Helen Hayes Portrait

Helen Hayes

Labour - Dulwich and West Norwood

Shadow Minister (Education)

(since December 2021)
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
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
13th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee
13th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 29th June 2022
14:00
Environmental Audit Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: The environmental protection policies of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
29 Jun 2022, 2 p.m.
At 2.15pm: Oral evidence
Rt Hon George Eustice MP - Secretary of State at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
David Hill - Director General for Environment, Rural and Marine at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
View calendar
Department Event
Monday 4th July 2022
09:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
4 Jul 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 6th July 2022
14:00
Department Event
Monday 19th September 2022
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
19 Sep 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Monday 27th June 2022
Northern Ireland Protocol Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 160 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 295 Noes - 221
Speeches
Thursday 16th June 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
T3. This morning we have heard some frankly staggering attempts to present a dreadful UK-EU trade context as some kind …
Written Answers
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Children's Centres
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many designated Sure Start Children's Centres there were in each local …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 2nd November 2021
First anniversary of the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia
That this House, noting the first anniversary of the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia on 3 November 2021, deeply regrets the …
Bills
Tuesday 1st February 2022
Social Housing (Emergency Protection of Tenancy Rights) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to give social housing tenants the right to continuity of secure tenancy in circumstances when they have to …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 1st November 2021
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: King's College London
Address of donor: Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Amount of donation or nature and value …
EDM signed
Tuesday 21st June 2022
Windrush Day 2022
That this House celebrates the 74th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury Dock on the 22nd …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Helen Hayes has voted in 422 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(20 debate interactions)
Will Quince (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
(12 debate interactions)
Victoria Atkins (Conservative)
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(36 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(32 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(25 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
Petitions with most Dulwich and West Norwood signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Ensure Water companies treat the sewage they are responsible for. Not discharge it into rivers and water courses. After all what goes into the ocean comes back as the fish we eat.

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

20th June 2022
Helen Hayes signed this EDM on Tuesday 21st June 2022

Windrush Day 2022

Tabled by: Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Labour - Streatham)
That this House celebrates the 74th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury Dock on the 22nd June 1948; recognises that Windrush has become a key symbolic moment in the history of both the Black British contribution to Britain and the broader post-war Commonwealth migration that reshaped …
39 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 22
Scottish National Party: 9
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Liberal Democrat: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
6th June 2022
Helen Hayes signed this EDM on Wednesday 8th June 2022

Treatment of Liverpool fans at the 2022 Champions League Final in Paris

Tabled by: Ian Byrne (Labour - Liverpool, West Derby)
That this House condemns the deeply disturbing treatment by French police of Liverpool and Real Madrid fans outside Stade de France at the Champions League Final in Paris; notes catastrophic failures in stadium management by UEFA and French authorities which threatened the lives and wellbeing of supporters; further notes the …
79 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 56
Scottish National Party: 6
Independent: 4
Liberal Democrat: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Conservative: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 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

3 Adjournment Debates led by Helen Hayes

Friday 3rd December 2021
Thursday 25th March 2021
Tuesday 23rd June 2020

2 Bills introduced by Helen Hayes


A Bill to give social housing tenants the right to continuity of secure tenancy in circumstances when they have to move because of a threat to the personal safety of the tenant or someone in their household; to place associated responsibilities on local authorities and social housing providers; and for connected purposes.


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

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


1207 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
41 Other Department Questions
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to announce the 2022 Windrush Day Grant Scheme awards.

This year’s Windrush Day Grant Scheme awards will focus on bringing people together – across different ages and ethnic backgrounds – to commemorate, celebrate and educate communities about the contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants to our national life.

All application assessments for this year’s scheme are complete and a formal announcement of the successful projects is set to take place soon.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he is taking steps to support local authorities to manage increased costs for the purchase or lease of trucks in response to alleged price fixing by truck manufacturers.

Local authorities should not lose out as a result of illegal anti-competitive activity. Civil claims for damages or other redress arising from infringements of competition law may be brought before the High Court or the Competition Appeal Tribunal, which is the UK’s specialist judicial body for determining competition law disputes


On 16 December, the Government announced the provisional Settlement, which makes available an additional £3.5 billion to councils. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2022-23 of over 4% in real terms, which will ensure councils across the country have the resources they need to deliver key services. In total, we expect Core Spending Power to rise from £50.4 billion in 2021-22 to up to £53.9 billion next year.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an assessment of the impact of alleged price fixing by truck manufacturers on (a) local authorities finances and (b) costs of essential services.

Local authorities should not lose out as a result of illegal anti-competitive activity. Civil claims for damages or other redress arising from infringements of competition law may be brought before the High Court or the Competition Appeal Tribunal, which is the UK’s specialist judicial body for determining competition law disputes


On 16 December, the Government announced the provisional Settlement, which makes available an additional £3.5 billion to councils. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2022-23 of over 4% in real terms, which will ensure councils across the country have the resources they need to deliver key services. In total, we expect Core Spending Power to rise from £50.4 billion in 2021-22 to up to £53.9 billion next year.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to support businesses seeking to appeal business rates valuations after changes in circumstances during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has announced an additional £1.5 billion business rates relief fund to support those businesses affected by the pandemic that have not otherwise been eligible for existing reliefs. My Department will publish guidance to help local authorities set up their local schemes once the legislation relating to COVID-19 Material Change of Circumstances provisions has passed.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate has his Department made of the number of section 21 eviction notices been issued in each year since 2019 in (a) London and (b) England.

There is no requirement on landlords to notify the Government when they serve notice of their intention to seek possession to their tenant. As such, the Department does not hold data on the number of Section 21 notices issued.

The Government remains firmly committed to the Renters Reform programme, including abolishing section 21 evictions. We will publish a White Paper that sets out government's plans in 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what progress his Department has made on ending the use of section 21 no fault evictions.

The Government is committed to bringing in a Better Deal for Renters, including abolishing section 21 evictions, to deliver a fairer and more effective rental market that works for both tenants and landlords. We have been working with stakeholders across the sector, including holding a series of roundtable discussions, to inform this.

We will publish a White Paper that sets out the Government's plans in 2022 to allow the requisite time to develop an ambitious and considered package of reforms. Our priority is to create a fairer private rented sector that works for both landlords and tenants. It is vital that we take the time to get this right to avoid any unintended consequences for the sector.

We remain firmly committed to the Renters Reform programme, including abolishing section 21 evictions, and we will continue to engage with the sector to inform this. We will bring forward legislation in due course and when parliamentary time allows.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the affordability of housing in urban areas on (a) overcrowding in housing and (b) covid-19 transmission rates.

Housing supply and tackling affordability is critical to reducing overcrowding. At Spending Review 2021, the Government announced over £20 billion in multi-year capital investment, unlocking up to a million homes over its lifetime. The Government also reconfirmed the £11.5 billion for the new Affordable Homes Programme, which will deliver up to 180,000 new homes for affordable home ownership and rent, should economic conditions allow.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has continuously monitored emerging evidence to understand the effect of household overcrowding on public health. We have responded at pace since the onset of this pandemic to provide a range of guidance to support those living in overcrowded, shared or multi-generational housing. We previously published streamlined guidance for those living in shared and overcrowded housing with practical steps to reduce the risk of catching or passing on Covid-19 in the home.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on rates of international decarbonisation of the China's potential non-attendance at COP26; and what steps he is taking to ensure global agreement on action to prevent global warming beyond 1.5C.

COP26 comes at a critical moment for the future of our planet. As hosts of COP26, we are encouraging high-level participation in COP26 from all parties. To date over 120 leaders have confirmed their attendance. In our capacity as COP26 President, the UK looks forward to working closely with all parties, including China, to bring key negotiating issues to a constructive conclusion at COP26. This includes securing ambitious announcements to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Under the Paris Agreement, all parties committed to holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. As the incoming COP President, the UK has been pressing all leaders to commit to ambitious climate action ahead of COP26 through a programme of regular engagement and events, including through the Climate Ambition Summit, the G7 and G20.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using climate finance to support farmers in the global south whose businesses are disrupted by the impacts of climate change.

The Just Rural Transition coalition launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019. Since then, the UK and World Bank have co-convened a series of Government-to-Government Policy Dialogues in order to accelerate the transition to sustainable agriculture. These dialogues will culminate in an event at COP26 which will bring together Governments, policy makers and farmers in a framework for action to accelerate transition to sustainable agriculture.

The UK has also committed to doubling its spend on International Climate Finance (ICF) to £11.6 billion over the next five years; £3 billion of which will support outcomes on nature and the environment, including through agriculture. These investments will help the most vulnerable people, including farmers, adapt and build resilience against the impacts of climate change. FCDO’s agriculture portfolio has contributed substantially towards these results through interventions such as the introduction of drought resilient crops, irrigation systems and agricultural extension.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
25th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to ensure COP26 delivers the commitments required to help farmers in the global south to (a) adapt to the impacts of climate change and (b) transition to more sustainable environmental practices.

The Just Rural Transition coalition launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019. Since then, the UK and World Bank have co-convened a series of Government-to-Government Policy Dialogues in order to accelerate the transition to sustainable agriculture. These dialogues will culminate in an event at COP26 which will bring together Governments, policy makers and farmers in a framework for action to accelerate transition to sustainable agriculture.

The UK has also committed to doubling its spend on International Climate Finance (ICF) to £11.6 billion over the next five years; £3 billion of which will support outcomes on nature and the environment, including through agriculture. These investments will help the most vulnerable people, including farmers, adapt and build resilience against the impacts of climate change. FCDO’s agriculture portfolio has contributed substantially towards these results through interventions such as the introduction of drought resilient crops, irrigation systems and agricultural extension.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
20th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to place pressure on the most-polluting countries to commit to keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Under the Paris Agreement, all parties committed to holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. As the incoming COP Presidency, the UK has been pressing all leaders to raise ambition on reducing their emissions ahead of COP26, through a programme of regular engagement and events, including through the G7 and G20.

Under the UK G7 Presidency, all G7 countries have now increased the ambition of their NDCs and committed to net zero by 2050 at the latest. Additionally since taking office, I have made 41 visits to 33 countries, including many major emitters, and engaged directly with over 100 ministers from over 65 countries to encourage ambitious climate action. So far, 122 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) have now been submitted to the UNFCCC, representing around 55% of global emissions. We continue to call on all countries that have not yet done so to put forward ambitious new NDCs and Long Term Strategies ahead of COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to review the Everybody In scheme; and what lessons his Department have learned for future homelessness prevention from that scheme.

Our pandemic response was widely commended, including by the Kerslake Commission and the National Audit Office (NAO), which cited our clear messaging and collaborative approach as key to galvanising local authorities to protect people sleeping rough from COVID-19.

The pandemic has demonstrated the powerful impact that we can have when government, local government, and the voluntary and community sector work together with health and housing partners.

Our work to support people off the streets and protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19 continues and we are committed to ending rough sleeping for good, not just as an emergency pandemic response.

We continue to build on the successes of Everyone In and we have been clear with councils and partners that those helped into accommodation during the pandemic should be offered the tailored support they need to move forwards.

We are committed to tackling homelessness in all its forms, and this government has committed to ending rough sleeping and to fully enforce the Homelessness Reduction Act.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the impact of the removal of the uplift to the standard allowance of universal credit and the end of the furlough scheme on youth homelessness (a) in general and (b) among black Britons.

a) The temporary £20 increase to universal credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and was part of a COVID support package worth £407 billion. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus now is on helping people back into work. Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes to help up to two million people get into and progress in work


b) We recognise that some people may continue to require extra support, which is why we have introduced a £500 million Household Support Fund to support vulnerable households across the UK with essential costs this winter. The Government has also announced a further £65 million to help vulnerable renters with rent arrears in England who may be at risk of eviction or homelessness.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking (a) in response to the recent rise in youth homelessness and (b) in preparation to support homeless people in winter 2021-22.

Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping is a priority for this Government. That is why we are spending more than £750 million on this issue this year alone. The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 has enabled young people to access support where they may not have previously been eligible.


Our youth homelessness advisors work with local authorities to promote better joint working across housing authorities and children's services to better identify and support young people at risk of homelessness. This year, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will be funding a number of local projects, to support local authorities to ensure they have the skills and expertise to prevent homelessness.


The £3 million Homelessness Winter Transformation Fund will support 60 projects run by faith and community groups to support rough sleepers this winter. We have also announced £65 million to help vulnerable renters with rent arrears in England who may be at risk of eviction or homelessness this winter.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to help ensure that new homes are (a) carbon neutral and (b) fuelled by renewable energy sources.

From 2025, the Future Homes Standard will make sure that new homes produce at least 75% lower CO2 emissions compared to those built to current standards. In the short term, this represents a considerable improvement in the energy efficiency standards for new homes. Homes built under the Future Homes Standard will be future proofed with low carbon heating and high levels of energy efficiency.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the impact of returning to in-person council meetings on (a) conducting council business and (b) attendance at meetings by (i) councillors and (ii) members of the public.

The Department is reviewing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course. Any permanent change would require legislation, and would depend upon Parliamentary time being available.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to publish the (a) results and (b) response to the Remote meetings: Call for evidence which closed on 17 June 2021.

The Department is reviewing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course. Any permanent change would require legislation, and would depend upon Parliamentary time being available.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to negotiate a global fund to support the transition to net zero in less wealthy countries.

We must support the poorest and most vulnerable countries to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis, and mobilise finance to enable their net zero transition. The commitment to jointly mobilise $100bn of climate finance a year is critically important; it helps countries raise ambition and supports their transition. The UK Presidency has been very clear that developed countries must meet existing commitments and come forward with ambitious post-2020 climate finance pledges, to achieve and surpass the $100bn a year goal. I have also asked Germany and Canada to lead on the development of a Delivery Plan which sets out how donor countries will meet the goal.

Public finance alone will not be enough to achieve the trillions needed in developing countries. The UK Presidency is working with other donors, Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and the private sector to promote and support a range of targeted initiatives that mobilise finance globally and tackle barriers to and promote investment into developing countries. There are a range of financing mechanisms including the dedicated UN backed climate funds which we support - including the Green Climate Fund, Climate Investment Funds and the Global Environmental Facility. The recently launched Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero will also accelerate global flows into activities that support a net zero and resilient future.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she is having with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office on planned engagement with (a) disabled people and (b) groups representing disabled people as part of the public inquiry into the handling of the covid-19 pandemic.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that the public inquiry into COVID-19 will begin its work in spring 2022 and that bereaved families and other groups will be consulted before the terms of reference are finalised. Further details will be announced in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment has he made of the (a) potential merits and (b) likelihood of an international agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international agreement which aims to hold average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C. It is the framework under which such efforts should be delivered. The science is clear that in order to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change we must keep 1.5C in reach and this is my priority for COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the (a) potential merits and (b) likelihood of an international agreement to ensure global co-operation to transition to renewable energy sources.

Accelerating the transition from coal to clean energy is a top priority for the UK’s COP 26 Presidency. There are many benefits that the energy transition can bring: cleaner air, cheaper power, increased investment, new jobs, better public health, and many more.

The UK recognises that global collaboration is vital to achieving a cleaner future. We have already made significant progress. The Climate and Environment Ministers of the G7 have made historic commitments to end international coal finance in 2021 and to accelerate the transition towards overwhelmingly decarbonised power systems in the 2030s. The UK has also launched the Energy Transition Council, bringing together the political, financial and technical leaders of the global power sector in over 20 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America, to ensure that clean power is the most attractive offer globally. The UK is also collaborating internationally through the Powering Past Coal Alliance, a coalition of 135 members, advancing the transition from unabated coal power generation to clean energy.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what recent meetings he has held with representatives of (a) councils and (b) local government organisations on the role of local government in meeting the national net zero target; and how he plans to articulate that matter at COP26.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 7885 on 7 June 2021.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what meetings he has held with councils and local government organisations on (A) the role of local government in meeting the national net zero target, and (b) how that role will be communicated at COP26.

We are continuing to engage with local authorities and leaders across the UK through the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council, which most recently met on 15 March. We also work closely with a number of a number of Non-State Actor organisations such as the C40 Cities, ICLEI and UK100 to help further engage with local authorities.

The Government is still in the process of developing the programme for the Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day at COP26, which will showcase the key role that they all play in the pathway to net zero. I look forward to working with members of the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council to develop the programme.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
26th May 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he plans to take to engage with local government over the coming months to ensure local government is effectively represented at COP26.

We are continuing to engage with local authorities and leaders across the UK through the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council, which most recently met on 15 March. We also work closely with a number of a number of Non-State Actor organisations such as the C40 Cities, ICLEI and UK100 to help further engage with local authorities.

The Government is still in the process of developing the programme for the Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day at COP26, which will showcase the key role that they all play in the pathway to net zero. I look forward to working with members of the UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council to develop the programme.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
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
Minister for Equalities
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 (a) Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and (b) Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on expanding the Community Champions scheme to support 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
Minister for Equalities
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Minister for Equalities
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
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
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
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
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
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
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
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 22 November 2121 to Question 75043 on Travel: Civil Servants and Ministers, if he will publish a breakdown of the Government spending on (a) domestic flights and (b) trains for business trips undertaken by (i) Ministers and (ii) civil servants in each of the last five years.

I refer the hon. Member to PQ 75043.

Details of business expenses for senior officials are published quarterly on GOV.UK. The Government does not plan to publish a breakdown of Ministers' domestic travel costs for previous years in routine transparency data.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of domestic flights taken by (a) Ministers and (b) civil services for the purposes of conducting official Government business in each of the last 12 months; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of alternative ways of conducting that business that do require using domestic flights.

Details of Ministers' travel are published quarterly on GOV.UK.

The Cabinet Office is committed to minimising travel costs and reducing the environmental impact of journeys. Ministers and Civil Servants are advised to travel by the most efficient means of transport and to use public transport where possible.

Ministers and Civil Servants are also encouraged to consider alternative ways of conducting business to minimise travel. For example, using video and telephone conferencing facilities where possible and appropriate.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to Answer of 29 October 2021 to Question 63799 on Imports, if he will publish his Department's analysis that led to the conclusion that delays at UK ports for inbound goods are caused by other issues connected to the current situation with global supply chains.

The basis for this conclusion - that delays are not caused by import controls following Brexit - is that these import controls are not yet in force.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to reduce the additional bureaucracy placed on British businesses (a) importing from and (b) exporting to the EU since the end of the transition period.

There are currently no delays at UK ports as a consequence of the time taken to carry out UK customs and other checks. To the extent that there are delays at some UK ports for inbound goods, these are caused by other issues connected to the current situation with global supply chains. UK border import controls on goods from the EU are being introduced in a phased way and in accordance with the timetable announced by my noble Friend, Rt Hon Lord Frost, on 14 September.

The Government has taken a number of measures to assist UK businesses in exporting to the EU since the end of the Transition Period. This includes online guidance and targeted financial support. On 1 October, my Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Trade, launched the Export Support Service specifically to help businesses trade with the EU.

In addition, my Rt Hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 27 October that the Government will make £180 million available to fund the development of the UK Single Trade Window. The Single Trade Window will offer a single gateway into Government for traders to complete their import, export and transit requirements. This will benefit business by dramatically reducing the administrative costs of trade. It forms part of the 2025 Border Strategy, announced in December 2020, to build the most effective border in the world.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Common Market on the availability of imported goods; and what discussions he is having with his European counterparts to ease the import of those goods.

There are currently no delays at UK ports as a consequence of the time taken to carry out UK customs and other checks. To the extent that there are delays at some UK ports for inbound goods, these are caused by other issues connected to the current situation with global supply chains. UK border import controls on goods from the EU are being introduced in a phased way and in accordance with the timetable announced by my noble Friend, Rt Hon Lord Frost, on 14 September.

The Government has taken a number of measures to assist UK businesses in exporting to the EU since the end of the Transition Period. This includes online guidance and targeted financial support. On 1 October, my Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for International Trade, launched the Export Support Service specifically to help businesses trade with the EU.

In addition, my Rt Hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 27 October that the Government will make £180 million available to fund the development of the UK Single Trade Window. The Single Trade Window will offer a single gateway into Government for traders to complete their import, export and transit requirements. This will benefit business by dramatically reducing the administrative costs of trade. It forms part of the 2025 Border Strategy, announced in December 2020, to build the most effective border in the world.

Michael Ellis
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
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to strengthen cross-government engagement with local authorities on implementing the COVID-19 Winter Plan.

We continue to engage with local authorities closely on a range of issues, including on their preparedness for the implementing of the COVID-19 winter plan. There has been regular and significant contact between Ministers, regional mayors, council leaders, and the Local Government Association to provide support for local authorities before and during the coronavirus pandemic.

This includes frequent webinars hosted by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Minister for Local Government for all English Council Leaders and Chief Executives.

A daily bulletin of COVID-19 related announcements and guidance is distributed to over 4000 recipients in the local tier to ensure they are kept informed of the latest from central government.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
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
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) parcels and (b) letters which were not delivered by Royal Mail within its stated timeframes in November and December 2021.

Ofcom, the independent regulator, monitors Royal Mail’s performance and has powers to investigate and take enforcement action if Royal Mail fails to achieve its service delivery targets.

Royal Mail is required by Ofcom to publish quality of service reports on a quarterly basis. Royal Mail’s next report, covering the period October-December is expected to be published by March at the latest.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of delayed or lost Royal Mail deliveries on small independent businesses during Christmas 2021.

The Government recognises the importance of a reliable universal postal service to small businesses across the UK and we know postal workers have worked exceptionally hard to meet demand over the festive period.

Ofcom, the independent regulator, has an ongoing postal market research programme which tracks the use of, and attitudes to, post among small and medium enterprise (SME) customers.

Ofcom summarises its findings in its annual monitoring update for postal services. Ofcom’s last report covering 2020-21, published on 9 December 2021, found that overall satisfaction levels with Royal Mail’s services remain high with 79% of SMEs being satisfied. Satisfaction among SMEs about the level of lost post sent by Royal Mail was at 70%. Ofcom aims to publish the next report towards the end of 2022.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential barriers to community energy projects; and what steps he is taking to tackle those barriers.

The Government has received the Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) report into community energy, which makes several recommendations to government.

In order to support community energy projects, the Government funds the Rural Community Energy Fund. The £10 million scheme supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects, which provide economic and social benefits to their community. We also continue to work with Community Energy England to share best practice within the sector, so less experienced communities can learn from those already operating.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage growth of community energy projects.

The Government has received the Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) report into community energy, which makes several recommendations to government.

In order to support community energy projects, the Government funds the Rural Community Energy Fund. The £10 million scheme supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects, which provide economic and social benefits to their community. We also continue to work with Community Energy England to share best practice within the sector, so less experienced communities can learn from those already operating.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in the context of no eligible prize holders having applied for the Home Office's fast-track Global Talent visa in the first six months of that scheme, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the UK attracts talented academics and researchers at all stages of their careers.

The prize route is just one option under our Global Talent route, through which Home Office have received thousands of applications since its launch in February 2020, and this number continues to rise.

The Government is committed to making the UK the most exciting destination in the world for scientists, researchers, and innovators. The Government will continue to improve our approach to attracting global talent to the UK through the Office for Talent, and by reviewing our talent offer to make sure that our programmes are among the best and most attractive in the world.

The Government continues to work closely with the science and research sector to ensure the UK immigration system is closely aligned to the sector’s needs.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Royal Mail services in south London; and what steps he is taking to ensure that Royal Mail improves services disrupted by the covid-19 pandemic.

Royal Mail is a fully private business. The Government has no role in its operational or commercial decisions.

