Jim Shannon Portrait

Jim Shannon

Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford

Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)

(since July 2017)

Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

(since May 2015)
39 APPG memberships (as of 29 Dec 2021)
Access to Medicines and Medical Devices, Alevis, Bahá'í Faith, Beer, Blood Cancer, Carbon Monoxide, 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, Eye Health and Visual Impairment, Farming, Health in all Policies, Healthy Homes and Buildings, Heart Valve Disease, Hong Kong, International Freedom of Religion or Belief, Malawi, Marine Energy, Mentoring, Muscular Dystrophy, Obesity, Pakistani Minorities, Pancreatic Cancer, Pigeon Racing, Pro-Life, Professional Sales, Reserves and Cadets, Respiratory Health, Shooting and Conservation, Vulnerable Groups to Pandemics, Wood Panel Industry
41 Former APPG memberships
Adult Social Care, Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Air Passenger Duty Reform, Autism, Bangladesh, 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, Fatherhood, Financial Crime and Scamming, Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, Gambling Related Harm, Infant Feeding and Inequalities, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Loneliness, Lyme Disease, Markets, Medical Cannabis under Prescription, Medicines and Medical Devices, Meningitis, Micronutrients and Health, Mutuals, Pakistan Minorities, Premature and Sick Babies, 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


Scheduled Event
Friday 4th February 2022
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Automated External Defibrillators (Public Access) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Division Votes
Friday 21st January 2022
Prayers
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 1 Democratic Unionist Party No votes vs 0 Democratic Unionist Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 0 Noes - 46
Speeches
Friday 21st January 2022
Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Bill
First, I commend the hon. Member for Darlington (Peter Gibson) on opening the debate in such an effective way, as …
Written Answers
Friday 21st January 2022
Housing: Standards
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the findings of the Building …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 19th January 2022
200 years of HM Coastguard
That this House notes and celebrates local Coastguard teams as they celebrate 200 years in service; marks the great sense …
Bills
Monday 21st June 2021
Automated External Defibrillators (Public Access) Bill 2021-22
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
Friday 21st January 2022
Tractor runs and HMRC
That this House recognises and welcomes the Tractor Runs organised by farmers in rural communities throughout the country around 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 326 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)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(83 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(83 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
(39 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(303 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(139 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).

Petitions with highest Strangford signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

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

20th January 2022
Jim Shannon signed this EDM as a sponsor on Friday 21st January 2022

Recognition of Ballantrae village as a UNESCO Biosphere Community

Tabled by: Allan Dorans (Scottish National Party - Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock)
That this House congratulates the village of Ballantrae in South Ayrshire on becoming the sixth Biosphere Community in Galloway and Southern Ayrshire’s UNESCO Biosphere, and the first in South Ayrshire, which recognises the village as a destination for visitors from home and abroad who are seeking sustainable, slow tourism experiences …
4 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
20th January 2022
Jim Shannon signed this EDM as a sponsor on Friday 21st January 2022

Fair pay and conditions for rail cleaners

Tabled by: Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Labour - Streatham)
That this House supports cleaners who are members of the RMT union employed by Churchill Contract Services who are balloting for industrial action in support of better pay, sick pay and travel facilities; notes that these cleaners, who work to clean trains and stations in the South East, including on …
7 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 6
Democratic Unionist 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

3 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 21st June 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 4th February 2022

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

1352 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
58 Other Department Questions
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.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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)
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
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
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)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to support (a) the Department for Health and Social Care and (b) other government departments in tackling backlogs resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has put the recovery of public services at the heart of its building back better and levelling up agenda. In doing so, we have already laid the foundations for a strong recovery.

To support the Department of Health and Social Care, the Government has committed £5.9 billion of capital for elective recovery, diagnostics, and technology over the next three years. In addition, the Government has also committed almost £500 million to target the backlog in the criminal justice system.

This work continues at pace across Government. The Cabinet Office continues to work closely with departments to support the world class public services that the UK provides.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
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)
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
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
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.

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)
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.

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)
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.

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)
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.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his French counterpart on access to fisheries.

As the Trade and Co-operation Agreement is between the UK and the EU, any discussions arising from it take place between the UK and Commission, with Member States present as observers for some of those meetings as appropriate. Discussions at all levels are ongoing.

I met Annick Girardin, the French Fisheries Minister, to discuss this issue on 21 September and 21 October 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to prevent a mass cull of pigs in the UK.

We have been working closely with industry throughout this period to understand how best to support it in response to the challenges caused by the pandemic, including the loss of the Chinese market to several processing plants, disruption to CO2 supplies, and a temporary shortage of labour, specifically skilled butchers in the processing sector. In response to these challenges, we recognise that in recent months a significant number of pigs have had to be kept on farm

On 14 October, the Government announced a package of measures to support the pig industry and to seek to reduce the animal welfare implications of pigs backing up on farms.

The package of measures for support includes the approval of up to 800 visas for pork butchers, a Private Storage Aid scheme, and a Slaughter Incentive Payment Scheme to increase the throughput of pigs at processors and working to identify new export markets for pork with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), particularly lightly-processed pork.

In England and Scotland, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and Quality Meat Scotland have both introduced a suspension on the statutory levy for pig farmers and producers during November 2021 – suspending payments of the levy pig farmers and producers are required to pay. This will amount to savings for the sector of just under £1 million.

The Government will continue to monitor the evolving situation and work closely with the industry through this challenging period.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what additional support his Department provides to (a) apple and (b) other crop growers whose crops have failed owing to weather conditions.

The Government recognises the important role our farmers and growers play in both feeding the country and in contributing to our economic growth, locally and nationally.

We have not received representations from either the apple or other crop growing sectors regarding failed crops as a result of adverse weather conditions. However, Defra and the Devolved Administrations have established mechanisms to monitor and assess the impact of market developments across the UK, including weather and supply chain issues, enabling it to provide forewarning of any atypical market movements.

We will continue this important work paying particular attention to the crop growing sectors in the coming months.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of veterinary nurses.

Veterinary nurses are a key part of veterinary teams and the profession undoubtedly provides a rewarding career. Veterinary nurses register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) who have confirmed there are currently 20,789 Registered Veterinary Nurses in the UK, an increase of around 4,000 from 2018 numbers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce harsher sentencing for poachers.

This Government takes wildlife crime, including poaching, seriously and is committed to ensuring the protection wildlife legislation offers is effectively enforced. We also recognise the issues and distress that poaching can cause for rural communities. Crimes such as deer poaching and hare coursing are completely unacceptable. Significant sanctions are already available to judges to hand down to those convicted of wildlife crime. A person guilty of a poaching offence under the Deer Act for example can receive a fine of up to £2,500 and / or up to three months in prison.

The Government has no current plans to introduce harsher sentences for poaching in general. However, our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, published in May this year, sets out our commitment to crack down on illegal hare coursing-related activity, providing law enforcement with more tools to address the issue effectively, including through legislation when Parliamentary time allows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland administration on having the Union Jack on labels of food that enters Northern Ireland.

Ministers and officials are in regular discussions with our counterparts in the Northern Ireland Executive to discuss agri-food trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Our Command Paper, The Northern Ireland Protocol: the way forward (CP502) notes that the use of appropriate labelling would be one means of ensuring the destination of agri-food goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the retention of butterfly habitats throughout the UK.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only. In England, our 25 Year Environment Plan commits the Government to restoring 75% of our one million hectares of terrestrial and freshwater protected sites to favourable condition, and creating or restoring an additional 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat in England, as part of a Nature Recovery Network.

Action under the National Pollinator Strategy helps us to target such activity to improve, extend and connect habitats for insect pollinators, including butterflies. For example, the popular Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package in Countryside Stewardship includes management options to provide year-round habitat such as flower-rich margins.

‘Back from the Brink’ and other collaborative programmes between Government, NGOs and land managers have supported landscape scale projects supporting species including the Duke of Burgundy and Marsh Fritillary butterflies, and the Barberry Carpet moth.

Most recently, our Green Recovery Challenge Fund has supported habitat management for pollinators, including Butterfly Conservation’s project to restore habitats at 18 woodland sites in the Morecambe Bay area to promote the recovery of threatened butterfly species.

We are building on these measures and projects in the design of our new environmental land management schemes, which will enable many more farmers and land managers to take positive action for butterflies and other pollinators.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of disposable barbeques on the environment.

Defra has made no specific assessment of the environmental impact of disposable barbecues.

The Government is working with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Park Authorities, and across Government departments to help inform people about the countryside including an updated Countryside Code, which advises against barbecues or fires.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Northern Ireland Executive on the introduction of a funding scheme to ensure the use of energy-efficient machinery in the fishing industry.

There is regular contact between Defra ministers and their devolved administration counterparts, including in the Northern Ireland Executive, at the Inter-Ministerial Group.

The Government is providing £57.8 million for the devolved administrations to support fisheries over the Spending Review 2021 period - of which £9.3 million has been secured for Northern Ireland. This money is to fund data collection, to deliver control and enforcement activities and to enable each of the fishing administrations to deliver their own domestic funding schemes. It is for the NI Executive to decide how it designs its domestic scheme, which could include investment into energy-efficient machinery in parts of the fishing industry. The Fisheries Act 2020 provides the NI Executive with the power to establish schemes of financial assistance in relation to commercial fishing and aquaculture in Northern Ireland.

In addition to this, there is the £100 million UK Seafood Fund to be invested into science and innovation, infrastructure, and skills and training. The Infrastructure pillar will include criteria around reducing carbon emissions in the industry and encouraging the use of renewable energy sources. More details on the Infrastructure pillar will be announced soon. The Fund is available to applicants throughout the UK, including Northern Ireland.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to prevent excessive sewage in tourist areas.

In 2019 98.3% of UK Designated Bathing Sites passed the minimum standard for bathing and more than 70% of bathing waters achieved the 'excellent' rating, compared with 28% at the highest standard in the 1990s.

Water quality is a devolved matter and the following information is for England only.

I have been crystal clear that water companies must take further action to reduce sewage discharges from Storm Overflows and this is a Government priority. Our draft Strategic Policy Statement to Ofwat sets out for the first time that we expect water companies to take the steps required to "significantly reduce…. storm overflows." We have also announced that we will put that instruction on a statutory footing with a new duty on water companies to progressively reduce the impact of sewage discharges.

Furthermore, our Environment Bill also includes the following new duties directly on water companies to:

  • publish statutory Drainage and Sewerage Management Plans, for the first time, setting out how they will reduce overflows, as well as detailing other improvements, and provides the power for government to direct companies if these plans are inadequate;
  • monitor water quality up and downstream of areas potentially affected by discharges;
  • publish data on storm overflow operation on an annual basis;
  • publish near real time information -within 1 hour- on the operation of storm overflows.

We will not hesitate to use our powers to hold companies to account. Earlier this year Southern Water was handed a record-breaking £90 million fine, and Thames Water was fined £4 million and £2.3 million for separate incidents.

New amendments have been tabled that place duties on government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows and reduce their impact. There is also a duty to report to Parliament on progress on implementing the plan. We will also produce a report outlining further evidence regarding elimination of Storm Overflows by September 2022.

Truly reducing harm from storm overflows will require a collaborative approach between many actors. To this end, in August 2020 I established the Storm Overflows Taskforce to bring together key stakeholders from the water industry, regulators, and environmental NGOs, with a long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows. The Taskforce has already taken steps to improve monitoring and transparency and has commissioned research to gather evidence on the costs, benefits and feasibility of different options.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to (a) plant more trees and (b) preserve existing tree species in the UK.

The Government has committed to increasing tree planting in the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament.

As supported in both the England Trees Action Plan (ETAP), published in May and most recently the Net Zero Strategy, published in October, we have set out various commitments to boost tree planting, establishment and management in England; support a thriving green economy through more private investment in trees and woodlands; and bring trees closer to people. In England, we are boosting the existing £640 million Nature for Climate Fund with a further £124 million of new money, ensuring total spend of more than £750 million by 2025 on peat restoration, woodland creation and management – above and beyond what was promised in the manifesto.

We continue to support activities to enhance production, processing and supply of UK tree seeds from a wider range of species and provenances. One hundred percent of trees planted by Forestry England in a forestry setting are UK grown. This has been the position for the last three years.

As set out in ETAP we have committed to several increases in tree protection in England. This includes launching three Forestry Innovation Funds to restore vulnerable woodland habitats and help woodlands adapt to a changing climate and recover from the impacts of pests and diseases. Additionally, through the Environment Bill we will reform the current felling license regime to crack down on illegal tree felling, as well as introducing a duty to consult.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many trees have been planted in England in the last five years.

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on all new planting of woodland for the UK. These can be found in Forestry Statistics and in Provisional Woodland Statistics: 2021 edition on the Forest Research website. These statistics are reported for each financial year in thousands of hectares. The latest available figures are for 2020-21.

For all new planting of woodland since 2020-21, there is also a published estimate of the approximate number of trees this represents available from the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators on the gov.uk website.

The areas of new planting (woodland creation) for England taken from the published statistics are shown below:

Year (ending 31 March)

New planting in England (thousand hectares)

New planting in England (estimated number of trees)

2016-17

1.15

..

