2050. Ensuring that motorists who do not have access to off-street parking are able to access electric vehicle chargepoints and having a reliable and easy-to-use public charging network are key for achieving the continued uptake of plug-in vehicles.

The On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) provides grant funding for local authorities towards the cost of installing on-street residential chargepoints for plug-in electric vehicles. In October 2019, the Secretary of State wrote to all local authorities encouraging them to send their strategies for infrastructure deployment and to take advantage of ORCS funding. Last month we announced that we are doubling the value of the On-street Residential Charging Scheme from £5 to £10 million, this could support as many as 3,600 chargepoints for motorists who do not have off-street parking.

Our manifesto stated that, along with the private sector, the Government will invest £1 billion in charging infrastructure – making sure that everyone is within 30 miles of a rapid charging station. Our jointly funded £400 million Chargepoint Infrastructure Investment Fund’s first investment round, worth a total of £70 million, will ensure the delivery of a further 3,000 rapid charging devices by 2024, more than doubling the current number of rapid charging devices.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to (a) help reduce the purchase cost of electric vehicles and (b) improve the electric vehicle infrastructure.

We are investing nearly £1.5bn? between April 2015 and March 2021 to support the transition to zero emission motoring and have put in place a range of grant schemes, available in any urban or rural areas UK-wide, to support the installation of charging infrastructure. We will set out a vision by Spring 2020 for a core infrastructure network of rapid and high powered chargepoints along England’s strategic road network.

The Government has put in place various grant funding schemes to assist with the up-front cost of purchasing eligible electric vehicles. Motorists who choose to make the switch to electric also benefit from lower Vehicle Excise Duty and, from April 2020, lower company car tax rates.

As part of our consultation to bring forward the end of sales of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans, Government is asking for views on what measures are required to support this transition.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the Government’s policy is on the use of wireless electric vehicle charging points.

The Government recognises that the wireless charging of electric vehicles is fast becoming a commercial reality, with some premium manufacturers already offering static wireless charging products.

The development of wireless charging is an exciting prospect and one the Government is planning through our R&D programme. In July last year, we announced new investment for British engineering to develop electric chargepoint infrastructure, with 12 projects set to receive almost £40 million to revolutionise the experience of owning an electric vehicle in the UK. Innovations to receive investment included electric vehicle wireless charging systems.

Investment in R&D projects like wireless charging is a key contributor to the Road to Zero Strategy and our mission to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacture of zero emission vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 9654 on Large Goods Vehicles: Testing, what discussions he has had with stakeholders on privatising heavy goods vehicle testing stations.

Pursuant to the answer of 3 February, I can confirm the Secretary of State has had no discussions with stakeholders on privatising heavy goods vehicle testing stations.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2020 to Question 8236 on High Speed 2 Railway Line, what estimate he has made of the reduction in journey times between the North East and Midlands after the completion of High Speed Two.

HS2 Phase 2b would reduce journey times between the Midlands and the North East. For example, the journey time between Birmingham and Newcastle will reduce by over 50 minutes.

30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether an equality impact assessment will be conducted prior to any driving test centre closure.

As a public body, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is obliged to take account of its Public Sector Equality Duty when exercising its functions.

It does that now and will continue to do so in the future.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will consult (a) the devolved administrations and (b) individual local hon. Members on planned driving test centre closures.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has in place well-established criteria for the establishment of driving test centres. It will continue to work within these parameters. These do not currently involve the devolved administrations or individual Members.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to undertake a review of the status of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s Trading Fund.

The Government’s approach to public bodies’ reform includes robust tailored reviews led by Departments with Cabinet Office oversight and challenge.

A tailored review of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is in the early stages of planning. This will include consideration of the control and governance arrangements in place for the DVSA and will make recommendations for improvement. It is expected that the tailored review will include consideration of its trading fund status.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many driving test centres face closure; and where those test centres are located.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) puts its customers at the heart of the services it provides. The agency keeps its operational estate under continuous review to ensure it delivers the highest level of service most efficiently. If the DVSA needs to review the size of its operational estate, it will first seek ministerial agreement to do so. It will then ensure it informs staff and stakeholders, and keeps them informed while working through any change.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to privatise heavy goods vehicle testing stations.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency puts its customers at the heart of all the services it provides. The agency keeps its operational estate under continuous review to ensure it delivers the highest level of service most efficiently.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to increase driving test fees this year.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency keeps the fees it charges for all of its statutory services, including driving tests, under continuous review. Any proposals to change any fees would be subject to HM Treasury approval and public consultation.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency will conduct a customer insight survey to ask if candidates would like to take their driving test from their home address.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) regularly conducts research and insight with its customers about the services it provides. That helps ensure the best possible service is provided, now and in the future. The DVSA will continue to seek customer feedback, including with driving test candidates, about how its services might be best delivered in the future.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward legislation proposals to give local authorities control over regional public transport similar to the remit of Transport for London.

The Government is committed to supporting places across the country to level up powers and funding to deliver improved public transport. Through devolution deals, eight ‘Metro’ mayoralties have now been established and the Government is committed to levelling-up places and striking deals with more places.

The Government will be publishing an English Devolution White Paper as a key part of our strategy to unleash the potential of our regions, which will include plans for expanding devolution across England and levelling up powers between Mayoral Combined Authorities.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if the Government will undertake a review of transport infrastructure to identify schemes with the aim of improving (a) regional connectivity, (b) economic performance and (c) employment opportunities in (i) the North East and (ii) Easington constituency.

The Government is committed to improving transport infrastructure across the North and is investing £13bn to 2020, including £337m towards the replacement of Tyne and Wear Metro rolling stock and £7.7m towards the £10.4m cost of the new station at Horden. The Transforming Cities Fund is also providing £2.5 billion investment to drive up productivity and improve access to good jobs. Decisions on the North East’s bid to the TCF will be taken in the Spring.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the economic effect of High Speed Two on people living in Easington constituency.

HS2 as planned has the potential to unlock significant investment in North East England. The project will integrate with Northern Powerhouse Rail and local transport, and will help to relieve congestion, improve reliability and speed up journey times between the North East with the Midlands and South.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of High Speed Two on economic inequality.

In August 2019 the Government commissioned the independent Oakervee Review to provide advice on whether and how to proceed with HS2. The Government will set out its next steps on HS2 shortly including, if appropriate, a revised assessment of the scheme’s business case.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to finding by Highways England in the report entitled Stationary Vehicle Detection, published in March 2016, what steps he has taken to ensure the safety of users of Smart motorways.

The Secretary of State for Transport announced in October an evidence stocktake to gather the facts on the safety of smart motorways and make recommendations. That work is being undertaken at pace.

While I wouldn’t want to pre-judge the results of that work, which we will be publishing very soon, what I can say is that we will continue to prioritise improving safety – making conditions safer for everyone on our roads.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will increase the frequency of emergency refuge areas on Smart motorways.

The Secretary of State for Transport announced in October an evidence stocktake to gather the facts on the safety of smart motorways and make recommendations. That work is being undertaken at pace.

While I wouldn’t want to pre-judge the results of that work, which we will be publishing very soon, what I can say is that we will continue to prioritise improving safety – making conditions safer for everyone on our roads.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of Smart motorways on trends in the number of fatal motorway accidents on those motorways.

The Secretary of State for Transport announced in October an evidence stocktake to gather the facts on the safety of smart motorways and make recommendations. That work is being undertaken at pace.

While I wouldn’t want to pre-judge the results of that work, which we will be publishing very soon, what I can say is that we will continue to prioritise improving safety – making conditions safer for everyone on our roads.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward proposals to extend Tyne and Wear Metro Services into Easington constituency.

I am aware that Nexus have identified several possible extensions to the Tyne and Wear Metro system. As this is a locally managed system, it would be for Nexus to identify which of these would be the most effective and to develop a business case and seek funding accordingly.

The Government is committed to improving local transport. We will create a £4.2 billion Local Public Transport Fund so city regions can upgrade their bus, train and tram services to make them as good as London’s – with more frequent, modern and environmentally friendly services.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the increase in the National Living wage announced by the Government on 31 December 2019, what discussions he is having with private sector companies undertaking facility management work for his Department to ensure that the cost of wage increases for their employees are not passed on to his Department.

The Department works closely in discussion with its Arms Length Bodies and facility management contractor to ensure value for money when delivering facility management services. Any increase to the minimum hourly rate set by Government entitles this contractor to pass on its increased costs under the current contract.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward proposals to increase the levels of funding allocated to roads in the English regions to similar levels to those allocated to roads in London.