The Government sets the minimum requirements and service standards for the UK postal service in the Postal Services Act 2011 which designates the Office of Communications (Ofcom) as the independent regulator for the sector with the responsibility and powers to regulate postal services.

Ofcom has a duty to ensure the provision of a financially sustainable and efficient universal postal service. It monitors Royal Mail’s provision of the universal service and has powers to investigate and take enforcement action if Royal Mail fails to achieve its performance targets, taking account of all relevant factors.

Ofcom’s statement declaring the Covid-19 pandemic an emergency regulatory period under the Postal Services Act 2011, and therefore removing the regulatory conditions placed on Royal Mail, ended on 31 August 2021. Ofcom has stated that it continues to take a pragmatic and proportionate approach to compliance monitoring taking account of any relevant matters beyond Royal Mail’s control that impact on its performance, including any continuing impacts of the pandemic.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he is holding with the CEO of Royal Mail regarding current service standards for the delivery of letters, in the context of Royal Mail’s announcement of a £400 million payout to shareholders.

The Department has regular discussions with Royal Mail on a range of issues although, as a fully private business, its operational and commercial decisions are a matter for the company’s management.

Ofcom has a duty to ensure the provision of a financially sustainable and efficient universal postal service. It monitors Royal Mail’s provision of the universal service and has powers to investigate and take enforcement action if Royal Mail fails to achieve its performance targets as appropriate, taking account of all relevant factors.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Universal Service Obligation for letters is being met consistently, in the context of Royal Mail’s announcement of a £400 million payout to shareholders.

The Government has no role in operational or commercial decisions by Royal Mail which is a fully private business.

The Government sets the minimum requirements and service standards for the UK postal service in the Postal Services Act 2011 which designates the Office of Communications (Ofcom) as the independent regulator for the sector with the responsibility and powers to regulate postal services.

Ofcom has a duty to ensure the provision of a financially sustainable and efficient universal postal service. It monitors Royal Mail’s provision of the universal service and has powers to investigate and take enforcement action if Royal Mail fails to achieve its performance targets, taking account of all relevant factors.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of returning postal services into public ownership to ensure profits are reinvested into the service, in the context of Royal Mail’s announcement of a £400m payout to shareholders.

The Government has no plans to renationalise Royal Mail. Operational and commercial decisions are a matter for the company’s management.

One of the primary reasons for the sale was to enable Royal Mail to access the capital it needed to invest in and grow the business.

Royal Mail has invested £2 billion in the firm since privatisation, with a further £1.8 billion investment in the UK’s postal service announced in 2019 to transform and grow the UK business.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what comparative assessment he has made of the level of Royal Mail’s (a) recent investment in mail delivery services and (b) £400m payout to shareholders.

The Government has no plans to renationalise Royal Mail. Operational and commercial decisions are a matter for the company’s management.

One of the primary reasons for the sale was to enable Royal Mail to access the capital it needed to invest in and grow the business.

Royal Mail has invested £2 billion in the firm since privatisation, with a further £1.8 billion investment in the UK’s postal service announced in 2019 to transform and grow the UK business.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the paper by Chatham House and Woodwell Climate Research Center, published on 14 October 2021, what steps he is taking to help reduce the use of biomass for energy production and to increase the use of renewable sources, including wind and solar power, in the context of the finding that treating biomass from forests as a zero-carbon fuel risks not being in line with the Paris Agreement.

Sustainable biomass has played a vital role in the UK’s decarbonisation efforts to date and is an important part of the UK’s renewable energy mix. The Government recognises the need to ensure that biomass is prioritised where it brings about GHG emission reductions in hard to decarbonise sectors without other viable alternatives. The CCC and the National Grid’s 2020 Future Energy Scenarios indicated that it is not possible to achieve net zero without Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). The Government has committed to establishing the role that BECCS could play in reducing carbon emissions across the economy.

The Government will continue to support a diversity of renewable technologies including wind and solar, through the Contracts for Difference scheme. The next allocation round will open in December 2021, with a draft budget of £265 million. In the Net Zero Strategy, the Government has committed to a sustained increase in the deployment of renewable generation technologies, such as solar and onshore wind in the 2020s and beyond, and to deliver 40GW from offshore wind by 2030.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the (a) potential effect of subsidies given to companies burning biomass for power generation on the UK's carbon emissions and (b) potential merits of redirecting that funding to more renewable sources.

Sustainable biomass has played a vital role in the UK’s decarbonisation efforts to date and is an important part of the UK’s renewable energy mix. The Government recognises the need to ensure that biomass is prioritised where it brings about GHG emission reductions in hard to decarbonise sectors without other viable alternatives. The CCC and the National Grid’s 2020 Future Energy Scenarios indicated that it is not possible to achieve net zero without Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). The Government has committed to establishing the role that BECCS could play in reducing carbon emissions across the economy.

The Government will continue to support a diversity of renewable technologies including wind and solar, through the Contracts for Difference scheme. The next allocation round will open in December 2021, with a draft budget of £265 million. In the Net Zero Strategy, the Government has committed to a sustained increase in the deployment of renewable generation technologies, such as solar and onshore wind in the 2020s and beyond, and to deliver 40GW from offshore wind by 2030.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of wood-burning for electricity on the UK’s carbon emissions; and what steps his Department is taking to encourage a transition away from biomass burning for power generation.

Sustainable biomass has played a vital role in the UK’s decarbonisation efforts to date and is an important part of the UK’s renewable energy mix. The Government recognises the need to ensure that biomass is prioritised where it brings about GHG emission reductions in hard to decarbonise sectors without other viable alternatives. The CCC and the National Grid’s 2020 Future Energy Scenarios indicated that it is not possible to achieve net zero without Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). The Government has committed to establishing the role that BECCS could play in reducing carbon emissions across the economy.

The Government will continue to support a diversity of renewable technologies including wind and solar, through the Contracts for Difference scheme. The next allocation round will open in December 2021, with a draft budget of £265 million. In the Net Zero Strategy, the Government has committed to a sustained increase in the deployment of renewable generation technologies, such as solar and onshore wind in the 2020s and beyond, and to deliver 40GW from offshore wind by 2030.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to progress the delivery of the Life Sciences Vision.

The Government, NHS and Life Science Sector have already made significant progress in delivering the Life Science Vision. Activity since publication includes the establishment and delivery of the Life Science Scale Up Taskforce, work to improve the NHS’s capacity and capability to utilise new technologies, and innovation work by the Vaccine Taskforce and Antivirals Taskforce to secure access to cutting new technologies to address COVID-19.

Following the conclusion of the 2021 Spending Review on 27th October, the Government has confirmed specific funds will be provided upfront to directly support the delivery of the Life Sciences Vision.

This includes £95m funding to support the uptake of innovative drugs and technologies and address a number of the Healthcare Missions outlined in the Vision, drive new initiatives through Genomics England to deliver life-changing technologies, and £354m to strengthen the UK’s Life Sciences manufacturing base. This builds on significant programmes of investment in Health Research across DHSC and BEIS, and the largest ever increases in the NHS’s operating budget.

The Office for Life Sciences are currently working with partner organisations to develop an implementation plan, which will deliver on the commitments as set out in the Life Sciences Vision. Further details on the implementation plan will be set out in due course.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) manufacturing sector, (b) finance sector, (c) hospitality sector, (d) retail sector and (e) long-term fiscal security of urban communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every region and sector of the UK economy. That is why the Government provided businesses with an unprecedented support package of £352 billion, including grants, loans, business rates relief, VAT cuts and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In July, we published the first ever Hospitality strategy: reopening, recovery, resilience, along with the Build Back Better High Streets Strategy, in support of city and town centre businesses.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer set out further steps to help the economy recover in the Autumn Budget. These included extending the Recovery Loan Scheme until June 2022, providing over £1 billion to ensure businesses can continue to access loans and other finance, and a 50% business rates discount for companies in retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors for the year 2022-23.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential (a) economic and (b) environmental effects of relying on gas as a transition source of energy.

The Government has published a comprehensive Net Zero Strategy, which outlines measures to transition to a green and sustainable future, helping businesses and consumers to move to clean power.

The Government is taking a range of steps to decarbonise gas and to develop alternatives to unabated gas-fired generation in the electricity system, including CCUS-enabled generation, hydrogen-fired generation, BECCS, and flexible storage, which means that gas generation will be used less frequently in the future (except in limited circumstances where it may be required to provide security of supply).

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure that any future increase in electricity demand is met with energy produced in a renewable manner.

The Net Zero Strategy reaffirmed the UK’s ambitious target to deliver 40GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, including 1GW of floating offshore wind, alongside the expansion of other low-cost renewable technologies such as onshore wind and solar.

We have also set out the biggest ever Contracts for Difference round – the UK's main support mechanism for large-scale renewable generation –representing a major step towards the sustained growth in renewables needed over the next decade to meet the UK’s decarbonisation ambitions.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the volatility in gas prices on the UK's (a) energy security and (b) transition to renewable resources.

Higher wholesale gas prices have been seen globally in 2021 due to multiple international factors in supply and demand. The UK has highly diverse sources of gas supply and a diverse electricity mix, which ensures households, businesses, and heavy industry get the energy they need. National Grid Gas’s Winter Outlook notes the supply margin has increased compared to last winter and is sufficient in all of their modelled scenarios. Similarly, National Grid Electricity System Operator’s 2021 Winter Outlook Report confirms that there will be sufficient capacity available for the coming winter.

The Government has published a comprehensive Net Zero Strategy, which outlines measures to transition to a green and sustainable future, helping businesses and consumers to move to clean power, so that households and businesses will be much better protected from energy price spikes caused by volatile international fuel markets.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the contribution of fossil-fuel reliant companies to the UK’s transition to net zero; and what steps he is taking to ensure that those companies contribute to the costs of managing pollution, with reference to public debt.

As set out in the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, the costs of net zero must be shared fairly between the taxpayer, industry and its customers. HM Treasury’s Net Zero Review considers the potential exposure of businesses and households to the transition, and highlights factors to be taken into account when designing policy that will allocate costs over this time horizon.

The Government has already established a UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) which demonstrates the UK’s commitment to carbon pricing as an effective tool that will help fulfil our climate change objectives. The UK ETS will be the world’s first net zero cap and trade market, delivering a robust carbon price signal and promoting cost-effective decarbonisation by allowing businesses to cut carbon where it is cheapest to do so.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the investment in heat pumps announced in the Heat and buildings strategy, published on 19 October 2021, for meeting the Government's aim for 600,000 installations a year by 2028.

As set out in the Heat and Buildings Strategy, a range of policies will be needed to ensure the heat pump market supports 600,000 installations per year by 2028.

Key measures within this package include the £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme, the Future Homes Standard and Future Buildings Standards which will drive low carbon heating in new buildings; a new market-based incentive for heating system manufacturers to be introduced from 2024; and consulting on measures to phase out new installations of fossil fuel heating in areas located off the gas grid from the mid-2020s. Support for heat pump installation will also be available through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and Home Upgrade Grant schemes.

The package combines targeted funding to kickstart market growth with incentives and regulations to provide long-term policy clarity for industry that will rapidly drive down costs and increase deployment in line with Government’s stated ambitions.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the sufficiency of the Government's investment in hydrogen for the UK to become a world-leader in that field.

The Government has set out a clear plan to decarbonise our power grid and will continue to build a robust domestic renewable energy sector so that the UK is not as exposed to global trends in natural gas supply and demand.

Competition is the most effective and sustainable way to keep prices low for all consumers. Throughout the transition to net zero, consumers should pay a fair, affordable price for their energy. As the net zero strategy sets out, this will be a key aim when making reforms to the energy retail market.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government plans to take to help ensure (a) stable and (b) affordable energy prices over future years.

The Government has set out a clear plan to decarbonise our power grid and will continue to build a robust domestic renewable energy sector so that the UK is not as exposed to global trends in natural gas supply and demand.

Competition is the most effective and sustainable way to keep prices low for all consumers. Throughout the transition to net zero, consumers should pay a fair, affordable price for their energy. As the net zero strategy sets out, this will be a key aim when making reforms to the energy retail market.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be affected by the transition to net zero; and what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that affected staff are (a) supported into new green jobs and (b) offered opportunities to retrain in green industries.

Through our Net Zero Strategy we will grow green industries and supply chains in the UK, supporting up to 440,000 jobs across net zero industries in 2030. The Strategy sets out how we are supporting skills and retraining for the green economy, including reforming the skills system; delivering green Skills Bootcamps; and working with industry to support green apprenticeships.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the Government’s new oil and gas developments on the Government's goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

All scenarios proposed by the Climate Change Committee setting out how the Government could meet its 2050 net zero emissions target include continuing demand for oil and natural gas.

Even with continued new development, the UK is expected to consume more oil and gas than it produces in the coming decades. This is because production from the UK Continental Shelf is declining rapidly as the basin matures. Existing licensed but undeveloped oil and gas assets are already factored into the Government’s projections for future production, as well as associated emissions.

The Oil and Gas Authority’s (OGA’s) new strategy, which came into force in February 2021, integrates net zero considerations into the development consent process. This strategy provided the OGA with tools they can use to help ensure that new developments are designed and operated as cleanly as possible, in line with the Government’s net zero obligation.

Looking forward, the Government will introduce a climate compatibility checkpoint which will be used to assess whether any future licensing rounds remain in keeping with the Government’s climate goals.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure British homes are insulated in response to recent rises in energy prices.

The Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out the actions we will be taking to reduce emissions from buildings in the near term, including £3.9 billion of new funding.

Part of this new funding has been allocated to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund which will upgrade a significant amount of the social housing stock currently below EPC C up to that standard. This will include improvements to insulation.

This funding will also support the Home Upgrade Grant which will provide grants to up to 100,000 low-income households to upgrade the energy performance of the worst quality, off gas grid homes in England. This will typically include insulation measures to make the home heat efficient and suitable for the future as we build towards net zero.

In addition, The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme which commenced in 2013, which is an obligation that the Government has placed on larger energy suppliers to install energy efficiency and heating measures to low income and vulnerable households across GB and has delivered around 3.29m measures in 2.31m homes, up to the end of July 2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of the production of hydrogen on CO2 levels.

The Government's Net Zero Strategy sets out how low carbon hydrogen will be an essential part of our future energy mix. We are currently consulting on a new UK standard for low carbon hydrogen, which will ensure any hydrogen production we support provides genuine carbon savings. As part of this we have published a comprehensive assessment on the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of different production methods.

The UK Hydrogen Strategy indicates that use of 5 GW low carbon hydrogen could deliver total emissions savings of 41 MtCO2e between 2023 and 2032, the equivalent of the carbon captured by 700 million trees over the same period.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing low-income households with subsidised heat pumps in order to (a) protect poorer households in the run up to winter and (b) kickstart the low-carbon heating market.

The Government has published its comprehensive Heat and Buildings Strategy, with major new plans to lower the cost of low-carbon heating technology, like heat pumps, to ensure they are no more expensive to buy and run than fossil-fuel boilers. The strategy aims to promote growth and levelling up through supporting 175,000 green skilled jobs by 2030 and 240,000 by 2035.

New grants of £5,000 will be available from April next year to encourage homeowners to install more efficient, low-carbon heating systems – like heat pumps – through a £450 million three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, Home Upgrade Grant, Energy Company Obligation and Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery schemes all support the installation of heat pumps for social housing tenants and lower-income homeowners and private tenants. These schemes also support other energy-efficiency measures such as insulation and heating controls to ensure homes are easier to heat and waste less energy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what contingency planning his Department is undertaking to help ensure that vulnerable people are not left without heating in the event of energy shortages in winter 2021, with particular reference to the elderly and disabled people.

We remain confident that gas and electricity security of supply can be maintained under a wide range of scenarios.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that low income households are able to heat their homes following recent rises in energy prices.

The Government is committed to ensuring fair energy prices for consumers. That is why Government introduced the energy price cap in 2019, which saves 15 million households on default tariffs up to £100 a year on average.

The Government’s Warm Home Discount provides over 2 million eligible households with £140 off their bills. In addition, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments will help ensure those most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the feasibility that UK reaches net zero emissions sooner than 2050.

The UK was the first major economy to legislate for a net zero target. This target was set in line with advice from our independent expert advisers, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), that 2050 was the earliest feasible date for achieving this. The CCC made clear in their advice on the 6th Carbon Budget, published in December 2020, that net zero in 2050 remains the right target for the UK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the role of local authorities in delivering the policy objectives of COP26.

The Government recognises that local authorities can, and do, play an essential role in meeting national net zero ambitions. The Government has held Together for Our Planet round tables with Local Authorities and Community groups to receive their input in advance of COP26.

BEIS’s Local Energy Programme continues to support Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), local authorities and communities in England to play a leading role in decarbonisation and clean growth. Further details of how we intend to work with local government to reach net zero will be set out in the Net Zero Strategy.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government’s objectives are for the cities and built environment theme for COP26; and what steps he is taking to engage the UK's cities in delivering on those outcomes at COP26.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 7th June 2021 to Question UIN 7886.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to work with local authorities to reduce carbon emissions ahead of COP26.

The Government recognises that local government can drive progress towards our national climate change commitments, and we are committed to working closely with them to ensure their role in delivering net zero targets are promoted at COP26.

Since 2017, BEIS has invested almost £22m in the Local Energy Programme, which is designed to build local capacity, capability and encourage joined-up working between local areas, investors and central government on decarbonisation and clean growth. Further details of how we intend to work with local government to reach net zero will be set out in the Net Zero Strategy, to be published prior to COP26.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of developing a strategy for decarbonising traditional domestic buildings that were built before 1919.

There is a package of policies, including grants, incentives, and advice, currently in place to support low income and fuel poor households, as well as to encourage investment in decarbonisation and energy efficiency improvements within the domestic housing stock. This package includes grant funding delivered via local authorities (including the Local Authority Delivery Scheme, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and the Home Upgrade Grant). The Energy Company Obligation is not a grant scheme, but an obligation on the largest energy suppliers to deliver heating and energy efficiency measures to low income and vulnerable and fuel poor households.

Traditional properties built before 1919 will be eligible for upgrades through these schemes. Advice is also provided through the Simple Energy Advice service. We are consulting on requirements for lenders to support homeowners to improve the energy performance of their homes.

Further, the most recent PAS2035 and PAS 2030:2019 standards set out clear requirements for retrofitting homes built before 1919 to ensure that the most appropriate measures are installed for the building. The risk assessment in the standard is used to help the installers and designers take into consideration the age of the building and any features of heritage or design that need to be considered when upgrading these buildings.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Energy Performance Certificates in assessing carbon emissions in traditional buildings built before 1919.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for existing dwellings are generated through the Reduced data Standard Assessment Procedure (RdSAP). EPC assessors collect and input data on the fixed components of the building during an on-site assessment. RdSAP uses this data to model energy performance and generate recommendations tailored to the property to improve the EPC rating. Though EPCs use a cost metric, RdSAP also generates an estimate of the building’s annual CO2 emissions to be displayed on the EPC. We are continuing to keep the metrics displayed on EPCs under review as we develop policies to decarbonise homes.

Previously there was an update to RdSAP in 2017 to update the U-value of uninsulated solid brick walls (the wall type most often found in pre-1919 dwellings) to take into account BEIS solid wall research which found these types of walls performed significantly better on average than previously assumed. We have now commenced work on the development of the next version of RdSAP, in line with changes to the energy system, to ensure it continues to be an accurate, effective, and transparent tool.

Furthermore, we are continuing to deliver the commitments in our EPC Action Plan, published last year, to maximise the effectiveness of EPCs as a tool to help improve the energy performance of buildings. This includes considering the additional training requirements for assessors to assess traditional buildings and reviewing the recommendations on EPCs to ensure suitability for older property types.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to protect people who have experienced financial hardship as a result of aggressive recruitment by multi-level marketing brands.

It is a criminal offence to persuade someone to make a payment to a scheme by promising benefits from getting other people to join the same scheme (Fair Trading Act 1973 section 120(3)).

Similarly, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) prohibit unfair and aggressive marketing tactics towards consumers.

If individuals believe there has been a breach of these Regulations, they should contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133, www.citizensadvice.org.uk/.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the recruitment practices of multi-level marketing brands during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is a criminal offence to persuade someone to make a payment to a scheme by promising benefits from getting other people to join the same scheme (Fair Trading Act 1973 section 120(3)).

Similarly, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) prohibit unfair and aggressive marketing tactics towards consumers.

If individuals believe there has been a breach of these Regulations, they should contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133, www.citizensadvice.org.uk/.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the growth in recruitment for multi-level marketing brands since March 2020.

It is a criminal offence to persuade someone to make a payment to a scheme by promising benefits from getting other people to join the same scheme (Fair Trading Act 1973 section 120(3)).

Similarly, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) prohibit unfair and aggressive marketing tactics towards consumers.

If individuals believe there has been a breach of these Regulations, they should contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133, www.citizensadvice.org.uk/.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the income foregone to the UK economy as a result to STEM skills shortages; and what steps his Department is taking to work with local authorities and Combined Authority Mayors to tackle skill shortages locally.

The Government recognises the need to tackle skills shortages in STEM occupations and is encouraging more students, across all areas of the country, into STEM education and training at all stages from primary school to higher education. Improving take up of STEM subjects is vital for the UK’s future economic needs and to drive up productivity.

In order to ensure a strong pipeline of qualified students into higher education and careers in STEM areas, the Department for Education has committed substantial spending on mathematics, digital and technical education to increase take-up and better teaching of STEM subjects in schools.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) works closely with Department of Education (DfE) and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), and other departments to understand the impact of skills shortages in England, nationally, across sectors, and across regions. The Skills Advisory Panels’ recent Local Skills Reports are a valuable source for understanding skills need across all parts of England. The Skills and Productivity Board will draw on intelligence, evidence, and data from a range of local partners and businesses to understand skills demand as we seek to build back better.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the (a) potential contribution of local government (i) in delivering the national net zero target and (ii) to COP26, (b) effectiveness of the existing framework for local delivery of that target and (c) resources that will be needed to support local delivery of that target.

The Government recognises that local government can drive progress towards our national climate change commitments, and we are committed to working closely with them to ensure their role in delivering net zero targets are promoted at COP26.

Since 2017, BEIS has invested almost £22m in the Local Energy Programme, which is designed to build local capacity, capability and encourage joined-up working between local areas, investors and central government on decarbonisation and clean growth. Further details of how we intend to work with local government to reach net zero will be set out in the Net Zero Strategy, to be published prior to COP26.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government’s objectives are for the cities and built environment theme for the COP; and how the Government is engaging with UK cities in delivering on those objectives at COP26.

All of the theme days for COP26 are in the early stages of planning, including the cities, regions and built environment day. We will work with a wide range of domestic and international stakeholders in the delivery of all theme days.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to promote the role of local government in delivering the national net zero target at COP26.

The Government recognises that local government can drive progress towards our national climate change commitments, and we are committed to working closely with them to ensure their role in delivering net zero targets are promoted at COP26.

Since 2017, BEIS has invested almost £22m in the Local Energy Programme, which is designed to build local capacity, capability and encourage joined-up working between local areas, investors and central government on decarbonisation and clean growth. Further details of how we intend to work with local government to reach net zero will be set out in the Net Zero Strategy, to be published prior to COP26.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what leadership role the UK Government is taking ahead of the G7 and COP26 to encourage international coordination and collaboration to support emerging technologies with the potential to contribute to achieving net zero.

