Justin Madders Portrait

Justin Madders

Labour - Ellesmere Port and Neston

Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

(since April 2020)
Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Labour)
10th Jul 2018 - 14th Mar 2019
Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)
9th Jan 2018 - 14th Mar 2019
Shadow Minister (Health)
18th Sep 2015 - 9th Jan 2018
Petitions Committee
20th Jul 2015 - 26th Oct 2015


Department Event
Tuesday 8th June 2021
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
8 Jun 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Fire Safety Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 194 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
Speeches
Wednesday 12th May 2021
Better Jobs and a Fair Deal at Work

I would like to start with last year’s Humble Address, which promised a right for workers to request a more …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
Coronavirus: Screening
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the covid-19 testing arrangements for international …
Early Day Motions
Monday 14th September 2015
ACCIDENT BOOKS
That this House notes that the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979 state that an employer must have an …
Bills
Wednesday 30th November 2016
Football Supporters (Access) Bill 2016-17
A Bill to require football clubs to provide tickets to matches at a discount for persons under a specified age; …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 16th March 2020
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar
Address of donor: Qatar Embassy, 1 South Audley St, London W1K 1NB …
EDM signed
Tuesday 21st July 2020
Town and Country Planning
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021
A Bill to make provision for guidance to schools about the costs aspects of school uniform policies.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Justin Madders has voted in 226 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Justin Madders Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(32 debate interactions)
Helen Whately (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
(15 debate interactions)
Jo Churchill (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
(15 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
View all Justin Madders's debates

Ellesmere Port and Neston Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with most Ellesmere Port and Neston signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

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

Weddings take months and even years of intricate planning. Myself and many others believe the maximum number of guests authorised at wedding ceremonies should be increased. The number of guests permitted at weddings should be calculated according to venue capacity.

Extend funding to nightclubs, dance music events and festivals as part of the £1.57bn support package announced by the government for Britain's arts and culture sector to survive the hit from the pandemic. #LetUSDance

In light of the recent outbreak and lock down, those on maternity leave should be given 3 extra months paid leave, at least. This time is for bonding and social engaging with other parents and babies through baby groups which are vital for development and now everything has been cancelled.

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

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

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Justin Madders

21st July 2020
Justin Madders signed this EDM on Tuesday 21st July 2020

Town and Country Planning

Tabled by: Keir Starmer (Labour - Holborn and St Pancras)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (S.I., 2020, No. 632), dated 23 June 2020, a copy of which was laid before this House on 24 June 2020, be annulled.
55 signatures
(Most recent: 28 Sep 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 43
Liberal Democrat: 9
Conservative: 1
Plaid Cymru: 1
Green Party: 1
8th July 2020
Justin Madders signed this EDM on Monday 20th July 2020

Town and Country Planning

Tabled by: Peter Bottomley (Conservative - Worthing West)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (S.I., 2020, No. 632), dated 23 June 2020, a copy of which was laid before this House on 24 June 2020, be annulled.
14 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jul 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 10
Liberal Democrat: 2
Conservative: 1
Plaid Cymru: 1
View All Justin Madders's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Justin Madders, 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.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Justin Madders

Wednesday 18th November 2020

Justin Madders has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Justin Madders


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision about the regulation of the purchase of freehold by leaseholders; to introduce a system for establishing the maximum charge for such freehold; to make provision about the award of legal costs in leasehold property tribunal cases; to establish a compensation scheme for cases where misleading particulars have led to certain leasehold agreements; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 7th November 2017
(Read Debate)
Next Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Date TBA

A Bill to require football clubs to provide tickets to matches at a discount for persons under a specified age; to require local authorities to consider the needs of match going supporters when approving kick off times; to require football clubs to set aside a proportion of transfer fees paid for the development of football facilities for local clubs and young people; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 30th November 2016
(Read Debate)

655 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
3 Other Department Questions
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, when he next plans to hold another People's PMQs session.

People’s PMQs are an opportunity for members of the public to ask me about issues that affect their lives. I hope to hold another one shortly.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
13th Jul 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission has plans to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory on the Parliamentary estate.

The Commission is led by the current Government advice on the use of face masks and coverings. Whilst the guidance on the use of face coverings in shops and supermarkets will change on the 24th July, it is not applicable to the Parliamentary estate, as no onsite services are currently provided to the public.

Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular handwashing which remain the most important actions. As hon. Members and staff can maintain social distancing and have easy access to handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser, it was concluded that face coverings are not necessary at this time. However, there is no bar on those choosing to wear face masks from doing so.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
24th Jan 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether any brands of mobile electronic equipment have restrictions on accessing Parliamentary (a) software systems and (b) wifi.

There are no restrictions in place for any brands of mobile electronic equipment when accessing Parliamentary software systems and wifi.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what impact assessment was undertaken by his Department of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman decision as of April 2021 to use the severity of Injustice scale on the number of complaints that will be accepted for investigation in comparison to before the scale was used.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) is independent of Government and is accountable to Parliament through the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee for its performance. The PHSO will therefore reply separately to these questions by letter.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on its decision as of April 2021 to use a Severity of Injustice scale to decide on which complaints will be accepted for investigation.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) is independent of Government and is accountable to Parliament through the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee for its performance. The PHSO will therefore reply separately to these questions by letter.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on the increase in the (a) waiting time for allocation of complaints from 29 days to 74 days and (b) average time from allocation to completion to 152 days.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) is independent of Government and is accountable to Parliament through the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee for its performance. The PHSO will therefore reply separately to these questions by letter.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the performance of the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) is independent of Government and is accountable to Parliament through the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee for its performance. The PHSO will therefore reply separately to these questions by letter.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the average waiting time is from (a) a complaint being accepted for investigation and (b) a decision being made by the Parliamentary Ombudsman in the most recent period for which that information is available.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) is independent of Government and is accountable to Parliament through the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee for its performance. The PHSO will therefore reply separately to these questions by letter.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will list the publications in which the Government's All Together insertions have been included; and if he will place a copy of each one of those insertions in the Library.

I refer the hon. member to the answer given to PQ 45460 on 18 May 2020 and PQs 152485-152495 on 22 February 2021.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the effect of the withdrawal of Public Procurement Note (a) 02/20 and (b) 04/20 on the rate of transmission of covid-19.

From the beginning of the pandemic the Government has taken a number of measures to accelerate payments to suppliers and preserve cash flow. Contracting Authorities can still make their own arrangements for contractual relief if necessary and since October 2020, we have encouraged businesses to consider the raft of financial support available - including the CJRS and loan schemes.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies' document entitled Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 transmission clusters and superspreading events, dated 3 June 2020, what role the covid-19 superspreading event in South Korea in January 2020 played in informing the covid-19 restrictions applied by the Government to gyms.

The Government considers evidence from a range of sources when deciding whether and how to apply restrictions to businesses and when to ease them, including for gyms and other sports and leisure facilities. No one wants to prevent businesses operating, but we have always been guided by the scientific evidence whilst seeking to keep as many businesses open as possible at each stage of our response. Scientific evidence supporting the government response to COVID-19 is regularly published at - https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19

Gyms are currently closed as part of our national effort to control the spread of the virus. The government’s published Roadmap sets out our intention to reopen gyms and other premises when the time is right and will be supported by updated Covid secure guidance before each step of the Roadmap.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
18th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been paid in termination payments to employees who left employment in the Prime Minister's Office in each month of 2020.

The Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office Annual Report and Accounts includes information on staff costs and exit packages for permanently employed staff, Special Advisers and Ministers within the Department, including the Prime Minister’s Office.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his Department's policy is on which matters are considered sensitive by the FOI clearing house.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 120771 on 30 November.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many responses to FOI requests submitted to other Government Departments have been subject to approval by his Department prior to release.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 120771 on 30 November.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Government departments and agencies have issued written instructions to their employees to work from home after 22 September 2020.

It is essential that we continue the business of government. In the Cabinet Office, as in all Departments, we have ensured COVID-secure workplaces are in place so that civil servants can do so safely.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to Answer of 16 June to Question 54932, whether all articles published in the All together advertising campaign are compliant with the Government Communication Service Propriety Guidance.

It is vital that we provide public information to citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government has negotiated a new and unique partnership with national and local newspapers to use their powerful, familiar voices as part of the All In, All Together campaign.

The partnership involves a combination of traditional advertising and sponsored content. This content is produced by participating newspapers and the Government has no editorial sign-off.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his oral contribution of 28 April 2020, Official Report, column 218, how many face coverings have been produced since 28 April 2020.

