Jonathan Lord Portrait

Jonathan Lord

Conservative - Woking

First elected: 6th May 2010


Cultural Objects (Protection From Seizure) Bill
9th Nov 2021 - 17th Nov 2021


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Ceasefire in Gaza
voted Aye - against a party majority
One of 9 Conservative Aye votes vs 24 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 20 Noes - 212
Speeches
Friday 23rd February 2024
Space Industry (Indemnities) Bill
I thank honourable Members on both sides of the House for attending the debate and for their support. In particular, …
Written Answers
Monday 22nd January 2024
Drax Power Station
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how much the Drax power station has received …
Early Day Motions
Monday 30th October 2017
LIFTING THE BAN ON UK FLIGHTS TO SHARM EL SHEIKH
That this House welcomes the successful implementation of the UK-Egyptian joint action plan and substantial investment in upgrading security at …
Bills
Wednesday 6th December 2023
Space Industry (Indemnities) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to require operator licences authorising the carrying out of spaceflight activities to specify the licensee's indemnity limit.
MP Financial Interests
None available
EDM signed
Wednesday 21st February 2024
No confidence in the Speaker
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 22nd May 2019
Unauthorised Encampments Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Jonathan Lord has voted in 780 divisions, and 16 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 35 Conservative No votes vs 305 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
1 Jul 2020 - Finance Bill - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative Aye votes vs 316 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 254 Noes - 317
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
20 Oct 2021 - Environment Bill - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Conservative No votes vs 265 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 268 Noes - 204
23 Nov 2021 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 18 Conservative Aye votes vs 276 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 219 Noes - 280
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 38 Conservative No votes vs 271 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 441 Noes - 41
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 60 Conservative No votes vs 258 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
30 Mar 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 10 Conservative No votes vs 243 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 249 Noes - 167
25 Apr 2022 - Health and Care Bill - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 11 Conservative No votes vs 276 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 278 Noes - 182
7 Mar 2023 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 107 Conservative Aye votes vs 109 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 116 Noes - 299
28 Jun 2023 - Holocaust Memorial Bill: Committal - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 9 Conservative Aye votes vs 238 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 11 Noes - 379
10 Jan 2024 - Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Conservative Aye votes vs 279 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 228 Noes - 284
16 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 58 Conservative Aye votes vs 262 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 68 Noes - 529
17 Jan 2024 - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 59 Conservative Aye votes vs 266 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 65 Noes - 536
21 Feb 2024 - Ceasefire in Gaza - View Vote Context
Jonathan Lord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 9 Conservative Aye votes vs 24 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 20 Noes - 212
View All Jonathan Lord 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
Neil O'Brien (Conservative)
(3 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(3 debate interactions)
Jonathan Gullis (Conservative)
(3 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Transport
(7 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(6 debate contributions)
Home Office
(4 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Jonathan Lord has not made any spoken contributions to legislative debate
View all Jonathan Lord's debates

Woking 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).

Jonathan Lord has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Jonathan Lord

21st February 2024
Jonathan Lord signed this EDM on Wednesday 21st February 2024

No confidence in the Speaker

Tabled by: William Wragg (Conservative - Hazel Grove)
That this House has no confidence in Mr Speaker.
70 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 40
Scottish National Party: 29
Independent: 1
8th June 2020
Jonathan Lord signed this EDM on Monday 8th June 2020

Chester Zoo

Tabled by: Angela Eagle (Labour - Wallasey)
That this House is concerned that Chester Zoo, and other zoos will not be able to reopen alongside ticketed gardens and non-essential retail; is further concerned that no date for the reopening of zoos has been announced; recognises the enormous contribution Chester Zoo makes to the local economy, to educating …
30 signatures
(Most recent: 1 Sep 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 20
Conservative: 7
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Jonathan Lord's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Jonathan Lord, 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.


Jonathan Lord has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Jonathan Lord has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

4 Bills introduced by Jonathan Lord


This Bill received Royal Assent on 26th March 2015 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to make provision in connection with applications for naturalisation as a British citizen made by members or former members of the armed forces.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 13th March 2014 and was enacted into law.


This Bill received Royal Assent on 12th July 2011 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to require operator licences authorising the carrying out of spaceflight activities to specify the licensee's indemnity limit.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 23rd February 2024

180 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
2 Other Department Questions
21st Jun 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the impact of the war in Ukraine on the global delivery of the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Putin’s illegal and brutal invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated to countries the dangers of relying on fossil fuels controlled by a hostile actor. Countries now understand the benefits of low-cost, homegrown renewables, the price of which cannot be manipulated from afar. Climate and environmental security are now synonymous with energy and national security. And it is clear that our long-term energy futures do not lie in fossil fuels.

I am pleased that governments are responding by accelerating the transition to clean power. Here in the UK, we have recently published our Energy Security Strategy, to turbocharge our deployment of wind, of solar, of nuclear, and of hydrogen.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Glasgow Climate Pact on tackling climate change.

At COP26 almost 200 countries agreed to the historic Glasgow Climate Pact which keeps alive the aim of limiting average global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Today 90% of global GDP is covered by net zero pledges (which includes China, the USA and India), up from 30% when the UK took on the COP Presidency, and 154 countries have submitted emissions reductions targets for 2030. Under the UK’s Presidency, 95% of the largest developed country climate finance providers made new commitments, with many doubling or even quadrupling their support for developing countries to take climate action.

The Paris Agreement made promises and now Glasgow’s legacy is focused on delivery. The most recent IPCC report highlighted the urgency of action on emissions reductions; adaptation and finance to support developing nations; and loss and damage. Throughout the UK’s Presidency year, we will work with Egypt as incoming Presidency, with the UNFCCC Secretariat, and with Parties to deliver on the agreed outcomes in the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she has taken to increase the number of prosecutions for domestic violence.

Tackling domestic abuse is an important priority for this government. Over 10,900 suspects were charged with DA offences in the last quarter with a conviction rate of over 75% and in the last 5 years, the number of coercive and controlling behaviour cases has increased from 5 to 1,403.

We have continued focus on tackling this heinous crime by introducing non- fatal strangulation offence as part of our landmark Domestic Abuse Act. Those who strangle their partners in an attempt to control or induce fear will face up to 5 years behind bars.

5th Jul 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of steps taken by the Serious Fraud Office to increase the number of cases it prosecutes.

In its role as a specialist law enforcement agency tackling the top level of serious or complex fraud, bribery and corruption, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is prosecuting eight cases within the 2022-23 financial year. These involve more than 20 individuals, charged with criminality worth over £550m.

Given this specialist role, as well as the scale and complexity of the cases it takes on, the focus of the SFO is less on increasing the number of cases it takes on, but rather increasing its capacity through the use of technology, reducing manual errors and delivering this year’s trials effectively.

Driving this, the SFO received a funding uplift in the 2021 Spending Review which included £4.4m over three years to invest in technology. This will complement the wider work that it is doing to reduce case lengths and ensure the tools it uses to investigate and prosecute fraudsters match the evolving methods used by these criminals.

5th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to increase opportunities in cyber technology.

The National Cyber Strategy sets out how the government will foster the growth of an already strong cyber sector in the UK. New government-funded programmes like Cyber Runway and the cyber accelerator, ‘NCSC for Startups’ are supporting entrepreneurs and businesses across the UK to turn their ideas into commercial successes.

5th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on improving access to mental health services for veterans.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office recently met the Minister for Care and Mental Health to discuss issues surrounding veterans’ health, including mental health services. The Minister for Defence People recently had the opportunity to meet Op COURAGE staff and service users at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.

Op COURAGE is a mental health support pathway in England which continues to grow, and the Government strongly encourages any veterans who need support to engage with it. Op COURAGE was allocated £17.8 million funding last year and an extra £2.7 million over the next three years.



Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to improve the quality of civil service apprenticeships.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer I gave to the Honourable Member for Meriden on 11 February 2021.

"The civil service will launch its new apprenticeship strategy next year. The first phase will have delivered 30,000 apprenticeships by next April, but going forward I want to focus not just on numbers, but on the quality of training on offer, so that Departments get much better at growing their own talent and plugging skills gaps. To that end, we recently published the curriculum and campus for Government skills, with the goal of setting the highest standard in vocational training for all civil servants, including apprentices."

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to improve online government services.

All public-facing online government services are required to comply with the Service Standard and Technology Code of Practice which ensure that they meet user needs, are accessible and secure.

We are introducing GOV.UK Accounts to meet changing user needs and expectations and make government services more personalised and data-driven. We have established a Data Standards Authority to make sure that data can be used, shared and understood across government, which is the foundation of joined-up and trusted public services.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of allowing virtual wedding ceremonies to take place in England during covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

On 4 January, the Prime Minister announced a National Lockdown for all of England, in accordance with growing evidence of virus prevalence. Under these new restrictions, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies should only take place in exceptional circumstances. Up to six people can attend (including the couple). Anyone working is not included in that limit.

We recognise the restrictions may be disappointing for those planning such events. By their nature, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are events that bring families and friends together, including from across the country and sometimes across the world, making them particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. We do not wish to keep restrictions in place for any longer than we have to, and restrictions will be kept under review in line with the changing situation. For further information, please refer to the guidance for small weddings and civil partnerships https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships. There is different advice for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The government continues to regularly make available scientific evidence supporting its COVID-19 response, including at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

On 22 February, the Prime Minister will set out the plan for reopening schools, and gradually reopening the economy and society, in a sustainable way in England.

For further information, please refer to the Coronavirus (COVID‑19) page on gov.uk, which will publish further information regarding the roadmap on 22 February, https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to promote and protect the Union.

I refer the Hon. member to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster’s answer to the question asked by Robin Millar on 16 July 2020.

13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to support business exports.

The Government’s Export Strategy, ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’, focuses on the challenges UK businesses face when exporting and sets out a 12-point plan which targets barriers to trade and helps businesses at every stage of their export journey. My Department continues to support companies through our network of domestic and overseas trade advisers, sector specialists, Export Support Service, Export Academy, International Markets network as well as through UK Export Finance. We are also helping businesses to benefit from new free trade agreements and working across Government to reduce barriers to exporting and simplify border processes.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that SMEs are paid on time by larger firms.

The Government is aware that late payment remains a significant problem for small businesses across the country. That is why at the beginning of 2023 the Government launched a review of Cash flow and Prompt Payment, alongside a public consultation on the Payment Performance Regulations. The findings of the review, alongside the consultation response, will be published later in 2023.

The Government will use the findings of this review to improve the Payment Performance Regulations, the Small Business Commissioner, and the Prompt Payment Code to improve payment culture in the UK, to reduce late payments and its impact on SMEs.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to increase trade with growing economies in Africa.

My department has a team of experts across Africa supporting British businesses to thrive and increasing trade and investment. We are using our 9 trade agreements covering 18 African nations to grow trade. These provide preferential access to UK markets for African goods and frameworks for cooperation. The Developing Countries Trading Scheme will lower tariffs to support an additional 33 African countries to increase exports. We are also working bilaterally to deepen relationships with growing African economies. In 2024, the Prime Minister will host the second UK-African Investment Summit to showcase investment opportunities and advance two-way trade.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to increase trade opportunities for the technology sector.

The Prime Minister has set a clear ambition to grow the UK as a Science and Technology Superpower. Core to this is the need to have UK companies growing through international expansion. My Department is supporting this growth through our teams in over 100 countries, sourcing opportunities for UK companies in sectors such as AI and Quantum. DBT also supports tech companies to access global markets through putting them on the world stage at large overseas trade shows such as Mobile World Congress and Web Summit. The Export Academy, which supports businesses from all sectors, and the Export Support Service – International Markets, which handled over 9,600 enquiries since launch in April 2022 - February 2023, help organisations with their international expansion.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her US counterpart on reducing market barriers for UK firms to trade at the state level in the United States.

My honourable friend is right to raise opportunities to boost trade at the state level. Just last week, I signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oklahoma, our fourth with an individual US state, which provides a framework to promote British business and tackle barriers to trade.

We are also supporting professional bodies and regulators to remove barriers at the state level, including through recognition of professional qualifications. Last week, I attended the launch of an architecture Mutual Recognition Agreement between British and American regulators which we estimate could increase UK services exports to the US by £40 million per annum.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to increase trade opportunities for the life sciences sector.

Life Sciences is one of the UK’s top exporting sectors, with £28.1 billion goods exported in 2022. In line with the Export Strategy’s 12-point plan and Board of Trade report on Life Sciences, the department pursues an ambitious and strategic approach to promoting exports. This includes addressing market barriers, global defence of free trade, publishing targeted international sector-specific propositions and delivering focused export campaigns. The department also works closely with our overseas and UK networks and Trade Associations to help businesses identify and exploit export opportunities. These initiatives successfully showcase the UK's life science national strengths to international audiences.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to reduce barriers to global trade for British businesses.

In addition to our ambitious free trade agreement programme, our latest publicly available figures show that in the year to March 2022, the Department resolved 192 trade barriers in 79 countries; 45 of these alone are estimated to be worth around £5 billion to businesses across the UK over the next five years.

In her first 200 days, the Secretary of State knocked down barriers to global markets worth £11 million every day to UK businesses. As a recent example, the Department resolved a barrier worth £6 million allowing honey exports to Saudi Arabia, unlocking new opportunities for British businesses.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help secure more inward investment into the UK.

The UK's foreign direct investment (FDI) stock is largest in Europe, second to the US globally. The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining this investment, present in over 150 countries through international networks. DBT supports investors new to the UK by providing insight on finance, skills and visas. Alongside the Office for Investment, we help investors with site selection, customer connections and market expertise. In 2021/22, DBT supported nearly 1,200 investments worth approximately £7 billion of economic impact over the next three years. The Global Investment Summit 2023 will build on this success, aiming to raise billions of high value investment.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to page 26 of the research paper by Chatham House entitled BECCS deployment: the risks of policies forging ahead, published in October 2021, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of that paper's findings on the carbon payback period of a mature tree; and whether her Department has made an estimate of the carbon payback period for unabated wood burning.

The Government views sustainably sourced biomass as low carbon, in line with independent organisations such as the CCC and IPCC, as set out in the Government Biomass Strategy, published in August 2023.

Only biomass that complies with strict sustainability criteria receives support from Government. For forest derived biomass, the criteria includes requirements around sustainable forest management including regeneration rates and sustainable harvesting, requiring that the carbon stock of the forest is not decreased.

In 2024, Government will consult on a cross sectorial sustainability framework to see where we can strengthen the criteria further based on latest evidence.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
12th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how much the Drax power station has received in subsidies for burning wood in each of the last eight years; and if she will make an estimate of the amount of CO2 that was released from its chimneys in that period.

Information is only available on Drax’s support for electricity generation from all types of biomass, (including wood from sustainable sources) and on lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The figures in the table below give the value of the support under the Renewables Obligation scheme for generation from all the types of biomass used by Drax.

Year

Notional value of support under the Renewables Obligation[1]

2015/16

£548.1m

2016/17

£547.9m

2017/18

£399.2m

2018/19

£513.3m

2019/20

£508.9m

2020/21

£508.5m

2021/22

£619.7m

2022/23

£634.2m[2]

From 2016 (the start of their support under the Contracts for Difference scheme) to 2023, Drax was paid £1.38bn in net difference payments. The details are published by the Low Carbon Contracts Company on their Data Portal[3].

Drax’s GHG emissions under the Renewables Obligation are available in Ofgem’s sustainability datasets[4]. For the Contracts for Difference scheme, Drax’s avoided GHG emissions are published by the Low Carbon Contracts Company on their Data Portal.

[1] Support under the Renewables Obligation is through tradeable certificates. The figures give the notional value of the support

[2] Provisional figure as all the certificates for 2022/23 may not have been issued yet.

[3] The Low Carbon Contracts Company’s Data Portal is at: https://dp.lowcarboncontracts.uk/dataset/actual-cfd-generation-and-avoided-ghg-emissions/resource/fa730219-fbd2-41b5-9510-ba2b0ff2c1ba

[4] Ofgem’s annual sustainability datasets are at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-and-social-schemes/renewables-obligation-ro/renewables-obligation-ro-suppliers/biomass-sustainability

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment she has made of the potential contribution of Great British Nuclear to the Government’s domestic nuclear energy targets.

I refer my hon Friend to the answer I gave to my hon Friend the Member for Hendon (Dr Matthew Offord) on 15 September to Question UIN 198081.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of the Energy Bill Support Scheme on businesses (a) in Woking constituency and (b) across the country.