International collaboration to support innovation in emerging technologies is a key strand of work through the G7 and towards COP26, and was a theme of the UK Presidency’s G7 Climate and Environment Ministerial on 20-21 May. Among other commitments, G7 Ministers welcomed the second phase of Mission Innovation and the third phase of the Clean Energy Ministerial, and launched the G7 Industrial Decarbonisation Agenda to support such work and plug any gaps in the international landscape. We will play a leadership role in Mission Innovation 2.0 which is launching global innovation missions in shipping, power and hydrogen on 2 June.

Under UK leadership, the G7 committed to increasing clean energy innovation investments to a level in line with our Net Zero ambition, and will design appropriate pull mechanisms to accelerate the scale-up of clean energy and net zero technologies across all G7 members and to support the clean energy transition in developing countries.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department has made on publishing a strategy on net zero.

Leading up to COP26 - in addition to ambitious plans across key sectors of the economy, including an Energy White Paper, Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Heat and Buildings Strategy - we will publish a comprehensive Net Zero Strategy. This will set out the Government’s vision for transitioning to a net zero economy, making the most of new growth and employment opportunities across the UK, and outline our path to hit our 2050 target.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the value of an independent technology assessment body to inform investment decisions in technologies to deliver net zero.

We reference a wide range of analysis, both domestic and international to establish what, based on current understanding of technologies, are the high-level priorities on a sensible pathway to Net Zero. In particular, BEIS commissioned independent analysis through the Energy Innovation Needs Assessment (EINAs), which involved input from over 180 stakeholders. That analysis informs the prioritisation of government investment in low-carbon innovation, and is available on our website[1]. We also benefit from private sector, independent challenge on our cross-Government Energy Innovation Board which will become the Net Zero Innovation Board, chaired by Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-innovation-needs-assessments

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage investment in the research and development of technologies which have the potential to contribute to achieving net zero.

The Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) will spend £1bn over the next 4 years to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative low-carbon technologies, systems and business models in power, buildings and industry. It will focus on ten priority areas with the potential to contribute to Net Zero, including: floating offshore wind, nuclear advanced modular reactors, energy storage and flexibility; bioenergy; hydrogen; homes; direct air capture and advanced CCUS; industrial fuel switching; and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence for energy.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with international partners on shared investment in new net zero technologies.

The UK aims to be a global leader in green and net zero technologies, underpinned by our commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This is supported by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and other key government plans, including the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy and Energy White Paper.

Our approach brings together ambitious policies and significant new public investment, while seeking to mobilise private investment. This has the potential to deliver up to an estimated £42 billon of private investment, from both domestic and international partners, by 2030 across energy, buildings, transport, innovation and the natural environment.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy works closely with the Department for International Trade, and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, in supporting these investment opportunities, including through a wide range of meetings and events with international partners.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason funding will be reduced to the Green Homes Grant scheme from April 2021.

The funding of up to £1.5bn for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme was designed to provide a short-term economic stimulus for financial year 2020/21 while helping to tackle our contribution to climate change. In his 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.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for Education
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for Education
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
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
Secretary of State for Education
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
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
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
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
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
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
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
Secretary of State for Education
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
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans she has to engage with the charity sector on the potential effect of bank branch closures on their operations.

We regularly engage with sector representatives to understand challenges and opportunities facing the sector, as does the regulator of charities, the Charity Commission of England and Wales, and the Fundraising Regulator. To date, DCMS has not received representations about the immediate risk to the sector of branch closures. However, we are aware of the longer term pressures that a move towards a cashless society will create for some in the sector. The Government is keen to engage with the sector on this issue, and work on it with the regulators.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions her Department has had with the charity sector on the effect of bank branch closures on charities’ ability to bank cash collections.

We regularly engage with sector representatives to understand challenges and opportunities facing the sector, as does the regulator of charities, the Charity Commission of England and Wales, and the Fundraising Regulator. To date, DCMS has not received representations about the immediate risk to the sector of branch closures. However, we are aware of the longer term pressures that a move towards a cashless society will create for some in the sector. The Government is keen to engage with the sector on this issue, and work on it with the regulators.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to ensure the UK attracts talented workers in the creative industries at all stages of their career in response to the lack of eligible prize holders that have applied to her Department's fast-track Global Talent visa.

The Global Talent Visa enables the UK to attract the best and brightest in a number of creative and cultural sectors, including through its fast-tracked route for award-winning leaders in these fields.

The Government works closely with the endorsing bodies for the route, including Arts Council England, to develop the route to ensure it continues to meet sectors’ needs. We ensure that the route makes it as easy as possible for those top creatives coming to the UK, which is why we introduced the Prestigious Prizes pathway for those at the pinnacle of their career. Where individuals do not hold one of these prizes they continue to be able to use the wider Global Talent Visa route. The number of visas granted on this route has continued to grow from 422 between its launch in February 2020 to September 2020, to 1,709 applicants for the year ending September 2021.

DCMS continues to work with the Home Office, across government and with the creative sectors to look at what more can be done to further attract talented creative professionals to live and work in the UK.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will issue guidance on the safe reopening of Parkrun events under covid-19 regulations.

I refer my honourable colleague to the answer I gave to written parliamentary question 3831.

Nigel Huddleston
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 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.

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
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 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
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 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.

15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of recently imposed Tier 3 covid-19 restrictions in London on (a) theatres, (b) music venues and (c) galleries and museums in London; and what steps he is taking to support those venues.

The Government fully recognises the disruptive impact that Coronavirus and restrictions has on the arts, theatre, live music and museums and galleries sectors and the devastating impact that closing events and venues has. The Government continues to work with all its sectors to assess the impact of the tiers and in particular Tier 3 and to develop proposals for how venues can reopen when it is safe to do so.

That is why we have already extended the Job Retention Scheme until March, alongside the unprecedented £1.57bn Culture Recovery package which has already benefited thousands of organisations and the individuals supported by them.

We recognise the impact that closures across the country will have on our vital cultural sector and remain committed to supporting it as it suffers the impact of this virus. The remaining £400m of Culture Recovery Fund grants and loans announced on Friday 11th December will support significant cultural organisations who now face financial distress as a result of closure, as well as helping them transition back to fuller opening in the spring.

The £1bn already committed has supported over 3000 organisations to weather this storm, supporting more than 75,000 jobs, with many more freelancers and jobs in vital supply chain industries also benefitting. Across the arts and heritage recovery grants, repayable finance, and capital awards so far, support for London was approximately £300m.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many designated Sure Start Children's Centres there were in each local authority in (a) 2010 and (b) 2021.

Data on Sure Start children’s centres and children’s centre linked sites has been supplied by local authorities via the department’s Get Information about Schools database portal since 18 September 2017. This data is available at: https://www.get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/.

Based on the information supplied by local authorities, the attached table provides details of the number of children’s centre sites by local authority in 2010 and 2021. Councils are reconfiguring services to deliver them more efficiently. If a council decides to close a children’s centre, statutory guidance is clear that they should demonstrate that local children and families would not be adversely affected, and local areas continue to have sufficient children’s centres to meet their needs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to issue guidance to special schools on making adjustments and improvements to (a) improve ventilation and (b) reduce the risk of covid-19 transmission in those settings during the 2022 summer holiday period.

When carrying out works to make building improvements, schools should use the environmental standards set out in the department's guidance. The current version was updated and published in November 2021. This can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/output-specification-generic-design-brief-and-technical-annexes.

In 2021/22, the department provided over 386,000 CO2 monitors to state-funded education providers, including early years, schools, and further education providers. This was backed by £25 million in government funding. The monitors enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping classrooms warm.

In line with the living with COVID-19 announcement in April 2022, which prioritises the most vulnerable, the department has distributed additional CO2 monitors to special schools and alternative provision providers, including special educational needs units in mainstream settings, given their higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils. These additional monitors will provide coverage in roughly all teaching rooms and some non-teaching rooms.

In January 2022, the government committed to fulfil all eligible applications for air cleaning units to state-funded education settings for poorly ventilated teaching spaces, where quick fixes to improve ventilation are not possible. The latest delivery figures can be found at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/delivery-of-air-cleaning-units.

Maintaining adequate ventilation remains the responsibility of individual schools. The law states employers, including education and childcare providers, must make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in enclosed areas of the workplace. This has not changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to issue guidance to nurseries, childminders and other early years education and childcare settings on making adjustments and improvements to (a) improve ventilation and (b) reduce the risk of covid-19 transmission in those settings during the 2022 summer holiday period.

The department has provided CO2 monitors to state-funded education providers, including early years providers. All state-funded early years providers were eligible, including includes private, voluntary, and independent providers, and childminders who work together in groups of four or more and are registered as operating childcare on domestic premises.

The monitors enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping rooms warm.

Comprehensive advice on how to improve ventilation for education providers is available from the Health and Safety Executive.

From 1 April 2022, the government has withdrawn most pieces of specific COVID-19 guidance for education and childcare providers, although public health and emergency planning guidance for education and childcare settings is still available. If providers suspect an outbreak of respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, they should review and reinforce the baseline infection prevention and control measures they already have in place.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 26 May to Question 6839, what steps he is taking to ensure Platinum Jubilee commemorations in schools are inclusive of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

In addition to a hardback version of ‘Queen Elizabeth – A Platinum Jubilee Celebration’ that has been given to all pupils in state-funded schools in the UK, the department has also made an audio version of the book available through the QR code on the publisher’s website, which can be found here: https://jubilee.dk.com/. This website also contains links to various teaching resources about the Platinum Jubilee, which can be adapted to meet the specific needs of pupils.

The department believes that schools are best placed to identify and address the special educational needs of their pupils. Schools should endeavour to make sure that all pupils are able to engage with activities to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 26 May to Question 6839, what steps is he taking to ensure future materials distributed to all schools are offered in (a) inclusive formats and (b) braille.

The department acts in accordance with the Equality Act 2010, including having regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty. The department will continue to have due regard to the Act and the Duty in considering what format to provide future materials in.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department’s data release of on Education, health and care plans, how many EHC plans were (a) issued or (b) revised following a request for a review in that period.

The information requested is not held. The data published on 12 May 2022 on education, health and care plans is collated from the special educational needs 2 local authority aggregated data collection. This collection does not contain the information requested. A person level data collection replacing the aggregated data collection will be introduced from 2023 and include information on annual reviews.


Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the SEND review, what steps he is taking to ensure that the tailored list of school placements does not limit choice for families.

One of the key aims of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and Alternative Provision Green Paper is to provide parents and carers with a clearer understanding of the support that should be available to meet their child’s needs and support them to make an informed choice about which school they would like their child to attend.

Where specialist provision is required, the department is consulting on proposals for a simplified process where parents and carers will be supported to express an informed preference for a suitable placement from a tailored list of schools that are appropriate to meet their child’s needs. The expectation is that all schools on the tailored list will be able to meet the child’s special educational needs as identified in their education, health and care needs assessments.

This aims to give parents and carers clarity on what is available locally which may still include mainstream, special, independent or out of borough provision where appropriate in order to meet the child’s needs. The department’s intention is that this will lead to greater transparency about what is available for children and young people, including offering to parents and carers options they may not have otherwise considered.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the SEND review, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of proposals for mandatory mediation on parent’s access to the SEND tribunal process.

As the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper set out, the new national system will be designed to minimise uncertainty and disagreements throughout the system and improve parental confidence. The department recognises, however, that disputes around decision-making may still occur.

This government’s proposals seek to resolve issues earlier and improve relationships locally by strengthening mediation, including consulting on making it mandatory. Appeals to the tribunal should only need to be made in cases where parents feel that their child’s needs or proposed provision arrangements are not in line with the new national special educational needs and disabilities standards, and mediation has not resolved the dispute. Mediation helps to maintain and improve relationships between providers, local authorities and families which is important for long-term collaborative working and supports better outcomes for children and young people.

This will reduce the need for cases to escalate to tribunal. The department will make sure there is appropriate support available to parents to help them understand the mediation process and how best to engage with it. However, parents will still be able to go to tribunal if necessary.

The SEND and AP Green Paper is now out for public consultation on its proposals until 22 July.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the SEND review, what steps he is taking to ensure that all teachers have training to support children with SEND.

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper recognises that excellent mainstream provision and teaching serves as the foundation for a strong SEND system.

The department's revised Initial Teacher Training and Core Content Framework, which all new entrants to the profession benefit from, has been designed to support all children and young people to succeed. All trainees who achieve Qualified Teacher Status must demonstrate that they can adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils, including those with SEND.

The Early Career Framework, introduced in September 2021, entitles early career teachers to a further two years of development. This framework was designed in consultation with SEND specialists and includes training on identifying pupils who need teaching content further broken down.

In February 2022, the department announced more than £45 million of funding for continued targeted support for families and parents of children with SEND and SEND services. This includes funding that will directly support schools and colleges to work with pupils with SEND, for example through training on specific needs like autism, as well as best practice for developing whole school SEND support and initiatives.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department’s press release entitled Platinum Jubilee book to arrive in primary schools from mid-May, published on 1 May 2022, what steps he is taking to ensure that the book is provided in an (a) easy read and (b) braille format.

The commemorative book ‘Queen Elizabeth: A Platinum Jubilee Celebration’ has been written for a reading age of upper key stage 2 but is designed to be as accessible as possible for all primary school age-children, whether reading this themselves or having it read to them by a teacher, parent or carer. The book is written in a story-book style, supported by many informative and engaging illustrations throughout.

A braille edition of the book is not available, though audio versions are available via a QR code on the book or from the publisher’s website at: https://jubilee.dk.com.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of local authority children’s social care budgets being spent on private providers by region in 2021-22.

The underlying data is published as part of the department’s statistical release ‘LA and school expenditure’, available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/la-and-school-expenditure/2020-21.

The proportion of local authority children’s services spending, which was spent on private provision by region for 2019/20 is listed below:

East Midlands

29%

East of England

28%

Inner London

30%

North East

18%

North West

30%

Outer London

23%

South East

29%

South West

29%

West Midlands

31%

Yorkshire and The Humber

22%

The proportion of local authority children’s services spending, which was spent on private provision by region for 2020/21 is listed below:

East Midlands

30%

East of England

27%

Inner London

30%

North East

21%

North West

32%

Outer London

25%

South East

33%

South West

31%

West Midlands

32%

Yorkshire and The Humber

22%

Local authorities’ spend on private provision is collected as part of the Section 251 outturn data collection. Data for the 2021/22 financial year will be published in December 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of local authority children’s social care budgets spent on private providers by region in 2020-21.

The underlying data is published as part of the department’s statistical release ‘LA and school expenditure’, available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/la-and-school-expenditure/2020-21.

The proportion of local authority children’s services spending, which was spent on private provision by region for 2019/20 is listed below:

East Midlands

29%

East of England

28%

Inner London

30%

North East

18%

North West

30%

Outer London

23%

South East

29%

South West

29%

West Midlands

31%

Yorkshire and The Humber

22%

The proportion of local authority children’s services spending, which was spent on private provision by region for 2020/21 is listed below:

East Midlands

30%

East of England

27%

Inner London

30%

North East

21%

North West

32%

Outer London

25%

South East

33%

South West

31%

West Midlands

32%

Yorkshire and The Humber

22%

Local authorities’ spend on private provision is collected as part of the Section 251 outturn data collection. Data for the 2021/22 financial year will be published in December 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of local authority children’s social care budgets spent on private providers, by region in 2019-20.

The underlying data is published as part of the department’s statistical release ‘LA and school expenditure’, available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/la-and-school-expenditure/2020-21.

The proportion of local authority children’s services spending, which was spent on private provision by region for 2019/20 is listed below:

East Midlands

29%

East of England

28%

Inner London

30%

North East

18%

North West

30%

Outer London

23%

South East

29%

South West

29%

West Midlands

31%

Yorkshire and The Humber

22%

The proportion of local authority children’s services spending, which was spent on private provision by region for 2020/21 is listed below:

East Midlands

30%

East of England

27%

Inner London

30%

North East

21%

North West

32%

Outer London

25%

South East

33%

South West

31%

West Midlands

32%

Yorkshire and The Humber

22%

Local authorities’ spend on private provision is collected as part of the Section 251 outturn data collection. Data for the 2021/22 financial year will be published in December 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's SEND Review consultation published on 29 March 2022, what plans he has for (a) the frequency and method of publication of and (b) benchmarks for intervention in the event of poor performance arising from inclusion dashboards.

The proposed new inclusion dashboards aim to deliver strengthened accountability and improve transparency for parents. The local dashboards would form the basis of monitoring, planning, and improving delivery of services by the proposed local SEND partnerships and the national dashboards would give a timely, transparent national picture of how the system is performing. The government will publish a national SEND and alternative provision delivery plan setting out the government's response to the consultation and how change will be implemented in detail.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the total profits of children’s social care provider placements by local authority in 2021-22.

The department does not hold data on the total profits made by children’s social care providers by local authority in the years specified.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) looked at provider profits as part of their market study of children’s social care in England, Scotland and Wales. The final report was published on 10 March 2022. The department welcomes the report and is carefully considering the CMA’s recommendations.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the total profits of children’s social care provider placements, by local authority in 2020-21.

The department does not hold data on the total profits made by children’s social care providers by local authority in the years specified.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) looked at provider profits as part of their market study of children’s social care in England, Scotland and Wales. The final report was published on 10 March 2022. The department welcomes the report and is carefully considering the CMA’s recommendations.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the total profits of children’s social care provider placements by local authority in 2019-20.

The department does not hold data on the total profits made by children’s social care providers by local authority in the years specified.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) looked at provider profits as part of their market study of children’s social care in England, Scotland and Wales. The final report was published on 10 March 2022. The department welcomes the report and is carefully considering the CMA’s recommendations.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's SEND Review, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of proposed reforms to alternative provision on children without SEND needs placed in alternative provision.

The reforms set out in our recently published SEND and AP green paper will ensure that all children and young people with challenging behaviour, and those with health needs, will receive appropriate targeted support in mainstream settings or access to time-limited or transitional places in alternative provision schools. This means that all children will receive the right support, in the right place and at the right time, regardless of whether they have SEND.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's SEND Review, if he will set out the planned funding per local authority provided through the (a) Safety Valve Programme and (b) Delivering Better Value programme; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential effect of that planned funding provision on local authority SEND budgets.

The SEND and Alternative Provision (AP) green paper is looking to make a more financially sustainable high needs system in the long term. For some local authorities, however, there is a more urgent need to resolve issues with the sustainability of their high needs systems. The department will therefore, from this year, run three programmes offering direct support in respect of the sustainability of high needs systems, which together will work with all local authorities: the safety valve, delivering better value and ESFA support programmes. The aim of all three programmes is to secure sustainable management of local authorities’ high needs systems and associated spending, with support and intervention tailored to the severity of the problems local authorities are facing.

The safety valve programme is continuing to work with the local authorities with the highest dedicated schools grant (DSG) deficits, as it has done since it began in the 2020-21 financial year. In this programme, it is for local authorities to make proposals to the department regarding: how they will reach an in-year balance on their DSG and thus manage themselves sustainably; how they will subsequently contribute themselves to their DSG deficit through reaching an in-year surplus; and the ask they make of the department to support the elimination of their historic deficit, following the local authorities best efforts to reduce the deficit themselves. Safety valve agreements hold local authorities to account for the delivery of their proposals for generally five financial years, and funding is spread out across the lifetime of the agreements. The government cannot, therefore, determine in advance how local authorities will be funded through the safety valve programme. Exact funding amounts to be awarded to any local authority will be detailed in their individual published safety valve agreements, found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dedicated-schools-grant-very-high-deficit-intervention.

The new Delivering Better Value programme (DBV) will work with the local authorities with less severe deficits than those in the safety valve programme. For local authorities in the programme, the department will provide project and change management capacity, alongside SEND financial and practice advisers, to support local authorities in engaging with their key stakeholders and undertaking a comprehensive diagnostic process to identify and address the drivers of their deficits. The expectation is that local authorities in the programme will be able to reach an in-year balance and subsequently pay off their own deficits with surpluses in future financial years. There is £85 million funding available for the DBV programme. Funding has not yet been allocated per local authority, and the department will allocate funding to each local authority based on their action plans. The programme will not include funding to eliminate historic deficits directly.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department will publish an (a) braille and (b) easy read version of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities review; and what steps he is taking to help ensure that the open consultation on that review is fully accessible.

The department is committed to making its consultation on the SEND and AP green paper fully accessible to all. This enables anyone to have a say on the proposals in the SEND and AP system.

The department will be publishing an easy read and British Sign Language version of the green paper alongside our other accessible versions in April 2022. This is to further support those with vision, motor, cognitive, or learning difficulties and deafness or impaired hearing to engage fully in the consultation. A braille version of the green paper is also available by contacting: SENDreview.consultation@education.gov.uk.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in the context of the SEND review, what oversight his Department will have of local inclusion plans, including how they are assessed and monitored.

The green paper sets out proposals for the department’s new regions group to take responsibility for holding local authorities and Multi-Academy Trusts to account for delivery for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) locally through new funding agreements between local government and the department

The department will support local authorities in the development and review of local inclusion plans to ensure that they are built on strong evidence, are forward-looking, have considered emerging trends and are coproduced with parents to inform effective local delivery. This extra layer of quality assurance will promote best practice and strengthen oversight of local authorities.

To ensure the conditions set out in the funding agreements are met, the department will monitor ongoing delivery against local inclusion plans and where delivery is not in line with the national standards, the department will take action.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ensure that families of children with SEND will be included in local SEND partnerships, following the SEND Review.

In the SEND Green Paper, the department put forward proposals that local partnerships will bring together representatives across early years, schools, further education, alternative and specialist provision, in addition to health and care partners and other partners, including youth justice. The proposal is that the partnerships would be responsible for working with parents and carers to carry out an assessment of need and existing provision across their local area and produce a local inclusion plan.

Co-production remains a fundamental principle of the SEND system and the department will continue to work with children and young people with SEND and their families at both national and local levels.

The department will set out how these partnerships will work in more detail following the completion of the consultation, so that we can fully consider the views of children and young people, parents, carers, and others.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which organisations his Department expect to sit on local SEND partnerships following the SEND review.

In the SEND Green Paper, the department put forward proposals that local partnerships will bring together representatives across early years, schools, further education, alternative and specialist provision, in addition to health and care partners and other partners, including youth justice. The proposal is that the partnerships would be responsible for working with parents and carers to carry out an assessment of need and existing provision across their local area and produce a local inclusion plan.

Co-production remains a fundamental principle of the SEND system and the department will continue to work with children and young people with SEND and their families at both national and local levels.

The department will set out how these partnerships will work in more detail following the completion of the consultation, so that we can fully consider the views of children and young people, parents, carers, and others.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in the context of the SEND Review, whether parents will be able to seek a setting not specified on a local inclusion plan if they consider the specified settings were not suitable for their child.

The SEND Green Paper sets out proposals to establish a single national SEND and alternative provision system with national standards for provision, processes and systems delivered locally through local inclusion plans. The local inclusion plan will then set out how each area will meet the national standards.

In order to support parents and carers to express an informed preference for a suitable placement, they will be provided with a tailored list of settings based on the local inclusion plan, including mainstream, specialist and independent, that are appropriate to meet the child or young person’s needs.

In the rare instances where there are disagreements, our proposals seek to try and resolve issues earlier, including through mandatory mediation, to reduce the need for cases to escalate to the tribunal.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in the context of the SEND Review, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure digitised EHCP processes do not exclude people without easy access to digital services.

The department is consulting on a proposal to digitise the education, health and care (EHC) plan process with a new digital EHC plan template and a secure central location for parents, carers and professionals to upload key information, improving consistency and reducing the bureaucracy of the process. A digital EHC plan process will also allow for better data collection including anonymous tracking of progress made towards outcomes and analysis of trends in the prevalence of need, and the support and provision that is made available.