2017-18

1.50

..

2018-19

1.42

..

2019-20

2.34

..

2020-21 (provisional)

2.18

4,252,000

2021-22 quarter 1 partial interim report

0.47

926,000

Source: Forestry Commission, Forestry England, grant schemes and with estimates for areas planted without grant aid.

Planting rates in 2020/21 were impacted by Covid-19. The England Tree Action Plan published in May 2021 stated our aim to at least treble tree planting rates in England by end of this Parliament.

Note 1: ‘..’ denotes data not available. Estimates of numbers of trees in newly-planted woodland are incomplete for years before 2020-21.

Note 2: Estimates for areas planted without grant aid are believed to be under-reported and, as a result, the reported figures are likely to under-estimate the true level of planting activity. For England, woodland planting funded by sources other than the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant and the former English Woodland Creation Grant, the Woodland Carbon Fund and the High Speed 2 Woodland Fund, include planting supported by the Woodland Trust, the Environment Agency, Natural England, the National Forest Company, in the Northern Forest, and by the Community Forests.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to raise awareness of more environmental ways of growing fruit and vegetables.

Defra supports environmentally friendly farming, including the growing of the UK’s delicious fruits and vegetables, through numerous routes. This includes working with LEAF (Linking the Environment and Farming), the organic sector and CFE (Championing the Farmed Environment). 45% of all UK produced fruit and vegetables are LEAF Marqued, which means they are grown to high environmental standards using integrated farm management techniques.

We are introducing three schemes that reward the delivery of environmental benefits: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, the Local Nature Recovery scheme and the Landscape Recovery scheme. The schemes aim to pay land managers for the delivery of public goods as they undertake sustainable farming practices, improve animal health and welfare, reduce carbon emissions, create and preserve habitat, and make landscape-scale environmental changes.

Our communications and engagement teams work in partnership to raise awareness of these new schemes, and encourage farmers to consider existing ones like Countryside Stewardship where appropriate. Our combined activity includes Q&A webinars, attendance and presentations at agricultural shows, our Future Farming blog, and physical communications products like our Farming is Changing leaflet.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that pets in the UK are microchipped; and if will he ensure that there is an adequate level of funding to microchip all pets.

All dogs in England must already be microchipped under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015, unless they are certified as exempt. We committed in our Manifesto, and reaffirmed this commitment in our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, to introduce compulsory cat microchipping and are currently considering the responses to our recent consultation on the issue.

Recent data suggests that the cost of microchipping an animal is £17 on average. We are aware that some organisations offer free microchipping of dogs.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many bee keepers there are in the UK.

On 6 July 2021, the number of current registered beekeepers on BeeBase is as follows:

England – 39475

Wales – 3706

Scotland – 2883

Northern Ireland - does not use BeeBase

Registration for beekeepers on BeeBase is not compulsory and therefore some beekeepers will choose not to sign up. The number registered, therefore, will be lower than the actual number of beekeepers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing additional funding to local councils for the purposes of improving waste and recycling services for household waste.

As part of the Government's Resource and Waste Strategy, published in 2019, Defra launched consultations on introducing major changes to recycling services through a suite of collection and packaging reforms. These reforms include introducing consistency in recycling; Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging; and a Deposit Return Scheme.

The reform on consistency in recycling aims to help reduce confusion, and thereby improve the quantity and quality of what we recycle both at home and at work.

Following support for the proposals in our 2019 consultation on 'Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections in England,' we have introduced legislation through the Environment Bill that requires all local authorities in England to make arrangements for a core set of materials to be collected for recycling from households. This core set includes: paper and card; plastic; glass; metal; food waste and garden waste.

On 7 May we published a second consultation on recycling consistency. The consultation is seeking further views on recycling consistency, including the materials in scope, exemptions and statutory guidance. We intend to provide further detail on the requirements outlined in the Environment Bill in secondary legislation. Even though these regulations will have effect in England only, as a matter of good practice we will inform Devolved Administrations of our regulations once they are drafted.

Any new financial burdens introduced through new statutory duties on local authorities will be assessed and the net additional cost covered by the Government. We are working to assess net additional costs to local authorities and will continue to engage with local authorities on the cost estimates, as well as the appropriate timing for funding to be provided to authorities, to enable sufficient lead-in time ahead of the introduction of recycling consistency reforms.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to pay farmers to retire; and what discussions he has had with the National Farmers Union on those plans.

We plan to offer farmers in England who wish to exit the industry the option of applying for a lump sum payment in 2022. By doing so, this will free up land for new entrants and those farmers who wish to expand.

We know that some farmers who wish to retire or leave the industry can find it difficult to do so and lack of finance can be one of the barriers to exit. We think that a lump sum exit scheme could help such farmers leave the industry in a planned way.

The Department regularly discusses its planned agricultural reforms with key stakeholders, such as the National Farmers’ Union, and this has included discussions about the proposed lump sum exit scheme.

We are currently consulting farmers and stakeholders on our proposed lump sum exit scheme, including the eligibility criteria that will apply https://consult.defra.gov.uk/agricultural-policy/lump-sum-and-delinked-payments-england/. The consultation runs until 11 August 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage bee keeping in large towns and cities.

Beekeeping can be very enjoyable and rewarding. However, beekeepers have a duty of care to look after their bees properly, so we recommend that anyone thinking about keeping bees gets advice from different sources including BeeBase, the National Bee Unit's website. BeeBase is designed for beekeepers, supports the Defra Bee Health Programme, and provides a wide range of information including how to keep colonies healthy and productive as well as honey bee related legislation.

People thinking about taking up beekeeping may also wish to contact their local beekeeping association who will be able to provide other information, including on any training courses that they offer. We would also recommend visiting an apiary, which the association may help to arrange. The association may also be able to advise about how many beekeepers there are in the area and whether there is likely to be sufficient forage for all the pollinators.

Research also highlights the importance of urban gardens and other green spaces in supporting wild bees and other pollinating insects, including bumble and solitary bees. Through the National Pollinator Strategy, we work with public, private and voluntary sector partners to develop advice and encourage everyone to support a range of insect species, by planting flowers, managing land appropriately or providing bug hotels in window boxes, gardens and other private and public spaces. The Defra-coordinated Bees' Needs Week promotes and celebrates such action. This year's campaign runs from 12 to 18 July.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to control the red kite population in urbanised areas.

The recovery of the red kite is a great conservation success story with the population recovering from just 160 pairs in 1995 to 4,400 pairs in 2019.

Red kites, like all wild birds, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and we have no plans to manage the species. We advise that the public does not feed red kites to avoid them becoming habituated to humans and increasing the risk of human contact.

In exceptional circumstance, and for specific purposes, Natural England has the authority to issue licences for certain activities that would normally be prohibited under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to bring forward new legislative proposals to tackle illegal puppy farms in the UK.

The 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.

Under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations) anyone in the business of breeding and selling dogs or who breeds three or more litters in a 12-month period needs to have a valid licence from their local authority. Licencees must meet strict statutory minimum welfare standards which are enforced by local authorities who have powers to issue, refuse or revoke licences. Commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens were banned in England from 6 April 2020. This prevents 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 or kitten must buy direct from a breeder or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead.

On 12 May 2021 the Government published its Action Plan for Animal Welfare. This is a wide-reaching and ambitious plan to set out our current and future work on animal welfare. The Government has a manifesto commitment to crack down on puppy smuggling and one of our key reforms in the plan is to end the abhorrent, cruel practice of puppy smuggling and low-welfare pet imports. We are planning to bring in powers that will allow us to prohibit the importation and non-commercial movement of dogs into Great Britain that have been subject to low welfare practices.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will provide support to farmers whose plum crops have failed as a result of experiencing frost in spring 2021.

The Government recognises the crucial role that the UK’s horticulture industry plays in both feeding the country and in promoting people’s health and well-being. Our plum farmers play an important role in this as well as to our wider economy, with production at the farm gate worth £3.4 million in 2018.

We have not received any representations from the plum sector as a result of the frost their crop has experienced this spring. However, Defra and the Devolved Administrations have established mechanisms to monitor and assess the impact of market developments across the UK and will continue to do so paying particular attention to this sector in the coming months.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle tobacco waste litter.

We believe that the tobacco industry must take responsibility for the litter created by their products. Our most recent composition survey found cigarette butts represent 66% of all littered items, and preliminary research has shown an estimated cost to UK local authorities and other duty bodies of £40 million per year for the collection and disposal of littered cigarette butts, rising to £46 million when including those disposed of in public bins.

Last year, I met with tobacco industry representatives and asked them to consider what more they could to address smoking related litter and whether a voluntary producer responsibility scheme could be developed for tobacco waste products.

Having considered further evidence, the Government has now decided that a regulatory approach may now be required to ensure that the industry takes sufficient financial responsibility for the litter created by its products and to prevent them from undermining public health policy.

We plan to commission new research into regulatory options this year, including consideration of extended producer responsibility principles.

The Environment Bill will allow us to legislate for extended producer responsibility schemes, which could be applied to tobacco products. Cigarette and tobacco product packaging is already covered by the proposed packaging producer responsibility scheme, which is currently undergoing a second phase of consultation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many fishing enforcement vessels are staffed and recorded in UK waters.

Fisheries control and enforcement is a devolved matter. Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive continue to work together to share information and ensure a coordinated approach to monitoring, compliance and enforcement across UK waters.

In England, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) regularly reviews levels of enforcement capacity and the best options for delivering this based on its assessment of risk and available intelligence. At present, the MMO staffs two commercial enforcement vessels, along with additional fisheries enforcement provision by the Royal Navy. There is an established commercial framework in place, through which the MMO can procure additional surveillance assets at short notice if required.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to tackle illegal fishing in UK waters.

On 1 January 2021 the UK became an independent coastal state and retained the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Regulation (IUU) in UK Law. This means that imports of most fish and fishery products into the UK will need to be accompanied by a catch certificate and other relevant IUU documentation. As an independent coastal state, the UK has full responsibility over how it ensures compliance with fisheries regulations within its waters. We are committed to ensuring an effective and robust enforcement system. Control and enforcement is a devolved matter. Defra, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive continue to work together to share information and ensure a coordinated approach to monitoring, compliance and enforcement across UK waters. In England, the Government has put in place a significant increase in the number of personnel and surveillance assets dedicated to fisheries protection, including offshore patrol vessels for at-sea surveillance, and planes for aerial surveillance. This strong presence will deter against fisheries infringements, while also enabling our agencies to take robust action where they may occur.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to put in place stricter guidelines to ensure that the UK meets its Clean Air Target.

Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action for England to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. Our Environment Bill makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables local authorities to take more effective action to tackle air pollution in their areas. We have also put in place a £3.8 billion plan to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

Air quality is a devolved matter and each of the Devolved Administrations have their own policy programmes in place.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ban the sale of fur in the UK.

Fur farming has been banned in England and Wales since 2000 and since 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are restrictions on some skin and fur products which may never be legally imported into the UK. These include fur and products from cats and dogs, and seal skins and products from commercial hunts.

The Government is considering any further steps it could take in relation to fur.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the supply of unwashed potatoes from mainland Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

We have worked hard to ensure the supply of potatoes from GB to Northern Ireland, and the EU has recently voted in favour of lifting the plant health prohibition on ware potatoes for import to the EU and NI from GB.

For movements of ware potatoes to NI there will be a three-month grace period from certification through to 1 April 2021 for authorised traders such as supermarkets and their trusted suppliers from 1 January 2021. Authorised traders moving ware potatoes from GB to NI will not require official certification, such as phytosanitary certificates or marketing standards certification and will be able to move potatoes, including unwashed potatoes, under the scheme. For goods not moving under the grace period scheme there will be a requirement for a phytosanitary certificate to confirm compliance with EU requirements, which include that ware potatoes must be imported with less than 1% of soil in the consignment.

There is also the Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS), which was announced on 16 December and has been introduced to support and assist traders moving agri-food and similar goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland now that the transition period has ended and will be in place for a maximum of two years. The Movement Assistance Scheme provides traders with assistance with understanding the new regulations for moving goods from GB to NI as well as reimbursing some of the direct certification costs that would be incurred by traders for agri-food commodities (including potatoes) under the new requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many instances of hunting dogs hypoglycemia have been recorded in the UK in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not available. There is no requirement for hunting dogs hypoglycemia to be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what guidance his Department provides to gamekeepers on the trapping and pest control of stoats.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government considers traps to be a practical and effective management tool which, if used in accordance with best practice, can be both targeted and humane.

Natural England has produced guidance on the humane trapping of stoats, which is available on the Gov.uk website at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/badgers-beavers-otters-and-pine-martens-how-to-trap-humanely.

Further information on the conditions and circumstances under which licenced trapping of stoats can occur – in relation to survey, research, or conservation work; or to prevent damage to livestock - and how the traps should be used can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/stoat-licences.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to manage the risk posed by sika deer to red deer.

Deer management is a devolved matter and this answer therefore relates to England only.