Further to the answer given to PQs 48885, 48886, 48887 on 14 May 2020, the Government has published guidance on staying safe outside the home during the COVID-19 pandemic:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home

The guidance includes information on the use of face coverings. We are asking people to make their own face coverings at home, using scarves or other textile items and we have published guidance to help illustrate the process.

In terms of the wider production of PPE for use for medical purposes, Lord Deighton has been appointed to lead the national effort to boost PPE production, and also support the scaling up of engineering efforts for small companies capable of contributing to supplies.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many face coverings for use by the general population are held by Government.

Further to the answer given to PQs 48885, 48886, 48887 on 14 May 2020, the Government has published guidance on staying safe outside the home during the COVID-19 pandemic:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home

The guidance includes information on the use of face coverings. We are asking people to make their own face coverings at home, using scarves or other textile items and we have published guidance to help illustrate the process.

In terms of the wider production of PPE for use for medical purposes, Lord Deighton has been appointed to lead the national effort to boost PPE production, and also support the scaling up of engineering efforts for small companies capable of contributing to supplies.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many Government contracts have been awarded to Faculty in 2020; and what the value of those contracts is.

Details of Government contracts above £10,000, including the value of those contracts, are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

All Government contracts which involve the processing of personal data, must adhere to the requirements of Procurement Policy Note – Changes to Data Protection Legislation & General Data Protection Regulation Action Note PPN 02/18.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse is of the Government's All together advertising campaign.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 35512 on 21 April 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to cease the daily covid-19 Government press briefings.

The Government remains committed to providing the public with the information they need relating to Coronavirus. We will keep under review how best to provide information but Coronavirus press conferences will continue on weekdays.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many contractors working for his Department have had their employment status assessed in relation to the new IR35 rules on off-payroll working; and how many of those staff are subject to those rules.

In total Cabinet Office has 469 contingent labour workers engaged via Public Sector Resourcing (PSR), all of whom have had their employment status assessed in relation to the new IR35 rules.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason travel agents are eligible for strand 1 Restart Grant Funding rather than strand 2.

Travel agents are eligible for strand 1 of Restart Grants as they are classified as non-essential retail.

Strand 2 of Restart Grants is for hospitality, leisure, accommodation, personal care and gym and sport businesses, most of which will not fully reopen until step 3 of the Roadmap out of lockdown and which are likely to continue to be most significantly affected by social distancing rules, cleaning protocols and other measures in place to tackle Covid-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives of Mobile Home Park owners on energy resellers as defined by OFGEM, in the context of mis-selling or overcharging of the maximum resale price for energy costs in relation to mobile home parks.

BEIS Ministers and officials regularly meet with consumer representatives to discuss a variety of issues relating to the energy market.

Ofgem’s Maximum Resale Price Provisions state the maximum price at which gas or electricity may be resold must be the same price that the reseller paid per unit of energy and the standing charge. The maximum resale price rule does not apply where an inclusive charge is made for accommodation and there is no separate agreement for the resale of gas and electricity. Under the terms of their written agreement, mobile home residents can request documentary evidence in support and explanation of any charges for gas and electricity payable to the site owner under the agreement. If the site owner does not provide the information, the resident can apply to the First Tier Tribunal for a determination.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 26 March 2021 to Question 167238 on Employment: Coronavirus, if he will publish the (a) number and (b) value of fixed penalty notices that have been issued to employers for knowingly allowing a person who is required to self-isolate to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

My answer of 26th March set out the employer offence of allowing a worker to attend a place of work (other than the place of self-isolation) when they have been advised of the need to self-isolate. It also set out the Government’s overall approach to ensuring compliance and guidance on employment rights and self-isolation.

We will publish information on the number of fixed penalty notices which have been issued in due course. We do not centrally collect data on the value of fixed penalty notices.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many employers have been fined under The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 for preventing an employee from adhering to the required self-isolation period.

It is critically important that the following people stay at home and self-isolate immediately: anyone who has tested positive with COVID-19, anyone who has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace or their local authority, and anyone who has returned from abroad and is required to quarantine.

The Government has developed guidance on employment rights and self-isolation so that workers and employers are clear about their rights and obligations. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/if-you-need-to-self-isolate-or-cannot-attend-work-due-to-coronavirus

In addition, anyone who is due to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (normally their home) must inform their employer that they are required to self-isolate. An individual can receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of £50 for not doing so.

It is an offence for an employer to knowingly allow a person who is required to self-isolate to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating. If an employer is reasonably believed to be in breach of this requirement, they may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice, ranging from £1,000 to £10,000.

Local Authorities provide written and verbal advice to businesses to enable them to comply with their obligations. Enforcement action is taken against employers who do not follow this advice and who do not take reasonable steps to ensure that their workers who must be self-isolating are not working from outside their home.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many early conciliation requests the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service has received on (a) the calculation of wages under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, (b) grievances on covid-secure measures in the workplace and (c) requests to employees who are clinically extremely vulnerable to return to the workplace since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the start of the pandemic Acas received 28,925 notifications which include a wages act jurisdiction. Acas has not collected additional data on the precise issues in question.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the scope of the Ofcom Review of Future Regulatory Framework in relation to courier companies.

Ofcom launched a call for inputs on 11 March 2021 which outlines the main themes it is considering as part of its review of postal regulation. Ofcom intends to publish a full consultation on the future regulation of postal services later this year before concluding its review in 2022.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 10 February 2021 to Question 147901 on the Warm Home Discount Scheme, how many Pension Credit Guarantee Credit recipients have received rebates under the Warm Home Discount scheme as of 19 February 2021.

A total of 978,563 Pension Credit Guarantee Credit recipients were identified as eligible through the data matching process between the Department for Work and Pensions and energy suppliers, and a further 50,000 have successfully claimed a rebate through the WHD helpline. This means that a total of over 1,028,000 rebates will have been issued through the Core Group as of 4 March 2021, which is the latest available data.

As energy suppliers are responsible for payment of rebates and are not due to report final numbers until after the end of the scheme year, on 31 March, we can only comment on the number of “Instructions to Pay” that have been issued to energy suppliers rather than the number of rebates paid.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of financial support for social clubs during the period of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The Government has brought forward a substantial package of financial support for the hospitality sector over the last year. On 3 March 2021, my Rt hon Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer set out in the Budget a £65 billion three-point plan to provide support for jobs and businesses, with extensions to furlough, self-employed support, business grants, loans and VAT cuts – bringing total fiscal support to over £407 billion.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of social clubs on social isolation and loneliness.

The Government recognises that hospitality, including social clubs, plays an important role in supporting our communities and helping to combat loneliness. However, the restrictions put in place to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 are necessary to protect the NHS and to save lives.

The Government has brought forward a substantial package of financial support for the hospitality sector over the last year and, and my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister’s ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ provides a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England.

On 3 March 2021, my Rt hon Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer set out in the Budget a £65 billion three-point plan to provide support for jobs and businesses, with extensions to furlough, self-employed support, business grants, loans and VAT cuts – bringing total fiscal support to over £407 billion.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives of social clubs on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on such clubs.

I meet regularly with the groups representing the hospitality sector to understand the impact of the pandemic on jobs and businesses.

The Government has brought forward a substantial package of financial support for the sector over the last year and, and my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister’s ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ provides a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. On 3 March 2021, my Rt hon Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer set out in the Budget a £65 billion three-point plan to provide support for jobs and businesses, with extensions to furlough, self-employed support, business grants, loans and VAT cuts – bringing total fiscal support to over £407 billion.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to appoint a new director of labour market enforcement.

Cracking down on non-compliance in the labour market is a priority for the Government, and a new Director for Labour Market Enforcement will be appointed as soon as possible.

We have launched a recruitment campaign and are progressing the recruitment process. The outcome will be announced in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of covid-19 restrictions on people with hidden disabilities; and whether his Department has made an assessment of how the needs of those people are being met by retailers and other businesses.

The safer workplaces guidance provides some suggestions to help employers make their workplaces COVID-Secure for their employees, visitors, and customers. The Government took into account the needs of people with disabilities when developing the guidance.

The guidance does not replace existing employment, health and safety or equalities legislation. It provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

The Government welcomes efforts by retailers who have implemented a range of measures including dedicated hours and access for the elderly, disabled and priority access groups, and prioritising online deliveries for the most vulnerable.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with stakeholders on a plan for re-opening the wedding industry after the third national lockdown.