Businesses, including those within the Woking constituency and across the UK, have already benefitted from the Energy Bill Relief Scheme which ended on 31 March and provided over £7.4 billion of support.

Businesses experiencing high energy costs will continue to get a discount on gas and electricity bills under the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) until 31 March 2024, including the higher level of support for eligible Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETII) and domestic heat network customers on commercial contracts.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment he has made of the potential role of nuclear energy in achieving the Government's net zero emissions targets.

The importance of the role of nuclear energy in the Government’s strategy for achieving our net zero emissions targets was most recently set out in our March 2023 policy paper: Powering Up Britain initiatives. This includes our Net Zero Growth Plan, which reiterates the ambition of the 2022 British Energy Security Strategy for deploying up to 24 gigawatts of nuclear by 2050, around 25% of our projected 2050 electricity demand. Modelling for nuclear, which was first published alongside the Energy White Paper 2020, is set out in Table 2, page 24, of the Technical Annex to the Net Zero Growth Plan.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

The EBRS review assessed a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence from businesses and stakeholders on sectors that may be most affected by rising energy prices based on energy and trade intensity. The results were used alongside results from a BEIS business survey, inputs from other government departments, and wider economic and public policy considerations. The outcome of the review informed the criteria of the new Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS).

The EBDS will run from April until March 2024, and will continue to provide a discount to eligible and vulnerable non-domestic customers, except for those experiencing low energy costs.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps he is taking to provide energy bill support to households that use alternative fuels.

The Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) scheme is delivering £200 to eligible households who use alternative fuels such as heating oil, liquefied petroleum gas, coal or biomass.

A small proportion of households who didn’t receive the payment automatically will need to apply for the AFP. Applications for this Alternative Fund opened on 6 March through a GOV.UK portal which includes an overview of eligibility and what steps households need to take to apply for support.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to support postmasters affected by the Horizon scandal.

The Government is providing substantial funding to help Post Office give postmasters affected by the Horizon scandal the compensation they deserve.

Post Office is negotiating compensation with wrongly convicted postmasters, paying interim compensation of up to £100,000; as of 17 October, £7.6 million has been paid.

The Government is funding additional compensation to those non-convicted postmasters who took Post Office to the High Court. As of 24 October, interim payments of £15.9 million had been made.

The Historical Shortfall Scheme is compensating other non-convicted postmasters. As of 26 October, offers totalling £57 million had been made to 85% of eligible HSS claimants.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the UK’s research and development sector.

At the 2021 Spending Review, the Government announced an increase in public expenditure on R&D, including a commitment to £20 billion per annum by 2024/2025.

R&D investment supports delivery of the Innovation Strategy, by creating the conditions to grow private sector investment. To develop R&D strengths across the country, Government is increasing domestic public investment in R&D outside the Greater South East by at least 40% by 2030. We have also committed £800 million to the Advanced Research and Invention Agency, a new science and research funding agency, to fund research that will develop new technologies.

24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to support businesses with their energy bills.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme was announced on 21 September 2022 to provide a discount on energy bills for all eligible non-domestic customers, including businesses, whose current gas and electricity prices have been significantly inflated in light of global energy prices. The scheme will initially run for 6 months covering energy use from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023 and will help support growth, prevent unnecessary insolvencies and protect jobs.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress his Department has made on securing business investment in the UK.

The Government has worked to secure internationally mobile, transformative investment projects in sectors across the economy, supporting the delivery of key Government priorities. In March, Australian Investors announced £28.5 billion of investments for clean energy, technology and infrastructure. In addition, the Government has provided further support to attract significant investment in manufacturing, including delivering Britishvolt’s £1.7 billion Gigafactory in Blythe Valley which will support 3,000 direct jobs and a further 5,000 across the supply chain. The Government has further worked to secure over £80 million R&D investment by Smith and Nephew into their manufacturing facility near Hull.

5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to deliver new and advanced nuclear power in the UK.

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

The Government will set up a new flagship body - ‘Great British Nuclear’ - to develop a resilient pipeline of projects. The Government appointed Simon Bowen to lead and help develop government proposals for this body.

On the 13th of May 2022, the Government launched a Request for Information for the £120million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund. This fund will provide targeted support to potential new and advanced nuclear projects seeking to enter the UK nuclear market.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the contribution of North Sea oil and gas to energy security.

The Government is committed to the UK offshore oil and gas sector, which continues to keep people warm, fuel their cars and strengthen the country’s energy security.

UK-produced gas met nearly half of the UK’s domestic gas consumption in 2020. The North Sea Transition Deal recognises the important role that gas will play as the UK economy transitions from one based on fossil fuels towards one based on clean energy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support sub-postmasters seeking to overturn criminal convictions relating to the Horizon IT scandal.

The Government is keen to see that all postmasters whose convictions are overturned are fairly compensated as quickly as possible and will work with Post Office towards this goal. Amounts of compensation will be settled by Post Office engaging with individual claimants or their representatives.

Postmasters seeking to have their convictions quashed must apply directly through the Courts before compensation payments can be made. Post Office is working with the Courts and the CCRC to progress appeals as quickly as possible.

The Government is providing the funding required for Post Office to support settlements with postmasters whose convictions have been quashed. This funding includes making interim compensation payments of up to £100,000 to all eligible postmasters who were wrongly convicted. So far, 66 postmasters have received offers for interim payments, and as of the time of writing, all but one of these have been paid.

21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of off-shore wind to increasing the security of the UK’s energy supply.

Offshore wind will play a key role in helping the UK decarbonise its power system by 2035, achieving net zero and providing secure, domestically generated energy. The UK currently has 11GW installed, generating enough electricity to power every home in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland twice over, with a further 8.5GW in construction. The Government has an ambitious target of 40GW by 2030 including 1GW of floating wind. The Government also anticipates further rapid expansion of both fixed and floating offshore wind through the 2030s and beyond. The Government will publish a British Energy Security Strategy shortly, which will set out how the UK will become more self-sufficient and reduce reliance on imported oil and gas.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that sub-postmasters wrongly convicted as a result of faults in the Horizon IT system receive (a) justice and (b) compensation.

The Government understands the serious impact that issues arising from faults with the Horizon IT system, and the Post Office’s management of these issues, have had on affected postmasters’ lives and livelihoods. This is why it is vital that postmasters affected by Horizon get the compensation and justice they deserve.

We welcome the decisions taken by the Court of Appeal and Crown Courts to overturn convictions - 47 to date. We are keen to see that all postmasters whose convictions are overturned are fairly compensated as quickly as possible and we are working with Post Office towards this goal. Post Office will be engaging with the postmasters in the first instance to understand what redress they are seeking.

It is the courts’ responsibility to decide whether convictions are overturned. The Criminal Cases Review Commission is continuing to consider applications made by postmasters to have their convictions quashed. Government will continue to closely monitor the Post Office’s work on addressing the issues identified by Justice Fraser.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage the commercialisation of university research in the UK.

University-business collaboration and the effective commercialisation of university research is critical to achieving the Government’s ambition to spend 2.4% of GDP on R&D by 2027. The Government has introduced a range of incentives and investments to support universities, charities and businesses to work together, such as:

  • The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund funds collaborative research with business;
  • £900m UK Research Partnership Investment Fund has generated over £2bn in private co-investment to create research centres and facilities in universities across the UK in collaboration with business and charities;
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP), which help businesses to innovate and grow by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate;
  • Mechanisms to broker new connections, include Konfer (an online platform to connect universities and businesses) and the Knowledge Transfer Networks (bringing together businesses, academics, government agencies and research organisations); and
  • Stimulating access to finance through Innovate UK and the British Business Bank.

As well as supporting universities in England through:

  • Higher Education Innovation Funding has increased to £250m p.a. by 2020 - underpinning universities’ capacity to work with business and others;
  • The £100m Connecting Capability Fund is helping universities to collaborate and pool Intellectual Property and resource so it is easier for investors and business to access; and
  • The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), which benchmarks university performance in working with business and research commercialisation - encouraging universities to increase external engagement with business.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps her Department has taken to help businesses create higher skilled jobs in (a) Surrey and (b) the UK

The Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, which covers Surrey, received £219 million through the local growth fund to drive regional development. Since 2018, the LEP has invested over half a million pounds to support the enhancement and refurbishment of Further Education colleges in Surrey. This investment is increasing the number of available apprenticeships in the sectors important to Surrey, providing local businesses with a workforce equipped with the right skills, whatever the specialism.

The Government understands that regions across the UK have different skills needs, so we will build on local strengths to deliver opportunities for people wherever they live. One way we will achieve this in Surrey is through the Enterprise M3 Skills Advisory Panel which bring together local employers and skills providers to pool knowledge on skills and labour market needs and work together to understand and address key local challenges.

Furthermore, business support for Surrey's small enterprises is available through the LEP's Growth Hub. The Growth Hub provides a free, impartial, ‘single point of contact’ to help businesses in the area identify and access the right support for them at the right time no matter their size or sector.

30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support grassroots sport.

Supporting grassroots sport is a key government priority. Last year, Sport England - our Arm’s Length Body responsible for growing and developing grassroots sport - received almost £350 million from the Government and National Lottery to fund grassroots sports projects. The Government also invests £18 million a year into community sport facilities via the Football Foundation alongside the English Football Association and the Premier League.

Sport England uses its funding to support and encourage the development of sport and recreation with the view to increasing participation rates across England. This includes the over £2.2 million of funding Sport England has provided in the Woking constituency since 2019, £240,000 of which supported projects through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are investing £300 million to develop thousands of state-of-the-art community football pitches and multi-use sports facilities across the UK. The Football Foundation has also invested over £400,000 in nearly 20 grants across the constituency, funding pitches, changing facilities, maintenance and equipment.

We have committed £30 million a year for 3 years to school sport facilities in England, and over £20 million with the Lawn Tennis Association to renovate park tennis courts across England, Scotland and Wales.

At the Spring Budget, we also announced a £63 million package to address the cost pressures facing some public swimming pool providers, and provide investment in energy efficiency measures to make facilities sustainable in the long-term. Both of these interventions aim to ensure that children and adults up and down the country have accessible opportunities to get active.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has committed to delivering a new sport strategy that will set the direction for the Government's priorities and its role in the sport sector. This strategy will support grassroots sport by having a specific focus on ensuring that everyone has access to appropriate and accessible opportunities to get active.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is taking steps to help ensure the financial stability of football clubs in England.

On 23 February 2023, the Government published a White Paper on reforming club football governance. This set out our detailed plans to improve the financial stability and governance of football clubs across all leagues through the introduction of an independent regulator. The regulator’s primary strategic purpose will be to ensure that English football is sustainable and resilient for the benefit of fans and the local communities football clubs serve.

We recognise the need for urgent action to safeguard the future of football clubs throughout the English football pyramid, so we will legislate to put the regulator on a statutory footing as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to deliver full-fibre and gigabit-capable broadband by 2025.

The Government is delivering the biggest broadband upgrade in UK history. Currently, 69% of UK premises can access gigabit-capable broadband, continuing a rate of incremental growth in line with meeting the target of at least 85% gigabit-capable coverage across the country by 2025. This is not the limit of our ambitions and we will continue to work closely with the industry to get close to complete gigabit coverage as quickly as we can thereafter.

To support this, we are investing £5 billion through Project Gigabit so hard-to-reach areas can get ultra-reliable gigabit speeds. We have already upgraded coverage to over 600,000 premises, and we have over half a billion of pounds of contracts out for tender right now.

In addition to our Project Gigabit contracts, we are investing up to £210 million in the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to support rural communities with the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections.

We are also providing funding to connect rural public buildings like schools, GP surgeries and libraries. We recently announced a joint £82 million investment with the Department for Education (DfE) to connect up to 3,000 eligible schools to lightning-fast gigabit broadband.

5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help low-income pensioners claim their free TV licence.

On 23 June my department laid a statutory instrument to amend the Television Licences Act 2000, that will ease the administrative burden put on eligible over-75s when applying for a free licence.

Under the new plans the BBC will be able to automatically verify whether a person applying for a free TV Licence is on Pension Credit with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It will mean in most cases the 7,000 people who apply to TV Licensing for a free licence per month will simply need to apply online or over the phone without any need to supply additional paperwork.

The changes to the application process are expected to come into effect next year.

5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress her Department has made to ban fraudulent online advertisements.

Fraudulent online advertisements are illegal. However, the government recognises that more should be done to tackle the devastating effects caused by fraudulent online advertisements that are placed.

The Online Safety Bill includes a standalone duty on the largest online platforms and search services (Category 1 and 2A services) to prevent the publication of fraudulent adverts on their services.

In addition, the Online Advertising Programme will look at the entire online advertising ecosystem in relation to fraud, as well as other harms caused by online advertising. It will consider the role of all actors not currently covered by regulation. The Online Advertising Programme consultation closed on 8 June, and the government will set out its response in due course.

21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support the tourism industry throughout the UK.

Our Tourism Recovery Plan (TRP) sets out an ambition to recover domestic tourism to pre pandemic levels of 99m overnight trips and spend of £19 billion by the end of 2022. We have been committed to supporting the sector to remain resilient and have already provided £37 billion to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the form of grants, loans and tax breaks.

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

The National Lottery Days Out Campaign is still running until 31 March, it offers people the chance to redeem a lottery ticket for a £25 voucher to be used in a variety of attractions around the UK, to support domestic tourism.

On 9 February, VisitBritain launched its £10 million international GREAT Britain marketing campaign ‘Welcome to Another Side of Britain’. The aim is to put Britain’s cities in the spotlight who have suffered most from the lack of international visitors during the pandemic. It will also capture the major events this year including HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and ‘Unboxed,’ the UK-wide celebration of creativity. VisitBritain is also working with partners including British Airways in the USA and TripAdvisor in Europe to extend the campaign’s reach and drive bookings.

Related to the domestic campaign, in February the second round of the Escape the Everyday DMO Recovery Marketing Fund was launched. It provides the opportunity for English DMOs to apply for grant funding to deliver local marketing activities aligned to, and following on from, this national campaign.

In early March, VisitBritain welcomed 50 international travel trade buyers for a series of educational visits across Britain. Buyers from the UK’s three largest inbound tourism markets, the USA, France and Germany.

VisitBritain’s flagship global travel trade event ExploreGB is currently running virtually (21-25 March). ExploreGB Virtual is bringing together more than 330 global buyers to connect online and do business with 370 tourism industry suppliers and destinations from across the UK. More than 10,000 pre-scheduled one-to-one virtual business meetings will take place during the event.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support local libraries.

On 12 March HM Government announced an investment of £5 million in 25 library services through the Libraries Improvement Fund (LIF) to upgrade their buildings and technology, and to enable them to be resilient and equipped to meet the needs of local communities. Details of the successful projects are published on the Arts Council England website.

Through the Cultural Investment Fund the Government will invest up to a further £128.4 million of capital investment in innovative cultural and creative projects, libraries, and museums across the country over the Spending Review period (22/23 - 24/25).

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support local art galleries.

The latest awards from the joint DCMS-Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund, announced on 17 March, will provide £4 million of new funding to improve displays, protect collections and make exhibitions more accessible. Over the past 20 years, the Fund has provided more than £48 million to over 400 projects and more than 370 museums and galleries are eligible for it.

The Government has also confirmed an extension to the Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief for a further two years, until 31 March 2024. The rates have temporarily increased from 20% (for non-touring productions) and 25% (for touring productions) to 45% and 50% respectively. From 1 April 2023, these rates will be reduced to 30% and 35%, and will return to 20% and 25% on 1 April 2024.

Art galleries may also benefit from The Museums and Galleries VAT Refund scheme, known as Section 33A, which allows eligible museums and galleries providing free admission to reclaim VAT.

Our unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund has seen more than £1.5 billion awarded to around 5,000 organisations and sites. Over £100 million has gone to more than 200 museums and galleries across England through the CRF programme. This includes some of the most well-loved and culturally significant organisations within communities across England.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to support charities during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government made a £750 million package of support available, specifically for charities, social enterprises and the voluntary sector. This ensured that charities and other civil society organisations, including those at risk of financial hardship, could continue their vital work during the Covid-19 outbreak. To date, over 15,000 charities have received funding. This includes household names such as St John Ambulance, NSPCC, Age UK, Barnardo’s and the British Red Cross as well as over 8,000 small organisations.