We will work with parents and carers to make sure they can submit and access all the relevant information for producing, maintaining and reviewing the plan in a streamlined way that is easy to access and navigate. The department recognises some parents and families may not have access to digital services and we will accommodate for these circumstances, as we develop digitised processes for EHC plans, such that they are not excluded or disadvantaged.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel following the case of Child Q.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has been clear that this is an unacceptable incident which should not have happened.

My noble Friend, the Minister for the School System, Baroness Barran regularly meets with the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s Chair to discuss a range of issues, cases and themes from serious incidents that have been brought to the department’s attention.

The Secretary of State also meets regularly with the Chair to allow for the opportunity to talk about pertinent cases, such as Child Q.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the impacts of inflation on wraparound childcare providers and the costs to parents and carers of childcare for school age children.

The Childcare Act 2006 places a duty on all local authorities to secure sufficient childcare, so far as is reasonably practicable, for working parents in their area for children aged 0-14, or up to 18 for disabled children. As the body responsible for the sufficiency of childcare provision locally, local authorities will have an interest in knowing about the current and future demand and supply of wraparound and holiday childcare, including the level of fees for wraparound and holiday childcare and the impact of inflation on those fees, and how that affects parents’ ability to access wraparound childcare.

The department does not hold a central register of wraparound providers from which an accurate assessment of average costs, either nationally or regionally, for wraparound childcare for school aged children can be made, either during term time or holiday periods. However, since the onset of COVID-19, department officials have regularly met with three of the largest wraparound childcare providers in England, to understand the challenges the sector faces, and how these challenges affect parents and children using, or seeking to use, wrapround childcare.

This engagement has included identifying changes to fees during COVID-19 restrictions and following the lifting of the restrictions for both term-time and holiday provision, and the perceived impact that these changes have had on parents using wraparound childcare. This work, alongside survey-based engagement with a broader range of smaller providers from across the county and ongoing work with local authorities, has helped to inform the department’s response to sufficiency concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and will inform future policy development to support local authorities to secure affordable and accessible wraparound childcare places for all those who need them.

While the department does not currently hold statistical data on wraparound childcare costs, we will conduct a survey of approximately 6,000 parents of 0-14 year olds in the coming year to better understand their childcare needs. This will include establishing indicative costs paid by parents for a range of childcare providers for children up to the age of 14, on an annual basis.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the average cost of wraparound childcare for school age children during school holidays, by region, in each year since 2017.

The Childcare Act 2006 places a duty on all local authorities to secure sufficient childcare, so far as is reasonably practicable, for working parents in their area for children aged 0-14, or up to 18 for disabled children. As the body responsible for the sufficiency of childcare provision locally, local authorities will have an interest in knowing about the current and future demand and supply of wraparound and holiday childcare, including the level of fees for wraparound and holiday childcare and the impact of inflation on those fees, and how that affects parents’ ability to access wraparound childcare.

The department does not hold a central register of wraparound providers from which an accurate assessment of average costs, either nationally or regionally, for wraparound childcare for school aged children can be made, either during term time or holiday periods. However, since the onset of COVID-19, department officials have regularly met with three of the largest wraparound childcare providers in England, to understand the challenges the sector faces, and how these challenges affect parents and children using, or seeking to use, wrapround childcare.

This engagement has included identifying changes to fees during COVID-19 restrictions and following the lifting of the restrictions for both term-time and holiday provision, and the perceived impact that these changes have had on parents using wraparound childcare. This work, alongside survey-based engagement with a broader range of smaller providers from across the county and ongoing work with local authorities, has helped to inform the department’s response to sufficiency concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and will inform future policy development to support local authorities to secure affordable and accessible wraparound childcare places for all those who need them.

While the department does not currently hold statistical data on wraparound childcare costs, we will conduct a survey of approximately 6,000 parents of 0-14 year olds in the coming year to better understand their childcare needs. This will include establishing indicative costs paid by parents for a range of childcare providers for children up to the age of 14, on an annual basis.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the average cost of wraparound childcare for school age children during term time, per region, in each year since 2017.

The Childcare Act 2006 places a duty on all local authorities to secure sufficient childcare, so far as is reasonably practicable, for working parents in their area for children aged 0-14, or up to 18 for disabled children. As the body responsible for the sufficiency of childcare provision locally, local authorities will have an interest in knowing about the current and future demand and supply of wraparound and holiday childcare, including the level of fees for wraparound and holiday childcare and the impact of inflation on those fees, and how that affects parents’ ability to access wraparound childcare.

The department does not hold a central register of wraparound providers from which an accurate assessment of average costs, either nationally or regionally, for wraparound childcare for school aged children can be made, either during term time or holiday periods. However, since the onset of COVID-19, department officials have regularly met with three of the largest wraparound childcare providers in England, to understand the challenges the sector faces, and how these challenges affect parents and children using, or seeking to use, wrapround childcare.

This engagement has included identifying changes to fees during COVID-19 restrictions and following the lifting of the restrictions for both term-time and holiday provision, and the perceived impact that these changes have had on parents using wraparound childcare. This work, alongside survey-based engagement with a broader range of smaller providers from across the county and ongoing work with local authorities, has helped to inform the department’s response to sufficiency concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and will inform future policy development to support local authorities to secure affordable and accessible wraparound childcare places for all those who need them.

While the department does not currently hold statistical data on wraparound childcare costs, we will conduct a survey of approximately 6,000 parents of 0-14 year olds in the coming year to better understand their childcare needs. This will include establishing indicative costs paid by parents for a range of childcare providers for children up to the age of 14, on an annual basis.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of children searched by police officers in (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools in each year since 2017, and how many of these were conducted without a responsible adult present.

The department is clear that any use of strip search must be carried out in accordance with the law and with full regard for the dignity and welfare of the individual being searched, particularly if the individual being searched is a child.

The department is currently reviewing the ‘Searching, screening and confiscation’ guidance. As part of this review, officials are engaging with teaching unions, the third sector and other government departments, including the Home Office, to gather views on changes for consideration. This includes the roles of parents, the police and teachers in these challenging situations. We will aim to publish revised guidance in the summer alongside the recently consulted on ‘Behaviour in Schools’ guidance, and the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ guidance. This will ensure that all schools are clear on their duties relating to safeguarding and protecting the welfare of all pupils. This coordinated approach will enable us to take a comprehensive view of what improvements can be made across our school safeguarding advice and guidance.

Regarding local safeguarding partnerships, the department does not issue specific guidance to safeguarding partners on how they should operate. Police, health, and local authorities have an equal and shared statutory duty to safeguard and protect the welfare of children in their local, and to publish arrangements setting out how this will be done. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Code C, sets out the circumstances under which strip searches can be used.

Neither the Department for Education or the Home Office holds figures on the number of pupils searched by police officers in primary schools or secondary schools in each year since 2017, or how many of these were conducted without a responsible adult present.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the suitability of the current guidance issued to (a) schools, and (b) local safeguarding partnerships regarding police searches of children following the case of Child Q.

The department is clear that any use of strip search must be carried out in accordance with the law and with full regard for the dignity and welfare of the individual being searched, particularly if the individual being searched is a child.

The department is currently reviewing the ‘Searching, screening and confiscation’ guidance. As part of this review, officials are engaging with teaching unions, the third sector and other government departments, including the Home Office, to gather views on changes for consideration. This includes the roles of parents, the police and teachers in these challenging situations. We will aim to publish revised guidance in the summer alongside the recently consulted on ‘Behaviour in Schools’ guidance, and the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ guidance. This will ensure that all schools are clear on their duties relating to safeguarding and protecting the welfare of all pupils. This coordinated approach will enable us to take a comprehensive view of what improvements can be made across our school safeguarding advice and guidance.

Regarding local safeguarding partnerships, the department does not issue specific guidance to safeguarding partners on how they should operate. Police, health, and local authorities have an equal and shared statutory duty to safeguard and protect the welfare of children in their local, and to publish arrangements setting out how this will be done. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Code C, sets out the circumstances under which strip searches can be used.

Neither the Department for Education or the Home Office holds figures on the number of pupils searched by police officers in primary schools or secondary schools in each year since 2017, or how many of these were conducted without a responsible adult present.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the number of children strip-searched by police officers in (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools in each year since 2017, and how many of these were conducted without a responsible adult present.

Neither the Department for Education nor the Home Office holds figures on the number of pupils strip-searched by police officers in primary schools or secondary schools in each year since 2017, or how many of these were conducted without a responsible adult present.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding announced in the Special Educational Needs and Disability and Alternative Provision Green Paper was previously announced in the (a) Spending Review 2021 and (b) any other announcement by his Department.

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) green paper published on 29 March 2022 sets out proposals for a system that offers children and young people the opportunity to thrive, with access to the right support, in the right place, and at the right time, so they can fulfil their potential and lead happy, healthy and productive adult lives.

The funding commitments in the green paper reflect what was secured as part of the Spending Review 2021 settlement, reflecting the ongoing investment into the high needs system. In the green paper, the department announced the investment of £70 million to support delivery through a SEND and AP change programme, £300 million for the ‘safety valve’ intervention programme, and £85 million for the Delivering Better Value in SEND programme to support local authorities with deficits.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children have been (a) of school age, (b) with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) and of school age, (c) in receipt of free school meals and (d) in receipt of free school meals, with an EHCP and of school age in each of the last 15 years.

The figures requested are provided in the attached table. Data is sourced from the school census and includes state-funded nursery, primary, secondary, and special schools, non-maintained special schools, and pupil referral units. Data from independent schools is not available at this level of detail.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support childminders who have lost work due to testing positive for covid-19 or due to a positive case in their household following the closure of Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

Keeping children and staff safe is the department’s utmost priority. Throughout the pandemic we have listened carefully to the latest scientific and medical advice when developing guidance.

The department has recently reviewed and updated our guidance for childminders with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

From 17 March 2022, childminders can continue to childmind in their homes if someone who lives with them has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms.

Childminders are advised to follow the steps below to reduce the risk of onward transmission:

  • The person who has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms should avoid contact with the children being cared for in the childcare setting.
  • Where possible, use separate toilet and handwashing facilities. If this is not possible, maintain extra cleaning and hygiene routines, particularly after the person has used the facilities.
  • Notify parents, carers, and any assistants that someone has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms, as soon as reasonably possible and maintain open communication with them throughout.
  • Consider the need to reduce the spread of COVID-19 with mitigations, such as ventilation and extra cleaning and hygiene routines. They should be applied where it is practical and safe to do so. Additional information is available in the guidance published by the Cabinet Office, available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae?utm_source=17%20March%202022%20C19&utm_medium=Daily%20Email%20C19&utm_campaign=DfE%20C19.
  • Comply with health and safety law by reviewing your risk assessment. The risk assessment must demonstrate that the provision of childcare in your setting is safe, and how any additional but proportionate measures will be put in place.

Childminders can also consider using alternative places to operate such as other childminders’ houses, where possible.

Childminders who are unable to work due to COVID-19 can claim other government support such as Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, and the new style Employment and Support Allowance (subject to eligibility).

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take to ensure that the funding for new family hubs, announced in the spending review 2021, will support the local implementation of the Speech, Language and Communication Pathway, as set out in the Public Health England publication, Best start in speech, language and communication: Guidance to support local commissioners and service leads.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) has been working in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE) since 2018 to help to ensure speech, language and communication needs are identified and supported early on. The government published “Best start in speech, language and communication guidance for local areas” in 2020, aimed at supporting a whole systems approach to addressing speech, language and communication needs in the early years.

At the Budget, the government announced a £300 million package to transform services for parents, carers, babies and children in half of council areas across England, including a network of family hubs.

Family hubs have a clear role to play in supporting early language development, including through the creation of joined up local services such as those exemplified by the 2020 guidance. The government will work on this basis with the local authorities that are part of the programme once these are confirmed.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2022 to Question125448, if he will set out how the £153 Early Years Recovery Package for professional development for early years practitioners will fund programmes on the key area of speech and language development for the youngest children.

The £153 million ‘Early Years Recovery Package’ includes a significant investment of up to £37.5 million in continuous professional development for early years practitioners, through the national expansion of the early years Professional Development Programme. The programme has a particular focus on upskilling practitioners to support the early development of literacy and language and early maths, alongside personal, social, and emotional development. The programme will be delivered during 2022 and 2023.

Strengthening understanding of speech and language development will also be covered in other elements of the programme. This includes delivery of online child development training, establishing a network of experts and mentors for settings in most need of support to improve their practice, driving evidence-based practice improvements through a new network of Stronger Practice Hubs, and increasing the number of qualified special educational needs coordinators in early years settings.

During summer 2022, there will be a review of the Level 3 early years educator qualification, with a view to publishing a set of revised and updated criteria. This will ensure a higher-quality qualification that responds to the sector’s needs for higher-quality training for early years educators.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to review covid-19 guidance to childminders following the changes to self-isolation guidance.

The department has recently reviewed and updated its guidance for childminders with the UK Health Security Agency. From Thursday 17 March 2022, childminders can continue to childmind in their homes if someone who lives with them has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms.

Childminders are advised to follow the steps below to reduce the risk of onward transmission:

  • The person who has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms should avoid contact with the children being cared for in the childminder’s premises.
  • Where possible, use separate toilet and handwashing facilities. If this is not possible, maintain extra cleaning and hygiene routines, particularly after the person has used the facilities.
  • Notify parents, carers, and any assistants that someone has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms, as soon as reasonably possible and maintain open communication with them throughout.
  • Consider the need to reduce the spread of COVID-19 with mitigations, such as ventilation and extra cleaning and hygiene routines. They should be applied where it is practical and safe to do so. Additional information on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is available in the guidance published by the Cabinet Office.
  • Comply with health and safety law by reviewing your risk assessment. The risk assessment must demonstrate that the provision of childcare in your setting is safe, and how any additional but proportionate measures will be put into place.

Childminders can also consider using alternative places to operate such as other childminders’ houses, where possible.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 28 February 2022 to Question 125334 on Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus, if he will publish his Department's criteria for determining which local authorities to target with an increase in training available to early years SENDCO.

We are in the process of procuring for additional special educational needs coordinators training for early years. We are aiming to target training in the following local authorities:

Barnsley

Gloucestershire

Redcar and Cleveland

Bath and North East Somerset

Halton

Rochdale

Birmingham

Hartlepool

Rotherham

Blackpool

Herefordshire

Salford

Bolton

Hertfordshire

Sheffield

Bradford

Kingston upon Hull, City of

Solihull

Brighton and Hove

Kirklees

Somerset

Bristol, City of

Knowsley

South Gloucestershire

Buckinghamshire

Lancashire

South Tyneside

Calderdale

Leeds

St. Helens

Cambridgeshire

Leicestershire

Staffordshire

Central Bedfordshire

Lincolnshire

Stockport

Cheshire East

Liverpool

Stockton-on-Tees

Cheshire West and Chester

Manchester

Stoke-on-Trent

Cornwall

Medway

Surrey

Coventry

Middlesbrough

Tameside

Cumbria

Newcastle upon Tyne

Torbay

Darlington

Norfolk

Wakefield

Derbyshire

North East Lincolnshire

Walsall

Devon

North Tyneside

West Sussex

Doncaster

North Yorkshire

Wigan

Dorset

Northamptonshire

Wirral

Dudley

Nottinghamshire

Wolverhampton

Durham

Oldham

Worcestershire

East Riding of Yorkshire

Oxfordshire

Gateshead

Portsmouth

These local authorities have been identified using metrics to measure levels of disadvantage in individual local authorities. The metrics used are: rates of access to free school meals alongside Early Years Foundation Stage profile outcomes, % of children eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium, % of children in receipt of an Education and Healthcare Plan and COVID-19 cases rate per 100,000 resident population across the length of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 28 February 2022 to Question 125334 on Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus, if he will publish the local authorities targeted for an increase in training available to early years SENDCO.

We are in the process of procuring for additional special educational needs coordinators training for early years. We are aiming to target training in the following local authorities:

Barnsley

Gloucestershire

Redcar and Cleveland

Bath and North East Somerset

Halton

Rochdale

Birmingham

Hartlepool

Rotherham

Blackpool

Herefordshire

Salford

Bolton

Hertfordshire

Sheffield

Bradford

Kingston upon Hull, City of

Solihull

Brighton and Hove

Kirklees

Somerset

Bristol, City of

Knowsley

South Gloucestershire

Buckinghamshire

Lancashire

South Tyneside

Calderdale

Leeds

St. Helens

Cambridgeshire

Leicestershire

Staffordshire

Central Bedfordshire

Lincolnshire

Stockport

Cheshire East

Liverpool

Stockton-on-Tees

Cheshire West and Chester

Manchester

Stoke-on-Trent

Cornwall

Medway

Surrey

Coventry

Middlesbrough

Tameside

Cumbria

Newcastle upon Tyne

Torbay

Darlington

Norfolk

Wakefield

Derbyshire

North East Lincolnshire

Walsall

Devon

North Tyneside

West Sussex

Doncaster

North Yorkshire

Wigan

Dorset

Northamptonshire

Wirral

Dudley

Nottinghamshire

Wolverhampton

Durham

Oldham

Worcestershire

East Riding of Yorkshire

Oxfordshire

Gateshead

Portsmouth

These local authorities have been identified using metrics to measure levels of disadvantage in individual local authorities. The metrics used are: rates of access to free school meals alongside Early Years Foundation Stage profile outcomes, % of children eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium, % of children in receipt of an Education and Healthcare Plan and COVID-19 cases rate per 100,000 resident population across the length of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant Answer of 28 February 2022 to Question 125329 on Children: Social Services, what steps his Department takes to monitor the adequacy of local authorities’ local protocols in keeping children safe and responding to referrals.

‘Working together to safeguard children’ (2018) is statutory guidance setting out the legislative requirements placed on individual services and also a framework for the three local safeguarding partners (the local authority, a clinical commissioning group for any area falling within the local authority and the chief officer of police for a police area falling within the local authority area) to make arrangements to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children and respond to their needs.

The guidance is clear that local authorities, with their safeguarding partners, should develop and publish local protocols for assessment, which should set out clear arrangements for how cases will be managed once a child is referred into local authority children’s social care, consistent with the requirements in the statutory guidance.

While all organisations and agencies have a responsibility to understand their local protocol, it is the local authority which is publicly accountable for this protocol. The complaints procedure for children and families who wish to challenge the assessment protocol should be published as part of the protocol.

Ofsted inspections are concerned with the direct experience of children and their families, and will assess how any protocols work in practice.

The department and Ofsted do not collect or hold data on whether local authorities have completed and implemented local protocols for assessment.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 28 February to Question 125329 Children: Social Services, how many local authorities have completed and implemented local protocols for assessment as of 9 March 2022.

‘Working together to safeguard children’ (2018) is statutory guidance setting out the legislative requirements placed on individual services and also a framework for the three local safeguarding partners (the local authority, a clinical commissioning group for any area falling within the local authority and the chief officer of police for a police area falling within the local authority area) to make arrangements to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children and respond to their needs.

The guidance is clear that local authorities, with their safeguarding partners, should develop and publish local protocols for assessment, which should set out clear arrangements for how cases will be managed once a child is referred into local authority children’s social care, consistent with the requirements in the statutory guidance.

While all organisations and agencies have a responsibility to understand their local protocol, it is the local authority which is publicly accountable for this protocol. The complaints procedure for children and families who wish to challenge the assessment protocol should be published as part of the protocol.

Ofsted inspections are concerned with the direct experience of children and their families, and will assess how any protocols work in practice.

The department and Ofsted do not collect or hold data on whether local authorities have completed and implemented local protocols for assessment.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to review the level of national minimum allowances for foster carers.

The Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards (NMS), issued under the Care Standards Act 2000, set out the expectations that are placed on foster parents and their agencies, and can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/192705/NMS_Fostering_Services.pdf. The department is clear that no one should be ‘out of pocket’ because of their fostering role and expect all foster parents to receive at least the national minimum allowance (NMA) plus any agreed expenses to cover the full cost of caring for each child placed with them (standard 28). Fostering agencies and local authorities are regulated/inspected by Ofsted who can assess compliance with the NMS as part of their inspection of providers.

The NMA was developed by calculating the cost of caring for a birth child and accounting for the additional cost of caring for a foster child. The current rates are valid until 6 April 2022. New rates for the 2022/23 financial year will be published shortly.

Foster carers also receive qualifying care relief that is made up of two parts: tax exemption on the first £10,000 shared equally among any foster carers in the same household, and tax relief for every week a child is in their care.

The payments and benefits foster carers receive to cover the costs of caring for a child were most recently reviewed as part of the Foster Care in England report, Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers's 2018 review of the fostering system in England. The report can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foster-care-in-england. As set out in the government’s response, Fostering Better Outcomes, the department believes that the current tax and benefits arrangements offer the best support to foster parents. The response can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fostering-better-outcomes. Foster parents have different statuses for tax and benefits purposes. This has consciously been done to ensure that they get the best support these systems can offer for their unique circumstances.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the national minimum fostering allowance introduced in 2007.

The Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards (NMS), issued under the Care Standards Act 2000, set out the expectations that are placed on foster parents and their agencies, and can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/192705/NMS_Fostering_Services.pdf. The department is clear that no one should be ‘out of pocket’ because of their fostering role and expect all foster parents to receive at least the national minimum allowance (NMA) plus any agreed expenses to cover the full cost of caring for each child placed with them (standard 28). Fostering agencies and local authorities are regulated/inspected by Ofsted who can assess compliance with the NMS as part of their inspection of providers.

The NMA was developed by calculating the cost of caring for a birth child and accounting for the additional cost of caring for a foster child. The current rates are valid until 6 April 2022. New rates for the 2022/23 financial year will be published shortly.

Foster carers also receive qualifying care relief that is made up of two parts: tax exemption on the first £10,000 shared equally among any foster carers in the same household, and tax relief for every week a child is in their care.

The payments and benefits foster carers receive to cover the costs of caring for a child were most recently reviewed as part of the Foster Care in England report, Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers's 2018 review of the fostering system in England. The report can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foster-care-in-england. As set out in the government’s response, Fostering Better Outcomes, the department believes that the current tax and benefits arrangements offer the best support to foster parents. The response can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fostering-better-outcomes. Foster parents have different statuses for tax and benefits purposes. This has consciously been done to ensure that they get the best support these systems can offer for their unique circumstances.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that all foster carers are paid (a) the national minimum allowance or (b) more than the national minimum allowance for their services.

The Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards (NMS), issued under the Care Standards Act 2000, set out the expectations that are placed on foster parents and their agencies, and can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/192705/NMS_Fostering_Services.pdf. The department is clear that no one should be ‘out of pocket’ because of their fostering role and expect all foster parents to receive at least the national minimum allowance (NMA) plus any agreed expenses to cover the full cost of caring for each child placed with them (standard 28). Fostering agencies and local authorities are regulated/inspected by Ofsted who can assess compliance with the NMS as part of their inspection of providers.

The NMA was developed by calculating the cost of caring for a birth child and accounting for the additional cost of caring for a foster child. The current rates are valid until 6 April 2022. New rates for the 2022/23 financial year will be published shortly.

Foster carers also receive qualifying care relief that is made up of two parts: tax exemption on the first £10,000 shared equally among any foster carers in the same household, and tax relief for every week a child is in their care.