I recently attended a meeting with the newly formed sector-led Weddings Taskforce where stakeholders presented ideas for the reopening of the wedding sector when the current national lockdown is lifted.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of sector specific support for the wedding industry when the national covid-19 lockdown restrictions announced in January 2021 are eased.

The Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, including those in the wedding sector. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, government-backed loans, Local Restrictions Support Grants and additional funding provided to Local Authorities to support businesses. On 5 January, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a one-off top up grant worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses up to the Spring.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of people eligible for the Warm Home Discount scheme have had that discount applied to their energy bill.

For the current Warm Home Discount scheme year (2020/21), of the 1.2 million Pension Credit Guarantee Credit recipients, around 1 million will receive the rebate automatically on their energy bills, as a result of data matching between DWP and participating energy suppliers. In most cases these automatic rebates are provided before 31 December. In addition, a further 200,000 low income pensioners, who meet part of the eligibility criteria, will receive a letter from Government encouraging them to claim via a dedicated helpline if they meet the remaining criteria. Of these, over 45,000 have so far claimed a rebate through calling the helpline.

In addition, over 1.1 million vulnerable and low income households will also receive a rebate through the Broader Group. Government sets mandatory Broader Group eligibility criteria, of which the potential eligible pool is estimated to be around 3.1 million households. However, energy suppliers are also able to optionally add additional eligibility criteria, subject to approval from the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. Due to the limited funding available, Broader Group rebates are generally issued by energy suppliers on a first come, first served basis.

Energy suppliers are responsible for the issuing of rebates to eligible customers and they must do so by 31 March 2021. Although most rebates will have generally been issued by the end of January, there will still be rebates issued throughout February and March.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of sector specific support for travel agents as a result of the comments of the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment advising people not to book overseas summer holidays.

We recognise that these are very challenging conditions for businesses in the travel sector, including travel agents, which is why we have provided a range of measures to support the sector. On top of our wider economic support package, we have provided business rates relief and one-off grants for eligible hospitality and leisure businesses – and we have cut VAT for tourism and hospitality activities from 20% to 5% until the end of March.

Additionally, ABTA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently announced an extension to their current ABTA and ATOL- backed Refund Credit Note (RCN) regimes, meaning that ATOL-protected holidaymakers can book with confidence following confirmation that the Government will protect refund credit notes offered if packages are cancelled as a result of covid-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of security procedures around covid-19 vaccine (a) supply chains, (b) storage and (c) transport.

The Government takes security extremely seriously and is ensuring all necessary steps are taken.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of queuing measures that retailers have in place due to covid-19 on fair and equitable access for elderly, disabled and priority groups.

The Government welcomes efforts by retailers who have implemented dedicated hours and access for the elderly, disabled and priority access groups, as well as prioritising online deliveries for the most vulnerable.

The safer workplaces guidance provides some suggestions to help employers make their workplaces COVID-Secure for their employees, visitors, and customers. The Government took into account people with disabilities when developing the guidance. We expect all businesses to take into account the Government’s guidance, discussing with neighbouring businesses and their local authorities where applicable.

The guidance does not replace existing employment, health and safety or equalities legislation. It provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the requirements to report state aid support to the EU.

EU State aid rules no longer apply to subsidies granted from 1 January 2021 in the UK. The only exception is aid within scope of the Withdrawal Agreement, specifically Article 10 of the Northern Ireland Protocol and Article 138 in relation to aid for EU programmes and activities within the Multiannual Financial Framework.

The UK must provide the EU with details of aid granted under either of these two limited circumstances on an annual basis and in line with the relevant transparency obligations for individual awards. The UK will also fulfil its obligations to provide details of aid granted before the end of the transition period.

The UK has committed to transparency obligations within the subsidies chapter of the UK/EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement. These obligations will be met through a new publicly accessible transparency database which will be available in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits click and collect options for non-essential retail in reducing the rate of transmission of covid-19.

The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home unless people have a reasonable excuse, as set out in law.

In order to reduce social contact and help reduce the rate of transmission, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. All shops can continue to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected without entering the premises) and delivery services. This allows the public to have access to goods they need quickly, where they aren’t available from retailers that can remain open.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many (a) directly managed, (b) retail outlets and (c) outreach Post Office Branches have been closed at any point since 2000.

The management of the Post Office network, including the number and type of branches open and closed at any one time, is an operational matter for the Post Office, and therefore the Government does not hold this information.

It is, however, a requirement under Provision 11 of the Postal Services Act 2011 for the Post Office to publish an annual report about the Post Office branch network and customer accessibility. This report is also laid before Parliament.

The Post Office Network Reports are available online and the most recent report as of March 2020 can be found here: http://corporate.postoffice.co.uk/secure-corporate/our-network/post-office-network-reports/.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Office of National Statistics on Coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy: October 2020 that travel agent output is 89.9 percent less than in February 2020; and what plans he has to introduce specific support for the travel agency and tour operator sector.

The Government recognises the travel sector has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19. We are regularly assessing the impact on tourism businesses and are continuing to engage across Government and with stakeholders - such as the Association of British Travel Agents and Association of Independent Tour Operators - to assess how we can most effectively support the recovery of travel and tourism across the UK.

On top of our wider economic support package, we have provided business rates relief and one-off grants for eligible hospitality and leisure businesses. We have also cut VAT for tourism and hospitality activities from 20% to 5% until the end of March, and we have confirmed that the Government will protect refund credit notes if ATOL-protected packages are cancelled as a result of COVID-19.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the National Hair and Beauty Federation's December 2020 State of Industry survey; and what plans the Government has for specific support for that sector.

From 2 December, close contact services have been allowed to open in Tiers 1-3. Unfortunately, due to the very rapid rise of infections in Tier 4 areas, close contact services are closed. The Government has put in place a wide-ranging package of financial support for sectors impacted by Covid-19, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Kickstart Scheme grants.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Department's news story, Advice for people struggling to pay essential bills because of coronavirus, published on 11 September 2020, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of requiring payment holidays to be extended.

Throughout the Coronavirus crisis, Government and regulators have worked with regulated industries to support consumers who are struggling financially. The decision to extend support measures is taken in each sector to meet the varying needs of the consumers in those markets.

For instance, FCA advises that consumers can until the end of March apply for payment deferrals including on mortgages, loans, credit cards, overdrafts, and motor finance. Ofcom recently asked telecoms providers to bring in further support, including proactively engaging with those in debt, and waiving penalty charges.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the evidential basis was for setting capacity at 15 for wedding receptions in covid-19 tier 1 and 2 areas.

Wedding receptions by their nature are particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. This guidance for wedding receptions and celebrations at tiers 1 and 2 has been drafted on the basis of the scientific evidence available. We keep this guidance under review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many post offices have been closed in England as a result of being assessed as not commercially viable since 2018.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK and remains committed to the long-term sustainability of the network.

Overall post office branch numbers are published yearly by the Post Office in their Network Report and Government, via UK Government Investments, monitors network numbers regularly. The report for 2018/19 can be found at http://corporate.postoffice.co.uk/media/46607/networkreport2019_final_190210.pdf.

Changes to the Post Office network can and do happen, often for reasons beyond the Post Office’s control, for instance a postmaster retirement. When this happens, the Post Office will try to restore services as soon as possible by putting in place temporary arrangements or working hard to find an alternative location.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Green Home Grants have been approved since the scheme opened.

The Green Homes Grant opened to applications on the 30 September 2020. As of 2nd November 2020, 31,279 grant applications have been received. BEIS will continue to monitor application data as the scheme progresses.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will provide a breakdown of the reasons for Green Home Grant application refusals.

We have designed the Green Homes Grant voucher application process to automate checks where possible and minimise the time taken for voucher approval. However, should a customer’s application be rejected, they may receive correspondence advising they have been rejected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Quotes submitted are ineligible;
  • The property is ineligible (for example due to its location);
  • The customer has failed identity or land registry checks;
  • The customer is ineligible for the low-income scheme;
  • The measures selected are ineligible or no primary measure has been selected;
  • An on-site audit has confirmed the customer is ineligible.

In order to raise any questions or concerns about the scheme, customers should contact the scheme administrator via the ‘Contact us’ link on the GOV.UK guidance pages. The first vouchers have now been issued and my officials will continue to monitor application data as the scheme progresses.