On top of this, the Government continues to make an unprecedented multi-billion-pound package of support available across the economy to enable organisations to get through the months ahead. Charities continue to access these schemes, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, grants for organisations that have been required to close, including retail and leisure facilities, deferral of VAT bills to the end of June, and government backed loan schemes.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that superfast broadband is available throughout the UK.

The government has invested significant amounts in digital infrastructure over the last decade, with the BDUK Superfast programme investing over £1.8 billion of public money to ensure over 96% of UK premises have access to superfast broadband. In addition to this, nearly £900 million has been allocated to stimulate the market to start building gigabit-capable infrastructure and full fibre connectivity.

For those premises that are still struggling with slow speeds, there are a number of options available to them. DCMS runs a voucher scheme that can be used by rural communities across the UK to reduce the cost of installing gigabit-capable connectivity. This provides a voucher worth up to £3,500 for eligible small businesses and vouchers worth up to £1,500 for residents. ‘Top-up’ schemes run by Local Authorities, who provide their own funding on top of DCMS’s, are also operating across the UK.

The government also introduced the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) on 20 March 2020. The USO gives eligible premises in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable connection. The government has defined decent broadband as a service that can provide a download speed of 10Mbps and an upload speed of 1Mbps.

Furthermore the government has pledged a further £5 billion to invest in the hardest to reach areas of the UK. Supplier engagement has taken place over the summer, and their feedback will be used to refine and finalise the delivery vehicle of the programme which will launch the first wave of procurements in early 2021.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to help the return of fans at live sports events during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is keen to see the safe return of spectators to live sports events. A programme of pilot events is being carried out to allow venues and operators to test their covid-secure arrangements in line with the Government's guidance on the return of fans to elite sports events. The latest list of events was announced on 26 August 2020 and includes football, horse racing and rugby union.

The events have been selected to test a range of different event styles across the country’s major men’s and women’s spectator sports. A number of successful pilots have already been completed, including snooker at the Crucible, cricket at Edgbaston and the Oval, and football at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Subject to public health conditions, the pilots will build up throughout September with a view to a full reopening for fans under covid-secure conditions from 1 October.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to increase the uptake of degree apprenticeships.

There were over 43,000 starts at levels 6 and 7 in the 2021/22 academic year, which is an increase of 10.3% on the previous year.

The department wants to see continued growth year-on-year in degree-level apprenticeships, and want to ensure that these opportunities are accessible to young people from all backgrounds. To support this, over the next two years the department is making up to £40 million available to higher education providers through the Strategic Priorities Grant, to grow their degree apprenticeship provision and form new employer partnerships, on top of the department’s £8 million investment in 2022/23.

We are also promoting apprenticeships in schools and further education colleges to students of all backgrounds through our Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge programme. The department has published the Higher and Degree apprenticeship vacancy listing, which highlights over 350 vacancies across the country that are available for young people to apply for in 2023 and 2024. This listing is available here: https://amazingapprenticeships.com/app/uploads/2022/11/Higher-Degree-Listing-FEB-2023.pdf.

In addition, the department is working with UCAS on the expansion of their apprenticeships service. From this autumn, young people will see more personalised options on UCAS, including apprenticeships. This will help put technical and vocational education on an equal footing with traditional academic routes.

Alongside this, the department continues to work on a programme of ‘simplification’, exploring ways we can remove unnecessary bureaucracy, complexity, and barriers to engagement for apprentices, employers, and providers.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to increase the uptake of higher technical qualifications.

The department is delivering reforms to increase the profile, prestige and uptake of higher technical education. Central to this is the introduction of Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs). Increasing uptake in HTQs is key to help people climb the ladder of opportunity and progress to more highly skilled jobs and careers.

HTQs became available for teaching from September 2022, starting with Digital HTQs. There are over 70 providers able to deliver HTQs from September 2022, with the majority being further education colleges. 106 qualifications have now been approved as HTQs across Digital, Construction and Health and Science routes, with HTQs in the latter two routes available for teaching from September this year. HTQs across all occupational routes are due to be rolled out by academic year 2025/26 where relevant occupational standards are available.

To support more people studying HTQs as they roll out, we are promoting HTQs as part of national government skills communications and engagement campaigns for young people, adults and employers, as well as working with partners such as UCAS and National Careers Service to improve the information and support available.

We have also announced investments of around £70 million to date to support the growth of high quality higher technical education (HTE). This includes supporting providers to grow capacity through the HTE Growth Fund and Skills Injection Fund. We are also supporting the Open University to deliver validation services and support for up to 10 further education providers to give them the confidence and capability to deliver the courses local people want and develop the skills base local employers need.

The department has extended student finance access for HTQs. From September 2023 learners studying HTQs part-time will be able to access maintenance loans, as they can with degrees. This will help learners fit study around work and other commitments.

HTQs will be among the first courses eligible for modular funding when the Lifelong Loan Entitlement launches in academic year 2025/26, as announced on 7 March 2023, providing more flexible options for learning.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to improve the standard of teaching in schools.

The quality of teaching is the most important in-school factor in improving outcomes for children, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Department is transforming the training and support for new and existing teachers and aims to deliver 500,000 teacher training and development courses by the end of 2024.

The Department has introduced improved quality requirements that all initial teacher training (ITT) courses must meet from September 2024. This is based on a review by an expert advisory group, and 179 providers have been successful following a rigorous accreditation process in 2022 designed to drive up the quality and consistency of teacher training. Together with the new Early Career Framework, these reforms will ensure that new teachers will now benefit from at least three years of evidence based training, across ITT and into their induction.

The Department has also provided a renewed suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for teachers and school leaders at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in high quality teaching practice to those leading multiple schools across trusts. Since autumn 2021, eligible teachers and leaders have been able to access scholarships to undertake fully-funded NPQs.

These measures will create a golden thread of teacher training running from ITT through to school leadership, rooting teacher and leader development in the best available evidence.

The Department is also funding several subject specific curriculum programmes that help improve the quality of teaching and offer high quality Career Professional Development for schools. The Department funds a range of networks of curriculum hubs for subjects including maths, science, computing, English, languages, and music. Plans to expand the reach of maths hubs support were announced on 17 April 2023. Further details can be found on here: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2023-04-17/hcws715.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she taking with Cabinet colleagues to ensure that education and training programmes meet local skills needs.

The department is working with colleagues across government to put employers at the heart of local skills systems, through the rollout of Local Skills Improvement Plans. These employer-led plans will help ensure that skills provision better meets the needs of employers and helps people develop the skills they need to get good jobs and succeed.

Additionally, the Unit for Future Skills (UFS) was set up in 2022 to provide decision makers in the skills system with information they need to invest in the right skills to meet national and local employer needs and support economic growth.

The UFS proactively works across departments and with organisations beyond government to:

  • Improve the coverage and timeliness of jobs and skills data to provide a robust foundation of research and data.
  • Structure and improve access to the data by linking up data sets, mapping education, skills and jobs at local levels and providing tools that enable exploration of the data.
  • Provide insights to enable learning, thinking and discussion on skills data and research as a centre of expertise for skills data and future insights on the labour market.

For example, the Local Skills Dashboard supports local skills planning and delivery, including up-to-date information and published data on local skills, education and employment. Data is provided at bespoke geographies, including Local Skills Improvement Plan areas, in an easy-to-navigate format alongside links to additional resources and data downloads. The dashboard is available at: https://department-for-education.shinyapps.io/local-skills-dashboard/.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to improve reading standards.

In 2018, the Department launched the English Hubs Programme to spread best practice in the teaching of reading, with a focus on phonics, early language development and reading for pleasure. Since its launch, the Department has concentrated over £40 million of funding in this programme to improve the teaching of reading. The English Hubs are currently delivering intensive support to over 1,000 partner schools, reaching approximately 50,000 pupils in Reception and Year 1.

These schools contain an above average proportion of free school meal pupils, who are over represented in the programme, along with those schools underperforming in phonics.

In 2021, the Department published non-statutory guidance, The Reading Framework, aimed at improving the teaching of the foundations of reading in primary schools, by defining pedagogy and best practice.

These form part of a supportive package of measures which also includes an updated list of validated phonics programmes, and a new National Professional Qualification for Leading Literacy, as well as the funding for the purchase of phonics programmes.

To help schools measure progress, the Government introduced a statutory phonics screening check in 2012 for pupils at the end of Year 1. By 2022, 87% of 7 year olds met this standard, which is a significant predictor of later reading comprehension performance.

6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to improve early years teacher training.

The department is committed to ensuring there are routes to graduate level qualifications in the early years sector. The department funds the level 6 Early Years Initial Teacher Training programme qualification. This provides up to £5,000 per eligible trainee in bursaries, and £7,000 per eligible employer with a trainee on the programme.

The department is investing up to £180 million in training, qualifications and support for the early years workforce as part of the early years education recovery programme. One element of this is significantly expanding the number of fully funded Early Years Initial Teacher Training places for the current and next academic year. We are also reviewing the level 3 early years educator qualification criteria.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department is taking steps to improve the quality of apprenticeships.

The department’s reforms have transformed apprenticeships. The department wants to further improve the quality of apprenticeships so that as many apprentices as possible benefit from these opportunities. The department has set an aim of reaching a 67% achievement rate for apprenticeship standards by the end of the 2024/25 academic year. To support this ambition, we are taking a range of actions to drive up apprenticeship quality and achievements.

The content of every apprenticeship is now designed directly by employers. Every apprentice has protected time off the job to dedicate to their training and all apprentices complete a rigorous end point assessment to confirm their competency. These changes mean that apprenticeships are now higher quality and better meet the needs of employers and individuals.

To support employers give their apprentices a high-quality experience, the department is working with them to improve their apprenticeship programmes and providing them with targeted support including through our Employer Quality Roadmap which provides guidance on what employers need to be doing at each stage of the apprenticeship.

To support providers to deliver high quality provision, the department is continuing to invest in a professional development programme for teachers and trainers of apprentices. We have strengthened our measures for holding training providers to account, using a wider range of quality indicators and user feedback. Ofsted will also be fully inspecting all apprenticeship providers by 2025.

To support apprentices to make the right choices, the department is making sure they get the best possible advice and support at every stage of their apprenticeship journey, supported by new digital support services and better careers advice. The department has also launched a new exit feedback tool for apprentices who have withdrawn, and a new feedback tool for existing apprentices to provide feedback on their training provider. We will use this feedback to inform further improvements.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department is taking steps to improve the quality of school buildings.

Well maintained, safe school buildings are a priority for the Department.

The Department allocates annual condition funding to schools and those responsible for school buildings to maintain and improve the condition of the school estate. The Department has allocated over £13 billion for this purpose since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed for the current financial year.

The Department has recently announced that eligible schools will also receive an allocation from an additional £447 million in capital funding in 2022/23 for capital improvements to buildings and facilities, prioritising works to improve energy efficiency. Condition allocations are published online at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-capital-funding.

The School Rebuilding Programme (SRP) will carry out major rebuilding and refurbishment projects at 500 schools across England, with buildings prioritised based on their condition. There are now 400 projects in the programme. The most recent set of 239 schools were announced in December 2022. Confirmed projects can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme.

All new and refurbished school buildings delivered by the Department must meet the same high standard of design and construction. The specification is updated on a four year cycle based on good industry practice. The latest specification (S21) is the first to have net zero carbon in operation standards and includes approaches to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to increase the number of foster care placements.

The department recognises the urgency of action in ensuring sufficient foster placements. The department continues to fund Fosterline and Fosterline Plus, a free-to-access helpline and support service for current and prospective foster carers, to provide high quality, independent information and advice on a range of issues.

Since 2014, the department has provided over £8 million to help embed the Mockingbird programme, an innovative model of peer support for foster parents and the children in their care. The department is also committed to engaging widely with those with care experience and all interested stakeholders to help us agree an implementation strategy that will drive the right change and scale up good practice across the country.

The department is currently working with local authorities to recruit more foster carers and improving the conversion rate from expressions of interest to approval. This includes local recruitment campaigns that build towards a national programme, to help ensure children have access to the right placements at the right time.

The department is carefully considering the recommendations made in the independent review of children’s social care and will publish a detailed and ambitious implementation strategy early in 2023.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of Ukrainian school pupils in classrooms across the UK.

The Department published data on 13 October showing that, of an estimated total of 22,100 applications for a state school place for children arriving from Ukraine, 92% (12,300 primary and 8,100 secondary) have been offered a place.

The data is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-placements-for-children-from-outside-of-the-uk/2022-september.

24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve levels of attainment in GCSE (a) English and (b) maths.

The Schools White Paper includes a vision for a school system that helps every child to fulfil their potential by ensuring that they have the right support, in the right place, at the right time, founded on achieving world class literacy and numeracy.

This includes increasing the national GCSE average grade in both English language and in mathematics from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030, backed up by an ambition that, by the end of primary school, 90% of children will achieve the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics.

The Department has already invested over £5 billion through its multi-year recovery plan. To date, over two million courses have been started since the launch of the National Tutoring Programme in November 2020. To help teachers, the Oak National Academy has been established as a public body, which will provide free, optional, adaptable digital curriculum resources, including in English and mathematics. The Department has established Education Investment Areas, prioritising support to the areas of the country with the most entrenched underperformance.

Alongside this, the Department’s ongoing investment in English and mathematics curriculum hub programmes is supporting children to benefit from high quality teaching in early reading and mathematics respectively, including through phonics and assessment and support programmes.

24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase levels of adult numeracy.

We want everyone to have the opportunity to learn and develop the essential skills they need to succeed at any age.

That is why the department has launched Multiply, the Government’s new programme for improving adult numeracy, funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Up to £559m is available over the Spending Review period for Multiply, boosting funding for maths and enabling delivery of innovative approaches to improving adult numeracy.

Multiply will enable local areas to deliver innovative approaches to improving numeracy amongst adults, helping more people take the next step to higher levels of training or unlock new job opportunities. Multiply will offer a range of flexible courses and interventions that fit around people’s lives and are tailored to specific needs, circumstances, sectors and industries. For example, courses designed to increase confidence with numbers for those needing the first steps towards formal numeracy qualifications or programmes delivered with employers to support people to get a job or progress within work.

Adults who do not already have a GCSE Grade 4/C (or equivalent) or above in maths are already entitled to study fully funded maths GCSE or Functional Skills Qualifications. Multiply does not remove this entitlement, nor does it reduce funding for those qualifications through the Adult Education Budget.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of school places available for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

The department is investing £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025 to support local authorities to deliver new places and improve existing provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), or who require alternative provision (AP). This represents a significant, transformational investment in new high needs provision. It will support local authorities to deliver new places in mainstream and special schools, as well as other specialist settings, and will also be used to improve the suitability and accessibility of existing buildings, more than tripling previous levels of investment.

In March 2022, as part of this commitment, the department announced High Needs Provision Capital Allocations amounting to over £1.4 billion of new investment, focused on the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. In June 2022, the department also announced that we will build up to 60 new centrally delivered special and AP free schools.

This funding comes on top of the investment of £300 million in 2021/22, and the department’s ongoing investment in new special and AP special schools. As of 1 October 2022, there are 90 open special free schools and 50 open AP free schools, with a further 48 special and 7 AP free schools due to open in the future.

This investment is alongside the increase in high needs revenue funding for children and young people with complex needs. This is rising by £1 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, an increase of 13%, which brings total high needs funding to £9.1 billion. In addition, the department is continuing to work with local authorities with the highest dedicated schools grant deficits as part of the safety valve programme and the introduction of the Delivering Better Value programme.

Alongside our continued investment in high needs, the department remains committed to ensuring a financially sustainable system, where resources are effectively targeted to need. The consultation on the SEND and AP Green Paper closed on 22 July, and the department will confirm the next steps in implementing our reform programme in due course.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect freedom of speech in universities.

This government is committed to the protection of freedom of speech and academic freedom in universities. The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will strengthen existing freedom of speech duties and introduce clear consequences for breaches, as well as introducing a duty on universities and colleges to promote the importance of freedom of speech and academic freedom.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to (a) recruit and (b) retain teachers.

The number of teachers remains high, with over 461,000 (full-time equivalent) working in schools across the country, 20,000 more than in 2010.

The department aims to continue attracting and retaining the highly skilled teachers that every child needs. To do this, we are taking action to improve teacher recruitment and retention by transforming the training and support we provide, not only to attract more people into teaching, but to encourage them to stay and thrive in the profession.

The department is creating an entitlement to at least three years of structured training, support and professional development for all new teachers, to bring teaching into line with other prestigious professions such as law, accountancy and medicine. Underpinning this is the new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework. Together, these ensure that new teachers will benefit from at least three years of evidence-based training, across ITT and into their induction.