The Government recognises that sika deer present a threat to native red deer, largely because of the potential for hybridisation. Sika deer occur in localised areas within the North and the South of England with smaller isolated wild populations elsewhere. Studies have shown there has been minimal large-scale hybridisation among populations in the South of England but there is greater evidence of this occurring in the North.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is an offence to release Sika deer or its hybrid or allow it to escape into the wild. The responsibility for deer management lies with individual landowners. Where deer are causing damage or pose a health and safety risk, landowners are recommended to participate in local management groups, or to set one up where a group does not already exist. These groups bring together those with interests in a local area, for example residents, land managers, and conservation groups. Where necessary, action can involve a managed cull to reduce population densities. On the Public Forest Estate deer are managed by Forestry England for example to prevent their range from increasing.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve the quality of water in rivers.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Stockport on 1 October 2020, PQ UIN 94575.

[questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-09-23/94575]

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial support his Department is providing to apple growers in response to reductions in demand from pubs and restaurants for their produce as a result of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Apple growers can access an unprecedented package of financial support options available, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

On 24 September, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced updated terms to the financial support package, including extended loan application deadlines to 30 November, longer loan repayment times and further extensions to the grant scheme for the self-employed.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what strategy his Department has in place to ensure that the Government's tree planting targets are met.

This Government stood on a manifesto commitment to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025. This is in line with Committee on Climate Change recommendations, and we are working with the devolved administrations to achieve this target.

We will set out plans to increase planting in England through a new England Tree Strategy, which we have recently consulted on. We will deploy the £640M Nature for Climate Fund, agreed in the March 2020 Budget, to do so. The Prime Minister recently reiterated our commitment to tree planting when he set out the first steps in the strategy to rebuild Britain, building back better, greener and faster.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease in the UK.

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is not a notifiable disease in the UK. There are no risks to public health. The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and occasionally the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) are the species affected in the UK.

Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency has a small scale surveillance programme in place to monitor the disease in wild rabbits.

For domestic rabbits there is a vaccine available which is an effective means of protection, provided it is administered before the virus causes infection. We recommend that any concerned pet owners seek advice from a vet.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage family farming in the UK.

Agriculture is devolved, so this response will largely refer to policy in England. Now we have left the EU each UK administration has the flexibility to develop agricultural policy suited to its own unique circumstances. For those policy areas where legislation is not required, we are working with the devolved administrations to find approaches that work for the whole of the UK. We are also working closely with the devolved administrations on an administrative framework to coordinate agricultural support.

Under the new system in England, we will move away from subsidies based on how much land the farmer has. Instead, the Agriculture Bill will enable us to create an ambitious new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, based on the principle of “public money for public goods”, which will allow us to reward farmers and land managers who protect our environment. The Bill also provides powers for improved animal welfare, while making sure that farmers can still produce high quality food in a sustainable way.

Public goods benefit more than just the recipient and cannot be rewarded by the market alone. They include things like clean and plentiful water, clean air, thriving plants and wildlife, reduction in and protection from environmental hazards, adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, and beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment.

By paying for things the public value, we can also improve animal welfare and reduce the use of antibiotics in our food chain. Targeted financial assistance for innovations such as precision farming can help farmers to reduce costs and improve their yields, while enhancing the environment.

Defra is providing £1 million grant funding this year for nine projects to provide resilience support to farmers and land managers in England to help them prepare for the Agricultural Transition period that will take place from 2021-27. One of these projects is working to improve the resilience of more than 120 small family farms in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire. The impact and value for money of each of the approaches will be evaluated to assess whether a scale-up of the interventions would be effective and provide good value for taxpayers’ money.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the public (a) right of way and (b) right to roam on farmers and landowners.

The effect of the public accessing the countryside over recent months has been monitored continuously through engagement with a range of stakeholder groups. Stakeholder feedback has informed government guidance and key messages on accessing the countryside in a safe and respectable manner.

We have published guidance to promote safe access to green spaces: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-on-accessing-green-spaces-safely

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help shooting organisations meet the growing demand for game meat in the UK.

Game rearing businesses play an important role within our rural economy. While there are no specific schemes to support shooting organisations, I am pleased that there is a growing demand for game meat.

Our new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme will be based on the principle of ‘public money for public goods’. It will allow us to provide funding to those who manage land to deliver environmental public goods. This will include shooting estates or other game managers who manage their land in a way that delivers these public goods. Detailed eligibility criteria will be established for ELM as the scheme is developed, working with stakeholders.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require that laundry filters are put in all new washing machines to prevent microplastic waste from making its way to seas and oceans.

The Government currently has no plans to require manufacturers to install microplastic filters on new washing machines but is working with industry to encourage improved environmental outcomes and reduce water pollution. We will continue to assess new and emerging evidence and?consider the need for legislation in the future if industry approaches are not successful.

With our world leading microbeads ban in place, we are exploring how other microplastic sources enter our marine environment. In 2018 we pledged £200,000 for scientists at the University of Plymouth to explore how microplastic particles enter our waterways and oceans. The findings of their research include that particles released from vehicle tyres could be a significant and previously largely unrecorded source of microplastics in the marine environment (GOV.UK press release). The Government has also launched the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance to help address marine plastic pollution across the Commonwealth.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on ensuring that the (a) planning and (b) regulatory frameworks support agri-food producers that want to increase the level of their exports.

The food sector is the UK's largest manufacturing industry, and a major contributor to the UK economy. UK food and drink exports play an important part of the success of the sector, and in 2019, UK food and drink exports were worth £23.7 billion - up 4.9% from 2018.

The Government highlights the importance of our agriculture and food production in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The NPPF requires local planning authorities to take into account all the benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land. Where significant development of agricultural land is shown to be necessary, planning authorities should seek to use poorer quality land in preference to that of a higher quality. They should also consider the needs of the food production industry, and any barriers to investment that can be resolved by planning.

The NPPF states that, to promote a strong rural economy, local and neighbourhood plans should promote the development and diversification of agricultural and other land-based rural businesses. Moreover, local planning authorities are asked to encourage the reuse of brownfield land, provided that it is not of high environmental value. This is to recognise the character and beauty of the countryside, and to maintain the strong protections in place for Green Belt and other designated countryside.

Further longstanding support for farmers is provided by the rights to carry out various types of agricultural development, as set out in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.

Further demonstrating my department’s collaboration across Government, on 22 June 2020, we announced a ‘bounce back’ plan of trade measures for the agriculture, food and drink industry. These are designed to help support businesses that have been impacted by Coronavirus. These new strategic interventions were the product of joined up engagement between the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Defra.

The package offers immediate support to help businesses in the industry grow their trade activity overseas. The measures support producers and manufacturers throughout the food supply chain, from farm to fork, and has been developed with input from trade associations, businesses and DIT’s regional and international networks. They include the announcement of the first Defra Agri-Food Counsellor serving the United Arab Emirates and wider Gulf Region, who will aid in addressing regulatory barriers to export for our agri-food producers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to encourage tree planting throughout the UK to help carbon offsetting; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a subsidy for the provision of saplings to landowners to encourage tree planting.

Trees have a crucial role in the pathway to net zero, so the Government has committed to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025. As forestry is a devolved matter, we will work with the devolved administrations to achieve this.

In England, we have launched a consultation on a new England Tree Strategy, setting out proposals to plant more trees for the climate and nature. The Strategy will support delivery of the £640 million Nature for Climate Fund, increasing tree planting in England throughout this parliament.

This will build on our existing grants, such as Countryside Stewardship and the Woodland Carbon Fund, which already support landowners to buy, plant and maintain saplings, capturing carbon for years to come.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage tree planting.

The Government is committed to significantly increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025, working with the Devolved Administrations to do so.

To drive up tree planting rates in England we announced a £640 million Nature for Climate Fund and have opened a consultation on an England Tree Strategy. We welcome input from the sector and wider public to that consultation, which will help to inform and shape the strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to introduce a pet passport for travel between Northern Ireland and Great Britain after the end of the transition period.

We intend to publish further guidance on pet travel, and in respect of arrangements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in due course.

We are working with the European Commission to ensure pet travel between the UK and EU continues smoothly after January 2021. During the Transition Period the current rules on pet travel between the UK and EU continue to apply, meaning travellers may continue to use their existing pet passports.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he plans to take to promote the safety and high standards of British food to (a) the public and (b) retailers during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are lucky in the UK that we have the climate, the landscape, and entrepreneurial farmers and food producers that equip us to produce world-class food, and our farmers and growers are doing a fantastic job of feeding the nation during this challenging time.

Half of the food that the UK population consumes is home-grown and UK food is renowned for its quality, as well as its high standards of food safety, traceability, animal welfare and sustainability. We will always champion our farmers and producers; supporting them to grow more of our great British food, and to provide a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public.

Supermarkets are already taking steps to promote and source British products. To support the work of the entire food chain, we are engaging with different initiatives that highlight the qualities of British food products, such as meat, dairy, and vegetables, as well as fish caught in UK waters. We are also working closely with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) as they develop consumer-facing marketing campaigns for the meat and dairy sectors. We will continue to engage with and support similar initiatives that highlight the qualities of British meat, dairy, seafood and fruit and vegetable products.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to bring forward legislative proposals to ban human consumption of meat from cats.

The Government shares the public’s high regard for animal welfare, including the welfare of cats, and we are committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals now we have left the EU.

The Government is appalled by the prospect of cats being consumed. However, it is already illegal to sell cat meat for human consumption and the Government has seen no evidence that cat meat is being sold or consumed in this country. We are confident that the current position in this country sends a clear message that the slaughter and consumption of cats will never be acceptable.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to prevent tomato brown rugose fruit virus spreading to the UK.

Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is a virus which infects tomato and pepper crops. It was first described infecting tomato crops in Israel in 2014, but subsequently it has spread to other tomato growing regions around the world. ToBRFV is readily spread from plants to plants by handling of plants and tools used in crop management and is also seed transmissible. The virus has also been shown to be transmitted by bumblebees during pollination. The ToBRFV virus is harmless to humans and animals but can cause serious damage to crops.

In November 2019 EU emergency legislation was introduced to prevent the spread of ToBRFV, which applies in the UK during the transition period. The UK was instrumental in ensuring that the introduction of this legislation was prioritised and based on the most up to date technical evidence. This legislation requires that plants, including seed, of tomatoes and peppers being imported or moved meets prescribed requirements to confirm they are free from the virus.

In the UK there has been an extensive programme of testing of tomato and pepper seed which had been moved into the UK prior to the introduction of the EU legislation. Where infected stocks have been identified these have been destroyed. Surveillance of growing crops will be carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency throughout this growing season and plans to manage outbreaks are in place should infected crops be identified.

Defra and Fera Science Ltd are working closely with the industry to raise awareness of ToBRFV and to encourage good practice in the industry to minimise the risk. Industry initiatives are supporting these official activities, including research funded by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what estimate the Church of England has made of the number of church-based youth clubs; and what assessment he has made of effect of those clubs on the wellbeing of the young people that use them.

The Church of England employs 2,670 children and youth workers in its parishes, and there are 80,000 volunteers across the church who are engaged in projects supporting children and young people. Projects can range from holiday clubs, messy church, sports ministry and creative play.

The Church of England commissioned a research project assessing how best to approach building confidence, engagement and belonging, creating a supportive and inclusive environment in 2016 which has formed the basis of its approach. The report can be read here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/Rooted%20in%20the%20Church%20Summary%20Report.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with devolved Administrations on ensuring consistency of sentencing for animal abuse offences.

Sentencing is a matter for the courts, which are independent from the Government. When deciding what sentence to impose the courts take into account the circumstances of the offence and any mitigating and aggravating factors, in line with the sentencing guidelines which are published by the independent Sentencing Council for England and Wales. The guidelines are intended to promote greater transparency and consistency in sentencing. Sentencing is a devolved matter in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In line with the manifesto commitment to introduce tougher sentences for animal cruelty, the Government remains fully committed to increasing the maximum custodial sentences for animal cruelty offences from six months to five years. The necessary legislation will be introduced as soon as Parliamentary time allows. The Welsh Government has agreed this increase should apply in Wales. The Scottish Government has proposed a similar increase for its equivalent offence in Scotland. Northern Ireland already has a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment for animal cruelty offences.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) recent discussions she has had with farming unions on and (b) funding she plans to allocate to help in reducing carbon emissions after the UK leaves the EU.

This Government is committed to meeting net zero by 2050, and in 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to have legislated for a net zero target to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050.

Since the General Election, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has spoken with farming unions, amongst other groups to listen to their priorities for the year ahead. Engagement has included meetings with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), along with wider farming groups at the Oxford Farming Conference and Oxford Real Farming Conference. Discussions covered the importance of our British farmers being the climate and nature leaders that the world is looking for and how The Secretary of State will raise the profile of agriculture across Government at the new Cabinet Committee for Climate Change.

The Secretary of State also mentioned that the UK will pioneer approaches that will show other governments what can be achieved if we rethink how we work with the land and produce our food to create a virtuous circle between agriculture, climate change, biodiversity, and investment.

Mitigation of and adaptation to climate change are important goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and important objectives of Environmental Land Management (ELM). ELM could support this through providing funding for land management activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon.