Applications are thoroughly checked for compliance with the scheme rules to help ensure value for money, protect consumers, and detect malpractice.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres on a resilience fund for science centres.

We have been closely liaising with the UK Association for Science Discovery Centres through meetings with Ministers and officials. We recognise that, as with so many other organisations and individuals, that COVID-19 has created challenges for these centres.

Some centres have already and others are planning to reopen in the coming period so they can continue to offer experiences which bring science to life in order to inspire and involve their visitors.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment has he made of the potential effect of the covid-19 outbreak on science and discovery centres.

The Government recognises the impacts of COVID-19 on science and discovery centres across the UK and Ministers and officials have met the Association of Science and Discovery Centres.

Science and discovery centres in England have access to the unprecedented support the Government has announced for business and workers, to protect them against the current economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Many are also part of museum groups or are heritage sites. Museums and heritage organisations can access over £200 million of coronavirus support schemes from Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Science and discovery centres outside England may be eligible for further support from the devolved governments.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the need for sector-specific support for the wedding industry as a result of the new coronavirus measures announced on 22 September 2020.

The Chancellor has laid out the Government’s Winter Recovery Plan. This includes measures to support businesses, such as extending the current government-backed loan schemes and introducing the Pay as You Grow and Job Support Schemes. There are also specific measures to support the self-employed, such as the SEISS Grant Extension.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many contractors working for his Department have had their employment status assessed in relation to the new IR35 rules on off-payroll working; and how many of those staff are subject to those rules.

The Department conducts IR35 status determinations on all its self-employed contractor roles. The status determination is based on HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax tool, as well as HMRC guidance on finance risk, control, and supervision over the worker and right to substitution. The Department then uses its agencies to recruit based on the job description and IR35 status.

For 2018-19, the Department employed 66 contractors, with 59 outside of scope of IR35.

IR35 statistics relating to self-employment are published in the Department’s annual report and accounts at: beis-annual-report-accounts-2018-2019.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of (a) support and (b) opportunities for disabled children in gymnastics.

The Government recognises the importance of ensuring support and opportunities for sport, including gymnastics, are available disabled people. Our strategy ‘Sporting Future’ sets out a clear ambition to increase levels of physical activity amongst under-represented groups, working closely with the sector to achieve this.

DCMS welcomes the recent formation of the British Gymnastics Disability Gymnastics Panel which aims to provide more opportunities for disabled participants, with the group seeking to influence, shape and drive inclusive opportunities in gymnastics.

Sport England, DCMS's arm’s length body for grassroots sport in England, recently launched their new ten year strategy, ‘Uniting the Movement’. The strategy reinforces their commitment to tackle inequalities in sport and physical activity, and provide opportunities to people that have traditionally been left behind, including disabled people. Sport England’s Active Lives Children surveys provide information on activity levels across a variety of sports, including gymnastics, and include data on participation by children with disabilities. The latest reports can be found here.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing re-opening grants for the live events sector.

We appreciate the important role that the live events sector plays in the UK’s economy, and that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to this sector.

That is why we announced the unprecedented £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund in July 2020. This includes over £800 million to almost 3800 arts, culture and heritage organisations in England, helping to support at least 75,000 jobs. Additionally, the Chancellor announced in the 2021 Budget an additional £300 million to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England through the Culture Recovery Fund. This extra funding, together with other cultural support such as funding for our national museums, means that our total support package for culture during the pandemic is now approaching £2 billion.

More generally, the Prime Minister has set out the Roadmap to reopening the Economy, and the Budget has set out a ‘Restart Grant’ of up to £18,000 to over 680,000 business premises, giving them the cash certainty they need to plan ahead and safely relaunch trading over the coming months. We are also providing all English local authorities with an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated. Altogether, this support will cost £5 billion. This brings the total cost of cash grants provided by the Government to £25 billion.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing Government-backed covid-19 cancellation Insurance for the live events sector.

The Government is aware of the concerns which have been raised about the challenge of securing indemnity cover for live events. My officials continue to work closely with the affected sectors to understand all barriers to reopening, including potential challenges around indemnity cover.

Understandably, the bar for considering Government intervention is set extremely high, especially in light of recent announcements including the extension to the furlough scheme and local business support. My officials are continuing to collect evidence of all of the barriers live events are facing to reopening, including access to indemnity insurance through the market.

We are keeping the situation under review and working closely with HMT on this issue to determine the appropriate and most effective response for the sector within the public health context.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many properties in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency are connected to broadband via exchange-only lines.

According to Ofcom’s 2018 Connected Nations report, 3% of UK broadband lines are exchange only lines.

Given the continued deployment of alternative networks, Ofcom estimates that the number of premises that can only receive broadband from such lines is around 1%.

Ofcom does not hold this data at a constituency level.

Matt Western
Opposition Whip (Commons)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the level of disabled access and opportunities in British Gymnastics at (a) youth and (b) adult level.

Sport England’s Active Lives Adult and Children surveys provide information on activity levels across a variety of sports, including gymnastics, and include data on participation by disabled people. The latest reports can be found here.

Government recognises the importance of ensuring disabled access to sports facilities. Our sport strategy, Sporting Future, sets out a clear ambition to increase levels of physical activity, particularly amongst under-represented groups, including disabled people.

This is reinforced in Sport England’s new strategy Uniting the Movement, which sets out their 10 year vision to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity. The strategy seeks to tackle the inequalities seen in sport and physical activity and provide opportunities to people that have traditionally been left behind, including those with a disability, helping to remove barriers to activity.

Government is also currently in the process of recruiting a new cohort of Disability and Access Ambassadors, one of whom will focus on the Sport and Physical Activity sector. The ambassador will help to drive improvements in the accessibility and quality of services and facilities in the sector for disabled people, as consumers and employees.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect gym closures and restrictions on sports during the covid-19 outbreak on mental and physical wellbeing.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus.

On Monday 4 January the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions. These regulations were voted on by the House on 6 January.

You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, in a public outdoor place and you should not travel outside your local area. You should maintain social distancing. Indoor and outdoor sports facilities, including gyms, must close.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the latest scientific evidence supporting the closure of golf courses during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown period.

Sports and physical activity, including golf, are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus.

The purpose of the restrictions is to reduce the time people spend outside of their homes and the number of interactions they have to an absolute minimum. The severity of the current situation means that we have been required to close all sports facilities. This is a decision that no government would want to take and we will remove the restrictions, as a priority, as soon as the public health situation allows.

The restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions. All decisions made by the Government relating to the pandemic have been based on advice and guidance from health and scientific experts. These regulations were voted on by the House on 6 January.

You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, in a public outdoor place and you should not travel outside your local area. You should maintain social distancing.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the National League Board on (a) the distribution of funds to National League Football clubs to assist with covering lost gate revenue due to the covid-19 outbreak and (b) publishing the findings of the Independent Review Panel on club funding.

The government brokered a promotional deal between the National League and Camelot in September 2020. This led to an invaluable injection of £10m support to help clubs in completing their 2020/21 season. Whilst the distribution of this funding is a matter for the National League, the government was clear in supporting the deal that it expected the proceeds to be allocated sensibly to support clubs for as long as possible. The Secretary of State has had no conversations with the National League Board on either the actual distribution of funds or the findings of the Independent Review Panel.

Separately, in November 2020 the government announced a £300m Sports Winter Survival Package. This funding aims to support major spectator sports severely impacted by covid restrictions to help them survive through the winter period. The needs of the lower tiers of the National League are being considered in relation to this support package by Sport England, who are administering the fund. Final funding decisions are being taken by an independent board.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how his Department plans to assess the effectiveness of spectators returning to football stadiums in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas; and when a review of spectator numbers will take place.

The Government remains committed to working towards achieving football stadiums’ maximum socially distanced capacity as soon as it is safe to do so.

From Wednesday 2 December, it has been possible for fans to be readmitted to sports grounds where local COVID alert levels allow. The Government continues to be in close contact with the Sports Technology Innovation Group, formed of sporting bodies and health experts, and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to assess the latest thinking and high-tech solutions that could enable further spectators to return.

We will continue to work with both bodies, alongside the football authorities, to determine the next steps in viably increasing spectator capacities without compromising public safety.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment has been made of the risks of covid-19 transmission during group exercise classes where covid-secure measures are in place.

As the Prime Minister said on 23 November, the national restrictions ended on Wednesday 2 December, and gyms and sport facilities will reopen across all tiers. The decision to allocate tiers is based on a range of factors and will be reviewed every 14 days.