Beyond the first few years of teaching, our priority is to help all teachers and school leaders to continuously develop their expertise throughout their careers so every child in every classroom in every school gets the best start in life. Teachers and school leaders at all levels can now benefit from an updated suite of National Professional Qualifications. Aimed at those who want to develop expertise in high-quality teaching practice, to those leading multiple schools across trusts, these professional development programmes are now free to access for those eligible to apply.

These measures will create a golden thread running from ITT through to school leadership, rooting teacher and leader development in the best available evidence.

To support recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in subjects that are harder to recruit for, we have put in place a range of measures, including bursaries worth £24,000 tax-free and scholarships worth £26,000 tax-free. This will encourage talented trainees for key subjects such as chemistry, computing, mathematics and physics. Additionally, we have announced a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 tax-free for maths, physics, chemistry and computing teachers in years 1 to 5 of their careers.

The deparment remains committed to increasing teacher starting salaries to £30,000 to make teaching an attractive graduate option. We are continuing our efforts to support teacher wellbeing, including by launching the education staff wellbeing charter, and driving down unnecessary burdens and reducing teacher workload though the use of our workload reduction toolkit. Further information on the staff wellbeing charter and workload reduction toolkit are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-staff-wellbeing-charter and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-workload-reduction-toolkit.

2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support schools with internet connectivity.

The department wants all schools in the country to have access to fast internet. We are committed to continued investment, ensuring that every school has access to modern internet connectivity in the classroom and benefiting thousands more children and teachers.

Recognising the importance of broadband infrastructure in education, we are working with industry and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to accelerate the full-fibre internet connectivity rollout to all schools in England. Children in more than 1,000 schools are now enjoying next generation internet speeds thanks to government investment, with around a further 2,000 to be connected by 2025. Most schools in the UK are in urban or suburban areas which already have access to fast full fibre broadband, so this government investment is focused on mostly rural or hard-to-reach areas, to ensure they do not miss out on next-generation speeds.

The government remains committed to investing £5 billion to bring gigabit coverage to the hardest to reach areas and will continue to work with suppliers to accelerate this investment, taking account of industry capacity to bid for, and deliver, contracts to build in uncommercial areas alongside their commercial plans. GigaHubs is one of the programmes DCMS is using to deliver the government’s ambition of gigabit capabilities across the UK by 2030. As part of the wider Project Gigabit, GigaHubs will use up to £110 million to connect public buildings such as rural schools, doctors’ surgeries, and libraries to gigabit broadband. This will allow whole classes of schoolchildren to be online, at once, with no interruptions.

Ensuring good connectivity is just the first step. The actual internet speed experienced is also affected by the technology and Wifi arrangements in place within institutions. We have published a suite of resources to help steer schools, colleges and other providers through the key questions and issues to consider when implementing technology infrastructure, including broadband and local infrastructure issues. To ensure investment made in fast broadband carries through into a high-quality experience in the classroom, we have also set up the ‘connect the classroom’ pilot programme, which is investing up to £30 million to upgrade Wifi for around 1,000 schools.

2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect freedom of speech on university campuses.

I refer my hon. Friend, the Member for Woking, to the answer I gave on 10 September 2021 to Question 41864.

The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, introduced on 12 May, has now passed through committee stage in the House of Commons.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on providing fiscal support to encourage people to (a) upskill and (b) change career paths.

At the recent Spending Review we announced that we are investing £3.8 billion more in further education and skills to ensure people can access high-quality training and education that leads to good jobs, addresses skills gaps, boosts productivity and supports levelling up.

We are continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) (£1.34 billion in academic year 2021/22). The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to support adults in gaining the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning.

The National Skills Fund will help adults learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future and we are investing £1.6 billion through the fund in the next three years, on top of the £375 million already committed in financial year 2021/22. This will include extending the eligibility for Free Courses for Jobs to more adults and further expanding Skills Bootcamps. More details will be announced in due course.

Since 1 April this year, the National Skills Fund (NSF) is supporting any adult who does not have A level equivalent or higher qualifications, to access over 400 fully funded level 3 courses, with Free Courses for Jobs. This offer is a long-term commitment, backed by £95 million from the NSF in year one.

Complementing this support for adults, 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.

As part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, from 2025 we will introduce a Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE) equivalent to four years of post-18 education. It will be available for both modules and full years of study at higher technical and degree levels (levels 4 to 6), regardless of whether they are provided in colleges or universities. The LLE will support study throughout a learners’ life, with the opportunity to train, retrain and upskill as needed in response to changing skills needs and employment patterns. Under this flexible skills system, people can space out their studies and learn at a pace that is right for them. We will consult on the scope and policy of the LLE in due course, as part of our planned pathway to delivery from 2025.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of removing funding for most BTEC qualifications on students.

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

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

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

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

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

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect freedom of speech on university campuses.

This government believes that freedom of speech and academic freedom are fundamental pillars of our higher education system and that protecting these principles should be a priority for universities. That is why the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill was introduced on 12 May. The bill will strengthen existing freedom of speech duties and directly address gaps within the existing law. This includes the fact that there is no clear way of enforcing the current law when a higher education provider breaches it, as well as applying the duties directly to students' unions. The changes will introduce clear consequences for breaches of the new duties and ensure that these principles are upheld.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote lifelong learning and skills development.

The government is investing £2.5 billion in the National Skills Fund in England.

Since 1 April, the government is supporting adults who do not hold A level equivalent or higher qualifications, to access over 400 funded level 3 courses, with Free Courses for Jobs. This offer is a long-term commitment, backed by £95 million from the National Skills Fund in year one.

Complementing this support for adults, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks to give people the opportunity to build up sector specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. The department is expanding the Skills Bootcamp programme across the country during the 2021/22 financial year, with £43 million from the National Skills Fund. There will be digital Skills Bootcamps available in each English region and a wide coverage of technical Skills Bootcamps. We are also delivering Skills Bootcamps in retrofit construction skills to support the green industrial revolution.

From 2025, the department will introduce a Lifelong Loan Entitlement equivalent to 4 years of post-18 education. People will be supported to study throughout their life, with the opportunity to train, retrain and upskill as needed in response to changing skills needs and employment patterns. It will help transform post-18 study, delivering greater parity between further and higher education.

The department is continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) (£1.34 billion in 2021/22). The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to support adults to gain the skills required for work, apprenticeships, or further learning.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the 2021 summer schools programme.

The Government made £200 million available this summer so that secondary schools could deliver face-to-face summer schools. Schools were able to fund provision based on the needs of their students, delivering a blend of academic activities and enrichment activities, including mental wellbeing support. This is alongside wider support funded through our Holiday Activities and Food Programme across the country, where £220 million was made available to local authorities.

Over 2,800 secondary schools signed up to the participate in the summer schools programme. This is 74% of all eligible mainstream secondary schools and it means that over 500,000 pupils will have been invited to take part. This will help recover lost education and to give pupils the confidence they need to start the academic year. Schools will claim their funding for summer school places in October on the basis of pupil attendance.

As part of the Government’s commitment to developing a longer-term education recovery plan, understanding the effectiveness and success of the 2021 summer schools programme is a key priority for the Department. We have designed a research study to help us to better understand the perceived impact of summer schools on children’s wellbeing, transition to secondary school, and academic recovery. An independent research agency will carry out the analysis and reporting of this important research for the Department, and the evaluation will be published on gov.uk.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage employers to take on more apprentices.

In the 2021-22 financial year, funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England will remain around £2.5 billion - double that spent in 2010-11 financial year, supporting employers of all sizes to offer apprenticeships.

We are supporting employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities by offering a higher incentive payment of £3,000 for every new apprentice hired between 1 April and 30 September 2021 as part of the government's Plan for Jobs. We have seen over 71,000 incentive payments claimed by employers so far (as of 8 June).

We continue to improve apprenticeships by making them more flexible and making it easier for employers to make full use of their levy funds. We are developing and encouraging innovative apprenticeships training models, such as the front-loading of off-the-job training and accelerated apprenticeships. These models support apprentices to be effective in their role and accelerate their progression and completion. We will also shortly launch a £7 million fund to help employers set up and expand flexi-job apprenticeship schemes, enabling people to work across multiple projects with different employers and benefit from the high-quality long-term training that an apprenticeship provides.

Levy-paying employers can already transfer up to 25% of their annual funds to support apprenticeships in their supply chains or to meet local skills needs. In August 2021, we will make the transfer of levy funds to small and medium-sized enterprises easier by launching an online matching service, whereby levy payers will be able to pledge funds for transfer and create more apprenticeship opportunities in their supply chain, sector or region.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help sixth form students recover from the disruption to their education that has resulted from the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that extended school and college restrictions due to COVID-19 have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s learning and we are committed to helping all pupils make up learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have made available £1.7 billion in funding to support education recovery. In June 2020, we announced a £1 billion catch-up package, including a National Tutoring Programme and a catch-up premium for this academic year. In February 2021, we committed to further funding of £700 million to fund summer schools, expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for the next academic year. This funding specifically included a £102 million extension of the 16-19 Tuition Fund for a further year to support more students in English, maths and other vocational and academic subjects whose learning has been impacted most severely by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Tuition Fund is specific to 16 to 19 year old learners and is supporting thousands of eligible students across England to catch up and improve retention and attainment during the COVID-19 outbreak. There is good evidence of the value of small group provision in supporting learners to recover lost learning. The fund allows for this support for those studying English and maths and in elements of technical or academic study programmes helping them to address gaps in knowledge required for 16-19 qualifications.

It is essential that the fund focuses on those young people whose learning has been impacted most severely by the COVID-19 outbreak. This is why we have focused on those young people who are at significant disadvantage and who need the most support. Within the eligible cohort, providers will have discretion to target those students who need support most. Provider institutions will decide whether to opt into the scheme.

We have also appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on the development of a long-term recovery plan. Sir Kevan will engage with parents, pupils, students and teachers in the development of this broader approach. He will also review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on learning to ensure pupils and students, including those aged 16 to 19, are not disadvantaged disproportionately as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help improve the development of language skills in early education.

Since 2018, we have committed more than £60 million to programmes to improve early language and literacy. Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are spending up to £9 million of the National Tutoring Programme fund during the 2020/21 academic year on the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI), a robustly evidenced programme proven to improve oral language skills.

The recent Spending Review has confirmed that the department will fund further expansion of an evidence-based reception year early language programme (such as NELI) during the 2021/22 academic year.

Furthermore, over 3,000 early adopter schools are implementing the reforms to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) from September 2020, ahead of statutory roll out in September 2021. One of the main aims of the revised framework is to improve early years outcomes for all children, particularly disadvantaged children in the critical areas that build the foundation for later success, such as language development.

As part of the reforms, we have revised the educational programmes to strengthen teaching practice in communication and language, providing a deeper focus on building vocabulary to address the word gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.

Further information on the early adopter EYFS framework can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/896810/EYFS_Early_Adopter_Framework.pdf.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to (a) monitor and (b) enforce schools’ compliance with the requirements on political impartiality in the provisions of the Education Act 1996.

The law is clear that schools must remain politically impartial. School leaders and staff have a responsibility to ensure that they act appropriately, particularly in the political views they express. When political issues are discussed, schools must offer pupils a balanced presentation of opposing views and should not present materials in a politically biased or one-sided way.

As Ministers have made clear, political impartiality in our education system is an incredibly important principle to uphold. The Government is committed to ensuring children and young people receive a balanced education. The Department is committed to enforcing this and it, and Ofsted, will not hesitate to act where necessary to help schools meet their legal duties.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for sixth form students.

I refer my hon. Friend, the Member for Woking, to the answer that my hon. Friend, the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families gave on 28 January 2020 to Question 5550.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will extend eligibility for the Teachers’ Pay Grant to sixth form colleges.

Sixth form colleges have a different legal status and relationship to government when compared with schools. They are independent of government and the department plays no role in setting teacher pay and conditions. Therefore, sixth form colleges are not eligible for the teachers' pay grant or the early-career payments for school teachers. We continue to work closely with the further education sector to consider how best to support its needs.

We have announced a 16-19 funding increase of £400 million for 2020-21. This includes a 4.7% increase in the 16-19 base rate of funding and £20 million of new funding for the further education workforce.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will extend eligibility for Early Career Payments to teachers in sixth form colleges.

Sixth form colleges have a different legal status and relationship to government when compared with schools. They are independent of government and the department plays no role in setting teacher pay and conditions. Therefore, sixth form colleges are not eligible for the teachers' pay grant or the early-career payments for school teachers. We continue to work closely with the further education sector to consider how best to support its needs.

We have announced a 16-19 funding increase of £400 million for 2020-21. This includes a 4.7% increase in the 16-19 base rate of funding and £20 million of new funding for the further education workforce.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce pollution in the marine environment.

The UK Government is committed to leading efforts to protect the marine environment from all stressors.

The UK Marine Strategy Part 3 published in December 2015, sets out a comprehensive list of actions the UK Government is taking to reduce contaminant concentrations in the marine environment to acceptable levels. In 2021 we intend to publish an update to the document, outlining the programmes of measures that will continue to move us towards Good Environmental Status in our seas. Existing measures include various pollution reduction requirements for emissions and discharges from industry, and measures for coastal waters that are set out in the River Basin Management Plans.

The UK Government is also tackling pollution from solid waste at its source. The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, working towards our 25 Year Environment Plan target to reduce all types of marine plastic pollution.

Given the trans-boundary nature of the marine environment, we work closely with other countries to tackle pollution, such as with those who share our seas through the OSPAR Convention. The UK also contributes to and implements the obligations of several global initiatives, including the London Protocol and the London Convention, to protect the marine environment from mercury, persistent organic pollutants, hazardous wastes, hazardous chemicals, pesticides and marine litter. In 2018, the UK launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance alongside Vanuatu, now a community of 34 member states who have pledged action on reducing plastic pollution in the ocean. As per the Government’s manifesto commitment, the UK will establish a £500 million Blue Planet Fund that will help eligible countries protect their marine resources from key human-generated threats, including pollution.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle waste crime.

Waste crime blights both local communities and the environment and we are committed to tackling it. We have given the Environment Agency an extra £60 million to tackle waste crime since 2014.

Our Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) sets out our approach to preventing, detecting and deterring waste crime. The Environment Bill takes forward a number of these measures, including powers to introduce the mandatory electronic tracking of waste and enhanced enforcement powers for regulators and local authorities. The RWS is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/765914/resources-waste-strategy-dec-2018.pdf

In January 2020, the Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) was launched - a taskforce dedicated to tackling serious and organised criminality in the waste sector, including large-scale illegal dumping and false labelling of waste. It brings together the EA, the National Crime Agency, the police, HMRC, Natural Resources Wales and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in a UK-wide effort to share intelligence and resources. To tackle the growing trend in criminal waste networks, the new unit will conduct site inspections, make arrests and prosecutions and, upon conviction, push for heavy fines and custodial sentences.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent progress he has made on implementing the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan.

In June the Government published its second 25 Year Environment Plan Progress Report. This second report describes where progress has been made towards achieving the long-term vision of the plan. It also highlights the challenges that still remain in improving the environment within a generation and which we are committed to addressing.

In the last 12 months we have taken significant steps forward in delivering our environmental commitments outlined in our 25 Year Environment Plan. We became the first major economy to legislate for net zero and underlining our commitment to achieving this target, we launched a consultation on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible, including hybrids for the first time. We have also taken action to conserve our marine environment, including by designating the third tranche of 41 new Marine Conservation Zones in May 2019. We are also investing £640 million in a new Nature for Climate Fund to support woodland creation and peatland restoration. Action under each of the goal areas of the 25 Year Environment Plan is set out in the report.

A major step in implementing our environmental ambition has been bringing forward the first Environment Bill for more than 20 years to help leave the environment in a better state than that in which we found it. The Bill, alongside our strengthened Agriculture and Fisheries Bills, sets a new legal foundation for government action to improve the environment. It will place the environment at the heart of Government policy making and ensure that this Government – and future Governments – are held to account if they fail to uphold their environmental duties, including meeting net-zero by 2050, and wider long-term legally binding targets on biodiversity, air quality, water, and resource and waste efficiency established under the Bill.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to protect (a) trees and (b) woodlands in (i) Surrey and (ii) the UK.

Measures to protect our trees and woodlands apply nationally and are not county dependent.

We committed in our 25 Year Environment Plan to increase protection of our existing trees and forests.