We have also provided £50 million funding for Woodland Creation Carbon Guarantee grants that will boost our carbon offset market and provide long-term payments for land managers planting trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she is taking steps with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to offer incentives to businesses to encourage greater uptake of workplace recycling.

In 2019, the Government consulted on measures to require businesses, public bodies and other organisations to segregate recyclable waste streams including plastic, metal, paper, glass and food waste so that these could be collected and recycled. The Government also consulted on measures to reduce the costs of putting in place recycling collections especially for smaller firms. The response to this consultation was published in July 2019 and showed strong support for businesses to recycle. The forthcoming Environment Bill is expected to introduce duties for businesses to separate waste to be recycled in England. The Government will work with businesses to implement these changes and to increase recycling including investigating measures to reduce costs.

In addition, the Government has launched a £1 million fund to promote recycling of non-household municipal waste (or business waste) in England. This fund will provide capital infrastructure to support collection and recycling of non-household municipal waste (or business waste) in England. The aim is to encourage organisations that collect or facilitate collection of this waste to provide new or improved recycling services. There is an additional aim of providing new infrastructure and better access to services targeting / benefitting small to medium enterprises. The grant scheme is managed by the Waste and Resources Action Programme. The scheme has now closed and applications for funding are being considered.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent steps the Government has taken to help ensure the effective delivery of aid to refugee camps in (a) Yemen, (b) Syria and (c) South Sudan.

In Yemen through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), DFID has supported 224 teachers' salaries for refugee and IDP affected areas from July 2020 to February 2021. This funding covers gaps where existing teachers' salaries have stopped or are under threat. UK aid has provided £10.8 million to UNHCR to assist refugees and IDPs in Yemen since 2017. This includes over 5,000 refugee children supported with child protection activities, and counselling to over 3,000 survivors of gender-based violence.

In South Sudan the UK funds several programmes that help support refugees. The UK-Unilever water and sanitation partnership, UNHCR and Save the Children help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in refugee populations and host communities across the country. DFID-funded education programmes in South Sudan ensure IDP and refugee children have access to quality education despite the multiple barriers they face. The UK works with the UN, NGOs and the Red Cross to ensure that life-saving supplies get to the most vulnerable communities. COVID-19 containment measures have made this more difficult, so DFID works closely with the Government and others to ensure that the movement of humanitarian supplies and personnel are impacted as little as possible.

In Syria. Most of the humanitarian need is among internally displaced persons, now totalling 6.1million. DFID continues to support Palestinian refugees in Syria through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Syria programme, to which the UK has contributed £36m since 2017. UNRWA is the only agency mandated to provide services to this population and often the only organisation with the access, permission, and mandate required to assist Palestinian refugees.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, is she will take steps to help ensure that the UK continues to focus on combating poverty by ensuring that aid reaches the (a) most vulnerable and (b) those who are more vulnerable because of their faith.

The UK Government works to ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable including those who are more vulnerable because of their faith.

DFID’s use of country context analysis has increased the extent to which religious dynamics and religious groups are factored into all of our country programmes. DFID undertakes interdisciplinary analysis of a country’s politics, society, state and economy to identify the most significant problems that hinder development and the main entry points and opportunities to create change. There is a strong emphasis on how politics, security, and demographics interact with economic growth and human development. This includes the role of religion and the persecution of religious minorities.

The situation of vulnerable communities is taken into account when assessing those most in need of protection and assistance. This includes when a community is being targeted or is otherwise vulnerable because of their faith. We actively consult civil society, including faith-based organisations, to understand how best to support vulnerable groups.

Vulnerable religious groups will experience crises such as COVID-19 outbreaks differently. Crises are likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes of assistance.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations about the specific challenges minority faith communities are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taken to ensure that religious identity is a criterion for the allocation of Official Development Assistance.

DFID’s use of country context analysis has increased the extent to which religious dynamics and religious groups are factored into all of our country programmes. DFID undertakes interdisciplinary analysis of a country’s politics, society, state and economy to identify the most significant problems that hinder development and the main entry points and opportunities to create change. There is a strong emphasis on how politics, security, and demographics interact with economic growth and human development. This includes the role of religion and the persecution of religious minorities.

DFID is committed to working with all its partners, including faith-based organisations, to ensure that the most vulnerable people and groups are prioritised for humanitarian assistance, in line with international humanitarian principles. This includes religious and ethnic groups who are at risk of discrimination and persecution. We work closely with our partners to ensure they are rigorously assessing vulnerability and needs (including those linked with religious identity), ahead of allocating assistance, as well as conducting robust monitoring to ensure that aid is reaching those most in need.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to support NGOs that have experienced a significant decline in private funding as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

We are working flexibly with existing civil society partners to respond to the pandemic, maintain delivery of essential programmes and manage the impacts on organisations and staff.

DFID is offering support to all suppliers, including civil society, in line with the provisions of the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note and associated guidance for grants. This allows for relief on services and goods provided in the UK, to DFID aid programmes as a last resort and on a case-by-case basis for DFID contracts and grants. UK-based Non-Government Organisations are also eligible for the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with her (a) South African and (b) Eswatini counterpart on securing (i) affordable electricity for the nation of Eswatini and (ii) enabling children in Eswatini to access computers and the internet for learning.

We are in regular contact with the governments of Eswatini and South Africa and the South African power generator, Eskom, on ways to promote renewable energy generation both to improve energy security and reduce costs. We are also working directly with the Southern African Power Pool to support regional policy planning and decision making that accelerates large-scale renewable energy deployment in southern Africa.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office plans to make the Sustainable Development Goals a priority for that Office.

The UK remains committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – and to the underpinning pledge to Leave No One Behind as we strive to achieve them. As the Prime Minister said in his statement to the UN Financing for Development High-Level Event on 28 May, following COVID-19 there is every need for us to work together to advance shared international objectives - including the SDGs.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she has taken to ensure that (a) Christians and (b) other religious minorities undertaking the distribution of aid in developing countries do not face discrimination as a result of their faith.

The UK Government works to ensure that those responsible for the distribution of aid in developing countries, including Christian and other religious minorities, do not face discrimination as a result of their faith. DFID works closely with the FCO to call for rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid workers to those in need and vice versa. We also strongly advocate for compliance with International Humanitarian Law and with the Humanitarian Principles, both of which serve to protect aid workers and those they seek to assist.

International Humanitarian Law states that parties to a conflict must allow humanitarian relief for civilians in need, which is impartial in character and conducted without any adverse distinction. They must not withhold consent to relief operations arbitrarily. Parties to a conflict must not discriminate against aid agencies and/or their personnel delivering aid of this nature because of their faith. DFID conducts thorough due diligence assessments of its partners to ensure that they have the ability to work in fragile and conflict afflicted states and to implement appropriate safety and security protocols.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations about the specific challenges minority faith communities are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the Government plans to maintain the same board representatives on (a) Gavi, (b) CEPI, (c) UNITAID, (d) the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and (e) other multilateral organisations after her Department's merger with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

As we create the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the government is clear that the UK will remain a champion of the international system. COVID-19 has demonstrated that a strong, well-functioning multilateral system is in the UK’s interests, and this merger will bring together our overseas efforts on aid and diplomacy so we can maximise our influence across the world.

There are no current plans to change our level of representation in multilateral organisations. Our multilateral relationships and priorities will be considered as part of the Integrated Review, which will set an ambitious vision for the future of the UK as an active, internationalist, problem-solving and burden-sharing nation.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to help ensure that UK aid reaches (a) vulnerable religious minorities and (b) other vulnerable groups of people.

The UK Government works to ensure that all aid reaches the most vulnerable, including those from religious communities and other vulnerable groups, such as disabled people and women and girls.

The UK is committed to delivering its humanitarian aid during the COVID-19 pandemic according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance. This includes vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups, who are assessed by our partners when determining those most in need of protection and assistance.

Vulnerable groups will experience COVID-19 outbreaks differently. COVID-19 is likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes to tackle COVID-19.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable with faith leaders and the chief executives of faith-based development organisations. The meeting covered how faith groups are contributing to the response to COVID-19; where those interventions have been most effective; the challenges for faith groups, and, how DFID could work more effectively with faith groups.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that religious identity as an indicator of vulnerability in certain communities is taken into account when allocating UK aid.

DFID is committed to working with all its partners, including faith-based organisations, to ensure that the most vulnerable people and groups are prioritised for humanitarian assistance, in line with international humanitarian principles. This includes religious and ethnic groups who are at risk of discrimination and persecution.

We work closely with our partners to ensure they are rigorously assessing vulnerability and needs (including those linked with religious identity) ahead of allocating assistance as well as conducting robust monitoring to ensure that aid is reaching those most in need.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that Christians and other religious minorities do not face discrimination at the frontlines of aid distribution as a result of their faith.

The UK Government works to ensure that recipients of UK Aid, including Christian and other minority religious communities, are not discriminated against because of their faith. The UK is committed to delivering its humanitarian aid according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. This includes minority religious communities, who are assessed by our partners when determining those most in need of protection and assistance.

Vulnerable religious minority groups will experience COVID-19 outbreaks differently. COVID-19 is likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes to tackle COVID-19.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations to discuss how minority faith communities were facing specific challenges during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to help tackle the humanitarian crisis in Idlib, Northern  Syria.

We are gravely concerned about escalating Syrian Regime and Russian military action and its humanitarian impact in Idlib. As of 6 February, the UN reports that 586,000 people have been displaced since 1 December 2019, and many more are at risk of imminent further displacement.

This financial year DFID has already allocated £103 million to organisations delivering aid cross border from Turkey primarily into North West Syria, including Idlib. This has helped to provide hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people with food, clean water, shelter, and healthcare including psychosocial support.

Given the rapidly deteriorating conditions in North West Syria, we have put options in place to increase our funding further to address the pressing needs of those displaced by the conflict. We have provided funding to response partners including the UN to preposition essential supplies to support innocent families and civilians displaced by conflict and we are supporting all our partners to respond to this humanitarian crisis.

I visited Turkey on 5-6 February and discussed the crisis in North West Syria with UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs, as well as with Turkish authorities. DFID partners on the ground are working tirelessly to provide aid to those affected by the military offensive.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that UK farmers' produce is protected in trade deals negotiated with other countries around the world.

HM Government will always consider the opportunities and other impacts on the agricultural industry of any trade agreement we negotiate. In addition, the independent Trade and Agriculture Commission will scrutinise new free trade agreements once they are signed, providing an additional layer of independent scrutiny.

Our trade agreements unlock new opportunities for our agriculture, food and drink sector and we will continue to work with producers and suppliers to make sure the sector is represented in future free trade agreements.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her Indian counterpart on increasing bilateral trade and strengthening economic ties.

Strengthening the United Kingdom-India bilateral trade relationship to support jobs and economic growth across the country is a priority for HM Government.

Ministers are in regular contact with our counterparts to make progress on a future bilateral Free Trade Agreement, building on our Enhanced Trade Partnership announced by my Rt Hon. Friend the Prime Minister in May 2021, as well as wider trade ambitions set out in the United Kingdom-India 2030 Roadmap.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when she plans to complete the trade deal with New Zealand.

The Government reached agreement in principle on a free trade agreement with New Zealand on 20 October 2021. We are currently working towards signature and finalising the text of the treaty with New Zealand; as well as performing a legal scrub of the text, in accordance with what was agreed at agreement in principle.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if he will ensure that any future trade deal with Australia includes commitments on tackling climate change.

The UK’s ambitious trade deal with Australia includes a substantive chapter on the environment, which includes commitments to work together on climate change and reaffirms both Parties’ commitments to upholding all their obligations under the Paris Agreement.

The deal does not stop the UK from fulfilling obligations under multilateral environmental agreements. The UK is committed to implementation of all its domestic and international obligations on climate change and the environment. The deal protects regulatory sovereignty on the environment and climate, in a manner consistent with all other trade agreements, going beyond most in its specificity of climate change law.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent progress has been made towards agreeing a trade deal with Australia.

On 14th June, the main elements of the deal were agreed by the Prime Minister and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. This Agreement in Principle was published on 16 June. This deal is the first the Government has negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU.

The negotiating teams will now start to finalise the text of the agreement ahead of signature. Parliament will have the opportunity to scrutinise the agreement further when the text is published at signature along with an impact assessment.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to secure a trade deal with India.

At a virtual summit between my Rt hon. Friend the Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi in May, the United Kingdom announced its intent to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA) with India. The Government wants a deal that slashes barriers to doing business and trading with India’s £2 trillion economy and market of 1.4 billion consumers. On 25th May the Department for International Trade launched a consultation requesting input from consumers and businesses across all sectors that will help craft a deal that boosts economic growth, creating high-value jobs across the country. Formal FTA negotiations are expected to begin later this year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that surplus fees applied to goods from EU based companies are published clearly at the time of purchase.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has appointed my noble Friend Lord Frost as Minister of State for the Cabinet Office where he will lead the United Kingdom’s institutional and strategic relationship with the European Union.

Now that the United Kingdom has left the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union, the customs processes and procedures previously applied to goods being moved between the United Kingdom and the non-EU countries now also apply to movements between Great Britain and the EU. This can mean that customs duty and Value Added Tax are due at time of import

To understand if and what duties will apply on import, traders can use the United Kingdom Global Online Tariff. There may be additional fees charged by shipping and customs agents. However, that is a commercial matter, and such charges will need to be discussed with them.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has held discussions with Procter and Gamble on increasing trade with China.

The Department for International Trade has not held discussions with Procter and Gamble on the subject of increasing trade with China.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps she has taken to improve trade with African countries.

On 1 January 2021 the United Kingdom introduced its own Generalised Scheme of Preferences that provides duty-free, quota-free access to the United Kingdom’s market for more than thirty African countries and tariff reductions for other eligible African countries. This year we will launch improvements to the scheme, which will offer the lowest income countries improved terms when trading with the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom has also secured eight Free Trade Agreements with African regions and countries including the Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique; Eastern and other Southern African states; Cote d’Ivoire; Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia.

The Department has launched an online investment platform for African projects and the Africa Investment Group, which brings together investors and representatives of the United Kingdom’s Government, to drive collectively more investment flows into Africa.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will ensure future trade deals with (a) New Zealand and (b) Australia include protections on women's rights.

Trade is a powerful force for opening up opportunities. The Department for International Trade is seeking to work with our trading partners to increase women’s ability to fully access the benefits of these agreements.

The inclusion of Women’s Economic Empowerment provisions in trade agreements features in the Government’s manifesto as part of our broader agenda for ‘free and fair trade’ as well as in our public negotiation objectives for the Australia and New Zealand agreements, published on 17th June. We have discussed these objectives with Australia and New Zealand in our negotiating rounds to date.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that freedom of religion or belief and other human rights concerns are being taken into consideration during bilateral trade negotiations between the UK and other Governments.

HM Government has a strong history of promoting our values globally, and our strong economic relationships with trading partners allow us to have open discussions on a range of difficult issues, including rights and responsibilities. As such, we will continue to champion the freedom of religion.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the outcomes of the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 were in respect to the consolidation of trading partnerships.

The UK-Africa Investment Summit brought together businesses, governments and international institutions to showcase and promote the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across Africa.

At the Summit, we announced the Trade Connect programme, which will help developing countries, benefit from the UK’s post-Brexit preferential trade arrangements by providing £20 million over 5 years to assist businesses to export more.

Through the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, the UK intends to put in place a trade preference scheme that maintains the preferential market access we currently offer to 35 African developing countries trading under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).

We are also rolling over the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and Association Agreements (AAs). We have signed trade agreements with eleven African countries and are seeking to conclude agreements with a further seven countries.

We will work with African partners to deepen and widen our existing trade agreements and make the UK’s preference scheme work better for them.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to encourage fair trade in agricultural produce.

The UK government is committed to free and fair trade and using trade to promote global development and poverty reduction. Fair trade plays an important role in helping producers around the world improve their lives and making agricultural practices more sustainable.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive.

We are excited to resume work with our counterparts in the Northern Ireland Executive. Despite the short time since its restoration, my Rt. Hon Friend the Minister of State for Trade Policy (Conor Burns), has proactively engaged with the Hon Member the Minister for the Economy of Northern Ireland (Dianne Dodds MEP). Minister Dodds participated in the Ministerial Forum for Trade discussion on 23 January 2020, along with Ministers from Scotland and Wales. This forum brings Ministers together from the Department for International Trade and the devolved administrations to discuss trade policy.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans he has to use the historical connection between Northern Ireland and the US for (a) tourism and (b) trade benefits.

The USA is one of Northern Ireland’s largest non-EU trading partners and tourism markets, and the UK Government works closely with Invest Northern Ireland to support exporters and to promote Northern Ireland as a great place to visit, invest and do business.

Trade is just one way in which we can strengthen that deep and historic relationship as the UK leaves the EU. HMG has committed to a substantial programme of engagement on the UK’s future trade policy with the Northern Ireland Civil Service, to ensure that it reflects the needs and ambitions of the whole of the UK.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps his Department is taking to protect whiskey distillers in Northern Ireland from the imposition of tariffs after the UK leaves the EU.

The UK government recognises the vital role of the whiskey industry in Northern Ireland and are mindful of the potential impact of any current and future tariffs. In response to the current US tariffs on Irish Single Malt Whiskey, the UK government is working closely with the EU and US to support a negotiated settlement to the Airbus and Boeing disputes.

The UK government is committed to the long-term promotion of UK business interests on the international stage. We have had extensive engagement with the US administration on the issue of tariffs and continue to work closely with the EU, US and other WTO Members, to ensure our collective prosperity after the UK has left the EU.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans the Government has to support ceramic producers to increase exports after the UK leaves the EU.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) will support the ceramics sector as we develop the UK’s future trade policy, helping companies to maximise opportunities within markets around the world.

Ceramic companies can utilise DIT products and services to grow their businesses further. Support ranges from DIT missions and webinars, personalised advice from a local International Trade Adviser, and an online tool to find optimum online marketplaces for showcasing products internationally. Companies can also apply for grants to visit overseas trade shows.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to engage with carriers that refuse refunds for customers who were not legally allowed to fly during lockdown.

Throughout the pandemic the government has made clear that it expects the aviation industry to act fairly and flexibly, and the industry have responded with increased flexibility for their customers. Having engaged with industry we published the Passenger COVID-19 Charter in May 2021. It provides advice on the rights, responsibilities and reasonable expectations of consumers, when booking and travelling during the pandemic.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reviewed airlines’ compliance on refunds in summer 2020 and worked collaboratively to improve their performance on consumer obligations. The majority of airlines now pay refunds within 7 days. The CAA regulates the compliance of airlines with aviation consumer law.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the cost of air travel.

More than in any other country, UK aviation operates in the private sector and in a competitive environment. The aviation market is regulated by the CAA to ensure that practices and policies of airlines comply with UK consumer legislation.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the devolved Administrations on tackling the shortage of HGV drivers; and if he will make statement.

We have engaged with devolved administrations through cross-Government discussions, which involves topics such as the recruitment of HGV drivers.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will provide guidance on his Department's policy on public transport workers removing face coverings for communication purposes.

Face coverings are no longer mandated on public transport; however staff and passengers may choose to continue to wear them to protect themselves and those around them. Our safer transport guidance asks operators to consider the needs of disabled passengers and the Department has worked with Transport for All to publish guidance to bus and rail operators to ensure transport workers are better equipped to assist Deaf, disabled and older passengers.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage young people in the motor industry to apply and train for HGV licenses.

To attract young people to the logistics profession, the Department for Transport has provided grant funding to Think Logistics. They are working with Career Ready to change the perception of the industry and highlight the many career opportunities that exist. Paid internships are promoted that are able to reach a wide range of young people that enables them to gain a better understanding of the work of the logistics sector.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his planned timetable is for allocating additional funding to the devolved nations in order to have greener petrol across the UK.

In September, E10 petrol (petrol containing up to 10% bioethanol) was introduced as the standard petrol across Great Britain. The roll-out of this greener petrol will reduce carbon emissions associated with petrol vehicles and help us meet climate change targets. Subject to legislative approval E10 petrol will be introduced in Northern Ireland as soon as possible in 2022. There is no additional allocation of funding to devolved nations, the Department is providing appropriate support directly to petrol retailers and connected stakeholders.

Further to extensive consultation with industry the Government has chosen the least burdensome option of introducing E10 in the UK, one which avoids significant infrastructure changes. As part of the public information campaign supporting the introduction of E10 in Great Britain, the Department has made available publicity materials to assist retailers inform the public of the changes and ensure costs on the sector are minimised. A similar approach is planned for the introduction of E10 in Northern Ireland, and the UK Government will procure media advertising and provide support for retailers to inform motorists of the change.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the potential effect on the UK’s net greenhouse gas emissions of the aviation sector adopting sustainable aviation fuel.

Sustainable aviation fuels, alongside other methods such as carbon capture and storage, will play an important role in decarbonising aviation and helping us on the way to reaching net zero by 2050.

In line with the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Government is currently consulting on a SAF blending mandate to reduce GHG emissions from this sector. This consultation was published in July and is open to responses until 19 September. The consultation contains estimates of the GHG emission reductions that can be achieved by using SAF under a range of scenarios. For example, with low ambition and a low uptake of SAF the UK could expect to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation by 10 percent by 2050, but with a high ambition and higher uptake of SAF, we could reduce emissions by around 50 percent within the same time frame.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to require the operators of diesel locomotives employed on HS2 construction work to use renewable diesel instead of fossil diesel to improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions along the route of HS2.

HS2 has a Strategic Objective to design, build and operate HS2 to reduce carbon. The project is committed to limiting its environmental effects to those reported in the Environmental Statement.

Air quality emission requirements have been set for all construction vehicles and plant & machinery, and targets are in place to go beyond these requirements as technology improves. Deployment of low and zero carbon emitting equipment, including the use of fully electric, solar, hybrid and hydrogen technologies, continues across all HS2 sites.

HS2 Ltd is actively working with its contractors and supply chain to develop evidence in low carbon alternatives (hybrid, electric, biofuels, hydrogen, etc.) as a replacement for conventional diesel across its works (including on-road, plant and machinery as well as movements of material by rail). These innovations are aimed at building a better understanding of alternative fuels and technologies. As evidence is built, results will continue to be shared across the construction industry and other sectors.

HS2 Ltd continues to challenge its contractors and supply chain to take up cleaner technologies, fuels and materials where independent evidence on the benefits exist. The majority of the UK’s Rail Freight Operating Companies are part of that supply chain and are actively engaged in testing and developing their fleet in regard to safe acceptance of such alternatives, together with ensuring biofuels used are in line with the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, which regulates biofuels used for transport and non-road mobile machinery.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of (a) the level of demand for sustainable aviation fuel and (b) the amount of renewable, waste derived feedstocks required to meet that demand.

As the UK moves towards reaching net zero by 2050, interest in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) continues to grow. Industry and governments globally expect that SAF will play a key role in the decarbonisation of the aviation sector, particularly for long-haul flights which cannot currently be decarbonised by other means.

As part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Government announced the intention to consult on a SAF blending mandate to drive SAF uptake in the UK. This consultation was published in July and is open to responses until 19 September. The consultation sets out a variety of potential SAF uptake scenarios, which go up to 10 percent SAF by 2030 and up to 75 percent by 2050. The level of ambition will be determined by the Government following the consultation.

The level of demand will also impact the amount of feedstock required. The modelling supporting the consultation takes into consideration the interactions between fuels needed for road, non-road mobile machinery and aviation, and the availability of sustainable feedstocks and renewable fuels. A summary of responses and next steps will be published in due course, and the modelling will be updated to take into account evidence from the consultation.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with representatives of railway and station staff on the effect of idling diesel powered passenger trains on (a) health of those staff and (b) air quality; and if he will make it his policy to support the use of renewable diesel for trains.

In our Transport Decarbonisation Plan, we have set out our ambition to deliver a net zero rail network by 2050. Rail decarbonisation will significantly improve air quality on the railway in the longer-term, however the Government is determined to reduce the impact of poor air quality on railway users, workers, and neighbours now. We know that air pollution in stations is an area of particular concern. To better understand it the Department has funded air quality monitoring studies at three large enclosed stations; Birmingham New Street, London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley. This research has highlighted that enclosed stations can be high risk areas for poor air quality, due to idling diesel engines and poor air flow and ventilation.

Following these findings, and given the importance of the issue, the Department is now funding a new £4.5 million air quality monitoring network. This will be rolled out over the next three years, with air quality monitors installed in around 100 stations across England and Wales. Once established, the network will help the rail industry identify priority locations where air quality improvement measures are required. Responsible organisations will be required to produce air quality improvement plans with the aim that levels of air pollutants meet the targets we will set for PM2.5, PM10 and NO2.

In addition, we are funding research using personal air quality monitoring equipment to assess railway staff exposure at a range of rail locations. This will help improve our understanding of occupational exposure to air pollutants.

We welcome the work that the Rail Delivery Group is doing in collaboration with industry to develop and rollout an idling limit in some places known to have air quality issues. The Government believes that, as an interim measure, idling should be reduced across the railway to quickly minimise rail’s impact on air pollution.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the cost of full electrification of the UK's railways and the removal of all diesel powered rolling stock.

In ‘Decarbonising Transport: a Better, Cleaner Britain’, the government has committed to delivering an ambitious, sustainable, and cost-effective programme of electrification, alongside deployment of battery and hydrogen trains, guided by the Network Rail-led Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy.

Electrification costs can vary significantly depending on factors that include complexity and geography. We will continue to ensure that new schemes deliver value for money for taxpayers.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment the Government has made of the impact of idling diesel powered passenger trains on railway station passengers; and if he will take steps to help increase the use of renewable diesel for trains.

The Government is determined to reduce the impact of poor air quality on railway users, workers, and neighbours. We know that air pollution in stations is an area of particular concern. To better understand it the Department has funded air quality monitoring studies at three large enclosed stations; Birmingham New Street, London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverly. This research has highlighted that enclosed stations can be high risk areas for poor air quality, due to idling diesel engines and poor air flow and ventilation.

