Helen Hayes Portrait

Helen Hayes

Labour - Dulwich and West Norwood

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


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 27th October 2021
14:00
Environmental Audit Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Net zero aviation and shipping
27 Oct 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.15pm: Oral evidence
Dr Andy Jefferson - Programme Director at Sustainable Aviation
Dr Chika Miyoshi - Reader in Environment Science for Aerospace at Cranfield University
Chris Young - Group Chief Engineer at Rolls-Royce
At 3.15pm: Oral evidence
Simon Bullock - Research Associate at Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester
Sarah Kenny - Chair at Maritime UK
Anna Ziou - Policy Director at UK Chamber of Shipping
View calendar
Oral Question
Thursday 28th October 2021
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral Question No. 12
What recent discussions he has had with the President of COP26 on the Environment Bill.
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Division Votes
Wednesday 20th October 2021
Environment Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 168 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 309 Noes - 185
Speeches
Thursday 21st October 2021
COP26: Limiting Global Temperature Rises

I thank the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) for securing this important debate.

The climate emergency is the …

Written Answers
Friday 22nd October 2021
Disability: Children
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had recent discussions with the Treasury …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 17th June 2021
Windrush Day 2021
That this House notes that 22 June 2021 will be the 73rd anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush …
Bills
Wednesday 27th February 2019
Planning (Affordable Housing and Land Compensation) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 23rd August 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
Monday 18th October 2021
Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Helen Hayes has voted in 267 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
(16 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
Victoria Atkins (Conservative)
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(26 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(21 debate contributions)
Home Office
(18 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

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

23rd September 2021
Helen Hayes signed this EDM on Monday 18th October 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
72 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 45
Scottish National Party: 9
Liberal Democrat: 9
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 2
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
17th May 2021
Helen Hayes signed this EDM on Thursday 26th August 2021

The right to breathe clean air campaign

Tabled by: Barry Sheerman (Labour (Co-op) - Huddersfield)
That this House acknowledges that long term exposure to air pollution causes between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths per year; expresses the belief that people across the UK and beyond should have an inalienable right to breathe clean air; notes that poor air quality is one of the greatest public health …
33 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Aug 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 13
Scottish National Party: 6
Liberal Democrat: 5
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Helen Hayes's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Helen Hayes, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Helen Hayes has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Helen Hayes has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Helen Hayes


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to define affordable housing in relation to household incomes; to amend the law relating to land valuation and compensation; and for connected purposes.


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

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


893 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
23 Other Department Questions
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 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)
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)
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)
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
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
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.

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

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

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)
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.

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 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 steps his Department is taking to help ensure that local authorities have the capacity and resources to meet their targets for providing Education, Health and Care plan assessments.

This year, local authorities have access to £51.3 billion to deliver their core services, including special educational needs and disability (SEND) services. Local authorities have the flexibility to spend according to local needs and priorities, including to undertake education, health and care needs assessments.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is responsible for local government funding including funding necessary to meet their statutory duties.

The Department for Education has been supporting local authorities to meet their statutory duties for SEND, including by providing challenge and support to those local authorities where there are long-standing delays. Each year, the department also delivers a training programme to local authorities, health, and social care staff on their statutory duties, as well as funding projects to support children with SEND.

Furthermore, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) continue with their full inspection programme and our team of SEND advisers and colleagues in NHS England are continuing to provide support and challenge to help improve performance. Depending on the underlying issues that each authority faces in this regard, the department commissions specialist support from our delivery partners or facilitate/fund peer to peer support. The department also funds and provides regional support to address issues common in specific regions. We have commissioned the CQC and Ofsted, with the support of the Department of Health and Social Care, to develop a new area SEND inspection framework to launch after the existing cycle has finished.

The government’s review of the SEND system is making good progress in identifying improvements needed to secure lasting and tangible change to the special educational needs system, drawing on significant input from a wide range of organisations, children, young people and parents. Proposals for consultation will be published as soon as possible.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the impact of the planned Health and Social Care levy on the budgets of (a) early years providers, (b) schools, (c) FE colleges and (d) universities.

Further details on the approach to the planned increase in National Insurance contributions in relation to the health and social care levy, and its impact on nurseries, schools, colleges and universities, will be set out at the conclusion of the Spending Review on 27 October 2021.

10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact of the planned increase in NICs of the Health and Social Care levy on the budget for (a) early years providers, (b) schools, (c) FE colleges and (d) universities.

Further details on the approach to the planned increase in National Insurance contributions in relation to the health and social care levy, and its impact on nurseries, schools, colleges and universities, will be set out at the conclusion of the Spending Review on 27 October 2021.

8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support his Department is providing to help schools and students prepare for exams in summer 2022 before Ofqual publishes final details of adjustments to those exams.

It is vital that pupils, including those due to take exams, attend school to minimise the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their education, wellbeing, and wider development. Due to this, the Department has implemented a comprehensive attendance strategy to ensure absence as a result of COVID-19 is minimised. We continue to closely monitor absence levels and trends to ensure a focus on attendance remains throughout this academic year. The Department continues to work closely with local authorities and schools to help them re-engage pupils, including providing best practice advice. The Government’s Supporting Families programme also continues to work with families where attendance issues are a significant concern.

The Department has also committed to an ambitious education recovery plan, including an investment of over £3 billion. This will provide direct and flexible support to schools through the introduction of the catch-up premium in academic year 2020/21 and the recovery premium in academic year 2021/22, as well as a significant expansion of the tutoring programme, to support children and young people to make up for education lost during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition, from Autumn 2021, schools and colleges will be able to access a grant to pay for senior mental health lead training, helping develop the knowledge and skills to implement an effective whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. An additional £7 million has been made available for local authorities to deliver the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on students of his Department's decision to remove funding for BTEC qualifications.

Employers are facing a skills shortage that we must act to address. It is vital in a fast moving and high-tech economy that technical education closes the gap between what people study and the needs of employers. This is why we are introducing over 20 T Levels, developed with 250 leading employers, and reviewing the wider post-16 qualifications system at level 3 and below.

The department’s plans for reform of level 3 qualifications were published on 14 July 2021. We will continue to fund high quality qualifications that can be taken alongside or as alternatives to T Levels and A levels where there is a clear need for skills and knowledge that T Levels and A levels cannot provide. This may include some Pearson BTECs, provided they meet the new quality criteria for funding approval.

The impact assessment published alongside the consultation response recognised that some students may find it more difficult to achieve level 3 qualifications in future. However, the assessment stated that the changes will generally be positive as students will have access to higher quality qualifications in the future, including new T Levels. This will put students in a stronger position to progress onto further study or skilled employment. The assessment acknowledged that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to take qualifications that could have their funding approval removed. These students should gain the most from these changes because they are the most likely to be taking qualifications that do not deliver the skills employers need. We are committed to ensuring that T Levels are accessible to all young people and have introduced flexibilities for students with special educational needs and disabilities. The T Level Transition Programme will support young people who are not yet ready to progress to a T Level but have the potential to succeed on it after some further preparation.

All qualifications will need to meet new quality criteria to be approved for funding in future. Technical qualifications will need to be approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) in order to be considered for funding approval. For academic qualifications, the department will set criteria to ensure all qualifications approved for funding are necessary alongside A levels. Ofqual will provide advice about quality to both the Institute and the department. This will ensure that all qualifications are high quality and provide the skills needed to support progression either into skilled employment or further study.

Alongside our reforms to level 3 qualifications, the department wants to improve study at level 2 and below, which has been neglected for too long. Improving level 2 and below is key to making sure that every student has a clear progression route – whether that is to high quality level 3 qualifications, apprenticeships, traineeships, or directly into skilled employment at level 2. The department is considering feedback to the call for evidence, which ran from 10 November 2020 to 14 February 2021, and there will be consultation on reform proposals later this year.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that students can continue to study BTEC qualifications in the future.

Employers are facing a skills shortage that we must act to address. It is vital in a fast moving and high-tech economy that technical education closes the gap between what people study and the needs of employers. This is why we are introducing over 20 T Levels, developed with 250 leading employers, and reviewing the wider post-16 qualifications system at level 3 and below.

The department’s plans for reform of level 3 qualifications were published on 14 July 2021. We will continue to fund high quality qualifications that can be taken alongside or as alternatives to T Levels and A levels where there is a clear need for skills and knowledge that T Levels and A levels cannot provide. This may include some Pearson BTECs, provided they meet the new quality criteria for funding approval.

The impact assessment published alongside the consultation response recognised that some students may find it more difficult to achieve level 3 qualifications in future. However, the assessment stated that the changes will generally be positive as students will have access to higher quality qualifications in the future, including new T Levels. This will put students in a stronger position to progress onto further study or skilled employment. The assessment acknowledged that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to take qualifications that could have their funding approval removed. These students should gain the most from these changes because they are the most likely to be taking qualifications that do not deliver the skills employers need. We are committed to ensuring that T Levels are accessible to all young people and have introduced flexibilities for students with special educational needs and disabilities. The T Level Transition Programme will support young people who are not yet ready to progress to a T Level but have the potential to succeed on it after some further preparation.

All qualifications will need to meet new quality criteria to be approved for funding in future. Technical qualifications will need to be approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) in order to be considered for funding approval. For academic qualifications, the department will set criteria to ensure all qualifications approved for funding are necessary alongside A levels. Ofqual will provide advice about quality to both the Institute and the department. This will ensure that all qualifications are high quality and provide the skills needed to support progression either into skilled employment or further study.

Alongside our reforms to level 3 qualifications, the department wants to improve study at level 2 and below, which has been neglected for too long. Improving level 2 and below is key to making sure that every student has a clear progression route – whether that is to high quality level 3 qualifications, apprenticeships, traineeships, or directly into skilled employment at level 2. The department is considering feedback to the call for evidence, which ran from 10 November 2020 to 14 February 2021, and there will be consultation on reform proposals later this year.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of maths (a) undergraduates and (b) postgraduates in each of the last 10 years.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency collects and publishes statistics on enrolments obtained at UK Higher Education Providers. Latest statistics refer to the 2019/20 academic year.

The attached tables show the numbers of enrolments in mathematical sciences between the academic years 2010/11 and 2019/20. Information for 2019/20 is provided in a separate table due to the introduction of a new subject classification system, the Higher Education Classification of Subjects. Figures for 2019/20 are not directly comparable with previous years.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Chancellor and (b) Prime Minster on the potential merits of providing additional funding for education recovery from the covid-19 outbreak as part of the Spending Review.

Since June 2020, the Department has announced more than £3 billion to support education recovery, including over £950 million of flexible funding to schools and £1.5 billion for national tutoring.

The Government will consider what more needs to be done in the context of the forthcoming Spending Review, including a review of time spent in school and 16-19 education and the impact this could have on children and young people’s attainment and wellbeing.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to tackle the educational gap between children of three and four years from low income families in receipt of 15 hours free childcare and those in receipt of 30 hours free childcare.

All 3 and 4- year-olds are entitled to 15 hours free childcare each week, providing children with high-quality early education. Eligible working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds are eligible for an additional 15 hours (30 hours) to help them with the additional costs associated with childcare.

The Effective pre-school, primary and secondary education project suggested there was no evidence that full-time provision (of 10 sessions per week) resulted in better outcomes for children than part-time provision (for example, 5 sessions per week). Findings suggest that an extended period of pre-school experience on a part-time basis is likely to be more advantageous than a shorter period of full-time provision. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eppse-3-to-14-years.

The 2017 Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) report showed mixed outcomes at age 3 from childcare used at ages 2 to 3. Some measures showed some improvement with additional hours of childcare (such as cognitive outcomes, socio-emotional outcomes and peer problems) but some measures showed detrimental outcomes (such as emotional self-regulation). Further information can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/627098/SEED_ECEC_impact_at_age_3.pdf.