As part of this, we have already strengthened the protection of ancient woodlands through the National Planning Policy Framework and the accompanying Planning Policy Guidance and we are introducing a new duty on local authorities to consult local communities when they wish to remove street trees.

The Environment Bill is also providing additional powers to the Forestry Commission, to increase the deterrent for illegal felling, protect our woodlands and ensure that illegally felled land is restocked.

In the Spring, Defra will be consulting on its forthcoming England Tree Strategy, setting out the Government’s vision for English forestry.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to protect biodiversity in (a) Surrey and (b) the UK.

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

The Government has strong protections in place for biodiversity on land and at sea. In England, over 1.09 million hectares of land is designated and strictly protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). There are 62 SSSIs in Surrey such as Chobham Common, one of the largest heathlands in the Thames Basin area.

We are expanding our protected areas at sea. An ambitious third tranche of 41 Marine Conservation Zones were designated in May 2019.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulation 2017 apply across England. These laws make it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or capture listed species, as well as damage or destroy breeding sites.

This Government is also investing in improving habitats and recovering species. We are spending £2.9 billion on agri-environment schemes in England through our 7 year Rural Development Programme. We are additionally investing in woodland expansion and peatland restoration, to help mitigate climate change and halt biodiversity loss.

Our statutory nature conservation advisers, Natural England, work with a range of conservation organisations and landowners on species recovery projects, for example through the Back from the Brink programme. This is funded primarily by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and aims to put over 100 species on the road to recovery by 2020. In Surrey, at Farnham Heath, this work includes re-introduction and recovery of the rare Field Cricket – a specialist of heathland habitats which are a particular feature of Surrey’s biodiversity.

This Government is determined to continue to work to protect and enhance biodiversity. We are developing a new Environmental Land Management scheme, which will reward farmers and land managers for delivering environment outcomes such as protection of habitats which will support our biodiversity goals. We will be introducing the first Environment Bill in over 20 years. This will seek to mandate biodiversity net gain in development and will include ambitious legislative measures to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age including nature recovery.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to include older people and ageing populations within the work of her Department.

My Department recognises that older people experience a range of complex barriers and face multiple exclusions in developing countries across the globe.

Ageing is an important part of DFID's efforts to ensure inclusion and our approach to leaving no one behind. For example, DFID’s Disability Inclusion Strategy and Strategic Vision for Gender Equality take a life-course approach, ensuring the delivery of transformative change for people all ages.

We are also supporting governments to make vital social protection systems more inclusive of older people. In Uganda, DFID continues to build on its partnership with the Government of Uganda to deliver a Senior Citizen Grant. The grant currently supports over 168,000 older people to help meet their nutritional and healthcare needs.

25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent progress her Department has made on tackling barriers to exports by British food and farming businesses.

Removing barriers boosts exports to familiar markets and unlocks new ones. In the financial year 2021-22, we resolved 192 barriers across 79 countries. This has included opening the markets for UK poultry meat to Japan and UK pork to Mexico and Chile.

Most recently, the first export of British lamb was sent to the USA in October, for the first time in over 20 years. Now millions of USA consumers will be able to enjoy British lamb on their dinner plates. Industry estimates the market for lamb to the USA is worth an estimated £37m over the first five years.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to increase trade opportunities for the UK financial services sector.

The Department for International Trade is committed to increasing trade opportunities for the UK financial services sector. We work closely with the sector through Trade Advisory Group forums, to secure their input to develop our ambitious free trade agreements programme. We identify overseas market access barriers and work to remove them through our overseas Post network. Together with a wide range of industry organisations we promote the UK’s world class financial services sector in key areas such as asset management, insurance, green and sustainable finance as well as supporting fintech and insuretech providers to enter high growth overseas markets.

Andrew Bowie
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent progress her Department has made on securing UK membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The UK continues to make good progress on negotiating accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, having demonstrated to members of the partnership that we are a high-standards, fair trading economy. In person market access negotiations were held in Tokyo in July, followed by a subsequent round in Sydney in October.


Negotiations will continue over the coming months; the UK will take the time needed to ensure that accession takes place on terms that are right for British business and interests.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent progress her Department has made on negotiating a free trade agreement with India.

British trade with India has averaged around £20 billion over recent years. The Indian market is huge, and the scope for growth is great. My Rt hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced an Enhanced Trade Partnership with India in May, which addresses some immediate market access barriers and sets out our intent to negotiate a free trade agreement. My Department has since launched a public consultation, which closes on 31st August, to give businesses the opportunity to share their experiences of trading with India. A deal would make it easier for British businesses to succeed in India’s dynamic market, driving growth and supporting jobs across the United Kingdom.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent progress she has made with her G7 counterparts on advocating for free and fair trade throughout the world.

In May, G7 Trade Ministers united in their commitment to free and fair trade; to a global trading system with open markets; and to ensuring the multilateral trading system is reformed, responding to the needs of the British people and others around the world.

Ministers committed to protect individuals from forced labour in global supply chains, and to work together in tackling market distorting practices that threaten the integrity of the rules-based trading system.

1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department has taken to support British farmers and food producers to increase their global sales.

The Department for International Trade is working with farming and food organisations to deliver tailored export support to our agriculture, food and drink producers. Our ‘Open Doors’ campaign offers a wide range of support for businesses who want to start exporting or expand into new markets, including exporting masterclasses and a flagship agriculture mentoring programme. The DIT Export Academy also provides a variety of educational programmes supporting businesses to grow internationally and increase their sales.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent progress she has made for the UK to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

On Monday 1st February, the Government submitted its notification of intent to begin the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) accession process. This is the first step towards accession before formal negotiations start later in the year.

We will publish our negotiation objectives, scoping analysis, and consultation response in advance of the start of formal negotiations, expected in Spring 2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps she has taken to reduce unfair tariffs on UK exports.

As an independent trading nation, the UK is looking to strike successful trade deals with partners worldwide. We are seeking trade deals which will benefit businesses across the UK by reducing tariffs and offering preferential treatment to UK exports.

The Department for International Trade is currently negotiating with the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. We will use our voice as a newly independent trading nation to champion free trade, fight protectionism and remove barriers at every opportunity.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve bus services in England.

On 15 March we launched England’s long-term National Bus Strategy, setting out a bold vision for bus services across the country. Backed by £3 billion of transformational funding over the current Parliament, the Strategy will make buses more frequent, more reliable, easier to understand and use, better co-ordinated and cheaper.

Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs), which we expect local authorities to produce by the end of October, will need to set out ambitious visions for travel by bus, meeting the goals and expectations in the strategy. BSIPs will influence the share of the £3 billion funding that each authority receives.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with Highways England on noise pollution caused by the concrete road surface between junctions 10 and 11 of the M25.

Highways England is aware that noise is an important issue for residents living next to the M25 motorway between junctions 10 and 11 and is actively looking for ways to improve the situation.

Work to repair failed joints in the concrete carriageways was completed in November 2019 and this should help to reduce the noise level.

There are currently no plans to resurface the carriageways on this section of the M25, but there is a trial to test materials and techniques which could help to reduce noise and improve the performance of concrete surfaces which is currently being carried out on the M1. The trial includes measurement of the noise reduction achieved and the rate of deterioration of the different treatments and is anticipated to continue until 2022. The results of this trial will help Highways England to decide how to manage concrete surfaces on its roads in the future, including this section of the M25.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will ask Highways England to replace the poor quality road surface between junctions 10 and 11 of the M25.

Highways England is aware that noise is an important issue for residents living next to the M25 motorway between junctions 10 and 11 and is actively looking for ways to improve the situation.

Work to repair failed joints in the concrete carriageways was completed in November 2019 and this should help to reduce the noise level.

There are currently no plans to resurface the carriageways on this section of the M25, but there is a trial to test materials and techniques which could help to reduce noise and improve the performance of concrete surfaces which is currently being carried out on the M1. The trial includes measurement of the noise reduction achieved and the rate of deterioration of the different treatments and is anticipated to continue until 2022. The results of this trial will help Highways England to decide how to manage concrete surfaces on its roads in the future, including this section of the M25.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve the performance of rail services operating from Woking to London.

South Western Railways’ (SWR) Franchise Agreement contains provisions that incentivises SWR to improve its own performance and to work jointly with Network Rail. Challenging targets for performance have been set and where performance falls below expected levels, SWR is required to invest additional sums of money into initiatives to address the causes of the poor performance. This has been the case in the first two years of the Franchise, where targets were not met. Officials and I continue to monitor closely SWR’s performance and are currently in the process of finalising a Remedial Agreement.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to require South Western Railway to compensate passengers for the heavily disrupted service from Woking Station into London during the recent RMT strike.

Passengers are entitled to compensation under the Delay Repay scheme for delays of 15 minutes or more against the published timetable on SWR. The Department are considering all options available to ensure passengers are compensated for this disruption

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to expand the support available through Jobcentres.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for getting people into work and making work pay. We want everyone to be able to find a job, progress in work and thrive in the labour market. In addition to our core regime of job centre support we also announced a wide-ranging package of measures at Spring Budget designed to support people to enter work, increase their working hours and extend their working lives. We also announced specific support targeted on those with disabilities or health issues, and together the package represents an investment of £3.5bn over 5 years.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to support parents on Universal Credit into work.

The Spring Budget included transformative childcare plans for parents, children and the economy. By 2027-28, the government expects to be spending in excess of £8 billion every year on free hours and early education, helping working families with their childcare costs. This represents the single biggest investment in childcare in England ever.

The reforms announced build on our current entitlements and childcare offers, which includes the universal 15-hour offer for all 3- and 4-year-olds, a 15-hour offer for the most disadvantaged 2-year-olds, the existing 30 hours offer for 3- and 4-year-olds, as well as Tax-Free Childcare and Universal Credit Childcare.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to increase the uptake of Pension Credit.

Our extensive communications campaign has been running since April 2022 and there is a strong indication that it is having a positive effect. The number of Pension Credit applications is up by around 75% in the 12 months to May compared to the same period last year.

Earlier this year we boosted our campaign with extensive television adverts which highlight that Pension Credit is worth £3,500 a year on average – as well as up to £900 in Cost of Living Payments. For the Pension Credit ‘Week of Action’ in June, DWP joined forces with a whole range of partners to raise awareness and promote take-up of Pension Credit. I held an event to raise awareness of Pension Credit in my constituency and wrote to all MPs encouraging them to hold their own community event.

Today [Monday 17 June] I am pleased to announce the launch of an innovative “Invitation to Claim” trial across 10 local areas in Great Britain. Approximately 2,500 pensioner households already in receipt of Housing Benefit, but who are not claiming Pension Credit are being targeted during the trial. The first letters and ‘call to action’ leaflets will start landing on doorsteps this week inviting pensioners to apply for Pension Credit. Evaluation of the trial will help show whether targeting households in this way can be an effective way of reaching these households and increasing take-up.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department’s plan on Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System, published on 19 May 2022.

The Fraud Plan set out our ambitions in three key areas. We are making good progress in delivering our investment in frontline services and bringing together the full force of the private and public sectors. Decisions on legislation are for the King’s Speech.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to use technological innovations to (a) find and (b) prevent fraud in the welfare system.

The department continues to explore the application of cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence and machine learning to prevent, detect and deter those who would try to cheat the system, whilst also supporting genuine and vulnerable claimants.

Details of our work in this area are set out in the DWP annual report and accounts 2022 to 2023 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of people who have moved into work during the Way to Work campaign.

As of 6 July, we estimate that at least 520,400 unemployed Universal Credit claimants and Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants have moved into work during the Way to Work Campaign between 31 January and the end of 30 June 2022. 

This total figure is composed of our into work measure to the end of May (over 386,000) and our internal management information up to 30 June (72,800). We are now also able to include JSA claimants who have moved into work between 31 January and 9 June 2022 (35,100) into our total. Furthermore, we have also included those claimants with a sanction in place that moved into work during the period of the campaign up to 30 June (26,500). Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.  

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics but is provided in the interests of transparency and timeliness.

5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help people understand their personal pensions.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is currently introducing several initiatives to assist people in understanding their pensions.

We currently offer pensions guidance, through the Money and Pensions Service, in the form of MoneyHelper and Pension Wise.

The Stronger Nudge to pensions guidance regulations, which came into force in June 2022, ensures no-one will be able to access their savings through pension freedoms without having received Pension Wise guidance or opted out. As part of this, schemes now offer to book of a Pension Wise appointment for the member as part of the application process, removing the inertia introduced by members having to book their own appointment.

On 14th June DWP published the ‘Helping savers understand their pension choices’ call for evidence, to explore what support members of pension schemes need to help them make informed decisions about how to use their savings. The responses to this call for evidence and other engagement with industry and member representatives will inform what, if any, government action is needed.

From October this year, new regulations come into force that require defined contribution schemes used for automatic enrolment to send simpler, 2-page maximum, statements to members. These short, simpler statements will give savers the key information they need to be able to better engage with and understand their pensions. They will help people plan for the retirement they want.

Finally, on 31st January 2022, DWP published a consultation on the draft regulations for Pensions Dashboards, which closed on 13 March 2022. Following publication of its response, expected this summer, the department will lay regulations for dashboards when parliamentary time allows. Pensions dashboards can help make accessing pensions information easier by empowering people to see what they have in their various pensions, including their State Pension, at the touch of a button on their smartphone, laptop or computer at home. This will put the saver in control and help reconnect people with their lost pension pots, transforming how people think and plan for their retirement.

DWP regulates for trust-based workplace pensions. Individual and other personal pensions within the contract-based market are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the level of fraud and error in the welfare system.

Our Fraud Plan, Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System, published 19 May 2022, sets out our plans for reducing the level of fraud and error in the welfare system by:

  • Investing in DWPs frontline counter-fraud professionals and data analytics, including recruiting 2,000 trained specialists to review over two million Universal Credit cases.
  • Creating new legal powers to investigate potential fraud and punish fraudsters (subject to legislation).
  • Bringing together the full force of public and private sectors to keep one step ahead.

The full document can be found at Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The government is investing £1.4bn of funding over the next three years, to combat fraud and error.

We estimate this investment will stop over £2.0bn of loss in fraud and error during this time.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of Universal Credit claimants in the borough of Woking who will receive a cost of living payment.

Universal Credit claimants who were entitled to at least 1p during assessment periods that ended between 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022 will be eligible for the £326 Cost of Living Payment from 14 July.

Statistics on the number of households that had an assessment period which covered the monthly count date and received a Universal Credit payment are available by Westminster parliamentary constituency at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

The latest statistics show the number of households with Universal Credit in payment on 10 February 2022. Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help people who lost their jobs during the covid-19 pandemic back into work.

The Department for Work and Pensions is committed to supporting everyone who has been affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19. We want everyone who can work to find a job, progress in work, and thrive in the labour market.

Throughout the pandemic the UK Government has provided over £400 billion to support the economy, including funding for the Plan for Jobs. The Kickstart scheme has provided over 130,000 young people with Kickstart jobs, with many of these securing permanent employment. Alongside this, the Restart Scheme offers a fresh start to those who have been unemployed for over 9 months. The scheme breaks down employment barriers that could potentially prevent jobseekers from finding work.

In January, we launched Way to Work, a national campaign to help half a million job ready claimants on Universal Credit into work by the end of June 2022. We are changing our approach with claimants to an A, B, C approach (Any Job, Better Job, Career) in recognition that the longer a claimant is out of work the harder it can be to find a job. We are building on the success of Kickstart to work more closely with employers to bring them into our jobcentres. We will work with employers to move claimants into work quicker, through recruitment days, job fairs and work trials.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to tackle fraudsters who seek to exploit the benefits system.

The Department takes benefit fraud very seriously and is taking a wide range of steps to tackle fraud, as well as seeking to actively prevent it.

In addition to having dedicated teams to investigate cases of suspected fraud, we continue to invest in innovative measures to combat fraud, focussing wherever possible on preventing it entering the benefit system in the first place.

To this end, the Department successfully secured additional funding of £613m last year, recognising and supporting the steps we have already made in tackling Fraud and Error, enabling us to make a significant impact towards reducing levels of fraud and error in DWP, more effective collection of debt and providing effective counter fraud operations on a larger scale.

In particular, it will support the development of several new initiatives to:

  • Drive down the level of fraud and error in Universal Credit (UC) through a targeted review of UC claims. This allows us to systematically review stock UC cases to immediately uncover fraud and error and remove it from the system.
  • Target hard to collect debt through the formation of a new Debt Enforcement Function.
  • Continue our recruitment into the Counter Fraud and Compliance Directorate (CFCD) up to 9,500 FTE so that we can continue to respond quickly and effectively to threats.