The Prime Minister further updated the public on the Government’s COVID response on Saturday and announced tier 4 in which indoor gyms and sports facilities will need to close. In Tiers 3 and 4 we have taken further measures to limit social interactions and therefore opportunities for the virus to spread. Unfortunately in these areas group activity and exercise classes indoors are also advised against.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the risks of covid-19 transmission during tennis doubles matches between mixed households.

As the Prime Minister said on 23 November national restrictions ended on Wednesday 2 December, and gyms and sport facilities can reopen across all tiers. This means that certain leisure and sporting facilities including tennis courts and facilities are able to open subject to relevant social contact rules in each tier.

In tier 4, outdoor sports courts can remain open for individual exercise, and for people to use with others within their household, support bubble, or with one person from another household. Organised outdoor sport for under 18s and disabled people will be allowed.

As set out in the COVID Winter Plan the decision to allocate tiers is based on a range of factors and will be reviewed every 14 days. In Tier 3 and 4 areas we have taken further measures to limit social interactions and therefore opportunities for the virus to spread.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the role that bingo halls play in combating social isolation and loneliness.

A report by GambleAware in 2016 found that 94% of bingo players played because it was fun, and 85% to socialise, while 58% found it provided intellectual stimulation. As well as an opportunity to socialise, players reported it was a chance to be around other people (69%) and somewhere patrons could feel safe even when they are on their own (76%).

This government is committed to tackling loneliness, having provided around £25 million of funding as part of the £750 million charity funding package to organisations which deliver activities that tackle social isolation and loneliness. We have inspired organisations to take action, establishing the Tackling Loneliness Network in June 2020 and encouraged people to reach out to others through our campaign 'Let's Talk Loneliness’.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of encouraging broadcasters to broadcast remaining Premier League fixtures played this season as free to air broadcasts.

The Government recognises the importance to the country and to the wider football economy of the return of Premier League football matches, played behind closed doors, when it is safe to do so. The Government believes it could be helpful in discouraging people from leaving home to watch matches during the coronavirus emergency if some games and more highlights were available free to air. The Government is in talks with the English Premier League and broadcasters about a safe return to playing out the season, including the potential for free-to-air matches, and will provide an update in due course.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he is taking steps to investigate the Saudi Government’s purchase of Newcastle United Football Club.

The sale is a matter for the parties concerned, and for the Premier League to assess under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test. As such no steps are being taken.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many contractors working for his Department have had their employment status assessed in relation to the new IR35 rules on off-payroll working; and how many of those staff are subject to those rules.

DCMS assess employment statuses for tax purposes according to the 2017 IR35 amendment. We are currently engaged with 37 contractors, of which 14 are currently in scope of the IR35 tax legislation.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions the Minister for Digital and Broadband has had with the transparency working group.

Ministers and officials have regular meetings and discussions with stakeholders including those at the multi-stakeholder Transparency Working Group. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website.

The Transparency Working Group includes representatives from a wide range of organisations with an interest in transparency reporting in relation to online harms. The first meeting of the Transparency Working Group was chaired by the Minister for Digital and Broadband. Following the recent change in ministerial portfolios, the group will now be chaired by the Minister for Digital and Culture.


This group will feed into the government’s transparency report, which was announced in the Online Harms White Paper and which we intend to publish in the coming months.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January 2020 to Question 489, when the Information Commission will provide its final update on the use of personal data in political campaigns to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has indicated it will provide the Committee with its final update at the Information Commissioner’s next appearance at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. A date for this has not been confirmed yet.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the concealed microtargeting of people's data.

The Data Protection Act 2018 introduced tighter regulation of the way that personal data is collected, stored and processed and includes safeguards such as the right to be forgotten.

Our future work on online targeting will be informed by independent expert advice, including the review of Online Targeting published by the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation on 4 February 2020. The report includes a set of formal recommendations to the government, which we will respond to within six months.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Feb 2020
What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the governance of premier league football clubs.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities, they have unique social value and many with a great history. It is vital they are protected and fans should have their voices heard.

The governance of football is first and foremost a matter for the relevant authorities, in this case the Premier League and the Football Association. These bodies have a duty to govern the sport and provide assurances to fans, players and indeed employees, that proper protections are in place.

However, we have committed to a fan led review of football governance, which will include consideration of the Owners’ and Directors’ test, to ensure we protect the game for fans.

We will liaise closely with fan representatives and the football authorities as we decide the scope and structure of this work.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Government plans to publish guidance to universities on the return of the remaining students who do not satisfy the eligibility criteria for face-to-face teaching during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 13 April, the government announced that remaining students should return to in-person teaching alongside Step 3 of the roadmap, which is not earlier than 17 May.

Students and providers will be given at least a week’s notice of any further return in accordance with the timing of Step 3 of the roadmap. We have also updated our guidance on the return of students during the spring and summer terms: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many complaints relating to allegations of racism were made to his Department in (a) 2018, (b) 2019 and (c) 2020.

We are clear there is no place for racism in our society or education system. The Department does not keep a central record of all complaints made to us directly. However, from July 2020, the Department’s School Complaints Unit began recording whether ‘racial discrimination towards a pupil’ has been cited as a factor in complaints made to, or about, local authority maintained school.

Subsequently, racial discrimination towards a pupil was cited as a factor in eight complaints about local authority maintained schools. At the time of their approach, none of the complainants had attempted to resolve their concerns locally, using the schools’ own complaints procedure, so were advised to do so.

Whilst complaints about a school can be made to the Department, in most cases complainants should follow the local complaints procedure in the first instance. All schools are required to have a complaints procedure in place and we have published guidance on this for maintained schools, academies and independent schools:

Maintained schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-complaints-procedures/best-practice-advice-for-school-complaints-procedures-2019.

Academies: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/setting-up-an-academies-complaints-procedure.

Independent schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulating-independent-schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with headteachers on ensuring a sufficient supply of face coverings during the covid-19 outbreak from 8 March 2021.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), as well as stakeholders across the sector. We continue to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

We recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March. This guidance includes updated advice on face coverings and how to access them. Due to the increasing use of face coverings in wider society, staff and pupils are already likely to have access to face coverings. In our guidance, we recommend that all schools should have a small contingency stock of face coverings available, in case an individual has forgotten or damaged their own. The guidance can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance.

Within our guidance, we signpost to the wider DHSC guidance on face coverings. This guidance outlines what a face covering is, the reasons for using a face covering, when to wear a face covering and exemptions. In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. This includes reusable or single-use face coverings, a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth coverings. The face covering must securely fit around the side of the face. Face coverings are not classified as personal protective equipment, they are instead largely intended to protect other people (rather than the person wearing the face covering) against the spread of COVID-19 infection. The DHSC guidance can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own.

PHE has also published guidance on how to make a simple face covering. This guidance can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering.

To support the return to full attendance and to ensure maximum compliance with the system of controls, DHSC are currently in the process of distributing a delivery of between 5,000 and 7,500 units of free face coverings to all secondary schools and further education institutions for use as contingency stock.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what consideration the expert advisory group on the differential impacts of the covid-19 outbreak on pupils will give to the views of clinically extremely vulnerable pupils who have been shielding throughout the academic year to inform alternative arrangements to support those pupils.

The Department recognises that school closures have had a significant impact on the education of young people across the country, and that disruption will have been felt differently by individual students, depending on their circumstances.

We have appointed Sir Kevan Collins as the Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on a longer-term plan. The objectives of the Education Recovery Commissioner, as outlined in the terms of reference, are to advise on the design and implementation of potential interventions that will help students catch up learning lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Education Recovery Commissioner will also consider how schools and the system can effectively target resources and support at pupils and areas in greatest need, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

The terms of reference for the Education Recovery Commissioner, are published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/960070/Terms_of_reference.pdf.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Government plans to respond to its Call for evidence on the financial arrangements for children and young people with special educational needs and disability and those who need alternative provision, which closed on 31 July 2019.

Following the 2019 call for evidence on the funding of provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and those requiring alternative provision, we have been clear that there are a number of aspects of the current funding arrangements that would merit further consideration; for example, the expectation that mainstream schools meet costs up to £6,000 of supporting a pupil with SEND from their core budget, the level of the £10,000 per place funding for special schools and the funding arrangements for young people with SEND in further education.