The 2018 SEED Report concerned the impact of early education at ages 2 to 4 on child outcomes at age 4, and the importance of the early years home environment. The report suggested that outcomes were more strongly associated with demographics and the home environment than time spent in childcare. It did not find that the amount of childcare per week had any greater effect on the most disadvantaged children, although on one outcome, it had a greater effect on moderately disadvantaged children. The report can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/738725/SEED_Impact_Age_4_Report_September_2018.pdf.

When 5-year-olds were assessed in 2019, nearly three-quarters of the country’s youngest children had achieved a good level of development. This is a substantial improvement, when around half of children achieved that same level of development in 2013, when comparable data is first available.

As part of the COVID-19 education recovery strategy we have invested £17 million on the delivery of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention - improving the language skills of reception age children who need it most during the outbreak. Two-thirds of eligible mainstream primary schools have signed up for this programme, the majority of these have free school meal rates above the national average. We estimate 90,000 reception age children will get extra support with their speech and language development.

In June 2021 we also announced an additional £1.4 billion to support education recovery for children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges and early years settings, including £153 million which will provide the opportunity for evidence-based professional development for early years practitioners. This includes new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential developmental benefits of expanding 30 hours free childcare for three- and four-year-olds to all low-income families.

All 3 and 4- year-olds are entitled to 15 hours free childcare each week, providing children with high-quality early education. Eligible working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds are eligible for an additional 15 hours (30 hours) to help them with the additional costs associated with childcare.

The Effective pre-school, primary and secondary education project suggested there was no evidence that full-time provision (of 10 sessions per week) resulted in better outcomes for children than part-time provision (for example, 5 sessions per week). Findings suggest that an extended period of pre-school experience on a part-time basis is likely to be more advantageous than a shorter period of full-time provision. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/eppse-3-to-14-years.

The 2017 Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) report showed mixed outcomes at age 3 from childcare used at ages 2 to 3. Some measures showed some improvement with additional hours of childcare (such as cognitive outcomes, socio-emotional outcomes and peer problems) but some measures showed detrimental outcomes (such as emotional self-regulation). Further information can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/627098/SEED_ECEC_impact_at_age_3.pdf.

The 2018 SEED Report concerned the impact of early education at ages 2 to 4 on child outcomes at age 4, and the importance of the early years home environment. The report suggested that outcomes were more strongly associated with demographics and the home environment than time spent in childcare. It did not find that the amount of childcare per week had any greater effect on the most disadvantaged children, although on one outcome, it had a greater effect on moderately disadvantaged children. The report can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/738725/SEED_Impact_Age_4_Report_September_2018.pdf.

When 5-year-olds were assessed in 2019, nearly three-quarters of the country’s youngest children had achieved a good level of development. This is a substantial improvement, when around half of children achieved that same level of development in 2013, when comparable data is first available.

As part of the COVID-19 education recovery strategy we have invested £17 million on the delivery of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention - improving the language skills of reception age children who need it most during the outbreak. Two-thirds of eligible mainstream primary schools have signed up for this programme, the majority of these have free school meal rates above the national average. We estimate 90,000 reception age children will get extra support with their speech and language development.

In June 2021 we also announced an additional £1.4 billion to support education recovery for children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges and early years settings, including £153 million which will provide the opportunity for evidence-based professional development for early years practitioners. This includes new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional funding and resources his Department is making available to schools for measures to manage the spread of covid-19 in schools in the 2021-22 academic year.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, schools have continued to receive their core funding as normal. School budgets increased by £2.6 billion in financial year 2020/21, and will increase by a further £4.8 billion in 2021/22 and £7.1 billion in 2022/23, compared to 2019/20.

On top of existing budgets, the Department has provided additional funding to schools to cover the unavoidable costs and specific challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, such as through the exceptional costs fund in the early stages of the outbreak. In addition, schools are benefitting from a substantial recovery package, worth over £3 billion in additional support, to tackle the impact of lost teaching time.

In line with Step 4 of the roadmap, the Government has relaxed the majority of COVID-19 restrictions. The Department’s priority is for all nurseries and schools to deliver face to face, high quality education to all pupils. The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, mental and physical health.

Schools should continue to ensure good hygiene for everyone, maintain appropriate cleaning regimes, keep occupied spaces well ventilated and follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the amount of catch up funding provided per pupil in (a) Lambeth, (b) Southwark and (c) London since that funding has been available.

Allocations for the COVID-19 catch up premium for the academic year 2020-21 for Lambeth, Southwark and all other local authorities in London and England, including the per pupil rates, are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium-provisional-allocations.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the level of funding provided to schools in (a) Lambeth, (b) Southwark and (c) London for education catch-up in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Allocations for the COVID-19 catch up premium for the academic year 2020-21 for Lambeth, Southwark and all other local authorities in London and England, including the per pupil rates, are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium-provisional-allocations.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department is having with Ofqual on the impact of unconscious bias on teacher determined exam grades for (a) GCSE, (b) A-Level and (c) BTEC students.

This Government is committed to maximising fairness for all pupils receiving qualifications this summer, no matter their background.

Following discussions with Ofqual, guidance was issued to centres on making objective judgements to support teachers in awarding GCSE, A level, BTEC and vocational and technical qualifications in 2021. It was designed to help teachers make their judgements as objectively as possible, providing guidance around basing decisions on evidence, being aware of unconscious effects on objectivity, using other evidence to identify possible bias and reviewing judgements with others. Following the steps outlined in Ofqual’s guidance helps a school or college assure itself that it has maximised objectivity and avoided bias in its judgments.

Awarding organisations have also produced their own guidance on assessing grades in 2021, including information about the evidence schools and colleges need to use to produce their teacher assessed grade and what the expectations are for different grades.

All centres are required to establish how they will ensure objectivity in their centre policies which will be reviewed by exam boards. Schools, colleges, exam boards and awarding organisations will also undertake rigorous internal and external quality assurance checks to help identify any errors or instances of malpractice in their grading, maximising fairness for all pupils this summer.

Finally, an appeals system has been put in place as a safety net to correct any errors that were not identified earlier in the grading process. Pupils can, therefore, have confidence in the grades awarded this summer.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support students who do not receive the grades that they expected in August 2021, in particular students who do not meet their offers for college, university and apprenticeships.

Students should feel confident in their grades this year. Teachers have been able to choose from a range of evidence and students have only been assessed on what they have been taught.

Students should also have been able to see the evidence their teacher planned to submit for them, allowing any errors or circumstances relating to particular pieces of evidence to be taken into account in advance of grade submission.

Teachers have also received support and guidance on the assessment process this year, and examination boards have shared grade descriptors. The process has been subject to multiple internal and external quality assurance checks. This should allow students to feel assured that the process has been applied as fairly and consistently as possible.

Teacher assessed grade results will be issued on the 10 August for A levels and 12 August for GCSEs. While we hope all students receive the grades they need to progress, any student who does feel disappointed with their results will have options open to them.

The Department encourages students to talk to their school or college, and to their prospective college, university, or employer to discuss available options. The National Careers Service will also be running an examination results helpline.

Students who want to improve on their teacher assessed grade may want to consider entering autumn examinations. Examination boards will offer autumn examinations in all GCSE and A level subjects, and in mathematics and science AS level subjects. These examinations will take place over October, November and December.

There will also be an appeals system, which can be used in exceptional circumstances to correct oversights and errors not identified during earlier parts of the process. An appeal will only be successful if either an error is found, or the grade awarded or the selection of evidence is found to be unreasonable. Students’ grades could go up, down or stay the same on appeal, therefore students should carefully consider whether appealing is the right course of action for them.

With regard to examinations in 2022, we recognise that pupils taking examinations next year have faced significant disruption to their education. The Department has launched a joint consultation with Ofqual to seek views on proposed changes to examinations in summer 2022, in light of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on pupils entering these qualifications.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the number of universities which will not fully reopen for in person learning in September 2022; and what steps his Department is taking to support students at those universities.

As autonomous institutions, it is for higher education (HE) providers to determine their own provision, including their approach to teaching and learning, taking account of any government guidance. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, some providers have accelerated their digital teaching and learning plans and some will retain an element of blending learning. We know that the COVID-19 outbreak has enabled many providers to identify new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and students will continue to benefit from these alongside in person provision. We expect all universities to act in the interest of students and provide them with a full experience and in accordance with Office for Students (OfS) guidence: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guidance-for-providers-about-student-and-consumer-protection-during-the-pandemic/.

However, providers should not be planning to restrict teaching based on COVID-19 restrictions. On 6 July, we published guidance for HE providers, setting out plans from Step 4 of the government's roadmap. This includes that there will no longer be restrictions on the approach to teaching and learning in HE providers as a result of COVID-19. There will be no requirement for social distancing or other measures within in-person teaching. Providers will therefore be able to shape their courses without restrictions to face-to-face provision. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, also wrote to education leaders on 8 July, setting out plans as we move towards Step 4, including the government’s expectation that HE providers offer students a full, enriching and enjoyable experience while staying as safe as possible. The letter and details of the relevant guidance are available here: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2021/07/08/a-letter-from-the-education-secretary-to-education-leaders/.

We regularly engage with the HE sector, and this includes ensuring they are aware of the guidance and their obligations. However, as they are autonomous institutions, we do not routinely monitor their individual plans.

The OfS, the HE regulator in England, has made it clear that all HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and standards. This means ensuring that courses provide a high-quality academic experience, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes, and that standards are protected, regardless of whether a provider is delivering its courses through in-person teaching, remote online learning or a combination of both.

We have also asked universities to be clear and open about what teaching and learning approaches they plan to use so that students can make informed choices.

There is a process in place if students have concerns. They should approach their HE provider in the first instance. We expect student complaints and appeals processes to be operated flexibly, accessibly and sympathetically by providers to resolve these concerns. Students who go to university in England or Wales and who are not satisfied with their provider’s final response can approach the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education who will consider their complaint.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he is having with the higher education sector on reductions in tuition fees in response to reports that some universities are planning to continue remote learning into the 2022-23 academic year.

Universities and other higher education (HE) providers are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees within maximum fee limits set by regulations, where applicable.

The government has already announced that maximum fees in the 2021/22 academic year will remain at £9,250 for a standard full-time course. We also intend to freeze the maximum tuition fee caps for the 2022/23 academic year (the fifth year in succession that maximum fees have been frozen) to deliver better value for students and to keep the cost of HE under control.

As autonomous institutions, it is for HE providers to determine their own provision, including their approach to teaching and learning, taking account of any government guidance. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, some providers have accelerated their digital teaching and learning plans and some may choose to adopt elements for the autumn term. Blended learning is a valid approach, and digital teaching and learning throughout the COVID-19 outbreak has enabled new ways of working, highlighting that it can improve learning outcomes and enhance student engagement.

However, providers should not be planning to restrict teaching based on COVID-19 restrictions. Under Step 4 of the government’s roadmap, there will no longer be restrictions on the approach to teaching and learning in HE settings as a result of COVID-19.

On 6 July, we published guidance for HE providers setting out plans from Step 4 of the government's roadmap. This includes that there will no longer be restrictions on the approach to teaching and learning in HE providers as a result of COVID-19. There will be no requirement for social distancing or other measures within in-person teaching. Providers will therefore be able to shape their courses without restrictions to face-to-face provision. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, also wrote to education leaders on 8 July setting out plans as we move towards Step 4, including the government’s expectation that HE providers offer students a full, enriching and enjoyable experience while staying as safe as possible. The letter and details of the relevant guidance are available here: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2021/07/08/a-letter-from-the-education-secretary-to-education-leaders/.