Where fraud does enter the benefit system, we take action to recover the money and apply appropriate penalties, including prosecution.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to increase collection rates of child maintenance payments.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) take rigorous action to collect maintenance, combining robust negotiation activity with the highly effective use of its extensive range of Enforcement Powers.

There has been a consistent downward trend in the proportion of unpaid maintenance as a proportion of maintenance arranged, falling from 12.5% in 2017 to 8.5% in September 2021

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of people who have found employment through the Plan for Jobs skills and employment programmes.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be monitoring and evaluating the Plan for Jobs programmes throughout their implementation.

Since April 2020, almost 1.6m people have moved from unemployment to employment from the Universal Credit Intensive Work Search group as shown in the table below.

Movements into employment are available for out-of-work Universal Credit claimants in the Intensive Work Search (Searching for Work) group.

Universal Credit Into Work Rate, May 2018 to May 2021

Into Work Rate (Percentages)

Into Work Volume (‘000s)

May-18

9.6

19

Jun-18

9.3

20

Jul-18

9.1

22

Aug-18

9.8

27

Sep-18

10.6

32

Oct-18

11.1

36

Nov-18

11.5

40

Dec-18

7.4

29

Jan-19

9.4

41

Feb-19

9.0

45

Mar-19

10.5

55

Apr-19

9.8

53

May-19

10.0

55

Jun-19

8.9

52

Jul-19

9.3

54

Aug-19

9.6

57

Sep-19

10.4

65

Oct-19

10.4

64

Nov-19

10.0

64

Dec-19

7.4

46

Jan-20

8.1

53

Feb-20

8.5

60

Mar-20

8.1

58

Apr-20

6.3

62

May-20

6.3

84

Jun-20

6.7

96

Jul-20

7.7

115

Aug-20

7.5

112

Sep-20

9.0

136

Oct-20

9.0

134

Nov-20

8.1

121

Dec-20

6.0

88

Jan-21

6.0

91

Feb-21

6.3

97

Mar-21

8.4

130

Apr-21

9.9

148

May-21

10.3

148

Note: The base population for the Into Work measure is UC claimants in the Intensive Work Search (Searching for Work) conditionality group who are not in work or who have a valid fit note in the relevant month. The Into Work rate is the proportion of these claimants who move into work the following month. These rates are calculated from DWP Management Information and are subject to revision. Figures shown here are from data as of August 2021. The Into Work volumes do not align to caseloads in the DWP Universal Credit Official Statistics due to differences in definitions and population filters. Claimants included in the Into Work rate may or may not remain in the Intensive Work Search group or on Universal Credit depending on their level of earnings and other circumstances. Claimants are identified as being in work if they have earnings in HMRC's Real Time Information data, or if they are required to report self-employed earnings. Claimants can be part of the Into Work rate in more than one month if they move in and out of periods of work.

For the latest available information on starts on Kickstart jobs, I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ36791 (https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-07-20/36791).

Employment outcomes are available for Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) in England and Wales and JETS Scotland, and provided in the table below. It should be noted that JETS provides support for up to six months and many people who have started on the scheme will not yet have had time to achieve an employment outcome.

JETS Starts and Employment Outcomes

Programme Starts (To End June 2021)

Employment Outcomes (To End June 2021)

JETS England and Wales (launched 5 October 2020)

132,885

24,535

JETS Scotland (launched 25 January 2021)

5,995

655

Note: JETS data are taken from the Provider Referrals and Payments (PRaP) system. An employment outcome is defined as when an individual achieves £1,000 cumulative earnings within eight months of starting on the programme as identified via HMRC earnings information.

The number of people who have started on Job Finding Support (JFS) and Sector Based Work Academies (SWAPs) provision is provided in the tables below. Employment outcomes for these programmes is not currently available.

SWAPs Starts

1 April 2020 - 31 March 2021

64,500

1 April 2021 - 29 August 2021

30,070

Total since April 2020

94,570

Notes: A SWAP start is defined as the first day of the placement, which is usually the first day of pre-employment training. A start is only recorded where a claimant attended their placement. SWAPs starts data are collected by Jobcentre staff and reflect the number of SWAP starts by claimants in receipt of Universal Credit (UC), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support (IS).

JFS Starts

Month

Starts to JFS

Jan-21

1,440

Feb-21

3,465

Mar-21

4,530

Apr-21

2,585

May-21

4,490

Jun-21

4,940

Jul-21

5,740

Aug-21

4,265

Total

31,455

Notes: JFS Starts are taken from the Provider Referrals and Payments (PRaP) system. Starts occur where an initial meeting has taken place and participant has acknowledged receipt of appropriate documents such as the Job Finding Action Plan (JFAP).

Through our Youth Offer we currently have over 115 Youth Hubs physically open to support young people across Great Britain get into work and the ambition is to have 150 open by the end of the year.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help ensure that Woking residents can access Ashford hospital.

I congratulate my Honourable Friend for his efforts and ongoing campaign and petition to secure a direct bus route between Woking and Ashford Hospital in Surrey.

He has made me aware that increasing numbers of appointments for Woking residents have been scheduled at Ashford Hospital over recent times and that current public transport links between Woking and the hospital are far from ideal.

To help expand wider access Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has received £15 million in the 2020/21 to 2021/22 period for the expansion of the emergency department and urgent treatment centre that serves, amongst others, the Woking area. This scheme is completed, and the site is operational.

In addition to this, the trust was also allocated £10 million in the 2022/23 to 2023/24 period from our Elective Recovery Targeted Investment Fund for theatres and procedure rooms.

I wish my Honourable Friend a successful outcome to his important campaign on this matter.

Steve Barclay
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress his Department has made on providing additional (a) scans, (b) tests and (c) check-ups.

In February 2022 the National Health Service (NHS) published its Delivery Plan for Tackling the COVID-19 Backlog of Elective Care. The delivery plan commits the NHS to deliver nine million additional treatments and diagnostic procedures over the next three years and around 30 per cent more elective activity than it was doing before the pandemic by 2024-25.

2.06 million key diagnostic tests and scans were conducted in August 2022 compared with pre- pandemic activity of 1.9 million tests for August 2019.

There are currently 89 Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) currently operational that offer additional diagnostic capacity for patients waiting for clinical tests such as MRIs, ultrasounds and CT scans. CDCs have delivered over two million additional tests and scans as of October 2022. Investment in up to 160 CDCs will deliver 17 million tests by March 2025, having added the capacity for nine million more per year once they are all fully operational.

There were on average 1.35 million general practice appointments per working day in September 2022, excluding Covid-19 vaccination appointments. This is an increase of 3.6% from September 2021.

25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to GP services.

On 22 September 2022, we announced “Our Plan for Patients,” which we estimate will help general practices deliver over a million more appointments this winter, and we set the expectation that patients who need an appointment within two weeks can get one, with urgent cases being seen on the same day.

This plan committed to publishing practice-level appointment data, to help people make an informed choice about which practice is best for them and set out measures to help patients book appointments more easily and benefit from more options when they need care, for example, from a community pharmacy.

We recognise that some patients have struggled to contact their practice by telephone. To help practices manage demand on their phone systems, NHS England has already offered a short-term telephony solution to all GP practices, which can free up existing telephone lines for incoming calls and help practices match capacity to demand. From December, NHS England will accelerate the delivery of a framework to support all practices to secure cloud-based telephony systems.

We will also free also up funding rules to bolster general practice teams with other professionals who can help them, such as GP assistants and advanced practitioners.

25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve ambulance response times.

NHS England has allocated an additional £150 million for ambulance service pressures in 2022/23, supporting improvements to response times through additional call handler recruitment, retention and other requirements. The National Health Service is also investing £20 million to upgrade the ambulance fleet in each year to 2024/25, reducing the age profile and emissions of the fleet and increasing productivity.

The NHS will increase bed capacity by the equivalent of at least 7,000 general and acute beds to improve patient flow through hospital and reduce long waiting times in transferring ambulance patients to accident and emergency. NHS England is also providing targeted support to some hospitals facing the greatest delays in the handover of ambulance patients to the care of hospitals, to identify short and longer-term interventions.

21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what lessons he has learned from the covid-19 vaccine deployment that can be applied to the routine childhood immunisation programme.

The Department is reflecting on the lessons learned from the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and exploring how they can be applied to all immunisation programmes, including the routine childhood immunisation programme.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the provision of non-covid-19 healthcare treatment.

In addition to the £63 billion of additional funding already provided to the National Health Service in 2020-21 and a further commitment of £20.3 billion in 2021-22 to help manage ongoing COVID-19 pressures alongside non-COVID-19 activity levels, we are providing an additional £3 billion next year, on top of the long-term settlement, to support recovery from COVID-19.

The Spending Review allocated £1 billion to help tackle the elective backlog and support hospitals to cut long waits for treatment by carrying up to one million extra checks, scans and additional operations or procedures. We have also provided funding for enhanced Infection Prevention and Control measures, including £450 million to expand and upgrade accident and emergency departments to reduce overcrowding and improve infection control so we can continue to treat all patients safely.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to bring forward legislative proposals to reform mental health laws.

On 13 January 2021 we published our white paper on reform of the Mental Health Act 1983. We have launched a 14-week consultation inviting views from the public, professionals, service users and carers and will also engage with those from protected groups to ensure we get this once in a generation opportunity right. The consultation ends 21 April 2021. This will inform the development of a Mental Health Bill.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to protect care home residents during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Adult Social Care Winter Plan sets out the actions the Government are taking to support the sector. We are providing free personal protective equipment (PPE) to care homes via the PPE portal until June 2021. In addition, we have provided over £1.4 billion in specific funding for adult social care, £4.6 billion for local authorities to address pressures on public services, infection prevention and control guidance and increased staff testing to identify new cases and protect the workforce as well as residents.

We have placed residents and staff in care homes for older adults in the highest priority group of the vaccination programme, following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to recruit more nurses in the NHS.

Supporting recruitment into the National Health Service nursing workforce is a priority for this Government, underlined by our commitment to deliver 50,000 more nurses for the NHS.

We want all those with the capability and aspiration to become nurses to be able to do so. That’s why We are increasing the number of student nursing places available on degree courses and making a new funding package of at least £5,000 available to all eligible pre-registration nursing students at an English university. We are also supporting alternative routes into nursing and last month announced a £172 million funding package to double the number of apprenticeship placements, so now up to 2,000 aspiring nurses per year will be able to take this route to qualifying as a registered nurse.

To complement these actions we are also recruiting more nurses from overseas and improving the experience of those already working in the NHS so fewer nurses leave; the NHS People Plan was published in July and sets out actions to grow our workforce and foster a culture of inclusion and belonging.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve diagnosis rates for liver disease.

From April 2020 a new National Health Service CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation framework) will be introduced to support early identification of cirrhosis and enhanced fibrosis in alcohol dependent individuals. The CQUIN will incentivise acute and mental health providers to ensure that appropriate tests (transient elastography, enhanced liver fibrosis or STLT blood tests) are carried out on in-patients who have a diagnosis of alcohol dependence.

The delivery of the national CQUIN to support early identification of cirrhosis and enhanced fibrosis against a standard set of criteria will support tackling regional variation.

Specialised commissioning is also supporting a programme to identify people with hepatitis C infection at an early stage to avoid subsequent liver disease.

In 2019/20, Public Health England (PHE) awarded £6 million capital funding to 23 local authorities to support their ambitions to increase access to alcohol treatment. This includes supporting nine areas to purchase fibroscan machines to increase early detection and access to treatment for those with alcohol-related liver disease.

PHE is also supporting work to increase opportunities for the earlier detection of alcohol-related liver disease in people drinking at or above high-risk levels. This includes new NHS Health Check guidance to encourage referral for liver investigation.

Additionally, the rollout of optimal Alcohol Care Teams across England in the areas with the highest rates of alcohol dependence-related admissions will improve the care pathway, including the use of appropriate diagnostics, for patients and their families who have issues with alcohol dependence.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish a national strategy for liver disease.

From April 2020 a new National Health Service CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation framework) will be introduced to support early identification of cirrhosis and enhanced fibrosis in alcohol dependent individuals. The CQUIN will incentivise acute and mental health providers to ensure that appropriate tests (transient elastography, enhanced liver fibrosis or STLT blood tests) are carried out on in-patients who have a diagnosis of alcohol dependence.

The delivery of the national CQUIN to support early identification of cirrhosis and enhanced fibrosis against a standard set of criteria will support tackling regional variation.

Specialised commissioning is also supporting a programme to identify people with hepatitis C infection at an early stage to avoid subsequent liver disease.

In 2019/20, Public Health England (PHE) awarded £6 million capital funding to 23 local authorities to support their ambitions to increase access to alcohol treatment. This includes supporting nine areas to purchase fibroscan machines to increase early detection and access to treatment for those with alcohol-related liver disease.

PHE is also supporting work to increase opportunities for the earlier detection of alcohol-related liver disease in people drinking at or above high-risk levels. This includes new NHS Health Check guidance to encourage referral for liver investigation.

Additionally, the rollout of optimal Alcohol Care Teams across England in the areas with the highest rates of alcohol dependence-related admissions will improve the care pathway, including the use of appropriate diagnostics, for patients and their families who have issues with alcohol dependence.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the diagnosis process for liver disease.

From April 2020 a new National Health Service CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation framework) will be introduced to support early identification of cirrhosis and enhanced fibrosis in alcohol dependent individuals. The CQUIN will incentivise acute and mental health providers to ensure that appropriate tests (transient elastography, enhanced liver fibrosis or STLT blood tests) are carried out on in-patients who have a diagnosis of alcohol dependence.

The delivery of the national CQUIN to support early identification of cirrhosis and enhanced fibrosis against a standard set of criteria will support tackling regional variation.

Specialised commissioning is also supporting a programme to identify people with hepatitis C infection at an early stage to avoid subsequent liver disease.

In 2019/20, Public Health England (PHE) awarded £6 million capital funding to 23 local authorities to support their ambitions to increase access to alcohol treatment. This includes supporting nine areas to purchase fibroscan machines to increase early detection and access to treatment for those with alcohol-related liver disease.

PHE is also supporting work to increase opportunities for the earlier detection of alcohol-related liver disease in people drinking at or above high-risk levels. This includes new NHS Health Check guidance to encourage referral for liver investigation.

Additionally, the rollout of optimal Alcohol Care Teams across England in the areas with the highest rates of alcohol dependence-related admissions will improve the care pathway, including the use of appropriate diagnostics, for patients and their families who have issues with alcohol dependence.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to increase the use of local liver mobile screening units.

From April 2020 a new National Health Service CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation framework) will be introduced to support early identification of cirrhosis and enhanced fibrosis in alcohol dependent individuals. The CQUIN will incentivise acute and mental health providers to ensure that appropriate tests (transient elastography, enhanced liver fibrosis or STLT blood tests) are carried out on in-patients who have a diagnosis of alcohol dependence.

The delivery of the national CQUIN to support early identification of cirrhosis and enhanced fibrosis against a standard set of criteria will support tackling regional variation.

Specialised commissioning is also supporting a programme to identify people with hepatitis C infection at an early stage to avoid subsequent liver disease.

In 2019/20, Public Health England (PHE) awarded £6 million capital funding to 23 local authorities to support their ambitions to increase access to alcohol treatment. This includes supporting nine areas to purchase fibroscan machines to increase early detection and access to treatment for those with alcohol-related liver disease.

PHE is also supporting work to increase opportunities for the earlier detection of alcohol-related liver disease in people drinking at or above high-risk levels. This includes new NHS Health Check guidance to encourage referral for liver investigation.

Additionally, the rollout of optimal Alcohol Care Teams across England in the areas with the highest rates of alcohol dependence-related admissions will improve the care pathway, including the use of appropriate diagnostics, for patients and their families who have issues with alcohol dependence.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to tackle regional variation in the early diagnosis of liver disease.

From April 2020 a new National Health Service CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation framework) will be introduced to support early identification of cirrhosis and enhanced fibrosis in alcohol dependent individuals. The CQUIN will incentivise acute and mental health providers to ensure that appropriate tests (transient elastography, enhanced liver fibrosis or STLT blood tests) are carried out on in-patients who have a diagnosis of alcohol dependence.

The delivery of the national CQUIN to support early identification of cirrhosis and enhanced fibrosis against a standard set of criteria will support tackling regional variation.