The payments and benefits foster carers receive to cover the costs of caring for a child were most recently reviewed as part of the Foster Care in England report, Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers's 2018 review of the fostering system in England. The report can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foster-care-in-england. As set out in the government’s response, Fostering Better Outcomes, the department believes that the current tax and benefits arrangements offer the best support to foster parents. The response can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fostering-better-outcomes. Foster parents have different statuses for tax and benefits purposes. This has consciously been done to ensure that they get the best support these systems can offer for their unique circumstances.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of staying put allowances in England; and whether he has plans to introduce a national minimum staying put allowance.

Since the introduction of the Staying Put duty in 2014, the government has provided over £174 million to local authorites to support local implementation including £33 million in the 2021/22 financial year to help young people remain with their former foster carers longer and make a more gradual transition to independence.

Each local authority allocation is determined by the proportion of eligible children they have relative to the national total. The formula uses departmental data on the number of young people in foster care immediately before their 18th birthday to identify the percentage of eligible young people in each local authority and this percentage is then applied to the total national funding available.

Up until the 2019/20 financial year, the funding was based on an assumption that 25% of eligible care leavers would Stay Put, which is the proportion of care leavers who Stayed Put in the pilots, which ran before the legal duty was introduced. However, in the 2019/20 financial year the latest data showed that across the 18-20 age range around 35% of care leavers were Staying Put. This meant that actual take up was 40% higher than the original assumption. As a result, the department increased funding in the 2020/21 financial year by 40% (£9.5 million) to address this. The department will keep Staying Put funding under review during the next spending review period.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with Ofsted on (a) the adequacy of the performance of children's social care services in England and (b) steps to improve standards among those agencies.

Ministers and officials at the department meet representatives of Ofsted frequently to discuss the delivery of local authority-run children’s services. I last had such a discussion with Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector in February of this year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to ensure that any future Early Years Recovery Plan also includes a focus on speaking and understanding language.

Early language acquisition impacts all aspects of young children’s non-physical development. It contributes to their ability to manage emotions and communicate feelings, to establish and maintain relationships, to think symbolically, and to learn to read and write. That is why early language development is at the heart of the department’s early years education recovery programmes.

The department is investing up to £180 million of recovery support in the early years sector through new programmes. The programmes focus on key areas such as speech and language development for the youngest children.

This includes:

  • new, universally accessible online training to upskill practitioners and improve their knowledge of child development;
  • access to mentoring support for early years practitioners to help strengthen children’s teaching and development;
  • an expansion of the Early Years Professional Development Programme, which has a focus on early language, as well as maths and personal, social, and emotional development
  • a significant expansion of the number of staff in group-based providers and childminders, with an accredited level 3 special educational needs coordinator qualification. This will lead to better identification of special education needs and disabilities (SEND), and better support for children with SEND;
  • the Nuffield Early Language Intervention, which is a proven programme aimed at reception-aged children needing extra support with speech and language development. It includes training for staff on identifying speech and language difficulties, and is proven to help children make around three months of additional progress. Two thirds of all primary schools are signed up to deliver this programme;
  • the review of the Early Years Educator level 3 qualification, which will explore ways to strengthen SEND expertise in the workforce; and
  • programmes to train early years practitioners to support parents with the home learning environment, and improve children’s early language and social and emotional development by giving priority to families that would benefit the most.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the adequacy of children’s social care services in England.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, meets regularly with other Cabinet ministers to discuss matters that fall within his portfolio.

Children’s social care is an important area of policy for the Secretary of State, and we are shortly expecting the outcome of the independent review into children’s social care, led by Josh MacAlister, later this year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to ensure referrals from schools to children’s social care services are responded to (a) appropriately and (b) promptly.

Statutory guidance sets out respectively what school staff should do if they have concerns about a child’s welfare and how children’s social care services should respond to referrals. ‘Keeping children safe in education’ (2021) can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2. ‘Working together to safeguard children’ (2018) can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2.

Where a child is suffering harm, or likely to suffer harm, a referral to children’s social care should be made immediately. Referrals should follow the local referral process.

Within one working day of the receipt of referral, a social worker should acknowledge receipt to the referrer and decide the next steps. Feedback should be given to the referrer and the former guidance places the onus on the referrer to follow up if this information is not received. If, after a referral, the child’s situation does not appear to be improving, the school should consider escalating their concerns via local processes to ensure that matters of concern have been addressed and the child’s situation has improved.

The latter guidance sets out that local authorities, with their safeguarding partners, should develop and publish local protocols for assessment. The local protocol should set out clear arrangements for how cases will be managed once a child is referred to local authority social care and must be consistent with the requirements of the statutory guidance.

Joint Targeted Area Inspections (JTAIs), carried out jointly by Ofsted, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, the Chief Inspector of Probation for England & Wales, and the Care Quality Commission, provide a rigorous assessment of the quality of safeguarding arrangements in a local area.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of access for (a) parents and (b) guardians of people with disabilities to specialist advice on section 20 voluntary arrangements.

The responsibility to assess the needs of a looked after child and to support the family rests with the local authority. If children have to live apart from their family, both they and their parents/guardians should be given adequate information and helped to consider alternatives and contribute to the making of an informed choice about the most appropriate form of care.

The care plan for all looked after children, including children accommodated under a voluntary arrangement, will reflect a multi-agency contribution to ensure that the full range of a child’s developmental needs are identified and addressed to improve their outcomes.

We are providing over £42 million in the 2021/22 financial year to continue funding projects to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This includes £27.3 million to the Family Fund in 2021/22 to support over 60,000 families on low incomes raising children and young people with disabilities or serious illnesses. It also includes £8.6 million to support the effective involvement of parent carers and young people in designing SEND policies and services.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of access for families to (a) preventative services and (b) support before children enter the care system.

The ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018’ statutory guidance makes clear that early help services should form part of a continuum of help in local areas that can respond to the needs of children and families.

Since April 2015, Supporting Families (previously the Troubled Families Programme) has directly helped over 470,000 vulnerable families make positive changes to their lives, with many thousands more benefitting from services joining up to ensure access to early, coordinated, whole family support.

The evaluation shows the programme is successfully preventing high-cost statutory intervention. For example, it found the proportion of children on the programme going into care reduced by a third.

In the 2021 Autumn Budget, a combined Department for Education, Department of Health and Social Care, and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities package of £500 million for early help was announced. This includes a £300 million package to transform ‘Start for Life’ services and create a network of family hubs in half of council areas in England, and a £200 million uplift to the Supporting Families programme.

The additional funding for Supporting Families takes the total investment to £695 million over the next 3 years, around a 40% real-terms uplift in funding for the programme by the 2024/25 financial year.

We also have the independent review of children’s social care. The review will look at the whole system of support, safeguarding, protection and care, and the child’s journey into and out of that system, including relevant aspects of preventative services provided as part of early help. This will include children throughout their interaction with children’s social care, from referral, child in need and child protection plans, through to becoming looked after. The review will set out its final recommendations in spring 2022.

We estimate local authorities spent £11.1 billion on children’s services in 2020/21. This includes children's social care, but also early years and children’s centres, youth justice and youth services.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February 2022 to Question 114851 on Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus, what estimate he has made of the number of additional qualified level 3 special educational needs coordinators required by each local authority.

In line with the early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework, group-based early years providers and childminders are expected to identify a person to act as a special educational needs coordinator (SENCO). It is the responsibility of early years providers to ensure that they operate in compliance with the EYFS framework.

As part of the early years recovery programme, the Department for Education will fund a significant increase in the amount of training available to early years SENCOs that results in an accredited level 3 early years SENCO qualification. SENCOs working in group-based and childminder settings will be eligible for this training. It will be nationally available, targeting local authorities which have higher levels of disadvantage because these have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak and are where we know the support is most needed. We estimate that the training will achieve an increase of up to 10% in the number of early years providers with a qualified SENCO.

The training package is subject to independent evaluation to explore the effects of the training on practitioner knowledge of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), the accuracy of SEND identification, the quality of support in place and levels of school readiness. This will help develop our understanding of SEND support across the early years sector to inform any future training and development initiatives.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children in care aged 16 and 17 died while they were living in (a) semi-independent or (b) independent accommodation in each of the last five years.

The total number of looked after children, aged 16 to 17 years, who have died whilst in independent or semi-independent accommodation during the 5-year period between 2016-17 to 2020-2021, was 29. Due to the small numbers involved, this figure cannot be broken down by accommodation status, age or into separate years to protect confidentiality.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February 2022 to Question 114851 on Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus, if he will publish a breakdown of estimated funding provided through the Nuffield Early Language Intervention in each (a) local authority and (b) parliamentary constituency.

The early years education recovery programme focuses on improving training for early years practitioners. This is one of the key levers for driving up quality in early education environments. Whilst elements of the programme will be initially targeted, the programme will ultimately have national coverage.

Up to £30 million will be invested in phases one and two of the Early Years Professional Development Programme (EYPDP). Combined, the phases will reach early years providers in 101 local authority areas. A further phase of the programme, backed by up to £37.5 million, will ensure national reach.

To ensure assessment of the impact of EYPDP, the department has commissioned independent evaluation of the first phase of the programme.

The department has no plans to publish a breakdown of funding by local authority or parliamentary constituency area. However, we are committed to ensuring EYPDP reaches the areas and children who need it most.

For the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI), trained staff complete language assessments with their reception pupils, evaluating whether they would benefit from the 20-week programme. After completion of the programme, schools reassess the pupils’ language skills to monitor progress and help plan what provisions may be needed as the children move into year 1. The Education Endowment Foundation is delivering a long-term evaluation of the NELI programme and will publish reports on the results.

Two thirds of primary schools have signed up to deliver NELI, reaching an estimated 90,000 children. A list of schools signed up to deliver NELI in the 2020/21 academic year can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/neli-nuffield-early-language-intervention-programme. The department will shortly be publishing the list of schools signed up to deliver NELI in the 2021/22 academic year. It does not have plans to publish a breakdown of funding in local authorities or parliamentary constituencies.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to early years staff to help them understand, identify and support children with difficulties in speaking and understanding as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The department is investing up to £180 million in the early years sector through new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development for the youngest children, to support recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes:

  • New, universally accessible online training to upskill practitioners and improve their knowledge of child development.
  • Access to mentoring support for early years practitioners to help strengthen childrens learning and development.
  • An expansion of the Professional Development Programme, which has a focus on early language, as well as maths, and personal, social, and emotional development.
  • A significant expansion of the number of staff in group-based providers, and childminders, with an accredited level 3 special educational needs coordinator qualification. This will lead to better identification of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and better support for children with SEND.
  • The Nuffield Early Language Intervention, which is a proven programme aimed at the reception aged children needing extra support with their speech and language development, includes training for staff on identifying speech and language difficulties and is proven to help children make around three months of additional progress. Two thirds of all primary schools are signed up to deliver this programme.
  • The review of the early years educator level 3 qualification, which will explore ways to strengthen SEND expertise in the workforce.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February 2022 to Question 114851 on Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus, if he publish a breakdown of funding distributed via the Early Years Professional Development Programme in each (a) local authority and (b) parliamentary constituency.

The early years education recovery programme focuses on improving training for early years practitioners. This is one of the key levers for driving up quality in early education environments. Whilst elements of the programme will be initially targeted, the programme will ultimately have national coverage.

Up to £30 million will be invested in phases one and two of the Early Years Professional Development Programme (EYPDP). Combined, the phases will reach early years providers in 101 local authority areas. A further phase of the programme, backed by up to £37.5 million, will ensure national reach.

To ensure assessment of the impact of EYPDP, the department has commissioned independent evaluation of the first phase of the programme.

The department has no plans to publish a breakdown of funding by local authority or parliamentary constituency area. However, we are committed to ensuring EYPDP reaches the areas and children who need it most.

For the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI), trained staff complete language assessments with their reception pupils, evaluating whether they would benefit from the 20-week programme. After completion of the programme, schools reassess the pupils’ language skills to monitor progress and help plan what provisions may be needed as the children move into year 1. The Education Endowment Foundation is delivering a long-term evaluation of the NELI programme and will publish reports on the results.

Two thirds of primary schools have signed up to deliver NELI, reaching an estimated 90,000 children. A list of schools signed up to deliver NELI in the 2020/21 academic year can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/neli-nuffield-early-language-intervention-programme. The department will shortly be publishing the list of schools signed up to deliver NELI in the 2021/22 academic year. It does not have plans to publish a breakdown of funding in local authorities or parliamentary constituencies.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February 2022 to Question 114851 on Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus, what proportion of children his Department estimates those interventions will reach.

The early years education recovery programme focuses on improving training for early years practitioners. This is one of the key levers for driving up quality in early education environments. Whilst elements of the programme will be initially targeted, the programme will ultimately have national coverage.

Up to £30 million will be invested in phases one and two of the Early Years Professional Development Programme (EYPDP). Combined, the phases will reach early years providers in 101 local authority areas. A further phase of the programme, backed by up to £37.5 million, will ensure national reach.

To ensure assessment of the impact of EYPDP, the department has commissioned independent evaluation of the first phase of the programme.

The department has no plans to publish a breakdown of funding by local authority or parliamentary constituency area. However, we are committed to ensuring EYPDP reaches the areas and children who need it most.

For the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI), trained staff complete language assessments with their reception pupils, evaluating whether they would benefit from the 20-week programme. After completion of the programme, schools reassess the pupils’ language skills to monitor progress and help plan what provisions may be needed as the children move into year 1. The Education Endowment Foundation is delivering a long-term evaluation of the NELI programme and will publish reports on the results.

Two thirds of primary schools have signed up to deliver NELI, reaching an estimated 90,000 children. A list of schools signed up to deliver NELI in the 2020/21 academic year can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/neli-nuffield-early-language-intervention-programme. The department will shortly be publishing the list of schools signed up to deliver NELI in the 2021/22 academic year. It does not have plans to publish a breakdown of funding in local authorities or parliamentary constituencies.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February 2022 to Question 114851 on Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus, what criteria his Department will use to monitor the outcomes of the (a) Early Years Professional Development Programme and (b) Nuffield Early Language Intervention for children with speech and language difficulties.

The early years education recovery programme focuses on improving training for early years practitioners. This is one of the key levers for driving up quality in early education environments. Whilst elements of the programme will be initially targeted, the programme will ultimately have national coverage.

Up to £30 million will be invested in phases one and two of the Early Years Professional Development Programme (EYPDP). Combined, the phases will reach early years providers in 101 local authority areas. A further phase of the programme, backed by up to £37.5 million, will ensure national reach.

To ensure assessment of the impact of EYPDP, the department has commissioned independent evaluation of the first phase of the programme.

The department has no plans to publish a breakdown of funding by local authority or parliamentary constituency area. However, we are committed to ensuring EYPDP reaches the areas and children who need it most.

For the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI), trained staff complete language assessments with their reception pupils, evaluating whether they would benefit from the 20-week programme. After completion of the programme, schools reassess the pupils’ language skills to monitor progress and help plan what provisions may be needed as the children move into year 1. The Education Endowment Foundation is delivering a long-term evaluation of the NELI programme and will publish reports on the results.

Two thirds of primary schools have signed up to deliver NELI, reaching an estimated 90,000 children. A list of schools signed up to deliver NELI in the 2020/21 academic year can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/neli-nuffield-early-language-intervention-programme. The department will shortly be publishing the list of schools signed up to deliver NELI in the 2021/22 academic year. It does not have plans to publish a breakdown of funding in local authorities or parliamentary constituencies.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of whether children who are eligible for help with their speaking and understanding language are receiving targeted interventions under Departmental budgets beyond the early years and in their reception year.

All schools are required to identify and address the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) of the pupils they support, including those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), and to use their best endeavours to make sure that a child or young person gets the support they need.

Schools, along with the local authority and health partners, should work with families to co-produce arrangements for delivering speech and language therapy.

The department recognises the impact that COVID-19 has had on children and young people with SLCN and has therefore consistently prioritised children with SEND.

We have provided additional uplifts for those who attend specialist settings (including special units in mainstream schools) in both the catch-up premium in the 2020/21 academic year and the recovery premium for the 2021/22 academic year, and a higher rate of funding for non-mainstream schools for school-led tutoring in recognition of the significantly higher per pupil costs they face.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of access to (a) legal advice and (b) independent specialist advice after a non-emergency child protection enquiries is made.

Local authorities are responsible for assessments under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 to determine whether a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. They should be led by a local authority social worker with input from the safeguarding partners and other agencies.

The statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ is clear that the child should be at the centre of safeguarding activities, and that practitioners should work in partnership with the child and their families when making decisions about their lives. The guidance also sets out how section 47 enquiries and child protection conferences should be conducted. It makes clear that the social worker should ensure that the child and their parents understand the purpose of the conference, who will attend and prepare the child, particularly if they are attending or making representations through a third party. As part of this, the social worker should give information about advocacy agencies and explain that the family may bring an advocate, friend or supporter. The statutory guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) financial support and (b) paid leave available to kinship carers compared to (i) foster carers and (ii) adoptive parents.

‘Family and Friends Care: statutory guidance for local authorities’ sets out a framework for the provision of support to family and friends carers. Local authorities and health partners/agencies in England must have regard to it when exercising their functions under that section. The guidance can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/288483/family-and-friends-care.pdf.

The guidance specifically says that cross agency support is important. Section 2.9 states, ‘The provision of effective inter-agency support to family and friends carers is one way to help achieve this (narrowing the gap in outcomes between disadvantaged children and their peers). Agencies should consider the needs of children living with family and friend’s carers when they are targeting their early intervention services, and reflect these needs in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, which is a joint assessment of the health and wellbeing of the local community made by the local authority and health services’.

It also says at section 2.15 that, ‘Specialist services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and services for children with special educational needs and disabilities must be sensitive to the particular needs of children and young people living with family and friends carers’.

Last year the department issued guidance to change the school admissions Fair Access Protocol list to add children who live under a special guardianship order or child arrangement order. This will help ensure these families are allocated a school place as quickly as possible. In addition, guidance for school leaders sets out that children who were previously in care who now live in a formal kinship care arrangement have the support of a designated teacher and are entitled to Pupil Premium Plus. This is extra funding of £2,345 per pupil given to schools.

The statutory guidance is clear that local authorities should be considering financial help for kinship carers. All local authorities must have a clear policy for deciding which children are eligible for help and services, including financial support.

Support for kinship carers is a key focus of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care. The government looks forward to hearing those recommendations in due course when the report publishes in the Spring.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of social service departments in each region of England have been rated (a) inadequate or (b) requires improvement by Ofsted.

The inspection of Local Authority Children’s Social Services by Ofsted is undertaken on a rolling programme. The current proportion of Children’ Social care services found to be inadequate or requiring improvement is shown in the attached table, broken down by region.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the suitability of guidance for (a) education, (b) healthcare and (c) other public services on the needs of kinships carers and the children they care for.

‘Family and Friends Care: statutory guidance for local authorities’ sets out a framework for the provision of support to family and friends carers. Local authorities and health partners/agencies in England must have regard to it when exercising their functions under that section. The guidance can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/288483/family-and-friends-care.pdf.

The guidance specifically says that cross agency support is important. Section 2.9 states, ‘The provision of effective inter-agency support to family and friends carers is one way to help achieve this (narrowing the gap in outcomes between disadvantaged children and their peers). Agencies should consider the needs of children living with family and friend’s carers when they are targeting their early intervention services, and reflect these needs in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, which is a joint assessment of the health and wellbeing of the local community made by the local authority and health services’.

It also says at section 2.15 that, ‘Specialist services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and services for children with special educational needs and disabilities must be sensitive to the particular needs of children and young people living with family and friends carers’.

Last year the department issued guidance to change the school admissions Fair Access Protocol list to add children who live under a special guardianship order or child arrangement order. This will help ensure these families are allocated a school place as quickly as possible. In addition, guidance for school leaders sets out that children who were previously in care who now live in a formal kinship care arrangement have the support of a designated teacher and are entitled to Pupil Premium Plus. This is extra funding of £2,345 per pupil given to schools.

The statutory guidance is clear that local authorities should be considering financial help for kinship carers. All local authorities must have a clear policy for deciding which children are eligible for help and services, including financial support.

Support for kinship carers is a key focus of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care. The government looks forward to hearing those recommendations in due course when the report publishes in the Spring.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to review the deaths of 22 children in care aged 16 and 17 while they were living in (a) semi-independent or (b) independent accommodation between 2018 and 2020.

When a child dies, in any circumstances, it is important to understand what has happened and whether there are any lessons to be learned. The responsibility for ensuring child death reviews are carried out is held by the local authority and any clinical commissioning groups operating in the local authority area.

In addition to these reviews, where a child dies or is seriously harmed, and neglect or abuse is known or suspected, it is the responsibility of the local Safeguarding Partnership to undertake a local child safeguarding practice review. The National Panel will also review all notifications of serious incidents and consider relevant learning. Where learning is of national importance, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel may undertake a national review. The department will respond or disseminate national recommendations made in these reviews.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to help enable access to family group conferences at an earlier stage in decision making on the future of a child.

As part of the £84 million ‘Strengthening Families, Protecting Children’ programme, the department is funding six local authorities to adopt the Leeds Family Valued model, which includes implementation of the Family Group Conference (FGC) service at an early stage when a child might potentially be taken into care. Further guidance on this programme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/strengthening-families-protecting-children-sfpc-programme.

This is in addition to 21 local authorities funded via the department’s ‘Supporting Families Investing in Practice’ programme to deliver FGC at in the last stages of care proceedings. Both approaches are being evaluated.

Alongside evaluation findings, the forthcoming findings from the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care will inform decisions on the future role of FGC to safeguard children and support children and families.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish by ethnicity the number of children in England who attended Alternative Provision in (a) 2018-2019, (b) 2019-2020 and (c) 2020-21.

The department collects data on two types of alternative provision:

  • Local authority maintained establishments providing alternative provision are often referred to as pupil referral units. There are also an increasing number of alternative provision academies and free schools and these are combined in our statistics. This data is collected through the school census.

  • Data on local authority funded alternative provision is collected via the alternative provision census. This includes pupils attending establishments not maintained by a local authority for whom the authority is paying full tuition fees or educated otherwise under arrangements made (and funded) by the authority.

The department publishes the number of children by ethnicity attending pupil referral units (including academy and free school alternative provision) here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/aeafd962-176c-47de-881b-2db8c3f3b03a.

The department also publishes the number of children attending local authority funded alternative provision here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/5af932da-c31b-4a7d-9fee-682b14326651.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the number of state (a) primary and (b) secondary school permanent exclusions by (i) type of school, (ii) ethnicity and (iii) age for each year since 2010.

The requested information has been published in the national statistics release “Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England”, available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england.

In the open data section, the file on permanent exclusions and suspensions by characteristic includes data by primary and secondary schools by ethnicity and age by year. In addition, the file by geography includes school level data with academy type.

In the open data section, the create table function has been used to produce the table showing permanent exclusions by age and ethnicity for primary and secondary schools by year: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/8caf46bb-7a43-46b9-a976-be124ee79a1b.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the attendance rate was for children attending alternative provision in (a) 2018-19, (b) 2019-20 and (c) 2020-21.

The department collects data on two types of alternative provision:

  • Local authority maintained establishments providing alternative provision are often referred to as pupil referral units. There are also an increasing number of alternative provision academies and free schools and these are combined in our statistics. This data is collected through the school census.

  • Data on local authority funded alternative provision is collected via the alternative provision census. This includes pupils attending establishments not maintained by a local authority for whom the authority is paying full tuition fees or educated otherwise under arrangements made (and funded) by the authority.

The department publishes the absence rates of pupils attending pupil referral units (including academy and free school alternative provision) at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/70f42a79-a916-45bd-a4c0-ae22ff27356f. No absence data is collected for pupils attending local authority funded alternative provision.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, absence data for the full academic year 2019/20 is not available. The full year absence data for 2020/21 will be published on 24 March 2022.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Written Statement of 25 November 2021, HCWS421 on Update on Early Years Funding, if he will set out the projected population estimate his Department has used when calculating funding for (a) 2022-23, (b) 2023-24 and (c) 2024-25.

Since the announcement at the Spending Review last year, we have made it clear in public communications, including the Written Ministerial Statement of 25 November 2021, that the investments in 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25 are all individually in comparison to the current year (2021-22).

This investment reflects anticipated cost pressures such as inflation and changes in the number of children as forecast at the time of the Spending Review.

For 2022-23 we will increase the hourly funding rates for all local authorities by 21p an hour for the two-year-old entitlement and, for the vast majority of areas, by 17p an hour for the three and four-year-old entitlement.

The department bases its population estimates on the latest available data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). ONS data projects the 0-4 year old population will decrease by around 5% from mid-2022 to mid-2025. This is key information that needs to be taken into consideration in order to provide an accurate picture of what the funding settlement means.

We expect to announce the early years funding rates for local authorities for 2023-24 in autumn 2022 (and the following autumn for 2024-25), ahead of local authorities starting their business planning rounds for the respective financial years.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Written Statement of 25 November 2021, HCWS421 on Update on Early Years Funding, what assessment he has made of the real terms impact of that additional funding in the context of increasing inflation and costs for providers.

Since the announcement at the Spending Review last year, we have made it clear in public communications, including the Written Ministerial Statement of 25 November 2021, that the investments in 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25 are all individually in comparison to the current year (2021-22).

This investment reflects anticipated cost pressures such as inflation and changes in the number of children as forecast at the time of the Spending Review.

For 2022-23 we will increase the hourly funding rates for all local authorities by 21p an hour for the two-year-old entitlement and, for the vast majority of areas, by 17p an hour for the three and four-year-old entitlement.

The department bases its population estimates on the latest available data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). ONS data projects the 0-4 year old population will decrease by around 5% from mid-2022 to mid-2025. This is key information that needs to be taken into consideration in order to provide an accurate picture of what the funding settlement means.

We expect to announce the early years funding rates for local authorities for 2023-24 in autumn 2022 (and the following autumn for 2024-25), ahead of local authorities starting their business planning rounds for the respective financial years.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Written Statement of 25 November 2021, HCWS421 on Update on Early Years Funding, what the total funding allocated for the early years entitlement is (a) 2022-23, (b) 2023-24 and (c) 2024-25.

Since the announcement at the Spending Review last year, we have made it clear in public communications, including the Written Ministerial Statement of 25 November 2021, that the investments in 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25 are all individually in comparison to the current year (2021-22).

This investment reflects anticipated cost pressures such as inflation and changes in the number of children as forecast at the time of the Spending Review.

For 2022-23 we will increase the hourly funding rates for all local authorities by 21p an hour for the two-year-old entitlement and, for the vast majority of areas, by 17p an hour for the three and four-year-old entitlement.

The department bases its population estimates on the latest available data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). ONS data projects the 0-4 year old population will decrease by around 5% from mid-2022 to mid-2025. This is key information that needs to be taken into consideration in order to provide an accurate picture of what the funding settlement means.

We expect to announce the early years funding rates for local authorities for 2023-24 in autumn 2022 (and the following autumn for 2024-25), ahead of local authorities starting their business planning rounds for the respective financial years.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the proportion of secondary schools in England which excluded five or more children from state school in the years (a) 2018-2019, (b) 2019-2020 and (c) 2020-2021.

The attached table shows the number and percentage of schools in England with five or more permanent exclusions.

This information has been calculated from the published data on the numbers and rates of permanent exclusions and suspensions in the National Statistics release “Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England”, available to view here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england.

In the open data section, the file on permanent exclusions and suspensions by geographic area includes school level data. Data is not yet available for the academic year 2020/21, this is due to be published in July 2022.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the proportion of primary schools in England which excluded five or more children from state school in the years (a) 2018-2019, (b) 2019-2020 and (c) 2020-2021.

The attached table shows the number and percentage of schools in England with five or more permanent exclusions.

This information has been calculated from the published data on the numbers and rates of permanent exclusions and suspensions in the National Statistics release “Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England”, available to view here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england.

In the open data section, the file on permanent exclusions and suspensions by geographic area includes school level data. Data is not yet available for the academic year 2020/21, this is due to be published in July 2022.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has carried out an impact assessment on the use of behaviour hubs by state schools in England on children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

As the behaviour hubs programme has not been operational for a full year, the department is unable to comment on its impact. The effectiveness of the programme is being thoroughly evaluated. Part of the evaluation will look at the impact of the programme on specific groups, including children with special educational needs and disabilities. Early feedback from supported schools has been positive, noting the quality and inclusivity of the advice they are receiving.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the number of secondary schools in England who have (a) more than five children and (b) more than 10 children leaving the school roll to be home educated in each year since 2018-2019.

The department does not currently collect data on the number of electively home-educated children, including on where they may have been previously educated, as there is no statutory requirement for local authorities to maintain such information. Such data may be held by local authorities.

Parents and schools can inform their local authority if they have concerns about a pupil who has been off-rolled, and local authorities do have the powers to investigate such cases.

The government is committed to a form of local authority register for children not in school. Further detail on this is available in the children not in school consultation response, which was published on 3 February 2022 here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/children-not-in-school. We hope to legislate on this measure at the next suitable opportunity.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent comparative assessment has he made of the levels of (a) financial and (b) other support available to (i) self-employed and (ii) employed adoptive parents.

The government wants the adoption system to welcome prospective adopters from all walks of life and backgrounds. The overall intention of the statutory framework is to ensure that the adoption of a child or the continuation of adoption arrangements should not be prevented because of lack of financial support.

Prospective adopters are entitled to an assessment of their family’s needs. However, information about the uptake of adoption leave or its affordability for new adoptive parents is not collected centrally

It is open to local authorities to make discretionary payments to assist adoptive families. Statutory adoption guidance encourages them to do so where adopters do not qualify for any statutory payment because of their self-employment, given that financial and other support available to self-employed and employed adoptive parents is not directly comparable in all respects.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of uptake of adoption leave by self-employed parents following adoption; and what steps he is taking to ensure taking adoption leave is affordable for new adoptive parents.

The government wants the adoption system to welcome prospective adopters from all walks of life and backgrounds. The overall intention of the statutory framework is to ensure that the adoption of a child or the continuation of adoption arrangements should not be prevented because of lack of financial support.

Prospective adopters are entitled to an assessment of their family’s needs. However, information about the uptake of adoption leave or its affordability for new adoptive parents is not collected centrally

It is open to local authorities to make discretionary payments to assist adoptive families. Statutory adoption guidance encourages them to do so where adopters do not qualify for any statutory payment because of their self-employment, given that financial and other support available to self-employed and employed adoptive parents is not directly comparable in all respects.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made adequacy of access to financial support for self-employed adoptive parents after a child has been placed with them.

The government wants the adoption system to welcome prospective adopters from all walks of life and backgrounds. The overall intention of the statutory framework is to ensure that the adoption of a child or the continuation of adoption arrangements should not be prevented because of lack of financial support.

Prospective adopters are entitled to an assessment of their family’s needs. However, information about the uptake of adoption leave or its affordability for new adoptive parents is not collected centrally

It is open to local authorities to make discretionary payments to assist adoptive families. Statutory adoption guidance encourages them to do so where adopters do not qualify for any statutory payment because of their self-employment, given that financial and other support available to self-employed and employed adoptive parents is not directly comparable in all respects.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the decision to close the national assessment and accreditation system for children's social workers on the standard of service provided by social workers; and what steps he is taking to strengthen the training and skills of children’s social workers.

​Social workers go above and beyond to protect and support children and young people. The work they have done during the COVID-19 outbreak has been phenomenal, continuing to visit families in person where required throughout this difficult time.

We invest over £50 million each year on recruiting and developing child and family social workers to ensure that the workforce has the capacity, skills and knowledge to support and protect vulnerable children.

This decision to end the current delivery model of the national assessment and accreditation system (NAAS) this financial year has been informed by feedback from social workers and local authorities, as well as learning from other professions that have moved to remote assessment during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We remain committed to assessment and accreditation as a key element of continuing improvements in children’s social care. Ensuring social workers have the skills and knowledge they need is vital to improving outcomes for children and families.

We continue to work in collaboration with the sector on assessment and accreditation building on the significant learning from NAAS.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of children’s social workers who will have gone through the national assessment and accreditation system by the time of the scheme’s closure.

Around 1,100 practitioners and 800 practice supervisors will have undertaken assessment activity under the national assessment and accreditation system programme by the end of March 2022. The delivery model for the assessment and accreditation of child and family social workers is changing and will not continue beyond March 2022.

The department is committed to embedding assessment and accreditation for child and family social workers, based on the post-qualifying standards, and we are continuing to work with the sector on a new delivery model.

Our aim is to support social workers to continue to improve their practice by offering a coherent set of development and accreditation opportunities at key career stages. At the same time as developing a new delivery approach, we will take the opportunity to consider the place of assessment and accreditation within the post-qualification career pathways for social workers. This will be done in the context of any recommendations from the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, due to be published in spring 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of early years settings that have had to relax staff to children ratios as a result of covid-19 related absences for (a) 0 to 2 year olds and (b) 3 and 4 year olds; and what assessment he has he of the impact of those changes on children.

The department does not collect data on the number of early years settings that have had to relax staff to child ratios.

The statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets out staff to child ratios to help ensure that there is adequate staffing to meet the needs of, and to safeguard, children. More information can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/974907/EYFS_framework_-_March_2021.pdf.

The government considers COVID-19 to be an exceptional circumstance in which the staff to child ratios set out in the EYFS can temporarily be changed, if necessary, for example to respond to COVID-related workforce absences.

In all circumstances, any provider using flexibilities remains responsible for maintaining the quality of care and safety and security of children in the setting, as set out in paragraph 3.31 of the EYFS framework. Ratios should be guided by all relevant requirements and by the needs of individual children within the group.

We are in continual contact with early years sector organisations through regular meetings and working groups, and are feeding those messages right into the heart of government.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of (a) his Department's total spend on the national assessment and accreditation system for children’s social workers since its introduction in 2018 and (b) how much will have been spent on that scheme by the time of its closure.

Since the introduction of the National Assessment and Accreditation System, the department estimates it will have spent around £29.5 million up to the end of financial year 2021-22. Around £12 million of this funding was provided directly to local authorities to support them in continuing to develop their workforce.

As of March 2022, delivery of assessment and accreditation will stop while we work with the sector on developing a new sustainable delivery model.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the average waiting time for families to receive (a) an EHCP assessment and (b) for support to be put in place following initial referral in England, by region.

The department does not hold data on average waiting times for a needs assessment for an education, health and care plan (EHCP) or on the support which follows. The department does hold data on the number and percentage of EHCPs that are issued within the statutory 20 week timescale in the publication ‘Education, health and care plans’, which is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

In the 2020 calendar year, 58% of EHCPs were issued within the 20 week timescale, excluding cases where exceptions apply.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission continue with their full inspection programme and our team of special educational needs and disabilities advisers and colleagues in NHS England are continuing to provide support and challenge to help improve regional performance. Depending on the underlying issues that each region faces, such as those relating to EHCP assessments, we commission specialist and regional support from our delivery partners or facilitate/fund peer to peer support.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of children entering school with speech and language difficulties or delay following the closure of early years settings during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is investing in early years education recovery to address concerns around lost education. We do not have a current assessment of the number of children entering school with speech and language difficulties or delay. We will have updated data on communication and language development later this year.

Improving training for early years practitioners is one of the key levers for driving up quality in early education settings, and language development is key to this.

We are investing £180 million of recovery support in the early years sector. This includes £153 million for evidence based professional development for early years practitioners, including through new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development for the youngest children, £10 million for a second phase of the Early Years Professional Development Programme in academic year 2021/22 (targeted to support early years staff in settings to work with disadvantaged children), and up to £17 million for the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI). NELI is a proven programme aimed at reception aged children needing extra support with their speech and language development and is proven to help children make around three months of additional progress. Two thirds of primary schools have signed up, the majority of these being schools with the highest levels of disadvantage, reaching an estimated 90,000 children.

As part of our recovery strategy, we will also be significantly increasing the numbers of qualified level 3 special educational needs coordinators, to support better early identification and support of special educational needs and disabilities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support early years and childcare providers to help children catch up with missed learning and development that has been delayed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is investing in early years education recovery to address concerns around lost education. We do not have a current assessment of the number of children entering school with speech and language difficulties or delay. We will have updated data on communication and language development later this year.

Improving training for early years practitioners is one of the key levers for driving up quality in early education settings, and language development is key to this.

We are investing £180 million of recovery support in the early years sector. This includes £153 million for evidence based professional development for early years practitioners, including through new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development for the youngest children, £10 million for a second phase of the Early Years Professional Development Programme in academic year 2021/22 (targeted to support early years staff in settings to work with disadvantaged children), and up to £17 million for the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI). NELI is a proven programme aimed at reception aged children needing extra support with their speech and language development and is proven to help children make around three months of additional progress. Two thirds of primary schools have signed up, the majority of these being schools with the highest levels of disadvantage, reaching an estimated 90,000 children.

As part of our recovery strategy, we will also be significantly increasing the numbers of qualified level 3 special educational needs coordinators, to support better early identification and support of special educational needs and disabilities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2022 to Question 100627, on Special Schools: Ventilation, how many CO2 monitors were offered to nurseries and early years settings.

The CO2 monitor roll out began in September 2021 to all state-funded education providers, including early years, schools and further education providers. This included all special schools and alternative provision, who were prioritised to receive their monitors first given their higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils.

As of 14 January 2022, the department has delivered 22,859 CO2 monitors to special schools, including post-16 special and alternative provision education providers, and 42,665 CO2 monitors to nurseries and early years education providers.

The programme provided state-funded education providers, including special schools, nurseries, and early years education providers, with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across their estate assessing all spaces in a relatively short space of time. All education providers have received roughly one monitor for every two teaching rooms. Precise numbers vary according to different provider types. CO2 monitors are portable and so schools and other education providers can move them around to test their full estate, starting with areas they suspect may be poorly ventilated.

The department has also provided guidance on how to use CO2 monitors. This is available on the ventilation document sharing platform that all providers have access to.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2022 to Question 100627, on Special Schools: Ventilation, how many CO2 monitors were offered to special schools.

The CO2 monitor roll out began in September 2021 to all state-funded education providers, including early years, schools and further education providers. This included all special schools and alternative provision, who were prioritised to receive their monitors first given their higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils.

As of 14 January 2022, the department has delivered 22,859 CO2 monitors to special schools, including post-16 special and alternative provision education providers, and 42,665 CO2 monitors to nurseries and early years education providers.

The programme provided state-funded education providers, including special schools, nurseries, and early years education providers, with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across their estate assessing all spaces in a relatively short space of time. All education providers have received roughly one monitor for every two teaching rooms. Precise numbers vary according to different provider types. CO2 monitors are portable and so schools and other education providers can move them around to test their full estate, starting with areas they suspect may be poorly ventilated.

The department has also provided guidance on how to use CO2 monitors. This is available on the ventilation document sharing platform that all providers have access to.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January to Question 98353 on Pupil Referral Units, what recent assessment has he made of the (a) effectiveness and (b) outcomes of pupil referral units in reintegrating pupils into mainstream education.

In January 2021, there were 12,785 pupils whose main registration was at a state place-funded alternative provision (AP) setting (including pupil referral units, AP academies and free schools). Of those pupils, 10,575 (82.7%) were identified with special educational needs (SEN); 3,064 (24.0%) with an education, health and care plan and 7,511 (58.7%) with SEN support. The department does not publish statistics on the number of pupils who had their needs identified after referral into AP.

The department does not collect or publish information concerning the reintegration of pupils from state-place funded AP (including pupil referral units, AP academies and free schools) into mainstream education.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January to Question 98353 on Pupil Referral Units, what estimate he has made of the proportion of children and young people with special education needs or disabilities referred to pupil referral units or alternative prevision who (a) were assessed for an EHC plan, (b) were provided with additional support prior to being referred and (c) had their needs identified after their referral.

In January 2021, there were 12,785 pupils whose main registration was at a state place-funded alternative provision (AP) setting (including pupil referral units, AP academies and free schools). Of those pupils, 10,575 (82.7%) were identified with special educational needs (SEN); 3,064 (24.0%) with an education, health and care plan and 7,511 (58.7%) with SEN support. The department does not publish statistics on the number of pupils who had their needs identified after referral into AP.

The department does not collect or publish information concerning the reintegration of pupils from state-place funded AP (including pupil referral units, AP academies and free schools) into mainstream education.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of special schools that have (a) closed or (b) reduced their opening hours as a result of covid-19 cases in each of the last 12 months.

The department publishes data on state-funded special schools that have closed for COVID-19 since the start of the academic year. This can be found on Explore Education Statistics. The lowest geographical level the data is split to is local authority level.

The most recent published data at national level is 6 January 2022. For regional and local authority level data, the latest published data is 16 December 2021. The most recent national, regional and local authority data can be found through this link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-23-march-2020-to-6-january-2022.

The published data on state-funded special schools that have closed for COVID-19 within the last 12 months can be found in Table 1B:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-catalogue/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2022-week-2.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of special schools that have been forced to (a) close or (b) reduce their opening hours due to covid-19 cases to date in January 2022.

The department publishes data on state-funded special schools that have closed for COVID-19 since the start of the academic year. This can be found on Explore Education Statistics. The lowest geographical level the data is split to is local authority level.

The most recent published data at national level is 6 January 2022. For regional and local authority level data, the latest published data is 16 December 2021. The most recent national, regional and local authority data can be found through this link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-23-march-2020-to-6-january-2022.

The published data on state-funded special schools that have closed for COVID-19 within the last 12 months can be found in Table 1B:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-catalogue/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2022-week-2.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number special schools that have been forced to (a) close or (b) reduce their opening hours due to covid-19 cases in December 2021.

The department publishes data on state-funded special schools that have closed for COVID-19 since the start of the academic year. This can be found on Explore Education Statistics. The lowest geographical level the data is split to is local authority level.

The most recent published data at national level is 6 January 2022. For regional and local authority level data, the latest published data is 16 December 2021. The most recent national, regional and local authority data can be found through this link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-23-march-2020-to-6-january-2022.

The published data on state-funded special schools that have closed for COVID-19 within the last 12 months can be found in Table 1B:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-catalogue/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2022-week-2.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support is being given to nurseries and other early year providers to manage increased energy costs in response to the need for increased ventilation in winter 2021-22 as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood to the answer I gave on 17 January 2021 to Questions 99355, 99356 and 99357.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department made of the number of (a) nurseries and (b) other early years providers who have (i) closed or (ii) reduced their opening hours as a result of covid-19 cases in each month of 2021.

For the period between 6 April 2020 and 9 December 2021, the department published information relative to attendance in education and early years providers during the COVID-19 outbreak. On 9 December 2021 there were a reported 81% of early years providers open compared to 5% closed. This included 54,000 open early years settings, 3,000 closed early years settings, and 9,000 early years settings whose status was unknown. The data does not distinguish between nurseries versus other types of early years provider. You can access data over previous months here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2021-week-50.

The department is also collecting data on the operating status of nurseries and other early years providers (and schools and colleges) as part of a weekly Pulse survey through January 2022 and high-level findings will be published on Tuesday 25 January and fortnightly thereafter. These findings will be reported here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

As set out in the response I gave on 5 January 2022 to PQ 92992, all nurseries and other early years providers on the Ofsted register must report to Ofsted any confirmed cases of COVID-19. Reporting is a legal requirement as set out in paragraph 3.52 of the early years foundation stage statutory framework. The notification data is published on a fortnightly basis here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reported-coronavirus-covid-19-cases-by-registered-early-years-and-childcare-settings. The department will continue to monitor the number of COVID-19 notifications in line with the trajectory of cases in the wider population.

Early years providers, including nurseries, should have contingency plans (sometimes called outbreak management plans) outlining what they would do if children or staff test positive for COVID-19, or how they would operate if advised to take extra measures to help break chains of transmission. Given the detrimental impact that restrictions on education can have on children, any measures providers take should only ever be considered as a last resort, kept to the minimum number of providers or groups possible, and for the shortest amount of time possible. Central government may offer local areas of particular concern an enhanced response package to help limit increases in transmission. For most nurseries and other early years providers, it will make sense to think about taking extra action if the number of positive cases substantially increases. Information on what circumstances might lead providers to consider taking additional action, and the steps they should work through, can be found in the contingency framework for education and childcare settings which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings. The contingency framework describes the principles of managing local outbreaks of COVID-19 in education and childcare. Local authorities, directors of public health and UK Health Security Agency health protection teams can recommend measures described in the contingency framework in individual education and childcare providers or a small cluster of providers as part of their outbreak management responsibilities.

Department officials also continue to monitor the sufficiency of childcare places and delivery of the entitlements with all local authority early years teams in England on a regular basis.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) nurseries and (b) other early years providers that have (i) closed or (ii) reduced their opening hours as a result of covid-19 cases to date in January 2022.

For the period between 6 April 2020 and 9 December 2021, the department published information relative to attendance in education and early years providers during the COVID-19 outbreak. On 9 December 2021 there were a reported 81% of early years providers open compared to 5% closed. This included 54,000 open early years settings, 3,000 closed early years settings, and 9,000 early years settings whose status was unknown. The data does not distinguish between nurseries versus other types of early years provider. You can access data over previous months here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2021-week-50.

The department is also collecting data on the operating status of nurseries and other early years providers (and schools and colleges) as part of a weekly Pulse survey through January 2022 and high-level findings will be published on Tuesday 25 January and fortnightly thereafter. These findings will be reported here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

As set out in the response I gave on 5 January 2022 to PQ 92992, all nurseries and other early years providers on the Ofsted register must report to Ofsted any confirmed cases of COVID-19. Reporting is a legal requirement as set out in paragraph 3.52 of the early years foundation stage statutory framework. The notification data is published on a fortnightly basis here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reported-coronavirus-covid-19-cases-by-registered-early-years-and-childcare-settings. The department will continue to monitor the number of COVID-19 notifications in line with the trajectory of cases in the wider population.

Early years providers, including nurseries, should have contingency plans (sometimes called outbreak management plans) outlining what they would do if children or staff test positive for COVID-19, or how they would operate if advised to take extra measures to help break chains of transmission. Given the detrimental impact that restrictions on education can have on children, any measures providers take should only ever be considered as a last resort, kept to the minimum number of providers or groups possible, and for the shortest amount of time possible. Central government may offer local areas of particular concern an enhanced response package to help limit increases in transmission. For most nurseries and other early years providers, it will make sense to think about taking extra action if the number of positive cases substantially increases. Information on what circumstances might lead providers to consider taking additional action, and the steps they should work through, can be found in the contingency framework for education and childcare settings which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings. The contingency framework describes the principles of managing local outbreaks of COVID-19 in education and childcare. Local authorities, directors of public health and UK Health Security Agency health protection teams can recommend measures described in the contingency framework in individual education and childcare providers or a small cluster of providers as part of their outbreak management responsibilities.

Department officials also continue to monitor the sufficiency of childcare places and delivery of the entitlements with all local authority early years teams in England on a regular basis.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) nurseries and (b) other early years providers that have (i) closed or (ii) reduced their opening hours as a result of covid-19 cases in December 2021.

For the period between 6 April 2020 and 9 December 2021, the department published information relative to attendance in education and early years providers during the COVID-19 outbreak. On 9 December 2021 there were a reported 81% of early years providers open compared to 5% closed. This included 54,000 open early years settings, 3,000 closed early years settings, and 9,000 early years settings whose status was unknown. The data does not distinguish between nurseries versus other types of early years provider. You can access data over previous months here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2021-week-50.

The department is also collecting data on the operating status of nurseries and other early years providers (and schools and colleges) as part of a weekly Pulse survey through January 2022 and high-level findings will be published on Tuesday 25 January and fortnightly thereafter. These findings will be reported here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

As set out in the response I gave on 5 January 2022 to PQ 92992, all nurseries and other early years providers on the Ofsted register must report to Ofsted any confirmed cases of COVID-19. Reporting is a legal requirement as set out in paragraph 3.52 of the early years foundation stage statutory framework. The notification data is published on a fortnightly basis here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reported-coronavirus-covid-19-cases-by-registered-early-years-and-childcare-settings. The department will continue to monitor the number of COVID-19 notifications in line with the trajectory of cases in the wider population.

Early years providers, including nurseries, should have contingency plans (sometimes called outbreak management plans) outlining what they would do if children or staff test positive for COVID-19, or how they would operate if advised to take extra measures to help break chains of transmission. Given the detrimental impact that restrictions on education can have on children, any measures providers take should only ever be considered as a last resort, kept to the minimum number of providers or groups possible, and for the shortest amount of time possible. Central government may offer local areas of particular concern an enhanced response package to help limit increases in transmission. For most nurseries and other early years providers, it will make sense to think about taking extra action if the number of positive cases substantially increases. Information on what circumstances might lead providers to consider taking additional action, and the steps they should work through, can be found in the contingency framework for education and childcare settings which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings. The contingency framework describes the principles of managing local outbreaks of COVID-19 in education and childcare. Local authorities, directors of public health and UK Health Security Agency health protection teams can recommend measures described in the contingency framework in individual education and childcare providers or a small cluster of providers as part of their outbreak management responsibilities.

Department officials also continue to monitor the sufficiency of childcare places and delivery of the entitlements with all local authority early years teams in England on a regular basis.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of (a) youth clubs and (b) rooms in youth clubs that have a CO2 monitor.

I refer the hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood to the answer I gave on 13 January 2021 to Question 100625.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of (a) alternative provision settings and (b) rooms in alternative provision settings which currently have a CO2 monitor.

I refer the hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood to the answer I gave on 13 January 2021 to Question 100625.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of CO2 monitors offered to alternative provision settings; and what proportion of those monitors are yet to be delivered.

I refer the hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood to the answer I gave on 13 January 2021 to Question 100625.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of (a) special schools and (b) rooms in special schools which currently have a CO2 monitor.

I refer the hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood to the answer I gave on 13 January 2021 to Question 100625.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of (a) nursery and early years settings and (b) rooms in those settings which have a CO2 monitor.

I refer the hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood to the answer I gave on 13 January 2021 to Question 100625.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate has his Department made of the number of CO2 monitors offered to special schools; and what proportion of those monitors are still to be delivered.

The department has now delivered over 353,000 CO2 monitors to over 99% of eligible maintained schools, further education colleges, and the majority of early years providers. Special schools and alternative provision education providers were prioritised, given their higher than average number of vulnerable pupils. Deliveries to these providers are now complete. Final deliveries to providers will be made shortly.

All education providers should receive approximately one CO2 monitor per two teaching rooms. The monitors are portable and so they can be moved around to test their full estate. Feedback from education providers is that they are finding the monitors helpful to manage ventilation and, in the majority of settings, existing ventilation measures are sufficient.

The private sector is autonomous, and it is up to individual providers to decide on whether they want to purchase CO2 monitors. There is no mandate from government to do so. Youth clubs were not included in the rollout of CO2 monitors as youth clubs are autonomous and able to determine their own arrangements to keep young people and staff as safe as possible.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has emphasised the importance of ventilation and had supplied guidance to education providers on ventilation requirements.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of CO2 monitors offered to youth clubs; and what proportion of those monitors are still to be delivered.

The department has now delivered over 353,000 CO2 monitors to over 99% of eligible maintained schools, further education colleges, and the majority of early years providers. Special schools and alternative provision education providers were prioritised, given their higher than average number of vulnerable pupils. Deliveries to these providers are now complete. Final deliveries to providers will be made shortly.

All education providers should receive approximately one CO2 monitor per two teaching rooms. The monitors are portable and so they can be moved around to test their full estate. Feedback from education providers is that they are finding the monitors helpful to manage ventilation and, in the majority of settings, existing ventilation measures are sufficient.

The private sector is autonomous, and it is up to individual providers to decide on whether they want to purchase CO2 monitors. There is no mandate from government to do so. Youth clubs were not included in the rollout of CO2 monitors as youth clubs are autonomous and able to determine their own arrangements to keep young people and staff as safe as possible.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has emphasised the importance of ventilation and had supplied guidance to education providers on ventilation requirements.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of CO2 monitors offered to nurseries and early years settings; and what proportion of those monitors are still to be delivered.

The department has now delivered over 353,000 CO2 monitors to over 99% of eligible maintained schools, further education colleges, and the majority of early years providers. Special schools and alternative provision education providers were prioritised, given their higher than average number of vulnerable pupils. Deliveries to these providers are now complete. Final deliveries to providers will be made shortly.

All education providers should receive approximately one CO2 monitor per two teaching rooms. The monitors are portable and so they can be moved around to test their full estate. Feedback from education providers is that they are finding the monitors helpful to manage ventilation and, in the majority of settings, existing ventilation measures are sufficient.

The private sector is autonomous, and it is up to individual providers to decide on whether they want to purchase CO2 monitors. There is no mandate from government to do so. Youth clubs were not included in the rollout of CO2 monitors as youth clubs are autonomous and able to determine their own arrangements to keep young people and staff as safe as possible.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has emphasised the importance of ventilation and had supplied guidance to education providers on ventilation requirements.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 5 January 2022 to Question 92990, on Pre-school Education: Coronavirus, of the 7,000 additional air purifiers announced by the Government how many he plans to offer to early years providers.

During the autumn term, the government provided CO2 monitors to all state-funded education providers, including nurseries, schools, and further education providers, backed by £25 million in government funding. The department has now delivered on our public commitment with over 353,000 monitors delivered. The programme supplied schools and other education providers with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across their estate. Feedback suggests that education providers are finding the monitors helpful to manage ventilation and, for the majority of providers, existing ventilation measures are sufficient.

CO2 monitors are an additional measure which the department has rolled out to education providers to be used as a guide for where ventilation can be improved. This is not intended to create an additional burden on staff but is an extra tool to support education providers to improve ventilation. It is up to leaders to decide how to best use them in their specific setting. Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and is important in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The new monitors enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping classrooms warm. When CO2 monitors indicate good ventilation, there is no need to keep windows fully open at all times. Opening windows regularly for 10 minutes, or a small amount continuously, can still reduce the airborne risk from COVID-19 substantially compared to spaces with no fresh air. Where this isn’t an option, opening higher up windows or vents causes fewer draughts, as does opening other windows by a small amount.

On 2 January 2022 we announced that 7000 air cleaning units are now being made available for mainstream state-funded education providers, including early years providers, in addition to the 1000 units made available for special and alternative provision providers that we announced in November 2021. Education providers were able to apply for funded units via an online form. Applications closed at 9am on 17 January 2022. Applications will be assessed against strict criteria. The department will prioritise spaces with the poorest ventilation to receive units based on criteria such as CO2 readings and occupation density. Deliveries of the initial units for special and alternative provision providers announced in November are now taking place, with the first deliveries made last week. Deliveries of the remaining units to mainstream settings will begin in February.

The department has also launched an online marketplace which gives education providers a route to purchasing air cleaning units at a suitable specification and competitive price, details of which can be found here: https://s107t01-webapp-v2-01.azurewebsites.net/list/air-cleaning. In future, we may review this list and as more products which meet our specification become available, these will be added. All purchases through the marketplace are managed by the supplier, rather than by the department.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 5 January 2022 to Question 92990, on Pre-school Education: Coronavirus, what support his Department is providing to nurseries and early years providers facing increased heating costs as a result of a requirement to keep windows open to improve ventilation.

During the autumn term, the government provided CO2 monitors to all state-funded education providers, including nurseries, schools, and further education providers, backed by £25 million in government funding. The department has now delivered on our public commitment with over 353,000 monitors delivered. The programme supplied schools and other education providers with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across their estate. Feedback suggests that education providers are finding the monitors helpful to manage ventilation and, for the majority of providers, existing ventilation measures are sufficient.

CO2 monitors are an additional measure which the department has rolled out to education providers to be used as a guide for where ventilation can be improved. This is not intended to create an additional burden on staff but is an extra tool to support education providers to improve ventilation. It is up to leaders to decide how to best use them in their specific setting. Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and is important in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The new monitors enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping classrooms warm. When CO2 monitors indicate good ventilation, there is no need to keep windows fully open at all times. Opening windows regularly for 10 minutes, or a small amount continuously, can still reduce the airborne risk from COVID-19 substantially compared to spaces with no fresh air. Where this isn’t an option, opening higher up windows or vents causes fewer draughts, as does opening other windows by a small amount.

On 2 January 2022 we announced that 7000 air cleaning units are now being made available for mainstream state-funded education providers, including early years providers, in addition to the 1000 units made available for special and alternative provision providers that we announced in November 2021. Education providers were able to apply for funded units via an online form. Applications closed at 9am on 17 January 2022. Applications will be assessed against strict criteria. The department will prioritise spaces with the poorest ventilation to receive units based on criteria such as CO2 readings and occupation density. Deliveries of the initial units for special and alternative provision providers announced in November are now taking place, with the first deliveries made last week. Deliveries of the remaining units to mainstream settings will begin in February.

The department has also launched an online marketplace which gives education providers a route to purchasing air cleaning units at a suitable specification and competitive price, details of which can be found here: https://s107t01-webapp-v2-01.azurewebsites.net/list/air-cleaning. In future, we may review this list and as more products which meet our specification become available, these will be added. All purchases through the marketplace are managed by the supplier, rather than by the department.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 5 January 2022 to Question 92990, on Pre-school Education: Coronavirus, what support his Department is providing to nurseries and early years providers in the event that carbon dioxide monitors detect a need for improved ventilation.

During the autumn term, the government provided CO2 monitors to all state-funded education providers, including nurseries, schools, and further education providers, backed by £25 million in government funding. The department has now delivered on our public commitment with over 353,000 monitors delivered. The programme supplied schools and other education providers with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across their estate. Feedback suggests that education providers are finding the monitors helpful to manage ventilation and, for the majority of providers, existing ventilation measures are sufficient.

CO2 monitors are an additional measure which the department has rolled out to education providers to be used as a guide for where ventilation can be improved. This is not intended to create an additional burden on staff but is an extra tool to support education providers to improve ventilation. It is up to leaders to decide how to best use them in their specific setting. Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and is important in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The new monitors enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping classrooms warm. When CO2 monitors indicate good ventilation, there is no need to keep windows fully open at all times. Opening windows regularly for 10 minutes, or a small amount continuously, can still reduce the airborne risk from COVID-19 substantially compared to spaces with no fresh air. Where this isn’t an option, opening higher up windows or vents causes fewer draughts, as does opening other windows by a small amount.

On 2 January 2022 we announced that 7000 air cleaning units are now being made available for mainstream state-funded education providers, including early years providers, in addition to the 1000 units made available for special and alternative provision providers that we announced in November 2021. Education providers were able to apply for funded units via an online form. Applications closed at 9am on 17 January 2022. Applications will be assessed against strict criteria. The department will prioritise spaces with the poorest ventilation to receive units based on criteria such as CO2 readings and occupation density. Deliveries of the initial units for special and alternative provision providers announced in November are now taking place, with the first deliveries made last week. Deliveries of the remaining units to mainstream settings will begin in February.

The department has also launched an online marketplace which gives education providers a route to purchasing air cleaning units at a suitable specification and competitive price, details of which can be found here: https://s107t01-webapp-v2-01.azurewebsites.net/list/air-cleaning. In future, we may review this list and as more products which meet our specification become available, these will be added. All purchases through the marketplace are managed by the supplier, rather than by the department.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities who have been referred to pupil referral units in each year since 2016, by local authority area and education Key Stage.

The table below is the high-level view of the total number of pupils within pupil referral units (PRUs) since 2016 with a Statement/Education Health Care (EHC) plan, as well as with and without Special Education Needs (SEN) support.

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

No SEN

3,499

3,583

3,419

3,065

2,879

2,210

SEN Support

10,015

10,453

11,447

10,908

9,997

7,511

Statement or EHC

1,501

1,633

1,866

2,161

2,520

3,064

Total

15,015

15,669

16,732

16,134

15,396

12,785

The complete breakdown by the number of children and young people placed in state place-funded alternative provision (AP) schools (i.e. pupil referral units, AP academies and AP free schools whose main registration is in an AP setting) each year since 2016 is included in the attached spreadsheet. This includes detail of placement by local authority, year group, and identification of special educational need.

This table has been produced using the ‘Special educational needs in England’ data publication, which is based on data collected in the spring school census in January each year. This can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england.

The department does not currently collect data on pupil reintegration from AP to mainstream education.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children and young people placed in pupil referral units returned to mainstream education in each year since 2016, by local education authority area and education Key Stage.

The table below is the high-level view of the total number of pupils within pupil referral units (PRUs) since 2016 with a Statement/Education Health Care (EHC) plan, as well as with and without Special Education Needs (SEN) support.

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

No SEN

3,499

3,583

3,419

3,065

2,879

2,210

SEN Support

10,015

10,453

11,447

10,908

9,997

7,511

Statement or EHC

1,501

1,633

1,866

2,161

2,520

3,064

Total

15,015

15,669

16,732

16,134

15,396

12,785

The complete breakdown by the number of children and young people placed in state place-funded alternative provision (AP) schools (i.e. pupil referral units, AP academies and AP free schools whose main registration is in an AP setting) each year since 2016 is included in the attached spreadsheet. This includes detail of placement by local authority, year group, and identification of special educational need.

This table has been produced using the ‘Special educational needs in England’ data publication, which is based on data collected in the spring school census in January each year. This can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england.

The department does not currently collect data on pupil reintegration from AP to mainstream education.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children and young people have been placed in pupil referral units in each year since 2016, by local education authority area and education Key Stage.

The table below is the high-level view of the total number of pupils within pupil referral units (PRUs) since 2016 with a Statement/Education Health Care (EHC) plan, as well as with and without Special Education Needs (SEN) support.

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

No SEN

3,499

3,583

3,419

3,065

2,879

2,210

SEN Support

10,015

10,453

11,447

10,908

9,997

7,511

Statement or EHC

1,501

1,633

1,866

2,161

2,520

3,064

Total

15,015

15,669

16,732

16,134

15,396

12,785

The complete breakdown by the number of children and young people placed in state place-funded alternative provision (AP) schools (i.e. pupil referral units, AP academies and AP free schools whose main registration is in an AP setting) each year since 2016 is included in the attached spreadsheet. This includes detail of placement by local authority, year group, and identification of special educational need.

This table has been produced using the ‘Special educational needs in England’ data publication, which is based on data collected in the spring school census in January each year. This can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england.

The department does not currently collect data on pupil reintegration from AP to mainstream education.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the spread of the omicron variant of covid-19, what (a) assessment he has made of trends in the levels of staff sickness in special schools and (b) steps is he taking to support those schools to stay safely open.

The department understands that the Omicron variant is spreading quickly, and studies are underway to collect data to help us understand the impact, including for staff in special schools and special school providers.

The department regularly reviews workforce absence data and the latest published data as of 6 January shows that 6.2% of teachers and school leaders in state-funded special schools and 6.6% of teaching assistants and other staff were absent due to COVID-19 reasons.

As the situation develops, we will continue to review data, analysis, and advice from a number of different sources including the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), and the Office for National Statistics. We also work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care as well as local authorities and Directors of Public Health to inform our planning and response.

Since the emergence of Omicron, the department has updated the operational guidance for special schools and other specialist providers, which sets out how education providers should ensure that pupils and students who are required to isolate are able to access continued education and support. The guidance is clear that whilst our priority is for face-to-face, high-quality education for all pupils and students, if they are unable to attend then we expect their school or college to be able to offer them access to high quality remote education.

The department has re-introduced the COVID-19 workforce fund to provide financial support to eligible schools and colleges for additional staff absence costs incurred from 22 November until the February spring half term in 2022. The fund is available to support schools and colleges facing the greatest staffing and funding pressures to continue to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils.

The government is clear on the critical importance of avoiding disruption to children and young people’s education. Schools must continue to comply with health and safety law and put in place proportionate control measures in line with our guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak. We continue to review the guidance regularly.

All secondary schools were asked to test their pupils once on-site, using lateral flow device tests, on return in January. Tests, personal protective equipment and funding to support the school workforce were provided. Secondary schools had the option to stagger the return to school for the first week to accommodate on-site testing. In recognition of the additional considerations specialist providers have to take into account when delivering rapid asymptomatic testing, additional guidance is available for these providers: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings. This was updated on the 2 January 2022 to reflect the recommendation that from 4 January 2022 pupils and students in year 7 and above should wear face coverings in classrooms where they are able to do so.

We have also supported nurseries, schools and colleges to improve ventilation. Over 99% of eligible maintained schools, further education colleges, and the majority of nurseries have now received a carbon dioxide monitor with over 350,000 now delivered.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) assessment he has made of the potential impact of the omicron variant on (i) children’s centres and (ii) youth clubs, and (b) steps he is taking to help ensure holiday provision can remain safely open during the Christmas holidays.

​My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced on 8 December 2021 that England will move to Plan B following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK. Urgent work has been ongoing to understand the impact of the new variant with regards to vaccines, treatments and transmissibility. Further information on Plan B can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-confirms-move-to-plan-b-in-england.

Ensuring parents can continue to access childcare remains a priority for the government. The department recognises the important role childcare, such as Holiday Activity clubs, play in providing additional childcare options to parents and carers, as well as providing enriching activities and promoting the wellbeing of children. We have prioritised that these settings can remain open, and continue to encourage schools to ensure they are offering this provision, if they have it in place.

The government also recognises the significant impact of COVID-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and the important role of youth work in supporting their development and wellbeing. We are engaging regularly with key youth organisations and colleagues in other government departments to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the provision of vital services for young people and options for addressing this.

We have updated protective measures guidance for the sector, to ensure they can offer this provision as safely as possible, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Public health advice in this guidance includes UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)-endorsed control measures, which build on the hierarchy of protective measures that were in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. When implemented in line with a revised risk assessment, these measures create an environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced for children and staff.

Additionally, specific youth sector COVID-19 guidance has been developed by the National Youth Agency, in line with guidance published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, other youth sector organisations, union representatives and health and safety experts. Youth workers continue to be classified as key workers delivering frontline services, and currently all young people are able to attend indoor or outdoor youth provision.

The government continues to manage the risk of serious illness from the spread of the virus. COVID-19 continues to be a virus that we learn to live with, and the imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education and wellbeing remains.

We will continue to look closely at all the emerging data of the omicron variant but vaccines remain our best line of defence and it is now more vital than ever that those who are unvaccinated come forward, and those eligible for their boosters book when called.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the spread of the omicron variant of covid-19, what (a) assessment he has made of trends in the level of staff sickness in children’s social care and (b) steps is he taking to support those providers.

Supporting local authorities to ensure that vulnerable children remain protected is a top priority for the government. The department collects regular data about local authority children’s services staff and residential care workers in relation to staff sickness. The most recent data is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vulnerable-children-and-young-people-survey.

The department does not yet have workforce data covering the period in which the Omicron variant became established in the country. The department is currently collecting this data.

In addition to data collection and direct communication with local authorities and residential providers, we are in regular contact with the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and other stakeholders to monitor workforce risks, including trends in the level of staff sickness, and discuss what support the department can provide.

We recognise that the Omicron variant could put the workforce under pressure for a short time. While Ofsted will continue inspection of local authority children’s services and local area special educational needs or disabilities provision, local authorities are able to request a deferral for the small number of inspections scheduled to take place in January.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has written to all local authority chief executives and directors of children’s services to reiterate the department’s commitment to supporting children’s services, including using our communications channels to encourage qualified social workers and other professionals who are currently out of the profession to sign up with agencies in their local areas in order to boost supply capacity.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education,with reference to the spread of the omicron variant of covid-19, whether he has issued updated guidance to (a) nurseries and (b) early years providers on mitigating measures to prevent the spread of covid-19.

We continue to publish comprehensive guidance to help the early years sector provide a safe and secure environment for children and staff.

This guidance explains the control measures that settings should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This includes maintaining good hygiene and appropriate cleaning regimes, keeping spaces well-ventilated, and following public health advice on testing, self-isolation, wearing face coverings and managing confirmed cases.

These UK Health Security Agency-endorsed control measures create an environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures. This has been updated in the light of the emergence of the Omicron variant, although the ways to help control COVID-19 remain the same.

To help keep spaces well ventilated, all nurseries, and childminders operating on domestic premises in groups of 4 or more, receiving state-funding, were included in the carbon dioxide monitor roll out which took place last term. The new monitors will enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping rooms warm. We are also providing an additional 7,000 air cleaning units for early years settings, schools and colleges. This will improve ventilation in settings and help to minimise disruption to face-to-face education and care.

We continue to monitor the early years sector for staffing issues, including through engagement with local authorities. We have provided significant support to protect education and childcare providers from the impact of COVID-19. We remain committed to doing everything possible to protect face-to-face education and care, and keeping early years settings open for all children.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education,with reference to the spread of the omicron variant of covid-19, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) resourcing and (b) support provided to (i) nurseries and (ii) early years childcare providers on the provision of (A) improved ventilation and (B) other covid-19 mitigation measures in those settings.

We continue to publish comprehensive guidance to help the early years sector provide a safe and secure environment for children and staff.

This guidance explains the control measures that settings should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This includes maintaining good hygiene and appropriate cleaning regimes, keeping spaces well-ventilated, and following public health advice on testing, self-isolation, wearing face coverings and managing confirmed cases.

These UK Health Security Agency-endorsed control measures create an environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures. This has been updated in the light of the emergence of the Omicron variant, although the ways to help control COVID-19 remain the same.

To help keep spaces well ventilated, all nurseries, and childminders operating on domestic premises in groups of 4 or more, receiving state-funding, were included in the carbon dioxide monitor roll out which took place last term. The new monitors will enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping rooms warm. We are also providing an additional 7,000 air cleaning units for early years settings, schools and colleges. This will improve ventilation in settings and help to minimise disruption to face-to-face education and care.

We continue to monitor the early years sector for staffing issues, including through engagement with local authorities. We have provided significant support to protect education and childcare providers from the impact of COVID-19. We remain committed to doing everything possible to protect face-to-face education and care, and keeping early years settings open for all children.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the number of early years workers who have left the sector compared to the number of new joiners in each of the past five years.

The department has published figures on the total number of paid staff working in childcare and early years provision in the ‘childcare and early years providers survey: 2021’. This report shows that the total number of paid staff working in childcare and early years provision in 2021 was estimated at 328,500. This figure is somewhat lower than in 2019 (344,100) but in line with the estimates for 2018 (331,400). 2018 is the earliest year for which comparable data are available. No comparable data was collected in 2020 because of reprioritisation as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The average (mean) number of paid staff per early years setting remained similar in 2021 compared with 2019 for all provider types.