The evidence collected has been taken into account by the department and will be addressed both as part of the SEND review and in further consultations. In addition, we are currently consulting on a number of small technical changes to the high needs national funding formula for the financial year 2022-23, and the consultation can be accessed at this link: https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/high-needs-nff-proposed-changes/.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the role of outdoor education centres in a child’s development.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak. This advice will be reviewed before the end of February 2021 and the findings of this review will help scope the re-opening of the industry.

Officials continue to work across government, with industry bodies and sector representatives to address the issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and will help them plan for the safe reintroduction of educational visits, including residential educational visits, when it is safe to do so.

The Department will be convening a task force to look at the effects that COVID-19 has had on the mental well-being of children, young people, and staff in the education system. We will confirm the next steps as soon as possible.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with outdoor education centres on a roadmap to re-opening their industry.

Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak. This advice will be reviewed before the end of February 2021 and the findings of this review will help scope the re-opening of the industry.

Officials continue to work across government, with industry bodies and sector representatives to address the issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and will help them plan for the safe reintroduction of educational visits, including residential educational visits, when it is safe to do so.

The Department will be convening a task force to look at the effects that COVID-19 has had on the mental well-being of children, young people, and staff in the education system. We will confirm the next steps as soon as possible.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) schools, (b) colleges and (c) universities on the effect of face coverings on deaf pupils.

The Department’s guidance on face coverings can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

As the guidance outlines, during national lockdown, in schools and colleges where Year 7 and above are taught, face coverings should be worn by adults (staff and visitors), pupils and students when moving around indoors, outside of classrooms and other teaching situations, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Based on current evidence and the measures that schools and colleges are already putting in place, such as the system of controls and consistent bubbles, face coverings will not generally be necessary in the classroom.

Children in primary schools do not need to wear a face covering.

Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This includes people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate. The same legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply in schools and colleges.

Face coverings can make it more difficult to communicate with pupils and students with additional needs or those who many rely on lip reading or facial expressions for understanding. We expect staff to be sensitive to these needs when teaching and interacting with pupils and students.

We continue to provide information to the sector on our guidance, and any changes to it, through regular departmental communications. We also continue to work with the sector to understand the impact of the system of controls on staff, pupils and parents.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the business case supporting the decision to move the Social Mobility Commission to the Cabinet Office.

Decisions on Machinery of Government changes are made by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister. Ministers in relevant departments were consulted before the decision was made. This move aligns with a recent recommendation by the Chair of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities and a recommendation by the Education Select Committee in 2018.

Moving the sponsorship of the Social Mobility Commission to become a key part of the new Equality Hub makes good sense and puts equality and fairness of all kinds at the heart of government. The move shows how serious this government is about actually acting on these issues, as part of our levelling up agenda.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what consultations were undertaken prior to the decision to move the Social Mobility Commission to the Cabinet Office.

This move aligns with a recent recommendation by the Chair of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, the Social Mobility Commission's (SMC) own recommendation about where it would best fit within government, and with a recommendation by the Education Select Committee in 2018.

Moving the sponsorship of the SMC to become a key part of the new Equality Hub makes good sense and puts equality and fairness of all kinds at the heart of government. The move shows how serious this government is about acting on these issues, as part of our levelling up agenda.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his timescale is for announcing plans for the re-opening of the outdoor educational residential centre sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

Following the National Lockdown announced on 4 January 2021 by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, further guidance has been published for schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak. Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. This advice will be reviewed before the end of February 2021.

Officials will continue to work with industry bodies and sector representatives to address the issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, and will help them plan for the safe reintroduction of educational visits, including residential educational visits, when it is safe to do so.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods across the UK, support businesses, and public services. The Government has spent over £280 billion to do so.

This includes small business grants, the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more. The measures introduced have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

Further measures have been announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer that build on the significant support already available, as well as set out how current support will evolve and adapt. These include the extension of the CJRS until the end of April 2021, the extension of the deadline for applications for the Bounce Back Loan scheme and other loan schemes until 31 March 2021, and increased support for the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grants.

Furthermore, businesses in England that are forced to close due to national or local restrictions will be able to claim up to £3,000 per month. Local authorities in England will also receive one-off funding of £1.1 billion to support businesses more broadly over the coming months as a key part of local economies.

Further support for businesses was announced on 5 January 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/46-billion-in-new-lockdown-grants-to-support-businesses-and-protect-jobs.

The Government will continue to work closely with local authorities, businesses, business representative organisations, and the financial services sector to monitor the implementation of current support and understand whether there is additional need. Businesses can also access tailored advice through the Business Support Helpline (FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098), via the Business Support website at: www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline or through their local Growth Hubs in England.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of sector specific support for outdoor educational residential centres in response to the effect of ongoing covid-19 restrictions on those centres.

Following the National Lockdown announced on 4 January 2021 by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, further guidance has been published for schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak. Schools are advised against all educational visits at this time. This advice will be reviewed before the end of February 2021.

Officials will continue to work with industry bodies and sector representatives to address the issues arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, and will help them plan for the safe reintroduction of educational visits, including residential educational visits, when it is safe to do so.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods across the UK, support businesses, and public services. The Government has spent over £280 billion to do so.

This includes small business grants, the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more. The measures introduced have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

Further measures have been announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer that build on the significant support already available, as well as set out how current support will evolve and adapt. These include the extension of the CJRS until the end of April 2021, the extension of the deadline for applications for the Bounce Back Loan scheme and other loan schemes until 31 March 2021, and increased support for the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grants.

Furthermore, businesses in England that are forced to close due to national or local restrictions will be able to claim up to £3,000 per month. Local authorities in England will also receive one-off funding of £1.1 billion to support businesses more broadly over the coming months as a key part of local economies.

Further support for businesses was announced on 5 January 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/46-billion-in-new-lockdown-grants-to-support-businesses-and-protect-jobs.

The Government will continue to work closely with local authorities, businesses, business representative organisations, and the financial services sector to monitor the implementation of current support and understand whether there is additional need. Businesses can also access tailored advice through the Business Support Helpline (FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098), via the Business Support website at: www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline or through their local Growth Hubs in England.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many A-Level Centre Assessed Grade appeals have been successful; and what the reasons given were for the decisions on those appeals.

These are matters for the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and I have asked its interim Chief Regulator, Simon Lebus, to write directly to the hon. Member and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many A-Level Centre Assessed Grades have been overturned on the basis of malpractice or maladministration.

These are matters for the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and I have asked its interim Chief Regulator, Simon Lebus, to write directly to the hon. Member and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to Answer of 21 October to Question 104751 on the regional breakdown for pupils in attendance on 15 October in responding schools, if he will provide updated data for an equivalent day in November on school attendance by local authority.

The Department collects data on both the open status of schools and the number of schools that have indicated they have sent pupils home due to COVID-19 containment on a daily basis. This data is published from this collection at a national level as part of the official statistics series. The publication can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Data is published from 9 September 2020, but prior to 12 October 2020, information on pupils isolating was not collected. The Department intends to publish regional and local authority level data on 15 December 2020. This data will be included as part of the publication ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak’. The frequency of the publication ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak’ will be reviewed in the new year.

The Department is constantly reviewing the content of its publications. Announcements about future content will be made through the official statistics release page: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education/about/statistics.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils in England have had to self-isolate since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.

It is estimated that up to 361,000 pupils in state-funded schools, excluding schools on half term, did not attend school for COVID-19 related reasons as on Thursday 5 November 2020. Of these, it is estimated that up to 301,000 pupils are self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of COVID-19. It is not possible to estimate the total number of pupils who have had to self-isolate since the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year.

?It is a priority for the Department to keep a close track of the situation in schools in relation to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases. The Department is currently collecting data from schools on a daily basis, as well as gathering information from local areas and following up with individual settings. This includes confirming that procedures for requiring pupils to isolate are well understood and that necessary decisions are being made based on public health advice.

Data is collected on the number of schools that have indicated they have sent children home due to COVID-19 containment measures and the Department has attendance data for schools that have done so. We are currently looking at the quality of that data with a view to publishing as part of the official statistics series. The series already includes published data on school openings, attendance, and absences, which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, when he plans to respond to the letter of 18 June 2020 from Action against Medical Accidents and other signatories on the strategic response to covid-19.

My Office has no record of receiving this letter. I have asked my Office to contact the organisation to see if they can re-send the correspondence.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the funding arrangements for post-October half-term school transport will be published.