Specialised commissioning is also supporting a programme to identify people with hepatitis C infection at an early stage to avoid subsequent liver disease.

In 2019/20, Public Health England (PHE) awarded £6 million capital funding to 23 local authorities to support their ambitions to increase access to alcohol treatment. This includes supporting nine areas to purchase fibroscan machines to increase early detection and access to treatment for those with alcohol-related liver disease.

PHE is also supporting work to increase opportunities for the earlier detection of alcohol-related liver disease in people drinking at or above high-risk levels. This includes new NHS Health Check guidance to encourage referral for liver investigation.

Additionally, the rollout of optimal Alcohol Care Teams across England in the areas with the highest rates of alcohol dependence-related admissions will improve the care pathway, including the use of appropriate diagnostics, for patients and their families who have issues with alcohol dependence.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve NHS facilities in England.

In September 2019 the Government announced the Health Infrastructure Plan. As part of this, the Government is committed to building 40 new hospitals over the next 10 years.

Alongside the £3.9 billion extra capital funding announced at the 2017 Spring and Autumn Budgets, the Government has announced additional central funding totalling more than £5 billion since August 2019 to improve and modernise National Health Service facilities.

As part of these commitments, patients in Surrey will benefit from the following investments:

- Funding for Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust’s new hospital scheme, providing adult emergency and women and children’s services;

- Almost £40 million sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) funding, including Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust’s £28 million scheme to provide integrated hubs to provide better treatment to patients more quickly out of hospital;

- A share of the £200 million investment in diagnostic machines across England to replace MRI/CT scanners more than 10 years old; and

- A share of £6.7 million provided for the last two winters across Surrey Heartlands STP, Sussex and East Surrey STP and Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve NHS facilities in Surrey.

In September 2019 the Government announced the Health Infrastructure Plan. As part of this, the Government is committed to building 40 new hospitals over the next 10 years.

Alongside the £3.9 billion extra capital funding announced at the 2017 Spring and Autumn Budgets, the Government has announced additional central funding totalling more than £5 billion since August 2019 to improve and modernise National Health Service facilities.

As part of these commitments, patients in Surrey will benefit from the following investments:

- Funding for Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust’s new hospital scheme, providing adult emergency and women and children’s services;

- Almost £40 million sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) funding, including Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust’s £28 million scheme to provide integrated hubs to provide better treatment to patients more quickly out of hospital;

- A share of the £200 million investment in diagnostic machines across England to replace MRI/CT scanners more than 10 years old; and

- A share of £6.7 million provided for the last two winters across Surrey Heartlands STP, Sussex and East Surrey STP and Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the number of NHS nurses in (a) Surrey and (b) England.

The Government has committed to ensure 50,000 more nurses in the National Health Service in England by 2025. No individual target has been set for specific areas of the country.

We have already taken steps to deliver this commitment through our new financial support package. Eligible pre-registration nursing, midwifery and many allied health students enrolled on courses at English universities from September 2020 will receive a payment of at least £5,000 per academic year which they will not need to pay back.

Additional payments of up to £3,0001 will be available for some students in regions or specialisms struggling to recruit and to help students cover childcare costs. Up to a further £1,000 may be available for some students studying in certain regions or geographical areas in England. The Department is undertaking further work to develop this incentive payment.

This new grant will mean students have access to more money than under both previous systems and will encourage more people to apply, accept places and complete their courses.

Note:

1 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/paramedic-students-will-get-5000-support-payment-each-year

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to GPs in Surrey.

We recognise general practice is under pressure nationally and we have committed to growing the workforce by 6,000 more doctors in general practice and 6,000 more primary care professionals, to create a further 50 million appointments in general practice a year by 2024/25.

Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System (ICS) has advised that through Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, there are a number of initiatives to improve access to general practice services. Significant investment is planned over a five-year period to support the recruitment of new roles working across groups of general practices within Primary Care Networks. Growing the workforce will mean larger teams of staff providing a wide range of care options for patients and will free up more time for doctors to focus on those with more complex needs.

The ICS has further advised Surrey Heartlands has commissioned local federations to provide additional access to appointments to general practice services from 8am to 8pm. These appointments are provided either face to face or through digital consultations. Patients are able to access general practice appointments across hubs in Surrey Heartlands 365 days a year, including Bank Holidays. During the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 December 2019, Surrey Heartlands offered an additional 90,082 appointments, on top of those offered during general practitioner practice core hours.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to GPs in England.

We recognise general practice is under pressure nationally and that is why we have committed to growing the workforce by 6,000 more doctors in general practice and 6,000 more primary care professionals. This is in addition to the 20,000 primary care professionals NHS England will provide funding towards through Primary Care Networks.

Growing the workforce will mean larger teams of staff providing a wide range of care options for patients and will free up more time for doctors to focus on those with more complex needs. This, alongside additional support and increasing the use of technology in general practice will create an extra 50 million appointments a year by 2024/25 and improve patient access to primary care services.

Evening and weekend general practice appointments are routinely available across the country to enable patients to find appointments at a time convenient to them. NHS England, working with stakeholders, is undertaking a national review of access to general practice services. The review’s main objective is to improve patient access both in hours and at evenings and weekends and reduce unwarranted variation in experience.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to collaborate with international partners in response to the global cyber threat posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

We have led the way alongside international partners to identify and expose malign Russian activity and to hold them to account in response to this hostile activity. The UK set up the Ukraine Cyber Programme shortly after Putin's invasion in February to protect against increased Russian cyber attacks. We mobilised an initial £6.35 million package to help protect Ukraine's critical national infrastructure and vital public services from cyber attacks. In May, we joined our international partners in calling out Russia's malicious attack on Viastat that impacted citizens across Europe. We will continue to collaborate internationally on cyber security and resilience, including responding to and deterring malicious cyber activities.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking to support peace between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Following the ceasefire announcement, the Foreign Secretary visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 25 and 26 May for talks with senior leaders. The Foreign Secretary met former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and reiterated the UK's firm commitment to the two-state solution. We have a regular dialogue with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Foreign Secretary and Ministers have also engaged regional partners, including with Egypt, Jordan and Turkey. The Foreign Secretary made it clear that the UK would continue to work with the parties, and other actors, to encourage a durable ceasefire and to urge them to address the drivers of conflict.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps the UK Government has taken to help improve relations between Egypt and (a) Sudan and (b) Ethiopia in response to the recent tensions between those nations.

The UK continues to urge all parties involved in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute - Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan - to come to an agreement on the filling and operation of the dam. We support the African Union's (AU) efforts to promote an agreement that ensures water resources are managed in a sustainable way for all parties.

We continue to engage all three Governments, alongside the US and EU as observers to the AU-led process, including through the UK Special Envoy for the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa. The Minister for Africa raised the issue with the Ethiopian Ambassador on 24 February. I discussed the matter with the Egyptian Ambassador on 22 April 2021. We are also urging for a peaceful solution to the current border dispute between Sudan and Ethiopia.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent progress has been made on the international review of the content of Palestinian Authority school textbooks.

We understand the EU are now moving towards the final reporting stage of the study. To ensure that the final report is thorough, the study has been extended to include a sample of textbooks the Palestinian Authority introduced for school year 2020-21. We have regular discussions with our European Partners on the review and we continue to encourage them to finalise the report as soon as possible.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran’s regional activities.

We have been clear about our concerns over Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) continued destabilising activity throughout the region, which includes political, financial and military support to a number of militant and proscribed groups, including Hizballah in Lebanon and Syria, militias in Iraq and the Houthis in Yemen. The IRGC is sanctioned in its entirety by the UK.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the national security law on the people of Hong Kong.

As the Foreign Secretary made clear in Parliament on 1 July, the enactment and imposition by China of national security legislation for Hong Kong constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The legislation violates the high degree of autonomy of executive and legislative powers and independent judicial authority, provided for in the Joint Declaration. Furthermore, it contains a slew of measures that directly threaten the freedoms and rights protected by the Joint Declaration. Since the legislation was introduced, the Hong Kong authorities have arrested a number of political figures in Hong Kong.

The Foreign Secretary set out our concerns about the national security legislation to State Councillor/Minister for Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, on 8 June and 28 July. FCDO officials also continue to raise our concerns with the Hong Kong authorities, including with members of the Executive Council and the President of the Legislative Council.

On 9 August, the Foreign Secretary issued a statement together with the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, which expressed shared concern at Beijing's imposition of national security legislation. We will continue to bring together our international partners to stand up for the people of Hong Kong, to call out the violation of their freedoms, and to hold China to their international obligations freely assumed under international law.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking to help ensure Iran complies with international law.

The United Kingdom engages consistently, both in bilateral and multilateral settings, to encourage Iran to act in accordance with international rules and norms. We have made clear our long-standing concerns over Iran's nuclear programme, its missile proliferation activity and its support for proxy groups and militias across the region. Such support is in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions and in many cases against the wishes of the people and the governments of the states in which the proxies operate. We will continue to hold Iran to account for its actions, including by working with European partners to sanction Iranian entities that contravene international rules and norms; there are over 200 EU sanctions listings in place against Iran. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is an important pillar of the wider global non-proliferation architecture and in all our security interests. The UK has consistently called on Iran to return immediately to compliance with its commitments and to now engage in good faith with the dispute resolution mechanism under the deal. We have also taken action at the UN, bilaterally and alongside our European partners to press Iran to fully uphold its obligations under international human rights law, in particular the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. We continue to call on Iran to respect international norms in relation to British dual nationals held in detention in Iran, and to release those held immediately.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve diplomatic relations with Egypt.

​The UK-Egypt relationship is important and wide ranging, including security, foreign policy, trade and investment, economic reform, education, healthcare, and cultural cooperation. We work closely with the Egyptian authorities to counter shared threats from terrorism, to promote the safety and security of around 500,000 British citizens who visit Egypt each year, and to support longer-term reform.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister welcomed President Sisi and seven of his Cabinet Ministers to London for the UK-Africa Investment Summit. During his visit, President Sisi delivered the key-note speech at the Summit, held talks with the Prime Minister and was received by HRH the Duke of Cambridge. The visit also included a Joint Statement on Economic Cooperation and deals worth over £3 billion.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress has been made on preparations to host the UN climate change summit in Glasgow in late 2020.

​The 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) will be a major international moment in 2020. Its successful delivery is a top priority across HMG and is being led by a central Cabinet Office COP 26 Unit. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be working in partnership with a number of other government departments such as the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to deliver a successful summit.

27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent diplomatic steps he has taken to help ensure a secure and stable Government in Lebanon.

I spoke with former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri on 9 December 2019 about the situation and with new Lebanese Foreign Minister Dr. Nassif Hitti on 28 January. Members of the International Support Group for Lebanon – including the UK – met in December 2019. The group reiterated its support to Lebanon and was unified in calling for the swift formation of a Government capable of meeting the aspirations expressed by Lebanese and capable of delivering the urgently required economic reform; it also reiterated that the right for peaceful protest must continue to be respected. The UK's Defence Senior Advisor to the Middle East and North Africa visited Lebanon on 12 December 2019 and met with senior Lebanese authorities, including President Aoun, to discuss the current situation.

Andrew Murrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to support small and medium size enterprises.

Over the past two years, the Government has taken unprecedented action to protect millions of businesses, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Government-guaranteed loans.

We have brought forward a number of measures to support businesses this year, including extending the Recovery Loan Scheme until June 2024; freezing the business rates multiplier for 2022-23; cutting business rates by 50% for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in 2022-23 up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business; and permanently setting the Annual Investment Allowance at its highest ever level of £1 million from 1 April 2023, instead of reverting to £200,000 as previously planned.

The Government also increased the Employment Allowance from £4,000 to £5,000, which cuts the cost of employment for 495,000 small businesses.

Additionally, the Government is helping all eligible UK businesses, including small and medium sized businesses, with their energy bills through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

This builds on existing business support, including the Business Support Helpline which provides businesses with tools, resources and signposting to specialist organisations.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th May 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many couples claiming the Marriage Allowance are claiming retrospectively for (a) two years (b) three years and (c) four years.

The information requested is not readily available to HMRC and could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

HMRC estimated around 4.2 million non-taxpayer/basic-rate taxpayer married couples, and civil partnerships, are eligible to receive the Marriage Allowance.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
13th May 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate he has made of the number of married couples eligible to receive the Marriage Allowance.

The information requested is not readily available to HMRC and could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

HMRC estimated around 4.2 million non-taxpayer/basic-rate taxpayer married couples, and civil partnerships, are eligible to receive the Marriage Allowance.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to increase funding for the police.

On 31 January, the Government confirmed a total police funding settlement of up to £17.2 billion in 2023/24, an increase of up to £313.8 million when compared to 2022/23.

Since then, the Home Office have announced a further £330 million of in year funding to support forces in managing the costs associated to the 2023/24 pay award. This is in addition to grant increases announced previously at the 2023/24 settlement.

This investment in the policing system continues to support policing, delivering resources to the front line and delivering the high-end capabilities needed in modern policing.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent progress her Department has made on reducing anti-social behaviour.

On 27 March, the Government launched the Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/anti-social-behaviour-action-plan) ensuring the police, local authorities and other relevant agencies have the powers and tools they need to tackle the blight of anti-social behaviour facing communities across England and Wales.

The plan is backed by £160m of funding. This includes up to £60m to fund an increased police and other uniformed presence to clamp down on anti-social behaviour, targeting hotspots. Initially we are working with 10 police force areas, but from 2024 we will support a hotspot approach across every police force area in England and Wales. We are also providing up to £50m to support the provision of Immediate Justice, by issuing out of court disposals with conditions to swiftly repair any damage – the aim being for them to start within 48 hours of referral. This will start in 10 initial trailblazer police force areas and be rolled out across England and Wales from 2024.

On 6 July, we launched the fifth round of the Safer Streets Fund. Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) across England and Wales will receive a total of £43 million on top of the £120 million already awarded for the previous four rounds of the Safer Streets Fund to continue to deliver crime and anti-social behaviour prevention measures.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the average waiting time for passport renewals.

People are receiving their passports in good time. Between January and August 2023, 99.3% of customers using the standard UK service received their passport within the published processing timeframe of ten weeks.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to tackle fraud and economic crime.

This Government is committed to protecting people from all types of fraud and pursuing those who perpetuate these crimes wherever possible. It is for this reason that as part of the 2020 Spending Review, the Government committed a further £63m to the Home Office to tackle economic crime, including fraud. In May, we published a Statement of Progress on the Economic Crime Plan which committed to developing a comprehensive Fraud Action Plan. This will outline how we plan to further strengthen how we combat fraud and will be published after the 2021 Spending Review.

As part of the Police Uplift Programme to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by 2023, we have prioritised more investigators in the City of London Police to fulfil their role as a world class fraud specialist force. We have also channelled additional officer resource into the Regional Organised Crime Unit network to work on a host of serious and organised crime threats including fraud.

We have also been working closely alongside the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) who launched their Suspicious Email Reporting Service last year. This system has proved an instant success with the public, with over 6.5 million reports received and the removal of over 50,500 scams and 97,500 websites taken down since its inception in April 2020.

We also continue to encourage anyone who has been a targeted by fraud to report it. Action Fraud is the central police reporting point for all victims of fraud and can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud. This information is being used by law enforcement partners, alongside crime reports to identify, disrupt and stop fraudsters.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to remove foreign national offenders.

The Government is clear foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them.

Any foreign national who is convicted of a crime and given a prison sentence is considered for deportation at the earliest opportunity and since January 2019 we have removed 7,985.

For non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals, deportation will be pursued where it is conducive to the public good including where a person receives a custodial sentence of 12 months or more, commits an offence that caused serious harm or is a persistent offender. European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens, and their family members, who are protected by the EU Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020 are considered for deportation on public policy and public security grounds where it concerns conduct (including any criminal convictions relating to it) committed on or before 31 December 2020.

Our New Plan for Immigration and provisions in the Nationality and Borders Bill will make it easier to deport foreign criminals with no right to be in the UK and keep our citizens safe. Further information can be found in New Plan for Immigration: policy statement (accessible) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to stop young people becoming involved in crime and violence.

It is vitally important that we prevent young people from being drawn into violent crime. The Government understands the importance of tackling this issue from all angles – whether that is providing support to prevent young people from getting involved in crime, or providing the police with the tools they need to bring knife offenders to justice.