We have commissioned qualitative interviews on the theme of early years workforce, including questions about joiners and leavers, and a survey on the impact that COVID-19 is currently having on early years workforce issues. We expect these pieces of research to be published in spring 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to support early years providers to recruit and retain staff.

We are committed to supporting the early years sector to develop a workforce with the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience to deliver high quality early education and childcare, and to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why we have recently announced an additional £153 million in programmes to support workforce development, including increasing the number of places available for early years initial teacher training. We are also developing new early years training routes, including a new National Professional Qualification for Early Years Leadership and support for new apprenticeship routes for careers in the early years.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of adoption placements which have been unsuccessful in England in 2020-21 by region.

The department does not hold information on all adoption breakdowns. We do hold information on the numbers of children who return to care who had had a previous permanence arrangement.

Figures by region on the number of children who started to be looked after who had a previous permanence arrangement under an adoption order, are shown in the table. National figures are available in table C1 of the statistical release Children Looked After in England (including Adoption) year ending 31 March 2021 at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions.

National figures showing the reasons why a child changed placement from a fostering arrangement during a year are also available in the same statistical release in table B4 via the above link. The figures in the attached table show this breakdown by region.

There are many factors that contribute to instability and placements ending in an unplanned way. Since April 2015 we have been collecting the ‘reason for placement changes’ as part of the children looked after data return submitted by local authorities. This helps us to better understand why children move, at a national and local level. However, it is not possible to make a full interpretation of whether these placements were successful or not from the categories described.

Some placement moves are necessary, particularly when part of a plan to find a longer term or permanent home for a child. Planned moves are often in the best interests of the child - a first placement may be organised at short notice due to an emergency and may not be a perfect fit, or a child may need a short-term placement for specialist care.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of foster care placements which have been unsuccessful in England in 2020-21 by region.

The department does not hold information on all adoption breakdowns. We do hold information on the numbers of children who return to care who had had a previous permanence arrangement.

Figures by region on the number of children who started to be looked after who had a previous permanence arrangement under an adoption order, are shown in the table. National figures are available in table C1 of the statistical release Children Looked After in England (including Adoption) year ending 31 March 2021 at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions.

National figures showing the reasons why a child changed placement from a fostering arrangement during a year are also available in the same statistical release in table B4 via the above link. The figures in the attached table show this breakdown by region.

There are many factors that contribute to instability and placements ending in an unplanned way. Since April 2015 we have been collecting the ‘reason for placement changes’ as part of the children looked after data return submitted by local authorities. This helps us to better understand why children move, at a national and local level. However, it is not possible to make a full interpretation of whether these placements were successful or not from the categories described.

Some placement moves are necessary, particularly when part of a plan to find a longer term or permanent home for a child. Planned moves are often in the best interests of the child - a first placement may be organised at short notice due to an emergency and may not be a perfect fit, or a child may need a short-term placement for specialist care.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the spread of the omicron variant of covid-19, what assessment has he made of the adequacy of the current (a) resourcing of and (b) support provided to special schools for (a) improving ventilation in schools and (b) implement other covid-19 mitigation measures.

Following our rollout of around 300,000 CO2 monitors to schools during the autumn term – with over 350,000 monitors delivered to over 99% of eligible maintained schools, further education colleges, and the majority of nurseries – schools are finding the monitors helpful to manage ventilation and, in the majority of education providers, existing ventilation measures are sufficient. Feedback suggests that the monitors are acting as a helpful tool to manage ventilation, sitting alongside the other protective measures in place to manage transmission, such as regular testing, vaccinations and increased hygiene.

In November, the department announced that it was providing additional funding for 1,000 air cleaning units for poorly ventilated spaces in special educational needs and disability (SEND) and alternative provision providers. This includes SEND units in mainstream schools, where quick fixes to improve ventilation are not possible. These schools were prioritised given the higher-than-average number of vulnerable pupils in attendance. These units are being delivered from January 2022.

In addition, the department also announced on 2 January that it would make up to an additional 7,000 air cleaning units available for poorly ventilated teaching spaces in state-funded education providers, where quick fixes to improve ventilation are not possible. All state funded schools (primary and secondary), further education colleges and nurseries can apply. Special and alternative provision providers that were not successful or did not apply in the first round are also eligible to apply in this round. The deadline for applications is 9am on 17 January and the additional units will be delivered from February 2022.

Any that are not eligible for a department funded unit have access to an online ‘marketplace’, which provides a route to purchasing air cleaning units of a suitable specification and competitive price.

All nurseries, out-of-school settings, schools and colleges, including all special schools, are continuing to put in place a combination of measures to help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19. These include handwashing, enhancing cleaning, ventilation and managing confirmed cases. Further information on this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Settings should continue to conduct risk assessments for their particular circumstances and take appropriate action in line with our guidance, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. There is also our guidance for special schools and other specialist settings which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

This provides additional information specifically targeted at special schools and other specialist settings to support the implementation of other COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the spread of the omicron variant of covid-19, what (b) assessment he has made of the potential effect of the spread of the variant on absences from special schools and (b) steps is he taking to ensure students who attend those schools required to isolate are able to access continued learning and support.

We know that the Omicron variant is spreading quickly, and studies are underway to collect data to help us understand the impact, including for children and young people.

On 9 December, 4.9% of all pupils were absent in all state-funded special schools for reasons related to COVID-19. This represents the total proportion of pupils absent due to all variants of COVID-19. Among those pupils, 0.1% were absent because they were isolating in line with government guidance at the time, including due to being identified as a close contact of a suspected Omicron case.

Since the emergence of Omicron, we have updated the operational guidance for special schools and other specialist settings, which sets out how settings should ensure that pupils and students who are required to isolate are able to access continued learning and support. The guidance is clear that whilst our priority is face-to-face, high quality education for all pupils and students, if they are unable to attend then we expect their education setting to be able to offer them access to high quality remote education.

We recognise that some pupils and students with special needs may need support to access remote education, and so expect schools and colleges to work collaboratively with families so that they can successfully access remote education appropriate for their level of need. Settings should keep in regular contact with children and young people to assess the effectiveness of any remote education.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education,with reference to the spread of the omicron variant of covid-19, whether his Department has issued updated guidance to children’s social care providers on mitigating measures to prevent the spread of covid-19.

The department published updated guidance for children’s social care providers on 15 December.

The guidance includes revisions in line with the introduction of ‘Plan B’ for England. This prioritises measures which can help control the transmission of COVID-19, while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts, and is in line with the measures set out in the government’s formal ‘COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021’.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in the context of the emergence of the Omicron variant of covid-19, what guidance his Department has issued to special schools regarding mitigating measures to help prevent the spread of covid-19.

The government continues to manage the risk of serious illness from the spread of COVID-19. Following the announcement from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, on 8 December 2021 regarding the Omicron variant, the department updated on 14 December the operational guidance for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and specialist settings to reflect the most recent advice on self-isolation, tracing close contacts, clinically extremely vulnerable children and adults and daily rapid testing. The guidance was further updated on the 2 January 2022 to reflect the recommendation that from 4 January 2022 pupils and students in year 7 and above should wear face coverings in classrooms where they are able to do so. The latest version of the guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

The department works closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and the UK Health Security Agency on guidance, which remains subject to change as the situation develops, the imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education remains. It is our priority that specialist settings deliver face to face, high-quality education to their pupils and students.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in the context of the spread of the Omicron variant of covid-19, what assessment he has made of levels of staff sickness in the nurseries and early years childcare sector; and what steps he is taking to support providers to keep services open.

We continue to publish comprehensive guidance to help the early years sector provide a safe and secure environment for children and staff.

This guidance explains the control measures that settings should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This includes maintaining good hygiene and appropriate cleaning regimes, keeping spaces well-ventilated, and following public health advice on testing, self-isolation, wearing face coverings and managing confirmed cases.

These UK Health Security Agency-endorsed control measures create an environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures. This has been updated in the light of the emergence of the Omicron variant, although the ways to help control COVID-19 remain the same.

To help keep spaces well ventilated, all nurseries, and childminders operating on domestic premises in groups of 4 or more, receiving state-funding, were included in the carbon dioxide monitor roll out which took place last term. The new monitors will enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping rooms warm. We are also providing an additional 7,000 air cleaning units for early years settings, schools and colleges. This will improve ventilation in settings and help to minimise disruption to face-to-face education and care.

We continue to monitor the early years sector for staffing issues, including through engagement with local authorities. We have provided significant support to protect education and childcare providers from the impact of COVID-19. We remain committed to doing everything possible to protect face-to-face education and care, and keeping early years settings open for all children.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in the context of the spread of the Omicron variant of covid-19, what assessment has he made of the adequacy of the (a) resourcing of and (b) support provided to (i) nurseries and (ii) early years childcare providers for improving ventilation and taking other mitigating steps against the spread of covid-19.

We continue to publish comprehensive guidance to help the early years sector provide a safe and secure environment for children and staff.

This guidance explains the control measures that settings should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This includes maintaining good hygiene and appropriate cleaning regimes, keeping spaces well-ventilated, and following public health advice on testing, self-isolation, wearing face coverings and managing confirmed cases.

These UK Health Security Agency-endorsed control measures create an environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures. This has been updated in the light of the emergence of the Omicron variant, although the ways to help control COVID-19 remain the same.

To help keep spaces well ventilated, all nurseries, and childminders operating on domestic premises in groups of 4 or more, receiving state-funding, were included in the carbon dioxide monitor roll out which took place last term. The new monitors will enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping rooms warm. We are also providing an additional 7,000 air cleaning units for early years settings, schools and colleges. This will improve ventilation in settings and help to minimise disruption to face-to-face education and care.

We continue to monitor the early years sector for staffing issues, including through engagement with local authorities. We have provided significant support to protect education and childcare providers from the impact of COVID-19. We remain committed to doing everything possible to protect face-to-face education and care, and keeping early years settings open for all children.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to (a) nurseries and (b) early years childcare providers on implementing measures to prevent the transmission of covid-19 in the context of the spread of the Omicron variant.

We continue to publish comprehensive guidance to help the early years sector provide a safe and secure environment for children and staff.

This guidance explains the control measures that settings should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This includes maintaining good hygiene and appropriate cleaning regimes, keeping spaces well-ventilated, and following public health advice on testing, self-isolation, wearing face coverings and managing confirmed cases.

These UK Health Security Agency-endorsed control measures create an environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures. This has been updated in the light of the emergence of the Omicron variant, although the ways to help control COVID-19 remain the same.

To help keep spaces well ventilated, all nurseries, and childminders operating on domestic premises in groups of 4 or more, receiving state-funding, were included in the carbon dioxide monitor roll out which took place last term. The new monitors will enable staff to identify areas where ventilation needs to be improved and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working, helping balance the need for good ventilation with keeping rooms warm. We are also providing an additional 7,000 air cleaning units for early years settings, schools and colleges. This will improve ventilation in settings and help to minimise disruption to face-to-face education and care.

We continue to monitor the early years sector for staffing issues, including through engagement with local authorities. We have provided significant support to protect education and childcare providers from the impact of COVID-19. We remain committed to doing everything possible to protect face-to-face education and care, and keeping early years settings open for all children.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in the context of the spread of the Omicron variant of covid-19, what assessment he has made of the level of absences from (a) nurseries and (b) early years childcare providers; and what steps he is taking to support those providers that may be experiencing a significant loss of income.

The government has provided enhanced support to nurseries during the COVID-19 outbreak given the direct and acute impacts of non-pharmaceutical interventions on nursery attendance. Nurseries that pay business rates are able to claim up to 66% relief on business rates this financial year, until 31 March 2022.

Eligible early years providers may also access the new Recovery Loans as set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 3 March 2021. The Recovery Loan Scheme is currently open to small and medium enterprises to support them to access loans and other kinds of finance so they can recover after the COVID-19 outbreak and transition period. Further details regarding this loan scheme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recovery-loan-scheme.

On 21 December, an additional £100 million was announced as part of a discretionary grant to local authorities. The intention is that this will support local businesses that may potentially be impacted financially because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Use of this funding is at the individual local authority’s discretion but is intended to support businesses who are impacted by COVID-19 but may not be eligible for the hospitality, leisure, and culture grants, as announced on 21 December.

The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is also returning from mid-January 2022 for COVID-related sickness absences for up to 2 weeks per employee occurring from 21 December 2021 onwards. This 2 week limit will be reset so an employer will be able to claim regardless of whether they have claimed under the previous scheme for that employee. More guidance is to be published shortly.

More information on both schemes can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-economic-support-package.

At the Spending Review 2021 the government announced that we are investing additional funding for the early years entitlements worth £160 million in the 2022-23 financial year, £180 million in the 2023-24 financial year and £170 million in the 2024-25 financial year compared to the current year. This is for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers and reflects cost pressures, as well as anticipated changes in the number of eligible children.

All early years settings on the Ofsted register must report to Ofsted any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the setting. Reporting is a legal requirement as set out in paragraph 3.52 of the early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework. The notification data is published on a fortnightly basis here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reported-coronavirus-covid-19-cases-by-registered-early-years-and-childcare-settings. The department will continue to monitor the number of COVID-19 notifications in line with the trajectory of cases in the wider population.

Department officials also continue to monitor the sufficiency of childcare places and delivery of the entitlements with all local authority early years teams in England on a regular basis.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the statistical release, Children looked after in England including adoptions, for the financial year 2020-21, how many of the 12,430 looked-after children who were cared for in a family and friends foster care placement on 31 March 2021 had also been in (a) an unrelated foster placement, (b) a children's home and (c) other provision for looked-after children.

The information requested is is not held centrally in the format requested and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The latest figures on looked after children in family and friends fostering arrangements are published on the Explore Education Statistics platform in the statistical release Children looked after in England including adoption: 2020 to 2021 at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions/2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many looked after children who were placed in a foster placement with a family or friend as of 31 March 2021 had previously 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, broken down by (i) national, (ii) regional and (iii) local authority area.

The latest figures on looked after children who were cared for in a relative or friend foster placement at national and local authority level are shown in the attached tables.

National figures on relative or friend foster placements from 2018 to 2021 were also published in the table ‘CLA on 31 March by characteristics’ in the 'Children looked after in England including adoptions' statistical release at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions/2021. The department does not routinely publish this breakdown at local authority level. However, figures for all foster placements by local authority are published in the underlying data table ‘CLA on 31 March by characteristics – LA’ in the same statistical release.

The latest figures on all looked after children are published at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/2633329b-cbbf-448a-8c3d-39091a1c5aa5.

Full information on the former placement arrangements of children looked after who are in a relative or friend foster placement is not held in the form requested and would incur a disproportionate cost to provide this.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many looked after children there were as of 31 March 2021 and in each preceding year for which comparable statistical information is available.

The latest figures on looked after children who were cared for in a relative or friend foster placement at national and local authority level are shown in the attached tables.

National figures on relative or friend foster placements from 2018 to 2021 were also published in the table ‘CLA on 31 March by characteristics’ in the 'Children looked after in England including adoptions' statistical release at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions/2021. The department does not routinely publish this breakdown at local authority level. However, figures for all foster placements by local authority are published in the underlying data table ‘CLA on 31 March by characteristics – LA’ in the same statistical release.

The latest figures on all looked after children are published at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/2633329b-cbbf-448a-8c3d-39091a1c5aa5.

Full information on the former placement arrangements of children looked after who are in a relative or friend foster placement is not held in the form requested and would incur a disproportionate cost to provide this.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many looked after children were cared for in a family and friends foster placement as of 31 March (a) 2021, (b) 2020, (c) 2019, (d) 2018 and in each preceding year for which comparable statistical information is available.

The latest figures on looked after children who were cared for in a relative or friend foster placement at national and local authority level are shown in the attached tables.

National figures on relative or friend foster placements from 2018 to 2021 were also published in the table ‘CLA on 31 March by characteristics’ in the 'Children looked after in England including adoptions' statistical release at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions/2021. The department does not routinely publish this breakdown at local authority level. However, figures for all foster placements by local authority are published in the underlying data table ‘CLA on 31 March by characteristics – LA’ in the same statistical release.

The latest figures on all looked after children are published at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/2633329b-cbbf-448a-8c3d-39091a1c5aa5.

Full information on the former placement arrangements of children looked after who are in a relative or friend foster placement is not held in the form requested and would incur a disproportionate cost to provide this.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many looked after children were cared for in a family and friends foster placement, broken down by local authority, as of 31 March 2021.

The latest figures on looked after children who were cared for in a relative or friend foster placement at national and local authority level are shown in the attached tables.

National figures on relative or friend foster placements from 2018 to 2021 were also published in the table ‘CLA on 31 March by characteristics’ in the 'Children looked after in England including adoptions' statistical release at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions/2021. The department does not routinely publish this breakdown at local authority level. However, figures for all foster placements by local authority are published in the underlying data table ‘CLA on 31 March by characteristics – LA’ in the same statistical release.

The latest figures on all looked after children are published at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/2633329b-cbbf-448a-8c3d-39091a1c5aa5.

Full information on the former placement arrangements of children looked after who are in a relative or friend foster placement is not held in the form requested and would incur a disproportionate cost to provide this.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps his Department has taken to help ensure that families with disabled children are able access (a) short breaks and (b) respite care that meets their health needs.

Respite care services, including short breaks, for disabled children and their families are provided based on an individual assessment of each child and family’s needs.

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

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

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

Where a child has complex health needs or is in receipt of palliative or end-of-life care, respite provision may be appropriately delivered by health providers, including children’s hospices. Local authorities have a statutory duty to assess the social care needs of disabled children and young people, and to provide respite care where necessary. Where it is appropriate, local authorities can fund respite care provided by hospices, either as a short-term stay or as a service provided to the child or young person in the family home by the hospice team. Local authorities and health commissioners regularly liaise to plan and commission the most appropriate package of respite care for the children and young people with life-limiting or life-threatening condition in their area.

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to Answer of 20 October 2021 to Question 57208 on Special Educational Needs: Expenditure, what estimate his Department has made of the average per pupil funding provided through Education Health and Care plans in each year since 2016.

I refer the hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood to the answer I gave on 20 October 2021 to Question 57208. Further detail, beyond that set out in my answer, is not available.

The department does not prescribe in detail how local authorities should allocate their high needs funding. The level of funding that an individual child or young person with an education, health, and care plan (EHC) attracts to a school or college is not information that is collected by the department from schools and colleges, or from local authorities to which we allocate high needs funding. The department can, therefore, provide neither specific per pupil levels of funding, nor averages for each year.

Furthermore, because of various adjustments between years in the funding allocated, the gradual introduction of EHC plans from 2014, and the different periods covered by the data that are collected, it is not possible to show the average funding per pupil with an EHC plan on a like-for-like basis.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that local authorities have adequate resources to ensure every family with a disabled child can receive the respite care they need.

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

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

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

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

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for Education Health and Care Plans; and what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on that funding ahead of the upcoming Spending Review.

We are aware that some local authorities have found it difficult to meet the increasing costs of provision for children and young people with education, health and care (EHC) plans. High needs funding, which is allocated to local authorities for the education of children and young people with high needs (including, but not limited to, those pupils with EHC plans) will increase by £780 million, or 9.6%, in the 2022-23 financial year. This will bring the total high needs budget to £8.9 billion, an increase of over £2.3 billion since the 2019-20 financial year. This vital extra resource will help local authorities to manage their cost pressures in this area.

We are working with HM Treasury, as part of the ongoing Spending Review, to agree funding levels beyond the 2022-23 financial year, and up to 2024-25 financial year. We expect the outcome of the Spending Review to be announced on 27 October.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's funding was for Education Health and Care plans (a) per student and (b) in total for each year since 2011.

Most of the funding for pupils with Education Health and Care (EHC) plans is allocated through the high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant for local authorities.

The high needs funding block within the Dedicated Schools Grant was created in 2013. Therefore, the department is unable to provide comparable figures before the 2013-14 financial year. The high needs funding allocations for all local authorities since the 2013-14 financial year are as follows:

Year

Total high needs block funding (£ million)

2013-14

4,966.9

2014-15

5,183.9

2015-16

5,246.5

2016-17

5,299.9

2017-18

5,826.8

2018-19

6,114.9

2019-20

6,279.1

2020-21

7,063.2

2021-22

7,905.5

2022-23 (provisional)

8,604.6

EHC plans were introduced in the 2014/15 academic year. However, there are no comparable figures before 2015, since eligibility for the previous statements of special educational needs was more limited, and the data is not directly comparable. The number of EHC plans maintained by local authorities per-year since 2015 can be seen below:

Year

Total EHC Plans (figure taken each January)

2016

74,209

2017

175,233

2018

285,722

2019

353,995

2020

390,109

2021

430,697

The department does not prescribe in detail how local authorities should allocate their high needs funding. The level of funding that a child or young person with an EHC plan attracts to a school or college is an individual matter, decided by the local authority in consultation with schools, colleges, parents, and young people themselves. The department is, therefore, unable to provide specific per student levels of high needs funding. In addition, because of various adjustments between years in the funding allocated, the gradual introduction of EHC plans from 2014, and the different periods covered by the above data, it is not possible to show the average funding per student with an EHC plan on a like-for-like basis.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to include disabled children in the levelling up agenda and help them recover from the covid-19 outbreak.

We are committed to helping all children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to make up learning lost as a result of COVID-19. Since June 2020, the department has announced more than £3 billion to support education recovery in schools, which includes support for children with SEND, 16-19 providers and early years to help pupils make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department’s recovery programmes have the flexibility to support those pupils most in need, including children with SEND, with additional funding provided for those interventions that the evidence tells us will have a significant impact on high quality tutoring and teaching.

We have consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts, both in the 2020 catch-up premium and in the 2021 recovery premium and providing the flexibility to deliver provision based on pupils’ need.

Additionally, specialist settings have also received an uplift to deliver the summer schools programme.

The department has also ensured that schools, colleges, and universities have the flexibility to target this to meet the needs of their pupils and students. In addition, we continue to work hard to ensure children and young people are given access to therapies and equipment so that the right support is in place for all children and families, including addressing the backlog in assessments.

The department is providing over £42 million in the 2021-22 financial year to continue funding projects to support children with SEND. This investment will ensure that specialist organisations around the country can continue to help strengthen local area performance, support families, and provide practical support to schools and colleges. This includes £27.3 million to the Family Fund in the 2021-22 financial year to support over 60,000 families on low incomes raising children and young people with disabilities or serious illnesses.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department made of the increase in demand for Education Health and Care plans since 2011.

The department monitors the number of requests for education, health and care plans each year. The number of requests for assessment for an education, health and care plan since 2016 are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/8ad13393-78c4-44e2-864b-1d2d589febf8.

The number of education, health and care plans (and, previously, the number of statements of special educational needs) in (a) London and (b) England since 2010 are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/a1445150-f090-4891-8684-583e75e4b9e9.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children and young people have been in receipt of an Education Health and Care plan in each year since 2010 in (a) London and (b) England.

The department monitors the number of requests for education, health and care plans each year. The number of requests for assessment for an education, health and care plan since 2016 are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/8ad13393-78c4-44e2-864b-1d2d589febf8.

The number of education, health and care plans (and, previously, the number of statements of special educational needs) in (a) London and (b) England since 2010 are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/a1445150-f090-4891-8684-583e75e4b9e9.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)