The Government is committed to ensuring all pupils can travel to school and college safely and on time. We have provided local transport authorities with more than £40 million of funding to increase dedicated home to school and college transport capacity in the first half of the autumn term.

The Department will inform local transport authorities of their funding allocations for the second half of the autumn term shortly.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to correspondence from the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston of (a) 9 July and (b) 14 August 2020 on outdoor education residential centres.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letters dated 9 July and 14 August, from the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has to make an assessment of the potential timescale for allowing outdoor education residential centres to open for overnight residential visits during the covid-19 outbreak.

The guidance for full school opening enables schools to resume educational day visits but continues to advise against UK overnight educational residential visits. This guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The Department’s educational visits advice is in line with guidance from Public Health England, the Cabinet Office, and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and will be reviewed again in November 2020.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance the Government has provided to (a) local authorities and (b) church leaders on provision of summer holiday camps through churches that provide food and activities for (i) vulnerable and (ii) other local children.

The department has published guidance for providers who run community activities, holiday clubs, after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5. It sets out the safety measures that must be in place to ensure they can operate over the summer holiday. The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

This follows confirmation from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that from Saturday 4 July, these providers can operate over the summer holiday, with safety measures in place.

When state schools in a local area have closed for the summer term, children of all ages may attend out-of-school settings in that area, including vulnerable children.

On 22 June, the department also announced the 17 local authority areas that our holiday activities and food programme will operate in this summer, providing thousands of disadvantaged children with access to healthy meals and holiday activities.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons academy-related discrimination cases are outside the remit of the Education and Skills Funding Agency; and what options people have in an academy setting to pursue a discrimination case.

The law covering discrimination is the Equality Act 2010. This applies to all maintained and independent schools, including academies, and maintained and non-maintained special schools in England.

The Act makes it unlawful for the responsible body of a school to discriminate against, harass or victimise a pupil or potential pupil:

  • in relation to admissions;
  • in the way it provides education for pupils;
  • in the way it provides pupils access to any benefit, facility or service; or
  • by excluding a pupil or subjecting them to any other detriment.

If an individual feels that discrimination has taken place, in the first instance these cases could be resolved informally with the school. Should this fail to satisfactorily resolve the issue, then an official complaint can be made to the academy.

If the complainant feels that the trust has not followed its complaints procedure, they can escalate this to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). The ESFA will assess the trust’s compliance with their complaints policy but cannot overturn the decision itself or suggest remedy.

Formal proceedings in relation to a contravention of the education provisions of the Act will be brought in a county court. If the court rules that there has been a contravention, then it has the power to award an appropriate remedy, including any award of damages.

Specialist tribunals which have experience and knowledge of disability issues will hear cases of contravention of the education provisions on grounds of disability. In England this will be the First-tier Tribunal. If the Tribunal rules that there has been a contravention, then it has the power to make an order of a remedy, which it sees as appropriate.

The Department has set out advice on the Equality Act on GOV.UK, which is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many contractors working for his Department have had their employment status assessed in relation to the new IR35 rules on off-payroll working; and how many of those staff are subject to those rules.

Following the announcement in the House of Commons on the evening of 17 March regarding the delay to the IR35 reforms until 6 April 2021, the Department has paused the work to reassess workers’ employment status to the new IR35 rules.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the cost for Plant Health Agency inspections.

It is important that plant health services are properly financed in order to provide assurance for the high standard of UK exports of plants and produce and to protect our nation’s biosecurity. In line with HM Treasury rules, Defra recovers the cost of plant health services delivered by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) from the businesses who use them. Defra regularly reviews its fees to ensure they are reflective of the cost of delivery and that they do not over-recover.

Cost data is collected on an ongoing basis and fee changes are based on the actual costs recorded over at least 12 months. Defra completed the most recent annual review of fees in December 2020. The review showed that the cost base had remained stable across plant health services. In 2019/20 the cost base for delivery of plant health services was £5.796m, an increase of only 0.5% on the 2018/19 cost base of £5.768m. Given this stability, Defra decided not to amend the existing fees until October 2022, to give businesses certainty over costs for 18 months.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of trends in littering; and whether he plans to launch a national campaign on litter.

Last year Keep Britain Tidy published, on behalf of Defra, the results of analysis of litter composition in the UK. This report was the first of its kind in terms of recording the amount of litter found by brand, on a national scale. This report is available at:

https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/sites/default/files/resources/20200330%20KBT%20Litter%20Composition%20Report%20-%20FINAL.pdf

Last summer, in response to Covid-19, Defra developed a 'Respect the Outdoors' campaign to encourage people to follow the Countryside Code and to highlight the impacts of littering. This was promoted both online and in locations across the country near to urban parks, beaches and national parks. We also supported, and provided funding for, Keep Britain Tidy's Love Parks campaign, which encouraged people to treat our parks with respect.

Preliminary evaluation of these campaigns indicates that they had a positive influence on the target audience's intended disposal of Personal Protective Equipment litter, with anecdotal reports from local authorities that the intervention resulted in a markedly beneficial outcome.

We are also raising awareness via social media of what individuals can do to protect others and the environment, in relation to litter.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 22 January 2021 to Question 137152, how much of that £100 million Zoo Animals Fund has been allocated.

Under the zoo support schemes we have so far awarded over £6 million and we are currently processing applications of a further £6 million. This money has provided for animal care costs and essential maintenance costs for those zoos experiencing severe financial difficulties due to Covid-19. Only one application to the Zoo Animals Fund has been rejected on the basis that the business in question was ineligible as it did not have the necessary licence or exemption. We have extended the application deadline for the Zoo Animals Fund from 29 January 2021 to 26 February 2021 to allow more zoos to access funding.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on UK growers wishing to sell plants to the Republic of Ireland.

The UK and EU have similar plant health measures and moving forward we are committed to maintaining high biosecurity, food safety and plant health standards. The EU and UK being geographically close, and close as trading partners, have a number of common pathogens that pose a risk. Building on the existing practice established to maintain the Single Epidemiological Unit on the island of Ireland, both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will align with EU Sanitary and Phytosanitary rules. Sending regulated plants and plant products from GB to the Republic of Ireland will require a phytosanitary certificate to accompany the goods prior to them departing GB, with sufficient time to allow for inspections and any testing which may be required.

GB plant health authorities have undertaken significant recruitment to increase the number of plant health inspectors in order to service the demand for export checks and certification. We have sufficient resources to meet demand from 1 January 2021 and ensure minimal disruption to trade.

The UK has a long history of compliance and we have a similar health status and biosecurity aims. We will seek to reduce checks safely through the regular dialogue both sides have committed to in the agreement.

Defra has put in place a framework to agree to trade facilitations going forward, including potential reductions in the frequency of import checks, where justified. It’s in both Parties interests to pursue this. Defra will also continue to engage with the European Commission to ensure we develop helpful practical arrangements for businesses trading with both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2020 to Question 110165, what recent discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues, (b) representatives from the food supply sector and (c) the devolved Administrations on when the plan for food supply after the transition period will be published.

Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU in 2019, alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of transition period planning on food supply.

The Government contingency planning documents such as the plan for food supply are regularly reviewed and updated to reflect engagement with industry and across government including the Devolved Administrations. Given their sensitive nature these plans are not published as they provide the basis of discussions between Ministers and officials on the development of security and resilience policy.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of inspectors required to inspect EU imported plants after the end of the transition period; and how many inspectors are employed and fully-trained to carry out such inspections as at 14 December 2020.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has undertaken significant recruitment to increase the number of plant health inspectors in order to service the demand for import and export checks and certification in England and Wales, where the majority of inspectors will be required. We will have sufficient resources to meet demand from 1 January 2021 when checks of high-priority plants from the EU begin, and July 2021 when we will have arrived at our end-state regime, to ensure minimal disruption to trade.

As of 14 December, APHA has more than 300 fully trained Plant Health inspectors undertaking a wide range of roles across England and Wales, with a further c150 staff completing their training and further new recruits to be onboarded before the end of December. Some of the additional staff recruited and trained will be dedicated to plant imports, with flexibility to expand the number from within the overall resource pool, based on demand.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that food standards are maintained after the transition period.

The Government has a clear manifesto commitment that in all of our trade negotiations we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 will transfer all existing provisions onto the UK statute book. This includes EU Council Directive 96/22/EC which bans the import and production of meat using growth promoting hormone or beta agonist treatments, existing food safety provisions ensuring no products, other than potable water are approved to decontaminate poultry carcasses, all EU maximum residue levels (MRLs) for plant protection products (as they are at the point of exit) and the standards for how they are set, as well as all EU import standards relating to food safety and animal welfare.