The responsibility for local highways maintenance in London is a devolved matter and therefore falls to Transport for London (TfL) and the London boroughs.

The Government is providing local highways authorities in England (outside of London) over £6.6 billion between 2015 and 2020 for local highways maintenance. Every local highway authority in England (outside London) receives maintenance funding based on a formula that considers local factors such as road length, bridges, and street lighting. Highways authorities are able to prioritise their spending as they wish in order to meet local needs.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Local indicators of child poverty after housing costs, 2019-20, published by Loughborough University Centre for Research and Social Policy in May 2021, if she will commission a report to identify the reasons for the North East experiencing the largest increase in England in child poverty from 2014-15 to 2019-20.

No.

The Loughborough University Centre for Research and Social Policy report ‘Local indicators of child poverty after housing costs, 2019/20’ makes an assessment of poverty figures based on relative poverty. This Government believes, and has always believed, that absolute poverty is a better measure of living standards than relative poverty which can provide counter-intuitive results. In particular, relative poverty tends to fall when median income shrinks, such as during economic downturns, which is particularly relevant in the current circumstances.

To monitor poverty for different groups and regions the Department publishes the annual Households Below Average Incomes (HBAI) publication which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help parents move into, and progress in, work as quickly as possible, based on clear evidence around the importance of parental employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty. The In Work Progression Commission published their report on the barriers to progression for those in persistent low pay on 1 July 2021. Government will consider the recommendations and respond later in the year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the total pay withheld from people referred to Bespoke Patterns Ltd under the Kickstart scheme.

Department for Work and Pensions arranges grant agreements with employers. The grant agreement requires the employer to put in place a contract of employment with each young person that takes up a Kickstart job. DWP is not a party to these contracts because Kickstart jobs are real jobs and subject to all relevant employment law.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she taking to support people referred to Bespoke Patterns Ltd under the Kickstart scheme in response to that employer's failure to pay those workers.

Department for Work and Pensions Work Coach support is available for young people employed with Kickstart employers. The Grant Funding Agreement between DWP and employers makes clear that they should carry out their obligations in accordance with all applicable law including employment law.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many businesses participating in the Kickstart scheme have been investigated by her Department for failing to meet their obligations to participants.

Under the terms of the Kickstart Scheme Grant Funding Agreement, employers and Kickstart Gateways have a responsibility to carry out their obligations in accordance with all applicable law. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will investigate any organisation where there is evidence of a failure to meet obligations. To date we have rescinded 10 grant agreements as a result of our investigations.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 14 June 2021 to Question 12107 on Work Capability Assessment, how many face to face assessments have been carried out at (a) Elvet House Assessment Centre in Durham, (b) Park Tower Assessment Centre in Hartlepool and (c) The Bridges Assessment Centre in Sunderland since 17 May 2021.

The number of face to face assessments carried out at (a) Elvet House Assessment Centre in Durham, (b) Park Tower Assessment Centre in Hartlepool and (c) The Bridges Assessment Centre in Sunderland since 17 May 2021, is shown in the table below;

Assessment Centre

Number of face to face assessments completed since 17 May 2021 to 15 June 2021

Elvet House, Durham

52

Park Tower, Hartlepool

24

The Bridges, Sunderland

58

The department has worked with providers to put a range of measures in place to control and manage Covid-19 risk in assessment centres in line with Government Guidance, so that assessments can take place safely. These measures include, changes to assessment booking procedures to stagger appointment times and limit the number of people in an assessment centre at any one time and additional touchpoint cleaning within assessment rooms following each assessment. These procedures have an effect on the number of face to face assessments providers can conduct daily, whilst maintaining compliance with Covid-19 health and safety measures.

At present, face to face assessments are only being carried out for claimants we have been unable to assess by other means. We continue to conduct paper-based assessments, telephone assessments and some video assessments where suitable.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when face-to-face work capability assessments for social security allowances will resume.

Following their suspension in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from 17 May 2021 we have resumed face-to-face Work Capability Assessments for Employment and Support Allowance claimants, and for Universal Credit claimants who have reported a disability or health condition that affects their ability to work. Initially they will only be for those who we are unable to assess by other channels, and are taking place alongside existing paper-based assessments, telephone assessments and a small number of video assessments where suitable.

The Honourable Gentleman can find further information on the resumption of face-to-face assessments, including guidance for claimants and assessment providers on their safe resumption, on GOV.UK

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will introduce a system of universal credit direct payments to landlords in the event that a tenant on universal credit fails to make rent payments.

A managed payment direct to landlords is already available for claimants who have accrued one month or more rent arrears over more than two months, when it is in their best interest.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claims for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit are pending a decision.

Due to COVID-19, since March face-to-face assessments for all disability benefits have been suspended, however we have now begun paper-based assessments for certain prescribed diseases for the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). For successful applications to IIDB, award payments will be backdated to the date of application to ensure claimants will not lose out on payments they are entitled to. Reassessment case awards have been extended to ensure that payments continue unhindered on those cases. Any deteriorations which would have meant an increase in award, will be backdated once face-to-face assessments recommence, to ensure no one is left out of pocket.

On 15 March 2021 there were around 6090 Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit claims outstanding.

Source: Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Management Information

  1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
  2. Please note that the figures supplied are derived from unpublished information and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution.
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will routinely provide industrial injuries disablement benefit claimants with details of the medical qualifications of the healthcare professionals conducting their medical assessment.

IIDB assessments are conducted by Registered Medical Practitioners (doctors) who undertake a training course with examination followed by a period of supervised sessions with an experienced mentor and then 100% audit of their work prior to formal approval by DWP to carry out assessments.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to ensure that healthcare professionals conducting medical assessments for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit have (a) adequate medical qualifications and (b) experience in the field that relates to a claimant's conditions.

IIDB assessments are conducted by Registered Medical Practitioners (doctors) who undertake a training course with examination followed by a period of supervised sessions with an experienced mentor and then 100% audit of their work prior to formal approval by DWP to carry out assessments.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new claims for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit have been determined in the last 12 months.

The Department publishes quarterly statistics on claims and assessments under the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) scheme in Great Britain here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/industrial-injuries-disablement-benefit-quarterly-statistics

Statistics for IIDB decisions made in each quarter are available in table 2.4 of each quarterly publication, with the latest available to June 2020.

12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit claims relating to work-related chest disease and Dupuytren's contracture have been (a) considered and (b) awarded since that condition was included on the list of prescribed industrial diseases.

The Department publishes quarterly statistics on claims and assessments under the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) scheme in Great Britain here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/industrial-injuries-disablement-benefit-quarterly-statistics

Statistics for IIDB claims and payable awards made for work-related chest diseases and for Dupuytren's contracture in each quarter to June 2020 are available in the attached spreadsheet.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on pension rights for (a) new and (b) existing workers employed within a freeport.

Freeports do not change the existing laws on occupational pensions and automatic enrolment.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to improve communication and partnership working between the universal credit system and landlords and letting agents when there are concerns about a claimants' tenancy.

We provide clear routeways for Landlords to raise general queries or concerns about individual cases, for example, through our Partnership Manager network.

In May 2020 we introduced a new online system for private landlords to enable better interaction with Universal Credit. Private landlords are now able to request a Universal Credit tenant’s rent is paid directly to them online, which helps claimants who struggle with managing their money to pay their rent. This system replaces the arrangement of completing a form and submitting it via email or post.

This approach mirrors that used by Social Rented Sector (SRS) landlords, who have been able to request direct payment of housing support using the Social Rented Sector Landlord Portal since December 2019. The portal continues to be used by over 700 Social landlords to support the administration of SRS housing costs, and has been vital in helping landlords respond to the challenges of COVID-19. We are continuing to work with landlords to develop improvements to the portal and use their feedback to influence the features we release for the Portal.

Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs) are available for those claimants who cannot manage their single monthly payment and there is a risk of financial harm to the claimant and/or their family. APAs may be considered at the outset of a claim by a work coach or case manager, or at any time during the claim, such as if the claimant is struggling with the single monthly payment. They can also be triggered by information received from the claimant, their representative or their landlord.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to increase uptake of pension credit; and if she will put in place a strategy to achieve full uptake of that benefit.

While over 1.5 million pensioners currently receive Pension Credit, the Government wants to make sure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are rightly entitled. That is why in February this year we launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit and help dispel some of the misconceptions that people might have about Pension Credit eligibility. We wanted to make it clear that having savings, a pension or owning a home are not automatic barriers to receiving Pension Credit. We also wanted to highlight that even a small award of Pension Credit can provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with rent, council tax reduction schemes, heating costs and for those aged 75 or over a free television licence.

We are also continuing to work with our stakeholders to help spread the key messages from the campaign because we know that often the best ways to reach eligible pensioners is through trusted stakeholders working in the community. Our online Pension Credit toolkit (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-credit-toolkit) has been updated with the recent awareness campaign materials to supplement the resources it already contains for those working with pensioners, such as guides to Pension Credit and information designed to help older people understand how they could get Pension Credit.

In May this year we launched an online claim service for Pension Credit to supplement the existing telephone and postal claim services (https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit). The new online service enables pensioners to apply for Pension Credit at a time that suits them. Around 50% of new claims to Pension Credit are currently being made using the service and more than 34,000 online claims have been made since it was launched. https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to permit the direct payment of rent to landlords at any point during a universal credit claim to support the budget management of claimants.

Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs), such as a Managed Payment to Landlord (MPtL), are already available to enable the housing costs element to be paid directly to the landlord if the tenant is likely to have difficulty in managing their rent payments or is in rent arrears. APAs can be considered at any point during a claim to Universal Credit and the decision to implement one is assessed on a case by case basis.

Our Work Coaches and Case Managers gauge claimants’ financial needs from their first interview. For those who need help with budgeting, we can signpost additional support, for example through the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), who can help with personal budgeting and money management through its free helpline, printed guides and digital guidance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help minimise the number of evictions of people in receipt of universal credit as a result of rent arrears.

Claimants may find themselves in rent arrears for a variety of reasons, many of which can pre-date their claim to Universal Credit. The Department encourages people out of work, or on a low income, to consider whether claiming Universal Credit could provide them with additional support before issues, such as debt, spiral out of control. We promote Universal Credit through various external channels, including through the ‘Understanding Universal Credit’ website, to help people navigate the range of support available and provide information about how to apply.

Our own analysis shows that Universal Credit in fact reduces debts, such as rent arrears. Supporting research carried out by the National Federation of Arm's-length Management Organisations (ALMOs), shows over three quarters of their tenants come onto Universal Credit with pre-existing rent arrears. It also shows that arrears tend to increase prior to making a claim for Universal Credit, and that Universal Credit actually appears to be helping to clear arrears over time.

Recent changes to Universal Credit include temporarily increasing the standard allowance by up to £1,040 per year and increasing the Local Housing Allowance rates, including the Shared Accommodation element, so that it covers the lowest 30% of local market rents benefiting over one million households by £600 a year on average. These measures form part of an unprecedented increase to welfare spending of £9.3 billion following the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Department has also delivered a number of improvements to support claimants during their first assessment period, such as removing waiting days and paying those claimants moving from Housing Benefit on to Universal Credit a two week ‘transitional housing payment’. Since July 2020, an additional two-week run has been introduced to assist eligible claimants moving from Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (IR) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (IB). Advance payments are available so nobody has to wait five weeks for payment.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether a health and safety committee will be formed for the Benton Park site, where a request has been made under Regulation 9 of the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 by two safety representatives.

The Department for Work and Pensions is fully committed to its collaborative approach with Trade Union representatives and to meeting Health and Safety legislative requirements; as such it has a full Safety Committee Structure in place that includes the provision for such a meeting to be held in relation to the Benton Park site, and does so.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with trade unions on the reopening of job centres in (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales.

Jobcentres have remained open to support our most vulnerable claimants throughout this pandemic, providing a service, in accordance with PHE and Devolved Government guidelines on social distancing, to vulnerable claimants unable to access our services through digital/telephony channels.

We are currently completing a programme of implementing safety measures, including provision of screens and signage, across our Jobcentres allowing us to extend our face to face service. We remain open for those who need us but will continue to minimise the requirement for customers to travel to our Jobcentres, conducting the majority of interactions digitally or by phone.

The department has widely discussed plans to extend our face to face service with Trade Union at National, Regional and local levels

We have been in regular dialogue with the unions on the reopening of Jobcentres nationally over the last few weeks. We held a meeting with DTUS on plans for Scotland on Monday 13th July. This was at short notice in response to TU concerns that this was being pursued without proper consultation.

We then wrote to DTUS on 15th July with further detail on planning for the roll-out in both Scotland and Wales. We continue to meet with DTUS twice weekly so there is a regular opportunity for further discussion where needed.

Please note that the DWP is only responsible for benefits in Great Britain. Social security benefits are a devolved matter in Northern Ireland. Questions about benefits in Northern Ireland should be directed to the Department of Communities in Northern Ireland

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the job finding support service referred to in paragraph 2.19 of the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs, published on 8 July 2020, will be provided by (a) current work coaches or (b) put out to tender.

The Department for Work and Pensions plans to carry out a commercial exercise, compliant with public procurement regulations. More details will be announced in due course.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) duration and (b) delivery method of training for new work coaches will be as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

DWP is committed to providing new Work Coaches with the technical knowledge, skills and behaviours to be able to provide a high quality service to our claimants.

The current methodology follows a learn, consolidate, learn approach through virtual classroom delivery by learning development officers, followed by consolidation in the live working environment.

The end to end Work Coach learning journey is 52 days, consisting of 32 days in virtual in class learning, delivered over 5 parts, with 20 days’ consolidation with the business split between each in class period.

We are though reviewing our learning approach for Work Coaches through the summer to see if there are alternative approaches that could enhance the learning.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether contracts for new work coaches in her Department will be (a) full-time or part-time and (b) short-term or permanent.

DWP will offer Work Coach roles on both a full-time and part-time basis, in line with the DWP flexible working policy.

Recruitment will be a blend of permanent roles, and fixed term appointments.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will bring forward proposals to increase financial support for key workers who need to self-isolate due to showing covid-19 symptoms.

As part of the Government’s strategy to support people affected by COVID 19, DWP has made a number of changes to make sure people can self-isolate, and to ensure people who need financial help have access to the benefit system.

  • We have introduced new provisions making Statutory Sick Pay payable from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 – where an eligible individual is sick, self-isolating or shielding (in England and Wales).
  • If their income is reduced while sick or self-isolating and they require further financial support, individuals may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on their individual circumstances.

We have increased the Universal Credit standard allowance by £20 per week for the next 12 months – up to £1,040 this year. This is in addition to the 1.7% inflation increase (announced Nov 2019) as part of the Government’s decision to end the benefits freeze and means more financial support for millions of people across the UK.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2020
What recent discussions she has had with the Health and Safety Executive on ensuring that workplaces are safe to return to after the covid-19 lockdown has ended.

HSE are working across Government and both the Secretary of State and I have had regular meetings with senior officials from the HSE to assess the ways in which the Department can support the important work HSE is doing in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will extend deadlines for social security claimants to (a) ensure that claims are not stopped during the covid-19 outbreak and (b) ease the pressure on the NHS from claimants seeking evidence to support claims.

As part of the Government’s strategy to support people affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency, DWP is making a number of changes to its benefit processes to ensure people who need financial help have appropriate access to the welfare system. This includes claimants being able to claim Universal Credit and access its new claim advance payments where they are directly affected by COVID-19 (or self-isolating), without the requirement to attend a Jobcentre. Any evidence to support claims can be provided remotely, normally online or by telephone.

To avoid increasing the burden on health care professionals and the risk of further infection, everyone that claims Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or UC, and who is infected with COVID-19 or who is required to self-isolate, will be treated as having Limited Capability for Work in ESA and UC without supplying medical evidence or undergoing a Work Capability Assessment.

In addition, to better support the needs of people (particularly the self-employed and those not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay) and/or not entitled to UC, we are removing the seven waiting days that currently apply to ESA. This means that everyone who makes a new claim for ESA is entitled to the benefit, and is infected with COVID-19 or required to self-isolate, will be paid from day one of their claim.

Government officials continue to work closely together to understand the potential impacts of COVID-19 on employment and benefits. The Department has introduced new guidance about claiming benefits which can be found at: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will introduce a target for the uptake of pension credit to help ensure that all pensioners eligible to claim pension credit receive it.

It is important to highlight that in 2017/18 there were around 1.7 million Pension Credit claimants, receiving around £5.1 billion of Pension Credit payments.

The Government wants to make sure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are entitled. That is why on the 10 February we launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit. The aim of the campaign is to encourage those over State Pension age to check whether they’re eligible. We want to make it clear that having savings, a pension or owning a home are not automatic barriers to receiving Pension Credit; as well as explaining that even a small award of Pension Credit can provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with rent, council tax reduction schemes and heating costs.

The campaign includes a short, animated video that is being shown in GP waiting rooms and in Post Offices. It is also being shown to Facebook users over State Pension age and supported by other messaging on social media. We have also made the video and campaign materials available for stakeholders to use, as we know they are often one of the first places people turn to for information about Pension Credit.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of eligible pensioners in (a) Easington constituency and (b) the UK not in receipt of pension credit.

It is important to highlight that in 2017/18 there were around 1.7 million Pension Credit claimants, amounting to around £5.1 billion of Pension Credit payments. The Government is committed to making sure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are rightly entitled.

The information requested on the number of people eligible for Pension Credit who are not in receipt of the benefit in (a) Easington Constituency and (b) the UK, is only available at the Great Britain level. The most recent estimate of this is for the period of 2017/18.

Year

Estimated number of Entitled Non-Recipients in Thousands

Range in Thousands

2017/18

1,060

970 - 1,150

Official statistics on the take-up of income-related benefits at Great Britain level, including Pension Credit, can be found in the ‘Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up in 2017 to 2018’ publication.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up-financial-year-2017-to-2018

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will commission television advertising to promote the Pension Credit: Are You Eligible? public information promotional video.

It is important to highlight that in 2017/18 there were around 1.7 million Pension Credit claimants, receiving around £5.1 billion of Pension Credit payments.

The Government wants to make sure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are entitled. That is why on the 10 February we launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit. The aim of the campaign is to encourage those over State Pension age to check whether they’re eligible. We want to make it clear that having savings, a pension or owning a home are not automatic barriers to receiving Pension Credit; as well as explaining that even a small award of Pension Credit can provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with rent, council tax reduction schemes and heating costs.

The campaign includes a short, animated video that is being shown in GP waiting rooms and in Post Offices. It is also being shown to Facebook users over State Pension age and supported by other messaging on social media. We have also made the video and campaign materials available for stakeholders to use, as we know they are often one of the first places people turn to for information about Pension Credit.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average cost to her Department is of processing a universal credit claim for a single one month assessment period.

The information is not held.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will introduce a target to (a) reduce child poverty to four million children by 2021, (b) reduce child poverty to two million children by 2025 and (c) eradicate child poverty by 2030.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave on 27 January to question number 6646.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-01-22/6646/

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will bring forward legislative proposals for the introduction of statutory targets to (a) reduce and (b) end child poverty.

The Government is committed to action that delivers a sustainable long-term solution to child poverty, including reforming the benefits system so that it supports employment and higher pay. Universal Credit is designed to help people move into work faster, stay in work longer and spend more time looking to increase their earnings and, when fully rolled out, we expect Universal Credit will boost employment by 200,000, lifting people out of poverty and generating £8 billion in economic benefits every year.

The child poverty targets introduced in 2010 were replaced with two statutory measures of parental employment and children’s educational attainment, the two areas which can make the biggest difference to children’s long-term outcomes. We have no current plans to reintroduce a target-based approach that focuses on income alone.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many children in poverty lived in working households in each of the last five years.

National statistics of the number of children in low income households are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication.

Statistics for the number of children in working households in absolute low income, in each of the last five years, are available by combining tables 4.21ts and 4.2ts in the file “children-hbai-timeseries-1994-95-2017-18-tables” available in the link below.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/789816/hbai-2017-2018-tables-ods-files.zip

Statistics for the number of children in working households in relative low income, in each of the last five years, are available by combining tables 4.15ts and 4.2ts in the same file.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the increase in the National Living wage announced by the Government on 31 December 2019, what discussions she is having with private sector companies undertaking facility management work for her Department to ensure that the cost of wage increases for their employees are not passed on to her Department.

The DWP FM contract includes provision to discuss living wage increases, however the Department has not yet entered into discussions with its FM Supplier about the National Living Wage increases announced in December 2019. We are anticipating the conversation for 19/20 costs to take place in April 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of staff in her Department would receive an increase in their salary in the event that their hourly pay rate was (a) £8.72, (b) £9.30 and (c) £10.

The below figures show the proportion of DWP staff that would receive an increase in their annual salary, using the statutory National Living Wage calculation, in the event that their hourly pay increased to (a) £8.72, (b) £9.30 and (c) £10. DWP pays all staff at least the National Living Wage, regardless of age.

Hourly rate

Full time equivalent salary

Volume of DWP employees that would be uplifted

% of DWP headcount

£8.72

£19,118

1915

2.44%

£9.30

£20,390

6236

7.95%

£10

£21,924

26670

34.01%

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will set a target date for eradicating child poverty in Easington constituency.

This Government is committed to delivering a sustainable, long-term solution to poverty in all its forms. Tackling child poverty requires an approach that goes beyond targets - which focus on income alone- to one that addresses the root causes of poverty and disadvantage and improves long-term outcomes for families and children.

Through Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families, published in 2017, we set out detailed evidence on the root causes of poverty and disadvantage and their impact on the outcomes of children in families where none of the parents is working. We also set out nine indicators to track progress in the areas that matter, including two statutory measures of parental worklessness and educational attainment – the two areas that we know can make the biggest difference to children’s outcomes.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/621364/improving-lives-helping-workless-families-web-version.pdf.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking with the Secretary of State for Education to (a) identify and (b) tackle the causes of child poverty in Easington constituency.

This Government is committed to delivering a sustainable, long-term solution to poverty in all its forms. Tackling child poverty requires an approach that goes beyond targets - which focus on income alone- to one that addresses the root causes of poverty and disadvantage and improves long-term outcomes for families and children.

Through Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families, published in 2017, we set out detailed evidence on the root causes of poverty and disadvantage and their impact on the outcomes of children in families where none of the parents is working. We also set out nine indicators to track progress in the areas that matter, including two statutory measures of parental worklessness and educational attainment – the two areas that we know can make the biggest difference to children’s outcomes.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/621364/improving-lives-helping-workless-families-web-version.pdf.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding of Scope and the Disabled Children’s Partnership’s report, The gap widens, published September 2021, that there is a £1.5 billion funding gap in disabled children’s NHS spending, what estimate his Department has made of the funding gap in disabled children’s health services.

While a specific estimate has not been made, we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health and care services for disabled children.

The forthcoming Spending Review will set out the Government’s spending plans for health and social care for future years. On 6 September 2021 the Government announced an additional £5.4 billion for the National Health Service to support the COVID-19 response over the next six months, bringing the total Government support to more than £34 billion in 2021/22. This includes £2 billion to reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with staff representatives at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on proposed redundancies at that agency; and if he will undertake an equality impact assessment relating to those proposed redundancies.

Ministers and officials meet regularly with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to discuss a range of issues, including its transformation plans to become a more dynamic and efficient organisation. The Department has not made a specific assessment of the MHRA’s staffing levels.

The MHRA is carrying out a series of equality and diversity impact assessments throughout the transformation continues to engage with trade unions and employees through a formal consultation as well as continuing opportunities for engagement with senior leaders.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of staffing levels at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to carry out its day-to-day functions.

Ministers and officials meet regularly with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to discuss a range of issues, including its transformation plans to become a more dynamic and efficient organisation. The Department has not made a specific assessment of the MHRA’s staffing levels.

The MHRA is carrying out a series of equality and diversity impact assessments throughout the transformation continues to engage with trade unions and employees through a formal consultation as well as continuing opportunities for engagement with senior leaders.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with executive officers at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency regarding the proposed redundancies at that agency.

Ministers and officials meet regularly with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to discuss a range of issues, including its transformation plans to become a more dynamic and efficient organisation. The Department has not made a specific assessment of the MHRA’s staffing levels.

The MHRA is carrying out a series of equality and diversity impact assessments throughout the transformation continues to engage with trade unions and employees through a formal consultation as well as continuing opportunities for engagement with senior leaders.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will establish a wage council to determine pay levels in the care sector.

We have no current plans to do so.

The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay, independent of central Government. Local authorities work with care providers to determine a fair rate of pay based on local market conditions.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the NHS plans to suspend the rationing of blood tests as a result of the shortage of blood collection tubes.

In a letter dated 26 August issued by NHS England and Improvement to the National Health Service, it highlights that the position will improve form the middle of September and that all non-urgent use must be halted until 17 September 2021. In the last two weeks of August the NHS has been supplied with approximately 87% of its pre-disruption requirement on the fastest moving product lines and with the availability of new product it is expected this will increase over the first weeks of September to support resumption of services by the middle of September.

Patient safety is the top priority and we are working closely with NHS England and the devolved administrations to minimise any impact on patient care and return to a normal service as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS People Plan 2020/2021, what additional funding will be required to (a) expand the NHS workforce and (b) ensure that education and training is fit for the future.

The next Spending Review will set out further details of the Government’s spending plans for National Health Service workforce education and training budgets for future years.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) steps his Department has taken and (b) recent progress has been made towards increasing cancer survival rates.

The Government remains committed to the National Health Service Long Term Plan ambition to increase survival rates, so that an additional 55,000 people survive their cancer for 5 years or more each year by 2028.

We continue to focus on delivering earlier diagnosis, which will help to improve survival rates, through projects such as our Targeted Lung Health Check programme and implementation of Rapid Diagnostic Centre pathways.

NHS England and Improvement invested an additional £150m in imaging and endoscopy equipment in 2020-21. The £325 million capital funding from the 2020 Spending Review in diagnostics will also help to speed up diagnostics and improve patient outcomes.

The NHS is also working to improve survival outcomes by introducing cutting-edge new treatments. The pandemic has allowed us to accelerate activity in some key areas such as the adoption of new technologies and treatment methods, and we will continue to look for opportunities to further increase our efforts.

Based on the latest data available up to 2017, one-year survival rates for all cancers combined are at a record high in the UK. Between 2003 and 2018, the one-year survival for all cancers combined increased from 63.6% to 73.9%. Between 2003 and 2014, the five-year survival for all cancer combined increased from 45.7% to 54.6%.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional funding will be made available to (a) expand the NHS workforce and (b) ensure that education and training is fit for the future as outlined in the NHS People Plan 2020/2021.

The next Spending Review will set out further details of the Government’s spending plans for National Health Service workforce education and training budgets for future years.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional funding is being made available to help increase cancer survival rates.

This is being supported by £325 million of investment in NHS diagnostics. In July 2021, the National Health Service announced a further £20 million made available to Cancer Alliances to accelerate cancer diagnosis and enable management of high referral volumes. This is being supported by £325 million of investment in NHS diagnostics. The NHS Long Term Plan also sets out further plans for the transformation of cancer services and to increase cancer survival rates.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the progress made towards delivering the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to diagnose three-quarters of cancers at an early stage by 2028.

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.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Disabled Children’s Partnerships Left Behind report, published on 16 July 2021, what plans he has to provide ring-fenced additional funding for disabled children’s physiotherapy and other therapies in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

Further details on the next Spending Review will be set out in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Disabled Children’s Partnerships Left Behind report, published on 16 July 2021, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of funding specific covid-19 recovery policies for disabled children, young people and families to help them recover from the covid-19 outbreak in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

As part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health and care services to disabled children. The Government has allocated over £6 billion directly to councils in 2020-21 and 2021-22 to support the impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including for children’s social care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make additional funding available to help improve early diagnosis and detection of pancreatic cancer.

The Government is committed to the Long Term Plan ambition of diagnosing three quarters of cancers at Stage one or two by 2028. NHS England and NHS Improvement are taking a multi-pronged approach which includes accelerating access to diagnosis and treatment, through their rollout of Rapid Diagnostic Centres and the new Faster Diagnosis Standard and the investment in new equipment such as the £325 million capital funding for National Health Service (NHS) diagnostics, which is enough to replace over two thirds of imaging equipment over 10 years old. The investment in this Long Term Plan commitment will help improve early diagnosis and detection of pancreatic cancer.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have recently announced that they will commission an audit in pancreatic cancer to help to reduce variations in treatment and improve patient outcomes. Scoping for this audit has begun, and the first data is expected in 2023.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) clinical guideline on the diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer describes best practice in the care and treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer, including supporting their nutritional needs. Whilst NHS organisations and clinicians should take guidelines and quality standards into account, it is the responsibility of clinicians to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of each patient.

The “Help Us to Help You” campaign encourages people with symptoms to come forward. Cancer referrals in April and May 2021 were at an all-time high. An additional £1bn funding has been made available to the NHS in 2021/22 to support the start of this recovery of elective activity, including the recovery of cancer services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that pancreatic cancer patients receive treatment within 20 days of diagnosis.

The Government is committed to the Long Term Plan ambition of diagnosing three quarters of cancers at Stage one or two by 2028. NHS England and NHS Improvement are taking a multi-pronged approach which includes accelerating access to diagnosis and treatment, through their rollout of Rapid Diagnostic Centres and the new Faster Diagnosis Standard and the investment in new equipment such as the £325 million capital funding for National Health Service (NHS) diagnostics, which is enough to replace over two thirds of imaging equipment over 10 years old. The investment in this Long Term Plan commitment will help improve early diagnosis and detection of pancreatic cancer.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have recently announced that they will commission an audit in pancreatic cancer to help to reduce variations in treatment and improve patient outcomes. Scoping for this audit has begun, and the first data is expected in 2023.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) clinical guideline on the diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer describes best practice in the care and treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer, including supporting their nutritional needs. Whilst NHS organisations and clinicians should take guidelines and quality standards into account, it is the responsibility of clinicians to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of each patient.

The “Help Us to Help You” campaign encourages people with symptoms to come forward. Cancer referrals in April and May 2021 were at an all-time high. An additional £1bn funding has been made available to the NHS in 2021/22 to support the start of this recovery of elective activity, including the recovery of cancer services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help improve outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients after diagnosis.

The Government is committed to the Long Term Plan ambition of diagnosing three quarters of cancers at Stage one or two by 2028. NHS England and NHS Improvement are taking a multi-pronged approach which includes accelerating access to diagnosis and treatment, through their rollout of Rapid Diagnostic Centres and the new Faster Diagnosis Standard and the investment in new equipment such as the £325 million capital funding for National Health Service (NHS) diagnostics, which is enough to replace over two thirds of imaging equipment over 10 years old. The investment in this Long Term Plan commitment will help improve early diagnosis and detection of pancreatic cancer.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have recently announced that they will commission an audit in pancreatic cancer to help to reduce variations in treatment and improve patient outcomes. Scoping for this audit has begun, and the first data is expected in 2023.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) clinical guideline on the diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer describes best practice in the care and treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer, including supporting their nutritional needs. Whilst NHS organisations and clinicians should take guidelines and quality standards into account, it is the responsibility of clinicians to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of each patient.

The “Help Us to Help You” campaign encourages people with symptoms to come forward. Cancer referrals in April and May 2021 were at an all-time high. An additional £1bn funding has been made available to the NHS in 2021/22 to support the start of this recovery of elective activity, including the recovery of cancer services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of unfilled vacancies for clinical oncology consultants in the NHS.

The Department has not made such an estimate.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many radiotherapy machines currently used by the NHS are more than 10 years old.

As at 31 March 2021, approximately 63 Linear Particle Accelerators (LINACs) in routine National Health Service use were aged 10 years or more. Approximately two thirds of these have a locally agreed replacement plan that is due to be implemented in 2021-22.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure equitable access to Exjade for Myelodysplastic Syndrome patients across the country.

Exjade (Deferasirox) is not licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to treat Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Clinicians are able to prescribe any product on the National Health Service they consider necessary for the treatment of their patient, unless it is listed in Schedules 1 or 2 to the National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) (Prescription of Drugs etc.) Regulations 2004. This is known as off-label prescribing.

The Department expects prescribers to satisfy themselves that the medicines they consider appropriate for their patients can be safely prescribed and that they take account of appropriate national guidance on clinical effectiveness. This prescribing decision is subject to the treatment being funded by the relevant commissioner.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) enable and (b) fund urgent access to the drug Luspatercept for extremely vulnerable transfusion-dependent RARS Myelodysplastic Synrdomes patients in the absence of a NICE decision on the appraisal of that drug.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) appraisal of luspatercept for the treatment of anaemia caused by myelodysplastic syndromes has been suspended because the company that manufactures the drug was unable to provide an evidence submission. NICE is working with the company to reschedule the appraisal of luspatercept once the company is in a position to provide an evidence submission.

In the absence of NICE guidance on the use of a drug, clinicians are still able to prescribe luspatercept if they consider it appropriate for their patients, subject to the treatment being funded by the relevant commissioner. National Health Service commissioners are expected to take funding decisions based on an assessment of the available evidence and are required to have arrangements in place to consider individual funding requests.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve working conditions for the radiotherapy workforce including (a) improving access to necessary IT infrastructure and (b) reducing pressures following the covid-19 outbreak.

Health Education England (HEE) is continuing to take forward the cancer priorities identified in the NHS Long Term Plan and People Plan, including the training of 450 reporting radiographers.

Cancer patients will continue to be prioritised within the National Health Service and will benefit from approximately £1 billion from the Spending Review to tackle the elective backlog.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also offered radiotherapy providers the opportunity of participating in a centrally funded three-year evaluation programme of a cloud-based information technology solution called ProKnow. This system will enable clinicians to collaborate virtually within and across services to plan treatments, undertake peer review processes and participate in large-scale audit and quality improvement processes. The Spending Review also made £32 million available to support the replacement of radiotherapy equipment in 2021-22 and work has already begun with trusts to identify need and allocate funds.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional investment his Department is putting into (a) radiotherapy machines and (b) IT infrastructure and software to provide additional capacity in response to the cancer backlog following the covid-19 outbreak.

Health Education England (HEE) is continuing to take forward the cancer priorities identified in the NHS Long Term Plan and People Plan, including the training of 450 reporting radiographers.

Cancer patients will continue to be prioritised within the National Health Service and will benefit from approximately £1 billion from the Spending Review to tackle the elective backlog.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also offered radiotherapy providers the opportunity of participating in a centrally funded three-year evaluation programme of a cloud-based information technology solution called ProKnow. This system will enable clinicians to collaborate virtually within and across services to plan treatments, undertake peer review processes and participate in large-scale audit and quality improvement processes. The Spending Review also made £32 million available to support the replacement of radiotherapy equipment in 2021-22 and work has already begun with trusts to identify need and allocate funds.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of the Action Radiotherapy’s flash survey from May 2021, what plans his Department has to tackle the challenges facing the radiotherapy workforce including (a) capacity (b) covid-19-related pressures and (c) IT access.

Health Education England (HEE) is continuing to take forward the cancer priorities identified in the NHS Long Term Plan and People Plan, including the training of 450 reporting radiographers.

Cancer patients will continue to be prioritised within the National Health Service and will benefit from approximately £1 billion from the Spending Review to tackle the elective backlog.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also offered radiotherapy providers the opportunity of participating in a centrally funded three-year evaluation programme of a cloud-based information technology solution called ProKnow. This system will enable clinicians to collaborate virtually within and across services to plan treatments, undertake peer review processes and participate in large-scale audit and quality improvement processes. The Spending Review also made £32 million available to support the replacement of radiotherapy equipment in 2021-22 and work has already begun with trusts to identify need and allocate funds.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of access to relevant drugs for MDS patients in England.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for providing evidence-based guidance for the National Health Service on whether medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. NICE has published guidance recommending azacitidine for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and lenalidomide for treating MDS associated with an isolated deletion 5q cytogenetic abnormality. The NHS in England is legally required to fund medicines recommended in a NICE appraisal and both medicines are routinely funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement for eligible patients in line with NICE’s recommendations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle regional disparities in drug access for MDS patients in England.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for providing evidence-based guidance for the National Health Service on whether medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. NICE has published guidance recommending azacitidine for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and lenalidomide for treating MDS associated with an isolated deletion 5q cytogenetic abnormality. The NHS in England is legally required to fund medicines recommended in a NICE appraisal and both medicines are routinely funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement for eligible patients in line with NICE’s recommendations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will introduce a social care standard to ensure that service users are given (a) a named carer and (b) an approximate time for each social care appointment.

The Care Act 2014 sets out a duty for local authorities to consider the quality of services. Local authorities must be mindful of the capacity, capability, timeliness, continuity, reliability and flexibility of services delivered in order to support the wellbeing of a person. The Care Act 2014 also allows people to receive personal budgets enabling them to plan their own care and support and exercise control over how it is provided including directly employing a personal assistant at a time to suit them.

The Care Quality Commission monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards. They also set clear expectations of what a good service looks like. For home care providers, this includes introducing people to the staff who will provide them with care and being told if the person due to provide the care changes at short notice.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the period available to local authorities to apply for the additional drug treatment crime and harm reduction activity grants announced on 20 January 2021.

No such assessment has been made. The Department has been allocated £80 million of additional funding for drug treatment for 2021/22 as part of the £148 million drugs and crime package. Public Health England have provided local authorities with information and guidance to support them with their applications.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to vaccinate people who live with people diagnosed as (a) clinically and (b) clinically extremely vulnerable.

Included in priority cohort six are those classed as clinically vulnerable, as well as adult carers and younger adults in long stay residential care settings. This also includes unpaid carers.

Consideration has been given to vaccination of household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals. However, whilst initial findings are positive, there is insufficient data on the impact the vaccines have on transmission to extend prioritisation to wider family members and household contact at this stage. Once sufficient evidence become available the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will consider next steps.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines for the immunocompromised or immunosuppressed, including blood cancer patients.

Public Health England is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on a broad range of outcomes including symptomatic disease, infection and hospitalisations.

Vaccine effectiveness assessments are reported regularly to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to inform vaccine policy recommendations. This includes assessment of vaccine effectiveness in immunocompromised individuals, including blood cancer patients, using general practice electronic health record data. Once sufficient evidence becomes available the JCVI will consider options for a protection strategy for immunosuppressed individuals, including whether any specific vaccine is preferred in this population.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will provide additional funding for research projects investigating the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines for blood cancer patients.

There is a breadth of research activity being undertaken, including by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to better understand the effects of COVID-19 vaccination on individuals that are immunocompromised, including those with blood cancers. Specifically, as part of the National Core Studies Immunity Programme, UKRI has provided initial funding of £1.8 million towards the OCTAVE study looking at vaccine responses in groups of immune suppressed individuals, including in cancer and blood cancer patients.

UKRI is also supporting the Data and Connectivity National Core Studies programme with an investment of up to £8.2 million to date to enable the real-world evaluation of vaccine uptake and efficacy across all populations, including cancer patients.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence have to lead on an engagement exercise on the Innovative Medicines Fund.

Proposals for the Innovative Medicines Fund are in development and we expect NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to lead an engagement exercise early this year. The exercise will involve the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service, its associated bodies and patient groups.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which priority group of the covid-19 vaccination programme includes family members and carers of people living with the clinically extremely vulnerable, including those with blood cancer.

Included in priority cohort six are those classed as clinically vulnerable, as well as adult carers and younger adults in long stay residential care settings. This also includes unpaid carers.

Consideration has been given to vaccination of household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals. However, whilst initial findings are positive, there is insufficient data on the impact the vaccines have on transmission to extend prioritisation to wider family members and household contact at this stage. Once sufficient evidence become available the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will consider next steps.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward policy proposals to prioritise operations for people at risk of losing their employment on health grounds as a result of delays in receiving medical care during the covid-19 outbreak.

Treatment is prioritised based first on clinical need and then on the length of time that a patient has been waiting. There are no plans at this time to prioritise operations for people at risk of losing their employment on health grounds.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise (a) bus, (b) train and (c) taxi drivers for receipt of the covid-19 vaccine.

For Phase 2 of the COVID 19 vaccination programme, JCVI published its interim advice on 26 February, setting out that the most effective way to minimise hospitalisations and deaths is to continue to prioritise people by age, rather than by occupation. This is because age is assessed to be the strongest factor linked to mortality, morbidity and hospitalisations, and because the speed of delivery is crucial as we provide more people with protection from COVID-19.

If bus, train or taxi drivers are captured in Phase 1 or 2 due to age or clinical need, then they will be vaccinated accordingly. However, there are currently no plans to vaccinate by occupation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking support the (a) Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Authority and (b) other relevant regulatory authorities in the (i) EU and (ii) US to collaborate with those developing New Approach Methodologies in support of decisions on (A) the progression of drugs into clinical trials, (B) drug licensing and labelling and (c) providing evidence demonstrating the scientific validity and human clinical relevance of NAM data to regulatory scientists.

The Government encourages the development of in vitro methods in place of animal testing and the development and use of new tests and alternative methods to the use of animal tests.

In accordance the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, the principle of the ‘3Rs’ - Replacement, Refinement and Reduction - needs to be considered when selecting testing approaches to be used for regulatory testing of human and veterinary medicinal products. The challenge to academia, industry and regulatory scientists is to remain focused on designing nonclinical studies in relevant models, including New Approach Methodologies (NAM), to answer specific questions in time to support clinical decision making and communication of potential risks.

Maintaining effective dialogue among scientists in academia, industry and regulatory agencies during model development, qualification and validation will be essential to address this challenge. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency works closely with the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research and other regulatory agencies to identify opportunities for the ‘3Rs’.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the holding Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 133784, for what reason the information requested relating to Nightingale Hospitals is not readily available to Departments to provide a timely response to Named Day Questions.

We are working rapidly to provide all hon. Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 133784 of 26 January 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what role community pharmacies will have in the delivery of the covid-19 vaccine.

Community pharmacies will play a major role in the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Since 11 January 2021, some community pharmacies have started to offer the COVID-19 vaccination service, with more pharmacies joining the service over the coming weeks.

Some pharmacists and members of their team have been working with general practitioners to deliver the vaccine in many areas of the country as part of the Primary Care Network service.

The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement, and the community pharmacy representative bodies will be working together to establish how community pharmacies’ role could be expanded further in the vaccination programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the care and nursing home residents and staff in the Easington constituency will begin to receive the covid-19 vaccine.

Across the United Kingdom, including Easington, vaccines have been delivered directly to care homes since December 2020. Some 10,321 homes, amounting to 98% of homes with older residents have now offered the vaccine.

In the North East and Yorkshire, 94% of residents of older adult care homes who have not had COVID-19 in last 28 days have been vaccinated. This data is not available at constituency level.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people in the Easington constituency had received a covid-19 vaccine by 6 January 2021.

Since 24 December 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published weekly United Kingdom-wide vaccination data. In January 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement began to publish daily statistics by age and region, with more detailed information provided weekly, including the overall number of people who have been vaccinated by dose, those aged 80 years old and above and location.

Vaccination data is currently available at a national and regional level by sustainability and transformation partnership and integrated care system.

As more reliable data become available, it is expected to be published.

Further data is available at the following links:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-monitoring-reports

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many beds there are in Nightingale Hospitals; and what proportion of those beds have been occupied in each week in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Nightingale hospitals are activated based on local clinical decisions in response to patient demand. The National Health Service will flex Nightingale capacity to address demand as has been done throughout the pandemic.

As at week commencing 18 January 2021, the NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter is providing inpatient services to COVID-19 patients from 48 beds. The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West and the NHS Nightingale Hospital London are providing ‘step-down’ care to non-COVID-19 patients and provide 36 and 64 beds respectively. Other Nightingale sites at Harrogate and Bristol are supporting NHS elective and diagnostic services but are not providing inpatient services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons covid-19 vaccine appointments are being cancelled in the Easington constituency.

We are unaware of any specific local issues in Easington regarding vaccine appointments, although it is recognised that something the size of the National Health Service vaccination programme will inevitably experience occasional logistical challenges.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data his Department holds on the number of covid-19 vaccines administered by region.

Since 20 December, weekly data for vaccinations by region has been published at the following link:

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

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS press notice, entitled Convenient modern cancer treatment for patients during covid-19 pandemic, 11 June 2020, if new funding is being made available to accelerate the roll-out of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy in order for it to be delivered by April 2021; and if he will make a statement.

The Government and NHS England and NHS Improvement are committed to expanding the provision and use of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) and has put in place a comprehensive support package to enable trusts to achieve this, including centrally funded access to both the national quality assurance programme and experienced mentors.

The expansion of SABR across the National Health Service is expected to require an investment of around £13 million and NHS England and NHS Improvement have made this available. Our aim is to ensure that by April every part of the country will be offering SABR treatment for non-small cell lung cancer and those with lung, lymph nodes and non-spine bone oligometastatic disease, in radiotherapy units nationwide. Further rollout for other disease types is planned for 2021/22.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much his Department has allocated for rollout of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR); and what the planned timescale is for the rollout of SABR.

The Government and NHS England and NHS Improvement are committed to expanding the provision and use of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) and has put in place a comprehensive support package to enable trusts to achieve this, including centrally funded access to both the national quality assurance programme and experienced mentors.

The expansion of SABR across the National Health Service is expected to require an investment of around £13 million and NHS England and NHS Improvement have made this available. Our aim is to ensure that by April every part of the country will be offering SABR treatment for non-small cell lung cancer and those with lung, lymph nodes and non-spine bone oligometastatic disease, in radiotherapy units nationwide. Further rollout for other disease types is planned for 2021/22.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2020 to Question 92759 and with reference to the Spending Review 2020, what funding will be allocated for the replacement of NHS linear accelerator radiotherapy machines.

Following the outcome of Spending Round 2020, spending plans for individual budgets in 2021-22 will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a proportion of the Spending Review 2020 commitments of (a) £1.5 billion allocated to ease existing pressures in the NHS caused by the covid-19 outbreak and (b) £559 million to support the modernisation of technology across the health and care system will be allocated to upgrade radiotherapy machines that are over 10 years old.

Following the outcome of Spending Round 2020, spending plans for individual budgets in 2021-22 will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to identify high risk and vulnerable groups in the community to ensure a quick and effective roll-out of a covid-19 vaccine when one becomes available.

The Government has now accepted the recommendations from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise three COVID-19 vaccines for use from Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford University/AstraZeneca, and Moderna. This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that all three vaccines met its strict standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. For the first phase, the JVCI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors. Included in this are those with underlying health conditions, which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take in response to the Office for National Statistics report, Deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales: 2019 registrations, published on 14 October 2020.

The Office of National Statistics report shows the number of deaths due to drug poisoning registered in 2019 remains at a similar level to 2018. However, since 2012, we have seen an increase in the number of drug-related deaths many of which are preventable. We are committed to reducing drug misuse and the harms it causes.

The second phase of Dame Carol Black’s Review of Drugs was announced on 27 February 2020 and is focussing on treatment and recovery services. Drug treatment services reduce harm and help thousands of people to recover every year. Everyone who needs it must be able to get the treatment they need, which we know saves lives. The Review findings will feed into wider Government work to tackle harms, including the rising number of deaths caused by substance misuse. The final report will be made available to Ministers later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the rate of cocaine-related deaths among (a) women and (b) men.

The Office of National Statistics report ‘Deaths related to drugs poisoning in England and Wales: 2019 registrations’ shows that cocaine deaths have risen for the eighth consecutive year to their highest level, with the male death rate in 2019 being nearly four times higher than the female death rate. The second phase of Dame Carol Black’s Review of Drugs is focussing on treatment and recovery services, for the misuse of cocaine and other drugs, and the final report will be made available to Ministers later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the estimate in Macmillan Cancer Support's report entitled The Forgotten C, published in October 2020 that it could take (a) 20 months to tackle the cancer diagnosis backlog and (b) 17 months to tackle the starting first cancer treatment backlog in England.

The estimates in the Macmillan report, ‘The Forgotten C’ are not recognised by the Department or NHS England and NHS Improvement.

In the latest cancer waiting times data for September 2020, urgent referrals were at more than 100% of 2019 levels, and over 45,000 people received a cancer treatment – 96% of last year’s levels. Across the period from March to September 2020, over 291,000 cancer treatments were carried out - 86% of the level in 2019.

In September 2020, 94.5% of patients with a decision to treat a first treatment of cancer received treatment within 31 days.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Public Health England’s most recent Radiotherapy Dataset, how many cancer patients have had their radiotherapy treatment (a) delayed, (b) modified or (c) cancelled as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and how many patients are in the cancer treatment backlog.

The Radiotherapy Dataset does not collect data on delayed or cancelled radiotherapy treatments relating to COVID-19 or have a count of patients who may be in a cancer treatment backlog.

From the data for the week commencing 25 May 2020 the proportion of breast radiotherapy being delivered as part of a shorter course was 65% (346 episodes). This compares to less than 1% (less than two episodes on average) for each week up to the week commencing 16 March 2020, just prior to the national lockdown. Data analysing changes in treatment dose and duration are not available for any other cancer tumour types.

Data on the number of patients in the cancer treatment backlog is not available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what clinical information his Department uses to inform policy on tackling the backlog of cancer treatments.

NHS England and NHS Improvement use a variety of data sources to focus improvement action on the right areas of the pathway. This data includes published cancer waiting times data giving the official month by month figures on activity, referrals and waiting times, as well as management information which can give a week to week view of activity and the current scale of the waiting list.

Sources of data such as Hospital Episode Statistics and, the timelier but less robust, secondary uses service are used where finer detail on specific treatments or services are available, alongside specific sources of information such as the Radiotherapy Dataset or the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset where appropriate.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will bring forward legislative proposals to allow relatives to be designated as unpaid keyworkers to access care homes and help provide care for care home residents in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

On 16 November, we began a trial of testing visitors to care homes. Testing is one way of minimising the risk of visiting a care home. If a visitor has a negative test, is wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, and following other infection control measures then our guidance advises that visitors can to provide personal care and have physical contact with their loved one, such as holding hands.

We want to bring an end to the pain of separation and help care homes bring families and loved ones together. The launch of visitor testing is a crucial step to making that happen. We aim to rollout visitor testing nationwide by Christmas.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 October 2020 to Question 94389 on Coronavirus: Protective Clothing, what steps business and public transport operators should take to ensure people required to wear facemasks do so to safeguard the public and employees.

From 28 September, it became a legal requirement for those sectors where face coverings are required, to display signage or to verbally remind customers and employees, who have a legal obligation to do so, to wear a face covering when on their premises.

While the Government expects the vast majority of people will comply with the rules, as they have done throughout the pandemic, Regulations have been made under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984 to give powers to the police and Transport for London officers to enforce the requirement to wear a face covering. Enforcing officers have the ability to issue Fixed Penalty Notices but will use the 4Es approach of engaging, explaining, encouraging and enforcing, only issuing a fine as a last resort.

Advice on face coverings follows advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. We are committed to following the evidence and will keep reviewing evidence from around the world and update our position as and when we need to.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons wet only pubs are required to close in a tier-three covid-19 lockdown while pubs serving food are allowed to remain open.

In areas when the local COVID-19 alert level is very high pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.

There are higher environmental risks in hospitality settings when compared with other indoor settings. This is due to the close proximity of other people, relatively long periods of time spent on a visit, and loud atmospheres leading to louder talking and shouting and sometimes, poor ventilation. Additionally, the consumption of alcohol can impact on people’s behaviour and make it less likely that they comply with social distancing measures.

By limiting the amount of time people spend in hospitality we reduce the risks. And by ensuring that people are eating and are not attending a venue solely to drink alcohol we reduce the risks posed by falling inhibitions and failure to comply with social distancing measures.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have successfully accessed the £500 self-isolation payment; and what estimate he has made of the proportion of people who are eligible to receive that payment who have received it.

We are working closely with all 314 lower tier and unitary local authorities to collate information on how the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is progressing and will release information on the number of applications, number of successful applications and amounts paid out in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he will answer Question 81804, tabled on 28 August 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him to Question 81804 on 9 October.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he will answer Question 89678.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Questions 66018 and 89678 of 9 and 10 November respectively.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he will plans to respond to Question 66018, tabled on 29 June 2020 by the hon. Member for Easington.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Questions 66018 and 89678 of 9 and 10 November respectively.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward proposals to renew funding from the public purse for the Veterans Hearing Fund.

The Government does not currently have any plans to renew the funding for the Veterans Hearing Fund.

The Fund, which was financed by Libor fines, has now closed. It was established to provide additional hearing support to veterans with noise-induced hearing loss and was exclusively for items not supplied by statutory services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the renewal of Government funding for the Veterans Hearing Fund.

The Government does not currently have any plans to renew the funding for the Veterans Hearing Fund.

The Fund, which was financed by Libor fines, has now closed. It was established to provide additional hearing support to veterans with noise-induced hearing loss and was exclusively for items not supplied by statutory services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he made an assessment of the potential merits of awarding covid-19 test, track and trace contracts to local authorities before he awarded them to private sector companies.

We encourage all suppliers of goods and services to express an interest in Test and Trace work whether local authorities, the private sector or an individual. Test and Trace are continuing to increase market engagement as part of specifying and sourcing all goods and services, including engagement with local authorities.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) commission and (b) resource local authorities to conduct covid -19 test, track and trace programmes.

The Government wants as many people as possible to live their lives as close to normally as possible, in a way which is as fair and as safe as possible. In order to achieve this, we need both national and local support for communities.

We have given local authorities powers to act quickly in response to local outbreaks and the ability to take enforcement measures if necessary. Local authorities and Directors of Public Health have postcode level data on people who have tested positive in their areas to help in detecting a rise in cases, clusters or outbreaks.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people waiting for cancer treatment whose (a) diagnosis and (b) screening were delayed during the covid-19 outbreak.

In the five months of published data covering the pandemic period, March – July 2020, cancer treatments were carried out at 82% of the level over the same period last year. Treatment activity has also been affected by the drop in urgent referrals; this is now on the rise and in July 2020 were at 81% of the level in July 2019.

At the end of August, the number of people waiting longer than 62 days following an urgent referral had fallen by 39% from its peak near the end of May.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to introduce a national exemption card for people unable to wear a face-covering on public transport and enclosed spaces.

Our guidance published online is clear that there are exemptions where people do not need to wear face coverings. We are also clear that people do not need to prove they are exempt and they should not be challenged about this.

If someone is more comfortable showing they are exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering, they are able to use some form of optional visual cue. Different options are available on GOV.UK (including printable templates and a template for mobile telephones), on charity and organisations websites, or could be hand-made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure access to routine healthcare and dental treatment during a second wave of covid-19.

At the height of the pandemic, NHS England and NHS Improvement set up urgent dental care centres (UDCs) to provide clinically necessary urgent treatment to patients. Over 600 UDCs remain open to ensure that dental treatment needed urgently can be accessed while practices make sure their own expansion of services is done as safely as possible. Routine face-to-face National Health Service dental services resumed from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service whilst taking into account infection control procedures and personal protective equipment requirements.

Our focus is on accelerating the return of all non-COVID-19 health services, including routine treatments, to near-normal levels, including making full use of available capacity between now and winter, whilst also preparing for winter demand pressures. This will be done alongside continued vigilance against further COVID-19 spikes locally and possibly nationally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase capacity in radiotherapy services to help reduce the number of cancer patients awaiting treatment as a result of backlogs accrued during the covid-19 outbreak.

During the COVID-19 pandemic radiotherapy service provision has continued.

Recovery is now underway across the National Health Service – the focus for radiotherapy will be on embedding the use of hypo-fractionated (fewer fraction) treatments.

As part of the wider NHS recovery programme, local systems will need to determine how best to restore services and then reduce waiting lists. This will, in some areas, include the use of the independent sector.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the funding allocations for the replacement of NHS linear accelerator radiotherapy machines (a) was for the financial year 2019-20 and (b) is for the financial year (i) 2021-22 and (ii) 2022-23.

Future National Health Service capital funding will be determined as part of the Department’s multi-year settlement at the next Spending Review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much additional funding he has made available for (a) cancer drugs, (b) chemotherapy and (c) radiotherapy to help cancer services return to pre-covid-19 levels.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS England and NHS Improvement have ensured that National Health Service providers have sufficient funding for all services, including cancer, offering a guaranteed minimum level of income. In addition, recommendations have been made about expanding the list of COVID-19-friendly cancer treatments and extending the period of access until the end of this financial year, which the NHS has agreed to fund and is expected to cost in the region of £100 million.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria must be met for the Government to review its policy on mandatory face coverings in enclosed spaces.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 set out that a review of these requirements must take place within six months to ensure they continue to be necessary to prevent, protect against, control or provide a public health response to the incidence or spread of infection in England. These Regulations will expire after 12 months.

United Kingdom advice on face covering follows advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. As always we are committed to following the evidence and will keep reviewing evidence from around the world and update our position as and when we need to.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward proposals to introduce an annual mental health assessment for veterans for three years following discharge.

Currently, the Government has no plans to introduce an annual mental health assessment for veterans three years after discharge.

In England, veterans are not only able to access mainstream National Health Service provided mental health services, they have access to several bespoke services NHS England and NHS Improvement have put in place. This includes the Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service which offers an in-reach mental health service for those in transition, leading up to, and leaving the Armed Forces

This service is in addition to the Complex Treatment Service and the forthcoming Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service which will provide crisis care and therapeutic inpatient support for those who need urgent and emergency care.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward proposals to widen access to NHS patient transport in County Durham.

On 27 March the National Health Service released a guidance to reflect changes in patient transport services during the COVID-19 response. As the NHS returns to a business as usual position further amendments to the guidance have been made and are due to be published shortly. On 31 July 2020, the NHS released a letter which outlined Phase 3 of the response to the pandemic and stated that the national alert level has dropped down to level 3. As a result, the North East Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust reopened its booking centre on 17 August 2020, enabling patients, general practitioners and trusts to make Patient Transport Service bookings for their travel requirements. All patients who require patient transport are now able to travel and are assessed for eligibility based on their mobility and other available alternatives open to them (such as friends and family).

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish cancer waiting time statistics on (a) urgent two week wait referrals and (b) the 62 day wait for first treatment for the last (i) six months, (ii) 12 months and (iii) 24 months, by age.

Information is not held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of clinical trials involving 13 to 24 year olds with cancer that have been disrupted or abandoned as a direct result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network reports that its portfolio of studies is not consistently coded with specific age ranges, and thus the information requested is not directly available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)