Since 2018, we have invested £105.5m into multi-agency Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) in 18 areas most affected by serious violence. The VRUs bring together local partners to deliver an effective, joined up approach to tackling violent crime and its drivers – and they have reached over 100,000 young people in their first year.

We are investing up to £23m this year in new early intervention programmes that will help stop young people from being drawn into violence, and our Creating Opportunities Forum will provide meaningful employment-related opportunities and raise the aspirations of young people at risk of being drawn into serious violence and knife crime.

In addition, our £200m 10 year Youth Endowment Fund is testing what works to divert young people away from serious violence.

This year, we have provided an extra £30m this year for the police forces with the highest rates of serious violence in England and Wales. This funding is supporting the police to deter and disrupt knife crime in areas that need it most.

However, we know there is still more to do. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill includes a duty on public sector bodies to take a joined-up approach to addressing serious violence; the requirement for local agencies to review the circumstances when an adult homicide takes place involving an offensive weapon; and Serious Violence Reduction Orders, which give the police the authority to stop and search known knife and weapons carriers.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent progress her Department has made on improving fire safety in buildings.

The Government is making significant progress in improving fire safety. The Fire Safety Bill, which clarifies that external walls and flat entrance doors are within scope of the Fire Safety Order, has progressed through the majority of its stages in Parliament.

The Government has also published a fire safety consultation. We will soon publish a formal response and look to introduce Regulations as soon as practicable.

Alongside this the Government has progressed work on the Building Safety Bill, which recently completed its pre-legislative scrutiny. The Government will introduce this Bill before Parliament shortly.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking is taking to prevent hate crimes against places of worship.

The Government is committed to protecting places of worship from hate crime through the Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme. The 2020-21 round launched on 16 June with an uplift to £3.2 million- double the amount awarded last year. Over the last four years we have awarded approximately £3.4 million to 183 places of worship across England and Wales.

Our public consultation on providing greater protection from hate crime for places of worship closed on 28 June. Responses are currently being reviewed, and the Government will respond in due course.

13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the effectiveness of the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.

I said to the House in May that we aimed to process all outstanding initial ARAP applications by the end of August. We now have just over 1,800 complex cases remaining from more than 93,000 principal applications received. We have issued over 58,000 decisions to applicants in the past three months alone, giving them the clarity they deserve. We continue to move at best pace to process the remaining applications.

We also continue to move eligible Afghans from Afghanistan to the safety of third countries at best pace and have relocated over an estimated 12,200 people to the United Kingdom.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to support innovation in defence technologies.

The most recent Defence Command Paper highlighted the importance of science, innovation and technology in securing strategic advantage for our Armed Forces. Defence is investing over £6.6 billion in advanced Research and Development, working closely with UK industry and academia, including Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), to identify and invest in innovative technologies, ensuring we have the capabilities we need to address our most pressing threats.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to help relocate vulnerable Afghans and British nationals from third countries to the UK.

The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy scheme, for Afghan nationals with a qualifying connection to UK Defence, continues to facilitate the relocation of eligible Afghans to the UK. The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, operated by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has committed to take around 5,000 refugees in the first year and 20,000 over the coming years.

We continue to work alongside international partners to relocate British Nationals and eligible Afghans through third countries. We also provide as much information as we can through Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office Travel Advice. We have relocated over 8,000 Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy principals and their dependants since the scheme has been open.

Further information on Her Majesty's Government's efforts to support the relocation of British nationals, and vulnerable Afghans without a connection to UK Defence, should be directed to Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and the Home Office.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to support the Home Office to tackle illegal immigration.

Defence is currently providing the Home Office with parts of the Defence estate to aid with housing and processing cross-channel migrants. This includes Napier Barracks in Kent and, since December 2021, the former Defence Fire Training and Development Centre in Manston. Discussions are underway to determine whether additional land and accommodation from the Defence estate might be made available, together with specialist personnel, to further increase capacity. As has been the case in the past, Defence has a number of vessels and surveillance capabilities available which can be made available if required to augment those of the Border Force in monitoring and intercepting migrants seeking to cross the Channel.

In addition, Defence is planning to take primacy for small boats migration in the English Channel under Operation ISOTROPE which will see the Royal Navy providing enhanced control and coordination of cross-Government assets in order to prevent the arrival of small boats on their own terms in the UK, whilst ensuring safety of life at sea.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to (a) encourage housebuilding on brownfield sites and (b) protect the green belt.

Our National Planning Policy Framework strongly encourages housebuilding by prioritising the regeneration of brownfield land wherever practicable. To support this, Government has significantly invested in unlocking brownfield sites: for instance, the £4.35 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund; the £4.95 billion Home Building Fund; the £400 million Brownfield Housing Fund; and the £75 million Brownfield Land Release Fund.

We have a manifesto commitment to protect and enhance the Green Belt. The Framework states that a local authority can propose to alter a Green Belt boundary only in exceptional circumstances and only if it can show that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its identified development needs. A local authority should therefore make as much use as possible of suitable brownfield land; optimise density of development; and discuss with neighbouring authorities whether they could take some of the development required. The Framework also makes clear that most types of new building are inappropriate in Green Belt, and should be refused planning permission unless justified by very special circumstances.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the Government plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a taskforce to help improve access to housing-with-care for older people.

Offering vulnerable people a better choice of accommodation to suit their changing needs can help them live independently and feel more connected to their communities. This Government is committed to the provision of suitable homes for older people, including extra care housing, which contributes to levelling up across communities. Housing-with-care allows individuals to choose where they want to live, with whom, how they can best be supported, and what happens in their home. Both the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department of Health and Social Care provide capital funding to incentivise their supply. Our planning rules already mean councils must consider the needs of older people when planning for new homes. In 2019, we published guidance to help councils implement the National Planning Policy Framework policies.

We are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, where 10 per cent of delivery over the course of the programme will be used to increase the supply of much needed specialist or supported housing, including retirement housing. The Department of Health and Social Care are also continuing to subsidise new supply of specialist housing for older and disabled people through the Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) Fund.

The Government's plan for health and social care, announced on Tuesday 7 September, also recognised the important role of housing, and supported housing in particular, in providing care and support to people in the community.

Both the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department of Health and Social Care are committed to further improving the diversity of housing options available to older people. We are engaging closely with both the sector and a range of other stakeholders on this issue. This includes considering the merits of different engagement and delivery models including proposals from the sector for a cross-Government taskforce.

We continue to work closely with the older people's housing sector and across Government to look at how we can further support its growth. I look forward to engaging with representatives in the sector further and value their insight.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential barriers to growth for housing-with-care for older people.

Offering vulnerable people a better choice of accommodation to suit their changing needs can help them live independently and feel more connected to their communities. This Government is committed to the provision of suitable homes for older people, including extra care housing, which contributes to levelling up across communities. Housing-with-care allows individuals to choose where they want to live, with whom, how they can best be supported, and what happens in their home. Both the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department of Health and Social Care provide capital funding to incentivise their supply. Our planning rules already mean councils must consider the needs of older people when planning for new homes. In 2019, we published guidance to help councils implement the National Planning Policy Framework policies.

We are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, where 10 per cent of delivery over the course of the programme will be used to increase the supply of much needed specialist or supported housing, including retirement housing. The Department of Health and Social Care are also continuing to subsidise new supply of specialist housing for older and disabled people through the Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) Fund.

The Government's plan for health and social care, announced on Tuesday 7 September, also recognised the important role of housing, and supported housing in particular, in providing care and support to people in the community.

Both the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department of Health and Social Care are committed to further improving the diversity of housing options available to older people. We are engaging closely with both the sector and a range of other stakeholders on this issue. This includes considering the merits of different engagement and delivery models including proposals from the sector for a cross-Government taskforce.

We continue to work closely with the older people's housing sector and across Government to look at how we can further support its growth. I look forward to engaging with representatives in the sector further and value their insight.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to incentivise the removal of dangerous materials from high-rise buildings.

The Government has made £1.6 billion of funding available for the removal of unsafe cladding systems. We have also put in place additional project management support with construction expertise to help support individual projects and oversee remediation, so there is no excuse for delay. Where building owners are failing to make acceptable progress on remediation, those responsible should expect enforcement action to be taken by local authorities and Fire and Rescue Services. The Government established a Joint Inspection Team to support local authorities in taking enforcement action.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to support housebuilding on brownfield land.

I’m delighted that the Prime Minister recently announced that seven Mayoral Combined Authorities are each receiving a share of the £400 million Brownfield Housing Fund. This will help unlock 26,000 homes by bringing under-utilised brownfield land back into use and contribute to the levelling-up our country.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the financial sustainability of district councils.

Councils across the country are supporting communities, protecting the most vulnerable and helping the NHS in our efforts to combat Covid-19. In order to meet additional cost pressures, the Secretary of State announced further measures as part of a comprehensive package on 2 July. The package included an additional £500 million of support for councils for the coming weeks and months of recovery. This is in addition to the £3.2 billion already announced, taking the total unringfenced funding given to councils to help with the additional costs of coronavirus to over £3.7 billion. In total the Government has provided £5 billion in cashflow measures and almost £28 billion in additional funding for local communities, to ensure they can meet the unique pressures that the Covid-19 pandemic has placed upon them.

The Secretary of State has also announced measures to address lost income, including:

  • A co-payment scheme to cover irrecoverable Sales, Fees and Charges income in 20/21 with the Government covering 75 per cent of losses beyond 5 per cent of planned income
  • Phased repayment of Collection Fund deficits over the next 3 years
  • A commitment to determine what support is needed to help councils meet the pressures of irrecoverable tax income at the Spending Review

These measures amount to a comprehensive package of support. We will continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on local government.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the role of professional freeholders in managing building (a) safety, (b) fire and (c) structural risk.

The government has consistently made clear that building safety is the responsibility of the building owner.

In October 2018, the government announced an independent working group of housing experts, chaired by Lord Best, to advise government on the regulation of property agents. The working group presented its final report to government on 18 July 2019. We are considering the recommendations in the report carefully.

In line with usual practice, the government’s intention would be to publish an impact assessment on our leasehold reforms as part of taking primary legislation through Parliament.

Esther McVey
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent estimate he has made of the number and proportion of people in employment six months after release from prison.

I am pleased to say that the proportion of prisoners released from custody who were employed at six months from their release has more than doubled between April 2021 and March 2023, from 14% to over 30%. In March 2023, 715 people released 6 months previously were in the workforce and contributing to the economy, an increase from 394 in April 2021.

We know that employment reduces the chance of reoffending significantly, by up to nine percentage points. That is why we are determined to increase the number of prison leavers securing employment on release to cut their chances of reoffending and so we can keep the public safe.

We are offering more offenders the chance to work in prison and on release from custody, supported by our new, dedicated Prison Employment Leads, who are now in post at 92 prisons. They provide case-level employment support, match prisoners to roles on release, and head up our new Employment Hubs, where prisoners can access support with job applications and CVs.

We are building stronger links with employers, including through our prison Employment Advisory Boards, which are chaired by local business leaders. They will provide challenge and advice on how to align the skills delivered in prisons with labour market demand. Chairs have now been appointed to 92 Employment Advisory Boards.

Data on the number and proportion of people in employment after release from prison is published regularly and can be found on the Gov website at Employment Rates following Release from Custody - Ad Hoc - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effectiveness of the Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Albania.

A new Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Albania came into force in May 2022.

In May 2023, we announced a complementary arrangement whereby the UK Government has agreed to provide support to modernise and expand the Albanian prison system and in return Albania has agreed to accept the return of up to 200 Albanian Nationals currently serving sentences of 4 years or more in the UK.

The arrangement will save taxpayers’ money, as it is cheaper to house prisoners in Albania than in England and Wales, and will also free up capacity in our prisons.

We expect to see the first transfers under this agreement later this year. The deal builds on the prisoner transfer agreement signed between the UK and Albania in 2021, which came into force in May 2022. This implementation package will ensure Albania has the right processes and prison capacity in place, meaning transfers can now proceed at pace.

Albanians are the most common nationality in the Foreign National Offender population, making up approximately 14% of the total Foreign National Offender prison population. Between January 2021 and December 2022, 1,484 Albanian FNOs were removed from the UK (from custody and the community).

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the backlog of criminal court cases.

We remain committed to reducing the outstanding caseload in the Crown Court and have introduced a series of measures since the start of the pandemic to increase capacity of the courts, and to improve the experience of court users and delivery of swift justice.

Steps taken to maximise court capacity and optimise efficiency include: extending unlimited sitting days in the Crown Court for the last two financial years; opening two new ‘super courtrooms’ in Manchester and Loughborough; extending the use of 24 Nightingale courtrooms beyond March 2023 to provide additional capacity for all jurisdictions; passing the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act so that remote hearings can be used in criminal proceedings; recruiting up to 1,000 judges across jurisdictions in 2022/23; retaining an extra 400 judges and tribunal members (per year) by raising the statutory mandatory retirement age; and increasing spending on criminal legal aid by £141 million a year.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking through the criminal justice system to help young people avoid crime.

The Beating Crime Plan 2021 highlighted the importance of early intervention for all young people; targeted support for those at risk of involvement in criminality; and targeted interventions for those who have started to offend. It is better that children do not enter the justice system at all, which is why the Ministry of Justice works with partners across and outside of government on programmes which provide help earlier on.

The Turnaround programme is providing £56.5m multi-year grant funding to Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) across England and Wales until March 2025, enabling them to intervene earlier and improve outcomes for children on the cusp of entering the youth justice system. This additional funding will enable YOTs to work with up to 17,500 more children not currently on their caseload. The department’s Youth Justice Sports Fund also recently provided £5m to early intervention sport programmes working with 10–17-year-olds considered to be at risk of entering the justice system, who have benefitted from mentoring, volunteering and sports-based activities.

For those children who do enter the justice system, we want to see local areas addressing the underlying needs which drove that offending behaviour. As part of this, last year the Ministry of Justice developed new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor and drive Youth Offending Teams’ and partners’ effectiveness in, for example, ensuring more children who commit crime have the education, training or employment opportunities to break the cycle of offending. These new KPIs came into force on 1 April.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
30th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to help prisoners develop new skills.

We know that getting prisoners into employment on release is key to leading law-abiding lives in the community. Prisoners who participate in in-prison education are 9 percentage points less likely to reoffend on release. To help prisoners develop new skills we are:

  • delivering a Prisoner Education Service which raises the level of the numeracy, literacy and skills of prisoners, with the aim of securing jobs or apprenticeships after they leave custody;

  • rolling out new Heads of Education Skills and Work to provide expert guidance to governors in designing education and training provision for their populations;

  • establishing an Employability Innovation Fund to enable Governors to work with more employers and training providers to repurpose workshops, deliver sector specific skills training and to improve prisoners’ literacy via a Literacy Innovation Fund; and

  • allowing prisoners to undertake apprenticeships which they can complete in the community following a change in the law made in September 2022.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to modernise prisons.

Providing safe, decent, and secure prisons is a key priority for the Government. We are taking a number of steps to modernise our prisons, including building new prison places and increasing our investment in refurbishment and maintenance to upgrade the existing estate.

As announced at the spending review, we have committed over £4 billion capital funding to make significant progress in delivering 18,000 additional prison places across England and Wales by the mid-2020s, and £315m to improve the prison estate. These 18,000 prison places include 10,000 places being made available through the construction of four new prisons; the expansion of a further four prisons; refurbishment of the existing prison estate and the completion of our ongoing prison builds at Glen Parva and HMP Five Wells.

Digital technologies will also contribute to the Government’s modernisation of prisons. Access to modern, robust technology is a vital part of current prison design. During the pandemic, HMPPS delivered unprecedented digital innovation through the rollout of secure video call technology into every single prison in the male, female and youth estate, with 124,000 calls made as of 22nd February 2021. We are committed to expanding the use of digital technology in the existing estate and future prisons, including in-cell technology for prisoners.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to reduce crime in prisons.

Reducing crime in prisons is a key priority for the Ministry of Justice. In August 2019 we committed to spend £100m on prison security, and we are delivering on this commitment. This includes X-ray body scanners which have been installed in 40 prisons across England and Wales. These detect drugs and contraband that fuel crime in prisons and their use has already prevented over 2,300 illegal items from entering our prisons. This investment will also strengthen staff resilience to corruption and target organised criminals who seek to exploit prisons as a lucrative market.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service also works closely with law enforcement agencies so that crimes committed in prison are dealt with effectively. In May 2019, a Crime in Prisons Referral Agreement was published jointly with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Crown Prosecution Service to help achieve an improved and consistent performance in the investigation and prosecution of offences in a custodial setting.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport