Jim Shannon Portrait

Jim Shannon

Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford

Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)

(since July 2017)

Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

(since May 2015)
40 APPG memberships (as of 15 Jun 2022)
Access to Medicines and Medical Devices, Adult Social Care, Antibiotics, Bahá'í Faith, Beer, Carbon Monoxide, Carers, Cerebral Palsy, Christianity in the Holy Land, Cleaning and Hygiene, Coastal Communities, Dairy, Diabetes, Disability, Eggs, Pigs and Poultry, Energy Studies, Equipment for Disabled Children, Equitable Life Policyholders, Farming, Health in all Policies, Healthy Homes and Buildings, Hong Kong, International Freedom of Religion or Belief, Malawi, Marine Energy, Muscular Dystrophy, National Trust, Obesity, Pakistani Minorities, Pigeon Racing, Pro-Life, Relationships, Reserves and Cadets, Respiratory Health, Shooting and Conservation, Tibet, Union, Vascular and Venous Disease, Vulnerable Groups to Pandemics, Wood Panel Industry
47 Former APPG memberships
Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Air Passenger Duty Reform, Alevis, Autism, Bangladesh, Blood Cancer, Brain Tumours, Cancer, Children who need Palliative Care, Children, Teenagers, and Young Adults with Cancer, Communities Engagement, Connaught Income Fund, Counter-Extremism, Cystic Fibrosis, Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, Endangered Species, Equitable Life, Eye Health and Visual Impairment, Fatherhood, Financial Crime and Scamming, Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, Gambling Related Harm, Heart Valve Disease, Infant Feeding and Inequalities, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Loneliness, Lyme Disease, Markets, Medical Cannabis under Prescription, Medicines and Medical Devices, Meningitis, Mentoring, Micronutrients and Health, Mutuals, Pakistan Minorities, Pancreatic Cancer, Premature and Sick Babies, Professional Sales, Religion or Belief, Rural Crime, Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention, Terminal Illness, Universal Credit, Unpaid Work Trials, Veterans, Visitors' Economy, Yazidi People
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality)
8th May 2015 - 8th Jun 2017
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport)
8th May 2015 - 8th Jun 2017
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
5th Dec 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee)
10th Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Committees on Arms Export Controls
10th Feb 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Defence Sub-Committee
8th Sep 2015 - 5th Dec 2016
Defence Committee
6th Jul 2015 - 5th Dec 2016
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
3rd Apr 2012 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)
12th May 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport)
12th May 2010 - 30th Mar 2015


Oral Question
Tuesday 5th July 2022
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral Question No. 6
What steps his Department is taking to support victims of rape and sexual abuse.
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Department Event
Tuesday 19th July 2022
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
19 Jul 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Scheduled Event
Friday 9th September 2022
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Automated External Defibrillators (Public Access) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 8 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 0 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 191 Noes - 271
Speeches
Thursday 30th June 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
Although it is important for people to move from cars to more active travel, the reality for many of us …
Written Answers
Monday 4th July 2022
Christianity: Oppression
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions the Church Commissioners have had with …
Early Day Motions
Monday 4th July 2022
Cart T cell therapy for multiply myeloma
That this House notes and recognises the impact multiply myeloma has on one's life; further notes that this particular blood …
Bills
Monday 20th June 2022
Automated External Defibrillators (Public Access) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to require the installation of automated external defibrillators in public buildings, sporting facilities, schools, higher education and other …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: Paul Hollinger
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: …
EDM signed
Monday 4th July 2022
150 Years of New Victoria Gardens
That this House celebrates 150 years of New Victoria Gardens, an allotment site in Glasgow; commends the work of the …
Supported Legislation
Monday 6th July 2020
Tibet (Reciprocal Access) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report annually on restrictions on access by UK nationals to Tibet …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Jim Shannon has voted in 437 divisions, and 13 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 7 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
3 Feb 2021 - Exiting the European Union (Excise) - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party No votes vs 7 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 74 Noes - 353
13 Jan 2021 - Financial Services Bill - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 3 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 265 Noes - 355
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 6 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
30 Sep 2020 - Town and Country Planning - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 1 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 208 Noes - 329
23 Sep 2020 - PUBLIC HEALTH - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 3 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 4 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 337 Noes - 6
21 Sep 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Democratic Unionist Party No votes vs 6 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 332 Noes - 257
16 Sep 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party No votes vs 6 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 208 Noes - 330
6 Jul 2020 - Domestic Abuse Bill - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 6 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 200 Noes - 338
19 May 2021 - A Plan for the NHS and Social Care - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 7 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 265 Noes - 366
30 Nov 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 3 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 434 Noes - 23
30 Nov 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 3 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 36
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Jim Shannon voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes vs 3 Democratic Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 441 Noes - 41
View All Jim Shannon 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
(86 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(83 debate interactions)
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(51 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(383 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(159 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Jim Shannon's debates

Strangford Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petition Debates Contributed

Shooting of Badgers is licensed by Natural England as part of the DEFRA Badger cull. 24,000+ Badgers were shot in 2019.

Join other nations in providing a route to safety for refugees. Waive all visa requirements for Ukrainian passport holders arriving in the UK.

Make it a legal requirement when opening a new social media account, to provide a verified form of ID. Where the account belongs to a person under the age of 18 verify the account with the ID of a parent/guardian, to prevent anonymised harmful activity, providing traceability if an offence occurs.

We demand the Government restore England’s publicly funded, publicly provided NHS by reversing all privatising legislation, ending ongoing PFI contracts, and scrapping plans for Integrated Care Systems and for-profit US-style ‘managed care’.

Make it illegal for any employer to mandate vaccination for its employees. This should apply to all public sector (including the NHS, armed forces, care workers), third sector and all private sector.

Given how many animals are sold online, we want Government to introduce regulation of all websites where animals are sold. Websites should be required to verify the identity of all sellers, and for young animals for sale pictures with their parents be posted with all listings.

In 2014 the Human Medicines Act was amended so that schools could keep emergency stocks of salbutamol inhalers without prescription. Asthma is increasing in the UK and we believe that adult sufferers of Asthma working in high-risk commercial kitchens should have similar life-saving support.

The maximum penalty for failure to stop after an incident is points and a 6-month custodial sentence. Causing death by careless/dangerous driving is between 5-14 yrs. The sentence for failing to stop after a fatal collision must be increased.

The offence of causing 'death by dangerous driving' should be widened to include: failure to stop, call 999 and render aid on scene until further help arrives.

Current legislation allows for public use of fireworks 16 hours a day, every day, making it impossible for vulnerable groups to take precautions against the distress they can cause. Better enforcement of existing law is insufficient; limiting their sale & use to licensed displays only is necessary.

I would like the UK Government to make it law that nightclubs must search guests on arrival to prevent harmful weapons and other items entering the establishment. This could be a pat down search or metal detector, but must involve measures being put in place to ensure the safety of the public.

We ask Parliament to repeal the High Speed Rail Bills, 2016 and 2019, as MPs voted on misleading environmental, financial and timetable information provided by the Dept of Transport and HS2 Ltd. It fails to address the conditions of the Paris Accord and costs have risen from £56bn to over £100bn.

We have the second most expensive childcare system in the world. A full time place costs, on average, £14,000 per year, making it completely unaffordable for many families. Parents are forced to leave their jobs or work fewer hours, which has a negative impact on the economy and on child poverty.

Cervical screening needs to be every year.

This is because women are dying, mothers, wives, daughters, granddaughters and sisters are dying.

Now the hedgehog has been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the UK, we are calling on the Government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection.

Many missing microchipped pets are never reunited as it’s optional to scan & check microchip registration. It’s time veterinary professionals, authorities and rescues checked pet & keeper match on the original database at a pets 1st consultation or yearly checkup. It’s their only chance to get home

A healthy young dog with RBU was euthanised. The person who requested euthanasia was not the registered keeper.

Bring in a law which enforces professional football clubs to have at least 51% fan ownership similar to how the Bundesliga operates this rule.

The Government should use the recently established fan led review of football to introduce an Independent Football Regulator in England to put fans back at the heart of our national game. This should happen by December 2021.

Leading veterinary and welfare bodies are concerned by the alarming rise in ear-cropped dogs in the UK. Ear cropping is illegal in the UK and an unnecessary, painful mutilation with no welfare benefit. The practice involves cutting off part of the ear flap, often without anaesthesia or pain relief.

Plenty of dogs from UK breeders & rescues need homes. Transporting young pups long distances is often stressful, before being sold for ridiculous prices to unsuspecting dog-lovers. Government must adjust current laws, ban this unethical activity on welfare grounds & protect these poor animals ASAP.

Now that we have left the EU, the UK has the ability to finally stop the importation of Shark Fins. They had previously stated that 'Whilst in the EU, it is not possible to unilaterally ban the import of shark fins into the UK.'

The Government should allow golf courses to remain open during the second lockdown, and any future restrictions. Shops and clubhouses can close, but courses should be allowed to remain open, with social distancing in place.

Urgent call for the government to close all nurseries and early years settings in light of the new lockdown to protect early years staff.

Consider keeping gyms open during lockdown because so many people have mental health and stress and they need something to do to take their mind off it closing all fitness facilities can affect us pretty badly.

We want the government to recognise the importance of gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools in empowering people to look after their health and stay fit and for them to open first as we come out of lockdown.

We're also calling for government to fund a Work Out to Help Out scheme.

The Coronavirus Act grants potentially dangerous powers including to detain some persons indefinitely, to take biological samples, and to give directions about dead bodies. Powers last up to 2 years with 6 monthly reviews, and lockdown powers could prevent protests against measures.

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

The government should allow BTEC students to achieve teacher predicted grades rather than being forced into a system that is unethically downgrading thousands of students grades.

Please don’t send students back until we know we have had the priority groups vaccinated such as the elderly, the extremely clinically vulnerable, and those with underlying health conditions.

Cancel all standardise testing for year 11 and year 12 students in 2021. By replacing tests with smaller amounts of course work and teacher assessment, students would have a fair chance at achieving their target grades and it would relieve stress for teachers and students.

Schools can be a breeding ground for the spread of coronavirus. Children are mingling at schools and returning to families who are potentially vulnerable, keeping rates high.

It's only been since schools opened that infection rates have been high in Kent, and keeping them open may keep it high.

The Home Secretary said what happened to victims of child sexual exploitation gangs was “one of the biggest stains on our country’s conscience.” Last year local authorities identified 18,700 suspected victims of child sexual exploitation. We want an independent public inquiry into Grooming Gangs.

The Government is refusing to release official research on the characteristics of grooming gangs, claiming it is not in the “public interest”.

We, the British public, demand the release of the official research on grooming gangs undertaken by the Government in full.

Being the first to close and still no clue as to when we can open, this seasonal industry is losing its summer profits that allows them to get through the first quarter of next year.

Even if we are allowed to open in December, 1 months profit won't be enough to keep us open in 2021. We need help

The UK hospitality industry. Responsible for around 3m jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation. Yet, unlike the Arts or Sports, we do not have a dedicated Minister.

We are asking that a Minister for Hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments.

Advice from the JCVI on the priority groups for a Covid-19 vaccine does not include school/childcare workers. This petition calls for these workers, who cannot distance or use PPE, to be kept safe at work by being put on the vaccine priority list when such a list is adopted into government policy.

I want the Government to prevent any restrictions being placed on those who refuse to have any potential Covid-19 vaccine. This includes restrictions on travel, social events, such as concerts or sports. No restrictions whatsoever.

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.

Matthew was taken to, ‘a place of safety’, and died 7 days later.
24 others died by the same means, dating back to the year 2000. An indicator that little was done to address the growing problems.
Something went terribly wrong with the NHS Mental Health Services provided to my son.

As the Coronavirus escalates, there are concerns that a trade deal between the UK Government and the US deal might not exempt our NHS, leaving it vulnerable to privatisation and in direct contradiction to promises this would not happen.

Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.

Illegal immigrants are entering the UK in many different ways, including small boats from France which are not stopped by either French or British forces.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

I would like the government to review and increase the pay for healthcare workers to recognise the work that they do.

We would like the government to support and regard social care: financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as NHS. We would like parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond so that it automatically has the same access to operational and financial support.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

To revoke the Immigration Health Surcharge increases for overseas NHS staff. The latest budget shows an increase of £220 a year for an overseas worker to live and work in the UK, at a time when the NHS, and UK economy, relies heavily on them.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.


Latest EDMs signed by Jim Shannon

30th June 2022
Jim Shannon signed this EDM on Monday 4th July 2022

National PTA Awards 2022

Tabled by: Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)
That this House recognises the continued success of the National PTA Awards, launched by Parentkind, the network of Parent Teacher Association fundraisers; congratulates this year’s Award winners Friends of Stanton School (Primary) and Friends of Prendergast Vale (Secondary) for PTA Fundraising Achievement of the Year, Highfield CofE Primary School Friends …
7 signatures
(Most recent: 4 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Plaid Cymru: 3
Labour: 2
Independent: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
30th June 2022
Jim Shannon signed this EDM as a sponsor on Monday 4th July 2022

Forced Maasai evictions in Tanzania

Tabled by: Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Labour - Streatham)
That this House stands in solidarity with the Maasai people of Tanzania who are being forcibly evicted on the false pretence that they are damaging the ecosystem through a growth in population; notes that some 150,000 Maasai people live in the Ngorongoro and Loliondo Conservation areas of Tanzania, a designated …
4 signatures
(Most recent: 4 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 1
Independent: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All Jim Shannon's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Jim Shannon, 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.


Jim Shannon has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Jim Shannon

Thursday 16th July 2020
Tuesday 17th March 2020

4 Bills introduced by Jim Shannon


A Bill to require the installation of automated external defibrillators in public buildings, sporting facilities, schools, higher education and other education and skills facilities, and facilities that provide care to vulnerable people; and to make associated provision about training and signage.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Monday 20th June 2022
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 9th September 2022
Order Paper number: 5
(Possibly be Debated)

A Bill to require the installation of automated external defibrillators in public buildings, sporting facilities, schools, higher education and other education and skills facilities, and facilities that provide care to vulnerable people; and to make associated provision about training and signage.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Monday 21st June 2021

A Bill to require the installation of automated external defibrillators in public buildings, sporting facilities, schools, higher education and other education and skills facilities, and facilities that provide care to vulnerable people; and to make associated provision about training and signage.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 2nd December 2020
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require the provision of audio announcements on public buses; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 3rd December 2014

1794 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
72 Other Department Questions
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions the Church Commissioners have had with Christians Against Poverty on protecting Christians from persecution.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK-based debt advice charity independent of the Church of England. Staff of the National Church Institutions have held discussions with CAP but these have not been on the protection of Christians from persecution.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of a transition phase for the future homes standard, so that new developments that receive planning consents before 2025 can continue to build to existing standards.

We have listened to calls for a swifter and more certain pathway to 2025 and our work on a full technical specification for the Future Homes Standard has been accelerated. We therefore intend to consult on this in Spring 2023 and introduce the necessary legislation in 2024, ahead of full implementation of the Future Homes Standard in 2025. A full impact assessment on the Future Homes Standard will be carried out ahead of implementation and published online.

As part of the consultation, we will consider what transitional arrangements are appropriate. Transitional arrangements are important as they provide all developers with certainty about the standards they are building to, and assurance that they should not have to make material amendments to work which is already underway when new Regulations came into force.

The Government recently introduced an uplift to the Building Regulations as a stepping stone to the Future Homes Standard. As part of the uplift, transitional arrangements were put in place which mean that if a developer submitted an initial notice, a building notice or full plans application to the local authority prior to the new Regulations coming into effect, on 15 June 2022, provided work then starts on the building by 15 June 2023, then work on that building is permitted to continue under the previous standards.  Monitoring the impact of the uplift and the associated transitional arrangements will be a key consideration in setting the transitional arrangements for the Future Homes Standard.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will bring forward the consultation period on the technical specification for the future homes standard to 2023, to provide industry with more time to meet the 2025 implementation date.

We have listened to calls for a swifter and more certain pathway to 2025 and our work on a full technical specification for the Future Homes Standard has been accelerated. We therefore intend to consult on this in Spring 2023 and introduce the necessary legislation in 2024, ahead of full implementation of the Future Homes Standard in 2025. A full impact assessment on the Future Homes Standard will be carried out ahead of implementation and published online.

As part of the consultation, we will consider what transitional arrangements are appropriate. Transitional arrangements are important as they provide all developers with certainty about the standards they are building to, and assurance that they should not have to make material amendments to work which is already underway when new Regulations came into force.

The Government recently introduced an uplift to the Building Regulations as a stepping stone to the Future Homes Standard. As part of the uplift, transitional arrangements were put in place which mean that if a developer submitted an initial notice, a building notice or full plans application to the local authority prior to the new Regulations coming into effect, on 15 June 2022, provided work then starts on the building by 15 June 2023, then work on that building is permitted to continue under the previous standards.  Monitoring the impact of the uplift and the associated transitional arrangements will be a key consideration in setting the transitional arrangements for the Future Homes Standard.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department plans to publish an impact assessment of the future homes standard.

We have listened to calls for a swifter and more certain pathway to 2025 and our work on a full technical specification for the Future Homes Standard has been accelerated. We therefore intend to consult on this in Spring 2023 and introduce the necessary legislation in 2024, ahead of full implementation of the Future Homes Standard in 2025. A full impact assessment on the Future Homes Standard will be carried out ahead of implementation and published online.

As part of the consultation, we will consider what transitional arrangements are appropriate. Transitional arrangements are important as they provide all developers with certainty about the standards they are building to, and assurance that they should not have to make material amendments to work which is already underway when new Regulations came into force.

The Government recently introduced an uplift to the Building Regulations as a stepping stone to the Future Homes Standard. As part of the uplift, transitional arrangements were put in place which mean that if a developer submitted an initial notice, a building notice or full plans application to the local authority prior to the new Regulations coming into effect, on 15 June 2022, provided work then starts on the building by 15 June 2023, then work on that building is permitted to continue under the previous standards.  Monitoring the impact of the uplift and the associated transitional arrangements will be a key consideration in setting the transitional arrangements for the Future Homes Standard.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on (a) the impact on women of waiting times for the diagnosis of and (b) the potential merits of additional funding for the training of specialists in endometriosis.

Equalities Ministers have regular discussions with other Ministers across government on a range of issues, including women’s health.

We have invested £520 million to improve access to general practitioners (GPs) during the pandemic. This is in addition to £1.5 billion in 2020 to create an additional 50 million GP appointments by 2024, which will improve access for patients with endometriosis. The NHS has also published the Delivery Plan for Tackling the COVID-19 Backlog of Elective Care which sets out a clear vision for how the NHS will recover and expand elective services over the next three years.

On 23 December 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care published ‘Our Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy for England’, which sets out ambitions to improve the health and wellbeing of women in England and reduce disparities. The Women’s Health Strategy will be published later this year.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th May 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what recent discussions he has had with his (a) French and (b) German counterpart on how to further assist Ukraine.

In the run up to and during this conflict, I have spoken regularly with President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Olaf Scholz, reaffirming in each conversation the united condemnation of Putin’s barbaric actions and the importance of our nations continuing to work closely together. I have also discussed support for Ukraine on a call with G7 and European Leaders on 8 May ahead of the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Germany next month.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to regulate private car parking firms.

On 7 February the Government published its Private Parking Code of Practice, a key milestone in the implementation of the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019. It sets out the requirements that private parking companies must follow when enforcing parking restrictions in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Code is part of a wider regulatory framework which includes the establishment of a Scrutiny and Oversight Board to monitor the new system, a certification scheme to which operators must adhere if they wish to access keeper data to enforce parking charges and the creation of a single independent appeals service for motorists to turn to if they are unhappy with the handling of an appeal by an operator.

The new Code and regulatory framework will ensure that terms and conditions and enforcement and appeal processes are fair, consistent, and proportionate, boosting our high streets and town centres by making it easier for people to park without receiving unwarranted charges.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure that enforcement by private parking firms is proportionate and appropriate.

On 7 February the Government published its Private Parking Code of Practice, a key milestone in the implementation of the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019. It sets out the requirements that private parking companies must follow when enforcing parking restrictions in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Code is part of a wider regulatory framework which includes the establishment of a Scrutiny and Oversight Board to monitor the new system, a certification scheme to which operators must adhere if they wish to access keeper data to enforce parking charges and the creation of a single independent appeals service for motorists to turn to if they are unhappy with the handling of an appeal by an operator.

The new Code and regulatory framework will ensure that terms and conditions and enforcement and appeal processes are fair, consistent, and proportionate, boosting our high streets and town centres by making it easier for people to park without receiving unwarranted charges.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what recent discussions he has had with his Chinese counterpart on tackling climate change.

I have regular discussions with China’s Special Climate Envoy, Xie Zhenhua. We last spoke on the 16 February about the need for all countries to deliver on the commitments in the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to restore funding for (a) early help, (b) family support and (c) other early intervention services to pre-austerity levels.

Children’s social care in Northern Ireland is a transferred power, making it a devolved matter. This answer reflects the position in England. The 2021 Spending Review and Local Government Finance Settlement makes available £54.1 billion for 2022/23 for local government in England, an increase of up to £3.7 billion on 2021/22. This significant investment is largely un-ringfenced in recognition that local leaders know the priorities for their local communities best. The Government has also provided an additional £200 million for Supporting Families. This represents around a 40% real-terms uplift in funding for the programme by 2024-25, taking total planned investment across the next three years to £695 million. This significant investment into early help services comes in advance of Josh MacAlister’s independent review of children’s social care, which will report in the Spring. The Government will consider any recommendations carefully.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much levelling up funding has been allocated to each region in the UK, per capita.

The Government has allocated around £1.9 billion levelling up funds throughout the UK since September 2021, including £61 million for Northern Ireland.

Funding allocations for all levelling up funds can be found on GOV.UK.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to (a) raise awareness of and (b) tackle the matter of sexual harassment of young women in the workplace.

Every woman should be able to live without fear of harassment or violence in the workplace as much as anywhere else. In July 2021, as part of our strategy to tackle violence against women and girls, the Government announced a new package of measures which will strengthen protections for those affected by harassment at work.

We will introduce a new duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as explicit protections against harassment by third parties. We are also supporting the Equality and Human Rights Commission to develop a statutory Code of Practice on workplace harassment, as well as preparing our own practical guidance for employers on preventing this issue.

In addition, the Government will be shortly launching a communications campaign to raise awareness and challenge behaviours that constitute violence against women and girls, including workplace harassment.

The steps we are taking will not only raise awareness of the nature and prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace, but also motivate employers to prioritise prevention and ultimately improve workplace practices and culture.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment the Government has made of whether local authorities may need additional support to deliver the proposals set out in its forthcoming Levelling Up white paper.

Core Spending Power for local government is expected to rise from £50.4 billion in 2021-22 to up to £53.9 billion in 2022-23. The forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper will set out our plans for strengthening accountable local leadership. This is alongside recent investments including the Levelling Up Fund, UK Community Renewal Fund and Towns Fund where Government is working closely with councils right across the United Kingdom.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the findings of the Building Research Establishment that 2.6 million homes contain at least one category one hazard, what steps the Government is taking to tackle those hazards and improve housing standards in England.

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone has a safe home. Since 2009, the total number of households with Category 1 Hazards has reduced from 21% to 10% as of 2019. As part of its ongoing work to improve the quality of housing, the Government is reviewing the Decent Homes Standard and Housing Health and Safety Rating System, to make standards easier to understand and act on.

The Government is also providing £3.9 billion of funding over the next three years which will improve the energy efficiency of many homes, increasing their thermal comfort, and reducing hazards associated with the cold.

30th Nov 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church is taking to support teachers and education.

The Church of England has invested substantial resource in supporting the development of teachers and education.

At a diocesan level, every diocese has an Education team which provides training and support for the 4,600 Church of England schools across England.

At a national level the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership has invested in peer support leadership networks in which over 1,200 schools participate. These cover a variety of subjects important to education and also offer support for addressing mental health and well-being, grief, trauma and other issues that have been particularly important through the pandemic. The Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership also provides excellent leadership development programmes and the Church of England is one of 9 national providers of National Professional Qualifications, offering the suite of NPQs to ensure CPD for staff in Church of England, catholic and community school is prioritised. These NPQs are fully funded for all teachers in all state schools in England and are a brilliant opportunity for teachers and schools to benefit from high quality coaching, support and CPD.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment the Church has made of where persecution of religion and belief is most concerning.

Government restrictions on religion or belief have increased globally in recent years as have societal hostilities. Studies undertaken by the Pew Research Centre indicate that the level of religious restrictions is highest in the Middle East-North Africa region, but that some of the biggest increases in religious restrictions over the past decade have occurred in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, while the levels of social hostilities towards religion or belief norms have increase most in the Americas, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, what recent discussions he has had with his French counterpart on the operation of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement.

President Macron and I speak regularly. As neighbours and historic partners, the UK and France work together on a huge range of issues, including the operation of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement


The UK is committed to implementing the Withdrawal Agreement in the best interests of UK nationals in the EU, EU citizens in the UK and businesses across the UK including Northern Ireland. We have been maintaining extensive discussions with the EU and its Member States on all areas of Withdrawal Agreement implementation, including notably on the Northern Ireland Protocol and citizens' rights.


I have raised the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol with President Macron on several occasions, including during our discussion at the G20 Summit last month.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
24th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what plans he has to make representations to his Chinese counterpart on tackling climate change.

The Glasgow Climate Pact is a historic agreement. We have a roadmap to keep 1.5°C alive but this is based on commitments made and relies on concerted and dedicated delivery by all countries. We will continue to demonstrate strong UK leadership over our Presidency year to make sure promises are kept and delivered to the highest standards, working with parties and civil society partners to advance rapid progress.

Leading up to and at COP26, I held regular discussions with China’s Special Climate Envoy, Xie Zhenhua, and I look forward to continuing to work with China throughout the UK’s COP26 Presidency to implement and build on the pledges China has made this year.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he plans to take to help ensure that China is held accountable for the adequacy of its response to climate change.

The Glasgow Climate Pact is a historic agreement. We have a roadmap to keep 1.5°C alive but this is based on commitments made and relies on concerted and dedicated delivery by all countries. We will continue to demonstrate strong UK leadership over our Presidency year to make sure promises are kept and delivered to the highest standards, working with parties and civil society partners to advance rapid progress.

Leading up to and at COP26, I held regular discussions with China’s Special Climate Envoy, Xie Zhenhua, and I look forward to continuing to work with China throughout the UK’s COP26 Presidency to implement and build on the pledges China has made this year.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what local support will be made available to help disabled people to access photo ID for electoral purposes.

It is integral to our democracy that everybody is able to make their voice heard and that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote.

The Government is committed to protecting the integrity of our democracy by introducing a requirement to show identification to vote at polling stations. Stealing someone's vote is stealing their voice. Voter fraud is a crime that we cannot allow room for and we must stamp out any potential for it to take place in elections. A broad range of documents will be accepted and any eligible voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic identification, will be able to apply for a free, local Voter Card from their local authority.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent estimate the Government has made of the proportion of women in work who are employed in the STEM sector.

It is difficult to give an accurate assessment of the proportion of women who are employed in the STEM sector as not all roles in the sector are STEM occupations. However, we want to ensure that women and girls can make informed choices about their career, including enabling more to work in STEM.

To enable more people into STEM sectors, the Government has introduced free courses through the National Skills Fund to enable adults to upskill and retrain.

In order to improve representation, we are encouraging more girls to take STEM subjects at school, college and university by rolling out several programmes and committing substantial funding to support STEM uptake.

In addition, we are improving careers advice in schools on routes into STEM careers, as well as sector specific action such as supporting the Tomorrow’s Engineers Code, managed by EngineeringUK.

Education and especially STEM is one of the key areas that the independent Gender Equality Advisory Council is looking at as part of our G7 Presidency and continues to be a key area for Government.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he plans to take with Cabinet colleagues to ensure that the partially sighted are not adversely affected by potential electoral identification legislative reform.

It is integral to our democracy that everybody is able to make their voice heard and that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote.

The Government in its manifesto committed to protecting the integrity of our democracy by introducing identification to vote at polling stations. Stealing someone's vote is stealing their voice. Voter fraud is a crime that we cannot allow room for and we must stamp out any potential for it to take place in elections. A broad range of documents will be accepted and any eligible voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic identification, will be able to apply for a free, local Voter Card from their local authority.

We continue to work with local authorities, the Electoral Commission, charities and civil society organisations to make sure that reforms, including the provision of a Voter Card, are delivered in a way that is inclusive for all voters.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church Commissioners are taking to provide affordable, sustainable and beautiful housing to support community wellbeing on the Church estate.

The Church Commissioners’ land portfolio currently has potential to deliver around 30,000 new homes across England. The aim is to deliver high quality new homes and employment opportunities to support and enhance their local surroundings. New developments provide a mixture of market and affordable homes and can include new primary and secondary schools, community facilities, local retail centres, libraries, sports facilities and new areas of public open space. Through best practice masterplanning and placemaking, the Church Commissioners seek to build new communities, and strengthen existing ones, helping to create and sustain vibrant and vital places.

The Archbishops’ Commission on Housing, Church and Community, which reported earlier this year, set out a vision for housing centred on five core values: that good housing should be sustainable, safe, stable, sociable and satisfying. The Church Commissioners support these values as a way of defining what good looks like as an important step in building thriving communities. The full report from the Archbishops’ Commission can be seen here: https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/priorities/archbishops-commission-housing-church-and-community

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to tackle age discrimination in the workplace.

The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) provides protection for those aged 16 and over against direct and indirect age discrimination in employment. The Act makes it unlawful for an employer to directly discriminate against an employee or a job applicant because of their actual or perceived age or the age of someone they are associated with. Differential treatment because of age is permitted if the employer can show that this is proportionate and in pursuit of a legitimate aim. There are also a number of other limited exceptions to the general prohibition.

It is also unlawful for an employer to indirectly discriminate on age grounds, for example by use of a recruitment policy which unjustifiably disadvantages particular age groups; to harass an employee for reasons related to their age and to victimise an employee for bringing or supporting a complaint under the Act.

A person who believes that they have experienced discrimination because of age, or other unlawful treatment, may take their case to an employment tribunal. Before doing so, we advise people to seek advice and if possible try to solve their issue through conciliation.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church has taken to support the covid-19 vaccination programme.

Support for the vaccine programme has been provided at the local and regional levels by clergy engaging pastorally in their communities, and the use of cathedrals and larger churches as vaccination centres. As part of the NHS-backed #GiveHope campaign, bishops and church leaders joined together in sharing video messages encouraging communities to seek accurate information on vaccines, hold local conversations, and to encourage one another to take up offers of vaccines: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/bishops-and-church-leaders-target-covid-vaccination

The Church has also been supporting VaccinAid, to encourage those who have been vaccinated to donate to enable other people around the world to have access to vaccines: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-releases/church-england-backs-vaccinaid-campaign-give-world-shot-help-defeat

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church is taking to (a) prevent and (b) relieve poverty.

Through its parish and diocesan networks, the Church of England is involved in an estimated 35,000 local community projects. A 2020 survey by the National Churches Trust found that 78% of Church of England churches were involved in supporting or operating food banks. The report can be read here: https://www.houseofgood.nationalchurchestrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/House-of-Good-AW-digital-small.pdf

The National Church Institutions are also investing in areas of low economic activity through strategic development funding. By the end of 2020, £56 million had been committed to areas of low economic activity through 77 projects. Of the 93 local authorities categorised by the Government as priority 1 for levelling-up, 48 contain projects receiving such funding. This is across 20 dioceses and focuses on younger generations and deprived communities in urban and rural contexts. Additional funding is also available to support parishes through lowest income communities funding and strategic transformation funding.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment the Church has made of the impact on church attendance of online worship.

Though it is too early to assess the full impact of online worship, thousands of clergy have been provided with training to use new technology to enable them to produce virtual services. The majority of parishes have also offered some form of online worship live-streaming or bespoke recordings of worship and prayers


One specific advantage of online services has been the ability to broadcast weddings and funerals online. This has enabled family and friends to join in from across the world who may have been prevented from travelling.

The decision on whether to continue with some form of online resource alongside in-person worship will be taken at a parish level, taking into account the local community and accessibility needs.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church is taking to support regenerative agriculture, plant more trees and be good stewards of hedgerows on its land.

The Church Commissioners work with their tenants to support the good stewardship of their land and are currently undertaking a natural capital assessment of its estate. The majority of our agricultural land is tenanted, and the Commissioners new farm business tenancies strongly encourage good environmental practice such as ensuring watercourses are kept clear, hedgerows are well maintained, and topsoil is preserved.

The Church Commissioners direct landholdings currently total 184,700 acres as of the end of December 2020. 92,000 acres were in our Rural Portfolio, including land allocated for strategic development and 92,700 acres in our Timberland Portfolio. 120,500 acres (65%) of the Commissioners total land holding are in the UK, with the rest held across the globe. More detail can be found in the latest annual report, which is available here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-06/Church%20Commissioners%20Annual%20Report%202020.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
26th May 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what recent steps the Church has taken to support people who have lost loved ones during the covid-19 pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, the Church of England has operated an online book of remembrance to help families commemorate loved ones lost during this period. In addition, the Church has continued to operate its grief counselling services at a parish level to support those in the community in need. Across the country, parishes have also broadcast funerals virtually, allowing family and friends of the deceased across the globe to participate in the ceremony.

Discussions have now started at St Paul's Cathedral about a permanent memorial. Conversations are at the early stages of exploring a new memorial within the cathedral to create a space to remember all those we have lost to this virus. Other local memorials or commemorations are also being considered where appropriate.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the average length of term agreed on farm business tenancies let by the Church Commissioners, other than in cases where a tenancy is replacing a previous tenancy let under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, was in each of the last five years to 2020.

In the last five years, ending with 2020, the average length of the term granted for new farm business tenancies over 50 acres across the Commissioners’ rural portfolio was:

2016

4.1

20174.9
20183.6
20193.5
20202.3

Such averages do not reflect the size of the holdings which were let during this period or the circumstances and rationale for each new farm letting.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the average level of compensation paid for tenants’ improvements following the expiry of farm tenancies let by the Church Commissioners was in each of the last five years, ending with 2020.

Compensation payments made by the Commissioners to their tenants are of a commercially sensitive nature.
The Church Commissioners discuss land and environmental improvement works with their agricultural tenants on an ongoing basis with a view to supporting enhancements to holdings. End of tenancy payments are made as appropriate to the scale and value of such improvement made.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, other than in cases where a tenancy is replacing a previous tenancy let under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 how many tenancies have been let (a) for an initial fixed term of five years or less (b) for an initial fixed term of five years or more in each of the last five years, ending with 2020.

The Church Commissioners’ and their managing agents review the term of each new farm letting and all tenancy renewals on a case by case basis. In the period 2016 to 2020, the number of holdings let by the Church Commissioners on a Farm Business Tenancy (on an area of more than 50 acres) for a term under five years is 64, with a further 30 new tenancies offered for a term of 5 years or more. Each holding is assessed at the time of letting, and other factors considered when determining term length.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what forums are available for the church to engage with its farm tenants on ideas for farm business development and environmental management of holdings.

The Church Commissioners’ rural portfolio is managed, day to day, by specialist rural agents who regularly engage with farm tenants, including farm visits, inspections and other forms of correspondence. During these discussions, the agents consider the tenants’ farm businesses and, where relevant, the environmental practices on each holding. Our tenants are encouraged to approach our agents at their own discretion to discuss new ideas and strategies which they may seek to implement on the Commissioners’ farms.

The Church Commissioners’ asset managers and managing agents frequently meet (in person when allowed and virtually), at which point any strategic changes to farm businesses and environmental practices are discussed and considered with a view to wider strategic decision making and the objectives of the Commissioners. In addition, the Commissioners’ asset management team typically carries out annual visits to estates and meets with tenants creating the opportunity to discuss any landlord and tenant matters directly.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church takes to engage with the farm tenants on its agricultural estate as part of its policies on ethical investment; and if he will make a statement.

The Church Commissioners’ rural portfolio is managed day to day by specialist rural agents. The agents hold regular meetings with the Commissioners’ farm tenants. The managing agents are aware of the Commissioners’ ethical investment policies and, as and when appropriate, they engage with the Commissioners’ tenants and asset managers regarding any ethical or other concerns.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to lengthen the terms of farm business tenancies on its agricultural estate to encourage (a) farm business resilience and (b) improved environmental management.

The Church Commissioners and their agents always consider the potential length of a farm business tenancy (FBT) on a case-by-case basis, with potential long-term tenancies offered when suitable.

To encourage farm business resilience, the Commissioners pay compensation for improvements where appropriate and encourage good husbandry of the land. Within FBT clauses, obligations on tenants to keep farm books and records and at all times to maintain and establish the maximum entitlements with respect to the holding further provide for sustainable businesses.

To encourage improved environmental management, we prevent the removal of topsoil and stipulate that watercourses must be kept clear from obstruction. In addition, for longer-term tenancies, soil analysis and testing is carried out at the beginning and end of the tenancy to ensure soil health is maintained to a satisfactory standard. We welcome approaches from tenants to discuss environmental schemes and, at such time, consider these proposals within the context of the wider holding.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church is taking to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions ahead of COP26.

The General Synod of the Church of England, at its meeting in February 2020, committed the Church of England to reach carbon net zero' by 2030. This year the Church of England's National Institutions have reviewed their Energy Footprint Tool, which enables parishes and cathedrals to monitor their carbon usage. The tool was launched in 2020, and it has been used by over 5,000 churches so far. More information can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/one-year-church-moves-forward-carbon-reduction-target

The Church of England Pensions Board is a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC). This week the investor group has launched the 'Net Zero Investment Framework' following a period of industry-wide consultation. The framework will enable investors to maximise their contribution to the decarbonisation of the global economy and tackle climate change. More information can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/church-england-pensions-board-commits-global-net-zero-investment-framework

The Church Commissioners are committed to reaching a net-zero portfolio in 2050, and the Church of England's National Investing Bodies joined the UN Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance in 2020. More detail about the alliance can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/church-england-national-investing-bodies-join-un-convened-net

The Church Commissioners have instituted further climate-related investment restrictions to capture companies with significant greenhouse gas emissions but are not taking their responsibilities seriously to assist with the transition to a net-zero emissions economy. The Commissioners are also setting our first interim emissions reduction target as members of the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, working with our public equities managers to achieve it.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church is taking to encourage (a) regenerative agriculture, (b) more treeplanting and (c) good stewardship of hedgerows across its rural estates.

The majority of the Church Commissioners rural estate is tenanted via secure long term agreements. Agreements that were drawn up after 1995 often include a combination of clauses which encourage regenerative agriculture and good stewardship of our landholdings, prohibit the removal of topsoil and the spraying and removal of hedgerows, require watercourses to be kept clear and ensure hedges are maintained.

The Church Commissioners are currently undertaking a natural capital assessment of our assets, and through this, the Commissioners hope to identify land across our estates that might be suitable for tree planting.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church has taken to provide support for the teaching of children at home during the covid-19 lockdown.

Church of England schools remained open during the pandemic for key worker children and also, where possible, for those who are unable to study at home. All teachers and staff in Church schools who are providing teaching and care at this difficult time deserve our deep gratitude.

Church schools moved rapidly to provide online lessons and resources, looking after children of key workers and overseeing the distribution of free school meal vouchers and technology to make online education possible. The Church is also delighted to have partnered with the Oak National Academy to provide assemblies and weekly collective worship for parents who are home-schooling.

Many parishes and cathedrals, such as Wakefield Cathedral, donated laptops and equipment to vulnerable children, which enabled these young people to continue to engage in education from home during the pandemic.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church is taking to provide affordable, sustainable and beautiful housing on land it owns.

The Church Commissioners have welcomed the report of the Archbishops' Housing Commission. The report 'Coming Home', about housing provision in the UK, calls for a national plan to tackle the housing crisis, it can be read here: https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/priorities/coming-home

The Church Commissioners are producing a framework for the integration of material environmental, social and governance in the management of their Strategic Land, a summary of which can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-02/Strategic%20Land%20ESG%20Integration%20%28ID%20217419%29.pdf

More information about some of the recent property developments on land owned by the Church Commissioners can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-02/Strategic%20Land%20Case%20Studies%20%28ID%20217418%29.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what representations the church is making in countries where people are being persecuted for their faith or belief.

The Church of England has regular meetings with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office about countries where people are persecuted for their faith or belief so that Her Majesty’s Government can raise these vital issues with the Governments of the countries concerned.

The Church also engages with our heads of mission, civil society groups, and where possible, with the foreign Governments in question.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment he has made of whether the online broadcasting of services during the covid-19 outbreak has increased the number of people participating in worship.

The Church of England has seen a significant increase in public engagement with its online resources over the pandemic.
The National Church Institutions have produced a weekly online Sunday Service in video form since Mothering Sunday 2020, as well as the Daily Hope telephone line, podcasts and apps. The Sunday services have had more than 3.7 million views on Facebook and YouTube. A further 20,000 local online services and events have been listed on www.AChurchNearYou.com over the last year.

2020 saw an increase of almost 50% in downloads of Church of England apps for prayer and worship, with the apps used around 8 million times during this period. The National Institutions have continued to create resources for the major festivals, accessible on its website and social media. The current campaign #LiveLent is designed to take people on a journey of preparation ahead of Easter Day. This follows on from the #ComfortAndJoy resources, which reached millions during Advent and Christmas.

Most cathedrals and a majority of parishes offer a variety of online services and events: weekly services, morning and evening prayer, children and youth projects and social activities. These have helped grow worshipping communities nationally and internationally. Recent evidence has also shown that attendance at traditional Book of Common Prayer services has grown dramatically. More available here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/stories-and-features/book-common-prayer-services-see-huge-numbers-tuning-seeking Digital services have also improved accessibility for those with disabilities.

Digital services are likely to continue for the time being and these will be different in each parish as clergy respond to local needs and circumstances. Training has been provided throughout the pandemic to thousands of clergy and laypeople to improve skills and familiarise themselves with the variety of platforms available.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress the church is making in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions across all its activities.

The National Church Institutions are currently assessing the carbon footprint of all church buildings through an Energy Footprint Tool. This enables parishes to input data from energy bills to create an energy rating. The tool suggests a plan for reducing the footprint of each building


You can read more about the project here: https://www.churchofengland.org/about/policy-and-thinking/our-views/environment-and-climate-change/about-our-environment/energy-footprint-tool

Over 5,000 church buildings have currently received feedback from the Energy Footprint Tool, and we hope many more will engage in the project this year when the scheme reopens. More information about the project one year on can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/one-year-church-moves-forward-carbon-reduction-target

Across the Church Commissioners Agricultural property portfolio, the Commissioners are encouraging our tenants to farm sustainably and join environmental stewardship schemes to plant trees and hedgerows wherever possible. In addition, we are undertaking a natural capital assessment, which will provide a baseline and trajectory of progress towards achieving lower carbon outputs.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church Commissioners are taking to make sure their investments support a net zero carbon economy.

The Church Commissioners have committed to reaching a net-zero portfolio in 2050 and the Church of England's National Investing Bodies joined the UN Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance in 2020. More detail about the alliance can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/news-and-statements/church-england-national-investing-bodies-join-un-convened-net

The Church Commissioners have instituted further climate-related investment restrictions to capture companies that have significant greenhouse gas emissions but are not taking seriously their responsibilities to assist with the transition to a net-zero emissions economy. We are also setting our first interim emissions reduction target as members of the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, working with our public equities managers to achieve it.

The Church Commissioners are committed to the decarbonisation of the real economy, through engagement with policymakers and companies. The vision is for a net-zero carbon emissions global economy by 2050.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what role hospital chaplains are playing in supporting (a) patients and (b) the NHS during the covid-19 pandemic.

NHS chaplains have given their all in response to the unprecedented need for pastoral and spiritual support during the pandemic, with patients, in liaison with families unable to visit their loved ones, and with NHS staff under stress. Chaplains are an essential component in the care for the whole person that is central to the NHS’s vocation.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has also been supporting patients at St Thomas’s Hospital, London as part of the chaplaincy team there and is regularly making time to speak to patients and support families and staff.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions the Church has had with the Government on the Taylor review on the sustainable upkeep of places of worship.

The Church of England is responsible for around 16,000 church buildings in England, including 42 cathedrals, around three-quarters of which are listed (and more than half Grade I or Grade II*). The Church Buildings Division of the Archbishops' Council is in regular contact with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and is in ongoing conversations with Government about how to ensure the sustainability of these important national assets in the long term.

The staff of the Church Buildings Division also have regular meetings with government officials and Historic England, looking at the most effective way to support churches. This has necessarily changed through the COVID19 crisis and current work is drawing on the government-funded Taylor pilot projects in order to establish the best form of partnership to support recovery.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what support the church is providing to schools to help children's education during the covid-19 lockdown.

Church of England schools remain open for key worker children and also where possible for those who are unable to study at home. All teachers and staff in Church schools who are providing teaching and care at this difficult time deserve our deep gratitude. Church schools moved rapidly to provide online lessons and resources, looking after children of key workers and overseeing the distribution of free school meal vouchers and technology to make online education possible. The Church is also delighted to have partnered with the Oak National Academy to provide assemblies and weekly collective worship for parents who are home-schooling.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what types of support the church has provided to people in need during the covid-19 lockdown.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to the many clergy and volunteers across the country who throughout the pandemic have kept running the approximately 36,000 community projects run or supported by local parish networks. These projects provide a range of services to the community, including food banks, debt advice services and other crisis facilities to ensure that those in greatest need still have access to support. Clergy have also supported vulnerable families, the bereaved and homeless throughout this time to find the help they need.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church is taking to support families during covid-19 lockdown.

The three lockdown periods of the last 12 months have seen considerable innovations by clergy and youth workers across the Church.

The Education Office of Church House Westminster has partnered with the Government's online Oak Academy to provide educational resources and materials for parents to use in home-schooling. Clergy have also been developing new resources, including virtual prayer services, school assemblies, study groups, fellowship meetings and craft workshops. That is in addition to online church services, bereavement counselling, marriage preparation and marriage support services.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the church is taking prevent the persecution of believers of all faiths.

The Church speaks up on behalf of all those who are unable to exercise their right to freedom of religion or belief.

The Church of England is part of an international consortium that has just received £5.6 million from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to equip parliamentarians and religious leaders in eight countries in Africa and Asia to meet these challenges. As part of the new project, the Church of England and other consortium members will be helping parliamentarians and religious leaders with technical assistance and other expertise they need to propose solutions to such terrible human rights abuses in their own countries


The Church of England is continuing to engage with the International Panel for Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion and Belief. More information about that work is available here: https://www.ippforb.com/

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what additional support has been provided to (a) clergy and (b) churches to help people attend church (i) in person or (ii) online during lockdown.

Since the first lockdown, the Church Commissioners’ Cathedrals Sustainability Fund has enabled many cathedrals to improve their digital output, including live streaming of services.

There were nearly 36 million viewings of the Church’s Christmas “Comfort and Joy” series. For those who prefer the telephone, the Daily Hope worship line has received 350,000 free calls.

The National Church Institutions have now offered digital training to over 7,000 people, equipping them with practical skills in streaming services on a variety of different platforms. The national Sunday Service has been watched on 2.5 million individual devices, and many parishes and cathedrals are now live streaming regular daily services to their local communities.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment the Church of England has made of the effectiveness of its communication strategy during the covid-19 outbreak.

The most recent assessment of the effectiveness of the Church of England’s Communications strategy during the covid-19 outbreak was prepared for the General Synod in June 2020. The full document can be read here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-06/GS%20Misc%201249%20Covid-19%20Response.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to meet the needs of parishioners during the covid-19 outbreak.

At parish, diocesan and national level, the Church of England has been producing resources and delivering support to meet the spiritual and practical needs of those in its parishes throughout the covid-19 outbreak. This has included live and pre-recorded services, both local and national, pastoral support, children and youth work, bereavement care, support for foodbanks and other local charitable activities too numerous to list here, often assisted with resources provided centrally or at a diocesan level. The Daily Hope phoneline has also offered hope and prayerful support to those who are without access to online resources. Church schools have also been involved in supporting pupils and families with home learning during lockdown, as well as continuing to host children of key workers and vulnerable children on site. There is a dedicated coronavirus section of the Church of England website which provides further information: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches , and examples of the work that churches have undertaken during the outbreak can also be seen here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/stories-and-features

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to support children to return to school as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

During the period of lockdown Church of England schools remained open to the children of key workers and to vulnerable children, with teachers working extremely hard to provide support for children at school and those who remained at home.

Church of England schools continue to follow national guidelines on opening and teaching during the current stage of the pandemic.

Parishes have supported local schools and teachers during this difficult time, with examples including donations of equipment for pupils, and parish rooms and halls being made available for use as extra classrooms in cases where social distancing has required it.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment the Church of England has made of the extent of the global persecution of Christians during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Church of England is in regular communication with the Government and the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief on the issue of persecution of Christians worldwide.

The Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating the challenges facing Christians who have experienced persecution in some parts of the world as well as Christians and other faith groups in contexts of civil war. The leaders of the Anglican Communion are in close contact with each other to support in practical and prayerful ways.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church is taking to support mental health during the covid-19 pandemic.

A central part of the Church's mission is to provide grief counselling and prayer in times of need, as well as assistance to those under pressure through provision of food and other help to the vulnerable and shielding. Healthcare chaplains continue to work alongside community and acute mental health services.

Parishes have been supporting vulnerable individuals to remain in contact with family, friends and their community, digitally and where possible by direct face to face contact. The reopening of church buildings for prayer, worship, weddings, baptisms and funerals has also provided mental and spiritual succour to clergy, laity and community.

The Church remains particularly concerned for children and young people who are young carers or living in homes where domestic abuse and violence is present. The Church continues to remain open as a first point of contact for vulnerable people and to support local charities and refuges.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what representations he has received on the continuation of Sunday services at St Margaret's, Westminster.

I have received correspondence from some of the congregation of St Margaret's and have met with the Dean and Rector along with Mr Speaker to better understand the reasons for the changes that the Abbey wish to initiate at St Margaret's.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, how the Church is using its investment portfolio to encourage (a) ethical business practices and (b) a reduction in dependency on fossil fuels.

The engagement of the Church of England National Investing Bodies ('NIBs'), including the Church Commissioners, is guided by the commitments made by the National Investing bodies in a July 2018 General Synod debate on climate change and investment.

The NIBs reaffirmed their commitment to engage urgently and robustly with companies rated poorly by the Transition Pathway Initiative and, beginning in 2020, to start to disinvest from the ones that are not taking their responsibilities seriously to assist with the transition to a low carbon economy. More information about the Transition Pathway can be found here: https://www.transitionpathwayinitiative.org/tpi/overview

The NIBs have committed to disinvestment by 2023 from fossil fuel companies that they have assessed as not being prepared to align with the goal of the Paris Agreement to restrict the global average temperature rise to well below 2ºC. This assessment will be made drawing on TPI data.

In 2020 the National Investing Bodies joined the UN net-zero asset owner alliance. More information about their engagement can be found at the link: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/church-england-national-investing-bodies-join-un-convened-net-zero-asset

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress the Church of England is making on reopening (a) churches and (b) cathedrals for (i) worship, (ii) weddings and (Iii) other ceremonies.

Worship, weddings, christenings and funerals in COVID-secure church buildings where appropriate social distancing can be achieved, remain permitted and are unaffected by the most recent Government announcement. The Church of England's most up to date guidance on COVID can be seen here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress the Church of England is making on its plans to establish 2,700 churches over the next ten years.

In July 2020 the Church of England announced a Funding package worth £24 million to increase its presence in urban and deprived areas. More information can be found at: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/church-england-awards-ps24-million-grants-spread-christian-faith-towns-and

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress the Church of England has been made on increasing the number of ordinands.

550 people began training for ordained ministry in the Church of England last year and 570 deacons were ordained in 2019 to a curacy parish.

The number of stipendiaries, or paid clergy, remained stable at 7,700, between 2018 and 2019, following a period of decline. There were 7,830 Readers or licensed lay ministers compared to just under 10,000 in 2010. Readers and licensed lay ministers are not ordained but can lead worship and preach in churches, among other roles.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to support marriage (a) for couples on low incomes (b) more widely.

Couples who live within a parish or have a qualifying connection to it are able to marry in their parish church according to the rites of the Church of England. Marriage in a church remains a relatively inexpensive option, but an incumbent has the authority to waive some of the fees to help couples who may have particualr financial difficulties or who are on low incomes.

Many parishes attend wedding fayres and work with local businesses, such as florists and events planners, to increase awareness of the options available to couples to be married in their local church.

In response to the Law Commission's announcement of a consultation on reform of wedding law, a Church of England spokesperson said: "Our research shows that being married in a place that has meaning is still important to couples and their families. The moments of waiting to walk down the aisle, standing at the steps, exchanging timeless vows that can only be said in a church, and turning to walk out of the church as a newly married couple, are cherished."

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England plans to take to tackle the theft of lead from churches.

Thefts of metal and monumental stone from churches initially fell folliowing the introduction of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, but have begun to rise again. The Church of England submitted evidence to the Government's review of the Act and recommended legislation be updated to reflect new forms of thefts, the organised nature of the crime and smelting techniques. We await progress on that and in the meantime are working closely with the APPG for Metal Theft, Historic England and the Police, to support parishes that are impacted by this form of serious organised crime.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what support the Church of England is providing to the church in South Sudan following the shootings of 32 people and the death of the Dean at the cathedral of Saint Luke's in South Sudan.

The deaths of the Dean and members of the congregation of St Luke's Cathedral South Sudan are both tragic and appalling.

In response to the recent attack the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa has called on "all peace-loving institutions to raise their voice and call for peace negotiations in South Sudan and dialogue to address the inter-communal violence."

The Church of England and the Vatican have been working together closely on initiatives to bring peace to South Sudan. The Church of England will continue to support reconciliation efforts and work with its international partners to end the protracted tribal conflict.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what support the Church of England is providing to the church and people of Lebanon to recover and rebuild following the explosion in the port of Beirut.

Anglican institutions in Beirut were affected by the explosion. All Saints Episcopal Church and the Near Eastern School of Theology were severely damaged, being only a mile from the port. St Luke's school for disabled children thankfully escaped the blast, and the children were away because of the COVID-19 virus.

The Diocese of Jerusalem oversees the Anglican community in Lebanon, and the Church of England is supporting Archbishop Suheil Dawani's appeal to the Anglican Communion for support to repair damaged buildings and affected lives.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
22nd Jul 2020
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 and understand the impact of the pandemic on people who are disabled or have a health condition by using both existing and new data sources.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what support the Church of England is receiving from (a) local authorities and (b central government to help reduce their carbon footprint.

The National Church Institutions of the Church of England are not receiving support from central government or local authorities to help reduce their carbon footprint. While there may be instances of local parishes being given one-off small grants, records of these are not held centrally.

The Church of England's General Synod met in February 2020 to discuss reducing the carbon footprint of the Church. The Synod voted to call upon all parts of the Church of England to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. More information about the vote at the Synod can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/general-synod-sets-2030-net-zero-carbon-target

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
10th Feb 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what recent discussions the Church of England has had with (a) officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and (b) the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Freedom of Religion and Belief on the volume of attacks on the Christian communities throughout the world.

The Mission and Public Affairs Division of the Archbishop’s Council is in regular contact with the Freedom of Religion or Belief Team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and has engaged on this issue with relevant embassy staff when travelling overseas. They have also had a series of meetings with the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Freedom of Religion or Belief since his appointment. Senior Church leaders have also had meetings with the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy in recent weeks.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
10th Feb 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to inform and educate its clergy on (a) scientific advances and (b) new technologies.

The Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Division has partnered with the Universities of Durham and York to address gaps in understanding between science and religion. Equipping Christian Leaders in an Age of Science has been running for four years and has just been awarded £3.4m by the Templeton Religion Trust for its next phases. The team has organised 11 conferences enabling bishops and senior church leaders to engage with the latest developments in topics ranging from neuroscience to cosmology.

The Church of England is also a partner in the Centre for Doctoral Training in AI Ethics at the University of Bath, along with numerous other industry partners, gaining understanding which will be shared within the Church. The Bishop of Oxford is a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on AI and is a board member of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. The Church also made a submission to the recently-published consultation by the Committee for Standards in Public Life on the impact of AI on public life.

All this work on new technologies will feed into the Equipping Christian Leaders in an Age of Science project and the wider engagement of the Church on public affairs. In March 2020 three new pieces of research will begin. These are designed to deepen understanding of science and to resource and expand the reach of Church engagement. This research will take place at Durham University, York University and within the Mission and Public Affairs Division of the Archbishops' Council.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
10th Feb 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to strengthen and marriage and family life.

At parish level clergy and parishioners often work with couples to prepare them ahead of their wedding for life together, support them afterwards, and through voluntary activities offer groups and facilities for families and children, which help sustain community.

Marriage preparation work will often include church-led marriage enrichment workshops and other courses and support for couples at every stage of their marriage. Through the Life Events programme the Church is working with clergy and other church leaders to enhance the depth of engagement with couples through wedding planning.

The Church, including through the Bishops in the House of Lords, continues to highlight and address the social and economic issues that place strain on married relationships, including the Bishop of St Albans’s work on the impact of gambling and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community. The Church of England also made a submission to the Government’s consultation on no-fault divorce and the Lords Spiritual have engaged with the legislation in Parliament.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions her Department has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the fiscal support available for employers who incur costs by making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees.

The Government is committed to protecting people with disabilities in the workplace. The Equality Act 2010 places obligations on employers in relation to disabled employees, including a duty to provide reasonable adjustments. However, the legislation recognises the need to strike a balance between the needs of disabled people and the interests of service providers. What is ‘reasonable’ will vary from one situation to another. This is because factors like the practicability of making the adjustment, the cost of the adjustment and the resources available to a business, will vary from one situation to another.

The government runs Access to Work, a demand-led discretionary grant scheme that offers up to £59,200 funding per year for in-work support for people whose disability or health condition affects the way they do their job. The scheme is designed to offer support above the level of employers’ statutory obligations under the Equality Act 2010, as well as providing advice to employers on in work support available for their employees which could include reasonable adjustments.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the hon. Member representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to provide support to (a) Kurdish Christians and (b) other persecuted Christian groups.

(a) The Church of England is working closely to support Christan development and aid agencies to meet the humanitarian need of those who are displaced from the conflict in Syria.

The Church is continuing to encourage the Department for International Development and the wider international community to bolster the capacity of local civil society groups operating in the region. These groups, many of them faith-based, will be on the frontline of the humanitarian response in the months and years to come.

(b) The Church of England welcomes the decision by the Government to accept and implement the recommendations of the Truro Report to strengthen Foreign and Commonwealth Office support for persecuted Christians. Church of England officials are providing advice and support to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as it takes forward the implementation of these recommendations. The Church welcomes the Prime Minister’s commitment made in his Christmas message to stand in solidarity with Christians everywhere and to defend their right to practice their faith.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent discussions she has had with the Serious Fraud Office on victims of fraud; and what steps she is taking to help ensure that victims of fraud are compensated accordingly.

I meet regularly with the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to discuss casework and corporate matters, including issues connected to victims of crime and compensation.

The SFO always aims to trace and seize money and other assets from criminals in all of its fraud, bribery and corruption cases, so that criminals do not benefit from their offending and victims can be compensated wherever possible.

The SFO continues to perform well in this regard and its proceeds of crime recovery rate was higher than all comparable UK agencies in three of the last four years. Last year, the SFO recovered the fourth highest amount in value out of 180 agencies across England and Wales, after HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Metropolitan Police and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), all of which are much larger organisations. Its success in recovering the proceeds of crime and the work of its Witness Care Team in supporting victims – sometimes totalling thousands in a single case – and witnesses were also positively recognised in two HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) inspection reports published in the past year.

Internationally, the SFO recently obtained £210,610 in compensation as a result of its investigation into Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited. The funds will be transferred by the UK Government to the Federal Government of Nigeria, and will support key infrastructure projects, ensuring that the people of Nigeria benefit directly.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Attorney General, how many people have been charged with attempted murder in each of the last three years by age group.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of the number of people charged with and prosecuted for attempted murder. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

While no data is held reporting the number of people prosecuted specifically for attempted murder, the CPS can report the number of defendants where the prosecution was flagged under the ‘homicide’ category at finalisation.

The ‘homicide’ category includes offences of murder, manslaughter, causing death by driving dangerously, carelessly or under the influence of alcohol/drugs. The corresponding inchoate offences, such as conspiracy, solicitation, or criminal attempts, are also assigned to this category. It is not possible to separately report prosecution outcomes by the individual offences allocated to this category.

The table below shows by age group, the number of prosecutions in which defendants were allocated the ’homicide’ category at finalisation during each of the last three years.

2018-2019

2019-2020

2020-2021

10-13

0

2

0

14-17

113

103

75

18-24

382

315

306

25-59

753

724

584

60-69

52

55

43

70-79

18

21

30

80+

16

17

14

Not Provided

26

8

12

TOTAL COMPLETED PROSECUTIONS

1,360

1,245

1,064

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Attorney General, what steps he is taking to help increase the number of successful prosecutions for cases involving child abuse.

Child sexual abuse cases are some of the most challenging, complex and sensitive cases. They are dealt with by specially trained prosecutors, working closely with the police to build the strongest possible cases that meet the legal test. In 2020-2021 there were 6,402 prosecutions for cases classified as child abuse. In the same period the conviction rate was 85.6%, an increase of 2.7% on the previous year.

The government has successfully rolled out Section 28 for vulnerable victims and witnesses, including children, in all Crown Courts from November 2020. We know that Section 28 provisions which provide for pre-recorded cross-examination can help to improve the experience of victims by enabling them to give their evidence earlier in the process and outside of the courtroom.

The CPS has comprehensive Legal Guidance for prosecutors on cases involving child abuse. This Guidance supports prosecutors to build strong cases and bring effective prosecutions. It is currently being updated to take account of the latest developments in law and policy.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for Education to teach an understanding of the law among young people.

I chair a Public Legal Education Committee, and regularly engage with stakeholders and other government departments to explore how we can increase public understanding of the law.

I work closely with my Ministerial colleagues to improve provision of Public Legal Education, and I recently met with The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Education, to discuss how to ensure young people have a strong understanding of the law.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what steps the Government is taking to (a) tackle the rise in reported male domestic abuse and (b) improve rates of prosecution for male domestic abuse.

The CPS takes cases of domestic abuse extremely seriously and is determined to provide all victims, irrespective of gender, with the greatest possible protection from offending and reoffending.

The CPS provides comprehensive guidance and training on domestic abuse to prosecutors. This includes specific guidance on how to deal with cases involving male victims. The CPS has also led the implementation of a national Domestic Abuse Best Practice Framework in magistrates’ courts across England and Wales. The framework aims to ensure consistent good practice by all criminal justice agencies that deal with cases of domestic abuse.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
16th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to strengthen the UK's cyber security in the context of the potential increased risk of malicious cyber activity from Russia.

Our new National Cyber and Government Cyber Security Strategies set out our approach to making the UK more resilient to cyber attacks and countering cyber threats. We have undertaken significant outreach within the Government and Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sectors, and the UK Devolved Administrations, providing mitigating advice to bolster the UK’s cyber preparedness.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster recently wrote to Cabinet colleagues to seek assurances that their departments and sectors are implementing the necessary resilience measures.

All organisations should follow the NCSC’s guidance on actions to take when the cyber threat is heightened. Individuals should follow the NCSC’s Cyber Aware guidance.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department is co-ordinating discussions with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Department for Health and Social Care on a definition of health and wellbeing as it applies to the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy.

I refer my hon Friend to the reply given by my Rt Hon Friend the Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change (Greg Hands) to Question UIN 128456.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of cot deaths in the UK in each of the last five years.

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

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
5th Jan 2022
NHS
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has a role in (a) ensuring that the NHS is training enough doctors and nurses and (b) developing policies on the structure, and any potential restructuring, of the NHS.

The Cabinet Office’s role is to support DHSC in delivering the priorities of the Prime Minister and the government, which includes training more doctors and nurses. The NHS has over 5,100 more doctors and over 9,700 more nurses than last year and is on track to train 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament - as per our manifesto commitment. The Cabinet Office is also supporting DHSC with the Health and Care Bill, which delivers on the NHS reform proposals set out in the 2019 Long Term Plan.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that women who leave the armed forces are not subject to (a) abuse or (b) attacks.

The Government takes the issue of women’s safety incredibly seriously and we are determined to tackle crimes which disproportionately affect women and girls.

We are also committed to providing the best support available for veterans and their families as they transition back into civilian life. This includes ensuring they know where to turn to access support if they need it. NHS services and charities provide a wide range of help and advice, such as Forward Assist and their women-veterans-specific projects.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
24th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions the Government has had with its EU counterparts on trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.

Lord Frost met Vice President Šefčovič in Brussels on 15 April. He has been in regular contact with the Vice President since then and his team maintains engagement at all levels with the Commission through the Withdrawal Agreement structures.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have died due to an overdose of paracetamol in each of the last five years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the birth rate was in each month since January 2020 to date.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to support veterans charities which cannot cover their costs and are unable to undertake normal fundraising during the covid-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 Impact Fund has provided nearly £6m in grants to over 100 Armed Forces charities across the United Kingdom, including a number who are based, or operate, in Northern Ireland to support them through the immediate effects of the pandemic. These charities have ranged from smaller local charities to larger, household names. Many charities have also utilised the Government’s employment and other financial support schemes to help sustain them through the pandemic. In addition the Government has continued to provide £10m to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, some of which has also been made available to help charities respond to the direct impacts of COVID-19. Ministers have continued to hold discussions with the Armed Forces charity sector throughout this period and continue to monitor the financial impact on the sector closely.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Government Minister has responsibility for rural social isolation.

The UK Government’s work on loneliness is coordinated by DCMS and led by Baroness Barron. Lord Gardiner, as Rural Affairs Minister, works closely with her to make sure the needs of those living in isolated rural communities are properly considered and taken into account.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have died as a result of chickenpox in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland in each of last five years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, how the Church of England plans to deliver on the General Synod's decision to make the Church carbon zero by 2030.

The Church of England is committed to reducing its own carbon footprint and is developing several strategies to deliver this, including across its 44,000 properties and schools.

The General Synod at its meeting in February 2020 committed the Church to report back in three years time on whether it could meet the ambitious target set by the Synod of decarbonising the Church by 2030.

One of the first steps has already started and many listed buildings have started exploring installing new renewable technology to improve their energy use. A good example is Gloucester Cathedral, a grade 1 listed building, which has managed to install solar panels on its roof.

The Church is working with A Rocha to recognise achievement by church buildings and dioceses with Eco-Church awards at either bronze, silver or gold standard.

A new initiative the Church has developed is an energy rating tool for church buildings, which calculates the energy consumption of the parish church. It takes into account factors including the type of power the parish uses, whether they are on 'green' tariffs, the size of the building and usage.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of heat pumps sold in the UK were (a) manufactured and (b) imported to the UK in the most recent 12 months for which data is available.

The latest data available is from the BEIS commissioned Heat Pump Manufacturing Supply Chain Research Project, which found that approximately 30 per cent of heat pumps sold in the UK in 2019 were manufactured domestically. The report also noted that this is expected to increase over time as the market matures.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of trained heat pump installers in the UK in 2021.

There are currently over 1300 businesses in the UK certified with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) to install heat pumps, estimated to employ approximately 4,000 installers. The total number of trained installers is likely to be greater than this, as not all trained heat pump installers are required to be MCS Certified. MCS Certification is only required for installations receiving Government grant funding. The Government has commissioned further research into the existing heating and cooling installer workforce in England, which will be completed later this year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of a bespoke heat pump installer certification scheme, similar to the gas safe register, to protect consumers who are purchasing heat pumps.

The Government oversees authorisation of a number of competent person schemes, including the Gas Safe Register. This includes schemes which allow heat pump installers to self-certify compliance with Building Regulations in England. Contractors installing heat pumps within UK Government schemes, such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, are additionally required to be certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). MCS certification provides additional protections to consumers getting a heat pump installed.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure there is sufficient network capacity for the increased demand for (a) electric heating from 2025 and (b) electric vehicle charging from 2023.

As set out in its British Energy Security Strategy, the Government is committed to accelerating the process of building and connecting electricity network infrastructure to accommodate both new clean, affordable generation and demand. This includes working with Ofgem, network companies and the supply chain to dramatically reduce timelines for delivering strategic onshore transmission infrastructure and to speed up connections to the local distribution networks.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the development of tidal power projects; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of developing those projects in Strangford Lough.

The Government announced in November that the fourth Contracts for Difference allocation round will feature a £20m annual ringfenced budget for tidal stream energy. This builds on a long and continuing history of government support for the tidal power sector and opens up possibilities for Britain’s marine energy sector to play a key role in strengthening energy security and reducing our dependency on fossil fuels.

Energy policy is a transferred matter to the Northern Ireland Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive so tidal stream deployment in Strangford Lough is principally a matter for Northern Ireland Departments.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to train new heat pump installers in the UK in preparation for the future homes standard being implemented in 2025.

The Government is working with industry to ensure that sufficient installers are trained to install heat pumps in advance of the Future Homes Standard being implemented in England in 2025. In 2020 and 2021, the Government spent almost £6 million on the BEIS Skills Training Competition which delivered around 7,000 training opportunities for energy efficiency and low carbon heating supply chains in England. This scheme included training for over 2,000 heat pump installers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to launch a public campaign to increase awareness of heat pumps as a low carbon heating technology.

The Government recognises public engagement as a vital element for successful decarbonisation of heat and buildings.


The Simple Energy Advice service has had over 1.7 million users, providing homeowners with personal, tailored advice for improving and decarbonising their homes and links to local, accredited, trusted installers. The Government is currently reviewing this service to identify potential improvements and will shortly publish a new heat pump suitability tool and use case studies to help consumers make informed choices about installing heat pumps.


The Boiler Upgrade Scheme launched recently, with information published across consumer-facing websites to raise awareness of the benefits of the scheme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential contributions to energy security of the Jackdaw Field Development in the North Sea.

Shell’s February 2022 Environmental Statement notes that at its peak, the Jackdaw development is expected to deliver 6.5% of UK Continental Shelf gas production for less than 1% of UK Continental Shelf emissions and produce an amount of energy equivalent to heating over 1.4 million UK homes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking in the response to the campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of button batteries.

The Government takes the dangers associated with button batteries seriously and is leading a range of action to tackle this issue.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) established a working group last year, drawn from a wide range of stakeholders representing consumers, business, medical professionals and enforcing authorities to take forward work to improve safety outcomes related to button batteries.

This includes work with The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, the Child Accident Prevention Trust, and the British and Irish Portable Battery Association to raise awareness amongst parents and carers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with (a) large fuel firms and (b) other stakeholders on the impact of the rise in the cost of living.

The Government understands that fuel prices are an important component of UK household and business expenditures and is sympathetic to the impact of domestic fuel costs on UK consumers.

BEIS Ministers are in regular contact with the fuel industry at all levels and have made it clear operators should do everything they can to reduce the cost to end users.

The Government has asked the Competition and Markets Authority to conduct an urgent review of the fuel market, as well as a longer-term market study under the Enterprise Act 2002, to explore whether the retail fuel market has adversely affected consumer interests.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to help tackle fuel poverty, in the context of the anticipated increase in the number of households who will be in fuel poverty in 2022.

The Government has announced a package of additional measures to provide immediate support, totalling over £37 billion this year, including a £400 grant to households to help with their energy bills when it will be needed most.

Energy efficiency remains the best way to tackle fuel poverty in the long term, reducing the amount of energy required to heat a home and contributing to lower energy bills and carbon emissions. Support is available through schemes including the Energy Company Obligation which will be worth £1 billion pa, the Home Upgrade Grant and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the impact of the increase in fuel prices on his Department's policies; and if he will hold further discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on financial packages to help support people affected by that increase.

The Government understands that fuel prices are an important component of UK household and business expenditures, and is sympathetic to the impact of road fuel costs on UK consumers.

The Government recently announced a £15 billion package to support households with the cost of living, in addition to over £22 billion that had already been committed.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to (a) identify and (b) allocate sites for new small modular reactors.

The Government recognises that there are areas across the UK with experience hosting nuclear developments and appreciates the potential benefits that these locations could offer to new nuclear projects.

The Government is developing a siting strategy, and a new National Policy Statement for nuclear electricity generation infrastructure deployable after 2025. The Government will consult on the strategy in due course.

The Government remains open to considering development proposals for projects at sites which stakeholders consider suitable, including existing nuclear sites. Any future project would be subject to planning and development consents.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of deploying small modular reactors in Northern Ireland.

As outlined in the British Energy Security Strategy, the Government’s long-term ambition is to increase plans for the deployment of civil nuclear power by 2050. In order to facilitate this, the Government has committed to a number of nuclear ambitions, including developing an overall siting strategy for the long term.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of nuclear power’s contribution to energy security in the UK.

The Government believes that the UK needs a diverse mix of electricity infrastructure to come forward in order to deliver a secure, reliable, affordable, and net zero consistent system in 2050.

The Energy Security Strategy seeks to ensure that the UK is one of the best places in the world to invest in nuclear and sets an ambition for deployment of civil nuclear of up to 24 GW by 2050, around 25% of our projected electricity demand.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the effects on consumers of rises in fuel costs.

On 26 May 2022, the Government announced a £15 billion package of cost-of-living support. This is in addition to the over £22 billion announced previously for the cost of living now totalling over £37 billion this year. This means almost eight million most vulnerable households will get £1,200 of one-off support in total this year, with all domestic electricity customers receiving at least £400.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will direct the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to commence discussions with Small Modular Reactor (SMR) vendors on using NDA sites for SMR developments.

The NDA has a clear mission to decommission their sites safely, freeing up land for future uses. The NDA welcomes engagement from all stakeholders with a potential future use of their land and has a history of engagement and land transfer across their portfolio including with SMR vendors. The NDA requires permission from Government prior to any actual disposal/sale of land, but this does not prevent the NDA from discussing the future use of their land with interested parties, including SMR developers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to assess the efficiency of the process for approving new nuclear power stations.

The British Energy Security Strategy sets out the Government’s aim to ensure the UK is one of the best places in the world to invest in nuclear. The Government will work with the regulators to understand the potential for streamlining, or removing duplication from, the consenting and licensing processes to approve new nuclear power stations, without impacting the robust safety, security and environmental protections offered by UK regulatory regime.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the benefits of building new nuclear power stations concurrently.

The Government assesses each proposed new nuclear project on its own merits, mindful of the value of economies of scale. The Government recently set out the parameters of the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund (£120m) to encourage developers to bring to fruition future proposals. The Government will engage with industry on the development of the pipeline of new projects kickstarted by the British Energy Security Strategy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to provide opportunities for new nuclear developers.

The Government will set up a new flagship body - ‘Great British Nuclear’ - to develop a resilient pipeline of new projects. The Government appointed Simon Bowen, tasked with leading and helping to drive forward government proposals for a new Great British Nuclear vehicle.

The Government intends to take one project to Final Investment Decision (FID) this Parliament and two projects in the next Parliament, subject to value for money, approvals and technology readiness/maturity.

The Government launched the £120m Future Nuclear Enabling Fund on 13th May 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the additional volume of natural gas which would be required to offset the electricity generated by nuclear power in 2022.

Nuclear power generation scenarios are published in the Energy and Emission Projections here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-and-emissions-projections-net-zero-strategy-baseline-partial-interim-update-december-2021.

Fuel usage in the power sector is published in DUKES here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/electricity-chapter-5-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes.

Conversion factors between fuels are published by National Grid here: https://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/gas-transmission/document/128886/download.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the contribution of nuclear power to the UK's energy security.

The Government believes that the UK needs a diverse mix of electricity infrastructure to come forward in order to deliver a secure, reliable, affordable, and net zero consistent system in 2050.

The Energy Security Strategy seeks to ensure that the UK is one of the best places in the world to invest in nuclear and sets an ambition for deployment of civil nuclear of up to 24 GW by 2050, around 25% of our projected electricity demand.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of how the model of collaborative funding for covid-19 research at pace might be used to fund other research areas.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 15 February 2022 to Question 119577.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to support scientific research consortia as a future funding model for domestic R&D.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire on 31 March 2022 to Question 146649.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to support research into cancer immune therapies.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon on 25 March 2022 to Question 142442.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to develop the UK R&D Roadmap into the forthcoming R&D Plan.

The Government continues to implement and deliver the R&D Roadmap and subsequent People and Culture and Innovation Strategies, including through establishment of a Business Innovation Forum to galvanise action from the business community.

Publication of the Levelling Up White Paper has set out how the Government will maximise the contribution of innovation to levelling up by building on existing and emerging strengths across the country.

Progress continues on the Independently led Reviews of Research Bureaucracy and the Research, Development and Innovation Organisational Landscape.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the level of nuclear power generation capacity that will be required for the UK to achieve net zero by 2050.

Following publication of the British Energy Security Strategy, the Government has increased its plans for the deployment of civil nuclear power to up to 24GW by 2050, around 25% of projected 2050 electricity demand.

The Government intends to take one project to Final Investment Decision (FID) this Parliament and future projects to FID in the next Parliament, including Small Modular Reactors. As with any Government decision, this will be subject to value for money, relevant approvals and technology readiness/maturity.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress he has made on the ratification of the UK’s association with the EU’s Horizon Europe programme.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central to Question UIN 156445.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of geothermal energy plants to meeting COP26 commitments by 2030.

The Government recognises the potential role of geothermal energy in contributing to the UK’s 2030 COP26 commitments, particularly in the decarbonisation of heat. The potential for geothermal power plants is more limited in the UK than in countries with higher temperature resource.

The recently published Heat and Buildings Strategy acknowledges the potential of geothermal energy and sets out the Government’s commitment to continue to monitor developments in geothermal heat in the UK and assess whether the technology provides a cost-effective option for the future.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the contribution of the two-carbon capture/storage sites that will be situated in the North of England to meeting the UK's COP26 commitments by 2030.

HyNet North West and the East Coast Cluster have been named as ‘Track-1’ CCUS clusters, set to come online in the mid-2020s and pioneer carbon capture technologies in the UK. These clusters will form the foundation for the Government’s ambition to capture 20-30 megatons of CO2 annually by 2030, equivalent to the annual emissions of Denmark, making a substantial contribution to carbon budgets and meeting net zero by 2050.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs) on improving health and wellbeing through the Government's Heat and Buildings Strategy.

In the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Government noted that improving the energy performance of buildings and installing low carbon heating can deliver benefits in both areas, especially for those living in fuel poverty. For health, it was stated this can include avoiding physical illnesses, such as heart and lung conditions and help those experiencing cold-related sickness. For wellbeing, making energy efficiency improvements can improve mental wellbeing, as it reduces energy costs, as well as increasing productivity by making homes warmer and more comfortable.

The Government did not have specific conversations regarding how health and wellbeing is applied within the context of the Heat and Buildings Strategy. The Government is committed to engaging with a range of stakeholders and the wider public to deliver on the Strategy’s ambitions, including health bodies, where appropriate.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he will take to (a) offer the 1.9 million homes who use oil and LPG to heat their properties greater choice and (b) support a range of different technologies to help these properties decarbonise.

Electrification of heat is the only option proven to decarbonise off grid homes at scale. BEIS analysis suggests that it would be feasible to install low temperature heat pumps in around 80% of fossil fuel heated off gas grid homes.

The Government has consulted on proposals to end the installation of fossil fuel heating in homes off the gas grid from 2026, with a ‘heat pump first’ approach to replacement heating systems. Under these proposals, homes that cannot reasonably practicably install a heat pump will have a choice of heating technologies that are consistent with net zero. The Government is considering the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department will be taking to introduce an electrification first approach to homes that are off the gas grid.

The Government has consulted on proposals to end the installation of fossil fuel heating in homes off the gas grid from 2026 in England, with a ‘heat pump first’ approach to replacement heating systems. We are currently reviewing responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

It would be for the Northern Ireland Executive to consider any similar steps for homes off the gas grid in Northern Ireland.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help the private sector to deliver new nuclear energy projects.

This Government has set out multiple measures to support the private sector to deliver new nuclear energy projects. The Government wants UK companies to be ambitious in the new nuclear space and be better able to compete for the higher value opportunities that will help build sustainable capabilities in the UK. To support this the Government wants new nuclear developers to share supply chain information with industry early to ensure that UK companies are positioned and prepared to bid for these opportunities.

For future New Nuclear projects (i.e. projects after Hinkley Point C), developers will be required to produce Supply Chain Plans. Developers will need to show evidence that their projects will consider growth in the UK supply chain through the development of competition, the facilitation of new entrants and by boosting innovation and skills.

In addition, the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill is currently in Parliament. This will introduce a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model to reduce the project costs and encourage a wider range of private investment into new nuclear projects.

The Government is in constructive negotiations over Sizewell C in Suffolk and recently entered into a Combined Option agreement of £100m with EDF, to mature the project further and attract potential investment. The Government has also made up to £1.7billion of funding available to reach a final investment decision on a new large-scale nuclear power plant this Parliament, subject to value for money and relevant approvals; these funds could also involve Government investment at the point of a capital raise, helping to mobilise other private sector capital into a project.

The Government announced a £385 million Advanced Nuclear Fund. From this, £210 million has been awarded to Rolls-Royce SMR to develop their Small Modular Reactor design, matched by private sector funding of over £250 million. The Government announced a £120 million Nuclear Enabling Fund to provide targeted support to address barriers to entry for future nuclear.

A £75 million Nuclear Fuel Fund will also be created to be used alongside private sector co-investment to preserve and develop the UK’s fuel production capability.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the development of small modular reactors.

The Net Zero Strategy makes clear that nuclear is an important part of the Government’s plans to achieve net zero. Up to £210 million in Government grant funding was announced in November 2021 for Rolls-Royce SMR to further develop the design for one of the world’s first Small Modular Reactor designs, potentially capable of deployment in the UK in the early 2030s. In the Net Zero Strategy, the Government also announced up to £120 million for a Future Nuclear Enabling Fund to provide targeted support to address barriers to entry. This fund will be part of the measures the Government will take to inform investment decisions during the next Parliament on further nuclear projects, alongside a final investment decision from this Parliament on a further Gigawatt-scale project.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to develop new nuclear power stations.

This Government is committed to nuclear power as part of the country’s future diverse energy mix. Hinkley Point C is under construction and, when operational, will supply 3.2GW of secure, low carbon electricity for around 60 years, providing enough power for around 6 million homes. The Government is committed to approving at least one new large-scale nuclear project this Parliament, subject to value for money and all relevant approvals. The Government announced up to £1.7 billion of funding in the last Spending Review to support this objective and have been in constructive negotiations on the Sizewell C project since January 2021. On 27th January, the Government entered into a Combined Option agreement with EDF, providing £100 million of funding to further mature the project, attract investors, and advance to the next phase in the negotiations.

The Government has also announced a £385 million Advanced Nuclear Fund. From this, £210 million has been committed in grant funding to Rolls-Royce SMR to develop their small modular reactor design and their continued advanced modular reactor development. The Government also announced a new £120 million Nuclear Enabling Fund to provide targeted support to address barriers to entry for future nuclear. Further details on the fund will be announced in due course.

Later this year, the Government will publish a nuclear roadmap setting out the Government’s strategy in more detail. The Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill is currently in Parliament. This will introduce a Regulated Asset Base model for nuclear projects and reduce the obstacles to financing new nuclear projects.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the UK has sufficient reliable low carbon electricity to achieve net zero.

The Net Zero Strategy sets out the Government’s plan for decarbonizing the power sector consistent with its net zero commitments, while ensuring a secure, resilient and affordable supply of electricity. This includes ambitious plans to support the deployment of low carbon and renewable technologies such as offshore wind, nuclear and power CCUS.

Energy policy is primarily a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and decisions surrounding the design of, or amendment to, policies that are likely to have an impact on its electricity markets are therefore led by the Northern Ireland Executive.

Further details are set out in the Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/net-zero-strategy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure the UK’s energy security.

Energy security is an absolute priority for the Government. Great Britain benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of gas supply and a diverse electricity mix, which ensures that households, businesses and industry get the energy they need. In Northern Ireland, electricity is devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive, and Northern Ireland’s electricity network is part of the island of Ireland’s Single Electricity Market.

The Capacity Market is the Government's main security of electricity supply mechanism. Through a competitive auction process, it has already secured the majority of Great Britain's electricity capacity needs out to 2025/26.

The Government continues to work closely with key international and industry partners to monitor gas supply and demand, and remains confident that Great Britain’s energy security will be maintained.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with relevant stakeholders on the potential merits of removing the renewables tariff from gas prices in response to rising energy costs.

The Government has been monitoring the situation and engaging closely with industry and consumer groups since the start of the crisis, to understand the impacts and assess options to help households through this challenging period.

Despite the biggest ever renewable auction in November, support via the Contracts for Difference scheme is now expected to only add 22p per annum on the average bill, showing the increasing competitiveness of UK offshore wind. Since the Government has invested in renewables and energy efficiency, UK demand for natural gas has fallen by 26% since 2010. This has helped reduce the country’s exposure to global price volatility.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce the cost of closing nuclear power plants in the UK.

In June 2021, the Government and EDF agreed revised arrangements to deliver efficient decommissioning of EDF’s fleet of seven Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor stations once they stop generating power. Under the revised arrangements, each station will transfer to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which will manage the long-term decommissioning programme, once EDF has undertaken the defueling stage of decommissioning. EDF will be incentivised towards achieving good defueling performance and to support the transfer of the stations. The new arrangements provide significant potential cost savings for the taxpayer, with the potential to achieve upward of £1billion of savings without compromising on safety and security.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of fuel poverty in rural areas on the decarbonisation of off gas grid properties.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter; in England, 18.2% of homes off the gas grid are in fuel poverty, compared to 12.7% on the gas grid (as of 2019). The next fuel poverty statistics are due to be published later this month. The report will include data for 2020 on the number of households living in fuel poverty in England and analysis of the composition of fuel poor households, as well as projections of the number of households in fuel poverty in 2021 and 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the scientific research consortia as a future funding model.

Research consortia foster research collaboration between diverse partners within countries and across international boundaries. Evidence shows that collaboration leads to better performance.

Collaboration and excellence reinforce each other:

  • Within a single organisation or university, collaboration achieves 27% higher scholarly impact than no collaboration, however across organisations or in consortia within a country, collaborations achieve 45% higher impact, and international collaborations double the impact of scholarly output (99% higher), compared to no collaboration.
  • The UK has received 21 of the 55 Nobel Prizes awarded between 2010 and 2020 and all of these (except for one in Literature) were shared with scientists from other nations

International R&D consortia lead to better economic outcomes:

Existing international funding vehicles such as the Newton and Global Challenges Research Fund build international consortia (bilateral consortia with Newton and multilateral through the Global Challenges Research Fund) to progress research on shared challenges.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken on the delivery of the Life Sciences Vision including enabling cancer immune therapies.

The Government, NHS and Life Science Sector have already taken significant steps in delivering the Life Science Vision. Activity since publication includes the establishment and delivery of the Life Science Scale Up Taskforce, the launch of the £200m Life Sciences Investment Programme, work to improve the NHS’s capacity and capability to utilise new technologies, and innovation work by the Vaccine Taskforce and Antivirals Taskforce to secure access to cutting-edge new technologies to address COVID-19.

Following the conclusion of the 2021 Spending Review on 27th October, the government has confirmed specific funds will be provided upfront to directly support the delivery of the Life Sciences Vision. This includes £95m funding to support the uptake of innovative drugs and technologies and address a number of the Healthcare Missions outlined in the Vision, funding to drive new initiatives through Genomics England to deliver life-changing technologies, and £354m to strengthen the UK’s Life Sciences manufacturing base. This builds on significant programmes of investment in Health Research across DHSC and BEIS, and the largest ever increases in the NHS’s operating budget.

The Office for Life Sciences are working with partner organisations to develop the implementation plan, which will deliver on the commitments as set out in the Life Sciences Vision including supporting the development and commercialisation of immuno-oncology and cancer vaccines in the UK. Further details on the implementation plan will be set out in due course.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to develop the Research and Development Roadmap into a Research and Development Plan.

Published in July 2020, the R&D Roadmap set out the Government’s vision and ambition for the next chapter for UK research and development.

BEIS is focusing on implementation and delivery of the Roadmap and of subsequent strategies, such as the Innovation and People and Culture Strategies. The objectives of the Roadmap are also being driven through the independently led Reviews of Research Bureaucracy and the Research, Development and Innovation Organisational Landscape. We have also announced the appointment of Dr Peter Highman as the first Chief Executive of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA).

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of how the model of global collaborative funding for covid-19 research can be used in other research areas.

International collaboration has been a vital part of the response to Covid-19 and the UK has played a leading role globally. BEIS, alongside other Government Departments, funded the creation of the Covid Circle platform that enables researchers to access and understand international funding opportunities specifically related to Covid-19.

More broadly the Integrated Review, R&D Roadmap, and Innovation Strategy all highlight how international collaboration can support a dynamic and innovative UK and support strategic priorities.

This is why we are working with colleagues across HMG to develop an International Science & Technology Partnerships Framework to share cross-government interests in international R&D and the landscape of global opportunities and challenges.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of (a) the reduction in global coal use since 2010 to date and (b) progress made in meeting the target of 80 per cent reduction by 2030.

The International Energy Agency estimates that coal use remains modestly above 2010 levels, with continued very low growth to 2024. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from global coal use remains a key Government priority. For example, the UK’s COP26 Energy Transition Campaign helped secure a 190-strong coalition of countries and organisations at COP26, including coal power phase out commitments from Poland, Vietnam, Egypt, Chile and Morocco, building on the Government’s co-leadership of the Powering Past Coal Alliance. The Government has committed to phasing out unabated coal generation in Great Britain by October 2024. Coal power generation in this country has declined from almost 40% of our electricity supply in 2012 to less than 2% in 2020.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of three million houses using solar on the UK's ability to reach net zero.

Solar photovoltaic technology is a key part of the Government’s strategy for decarbonising energy and increasing energy performance of buildings. Generating electricity from rooftop domestic solar can reduce carbon emissions, protect against electricity price fluctuations, and save money on energy bills. Consuming the electricity generated locally also reduces the amount of electricity lost in electricity transmission and distribution networks.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he is having with representatives from the North Sea oil and gas industry on that industry supporting the transition to net zero.

The Government has regular meetings with stakeholders from the North Sea oil and gas industry on a wide range of topics, including the industry supporting the transition to net zero.

The North Sea Transition Deal agreed with the industry in March 2021 will help unlock the UK’s net zero ambition, delivering part of a fair and equitable energy transition by allowing the UK Continental Shelf to transition to a net zero basin as well as supporting the decarbonisation of industries across the UK. This Deal is about harnessing the existing skills of the offshore oil and gas sector’s supply chain to help deliver new low carbon technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture, usage and storage, helping the UK to meet its net zero targets.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to incentivise and provide financial support to energy providers with low carbon emissions.

Schemes such as Contracts for Difference are vital to developing domestic sources of renewable electricity in Great Britain, which will reduce exposure to potentially volatile global fossil fuel markets and protect consumers in the long term. The competitive nature of the Contracts for Difference scheme has been hugely successful in driving the deployment of renewable energy while rapidly reducing costs. This year’s Contracts for Difference round is the largest yet, with a total budget of £285 million a year allocated to the round; offshore wind will be supported by £200 million funding a year, with £24 million initially allocated for floating offshore wind and £20 million on tidal stream projects.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he (a) has had and (b) will have discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on further support for the hospitality industry whilst any covid-19 restrictions and guidance are in place which will adversely affect those businesses.

In order to support all businesses across the UK economy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have provided businesses with an unprecedented support package of £400 billion, including grants, loans, business rates relief, VAT cuts and the job retention scheme. This includes a total of over £26 billion in business grants.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 21 December that additional support will be available for businesses in recognition of the impact that that the spread of Omicron variant had on hospitality over the Christmas period. The Government is providing one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England plus more than £100 million discretionary funding will be made available for local authorities to support other businesses. Around 200,000 businesses will be eligible for business grants which will be administered by Local Authorities. The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund is open until March 2022.

The Department continues to speak regularly with the hospitality sector to understand their needs and represent these across Government.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the increases in electricity and gas prices on consumers; and what steps he is taking to help protect consumers potentially at financial risk due to energy price increases.

The Government is monitoring the significant increases in wholesale energy prices closely, and meeting regularly with Ofgem, suppliers and consumer groups to understand the future impact on consumers as well as to discuss potential mitigations.

The Government is committed to protecting energy customers, especially the most vulnerable. The Energy Price Cap will continue to protect consumers, ensuring they pay a fair price for their energy this winter. Low income and fuel poor households will continue to be supported with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount, which provides eligible households with a £140 discount. Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments will ensure that the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes through the winter. Additionally, the Government announced an additional £500 million for local authorities through the new Household Support Fund to support vulnerable households meet daily needs such as utility bills.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to provide additional support for energy bills to fuel poor and vulnerable households in winter 2022.

The Government already supports low-income and fuel poor households with their energy bills through the Warm Home Discount which provides eligible households with a £140 rebate on their winter energy bills. Additionally, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments help to ensure the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months. The Government has also provided an extra £500 million for local authorities through the new Household Support Fund to provide help to millions of the most in need and engages constantly with energy companies and consumer groups on further steps to take.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to prevent unreasonable cost mark-ups on second hand cars.

In a competitive market such as for new and used cars, it is for businesses to decide the market worth of their products and to price accordingly. It is Government policy not to intervene when markets function normally, and people considering the purchase of a used vehicle should visit various vehicle selling sites, including auction sites, to get the best price possible.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help manufacturing companies manage rising costs of (a) raw materials and (b) energy.

Most of the shortages of products and raw materials impacting the market have been driven by global and domestic supply and demand factors. Industry experts believe that the current situation is temporary, although projections indicate that strong demand will continue over the next six months.

The Government recognises that this is a worrying time for businesses facing pressures due to increases in global gas prices. The Department is engaging regularly with manufacturers to monitor the impact of rising energy and raw material prices on them and consider possible mitigations.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is taking steps to secure annual covid-19 vaccinations beyond 2021.

The Government has supply agreements to buy 453.5 million doses of vaccines with six separate vaccine developers. The Government recently announced the procurement of a further 54m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and 60m doses of the Moderna vaccine which will provide supply for 2022 and 2023. This is in addition to the 35m doses of Pfizer/BioNTech already secured for 2022. We are in constant contact with suppliers and remain confident in our prospective vaccine supplies beyond this Winter. As part of these supply agreements, the government will be procuring vaccines for Devolved Administrations and Crown Dependencies up to and including Winter 2024.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the sustainability of gas suppliers in the UK.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have held a series of bilateral and roundtable events with a range of energy suppliers. We are continuing to engage with these stakeholders regularly to hear about the challenges they currently face and discuss the way forward.

It is the responsibility of Ofgem, as the independent regulator, to engage with suppliers considering exiting the market.

In a competitive market, it is normal from time to time for energy suppliers who cannot finance their activities to exit the retail energy market. We have, however, seen large and unprecedented gas price spikes which has resulted in acute financial pressure on suppliers recently, driving a higher number of market exits.

We are working with the energy industry to put them on a more stable footing in the longer-term. That includes continuing to build a robust domestic renewable energy sector so that we are less exposed to global trends in natural gas supply and demand.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether Northern Ireland will be included in the distribution of employment in the creation of two million green jobs under the Green Jobs Task Force.

The Government’s Net Zero Strategy is a strategy for the whole of the UK.

The Government is supporting up to 440,000 jobs across net zero industries in 2030, contributing towards a pivot to a greener economy which could support 2 million jobs in green sectors or by greening existing sectors. The Government is working with business to grow green industries and supply chains and support green skills in the UK, whilst also ensuring our resilience to international changes in supply chains.

The map on page 331 of the Net Zero Strategy highlights the potential locations of these opportunities, including in Northern Ireland.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the estimated timescale is for increasing to national living wage.

As announced at the Autumn Budget, on 1 April 2022 the Government will increase the National Living Wage (NLW) for workers aged 23 years and over by 6.6% to £9.50. This keeps the Government on track to achieve its manifesto commitment for the NLW to equal two-thirds of median earnings by 2024.

The Government will lay a Statutory Instrument to amend the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 in due course. BEIS will publish a full impact assessment next year alongside laying the regulations.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with oil companies on establishing a review of oil and gas prices.

Despite the rise in prices, the UK continues to have some of the lowest pre-tax prices in Europe for diesel and petrol. The UK’s economic analysis of the relationship between changes in the global crude oil and UK petrol and diesel prices suggests that the UK road fuels sector is competitive and ensures that consumers get good value for money.

Due to multiple factors, in 2021 gas prices have been higher globally, these include: rebounding demand as COVID-19 lockdowns ease; greater liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand in Asia; upstream maintenance affecting summer supply capacity; and unusually low wind periods. Supply and demand are balanced in the market through adjusting the prices at which energy trades take place. The Government has no reason to anticipate that this will not continue. The Government continues to engage with international and industry stakeholders to monitor the situation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will allocate additional funding to help identify drugs to help improve heart function in people with diabetes who have had heart attacks.

One of the Healthcare Missions set out in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Life Sciences Vision is the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and its major risk factors, including obesity. Government has announced that £95m will be provided to support the deployment and use of innovative treatments to deliver these Healthcare Missions. Work will now commence with a wide range of partners to develop and deliver this mission.

Alongside this, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds, enables and delivers world-leading health and social care research and focusses their work on early translational research, clinical research and applied health and social care research.

The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including diabetes and related heart conditions; it is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the UK.

The Government’s landmark Net Zero Strategy, published on October 19, will drive forward our ambition to reach net zero and level up the UK by supporting up to 190,000 jobs in the middle of the 2020s and up to 440,000 jobs in 2030. Building on my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, £26 billion of government capital investment has been mobilised for the green industrial revolution. The Strategy provides an ambitious package of policies sets out how we meet Carbon Budgets 4, 5, and our NDC, and puts us on the path for Carbon Budget 6 – and ultimately on course for net zero by 2050.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the role of blue hydrogen in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Net Zero Strategy confirms the government’s ‘twin-track’ approach to supporting both electrolytic ‘green’ and carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS)-enabled ‘blue’ hydrogen production alongside multiple other production routes.

Support for blue hydrogen is part of the government’s wider programme of long-term decarbonisation through CCUS. Expanding this infrastructure opens up the opportunity to benefit from negative emissions technology in the future, including hydrogen from biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help tackle labour shortages.

The Government recently announced a package of measures to ease temporary supply chain pressures in food haulage industries, brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding around the world. Up to 4,000 people will soon be able to take advantage of training courses to become HGV drivers. 5,000 HGV drivers will be able to come to the UK for 3 months in the run-up to Christmas, providing short-term relief for the haulage industry. A further 5,500 visas for poultry workers will also be made available for the same short period, to avoid any potential further pressures on the food industry during this exceptional period. Ministers from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are working very closely across Government to monitor labour supply chains, identify pinch points and consider any further necessary government action.

BEIS is also working closely with other Government Departments and industry to address sector-specific challenges, which are being faced by countries around the world. For example, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently announced the implementation of the Downstream Oil Protocol. This measure will provide a temporary exemption of companies operating in the oil industry from the Competition Act 1998 for the purpose of sharing information and optimising fuel supply in the event of a disruption.

The Government is keen to see employers make long term investments in the UK domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad, and businesses should be looking at how to make employment more attractive, including through wage increases and offering training. Progress is already being made in testing and hiring, and a big push towards improving pay, working conditions and diversity.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to announce any carbon capture and storage projects in Northern Ireland.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution committed to establishing two industrial Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) clusters by the mid 2020s, with the aim of four of these sites by 2030, capturing 10Mt of carbon dioxide per year. As part of the CCUS deployment process, we have announced the clusters eligible for Track-1 and expect to announce the selected Track-1 clusters from 25 October 2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to ensure that all under-18 workers are entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

The National Minimum Wage is the legal minimum hourly rate of pay for workers over the compulsory school age, generally 16 years of age. Individuals cannot work full-time until they have reached school leaving age. Children are also thoroughly protected by other relevant regulations concerning child employment. We therefore have no plans to change eligibility for the National Minimum Wage.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to support small businesses to contribute to the Government's net zero target.

Ahead of the UN climate change conference (COP26), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched the Together for Our Planet (TFOP) Business Climate Leaders campaign, aimed at encouraging as many UK small businesses as possible to join the ‘Race to Zero’ – a global effort to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we all generate to zero by 2050.

Small businesses join the Race to Zero via the SME Climate Commitment. Upon making the SME Climate Commitment, UK small businesses gain access to a Together For Our Planet digital toolkit so they can display to customers they are taking action as part of a UN- and Government-backed campaign.

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 estimate he has made of the number of solar farms in the UK.

The Government publishes figures on all solar photovoltaic capacity in the United Kingdom, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/solar-photovoltaics-deployment. The figures show that there are currently 1,340 operational ground mount and stand-alone solar projects.[1]

[1] This comprises ground mount and stand- alone solar PV projects supported under the Renewables Obligation, Feed in Tariff and Contract for Difference schemes.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives of Royal Mail on the Royal Mail's new parcel plan for deliveries.

The Department has regular discussions with Royal Mail on a range of issues.

The Government has no role in Royal Mail’s operational or business decisions which are a matter for the company’s management.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that teeth whitening products that could have the potential to contain harmful products are carefully regulated.

Cosmetic products such as teeth whitening kits sold in the UK must meet some of the strictest safety requirements in the world and may only be placed on the market if they meet those strict safety requirements.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards works with colleagues in local enforcement authorities to take effective enforcement action where products are identified that do not meet the UK’s product safety requirements and expects retailers, including online platforms, to act quickly to remove them from sale.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to support building contract companies to secure sufficient building supplies in the context of the UK having left the EU.

The Government is aware that a range of building materials are in short supply nationally. This is driven by demand and increased global competition to secure supplies.

In light of this, and in view of more local disruptions in the supply of some products, the Construction Leadership Council’s Coronavirus Task Force has established a Product Availability Working Group, comprised of product manufacturers, builders’ merchants and suppliers, contractors of all sizes, and housebuilders. The Task Force continues to monitor the supply and demand of products, and identify those in short supply.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking with trade unions to protect workers employed by large businesses against unfair treatment while working from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ban the practice of recruitment agencies asking for incentives to recommend contractors to an umbrella company.

Commercial and loyalty incentive schemes may be a legitimate business-to-business interaction, between the employment agency and an umbrella company. They are therefore outside the scope of the agency regulations enforced by the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate, which regulate the relationship between the agency and work-seeker.

The Government will continue to work with the recruitment sector to seek compliance with existing regulations. Government will also continue to ensure current regulations remain fit for purpose, drawing on the expertise of trade bodies and businesses in the sector. Proposed regulatory changes would be announced in the usual way.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will reconsider his decision to end the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme.

Following a review, the Green Homes Grant Vouchers scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021. The voucher scheme will not reopen.

We will refocus efforts and funding on alternative approaches which will maximise delivery of home retrofits for consumers who are most in need.

The Government will be expanding its funding commitment for both the Local Authority Delivery element of the Green Homes Grant scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund with £300 million of new funding.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the construction industry as a result of reported shortages of tiles and timber since the end of the transition period.

The Government is aware that some products including tiles and timber are in short supply nationally. At present, global supply of these products is not keeping pace with demand, and undersupply in 2020 reduced existing stocks.

In light of this, and in view of more local disruptions in the supply of these and other products, the Construction Leadership Council’s Coronavirus Task Force has established a Product Availability Working Group, comprised of product manufacturers, builders’ merchants and suppliers, contractors of all sizes, and housebuilders. The Task Force continues to monitor the supply and demand of products, and identify those in short supply.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help support car sales during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government continues to offer a comprehensive support package for businesses including loan schemes, grant funding, tax deferrals, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all of which have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

In order to further support businesses, we have announced one-off grants worth up to £9,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors and cash grants of up to £1,500 per 2-week closure period, for businesses which are closed during the national restrictions.

Automotive retailers are able to continue to offer click-and-collect and delivery services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to encourage people to support local businesses in the run up to Christmas.

The Government is committed to supporting local businesses during this crucial trading period.

To support retailers in tiers 1-3, we have eased planning rules to allow shops to be open for longer Monday to Saturday from 2 December, giving consumers greater flexibility to choose when they shop. These measures will run through the January sales.

Retailers in tier 4 can continue to offer click and collect, and delivery services which will help businesses keep trading.

We have modified the closing time for hospitality to last orders at 10pm and closing time at 11pm. This allows customers to depart gradually and provides greater flexibility.

The excellent Small Business Saturday UK event took place on the 5 December and was a great way to celebrate small and micro businesses across the UK, raise awareness of the importance of SME’s to our local communities and help them get back on their feet.

My ministerial colleagues across Government and I were delighted to be able to take part on the day itself to champion our small businesses and draw attention to the brilliant campaign.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support shops that closed as a result of lockdown and have not yet been able to reopen.

In order to support businesses across the UK,?we?have extended the?Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of March 2021,?extended?the existing loan schemes?and 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.

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, what discussions he has had with the Royal Mail on ensuring the continuation of letter deliveries on Saturdays.

Ministers have regular discussions with stakeholders on a number of issues.

The Universal Service Obligation is set out in the Postal Services Act 2011. This requires Royal Mail to deliver letters 6 days a week as part of the universal postal service. It also sets out a clear and transparent process for how longer-term changes to service standards would be considered. Any changes would need to be made through secondary legislation and agreed by Parliament.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce the pay gap between (a) young and (b) older people who are doing the same job.

For younger workers, the priority in those first years is to secure work and gain experience, and this has always been reflected in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate structure. Distinguishing between younger and older workers is not new: there have been age-related rates in the NMW structure since its introduction in 1999.

Last year, the Government announced inflation-beating increases to the NMW rates for younger workers and apprentices of between 4.6% and 6.5%. The Government has also announced The Kickstart Scheme, a £2bn fund to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people.

In order to improve fairness for younger workers, the Government has pledged to lower the National Living Wage (NLW) age of eligibility to 23 by 2021 and 21 by 2024.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government has plans to enter into a partnership with the EU on its plan to negotiate an advanced purchase agreement of covid-19 vaccines.

We are committed to collaboration with the EU and other international partners to ensure a coronavirus vaccine is made available to all as soon as possible.

However, on 10 July 2020, the UK wrote to the European Commission to confirm its decision not to enter into partnership with the EU on its plan to negotiate an advanced purchase agreement on covid-19 vaccines. This decision was made because the EU scheme would not allow the UK to have a say in the vaccines procured, the price, the quantity and the delivery schedule. The UK would also not be allowed to continue pursuing independent discussions with pharmaceutical companies, which is key to ensuring the British public have swift access to any vaccine. This decision was published via an Explanatory Memorandum to Parliament.

That is not to say that we do not want to work closely with the EU on other initiatives outside of this framework, where we continue to engage with the Commission.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support and incentivise businesses to improve their levels of environmental responsibility.

We have an ambitious range of policies in place to help business and industry to improve energy efficiency, decarbonise and reduce costs.

Our Climate Change Agreement Scheme allows energy intensive participants to pay significantly reduced main rates of the Climate Change Levy in exchange for delivery of energy efficiency or carbon reduction targets.

The Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme is a mandatory energy assessment scheme which requires large businesses to identify cost-effective energy saving measures.

Our Industrial Energy Transformation Fund – a £315 million fund - supports industry to improve energy efficiency, cut energy bills and shift to lower carbon energy and processes.

The Government has also committed £170 million in its Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge towards deploying technologies like carbon capture and hydrogen networks in industrial clusters, supporting our Mission to establish the world’s first net zero cluster by 2040.

Finally, we have introduced a new Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) framework in April 2019 to simplify reporting requirements on energy use and emissions while increasing corporate transparency – further incentivising energy efficiency and reducing emissions.

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 guidance his Department issues to businesses to promote paid keep in touch days for parents on maternity leave.

We are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to work. We will be bringing forward an Employment Rights Bill to deliver the greatest reform of workers’ rights in over 20 years, including measures to ensure that women returning from maternity leave receive additional protection from redundancy.

Pregnant women and new mothers can work up to 10 Keeping in Touch (KiT) days without bringing their Maternity Leave, Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance to an end.

KiT days can only be used if both the employer and employee agree to this. Employers cannot require their employees to use their KiT days to work, and similarly employees cannot insist on working a KiT day. Guidance on KiT days for employers and employees is published on gov.uk.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, representing Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what steps the Government is taking to support the take up of keep in touch days during maternity leave.

We are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to work. We will be bringing forward an Employment Rights Bill to deliver the greatest reform of workers’ rights in over 20 years, including measures to ensure that women returning from maternity leave receive additional protection from redundancy.

Pregnant women and new mothers can work up to 10 Keeping in Touch (KiT) days without bringing their Maternity Leave, Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance to an end.

KiT days can only be used if both the employer and employee agree to this. Employers cannot require their employees to use their KiT days to work, and similarly employees cannot insist on working a KiT day. Guidance on KiT days for employers and employees is published on gov.uk.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will maintain the UK's levels of (a) maternity leave and (b) other employment rights in the event that the EU changes its policies on those rights.

The Government has committed to protect workers’ rights after the UK has left the EU. We will continue to enhance them in the best way for the UK, and have announced in the Queen’s Speech that we will be bringing forward an Employment Rights Bill to deliver the greatest reform of workers’ rights in over 20 years.

In accordance with the Political Declaration on the future relationship between the UK and the EU, in future if the EU changes its law in relation to workers’ rights, the UK will not be obliged to align. Instead the UK Parliament (in respect of Great Britain) and the Northern Ireland Assembly will be responsible for deciding on future changes to workers’ rights in the UK.

In relation to maternity leave specifically, the UK offers pregnant women and new mothers up to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave, which is already significantly more generous than the EU minimum of 14 weeks. Policies to support working families will be key to achieving our goal of making the UK the best place in the world to work.

20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with representatives of the BBC on provision for staff to continue working past State Pension age.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with the BBC to discuss a variety of issues.

The BBC is editorially and operationally independent of the government. The Government has no say over the BBC's day-to-day decisions, including its decisions on recruitment and staffing.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had recent discussions with council leaders in Northern Ireland on community arts projects for the Platinum Jubilee; and if he will provide additional funding to the devolved nations for this purpose.

I have not held any recent discussions with Council leaders in Northern Ireland in relation to Community Arts projects for the Platinum Jubilee.

I am however pleased that £11.5m of UK-wide funding was made available through the National Lottery Community Fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help communities mark the Jubilee.

Decisions on funding for community arts projects are devolved to each devolved nation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had discussions with representatives of Channel 4 on whether its higher education partnerships in (a) Belfast and (b) Newry will remain open after privatisation.

The Government values Channel 4’s work in developing skills and talent pipelines, particularly in the nations and regions.

The Government would expect any new owner to have a business interest in supporting the development of talent and skills across the UK creative industries, as many of our public service and other broadcasters already do.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government's contribution to Project Stratum and the rollout of broadband to rural areas of Northern Ireland, what recent assessment he has made of the progress of that project; and if he will take steps to help ensure that residents in the most rural areas of Strangford constituency benefit from that project.

Northern Ireland currently has the most gigabit-capable coverage of all the nations with 85% of premises already covered. This is in part due to the UK Government’s £172 million investment in Project Stratum, which has delivered connections to over 29,000 premises, the UK Government’s funding of projects to deliver full-fibre to public sector sites, and measures to bust barriers to commercial rollout.

Within the Strangford constituency, 93% of premises can access a superfast connection (>30Mbps) and 86% of premises are able to access a gigabit-capable connection. More than 4,700 premises are eligible to benefit from Project Stratum in the constituency. Current deployment plans confirm that more than 1,000 premises have been upgraded so far, with a further 1,700 premises scheduled to be completed this year and the remainder by the end of 2024.

Residents in the most rural areas of the Strangford constituency may also be eligible for support via the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which supports rural communities with the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections. The scheme provides a micro-grant of up to £1,500 for residents and up to £3,500 for businesses towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to address allegations of cyber bullying in the UK.

The Government is committed to addressing cyberbullying and online abuse in the UK and the Online Safety Bill will deliver strong protections for UK users online. This Bill was introduced to Parliament on 17 March 2022, and has now passed second reading.

The Bill will require all companies in scope to tackle illegal abuse on their services, by making sure it is taken down quickly and by using tools to minimise the risk of similar material appearing. Services which are likely to be accessed by children will also need to protect them from legal but harmful content and activity, such as cyberbullying. Companies will have to ensure that reporting mechanisms are easily accessible, and parents and children should expect to see platforms responding quickly and effectively to reports of cyberbullying. The Bill will also require the largest and highest risk services to set out in terms and conditions their approach to addressing harmful content for adults, such as online abuse which does not meet a criminal threshold. Ofcom will be able to take enforcement action, including large fines, against companies that fail to comply.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to help ensure that casinos are not able to take advantage of gambling addicts.

Casinos like other licensed gambling operators must comply with provisions in the Gambling Commission’s licence conditions and codes of practice which are intended to protect children and vulnerable people from harm and exploitation. For instance, they must monitor play and intervene to protect a customer where there is risk of harm. Breaches of provisions in the Commission’s social responsibility code may lead it to review an operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty. Our Gambling Act Review is considering the powers and resources of the Commission as well as the wider regulatory framework, including around land-based gambling.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had discussions with representatives of telecommunication firms on preventing potential Russian interference in telecommunications networks.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, as the Lead government department for telecommunications, works closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and with telecoms owners, operators and regulator to assess and promote the security and resilience of the sector. DCMS disseminates best practice guidance, products and policy advice to further enhance the sector's security and resilience.

The NCSC, as the UK’s technical authority on cyber, engages closely with the sector to ensure it is alert to any evolving threats, is aware of the support available from NCSC and is taking the necessary actions to strengthen security postures.

Recent legislation will also enable the government to protect our public telecoms networks and services against security threats, both now and for the future. The Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021 introduces a stronger security framework placing new security duties on public telecoms providers and new national security powers to address the risks posed by high risk vendors. The National Security and Investment Act 2021 protects the UK economy, including the telecoms sector, by giving the government powers to scrutinise and intervene in acquisitions which raise national security concerns by blocking or setting conditions where necessary.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to encourage sports students to continue with their sporting passions after they leave education.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health and all generations and communities should be able to enjoy the health, wellbeing, social and other benefits of being active.

Since the government launched its sports strategy, Sporting Future in 2015, Sport England has allocated over £1.5 billion to nearly 5,000 grassroots organisations across the UK to support everyone to continue to participate in sport and physical activity.

The Government also funds the Diploma in Sporting Excellence, a unique qualification that allows student athletes to combine sport and education, so that they have the skills, knowledge and qualifications to pursue a dual career in high level sport alongside separate paid employment in the future.

Through this work we will continue to provide opportunities for sports students to continue with their sporting passions after they leave education.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions her Department has had with the devolved Administrations to promote and enhance access to historical and heritage assets across the UK.

The UK Government is committed to promoting and enhancing access to historical and heritage assets across the UK. My Department has regular discussions at an official and ministerial level with the devolved administrations and other bodies and organisations across the UK about heritage matters.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, heritage policy is devolved however the DA’s work closely with the UK Government on matters of mutual interest and on international issues relating to heritage. We work closely with the devolved administrations on stewardship of our UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the recent addition of Gracehill Moravian Church in County Antrim to the UK's tentative list.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to ensure that swimming pools and leisure facilities have adequate disabled access.

The government recognises there are barriers which exist and prevent some people from participating in sport and physical activity, including access to facilities. We want to continue to do all that we can to tackle these.

We continue to work with our arm’s length bodies, Sport England and UK Sport, and sector partners to encourage sport bodies to make sport and facilities more accessible. Sport England's new ten year strategy 'Uniting the Movement' reinforces their commitment to increasing participation in sport and physical activity for those from under-represented groups, including disabled people.

Sport England is also developing a new plan called ‘Accessible and Inclusive Sports Facilities’ and that will be published this year.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to promote staycations to support the tourism sector.

The government is committed to supporting the recovery of the UK’s tourism industry and promoting domestic tourism. The Tourism Recovery Plan, published in June 2021, sets out a comprehensive framework for rebuilding the sector.

The plan set out ambitious and stretching targets, which were at least a year faster than independent forecast predictions, in which to recover domestic tourism to pre pandemic levels. A target of 99 million overnight trips and spend of £19 billion by the end of 2022 was set, as well as aiming to return inbound visitor volume to return to 41 million and £28 billion spend by the end of 2023.

The TRP also announced plans for a new rail pass, which we hope to launch this year, to help make it easier and more sustainable for domestic tourists to get around Scotland, England, and Wales.

The National Lottery Days Out Campaign offers people the chance to redeem a lottery ticket for a £25 voucher for attractions around the whole of the UK. The campaign is designed to support domestic tourism by stimulating off-season demand from domestic day trips. As of 21 March, 187,117 vouchers have been redeemed. This campaign ends on 31 March.

2022 also promises a host of unmissable events, including Her Majesty’s Jubilee, with a programme of events over the extended Jubilee Bank holiday; Unboxed, which aims to engage millions of people through in person and digital events; as well as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will drive visitors to the region.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will hold discussions with Northern Ireland Screen and other producers on support for the film industry in the devolved Administrations.

My department continues to work closely with its Arm’s Length Body, the British Film Institute (BFI), and the Devolved Administrations to ensure a wide range of funding and initiatives are available to support the film industry in all UK Nations. This includes the UK-wide screen sector tax reliefs, and the UK Global Screen Fund which will invest nearly £30 million in the international growth of independent screen companies across the UK. In addition, the government’s £500 million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme has supported over 1,100 productions around the UK, representing over £2.9 billion of production budgets with over 95,000 jobs supported.

Examples of government support that have been provided to the Northern Irish film industry include the National Lottery-supported talent development programme BFI NETWORK. Northern Ireland Screen also receives Lottery funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, which it has used to prioritise script development and short films, and receives funding for the Irish Language Broadcast Fund and Ulster Scots Broadcast Fund via the BFI. Furthermore, the BFI will continue to consult colleagues from Northern Ireland Screen as part of the UK Film Skills Review, alongside those from other key bodies in the Devolved Administrations.

The British Film Commission (BFC), a national body predominantly funded by DCMS, also supports and promotes UK-wide film and high-end television production, including in all Devolved Administrations, and works in close partnership with the national and regional screen agencies.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to raise public awareness of the danger of gambling addiction.

A variety of initiatives are in place across the gambling regulatory framework, health services, and the educational curriculum to protect individuals and the wider public from harmful gambling and raise awareness of its risks.

As part of the statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum in England, young people are taught about the risks relating to gambling, including the accumulation of debt. To support teachers to deliver these topics safely and with confidence, the Department for Education has also developed a series of training modules, one of which has a specific section on gambling.

The Gambling Commission requires all gambling operators to make information available to customers on how to gamble safely and how to access information on problem gambling and the support available. Most operators signpost to the charity GambleAware’s begambleaware.org site, which contains a wide range of information on risks as well as links to advice and support, including the 24 hour National Gambling Helpline. The NHS webpage 'Help for problem gambling' covers common indicators which suggest that individuals may be experiencing harmful gambling, as well as advice and links to treatment services. Work is also being done to raise awareness through frontline practitioners, with GambleAware publishing a competency framework for primary care practitioners to improve the awareness and responsiveness of Primary Care to gambling harms.

Since 2019, GambleAware’s ‘Bet Regret’ campaign, a commitment from the government’s last Gambling Review, has effectively encouraged awareness of risky betting behaviours and action to help regain control, as well as signposting to further support. Members of the Betting and Gaming Council have also committed 20% of their advertising on TV and radio to safer gambling messaging and the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising requires social responsibility messaging throughout the length of all broadcast gambling adverts.

The Government’s Review of the Gambling Act 2005 aims to ensure gambling regulation is fit for the digital age. As part of the wide scope of that Review, we called for evidence on the effectiveness of safer gambling messaging across a number of media, and we are considering the evidence carefully. We will publish a white paper in the coming weeks.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to help tackle (a) disruption and (b) abuse at professional football matches.

The Government is clear that there is no place for any kind of discrimination or abuse in sport.

We are concerned by the increase in disorder at football matches and have discussed this with the relevant bodies. These include the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, the UK Football Policing Unit, and the Football Association. We will continue to liaise closely with all the football authorities about their work to tackle disruption and abuse at football matches.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has had recent discussions with the BBC on the implications for (a) public health and (b) disinformation of the appearance of individuals who have espoused anti-covid-19-vaccine views on BBC television channels.

The BBC has a duty to deliver impartial and accurate news coverage and content under its Royal Charter. The BBC Charter also requires the BBC to ‘accurately and authentically represent and portray the lives of the people of the United Kingdom today, and raise awareness of the different cultures and alternative viewpoints that make up its society.’

The BBC is operationally and editorially independent of the government, and the government has no say on the BBC's day-to-day decisions, including on the content it shows. It is for the BBC Board to ensure the quality of all BBC’s content, and that BBC output meets the highest standards the public expects.

As the external independent regulator of the BBC, Ofcom is responsible for ensuring BBC coverage is impartial and accurate under the Broadcasting Code and BBC Charter.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if her Department will hold discussions with social media firms to help ensure that they conduct investigations into allegations of incidents of online abuse.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with social media platforms on a range of issues, including to discuss incidents of online abuse. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on GOV.UK.

Under the draft Online Safety Bill, social media firms will need to protect users from illegal abuse. Services will need to have effective systems in place to minimise and remove illegal content and protect children from harmful abuse. Major platforms will also need to address legal but harmful content for adults. Priority categories of legal but harmful content for adults will be set out in secondary legislation and these are likely to include some forms of online abuse.

If platforms fail in their duties under the Bill, they will face tough enforcement action including fines of up to 10% of global annual qualifying turnover.

The draft Bill has been subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee which reported its recommendations on 14 December. We are considering the Committee’s report and will introduce the Bill as soon as possible.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to help encourage broadcasters to run more UK-originated content and programmes on television.

All of the UK’s public service broadcasters are subject to original production quotas, specified in legislation and enforced by Ofcom, which require them to allocate a minimum proportion of their broadcast schedules to original productions each year. To qualify as an ‘original production’ a programme must be commissioned by one of the public service broadcasters themselves. The Government also has a stable and generous tax relief system, where productions must qualify as ‘British’ under the cultural test. This drove a record-breaking £5.1 billion in UK screen production in 2019, much of it shown by UK broadcasters.

We want this to continue. Indeed, the government is supportive of a modern system of public service broadcasting (PSB) that remains relevant and can continue to meet the needs of UK audiences in the future. This includes making sure that viewers can continue to see themselves and their way of life reflected on screen by ensuring broadcasters show a wide range of high-quality UK-originated content. It is exactly for these reasons that the government is conducting its own strategic review of PSB, including appointing an expert PSB Advisory Panel. We will set out the conclusions from that review in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will include provisions in forthcoming online harms bill to prevent anonymity in social media to help tackle the prevalence of online hate.

The Online Safety Bill places new requirements in relation to anonymity online. It requires companies in scope to effectively manage the risk of online anonymous abuse on user-to-user services.

Services within scope of the Bill will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content and prevent children from harmful content. Major platforms will also need to set out clearly what legal content is acceptable for adult users on their services and enforce their terms and conditions consistently and transparently. This applies whether a user is anonymous or not. If platforms fail in their duties under the Bill, they will face tough enforcement action including fines of up to 10% of global annual qualifying turnover.

The draft Bill has been subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee which reported its recommendations on 14 December. We are considering the Committee’s report and will introduce the Bill as soon as possible.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to ensure that streaming platforms require pin entry where users have elected to use parental controls.

The Government launched a consultation in August 2021 to level the playing field between traditional broadcasters and video-on-demand streaming services; to provide a fair competitive framework; and ensure UK viewers receive equivalent standards.

That consultation, which closed in October, considered audience protection measures such as the role of PIN codes and parental controls. We are now considering the response to the consultation and will publish next steps in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department plans to take to tackle hate speech on (a) Twitter and (b) other social media platforms to ensure that comments are removed in addition to users banned.

Under the draft Online Safety Bill, services in scope will need to minimise and remove illegal content, including illegal hate speech. Services in scope which are likely to be accessed by children will also need to protect them from harmful or inappropriate content.

Major platforms will also need to address legal but harmful content for adults. These services will have to set out clearly what legal content is acceptable on their platforms and enforce their terms and conditions consistently and transparently. This could include removal of prohibited content, banning repeat offenders and preventing them from creating new accounts. Priority categories of legal but harmful content for adults will be set out in secondary legislation and these are likely to include some forms of abuse, including racist abuse.

If platforms fail in their duties under the Bill, they will face tough enforcement action including fines of up to 10% of global annual qualifying turnover.

The draft Bill has been subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee which reported its recommendations on 14 December. We are considering the Committee’s report and will introduce the Bill as soon as possible.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to allocate funding for internet connection in rural community businesses throughout the UK.

The Government is investing £5 billion through Project Gigabit to support gigabit broadband coverage in areas not covered by commercial roll-out, adding to the 600,000 rural homes and businesses already covered by gigabit with our support.

As part of Project Gigabit the government is investing up to £210m in the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to support rural communities with the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections. The scheme provides a micro-grant of up to £1,500 for residents and up to £3,500 for businesses towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband.

The scheme enables those communities and businesses in rural areas not in line for commercial rollout, and those that do not want to wait for Project Gigabit procurements, to get more immediate help with the costs of installing a gigabit-capable connection. Further information is available on the gigabit voucher website including eligibility criteria and how to apply for the scheme.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to help ensure that (a) threats against referees are not carried out and (b) they are adequately protected against such threats.

Violence against match officials is wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated within the administration of any sport, including football. No-one should receive abuse at their workplace or in wider society, and criminal sanctions are in place where relevant.

More specifically, the Football Association has recently rolled out a nationwide respect campaign, “Pledge for Positivity”, which calls on coaches, parents and spectators of grassroots football to withhold their frustrations at match officials in an effort to create a more positive environment.

The FA have also designed a specific training module for aspiring referees on how to deal with abuse which is included in their Referee Course run at county level alongside other initiatives that are being rolled out to tackle abuse. These include a campaign promoting referees under the age of 18 to wear brightly coloured items of clothing to signal their age to others in an effort to reduce potential safeguarding issues or having mentors on standby to offer advice and support in the face of abuse.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to tackle depression in sports.

The Government’s sport strategy ‘Sporting Future’ recognises the positive impact that being physically active has on mental health, and the importance of welfare and wellbeing for people participating in sport at all levels.

Sport England, DCMS's arm’s length body for grassroots sport in England, launched a new ten year strategy 'Uniting the Movement’ in January 2021 which prioritises the importance of improving mental health and wellbeing through sport and physical activity. They have also committed to working with partners on health and wellbeing, and supporting communities through social prescribing.

Since 2017, Sport England have invested £280 million into grassroots programmes with mental wellbeing outcomes, as well as £5.5 million into partnerships with expert mental health organisations, such as Mind and Rethink. Mind’s ‘Get Set to Go’ programme has supported 8,000 people to improve their mental health through engaging in physical activity since its launch in 2014. Sport England have also worked closely with national partners such as Public Health England (now Office for Health Improvement and Disparities) and the Royal College of GPs to develop the Moving Healthcare Professionals programme, improving social prescribing links by providing support for healthcare professionals to promote physical activity to patients.

At the elite level, the Government published its Mental Health and Elite Sport Action Plan in 2018, setting out a range of actions to improve the support available to athletes, the sharing of best practice across the sector, and mental health education and training. Following this UK Sport, DCMS’s arm’s length body for elite sport, launched its own mental health strategy as well as a programme of mental health education to support athletes and promote positive mental health across the UK’s high performance system.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to prevent access to porn websites by school-age boys.

The strongest protections in the draft Online Safety Bill are for children.

The draft Bill covers many the most visited pornography sites, social media platforms, video-sharing sites, forums and via search engines - thereby capturing many of the sites through which children access pornography. Under our proposals, companies in scope will need to put in place technologies such as age verification to prevent children accessing pornography or demonstrate that the approach they are taking delivers the same level of protection for children.

The Joint Committee scrutinising the Bill is expected to report by 10th December and the government will introduce the Bill as soon as possible thereafter.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to encourage premier league football players to be vaccinated against covid-19.

As per the statement to the house of 28th November, our vaccines remain our best line of defence against this virus. I welcome the increase in take up of vaccination amongst Premier League players. We encourage everyone - including footballers - to take up the offers of vaccination, and of boosters, for which many more millions of people are eligible following JCVI changes.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to regulate online dating services to prevent fraud and abuse.

Online dating services are in scope of the Online Safety Bill. This means that they will have to put in place measures to protect their users from harmful content facilitated via user-generated content, including fraud and abuse. Dating sites will have to assess the risk of harm to their users, and then take steps to mitigate and tackle that risk.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to tighten restrictions on gambling advertising in the UK.

All gambling advertising, wherever it appears, is subject to strict controls on content and placement. Gambling operators and their affiliates must abide by the advertising codes issued by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP). In addition, the gambling industry has its own gambling advertising code – The Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising which includes additional requirements, for example, a 9pm television advertising watershed for most forms of gambling and ensuring advertising is targeted only at those over 25 years old on social media.

The Government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 with the publication of a Call for Evidence which closed on 31 March. As part of the wide scope of this review we called for evidence on the potential benefits or harms of allowing licensed gambling operators to advertise. The Call for Evidence received approximately 16,000 submissions from a broad range of interested organisations and individuals. We are considering the evidence carefully and will publish a White Paper outlining conclusions and next steps in due course. The Government is also looking more broadly at how online advertising is regulated through the Online Advertising Programme, which will be launching a public consultation in the coming months.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with social media companies on preventing the exposure of underage children to harmful material.

Preventing children’s exposure to harmful material is a priority for the government. Under our proposals in the Online Safety Bill, social media companies will be required to assess the risks of children being exposed to harmful content on their services and implement effective safety measures to protect them. They will also have to ensure that only children who are old enough are able to access their service.

The government continues to engage with a wide range of stakeholders as the Bill goes through pre-legislative scrutiny. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of PaddyPowerBetfair's introduction of a £500 monthly cap on losses for younger customers.

We welcome recent steps taken by industry to raise standards and increase protections for customers, including PaddyPower/Betfair’s introduction of its £500 cap and the Betting & Gaming Council’s codes of conduct on high value customer schemes and online game design.

The government and the Gambling Commission are continuing work to consider protections in online gambling. Earlier this year, the Gambling Commission launched a consultation and call for evidence on the steps remote operators should be required to take to identify and protect customers at risk of harm, including on issues to do with affordability. It received over 13,000 responses and the Commission has published an interim update on its website outlining next steps.


The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 in December with the publication of a Call for Evidence which received 16,000 responses. The Review will be wide-ranging and evidence-led, and aims to make sure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age. We are considering all evidence carefully and will publish a white paper outlining any conclusions and proposals for reform in due course.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on bringing forward legislative proposals to reduce brain injuries in sport.

The Government, with the assistance of Laurence Geller CBE as ministerial adviser, is currently reviewing the issue of concussion in sport and I will report later this year on the steps that the Government intends to take.

The safety, wellbeing and welfare of everyone taking part in sport is absolutely paramount. The Government remains committed to working with sports to build on the positive work that is already taking place.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had recent discussions with social media representatives in the UK on tackling social media users who make death threats towards politicians.

Ministers and officials regularly meet with a range of stakeholders, including from social media companies, on matters relating to online safety. The government published the draft Online Safety Bill in May. It will give online platforms new legal duties to tackle abuse and other harmful content on their services.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to restrict social media sites promoting the use of online gambling.

All gambling advertising, wherever it appears, is subject to strict controls on content and placement. Gambling operators and their affiliates must abide by the advertising codes issued by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP). Following work with the Gambling Commission, the industry has committed to make better use of advertising technology to target adverts away from children online and on social media. The sixth edition of the Gambling Industry Code for Socially Responsible advertising, which came into force this month, requires operators to ensure advertising is targeted only at those over 25 years old on social media and to age-gate operator YouTube channels and content.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 with the publication of a Call for Evidence which closed on 31 March. As part of the wide scope of this review we called for evidence on the potential benefits or harms of allowing licensed gambling operators to advertise, including via social media and affiliate marketing. The Call for Evidence received approximately 16,000 submissions from a broad range of interested organisations and individuals. We are considering the evidence carefully and intend to publish a White Paper outlining conclusions and next steps by the end of the year.

Following a call for evidence last year, the government has also been considering how online advertising is regulated through its Online Advertising Programme. We will be consulting on this issue later this year.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Answer of 8 March 2021 to Question 159303, what jurisdictions are included in the non-GB category of statistics on industry gross gambling yield that are collected by the Gambling Commission.

All operators who supply gambling to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission. Its jurisdiction also extends to online operators who supply gambling to customers outside Great Britain, if the equipment with which they do so is located in this country, and gross gambling yield from these activities is recorded as non-GB GGY. That category also includes GGY which any GC-licensed operator has derived from supplying gambling to customers in other jurisdictions which either allow it to operate there by virtue of its GB licence, or do not have specific legal requirements relating to online gambling. The Commission does not collect granular data on the jurisdictions from which this GGY is derived.

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support public libraries in the context of increasing use of online reading.

Please note that public libraries is a devolved matter.

In England, whilst library buildings were closed or access limited during the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a significant rise in the number of people accessing library services online and downloading e-books and e-audiobooks from their library service.

Although absolute numbers of online readers increased, this was from a low base and it is not yet clear whether this will be a permanent shift or drop back. It will be for local councils, as the statutory providers of library services, to consider the needs of local people and communities with regard to future planning for digital library provision.

Total support committed to councils in England to tackle the impacts of Covid-19 is over £12 billion. Over £6 billion of this is unringfenced in recognition that local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the Covid-19 pressures in their area, including public libraries.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to promote tourism in the UK after the lifting of covid-19 travel restrictions.

We recognise the severe impact of COVID-19 on tourism and have published the Tourism Recovery Plan to help the sector recover back to pre-pandemic levels and build back better for the future. The plan aims to recover domestic tourism to pre pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023; both at least a year faster than independent forecasts predict.

The British Tourist Authority (BTA) will deliver a £10 million consumer promotion with the National Lottery to support the domestic tourist industry. In addition, the Government and VisitBritain will develop a new domestic rail tourism product, similar to the Britrail Pass for international visitors, working with the Rail Delivery Group.

The Government has allocated at least £19 million to domestic and international marketing activity, with a £5.5 million domestic campaign already underway. The Government will work with VisitBritain to welcome back international visitors as soon as it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle online misogyny.

The government is committed to tackling misogyny, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, including the spread of such content online. On 12 May 2021, we published the draft Online Safety Bill, which sets out new expectations on companies to keep their users safe online. Under a new legal duty of care, in-scope companies, including social media, will need to tackle misogynistic, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic content and activity that is illegal, if it is on their services.

In addition, companies with the largest audiences and with high-risk features will need to assess the risk to adults of legal but harmful content on their services. They must also set clear terms and conditions stating what legal but harmful material they accept (and do not accept) on their service. Companies will have to do this for both priority harms which the government will set out in secondary legislation and for any emerging harms they identify in their risk assessments.

These duties will apply to misogynistic, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate speech, which do not meet the threshold of a criminal offence. Companies will need to enforce their terms and conditions consistently and transparently, and could face enforcement action if they do not. All companies in scope will be required to have effective and accessible user reporting and redress mechanisms.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to encourage participation in archery.

The latest Sport England Active Lives data shows that 585,100 adults (16+) participated in archery in the last year from Mid-Nov 2019 to Mid-Nov 2020. The Chief Medical Officer is clear that being physically active is important to long-term health and crucial for keeping people healthy. That’s why we have continued to make sure that people can exercise throughout the national restrictions, and why we have ensured that grassroots and children’s sport is at the front of the queue when easing those restrictions.

On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. The government introduced a step approach to the return of outdoor and indoor sport areas across England. Organised outdoor and indoor sport including archery has now resumed.

Since 2017/18 Sport England have made 265 awards to archery projects totalling £8,744,328. The Government has also provided unprecedented support to the sport sector to ensure these facilities are able to open. Sport England are also providing £270 million directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres through this pandemic, including their £35 million Community Emergency Fund. Beyond elite level sport, £100 million of funding has now been provided to support local authority leisure centre

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had discussions with US company Neuroflex, who are creating a virtual reality headset to determine pitch-side whether rugby players have suffered a brain injury; and if he will bring forward legislative proposals to make use of that technology mandatory at matches to support faster diagnosis of brain injury.

My Department has had no such discussions with Neuroflex.

The safety, wellbeing and welfare of everyone taking part in sport is absolutely paramount. National Governing Bodies are responsible for the regulation of their sports and for ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to protect participants from harm, including serious injuries. With that in mind, we expect sports to do all they can to protect their players as a fundamental part of their duty of care.

To that end, the Secretary of State and I hosted two roundtables on concussion in sport recently to understand the issues from the perspectives of players and to push the sports on what more they can be doing. The Government remains committed to working with sports to build on the positive work that is already taking place, including the use of technology.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with stakeholders on (a) providing a free TV licence for people aged over 75 and (b) decriminalising licence evasion for people aged over 75.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with a range of stakeholders, including the BBC. All DCMS ministerial meetings are disclosed on gov.uk, and the most recent can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dcms-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings-1-july-to-30-september-2020.

The government remains deeply disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. However, the Digital Economy Act 2017 provides that the future of the over-75s concession is the responsibility of the BBC, not the government. The BBC is also responsible for the collection and enforcement of the TV licence fee.

The government has said that the BBC must look at how it uses its substantial licence fee income to support older people. As part of the 2022 licence fee settlement negotiations, the Secretary of State has asked the BBC to set out any further plans it has to support those in vulnerable groups, including the elderly.

The government also remains concerned that a criminal sanction for TV licence evasion is increasingly disproportionate and unfair in a modern public service broadcasting system, and will keep the issue under active consideration while more work is done to understand the impact of alternative enforcement schemes.

26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the total gross gambling yield that licensed remote (online) operators receive from customers based in Northern Ireland for the period November 2014 to September 2019.

Gambling activity is a devolved issue in Northern Ireland, regulated under the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (NI) Order 1985. The UK government and the Gambling Commission therefore do not collect official data on the gross gambling yield derived from customers in Northern Ireland.

9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had discussions with the BBC on the reason for the increase in the TV licence fee; and whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that pensioners are not subject to such increases.

The Government has honoured the commitment made to the BBC during the last licence fee funding settlement negotiations in 2015 to increase the licence fee in line with inflation. The BBC’s Royal Charter (cl 43.1) required the Secretary of State to make a settlement agreement which covered the period 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2022.

The CPI increase was agreed as part of the wider settlement during which the BBC accepted responsibility for the Over 75s TV Licence Fee concession from June 2020. The Government is disappointed with the BBC's decision to restrict the over 75 licence fee concession to only those in receipt of pension credit. We recognise the value of free TV licences for over-75s and believe they should be funded by the BBC.

The Secretary of State will make future decisions about the level of the licence fee following discussions with the BBC on the next settlement, which the Charter states must cover the period from 1st April 2022 for at least the next 5 years.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government response to the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee Report on Immersive and Addictive Technologies, published on 8 June 2020, what plans he has to introduce legislative proposals to require companies to use a proportionate range of tools including age assurance, and age verification technologies to prevent children from accessing age-inappropriate content.

Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda, and wider government priorities. We have now published our Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper, which sets out how a proposed legal duty of care on online companies will work in practice and gives them new responsibilities towards their users. We are working at pace to have legislation ready next year.

Services which are likely to be accessed by children will be required to provide additional protections for children using them. Companies will be required to assess the risk their service poses for children, put in place proportionate measures to protect children, and monitor these for effectiveness. Under our proposals, we expect companies to use age assurance or age verification technologies to prevent children from accessing services which pose the highest risk of harm to children, such as online pornography. Companies will also need to provide age-appropriate protections from harmful content and activity for children using their service.

We would encourage companies to take steps ahead of the legislation to protect children from harmful and age inappropriate content online. We are working closely with stakeholders across industry to establish the right conditions for the market to deliver age assurance and age verification technical solutions ahead of the legislative requirements coming into force.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the planned timescale is for bringing forward proposals to reform gambling legislation.

The government has committed to reviewing the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure that it is fit for the digital age. Further details will be announced in due course.

As set out in the answer to Question 118541, ministers have met with a range of stakeholders ahead of the Gambling Act Review. Details of ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the government’s website at: https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?content_store_document_type=transparency&organisations%5B%5D=department-for-digital-culture-media-sport.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport engages regularly with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s independent regulator of advertising, including on matters relating to gambling advertising. The ASA is currently consulting on proposed changes to the advertising codes aimed at further restricting the potential for gambling adverts to appeal to children or vulnerable people.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the BBC Trust on (a) a pay freeze for BBC top tier earners and (b) steps taken by the BBC to tackle the gender pay gap.

The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government, and the amount it pays its top management and talent is a matter for the BBC.

The BBC Trust was abolished and replaced by the BBC Board at the start of the current Charter.

The government believes that publicly-funded bodies should apply the highest standards, ensure pay restraint and value for money, and be as open and transparent as possible. That is reflected in the requirement for the BBC to publish salary details of all BBC staff paid over £150,000, which we introduced from the beginning of this Charter.

The government welcomes the new Director General’s commitment to a ‘leaner organisation’, and is pleased to see that the BBC has reduced its gender pay gap this year, so that it is now significantly lower than the national average. The government is committed to eliminating the gender pay gap and I am proud that the UK is one of the first countries in the world to introduce mandatory gender pay gap reporting.

We note the recent recommendations of the EHRC and encourage the BBC to take action to quickly resolve any outstanding issues regarding equal pay. As a public service broadcaster funded by the licence fee, the BBC has a responsibility to set an example for others and lead the way in promoting equality in the workplace.

29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the growth of the digital economy.

The digital sector contributed £149bn to the UK economy in 2018, accounting for 7.7% of UK GVA. It supports 1.2 million jobs and around 194,000 businesses of which almost all are SMEs. Last year venture capital investment in the UK’s tech sector leapt by 44%, with record growth in many of the key sub-sectors including cyber security and AI.

The Department is taking great strides to support this growth. This year alone we have introduced the UK Gigabit Programme and the Shared Rural Network programme to develop the country’s broadband infrastructure; introduced a Digital Markets Taskforce, an Online Harms White Paper response and a Digital Identity Call for Evidence to ensure people remain safe online; and ran an entirely digital London Tech Week to show our support for the sector. This event was a resounding success, with initial figures suggesting 2,500 unique viewers attended each day, with 24,000 registering for the entire event.

We also deliver support through Tech Nation and our Digital Trade Network. Tech Nation is the main vehicle used by DCMS to support scale-ups. They deliver a programme of initiatives to support the UK tech sector, specifically startups and scale-ups, notably ‘Upscale’, a programme for scale-ups, aimed at accelerating growth. It comprises workshops, socials, & meetups. Alumni include Monzo, depop and Mixcloud.

The Digital Trade Network (DTN) is a joint DCMS/DIT initiative, announced at London Tech Week 2020. This £8m programme supports UK tech businesses to internationalise in Asia Pacific, attract capital and talent to the UK and enhance UK digital economy collaborations internationally.

Finally, the government will publish a new Digital Strategy this year to drive growth in the digital sector and wider economy, and ensure we maximise the benefits of a digital-led economic recovery. It will set out a path to harnessing new appetite for digital transformation, accelerating growth, and building a more inclusive, competitive and innovative digital economy for the future.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had recent discussions with TV Licensing on payment methods for elderly people who (a) do not bank online, (b) do not have a current account and (c) are uncomfortable returning forms in the post with their account particulars because of the risk of identity theft.

The government has said the BBC must look urgently at how it can use its substantial licence fee income to support older people, and must ensure that it supports those affected by its decision on the over 75s concession.

The BBC is responsible for the collection and enforcement of the licence fee. The BBC, through its licensing arm TV Licensing, offers customers a range of options for paying for their TV Licence. This includes instalment options and different mechanisms such as Direct Debit, bank transfer and Paypoint.

For those who had previously received a free over 75s TV licence but will have to pay from 1 August, the BBC is also introducing the 75+ Plan: a new TV licence payment plan which enables people to pay in equal weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments, if they don’t want to pay the licence fee all in one go. Those over 75 who register for the 75+ plan can pay over the counter with cash or a debit card at any PayPoint location, or over the phone or online with a credit or debit card. They can also set up a Direct Debit for monthly payments. The BBC has also set up specialist telephone contact centres to help people affected by the change to the over 75s concession.

16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many TV licences have been issued in each of the four regions of the UK in each of the last three years.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport does not hold this information. Administration of the TV licence, including issuing licences to all parts of the UK, is a matter for the BBC as an independent body.

The BBC’s licensing arm, TV Licensing, says on its website that it does not collect information on specific licence fee revenue by location as ‘it has no reason for doing this’. However, the BBC Group Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20 provide an estimate of the income from each nation of the UK from TV licence revenues for 2019 and 2020.

The report can be found on the BBC website here: https://www.bbc.com/aboutthebbc/reports/annualreport

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of social media platforms on protecting vulnerable people with anxiety caused by online bullying when using social media platforms.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings with social media platforms on a range of issues, including online bullying and protecting vulnerable people. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the GOV.UK website.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, w hat steps the Government is taking to support the heritage sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government is working closely with the heritage sector to ensure there is a continuous and clear dialogue. We are proactively seeking feedback from the sector on emerging issues which is helping to inform the Government's ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to support liquidity in the charity and NGO sectors during the covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS recognises that, like those in the private sector, charities are under significant strain as a result of Covid-19. The measures already announced by the Government will support many charities to manage the financial challenges presented by the current emergency.

We are proactively engaging across the sector, to maintain a complete picture of the impact of coronavirus, and working to identify how government can help support the sector through this time of financial instability. Further information will be released on gov.uk as and when it is available.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what funding from the public purse is available for volunteer groups to pay for (a) equipment and (b) heating and electricity in churches.

Government supports community use of listed churches through the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme which refunds VAT paid on facilities to aid greater use of the building. This includes electrical and heating works, along with kitchens and toilets. The scheme is presently funded up to £42million per annum.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is also able to support the repair and modernisation of building services and facilities in historic places of worship. Those interested in accessing the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund can contact representatives of the Fund in their local area for guidance on how to apply.

In addition, The Taylor Review, funded to £1.8 million, is piloting new approaches to sustainability and greater community use of listed places of worship.

Government funding for open calls for direct grants to volunteer groups are also published on www.gov.uk.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the roll out of broadband in Northern Ireland.

The current Secretary of state has not yet met with the Northern Ireland Executive to discuss broadband in Northern Ireland. Officials in Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), part of DCMS, are in regular contact with the Northern Irish project delivery body and have a dedicated Project Director based in Belfast. I went to Northern Ireland in September for meetings with officials from the Northern Ireland Civil Service regarding broadband rollout.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure major sporting events are not sponsored by online gambling companies.

Gambling sponsorship of major events, and sport in general, must be socially responsible and must never be targeted at children or vulnerable people. The government has made clear that sporting bodies and event organisers must consider their responsibilities to fans and the wider community when entering commercial arrangements. Some major event organisers will have rules about only accepting sponsors that align with the events values or in some cases choose not to target the gambling sector at all for sponsorship.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with social media companies on tackling online bullying.

Ministers and officials have regular discussions with social media companies on a range of issues, including online bullying. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the GOV.UK website.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Commonwealth Games Federation’s Executive Board on including shooting sports in Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham in 2022.

My department has had regular conversations with the Commonwealth Games Federation regarding shooting sports and their inclusion in Birmingham 2022 from the commencement of the bid process in 2017. In August 2019, the Minister for Sport requested the Commonwealth Games Federation explore the possibility of delivering a separate Commonwealth championship event in 2022, separate from the Birmingham 2022 Games programme.

My department was pleased to see the announcement by the Commonwealth Games Federation on 24 February of a separate shooting and archery championship event to be held in Chandigarh in January 2022. This will give shooters and archers from around the Commonwealth the opportunity to compete at the highest level.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Department plans to respond to the consultation entitled, Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019.

We intend to respond to the Online Harms White Paper consultation shortly.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on ensuring that vulnerable children are protected online.

Protecting children online is at the heart of our online harms agenda and wider government priorities. The joint DCMS-Home Office Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019, outlined the government’s plans to make the UK the safest place in the world to go online. We will introduce a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator.

Ministers have regular meetings and discussions with their ministerial colleagues, on a range of issues, including the protection of vulnerable children online.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with the Minister for Women and Equalities on the potential merits of including basic sign language in the social skills curriculum.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has not had discussions with my right hon. Friend, the Minister for Women and Equalities, on including basic sign language in a social skills curriculum.

The government does not set out guidance on a social skills curriculum for schools in England and there are no plans to make British Sign Language (BSL) part of the statutory curriculum. The statutory curriculum, including the national curriculum, is just one element in the wide-ranging education of every child which makes up the broader school curriculum.

Schools are free to offer BSL as part of their wider school curriculum, to meet the needs of their pupils if they wish.

The department is working with Ofqual and subject experts to develop subject content for a British Sign Language GCSE. We aim to consult publicly on the draft subject content in autumn 2022.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support poetry teaching in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

Poetry is prominent in the national curriculum for English at key stages 1, 2, 3 and 4. At different stages of their education, students should have opportunities to: develop pleasure in reading and discussing poetry, learn poetry by heart and write their own poetry. As part of the English Literature GCSE, students are taught to read and appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage, including studying poetry written since 1789.

The department funds an initiative called Poetry by Heart which helps to develop and support inspiring poetry teaching in schools, and to motivate pupils and teachers to explore our rich literary heritage: http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/. Pupils choose poems from the online anthology covering 1,000 years of poetry and recite these in school-based competitions. A national final was held in Shakespeare’s Globe in June 2022 and was open to pupils in key stages 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the potential merits of establishing a specialised apprenticeship scheme for women who want to pursue careers in (a) engineering and (b) mechanics.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

Apprenticeships are a great way for women to receive high-quality training and begin or progress in a career in engineering or mechanics. There are over 80 occupationally specific apprenticeship standards available in these sectors, such as digital engineering technician at level 3 and electro-mechanical engineer at level 6. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education ensures that all standards have a gender-neutral language approach, to ensure that they are appealing to both women and men.

The department has no plans to introduce a specialised apprenticeship scheme for women. Our Apprenticeships Diversity Champions Network is championing gender representation amongst employers in sectors that are traditionally male dominated, such as engineering and mechanics, and we continue to promote apprenticeships to girls in schools through our Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge Programme.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure provision of adequate support for children with (a) vision impairment and (b) other low incidence, high needs conditions in schools.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

Local authorities in England are required to publish information on the availability of specialist services, as well as information on support commissioned and provided for children and young people with a visual impairment in a local offer. To ensure local needs are met, local authorities must work with children, young people, and their families to develop this.

It is a legal requirement for qualified teachers of pupils with a sensory impairment to hold the relevant mandatory qualification. Providers must be approved by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, to offer these qualifications.

High needs funding, which is specifically for supporting children with more complex special educational needs and disabilities, including those with vision impairment, will be increasing by £1 billion in the 2022/23 financial year. This brings the overall total funding for high needs to £9.1 billion. This unprecedented increase of 13% comes in addition to the £1.5 billion increase over the last two years.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle discrimination in schools.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

Under the Equality Act 2010, schools must not discriminate against a pupil in a number of respects because of a characteristic protected by the Equality Act. The department has published guidance for schools on how to comply with their duties under the Equality Act 2010, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools.

Relationships education is now compulsory in all schools and the Relationships, Sex, and Health Education curriculum has a strong focus on equality, respect, the harmful impact of stereotyping, as well as the importance of valuing difference.

The department will also provide over £2 million of funding, between 10 August 2021 and 31 March 2023, to five anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. This includes projects targeting bullying of pupils who are more likely to be the victims of hate-related bullying and discrimination.

The department have also published Respectful School Communities, a self-review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline. This can help schools to combat bullying, harassment, and prejudice of any kind, including hate-based bullying.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the ambition of the SEND Review to make schools more inclusive for children with SEND, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure that teachers are adequately trained to teach children with SEND.

All teachers are teachers of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The department is committed to ensuring that all pupils can reach their potential and receive excellent support from their teachers. The Schools White Paper and SEND and AP Green Paper are aligned on this expectation.

To support all teachers to meet these standards, the department is implementing a series of high-quality teacher training reforms. This begins with initial teacher training (ITT) and continues into early career teaching, through to the reformed suite of leadership and specialist National Professional Qualifications.

The revised ITT and Core Content Framework (CCF) and the early career framework (ECF), which all newly qualified teachers benefit from, have been designed around how to support all pupils to succeed and seeks to widen access for all. This includes those pupils identified within the four areas of need set out in the SEND code of practice, and children in need of help and protection as identified in the Children in Need Review. All trainees who achieve qualified teacher status must demonstrate that they can adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils, including those with SEND.

Consideration of SEND underpins both the CCF and the ECF, which were both produced with the support of sector experts.

Once teachers qualify and are employed in schools, headteachers use their professional judgement to identify any further training, including specific specialisms, for individual staff that is relevant to them, the school, and its pupils.

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the commitment in the SEND Review to introduce national standards for the SEND system, what steps the Government plans to take to ensure that those standards meet the needs of all children, including those with complex disabilities.

The SEND and AP green paper sets out the government's proposals to improve the outcomes and experiences of children and young people with SEND and their families. The proposals aim to drive national consistency in how needs are assessed, identified, and met across education, health and care through the introduction of national standards. These standards are intended to set out the full range of support for meeting all needs, including those of children and young people with more complex needs. The standards will also include guidance and best practice on reasonable adjustments for disabled children.

As part of our proposals, our aim is to provide parents and carers with a clearer understanding of the support that should be available to meet their child’s needs and support them to make an informed choice about which education provider they would like their child to attend. Where specialist provision is required, the department is consulting on proposals for a simplified process where parents and carers will be supported to express an informed preference for a suitable placement from a tailored list of providers that are appropriate to meet their child’s needs. The expectation is that all schools on the list will be able to meet the child’s special educational needs as identified in their education health and care needs assessments. This aims to give parents and carers clarity on what is available locally which may still include mainstream, special, independent or out of borough provision where appropriate in order to meet the child’s needs. Our intention is that this will lead to greater transparency about what is available for children and young people in their local school and greater clarity about how it can be provided. The department also aims for this to improve the choice offered to parents and carers by suggesting options they may not have otherwise considered.

All of the proposals within the green paper are currently open to a full public consultation and the department will be listening carefully to all views expressed to ensure policies secure the departments ambitions to improve outcomes and parental confidence in the system. The department is committed to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to take part in the consultation and encourages everyone to do so.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the proposal in the SEND Review to provide a tailored list of settings for parents of children with disabilities, what steps the Government plans to take to help ensure that that proposal does not affect choice of support for children, particularly those with complex disabilities.

The SEND and AP green paper sets out the government's proposals to improve the outcomes and experiences of children and young people with SEND and their families. The proposals aim to drive national consistency in how needs are assessed, identified, and met across education, health and care through the introduction of national standards. These standards are intended to set out the full range of support for meeting all needs, including those of children and young people with more complex needs. The standards will also include guidance and best practice on reasonable adjustments for disabled children.

As part of our proposals, our aim is to provide parents and carers with a clearer understanding of the support that should be available to meet their child’s needs and support them to make an informed choice about which education provider they would like their child to attend. Where specialist provision is required, the department is consulting on proposals for a simplified process where parents and carers will be supported to express an informed preference for a suitable placement from a tailored list of providers that are appropriate to meet their child’s needs. The expectation is that all schools on the list will be able to meet the child’s special educational needs as identified in their education health and care needs assessments. This aims to give parents and carers clarity on what is available locally which may still include mainstream, special, independent or out of borough provision where appropriate in order to meet the child’s needs. Our intention is that this will lead to greater transparency about what is available for children and young people in their local school and greater clarity about how it can be provided. The department also aims for this to improve the choice offered to parents and carers by suggesting options they may not have otherwise considered.

All of the proposals within the green paper are currently open to a full public consultation and the department will be listening carefully to all views expressed to ensure policies secure the departments ambitions to improve outcomes and parental confidence in the system. The department is committed to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to take part in the consultation and encourages everyone to do so.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage healthy eating in primary schools.

School food is a devolved matter. This answer only applies to England.

The department supports the provision of nutritious food in schools to enable pupils to be well nourished, develop healthy eating habits, and concentrate and learn in school. The government does this by providing the Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014 (school food standards) to ensure the provision of healthy school food, providing free school meals to every pupil in reception, year 1 and year 2 and providing free school meals to the most disadvantaged pupils.

The school food standards regulate the food and drink provided at both lunchtime and at other times of the school day. This includes breakfast clubs, tuck shops, mid-morning break, vending, and after school clubs. Compliance with the standards is mandatory for all maintained schools, including academies and free schools.

Schools also provide children with a free piece of fruit or vegetable each day through the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, jointly funded by the Department for Education and the Department for Health and Social Care.

In February 2022, the Levelling Up White Paper outlined a number of things the department is doing to strengthen adherence with the school food standards. This includes piloting work with the Foods Standards Agency, investing up to £200,000 in a pilot governor training scheme, and encouraging schools to complete a statement on their school websites setting out their school approach to food. The government will say more about these in the forthcoming Food Strategy White Paper.

Since September 2015, Ofsted inspectors look at how provision supports pupils’ knowledge on how to keep themselves healthy, including through exercising and healthy eating. Healthy eating and opportunities to develop pupils’ cooking skills are covered in the design and technology curriculum in Key Stages 1-3. The principles of a healthy and varied diet are also covered in health education, which became compulsory in state-funded schools in England from September 2020.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the Government's planned timetable is for (a) responding to and (b) implementing recommendations of the Children's social care market study final report by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Children’s social care in Northern Ireland is a devolved matter. The answer reflects the position in England.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a market study in March 2021 examining the lack of availability and increasing costs in children’s social care provision, including children’s homes and fostering agencies. The CMA examined concerns around high prices paid by local authorities and the inadequate supply of appropriate placements for children. Its interim report was published on 22 October and its full report, including recommendations, was published on 10 March 2022.

The department welcomes the report and is carefully considering the CMA’s recommendations. At this point, the department is unable to comment on timeframes for implementation of the recommendations until we have fully considered the findings contained in the final report. However, the department commits to providing a response to the report within 90 days.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has held discussions with schools on the potential merits of including in the curriculum learning on veganism, fast fashion and climate change.

Education has a critical role to play in giving all children and young people the knowledge and skills they need to create a greener, more sustainable world, and to tackle both the causes and impact of climate change.

The national curriculum framework sets out the minimum content that schools are expected to teach in each subject. Topics relating to climate change are already taught in subjects such as geography, science and citizenship. Teachers have the flexibility to cover topics in greater depth where they deem it appropriate, including topics such as veganism and fast fashion.

Pupils are taught about healthy eating through the statutory health education curriculum. They should know what constitutes a healthy diet, the characteristics of a poor diet, and risks associated with unhealthy eating, including for example, obesity and tooth decay. Schools are free to teach about the benefits of a vegan diet if they wish to do so.

Healthy eating and opportunities to develop pupils’ cooking skills are also covered in the design and technology (D&T) curriculum. Cooking and nutrition is a discrete strand of the D&T curriculum and is compulsory in maintained schools for key stages 1 to 3. The curriculum aims to teach children how to cook, with an emphasis on savoury dishes, and how to apply the principles of healthy eating and nutrition. We have also introduced a new food preparation and nutrition GCSE to provide pupils with practical cookery experience and teach them about the underlying scientific concepts of nutrition and healthy eating.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects, and are able to go into further depth into subjects such as veganism should they wish. Schools can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils.

The department has established a unit devoted to climate change and sustainability, and at COP26, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education presented a draft Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy for the Education and Children’s Services. This strategy set out key action to drive excellence in climate education including professional development for science teachers, a model Primary Science Curriculum, and free access to quality teaching resources.

While refining this strategy for publication in April 2022, the unit engaged widely with young people, expert bodies, teachers, and unions. The inclusion of topics connected to climate change and sustainability across the curriculum has been discussed with relevant parties at length. The finalised version of this strategy was published on 21 April 2022.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made a recent assessment of the adequacy of funding for school libraries.

The department believes that all pupils deserve to be taught a knowledge rich curriculum that promotes the extensive reading of books and other kinds of texts, both in and out of school. School libraries complement public libraries in helping pupils to do this.

Schools in England have the flexibility to make their own decisions on how to prioritise their spending to invest in a wide range of activities and resources that will best support their staff and pupils. It is for individual schools to decide how best to provide and maintain a library service for their pupils, including whether to employ a qualified librarian. Many head teachers recognise the important role school libraries play in improving literacy and encouraging pupils to read for pleasure, and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided.

The government continues to deliver year on year, real terms per pupil increases to school funding in England. The total core school budget is increasing to £56.8 billion by the 2024/25 financial year, a £7 billion cash increase compared with 2021/22. Future increases in funding have been frontloaded to rapidly get money to schools, so that in 2022/23 alone, core schools funding will increase by £4 billion compared to 2021/22. This total includes a £2.5 billion increase in mainstream school funding for 5 to 16 year olds in 2022/23, compared to 2021/22. This is equivalent to an average 5.8% cash increase, or £300, per pupil, with each local authority forecast to see at least a 4.7% increase per pupil.

Responsibility for funding school libraries is devolved in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Executive receive funding through the Barnett formula in line with the principles set out in the Statement of Funding Policy. It is for the Northern Ireland Executive to allocate their funding in devolved areas as they see fit.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that there are sufficient numbers of specialist teachers to support children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response will outline the information for England only.

The department is committed to ensuring that all pupils can reach their potential and receive excellent support from their teachers. The reformed initial teacher training core content framework (ITT CCF) and the new early career framework (ECF), both developed with sector experts, will equip teachers with a clear understanding of the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

All teachers are teachers of SEND. ITT courses must be designed so that trainee teachers can demonstrate that they meet the teachers’ standards at the appropriate level. This includes the requirement that all teachers must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with SEND.

Consideration of SEND underpins both the ITT CCF and ECF, which were both produced with the support of sector experts. The ECF is designed to support all pupils to succeed and seeks to widen access for all.

The department is determined that all children and young people receive the support they need to succeed in their education. It is a legal requirement for qualified teachers of classes of pupils with sensory impairments to hold the relevant mandatory qualification, referred to as an MQSI. The department’s aim is to ensure a steady supply of teachers for children with visual, hearing, and multi-sensory impairments, in both specialist and mainstream education providers.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the finding of research conducted by Sense that 52 per cent of local authorities do not employ multi-sensory impairment (MSI) teachers, what plans his Department has to support children with MSI.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response will outline the information for England only.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special educational needs and disabilities, including those with multi-sensory impairments, receive the support they need to achieve in their early years, at school and college. Local authorities in England are required to publish information on the availability of specialist services and support commissioned and provided for children and young people with multi-sensory impairments in a local offer. To ensure local needs are met, they must work with children, young people, and their families to develop this. On the issue of funding for local authorities to support children with multi-sensory impairments, I refer the hon. Member for Strangford to the answer I gave on 8 March 2022 to Question 133247.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the finding of research conducted by Sense that 52 per cent of local authorities do not employ multi-sensory impairment (MSI) teachers, if his Department will create a MSI education fund for local authorities to employ MSI teachers.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response will outline the information for England only.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special educational needs and disabilities, including those with multi-sensory impairments, receive the support they need to achieve in their early years, at school and college. Local authorities in England are required to publish information on the availability of specialist services and support commissioned and provided for children and young people with multi-sensory impairments in a local offer. To ensure local needs are met, they must work with children, young people, and their families to develop this. On the issue of funding for local authorities to support children with multi-sensory impairments, I refer the hon. Member for Strangford to the answer I gave on 8 March 2022 to Question 133247.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of placing councils under a duty to provide early help.

Under the Children Act 1989, local authorities are required to provide services for children in need for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting their welfare. The statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children is clear that local areas should have a comprehensive range of effective, evidence-based services in place to address needs early.

There are no current plans for a duty on local authorities to provide early help. The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care is due to set out its final recommendations this spring, and we will consider those relevant to early help to inform any next steps.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support the Government is providing to local authorities to help improve the way that those bodies (a) collect and (b) store data on children's services.

Local authority children’s services are a devolved matter, and this information therefore only applies to England.

Local authorities record and store children’s services data in digital case management systems they procure from the market. Our Children’s Social Care Digital Programme has worked with local authorities and case management system suppliers to publish guidance that aims to support local authority planning, procurement, and implementation of case management systems. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/childrens-social-care-improving-case-management-systems.

We are also working across government on how data and technology can be used to enable better multi-agency information sharing in safeguarding, including an investigation study on the feasibility of adopting a consistent child identifier.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment the Government has made of the effect on the wellbeing of young people of requiring local authorities to provide early help services.

The government does not currently collect data on the type of support provided through early help services and its impact on wellbeing. The Supporting Families Programme is testing ways of collecting needs and outcomes data on early help. The government will also consider any relevant recommendations from the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care. Learning from both will inform any next steps.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to collect data from local authorities on the provision of early help services.

The government does not currently collect data on the type of support provided through early help services and its impact on wellbeing. The Supporting Families Programme is testing ways of collecting needs and outcomes data on early help. The government will also consider any relevant recommendations from the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care. Learning from both will inform any next steps.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of Action for Children’s report Too Little Too Late on (a) early help and (b) early intervention funding.

The Too Little, Too Late report recommends an increase in funding for a range of early intervention services. In the Budget and Spending Review 2021, the government announced a £500 million package for families. This includes £300 million to transform Start for Life services, and to create a network of family hubs in half of council areas in England. The package also includes a £200 million uplift to the Supporting Families Programme (SFP).

The additional SFP funding represents around a 40% real terms uplift for the programme by the 2024/25 financial year. This takes total planned investment across the next three years to £695 million. This funding will help up to 300,000 more families facing multiple, interconnected issues to access effective whole-family support. It will improve their life outcomes and will begin to reduce the pressure on expensive, reactive statutory services, as the system starts to rebalance away from intervening at crisis point.

The report’s recommendations on a legal duty for early help and additional data collection on early help will be considered as part of the department’s response to the independent review of children’s social care.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Government will publish the delayed Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Review.

The outcome of the SEND Review will be published as a green paper for full public consultation by the end of March.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to children who live in children's homes.

Children’s social care in Northern Ireland is a transferred power, making it a devolved matter. The answer reflects the position in England.

Children’s homes provide care for some of the most vulnerable young people unable to live with their families. This includes children who have suffered abuse or neglect, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, children on remand, and children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, disabilities, special educational needs, or mental illnesses.

Local authorities have primary responsibility for the children in their care. They have a formal role as ‘corporate parents’. Their responsibilities include identifying which children should come into the care system, ensuring there is sufficient accommodation locally to meet the range of needs of looked after children in their area, safeguarding and promoting their wellbeing, ensuring that children’s education and health needs are met, and supporting care leavers.

The government provides funding and support to local authorities to help them meet all their duties to looked after children, including those in children’s homes. As well as providing safe, excellent quality care, the government wants to ensure that all homes can meet each child's individual needs and enable them to achieve the best possible outcomes.

For example, it has ensured that all looked after children have top priority in school admissions, and all local authorities must appoint a virtual school head with a statutory duty to promote the educational achievement of all children in their care. The government has funded eight Staying Close pilots to test an enhanced offer for young people leaving residential care. Additionally, the government will invest £140 million to introduce new national standards for unregulated provisions for older children.

Although we are making progress, the sector still faces challenges. The independent review of children’s social care commenced in March 2021, with Josh MacAlister as Chair. It is looking at how the government can make the system work better.

The review is taking a fundamental look at the needs, experiences, and outcomes of the children supported by children’s social care. It is drawing on a broad range of expertise and prioritising hearing the voices of children, young people, and adults that have received the help or support of a social worker, or who have been looked after. The review is looking at the whole system of support, safeguarding, protection and care, and the child’s journey into and out of that system. We expect it to point to new directions in children’s social care and directly improve the lives of vulnerable children.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support students who have gambling addictions.

As autonomous bodies, it is for higher education (HE) providers to determine what welfare and counselling services they need to provide to their students. They are not only experts in their student population but also best placed to identify the needs of their particular student body.

The government strongly supports the Stepchange: Mentally Healthy Universities framework, calling on HE leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority. The government also supports The University Mental Health Charter, which outlines that effective services should be responsive to changes in need among their population, including specific issues such as addiction.

We remain committed to preventing gambling-related harm and ensuring those experiencing it can access the right treatment and support whenever and wherever they need it. The NHS Long-Term Plan, published in July 2019, announced the creation of 15 specialist problem gambling clinics by 2023/24, with up to £15 million of funding over the same period. Work continues on the phased expansion of these services, enabling the NHS to explore how best to use existing treatment models to reach those most in need of support.

The government and the Gambling Commission have also significantly raised requirements around age verification, banned gambling on credit cards, made online slots safer with a new game design code, mandated integration with Gamstop (the one-stop online self exclusion scheme) and introduced new rules on VIP schemes

We are also reviewing the Gambling Act to ensure it is fit for the digital age. A core objective of the review is to ensure effective protections are in place for the further protection of vulnerable groups, including children and young people. We are considering the evidence carefully and will publish a white paper outlining any conclusions and proposals for reform in due course.

From September 2020, the subject of health education was made compulsory in all state-funded schools. This includes teaching young people about the risks relating to gambling, including the accumulation of debt.

The NHS website offers support for those that are worried they may have a gambling problem, and outlines support: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/gambling-addiction/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase teaching of the events of the Holocaust in UK schools.

The government has supported Holocaust education for many years and is fully committed to continuing this support.

In recognition of its importance, the Holocaust is the only historic event which is compulsory within the national curriculum for history at key stage 3. This ensures that young people from every background can continue to learn about the Holocaust and its relevance today. Effective teaching about the Holocaust can support pupils to learn about the possible consequences of antisemitism and extremism, to understand how society can prevent the repeat of such a catastrophe.

The department further supports school pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of the Holocaust by providing funding for several programmes. This includes £500,000 in the 2021/22 financial year for University College London’s Centre for Holocaust Education which is match funded by the Pears Foundation, and £2.126 million in the 2021/22 financial year for the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project. The latter has been provided on an online basis during the COVID-19 outbreak and has therefore had the capacity to reach more pupils. These programmes help reach all types of schools and help to develop high-quality teaching across the school sector.

Education is a devolved matter, and approaches to Holocaust education may differ in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on the number of incidents of teachers having relations with students in each of the last three years.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response will outline the information for England only. English law is clear that it is an offence for a person who is in a position of trust and is over the age of 18 to engage in a sexual relationship with a person under the age of 18. Such activity is also likely to lead to barring by the Disclosure and Barring Service and, where the individual is a teacher, prohibition by Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA). The TRA, an executive agency of the Department for Education, operates the teacher misconduct arrangements on behalf of the Secretary of State as regulator of the teaching profession in England. The TRA considers allegations of the most serious cases of misconduct to decide whether a teacher should be prohibited from teaching work in England.

Teachers are expected to demonstrate consistently high standards of personal and professional conduct within and outside school, which includes observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position. Whilst we do not hold the data requested, we do hold data, shown in the table below, on the number of teachers prohibited from the teaching profession for sexual misconduct in England. This data includes cases involving children and/or adults, as well as students.

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Total Prohibited for Sexual Misconduct in England

7

8

6

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to increase the funding provided to schools on mental health support for students.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response will outline the education reforms for England. The government remains committed to promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges. The department recognises it is more important than ever that children and young people have access to the support they need for their mental health and wellbeing, and we know that funding the right services and provision within education settings is key to ensuring they do so.

On 10 May 2021, as a part of our Mental Health Awareness week, the department announced £17 million towards improving mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people. This included £9.5 million to offer senior mental health led training to around a third of all state schools and colleges in academic year 2021/22, helping them to implement effective holistic approaches to mental health and wellbeing, and £7 million to Wellbeing for Education Recovery, enabling local authorities to continue supporting schools and colleges until the autumn to meet ongoing mental wellbeing needs.

Schools support the mental wellbeing of their pupils as part of their curriculum provision and pastoral support, which is paid for from schools’ core funding; the autumn 2021 Spending Review delivers an additional £4.7 billion for the core schools budget by financial year 2024/25, compared to previous plans. This settlement includes an additional £1.6 billion for schools and high needs in 2022/23, on top of the funding we previously announced. It also includes an additional £1 billion for a recovery premium over the next two academic years (2022/23 and 2023/24). Schools will have flexibility to target funding towards those pupils who need it most, and we will publish further detail around rates, allocations, and conditions of grant in due course.

Beyond this, the department is also investing up to £5 billion to support recovery for children and young people who need it most. This includes the Recovery Premium for this academic year worth over £300 million, weighted so that schools with more disadvantaged pupils receive more funding. Schools can use this funding to deliver evidence based approaches to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils.

This is in addition to the £79 million announced by the Department of Health and Social Care in March 2021 to significantly expand children’s mental health services. This will partly be spent on speeding up and expanding the provision of Mental Health Support Teams in schools and colleges, meaning nearly 3 million children in England will access school or college-based support by April 2023.

The department does not expect teachers to be mental health experts. Therefore, for those that need more specialist support, the NHS Long Term Plan is backed by an additional £2.3 billion a year for mental services by financial year 2023/24. This will mean at least 345,000 more children and young people will be able to access support as we aim to ensure that mental and physical health are treated equally.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the financial effect of lowering the student loan repayment threshold on graduates (a) low, (b) middle and (c) high income households.

The student loan system in England removes financial barriers for those hoping to study higher education courses while sharing its costs between learners and the general taxpayer, which is fair. After finishing study, monthly student loan repayments are linked to income, not to interest rates or the amount borrowed. Repayments are made only on earnings above the repayment threshold, and borrowers are protected; if their income drops, so do their repayments. Any outstanding debt is written off after the loan term ends at no detriment to the borrower.

As part of the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding we are carefully considering a range of options to ensure that student finance continues to deliver value for money for both students and the taxpayer. The interim conclusion of the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding was published on 21 January 2021, and we will conclude the Review in full in due course. Full information about this review and the interim conclusion can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/post-18-education-and-funding-review-interim-conclusion.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will bring forward legislative proposals on the teaching of organ donation in post-primary education settings.

The national curriculum includes content that can be used by teachers as an opportunity to inform pupils about organ donation. For example, pupils are taught about this as part of the Key Stage 4 science curriculum. The national curriculum is compulsory in state-maintained schools and is often used as a benchmark by academies and free schools.

Since September 2020, it has been compulsory for schools to teach relationships education to primary school-aged pupils, relationships and sex education to secondary school-aged pupils and health education to all pupils in state-maintained schools. The statutory guidance on relationships, sex and health education sets out that by the end of secondary school, pupils should know about the science relating to blood, organ and stem cell donation.

The department has published teacher training modules, including online modules for primary and secondary teachers containing key knowledge and facts to help teachers understand what they must teach in relation to the new requirements. This can be done flexibly and can include teaching about organ donation.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools continue to have flexibility over how they deliver important topics and use their autonomy and local community knowledge to do this.

Health education in schools in Northern Ireland are matters for the Department of Education for Northern Ireland.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle sexual harassment in universities.

Any form of harassment, violence or sexual assault is abhorrent and unacceptable anywhere in society, including in our universities. Sexual harassment is in no way tolerable on our campuses and online environments. The government urges university leaders to ensure a zero-tolerance approach to all harassment and sexual misconduct and to ensure they have robust systems in place for reporting incidents where they do occur.

The Office for Students (OfS) statement of expectations on harassment and sexual misconduct was published on 19 April and is a useful tool for providers. As part of its next steps on harassment and hate crime, the OfS will now be considering options for connecting the statement of expectations to its conditions of registration. The OfS wrote to providers on 10 June, asking them to review and update their systems, policies and procedures in line with the statement of expectations on harassment and sexual misconduct by the beginning of the next academic year. I have made it clear that government sees the OfS statement as the minimum that providers should be doing to keep students safe from sexual harassment and misconduct, and to handle reported incidents appropriately when they do occur.

I also wrote to the sector on 2 July reasserting the government’s firm expectations for providers in this space. This includes giving urgent consideration to the OfS request to update their systems. I detailed the way in which the government will legislatively tackle the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in relation to workers and employers. I also outlined that I have asked officials to explore options for going further in this area in higher education (HE). The use of NDAs in relation to sexual violence, harassment and misconduct is wholly inappropriate.

I am extremely concerned that many of the deeply disturbing testimonies that continue to be posted on the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ website reference experiences within HE settings. I met with the founder of Everyone’s Invited in June, to discuss tackling sexual harassment in HE. I also met with Universities UK (UUK) to discuss this issue, including their existing guidance for providers in this area. I understand they are preparing guidance on staff to student sexual misconduct, which will be published soon.

I know that sexual harassment and misconduct is an area that for several years HE providers, the OfS, the government and sector bodies have been working together on. In 2015, UUK set up a taskforce on harassment at the request of the government. Since 2016, a total investment of £4.7 million, match funded by HE providers, has been invested by the OfS and its predecessor, funding 119 safeguarding projects. £2.45 million of this was given to 63 projects specifically focused on tackling sexual and gender-based violence in HE. In my recent letter to the sector, I highlighted that it may also be timely to revisit the resources produced by these OfS-funded projects relating to this area, available via the following link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/student-wellbeing-and-protection/student-safeguarding-evaluation-and-resources/.

In addition to preventative policies and procedures, we expect providers to ensure that students continue to have access to support services, and complaints processes, during the COVID-19 outbreak, to ensure they are able to report any issues. I will continue to work across government to ensure that sexual harassment is stamped out of our world leading HE sector.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to put in place adequate access to (a) helplines and (b) charities for students in schools who are in need of support in respect of sexual and domestic abuse.

We continue to contribute funding to the NSPCC to ensure that children and young people of all ages have access to free, confidential and expert safeguarding advice and can raise concerns about sexual and domestic abuse. Support and advice are also available to professionals, parents and carers, and to any adults who have concerns about a child.

We have also created the ‘Report Abuse in Education’ helpline with the NSPCC, specifically in response to the testimonies shared on the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ website. This dedicated route for raising concerns, receiving advice, or reporting an incident has received over 400 calls since 1 April 2021 and will be open until October.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide additional support to children and young people whose mental health may have deteriorated during the covid-19 outbreak.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is a priority for this government. While education settings cannot provide specialist clinical care, the support schools and colleges 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. We want schools to have the freedom to decide what wider pastoral and extra-curricular activity to put in place, based on the needs of their pupils and drawing on evidence of effective practice.

We are supporting recovery action with significant additional funding. In June 2021, we announced £1.4 billion of additional funding for education recovery. This is in addition to the £1.7 billion already committed, bringing total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion. The package provides support to children aged 2 to 19 in schools, 16 to 19 providers and early years. It will expand our reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear our investment will have significant impact: high quality tutoring targeted at those that need it most and high-quality training for teachers. The one-off Recovery Premium for state-funded schools will help schools to provide their disadvantaged pupils with a boost to the support, both academic and pastoral, that has proven most effective in helping them recover from the impact of COVID-19. This is in addition to the £650 million catch-up premium shared across state-funded schools over the 2020/21 academic year, which is also supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place. The Education Endowment Foundation have published a COVID-19 support guide to support schools, which includes further information about interventions to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

Our Mental Health in Education Action Group has been looking further at what more can to be done to help education settings support mental wellbeing as part of recovery. The department recently brought together all its sources of advice for schools and colleges into a single site, which includes signposting to external sources of mental health and wellbeing support for teachers, school staff and school leaders: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mental-health-and-wellbeing-support-in-schools-and-colleges#mental-health-and-wellbeing-resources. As education and health are devolved matters, these are relevant to the policy context in England, but materials may be more widely useful across the UK. The site also includes guidance to support relationships, sex and health education curriculum planning, covering of the key issues children and young people have been concerned about throughout the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.

On 10 May, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we announced more than £17 million of mental health funding to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges. This includes £9.5 million for up to 7,800 schools to train a senior mental health lead in the next academic year, and £7 million in additional funding for local authorities to deliver the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme. This builds on Wellbeing for Education Return in the 2020/21 academic year, which reached up to 15,000 schools across every local authority with 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.

For further education, the College Collaboration Fund (CCF), a £5.4 million national programme of competitive grant funding delivered in the 2020/21 financial year, is helping to support learner and staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support. One of the funded projects was Weston College’s ‘Let’s Chat’ programme, which delivered a number of wellbeing support packages accessible at any time to keep staff, students and their families safe and well during lockdown. We are now assessing bids for the CCF 2 for the 2021/22 financial year.

​With regards to higher education (HE), student mental health and suicide prevention are key priorities for this government. We continue to work closely with the HE sector to promote good practice. Universities are not only experts in their student population, but also best placed to identify the needs of their student body. The Department for Health and Social Care has overall policy responsibility for young people’s mental health. We continue to work closely with them to take steps to develop mental health and wellbeing support.

We have also increased funding to specialist services. In March, we announced a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, which will include increasing the number of Mental Health Support Teams. The support teams, which provide early intervention on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in schools and colleges, will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children. This increase means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services. In total, £13 million will be used to accelerate progress to support young adults aged 18 to 25. This group includes university students and those not in education or training, who have reported the worst mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 outbreak, and who sometimes fall through the gap between children and adult services.

While it is for HE providers to determine what welfare and counselling services they need to provide to their students to offer that support, the government is proactive in promoting good practice in this area. We continue to work closely with Universities UK on embedding the Stepchange programme within the sector. Stepchange calls on HE leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority and to take a whole-institution approach, embedding it across all policies, cultures, curricula, and practice. The Stepchange programme relaunched in March 2020 as the Mentally Healthy Universities programme. Further information on the programme is available here: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/stepchange.

The University Mental Health Charter, announced in June 2018, is backed by the government and led by the HE sector. The charter, developed in collaboration with students, staff and partner organisations, aims to drive up standards of practice, including leadership, early intervention, and data collection. Further information on the charter is available here: https://www.studentminds.org.uk/charter.html.

The department has also worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to provide Student Space, a dedicated mental health and wellbeing platform for students. Student Space has been funded by up to £3 million from the OfS in the 2020/21 academic year. We have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/22 through proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable and hard to reach groups.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of starting schools at an earlier time.

The Department recognises that restrictions to the time spent in schools over an extended period have had a substantial impact on the education of children and young people. We are committed to helping pupils make up education lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

To address this challenge, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has committed to working with parents, teachers, and schools to develop a long-term plan to help schools support pupils to make up their education and wider enrichment over the course of this Parliament.

The Department is considering all options to address lost education, including time spent in schools, to ensure the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is addressed as comprehensively as possible for all pupils. In doing so, we are mindful of the need to manage teacher workload and disruption in the short term, whilst also examining the benefits of change.

The Government has appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to oversee the long term plan. Sir Kevan will engage with parents, pupils and teachers to develop this proposal and review how evidence based interventions can be used to address the impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on education. We will share further details in due course.

27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on the provision of education on preventing violence against women and girls.

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

27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on the proportion of pupils for whom English is not their first language at home.

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

14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to page 38 of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report, published in March 2021, what plans he has to extend the school day to help white working-class boys and those from disadvantaged ethnic minority backgrounds achieve their full potential.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities was launched to conduct a detailed, data-led examination of inequality across the entire population, and to set out a positive agenda for change. It is now right that we consider their recommendations on education in detail and assess the implications for future government policy. The Department remains committed to providing world-class education, training and care for everyone, whatever their background, and taking the action needed to address disparities.

In February 2021, we appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to advise how to help pupils make up their education over the course of this Parliament. The Commissioner will engage with parents, pupils, and teachers in the development of this broader approach which will examine a range of options, including time in education, to help education settings use evidence-based interventions to support their pupils to make up lost education.  We shall share further details on this in due course.

As an immediate step, we have invested a further £700 million to support education recovery measures, bringing total investment in catch up to £1.7 billion. This includes tutoring, summer schools in 2021 and additional support for schools, and includes significant funding aimed at addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government plans to take to ensure that any successor policy to the European Social Fund programme takes into account the interdependency between community education and further/higher education.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is the domestic successor to the EU’s Structural Fund programme. It will maximise the benefits of leaving the EU through quicker delivery of funding, better targeting, better alignment with domestic priorities and by reducing EU bureaucracy.

The Department for Education is working closely with other government departments including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions on the development of the UKSPF. As set out in the Heads of Terms published in the Spending Review 2020, a portion of the fund will be targeted to people most in need through bespoke employment and skills programmes that are tailored to local need. This will support improved employment outcomes for those in and out of work in specific cohorts of people who face labour market barriers.

The government will publish a UK wide investment framework later in 2021 and confirm the quantum funding amount at the next Spending Review.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to embed the importance of community education in the successor policy to the European Social Fund programme.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is the domestic successor to the EU’s Structural Fund programme. It will maximise the benefits of leaving the EU through quicker delivery of funding, better targeting, better alignment with domestic priorities and by reducing EU bureaucracy.

The Department for Education is working closely with other government departments including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions on the development of the UKSPF. As set out in the Heads of Terms published in the Spending Review 2020, a portion of the fund will be targeted to people most in need through bespoke employment and skills programmes that are tailored to local need. This will support improved employment outcomes for those in and out of work in specific cohorts of people who face labour market barriers.

The government will publish a UK wide investment framework later in 2021 and confirm the quantum funding amount at the next Spending Review.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to support women to access education to help their return to the labour market.

As we address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak and prepare to seize the opportunities offered up by leaving the EU, it is vital that we support adults, irrespective of gender, to attain the skills that will be needed in the economy of the future. We recently published the white paper, Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth, focusing on giving people the skills they need so they can get great jobs in sectors the economy needs and boost this country’s productivity.

Starting this year, the government is investing £2.5 billion, rising to £3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations, in the National Skills Fund (NSF). This is a significant investment and has the potential to deliver new opportunities to generations of adults who may have been previously left behind, or who need to reskill and retrain. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer also announced £375 million for the NSF at the Spending Review in November 2020, further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/spending-review-2020. This includes £95 million funding for a new Level 3 adult offer and £43 million for Skills Bootcamps. Investment in skills through the NSF is vital, ensuring adults have the opportunity to progress into higher wage employment and to support those who need to retrain at different points throughout their lives.

From April 2021, we will be supporting any adult aged 24 and over who wants to achieve their first full Level 3 qualification – equivalent to two A-levels, or an advanced technical certificate or diploma – to access nearly 400 fully funded courses. Alongside the Level 3 adult offer, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. We are seeing a demand for digital and technical Skills Bootcamps across many sectors and industries, including healthcare, where take up is higher amongst women than men. We have also introduced bootcamps that specifically aim to support women to access training in a range of digital and technical qualifications, including subjects known to be traditionally “male-dominated”. For example, the Software Engineering Academy for women in the West Midlands is designed to prepare women for careers in software engineering.

Through our lifelong loan entitlement, we will also make it easier for adults and young people to study more flexibly. This will allow them to space out their studies across their lifetimes, transfer credits between colleges and universities, and enable more part-time study.

We are also investing £1.34 billion in the 2020/21 academic year through the adult education budget (AEB), which will provide education and skills training for adults. The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to Level 3, helping them gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning.

Last year we introduced the Skills Toolkit, an online platform providing free courses to help individuals build the skills that are most sought after by employers. We have recently expanded the platform so that people can now choose from over 70 courses, covering digital, adult numeracy, employability, and work readiness skills, which have been identified as the skills employers need the most. These courses will help people stay in work or take up new jobs and opportunities.

In July last year, the Plan for Jobs was announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which includes incentives for employers to take on new apprentices, including those over 25, and an additional £17 million to increase the number of sector-based work academy programme placements in the 2020/21 academic year.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that successor funding to the European Social Fund enables women to access formal education.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is the domestic successor to the EU Structural Fund programme. It will maximise the benefits of leaving the EU through quicker delivery of funding, better targeting, better alignment with domestic priorities and by cutting burdensome EU bureaucracy.

The department is working closely with other government departments including the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions on the development of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. As set out in the heads of terms published at Spending Review 2020, a portion of the fund will be targeted to people most in need through bespoke employment and skills programmes that are tailored to local need. This will support improved employment outcomes for those in and out of work in specific cohorts of people who face labour market barriers.

The government will set out further details of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in a UK-wide investment framework published in the spring.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to reduce anxiety in children; and what discussions he has had with (a) the NSPCC and other children's charities on that matter.

The Department for Education works closely with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and its agencies, including Public Health England (PHE), on action to promote good mental health and wellbeing. On 8 September, PHE launched a mental wellbeing campaign for children and young people. It expands PHE’s Better Health-Every Mind Matters website with content specifically for children and young people and their parents and carers.

We know that the COVID-19 outbreak is having a particular impact on children and young people’s wellbeing and mental health. DHSC have published a mental health and wellbeing support plan, setting out a wide range of actions that the government is supporting across the NHS and wider services to support mental health and wellbeing recovery, including for children and young people. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-mentally-well-winter-plan-2020-to-2021/staying-mentally-well-this-winter.

The plan highlights the importance of the action that we have taken to ensure that pupils are able to return to school. It also sets out a range of actions that have been taken by the department to support schools, and specific groups of children and young people. This includes the £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme, providing schools and colleges with the knowledge and access to resources to support children and young people, teachers and parents.

The department engages regularly with key children’s charities and has valued the insight and challenge from charities in shaping our response to supporting children through the COVID-19 outbreak. Our focus has been to ensure that, together, we support as many children as possible. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak we have met monthly with the NSPCC, and several other key children’s charities, to understand key issues facing the system, the challenges facing vulnerable young people, and to ensure a coherent response to providing support.

Additionally, to inform our work to support the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, and I held a roundtable in July, attended by stakeholders from NHS mental health services, local government, and the voluntary and community sector, including Childline. This was conducted to explore ways of mitigating the mental health impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on children and young people and strengthen partnership working between schools, mental health services, and local organisations.

To increase support further in the long term, we remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with DHSC and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that deaf children are able to be taught in environments which require the wearing of facemasks.

The government continues to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term future of our children and young people and early years settings, schools, colleges and universities remain open.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes children and young people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, impairment, or disability and people who are speaking, or providing assistance, to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate. These exemptions apply in education settings and may be particularly relevant to children and young people with hearing impairments.

We have published guidance on face coverings in education settings, which was updated on 5 November 2020. It includes that face coverings could have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should currently be avoided. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage secondary pupils to study a foreign language.

In England, languages are included in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) at Key Stage 4. Since September 2019, Ofsted’s new inspection framework has placed a renewed focus on all pupils benefiting from a broad, balanced, and ambitious curriculum. Since the introduction of the EBacc performance measure in 2010, the proportion of GCSE entries from pupils in state-funded schools in a modern foreign language (MFL) has increased from 40% in 2010 to 47% in 2019.

The Department’s £2.41 million MFL Pedagogy Pilot, run by the National Centre of Excellence in Languages Pedagogy, commenced in December 2018 with a mission to improve language curriculum design and pedagogy. The Centre has developed an open database which includes schemes of work and resources. It also runs a pilot network of 18 specialist teachers in nine lead schools, each working with four local hub schools, as well as with a wider network of a further 90 schools. The aim of this collaborative network of MFL teachers and schools is to raise standards of language teaching through the sharing of resources and good practice. In May 2020, the programme was extended to December 2021, receiving an additional £1.45 million funding.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the (a) progress and (b) effectiveness of the scheme to provide laptops and other devices to vulnerable and disadvantaged children during the covid-19 outbreak.

During the summer term, as part of over £160 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, the Department delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to children who would not otherwise have access. The programme is thought to have been the biggest and fastest deployment of laptops in the UK - at its peak, 27,000 laptops were delivered through a fleet of couriers in a single day.

The laptops and tablets were an injection of support to help local authorities and academy trusts to provide access to education and social care during the COVID-19 restriction period. Data on how many devices were delivered to local authorities and academy trusts can be viewed 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.

The Department is now supplementing this support by making 250,000 additional laptops and tablets available 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.

1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he taking to help children with (a) anxiety and (b) mental health issues as a result of the lockdown restrictions due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. Access to mental health and wellbeing support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak and the department has taken action to ensure schools and colleges are equipped to support children and young people.

We have in particular prioritised children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Getting children and young people back into school and college is itself key to their wellbeing. We have worked hard to ensure that all pupils and learners were able to return to a full high-quality education programme in September. Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package, with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020-21 academic year, is supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place.

Staff in schools and colleges need to be equipped to understand that some of their pupils may be experiencing feelings such as anxiety, stress or low mood as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, that these are normal responses to an abnormal situation and how to respond. This is a central part of our guidance both on remote education and on the return to school. We supported this with a range of training and materials, including webinars, which have been accessed by thousands of education staff and accelerating training on how to teach about mental health as part of the new relationships, sex and health curriculum, so that all pupils can benefit from this long-term requirement.

To continue this support we are investing £8 million in the Wellbeing for Education Return programme, which will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and practical skills they need to support teachers, students and parents, to help improve how they respond to the emotional impact of the COVID-19. The programme is funding expert advisers in every area of England to train and support schools and colleges during the autumn and spring terms. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wellbeing-for-education-return-grant-s31-grant-determination-letter.

In further education, the department has provided £5.4 million of competitive grant funding through the College Collaboration Fund and five of the projects funded support student and staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support.

Schools and colleges are not mental health professionals, and it is important that more specialist support is available for children and their families. All NHS mental health trusts have ensured that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

We have also provided £9.2 million of additional funding for mental health charities, including charities such as Young Minds, to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time.

In the long term, we remain committed to our major joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England. This includes introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has in place to (a) contact, (b) encourage parents who have not sent their children back to school to do so and (c) provide home school support for children whose health precludes them from school re-entry.

Whilst over 7 million pupils are back in the classroom, we recognise that some parents will still have concerns. In such cases we recommend schools discuss with parents their concerns, and provide reassurance of the measures in place to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their school.

In the guidance for full opening, we asked schools and local authorities to communicate clear and consistent expectations around attendance to families, and to use the additional catch up funding settings will receive. In addition, schools should make full use of existing pastoral and support services, attendance staff, and pupil premium funding to put measures in place for those families who will need additional support to return to school. Relevant guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#attendance.

Schools and local authorities have also been asked to work closely with other professionals, as appropriate, to support pupils’ return to school, including continuing to notify a child’s social worker, if they have one, of non-attendance.

As is usually the case, schools should follow up whenever a pupil is absent to ascertain the reason and ensure any appropriate safeguarding action is taken. Schools have a duty to inform the local authority of any pupil of compulsory school age who has had a continuous period of unauthorised absence of ten school days or more.

On the 1 October, the Department announced a package of remote education support designed to help schools and colleges build on and deliver their existing plans in the event that individual or groups of pupils are unable to attend school because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Schools can access a new central support hub, where resources and information on remote education will be housed. This support has been co-designed with schools and includes a range of school-led webinars and resources intended to share good practice. We are also investing £1.5 million of additional funding to expand the EdTech Demonstrator programme, which provides peer-to-peer support for schools and colleges.

This adds to existing support including the resources available from Oak National Academy. The Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy, both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20 and the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons for reception up to year 11. It provides lessons across a broad range of subjects and includes specialist content for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for 2020-21.

The support package can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Department is committed to the continuation of high-quality education for all pupils during this difficult time. We also want to make clear that schools have a duty to provide remote education for state-funded, school-age children who are unable to attend school due to the COVID-19 outbreak in line with guidance and the law. We have, therefore, published a Direction which provides an express legal duty on schools to provide remote education in these circumstances. The purpose of this direction is to provide greater certainty for all involved in the education sector, including parents, teachers and schools themselves.

25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has in place to ensure that the assessment of children who may require special needs support is not additionally delayed as a result of new covid-19 social distancing and other restrictions.

We understand the need for effective and timely assessment of children who require special needs support. The department’s special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Improvement and Intervention Unit, alongside NHS England, will be engaging with all local areas to discuss progress on recovery from the disruption caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, and the return to school for children with SEND. This will include representatives from local authorities, health and the parent carer forum for the area, and will be led by the department’s professional SEND advisers, Department for Education case leads and an NHS England SEND adviser.

One section focuses on statutory processes, education, health and care (EHC) plans and annual reviews. SEND advisers will probe local areas on the timeliness and quality of plans, any barriers to progress, such as capacity to reduce EHC plan backlogs, and actions proposed by local areas to address weaknesses identified. The local authority engagement will also aim to ascertain if the areas have improvement needs that can be addressed by the department’s funded delivery support programme.

We are increasing high needs funding for local authorities by £780 million this year and a further £730 million next year, which means high needs budgets will have grown by nearly a quarter in just 2 years. In addition, local authorities have been allocated a further £3.7 billion to help their communities through the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding is un-ringfenced, recognising local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major COVID-19 service pressures in their local area, including support to children’s services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that foreign students are quarantined upon entry to the UK; and who is responsible for overseeing that process.

We have worked closely with Universities UK and other sector representatives to ensure that international higher education students are welcomed to the UK and that their fellow students’ health and wellbeing is being catered for. Those students travelling from countries not on our exemption list will need to self-isolate for 14 days. We expect these students to be supported by their chosen university as soon as they arrive in the country, if not before.

While it is for individuals to abide by all regulations, universities have a duty to ensure their students are safe and well looked after during the 14-day self-isolation period. The government has produced guidance on isolation for residential educational settings, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings.

Universities UK have also produced bespoke guidance for universities on how to prepare for and care for students who are required to self-isolate on arrival in the UK. This guidance sets out the principles to consider in ensuring students are fully and properly supported throughout this period. We would encourage them to have regard for this guidance when planning for the arrival of international students who need to isolate. The guidance is available here:
https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2020/self-isolation-guidance.pdf.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department is taking steps with the Department for Work and Pensions to (a) support and (b) retrain young people who have lost their jobs during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Education (DfE) recognise the substantial risk that some young people who would usually enter the labour market this year will find themselves unemployed instead.

On 8 July, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a plan to support jobs. Measures announced as part of the plan are being delivered by both the Department for Work and Pensions and DfE, who are working closely together to ensure a co-ordinated approach.

These measures form a plan to support jobs focusing on skills and young people. This includes a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people aged 16 to 24 claiming Universal Credit. Funding available for 6 month job placements will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week.

£1.6 billion is also being invested to scale up employment support schemes and training. This includes nearly £900 million to double the number of work coaches to 27,000 and over £500 million in a package of support to ensure young people have the skills and training to go on to high quality, secure and fulfilling employment.

This support includes a new payment of £2,000 that employers are now able to claim for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those 25 and over. Employers can start claiming for payments from 1 September. £111 million will also be provided to triple the scale of traineeships, with 3 times more funding available to providers in 2020/21 to support 30,000 new places. We have also introduced payments of £1,000 per trainee for employers who offer new or additional work placements for up to 10 trainees.

In addition, we are providing £101 million to give 18 and 19-year-old school and college leavers the opportunity to study high value level 2 and 3 courses when there are no employment opportunities available to them. We will also be making £32 million available over 2 years to help 269,000 more people receive advice from the National Careers Service and £17 million available to triple the number of sector based work academy programme placements in 2020/21. This is enough funding to support an extra 40,000 job seekers with additional training opportunities and the chance of a job.

Starting this Parliament, we are also providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations), for the National Skills Fund to help adults learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future. The fund aims to boost productivity and ensure more people and places can share in the rewards that improved productivity can bring.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) school leaders on ensuring that hot food can be served in schools from September 2020.

Both Cabinet colleagues and school leaders are aware of our plan for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. All school kitchens are expected to be open and deliver healthy and nutritious meals that meet the School Food Standards. Further guidance for schools is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools continue wrap around care with breakfast clubs.

As of 4 July, all providers offering wraparound care, holiday clubs and out-of-school activities for children have been able to open for both indoor and outdoor provision with safety measures in place. We have published guidance for providers of these activities on the measures they should put in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We recognise that breakfast clubs and wraparound care will give pupils opportunities to re-engage with their peers and with school, ensure children have a healthy breakfast and are ready to focus on their lessons, provide enrichment activities, and support working parents.

Therefore, as outlined in the guidance for full opening of schools published by the department, schools should consider resuming any breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from the start of the autumn term. We recognise that schools may need to respond flexibly and build this up over time. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

However, schools should carefully consider how they can make such provision work alongside their wider protective measures, including keeping children within their year groups or bubbles where possible. If it is not possible to maintain bubbles being used during the school day then schools should use small, consistent groups. Schools can consult the guidance produced for summer holiday childcare, as much of this will be useful in planning extra-curricular provision.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools meet the practical cookery requirements in the national curriculum.

All schools are required to teach a balanced and broad curriculum that helps provide young people with knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society.

Cooking and nutrition is a discrete strand of the design and technology programme of study within the National Curriculum which was introduced in 2014. It is compulsory in state-maintained schools for Key Stages 1-3 (ages 5 to 14), and can be used as an exemplar for free schools and academies. The curriculum aims to teach children how to cook and how to apply the principles of healthy eating and good nutrition. It recognises that cooking is an important life skill that will help children to feed themselves and others healthy and affordable food. By the end of Key Stage 3, pupils should be able to cook a repertoire of predominantly savoury dishes and be competent in a range of cooking techniques.

A new food preparation and nutrition GCSE was also introduced in September 2016. It requires pupils to understand and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating when preparing and cooking food. The first exams in this new qualification were taken in summer 2018.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to increase the proportion of children being taught to cook at key stage 3; and if he will make a statement.

All schools are required to teach a balanced and broad curriculum that helps provide young people with knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare them to play a full and active part in society.

Cooking and nutrition is a discrete strand of the design and technology programme of study within the National Curriculum which was introduced in 2014. It is compulsory in state-maintained schools for Key Stages 1-3 (ages 5 to 14), and can be used as an exemplar for free schools and academies. The curriculum aims to teach children how to cook and how to apply the principles of healthy eating and good nutrition. It recognises that cooking is an important life skill that will help children to feed themselves and others healthy and affordable food. By the end of Key Stage 3, pupils should be able to cook a repertoire of predominantly savoury dishes and be competent in a range of cooking techniques.

A new food preparation and nutrition GCSE was also introduced in September 2016. It requires pupils to understand and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating when preparing and cooking food. The first exams in this new qualification were taken in summer 2018.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to make the standards for school food mandatory in all state-funded schools.

The School Food Standards, as set out in ‘The Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014’, provide the legislative framework to ensure schools provide children with healthy food and drink options, and to make sure that children get the energy and nutrition they need across the school day.

Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools. We also expect all academies and free schools to comply with the standards, and since 2014 we have made this an explicit requirement in their funding agreements.

The government made a commitment to update the standards in the Childhood Obesity Action Plan, and in 2019 we commissioned Public Health England to provide expert nutritional advice and develop proposed updates to the standards, incorporating feedback from an advisory group consisting of suppliers, schools, charities, nutritionists and other stakeholder organisations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to amend regulations to make the application of school food standards mandatory in all state-funded schools.

The School Food Standards, as set out in ‘The Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014’, provide the legislative framework to ensure schools provide children with healthy food and drink options, and to make sure that children get the energy and nutrition they need across the school day.

Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools. We also expect all academies and free schools to comply with the standards, and since 2014 we have made this an explicit requirement in their funding agreements.

The government made a commitment to update the standards in the Childhood Obesity Action Plan, and in 2019 we commissioned Public Health England to provide expert nutritional advice and develop proposed updates to the standards, incorporating feedback from an advisory group consisting of suppliers, schools, charities, nutritionists and other stakeholder organisations.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of (a) trends in the level of demand for children’s services and (b) the adequacy of funding allocated to children’s services in each year since 2010.

We monitor the number of looked-after children, the number of children with child protection plans and the number of children in need on an ongoing basis.

Data since 2013 at a local authority level is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-interactive-tool-lait.

Data on children in need and service use since 2010 at a national level is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-children-in-need

and https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-looked-after-children.

The most common factors recorded in children’s social care assessments are domestic abuse and mental health. These have consistently been the top 2 factors for the years during which we have collected this data and have risen in line with trends in demand.

Over the 5-year period from 2015 to 2020, councils will have had access to more than £200 billion. Within that, we have seen councils prioritise spending on the most vulnerable children, with spending on child protection increasing from £2.2 billion in 2015-16 to £2.4 billion in 2018-19. To help support local authorities to meet rising demand, the government is providing councils with an additional £1 billion for adult and children's social care in every year of this Parliament. This is on top of the continuation of the £410 million social care grant in 2020-21.

The government remains committed to reforming local government finance, including the review of relative needs and resources. This review aims to develop a robust, up-to-date approach to distributing funding, and we are expecting to implement it in 2021-22 in line with the outcome of a new multi-year Spending Review.

Also, as set out in the manifesto, the government is committed to undertaking a review of the care system that covers the key issues facing vulnerable children and young people.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on improving access to mental health assessments for children in care.

The Department for Education jointly commissioned with the 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 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.

We are 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.

We have 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.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage people to study foreign languages.

The Department has introduced the English Baccalaureate performance measure, which includes languages and has seen the proportion of GCSE entries from pupils in state-funded schools in a modern foreign language (MFL) increase from 40% in 2010 to 47% in 2019. The reformed national curriculum now makes it compulsory for pupils in maintained schools to be taught a foreign language in Key Stage 2.

The Department is investing in a range of programmes to increase uptake of languages at GCSE. Our £4.8 million MFL Pedagogy Pilot commenced in December 2018, managed by the newly appointed MFL Centre for Excellence and run through nine school-led hubs, to improve uptake and attainment in languages at Key Stages 3 and 4. We have also launched a pilot project in MFL undergraduate mentoring for secondary school pupils to drive up participation in the subject, specifically targeting areas of high disadvantage to extend access to languages for all pupils.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the impact of the rise in the price of cod on fishmongers.

The UK Government is working with representatives across the UK seafood and catching sector, and the fish and chip shop sector to understand the impacts relating to increases in the cost of living, recognising the multitude of issues and challenges the wider industry faces.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help tackle the rise in wheat prices relating to trade.

Most cereals are internationally traded commodities. As a matter of course, supply chains are dynamic and responsive to global market developments in price and availability, whether those developments are driven by the weather or other global factors.

We continue to keep the market situation under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments. We have also increased our engagement with industry to supplement our analysis with real-time intelligence and to identify where mitigations are available.

Government departments across Whitehall are working hard to find ways to resume the export of grain from Ukraine and to the countries that desperately need it. We also continue to engage with international partners in the G20 Agricultural Market Information System, the WTO and the International Grains Council to build consensus on the importance of keeping markets open and facilitate smooth functioning of the global food trade.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the Government plans to regulate only two commodities through the Environment Act 2021 in 2023 in the context of the implementation by the EU of a forest regulation to block six forest risk commodities in EU markets.

The UK Government has introduced world-leading due diligence legislation through the Environment Act to help tackle illegal deforestation in UK supply chains. We plan to adopt a phased approach so that we can move more swiftly with regulation to capture the most significant drivers of deforestation first. We recently ran a consultation to seek views on how we should implement the Environment Act provisions, including how many commodities we should regulate through the first round of secondary legislation, and have since published a summary of responses, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/tackling-illegal-deforestation-in-uk-supply-chains

We will take into account consultation responses in decisions around how many commodities to regulate and will publish the UK Government’s approach to secondary legislation in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he made of the number of waste exemptions that were renewed in England in the last 12 months.

There were 18,337 registration renewal transactions in the last 12 months. A number of exemptions may be registered or renewed under each registration or renewal transaction. Customers can add or remove exemptions during the "renewal" process and amend their details if required.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to help protect bumblebee habitats.

Our National Pollinator Strategy Action Plan was published in May 2022, setting out how we will improve the status of pollinators in England. This includes restoring and creating habitat for wild and managed pollinators, including bumblebees.

In England we have an extensive network of protected wildlife areas, providing benefits for many species including pollinators. In addition, our agri-environment schemes, such as the Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme, include a range of actions to create, manage and restore habitats which are beneficial to bumblebees and other pollinators, including establishing nectar flower mixes, multi-species ley, and managing species-rich grassland. The Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package, and CS Wildlife Offers have been designed to deliver more for pollinators and other wildlife.

We are building on these measures in the design of our new Environmental Land Management schemes, which will enable many more farmers and land managers to take positive action for pollinators.

We are also working with landowners, farmers and growers alongside conservation bodies, to facilitate pollinator-friendly environments outside agri-environment schemes. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust's project to reintroduce the short-haired bumblebee in Dungeness - in partnership with Natural England, the RSPB, and over 100 farmers and landowners - has been so successful in creating extensive, quality habitat that other rare species have started to spread to areas where they have not been recorded for up to 40 years.

Defra also coordinates the annual Bees' Needs Champions Awards to recognise and celebrate exemplary initiatives undertaken by schools, local authorities, universities, community groups and bee farmers to support pollinators.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the total number of dairy farms throughout the country.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The number of dairy farms in England in 2021 is shown below along with the number of cows in the dairy herd on these farms. The source of cattle population data is the administrative Cattle Tracing System (CTS) data.

Year

Number of dairy farms(a)

Number of cows in the dairy herd

2021

6,500

1,090,856

(a) Sourced from CTS. Defined as the number of holdings with more than 10 female dairy cows over two years old in the milking herd (i.e., with offspring).

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to introduce dog licences in the UK on a similar basis to those available in Northern Ireland.

Defra’s "Action Plan for Animal Welfare" demonstrates our commitment to a brighter future for animals both at home and abroad. We are aware that some people are supportive of an annual registration scheme or dog licence. The old dog licence scheme was repealed by the Local Government Act 1988 and was in effect an ownership registration scheme. Now that dog microchipping and registration on an associated database is mandatory, this is no longer necessary and we have no plans at this time to reintroduce such a scheme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with members of the (a) Welsh Assembly and (b) Welsh Government on the change to general licences for the control of wild birds.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is the licensing authority responsible for granting general licences for the control of wild birds in Wales. Defra officials discuss general licensing issues with NRW staff as appropriate. This includes the recent changes to the 2022 Welsh general licences for the control of wild birds.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to control the rural fox population.

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

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help protect the habitats of song birds in the UK.

This Government is committed to halting the decline in species abundance by 2030, through a world-leading and legally binding target under the Environment Act. We recently published a Green Paper which will look at how we can drive the delivery of that target, including through our sites and protections for species. Other actions under the Environment Act are likely to support song bird recovery, such as biodiversity net gain for development including nationally significant infrastructure projects.

We have taken significant action to make new space for nature, creating over 260,000 hectares of new priority habitat since 2010. This has been supported by policies such as the Nature for Climate Fund, worth over £750 million and the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, and will be further supported by the establishment of the Nature Recovery Network.

Our Agri-environment schemes continue to be the principal means of improving habitat for farmland birds (which includes many species considered to be songbirds) and the wider environment on farmland in England. We are introducing three environmental land management schemes: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery, and Landscape Recovery. These schemes will pay for activities to create, manage and restore habitats, connecting isolated habitats to form networks, and species management, all of which have the potential to benefit songbirds.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to provide additional funding to the devolved administrations for tackling illegal waste dumping using digital means.

Waste regulation is a devolved matter.

However, working jointly with the devolved administrations, we are developing a digital waste tracking service and in 2019 we committed £7 million to fund this work.

The Environment Act 2021 gives devolved administrations the powers to make regulations to introduce digital waste tracking requirements and recover the costs incurred performing regulatory functions with regard to waste tracking.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with pig farmers on providing financial support for sow births to bacon units.

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

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made a recent assessment of the prevalence of illegal puppy farming across the UK.

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

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to studies by the University of Suffolk and Woodbridge Town Council along the River Deben, if he will take steps to tackle the presence E. coli in rivers across the UK.

New measures introduced to tackle storm overflow discharges and agricultural pollution will help to address levels of E. Coli in rivers across England. We recently published the Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan Consultation, which will drive the largest investment and delivery programme in tackling storm sewage discharges in history. New duties on water companies in the Environment Act require water companies to publish storm overflow spill data in near real time and monitor water quality impacts upstream and downstream of assets. Furthermore, designated bathing waters are monitored and protected from E. coli, due to the risk to bathers' health.

Farming reforms will also tackle run-off into rivers, and farmers will be paid for actions that improve the environment. We have increased coverage of the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme from 40% to 100% over the next three years and have increased funding for 85 extra EA farm inspectors to be recruited in this financial year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to streamline the regulatory framework applying to pest control.

Local authorities have certain responsibilities for the control of some types of pest and have the flexibility to allocate resources to address local priorities, based on an assessment of risk. Local priorities will vary across geographical areas and might involve one or more type of pest such as wasps, rats, mice and bedbugs. Under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, local authorities have a duty to deal with infestations of rats and mice. Defra has no plans to amend this legislation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the strategic priority of electric vehicles in meeting the UK's clean air goals.

Phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2035 will reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions faster. Cars and vans represent one fifth of UK domestic CO2 emissions and accounted for 71% of domestic UK transport emissions in 2019. Ending the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans will also help improve air quality through the phased elimination of tailpipe emissions. A Government research project to assess the impact of the shift to electric vehicles on non-exhaust emissions from tyre and brake wear is underway and will report in 2023.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to ensure the UK is not highly vulnerable in relation to climate change.

We have already taken significant steps to safeguard communities from the impact of climate change, particularly from increasingly frequent episodes of flooding, and know that we must do more to prepare for the potential impacts of a warmer world.

The Climate Change Committee’s Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk offers a detailed insight into the growing risks and opportunities the UK faces from climate change. This evidence has informed our third Climate Change Risk Assessment, which we laid in Parliament on 17 January 2022, and will inform the development of the third National Adaptation Programme, expected to run between 2023 to 2028. Our ambition for NAP3 is to have a clear set of objectives for adaptation, and a systematic and robust set of policies, programmes and investments to meet those objectives.

In terms of recent steps, we are taking a holistic approach to flood risk management including encouraging more natural flood management where appropriate, alongside engineered defences. We are engaging with infrastructure providers, regulators and public bodies by inviting them to submit reports on their climate preparedness under the Adaptation Reporting Power. In our third adaptation reporting round, we received reports covering over 100 individual organisations, setting out how they are preparing for climate change. This includes those responsible for water, energy, transport, environment, heritage, health and finance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to enable farms to carry out improvements required to be more (a) efficient, (b) productive and (c) environmentally sustainable.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government announced a range of new schemes designed to help England’s farmers to enhance their efficiency, productivity, and environmental sustainability in the Agricultural Transition Plan of November 2020.

Environmentally sustainable farming is fundamental to our new approach to England's agricultural system. We are introducing three schemes that reward farmers for environmental benefits: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery.

These new Environmental Land Management schemes will pay for sustainable farming practices, improving animal health and welfare, reducing carbon emissions, creating and preserving habitat, and making landscape-scale environmental changes.

Deploying new innovation and technology is key to boosting efficiency and productivity whilst also enhancing the environment.

Through the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund, we recently awarded grants valued at £48 million to over 4,300 farmers and growers. This will allow them to invest in equipment, technology and infrastructure so their businesses can prosper, improve productivity and enhance the environment.

Defra is also supporting farmers through the Future Farming Resilience Fund, which is an initiative to provide free business support to BPS recipients in England, to help them identify how they may need to adapt their businesses.

In spring 2021, Defra launched the £14.5 million Farming Innovation Pathways competition in partnership with UK Research and Innovation for 48 collaborative R&D projects aimed at bringing farmers, businesses and researchers together to develop new and existing farm-focused innovations.

We are building on this momentum with the launch of Defra’s new Farming Innovation Programme, which will unlock innovation and pull-through R&D to deliver solutions to help farmers and growers overcome challenges and make the most of new opportunities.

Defra has made £17.5 million available so far in the Farming Innovation Programme and we have seen a fantastic response from the farming sectors so far. More funding is planned to launch in the coming weeks and months.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department will provide additional support to farmers to help mitigate the effects of the covid-19 pandemic on that industry.

We are aware of the challenges that the farming industry has faced because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Defra has been working closely with the affected sectors.

To support businesses impacted by Covid-19, the Government made available financial support under a number of schemes during 2020. In April 2021, it additionally launched the Recovery Loan Scheme. This is intended to help give UK businesses ongoing access to finance as they recover from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Where Covid has disrupted workforces, in the run up to Christmas Defra announced that visas would be made available up to 31 December 2021 for both poultry workers and HGV drivers transporting food. For the pig sector, we additionally launched a visa scheme allowing up to 800 pork butchers to work in the UK for six months from November 2021.

Where a sector has been more adversely affected we have taken further action. We have implemented Private Storage Aid and Slaughter Incentive Payment schemes to facilitate an increase in the throughput of pigs through abattoirs.

On 10 February I chaired a roundtable with representatives of the pig industry from across the UK. At the Roundtable I announced that we will be launching a UK-wide review of supply chain fairness in the pig sector. We will be engaging with industry on this with a consultation expected later this year. We want to elicit industry views on improvements to fairness and transparency that could be made to ensure a profitable and productive future.

I have also met with representatives of the agricultural banking sector to discuss the current situation in the pig sector. The banks confirmed that they are working closely with impacted pig farmers during this exceptionally challenging period and remain keen to be supportive.

We continue to meet with the industry and to monitor the situation closely.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle illegal puppy farms.

This Government takes the issue of low-welfare and illegal supply of puppies very seriously. Significant steps have already been taken to improve and update the laws on dog breeding in England to crack down on unscrupulous breeders who breed dogs purely for financial greed at the expense of animal welfare. Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the licence requirements for animal related activities such as pet selling or dog breeding. They therefore hold details of the enforcement activity being undertaken in their area, including information relating to low-welfare and illegal breeding activity.

Under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations) anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs and/or who breeds three or more litters in a 12-month period needs to have a valid licence from their local authority. Licensees must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards, including provisions to protect dogs from being bred from too often or at an early age, which are enforced by local authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences. Any licensee advertising dogs for sale will need to include their licence number in the advert and specify the local authority who issued the licence. Additional requirements placed on advertisements include that the age of the dog for sale must be displayed along with a recognisable photograph.

We banned the commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England from 6 April 2020. This ban aims to disrupt the low-welfare trade that supports puppy farming by preventing pet shops, pet dealers and other commercial outlets from selling these animals in England unless they themselves have bred them. It means anyone looking to get a puppy must buy direct from a breeder or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead.

Meanwhile my department maintains Petfished, a national communications campaign, to raise awareness of issues associated with low-welfare and illegal supply of pets. This includes providing clear signposting to 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.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle littering in (a) lakes and (b) rivers.

The Litter Strategy for England sets out our aim to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering within a generation by focusing on education and awareness, improving enforcement and better cleaning and access to bins.

The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse, published by Defra, sets out the standards of cleaning that litter authorities are expected to be able to achieve on waterside land.

The riparian owner is responsible for clearing watercourses and waterside land but other authorities may also have duties and powers. For example, in England, the Environment Agency will remove items or accumulations of litter that could restrict flow and increase flood risk on statutory main rivers. Local authorities and internal drainage boards have comparable powers on other ‘ordinary watercourses’.

With support from Defra, and in partnership with the Canal & River Trust, the Scouting Association have developed a pack containing information to help Scouts and Explorers understand the impact of plastic on wildlife, the waterways and oceans, and take practical action about issues affecting their local area.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the amount of sewage discharged into rivers and lakes.

We have been clear that the amount of pollution in our rivers and lakes is completely unacceptable, and so we are the first Government to take action to tackle the historic infrastructure issue of sewage overflows.

Last year, the Government published a new draft set of strategic priorities for Ofwat, the financial regulator for the water industry. In this publication, the government set out its expectation that water companies must take steps to "significantly reduce the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows."

The landmark Environment Act has placed our ambition on a statutory footing, setting a duty for water companies to achieve a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from Storm Overflows. The Act also ensures that water companies are more transparent, requiring the publication of spill data in near real time and the monitoring of water quality impacts of their sewage discharges. The Government has also committed to publish a Discharge Reduction Plan which will be published by September 2022.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the efficacy of testing protocols for animal disinfectant products.

The Defra Disinfectant test scheme, operated by the Animal Health and Plant Agency, utilises fully validated and United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited tests to determine the likely efficacy of disinfectants in controlling animal disease pathogens when used in the UK environment. Some comparative testing has been done to assess European standard (EN) tests for veterinary disinfectant efficacy but EN tests currently do not use the target organism or temperatures representative of the UK environment. The work we have conducted to date has shown that the standard EN tests are easier to pass compared to the equivalent Defra disinfectant test. We continue to monitor standards used elsewhere in the world and remain confident the Defra scheme offers the UK government strong assurance that the products passing the test will be effective in the UK environment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with (a) landowners and (b) land-owning organisations on the steps those groups can take to help (i) tackle climate change and (ii) achieve the net zero emissions target.

On 27 June 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to set a legally binding target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050. Nature based solutions and the way we use and manage our land will have a critical role to play in enabling us to meet this target.

My officials have regular discussions with farmers, landowners and land owning organisations on the role they can play – including in helping to co-design our future environmental land management schemes which will be crucial in rewarding farmers and landowners for actions that benefit the environment and reduce or sequester emissions. In a recent speech for the Country Land and Business Association on 2 December 2021, the Secretary of State outlined further details for his plans in this area.

Environment Secretary speech at CLA Conference 2 December 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will consider the potential merits of introducing additional tests at higher temperatures for the approval of animal disinfectant products.

The Defra Disinfectant test scheme, operated by the Animal Health and Plant Agency, provides assurance that disinfectants can be effective in controlling animal disease pathogens when used in the UK environment. The test is designed to operate at four degrees centigrade which is representative of typical UK conditions. Defra has no plans to introduce tests at higher temperatures.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the minimum temperature thresholds for approval of animal disinfectant products.

The Defra Disinfectant test scheme, operated by the Animal Health and Plant Agency, utilises fully validated and United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited tests. These tests operate at a temperature of four degrees centigrade. Whilst this is not the minimum temperature a disinfectant may need to operate at in the UK it is representative of typical UK conditions and significantly lower that the ten degrees centigrade required by European standard (EN) tests. Changing this temperature would have significant implications for the products already approved under this scheme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with (a) shooting and (b) country sports groups on the potential merits of population increases in (i) game pheasants, (ii) ducks and (iii) deer in the UK.

There have been no recent discussions with shooting or country sports groups about the potential merits of population increases for these species in the UK.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce food waste throughout the country.

Food waste prevention policy is devolved.

We support the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the Courtauld 2030 commitment which aims to halve UK food waste by 2030. This will be achieved through cross-sector programmes including consumer campaigns, such as Love Food Hate Waste, and working closely with business signatories on whole supply chain resource efficiency approaches.

The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap sets out a journey for UK businesses to reduce their food waste by utilising the Target, Measure, Act approach.

WRAP has also developed a new online learning programme called Guardians of Grub to help UK hospitality and food service businesses put food waste reduction and associated cost savings right at the heart of their operations.

The most recent milestone report for Courtauld showed a reduction of 480,000 tonnes of food waste 2015-2018, equating to a 7% reduction per person.