Following these findings, and given the importance of the issue, the Department is now funding a new £4.5 million air quality monitoring network.

This will be rolled out over the next three years, with air quality monitors installed in around 100 stations across England and Wales. Once established, the network will help the rail industry identify priority locations where air quality improvement measures are required. Responsible organisations will be required to produce air quality improvement plans with the aim that levels of air pollutants meet the targets we will set for PM2.5, PM10 and NO2.

The government has committed to a net zero railway by 2050, and set out an ambition to remove all diesel-only trains from the rail network by 2040, which will reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. To achieve immediate carbon savings and air quality improvements, some rail operators are exploring the use of biofuels and sustainable alternative fuels. We recognise the potential value of sustainably sourced biofuels as a transitional technology, where their use is technically feasible and makes commercial and environmental sense. As part of Decarbonising transport: a better, greener Britain, the government has set out plans to work with stakeholders to develop a longer-term strategy on how the uptake and use of low-carbon fuels, including biodiesel and renewable hydrogen, could support decarbonisation across transport modes to 2050. The strategy is to be published in 2022.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to require the operators of diesel powered long distance high speed passenger trains to use renewable diesel instead of fossil diesel to support air quality for passengers in stations, railway staff and local communities close to the railway.

The Government is determined to reduce the impact of poor air quality on railway users, workers, and neighbours. We know that air pollution in stations is an area of particular concern. To better understand it the Department has funded air quality monitoring studies at three large enclosed stations; Birmingham New Street, London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverly. This research has highlighted that enclosed stations can be high risk areas for poor air quality, due to idling diesel engines and poor air flow and ventilation.

Following these findings, and given the importance of the issue, the Department is now funding a new £4.5 million air quality monitoring network.

This will be rolled out over the next three years, with air quality monitors installed in around 100 stations across England and Wales. Once established, the network will help the rail industry identify priority locations where air quality improvement measures are required. Responsible organisations will be required to produce air quality improvement plans with the aim that levels of air pollutants meet the targets we will set for PM2.5, PM10 and NO2.

The government has committed to a net zero railway by 2050, and set out an ambition to remove all diesel-only trains from the rail network by 2040, which will reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. To achieve immediate carbon savings and air quality improvements, some rail operators are exploring the use of biofuels and sustainable alternative fuels. We recognise the potential value of sustainably sourced biofuels as a transitional technology, where their use is technically feasible and makes commercial and environmental sense. As part of Decarbonising transport: a better, greener Britain, the government has set out plans to work with stakeholders to develop a longer-term strategy on how the uptake and use of low-carbon fuels, including biodiesel and renewable hydrogen, could support decarbonisation across transport modes to 2050. The strategy is to be published in 2022.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to encourage and require the operators of diesel locomotives in the rail freight sector to use renewable diesel in place of fossil diesel to improve air quality for rail freight terminals, local communities and railway workers.

The Government is determined to reduce the impact of poor air quality on railway users, workers, and neighbours. We know that air pollution in stations is an area of particular concern. To better understand it the Department has funded air quality monitoring studies at three large enclosed stations; Birmingham New Street, London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverly. This research has highlighted that enclosed stations can be high risk areas for poor air quality, due to idling diesel engines and poor air flow and ventilation.

Following these findings, and given the importance of the issue, the Department is now funding a new £4.5 million air quality monitoring network.

This will be rolled out over the next three years, with air quality monitors installed in around 100 stations across England and Wales. Once established, the network will help the rail industry identify priority locations where air quality improvement measures are required. Responsible organisations will be required to produce air quality improvement plans with the aim that levels of air pollutants meet the targets we will set for PM2.5, PM10 and NO2.

The government has committed to a net zero railway by 2050, and set out an ambition to remove all diesel-only trains from the rail network by 2040, which will reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. To achieve immediate carbon savings and air quality improvements, some rail operators are exploring the use of biofuels and sustainable alternative fuels. We recognise the potential value of sustainably sourced biofuels as a transitional technology, where their use is technically feasible and makes commercial and environmental sense. As part of Decarbonising transport: a better, greener Britain, the government has set out plans to work with stakeholders to develop a longer-term strategy on how the uptake and use of low-carbon fuels, including biodiesel and renewable hydrogen, could support decarbonisation across transport modes to 2050. The strategy is to be published in 2022.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on what date he last met operators of UK inland waterway ferry services to discuss how the sector can reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions.

Ministers and officials in the Department for Transport regularly engage with shipping operators, including operators of inland waterway ferry services, to discuss how the sector can reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits to the UK public of improved air quality in international airspace resulting from the UK aviation sector increasing its use of renewable fuels.

Under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) renewable fuel used in mobile generators is eligible for Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs). Suppliers of fossil fuel used in mobile generators and other forms of non-road mobile machinery are also subject to an obligation to ensure renewable fuels are supplied in the UK. Suppliers of fossil fuels used in aviation are not currently obligated under the RTFO, but renewable fuels used in the sector are potentially eligible for RTFCs. The Department has no plans to limit the supply of renewable fuel to mobile generators for the purposes of increasing the availability of renewable fuels in the aviation sector.

In July the Department launched a consultation on proposals for a UK sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) mandate requiring jet fuel suppliers to blend an increasing proportion of SAF into aviation fuel from 2025. The consultation closes on 19 September. The modelling supporting the consultation has taken into consideration the interactions between fuels needed for road, non-road mobile machinery and aviation, and the availability of sustainable feedstocks and renewable fuels. A summary of responses including next steps will be published in due course and the modelling will be updated considering evidence from the consultation.

Policy development on the RTFO takes into account competing demands for renewable fuel resources across different transport sectors. It is also informed by regular reviews to ensure the scheme is delivering cost effective carbon savings in support of UK carbon budgets. It is widely understood that the availability of biomass used to produce biofuels is limited. So, these finite resources need to be deployed in sectors of the economy where greater greenhouse gas savings can be achieved, or sectors that have fewer decarbonisation options, such as aviation. The renewable fuel market will transform and adjust through this decade and beyond. As we transition to electric vehicles, some biomass and other sources of renewable fuel will be freed up to accommodate increased use in SAF.

Biofuels are traded in a competitive global market and the RTFO certificate trading scheme includes several measures to ensure costs passed on to the consumer are minimised and targets for the supply of renewable fuels are met. For example, the RTFO scheme includes a buy-out mechanism. The buy-out price, which was reviewed and updated last year, is set at a level which ensures that in normal market conditions there is a strong commercial incentive for suppliers to discharge their obligation through the supply of renewable fuels. Suppliers of fossil fuels to the non-road mobile machinery and diesel road vehicle sectors therefore have a strong incentive to meet their obligations under the RTFO through ensuring the supply of renewable fuels.

There are no direct benefits to the UK public of improved air quality in international airspace, defined as airspace which is outside of the standard state territorial limits. Studies have shown that NOx emissions from aircraft above 1,000 feet are unlikely to have a significant impact on local air quality. However, on top of the carbon emissions reductions and economic benefits associated with SAF use and production, there is growing evidence that SAF also reduces sulphur dioxide and particulate matter emissions. Thereby improving local air quality during take-off and landing, as well as other non-CO2 impacts of aeroplanes, including contrails.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK aviation sector’s demand for renewable fuels on the number of operators of (a) non-road mobile machinery and (b) diesel road vehicles switching to fossil diesel as a result of lack of available supplies of renewable fuels.

Under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) renewable fuel used in mobile generators is eligible for Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs). Suppliers of fossil fuel used in mobile generators and other forms of non-road mobile machinery are also subject to an obligation to ensure renewable fuels are supplied in the UK. Suppliers of fossil fuels used in aviation are not currently obligated under the RTFO, but renewable fuels used in the sector are potentially eligible for RTFCs. The Department has no plans to limit the supply of renewable fuel to mobile generators for the purposes of increasing the availability of renewable fuels in the aviation sector.

In July the Department launched a consultation on proposals for a UK sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) mandate requiring jet fuel suppliers to blend an increasing proportion of SAF into aviation fuel from 2025. The consultation closes on 19 September. The modelling supporting the consultation has taken into consideration the interactions between fuels needed for road, non-road mobile machinery and aviation, and the availability of sustainable feedstocks and renewable fuels. A summary of responses including next steps will be published in due course and the modelling will be updated considering evidence from the consultation.

Policy development on the RTFO takes into account competing demands for renewable fuel resources across different transport sectors. It is also informed by regular reviews to ensure the scheme is delivering cost effective carbon savings in support of UK carbon budgets. It is widely understood that the availability of biomass used to produce biofuels is limited. So, these finite resources need to be deployed in sectors of the economy where greater greenhouse gas savings can be achieved, or sectors that have fewer decarbonisation options, such as aviation. The renewable fuel market will transform and adjust through this decade and beyond. As we transition to electric vehicles, some biomass and other sources of renewable fuel will be freed up to accommodate increased use in SAF.

Biofuels are traded in a competitive global market and the RTFO certificate trading scheme includes several measures to ensure costs passed on to the consumer are minimised and targets for the supply of renewable fuels are met. For example, the RTFO scheme includes a buy-out mechanism. The buy-out price, which was reviewed and updated last year, is set at a level which ensures that in normal market conditions there is a strong commercial incentive for suppliers to discharge their obligation through the supply of renewable fuels. Suppliers of fossil fuels to the non-road mobile machinery and diesel road vehicle sectors therefore have a strong incentive to meet their obligations under the RTFO through ensuring the supply of renewable fuels.

There are no direct benefits to the UK public of improved air quality in international airspace, defined as airspace which is outside of the standard state territorial limits. Studies have shown that NOx emissions from aircraft above 1,000 feet are unlikely to have a significant impact on local air quality. However, on top of the carbon emissions reductions and economic benefits associated with SAF use and production, there is growing evidence that SAF also reduces sulphur dioxide and particulate matter emissions. Thereby improving local air quality during take-off and landing, as well as other non-CO2 impacts of aeroplanes, including contrails.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK aviation sector’s demand for renewable fuels on the levels of (a) availability of renewable diesel for use in non-road mobile machinery and (b) demand for fossil diesel for use in non-road mobile machinery and diesel road vehicles as a result of a lack of available supplies.

Under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) renewable fuel used in mobile generators is eligible for Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs). Suppliers of fossil fuel used in mobile generators and other forms of non-road mobile machinery are also subject to an obligation to ensure renewable fuels are supplied in the UK. Suppliers of fossil fuels used in aviation are not currently obligated under the RTFO, but renewable fuels used in the sector are potentially eligible for RTFCs. The Department has no plans to limit the supply of renewable fuel to mobile generators for the purposes of increasing the availability of renewable fuels in the aviation sector.

In July the Department launched a consultation on proposals for a UK sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) mandate requiring jet fuel suppliers to blend an increasing proportion of SAF into aviation fuel from 2025. The consultation closes on 19 September. The modelling supporting the consultation has taken into consideration the interactions between fuels needed for road, non-road mobile machinery and aviation, and the availability of sustainable feedstocks and renewable fuels. A summary of responses including next steps will be published in due course and the modelling will be updated considering evidence from the consultation.

Policy development on the RTFO takes into account competing demands for renewable fuel resources across different transport sectors. It is also informed by regular reviews to ensure the scheme is delivering cost effective carbon savings in support of UK carbon budgets. It is widely understood that the availability of biomass used to produce biofuels is limited. So, these finite resources need to be deployed in sectors of the economy where greater greenhouse gas savings can be achieved, or sectors that have fewer decarbonisation options, such as aviation. The renewable fuel market will transform and adjust through this decade and beyond. As we transition to electric vehicles, some biomass and other sources of renewable fuel will be freed up to accommodate increased use in SAF.

Biofuels are traded in a competitive global market and the RTFO certificate trading scheme includes several measures to ensure costs passed on to the consumer are minimised and targets for the supply of renewable fuels are met. For example, the RTFO scheme includes a buy-out mechanism. The buy-out price, which was reviewed and updated last year, is set at a level which ensures that in normal market conditions there is a strong commercial incentive for suppliers to discharge their obligation through the supply of renewable fuels. Suppliers of fossil fuels to the non-road mobile machinery and diesel road vehicle sectors therefore have a strong incentive to meet their obligations under the RTFO through ensuring the supply of renewable fuels.

There are no direct benefits to the UK public of improved air quality in international airspace, defined as airspace which is outside of the standard state territorial limits. Studies have shown that NOx emissions from aircraft above 1,000 feet are unlikely to have a significant impact on local air quality. However, on top of the carbon emissions reductions and economic benefits associated with SAF use and production, there is growing evidence that SAF also reduces sulphur dioxide and particulate matter emissions. Thereby improving local air quality during take-off and landing, as well as other non-CO2 impacts of aeroplanes, including contrails.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to amend the definition of non-road mobile machinery in the Energy Act 2004 to limit the eligibility of biofuel suppliers that claim Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates on biofuel supplied to diesel powered generating sets for the purpose of increasing the availability of renewable fuels for use by the UK aviation sector.

Under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) renewable fuel used in mobile generators is eligible for Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs). Suppliers of fossil fuel used in mobile generators and other forms of non-road mobile machinery are also subject to an obligation to ensure renewable fuels are supplied in the UK. Suppliers of fossil fuels used in aviation are not currently obligated under the RTFO, but renewable fuels used in the sector are potentially eligible for RTFCs. The Department has no plans to limit the supply of renewable fuel to mobile generators for the purposes of increasing the availability of renewable fuels in the aviation sector.

In July the Department launched a consultation on proposals for a UK sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) mandate requiring jet fuel suppliers to blend an increasing proportion of SAF into aviation fuel from 2025. The consultation closes on 19 September. The modelling supporting the consultation has taken into consideration the interactions between fuels needed for road, non-road mobile machinery and aviation, and the availability of sustainable feedstocks and renewable fuels. A summary of responses including next steps will be published in due course and the modelling will be updated considering evidence from the consultation.

Policy development on the RTFO takes into account competing demands for renewable fuel resources across different transport sectors. It is also informed by regular reviews to ensure the scheme is delivering cost effective carbon savings in support of UK carbon budgets. It is widely understood that the availability of biomass used to produce biofuels is limited. So, these finite resources need to be deployed in sectors of the economy where greater greenhouse gas savings can be achieved, or sectors that have fewer decarbonisation options, such as aviation. The renewable fuel market will transform and adjust through this decade and beyond. As we transition to electric vehicles, some biomass and other sources of renewable fuel will be freed up to accommodate increased use in SAF.

Biofuels are traded in a competitive global market and the RTFO certificate trading scheme includes several measures to ensure costs passed on to the consumer are minimised and targets for the supply of renewable fuels are met. For example, the RTFO scheme includes a buy-out mechanism. The buy-out price, which was reviewed and updated last year, is set at a level which ensures that in normal market conditions there is a strong commercial incentive for suppliers to discharge their obligation through the supply of renewable fuels. Suppliers of fossil fuels to the non-road mobile machinery and diesel road vehicle sectors therefore have a strong incentive to meet their obligations under the RTFO through ensuring the supply of renewable fuels.

There are no direct benefits to the UK public of improved air quality in international airspace, defined as airspace which is outside of the standard state territorial limits. Studies have shown that NOx emissions from aircraft above 1,000 feet are unlikely to have a significant impact on local air quality. However, on top of the carbon emissions reductions and economic benefits associated with SAF use and production, there is growing evidence that SAF also reduces sulphur dioxide and particulate matter emissions. Thereby improving local air quality during take-off and landing, as well as other non-CO2 impacts of aeroplanes, including contrails.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the potential effect on pollution levels around the River Thames and London of amending the Energy Act 2004 to allow biofuel suppliers to claim Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates on biofuel supplied to ferries operating solely on UK inland waterways.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) does not extend to fuels used in ferries, and there are no plans to widen the scheme so that biofuel supplied in ferries which operate solely on inland waterways would be eligible for Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs) under the RTFO scheme.

Earlier this year the Department consulted on changes to the RTFO including expansion to new transport modes. The consultation “The Role of the RTFO in Domestic Maritime” explains that whilst biofuels can have a role in reducing maritime emissions, it is the Government's current view that the RTFO should not be used to stimulate the uptake of biofuels in maritime transport.

The availability of biomass used to produce biofuels is limited, and these finite resources are best used in those sectors of the economy where greater greenhouse gas savings can be achieved, or sectors that have fewer decarbonisation options than maritime, such as aviation. Therefore, the main focus of our RTFO support is to maximise greenhouse gas emissions savings from biofuels in road transport and to grow the supply of renewable aviation fuels where biomass will be needed in the longer term.

The Department is supporting Research and Development in low emission shipping technologies for vessels, including inland waterways craft, and infrastructure as part of a £20m Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

More generally, to tackle the pollution levels around the River Thames and London the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) uses a combination of monitoring and modelling to annually assess air quality in the UK. This Modelling allows Defra to assess levels of pollutants both now and in future years in order to develop policies across government to continue to improve air quality in the UK. Additionally, the Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategies in the capital, including local air quality monitoring, and Transport for London is responsible for managing traffic on the river. Local Authorities also carry out their own assessments of air quality.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the potential effect on the UK's levels of net greenhouse gas emissions of amending the Energy Act 2004 to allow biofuel suppliers to claim Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates for biofuel supplied to ferries operating solely in UK inland waterways.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) does not extend to fuels used in ferries, and there are no plans to widen the scheme so that biofuel supplied in ferries which operate solely on inland waterways would be eligible for Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs) under the RTFO scheme.

Earlier this year the Department consulted on changes to the RTFO including expansion to new transport modes. The consultation “The Role of the RTFO in Domestic Maritime” explains that whilst biofuels can have a role in reducing maritime emissions, it is the Government's current view that the RTFO should not be used to stimulate the uptake of biofuels in maritime transport.

The availability of biomass used to produce biofuels is limited, and these finite resources are best used in those sectors of the economy where greater greenhouse gas savings can be achieved, or sectors that have fewer decarbonisation options than maritime, such as aviation. Therefore, the main focus of our RTFO support is to maximise greenhouse gas emissions savings from biofuels in road transport and to grow the supply of renewable aviation fuels where biomass will be needed in the longer term.

The Department is supporting Research and Development in low emission shipping technologies for vessels, including inland waterways craft, and infrastructure as part of a £20m Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

More generally, to tackle the pollution levels around the River Thames and London the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) uses a combination of monitoring and modelling to annually assess air quality in the UK. This Modelling allows Defra to assess levels of pollutants both now and in future years in order to develop policies across government to continue to improve air quality in the UK. Additionally, the Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategies in the capital, including local air quality monitoring, and Transport for London is responsible for managing traffic on the river. Local Authorities also carry out their own assessments of air quality.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of amending the definition of inland waterway vessel in the Energy Act 2004 to allow biofuel suppliers to claim Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates on biofuel supplied to ferries operating solely on UK inland waterways.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) does not extend to fuels used in ferries, and there are no plans to widen the scheme so that biofuel supplied in ferries which operate solely on inland waterways would be eligible for Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs) under the RTFO scheme.

Earlier this year the Department consulted on changes to the RTFO including expansion to new transport modes. The consultation “The Role of the RTFO in Domestic Maritime” explains that whilst biofuels can have a role in reducing maritime emissions, it is the Government's current view that the RTFO should not be used to stimulate the uptake of biofuels in maritime transport.

The availability of biomass used to produce biofuels is limited, and these finite resources are best used in those sectors of the economy where greater greenhouse gas savings can be achieved, or sectors that have fewer decarbonisation options than maritime, such as aviation. Therefore, the main focus of our RTFO support is to maximise greenhouse gas emissions savings from biofuels in road transport and to grow the supply of renewable aviation fuels where biomass will be needed in the longer term.

The Department is supporting Research and Development in low emission shipping technologies for vessels, including inland waterways craft, and infrastructure as part of a £20m Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

More generally, to tackle the pollution levels around the River Thames and London the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) uses a combination of monitoring and modelling to annually assess air quality in the UK. This Modelling allows Defra to assess levels of pollutants both now and in future years in order to develop policies across government to continue to improve air quality in the UK. Additionally, the Mayor of London is responsible for air quality and transport strategies in the capital, including local air quality monitoring, and Transport for London is responsible for managing traffic on the river. Local Authorities also carry out their own assessments of air quality.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to ban alcohol consumption on commercial flights.

The Government supports the industry’s approach to managing drunk and disruptive passenger behaviour, including the UK Aviation Industry Code of Practice on Disruptive Passengers, initiatives such as the ‘One Too Many’ awareness campaign and the introduction of tamper-proof bags for duty free alcohol sales. It is important that passengers drink responsibly and are aware of the penalties of being drunk on an aircraft. The Government continues to work in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority, airports and airlines to consider further measures needed to tackle this issue. At this time the Government does not plan to make an assessment of alcohol consumption bans on flights but will continue to keep this under review.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to encourage the installation of more cycle paths across the UK.

The Department is investing an unprecedented £2 billion in active travel schemes over the course of this Parliament. This is the biggest ever boost for cycling and walking. The funding will be spent on a wide range of measures in England, as set out in the Prime Minister’s July 2020 Gear Change plan. The provision of high-quality infrastructure is vital to getting people cycling and walking. As part of the plan the Department is also investing in the National Cycle Network, which currently consists of 12,763 miles of cycling and walking routes across the UK.

The final details of the £2 billion funding package are still to be determined and will be confirmed in due course. The funding applies to England only, but any funding on top of the Department for Transport’s current budgets will have Barnett Consequentials applied in the usual way.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with airline staff to help ensure that covid-19 safety regulations are being (a) followed and (b) enforced.

The government expects all airlines to manage the risks of COVID-19 transmission and have issued detailed guidance on the processes and checks airline staff need to carry out to keep the public safe.

The Department regularly undertakes engagement with the aviation sector, at all levels, in relation to their obligations under Covid-19 regulations when conveying passengers to and from our borders. The Department flags where compliance is unacceptable and works with other agencies and departments to address this with industry.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with relevant stakeholders on architect Stephen Payne's proposal for a Harland and Wolff-constructed vessel aimed at promoting Britain around the world.

The Secretary of State for Transport has had no discussions about Stephen Payne’s proposal for a Harland and Wolff-constructed vessel aimed at promoting Britain around the World.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the requirement from 6 April 2021 for truck drivers to take a covid-19 test when they enter the UK, what steps will be taken in the event of a positive result.

The Department for Transport has been providing COVID testing for hauliers at its network of Information and Advice Sites since January 2021 following the introduction of French government requirement for hauliers to have a negative test result before crossing the border. Since then, over 435,000 hauliers have been tested with a positivity rate of 0.2%.

A weekly summary of testing volumes and the positivity rates can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/haulier-coronavirus-testing.

The introduction of new testing requirements for hauliers in England on 6th April 2021 (requiring all hauliers operating in England for 48 hours or longer to be tested) is designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 in England. Supressing imported cases of COVID-19 will mitigate the risks that Variants of Concern are introduced that may have greater transmissibility or potentially lesser susceptibility to vaccines. This is increasing important as domestic infection prevalence decreases and domestic restrictions are relaxed.

If a haulier tests positive for COVID-19, an additional PCR test is provided to the driver free of charge. If that is positive, they are instructed to self-isolate for ten days in accordance with the Government’s self-isolation regulations. Depending on where the haulier is based, self-isolation can take place at a property of the haulier’s choosing in the UK or in a Government-provided hotel at no cost to the haulier. Anyone travelling or living with the haulier is also required to self-isolate.  After the ten days and providing they are free of COVID-19 symptoms, the haulier receives proof to show they have completed the isolation period and are then free to continue their journey.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with British Airways on greenhouse gas emissions; and what steps he is taking to promote more fuel efficient aircraft.

The Government is working with the aviation and aerospace sectors on a range of measures to support the decarbonisation of aviation.

The Government is investing £1.95bn in aerospace R&D between 2013 to 2026 through the ATI programme. In addition, we have recently launched the ‘Green Fuels, Green Skies’ competition, which will provide £15m to support the early development of first-of-a-kind production plants, with the aim of producing sustainable aviation fuel at scale in the UK.

British Airways are a member of the Jet Zero Council, the Plenary of which met again on 16 March 2021. The Jet Zero Council was established to take decisive action on our commitments to achieve net zero aviation with the aim of delivering zero-emission transatlantic flight within a generation.

In the coming months, we will be consulting on our strategy on net zero aviation, setting out the steps we will take to achieve our net zero commitment.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made representations to HS2 Ltd to support measures to encourage HS2 Ltd's contractors to use 100 per cent renewable diesel to improve air quality on and near those constructions sites.

Air quality requirements for HS2 are set during the parliamentary stages of the Bills for each phase of the railway. These reflect any relevant legal requirements or wider strategic governmental goals, and build on the air quality impact assessments and conclusions reported in the relevant Environmental Statements.

Measures to mitigate air quality effects on Phase One of HS2 are set out in Chapter 7 of the Code of Construction Practice, and in Information Paper E31 (air quality). These measures include emission standards and targets for all Heavy Goods Vehicles and Light Duty Vehicles used in construction, plus best practice measures to control construction site dust.

Within that framework, actual decisions on fuel purchases for construction sites and vehicles, are taken by contractors rather than HS2 Ltd. HS2 Ltd is, however, running an innovation project to test a range of biofuels. The findings of this project will help establish the benefits provided by such fuels, and in due course be used to inform contractors’ decisions.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of (a) respiratory problems and (b) deaths that may be caused by the air pollution created by the use of fossil diesel in the construction of HS2.

The Environmental Statements produced for each phase of HS2 include an assessment of any significant air quality effects associated with building the railway.

No health problems are anticipated as a result of emissions from the use of fossil diesel in the construction of HS2. As stated at para 4.7 of HS2 Phase One Information Paper E31 (air quality):

“Where an effect on air quality [in the relevant Environmental Statement] is described as significant at a particular location, this is with respect to the air quality legislation, and does not denote a significant effect on human health. Much larger changes in air quality than are predicted as a consequence of the scheme would be needed to cause significant impacts on health at the level of an individual person.”

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/672406/E31_-_Air_Quality_v1.5.pdf

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government's Clean Air Strategy applies to HS2 Ltd; and what recent representations he has made to HS2 Ltd on its air quality responsibilities.

Air quality requirements for HS2 are set during the parliamentary stages of the Bills for each phase of the railway. These reflect any relevant legal requirements or wider strategic governmental goals - such as the Clean Air Strategy - and build on the air quality impact assessments and conclusions reported in the relevant Environmental Statements.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the total CO2 emissions from HS2 Phase One construction in the event that fossil-based diesel is not replaced with an advanced renewable diesel for all heavy plant and related transport.

The overall construction carbon impact of HS2 Phase One is reported in the relevant Environmental Statement*. This aspsessment presents a reasonable worst-case scenario and assumes fossil-based diesel is used for heavy plant and related transport. The statement was produced to accompany the then High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill. In the four years since publication, technological improvements and adoption of best working practices will have superseded many of the findings therein, including HS2 Ltd’s adoption of a target to cut construction carbon emissions by 50% against industry baselines. Contributors to achieving this target include the adoption of plant and facilities that do not use fossil-based diesel.

* https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hs2-phase-one-environmental-statement-documents

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps (a) he and (b) HS2 Ltd is taking to ensure that measurements are taken of the air particulate matter and emissions footprint of HS2 Ltd’s contractors along the route of the Phase One part of that project.

HS2 air quality requirements form part of the HS2 project’s overall Environmental Minimum Requirements. HS2 Ltd monitor and assure their contractors’ performance with respect to air quality impacts, and provide monthly compliance dashboards to relevant local authorities. High level management information, including any breaches, is also supplied to the Department on a monthly basis. HS2 Ltd also publishes an annual air quality report, which is available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/monitoring-the-environmental-effects-of-hs2.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) obligations and (b) targets relating to air particulate matter and emissions (i) HS2 Ltd and (ii) HS2 Ltd's contractors have under the Government’s Clean Air Strategy.

Air quality requirements for HS2 are set during the parliamentary stages of the Bills for each phase of the railway. These reflect any relevant legal requirements or wider strategic governmental goals, and build on the air quality impact assessments and conclusions reported in the relevant Environmental Statements.

Measures to mitigate air quality effects on Phase One of HS2 are set out in Chapter 7 of the Code of Construction Practice, and in Information Paper E31 (air quality). These measures include emission standards and targets for all Heavy Goods Vehicles and Light Duty Vehicles used in construction, plus best practice measures to control construction site dust. HS2 Ltd’s Air Quality Strategy, monthly monitoring reports and annual air quality reports can be found online at www.gov.uk/government/collections/monitoring-the-environmental-effects-of-hs2.

HS2 Ltd is also leading on a wide range of innovations to trial and roll out a range of low and zero emission plant and machinery on sites. Further information can be found in the published case studies online at www.hs2.org.uk/building-hs2/hs2-environment-facts/hs2-and-air-quality/.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what environmental impact assessment his Department has made of the (a) fuel choices of HS2 Ltd for it's construction sites and (b) use by HS2 Ltd of fossil-based diesel for it's heavy plant and transport.

The HS2 Environmental Statements contain reasonable worst-case assessments of the air quality and carbon impacts of the scheme, using assumptions about emissions that reflect the standards adopted by the project. Controls are in place to ensure that any significant effects reported in the Environmental Statements are not exceeded. Within that framework, actual decisions on fuel purchases for construction sites and vehicles, are taken by contractors rather than HS2 Ltd. HS2 Ltd is, however, running an innovation project to test a range of biofuels. The findings of this project will help establish the benefits provided by such fuels, and in due course be used to inform contractors’ decisions.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions (a) he and (b) HS2 Ltd has had with HS2 Ltd's contractors on their awareness of HS2 Ltd’s environmental obligations on site air quality and pollution.

HS2 environmental requirements, including with respect to air quality, are embedded into HS2 contractors through their contractual requirements and the project’s Environmental Minimum Requirements. Integrated project teams for delivering Phase One of the railway ensure close working between client and contractor. HS2 contractors are required to be highly aware of, and compliant with, their air quality requirements and have in many cases bettered the project’s rigorous standards through their own environmental leadership.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what is steps he is taking to protect cyclists from risk of injury as a result of potholes.

On the local road network, local highway authorities have a duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the highways network in their area. It is important that local highway authorities consider the needs of all road users, especially vulnerable groups such as cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians, when planning their highway maintenance.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland responsibility for maintaining the highway rests with the respective devolved administration.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure motorway speed cameras are operational.

On the Strategic Road Network (SRN) in England, Highways England follows several steps to ensure motorway speed cameras are operational. This includes a rolling programme of routine maintenance, camera calibration, focusing supplier contracts on the prevention and rapid correction of faults, as well as monitoring faults to understand trends and root causes to proactively reduce their frequency. Highways England works closely with the Police toward the shared objective of increased compliance with speed limits. The provision and maintenance of motorway speed cameras in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a matter for the Devolved Administrations.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with car manufacturers on the fuel economy of hybrid cars.

I meet regularly with a range of organisations and individuals on the subject of transport decarbonisation. The Government recognises that hybrid cars and vans, both non-plug in and plug in, are an important technology in reducing emissions from road transport. While the environmental benefits of these vehicles depend on their use, they are amongst the cleanest vehicles on the market today and will contribute to our interim carbon reduction targets in the coming years. We are clear that the technologies on sale, and the market share of those technologies, must be compatible with achieving our 2050 net zero climate change target and long-term air quality goals.

The Government is taking a technology neutral approach to meeting our ambitions, but we are not outcome neutral. The end goal must be zero emissions from the tailpipe.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to (a) provide long term funding support to and (b) extend the powers of city region transport authorities after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has committed up to £27.3 million per week to support the bus sector in England, through the Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) Restart scheme. This funding - some of which is allocated to Local Transport Authorities, for tendered services - has no pre-agreed end date. The Government will work with bus operators and local authorities to review when it is appropriate to end the funding. We are also providing up to £67.8 million of funding for light rail services in Manchester, Tyne and Wear, Sheffield, West Midlands, Nottingham and Blackpool for the period from 27 October to the end of the 20/21 financial year.

The Government is also investing in city regions for the longer term. As announced at Budget and confirmed in the Spending Review, the Government is investing £4.2 billion in the transport networks of eight city regions across England from 22/23. This funding will be delivered through multi-year, consolidated transport settlements agreed with central government and based on plans put forward by city regions. The Government is currently engaging with the eligible city regions to understand their ambitions for this fund.

The Government wants to devolve and decentralise to give more power to local communities, providing an opportunity for all places to level up. That is why we intend to bring forward the Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper in due course. This will cover how the UK Government will partner with places across the UK to build a sustainable economic recovery and set out our plans for future devolution arrangements.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing financial support for bus services directly to local transport authorities rather than bus operators.

Local transport authorities do receive some Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) funding for tendered services. However, to ensure consistency with Bus Services Operators Grant (BSOG), the majority of CBSSG funding is paid directly to operators. The Government needs to be confident that the public transport system can restart swiftly as required. We do not believe that now is the right time to change our funding models.

We are also keen to avoid a situation where different funding models are operating in different parts of the country, which would cause additional challenges for cross-border services or operators whose businesses span multiple urban areas.

The allocation of CBSSG funding reflects the structure of the bus market and ensures that both Local Transport Authorities and operators have the funding they need to support up to 100% of pre-pandemic service levels, where it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Local transport funding decisions are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Urban Transport Group and (b) city region transport authorities on funding support during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government officials and Ministers are in regular conversation with members of the Urban Transport Group and local transport authorities to understand the challenges faced by city region transport authorities in England in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. This engagement informs a range of Departmental policies, including the development and administration of Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) funding and Light Rail support funding. Local transport funding decisions are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with transport associations on regulating the size of so-called mega lorries.

There have been no meetings between the Secretary of State or junior ministers with transport associations specifically about larger lorries. Ministers have had many meetings with transport association representatives about policy issues in other contexts (for example responding or recovering from COVID-19 and EU transition). In some cases, the issue of permissible lorry dimensions has been discussed, including in relation to two proposals being consulted about related to longer semi-trailers and the maximum weights for certain intermodal journeys.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage lorry drivers on long journeys to take frequent rest breaks to improve safety on public roads.

The UK has one of the best road safety records in Europe. Lorry drivers must take rest breaks further to statutory drivers’ hours and other rules. Enforcement of these rules is an important priority, including for DVSA, to reduce the risk of drivers being involved in fatigue-related accidents.

The Government has also taken actions to help the supply of parking spaces for lorries. For example, in 2018 it revised the National Planning Policy Framework to strengthen policy on overnight lorry parking.

The Department has completed the first stage of a review of lorry parking policy and interventions, including stakeholder involvement. Work is ongoing to develop further measures in line with the review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the supply of electric cars in the UK.

The government is going further and faster than ever to decarbonise transport by phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. These ambitions will be supported by an accompanying package of £2.8 billion.

The government has committed up to £1 billion to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, including developing gigafactories in the UK to produce the batteries needed at scale. The government has committed the first £500m of this investment through the Automotive Transformation Fund to put the UK at the forefront of the design, development, and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles.

The government will invest £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, targeting support on rapid charge points on motorways and major roads to dash any anxiety around long journeys, and installing more on-street charge points near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.

While we expect the cost of electric vehicles to come down, the government will provide £582 million to extend the plug-in car, van, taxi and motorcycle grants to 2022–23 to reduce their up-front cost. The government has also put in place a favourable tax regime that rewards the cleanest vehicles on our roads.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that electric scooters have a maximum speed of 20mph.

The Department is running trials of rental e-scooters to assess their safety and the impacts they have on the road. The regulations amend the existing legislation to treat e-scooters in trials largely like cycles and e-bikes. The e-scooters will be limited to 15.5 mph (the same as e-bikes). Privately-owned e-scooters remain illegal during trials regardless of their maximum speed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of (a) the numbers of people applying for a driving licence and (b) how many people have (i) passed and (ii) failed for each of the last five years.

Driver licensing and testing are devolved in Northern Ireland and are the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle Agency, part of the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure. The information provided is for licences issued and tests taken in Great Britain only.

The number of applications received by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for a provisional GB driving licence for the last five years is:

Year

Number of first applications for a provisional driving licence received

2015

1,138,274

2016

1,111,904

2017

1,120,611

2018

1,032,193

2019

1,067,265

The number of GB car driving tests passed and failed in the last five years is:

Year

Tests passed

Tests failed

2015/2016

723,303

487,153

2016/2017

815,005

539,647

2017/2018

795,732

533,101

2018/2019

761,749

508,634

2019/2020

734,432

495,775

These figures relate to the number of tests taken. Individual drivers may sit more than one driving test.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to prevent road death among people over 60.

Older Road Users are one of the Department for Transport’s four priority groups for road safety as outlined in our 2019 Road Safety Statement. Action focuses on support and advice for older people, and a programme of research including a review of the recommendations from the Older Drivers Task Force.

The Department continues to fund and support a number of organisations to help older people to continue to drive safely, to deliver advice and support to older drivers and to develop an Approved Driving Instructor training course that is specific to the needs of older drivers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to support carbon-free air travel.

The recently formed Jet Zero Council will focus on developing UK capability to deliver net zero emission commercial flight. This includes considering how to develop and industrialise clean aviation and aerospace technologies, establish UK production facilities for sustainable aviation fuels and develop a coordinated approach to the policy and regulatory framework needed to deliver net zero aviation by 2050.

The Government has a range of additional programmes to support research and technology on electric flight. These include the Aerospace Technology Institute Programme (£1.95 billion public funding commitment, 2013 to 2026) and the Future Flight Challenge (£125 million public funding).

The Government has also supported the establishment of an Innovation Hub within the Civil Aviation Authority which supports the regulator to engage with innovative companies - such as those developing electric flight - to bring products to market safely.

Recent changes to the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation make renewable aviation fuels eligible for reward. The Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition makes £20 million of capital funding available to projects that will produce low carbon waste-based fuels to be used in aeroplanes and lorries

We are planning to consult shortly to update the Government’s position on aviation and climate change. It is critical that aviation plays its part in delivering the UK’s net zero ambitions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his strategy is on preventing e-scooters from adversely affecting pedestrians on footpaths.

In May the Government announced that trials of rental e-scooters would be brought forward to support local areas in the green restart of local travel and to build evidence about this new form of transport to inform longer term policy. In trial areas, rental e-scooters will not be allowed to be ridden on pavements as it is a long-established principle that vehicles are not permitted on the pavement, with the exception of mobility scooters. All e-scooter operators provide training – both via apps and in person – to instruct users of the rules and the potential consequences if caught committing an offence, which include fines of up to £300, up to 6 points being put on the user’s licence, as well as confiscation of the vehicle. Operators are also using geofencing technology where necessary to create ‘no ride zones’.