Helen Hayes Portrait

Helen Hayes

Labour - Dulwich and West Norwood

Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)
10th Apr 2020 - 30th Dec 2020
Opposition Whip (Commons)
27th Jan 2020 - 10th Apr 2020
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
13th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 19th May 2021
14:00
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 26th May 2021
14:00
Environmental Audit Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Water Quality in Rivers
26 May 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Alastair Chisholm - Director of Policy at Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
Bronwyn Buntine - Sustainable Drainage Team Leader at Kent Council
Ian Titherington - Lead drainage officer at Cardiff Council
Dr Gabriela Dotro - Senior Research Fellow in Environmental Engineers, Cranfield Water Science Institute at Cranfield University
At 3.30pm: Oral evidence
Daniel Johns - Head of Public Affairs at Anglian Water Services Ltd
Lila Thompson - Chief Executive at British Water
Jo Bradley - UK Director of Operations at Stormwater Shepherds
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Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Fire Safety Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 194 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
Speeches
Tuesday 27th April 2021
Support for Asylum Seekers

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship today, Mr Davies. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
Schools: Mental Health Services
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Department of Education's press release, …
Early Day Motions
Monday 12th April 2021
Conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia
That this House condemns the massacre at Axum in Ethiopia, documented by both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, that …
Bills
Wednesday 27th February 2019
Planning (Affordable Housing and Land Compensation) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
Tweets
Wednesday 12th May 2021
22:48
MP Financial Interests
None available
EDM signed
Tuesday 13th April 2021
Removing barriers to education
That this House believes removing barriers to education, including ending all forms of violence against children, is crucial to achieving …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Helen Hayes has voted in 234 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Helen Hayes Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(12 debate interactions)
Julia Lopez (Conservative)
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
(8 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
Department of Health and Social Care
(23 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(17 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(15 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Helen Hayes's debates

Dulwich and West Norwood 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 Dulwich and West Norwood signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Black Women in the U.K. are 5 times more likely to die during pregnancy and after childbirth compared to White Women (MBRRACE, 2019). We need more research done into why this is happening and recommendations to improve health care for Black Women as urgent action is needed to address this disparity.

Schools should move to online learning from 9 December so that all students and school staff have a chance to isolate for two weeks and then can safely meet older relatives.

The Government should cancel GCSEs and A Levels in 2021 due to the disruption of Covid-19. By the time students go back to normal learning, 6 months will have passed since schools were closed to most pupils. This has already had a huge impact on the studying of so many.

Close down schools and colleges due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. We are seeing cases of students and teachers catching the virus since schools have reopened.

The threat of covid19 is real. Children can’t be expected to maintain sufficient social distancing to keep this virus from spreading. They are social creatures. Allowing them back to school could cause a new spike in cases. They could bring it back home, even if they are a-symptomatic.


Latest EDMs signed by Helen Hayes

13th April 2021
Helen Hayes signed this EDM on Tuesday 13th April 2021

Effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled children and families

Tabled by: Mary Kelly Foy (Labour - City of Durham)
That this House is deeply alarmed at the disproportionate effect of the covid-19 pandemic on disabled children, young people and their families; notes the concerning statistics from the Disabled Children’s Partnerships’ The Longest Lockdown report, which found that 70 per cent of disabled children could not access, or experienced delays …
52 signatures
(Most recent: 11 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 41
Liberal Democrat: 5
Independent: 2
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Green Party: 1
24th March 2021
Helen Hayes signed this EDM on Tuesday 13th April 2021

Immigration

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Immigration (Guidance on Detention of Vulnerable Persons) Regulations 2021 (S.I., 2021, No. 184), dated 23 February 2021, a copy of which was laid before this House on 25 February 2021, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 40
Scottish National Party: 24
Liberal Democrat: 8
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Helen Hayes's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Helen Hayes, 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.


Helen Hayes has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Helen Hayes has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Helen Hayes


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 define affordable housing in relation to household incomes; to amend the law relating to land valuation and compensation; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 27th February 2019
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons (No Debate)
Date TBA

Helen Hayes has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


649 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
16 Other Department Questions
24th Mar 2021
What progress the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities has made on its report on ethnic disparities and inequality.

The independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities has reviewed inequality in the UK, focusing on areas including poverty, education, employment, health and the criminal justice system. They have held meetings with key delivery partners and agencies for these areas, gathered evidence from a range of external stakeholders and influencers, and ran an open Call for Evidence that invited evidence from across the United Kingdom. Yesterday, I spoke with Chair of the Commission, Dr Tony Sewell. The Commission is of course independent of government, but he has assured me that their report will be submitted to the Prime Minister shortly.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what the Government’s objectives are for the cities and built environment theme for the COP; and what steps the Government is taking to engage UK cities in delivering those objectives at COP26.

The Government is in early stages of planning for the Cities and Built Environment theme day which will showcase the key role that cities and the built environment play in the pathway to net zero. We are engaging widely with stakeholders ahead of the day, as well as using forthcoming meetings of the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council to ensure their views are reflected in preparations for the day.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what recent meetings he has had with (a) councils and (b) local government organisations on the role of local government in meeting the national net zero target; and how that role is planned to be articulated at COP26.

Local authorities and leaders have a key role to play in tackling climate change and meeting net zero targets. That is why I have set up the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council with mayors and local authority leaders from across the UK to engage them in COP26. We met most recently on 15 March to discuss how mayors and local authorities could contribute to the Together for our Planet Campaign, and I look forward to engaging further with the group as part of our preparations for COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he plans to take to engage with UK local government during preparations for COP26.

Local authorities and leaders have a key role to play in tackling climate change and meeting net zero targets. That is why I have set up the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council with mayors and local authority leaders from across the UK to engage them in COP26. We met most recently on 15 March to discuss how mayors and local authorities could contribute to the Together for our Planet Campaign, and I look forward to engaging further with the group as part of our preparations for COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the importance of promoting the role of local government in delivering the national net zero target at COP26.

Local authorities and leaders have a key role to play in tackling climate change and meeting net zero targets. That is why I have set up the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council with mayors and local authority leaders from across the UK to engage them in COP26. We met most recently on 15 March to discuss how mayors and local authorities could contribute to the Together for our Planet Campaign, and I look forward to engaging further with the group as part of our preparations for COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the adequacy of funding for local authorities to encourage vaccine uptake in ethnic minority communities.

On 25 January, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced allocations of £23.75 million to support the Community Champions scheme which supports those groups at greater risk of COVID-19. This includes funding for 60 local authorities and voluntary and civil society partners.

As part of this, Community Champions will use their local networks to provide advice about COVID-19 and promote the take-up of vaccines.

Officials in the Race Disparity Unit, who are supporting me in my work to address COVID-19 disparities amongst ethnic minorities, continue to meet regularly with colleagues in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health and Social Care to discuss a range of topics related to the delivery of the Community Champions scheme including vaccination uptake amongst ethnic minorities.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she (a) has had and (b) plans to have with representatives of (i) the Local Government Association and (ii) local authorities throughout the UK on (A) the work of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities and (B) how local authorities can work with that Commission.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities’ call for evidence closed on 30 November 2020 and the Commission aims to provide its full report to the Prime Minister by the end of this month. The Commission also intends to publish its results on gov.uk, following submission of its full report to the Prime Minister. As per its terms of reference, the Commission will then draw to a close.

I am aware that the Commission, in carrying out its work, has considered evidence from a wide range of organisations (including Local Authorities), from across the UK as well as individuals.

We look forward to receiving the Commission's final report at the end of this month, to which the government will respond in due course. On receipt of the report, the government will consider what further engagement is necessary with Local Authorities and other bodies.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what progress the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities is making on their call for evidence work; and what the timeframe is for that Commission's recommendations to be published.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities’ call for evidence closed on 30 November 2020 and the Commission aims to provide its full report to the Prime Minister by the end of this month. The Commission also intends to publish its results on gov.uk, following submission of its full report to the Prime Minister. As per its terms of reference, the Commission will then draw to a close.

I am aware that the Commission, in carrying out its work, has considered evidence from a wide range of organisations (including Local Authorities), from across the UK as well as individuals.

We look forward to receiving the Commission's final report at the end of this month, to which the government will respond in due course. On receipt of the report, the government will consider what further engagement is necessary with Local Authorities and other bodies.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what progress the Race Disparity Unit has made in its work on health inequalities in response to the Public Health England report on disparities in the risk and outcomes of covid-19.

In June, the Prime Minister asked me, as Minister for Equalities, to lead cross-government work on the findings of the Public Health England (PHE) report ‘COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes’. The Race Disparity Unit (RDU) is supporting me in this.

Following work undertaken by the RDU, the Office for National Statistics and the wider scientific community, we have made good progress in recent weeks in identifying the key drivers of the disparities highlighted by the PHE review and the relationships between the different risk factors for ethnic minority communities. We have also been reviewing the effectiveness and impact of current actions being undertaken by government departments and their agencies to directly lessen these disparities.

I will shortly be submitting the first quarterly update report on this work to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, as required by the terms of reference.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what the timeframe is for the publication of the work of the Racial Disparity Unit in response to the report of Public Health England on disparities in risks and outcomes in relation to covid-19.

In June, the Prime Minister asked me, as Minister for Equalities, to lead cross-government work on the findings of the Public Health England (PHE) report ‘COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes’. The Race Disparity Unit (RDU) is supporting me in this.

Following work undertaken by the RDU, the Office for National Statistics and the wider scientific community, we have made good progress in recent weeks in identifying the key drivers of the disparities highlighted by the PHE review and the relationships between the different risk factors for ethnic minority communities. We have also been reviewing the effectiveness and impact of current actions being undertaken by government departments and their agencies to directly lessen these disparities.

I will shortly be submitting the first quarterly update report on this work to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, as required by the terms of reference.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent discussions has she had with the Department for Work and Pensions on the equality impact of the current statutory sick pay rate.

The responsibility for equalities impact assessments lies with departments, who take this responsibility very seriously. Impact assessments are kept under review and my colleagues are fully aware of their equality duties.

In this particular instance, the Department for Work and Pensions published a consultation Health is everyone’s business in July 2019 in which they sought views on the rate of statutory sick pay. A response will be published later this year (2020).

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Operation Yellowhammer Reasonable Worst Case Planning Assumptions coinciding with a potential second wave of covid-19 on (a) civil service capacity and (b) civil service preparedness.

Operation Yellowhammer has been stood down.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to carry out further testing of Operation Brock following the (a) announcement to remove the Operation Brock barrier of 10 January 2020 and (b) potential use of the Smart Freight System outlined on page 134 of his Department's document entitled, Border Operating Model, published on 13 July 2020.

A consultation on the proposed legislative amendments on enforcing Operation Brock, including regarding the use of Smart Freight, ran from 3 August 2020 to 23 August 2020. A summary of the responses will be published within three months of the consultation closing. The Government has invited businesses to participate in discussions on design and user testing of the Smart Freight IT service. Further announcements will be made in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to The Border with the European Union: Importing and Exporting Goods, published on 13 July 2020, what his timescale is for the consultation on on the use of the Smart Freight Service in Kent this summer.

A consultation on the proposed legislative amendments on enforcing Operation Brock, including regarding the use of Smart Freight, ran from 3 August 2020 to 23 August 2020. A summary of the responses will be published within three months of the consultation closing. The Government has invited businesses to participate in discussions on design and user testing of the Smart Freight IT service. Further announcements will be made in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his timetable is for introduction of the Smart Freight Service before the end of the transition period.

A consultation on the proposed legislative amendments on enforcing Operation Brock, including regarding the use of Smart Freight, ran from 3 August 2020 to 23 August 2020. A summary of the responses will be published within three months of the consultation closing. The Government has invited businesses to participate in discussions on design and user testing of the Smart Freight IT service. Further announcements will be made in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect of the end of the transition period on (a) charges and (b) costs for businesses that (i) import and (ii) export to the EU; and what steps his Department is taking to support those businesses.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answers given at Cabinet Office oral questions on 11 February.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the (a) level of public awareness of postal voting and (b) the accessibility of the postal voting application process; and what steps he is taking to widen access to postal voting ahead of the May 2021 elections.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 147911 on 9 February 2021.

The Government is working on finalising the funding allocations for the May 2021 elections, and Returning Officers and local authorities will be updated on their funding allocations for the Police and Crime Commissioner and local elections respectively by the end of March.

There will be an estimated £92 million of government funding that will be provided to local authorities for the elections; of this, £31 million is an uplift to directly address costs associated with making the elections covid-secure.

For the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, Returning Officers will be reimbursed for expenses necessarily incurred for the smooth running of those polls via the usual process. Further detail of the potential fees and charges that Returning Officers can claim for in relation to any additional measures required to ensure covid-secure Police and Crime Commissioner elections in May is set out in guidance provided by the Cabinet Office to Returning Officers.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to he Answer of 9 February 2021 to Question 147940, how much funding will be allocated to each local authority under his Department’s delivery plan for the May 2021 elections.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 147911 on 9 February 2021.

The Government is working on finalising the funding allocations for the May 2021 elections, and Returning Officers and local authorities will be updated on their funding allocations for the Police and Crime Commissioner and local elections respectively by the end of March.

There will be an estimated £92 million of government funding that will be provided to local authorities for the elections; of this, £31 million is an uplift to directly address costs associated with making the elections covid-secure.

For the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, Returning Officers will be reimbursed for expenses necessarily incurred for the smooth running of those polls via the usual process. Further detail of the potential fees and charges that Returning Officers can claim for in relation to any additional measures required to ensure covid-secure Police and Crime Commissioner elections in May is set out in guidance provided by the Cabinet Office to Returning Officers.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with his Department on increased (a) charges and (b) costs for businesses that (a) import from and (b) export to the EU following the end of the transition period.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not normally disclosed.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on funding for local authority programmes to encourage postal voting for the 2021 elections.

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

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

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

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

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the erection of a memorial to the victims of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery.

May I apologise for the delay in answering this question. The UK deplores the human suffering caused by slavery and the slave trade. They are among the most dishonourable and abhorrent chapters in the history of humanity.

Public and private organisations are able to propose, fund, develop and deliver memorials marking incidents and historical moments.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed merger of Interserve and Mitie on the terms and conditions of staff employed by those firms in relation to Government contracts.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to PQ103653 on 19 October.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the social value which will be delivered by Interserve and Mitie on Government contracts in the event of the proposed merger of those firms.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to PQ103653 on 19 October.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the total value of Government contracts which may be awarded to a single contractor in the event of the proposed merger of Interserve and Mitie.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to PQ103653 on 19 October.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the financial resilience of (a) Interserve, (b) Mitie and (c) the business that will result following their proposed merger.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to PQ103653 on 19 October.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of staff (a) employed by Interserve and Mitie on Government contracts as of 19 October 2020 and (b) who will be employed on those contracts following the proposed merger of the two firms.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to PQ103653 on 19 October.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people (a) work and (b) have worked in the Race Disparity Unit.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to PQ83740 on 10 September 2020.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his Department's budget for the Race Disparity Unit was in (a) each year since its inception and (b) 2020; and what the forecast budged for that Unit is in future years.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to PQ83740 on 10 September 2020.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil service appointments have been made in pay band 2 and above as exceptions to the Recruitment Principles of the Civil Service Commission in each Department (a) in each of the last 10 years and (b) since January 2020.

Details of exceptions to the Civil Service Commission Recruitment Principles at and above Payband 2 are published by the Civil Service Commission and available on their website. Details for the financial year 2020/2021 will be published in due course.

Details of the proportion of exception requests which are refused are not held centrally.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many applications have been made to the Civil Service Commission to make appointments in pay band 2 which would be exceptions to the Recruitment Principles of the Civil Service Commission in each Government Department (a) in each of the last 10 years and (b) since January 2020; and what proportion of those applications have been (a) approved and (b) refused.

Details of exceptions to the Civil Service Commission Recruitment Principles at and above Payband 2 are published by the Civil Service Commission and available on their website. Details for the financial year 2020/2021 will be published in due course.

Details of the proportion of exception requests which are refused are not held centrally.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many contracts the Government has awarded to Public First Ltd in each year since 2016.

Further to my answer on 01 October 2020, competitive tenders are used across government, including by the Cabinet Office. It is also the case that there are certain circumstances where regulations permit that contracts can be awarded without a competition, including where there is extreme urgency.

As has been the case under successive administrations, this Government works with a number of suppliers to provide polling and focus group work. Public First was engaged by the Cabinet Office to test public opinion and reaction to government messaging, including focus groups for COVID-19 research. Details of this contract have been published on GOV.UK in the usual way.

No ministerial sign off was sought for the award of a contract to Public First. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on GOV.UK.

A claim for Judicial Review was issued by the High Court on 10 July 2020 in relation to the award of this contract. It would not, therefore, be appropriate to make further comment whilst this is subject to ongoing legal proceedings.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the nature is of the on-site resources provided by Public First Ltd to support Number 10 communications.

Further to my answer on 01 October 2020, competitive tenders are used across government, including by the Cabinet Office. It is also the case that there are certain circumstances where regulations permit that contracts can be awarded without a competition, including where there is extreme urgency.

As has been the case under successive administrations, this Government works with a number of suppliers to provide polling and focus group work. Public First was engaged by the Cabinet Office to test public opinion and reaction to government messaging, including focus groups for COVID-19 research. Details of this contract have been published on GOV.UK in the usual way.

No ministerial sign off was sought for the award of a contract to Public First. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on GOV.UK.

A claim for Judicial Review was issued by the High Court on 10 July 2020 in relation to the award of this contract. It would not, therefore, be appropriate to make further comment whilst this is subject to ongoing legal proceedings.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Unlocking the Power of Location, the Government’s Geo-Spatial Strategy 2020-2025, how much funding the Government has allocated to the delivery of the National Underground Assets Register.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 55137 on 10 July 2020.

Details of Cabinet Office expenditure are published online and available in annual reports. Future funding allocations will be determined in the usual way.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Unlocking the Power of Location, the Government’s Geo-Spatial Strategy 2020-2025, what the timescale is for the (a) commencement and (b) completion of the establishment of a National Underground Assets Register.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 55137 on 10 July 2020.

Details of Cabinet Office expenditure are published online and available in annual reports. Future funding allocations will be determined in the usual way.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse has been of Cabinet Office spending on civil contingencies preparedness in each year since 2010.

The Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) budget since 2010 is set out in the table below. The Cabinet Office does not distinguish between operational and programme budgets as resources are used flexibly to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptive challenges. For the same reason additional costs on preparedness will have been incurred which are not possible to disaggregate from wider Cabinet Office expenditure.

Year

Total Budget (£m)

2010-2011

9.6

2011-2012

10.5

2012-2013

10.3

2013-2014

9.1

2014-2015

8.0

2015-2016

10.5

2016-2017

11.5

2017-2018

15.4

2018-2019

17.7

2019-2020

21.0

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the (a) operational and (b) programme budgets were of the Civil Contingency Secretariat in each year since 2010.

The Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) budget since 2010 is set out in the table below. The Cabinet Office does not distinguish between operational and programme budgets as resources are used flexibly to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptive challenges. For the same reason additional costs on preparedness will have been incurred which are not possible to disaggregate from wider Cabinet Office expenditure.

Year

Total Budget (£m)

2010-2011

9.6

2011-2012

10.5

2012-2013

10.3

2013-2014

9.1

2014-2015

8.0

2015-2016

10.5

2016-2017

11.5

2017-2018

15.4

2018-2019

17.7

2019-2020

21.0

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of private contracts issued by the Government during the covid-19 outbreak which have subsequently been sub-contracted to other firms.

This information is not held centrally.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish his Department’s processes to monitor the performance of contracts which involve significant amounts of sub-contracting.

The Cabinet Office follows government procurement policy. Guidance is already published on GOV.UK, and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/contract-management

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of BAME people serving as Non-Executive Directors in the Civil Service.

The Government publishes diversity data on Non-Executive Board Members on Departmental Boards and public appointees on GOV.UK. The government is also implementing the Public Appointments Diversity Action Plan, which is available on GOV.UK.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to increase BAME representation among Non-Executive Directors in the UK Civil Service.

The Government publishes diversity data on Non-Executive Board Members on Departmental Boards and public appointees on GOV.UK. The government is also implementing the Public Appointments Diversity Action Plan, which is available on GOV.UK.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what checks on standards are carried out before suppliers are listed in the Crown Commercial Service’s COVID-19: Catalogue of supplier offers.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether a Government Digital Service peer review of the contact tracing app has been completed.

The Government is committed to ensuring that public services, including digital services, continue to be delivered to the highest standards.

In line with this commitment, peer reviews are conducted to ensure such services are secure, resilient, accessible and able to evolve to meet citizens’ needs.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government has taken to ensure the protection of citizens’ data and privacy under the Government’s contract with Faculty.

Details of Government contracts above £10,000, including the value of those contracts, are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

All Government contracts which involve the processing of personal data, must adhere to the requirements of Procurement Policy Note – Changes to Data Protection Legislation & General Data Protection Regulation Action Note PPN 02/18.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the (a) scope and (b) remit of the Government's contract with Faculty is to deliver services related to the covid-19 pandemic.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQs 54981 and 54931 on 9 June 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his 12 May 2020 announcement of four new Cabinet Office non-executive board members, how many candidates (a) applied and (b) were invited to interview with Ministers; and what the criteria were for (i) the appointment of those candidates and (ii) membership of the appointment board.

Non-executive board members are appointed by the minister in charge of the relevant department, in this case the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

163 candidates applied for the role, of which eight were interviewed and four were appointed. Details of the roles, including a job description, were published on the HM Government Public Appointments and on GOV.UK.

Due diligence, including potential conflicts of interest, was carried out on each appointee. The register of interests for the new Board Members will be published shortly.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to his 12 May 2020 announcement of four new Cabinet Office non-executive board members, what assessment he made in that appointment process of candidates' potential conflicts of interest; and if he will publish the declarations of interest of those board members.

Non-executive board members are appointed by the minister in charge of the relevant department, in this case the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

163 candidates applied for the role, of which eight were interviewed and four were appointed. Details of the roles, including a job description, were published on the HM Government Public Appointments and on GOV.UK.

Due diligence, including potential conflicts of interest, was carried out on each appointee. The register of interests for the new Board Members will be published shortly.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
6th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that annual pay increases for civil servants are not delayed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Pay for civil servants below the Senior Civil Service is delegated to individual departments. The Civil Service Pay Remit Guidance sets the framework for departments to set pay. The guidance will be published soon to ensure that departments are able to make pay awards to staff following negotiations with trade unions.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
6th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that civil servants who are unable to work remotely during the covid-19 outbreak have (a) access to personal protective equipment where needed and (b) social distancing measures in place.

Cabinet Office is following the government and Public Health England advice on supplying PPE and social distancing - to stay alert, stay safe and save lives. The Cabinet Office is currently working with the Government Property Agency and delivery partners to plan for the gradual reoccupation of our buildings and will continue to follow the advice from PHE as it develops.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
6th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what guidance his Department has provided to (a) cleaning, (b) catering and (c) other companies who provide services to the civil service on (i) personal protective equipment and (ii) sick pay during the covid-19 outbreak.

I apologise for the delay in responding, but I can confirm that departments, including the Cabinet Office, continue to liaise regularly with their suppliers as they respond to the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19.

In respect of personal protective equipment it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that the latest guidance as published by the appropriate Public Health body is followed. The latest guidance can be found on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres. Cabinet Office stands ready to support companies with any questions or assist with difficulties regarding the guidance.

The Cabinet Office has issued Procurement Policy Note 02/20 to provide guidance for suppliers. This outlines the approach that contracting authorities should adopt. In the Cabinet Office this has meant continuing to guarantee payments to service providers when delivery is impacted by Covid-19 resource shortages and paying employees that are absent due to presentation of Covid-19 symptoms or the need to be shielded or self-isolated.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will confirm (a) when the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund will open for applications, (b) for how long the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund will remain open to applicants and (c) the period during which works can be completed.

The bid window for the first wave of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund will open in Autumn 2021.The competition guidance is still being designed, but it is thought that the bid window will be open for around 6 weeks. Project delivery will run until March 2023. Further details on the application process will be announced later in the year.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the role of local government in COP26, what plans the Government has to provide funding and resources to local government to support the development of a framework for local delivery of the national net zero target.

Over £20million has been invested in the Local Energy Programme to date, including £1.6m which has funded all 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships to develop local energy strategies.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the level of risk to shop workers of covid-19; and what discussions he is having with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the prioritisation of shop workers in the next phase of the covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Throughout the pandemic,we have taken evidence from SAGE, as well as research by Public Health England, statistics published by the ONS and the international scientific literature into account when making decisions.

We have published safer workplaces guidance  to help employers make their workplaces COVID-Secure for their employees, visitors, and customers. The guidance does not replace existing employment, health and safety or equalities legislation. It provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

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. The JCVI identified that the vaccination of frontline healthcare workers was a priority for the COVID-19 vaccination programme, due to the high risk of acquiring COVID-19 infection and also transmitting that infection to those vulnerable to COVID-19 and other staff. We continue to be guided by the JCVI on the order in which people will be offered the vaccine.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2021 to Question 146962 on Companies: Meetings, whether a legislative framework is in place to allow company AGMs to be held (a) virtually or (b) on a hybrid virtual/physical model under the current covid-19 restrictions; and in the event that it is not possible to hold virtual or hybrid AGMs, what guidance he is making available to companies on the safety of physical AGMs during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Companies Act 2006 establishes the framework within which public and traded private companies are required to hold annual general meetings, including where electronic means are deployed. It is ultimately for companies to determine how to balance the requirements of that framework against those of the coronavirus restrictions that pertain to the date of the meeting concerned. The Department has been working with the Financial Reporting Council, the Chartered Governance Institute (ICSA), legal firms and others to facilitate discussions about how companies can strike the right balance. ICSA has recently published guidance to assist companies in this regard.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the value for money of the Green Homes Grant scheme; and if he will make a comparative assessment of the amount allocated to set up and administer that scheme and the value of vouchers offered by that scheme.

An evaluation of the effectiveness of the voucher scheme, including a comprehensive analysis of scheme outcomes and evidence collected from scheme applicants and other stakeholders will be undertaken.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department’s findings were from discussions with industry and providers on the effectiveness of the Green Homes Grant Scheme; and what steps he has taken in response to those findings.

We have numerous channels for dialogue with the supply chain and consumer groups, including roundtables with certification bodies, trade bodies and representatives from the industry.

The Department has been working closely with the scheme administrator to refine and improve the processes for: customer application to the scheme; the processing of applications; the issuance and redemption of vouchers; and payment to installers on completion of the work.

An evaluation of the effectiveness of the voucher scheme, including a comprehensive analysis of scheme outcomes and evidence collected from scheme applicants and other stakeholders will be undertaken.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to Answer 154560, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of the £111.7 million of the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme vouchers will be taken from the (a) 2020-21 budget and (b) the 2021-22.

The funding of up to £1.5 billion for the Scheme was originally announced as a short-term stimulus, for use in 2020/21 financial year.

All vouchers issued and redeemed in line with the scheme rules will be honoured, regardless of when the work is undertaken.

Vouchers become redeemable once scheduled works are completed.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what research his Department has undertaken on the effect of the Green Homes Grant Scheme on levels of investment in (a) low carbon schemes and (b) training for staff by providers.

The Green Homes Grant was designed to provide economic stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while helping us meet our net zero commitments and supporting jobs in green retrofit.

An evaluation of the effectiveness of the Voucher Scheme, including a comprehensive analysis of scheme processes and outcomes, with evidence collected from scheme applicants, installers and other stakeholders is underway.

An independent research organisation, Ipsos MORI, was contracted in December 2020 to undertake the evaluation.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether all Green Home Grant vouchers applied for before 31st March 2021 will come out of the £1.5bn budget for 2020-21.

The funding of up to £1.5 billion for the Scheme was originally announced as a short-term stimulus, for use in 2020/21 financial year.

All vouchers issued and redeemed in line with the scheme rules will be honoured, regardless of when the work is undertaken.

Vouchers become redeemable once scheduled works are completed.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that adequate supplies of each covid-19 vaccine are available for second doses in terms of (a) volume of supply and (b) distribution of first doses of Pfizer and Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccines.

The Government has secured early access to 457 million vaccines doses through agreements with eight separate vaccine developers.

We have successfully met our target of offering a first dose to everyone in the top four priority groups, as advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, by 15th February and we are on track to offer a vaccine to priority cohorts 1 to 9 by mid-April. Everyone will receive their second vaccine dose within 12 weeks of their first.

The Government has conducted a supply chain risk assessment and continues to monitor the requirements across the supply chain from supplier through to patient; we remain confident that the supply of vaccines to the UK will not be disrupted.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department is having with HM Treasury on funding for projects to reduce domestic carbon emissions ahead of the budget 2021.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State regularly meets with my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer bilaterally and in Cabinet committees, including to discuss the Government’s commitment to tackle climate change and working together to drive forward the net zero agenda.

The Government’s Spending Review 2020 publication clearly shows that achieving net zero is a priority outcome across Whitehall; a total of £12 billion was allocated to several departments to support the Government’s aim of achieving net zero by 2050.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 February 2021 to Question 145087, what (a) alternative projects or (b) other Departments the underspend on the first tranche of the Green Homes Grant is planned to be allocated to.

We are determined to deliver on the £9.2bn Manifesto commitment to improve the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals.

In the Spending Review, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £320 million for the Green Home Grant Voucher Scheme in the next financial year, as part of funding to make homes and public buildings more energy efficient.

Support is also available for installation of energy efficiency measures, including insulation, through a number of government-funded schemes. In addition to the £640 million per year Energy Company Obligation (ECO), in financial year 2020-21, these include the £500 million Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Green Homes Grant Scheme and the £50 million Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator (SHDFD), with a further £60 million for this scheme for 2021-22 announced in the Spending Review.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in the coming months, which will set out the immediate actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much of the £1.5 billion announced last year for homeowners under the Green Homes Grant has been spent to date; and what estimate he has made of the amount that will be spent under that grant before the end of the financial year.

As of 3pm on 22nd February, 25,770 vouchers have been issued to customers under the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme. The value of these vouchers is currently £111.7 million. Vouchers will become redeemable once scheduled works are completed.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the projected potential effect of (a) £1.5 billion and (b) £320m investment in the Green Homes Grants scheme on reducing domestic carbon emissions.

As outlined in the Energy White Paper (2020), emissions from homes and from commercial and public sector buildings account for 19 per cent of total UK greenhouse gas emissions. In order to meet the net zero target by 2050, we will need to rapidly decarbonise the UK’s housing stock.

The Green Homes Grant is designed to provide short term economic stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst helping us meet our net zero commitments. The funding allocated to the scheme represents a significant and accelerated down payment on decarbonising buildings.

Carbon savings as a result of the scheme will depend heavily on the uptake of individual measures by households. An independent evaluation of the processes and outcomes of the Voucher Scheme will run until 2023, with interim publications released prior to the final evaluation report.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 February 2021 to Question 145087, what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) jobs and (b) small businesses of the decision not to roll over underspend in the Green Homes Grant scheme.

Funding of up to £1.5 billion for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme was announced as a short-term economic stimulus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, for use in the 2020/21 financial year. In the Spending Review, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £320 million for the scheme in the next financial year, as part of funding to make homes and public buildings more energy efficient.

The scheme is designed to tackle our contribution to climate change and support jobs in green retrofit. We have worked to ensure that jobs are created across the country and there are now 940 installers registered to install measures under the Green Homes Grant.

An evaluation of the effectiveness of the voucher scheme, including a comprehensive analysis of scheme outcomes, with evidence collected from scheme applicants, installers and other stakeholders is underway. An independent research organisation, Ipsos MORI, was contracted in December 2020 to undertake the evaluation.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many homes have had work completed under the Green Homes Grant scheme by region.

Official statistics for the Green Homes Grant (Voucher) Scheme were released on 18 February. The data published in this release is for all applications to the end of January 2021.

Based on this data, the number of measures installed1 under the scheme, by English geographic region is as follows:

  • North East - 167
  • North West - 282
  • Yorkshire and The Humber - 279
  • East Midlands - 234
  • West Midlands - 198
  • East of England - 521
  • London - 248
  • South East - 598
  • South West - 250

1This figure represents the number of measures that have had an installation completed with notification made to the scheme delivery partner on the completion of the work.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives of small business installers on (a) the accessibility of, (b) effectiveness of and (c) potential improvements to Green Home Grants schemes.

The Department regularly engage with stakeholders across the installer supply chain, including small businesses, through roundtable meetings, webinars, and individual engagements. Recently Certification Bodies, individual installers, Trade Associations and representatives from TrustMark and MCS have been engaged and views sought on how the scheme could be improved. Based on business and expert feedback, my officials have:

(a) allowed subcontractors to more easily take part in the scheme and reduced the cost of accreditation by 50% for Green Homes Grant installers for some PAS standards.

(b) improved guidance for installers on providing quotes, to clarify the information needed for the scheme administrator to approve an application and reduce time to approval. We have also updated guidance around the payment processes.

(c) opened channels for further dialogue and feedback within the scheme. The Department held its first installer Webinar in December with over 150 installers in attendance, taking questions and walking through the scheme details and processes.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support research on new SARS-CoV-2 variants.

I refer the Hon. Member to the reply I gave in PQs 145176, 144844, and 144847.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and (b) local authority leaders on support for councils’ programmes for tackling climate change and improving climate resilience.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently met with my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, reiterating the commitment to tackling climate change and agreed for the two departments to continue working together to drive forward the net zero agenda.

The Secretary of State also meets with Local Authorities and local Members of Parliament regularly to discuss a range of issues including their net zero ambitions as do members of his wider ministerial team.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support projects which produce renewable energy in densely populated urban centres.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given by my Rt. Hon. Friend the then Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth on 15 December 2020 to Question 128213.

The public consultation on the proposed Green Heat Network Fund closed on 29 January 2021. We are currently analysing these responses and will update the House shortly.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to review the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 with reference to provisions for virtual company AGMs in light of the third covid-19 lockdown.

The Department keeps under constant review the ongoing need for the range of easements and support mechanisms it has put in place to assist companies in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. Ministerial colleagues, Departmental officials and I have frequent discussions with a broad range of stakeholders on these and other matters.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with (a) representatives of business and (b) other stakeholders on the expiry of provisions for virtual AGMs under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020.

The Department keeps under constant review the ongoing need for the range of easements and support mechanisms it has put in place to assist companies in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. Ministerial colleagues, Departmental officials and I have frequent discussions with a broad range of stakeholders on these and other matters.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) trends in the levels of fuel poverty and (b) potential effect of the third covid-19 lockdown on energy bills.

The trends in levels of fuel poverty from 2003-2018 are published on GOV.UK in these tables:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fuel-poverty-trends-2020.

There is insufficient information available to assess the impact of this for the current lockdown in England. Household energy bills depend on a variety of factors including tariff prices; weather conditions; as well as time spent at home.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) non-essential workers being asked to attend offices by employers, and (b) essential workers who can work remotely being asked to attend offices by employers; and what discussions he has had with trade unions on workers required to work in offices.

In the most recent data from the ONS Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, covering the period 13-17 January, 45% of adults stated that they had worked from home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the last seven days. This figure is up from 43% the week previously, and up from 31% the week before that.

It is important that people stay at home wherever possible to minimise the risk of transmission and Government will continue to reinforce this message when engaging with businesses and representative organisations across a range of different sectors.

The Government has developed Safer Working Guidance alongside employers and trade unions, and employers are encouraged to discuss their Covid risk assessment and mitigation measures with trade unions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the need for people that work as gas and electricity meter readers to be working in other people’s homes during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

As visiting peoples’ homes is an essential part of a meter readers job, they need to ensure they follow the Safer Working guidance.

When meter readers need to enter other peoples’ homes, they should take appropriate Covid-19 secure precautions such as socially distancing wherever possible, wearing a face covering or making sure there is appropriate ventilation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of his Department’s guidance on working safely during coronavirus with regard to people that work as meter readers in other people’s homes.

As visiting peoples’ homes is an essential part of a meter readers job, they need to ensure they follow the Safer Working guidance.

When meter readers need to enter other peoples’ homes, they should take appropriate Covid-19 secure precautions such as socially distancing wherever possible, wearing a face covering or making sure there is appropriate ventilation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the deadline for delivery of the Local Authority Delivery Scheme 2.

The Green Homes Grant, Local Authority Delivery Scheme is part of a package of measures aimed at providing an urgent stimulus to the economy. BEIS intend to allocate £300m to the regional Local Energy Hubs for delivery by December 2021. This aims to balance the aim of the scheme to support economic recovery whilst being pragmatic over delivery timescales.

These economic stimulus schemes are part of a longer term, sustained investment in the growth of skills and jobs to build the supply chains necessary to achieve net zero. We have recently published the Energy White Paper and next year we plan to publish a Heat and Building Strategy outlining our approach alongside an updated Fuel Poverty Strategy for England, that builds upon the commitments in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, to extend the Energy Company Obligation and implement the Home Upgrade Grant.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the deadline for the Local Authority Delivery Scheme on the development of sustainable jobs and skills.

BEIS estimates the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme will support on average 8,000 jobs per annum over the years 2020/21 and 2021/22.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to use the results of the Local Authority Delivery scheme to evaluate the effectiveness of local authorities in the future.

BEIS has embedded evaluation into the delivery plans of the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme so that Government can learn about its effectiveness, implement learning into the future of energy efficiency schemes and consider what ongoing role Local Authorities should have in the delivery of such schemes.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits aligning the deadlines for all Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme phases with the Voucher Scheme deadline of March 2022.

The Local Authority Delivery and Vouchers schemes have been designed to work alongside each other whilst reflecting the differences in delivery methods. Both schemes’ primary objective is to provide a short-term economic stimulus.

BEIS has allocated LAD funding to 55 projects totalling £74.3m of expenditure for delivery by March 2021, which can play an important role in sustaining and creating jobs in all regions of England.

BEIS anticipates funding in excess of £124m of LAD scheme projects imminently with a delivery date of September 2021, and a further £300m is allocated to the regional Local Energy Hubs for delivery by December 2021.

These staggered dates intend to balance the aim of the scheme to support economic recovery whilst being pragmatic over delivery timescales.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of recently imposed Tier 3 covid-19 restrictions in London on jobs in the (a) hospitality and (b) retail sectors in London; and what steps he is taking in support those (i) businesses and (ii) jobs.

The Government is fully committed to supporting retailers and the hospitality sector as the nation responds to the impacts of COVID-19.

We have entirely removed all eligible properties in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors from business rates, so that no pub, hotel, or high street shop will pay business rates for 12 months – worth over £10 billion. We have provided Local Authority grants of almost £11.7 billion paid to 999,735 SME’s in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors. We have extended the moratorium on commercial landlords’ right to forfeiture for the non-payment of rent to the end of March 2021.

We?have also extended the?Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of April 2021,?extended?the Future Fund?to the end of January 2021, with an ability to top-up bounce back loans, and?increased?the support available to the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension.

On 1 December, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced an additional £1,000 Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’.

On 5 January when the new National Lockdown began, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a one-off top up grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the spring. £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants has also been made available to support other impacted businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and (b) local authority leaders on support for councils’ programmes for tackling climate change and improving climate resilience.

As COP President, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State is co-Chair of the COP26 UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council. The role of the council is to engage with mayors and local leaders across the UK and work with them to engage communities so that COP is truly representative of the whole country.

Since 2017, BEIS has funded five regional Energy Hubs across England. The Hubs work with LEPs and local authorities in their region to help them to identify a pipeline of low carbon projects and provide practical support for the initial stages of project development.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support projects which produce renewable energy in densely populated urban centres.

The five regional energy hubs in England are supporting the development of low carbon and renewable energy projects at the local level, including those within our towns and cities.

Heat networks, in particular, are best suited to an urban setting.

Heat networks are the only way we can exploit larger-scale renewable and recovered heat sources (like the latent heat from large rivers and urban recovered heat - such as from the London Underground). The Department’s Heat Network Investment Project (HNIP) is investing £320m up to April 2022 to support the construction of heat networks and accelerate the growth of the market. We expect around £1bn of private and other investment to be leveraged by HNIP.

In the March Budget, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced additional £270m of funding for the creation of the Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF). The GHNF is intended to be a targeted successor to BEIS’ Heat Network Investment Project, and to run to 2025, and we believe it will be a significant source of funding for projects in urban areas looking to make use of renewable energy sources. A full public consultation was launched on 30 November, to run until 29 January 2021.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the (a) uptake of the green home grant scheme by installers and (b) availability of those installers in (i) London and (ii) England.

As of 16 November, there were 1,196 businesses in England that are TrustMark registered and certified to install measures under the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme, with more registering every day. We do not have data on the total number of installers who cover Greater London, however across the region, there are between 50 and 66 TrustMark registered installers available in Local Authorities to carry out home retrofits.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the accreditation process for installers on the uptake of the green home grant scheme by small building firms; and what steps he is taking to promote that scheme among small building firms.

In order to qualify as a Green Homes Grant installer, tradespeople must be Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified for clean heat measures and certified to the appropriate PAS standards for energy efficiency measures. This ensures improvements are completed to the high standards and consumers are protected.

BEIS officials have taken a number of steps to engage with the building sector and promote the green home grant scheme among small building firms, including working with Trade Associations to engage with and promote interest in the scheme among a wide range of installer groups including small building firms. In particular we wrote to the construction industry to ensure that they are aware of the scheme and the opportunities it presents.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he (a) has had and (b) plans to have with representatives of energy suppliers on support for customers for the increased costs of heating homes during Winter 2020-21 as a result of the new national covid-19 lockdown restrictions in operation from 5 November 2020.

Ministers and officials regularly engage with energy companies on a range of issues relating to the impact of Covid-19 on energy businesses and their customers.

The Department secured an agreement with energy companies on 19th March 2020 to support their customers impacted by Covid-19, that, based on the circumstances could include reassessing, reducing or pausing debt repayments for households in financial distress. Government has also provided unprecedented support to protect jobs and incomes, including an extension to the furlough scheme, through to the end of March, support for the self-employed and an uplift in Universal Credit.

The Department is assessing the level and impact of Covid-19 on households this winter and we will continue to review options to support energy customers.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown on levels of fuel poverty.

We have been working to ensure there are multiple support systems in place for low income and vulnerable households.

In order to reduce the impact of high energy bills we successfully negotiated an agreement with energy suppliers to support consumers impacted by COVID-19. The Green Homes Grant, launched in September 2020, is a £2 billion programme which will help improve the energy efficiency of homes in England. Of this, £1 billion is allocated specifically for low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households.

In order to protect incomes, we have extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of March, and are increasing the third self-employed grant, covering November to January, from 55% to 80% of trading profits.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement of 30 September 2020 of £3 billion of grants for energy efficiency improvements, if he will set out a timeframe for (a) publication of details of the scheme for schools and public buildings and (b) when applications for the scheme are planned to open.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme will help public sector organisations in England, including central government departments and their agencies, local authorities, schools and NHS Trusts, to install energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is open for applications, and more details including how to apply, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-sector-decarbonisation-scheme-psds.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will take steps to reduce the use of dismiss and re-engage tactics by employers.

I understand that this is an extremely difficult situation for employees to find themselves in. Ultimately these are commercial matters between employers and employees, and employers are free to offer the terms and conditions of employment which best suit their business needs, but Government is clear that employers must not discriminate unlawfully. In the vast majority of cases, employers want to do the right thing, and there are robust processes in place to prevent discrimination and abuse.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with employers or employer bodies on the use of dismiss and re-engage tactics in negotiations with employees.

Details of meetings held by Ministers in the Department are recorded in our transparency data, which is published at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of employers in receipt of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme payments who have adopted dismiss and re-engage tactics when negotiating terms and conditions changes with employees.

As of 20 September 2020, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has helped 1.2 million employers across the UK furlough 9.6 million jobs. The data does not include information on the decisions a business makes on its recruitment or dismissal practices.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the publication by the Mayor of London entitled Skills for Londoners: a Call for Action, published in September 2020, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of devolving skills and employment policy in the manner set out in that report.

The Government recognises the importance of having an employment and skills system that responds to local economic need. We have taken significant steps to deliver this through devolution of around half of the Adult Education Budget (AEB). The Greater London Authority and six of the Mayoral Combined Authorities have had devolved responsibility for the AEB since the start of the 2019/20 academic year, with the North of Tyne MCA having taken on responsibility at the start of the 2020/21 academic year. We have already started to see how they have been able to use this budget to support local residents impacted by COVID–19.

The Government is now developing both a Local Recovery and Devolution White Paper and a Further Education White Paper that will set out how we intend to take forward this work in due course.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria his Department uses to measure and calculate the impact on (a) biodiversity and (b) ecosystems of biomass sourced and imported into the UK from overseas forests.

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

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the methodology it uses to measure the impact of UK biomass imports on the forests from which those imports are sourced; and what plans his Department has to review that methodology.

The criteria used to ensure that only sustainably sourced biomass is used within our power sector is effective in protecting biodiversity and carbon stock in forests where biomass is sourced and requires biomass fuels to be derived from forest waste wood and residues. In their ‘Biomass in a low-carbon economy’ report the Committee on Climate Change stated the evidence suggests that the UK’s bioenergy sustainability rules are helping to limit sustainability risks.

Those sites using biomass with a capacity greater than or equal to 1 megawatt must also prepare an annual sustainability report compiled by a third party auditor/verifier which provides assurance that biomass is from sustainable sources.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the use of biomass fuel for electricity.

All Ministerial meetings gifts, hospitality, travel and meetings are published quarterly. Details of meetings from January to March can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings-january-to-march-2020.

Data for April to June 2020 will be published in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of retrofitting schools to become zero carbon schools on (a) carbon emissions and (b) behaviour change.

The Public Sector Energy Efficiency Loan scheme provides interest-free loans which enable schools, and other public sector organisations, to make improvements to their buildings to reduce carbon emissions. The public sector, including schools, can play an important role in driving wider behaviour change by demonstrating leadership in reducing their emissions.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak on London’s economy in the (a) retail, (b) culture and (c) hospitality sectors.

The Government recognises that these are challenging times for London businesses within the retail, culture, and hospitality sectors.

Hospitality, culture, retail, leisure, and tourism employ 1 in 5 Londoners and generate £62bn in GVA. On a normal working day roughly 2 million Londoners use the tube to travel to work. The loss of a large proportion of this daily office foot traffic represents a major challenge to the capital’s hospitality and retail businesses, especially in Central London where the residential population is low such as Westminster and the West End.

Businesses in the hospitality sector across the economy are being supported through a range of measures including Local Authority Discretionary Grants, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Eat Out to Help Out and the reduced VAT rate to 5%, along with Coronavirus Business Interruption loans.

Take-up of these schemes across the UK have been high. The accommodation and food services sector has seen 73% take-up rate in terms of employments, with over £4.1 billion claimed through CJRS. With 87% of employers in this sector furloughing at least one employment. The sector has been offered 3,924 CBILS facilities worth £956m, and 88,427 BBLS loans worth £3.10bn.


On 5 July, the Government announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of sectors, including performing arts and theatres, museums and galleries, heritage sites, live music venues and independent cinema.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department is providing to the life sciences sector to help ensure that life sciences research does not suffer long-term damage as a result of the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government’s long-term objectives for research and development (R&D) are clear: to be a science superpower and invest in the science and research that will deliver economic growth and societal benefits across the UK for decades to come, and to build the foundations for the new industries of tomorrow. This was supported by the unprecedented commitment at the Budget to increase public investment in R&D to £22 billion by 2024/25.

In June, the Government announced a support?package to sustain research capacity and capability, including life sciences research, which might otherwise be impacted by COVID-19. From this autumn, UK universities will be able to access a Government funded package of long-term, low interest loans, supplemented by a small amount of grant, covering up to 80% of the university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 2020/21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity. This will help to protect research jobs, capability, and ground-breaking research.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to support research into the correlation between age and susceptibility to covid-19.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), through the Medical Research Council, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided £4.9m funding to the ISARIC consortium for research and provision of real time information into the factors, including age, that put people most at risk of developing severe hospitalised illness as a result of Covid-19. They have also provided £1m to OpenSAFELY, a secure platform linking the primary care NHS records of 24 million patients, which is able to identify patients at higher risk of admission, ventilation and death from Covid-19.

More widely, as of 13 August, UKRI has committed more than £95m to new research aimed at tackling COVID-19. This includes projects supported by the UKRI call launched in March 2020 for short-term projects (up to 18 months) addressing the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak. This call includes new research with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the award) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the Covid-19 pandemic. UKRI has also repurposed research grants with a total value of around £80m to address the effects of the pandemic.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has for the UK’s future association with the Horizon Europe programme.

The UK is open to associate to Horizon Europe, if a fair and balanced deal can be agreed. We will make a final decision once it is clear whether such terms can be reached. Any agreements relating to Union programmes should contain fair terms for UK participation. This should include fair treatment of participants, a fair and appropriate financial contribution, provisions allowing for sound financial management by both parties, and appropriate governance and consultation.

As a responsible government, we are also developing alternative schemes to support international research and innovation collaboration. If we do not formally associate to Horizon Europe we will implement ambitious alternatives as quickly as possible from January 2021 and address the funding gap.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support research into the long-term health consequences of covid-19.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave the Hon. Member for Newport West on 14th July 2020 to Question 71882.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason non-essential construction workers have been advised to continue working during the covid-19 outbreak.

Construction plays a crucial role in supporting our public services, maintaining the nation’s infrastructure, and providing safe, decent homes for people to live in. Recently, the Government wrote to all those working in the construction sector to thank them for the critical contribution they are making to the resilience of this country.

Construction workers who cannot work from home, who show no symptoms of Covid-19, and who live in households where no person is self-isolating, should still go to work. This is consistent with the advice of the Chief Medical Officer.

However, the Government is clear that construction activity should only continue where it can take place in line with the social distancing guidance provided by Public Health England. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance#construction

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to relieve the financial pressures of utility bills for people on lower incomes during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State announced on 19 March that the Government, working with Citizens Advice, Ofgem and Energy UK have secured an industry-wide agreement to a set of principles for assisting consumers through difficulties caused by Covid-19 to:

  • Identify and prioritise customers at risk
  • Support customers who are impacted financially as a direct or indirect result of Covid 19.
  • Support prepayment meter customers directly or indirectly impacted by Covid 19 to stay on supply.
  • Provide information to their customers

The support offered will be based on the individual circumstances of the customer and the systems, processes and capability of the supply company, but could include extending discretionary or friendly credit, or sending out a pre-loaded top up card for traditional prepay customers who are unable to top up.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans she has to amend Ofgem’s remit to incorporate the Government’s Net Zero target.

Ofgem will have an important role in the transition to net zero and already has various powers and duties in relation to decarbonisation, including a duty to consider reductions in targeted greenhouse gas emissions. The regulator is planning to publish a decarbonisation "action plan" in February and we look forward to working closely with Ofgem to help them to implement the contents of the plan.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions her Department has had with the Treasury on the application of business rates to solar power.

This Government will conduct a fundamental review of business rates.

Ministers and officials regularly discuss a range of issues and topics with counterparts across Government, including on the issue of business rates.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether she plans to make an assessment of the effectiveness of the regulations on (a) Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin certificates and (b) the advertising of green energy packages; and if she will make a statement.

The Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin scheme derives from EU law and is intended to provide transparency to consumers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation. The vast majority of REGOs in the UK are issued to projects that are also in receipt of public subsidy, so it is difficult to isolate the exact impact REGO value will have had on the business cases for individual projects or on renewables deployment overall.

The Electricity (Fuel Mix Disclosure) Regulations 2005 requires electricity suppliers to declare the fuel mix of their supply. This lays out the method suppliers must use to calculate the fuel mix that they publish on their website and use in promotional materials. Companies include electricity covered by REGOs as renewable electricity in their Fuel Mix Disclosure tables.

Ofgem, as the independent regulator, hold a supply licence condition (21D) which requires a supplier who attaches an Environmental Claim to a tariff to meet requirements on additionality, transparency and evidence of supply. The Government is continuing to work with Ofgem to ensure that regulation of the retail market (including the supply licence) remains fit for purpose through the energy transition as consumers play an increasingly important role in achieving net zero.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate she has made of the number of energy packages sold to consumers where the advertised figure of 100% green has been based on the purchase of Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin certificates.

The Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin scheme derives from EU law and is intended to provide transparency to consumers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation. The vast majority of REGOs in the UK are issued to projects that are also in receipt of public subsidy, so it is difficult to isolate the exact impact REGO value will have had on the business cases for individual projects or on renewables deployment overall.

The Electricity (Fuel Mix Disclosure) Regulations 2005 requires electricity suppliers to declare the fuel mix of their supply. This lays out the method suppliers must use to calculate the fuel mix that they publish on their website and use in promotional materials. Companies include electricity covered by REGOs as renewable electricity in their Fuel Mix Disclosure tables.

Ofgem, as the independent regulator, hold a supply licence condition (21D) which requires a supplier who attaches an Environmental Claim to a tariff to meet requirements on additionality, transparency and evidence of supply. The Government is continuing to work with Ofgem to ensure that regulation of the retail market (including the supply licence) remains fit for purpose through the energy transition as consumers play an increasingly important role in achieving net zero.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the effect of renewable energy guarantees of origin certificates regulations on the level of supply of energy from green sources.

The Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin scheme derives from EU law and is intended to provide transparency to consumers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation. The vast majority of REGOs in the UK are issued to projects that are also in receipt of public subsidy, so it is difficult to isolate the exact impact REGO value will have had on the business cases for individual projects or on renewables deployment overall.

The Electricity (Fuel Mix Disclosure) Regulations 2005 requires electricity suppliers to declare the fuel mix of their supply. This lays out the method suppliers must use to calculate the fuel mix that they publish on their website and use in promotional materials. Companies include electricity covered by REGOs as renewable electricity in their Fuel Mix Disclosure tables.

Ofgem, as the independent regulator, hold a supply licence condition (21D) which requires a supplier who attaches an Environmental Claim to a tariff to meet requirements on additionality, transparency and evidence of supply. The Government is continuing to work with Ofgem to ensure that regulation of the retail market (including the supply licence) remains fit for purpose through the energy transition as consumers play an increasingly important role in achieving net zero.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the (a) level of change in executive pay, (b) level of change in public benefit payments and (c) increase in domain name prices by Nominet on the UK’s digital infrastructure.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has regular discussions with Nominet to discuss a range of issues connected with the .uk top level domain name registry, their work to protect essential public services, cyber security, crime prevention and other functions. As the operator of the .uk registry, Nominet is providing an essential service that must satisfy security requirements under the Network and Information Systems Regulations 2018. Other functions are managed as a private company with a public purpose objective and any changes to the way in which the registry is managed is done so through a multi-stakeholder approach, which have not been subject to a departmental assessment.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the management of Nominet since 2015; and what discussions his Department has had with (a) Nominet and (b) representatives of its members as a provider of critical digital infrastructure.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has regular discussions with Nominet to discuss a range of issues connected with the .uk top level domain name registry, their work to protect essential public services, cyber security, crime prevention and other functions. As the operator of the .uk registry, Nominet is providing an essential service that must satisfy security requirements under the Network and Information Systems Regulations 2018. Other functions are managed as a private company with a public purpose objective and any changes to the way in which the registry is managed is done so through a multi-stakeholder approach, which have not been subject to a departmental assessment.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he is having with (a) Swim England and (b) Cabinet colleagues on supporting (i) Brockwell lido and (ii) other outdoor swimming facilities during the covid-19 outbreak; and what his timescale is for enabling those facilities to safely reopen.

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

On Monday 4 January the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions. Therefore indoor and outdoor sports facilities must close.

Government decisions on reducing the current restrictions will be based on scientific evidence. Swim England are invited to regular meetings of the Sport Working Group which I chair. Through these meetings we are continuing discussions with representatives from the sport and physical activity sector about the steps required to reopen indoor and outdoor sports facilities as soon as it is safe to do so and will update the public when possible.

Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many sports clubs have benefited from.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he is having with Cabinet colleagues on supporting (a) tennis outdoor courts, (b) running tracks, (c) golf courses and (d) other outdoor sports facilities through the covid-19 outbreak; and what his timescale is for enabling those facilities to safely reopen.

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

On Monday 4 January the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions. Therefore indoor and outdoor sports facilities must close.

Government decisions on reducing the current restrictions will be based on scientific evidence. We are continuing discussions with representatives from the sport and physical activity sector about the steps required to reopen indoor and outdoor sports facilities as soon as it is safe to do so and will update the public when possible.

Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many sports clubs have benefited from.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps is he taking to ensure that (a) performance venues, (b) performers and (c) technicians are supported through the third covid-19 lockdown.

The Government’s unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund has now surpassed the £1 billion milestone.

Over £500 million in recovery grants have been made to over 3000 arts, culture and heritage organisations in England helping to support 75,000 jobs. This is in addition to over £160m in repayable finance; almost £100m in capital grants; £188m in support for the Devolved Administrations and £100m in direct support to the national cultural institutions. This funding is supporting the arts and culture sector to survive the pandemic and continue operating.

£400 million was held back as a contingency, and is being used for a second round of grants and repayable finance funding, to support cultural organisations facing financial distress as a result of closure, as well as helping them transition back to fuller opening during 2021. It will support organisations to transition from the challenging months of lockdowns and social distancing to welcoming audiences and visitors back to the country’s theatres, museums, cinemas, music venues and heritage sites.

This investment is part of a wider package of help from the UK Government. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has provided unprecedented financial assistance which many cultural organisations have taken advantage of.

On 5 November, the Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended until April 2021. Businesses can continue to apply for government-backed loans, and self-employed individuals can access the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which has also been extended until April 2021.The CJRS and SEISS support has been made more generous, with individuals able to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked/average trading profits respectively.

Within the current national restrictions, performing arts venues can continue to operate under Stages 1 and 2 of the performing arts roadmap. This means that performing arts professionals including technicians may continue to rehearse and train, and perform for broadcast and recording purposes.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much and what proportion of his Department's funding has been allocated to (a) organisations and (b) projects focused on black history in each financial year since 2015.

The majority of DCMS’s funding goes directly to its Arms Length Bodies (ALBs) such as Arts Council England, National Heritage Memorial Fund, Historic England, British Film Institute. Decisions to fund organisations or projects focused on black history would be made by them.

In 2018 the Department did allocate £200,000 to the Black Cultural Archives to secure its immediate future.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic people in the senior leadership of museums and archives (a) with national museum status and (b) in receipt of direct funding from his Department.

DCMS has a role in promoting diversity across its sectors, as set out in the department’s Single Departmental Plan. This includes understanding where there are barriers to specific groups, bringing people together and creating connections between individuals and communities.

The majority of senior leadership appointments are a matter for each museum to decide, and DCMS works with its ALBs to ensure they consider diversity and inclusion in terms of both their staff and audiences.

Diversity, including BAME representation, is considered, as one of the eight key Principles of Public Appointments in the Governance Code on Public Appointments and must be considered when appointing boards.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the number of exhibits and projects focused on black history in museums and archives with national museum status; and if he will make an estimate of the amount and proportion of direct funding from his Department that has been allocated to those exhibits and projects.

DCMS-sponsored museums operate at arm’s length from the Government and DCMS does not have a role in creative or curatorial decisions. As such we do not directly fund any particular exhibitions or projects.

Many national museums and galleries display or hold material relating to black history with collections including relevant art, ceramics, fashion and photography.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic people in the senior leadership of Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations.

The Government is clear that it expects the cultural sectors to represent our diverse society in their artistic talent, workforce and audiences. As the national development agency for art and culture, Arts Council England has a responsibility to ensure that public money benefits all of the public.

They are keen to ensure the diversity of audiences, leaders, producers and creators of arts and culture reflect the diversity of contemporary England. They measure their progress and the progress of the organisations they fund by collecting, analysing and reporting on data relating to diversity, publishing this online annually in the ‘Creative Case for Diversity’ reports. The key figures for black, Asian and minority ethnic people in leadership roles in National Portfolio Organisations can be found in the Arts Council’s most recent report for 2018-19 here (page 23)

The department has set the diversity of Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations’ board members as a key performance indicator measured on an annual basis and reported on in Arts Council England’s Annual Report. The latest one can be viewed here.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) elderly people and (b) people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to covid-19 who do not have access to (i) a smart phone and (ii) secure broadband; and what steps he is taking to reduce levels of digital exclusion among those groups.

Estimates based on Ofcom data suggest that between 4,920,000 - 5,780,000 people aged 70+ do not personally use a smartphone. Between 2,390,000 - 3,220,000 people aged 70+ do not have household access to connected devices. We do not have robust data on the digital access of people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to covid-19 and we are seeking to improve our understanding of this issue.

In March, the government agreed a set of voluntary commitments with telecommunications providers to support and protect vulnerable consumers and those who might become vulnerable as a result of Covid-19. This included a commitment to work with customers who are finding it difficult to pay their bills to ensure that they are treated fairly and appropriately supported. The Government also brokered a deal with providers which have allowed half a million NHS staff to benefit from better connectivity, and also ensured that a number of websites, including the NHS website, are zero-rated.

The introduction of the digital entitlement means that from August 2020, adults with no or low digital skills can undertake new digital skills qualifications up to Level 1 free of charge. The Government also supports the Future Digital Inclusion programme focussing on those hardest to reach. Since 2014, the programme has helped over 1.4 million people to gain the digital skills they need for life and work.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support London’s creative sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Culture Recovery Fund is an unprecedented £1.57 billion one-off cash injection into UK culture, to tackle the crisis facing our most loved arts organisations, heritage sites, and creative sector.

Over £500 million has been allocated so far with over 700 recovery grant awards to London (across arts and heritage as of 11 November), totalling over £150 million. This is in addition to government support schemes and funding made available by Arts Council England, including an £18 million ‘Developing Your Creative Practice Fund’ which is open across England.

On 5 November, the Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until March 2021. Businesses can continue to apply for government-backed loans, and self-employed individuals can access the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which has also been extended until April 2021. The CJRS and SEISS support has been made more generous, with individuals able to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked/average trading profits respectively.

We are continuing to meet with creative industries stakeholders - based in London and beyond - to provide support and guidance for the sector during this time.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the role of collective approaches by the Government, charities and community organisations in solving the complex challenges faced by vulnerable people as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Charities, community organisations and volunteers are playing a vital role to support the coronavirus effort. Government continues to work closely with the civil society sector to assess both the needs of vulnerable people and the sector itself, and how government can best support the continuation of critical work.

Government has granted £4,803,089 to the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergency Partnership (VCSEP), which brings the sector together with government and statutory agencies to meet the needs of vulnerable people during the Covid-19 outbreak. Specifically, this funding will allow the VCSEP to improve coordination across the sector, establish a system to capture unmet need at a local level, and enable volunteer demand and supply from government departments and VCS organisations to be matched.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that (a) voluntary and (b) community sector organisations have access to the resources they need to adapt to distanced delivery during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has made available an unprecedented £750 million package of support, specifically for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE). This funding supports charities to adapt and enhance the delivery of vital services during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Similarly, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Loan Interruption Scheme and Bounce Back Loans help VCSE organisations adapt their services in response to the challenges caused by the Covid-19 outbreak


Furthermore, the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 allows many VCSE organisations to hold Annual General Meetings and other members’ meetings online until 30 December which provides them with the flexibility to continue operating at a distance.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment has he made of the potential merits of establishing an innovation fund for charities to help the voluntary sector (a) develop services for children and (b) increase its use of digital technology.

While responsibility for developing services for children is held by the Department for Education, we recognise that it is essential for charities to be part of the digital revolution. The government is committed to bringing together digital and civil society to help tackle social challenges and develop services needed.

That is why DCMS provided £1.6m of set up funding for the Catalyst, a programme which is incubated by the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST). The Catalyst brings together a network of charities, digital design agencies and major funders with the shared objective of establishing a digital support hub for the charity sector. The Catalyst programme represents the first time the charity sector has had a dedicated, high-profile coalition jointly funding and championing digital innovation in the charity sector and continues to support charities to embed digital in their strategy, services and culture.

Encouraging digital innovation has long been a priority in DCMS. For example, in 2018 DCMS launched a £400,000 Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund to help older and disabled people acquire digital skills. The aim of this fund was to help ensure that ‘what works’ on digital inclusion is identified, replicated and scaled. A full independent evaluation will be published soon to share learnings from this fund.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to (a) publish a long-term, costed strategy on closing the digital divide and (b) make that strategy available for consultation.

I announced last month that the government will be publishing a new digital strategy in the Autumn that reflects the new post-COVID reality. This will focus on growth and using tech to power us out of the recession, to drive productivity and to create jobs in all parts of our economy.

For the aspirations of this strategy to be delivered successfully, we recognise people will need the capability and confidence to get the most out of an increasingly digital world, and we welcome ideas for the strategy from stakeholders.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to tackle online (a) direct or indirect threats of physical or sexual violence against women, (b) targeted harassment of women and (c) privacy violations of women.

The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. Companies will be held to account for tackling harms occurring on their platforms, including hate crime, harassment and cyberstalking.

The Law Commission is also to conducting a second phase of its review of the legal framework around abusive and offensive communications online. This will include considering whether co-ordinated harassment by groups of people online could be more effectively dealt with by the criminal law. The review will make specific recommendations for legal reform and is due to report in early 2021.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to (a) tackle and (b) protect victims of online (i) racist, (ii) transphobic and (iii) homophobic abuse.

The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. Companies will be held to account for tackling harms occurring on their platforms, including hate crime.

The Law Commission is also conducting a second phase of its review of the legal framework around abusive and offensive communications online. This will include considering whether co-ordinated harassment by groups of people online could be more effectively dealt with by the criminal law. The review will make specific recommendations for legal reform and is due to report in early 2021.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of establishing an annual survey of children's wellbeing.

The wellbeing of children and young people is a priority for this government. It is central to achieving the aims of the department and we have committed to publishing ‘State of the Nation: Children and Young People’s Wellbeing’ reports annually to bring together publicly available data, including that collected regularly by the Office of National Statistics on wellbeing.

On 10 October 2020, the department published the second annual report which focused on children and young people’s experience associated with wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. The report is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/state-of-the-nation-2020-children-and-young-peoples-wellbeing. The report has helped the government, children and young people’s services, schools, parents and anyone interested in children and young people’s wellbeing to understand their experiences of the COVID-19 outbreak, the measures put in place to reduce the impact of the outbreak, and the broader effects on society.

We are continuing to monitor the emerging evidence on the experiences of children and young people during the outbreak to ensure the support measures being put in place by the government, including in the longer term, are informed by the most up-to-date evidence.

In particular, Public Health England is monitoring the impacts of the outbreak, including on children and young people, and is publishing regular surveillance reports. Their report about population mental health and wellbeing in England during the COVID-19 outbreak was last updated on 8 April 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will increase the level of funding for sixth form students to at least £4,760 per year.

The government has already announced an additional £291 million in 16 to 19 education in 2021 to 2022. This is in addition to the £400 million awarded in the 2019 Spending Review which was the biggest injection of new money into 16 to 19 education in a single year since 2010. This has allowed us to raise the base rate of funding for all providers of 16 to 19 education, including school sixth forms and sixth-form colleges, for the first time since the current funding system was introduced in 2013, from £4,000 in each academic year up to 2019/20, to £4,188 in academic years 2020/21 and 2021/22. Over and above this base rate figure, the government has recently made further funding increases targeted on high value and high-cost programmes as well as providing additional funding to support those on level 3 programmes to continue to study English and maths where needed. As a result, the average total programme funding per 16-19 student has increased more significantly than the base rate, from £4,516 in 2019/20 published allocations to £4,958 in 2020/21 published allocations[1].

We are continuing to increase our investment in T Levels and will allocate up to an extra half a billion pounds a year to deliver these new programmes once they are fully rolled out. We are also investing in the further education workforce with a £20 million increase in funding in 2021-22 when compared to 2020-21, allowing us to deliver greater support – including opportunities to gain valuable industry experience through our Workforce Industry Exchange Programme. The government has also committed £83 million capital funding in the 2021-22 financial year to ensure that eligible post-16 providers can accommodate the expected demographic increase in 16 to 19-year-olds. More details about this funding and eligibility for the funding will be announced in due course and we will keep the policy under review.

We will of course continue to look at the needs of 16 to 19 education in future Spending Reviews.

[1] This calculation only includes institutions that have students receiving total programme funding. Some institutions receive only high needs funding – their students are not included in this calculation. In addition, the Condition of Funding adjustment for English and maths and the Advanced Maths Premium have been incorporated in total programme funding in 2019/20 to make this consistent with the definition in 2020/21.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for sixth form students.

I refer the hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood to the answer I gave on 25 February 2021 to Question 156536.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will set out his Department’s timeframe to respond to the consultation on alternative arrangements for the award of VTQs and other general qualifications in 2021; and what discussions is he having with Ofqual to ensure final plans to assess BTEC and other vocational qualifications this summer are published as soon as possible.

On 15 January 2021, the department, together with Ofqual, launched a joint consultation which sought views on a range of proposals around alternative arrangements for the award of vocational and technical qualifications in summer 2021. The consultation closed on 29 January 2021.

We recognise the need to provide clarity to students and the sector as soon as possible and we are working with Ofqual to publish our decisions by the end of February, once the consultation responses have been analysed. Further information on the consultation is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-alternative-arrangements-for-the-award-of-vtqs-and-other-general-qualifications-in-2021.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will set out his Department’s timeframe to respond to the consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021; and what discussions he is having with Ofqual to ensure final plans for GCSE, A-Level and AS Level assessments in 2021 are published as soon as possible.

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

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

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

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason the Government plans to base early years entitlement funding on January 2021’s attendance figures during a national lockdown and not pre-pandemic attendance levels, as it did in the Autumn 2020 term.

Whilst we recognise childcare attendance has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw attendance rise over the autumn term from 482,000 on 10 September 2020 to 759,000 on 17 December 2020. On 17 December, the government therefore announced a return to funding early years settings on the basis of attendance. Under these arrangements, local authorities should ensure that providers are not penalised for short-term absences of children (for example sickness, arriving late or leaving early, or a family emergency) through withdrawing funding, but use their discretion where absence is recurring or for extended periods taking into account the reason for the absence and the impact on the provider.

While early years settings remain open for all children, we know that attendance was lower in the first week of January 2021 than it was before Christmas. We are looking at the attendance data and will continue to keep the funding position under review.

The Early Years Census count will go ahead this week as expected. To support local authorities, we have issued further advice about how to conduct the census count this year. In summary we have taken the view that where a child is reasonably expected to attend early years provision, and that provision is made available to them by the provider, their expected hours should be recorded in the Early Years Census. This means children who, were it not for the impact of COVID-19 on either their own personal circumstances or on the operation of their early years setting, would be attending early years provision will be included in the census count. This includes children who have previously attended the provision and children who were expected to start attending the provision in January 2021. Where the provider is temporarily closed due to circumstances such as staff infections or isolation periods, they should return their expected levels of provision for census week. Where the provider chooses not to offer the entitlements – i.e. to close, or only offer a limited provision to children of key workers - then they should not make a return for a child who is not being offered a place.

We stay in regular contact with the early years sector and have heard from them already on this subject. We publish regular official statistics on attendance in early years settings, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak-23-march-2020-to-4-january-2021. The next release is due on Tuesday 19 January. We will be closely monitoring both parental take-up of places and the capacity and responses of providers, and will keep under constant review whether further action is needed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department will publish a plan to support students taking BTECs and other technical and vocational exams in January 2021.

On 5 January we announced that schools and colleges can continue with the vocational and technical exams that are scheduled to take place in January, where they judge it right to do so. Some students need to complete a practical assessment to obtain a licence to practice and enter the workplace and it is right that they should have the opportunity to do so, so that they are not prevented from progressing onto the next stage of their lives.

The Department has published guidance on restricting attendance during the national lockdown, which includes detailed advice on minimising COVID-19 risks when delivering exams and assessments in January 2021. This publication builds on existing guidance on safely implementing the phased return to face-to-face education for schools and further education colleges.

No student will be disadvantaged if they cannot take their exam or assessment, or if they decide they do not want to. We will develop our approach to ensure students receive a fair grade, in consultation with Ofqual, awarding organisations and the sector.

Further information on restricting attendance during the national lockdown can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950735/January_2021_FE_operational_guidance_FINAL.pdf.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that students have the laptops and digital access required to learn remotely during periods of isolation or school closures.

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

Despite unprecedented global demand, over 560,000 devices have already been delivered in 2020. By the end of this week, the Department will have delivered three quarters of a million devices.

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

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

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

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

Support is also available for schools to get set up on Google or Microsoft platforms. These platforms bring together the school community, pool resources, and give pupils the opportunity to work with their peers remotely. Since April, over 2 million accounts have been set up.

The EdTech Demonstrator network is in place to promote effective use of devices, including ways they can be used to promote greater accessibility to the curriculum.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the (a) Secretary of State for Justice and (b) Home Secretary on strengthening hate crime legislation.

Any hate crime is completely unacceptable and the Government is committed to stamping it out. As part of the Hate Crime Action Plan Refresh in October 2018, the Government asked the Law Commission to conduct a review into the coverage and approach of hate crime legislation, including consideration of whether other protected characteristics should be included. The Law Commission’s consultation to support the review closed on 24 December 2020. The Government will respond to the review when it is complete.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase funding in retrofit skills as part of the Government’s National Skills Fund.

The new Green Jobs Taskforce, which was launched on 12 November 2020, has been set up to help the UK build back greener and deliver the skilled workforce needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This is a joint initiative between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education. Working with employers and relevant stakeholders, the Taskforce will develop an action plan to support 2 million good-quality, green jobs and the skills needed by 2030, supporting the UK to transition to a net zero economy and deliver a green recovery.

The Taskforce, which also includes members from the construction and retrofit sectors such as the Construction Industry Training Board and Retrofit Works, will represent views of businesses, employees and the skills sector. Involvement in this work will not be limited only to Taskforce members, and there will be opportunities for a wider set of stakeholders, including the private sector, to contribute.

Investment from the National Skills Fund will support the government’s commitment to green jobs. Starting this year, the government is investing £2.5 billion (£3 billion, when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) in the National Skills Fund. This is a significant investment and has the potential to deliver new opportunities to generations of adults who may have been previously left behind.

From the National Skills Fund, we are investing £95 million over the current spending review period to support any adult aged 24 and over who want to achieve their first full level 3 qualification – equivalent to 2 A levels, or a technical certificate or diploma – to access nearly 400 fully funded courses. The offer includes a range of qualifications that are valuable across the economy in multiple sectors (for example, digital skills, accountancy and engineering skills).

There are specific qualifications included on the course list which will contribute to developing retrofitting skills (for example, a diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment or a diploma in Engineering Construction Lifting, Positioning and Installing Structures, Plant and Equipment).

Through the National Skills Fund we have also introduced the Skills Bootcamps, which are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving adults aged 19 and over the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.

From April 2021 we are investing a further £43 million through the National Skills Fund to support this expansion of Skills Bootcamps in England. This will enable us to assist employers across England to fill their in-demand vacancies and we anticipate training upwards of 25,000 individuals. The Bootcamps were initially focused on digital skills but are now being expanded to also cover technical skills training, including engineering and construction.

The training undertaken by adults completing relevant Skills Bootcamps courses can help adults gain the skills required to work towards further training and employment in retrofitting. Furthermore, education providers and employers can put forward bids as part of our technical skills bootcamps to establish a bootcamp with the aim of training people in retrofit skills.

These level 3 and Skills Bootcamps offers will be followed by other investments from the National Skills Fund over the course of this Parliament. The government plans to consult on the National Skills Fund in spring 2021 to ensure that we develop a fund that helps adults learn valuable skills and prepares them for the economy of the future.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) teaching unions and (b) headteachers’ associations on the effect of rising rates of covid-19 infection on the start of the school term in January.

The Department’s ministers and officials regularly engage with the teacher and headteacher unions around the Government’s COVID-19 response and will continue to to do so.
Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to ensure that students who are unable to return to the classroom at the start of the Spring Term can access learning remotely.

Given the critical importance of ensuring that all children and young people continue to learn during the national lockdown, the Department has updated the expectations for schools and colleges to clarify and strengthen what is expected during this period and drawing on our evolving understanding of best practice in remote education.

With most pupils now being taught remotely and schools having made huge progress in developing their remote education provision, it is right that we increase the expectations on what pupils receive. Schools should follow the remote education expectations set out in the actions for schools during the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#res. Pupils will be set between 3 and 5 hours per day of remote education depending on their age, with daily check-ins on their engagement, and involving the effective use of digital education platforms.

To help schools and further education (FE) colleges in meeting these expectations, the Government has invested in a remote education support package. Our Get Help with Remote Education page provides a one stop shop for teachers and leaders, signposting the support package available: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education. This includes helping schools and FE colleges to access technology that supports remote education, as well as peer to peer training and guidance on how to use technology effectively. It also includes practical tools, a good practice guide and school led webinars to support effective delivery of the curriculum, as well as information on issues such as safeguarding, statutory duties and expectations.

As part of over £300 million invested to support access to remote education and online social care, over one million laptops and tablets have been secured for disadvantaged children and young people. This figure includes 560,000 that were delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities in 2020. By the end of this week we expect to deliver three quarters of a million devices. The Department has also partnered with some of the UK’s leading mobile network operators to provide free data to disadvantaged families, which will support access to education resources, including Oak National Academy, and other websites. Schools, trusts and local authorities can access this support through the Get Help with Technology service.

The BBC has also adapted their education support for the spring term 2021 and will be making educational content available on the television. This will help to ensure all children and young people can access curriculum-based learning from home.

Where pupils continue to experience barriers to digital remote education, we expect schools to work to overcome these barriers. This could include supplementing digital provision with different forms of remote education such as printed resources or textbooks. This should be supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils and students on track or answer questions about work.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of students in alternative education provision who are unable to attend school and are required to learn remotely during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to ensure that those students have adequate access to (a) devices and (b) broadband to undertake that learning.

Data on students in state-funded alternative education provision who are unable to attend school is available through this link under “Open status and attendance by type of school or college”: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

As part of over £195 million invested to support access to remote education and online social care, over 340,000 laptops and tablets are being made available this term to support disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 whose face-to-face education may be disrupted. Since September, over 100,000 of these have been delivered to schools (including alternative provision schools).

This supplements over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers, which have already been delivered during the summer term.

The laptops and tablets are an injection of support to help local authorities, academy trusts and schools to provide access to remote education and online social care.

Local authorities, academy trusts and schools are responsible for distributing the laptops and tablets and are best placed to know which children and young people need access to a device.

The laptops and tablets are owned by the local authorities, academy trust or school who can lend unused laptops and tablets to children and young people who need them most. Once children who have been self-isolating return to school, schools can choose to reallocate devices if other pupils experience disruption to face-to-face education due to COVID-19.

In partnership with mobile network operators, we are also providing access to free additional mobile data for the academic year, offering families flexibility to access the resources that they need the most.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 16 November 2020 to Question 113607 on Remote Education: Coronavirus, what estimate his Department has made of (a) the number of devices reallocated from London schools to schools outside of London and (b) the number of students affected by that decision.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care, delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets during the summer term for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to a digital device.

The Department is adding to this support by making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available to support disadvantaged children that might experience disruption to their education. Since September, over 100,000 of these have been delivered to schools.

Laptops and tablets are owned by the local authority, trust or school who can lend unused laptops and tablets to children and young people who need them most. Once pupils who have been self-isolating return to school, schools can choose to reallocate devices if other pupils experience disruption to face-to-face education due to COVID-19.

In the context of significant global demand, the Department has updated its allocation process to more accurately align orders with the number of disadvantaged pupils schools typically have self-isolating, ensuring as many children as possible benefit from receiving a device this term.

The Department recognises that levels of self-isolation may be higher in different areas of the country and that face-to-face education is being prioritised in all eventualities. Where schools need additional devices, they should contact the Department’s service team at: covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

This more targeted approach will mean that as many schools and disadvantaged children as possible benefit from receiving a device in the event that their face-to-face education is disrupted. Further data on the number of devices distributed will be released this term.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to next publish detailed data, by (a) region and (b) local authority, on the allocation of (i) devices and (ii) 4G broadband provided to schools to support students who are required to learn remotely during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care, delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets during the summer term for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to a digital device.

The Department is adding to this support by making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available to support disadvantaged children that might experience disruption to their education. Since September, over 100,000 of these have been delivered to schools.

Laptops and tablets are owned by the local authority, trust or school who can lend unused laptops and tablets to children and young people who need them most. Once pupils who have been self-isolating return to school, schools can choose to reallocate devices if other pupils experience disruption to face-to-face education due to COVID-19.

In the context of significant global demand, the Department has updated its allocation process to more accurately align orders with the number of disadvantaged pupils schools typically have self-isolating, ensuring as many children as possible benefit from receiving a device this term.

The Department recognises that levels of self-isolation may be higher in different areas of the country and that face-to-face education is being prioritised in all eventualities. Where schools need additional devices, they should contact the Department’s service team at: covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

This more targeted approach will mean that as many schools and disadvantaged children as possible benefit from receiving a device in the event that their face-to-face education is disrupted. Further data on the number of devices distributed will be released this term.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November 2020 to Question 109509, if he will publish the total number of devices allocated to schools in London which have been reallocated to other parts of the country by (a) London borough and (b) age group of school.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, over 340,000 laptops and tablets are being made available this term to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

This supplements over 220,000 laptops and tablets, which have already been delivered during the summer term. This represents an injection of over 500,000 laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities who can lend these to pupils who need them most in the event that they experience disruption to face-to-face education due to COVID-19.

The Department has updated the allocation process to more closely align allocations with the number of pupils schools typically have self-isolating. This approach ensures that as many children as possible are able to access a device at the point at which they need one this term.

Data about the number of laptops and tablets delivered and dispatched to local authorities or trusts as of 27 August 2020 is published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.

Information on the devices provided this term to schools, local authorities and academy trusts as of 23 October 2020 is published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/929064/Ad-hoc_stats_note_shipped_data_231020_FINAL.pdf.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the total number of devices allocated to schools in England which have (a) been delivered to councils or (b) allocated under the previous plans to councils and are now proposed to be allocated under the new plans.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, over 340,000 laptops and tablets are being made available this term to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

This supplements over 220,000 laptops and tablets, which have already been delivered during the summer term. This represents an injection of over 500,000 laptops and tablets by the end of the year.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities who can lend these to pupils who need them most in the event that they experience disruption to face-to-face education due to COVID-19.

The Department has updated the allocation process to more closely align allocations with the number of pupils schools typically have self-isolating. This approach ensures that as many children as possible are able to access a device at the point at which they need one this term.

Data about the number of laptops and tablets delivered and dispatched to local authorities or trusts as of 27 August 2020 is published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.

Information on the devices provided this term to schools, local authorities and academy trusts as of 23 October 2020 is published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/929064/Ad-hoc_stats_note_shipped_data_231020_FINAL.pdf.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of devolving apprenticeship provision to local and regional government.

Apprenticeships are a national programme which give employers access to high quality skills provision throughout England to meet their current and future skills needs.

Individual employers already have direct control over their apprenticeships, and levy payers are able to use their funds as they choose, either to fund apprenticeships in their own business or in smaller businesses in their supply chain or local area. We will work with employers to improve the transfer process, making it easier for them to find smaller employers to receive transfers and make full use of their levy funds. In doing so we will build on successful regional pilot schemes, such as those by the West Midlands Combined Authority and the London Progression Collaboration, who are supporting local employers in the retail, hospitality, and construction sectors.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of schools whose allocation of laptops for remote learning has been reduced since those allocations were first offered earlier in 2020 in (a) Lambeth, (b) Southwark, (c) London and (d) England; and for what reasons those allocations have been so reduced.

The Department has invested over £195 million to support remote education by providing laptops and tablets, internet provision, and online education platforms.

The Department is making over 340,000 laptops and tablets available to help schools support disadvantaged children that do not have their own digital device if they experience disruption to face-to-face education as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. Since September 2020, over 100,000 of these devices have been delivered to schools. This is in addition to over 220,000 laptops and tablets delivered during the summer term for disadvantaged Year 10 pupils, children with a social worker and care leavers.

Attendance data suggests most schools have small groups of children self-isolating rather than closing fully. The Department has changed the number of devices allocated to each school to reflect this, which will help deliver devices where and when they are needed as quickly as possible.

This change brings schools’ allocations more closely in line with the average size of a pupil group that is self isolating. The Department recognises that levels of self isolation may be higher in different areas of the country and that face-to-face education is being prioritised in all eventualities. Where schools believe they have a strong need for additional devices, they should contact covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

This more targeted approach will mean as many schools and disadvantaged children as possible benefit from receiving a device in the event that their face-to-face education is disrupted.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the number of children in care who do not have access to (a) digital devices or (b) data in order to access remote support from social services in the event they or their social worker are required to self-isolate; and what steps is he taking to improve access.

During the summer term, the department delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access, as part of over £160 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care.

The department distributed laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to disadvantaged children in Year 10, children receiving support from a social worker and care leavers. This is to ensure these children and young people could continue to access remote education and vital, online social care services online during COVID-19 restrictions.

The department is now supplementing this support by making an additional 250,000 laptops and tablets available to schools in the event that face-to-face schooling is disrupted as a result of local COVID-19 restrictions and children become reliant on remote education.

We are also working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families who rely on a mobile internet connection. We are piloting an approach where mobile network operators are providing temporary access to free additional data offering families more flexibility to access the resources that they need the most.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to implement proposals in the Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision Green Paper.

Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS mental health services remain open and the government has recently provided over £9 million to leading mental health charities to help them expand and reach those most in need. NHS mental health trusts have also provided 24/7 access to crisis telephone lines to support people of all ages. Additionally, the Department for Education, with health partners, have launched the £8 million Wellbeing for Education programme, further supporting pupil and student, parent and carer, and staff wellbeing, resilience and recovery in light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department remains committed, with health partners, to implementing the long term improvements to support children and young people’s mental health, as set out in the government’s response to its Green Paper and the NHS Long Term Plan. We have continued to work jointly with health partners to adapt and roll-out new Mental Health Support Teams during the COVID-19 outbreak, aiming to reach a fifth to a quarter of schools and colleges across the country by the 2023/24 academic year. We are also now offering Link Programme training to all schools and colleges, helping to improve joint working?locally between education and NHS children and young people’s mental health services. This has been adapted and moved online in the short term to help meet the immediate needs of schools and colleges and local areas.

We also remain committed to training a senior mental health lead in every state school and college in the country, equipping them to implement effective whole school and college approaches to mental health and wellbeing, including processes for ensuring pupils and students with mental health issues receive appropriate support. We are currently reviewing the needs of school and college mental health leads, how, and when we deliver that training in light of the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the proportion of the £560 million in capital funding announced for schools that will be used for energy efficiency measures.

The Government has allocated £9.5 billion in condition funding since 2015 to maintain and improve the school estate, including an extra £560 million this financial year. As much of the funding is provided to responsible bodies, such as local authorities, large academy trusts and voluntary aided school bodies, to invest in condition priorities based on local need, we are not able to provide a breakdown of spend on energy efficiency. On top of capital allocations to the school system, the Priority School Building Programme is rebuilding or refurbishing school buildings in the worst condition across the country, covering over 500 schools. In June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced a new, transformative 10-year school rebuilding programme. This will replace school buildings that are ageing or in poor condition with modern, energy-efficient designs that will help to meet the government’s net zero target. We are working to improve schools’ capability and efficiency in managing their estates, and have published guidance on good estate management, which includes energy efficiency measures and a checklist that schools can use to help them take action. We are also working in partnership with the Construction Innovation Hub (funded by UK Research and Innovation) to develop a model of sustainable future school buildings using modern methods of construction. More broadly, we are working with colleagues across government on carbon reduction and energy efficiency, and are considering how future capital programmes can contribute further.

On 1 October, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced a £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund. The scheme is being provided via Salix Finance and schools are eligible to apply for grant funding for capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects. This is a grant scheme, hence there is no payback criteria set on this funding.

The application round for the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund for academies is due to reopen in mid-October 2020. BEIS is responsible for this programme, and future funding is subject to the Spending Review. Academies that are eligible for the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) can also apply through the annual CIF round for an interest free energy efficiency Salix loan for all or part of the CIF project funding if an element of the project will provide revenue savings for energy efficiency works.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 September 2020 to Question 82193, what assessment he has made of the effect of the eight year payback conditions on the Salix finance scheme on schools' choices for more substantial energy efficiency measures.

The Government has allocated £9.5 billion in condition funding since 2015 to maintain and improve the school estate, including an extra £560 million this financial year. As much of the funding is provided to responsible bodies, such as local authorities, large academy trusts and voluntary aided school bodies, to invest in condition priorities based on local need, we are not able to provide a breakdown of spend on energy efficiency. On top of capital allocations to the school system, the Priority School Building Programme is rebuilding or refurbishing school buildings in the worst condition across the country, covering over 500 schools. In June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced a new, transformative 10-year school rebuilding programme. This will replace school buildings that are ageing or in poor condition with modern, energy-efficient designs that will help to meet the government’s net zero target. We are working to improve schools’ capability and efficiency in managing their estates, and have published guidance on good estate management, which includes energy efficiency measures and a checklist that schools can use to help them take action. We are also working in partnership with the Construction Innovation Hub (funded by UK Research and Innovation) to develop a model of sustainable future school buildings using modern methods of construction. More broadly, we are working with colleagues across government on carbon reduction and energy efficiency, and are considering how future capital programmes can contribute further.

On 1 October, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced a £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund. The scheme is being provided via Salix Finance and schools are eligible to apply for grant funding for capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects. This is a grant scheme, hence there is no payback criteria set on this funding.

The application round for the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund for academies is due to reopen in mid-October 2020. BEIS is responsible for this programme, and future funding is subject to the Spending Review. Academies that are eligible for the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) can also apply through the annual CIF round for an interest free energy efficiency Salix loan for all or part of the CIF project funding if an element of the project will provide revenue savings for energy efficiency works.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 September 2020 to Question 82193, what estimate he has made of the proportion of the £9.5 billion funding that will be spent on energy efficiency measures; and what steps he is taking to encourage energy efficiency measures.

The Government has allocated £9.5 billion in condition funding since 2015 to maintain and improve the school estate, including an extra £560 million this financial year. As much of the funding is provided to responsible bodies, such as local authorities, large academy trusts and voluntary aided school bodies, to invest in condition priorities based on local need, we are not able to provide a breakdown of spend on energy efficiency. On top of capital allocations to the school system, the Priority School Building Programme is rebuilding or refurbishing school buildings in the worst condition across the country, covering over 500 schools. In June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced a new, transformative 10-year school rebuilding programme. This will replace school buildings that are ageing or in poor condition with modern, energy-efficient designs that will help to meet the government’s net zero target. We are working to improve schools’ capability and efficiency in managing their estates, and have published guidance on good estate management, which includes energy efficiency measures and a checklist that schools can use to help them take action. We are also working in partnership with the Construction Innovation Hub (funded by UK Research and Innovation) to develop a model of sustainable future school buildings using modern methods of construction. More broadly, we are working with colleagues across government on carbon reduction and energy efficiency, and are considering how future capital programmes can contribute further.

On 1 October, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced a £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund. The scheme is being provided via Salix Finance and schools are eligible to apply for grant funding for capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects. This is a grant scheme, hence there is no payback criteria set on this funding.

The application round for the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund for academies is due to reopen in mid-October 2020. BEIS is responsible for this programme, and future funding is subject to the Spending Review. Academies that are eligible for the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) can also apply through the annual CIF round for an interest free energy efficiency Salix loan for all or part of the CIF project funding if an element of the project will provide revenue savings for energy efficiency works.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 September 2020 to Question 82193, if he will set out a timeframe for when the application scheme for academies will reopen; and what steps he is taking to ensure that application scheme remains accessible on an annual basis.

The Government has allocated £9.5 billion in condition funding since 2015 to maintain and improve the school estate, including an extra £560 million this financial year. As much of the funding is provided to responsible bodies, such as local authorities, large academy trusts and voluntary aided school bodies, to invest in condition priorities based on local need, we are not able to provide a breakdown of spend on energy efficiency. On top of capital allocations to the school system, the Priority School Building Programme is rebuilding or refurbishing school buildings in the worst condition across the country, covering over 500 schools. In June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced a new, transformative 10-year school rebuilding programme. This will replace school buildings that are ageing or in poor condition with modern, energy-efficient designs that will help to meet the government’s net zero target. We are working to improve schools’ capability and efficiency in managing their estates, and have published guidance on good estate management, which includes energy efficiency measures and a checklist that schools can use to help them take action. We are also working in partnership with the Construction Innovation Hub (funded by UK Research and Innovation) to develop a model of sustainable future school buildings using modern methods of construction. More broadly, we are working with colleagues across government on carbon reduction and energy efficiency, and are considering how future capital programmes can contribute further.

On 1 October, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced a £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and Public Sector Low Carbon Skills Fund. The scheme is being provided via Salix Finance and schools are eligible to apply for grant funding for capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects. This is a grant scheme, hence there is no payback criteria set on this funding.

The application round for the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund for academies is due to reopen in mid-October 2020. BEIS is responsible for this programme, and future funding is subject to the Spending Review. Academies that are eligible for the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) can also apply through the annual CIF round for an interest free energy efficiency Salix loan for all or part of the CIF project funding if an element of the project will provide revenue savings for energy efficiency works.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of a London Apprenticeship Service.

Apprenticeships is a national programme which gives employers access to high quality skills provision throughout England to meet their current and future skills needs.

Individual employers already have direct control over their apprenticeships, and levy payers are able to use their funds as they choose, either to fund apprenticeships in their own business or in smaller businesses in their supply chain or local area. As my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister set out on 29 September, we will work with employers to improve the transfers process, making it easier for them to find smaller employers to receive transfer and make full use of their levy funds. In doing so we will build on successful regional pilot schemes, such as that in West Midlands Combined Authority.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of children with special educational needs or disabilities who have not yet returned to mainstream school places; and what steps his Department is taking to support those children.

The department does not hold data on the attendance levels of all pupils with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) in mainstream settings. The department is, however, collecting data on the attendance of pupils with Education, Health and Care Plans and this will be published in due course.

The government has clearly set out its position that all pupils, including those with SEND, should be returning to schools from the start of the autumn term. Our guidance is clear that schools should work closely with parents and carers to agree the best approach to support children and young people with SEND to return to school successfully:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Where children are unable to attend school because they are following Public Health England guidance to self-isolate, or because they are among the very small proportion of children who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ and have been advised by their own medical team to continue shielding, schools should provide immediate remote education provision so they can continue their learning and development.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of special schools have not yet reopened in (a) London and (b) England as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps his Department is taking to support the children affected by those closures.

The department is collecting school level opening and attendance statistics for the current academic year, including those for special schools. We intend to publish these statistics at a future date.

The government has set out clearly its position that all pupils, including those with special educational needs or disabilities, should be returning to schools from the start of the autumn term. Our guidance is clear that schools should work closely with parents and carers to agree the best approach to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to return to school successfully. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Where children are unable to attend school because they are following Public Health England guidance to self-isolate, or because they are among the very small proportion of children who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ and have been advised by their own medical team to continue shielding, schools should provide immediate remote education provision so they can continue their learning and development.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of alternative algorithms and methods to moderate the 2020 GCSE and A-Level results; and for what reasons his Department decided to use the published algorithm.

The development of the algorithm used to moderate the 2020 GCSE and A level results was a matter for Ofqual as independent regulator.

In April and May, Ofqual worked with technical experts across the sector to test 12 different statistical standardisation models using data from previous years. In selecting the final model, Ofqual chose the one that most accurately predicted students’ grades in a way that did not systematically affect groups of students with particular protected characteristics. Ofqual also considered operational issues, such as how easy it was to implement the approaches consistently across all four exam boards, and issues of transparency.

Detailed analysis of the potential approaches to standardisation considered, and details of the testing of the different models, and the results of this testing, can be found in Ofqual’s published report at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awarding-gcse-as-a-levels-in-summer-2020-interim-report.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what use (a) his Department and (b) Ofqual made of historic pupil value added data when moderating the 2020 (i) GCSE and (ii) A-level grades.

The development of the algorithm used to moderate the 2020 GCSE and A level results was a matter for Ofqual as independent regulator.

In April and May, Ofqual worked with technical experts across the sector to test 12 different statistical standardisation models using data from previous years. In selecting the final model, Ofqual chose the one that most accurately predicted students’ grades in a way that did not systematically affect groups of students with particular protected characteristics. Ofqual also considered operational issues, such as how easy it was to implement the approaches consistently across all four exam boards, and issues of transparency.

Detailed analysis of the potential approaches to standardisation considered, and details of the testing of the different models, and the results of this testing, can be found in Ofqual’s published report at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awarding-gcse-as-a-levels-in-summer-2020-interim-report.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department made of the outcome of the results for pupils attending schools with larger than average class sizes in advance of the 2020 (a) GCSE and (b) A-level grades being moderated using Ofqual's algorithm for moderating.

The development of the algorithm used to moderate the 2020 GCSE and A level results was a matter for Ofqual as independent regulator.

In April and May, Ofqual worked with technical experts across the sector to test 12 different statistical standardisation models using data from previous years. In selecting the final model, Ofqual chose the one that most accurately predicted students’ grades in a way that did not systematically affect groups of students with particular protected characteristics. Ofqual also considered operational issues, such as how easy it was to implement the approaches consistently across all four exam boards, and issues of transparency.

Detailed analysis of the potential approaches to standardisation considered, and details of the testing of the different models, and the results of this testing, can be found in Ofqual’s published report at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awarding-gcse-as-a-levels-in-summer-2020-interim-report.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of retrofitting schools to become zero carbon schools on school budgets.

The Department has allocated £9.5 billion since 2015 to improve the condition of the school estate, including improving energy efficiency. This includes an additional £560 million in capital funding this year, announced by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, in June.

Interest-free loans for energy efficiency projects in maintained schools have also been made available through the Government-backed Salix finance scheme and to academies through an annual application process.

On 29 June, the Government also announced a 10-year school rebuilding programme. This will replace school buildings that are ageing or in poor condition with modern, energy-efficient designs that will help to meet the Government’s net zero target.

More broadly, the Department is working with colleagues across the Government on carbon reduction and energy efficiency and on developing thinking on how future capital programmes can contribute further.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has already announced £1 billion to support making public buildings greener, including schools and hospitals, which will help the country meet its ambitions of achieving net zero by 2050.

Further details on future capital funding will be set out at the Spending Review.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children are in relative or friend foster care placements as of 31 March 2019 by (a) ethnicity and (b) age of the child.

Figures are shown in the tables, attached.

The numbers of looked after children at 31 March in a foster placement with a relative or friend are published annually in table A2 of the statistical release: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

An aggregate figure for all fostering placements by local authority is routinely published in the underlying data table (CLA2019) in the same release. However, this table does not show whether the placement is with a relative or friend or other foster carer. These figures are included in the table for this answer.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children were in relative or friend foster care placements as of 31 March 2019 by local authority.

Figures are shown in the tables, attached.

The numbers of looked after children at 31 March in a foster placement with a relative or friend are published annually in table A2 of the statistical release: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

An aggregate figure for all fostering placements by local authority is routinely published in the underlying data table (CLA2019) in the same release. However, this table does not show whether the placement is with a relative or friend or other foster carer. These figures are included in the table for this answer.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the difference between (a) predicted and (b) achieved A-level grades by ethnicity in each year since 2015.

The data that has been collected by UCAS on the relationship between predicted and achieved grades relates only to those who apply to higher education using UCAS.

There is no published data on predictions for GCSEs.

UCAS published a report on the factors that are associated with the differences in predicted and achieved A level attainment in 2016 examining the predictions and results for 600,000 English 18 year old applicants between 2010 and 2015 with three or more A levels.

The report is available here: www.ucas.com/file/71796/download?token=D4uuSzur.

Black applicants were proportionally 19% more likely to be overpredicted compared with White applicants. Disadvantaged applicants (measured using POLAR) were 5% more likely to be overpredicted compared with the most advantaged applicants.

We have not had discussions with UCAS about historic data tables of achieved grades against predicted grades by demographic group. UCAS have published data on the differences in predicted and achieved A level points for 18 year old UK applicants with at least three predicted A level grades. The data is available from 2010 and by gender, domicile, disadvantage and ethnicity.

In the 2019 application cycle, of UK 18 year old applicants with at least three predicted A levels who were accepted onto a place, 79% of predicted grades were overpredicted and 8% underpredicted.

The data is available here: www.ucas.com/data-and-analysis/undergraduate-statistics-and-reports/ucas-undergraduate-sector-level-end-cycle-data-resources-2019

We have had no recent discussions with UCAS about the potential role of unconscious bias in predicted A level grades, as this would not be a matter they could control. We have had extensive discussions with Ofqual about this matter and Ofqual publications set out how it has been taken into account in the development of the calculated grades being awarded this summer.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of published data collection on achieved grades against predicted grades for (a) GCSEs and (b) A-Levels by demographic group; and what steps his Department is taking to improve such data collection increase transparency to combat unconscious bias.

The data that has been collected by UCAS on the relationship between predicted and achieved grades relates only to those who apply to higher education using UCAS.

There is no published data on predictions for GCSEs.

UCAS published a report on the factors that are associated with the differences in predicted and achieved A level attainment in 2016 examining the predictions and results for 600,000 English 18 year old applicants between 2010 and 2015 with three or more A levels.

The report is available here: www.ucas.com/file/71796/download?token=D4uuSzur.

Black applicants were proportionally 19% more likely to be overpredicted compared with White applicants. Disadvantaged applicants (measured using POLAR) were 5% more likely to be overpredicted compared with the most advantaged applicants.

We have not had discussions with UCAS about historic data tables of achieved grades against predicted grades by demographic group. UCAS have published data on the differences in predicted and achieved A level points for 18 year old UK applicants with at least three predicted A level grades. The data is available from 2010 and by gender, domicile, disadvantage and ethnicity.

In the 2019 application cycle, of UK 18 year old applicants with at least three predicted A levels who were accepted onto a place, 79% of predicted grades were overpredicted and 8% underpredicted.

The data is available here: www.ucas.com/data-and-analysis/undergraduate-statistics-and-reports/ucas-undergraduate-sector-level-end-cycle-data-resources-2019

We have had no recent discussions with UCAS about the potential role of unconscious bias in predicted A level grades, as this would not be a matter they could control. We have had extensive discussions with Ofqual about this matter and Ofqual publications set out how it has been taken into account in the development of the calculated grades being awarded this summer.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with UCAS on the publication of historic data tables of achieved grades against predicted grades by demographic group.

The data that has been collected by UCAS on the relationship between predicted and achieved grades relates only to those who apply to higher education using UCAS.

There is no published data on predictions for GCSEs.

UCAS published a report on the factors that are associated with the differences in predicted and achieved A level attainment in 2016 examining the predictions and results for 600,000 English 18 year old applicants between 2010 and 2015 with three or more A levels.

The report is available here: www.ucas.com/file/71796/download?token=D4uuSzur.

Black applicants were proportionally 19% more likely to be overpredicted compared with White applicants. Disadvantaged applicants (measured using POLAR) were 5% more likely to be overpredicted compared with the most advantaged applicants.

We have not had discussions with UCAS about historic data tables of achieved grades against predicted grades by demographic group. UCAS have published data on the differences in predicted and achieved A level points for 18 year old UK applicants with at least three predicted A level grades. The data is available from 2010 and by gender, domicile, disadvantage and ethnicity.

In the 2019 application cycle, of UK 18 year old applicants with at least three predicted A levels who were accepted onto a place, 79% of predicted grades were overpredicted and 8% underpredicted.

The data is available here: www.ucas.com/data-and-analysis/undergraduate-statistics-and-reports/ucas-undergraduate-sector-level-end-cycle-data-resources-2019

We have had no recent discussions with UCAS about the potential role of unconscious bias in predicted A level grades, as this would not be a matter they could control. We have had extensive discussions with Ofqual about this matter and Ofqual publications set out how it has been taken into account in the development of the calculated grades being awarded this summer.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions his Department has had with UCAS on the (a) role of unconscious bias in predicted A-Level grades and (b) potential effect of unconscious bias in those grades on trends in admissions statistics in relation to (i) socio-economic background, (ii) race, (iii) gender and (iv) disability.

The data that has been collected by UCAS on the relationship between predicted and achieved grades relates only to those who apply to higher education using UCAS.

There is no published data on predictions for GCSEs.

UCAS published a report on the factors that are associated with the differences in predicted and achieved A level attainment in 2016 examining the predictions and results for 600,000 English 18 year old applicants between 2010 and 2015 with three or more A levels.

The report is available here: www.ucas.com/file/71796/download?token=D4uuSzur.

Black applicants were proportionally 19% more likely to be overpredicted compared with White applicants. Disadvantaged applicants (measured using POLAR) were 5% more likely to be overpredicted compared with the most advantaged applicants.

We have not had discussions with UCAS about historic data tables of achieved grades against predicted grades by demographic group. UCAS have published data on the differences in predicted and achieved A level points for 18 year old UK applicants with at least three predicted A level grades. The data is available from 2010 and by gender, domicile, disadvantage and ethnicity.

In the 2019 application cycle, of UK 18 year old applicants with at least three predicted A levels who were accepted onto a place, 79% of predicted grades were overpredicted and 8% underpredicted.

The data is available here: www.ucas.com/data-and-analysis/undergraduate-statistics-and-reports/ucas-undergraduate-sector-level-end-cycle-data-resources-2019

We have had no recent discussions with UCAS about the potential role of unconscious bias in predicted A level grades, as this would not be a matter they could control. We have had extensive discussions with Ofqual about this matter and Ofqual publications set out how it has been taken into account in the development of the calculated grades being awarded this summer.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the software specifications for laptops purchased by his Department to support vulnerable children and children from low income household during the covid-19 outbreak with regard to (a) installed operating systems, (b) software programmes (c) and virus and privacy software.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and online social care services, including by providing brand new laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers. The devices have been built specifically for this programme.

Our supplier, Computacenter have published the specifications of the devices, which can be found here: https://www.computacenter.com/uk/uk/supporting-remote-education-and-social-care/choosing-devices

The laptops and tablets have settings to make sure they are safe and secure online. The virus protection is provided by Windows Defender that is built into Windows 10 - this is configured to update and scan the devices on a regular basis.

For safeguarding, the Department has installed Cisco Umbrella which is configured to block access to inappropriate web content. Cisco Umbrella is also backed up by the use of the Microsoft Intune mobile device management solution which allows remote management and configuration of devices to ensure that the safeguarding applied cannot be uninstalled or bypassed.

Schools can also apply their own settings and software to match the education resources they use and to fit their own policies.

Local authority social care teams also have the opportunity to add settings and software to the devices to support engagement with social workers, help provide access to other services and prevent social isolation. In addition, links to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection website and advice on using the internet safely are pre-loaded onto the device.

The Government is also providing technical support to schools to get them set up on digital education platforms. The Department is providing expert training and technical support for schools to set up the free-to-use platforms, G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. These platforms have the potential to improve pupils’ outcomes and transform how schools operate even when their doors are open to all.

To ensure that schools and colleges are able to make the best use of the technology available to them, the Department has launched the EdTech Demonstrator programme. EdTech Demonstrators are schools and colleges across the country who exemplify excellence in their use of technology. Support available includes training on how to use digital education platforms effectively (such as Google G Suite for Education, Microsoft Office 365, etc) to support pupils' education and to communicate effectively with the school community. It also covers related content on digital safeguarding, supporting pupils and teacher wellbeing remotely and using technology to help support the needs of students with SEND.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the hardware specifications for laptops purchased by his Department to support vulnerable children and children from low income households during the covid-19 outbreak in terms of (a) maximum age of devices, (b) specified brands and models, (c) minimum processing power, (d) ongoing IT support and (e) child safety features.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and online social care services, including by providing brand new laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers. The devices have been built specifically for this programme.

Our supplier, Computacenter have published the specifications of the devices, which can be found here: https://www.computacenter.com/uk/uk/supporting-remote-education-and-social-care/choosing-devices

The laptops and tablets have settings to make sure they are safe and secure online. The virus protection is provided by Windows Defender that is built into Windows 10 - this is configured to update and scan the devices on a regular basis.

For safeguarding, the Department has installed Cisco Umbrella which is configured to block access to inappropriate web content. Cisco Umbrella is also backed up by the use of the Microsoft Intune mobile device management solution which allows remote management and configuration of devices to ensure that the safeguarding applied cannot be uninstalled or bypassed.

Schools can also apply their own settings and software to match the education resources they use and to fit their own policies.

Local authority social care teams also have the opportunity to add settings and software to the devices to support engagement with social workers, help provide access to other services and prevent social isolation. In addition, links to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection website and advice on using the internet safely are pre-loaded onto the device.

The Government is also providing technical support to schools to get them set up on digital education platforms. The Department is providing expert training and technical support for schools to set up the free-to-use platforms, G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. These platforms have the potential to improve pupils’ outcomes and transform how schools operate even when their doors are open to all.

To ensure that schools and colleges are able to make the best use of the technology available to them, the Department has launched the EdTech Demonstrator programme. EdTech Demonstrators are schools and colleges across the country who exemplify excellence in their use of technology. Support available includes training on how to use digital education platforms effectively (such as Google G Suite for Education, Microsoft Office 365, etc) to support pupils' education and to communicate effectively with the school community. It also covers related content on digital safeguarding, supporting pupils and teacher wellbeing remotely and using technology to help support the needs of students with SEND.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will set out his Department’s process for ensuring second hand equipment purchased by his Department to support vulnerable children and children from low income households during the covid-19 outbreak is cleaned of data and repurposed for use by students.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and online social care services, including by providing brand new laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers. The devices have been built specifically for this programme.

Our supplier, Computacenter have published the specifications of the devices, which can be found here: https://www.computacenter.com/uk/uk/supporting-remote-education-and-social-care/choosing-devices

The laptops and tablets have settings to make sure they are safe and secure online. The virus protection is provided by Windows Defender that is built into Windows 10 - this is configured to update and scan the devices on a regular basis.

For safeguarding, the Department has installed Cisco Umbrella which is configured to block access to inappropriate web content. Cisco Umbrella is also backed up by the use of the Microsoft Intune mobile device management solution which allows remote management and configuration of devices to ensure that the safeguarding applied cannot be uninstalled or bypassed.

Schools can also apply their own settings and software to match the education resources they use and to fit their own policies.

Local authority social care teams also have the opportunity to add settings and software to the devices to support engagement with social workers, help provide access to other services and prevent social isolation. In addition, links to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection website and advice on using the internet safely are pre-loaded onto the device.

The Government is also providing technical support to schools to get them set up on digital education platforms. The Department is providing expert training and technical support for schools to set up the free-to-use platforms, G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. These platforms have the potential to improve pupils’ outcomes and transform how schools operate even when their doors are open to all.

To ensure that schools and colleges are able to make the best use of the technology available to them, the Department has launched the EdTech Demonstrator programme. EdTech Demonstrators are schools and colleges across the country who exemplify excellence in their use of technology. Support available includes training on how to use digital education platforms effectively (such as Google G Suite for Education, Microsoft Office 365, etc) to support pupils' education and to communicate effectively with the school community. It also covers related content on digital safeguarding, supporting pupils and teacher wellbeing remotely and using technology to help support the needs of students with SEND.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for how long his Department plans to pay for internet access, through broadband or 4G routers, for children and young people eligible for technology support.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and online social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in year 10 do not have internet connections, we have provided 4G wireless routers to them so that they can learn at home. The 4G wireless routers will provide paid-for internet access for six months from when they are delivered to the local authority or academy trust.

The Department has launched a service to provide children and young people free access to BT wifi hotspots until the end of December – this date will remain under review. 10,000 families will initially be able to access the scheme. This offer is currently being piloted and will be rolled out across England in the coming months. We are currently working with BT to expand this offer to allow more children to access the internet through their network of BT wifi hotspots.

We are also working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families. For families who rely on a mobile internet connection, mobile network operators are working to provide access to free additional data while COVID-19 requires children to learn from home and more social care services are being delivered online.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to (a) assess the effect of energy efficiency retrofitting of schools on (i) local jobs and (ii) carbon emissions and (b) and encourage schools to retrofit.

The Department supports sustainability through its capital funding and programmes, both to reduce carbon and save schools money on energy. The Department has allocated over £7.4 billion in condition funding since 2015, the majority of which enables local authorities, multi-academy trusts and schools to determine how it is invested in maintaining and improving their school buildings, including energy efficiency measures. More broadly, we are working with colleagues across Government, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on carbon reduction and energy efficiency and developing thinking on how future capital programmes can contribute further.

In addition to this, we announced on 29 June a commitment to a multi-wave, 10 year school rebuilding programme. Full details of these projects will be confirmed in the autumn and further funding will be set out as part of the Spending Review.

This will replace poor condition and ageing school buildings with modern, energy efficient designs, transforming education for thousands of pupils and helping to meet the Government’s net-zero target and to tackle climate change.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that children and young people eligible for technology support will have access to devices and broadband over the 2020 summer holidays to catch-up on learning programmes.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

We are providing over 200,000 laptops and tablets to local authorities and academy trusts for disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 50,000 4G wireless routers.

These laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers are the property of the local authority, trust or school, and so will benefit children’s education long after we come out of the measures required to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes supporting children and young people to catch up on learning over the summer holidays.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on its review of BTECs and other applied general qualifications.

The review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below, alongside the development of T Levels, is central to building a world-class technical education system. The first stage of the qualifications review consultation ran from March to June 2019. The second stage consultation is due to be published later in 2020. The review is looking at complex questions about the range of qualifications needed post-16, including the place of applied general qualifications, and we want to take the time to get this right. We are taking a number of steps in advance of this to drive up quality and reduce complexity in the system.

From 1 August 2020, we will withdraw funding approval for new starts on 163 older qualifications that have been superseded by newer more rigorous versions. From 1 September 2020, we will not approve new qualifications for funding for students aged 16 and above, to stabilise the publicly funded offer in advance of further reform. We have also, this year, started the process to remove public funding approval of qualifications with low or no publicly funded enrolments. Subject to the outcomes of this process, from August 2021 we will remove funding approval for qualifications with no publicly funded enrolments. Additionally, from August 2022 we will remove funding approval for qualifications with low numbers of publicly funded enrolments, unless doing so would have a significant adverse impact on a particular sector, geographical area or student group.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) completed, (b) in-progress and (c) refused requests for devices and broadband under his Department’s scheme to support remote learning during the covid-19 oubreak to date.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets and allocated devices to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of disadvantaged and vulnerable children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and schools are best placed to identify those children that need support through this scheme. Where local authorities and academy trusts have identified a need greater than their initial allocation, the Department has been working with them to provide additional devices. Requests for devices for eligible children are not refused.

The Department invited local authorities to order devices for the most vulnerable children first - children with a social worker and care leavers. Devices are being delivered to local authorities daily and will continue to be distributed throughout June.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) schools and (b) pupils that have been given digital devices under his Department’s scheme to support remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak in (i) London and (ii) England.

The Government is providing over 200,000 laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers. The Department has purchased over 50,000 4G wireless routers.

Computer devices have been allocated to local authorities and academy trusts based on the Department’s estimates of the number of disadvantaged and vulnerable children that do not have access to a device. The Department invited local authorities to order devices for the most vulnerable children first - children with a social worker and care leavers. Devices are being delivered to local authorities daily and will continue to be distributed throughout June.

Alongside the 4G wireless routers, to support disadvantaged households who rely on a mobile internet connection, the Department is working with major telecoms companies to help ensure that disadvantaged and vulnerable families can access free additional data while COVID-19 requires children to learn from home. This is in addition to the support from broadband providers that the Government has already announced for those with fixed cap broadband or who run into arrears with their broadband payments.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of households who have been given an internet connection under his Department’s scheme to support remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak in (a) London and (b) England.

The Government is providing over 200,000 laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers. The Department has purchased over 50,000 4G wireless routers.

Computer devices have been allocated to local authorities and academy trusts based on the Department’s estimates of the number of disadvantaged and vulnerable children that do not have access to a device. The Department invited local authorities to order devices for the most vulnerable children first - children with a social worker and care leavers. Devices are being delivered to local authorities daily and will continue to be distributed throughout June.

Alongside the 4G wireless routers, to support disadvantaged households who rely on a mobile internet connection, the Department is working with major telecoms companies to help ensure that disadvantaged and vulnerable families can access free additional data while COVID-19 requires children to learn from home. This is in addition to the support from broadband providers that the Government has already announced for those with fixed cap broadband or who run into arrears with their broadband payments.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the (a) value of and (b) performance against key performance indicators of the Government’s contract with Edenred to administer the free school meals voucher scheme during the covid-19 outbreak since the inception of that scheme.

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

Our latest guidance for schools and other educational settings is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

The Department for Education made an award of a contract to Edenred pursuant to Regulation 32(2)(c) Public Contracts Regulations 2015 to provide extremely urgent deliverables as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The contract was let as a direct award using the terms of an existing Crown Commercial Service framework. The department can confirm that we are only paying for the face value of goods delivered – in this case, vouchers.

We continue to work very closely with our supplier, Edenred, to improve the performance of the national free school meals voucher scheme, including by reducing waiting times experienced by schools, parents and carers on the ordering and redemption sites. Edenred reported that over £101.5 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 22 May.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he is taking steps to ensure that Ofqual and other exam boards are prepared to provide replacement GCSE, A-level, AS-level and BTEC exams in the Autumn term 2020 for students who wish to sit those exams.

I can confirm that we are working with the independent qualifications regulator, Ofqual, and the exam boards to ensure that students have the opportunity to sit exams in the autumn.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) accuracy of predicted grades for (i) GCSEs and (ii) A-Levels and (b) potential effect of unconscious bias on those predicted grades in terms of (A) gender and (B) race.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write to the hon. Member, and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the proportion and number of children in receipt of free school meals who will not be attending school during the covid-19-related closures; and (b) what steps his Department is taking to ensure those children are provided with alternative meal provision.

Under the benefits-based criteria, there are currently around 1.3 million pupils eligible for and claiming a free school meal. The continuing provision of free school meals to children from out of work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government.

Where schools and other educational settings remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, they will continue to provide free school meals to attending children who would normally receive them.

We have published guidance explaining what schools should do to make sure eligible pupils have continued access to benefits-related free school meals where the pupil has to stay at home due to school closures. This guidance is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department is having with universities and higher education providers to ensure that students who are unable to sit their exams for A-Levels and other qualifications as a result of school closures are able to access higher education in the next academic year.

The calculated grades awarded this year will be formal grades, with the same status as grades awarded in any other year. The higher education sector has recognised this and is working with us to ensure that this year’s cohort of A-Level students are at no disadvantage when it comes to progression to university because of these unprecedented circumstances.

Department officials are working closely with Ofqual, UCAS, Universities UK, the Office for Students and others to ensure that the admissions system functions as effectively and efficiently as possible during this unprecedented time.

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

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many looked-after children that were being cared for in a friends and family foster placement on 31 March 2019 had also been in (a) an unrelated foster placement, (b) another family and friends care placement, (c) a children's home and (d) other provision for looked-after children.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 February 2020 to Question 667.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for sixth form students.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend, Michelle Donelan, gave on 28 January 2020 to Question 5550, in her role as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to extend eligibility for the Teachers’ Pay Grant to sixth form colleges.

Sixth form colleges have a different legal status and relationship to the Government when compared with schools. They are independent of the Government and the Department plays no role in setting their pay and conditions. Therefore, they are not eligible for the Teachers' Pay Grant or the Early Career Payments for school teachers. The Department continues to work closely with the further education (FE) sector to consider how best to support its needs.

We have announced a 16-19 funding increase of £400 million for 2020-21 – the biggest injection of new money into 16-19 education in a single year since 2010. This includes a 4.7% increase in the 16-19 base rate of funding and £20 million of new funding for the FE workforce.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to extend eligibility for Early-career payments to teachers in sixth form colleges.

Sixth form colleges have a different legal status and relationship to the Government when compared with schools. They are independent of the Government and the Department plays no role in setting their pay and conditions. Therefore, they are not eligible for the Teachers' Pay Grant or the Early Career Payments for school teachers. The Department continues to work closely with the further education (FE) sector to consider how best to support its needs.

We have announced a 16-19 funding increase of £400 million for 2020-21 – the biggest injection of new money into 16-19 education in a single year since 2010. This includes a 4.7% increase in the 16-19 base rate of funding and £20 million of new funding for the FE workforce.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to improve training for teaching staff when supporting children with speech, language and communication needs.

We are committed to supporting children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). The Government has increased local authorities’ high needs funding by £780 million in 2020-21, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020-21.

We know that the quality of teaching is the most important in-school factor for improving the outcomes for all children and that this is particularly important for pupils with additional needs.

The Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework has been designed around how to support all pupils to succeed and seeks to widen access for all, including those pupils identified within the four areas of need set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice.

To support this, there are a series of online training materials for teachers with a focus on the most prevalent forms of SEND. This includes a module on SLCN. These materials can be found on the SEND Gateway at:
https://www.sendgateway.org.uk/resources.advanced-training-materials-for-autism-dyslexia-speech-language-and-communication-emotional-social-and-behavioural-difficulties-moderate-learning-difficulties_1.html.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with the Department for Health and Social Care on developing a cross government strategy to support children with speech, language and communication needs.

Ministers and officials from the department and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) are in regular contact and are working together to implement the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reforms underpinned by the Children and Families Act 2014.

This includes discussions about the needs of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and how, across the government, we can address them. For example, both departments worked closely in responding to the Bercow 10 Years On report and other reports, which have raised a range of important issues for children and young people, including those with SLCN, which were relevant to both departments.

The department has also established the SEND System Leadership Board, which aims to improve strategic commissioning and joint working between education, health and social care partners for all SEND conditions, and includes membership from DHSC. Better joint commissioning and joint working are a high priority for Government and critical for improving services for children and young people with SEND, including those with SLCN.

However, we recognise that there are concerns with the SEND system. We announced the SEND Review in September 2019 to ensure the system is working best for all families – including those who have children with SLCN - and that support in different areas is consistent, available and joined up across health, care and education services. This department is working closely with DHSC on the Review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 10 February to Question 12382 on Schools: Repairs and Maintenance, how much and what proportion of capital funding has been allocated to (a) retrofitting and (b) other energy efficiency measures since 2015.

The Department has allocated over £7.4 billion in condition funding since 2015 to those responsible for school buildings. The majority of funding is allocated for local authorities, multi-academy trusts and schools to determine how it is invested in maintaining and improving their school buildings, including energy efficiency measures.

In addition, schools can apply for interest-free loans for energy efficiency projects through the Government backed Salix schemes. The Department administers Salix loans for academies and £20 million has been allocated since 2017. Maintained schools access Salix funding via their local authorities.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding for the maintenance and improvements to school buildings ahead of the Spending Review.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, meets regularly with Cabinet colleagues to discuss a range of issues. He looks forward to working with the new Chancellor of the Exchequer in the run up to the Spending Review.

Like all departments, we are doing a great deal of preparatory work to understand what resources the education sector needs over the coming years.

We are committed to listening to the sector and working with HM Treasury to secure the funding required for education at the Spending Review.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many looked-after children who were cared for in a friends and family foster placement on 31 March 2019 had also been in (a) an unrelated foster placement, (b) another family and friends care placement, (c) a children's home and (d) other provision for looked-after children in each region.

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

The latest figures on looked after children in family and friends fostering arrangements are published in table A2 of the statistical release Children looked after in England including adoption: 2018 to 2019 at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to introduce a capital expansion fund for sixth form providers.

Our ambition is to level up the skills of the entire nation and ensure that post-16 education providers are in a great shape to deliver this. We are considering how best to achieve this ambition and will announce details on future capital funding in due course. This will build on the significant uplift in recurrent funding for 16-19 education which we are putting in place for the 2020/2021 academic year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the annual maintenance and refurbishment budget is for schools in England; and what plans his Department has to increase that funding to enable schools to invest in zero carbon estates.

We have allocated over £7.4 billion in condition funding since 2015 to those responsible for school buildings, to maintain and improve their estate, including £1.4 billion for the financial year 2019-20. We publish these allocations on GOV.UK, and they can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-capital-funding.

In addition, we deliver major building programmes centrally, including the Priority Schools Building Programme, which is rebuilding or refurbishing more than 500 school buildings in the poorest condition.

We support sustainability through our capital funding and programmes, both to reduce carbon and save schools money on energy. Schools can use their condition funding to invest in improving energy efficiency. Furthermore, interest-free loans for energy efficiency projects in schools have been available through the Government backed Salix Schemes. We are also working in partnership with Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to develop a model of sustainable future schools to deliver an outstanding educational environment using modern methods of construction. More broadly, we are working with colleagues across the Government on carbon reduction and energy efficiency and developing thinking on how future capital programmes can contribute further.

A full, multi-year spending review is expected to be conducted in 2020, including capital budgets beyond 2020-21.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) school, (b) college and (c) university buildings in each Display Energy Certificate band; and what the total number is of such institutions required to hold an Display Energy Certificate.

In response to the legally binding target of reducing UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, the Department is reviewing building standards and specifications for school buildings to ensure this can be met. This will include data gathering, investigation of appropriate actions and effectiveness of any actions to reduce emissions.

At present the Department does not hold information on Display Energy Certificate data on schools, colleges or universities. The Department is working with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to access energy data from the education estate to influence future policy decisions. We do not currently hold accurate estimates of consumption by energy type or source.

The Department is working with University College London’s energy unit on assessing energy use and carbon emissions across the schools estate. We encourage those responsible for further education and higher education estates to address energy reduction to support action on climate change.

Through the Condition Data Collection (CDC) programme the Department estimates that the total floor area of school buildings in England is approximately 80 million square metres. The CDC is being extended to further education colleges and the corresponding data will be available in due course. The Department can also access similar data from the Higher Education Statistics Service.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the total building area in square metres of (a) schools, (b) colleges and (c) universities in each Display Energy Certificate band.

In response to the legally binding target of reducing UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, the Department is reviewing building standards and specifications for school buildings to ensure this can be met. This will include data gathering, investigation of appropriate actions and effectiveness of any actions to reduce emissions.

At present the Department does not hold information on Display Energy Certificate data on schools, colleges or universities. The Department is working with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to access energy data from the education estate to influence future policy decisions. We do not currently hold accurate estimates of consumption by energy type or source.

The Department is working with University College London’s energy unit on assessing energy use and carbon emissions across the schools estate. We encourage those responsible for further education and higher education estates to address energy reduction to support action on climate change.

Through the Condition Data Collection (CDC) programme the Department estimates that the total floor area of school buildings in England is approximately 80 million square metres. The CDC is being extended to further education colleges and the corresponding data will be available in due course. The Department can also access similar data from the Higher Education Statistics Service.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the total area in square metres of (a) school, (b) college and (c) university buildings in England.

In response to the legally binding target of reducing UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, the Department is reviewing building standards and specifications for school buildings to ensure this can be met. This will include data gathering, investigation of appropriate actions and effectiveness of any actions to reduce emissions.

At present the Department does not hold information on Display Energy Certificate data on schools, colleges or universities. The Department is working with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to access energy data from the education estate to influence future policy decisions. We do not currently hold accurate estimates of consumption by energy type or source.

The Department is working with University College London’s energy unit on assessing energy use and carbon emissions across the schools estate. We encourage those responsible for further education and higher education estates to address energy reduction to support action on climate change.

Through the Condition Data Collection (CDC) programme the Department estimates that the total floor area of school buildings in England is approximately 80 million square metres. The CDC is being extended to further education colleges and the corresponding data will be available in due course. The Department can also access similar data from the Higher Education Statistics Service.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the energy consumption in kW, by energy type, of schools in each of the last five years; and what proportion of that energy consumption was bought renewable or self-generated renewable energy.

In response to the legally binding target of reducing UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, the Department is reviewing building standards and specifications for school buildings to ensure this can be met. This will include data gathering, investigation of appropriate actions and effectiveness of any actions to reduce emissions.

At present the Department does not hold information on Display Energy Certificate data on schools, colleges or universities. The Department is working with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to access energy data from the education estate to influence future policy decisions. We do not currently hold accurate estimates of consumption by energy type or source.

The Department is working with University College London’s energy unit on assessing energy use and carbon emissions across the schools estate. We encourage those responsible for further education and higher education estates to address energy reduction to support action on climate change.

Through the Condition Data Collection (CDC) programme the Department estimates that the total floor area of school buildings in England is approximately 80 million square metres. The CDC is being extended to further education colleges and the corresponding data will be available in due course. The Department can also access similar data from the Higher Education Statistics Service.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of schools in each of the last five years.

In response to the legally binding target of reducing UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, the Department is reviewing building standards and specifications for school buildings to ensure this can be met. This will include data gathering, investigation of appropriate actions and effectiveness of any actions to reduce emissions.

At present the Department does not hold information on Display Energy Certificate data on schools, colleges or universities. The Department is working with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to access energy data from the education estate to influence future policy decisions. We do not currently hold accurate estimates of consumption by energy type or source.

The Department is working with University College London’s energy unit on assessing energy use and carbon emissions across the schools estate. We encourage those responsible for further education and higher education estates to address energy reduction to support action on climate change.

Through the Condition Data Collection (CDC) programme the Department estimates that the total floor area of school buildings in England is approximately 80 million square metres. The CDC is being extended to further education colleges and the corresponding data will be available in due course. The Department can also access similar data from the Higher Education Statistics Service.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of mental health assessments for looked after children.

Healthcare and social care are devolved matters.

The Department jointly commissioned with Department for Health and Social Care an Expert Working Group to look at how the mental health needs of looked-after children, previously looked-after children and care leavers in England could be better met. In November 2017, the group made a set of recommendations including on improving assessment of the mental health needs of looked-after children.

The Department is taking forward a number of these recommendations through our £1 million mental health assessment pilot programme, which is testing improved approaches to the mental health and wellbeing element of the health assessment on entry to care.

The Department has appointed SQW Limited to carry out an evaluation of the pilot and fieldwork is currently underway. This will help inform our assessment of the changes needed to the mental health assessments of looked-after children.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on allocating additional funding to children's services in the forthcoming Budget.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and officials in the Department for Education discuss and work with other government departments on a regular basis, including HM Treasury and my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on a range of issues, including children’s social care funding.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the timeframe is for the implementation of the actions contained in the Government's response to the Timpson Review of School Exclusion in relation to the accountability of schools for the children they exclude.

The Government is taking forward an ambitious programme of action on behaviour, exclusion and alternative provision (AP) which will respect head teachers’ powers to use exclusion when they need to, enable schools to support children at risk of exclusion, and ensure that excluded children continue to receive a good education. We will expand AP and improve the quality of the sector so that pupils in AP receive an education on a par with that received by their mainstream peers and receive the support they need in other areas. Further information on the timeframes for this work will be provided in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many trees were planted under The Big Tree Plant scheme.

The £4 million Big Tree Plant planted one million trees across England from 2010-2015. Defra and the Forestry Commission funded the costs of establishing trees (weeding, mulching, watering, replacing lost trees etc), and local authorities and communities have been responsible since for ensuring these trees are kept in good condition.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of trees planted under The Big Tree Plant scheme are still viable.

The £4 million Big Tree Plant planted one million trees across England from 2010-2015. Defra and the Forestry Commission funded the costs of establishing trees (weeding, mulching, watering, replacing lost trees etc), and local authorities and communities have been responsible since for ensuring these trees are kept in good condition.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the Government has opted not to adopt EU regulations banning the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries; and what assessment he has made of the effect of that matter on the Government’s wider commitment not to regress on environmental standards after the UK left the EU.

Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal agreed in May 2019 to introduce tighter controls on the shipment of plastic waste following the submission of a reform proposal by the Norwegian government.

In implementing the amendments made to the Convention the European Union has prohibited the export of one category of plastic waste, consisting of highly mixed plastics, to countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The UK Government's manifesto commitment to ban plastic waste exports to non-OECD countries goes further than this as it is not limited to one category of plastic waste. Defra will consult on going beyond the Basel Convention requirements, and the approach adopted by the EU, and work is underway to make this happen. The UK is not regressing on environmental standards in this area. We were a strong supporter of the changes made to the Basel Convention to make shipments of plastic waste more transparent and better regulated and we worked closely with the Norwegian government in developing the original proposals.

The UK government has implemented the amendments made to the Basel Convention. These amendments came into force in Great Britain on 1 January 2021 and will ensure that shipments of highly mixed plastic wastes can only take place if permission is obtained from the regulators in the country of dispatch and destination. Furthermore, the Government is currently engaged in contacting all non-OECD countries to enquire about the local controls that should be adhered to by British exporters when they propose to export sorted plastic waste for recycling. The results of this consultation will be implemented in our legislation shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the amount of plastic waste (a) exported to non-OECD countries by the UK in each year since 2016 and (b) that will be exported to non-OECD countries by the UK in 2021.

The UK Government has pledged to ban the export of all plastic waste to non-OECD countries and to introduce tougher controls on waste exports, including mandatory electronic waste tracking which will make it harder for criminals to obtain and export waste illegally.

Defra has commissioned research to determine the environmental, economic and social impacts of the ban on exports of plastic waste to non-OECD countries and analyse policy options around implementation of the ban. This research project will commence shortly and will examine plastic waste recycling capacity in the UK and OECD, it will also assess future UK plastic waste arisings and the impact of national, regional and international policies on UK plastic waste shipments.

The UK exports of plastic waste to non-OECD countries from 2016 onwards are illustrated in the table below:

(Source: HMRC)

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

Quantity Exported (tonnes)

52,080

171,480

356,412

479,748

635,908

Information on exports of all wastes are gathered and published by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and can be accessed here:

https://www.uktradeinfo.com/trade-data/ots-custom-table/

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and (b) local government leaders on supporting local authorities to tackle air pollution.

Air pollution poses the biggest environmental threat to public health and improving air quality remains a top priority for the Government. In delivering against our ambitious air quality commitments, we regularly hold discussions with Ministers and officials across Government departments, including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The Joint Air Quality Unit has close, ongoing engagement with those local authorities implementing plans to tackle exceedances of NO 2 limits. I meet with leaders of these authorities and other local representatives when necessary to help progress these plans.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Total Allowable Catches set at the Agrifish Council in December 2019.

Defra has assessed the outcomes of the 2019 December EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council concerning the setting of Total Allowable Catches for 2020 for fish stock of interest to the UK. This assessment considers the direct monetary value of the negotiated outcome and sustainability in terms of the number of stocks being fished at or below their Maximum Sustainable Yield.

I provided this assessment to both the Chair of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee and the Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union on 1 April 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the level set for the Total Allowable Catch for fish stocks of interest to the UK.

Defra has assessed the outcomes of the 2019 December EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council concerning the setting of Total Allowable Catches for 2020 for fish stock of interest to the UK. This assessment considers the direct monetary value of the negotiated outcome and sustainability in terms of the number of stocks being fished at or below their Maximum Sustainable Yield.

I provided this assessment to both the Chair of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee and the Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union on 1 April 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office's oral contribution of 13 July 2020, Official Report, column 1276, what additional procedures pet owners will have to follow beyond those that currently exist; and what estimate he has made of the potential additional cost to pet owners of those procedures.

The Government is working with the European Commission to ensure that pet travel between the UK and EU continues smoothly after January 2021. The UK and Crown Dependencies has submitted its application to become a Part 1 listed third country under Annex II of the EU Pet Travel Regulations to the European Commission, and this is our preferred position. It is now for the Commission to consider our application for listed status.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of catch limits for fish stocks of interest to the UK complied with the scientific advice provided by the International Council for Exploration of the Seas.

Defra does not hold figures on the proportion of total allowable catches (TACs) set in line with the full suite of advice provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. However, looking at those stocks that have assessments advising on their maximum sustainable yield (MSY), of those which the UK has an interest in, 36 (67%) TACS were set at MSY out of a total of 54 TACs with MSY assessments in 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to provide support to care homes that are facing difficulties accessing deliveries of fresh produce.

Defra has been working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education to ensure that care homes can access the food they need, through wholesalers, retailers and other local suppliers.

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors has set up a new online portal (www.Food2Care.co.uk) to enable care homes to find local wholesalers, based on a postcode search. The website is also highlighted on the Care Providers Association website. This portal will help those care homes struggling to get supplies during the COVID-19 outbreak. More than 90 national and regional wholesalers have signed up to the scheme so far.

Defra has also been working closely with retailers on their online provision services. Retailers have worked hard to increase their online capacity of both click and collect and delivery slots available to customers, including care homes. Many have now lifted or significantly relaxed their item limits on home delivery orders which should aid the ability of care homes to get the supplies they need in sufficient quantities.

Victoria Prentis
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, what assessment his Department has made of local authorities’ ability to implement the biodiversity net gain system in respect of their (a) resourcing and (b) technical staffing levels; and what plans his Department has to allocate additional funding to support local authorities to implement the biodiversity net gain system.

The Government’s impact assessment of our biodiversity net gain policy indicates a total cost to Local Government during the two year transition period of £8.4 million and an annual cost of £8.4 million per year thereafter. Our impact assessment draws on the Government’s 2018 consultation on mandating net gain for biodiversity and subsequent engagement with individual local planning authorities and sector bodies. Based on this, we estimate that an average of 1.3 Full-time Equivalent (FTE) hours (between 1-4FTE) of specialist ecologist advice will be required in any given year per upper tier local authority to implement a mandatory biodiversity net gain system.

The Government has committed to fully fund all new burdens on local authorities arising from the Environment Bill. The Government has also committed to work in partnership with Local Government on the implementation of the measures in the Bill to identify and secure the capacity and skills needed.

A full impact assessment of the biodiversity net gain policy, which includes our assessment of new burdens on local authorities, has been published alongside the Bill:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/839610/net-gain-ia.pdf

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, what assessment his Department has made of the contribution of the application of the biodiversity net gain system to the UK’s (a) climate, (b) tree-planting and (c) nature recovery targets.

Defra officials have completed an analysis of the quantified impacts of biodiversity net gain, which can be found in the regulatory impact assessment published alongside the Environment Bill.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/839610/net-gain-ia.pdf

This assessment includes an estimate that mandatory biodiversity net gain will result in the creation of between 1,500 and 17,000 hectares of habitat per year. The breadth of this range is due to uncertainty over how much habitat loss will avoided altogether through the policy, and the extent of residual losses that will be compensated for by creating new habitat.

Together with the provisions in the Environment Bill for Local Nature Recovery Strategies, net gain will provide new habitats where they offer the greatest benefit for wildlife and the wider environment. Because habitat creation through net gain will be steered by local strategies and the development impacts for which it is compensating, it is impossible to know exactly what types of habitat will be created through biodiversity net gain. It is therefore also impossible to determine the exact contributions that net gain will make towards climate, tree-planting and nature recovery targets. Biodiversity net gain will, however, complement other Government policies such as our Nature for Climate Fund and future farming policy in order to meet our commitments on these vital issues.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the US Administration's decision to purchase global supplies of Remdesivir for the treatment of patients with covid-19 on equitable access to covid-19 treatments for countries in the Global South.

Supply of Remdesivir will be made possible for 127 low and middle-income countries through Gilead’s non-exclusive voluntary licencing agreements with generic pharmaceutical manufacturers in Egypt, India and Pakistan, ensuring equitable access to treatment. The UK supports voluntary approaches to sharing intellectual property such as non-exclusive voluntary licencing agreements, which promote access whilst retaining the incentives needed for further innovation.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what estimate her Department has made of how much UK aid has been disbursed through the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG); and what assessment her Department has made of the extent to which the PIDG has funded projects involving (a) gas, (b) coal and (c) oil.

DFID has disbursed $1,036 million to the Private Investment Development Group (PIDG) between 2002 and 2018.

During this 16-year period, PIDG has made a number of infrastructure investments in the poorest countries to increase access to power, some of which use fossil fuels to generate electricity. Of these investments, (a) $396.6 million has been to projects using gas as a fuel source, (b) $1.7 million using coal, (c) $141.9 million using oil, and (d) $210.2 million with mixed or hybrid fuel sources. The coal funding was for early-stage advisory services provided in 2008 to a prospective power project in Indonesia.

Over the same period, PIDG has invested $711 million in renewable power projects.

PIDG does not invest in the extraction of fossil fuels, with the exception of one-off funding of $500,000 (£273,000) in 2004 for technical assistance to the Government of Mozambique on the feasibility of establishing a coal mine in the town of Moatize in Mozambique. No follow-on funding was provided to support this project. PIDG’s strategy now rules out any investing in coal.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans he has to ensure organisations in receipt of Official Development Assistance invest in environmentally sustainable projects.

Environmental sustainability and tackling climate change are crucial parts of international development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

All DFID programming is required to comply with a set of Smart Rules and ‘avoid doing harm’ by creating or exacerbating environmental damage. DFID has two Smart Guides to help in this regard: (i) the Environmental and Social Safeguards Guide; and (ii) the Climate and Environment Guide.

DFID expects all organisations it funds to minimize any adverse impacts on local people, their livelihoods, culture and the environment. This is set out in the Supplier Code of Conduct. Suppliers must demonstrate they have taken sufficient steps to protect the local environment and community they work in, and to identify environmental risks that are imminent, significant or could cause harm.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 9092 on Developing Countries: Climate Change, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of UK Export Finance’s funding for international (a) oil and (b) gas projects on developing country dependency on fossil fuels.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals recognise the importance of affordable clean energy access in order to create economic growth and sustainable development.

All governments that are signatories to the Paris Agreement make their own decisions as to how they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet their Nationally Determined Contributions. DFID provides technical assistance for developing countries to think about their energy choices and achieve a more sustainable, diversified energy mix. UK ODA increasingly supports renewable energy sources – between 2011-12 and 2018-19 UK aid has provided 26 million people with improved access to clean energy and avoided 16 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. UK Export Finance is not classed as Official Development Assistance.

We are continuing to work closely with departments and agencies across Government, to implement the Prime Minister’s announcement on aligning future UK ODA spending with the Paris Agreement.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of her Departments's role in promoting climate dependency; and what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on UK Export Finance’s investments in carbon intensive industries abroad.

The Prime Minister announced in July that the UK Government will align all future UK Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) spending with the Paris Agreement. This means ensuring we assess all programming for the impact they have on climate change, and that any investment support for fossil fuels affecting emissions is in line with the Paris Agreement temperature goals and transition plans. We are working closely with departments across Government to agree how this commitment will be implemented.

As the UK’s export credit agency, UKEF is responsive to the evolving export financing needs of UK companies as they transition away from fossil fuels. The Prime Minister announced at the Africa Investment Summit that the government will provide no new direct ODA, investment, export credit or trade support for coal power and thermal coal mining overseas.

14th Jan 2021
What recent steps she has taken to ensure continuity of trading relationships for UK businesses after the end of the transition period.

In under two years, HM Government has secured trade deals with 63 countries, which covered £217 billion of trade in 2019. Taken alongside our recent deal with the European Union, trade with countries worth £897 billion in 2019 is now covered. No country, anywhere in the world, at any point in history, has conducted trade negotiations concurrently on this scale nor with our ambition.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how much funding her Department or associated bodies provided in support for exports of (a) coal, (b) biomass for electricity generation, (c) gas, (d) offshore wind, (e) onshore wind, (f) solar and (g) nuclear in each year since 2015.

The Department for International Trade only holds a record of funding allocations for these sub-sectors in relation to UK Export Finance (UKEF) in the form of export credit loans and guarantees; the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) in the form of grants to offset individual companies’ international exhibition costs; and Core Event funding to enable UK pavilions to represent UK industry at major international trade shows.

Financial support since 2015 from these sources can be broken down as follows for the sectors requested:

DIT Core Events:

Financial budget in support of international trade events

FY Year
(Apr-Mar)

Coal

Biomass

Oil & Gas

Offshore wind

Onshore wind

Solar

Nuclear

2015

0

712,000

274,000

60,000

0

0

105,000

2016

0

690,000

142,000

59,000

0

0

294,000

2017

0

0

101,000

262,000

0

0

477,000

2018

0

60,000

22,000

110,000

0

0

181,000

2019

0

0

165,000

50,000

0

0

185,000

2020

0

0

90,000

100,000

0

0

205,000

Total

0

1,462,000

794,000

640,000

0

0

1,447,000

Events represented by these figures were in some cases in support of both UK exports and inward investment goals

DIT Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) grants:

To offset UK companies’ individual international exhibition costs

FY Year
(Apr-Mar)

Coal

Biomass

Oil & Gas

Offshore wind

Onshore wind

Solar

Nuclear

2015

12,500

70,500

57,000

0

0

0

0

2016

36,000

22,500

8,000

0

0

7,500

2017

12,500

102,100

35,000

0

0

0

0

2018

2,500

83,500

57,000

47,000

0

0

4,500

2019

£0

82,500

45,000

37,000

0

0

0

2020

£0

8000

0

0

0

0

0

Total

27,500

382,600

216,500

92,000

0

0

12,000

Significant fluctuations may be due to some events being biennial

UK Export Finance (UKEF)

Export Credit in support of export contracts (£ million)

FY Year
(Apr-Mar)

Coal

Biomass

Gas (only)

Renewable Energy
(aggregated)

Nuclear

2015

1.5

0.1

25

1

0

2016

23

0

375

24

0

2017

0

0

277

1

0

2018

0

0

635

6

0

2019

50.9

0

63

381

0

Total

75.4

0.1

1,375

413

0

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 9090 on Fossil Fuels: Export Credit Guarantees, what estimate she has made of the amount of Government investment in coal projects through UK Export Finance in each year since 2015.

I refer the Hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood to the answer I gave to the Hon. Member for Brighton Pavilion on 23 January 2020, UIN: 5385

To clarify, UK Export Finance (UKEF) does not invest equity or provide funding into projects. The support provided by the Department is in the form of financing, insurance or guarantees for loans.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what estimate her Department has made of the amount of Government investment provided to (a) oil and (b) gas projects through UK Export Finance in each year since 2015.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) provides support through loans, guarantees and insurance.

UKEF has provided the following amount of support for oil and gas projects since 2015.

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Oil

£556m

£355m

£17m

£1.36bn

Gas

£25m

£375m

£277m

£635m

Oil & Gas*

£16m

£287m

£0.7m

0

*This category represents projects which comprise a combination of oil and gas and the figures are in addition to the separate oil and gas numbers.

The main reason for the increase in figures for 2018/19 is due to support for Petrobras’ oil exploration and the construction of two power stations in Iraq.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of UK Export Finance investments on trends in the level of global fossil fuel emissions; and whether her Department has plans to to limit UK Export Finance investments to environmentally sustainable projects.

The value of UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) support for fossil fuel-related exports represents around 0.2% of global investment in the sector.

As the world transitions to a low carbon economy, there remains a need for a mix of energy sources and technologies. UK companies have an important role to play in the transition away from fossil fuels and UKEF will remain responsive to the evolving export financing needs of UK companies during this transition. The Government continues to develop strategies to combat climate change and UKEF is an important part of this Government-wide effort.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the value of Transport for London to the national economy.

No specific assessment has been made. London’s economy represents 23% of UK GDP. Transport for London has continued to provide transport services over the last year, allowing key workers to get to their workplaces and other essential journeys to take place. It will play an important part in London’s economic recovery.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with Transport for London on financial support for London’s transport network.

The Government is committed to keeping London moving. In October 2020, the Government agreed an extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL worth up to £1.7 billion, in addition to the earlier May 2020 deal worth up to £1.6 billion.

The Department for Transport regularly engages with Transport for London, including in relation to understanding the impacts of Covid-19 on TfL’s finances and what further support may be required.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with his Department on the potential effect of rail infrastructure projects on reducing national carbon emissions.

I have had no recent direct discussions with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy on this issue. Officials from both departments regularly discuss the role of the railway in delivering the Government’s commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to introduce more flexible rail fares for commuters in (a) London and (b) England in response to an increase in remote and flexible working during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the change in travel patterns, the impact of COVID-19 and therefore the need to accommodate a more flexible style of working and travelling. We also understand concerns about the cost of some rail fares and the impact that this can have on people’s budgets.

The Department has proactively approached the rail industry and is currently considering proposals received from train operators who both operate services into London and those who operate elsewhere in England, that try to ensure better value and convenience for travellers. Train operators who already offer some form of flexible ticketing for commuting into London include c2c, Chiltern Railways, Gatwick Express, Greater Anglia, South Western Railway, and Govia Thameslink. Commuting within London falls under the responsibility of the Mayor of London.

These are unprecedented times and our immediate focus must be on ensuring that we keep the railway available and safe for those who need to rely upon it.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of (a) the UN's declaration of the second Decade of Action for Road Safety (2021-30) and (b) the Stockholm Declaration made at the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety: Achieving Global Goals 2030 Stockholm, 19–20 February 2020; and what plans his Department has to review speed limits.

The Government takes road safety very seriously, and supports the aims of both of these to prevent 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries. The Government was active in the development of these important international documents, with Ministerial attendance to the Stockholm Ministerial Conference and officials actively working on the drafting of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety Declaration. The Government continues to support activities that promote road safety both domestically and internationally and support the aims of both the UN and Stockholm Declarations.

With regard to 20mph, local authorities have the power to determine speed limits on the local road network, and are asked to keep the limits under review with changing circumstances. There are currently no plans to review the English national limits.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the ability for passengers to maintain safe social distance at older railway stations that have not have platform extensions.

Rail operators are working hard to facilitate social distancing between passengers wherever possible, in line with Public Health England advice. Measures include making regular station speaker announcements, the installation of clear floor markings and the provision of extra staff to manage passenger flows and provide guidance to passengers. Operational plans are in place to facilitate this and continue to be reviewed.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what equalities impact assessment his Department made ahead of its decision to make it a requirement of providing emergency funding to TfL to end the Freedom Pass and impose peak time restriction on the Oyster 60+ card in London on people (a) on low incomes and (b) with disabilities.

The £1.6 billion Extraordinary Funding and Financing Agreement to enable Transport for London to continue to run services contained a series of conditions, which were agreed by the Mayor of London and Deputy Mayor for Transport, to facilitate safe travel on public transport in London.

While the temporary changes to the validity of the Older Person's Freedom Pass, 60+ Oyster photocard and English National Concessionary Scheme in London have removed free travel for users of these passes from 04:30 to 09:00 Monday to Friday, the provision for over 60s travel in London is still greater than that elsewhere in England, where the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme allows cardholders to travel on buses across the UK for free after 09:30.

An Equality Impact Assessment of the temporary changes to over 60s travel in London was completed by Transport for London and is published here: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/md2642_appendix_2_-_eqia.pdf

The temporary changes do not affect passengers with a Disabled Freedom Pass who are still able to travel at all times using their Pass if they have to use public transport for their journey.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what equalities impact assessment of low income families his Department made ahead of its decision to make it a requirement of providing emergency funding to TfL to change fares in London for children and young people under 18.

The £1.6 billion Extraordinary Funding and Financing Agreement to enable Transport for London (TfL) to continue operating services contained a series of conditions, which were agreed by the Mayor of London and Deputy Mayor for Transport, to facilitate safe travel on public transport in London, including the temporary suspension of free travel for under 18s.

The Department is working closely with TfL on how the temporary suspension can be operationalised, whilst ensuring that any child eligible for free home to school travel under the Education Act 1996 will still receive this. The Department is also completing an Equality Impact Assessment, which will consider whether there are further categories of vulnerable children that should receive free transport.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the (a) resilience of Network Rail’s signalling infrastructure and (b) the potential for failure of that infrastructure to affect passengers.

As part of Network Rail’s latest settlement (Control Period 6) Government has committed to continue record levels of investment in rail infrastructure, providing around £48bn of funding across the five-year period spanning from 2019 to 2024. This funding settlement is focussed on maintaining and improving rail infrastructure assets including signals, and includes major programmes of signalling upgrades which will increase resilience. This will help support a more reliable railway for passengers by reducing the instances of failures which affect passengers. This includes Network rail’s recognition within the CP6 delivery plan that digital signalling renewals are a priority. Network Rail have published their Long-Term Deployment Plan for digital signalling as part of the Digital Railway transformation

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to ensure that rail infrastructure is (a) secure and (b) fit for purpose.

The management of the UK’s mainline rail infrastructure is undertaken by Network Rail. To enable Network Rail to carry out its work effectively, Government has committed to continue record levels of investment in rail infrastructure, providing around £48bn of funding across the five-year period spanning from 2019 to 2024. This funding settlement is focussed on maintaining and improving rail infrastructure assets to help support a more reliable railway for passengers.

With regards to security, the Government regulates the rail industry in Great Britain, including both domestic and international operators and works closely with the police and security partners. Policing of the railway is undertaken by the British Transport Police, the specialist dedicated police force for the railway in Great Britain.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) average and (b) longest waiting time for a response to be issued to a Freedom of Information request made to her Department was in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Departmental Freedom Of Information (FOI) performance is based on compliance against the statutory 20 working day time limit and these stats are captured for all Government departments on a quarterly and annual basis.

These statistics are accessible through the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-foi-statistics

The next update to these statistics will be 28 April 2021 when Q4 2020 and 2020 annual statistics will be published.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of providing a £20 per week uplift to legacy benefits.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until September 2021.

The temporary Universal Credit Standard Allowance uplift was introduced to support those facing the most financial disruption due to the pandemic. There are no plans to extend the uplift to legacy benefits. Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) if they believe that they will be better off. Claimants should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under UC before applying as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future.

Support is also available for legacy claimants migrating across to UC. Since 22 July, a two-week run-on of Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid to eligible claimants to provide additional support to move to Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent progress her Department has made on the managed migration pilot for universal credit.

The Pilot remains suspended as the Department continues to focus on delivering its part of the Government’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 allow the Department to pilot moving claimants to Universal Credit from legacy benefits. Prior to its suspension, the emphasis of the pilot was not to focus on the number of people moved, but to assist with developing the design of the Move to UC service and its processes, to provide the best possible support for claimants who are moved to Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will provide an update on the timetable for the publication of the Green Paper on disability benefits.

Given the necessary focus on the departmental response to Covid-19, we are working to a longer timescale than previously anticipated. We will continue the engagement with disabled people and their representatives and plan to publish the formal consultation document in 2021.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what employment support her Department is providing to people with learning disabilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

DWP is providing a range of support to help people with learning disabilities secure and keep employment during the Covid period.

The increased number of work coaches will enable us to continue supporting those with complex needs, and to work with partners to ensure they get the help they need.

People in particular disadvantaged groups will continue to benefit from local support via the increased Flexible Support Fund and priority early access to the Work and Health Programme.

The Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme (IPES) provides highly personalised packages of employment support for disabled people who want to work but have complex needs or barriers and require specialist support to achieve sustained employment.

Access to Work funds tailored support to disabled people who are in work, including apprenticeships, or participating in DfE Traineeships or Supported Internships. AtW has recently introduced a new flexible offer to support disabled people to return to, move into and retain employment. This enables disabled people to receive in-work support to work in the workplace, at home or a combination of both.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2021 to Question 141547 on Social Security Benefits: Disability, what plans her Department has to review the rate of legacy benefits for disabled people in response to the covid-19 outbreak and the £20 uplift to universal credit.

No such assessment has been carried out. It should be noted we will spend over £55 billion this year (2020/21) on benefits to support people with health conditions and disabilities. This will increase by £1.6 billion to £57 billion in 2021/22.

There are no plans to extend the temporary £20 uplift to legacy benefits. Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) if they think they will be better off and should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under UC before applying, as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their UC claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits. There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who are now able to make a new claim to Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support people on legacy benefits.

In April 2020, legacy benefits were increased by £600m (1.7%). This Government will ensure that benefits retain their value by guaranteeing that for a consecutive year, benefits will increase by further £100m (0.5%) from April, in line with CPI, as part of the Government’s annual up-rating exercise.

In addition, last year, to support those on low incomes through the outbreak, we introduced a package of temporary welfare measures.

For example; we increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants, so they now cover the lowest 30% of local rents. This increase, costing almost £1 billion, will mean 1.5 million households see an increase, on average, of £600 in 2020/21. We also increased the additional earnings disregard in Housing Benefit to ensure increases in the maximum rate of the basic element of Working Tax Credit did not impact on a claimant’s Housing Benefit award.

We also legislated to allow access to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from day one of a claim for Covid-19 related cases and we have made it easier to access ESA by launching a portal for new style ESA online claims.

Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe that they will be better off. Those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from January 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of financial support available to people on legacy benefits.

In April 2020, legacy benefits were increased £600m (1.7%). This Government will ensure that benefits retain their value by guaranteeing that for a consecutive year, benefits will increase by a further £100m (0.5%) from April, in line with CPI, as part of the Government’s annual up-rating exercise.

Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe that they will be better off. Those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from January 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made on the adequacy of benefit rates for disabled people on legacy benefits.

We will spend over £55 billion this year (2020/21) on benefits to support people with health conditions and disabilities. This will increase by £1.6 billion to £57 billion in 2021/22.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment has she made of the implications for her policies of the increase in demand on food banks and charities providing emergency food during the third lockdown.

No such assessment has been made. Throughout this pandemic, this Government has delivered an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and businesses and, for those in most need, injected billions into the welfare system.

The new Covid Winter Grant Scheme builds on that support with an additional £170m for local authorities in England, to support families with children and other vulnerable people with the cost of food and essential utilities this winter. The funding is ring-fenced, with at least 80% earmarked to help with food and bills, and will cover the period to the end of March 2021.

DEFRA has made an additional grant of £16 million to FareShare to support local charities across England with the purchasing and distribution of food over a 12-week period that began at the start of December. This follows the £16m of funding announced last May for the provision of meals through charities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to support disabled people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is publishing a rolling programme of data and articles relating to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, with specific outputs on disabled people in Great Britain.

The Department has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organisations and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the support needed.

The Government is ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to employment support, disability benefits, financial support; food, medicines, as well as accessible communications and updated guidance.

The Government continues to provide disability employment support through initiatives such as Access to Work, Disability Confident, the Work and Health Programme, Intensive Personalised Employment Support, and other forms of support that disabled people need to retain, adapt and move into employment.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit works with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the UK Government’s response to COVID-19. We are clear that consideration of equality impacts must be integral in all key policy decisions. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People this year taking into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people. The strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential benefits of advising people prior to retirement age of whether it would be in their interests to make voluntary additional National Insurance contributions in order to increase their pension.

Information on filling National Insurance gaps through voluntary National Insurance contributions and credits is already widely available. Information is available on Gov.uk and as part of the personalised forecasts which are available through the online Check your State Pension Forecast service. People can also telephone the Future Pensions Centre on 0800 731 0175, where personalised information about voluntary National Insurance Contributions is also available.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who are not eligible for the (a) Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, (b) Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and (c) Universal Credit; and what steps is she taking to make additional support available to those people.

The Government is wholly committed to supporting people on lower incomes and has paid out more than £100 billion in welfare support this year.

We estimate most households will be eligible for some Universal Credit support if they are unable to work or on lower earnings and have lower than £16K capital/savings.

The new £170m COVID Winter Grant Scheme extends the support already in place and will enable local authorities to support vulnerable households in in their area with the cost of food and essential utilities this winter.

The Department recognises that work is the best route to prosperity. We are investing in our recovery from this pandemic with our Plan for Jobs including our £2bn Kickstart scheme which is already creating thousands of high-quality jobs for young people, and our Ten Point Plan which will create 250,000 green jobs, helping us build back better. We have also boosted our Flexible Support Fund by £150m to provide localised and tailored employment support for people across the UK and we are doubling the number of frontline Work Coaches to help support people of all ages to find a job, retrain, or gain vital practical experience.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to section 96(A) of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, when she next plans to review the level of the benefit cap.

i) Due to the early election taking place the levels of the cap were not reviewed in the last Parliament.

ii) DWP routinely collects data on capped households and publishes that information each quarter. The latest statistical release, published on 26 November 2020, shows the picture in August 2020 and includes household characteristics together with regional breakdowns supported by a narrative that provides insight into the data drivers. The latest statistical release can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-cap-number-of-households-capped-to-august-2020

iii) Information relating to households who will be newly affected by the Benefit Cap in November and December at the end of their grace period is not readily available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what research her Department (a) has conducted and (b) plans to conduct to understand the reasons for the increase from February to May 2020 in the number of households in London affected by the benefit cap.

i) Due to the early election taking place the levels of the cap were not reviewed in the last Parliament.

ii) DWP routinely collects data on capped households and publishes that information each quarter. The latest statistical release, published on 26 November 2020, shows the picture in August 2020 and includes household characteristics together with regional breakdowns supported by a narrative that provides insight into the data drivers. The latest statistical release can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-cap-number-of-households-capped-to-august-2020

iii) Information relating to households who will be newly affected by the Benefit Cap in November and December at the end of their grace period is not readily available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households that claimed universal credit are due to see their grace period end in (a) November and (b) December and become subject to the benefit cap.

i) Due to the early election taking place the levels of the cap were not reviewed in the last Parliament.

ii) DWP routinely collects data on capped households and publishes that information each quarter. The latest statistical release, published on 26 November 2020, shows the picture in August 2020 and includes household characteristics together with regional breakdowns supported by a narrative that provides insight into the data drivers. The latest statistical release can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-cap-number-of-households-capped-to-august-2020

iii) Information relating to households who will be newly affected by the Benefit Cap in November and December at the end of their grace period is not readily available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of reinstating the minimum income floor for Universal Credit on people who have been unable to access support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

The Minimum Income Floor will not now be re-instated from 12/11/20 when current Covid easement regulations were due to cease. After careful consideration of the ongoing public health situation and the national working environment, the current suspension of the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit has been extended to the end of April 2021.

Universal Credit is available to support claimants even where they are not entitled to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the effect on (a) the gender pay gap and (b) women of the suspension of the enforcement of employers' obligations to report data on the gender pay gap in the 2019-20 financial year.

The Government is committed to levelling up and making the UK a country where equality of opportunity exists for everyone. As part of this we want to see more employers offering measures such as flexible working and returnships, which aim to help people return to work after a break due to caring responsibilities. We know that measures like these can improve career prospects for both women and men.

In recognition of the unprecedented uncertainty and pressure facing employers due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines for the 2019/20 reporting year. The data that employers would have had to submit by April this year, had enforcement not been suspended, would have been calculated from a snapshot date before the COVID-19 outbreak. The snapshot date was 31 March 2019 for public sector employers and 5 April 2019 for the private and voluntary sector.

Despite the uncertainty this year, the UK's gender pay gap has fallen to a record low of 15.5% from 17.4%. We will continue to monitor the impact of the gender pay gap reporting regulations and will review their effectiveness by 2022.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the benefits of increasing discretionary housing payments budgets for councils during the winter 2020.

We have provided £180m in Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) funding to Local Authorities (LAs) to support vulnerable claimants with housing costs in the private and social rented sector in England and Wales for 2020/21. This includes an extra £40m as announced last year at the spending round. We are currently monitoring the ongoing use of, and demand for, DHPs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish the National Strategy for Disabled People.

Due to Covid 19 impacts, a slower timetable for publication of the National Strategy for Disabled People is inevitable. This is to ensure that we are able to meaningfully engage with stakeholders and strengthen our evidence base to deliver the ambitious strategy that the Prime Minister has called for. We are aiming to publish in Spring 2021.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled people.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources.

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organisations and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the support needed as lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to disability benefits, food, medicines, essentials, accessible communications, updated guidance, including workplace and transport related guidance, as well as financial and other support during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government continues to provide disability employment support through initiatives such as Access to Work, Disability Confident, the Work and Health Programme, Intensive Personalised Employment Support, and other forms of support that disabled people need to retain, adapt and move into employment.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit continues to work with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the UK Government’s response to COVID-19. We are clear that consideration of equality impacts must be integral in all key policy decisions. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People taking into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people. The Strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life, including employment, housing, education and transport.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled people.

We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources. There will however be a period until the data needed to fully assess the impact becomes available.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is publishing a rolling programme of data and articles relating to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. On the 24th April 2020 ONS also published 'Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain'. The analysis gives insight into the experience of disabled adults, and where there might be issues that arise for some that differ from those of non-disabled people. This showed that, currently, a lower proportion of disabled people than non-disabled people were worried about transport and caring issues as well as aspects of household finances and work.

That is why we are actively working on policies to provide specific employment support for disabled people both in and out of work. This includes initiatives such as Access to Work (ATW), Disability Confident, Work and Health Programme (WHP) and the new Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme (IPES), alongside investment in a programme of trials and tests to identify effective models of health and employment support for people with health conditions or disabilities.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to support disabled people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is fully committed to supporting disabled people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to disability benefits and other financial support, the food and essential goods that they need, as well as accessible communications and guidance during the Covid-19 outbreak. The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the universal credit standard allowance for people aged under 25 who are living independently.

We have increased the Universal Credit standard allowance by around £20 per week for the next 12 months – equivalent to up to £1,040 a 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 Work and Pensions)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the length of the waiting time for universal credit; and what steps she is taking to increase the number of staff available to provide support for universal credit claimants during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is doing all we can to deal with exceptional levels of demand. Our priority is ensuring people get their benefit payments and that we can continue to support those who need them most. The Department has mobilised robust business continuity plans to ensure we can do just that.

We are already redeploying 10,000 staff from other parts of DWP and are also recruiting additional staff to assist with the processing of claims, including support from other government departments and the private sector.

We have also introduced new processes to ease pressure on waiting times for identity verification over the phone and other processes. People making new claims for Universal Credit no longer need to call the Department as part of the process. Once they have completed their online application we will call them if we need to check any of the information they have given us.

These changes are making a real difference with at least 93% of claimants who applied for Universal Credit on 16 March receiving their first payments in full and on time.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 901399, what her policy is on the proportion of housing rents that Local Housing Allowance rates should cover in (a) Lambeth and Southwark, (b) London and (c) the rest of England outside London.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) policy is designed to ensure a fair balance between public spending and supporting vulnerable people to meet their housing costs. LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.

From April 2020 LHA rates will be increased by CPI, up to a maximum of the 30th percentile of local rents. The national maximum caps have also been increased by CPI which means those rates in London that are currently capped will also receive a CPI increase.

For people in particular circumstances who may require more support, discretionary housing payments are available.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2020
What assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of local housing allowance rates.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is designed to ensure a fair balance between public spending and supporting vulnerable people to meet their housing costs.

LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.

From April 2020 LHA rates will be increased by CPI, for people in particular circumstances who may require more support, discretionary housing payments are available.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of local housing allowance rates.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is designed to ensure a fair balance between public spending and supporting vulnerable people to meet their housing costs. LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.

Since 2011 we have provided over £1billion in Discretionary Housing Payment funding, enabling local authorities to protect the most vulnerable claimants and supporting households to adapt to housing support reforms.

From April 2020 LHA rates will be increased by CPI. For people in particular circumstances who may require more support, Discretionary Housing Payments are available.

In addition, we recently announced an extra £40 million in Discretionary Housing Payments for 2020/21, helping to tackle the most acute affordability pressures in the private rented sector.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the adequacy of local housing allowance rates.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Ministerial colleagues on a range of issues.

In January we were pleased to announce an end to the Local Housing Allowance freeze from April 2020 when Local Housing Allowance rates will be uprated by CPI – an increase of 1.7%.

This will mean around 900,000 people in receipt of housing support in the Private Rented Sector will see their housing support increase on average by around £10 per month.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to improve the accessibility of public sector organisations to individuals with speech and communication difficulties.

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations, came into force on September 2018. These regulations aim to ensure public sector websites and mobile apps are accessible to all users, especially those with disabilities. Existing public sector websites have until September 2020 to comply, while all public sector apps will have until June 2021 to comply.

The Government is working towards publishing a National Strategy for Disabled People before the end of 2020. This will aim to achieve practical changes for disabled people, remove barriers and increase opportunity.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his Written Statement of 13 January 2020, Official Report HCWS 29, whether she has additional plans to reduce the gap between rents in London and local housing allowance.

From April 2020 Local Housing Allowance rates will be uprated by CPI, 1.7% in line with wider benefit uprating – ending the benefit freeze.

In addition to ending the freeze, we also recently announced an extra £40 million in Discretionary Housing Payments for 2020/21, helping to tackle the most acute affordability pressures in the private rented sector.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 13 January 2020, HCWS29 on Welfare, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the freeze in local housing allowance on claimants in (a) London and (b) England.

As I announced on the 13th January, Local Housing Allowance(LHA) rates will be increased by CPI from April 2020 delivering on the manifesto commitment to end the benefit freeze.

For individuals who may require more support, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 the Government has provided over £1 billion in DHP funding to local authorities (LAs) to protect the most vulnerable claimants and support households affected by the Housing Benefit reforms.

Further, we also announced in the Spending Round 2019 an additional £40 million for DHPs, in England and Wales, for 2020/21.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Department of Education's press release, £79 million to boost mental health support for children and young people, published on 5 March 2021, what plans his Department has to provide mental health and wellbeing support to schools that will not be covered by one of the new mental health support teams.

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

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Department for Education's announcement of £79 million to boost mental health support for children and young people on 5 March 2021, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) schools and (b) students in London that will have access to a mental health support team following the announcement of that funding.

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

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of guidance issued by his Department to unpaid carers on how to prove eligibility for covid-19 vaccinations at vaccination centres; and what steps he is taking to ensure that unpaid carers receive clear guidance on proving eligibility in advance of vaccination appointments.

Unpaid carers are not required to prove their eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations. This is made clear in the COVID-19 vaccine deployment programme unpaid carers Standard Operating Procedure which states that “A person may be asked to prove their identity for the purpose of vaccination but not to prove their status as an unpaid carer. For example, unpaid carers will not be required to provide proof of receipt or entitlement to a carer’s allowance”.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to improve the retention rate of (a) psychiatrists, (b) nurses and (c) psychologists in NHS eating disorder services.

The NHS People Plan delivery programme is helping National Health Service employers to value and retain their staff, including psychiatrists, nurses and psychologists working in eating disorder services, by making their organisations a better place to work and being a modern and model employer.

Priorities include investing in staff health and wellbeing, tackling workplace discrimination and promoting a more compassionate and inclusive workplace culture. This is aligned with work to increase the NHS workforce, reduce vacancies and release the pressure on existing staff. We are on track to recruit 50,000 more nurses and have record numbers of people currently in training to become doctors and nurses.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse per patient of delivering one round of (a) outpatient and (b) inpatient treatment consistent with NICE guidance for (i) anorexia nervosa, (ii) bulimia nervosa and (iii) binge eating disorder.

We have made no such estimate.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of trends in the level of transparency relating to the treatment of eating disorders by adult mental health services and child and adolescent mental health services; and what steps he is taking to help improve transparency in respect of that treatment by those services.

No such assessment has been made.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publishes data on referral to treatment waiting times for children and young people that start urgent and routine/non-urgent treatment, on a quarterly basis. We continue to monitor the waiting times and demand for children and young people’s eating disorder services. Data can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/cyped-waiting-times/

A four-week waiting standard for adult community mental health services, including eating disorder services, is being piloted and considered as part of the clinically led review of National Health Service access standards. Further information on the definition of a potential standard will be shared in 2021/22.

For adult eating disorder services, NHS England and NHS Improvement is constantly reviewing the data and information provided on delivery of mental health services via the NHS Mental Health Dashboard. This is to ensure transparency on progress against key NHS Long Term Plan commitments.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a full cost analysis has been undertaken of how much it costs NHS eating disorder services to adhere to NICE guidance on the treatment of eating disorders.

No such analysis has been made.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time for psychological treatment for an eating disorder was in (a) 2010, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

We do not collect the data in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendation on the introduction of waiting time targets for adult eating disorder services in the report of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Ignoring the Alarms follow-up: Too many avoidable deaths from eating disorders, published in June 2019, HC 855 2017-19, for what reason such waiting time targets have not been introduced.

A four-week waiting standard for adult community mental health services, including eating disorder services, is being piloted and considered as part of the clinically led review of National Health Service access standards. It is expected that NHS England and NHS Improvement will share further information on the definition of a potential standard in 2021/22.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many outpatient referrals for eating disorders the NHS has (a) received and (b) accepted in each year since 2010.

This information is not held in the format requested. NHS Digital has advised that the data collected does not distinguish between outpatient and inpatient referrals, nor does it differentiate between received and accepted referrals.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many full-time equivalent staff were employed by the NHS to deliver (a) inpatient and (b) outpatient eating disorder services in (i) 2010, (ii) 2019 and (iii) 2020; and what steps he is taking to increase the number of specialist nursing staff working in those services.

The Department does not hold the information requested on the number of full-time equivalent staff employed to deliver eating disorder services.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out an ambition to improve adult eating disorder provision. From 2018/19, all clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have received uplifts in their baseline funding to expand their community mental health services, including adult eating disorders services. From April 2021, in addition to baseline funding increases, all CCGs will receive their share of £121 million to transform their community mental health services, including eating disorders in line with published guidance.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to taking to ensure local authorities are adequately resourced to encourage strong vaccine uptake locally.

To ensure local authorities are adequately resourced to encourage strong vaccine uptake locally, on 25 January we released £23.75 million funding to support our Community Champions Scheme. This supports councils and voluntary groups to expand COVID-19 communications with at risk groups. Community Champions will share COVID-19 vaccine advice and information to boost local vaccination take-up and will fund support for extra school programmes, helplines and phone calls to those in at risk groups.

The funding is to boost national organisations and voluntary and community groups who specialise in working with communities most at risk from COVID-19 so they can expand their work locally. This is part of over £7.9 billion government funding provided to councils to help them support their communities during the pandemic.

For More information on how we are supporting local authorities in encouraging uptake locally through the Community Champions Scheme can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/community-champions-to-give-covid-19-vaccine-advice-and-boost-take-up

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has with Cabinet colleagues on a timetable for publishing proposals for reform of adult social care.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on adult social care.

Delivering a care system that is fit for the future remains a top priority and following new measures set out in the Health and Care Bill White Paper, we will bring forward proposals for social care reform later in 2021.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to extend the Infection Control Fund for care homes; and if he will make a statement.

Since May 2020, the Infection Control Fund has supported adult social care providers to take several key measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission within and between care settings. The Department has been monitoring reporting from local authorities, which has shown that providers have been able to use this funding to take these key measures, such as paying staff their normal wages while self-isolating and limiting staff movement between settings.

It will be important to continue rigorous infection control measures beyond 31 March as we begin to cautiously ease restrictions and reintroduce visits to care homes. On 18 March 2021, the Government announced an extra £341 million for adult social care to pay for infection prevention control measures and support rapid testing to the end of June 2021. Additionally, in 2021-22, local authorities are expected to receive estimated funding of around £3 billion to help manage the impact of COVID-19. This includes £1.55 billion of grant funding to meet additional service pressures, including adult social care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Infection Control Fund on supporting care homes with their infection prevention control measures during the covid-19 outbreak; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect of that fund closing on 31 March 2021.

Since May 2020, the Infection Control Fund has supported adult social care providers to take several key measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission within and between care settings. The Department has been monitoring reporting from local authorities, which has shown that providers have been able to use this funding to take these key measures, such as paying staff their normal wages while self-isolating and limiting staff movement between settings.

It will be important to continue rigorous infection control measures beyond 31 March as we begin to cautiously ease restrictions and reintroduce visits to care homes. On 18 March 2021, the Government announced an extra £341 million for adult social care to pay for infection prevention control measures and support rapid testing to the end of June 2021. Additionally, in 2021-22, local authorities are expected to receive estimated funding of around £3 billion to help manage the impact of COVID-19. This includes £1.55 billion of grant funding to meet additional service pressures, including adult social care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 26 February 2021 to Question 151777, whether each individual Transforming Care Partnership has achieved (a) the March 2020 target and (b) the 2024 NHS long term plan targets.

In total, there are 44 Transforming Care Partnerships. As of the end of January 2021, eight Transforming Care Partnerships were at or below the 2024 Long Term Plan target rate of 30 adults in a mental health inpatient setting per million of the adult population and a further seven were at or below the March 2020 target of 37 per million.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to ensure that local (a) CCGs, (b) GPs and (c) hospitals have accurate and up to date data on patients' covid-19 vaccination status to help (i) target appointments at unvaccinated people and (ii) prevent people being contacted multiple times.

NHS England uses a central data system collected through the national immunisation management system (NIMS). This data system draws on various local point of care immunisation data systems, including those used in hospitals, general practitioner (GP) practices and vaccination centres. At the point that someone receives their COVID-19 vaccine, this information fed into NIMS and then also on to a patient’s GP record.

Eligible individuals may be contacted to come forward to book their appointment more than once - for example, they may receive a text from their local GP-led vaccination service and a national letter. Reminder letters or texts are also sent to eligible individuals if a booking has not been made via the national booking service, or a vaccination has not taken place. Additionally, a follow up telephone call may be made from the improving immunisation uptake team to support an individual to make a booking and to encourage uptake.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he is having with the Secretary of State for Education on the prioritisation of special school staff for covid-19 vaccines.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly discusses a range of issues with Cabinet colleagues including the COVID-19 vaccine programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) identified frontline health and care staff as priority for vaccination. For social care workers, local authority Directors of Adult Social Services should identify those eligible for vaccination among frontline social care workers who work closely and regularly with those who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19. In addition, if a special school staff member is identified as being in one of the other at risk cohorts, they will be contacted by the National Health Service at the appropriate time based on the JCVI’s advice.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the proportion of special school staff who have received the covid-19 vaccine; and what steps he is taking to ensure that staff can access vaccinations as soon as possible.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly discusses a range of issues with Cabinet colleagues including the COVID-19 vaccine programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) identified frontline health and care staff as priority for vaccination. For social care workers, local authority Directors of Adult Social Services should identify those eligible for vaccination among frontline social care workers who work closely and regularly with those who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19. In addition, if a special school staff member is identified as being in one of the other at risk cohorts, they will be contacted by the National Health Service at the appropriate time based on the JCVI’s advice.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the capacity of local healthcare services to plan their covid-19 vaccine supply in advance to ensure that all second doses are given on time, with reference to the short notice of vaccine deliveries.

COVID-19 vaccine supply is being managed at a national level by NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England to ensure all areas get the supply they need to offer a first vaccine to all registered priority cohorts and to ensure all patients can receive the second dose within 12 weeks of the first. All vaccinations are recorded on the National Immunisation Management Service and individual General Practitioner patient records to enable a second vaccines to be provided in line with national guidance on delivery of the second dose.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the capacity required of the primary care and learning disability workforce to identify all people with a learning disability in vaccine priority groups and target appropriate support to them.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination Immunisation supports a practical approach of inviting everyone who is on the general practice Learning Disability Register for vaccination in cohort six. The National Health Service will work with local authorities to identify adults in residential and nursing care and those who require support, for example as part of assisted living in the community and those in shared accommodation with multiple occupancy.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the appropriateness of the current guidance on prioritisation of people with learning difficulties for covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of expanding priority group six to include all people with learning disabilities.

On 24 February 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published a clarification of their advice on vaccinating people with a learning disability. They confirmed their view that priority should be given to those with a severe and profound learning disability, but recognised concerns about coding of learning disability on general practitioner (GP) systems and supported a practical approach of inviting everyone who is on the GP Learning Disability Register for vaccination in cohort six.

The JCVI also recognised that some people with a learning disability would not be coded at all on GP systems, and supported the planned approach to work with local authorities to identify those in residential and nursing care and those who required support - for example as part of assisted living in the community - and those in shared accommodation with multiple occupancy, to ensure this population could be offered vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure GPs are able to identify people with a learning disability who qualify for the covid-19 vaccine under priority groups 4 and 6.

On 24 February 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published a clarification of their advice on vaccinating people with a learning disability. They confirmed their view that priority should be given to those with a severe and profound learning disability, but recognised concerns about coding of learning disability on general practitioner (GP) systems and supported a practical approach of inviting everyone who is on the GP Learning Disability Register for vaccination in cohort six.

The JCVI also recognised that some people with a learning disability would not be coded at all on GP systems, and supported the planned approach to work with local authorities to identify those in residential and nursing care and those who required support - for example as part of assisted living in the community - and those in shared accommodation with multiple occupancy, to ensure this population could be offered vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to issue targeted information on the covid-19 vaccine and support to people with learning disabilities to help them access the vaccine as soon as possible.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s learning disability and autism programme has worked collaboratively across the National Health Service, Public Health England and other partners to support the delivery of reasonable adjustments in the vaccination programme. This has included a range of training resources for vaccination teams on communicating with people with a learning disability and autistic people. This has also included training resources on making reasonable adjustments, the provision of accessible information, including an easy read vaccination invitation letter and vaccination consent form and production of a film about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of joint covid-19 vaccination appointments for people with learning disabilities and their carers.

As part of the booking process, providers are advised to check whether eligible patients require any reasonable adjustments for having their vaccination and this might include having an appointment alongside their carer if the carer is also eligible.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to answer Question 141545 tabled by the hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood on 21 January 2021.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s question will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department made of the number of (a) home carers, (b) domiciliary carers and (c) personal assistants who have been offered a covid-19 vaccination; and what steps he is taking to ensure that domiciliary carers can access covid-19 vaccinations.

The Government’s target to offer a vaccine to everyone within the top four priority groups as set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation by 15 February 2021 was met. This includes home carers, domiciliary carers and personal assistants. We are working with NHS England to publish data on the vaccination of these groups.

We continue to open more vaccination centres across the United Kingdom, with 2,000 vaccination sites available. A programme of work is underway to help boost uptake in all communities, including social care workers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the practice of giving Do Not Resuscitate orders to people living with learning disabilities during the covid-19 pandemic.

A learning disability should never be a reason for a Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decision and blanket DNACPR decisions for whole groups of people are completely inappropriate. We have asked the Care Quality Commission to undertake a review of DNACPR decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This review has started and will report later this year.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued a number of joint statements to health and care providers reiterating that DNACPR decisions must not be applied in a blanket fashion to any group. The 2020/21 General Medical Services (GMS) contract Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) now includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability to be reviewed. We do not currently have evidence to suggest widespread practice of inappropriate DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability at this time. However, we continue to monitor the situation and have invited charities to inform us where cases of inappropriate practice are identified. The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to have discussions with stakeholders to discuss issues for people with a learning disability during the pandemic.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the increase in the number of Do Not Resuscitate orders given to people living with learning disabilities during the covid-19 pandemic.

A learning disability should never be a reason for a Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decision and blanket DNACPR decisions for whole groups of people are completely inappropriate. We have asked the Care Quality Commission to undertake a review of DNACPR decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This review has started and will report later this year.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued a number of joint statements to health and care providers reiterating that DNACPR decisions must not be applied in a blanket fashion to any group. The 2020/21 General Medical Services (GMS) contract Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) now includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability to be reviewed. We do not currently have evidence to suggest widespread practice of inappropriate DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability at this time. However, we continue to monitor the situation and have invited charities to inform us where cases of inappropriate practice are identified. The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to have discussions with stakeholders to discuss issues for people with a learning disability during the pandemic.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he is having with the NHS, care providers, charities and groups representing people living with learning disabilities on the increase in the number of Do Not Resuscitate orders given to people living with learning disabilities during the covid-19 pandemic.

A learning disability should never be a reason for a Do Not Attempt Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decision and blanket DNACPR decisions for whole groups of people are completely inappropriate. We have asked the Care Quality Commission to undertake a review of DNACPR decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This review has started and will report later this year.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued a number of joint statements to health and care providers reiterating that DNACPR decisions must not be applied in a blanket fashion to any group. The 2020/21 General Medical Services (GMS) contract Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) now includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability to be reviewed. We do not currently have evidence to suggest widespread practice of inappropriate DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability at this time. However, we continue to monitor the situation and have invited charities to inform us where cases of inappropriate practice are identified. The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to have discussions with stakeholders to discuss issues for people with a learning disability during the pandemic.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of (a) care home and (b) home care staff in London have been vaccinated against covid-19 to date.

NHS England now publish weekly data on the vaccination of care home residents and staff, including those in London, which is available at the following link:

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

We are working with NHS England to publish data on the vaccination of home care staff.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to continue the (a) Infection Control Fund, (b) Workforce Capacity Fund and (c) Rapid Testing Fund for care providers beyond 31 March 2021.

The Government is reviewing the need for further funding and decisions will be made in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the level of bureaucracy required for care providers to access the (a) Infection Control Fund, (b) Workforce Capacity Fund and (c) Rapid Testing Fund; and what plans he has to reduce the paperwork and reporting associated with each of those schemes.

Under the Rapid Testing Fund and extended Infection Control Fund, local authorities are required to pass 80% of funding directly to relevant care providers in their area. The Workforce Capacity Fund operates differently and is provided to local authorities for use in line with the grant conditions.

All three funds require providers and local authorities in receipt of funding to report on how they have used it. As part of the Infection Control Fund conditions, providers must also agree to provide weekly reporting through the Capacity Tracker. The Government will consider feedback from the sector in the design of any future funding to ensure reporting and conditions remain proportionate.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on reducing the number of people with a learning disability and autism in inpatient settings.

According to the latest NHS Digital Assuring Transformation data, since March 2015 there has been a 29% reduction in the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people in specialist inpatient settings.

As of December 2020, eight Transforming Care Partnerships have currently achieved the 2024 NHS Long Term Plan target rate of 30 adults in a mental health inpatient setting per million of the adult population and a further eight have achieved the March 2020 target of 37 per million.

We have established a new Building the Right Support Delivery Board to oversee implementation of the Building the Right Support national plan. The Board brings together representatives from Government departments, local government and other organisations with responsibilities for elements of the plan.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to remove barriers to people with a learning disability accessing the covid-19 vaccination.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published easy-read documentation that can be accessed by people with learning disabilities and their carers to help people with learning disabilities get familiarised with the vaccine process. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s learning disability and autism programme has also worked collaboratively across the National Health Service and other partners to support the delivery of reasonable adjustments in the vaccination programme.

Clinicians have been encouraged to use a range of resources to help improve the accessibility of vaccination appointments, including a COVID-19 vaccine film, an easy read vaccination leaflet and easy read adult consent form. NHS England has also created training materials for COVID-19 vaccinators and volunteers which provide tips for communicating with people with a learning disability or autism and outline reasonable adjustments.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he is having with (a) NHS England, (b) NHS Trusts and (c) NHS Foundation Trusts on the mental health effects of the covid-19 outbreak on staff; and what steps is he taking to provide additional mental health support to those staff, with particular reference to (i) the impacts of trauma and (ii) trauma counselling.

We have worked closely with NHS England to put in place a comprehensive package of mental health and wellbeing services for staff, including counselling helplines, support for line managers to have health and wellbeing conversations with their staff and free access to mental health apps. Last autumn, we invested £30 million to strengthen mental health support and enhance occupational health in the National Health Service. This funding is being used to set up mental health hubs that will provide outreach and assessment services to help staff receive rapid access to mental health services.

Staff referred will be treated by local mental health specialists and those with severe needs will be referred to a specialist centre of excellence. The investment will create a national support service for those deemed most at risk of severe trauma, such as critical care staff. Proactive engagement with staff is routinely undertaken to assess the mental health effects of the pandemic and understand what further support should be provided.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he is having with social care providers regarding the mental health effects of the covid-19 pandemic on staff; and what steps he is taking to provide additional mental health support, with particular reference to (a) the impacts of trauma and (b) trauma counselling.

We have worked alongside the National Health Service and other organisations to develop a package of emotional, psychological and practical resources for the workforce and we are continually engaging with social care stakeholders throughout the pandemic to ensure that the most effective and impactful support is available.

We have supported Hospice UK to extend its bereavement and trauma counselling helpline to social care staff. This service offers a safe space for care workers to talk to a professional if they have experienced bereavement, trauma or anxiety as a result of the pandemic.

We have also provided specific wellbeing guidance on GOV.UK that signposts to the support available.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure contact tracing services are expanded ahead of a potential relaxation of covid-19 restrictions.

We are continually monitoring case numbers and reviewing what this means for NHS Test and Trace operations. We have the ability to increase or decrease contact tracer resource provision at speed in response to rising or falling numbers of cases. In addition, we continue to work with local authorities and other community partners to ensure a systematic approach to tracing and to support the targeting of local public health action.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the rate of funding provided to local authorities to carry out covid-19 contact tracing; and what plans his Department has to increase that funding.

The Contain Outbreak Management Fund was expanded from the initial £400 million made available in May. To date, the fund has committed over £1 billion to English local authorities.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of covid-19 contact tracing is provided by (a) outsourced companies through NHS Test and Trace and (b) local authorities; and what assessment he has made of the performance of each type of organisation.

To date, approximately 93% of all completed contact tracing has been provided by outsourced companies operating under NHS Test and Trace, 4% by NHS Professionals and 3% has been provided locally. Key performance indicators are included within the contracts with outsourced suppliers and these are monitored, measuring productivity and the quality and outcome of calls. Local arrangements differ between local authorities and no assessment has yet been made of the overall performance of the local system.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure home care staff are able to access regular covid-19 testing.

On 23 November 2020, we began offering Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered domiciliary care organisations access to regular, weekly COVID-19 testing for their carers looking after people in their own homes.

Those working for CQC registered organisations are able to access weekly polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to administer at home, which will help identify more asymptomatic cases and protect care recipients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) availability of covid-19 testing for home care staff, including (i) priority access to PCR testing in the event of being symptomatic and (ii) regular rapid lateral-flow testing and (b) risks to people being for cared of their carers not having access to those tests.

On 23 November 2020, we began offering Care Quality Commission registered domiciliary care organisations access to regular, weekly COVID-19 testing for their carers looking after people in their own homes. This will help identify more asymptomatic cases and protect care recipients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

We will be expanding testing further to all other homecare workers, including live in carers and personal assistants. We will provide further details in due course about how these groups can access testing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish (a) the personal specifications outlining the (i) qualifications and (ii) experience requirements for consultants applying to work on the NHS Test and Trace programme and (b) data on the average daily pay rate of the consultants employed by each of those firms so deploying consultants on that programme.

We do not have a personal specification for consultants. The suppliers contracted to deliver the services that meet our business requirements are responsible for ensuring that the consultants hold the necessary qualifications, skills and experience. The pay rates of individual consultants engaged from each supplier is commercially sensitive.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 27 January 2021 to Question 106435 on Social Services: Protective Clothing, what plans his Department has to review the order limits on the Personal Protective Equipment portal; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the order limit on social care providers' ability to meet their PPE needs.

To ensure accessible, resilient and secure distribution routes for personal protective equipment (PPE), the order limit on items available via the PPE portal was updated and increased from mid-September. This ensured that social care providers in England will be able to meet the increased need for PPE which has arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will provide free PPE for COVID-19 requirements to Care Quality Commission-registered care homes and domiciliary care providers via the PPE portal until the end of June 2021.

We keep order limits under review to ensure these reflect the latest available public health guidance, COVID-19 trends, PPE requirements modelling, analysis and provider feedback.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18th January received to Question 134006 on Dementia: Drugs, whether the outcome of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s consultation on patterns of anti-psychotic prescribing during the covid-19 outbreak will be placed in the public domain.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor the monthly data published by NHS Digital on the prescribing of antipsychotic medication for people diagnosed with dementia. No formal public consultation has been undertaken but NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to have regular conversations with regional clinical network leads and local services to understand the patterns in prescribing and potential reasons for trends being seen.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the accessibility of covid-19 vaccines to carers supporting residents in their own homes; and what discussions is he having with home care providers on this issue.

We will continue to follow the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) advice and vaccinate those most at risk first and those who work closest with them - care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 years old and health and social care workers, then other people in order of age and risk.

This includes all frontline social care workers directly working with people clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 who need care and support irrespective of where they work, whether they care for clinically vulnerable adults or children or who they are employed by.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure covid-19 vaccines reach people who are housebound and unable to attend a vaccination centre.

The National Health Service, alongside its health and social care partners have developed three different delivery models which will operate concurrently to provide flexibility in our approach and ensure the entire population has access to the vaccine. This includes delivery through hospital hubs, local vaccination services and vaccination centres.

Local vaccination services are well placed to support the specific needs of our highest risk individuals, including those unable to leave their home. Working together in Primary Care Networks and community pharmacies, they are able to coordinate and deliver vaccines to the homes of those who are housebound via mobile units as set out in the United Kingdom COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2021 to Question 134007, if he will undertake an assessment of (a) long covid and (b) the other long-term health effects of covid-19 on NHS staff and outsourced staff working in hospitals.

The National Health Service is working hard to establish data collection systems for the new post COVID-19 assessment services, whilst it is prioritising the management of the COVID-19 demand.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2021 to Question 134007, what discussions he has had with NHS England, NHS trusts and foundation trusts and organisations providing outsourced services in hospitals on support for staff affected by (a) long covid and (b) other longer-term health complications arising from covid-19.

The Department is currently working to clarify how National Health Service staff will be supported when their COVID-19 illness becomes long-term, and as part of this is consulting stakeholders.

COVID-19 is a new disease and therefore it is not clear what the medical, psychological and rehabilitation needs will be for those experiencing long-term effects of the virus.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided a £10 million investment package to support people with ‘long’ COVID-19. As part of the investment, 69 post COVID-19 assessment service centres are operational across England. A further 12 ‘long’ COVID-19 assessment centres are expected to be available shortly.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2021 to Question 134007, what engagement he has had with unions and staff associations representing NHS staff and outsourced staff working in hospitals on staff affected by (a) long covid and (b) other longer-term health complications arising from covid-19.

The Department is currently working to clarify how National Health Service staff will be supported when their COVID-19 illness becomes long-term, and as part of this is consulting stakeholders.

COVID-19 is a new disease and therefore it is not clear what the medical, psychological and rehabilitation needs will be for those experiencing long-term effects of the virus.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided a £10 million investment package to support people with ‘long’ COVID-19. As part of the investment, 69 post COVID-19 assessment service centres are operational across England. A further 12 ‘long’ COVID-19 assessment centres are expected to be available shortly.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the availability of oxygen to hospital trusts in (a) London and (b) England; and what contingency plans are in place to mitigate low oxygen supplies in hospital trusts.

The National Health Service has enough oxygen supplies to meet current demand in London and will continue to work with suppliers to manage any future needs. In England the supply chain has significant capacity to meet large surges in demand and delivery of oxygen to hospital tanks is not a limiting factor. There is no national shortage of oxygen.

NHS hospitals are carefully managing their oxygen flow and infrastructure to manage the current need and have deployed a number of contingency measures such as improved monitoring and maintenance of their oxygen systems to ensure they are operating at maximum efficiency. Before the winter, over 30 upgrade projects were completed to improve the long term oxygen and medical supply infrastructure within hospitals. The NHS has invested £15 million to date and further improvements continue to be carried out.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 January 2021 to Question 126931 on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Children and Young People, what monitoring his Department undertakes on the length of stays in institutions contracted to provide national obsessive compulsive disorder Tier 4 services for children and young people; and for what reasons the average length of such stays in such institutions is not monitored.

National obsessive compulsive disorder tier 4 services are commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement and delivered by three mental health providers. Information on length of stays is not collected at national level and we understand that individual providers monitor the length of stay of patients as part of the national service.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 January 2021 to Question 126929 on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Children and Young People, if he will make an assessment of the level of risk of suicide and self harm for children and young people waiting to access national obsessive compulsive disorder Tier 4 services.

The small number of children and young people who require access to the Tier 4 national services are under the care of community teams commissioned by their local clinical commissioning group who have overall responsibility of monitoring patient risks such as suicide and self-harm. NHS England and NHS Improvement have reported that there is no identified unmet demand or waiting list for children and young people admissions to Tier 4 services currently.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 6 January 2021 to Question 126930 on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Children and Young People, what recent assessment his Department has made of the availability of beds for national obsessive compulsive disorder Tier 4 services for children and young people; and what recent discussions he has had with the institutions listed in that Answer on the current capacity for such Tier 4 services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement routinely engage with the national obsessive compulsive disorder service providers through the contract monitoring process and has reported that there is no identified unmet demand or waiting list for children and young people admissions to tier 4 services currently.

Referrals to this level of service are only considered when the six steps in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s clinical guideline on obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder: treatment (CG31) have been exhausted for the patient. Onward referral for tier 4 admission is consequently submitted to the national service for consideration.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of social care providers paying full occupational sick pay to staff having to self-isolate as a result of covid-19.

The information requested is not currently available. We are collating data on pay for self-isolation which will be published in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 17 December 2020 to Question HL9906 on Coronavirus: Screening, what (a) qualifications and (b) experience are required of consultants working on the covid-19 Test and Trace programme; and what the average daily rate is of the consultants employed by each of those firms so deploying consultants on that programme.

The Test and Trace programme has required qualified multi-disciplinary capabilities within areas such as digital technology, supply chain, logistics, procurement, programme and project management, to be able to deliver a major Government project. The suppliers contracted to deliver these services are responsible for ensuring that the consultants hold the necessary qualifications, skills and experience.

All consultancy firms have been selected from pre-competed Crown Commercial Services frameworks that requires an assessment of skills and experience for a place to be awarded.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the current guidance is on visitation for people in supported living settings.

As of Wednesday 6 January 2021, a new national lockdown is in place across England. Visits with support bubbles are still allowed. Supported living managers, care/support workers, individuals in supported living environments and their families and friends should follow national guidance on support bubbles and meeting others which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle health inequalities for people with learning disabilities.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out our commitments for people with a learning disability to ensure that they can lead longer and healthier lives. Delivering annual health checks for people with a learning disability is a key priority for the National Health Service. A national annual health checks campaign was launched in Autumn 2020 and there has been targeted information to people with a learning disability, family carers, general practices and social care staff to encourage uptake.

In November 2019, we set out plans to introduce the Oliver McGowan mandatory training in learning disability and autism to ensure more people with a learning disability receive safe, compassionate and informed care and in turn reduce health inequalities. Work is already underway with Health Education England and Skills for Care to develop and test a standardised training package backed by £1.4 million of funding.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the increase in the prescription of anti-psychotic medication in the care of people with dementia.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are consulting with areas to understand the patterns in prescribing during the pandemic. NHS England and NHS Improvement have also disseminated good practices and resources to support the management of COVID-19 for people with dementia through the NHS Futures Collaboration Platform, fortnightly forums and webinars with Dementia Clinical Networks across England. This includes resources to support non-pharmacological approaches to manage behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia in adhering to public health advice for social distancing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the number of (a) NHS and (b) outsourced staff working in hospitals who are experiencing symptoms of (i) long covid or (ii) other longer term health complications caused by covid-19.

No specific assessment has been made on the numbers of either National Health Service staff or outsourced staff working in hospitals who are experiencing symptoms of long COVID or any other long-term-health complications caused by COVID-19.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he is having with NHS leadership on occupational health support for (a) NHS and (b) outsourced staff working in hospitals who are experiencing symptoms of long covid.

Supporting the occupational health of all National Health Service (NHS) and outsourced staff working in hospitals is a priority for the Government. We know emerging evidence is showing a number of people who contract COVID-19 experience the effects of the virus months after initially falling ill and so additional support may be required. The NHS People Plan published in July commits to enhanced occupational health support for NHS staff to ensure they are supported to stay well at work.


NHS England has announced a £10 million investment to support people with Long COVID. On 18 December 2020 NHSEI NHS England and NHS Improvement also announced that 69 Long Covid assessment service centres were now operational across England to assess people with long-term effects of COVID-19 and direct them to effective treatment pathways.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the average number of daily covid-19 vaccinations currently administered in (a) Lambeth, (b) Southwark and (c) London, and what steps is he taking to increase the number of appointments available at vaccination clinics.

In each borough in London, including Lambeth and Southwark we are vaccinating, on average 650 people a day and for in London, the daily average vaccination rate is approximately 41,375

We have developed robust vaccination strategies to increase the availability of vaccinations and up take of them for our populations. These integrated strategies have been developed with system partners, including local authorities, and have contributed to an increase in vaccination availability and an increase in the uptake of the vaccine across our boroughs since the campaign started.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment has he made of the adequacy of (a) staffing levels, (b) number of vaccines available, and (c) resources for covid-19 vaccination clinics in (i) Lambeth, (ii) Southwark and (iii) London.

Information on the staffing levels, number of vaccines and resources for COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Lambeth, Southwark and London is not held centrally.

As of the latest weekly data published on 15 April 2021, there has been good progress on vaccination uptake, with 108,258 doses administered in Lambeth and 102,347 in Southwark. Local National Health Service leaders are working with national and local partners across the NHS, local government, health and social care partnerships and voluntary sector to access resources, such as the workforce, when establishing vaccination clinics in Lambeth and Southwark, while continuing to ensure adequate resources are available to existing sites. NHS England has used 100% of vaccines supplied.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 January 2021 to Question 126928, what routine monitoring his Department undertakes of obsessive compulsive disorder Tier 4 services for children and young people; and how his Department assesses performance of those services in terms of (a) waiting times and (b) outcomes for patients.

The national obsessive compulsive disorder service submits monthly and quarterly performance reports though the routine contract monitoring process. NHS England and NHS Improvement have reported that there is no identified unmet demand or waiting list for children and young people admissions to tier 4 services currently. Clinical and patient outcomes for the service are monitored by NHS England and NHS Improvement through the national specialised services quality dashboard for obsessive compulsive disorders.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the adequacy of the Additional Restrictions Grant for local authorities under (a) Tier 3 and (b) Tier 4 covid-19 restrictions.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the COVID-19 response. The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) provides an even distribution across England and is equivalent to £20 per head of residential population. Local authorities have discretion on how to support business which may include support for those business not mandated to close but were affected by the restrictions in tier 3 and tier 4. On 5 January the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that local authorities have also been allocated a further £500 million in discretionary funding via the ARG in addition to £1.1 billion already provided.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the length of time London will remain under tier 3 covid-19 restrictions.

London was in tiers 3 and 4 in December 2020 until the current national restrictions came into force on 6 January 2021.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps is he taking to improve IT systems to ensure accurate (a) data collection and (b) reporting of covid-19 vaccine take up.

The Government has robust IT systems in place to ensure accurate data collection and reporting of COVID-19 vaccine take up. To record vaccinations, the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) is being used as the national register for COVID-19 vaccinations. At the point that someone receives their COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccinating team will record this information onto the NIMS system and onto a patient’s general practitioner record, which will include capturing data such as a patient’s ethnicity.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people not registered with a GP; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect of that figure on the roll-out of covid-19 vaccinations.

No estimate has been made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of the English population not registered with a GP surgery. The data NHS Digital holds on GP practice registrations is aggregate counts at practice level, meaning that individual patients are not identified, and therefore numbers not currently registered cannot be ascertained. The number of patients registered at a GP practice in England as of January 2021 was 60,606,345 (see https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/patients-registered-at-a-gp-practice/january-2021).

In planning for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) have sought to ensure that vaccinations are accessible to those who are not registered with a GP.

NHSE/I commissioned the general practice COVID-19 vaccination service in line with agreed national terms and conditions, as an enhanced service (ES). The ES enables practices, coming together as Primary Care Network (PCN) groupings, to vaccinate unregistered patients provided they are eligible for a vaccination. Individuals who are not registered with a GP Practice will therefore be able to access the vaccine in line with the priority groups outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations (JCVI).

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to encourage people to register with a GP.

NHS England and NHS Improvement encourage people to register with a general practitioner (GP) through a number of routes. Recent standard operating procedures for GP practices in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic reinforce both the importance of practices continuing to accept new patients, including those most vulnerable, and facilitating registration remotely. This is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/managing-coronavirus-covid-19-in-general-practice-sop/

Communications ensuring general practice remains seen by the general public as open for business is a key priority and is supported by a dedicated pack for commissioners and GP practices to provide clear public messaging, which is available at the following link:

https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/nhs-resources-facilities/resources/nhs-primarycare-social/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to make targeted public health guidance and information about covid-19 vaccines available for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The Department has been working closely with Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement to provide authoritative information to the public on COVID-19 vaccination.

PHE is preparing translated versions of the core vaccine programme leaflets. We will be producing alternative formats that will include the following languages - Arabic, Albanian, Chinese, Bengali, French, Farsi, Kurdish, Gujarati, Hindi, Polish, Panjabi, Nepalese, Romanian, Turkish, Tagalog, Spanish, Somali, Ukrainian and Urdu. Simple text, video and audio versions are also being developed to support messaging to black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. These will be published in due course.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of access to covid-19 vaccines for (a) people with learning disabilities and (b) autistic people, with particular reference to people living in in-patient settings.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the independent body of clinical experts, advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation including for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine is initially being rolled out to priority groups considered to be the most at risk and frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions. The JCVI’s advice is published at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/940396/Priority_groups_for_coronavirus__COVID-19__vaccination_-_advice_from_the_JCVI__2_December_2020.pdf

People with a learning disability who are clinically extremely vulnerable, including adults with Down's syndrome, and people with a severe and profound learning disability are prioritised to receive the vaccine; and are within fourth and sixth vaccine prioritisation groups respectively. This applies to all care settings, and many younger adults in residential care settings will be eligible for a prioritised vaccine because they fall into one of the clinical risk groups, for example learning disabilities. Given the high risk of exposure in these settings, where a high proportion of the population would be considered eligible, prioritised vaccination of the whole resident population is recommended.

Throughout the pandemic officials from the Department have joined regular fortnightly meetings with learning disability and autism stakeholders to discuss the response to the pandemic and its impacts on people with a learning disability and autism.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department is having with officials and campaign groups on the prioritisation of people with learning disabilities and autistic people, including those living in in-patient settings, for covid-19 vaccines.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the independent body of clinical experts, advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation including for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine is initially being rolled out to priority groups considered to be the most at risk and frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions. The JCVI’s advice is published at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/940396/Priority_groups_for_coronavirus__COVID-19__vaccination_-_advice_from_the_JCVI__2_December_2020.pdf

People with a learning disability who are clinically extremely vulnerable, including adults with Down's syndrome, and people with a severe and profound learning disability are prioritised to receive the vaccine; and are within fourth and sixth vaccine prioritisation groups respectively. This applies to all care settings, and many younger adults in residential care settings will be eligible for a prioritised vaccine because they fall into one of the clinical risk groups, for example learning disabilities. Given the high risk of exposure in these settings, where a high proportion of the population would be considered eligible, prioritised vaccination of the whole resident population is recommended.

Throughout the pandemic officials from the Department have joined regular fortnightly meetings with learning disability and autism stakeholders to discuss the response to the pandemic and its impacts on people with a learning disability and autism.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve (a) guidance and (b) support for care providers to ensure that full occupational sick pay is paid to social care workers who are having to self-isolate due to the covid-19 outbreak.

‘COVID-19: our action plan for adult social care’, published in April, was clear that adult social care providers should pay staff who are self-isolating their normal wages. We reiterated this expectation in the ‘Adult social care: our COVID-19 winter plan 2020 to 2021’, when we also announced that we are providing an additional £546 million to extend the Infection Control Fund. The Infection Control Fund can be used to cover the costs of paying staff to self-isolate.

We are working with local government, stakeholders and care providers to ensure as many providers as possible are following our guidance. Officials in the Department are working directly with local areas on this, including by identifying and contacting those local areas and providers who are not yet paying staff to self-isolate.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of funding from the Infection Control Fund has been allocated to date to support the wages of social care workers who have had to self-isolate due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Infection Control Fund, set up in May, has been extended until March 2021, with an extra £546 million for the care sector to take key steps to improve infection prevention and control, including restricting staff movement in care homes and paying the wages of staff who are isolating. This means we have provided over £1.1 billion of ring-fenced funding for infection control throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department is still assuring the information that local authorities have provided on the final expenditure against the initial fund, which ran from May to September 2020. However, on 27 July, we published data that shows that 18.7% of the funding spent by 23 July was allocated to paying staff to self-isolate following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, totalling over £47 million.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time is to access national obsessive compulsive disorder Tier 4 services for children and young people.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the level of risk of suicide and self harm for children and young people waiting to access national obsessive compulsive disorder Tier 4 services.

No such assessment has been made.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which institutions are contracted to provide national obsessive compulsive disorder Tier 4 services for children and young people; and what number of beds are (a) provided and (b) available at each of those institutions in the most recent period for which such information is available.

National obsessive compulsive disorder services for adults and children are delivered by the following mental health providers:

- South London and the Maudsley NHS Trust;

- South West London and St George’s NHS Trust; and

- Priory Group Limited (Priory Hospital North London).

Information on the number of beds provided or available at each provider is not collected centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average length of stay is in an institution contracted to provide national obsessive compulsive disorder Tier 4 services for children and young people.

This information is not available.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government’s announcement of family being able to begin visiting care home residents and guidance to homes on testing visitors for covid-19, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the level of funding provided to care providers through the Infection Control Fund.

The Government has committed to providing tests for up to two visitors per resident to be tested twice a week in all care homes. This has been supported by releasing testing guidance on 8 December for care homes and visitors.

Through the Infection Control Fund, the Government has provided over £1.1 billion to the care sector to implement infection prevention measures. In addition, the Government has provided access to £4.6 billion to address pressures on local services, such as adult social care, throughout the pandemic. The Government will continue to monitor pressures, including through the reports local authorities are submitting specifying how the grant has been spent and will keep future funding under review.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the change in the level of demand on care home staff required to provide covid-19 tests to visitors; and what steps he is taking to ensure that providers are able to access the staff they need.

We have issued guidance to help care homes enable safe visiting. Visitors will need to arrange visiting with the care home in advance.

The Infection Control Fund (ICF) is available for care homes to use for extra COVID-19 related costs including visiting. The ICF has been extended until March 2021, with an extra £546 million for the care sector.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Welsh Government’s social care workforce payment scheme and plans for similar payments in other devolved nations, what steps his Department is taking to recognise the contribution of social care workers during the covid-19 outbreak in England.

The social care workforce now more than ever demonstrates unwavering compassion and dedication. We are grateful and proud of everyone working in social care. We want to celebrate the workforce and give them the acknowledgement and appreciation that they deserve. This includes developing the CARE brand to increase visibility and amplify the voice of social care both now and in the future. Alongside the CARE brand, we are providing CARE badges for all employed in social care to wear. We are continuing to explore further ways to recognise the workforce, empower staff and reinforce appreciation across the sector, and are making sure this recognition continues far beyond the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the projections on the cancer workforce submitted by NHS England and Health Education England as part of their Spending Review 2020 submissions.

The Government has no plans to publish submissions for the Spending Review 2020. Making sure the National Health Service is well staffed is a top priority for the Government. Full details on funding allocations from Spending Review 2020 towards NHS workforce budgets, including for cancer, in 2021-22 will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that frontline health and social care workers in non-NHS settings are able to access free NHS flu vaccines in winter 2020-21.

The flu vaccination is recommended for health and social care workers who have direct contact with patients and service users, so they can protect themselves and the vulnerable people that they care for. This is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Responsibility for offering a free flu vaccination to frontline health and social care workers rests with their employers, as part of their occupational health responsibility. Where a workplace scheme is not available, social care workers can access the flu vaccine for free through their general practitioner, or at most high street pharmacists via the National Health Service complementary scheme.

This year we have also published guidance on flu vaccination for social care workers and made available letters for care workers and personal assistants if they need help to provide proof of entitlement to the free vaccination. These are both available on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flu-immunisation-for-social-care-staff

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the current shortage of flu vaccines for frontline health and social care workers in non-NHS settings.

General practitioners (GPs) and community pharmacists are responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season. The Department has procured additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to ensure more flu vaccines are available this winter for priority cohorts, including frontline health and social care workers. GPs, community pharmacists and trusts who have exhausted their own supply are now able to order from this central stock.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with local areas to ensure that local providers are supported to meet increased demand for the flu vaccination this winter. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has granted dispensation to allow the movement of vaccines locally between practices and other National Health Service provider organisations this season, to help address local shortages.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure that frontline health and social care workers in specialist neurological care services are able to access free NHS flu vaccines in winter 2020-21.

The flu vaccination is recommended for health and social care workers who have direct contact with patients and service users, so they can protect themselves and the vulnerable people that they care for. This is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Responsibility for offering a free flu vaccination to frontline health and social care workers rests with their employers, as part of their occupational health responsibility. Where a workplace scheme is not available, social care workers can access the flu vaccine for free through their general practitioner, or at most high street pharmacists via the National Health Service complementary scheme.

This year we have also published guidance on flu vaccination for social care workers and made available letters for care workers and personal assistants if they need help to provide proof of entitlement to the free vaccination. These are both available on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flu-immunisation-for-social-care-staff

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on the number of health and social care workers who have received a winter 2020-21 NHS flu vaccine to date.

The first provisional monthly influenza vaccine uptake data amongst frontline healthcare workers in England, published by Public Health England, is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vaccine-uptake#seasonal-flu-vaccine-uptake:-figures

The report covers data on vaccine uptake between 1 September 2020 and 31 October 2020 based on manual returns.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) average and (b) maximum distance people are expected to travel for walk-in covid-19 testing.

The median distance travelled for a test is 1.9 miles. We have recently increased the radius search on the portal for local testing sites (LTS) from 10 miles to 25 miles, to help ensure that people who live in sparsely populated areas are able to book appointments at their local LTS without driving a further distance to a regional test site.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) level and (b) appropriateness of use of (i) prone restraint and (ii) other forms of restraint on people (A) autistic people and (B) people with learning disabilities living in (I) residential care, (II) supported living and (III) hospital settings during the covid-19 outbreak.

The latest Mental Health Services Dataset on restrictive interventions for patients with a learning disability and/or autism in National Health Service-funded secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services in England shows a total of 4,810 restrictive interventions occurred in July 2020, with 310 being prone restraint. These figures are subject to data quality issues and should be interpreted with caution. Data is not available on restrictive interventions in other settings.

Restrictive interventions, or restraint, should only ever be used as a last resort using the least restrictive option, when all attempts to de-escalate a situation have been employed. The latest guidance is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/812435/reducing-the-need-for-restraint-and-restrictive-intervention.pdf.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to prepare for the roll out of a potential covid-19 vaccine among (a) social care workers, (b) residents of care homes and (c) people in receipt of in home care; and if he will publish the outcomes of discussions he is having with (i) the care sector, (ii) the NHS and (iii) local authorities on access to covid-19 vaccines for care providers.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine(s) the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI has advised that the first priorities for any COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

Therefore, in line with the recommendations of the JCVI, the vaccine will be initially rolled out to these priority groups, including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old, and health and care workers. The vaccine will then be prioritised amongst the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions.

We have engaged regularly with the care sector, the National Health Service, and local authorities in planning for and rolling out the vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he is having with the care sector on the use of Do Not Resuscitate orders in response to concerns on their use in care homes during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Adult Social Care Winter Plan reinforces that any advance care decision, including do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions, should be fully discussed with the individual and their family where possible and appropriate, and signed by the clinician responsible for their care. Blanket DNACPR’s are not acceptable.

In October 2020 the Department asked the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to review how DNACPR decisions were used during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CQC were asked to look at how people, and their family, friends and other carers, were involved in planning, managing and making decisions. An interim report was published on the 3 December 2020, with the final report scheduled for publication in March 2021.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to provide consistent guidance on visiting rights during the covid-19 outbreak to the families of autistic people and people with learning disabilities living in residential care, supported living and hospital settings.

We recognise the particular challenges visiting restrictions pose for people with learning disabilities and autistic adults, and their loved ones, and we understand how important these visits are.

For care homes, we published guidance on 5 November to enable COVID-19-secure visits to take place for care home residents while national restrictions are in place. We are currently trialling visitor testing and plan to roll this out nationally to allow more visiting opportunities.

In supported living settings, managers and carers should suggest safe ways to host visitors, risk assessing individual settings and vulnerabilities, and considering the risks to others in shared accommodation. Families wishing to visit their loved ones in supported living or residential care settings should also follow the national guidance on meeting others safely, including guidance on support bubbles.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) autistic people and (b) people with learning disabilities living in residential care, supported living and hospital settings are able to receive visits from close family members as much as possible during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise the particular challenges visiting restrictions pose for people with learning disabilities and autistic adults, and their loved ones, and we understand how important these visits are.

For care homes, we published guidance on 5 November to enable COVID-19-secure visits to take place for care home residents while national restrictions are in place. We are currently trialling visitor testing and plan to roll this out nationally to allow more visiting opportunities.

In supported living settings, managers and carers should suggest safe ways to host visitors, risk assessing individual settings and vulnerabilities, and considering the risks to others in shared accommodation. Families wishing to visit their loved ones in supported living or residential care settings should also follow the national guidance on meeting others safely, including guidance on support bubbles.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that autistic people and people with learning disabilities living in residential care, supported living and hospital settings are able to access advocacy support during the covid-19 outbreak.

The application of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Mental Health Act 1983 remains the same during the pandemic and we have made it clear in our guidance that face-to-face visits by professionals and advocates remain an important part of the legal framework. Professionals and advocates should work closely with hospitals and care homes to decide if visiting in person is appropriate, and how to do this safely.

The duty to provide advocacy services remains in place under the Care Act 2014. We are taking steps to strengthen advocacy and sharpen our oversight of provision, working with principle social workers to ensure the Care Act, the Ethical Framework and its key principles remain at the front of practice. Local authorities are responsible for funding advocacy services. We have provided access to £4.6 billion to local authorities through un-ringfenced grants so they can respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak and the restriction of visitors on the wellbeing of autistic people and people with learning disabilities living in residential care, supported living and hospital settings.

We recognise the particular challenges visiting restrictions pose for people with learning disabilities and autistic adults, and their loved ones, and we understand how important these visits are.

For care homes, we published guidance on 5 November to enable COVID-19-secure visits to take place for care home residents while national restrictions are in place. We are currently trialling visitor testing and plan to roll this out nationally to allow more visiting opportunities.

In supported living settings, managers and carers should suggest safe ways to host visitors, risk assessing individual settings and vulnerabilities, and considering the risks to others in shared accommodation. Families wishing to visit their loved ones in supported living or residential care settings should also follow the national guidance on meeting others safely, including guidance on support bubbles.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 November 2020 to Question 52660 on Coronavirus: Screening, if he will contact participants in negotiations with Randox to seek their consent to publish their names.

The Department has no plans to contact participants in negotiations with Randox as their contracts contain a confidentiality clause.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the current level of risk from covid-19 to people living with dementia; and what steps is he taking to ensure guidance is reviewed in light of (a) Tier 2 restrictions, (b) Tier 3 restrictions, (c) any planned national restrictions.

The medical conditions used to identify those individuals at the highest risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 were agreed by the United Kingdom Chief Medical Officers. Dementia is not included in the clinically extremely vulnerable list due to the varied presentation and severity of the condition.

Shielding was a very restrictive measure with negative consequences for many people, and the Government does not want to advise anyone to follow these measures if it is not necessary. However, clinicians in the National Health Service are able to identify any patient as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs. The clinically extremely vulnerable conditions list is regularly reviewed in light of the latest scientific evidence.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data has been published from version 8 of the Cancer Outcomes and Services Dataset (COSD); and whether that includes data on the number of people diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.

Version 8 of the Cancer Outcomes and Services Dataset (COSD) applies to cancer data submitted to Public Health England (PHE) from April 2018.

Data from this period is included in National and Official Statistics, such as the case-mix adjusted percentage cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 by the Clinical Commissioning Group in England (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/case-mix-adjusted-percentage-cancers-diagnosed-at-stages-1-and-2-by-ccg-in-england). In addition, monthly COSD data reports are available to the NHS via a secure reporting website.

PHE published data on secondary breast cancer from v8 of the COSD in November 2020. This information is available here:

http://www.ncin.org.uk/cancer_type_and_topic_specific_work/topic_specific_work/recurrence

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish updated guidance on the use of medical gloves in social care settings during the covid-19 outbreak.

The updated guidance on how to work safely in care homes and domiciliary care is currently going through the Department’s approval process and will be published shortly.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the extent to which the order limits set on the personal protective equipment (PPE) portal are able to fulfil the needs of social care providers for PPE.

As part of our national effort to ensure critical personal protective equipment (PPE) is delivered to the frontline, we created a PPE portal in collaboration with Ebay, Clipper and Royal Mail through which primary and social care providers could access emergency PPE.

Eligible primary and social care providers can order PPE through the portal to meet the increased need that has arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to require Care Quality Commission inspectors to obtain a negative covid-19 test before undertaking an inspection in a social care setting.

We recognise the need to ensure professionals are able to visit care homes safely. We will begin weekly PCR testing of Care Quality Commission inspectors shortly.

Any symptomatic member of staff is eligible for testing through the self-referral portal.

We will continue to review our social care testing strategy for adult social care in light of the latest evidence and available capacity.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of NHS England committed capital funding allocated to NHS mental health trusts (a) in total (b) as a proportion of overall spend.

The six main central capital programmes where funding has been provided so far this year are for sustainability and transformation partnerships transformation and the Health Infrastructure Plan schemes, replacing diagnostics equipment, critical infrastructure risk, improving accident and emergency capacity for winter 2020, and to eradicate dormitory accommodation from mental health facilities. Nearly £1.5 billion has been allocated across all trusts for these schemes and mental health trusts are so far allocated to receive £141 million of capital from these schemes for 20/21 - 9.6% of this capital funding.

A further £58 million of funding will be allocated to remove outdated mental health dormitories in the next few weeks to mental health trusts, with further funding to be confirmed in the coming months.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average daily rate being paid to employees of (a) Serco and (b) companies subcontracted by Serco to deliver contact tracing services is.

Serco currently have 21 sub-contractors supporting this service. Serco can confirm that none of the companies sub-contracted to deliver these services have sub-contracted work.

The pay rates for staff directly employed by Serco and their sub-contractors is commercially confidential information. Serco can confirm that in line with legal requirements, all staff are paid at or above the national minimum wage or the national living wage, as appropriate.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 October to Question 93648, whether any of the 29 companies sub-contracted by Serco to deliver contact tracing services have sub-contracted work.

Serco currently have 21 sub-contractors supporting this service. Serco can confirm that none of the companies sub-contracted to deliver these services have sub-contracted work.

The pay rates for staff directly employed by Serco and their sub-contractors is commercially confidential information. Serco can confirm that in line with legal requirements, all staff are paid at or above the national minimum wage or the national living wage, as appropriate.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 October to Question 93648, whether Serco are obligated to notify the Government if their sub-contractors in turn sub-contract contact tracing work under the terms of his Department's contract with Serco to deliver contact tracing services.

Serco currently have 21 sub-contractors supporting this service. Serco can confirm that none of the companies sub-contracted to deliver these services have sub-contracted work.

The pay rates for staff directly employed by Serco and their sub-contractors is commercially confidential information. Serco can confirm that in line with legal requirements, all staff are paid at or above the national minimum wage or the national living wage, as appropriate.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the availability of the flu vaccine in (a) London and (b) England; and what steps he is taking to help ensure the availability of that vaccine for all people over 50 for Winter 2020-21.

We have sufficient vaccine for more than 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter. General practitioners and pharmacists are responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, with deliveries phased through the season. In addition, the Department has procured additional doses which will be available from November, to increase uptake in existing groups and extend the programme to new cohorts including those aged 50 to 64 years when appropriate.

Priority will be given to those who are most at risk to the effects of flu, and health and social care workers. There will be further communication on extending the programme to the additional cohort later in the season.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department made of the performance of Roche Diagnostics in delivering blood testing for NHS England; and what the (a) key performance indicators and and (b) penalties are in NHS England's contract with that company to deliver those services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been meeting with the senior management team at Roche regularly, including representatives of the Department and the devolved administrations. A daily review of every pathology network in England, including South East London, takes place, with urgent issues raised directly to Roche for prioritisation.

The National Health Service’s commercial relationship with Roche is between pathology networks or individual NHS trusts and foundation trusts and the supplier. Key Performance Indicators and contract penalties sit within those individual, local contracts. NHS England and NHS Improvement are providing support to pathology networks to ensure any local contractual terms and conditions are applied correctly in light of the current incident. NHS England and NHS Improvement, along with counterparts in the devolved administrations, are working closely with Roche on the implementation and delivery of a recovery plan to restore normal supply to the pathology networks.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he is having with Roche Diagnostics on provision of blood tests in South East London; and what steps is he taking to increase the capacity of blood testing services in that area.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been meeting with the senior management team at Roche regularly, including representatives of the Department and the devolved administrations. A daily review of every pathology network in England, including South East London, takes place, with urgent issues raised directly to Roche for prioritisation.

The National Health Service’s commercial relationship with Roche is between pathology networks or individual NHS trusts and foundation trusts and the supplier. Key Performance Indicators and contract penalties sit within those individual, local contracts. NHS England and NHS Improvement are providing support to pathology networks to ensure any local contractual terms and conditions are applied correctly in light of the current incident. NHS England and NHS Improvement, along with counterparts in the devolved administrations, are working closely with Roche on the implementation and delivery of a recovery plan to restore normal supply to the pathology networks.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has he made of the adequacy of provision for blood tests in (a) Lambeth, (b) Southwark, (c) London and (d) England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have been meeting with the senior management team at Roche regularly, including representatives of the Department and the devolved administrations. A daily review of every pathology network in England, including South East London, takes place, with urgent issues raised directly to Roche for prioritisation.

The National Health Service’s commercial relationship with Roche is between pathology networks or individual NHS trusts and foundation trusts and the supplier. Key Performance Indicators and contract penalties sit within those individual, local contracts. NHS England and NHS Improvement are providing support to pathology networks to ensure any local contractual terms and conditions are applied correctly in light of the current incident. NHS England and NHS Improvement, along with counterparts in the devolved administrations, are working closely with Roche on the implementation and delivery of a recovery plan to restore normal supply to the pathology networks.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of weekly covid-19 testing for staff and residents in supported living settings.

We are rolling out national testing to all extra care and supported living settings that meet the following criteria:

- A closed community with substantial facilities shared between multiple people; and

- Where most residents receive the kind of personal care that is Care Quality Commission-regulated (rather than help with cooking, cleaning and shopping).

We will use the data from this initial round of testing to inform our retesting approach in extra care and supported living and will continue to review our social care testing strategy in light of the latest evidence and available capacity.

If a supported living or extra care setting has a suspected outbreak, they should contact their local health protection team immediately who will undertake an initial risk assessment, provide advice on outbreak management and decide what testing is needed.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to enable access to weekly covid-19 testing for relatives of care home residents to facilitate safe visiting.

We recognise how important it is to allow care home residents to safely meet their loved ones, especially for those at the end of their lives. We appreciate the particular challenges visiting restrictions pose for people with dementia, people with learning disabilities and autistic adults, amongst others, as well as for their loved ones.

We have provided guidance on how providers can support visiting as part of the Adult Social Care Winter Plan, setting out tightened infection prevention and control measures to enable visits to continue safely.

Further to this we are working up proposals to run a pilot for specific visitors to care homes who provide regular close personal care which is aligned to residents' needs and visit multiple times a week. We will work with clinicians and stakeholder groups to develop this with an aim to launch the pilot in early November.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) access to and (b) take up of weekly covid-19 tests for domiciliary care staff.

Anyone who is symptomatic can access a free test. Domiciliary care staff with symptoms can be tested for COVID-19 through the self-referral portal on the GOV.UK website.

Domiciliary care staff are not required to participate in the weekly COVID-19 testing regime for care homes as the Public Health England pilot study found that the COVID-19 prevalence among domiciliary care workers was similar to prevalence in the general population.

We will continue to review and prioritise our testing policies and develop our strategy for testing in adult social care, based on the available testing capacity and scientific advice regarding relative priorities in order to limit the spread and save lives.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the average turnaround time for receipt of weekly covid-19 test results by care homes.

We do not hold the data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on people with dementia and their carers.

The Government has taken a range of action to support people during the COVID-19 pandemic, including for people with dementia and unpaid carers.

We commissioned research through the National Institute for Health Research on how to manage or mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia and their carers living in the community. Concise advice based on this research for people with dementia and their carers is available at the following link:

http://www.idealproject.org.uk/covid/

Guidance for care homes and for carers on how best to support people living with dementia during the pandemic as well as wider advice for unpaid carers has also been made available. In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement has issued guidance to the health service on the adjustments that are needed across the NHS Dementia Well Pathway.

Support for recovery and managing any ongoing symptoms is also available at the following link:

https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the reliability of (a) Ring Central, (b) Amazon Workspaces, (c) Contact Tracing Advice Service, and (d) Synergy 2 software systems at meeting their contractual obligations under the test, trace and isolate contracts.

The Department contracts with Sitel for the provision of end-to-end contact centre services in relation to contact tracing. Ring Central, Amazon Workspaces and Synergy are suppliers who deliver parts of the overall infrastructure for the service. As the prime supplier, Sitel is responsible and accountable to the Department for the reliability and performance of Ring Central, Amazon Workspaces, and Synergy. In addition, there are robust operational and commercial contract management procedures associated with Sitel’s performance, reliability and their supply chain.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 September 2020 to Question 77728 on Contact Tracing: Computer Software, what steps he is taking to assess the effectiveness of the 29 companies subcontracted by Serco to provide contact tracing services; and what discussions he is having with Serco on publishing the details of those sub-contracts.

As the prime contractor Serco are responsible and accountable for the performance of their sub-contractors in terms of contributing to meeting the agreed service targets and quality standards in the primary contract they hold with the Department. This contract has been placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses for contract management to ensure that supplier performance and the delivery of value for money can be properly assessed throughout the lifetime of the contract.

The types of agreements or other contractual arrangements put in place between Serco and its sub-contractors are a matter for those parties.

The primary contract between Serco and the Department is available at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/c23fdfaf-d1f2-4d8c-a0cd-6b6f35793ccd

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 September 2020 to Question 77728, what monitoring his Department is undertaking of the 29 companies subcontracted by Serco to provide contact tracing services; and what discussions he is having with Serco on publishing the details of those sub-contracts.

As the prime contractor Serco are responsible and accountable for the performance of their sub-contractors in terms of contributing to meeting the agreed service targets and quality standards in the primary contract they hold with the Department. This contract has been placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses for contract management to ensure that supplier performance and the delivery of value for money can be properly assessed throughout the lifetime of the contract.

The types of agreements or other contractual arrangements put in place between Serco and its sub-contractors are a matter for those parties.

The primary contract between Serco and the Department is available at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/c23fdfaf-d1f2-4d8c-a0cd-6b6f35793ccd

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests were carried out in (a) Lambeth and (b) Southwark in each of the last five weeks.

Weekly data for pillar 2 COVID-19 testing is available at the following link:

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

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to provide a full response to Question 85080 tabled on 4 September 2020 by the hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to Question 85080 on 23 September.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 September to Question 85080 on Sitel: Coronavirus, when his Department plans to provide a response to that question.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to Question 85080 on 23 September.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the deaths of care home staff, how many applications have been made by relatives of care home staff to the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance scheme; how many of those applications have been processed; what the total amount of money paid out in respect of those applications has been; and how many of those applications have been rejected.

The Government launched the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance scheme on 20 May 2020. The scheme is non-contributory and pays a £60,000 lump sum where staff who had been recently working where personal care is provided to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 die as a result of the virus.

As of 16 September 2020, the scheme administrator has received 57 claims to the scheme from the families of staff who had been working in care homes. Of these 57 claims, 21 have been paid and 30 have been agreed for payment subject to receiving probate. Five claims require further information and one is in the process of being considered.

As of 16 September 2020, a total of £1,260,000 has been paid to the families of care home staff under the scheme. Where a case is accepted, the payment is always £60,000. To date no claims have been rejected.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)