The government’s clear and stated expectation is that HE providers should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition. We expect universities to continue delivering a high-quality academic experience and help students to achieve qualifications that they and employers value.

The Office for Students (OfS), as the regulator for English HE providers, has made it clear that providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and standards. This means ensuring that courses provide a high-quality academic experience, that students are supported and that they achieve good outcomes, and that standards are protected, regardless of whether a provider is delivering its courses through in-person teaching, remote online learning or a combination of both.

It is crucial that providers are transparent about how they will deliver their courses, and as a matter of principle, they should consult students about changes to their courses. As part of registration conditions, the OfS also outlines that providers must demonstrate that, in developing and implementing policies, procedures and terms and conditions, they have given due regard to relevant guidance about how to comply with consumer protection law. In September 2020, the OfS set out their expectations of providers relating to clarity. This is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/news-blog-and-events/press-and-media/clarity-needed-for-students-during-pandemic/.

Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of their tuition fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student. Students do have consumer rights, and it is for them to decide whether to seek to exercise these.

If students are not satisfied, they should first raise this with their university through their internal complaints procedures. If they are unsatisfied with the outcome, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

The OfS does not get involved in individual student complaints - that is for the relevant HE provider and possibly the OIA. Students can, however, notify the OfS of issues that may be of regulatory interest to it. These are called ‘notifications’. The OfS uses this information as part of its regulatory monitoring activity and to keep HE providers under review to ensure that they comply with the ongoing conditions of registration. The OfS has produced a guide for students to support them in this process.

We recognise that, in these exceptional circumstances, some students may face financial hardship. The department has worked with the OfS to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for the academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. We have also made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers this academic year (2020/21).

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to (a) improve ventilation in schools and (b) implement other mitigation measures to reduce aerosol transmission of covid-19.

The Department’s guidance states that it is important that schools, when open, ensure that they are well ventilated and that a comfortable teaching environment is maintained. This can be achieved by a variety of measures including using mechanical ventilation systems and/or natural ventilation, such as opening windows. In all cases, measures should be taken to encourage fresh air into the building, whilst striking a balance with thermal comfort. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The Department continues to review the ventilation requirements in the system of controls including considering whether monitoring carbon dioxide (CO2) levels would be appropriate, and we are working with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and NHS Test and Trace on a pilot project to measure CO2 levels in typical classrooms.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, all schools have implemented a range of protective measures that make up the Public Health England endorsed ‘system of controls’ that are recommended in the Department’s guidance. These mitigation measures create a safer environment for staff, pupils and children where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is substantially reduced. These measures include social distancing and use of bubbles, use of face coverings for staff in areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain (for example, in communal areas) and enhanced cleaning routines.

The Department continues to keep the system of controls under review based on the latest scientific evidence and advice as this continues to evolve.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to ensure the continued availability of (a) BTECs and (b) other applied general qualifications .

The department has consulted in two stages on proposals for the review of post-16 qualifications at level 3, which includes Applied General qualifications and level 3 Pearson BTEC qualifications.

The second stage of consultation ran from 23 October 2020 to 31 January 2021 and set out proposals for the qualifications that should be approved for funding alongside A levels and T Levels, and how we will make sure every qualification is high quality and allows progression to good outcomes.

We are considering the feedback to the consultation carefully and will publish a full response later this year.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish his Department's long term plans for embedding digital learning in his Department's covid-19 education recovery programme.

The Department is building on its significant investment in devices, platforms, training and digital services to develop a sustainable strategy for digital technology in education.

The Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy, to provide video lessons and resources in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. To support education recovery, Oak National Academy is developing free, high quality resources that will be available online throughout the summer holidays.

The Department has also continued to fund the Demonstrator Schools and Colleges programme, a peer to peer support network which will aim to bridge the gap between crisis response and long term implementation of technology, focusing on upskilling the profession to realise the wider benefits of technology. This includes demonstrating the ways in which technology can bolster pupil progress and outcomes, and support catch up and recovery activities. For example, through online and in-person teaching and tutoring, and supporting high-quality assessment and feedback.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the benefits of funding additional therapies for disabled children.

We know how important access to therapy services are for pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), which is why we are clear in our guidance that specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff should provide interventions as usual. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

Additionally, in the Chief Nurse’s letter of 7 October 2020 to Directors of Nursing, she made it clear that maintaining support for families is a priority and that professionals supporting children and families should not be redeployed to other services.

We are committed to helping all children and young people with SEND and have prioritised those who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts both in the 2020 Catch-up Premium and in the 2021 Recovery Premium. They, along with the pupil premium funding, can be used to support disadvantaged children and young people’s wider needs if required, including the provision of therapies. Additionally, specialist settings will also receive an uplift to deliver summer schools and will have the flexibility to plan provision based on pupils need.

We continue to encourage schools and colleges to work collaboratively with their local authority, clinical commissioning group and health providers to ensure that children and young people with SEND have access to appropriate therapies and support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Department for Education's press release, £79 million to boost mental health support for children and young people, published on 5 March 2021, what plans his Department has to provide mental health and wellbeing support to schools that will not be covered by one of the new mental health support teams.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is priority for the department and we have a long-term joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England - introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges and incentivising all schools and colleges to identify and train a senior mental health lead.

The £79 million is additional NHS England funding for children and young people’s mental health support, which will include increasing the number of Mental Health Support Teams. The support will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children. This increase, on top of the investment in NHS mental health services set out in the 10-year plan, means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services.

Alongside this, we have now confirmed that up to 7,800 schools and colleges in England will be offered funding worth £9.5 million to train a senior mental health lead from their staff in the next academic year, which is part of the Government’s commitment to offering this training to all state schools and colleges by 2025. Training will provide senior leads with the knowledge and skills to develop or introduce a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing in their setting, which encourages staff to develop their own understanding of issues affecting their pupils, giving young people a voice in how their school or college addresses wellbeing and working with parents and monitoring pupils where appropriate. Information on this is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/958151/Promoting_children_and_young_people_s_emotional_health_and_wellbeing_a_whole_school_and_college_approach.pdf/.

We will also fund an adapted ‘Link' programme which is designed to improve partnerships between health and education leaders in local areas, raise awareness of mental health concerns and improve referrals to specialist help when needed.

The support schools are providing to their pupils following the return to face-to-face education should include time devoted to supporting mental health and wellbeing, which will play a fundamental part in supporting recovery. The return to education settings is being supported by a £700 million package, which includes a new one-off Recovery Premium for state primary, secondary and special schools to use as they see best to support disadvantaged students. This will help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a one-off boost to the support, both academic and pastoral, that has been proved most effective in helping them recover from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and can be used for mental health and wellbeing support.

We have supported schools to put the right pastoral support in place through the Wellbeing for Education Return scheme in the 2020/21 academic year, which provided free expert training, support and resources for staff dealing with children and young people experiencing additional pressures from the last year – including trauma, anxiety, or grief.

The department has convened its Mental Health in Education Action Group, to look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities, as well as considering what additional support is required. The action group highlighted that schools and colleges need help to understand, navigate and access the range of provision available locally, so as a first step we are providing £7 million additional funding to local authorities to provide further expert support to do this through the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of establishing an annual survey of children's wellbeing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for sixth form students.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with universities on ensuring that students applying for university in the 2021/22 academic year are not disadvantaged by the cancellation of exams.

The government is working closely with partners across the education sector, and with higher education (HE) providers, to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and the disruption it has caused to young people’s education, including for those who will be applying to university for the 2021/22 academic year.

Through discussions at my HE taskforce, and from regular conversations that I have had with representative groups and individual universities, I am encouraged that universities will be flexible when making offers to individual students applying to university in 2021/22, to ensure that these students are able to receive fair offers. It is more crucial than ever before that we tap into the brilliant talent that our country has to offer, and make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.

The Department for Education and Ofqual have recently launched a joint consultation inviting views on the alternative arrangements by which students will be awarded GCSEs, AS and A level grades in summer 2021, as well as the arrangements for vocational and technical qualifications. The consultation will take account of views from a range of parties including the HE sector to ensure that young people are supported to move to the next stage of their lives.

It is also vital that students applying to university in 2021 have extra time to carefully consider their applications and make the best choices for their future. As such, for students applying to enter university in 2021, the UCAS deadline for most courses has been pushed back to 29 January 2021.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figures are shown in the tables, attached.

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

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

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

Figures are shown in the tables, attached.

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

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

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

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

There is no published data on predictions for GCSEs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is no published data on predictions for GCSEs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is no published data on predictions for GCSEs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is no published data on predictions for GCSEs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Healthcare and social care are devolved matters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent birds and small mammals from being caught in glue traps.

In our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, published in May this year, we announced that we would look to restrict the use of glue traps as a means of pest control. Accordingly, we are supporting the hon. Member for Wolverhampton North East’s Glue Traps (Offences) Private Members Bill, which proposes to ban the use of glue traps for catching rodents. The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 16 June, and we will work closely with her over the coming months as the Bill progresses through Parliament.

Anyone using glue traps already has a responsibility under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to act within the law to ensure their activities do not cause any unnecessary suffering. The industry’s code of best practice (https://www.pmalliance.org.uk/codes-of-best-practice/), produced after consultation with Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Natural England, provides clear principles for the legal use of glue traps, including measures to protect non-target animals.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the use of glue traps in pest control.

In our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, published in May this year, we announced that we would look to restrict the use of glue traps as a means of pest control. Accordingly, we are supporting the hon. Member for Wolverhampton North East’s Glue Traps (Offences) Private Members Bill, which proposes to ban the use of glue traps for catching rodents. The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 16 June, and we will work closely with her over the coming months as the Bill progresses through Parliament.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish the formula for new burdens funding for the proposed changes to waste management.

The Government will ensure that local authorities are resourced to meet any new burdens arising from our collections and packaging reforms, including up front transition costs and ongoing operational costs.

We are working to assess net additional costs to local authorities, in line with the new burden’s doctrine. We will engage with the Local Government Association on these cost estimates, including the appropriate timing for funding to be provided to authorities. We will share information on cost estimates and funding timelines with local authorities in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to increase local authority powers to direct property managers to make suitable provision for waste storage within properties they manage, including for separate collection of recyclable materials, where such decisions are not directly in the control of residents.

In respect of household waste, local authorities already have powers under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) to serve a notice requiring an occupier to put their waste for collection in a specified kind and number of receptacles. Clause 57(5) of the Environment Bill amends section 46(2) of the EPA so that, subject to it being reasonable, an English waste collection authority (WCA) may require separate receptacles or compartments of receptacles to be used for the purposes of complying with its duties under new section 45A or 45AZA. This would mean that an English WCA can require different recyclable waste streams to be put in different receptacles.

A person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any requirements imposed by section 46 shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale. An authorised officer may issue a fixed penalty notice under section 47ZA of the EPA to enable a person to discharge any liability to conviction for the offence.

If a person has failed to comply with a section 46 requirement, WCAs can also give a written notice under section 46A of the EPA if the failure has caused or is or was likely to cause a nuisance or has been or is or was likely to be detrimental to any amenities of the locality. If a written warning gets ignored, they can issue a financial penalty under section 46B. They also are not required to collect the waste if it is put out in contravention of a section 46 requirement.

Regarding household waste from non-domestic premises and relevant waste (which is commercial and industrial waste, which is similar in nature and composition to household waste), the Environment Bill requires that the person that presents waste for collection under the arrangements must present it separated in accordance with the arrangements (which must comply with the requirements in the Environment Bill). This would therefore include the waste producer but also a property manager if they were presenting the waste on behalf of a number of properties.

Under section 47 of the Environmental Protection Act, a WCA may already serve a notice against a business if their waste is not stored in receptacles of a particular kind and it is likely to cause a nuisance or to be detrimental to the amenities of the locality. Clause 57(6) of the Environment Bill amends s47(3) of the EPA so that WCAs can require separate receptacles or compartments to be used for the purposes of complying with the requirements in new s45AZB.

We are not currently planning on amending this legislation to change the powers that local authorities have. Our consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling,' recently closed and we are considering responses to our proposals on the detail around enforcement.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to increase local authority powers to recover the full costs from waste producers and property managers of collecting and disposing of the contents of a contaminated bin and other failures to follow a reasonable requirement to separate waste for recycling.

In respect of household waste, local authorities already have powers under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) to serve a notice requiring an occupier to put their waste for collection in a specified kind and number of receptacles. Clause 57(5) of the Environment Bill amends section 46(2) of the EPA so that, subject to it being reasonable, an English waste collection authority (WCA) may require separate receptacles or compartments of receptacles to be used for the purposes of complying with its duties under new section 45A or 45AZA. This would mean that an English WCA can require different recyclable waste streams to be put in different receptacles.

A person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any requirements imposed by section 46 shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale. An authorised officer may issue a fixed penalty notice under section 47ZA of the EPA to enable a person to discharge any liability to conviction for the offence.

If a person has failed to comply with a section 46 requirement, WCAs can also give a written notice under section 46A of the EPA if the failure has caused or is or was likely to cause a nuisance or has been or is or was likely to be detrimental to any amenities of the locality. If a written warning gets ignored, they can issue a financial penalty under section 46B. They also are not required to collect the waste if it is put out in contravention of a section 46 requirement.

Regarding household waste from non-domestic premises and relevant waste (which is commercial and industrial waste, which is similar in nature and composition to household waste), the Environment Bill requires that the person that presents waste for collection under the arrangements must present it separated in accordance with the arrangements (which must comply with the requirements in the Environment Bill). This would therefore include the waste producer but also a property manager if they were presenting the waste on behalf of a number of properties.

Under section 47 of the Environmental Protection Act, a WCA may already serve a notice against a business if their waste is not stored in receptacles of a particular kind and it is likely to cause a nuisance or to be detrimental to the amenities of the locality. Clause 57(6) of the Environment Bill amends s47(3) of the EPA so that WCAs can require separate receptacles or compartments to be used for the purposes of complying with the requirements in new s45AZB.

We are not currently planning on amending this legislation to change the powers that local authorities have. Our consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling,' recently closed and we are considering responses to our proposals on the detail around enforcement.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that changes to waste management reflect differing local contexts including (a) availability of space for waste storage, (b) differing collection frequency needs and (c) difficulties in separating food waste in areas where residents predominantly live in flats; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure that local authorities are empowered to make adjustments in accordance with those contexts.

We want to make recycling easier and ensure that there is a comprehensive, consistent service across England. The Environment Bill stipulates that all local authorities in England must make arrangements for a core set of materials to be collected for recycling from households. This core set includes paper and card; plastic; glass; metal; food waste and garden waste.

Local authorities can still decide to collect the recyclable waste streams co-mingled (i.e. multiple waste streams collected together) in cases where it is not technically or economically practicable to collect the recyclable waste streams separately from each other, or there is no significant environmental benefit in doing so, subject to completing a written assessment. The only exception to this is that food and garden waste must always be collected separately from the dry recyclable waste streams. Local authorities may apply these exceptions in circumstances where there is a lack of available storage space to collect recycling streams separately – including blocks of flats. We have recently consulted on plans to develop further guidance on written exemptions and best practice for local authorities. This guidance will take into consideration views provided by stakeholders during our recent public consultation.

Local authorities will also maintain the ability to decide the frequency of recyclable waste collections, except for food waste which will need to be separately collected on a weekly basis.

Finally, local authorities will be provided with new burdens funding to support adjustments to their waste collection services necessitated by our reforms. We are working to assess the net additional costs of our reforms as provided in the Impact Assessment accompanying our second public consultation on recycling consistency. As part of this process we will engage with local authorities to consider the appropriate nature and timing of funding.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the use of single use plastics; and what assessment his Department has made of the benefits of a target of 50 per cent reduction by 2025.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042, including from single-use plastics. We are making great strides to tackle plastic pollution across the country. In December 2018 we published the Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out how we want to achieve this and move towards a circular economy and keep resources in the system for as long as possible.

We have made significant progress on reducing single-use plastic products. In October 2020, we introduced measures to restrict the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. The single-use carrier bag charge, which has led to a 95% reduction in the use of single-use carrier bags by the main supermarkets, has been increased to 10p and extended to all retailers to encourage customers to bring their own bags to carry shopping and reduce the volumes of single-use plastic being used. We will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and materials to take a systematic approach to reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic products, including problematic packaging materials. However, we must think carefully about introducing bans and other policy solutions to avoid unintended consequences, such as a switch to another single-use material.

Our Environment Bill will enable us to significantly change the way we manage waste and take forward a number of proposals from the Resources and Waste Strategy. The Bill will include powers to create Extended Producer Responsibility schemes, introduce Deposit Return Schemes, and give us the power to set new charges for other single-use plastic items. Our consultations on an EPR scheme for packaging and a DRS for drinks containers closed on 4 June. From April 2022, we will introduce a new tax on plastic packaging, set at £200 per tonne for packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled content. The tax is estimated to lead to around 40% more recycled plastic being used in packaging in 2022/23, saving nearly 200,000 tonnes of CO2. In effect a tonne of recycled plastic will be over £600 more valuable. This will create a market for recycled content, which we expect to drive investment in further capacity in the UK.

The Government has put together a package of over £100 million for research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £38 million was set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, the last funding competition of which opened in June 2020.  The Resource Action Fund included £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also announced £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry, towards the development of smart, sustainable plastic packaging (SSPP), which will aim to make the UK a world leader in sustainable packaging for consumer products. Two SSPP funding opportunities have been open for bids in 2021: the SSPP Demonstrator Round 2 and the SSPP business-led research and development competition.

The Department has not made an assessment of the impact of a target to reduce single-use plastics by 50% by 2025. However, the Environment Bill includes a requirement for the Government to set at least one long-term target on resource efficiency and waste reduction. Work is already underway on developing these targets, in order to help guide the government the Resources and Waste Targets Expert Group has been formed. More information can be found at:  https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/resources-and-waste-targets-expert-group.

Moreover, the Government is exploring packaging recycling targets under our proposals for extended producer responsibility for packaging. The consultation on our more detailed proposals closed on 4 June 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle illegal puppy smuggling and inhumane breeding practices.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June. This will allow us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on puppy smuggling and other low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain. The Bill reduces the number of pet dogs, cats and ferrets that can be moved under the pet travel rules which apply to non-commercial movements from 5 per person to 5 per vehicle for ferries and rail routes and 3 per person if a foot passenger or via air travel.

The Bill also includes a power to make regulations about the importation of pet animals into Great Britain for the purpose of promoting animal welfare. This will enable us to go further in the future and explore measures to prohibit or restrict imports of puppies below a minimum age, heavily pregnant dams, or dogs which have been subjected to mutilations such as cropped ears or docked tails.

The Government is planning to launch a consultation later this year on the proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. The consultation will allow us to refine the scope of the measures.

Significant steps have also been taken to improve and update the laws on dog breeding in England. Under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs and/or who breeds three or more litters in a twelve-month period needs to have a valid licence from their Local Authority. Licensees must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards which are enforced by Local Authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps steps he is taking to tackle the promotion of cropping dogs ears on social media.

This Government is committed to eradicating the illegal cropping of dogs ears, not just addressing the practice’s promotion on social media. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is already an offence in England and Wales to carry out a non-exempted mutilation e.g. where it is not carried out for medical purposes, including the cropping of a dog’s ears. Now that The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 has come into force, anyone convicted of such an offence faces being sent to prison for up to 5 years, or receiving an unlimited fine, or both.

The Government published its Action Plan for Animal Welfare on 12th May, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/action-plan-for-animal-welfare/action-plan-for-animal-welfare. This is a wide-reaching and ambitious plan to set out our current and future work on animal welfare. The Government has a manifesto commitment to crack down on puppy smuggling and one of our key reforms in the plan is to end this abhorrent, cruel practice and low-welfare pet imports. As part of the Action Plan, we are now making some significant changes to domestic law through the recently introduced Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill. This Bill was introduced in Parliament on the 8 June and will progress through Parliament when parliamentary time allows. The Bill includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation. These power will allow us to go further and prioritise the welfare of dogs by prohibiting the importation and non-commercial movement of dogs into GB that have been subject to low welfare practices, such as ear cropping or tail docking, in line with our domestic legislation on these practices.

Meanwhile my Department maintains a national communications campaign (Petfished) to raise awareness of issues associated with low-welfare and illegal supply of pets. This includes providing clear signposting on where responsible breeders and rehoming centres can be found and encouraging prospective buyers to research the seller thoroughly before they visit and decide to purchase. The campaign provides a list of red flags for buyers to look out for when searching for a pet online. More information can be found here: https://getyourpetsafely.campaign.gov.uk/. We have also endorsed The Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) which was created to combat growing concerns about the irresponsible advertising of pets for sale, rehoming and exchange and backed a set of Minimum Standards that PAAG developed which several of the UK’s largest classified websites have agreed to meet.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the timescale to introduce a deposit return scheme on the amount of plastic waste the UK will export overseas by 2024.

In the Resources and Waste Strategy, we have committed to taking actions which will help to stimulate private investment in reprocessing and recycling infrastructure. The introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers, alongside the other Collection and Packaging Reforms (Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging (EPR) and consistency in household and business recycling in England), is expected to increase and incentivise appetite for commercial infrastructure investment, giving investors greater confidence in the growing UK reprocessing market and reducing the reliance on exporting material overseas. Alongside this, the HMT plastic packaging tax is expected to increase demand for secondary material plastic and increasing reprocessing infrastructure will help meet this demand.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much and what proportion of the terrestrial and marine area of each of the UK Overseas Territories is in legally designated protected areas.

Information on the extent of marine and terrestrial protected areas for the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) by region has been published on gov.uk for the first time, as part of the recent 25 Year Environment Plan Outcome Indicator Framework update.

This can be accessed at Outcome Indicator Framework for the 25 Year Environment Plan: 2021 Update. (pages 157-160).

This shows that 63% of the marine environment and 4.7% of the terrestrial environment in the UKOTs is now protected.

These statistics focus on spatially defined, formally designated measures for biodiversity conservation. In addition to protected areas, it includes other effective conservation measures where these are considered to deliver biodiversity conservation outcomes by virtue of a long-term management regime. Decisions on which sites to include in the indicator were made by the UK Overseas Territories, in line with their responsibilities for the environment.

This indicator will continue to be updated to reflect future changes to protected areas such as the recent designation of the Tristan da Cunha Marine Protection Zone.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) improve the sustainability of the fishing industry and (b) ensure that fishing practices do not damage the biodiversity of global oceans.

The Fisheries Act’s objectives, together with their strong legal framework of the Joint Fisheries Statement and Fisheries Management Plans set out our commitment to achieving sustainable (in all senses of the word) fishing and protecting the marine environment.

Internationally, the UK is expanding and enhancing our efforts to sustainably manage fisheries, protect ecosystems and combat illegal fishing at an international scale through our engagement in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, other international organisations such as the FAO, and directly with individual States.

The UK is championing efforts to achieve ambitious and transformative outcomes from the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) COP15 in October later this year, including targets for sustainable fishing practices, and is co-leading global efforts to ensure the adoption of a target to protect at least 30% of land and ocean globally by 2030 (the ‘30by30’ target). Importantly, the UK also supports the conclusion of negotiations on a new implementing Agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement), which will have provisions that allow for the creation of MPAs in these areas, a key mechanism to deliver ‘30by30’.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the proportion of (a) UK and (b) global waters which have been damaged by bottom trawling and supertrawlers.

The impacts of all fishing activities are considered when we assess the status of UK seas and set targets to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) under the UK Marine Strategy. Our last assessment (2019) showed that pressure and disturbance caused by fishing activities occurs to some degree in 57% of habitats in UK waters.

Work is currently underway to update Part Three of the UK Marine Strategy, which sets out the programmes and measures we are taking in our waters to help us move towards or maintain GES. Included as part of these measures will be the new Fisheries Act which now allows UK Authorities to manage fishing activity in our waters and will help to achieve the UK’s vision of a clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse ocean and seas.

The IPBES 2019 Global Assessment shows us that human activities have had alarge and widespread impact on the ocean. Globally, direct exploitation of organisms in particular overexploitation of fish, shellfish and other organisms, has had the largest relative impact on biodiversity. An increasing proportion of marine fish stocks are overfished, and industrial fishing covers at least 55% of the ocean. Coastal habitats, including estuaries and deltas critical for marine biota and regional economies, havebeen severely affected by sea-use changes, including bottom trawling.

Evidence indicates that effective protection of at least 30% of the global ocean can help in reversing these adverse ecological impacts, preserve fish populations, increase resilience to climate change, and sustain long-term ocean health. That is why, in addition to protecting 38% of the UK’s own waters in Marine Protected Areas, the UK is co-leading global alliances in support of a target to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030 (‘the 30by30 target’). Under UK leadership, over 80 countries have now committed to support the adoption of this target at Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15, due to be held in October 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to reduce the use of bottom trawling and supertrawlers by the fishing industry.

Defra is continuing to work with fishermen to develop ways to reduce the impact of fishing gear on the seabed, whilst still allowing the industry to remain profitable. For example, 98 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in inshore waters have management measures in place to protect sensitive features from bottom towed fishing gears. The Marine Management Organisation has recently concluded the first in a series of consultations on measures for offshore MPAs, which again seek to reduce the impact of bottom trawling.

The issue of supertrawlers is more complex as they generally target pelagic species of fish within the water column and are unlikely to damage the seabed. We are currently reviewing our policy on these vessels but perhaps more importantly, working to develop more robust management of non-quota stocks which these vessels are targeting as well as quota stocks.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish its new life cycle assessment of disposable and washable hygiene products.

The environmental assessment of disposable and reusable absorbent hygiene products is being undertaken by independent analysts. They have taken into consideration information including a recent survey using YouGov Parents Omnibus to establish current ages for potty training, and are using the most recent and best available international lifecycle inventory databases and secondary data in the public domain, supported by primary data provided by industry where this has been forthcoming. The analysts are in the final stages of completing the work which will be published later this year, following peer review. The sources of the information used will be included in the final report.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that his Department is using the most up to date data available to inform its new life cycle assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products.

The environmental assessment of disposable and reusable absorbent hygiene products is being undertaken by independent analysts. They have taken into consideration information including a recent survey using YouGov Parents Omnibus to establish current ages for potty training, and are using the most recent and best available international lifecycle inventory databases and secondary data in the public domain, supported by primary data provided by industry where this has been forthcoming. The analysts are in the final stages of completing the work which will be published later this year, following peer review. The sources of the information used will be included in the final report.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of the data being collated with reference to the age at which children potty train that is informing his Department's new life cycle assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products.

The environmental assessment of disposable and reusable absorbent hygiene products is being undertaken by independent analysts. They have taken into consideration information including a recent survey using YouGov Parents Omnibus to establish current ages for potty training, and are using the most recent and best available international lifecycle inventory databases and secondary data in the public domain, supported by primary data provided by industry where this has been forthcoming. The analysts are in the final stages of completing the work which will be published later this year, following peer review. The sources of the information used will be included in the final report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: HMRC)

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

Quantity Exported (tonnes)

52,080

171,480

356,412

479,748

635,908

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

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

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

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

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

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase rates of tree-planting and urban greening in metropolitan areas.

We are committed to increasing tree planting and will set out policies to achieve this in the England Tree Strategy, including planting and protecting trees in and around urban areas, which are vital to creating healthy places to live. We are already delivering on this through:

  • £80m of charity-led projects funded through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, the first round of which supported a wide range of projects to protect, restore and connect people with nature, including a national street tree sponsorship scheme and tree planting around the NHS estate.
  • £10m Urban Tree Challenge Fund, supporting planting of up to 134,000 trees, including 20,000 street trees.
  • £12.1m investment in England’s ten Community Forests to create high quality, accessible woodlands around towns and cities.
  • £2.5m to pilot innovative means to grow trees outside woods, in partnership with Local Authorities.

This complements wider support for urban greening through:

  • Creation of a Nature Recovery Network, connecting wildlife-rich places across our towns, cities and countryside.
  • Development of a National Framework of Green Infrastructure Standards to help local authorities, developers and communities to improve greening provision.
  • Designing and investing in healthy places to live and work through the forthcoming National Model Design Code, Towns Fund and new £4bn Levelling Up Fund.
Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Total Allowable Catches set at the Agrifish Council in December 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of local authorities’ ability to implement the biodiversity net gain system in respect of their (a) resourcing and (b) technical staffing levels; and what plans his Department has to allocate additional funding to support local authorities to implement the biodiversity net gain system.

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

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

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

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

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the contribution of the application of the biodiversity net gain system to the UK’s (a) climate, (b) tree-planting and (c) nature recovery targets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans he has to ensure organisations in receipt of Official Development Assistance invest in environmentally sustainable projects.

Environmental sustainability and tackling climate change are crucial parts of international development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

All DFID programming is required to comply with a set of Smart Rules and ‘avoid doing harm’ by creating or exacerbating environmental damage. DFID has two Smart Guides to help in this regard: (i) the Environmental and Social Safeguards Guide; and (ii) the Climate and Environment Guide.

DFID expects all organisations it funds to minimize any adverse impacts on local people, their livelihoods, culture and the environment. This is set out in the Supplier Code of Conduct. Suppliers must demonstrate they have taken sufficient steps to protect the local environment and community they work in, and to identify environmental risks that are imminent, significant or could cause harm.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 9092 on Developing Countries: Climate Change, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of UK Export Finance’s funding for international (a) oil and (b) gas projects on developing country dependency on fossil fuels.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals recognise the importance of affordable clean energy access in order to create economic growth and sustainable development.

All governments that are signatories to the Paris Agreement make their own decisions as to how they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet their Nationally Determined Contributions. DFID provides technical assistance for developing countries to think about their energy choices and achieve a more sustainable, diversified energy mix. UK ODA increasingly supports renewable energy sources – between 2011-12 and 2018-19 UK aid has provided 26 million people with improved access to clean energy and avoided 16 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. UK Export Finance is not classed as Official Development Assistance.

We are continuing to work closely with departments and agencies across Government, to implement the Prime Minister’s announcement on aligning future UK ODA spending with the Paris Agreement.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of her Departments's role in promoting climate dependency; and what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on UK Export Finance’s investments in carbon intensive industries abroad.

The Prime Minister announced in July that the UK Government will align all future UK Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) spending with the Paris Agreement. This means ensuring we assess all programming for the impact they have on climate change, and that any investment support for fossil fuels affecting emissions is in line with the Paris Agreement temperature goals and transition plans. We are working closely with departments across Government to agree how this commitment will be implemented.

As the UK’s export credit agency, UKEF is responsive to the evolving export financing needs of UK companies as they transition away from fossil fuels. The Prime Minister announced at the Africa Investment Summit that the government will provide no new direct ODA, investment, export credit or trade support for coal power and thermal coal mining overseas.

14th Jan 2021
What recent steps she has taken to ensure continuity of trading relationships for UK businesses after the end of the transition period.

In under two years, HM Government has secured trade deals with 63 countries, which covered £217 billion of trade in 2019. Taken alongside our recent deal with the European Union, trade with countries worth £897 billion in 2019 is now covered. No country, anywhere in the world, at any point in history, has conducted trade negotiations concurrently on this scale nor with our ambition.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how much funding her Department or associated bodies provided in support for exports of (a) coal, (b) biomass for electricity generation, (c) gas, (d) offshore wind, (e) onshore wind, (f) solar and (g) nuclear in each year since 2015.

The Department for International Trade only holds a record of funding allocations for these sub-sectors in relation to UK Export Finance (UKEF) in the form of export credit loans and guarantees; the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) in the form of grants to offset individual companies’ international exhibition costs; and Core Event funding to enable UK pavilions to represent UK industry at major international trade shows.

Financial support since 2015 from these sources can be broken down as follows for the sectors requested:

DIT Core Events:

Financial budget in support of international trade events

FY Year
(Apr-Mar)

Coal

Biomass

Oil & Gas

Offshore wind

Onshore wind

Solar

Nuclear

2015

0

712,000

274,000

60,000

0

0

105,000

2016

0

690,000

142,000

59,000

0

0

294,000

2017

0

0

101,000

262,000

0

0

477,000

2018

0

60,000

22,000

110,000

0

0

181,000

2019

0

0

165,000

50,000

0

0

185,000

2020

0

0

90,000

100,000

0

0

205,000

Total

0

1,462,000

794,000

640,000

0

0

1,447,000

Events represented by these figures were in some cases in support of both UK exports and inward investment goals

DIT Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) grants:

To offset UK companies’ individual international exhibition costs

FY Year
(Apr-Mar)

Coal

Biomass

Oil & Gas

Offshore wind

Onshore wind

Solar

Nuclear

2015

12,500

70,500

57,000

0

0

0

0

2016

36,000

22,500

8,000

0

0

7,500

2017

12,500

102,100

35,000

0

0

0

0

2018

2,500

83,500

57,000

47,000

0

0

4,500

2019

£0

82,500

45,000

37,000

0

0

0

2020

£0

8000

0

0

0

0

0

Total

27,500

382,600

216,500

92,000

0

0

12,000

Significant fluctuations may be due to some events being biennial

UK Export Finance (UKEF)

Export Credit in support of export contracts (£ million)

FY Year
(Apr-Mar)

Coal

Biomass

Gas (only)

Renewable Energy
(aggregated)

Nuclear

2015

1.5

0.1

25

1

0

2016

23

0

375

24

0

2017

0

0

277

1

0

2018

0

0

635

6

0

2019

50.9

0

63

381

0

Total

75.4

0.1

1,375

413

0

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 9090 on Fossil Fuels: Export Credit Guarantees, what estimate she has made of the amount of Government investment in coal projects through UK Export Finance in each year since 2015.

I refer the Hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood to the answer I gave to the Hon. Member for Brighton Pavilion on 23 January 2020, UIN: 5385

To clarify, UK Export Finance (UKEF) does not invest equity or provide funding into projects. The support provided by the Department is in the form of financing, insurance or guarantees for loans.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what estimate her Department has made of the amount of Government investment provided to (a) oil and (b) gas projects through UK Export Finance in each year since 2015.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) provides support through loans, guarantees and insurance.

UKEF has provided the following amount of support for oil and gas projects since 2015.

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Oil

£556m

£355m

£17m

£1.36bn

Gas

£25m

£375m

£277m

£635m

Oil & Gas*

£16m

£287m

£0.7m

0

*This category represents projects which comprise a combination of oil and gas and the figures are in addition to the separate oil and gas numbers.

The main reason for the increase in figures for 2018/19 is due to support for Petrobras’ oil exploration and the construction of two power stations in Iraq.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of UK Export Finance investments on trends in the level of global fossil fuel emissions; and whether her Department has plans to to limit UK Export Finance investments to environmentally sustainable projects.

The value of UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) support for fossil fuel-related exports represents around 0.2% of global investment in the sector.

As the world transitions to a low carbon economy, there remains a need for a mix of energy sources and technologies. UK companies have an important role to play in the transition away from fossil fuels and UKEF will remain responsive to the evolving export financing needs of UK companies during this transition. The Government continues to develop strategies to combat climate change and UKEF is an important part of this Government-wide effort.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the role of local authorities in the decarbonisation of transport.

There is no uniform approach to decarbonisation and each place has its role to play in ensuring the UK meets its target of net zero by 2020. Using place-based solutions for emissions reduction is one of the six strategic priorities in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan. We recognise that for transport, local and regional level organisations are often best placed to make the decisions that will deliver practical change. Local authorities are a key part of this picture, and we have committed to publish a Local Authority Toolkit that will provide guidance to support local areas to deliver more sustainable transport measures. We will support decarbonisation by investing more than £12 billion in local transport systems over the current Parliament, enabling local authorities to invest in local priorities, such as improving electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he is having with the Rail Safety and Standards Board on the publication of the results of their fortnightly modelling of the risks of catching covid-19 on trains.

My officials have had several discussions with the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) about its SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk model, including about the release of its modelled data. As an independent organisation and as the owner of this information, it is ultimately for RSSB to make decisions on disclosure of the data it holds, as it has a fuller understanding of the data and is placed best to take a judgement on the approach to publication.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the level of risk of catching covid-19 whilst travelling by train.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, my Department has closely monitored scientific evidence published in relation to SARS-CoV-2 transmission risks and available mitigation measures. Based on the analysis of a wide range of sources, including academic scientific publications, domestic and international policy documents, and technical briefs, our assessment is that there is no evidence that public transport is a major driver of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the UK.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has provided advice to passengers and transport operators to help people to travel with confidence, recognising the importance of passengers making informed decisions. This includes our Safer Travel guidance aimed at passengers, and our Safer Transport guidance aimed at transport operators. We will continue to support passengers as they return to travelling by rail.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the costs to international travellers associated with (a) privately-funded covid tests and (b) hotel quarantine for those arriving from countries on the Red list during the covid-19 pandemic.

The government continues to work across departments, the travel industry and private testing providers to further reduce testing costs, while ensuring travel is as safe as possible. The government will continue to review the testing and health measures in place, with the next Checkpoint review taking place later this month.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support small travel businesses which have lost business due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the challenges businesses in the travel industry face as a result of Covid-19. Firms, across all sectors, that are experiencing difficulties have been able to draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor. This includes support through loan guarantees, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The extension of Government-backed loans and furlough payments announced at the Budget build on the support package available and help ensure the travel industry, a vital part of the UK economy, is ready to bounce back in the wake of the pandemic.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with Transport for London on financial support for London’s transport network.

The Government is committed to keeping London moving. In October 2020, the Government agreed an extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL worth up to £1.7 billion, in addition to the earlier May 2020 deal worth up to £1.6 billion.

The Department for Transport regularly engages with Transport for London, including in relation to understanding the impacts of Covid-19 on TfL’s finances and what further support may be required.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with his Department on the potential effect of rail infrastructure projects on reducing national carbon emissions.

I have had no recent direct discussions with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy on this issue. Officials from both departments regularly discuss the role of the railway in delivering the Government’s commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to introduce more flexible rail fares for commuters in (a) London and (b) England in response to an increase in remote and flexible working during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the change in travel patterns, the impact of COVID-19 and therefore the need to accommodate a more flexible style of working and travelling. We also understand concerns about the cost of some rail fares and the impact that this can have on people’s budgets.

The Department has proactively approached the rail industry and is currently considering proposals received from train operators who both operate services into London and those who operate elsewhere in England, that try to ensure better value and convenience for travellers. Train operators who already offer some form of flexible ticketing for commuting into London include c2c, Chiltern Railways, Gatwick Express, Greater Anglia, South Western Railway, and Govia Thameslink. Commuting within London falls under the responsibility of the Mayor of London.

These are unprecedented times and our immediate focus must be on ensuring that we keep the railway available and safe for those who need to rely upon it.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of (a) the UN's declaration of the second Decade of Action for Road Safety (2021-30) and (b) the Stockholm Declaration made at the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety: Achieving Global Goals 2030 Stockholm, 19–20 February 2020; and what plans his Department has to review speed limits.

The Government takes road safety very seriously, and supports the aims of both of these to prevent 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries. The Government was active in the development of these important international documents, with Ministerial attendance to the Stockholm Ministerial Conference and officials actively working on the drafting of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety Declaration. The Government continues to support activities that promote road safety both domestically and internationally and support the aims of both the UN and Stockholm Declarations.

With regard to 20mph, local authorities have the power to determine speed limits on the local road network, and are asked to keep the limits under review with changing circumstances. There are currently no plans to review the English national limits.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many times officials or ministers in his Department met with the Kent Resilience Forum to discuss Operation Brock in (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) to date in 2020.

I am responding to this question as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport. Official Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) meetings to discuss Operation Brock are divided into strategic and tactical working groups. These are the meetings where the whole KRF are in attendance and consist of Government Department officials, agencies and Kent stakeholders. In 2018 there were five strategic and five tactical meetings. In 2019, there were 22 strategic and 22 tactical meetings. In 2020, there have been nine strategic and eight tactical meetings to date.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the ability for passengers to maintain safe social distance at older railway stations that have not have platform extensions.

Rail operators are working hard to facilitate social distancing between passengers wherever possible, in line with Public Health England advice. Measures include making regular station speaker announcements, the installation of clear floor markings and the provision of extra staff to manage passenger flows and provide guidance to passengers. Operational plans are in place to facilitate this and continue to be reviewed.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what equalities impact assessment his Department made ahead of its decision to make it a requirement of providing emergency funding to TfL to end the Freedom Pass and impose peak time restriction on the Oyster 60+ card in London on people (a) on low incomes and (b) with disabilities.

The £1.6 billion Extraordinary Funding and Financing Agreement to enable Transport for London to continue to run services contained a series of conditions, which were agreed by the Mayor of London and Deputy Mayor for Transport, to facilitate safe travel on public transport in London.

While the temporary changes to the validity of the Older Person's Freedom Pass, 60+ Oyster photocard and English National Concessionary Scheme in London have removed free travel for users of these passes from 04:30 to 09:00 Monday to Friday, the provision for over 60s travel in London is still greater than that elsewhere in England, where the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme allows cardholders to travel on buses across the UK for free after 09:30.

An Equality Impact Assessment of the temporary changes to over 60s travel in London was completed by Transport for London and is published here: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/md2642_appendix_2_-_eqia.pdf

The temporary changes do not affect passengers with a Disabled Freedom Pass who are still able to travel at all times using their Pass if they have to use public transport for their journey.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what equalities impact assessment of low income families his Department made ahead of its decision to make it a requirement of providing emergency funding to TfL to change fares in London for children and young people under 18.

The £1.6 billion Extraordinary Funding and Financing Agreement to enable Transport for London (TfL) to continue operating services contained a series of conditions, which were agreed by the Mayor of London and Deputy Mayor for Transport, to facilitate safe travel on public transport in London, including the temporary suspension of free travel for under 18s.

The Department is working closely with TfL on how the temporary suspension can be operationalised, whilst ensuring that any child eligible for free home to school travel under the Education Act 1996 will still receive this. The Department is also completing an Equality Impact Assessment, which will consider whether there are further categories of vulnerable children that should receive free transport.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the (a) resilience of Network Rail’s signalling infrastructure and (b) the potential for failure of that infrastructure to affect passengers.

As part of Network Rail’s latest settlement (Control Period 6) Government has committed to continue record levels of investment in rail infrastructure, providing around £48bn of funding across the five-year period spanning from 2019 to 2024. This funding settlement is focussed on maintaining and improving rail infrastructure assets including signals, and includes major programmes of signalling upgrades which will increase resilience. This will help support a more reliable railway for passengers by reducing the instances of failures which affect passengers. This includes Network rail’s recognition within the CP6 delivery plan that digital signalling renewals are a priority. Network Rail have published their Long-Term Deployment Plan for digital signalling as part of the Digital Railway transformation

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to ensure that rail infrastructure is (a) secure and (b) fit for purpose.

The management of the UK’s mainline rail infrastructure is undertaken by Network Rail. To enable Network Rail to carry out its work effectively, Government has committed to continue record levels of investment in rail infrastructure, providing around £48bn of funding across the five-year period spanning from 2019 to 2024. This funding settlement is focussed on maintaining and improving rail infrastructure assets to help support a more reliable railway for passengers.

With regards to security, the Government regulates the rail industry in Great Britain, including both domestic and international operators and works closely with the police and security partners. Policing of the railway is undertaken by the British Transport Police, the specialist dedicated police force for the railway in Great Britain.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in the context of the potential increase in energy bills in the coming months, what assessment she has made of the planned end of the £20 uplift in universal credit on claimants' ability to heat their homes.

No assessment has been made. The Cold Weather Payment (CWP) scheme helps vulnerable people in receipt of certain income-related benefits to meet the additional costs of heating during periods of severe cold weather. Cold Weather Payments are targeted at those in receipt of eligible benefits with a pension element or disability component or where there is a child under five in the household.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

​Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in the context of the potential increase in energy bills, what steps she is taking to help ensure that (a) universal credit and (b) legacy benefit claimants will be able to afford heating over winter 2021.

Working age benefits, which include legacy benefits, were increased by £1bn (1.7 per cent) from April 2020 and received a further £500m (0.5 per cent) increase from April 2021 as part of the Government’s annual up-rating exercise (both figures in cash terms).

DWP also provides support to help meet the additional costs of heating through the Cold Weather Payment and Winter Fuel Payment schemes.

The Cold Weather Payment scheme helps vulnerable people in receipt of certain income-related benefits to meet the additional costs of heating during periods of severe cold weather. Cold Weather Payments are targeted at those in receipt of eligible benefits with a pension element or disability component or where there is a child under five in the household.

Under the Winter Fuel Payment scheme, somebody who has reached State Pension Age and is under age 80 will receive £200 to help pay heating bills; rising to £300 for households with somebody aged 80 and over. This is a significant contribution towards a household’s winter fuel bill.

The Warm Home Discount administered by BEIS also provides short-term support with energy bills through rebates, helping households stay warm and healthy in winter. The Warm Home Discount scheme currently provides over 2 million low-income and vulnerable households with a £140 rebate off their winter energy bill. Warm Home Discount funding for the 2021/22 year is worth £354m.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to measure the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on people with disabilities.

We are committed to ensuring all disabled people can play a full role in society. That is why we published the National Disability Strategy on 28 July which takes into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people and focuses on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life.

The impact of COVID-19 on disabled people, and those with health conditions, continues to be monitored across Government using a range of sources including regular engagement with disabled people and disability stakeholders to ensure the needs of disabled people are considered in the Government’s response to, and recovery from COVID-19

The Disability Unit is also working with the Office for National Statistics to improve our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people.

We are learning as much as we can, as quickly as we can about this virus, who it affects and how best to keep everyone safe from it and protect those who may be more vulnerable than others.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to progress the Universal Credit pilots.

The pilot that had been active in Harrogate was suspended as the Department focused on delivering its part of the Government’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to its suspension, the emphasis of the pilot was to assist with developing the design of the Move to Universal Credit service and its processes, to provide the best possible support for claimants who are moved to Universal Credit.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment has she made of the (a) adequacy of the rate of legacy benefits and (b) benefits of extending the £20 uplift in Universal Credit to legacy benefits.

No assessment has been made. There is no objective way of deciding what an adequate level of benefit should be as everyone has different requirements. Income related benefit rates are not made up of separate amounts for specific items of expenditure.

The Government has always been clear that the £20 increase was a temporary measure to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe that they will be better off.

Working age benefits, which include legacy benefits, were increased by £1bn (1.7 per cent) from April 2020 and received a further £500m (0.5 per cent) increase from April 2021 as part of the Government’s annual up-rating exercise (both figures in cash terms).

Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe they will be better off. The Government encourages anybody to go on GOV.UK and use one of the independent benefit calculators to check carefully their eligibility, because on applying for Universal Credit their entitlement to legacy benefits will cease and they will not be able to return to them in the future. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to Universal Credit or remaining on legacy benefits. They can get help through the government funded Help to Claim scheme as well as the Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland.

Since July 2020, a two-week run-on of housing benefit, income support and income-related employment and support allowance and income-based jobseeker’s allowance is paid to eligible claimants to provide additional support to move to Universal Credit.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps is she taking to improve the collection of benefit and employment data about people with a learning disability within her Department.

The Department collects data in relation to people with a learning disability where it is relevant to their claim to certain health and disability benefits, as well as making use of the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey.

The Department regularly publishes these statistics for those claiming Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance, and these can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Detailed information about the primary disability of those on Universal Credit receiving the Limited Capability for Work or Limited Capability for Work Related Activity element, and those receiving Employment and Support Allowance is not readily available and has not previously been published.

The Department already publishes annual Official Statistics on the employment of disabled people. These include employment levels and rates for disabled people with severe or specific learning difficulties.

The data can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/the-employment-of-disabled-people

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that people with a learning disability moving from legacy benefits to universal credit do not receive a reduction in their benefits.

Many individuals moving to Universal Credit will find themselves better off. Universal Credit will provide an extra £2.1bn a year once fully rolled out, compared to the system it replaces. Universal Credit is fundamentally different to existing benefits and tax credits and claims cannot be compared like for like.

For claimants previously entitled to Severe Disability Premium, we have introduced the Universal Credit Transitional Provisions Amendment Regulations 2021 and these came into force on 27 January 2021. The Regulations ensure that a transitional Severe Disability Element remains available for new claims to Universal Credit following a change of circumstances made on or after 27 January 2021.

In addition, all eligible legacy claimants who will be required to claim Universal Credit as part of the managed migration process will be awarded, where necessary, Transitional Protection to ensure that their initial entitlement to Universal Credit is not less than their final entitlement to legacy benefits. The Government encourages anybody to go on GOV.UK and use one of the independent benefit calculators to check carefully their eligibility, because on applying for UC their entitlement to legacy benefits will cease and they will not be able to return to them in the future. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits. They can get help through the government funded Help to Claim scheme as well as the Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of claimants granted pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme who will lose access to benefits; and what support her Department is putting in place in those cases.

The Home Office’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) allows EU citizens to apply for an immigration status and ensure that they have the right to live, work and access income based benefits. EU citizens may be granted settled or pre-settled status, depending on whether they have been resident in the UK for a continuous period of more than five years.

EU citizens with pre-settled status have the same access to benefits as they did prior to the introduction of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). They will satisfy the right to reside element of the Habitual Residence Test and can access benefits if they are exercising a qualifying right to reside, such as a worker or self-employed person, and are habitually resident in the UK.

As long as an individual continues to exercise a treaty right, those with pre-settled status can continue to access benefits. Moving from pre-settled status to settled status will not result in losing benefits if the application is made in time.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 815 on Universal Credit, when the managed migration pilot in Harrogate will resume.

I refer the Honourable Member to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 815. A date for the resumption of Move to UC will be determined in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 815 on universal credit, what plans she has to bring forward further regulations to enable the migration of the remaining legacy benefit caseload to universal credit.

This is currently under review.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 815 on Universal Credit, whether her Department plans to transfer up to 10,000 people from legacy benefits to universal credit as part of the migration pilot as announced on 11 March 2019.

This is currently under review.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish a timeline for publication of the Green Paper on Disability Benefits.

Given the necessary focus on the departmental response to Covid-19, we are working to a longer timescale than previously anticipated. We are continuing engagement with disabled people and their representatives and plan to publish the formal consultation document in the coming months.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what employment support her Department is providing to people with learning disabilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

DWP is providing a range of support to help people with learning disabilities secure and keep employment during the Covid period:

The increased number of work coaches will enable us to continue supporting those with complex needs, and to work with partners to ensure they get the help they need.

People in particular disadvantaged groups will continue to benefit from local support via the increased Flexible Support Fund and priority early access to the Work and Health Programme.

The Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme (IPES) provides highly personalised packages of employment support for disabled people who want to work but have complex needs or barriers and require specialist support to achieve sustained employment.

Access to Work funds tailored support to disabled people who are in work, including apprenticeships, or participating in DfE Traineeships or Supported Internships. AtW has recently introduced a new flexible offer to support disabled people to return to, move into and retain employment. This enables disabled people to receive in-work support to work in the workplace, at home or a combination of both.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the progress of the managed migration pilot for universal credit.

The Pilot remains suspended as the Department continues to focus on delivering its part of the Government’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 allow the Department to pilot moving claimants to Universal Credit from legacy benefits. Prior to its suspension, the emphasis of the pilot was not to focus on the number of people moved, but to assist with developing the design of the Move to UC service and its processes, to provide the best possible support for claimants who are moved to Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of providing a £20 per week uplift to legacy benefits.

There are no plans to extend the temporary Universal Credit uplift to legacy benefits, and Parliament has voted to bring an end to legacy benefits in Great Britain. Natural migration to Universal Credit (UC) is required when a person needs to claim new support because of a change of circumstances.

Claimants on legacy benefits can voluntarily make a claim for UC if they believe that they will be better off. Claimants considering making a claim should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under UC before applying, as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their UC claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. They can also get help through the government funded Help to Claim scheme as well as the Citizens Advice Bureau and Citizens Advice Scotland.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) average and (b) longest waiting time for a response to be issued to a Freedom of Information request made to her Department was in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Departmental Freedom Of Information (FOI) performance is based on compliance against the statutory 20 working day time limit and these stats are captured for all Government departments on a quarterly and annual basis.

These statistics are accessible through the following link https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-foi-statistics

The next update to these statistics will be 28 April 2021 when Q4 2020 and 2020 annual statistics will be published.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of providing a £20 per week uplift to legacy benefits.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until September 2021.

The temporary Universal Credit Standard Allowance uplift was introduced to support those facing the most financial disruption due to the pandemic. There are no plans to extend the uplift to legacy benefits. Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) if they believe that they will be better off. Claimants should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under UC before applying as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future.

Support is also available for legacy claimants migrating across to UC. Since 22 July, a two-week run-on of Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid to eligible claimants to provide additional support to move to Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent progress her Department has made on the managed migration pilot for universal credit.

The Pilot remains suspended as the Department continues to focus on delivering its part of the Government’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 allow the Department to pilot moving claimants to Universal Credit from legacy benefits. Prior to its suspension, the emphasis of the pilot was not to focus on the number of people moved, but to assist with developing the design of the Move to UC service and its processes, to provide the best possible support for claimants who are moved to Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will provide an update on the timetable for the publication of the Green Paper on disability benefits.

Given the necessary focus on the departmental response to Covid-19, we are working to a longer timescale than previously anticipated. We will continue the engagement with disabled people and their representatives and plan to publish the formal consultation document in 2021.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what employment support her Department is providing to people with learning disabilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

DWP is providing a range of support to help people with learning disabilities secure and keep employment during the Covid period.

The increased number of work coaches will enable us to continue supporting those with complex needs, and to work with partners to ensure they get the help they need.

People in particular disadvantaged groups will continue to benefit from local support via the increased Flexible Support Fund and priority early access to the Work and Health Programme.

The Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme (IPES) provides highly personalised packages of employment support for disabled people who want to work but have complex needs or barriers and require specialist support to achieve sustained employment.

Access to Work funds tailored support to disabled people who are in work, including apprenticeships, or participating in DfE Traineeships or Supported Internships. AtW has recently introduced a new flexible offer to support disabled people to return to, move into and retain employment. This enables disabled people to receive in-work support to work in the workplace, at home or a combination of both.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2021 to Question 141547 on Social Security Benefits: Disability, what comparison her Department has made between the adequacy of (a) legacy benefits rates for disabled people and (b) universal credit following its £20 uplift.

No such assessment has been carried out. It should be noted we will spend over £55 billion this year (2020/21) on benefits to support people with health conditions and disabilities. This will increase by £1.6 billion to £57 billion in 2021/22.

There are no plans to extend the temporary £20 uplift to legacy benefits. Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) if they think they will be better off and should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under UC before applying, as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their UC claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits. There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who are now able to make a new claim to Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2021 to Question 141547 on Social Security Benefits: Disability, what plans her Department has to review the rate of legacy benefits for disabled people in response to the covid-19 outbreak and the £20 uplift to universal credit.

No such assessment has been carried out. It should be noted we will spend over £55 billion this year (2020/21) on benefits to support people with health conditions and disabilities. This will increase by £1.6 billion to £57 billion in 2021/22.

There are no plans to extend the temporary £20 uplift to legacy benefits. Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) if they think they will be better off and should check carefully their eligibility and entitlements under UC before applying, as legacy benefits will end when claimants submit their UC claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits. There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who are now able to make a new claim to Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support people on legacy benefits.

In April 2020, legacy benefits were increased by £600m (1.7%). This Government will ensure that benefits retain their value by guaranteeing that for a consecutive year, benefits will increase by further £100m (0.5%) from April, in line with CPI, as part of the Government’s annual up-rating exercise.

In addition, last year, to support those on low incomes through the outbreak, we introduced a package of temporary welfare measures.

For example; we increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants, so they now cover the lowest 30% of local rents. This increase, costing almost £1 billion, will mean 1.5 million households see an increase, on average, of £600 in 2020/21. We also increased the additional earnings disregard in Housing Benefit to ensure increases in the maximum rate of the basic element of Working Tax Credit did not impact on a claimant’s Housing Benefit award.

We also legislated to allow access to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from day one of a claim for Covid-19 related cases and we have made it easier to access ESA by launching a portal for new style ESA online claims.

Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe that they will be better off. Those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from January 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of financial support available to people on legacy benefits.

In April 2020, legacy benefits were increased £600m (1.7%). This Government will ensure that benefits retain their value by guaranteeing that for a consecutive year, benefits will increase by a further £100m (0.5%) from April, in line with CPI, as part of the Government’s annual up-rating exercise.

Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe that they will be better off. Those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from January 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made on the adequacy of benefit rates for disabled people on legacy benefits.

We will spend over £55 billion this year (2020/21) on benefits to support people with health conditions and disabilities. This will increase by £1.6 billion to £57 billion in 2021/22.

20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment has she made of the implications for her policies of the increase in demand on food banks and charities providing emergency food during the third lockdown.

No such assessment has been made. Throughout this pandemic, this Government has delivered an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and businesses and, for those in most need, injected billions into the welfare system.

The new Covid Winter Grant Scheme builds on that support with an additional £170m for local authorities in England, to support families with children and other vulnerable people with the cost of food and essential utilities this winter. The funding is ring-fenced, with at least 80% earmarked to help with food and bills, and will cover the period to the end of March 2021.

DEFRA has made an additional grant of £16 million to FareShare to support local charities across England with the purchasing and distribution of food over a 12-week period that began at the start of December. This follows the £16m of funding announced last May for the provision of meals through charities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to support disabled people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is publishing a rolling programme of data and articles relating to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, with specific outputs on disabled people in Great Britain.

The Department has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organisations and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the support needed.

The Government is ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to employment support, disability benefits, financial support; food, medicines, as well as accessible communications and updated guidance.

The Government continues to provide disability employment support through initiatives such as Access to Work, Disability Confident, the Work and Health Programme, Intensive Personalised Employment Support, and other forms of support that disabled people need to retain, adapt and move into employment.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit works with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the UK Government’s response to COVID-19. We are clear that consideration of equality impacts must be integral in all key policy decisions. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People this year taking into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people. The strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential benefits of advising people prior to retirement age of whether it would be in their interests to make voluntary additional National Insurance contributions in order to increase their pension.

Information on filling National Insurance gaps through voluntary National Insurance contributions and credits is already widely available. Information is available on Gov.uk and as part of the personalised forecasts which are available through the online Check your State Pension Forecast service. People can also telephone the Future Pensions Centre on 0800 731 0175, where personalised information about voluntary National Insurance Contributions is also available.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who are not eligible for the (a) Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, (b) Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and (c) Universal Credit; and what steps is she taking to make additional support available to those people.

The Government is wholly committed to supporting people on lower incomes and has paid out more than £100 billion in welfare support this year.

We estimate most households will be eligible for some Universal Credit support if they are unable to work or on lower earnings and have lower than £16K capital/savings.

The new £170m COVID Winter Grant Scheme extends the support already in place and will enable local authorities to support vulnerable households in in their area with the cost of food and essential utilities this winter.

The Department recognises that work is the best route to prosperity. We are investing in our recovery from this pandemic with our Plan for Jobs including our £2bn Kickstart scheme which is already creating thousands of high-quality jobs for young people, and our Ten Point Plan which will create 250,000 green jobs, helping us build back better. We have also boosted our Flexible Support Fund by £150m to provide localised and tailored employment support for people across the UK and we are doubling the number of frontline Work Coaches to help support people of all ages to find a job, retrain, or gain vital practical experience.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to section 96(A) of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, when she next plans to review the level of the benefit cap.

i) Due to the early election taking place the levels of the cap were not reviewed in the last Parliament.

ii) DWP routinely collects data on capped households and publishes that information each quarter. The latest statistical release, published on 26 November 2020, shows the picture in August 2020 and includes household characteristics together with regional breakdowns supported by a narrative that provides insight into the data drivers. The latest statistical release can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-cap-number-of-households-capped-to-august-2020

iii) Information relating to households who will be newly affected by the Benefit Cap in November and December at the end of their grace period is not readily available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what research her Department (a) has conducted and (b) plans to conduct to understand the reasons for the increase from February to May 2020 in the number of households in London affected by the benefit cap.

i) Due to the early election taking place the levels of the cap were not reviewed in the last Parliament.

ii) DWP routinely collects data on capped households and publishes that information each quarter. The latest statistical release, published on 26 November 2020, shows the picture in August 2020 and includes household characteristics together with regional breakdowns supported by a narrative that provides insight into the data drivers. The latest statistical release can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-cap-number-of-households-capped-to-august-2020

iii) Information relating to households who will be newly affected by the Benefit Cap in November and December at the end of their grace period is not readily available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households that claimed universal credit are due to see their grace period end in (a) November and (b) December and become subject to the benefit cap.

i) Due to the early election taking place the levels of the cap were not reviewed in the last Parliament.

ii) DWP routinely collects data on capped households and publishes that information each quarter. The latest statistical release, published on 26 November 2020, shows the picture in August 2020 and includes household characteristics together with regional breakdowns supported by a narrative that provides insight into the data drivers. The latest statistical release can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-cap-number-of-households-capped-to-august-2020

iii) Information relating to households who will be newly affected by the Benefit Cap in November and December at the end of their grace period is not readily available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of reinstating the minimum income floor for Universal Credit on people who have been unable to access support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

The Minimum Income Floor will not now be re-instated from 12/11/20 when current Covid easement regulations were due to cease. After careful consideration of the ongoing public health situation and the national working environment, the current suspension of the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit has been extended to the end of April 2021.

Universal Credit is available to support claimants even where they are not entitled to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the effect on (a) the gender pay gap and (b) women of the suspension of the enforcement of employers' obligations to report data on the gender pay gap in the 2019-20 financial year.

The Government is committed to levelling up and making the UK a country where equality of opportunity exists for everyone. As part of this we want to see more employers offering measures such as flexible working and returnships, which aim to help people return to work after a break due to caring responsibilities. We know that measures like these can improve career prospects for both women and men.

In recognition of the unprecedented uncertainty and pressure facing employers due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines for the 2019/20 reporting year. The data that employers would have had to submit by April this year, had enforcement not been suspended, would have been calculated from a snapshot date before the COVID-19 outbreak. The snapshot date was 31 March 2019 for public sector employers and 5 April 2019 for the private and voluntary sector.

Despite the uncertainty this year, the UK's gender pay gap has fallen to a record low of 15.5% from 17.4%. We will continue to monitor the impact of the gender pay gap reporting regulations and will review their effectiveness by 2022.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the benefits of increasing discretionary housing payments budgets for councils during the winter 2020.

We have provided £180m in Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) funding to Local Authorities (LAs) to support vulnerable claimants with housing costs in the private and social rented sector in England and Wales for 2020/21. This includes an extra £40m as announced last year at the spending round. We are currently monitoring the ongoing use of, and demand for, DHPs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish the National Strategy for Disabled People.

Due to Covid 19 impacts, a slower timetable for publication of the National Strategy for Disabled People is inevitable. This is to ensure that we are able to meaningfully engage with stakeholders and strengthen our evidence base to deliver the ambitious strategy that the Prime Minister has called for. We are aiming to publish in Spring 2021.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled people.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources.

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organisations and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the support needed as lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to disability benefits, food, medicines, essentials, accessible communications, updated guidance, including workplace and transport related guidance, as well as financial and other support during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government continues to provide disability employment support through initiatives such as Access to Work, Disability Confident, the Work and Health Programme, Intensive Personalised Employment Support, and other forms of support that disabled people need to retain, adapt and move into employment.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit continues to work with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the UK Government’s response to COVID-19. We are clear that consideration of equality impacts must be integral in all key policy decisions. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People taking into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people. The Strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life, including employment, housing, education and transport.

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled people.

We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources. There will however be a period until the data needed to fully assess the impact becomes available.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is publishing a rolling programme of data and articles relating to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. On the 24th April 2020 ONS also published 'Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain'. The analysis gives insight into the experience of disabled adults, and where there might be issues that arise for some that differ from those of non-disabled people. This showed that, currently, a lower proportion of disabled people than non-disabled people were worried about transport and caring issues as well as aspects of household finances and work.

That is why we are actively working on policies to provide specific employment support for disabled people both in and out of work. This includes initiatives such as Access to Work (ATW), Disability Confident, Work and Health Programme (WHP) and the new Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme (IPES), alongside investment in a programme of trials and tests to identify effective models of health and employment support for people with health conditions or disabilities.

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to support disabled people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is fully committed to supporting disabled people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to disability benefits and other financial support, the food and essential goods that they need, as well as accessible communications and guidance during the Covid-19 outbreak. The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the universal credit standard allowance for people aged under 25 who are living independently.

We have increased the Universal Credit standard allowance by around £20 per week for the next 12 months – equivalent to up to £1,040 a year.

This is in addition to the 1.7% inflation increase (announced Nov 2019) as part of the Government’s decision to end the benefits freeze and means more financial support for millions of people across the UK.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the length of the waiting time for universal credit; and what steps she is taking to increase the number of staff available to provide support for universal credit claimants during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is doing all we can to deal with exceptional levels of demand. Our priority is ensuring people get their benefit payments and that we can continue to support those who need them most. The Department has mobilised robust business continuity plans to ensure we can do just that.

We are already redeploying 10,000 staff from other parts of DWP and are also recruiting additional staff to assist with the processing of claims, including support from other government departments and the private sector.

We have also introduced new processes to ease pressure on waiting times for identity verification over the phone and other processes. People making new claims for Universal Credit no longer need to call the Department as part of the process. Once they have completed their online application we will call them if we need to check any of the information they have given us.

These changes are making a real difference with at least 93% of claimants who applied for Universal Credit on 16 March receiving their first payments in full and on time.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2020 to Question 901399, what her policy is on the proportion of housing rents that Local Housing Allowance rates should cover in (a) Lambeth and Southwark, (b) London and (c) the rest of England outside London.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) policy is designed to ensure a fair balance between public spending and supporting vulnerable people to meet their housing costs. LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.

From April 2020 LHA rates will be increased by CPI, up to a maximum of the 30th percentile of local rents. The national maximum caps have also been increased by CPI which means those rates in London that are currently capped will also receive a CPI increase.

For people in particular circumstances who may require more support, discretionary housing payments are available.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2020
What assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of local housing allowance rates.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is designed to ensure a fair balance between public spending and supporting vulnerable people to meet their housing costs.

LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.

From April 2020 LHA rates will be increased by CPI, for people in particular circumstances who may require more support, discretionary housing payments are available.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of local housing allowance rates.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is designed to ensure a fair balance between public spending and supporting vulnerable people to meet their housing costs. LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.

Since 2011 we have provided over £1billion in Discretionary Housing Payment funding, enabling local authorities to protect the most vulnerable claimants and supporting households to adapt to housing support reforms.

From April 2020 LHA rates will be increased by CPI. For people in particular circumstances who may require more support, Discretionary Housing Payments are available.

In addition, we recently announced an extra £40 million in Discretionary Housing Payments for 2020/21, helping to tackle the most acute affordability pressures in the private rented sector.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the adequacy of local housing allowance rates.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Ministerial colleagues on a range of issues.

In January we were pleased to announce an end to the Local Housing Allowance freeze from April 2020 when Local Housing Allowance rates will be uprated by CPI – an increase of 1.7%.

This will mean around 900,000 people in receipt of housing support in the Private Rented Sector will see their housing support increase on average by around £10 per month.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to improve the accessibility of public sector organisations to individuals with speech and communication difficulties.

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations, came into force on September 2018. These regulations aim to ensure public sector websites and mobile apps are accessible to all users, especially those with disabilities. Existing public sector websites have until September 2020 to comply, while all public sector apps will have until June 2021 to comply.

The Government is working towards publishing a National Strategy for Disabled People before the end of 2020. This will aim to achieve practical changes for disabled people, remove barriers and increase opportunity.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his Written Statement of 13 January 2020, Official Report HCWS 29, whether she has additional plans to reduce the gap between rents in London and local housing allowance.

From April 2020 Local Housing Allowance rates will be uprated by CPI, 1.7% in line with wider benefit uprating – ending the benefit freeze.

In addition to ending the freeze, we also recently announced an extra £40 million in Discretionary Housing Payments for 2020/21, helping to tackle the most acute affordability pressures in the private rented sector.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 13 January 2020, HCWS29 on Welfare, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the freeze in local housing allowance on claimants in (a) London and (b) England.

As I announced on the 13th January, Local Housing Allowance(LHA) rates will be increased by CPI from April 2020 delivering on the manifesto commitment to end the benefit freeze.

For individuals who may require more support, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 the Government has provided over £1 billion in DHP funding to local authorities (LAs) to protect the most vulnerable claimants and support households affected by the Housing Benefit reforms.

Further, we also announced in the Spending Round 2019 an additional £40 million for DHPs, in England and Wales, for 2020/21.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's policy is on how the health and social care levy will be used to improve the quality of care for people with a terminal illness.

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

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that social care is affordable for people with a terminal illness; and what recent estimate his Department has made of care costs for people with a terminal illness.

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

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to increase funding for community mental health provision to prevent patients being put in out of area placements.

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

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reform the social care system through (a) staffing and (b) quality of care.

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

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)