At the end of the transition period, we will also repatriate the functions of audit and inspection currently carried out by the European Commission to ensure that trading partners continue to meet our import conditions. We will also be verifying that requirements are carried out as stipulated through checks at the border. This will provide a robust system to maintain our high standards.

The independent advice of our food regulators, the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland, and rigorous processes will continue to ensure that all food imports into the UK are safe and meet the relevant UK product rules and regulations.

The Agriculture Act 2020 contains a duty for Ministers to report to Parliament on whether, or to what extent, commitments in new Free Trade Agreements, relating to agricultural goods, are consistent with maintaining UK levels of statutory protection in relation to environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.

In July the Government established the Trade and Agriculture Commission, an independent advisory board set up to advise and inform the Government’s trade policies on environmental and animal welfare standards in food production. The Government has now extended the Trade and Agriculture Commission, and committed to place it on a full statutory footing via the Trade Bill, with a provision to review it every three years.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the commercial food industry on ensuring an adequate supply of food after the transition period.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain. Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU in 2019, alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of Transition Period planning on food supply. We are working alongside industry and across Government, including with the Devolved Administrations, to plan for the end of this year.

The Government has well established ways of working with the food industry who are experienced in dealing with situations that can cause disruptions to supply.

Our overall assessment of risk within a reasonable worst case scenario of food supply at the end of transition is that there will not be an overall shortage of food in the UK, and consumers will continue to have access to a wide range of food products.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the security of food supply in the event of the UK and EU not agreeing a deal on the future relationship before the end of the transition period.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain. Our thorough preparations for leaving the EU in 2019, alongside the lessons we have learned during the Covid-19 response provide a robust foundation for end of Transition Period planning on food supply. We are working alongside industry and across Government, including with the Devolved Administrations, to plan for the end of this year.

The Government has well established ways of working with the food industry who are experienced in dealing with situations that can cause disruptions to supply.

Our overall assessment of risk within a reasonable worst case scenario of food supply at the end of transition is that there will not be an overall shortage of food in the UK, and consumers will continue to have access to a wide range of food products.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of all zoos and aquariums are under (a) tier 2 and (b) tier 3 local covid alert level restrictions.

Given the recent announcement by the Prime Minister, all zoos and aquariums have now been asked to close in line with the latest lockdown measures. We recognise this has been a challenging time for the sector and encourage those who are experiencing severe financial difficulties and need support in caring for their animals to apply for the Zoo Animals Fund. Zoos are also able to apply for the full range of Covid-19 financial support that the Government has made available. We remain committed to ensuring the sector can deliver the best possible care for its animals and are in regular contact with zoos and their representatives to monitor their situation.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications have (a) been made and (b) accepted under the Zoo Animals Fund since its introduction.

Four applications have been received since the Zoo Animals Fund was launched on 3 August, all of which are still under review. We continue to encourage all eligible zoos to apply for the fund.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many contractors working for his Department have had their employment status assessed in relation to the new IR35 rules on off-payroll working; and how many of those staff are subject to those rules.

In Defra, we can confirm that we assess the employment status for tax purposes of every contractor according to the 2017 IR35 amendment. We are currently engaged with 634 contractors, of which 92 are currently in scope of the IR35 tax legislation.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how many contractors working for her Department have had their employment status assessed in relation to the new IR35 rules on off-payroll working; and how many of those staff are subject to those rules.

The Department for International Development does not hold this data, and the cost of extraction would be too high.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment he has made of the effect on Premier League income of piracy from overseas broadcast rights.

We are aware of the impact of overseas broadcast piracy on major sports rights holders, including the Premier League, and other UK-owned intellectual property rights owners. This is a commercial matter and the direct impact of overseas broadcasting piracy can be found in their public statements. We will remain vigilant in respect of any instances of illegal broadcasting of Premier League football and other UK-owned intellectual property rights, at home and abroad.

Graham Stuart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many contractors working for her Department have had their employment status assessed in relation to the new IR35 rules on off-payroll working; and how many of those staff are subject to those rules.

All off-payroll public sector staff are subject to being checked against IR35 legislation which came into effect in 2017. New legislative changes for off-payroll workers were confirmed with an implementation by 6thApril 2020 with implications for both public and private sector companies. The Government have since announced that this implementation will be delayed until 6th April 2021. The Department for International Trade (DIT) intend to be compliant with the new IR35 rules by the revised date of 6th April 2021. Currently, there are 182 workers in scope of IR35 and 141 outside the scope of IR35 within DIT. For UK Export Finance (UKEF), there are currently no contractors in scope of IR35. There are currently 14 contractors working for UKEF who fall outside the scope of IR35.

22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what impact assessment was conducted on the Global Taskforce's report on International Travel for the travel industry, published on 8 April 2021.

The Global Travel Taskforce report was created following extensive engagement with a wide range of stakeholders from the international travel and tourism industries to develop a risk-based framework that can facilitate the return of international travel while managing Variants of Concern.

The taskforce has considered a full range of views from industry stakeholders to inform the final recommendations and we are grateful for their valuable contributions to the development of the report’s recommendations.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the cost of the provision of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure for (a) local authorities and (b) social housing landlords.

The costs and scale of EV charging infrastructure are dependent upon a range of factors, including changing driver charging preferences and advancements in vehicle batteries and charging technology. There are significant uncertainties within these factors and we do not hold estimates for the specified sectors. The role of the commercial market is also expected to grow as the market develops. The government expects to publish an EV charging infrastructure strategy later this year. This will set out our vision and approach to enabling a comprehensive infrastructure roll out.

To support the transition to a fully commercial market the government has committed £1.3 billion over the next four years to support EV charging infrastructure. This includes £275 million to extend support for charge point installation at homes, workplaces and on-street locations and £90 million to fund local EV charging infrastructure to support the roll out of larger onstreet charging schemes and rapid hubs in England.

Local authorities will continue to have a key role to play, particularly to ensure provision for those without access to off-street parking. To support this, government offers up to 75% funding for the costs of installing public residential chargepoints (the scheme has a cap of £13000 per chargepoint), for those without access to private parking, through the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS). The scheme has already supported over 105 different local authorities, and £20 million of funding is available to local authorities across the UK during 2021-22.

The government recognises the desire of people in social housing to charge their electric vehicles at, or near, their homes and that they need additional help to kickstart this sector of the market. That is why we will be transforming the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme to provide more support for them.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of households have access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure in their local area.

In January 2021, there were 20,775 public charging devices in the UK or 31 devices per 100,000 population. Each local authority has at least 4 public devices per 100,000 population. In addition, we have provided funding for the installation of over 177,000 domestic chargepoints throughout the UK.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish his response to the Review of The Highway Code to improve road safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders consultation, which closed on 27 October 2020.

The consultation on the review of the guidance in The Highway Code to improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders closed in October 2020 with over 20,000 responses received. We are currently undertaking a full analysis of all replies and expect to publish a response later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with SAGE on potential covid-19 transmission risks between cruise ship customers and crew.

Cruise ship operators will follow the UK Chamber of Shipping’s Covid-19 Framework for cruise, published in October last year. It has been designed to mitigate the risks and effects of Covid-19 onboard. Cruise operators using the Framework will be verified by a competent, independent third party to ensure their COVID-19 Management Plans meet the standards contained in the Framework. In addition to this, cruise vessels operating from UK ports with UK passengers will also be subject to an Expanded Inspection by surveyors of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). This will provide additional assurance that the requirements of the Framework are being adhered to.

The Covid-19 Framework for cruise sets out a number of procedures designed to protect passengers and address the risk of transmission. This includes a requirement for both passengers and crew to present a negative Covid-19 test prior to embarkation. As we look ahead to the restart of cruises, my Department will continue to support and facilitate engagement between Public Health England (PHE), Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the cruise sector to ensure industry testing protocols remain robust for both passengers and crew.

Cruise ship operations and restart have been discussed with the relevant experts and organisations who are represented on SAGE. My Department has engaged with the DHSC, PHE, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on transmission risks and mitigations to Covid-19.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with cruise ship operators on covid-19 testing arrangements on board.

Cruise ship operators will follow the UK Chamber of Shipping’s Covid-19 Framework for cruise, published in October last year. It has been designed to mitigate the risks and effects of Covid-19 onboard. Cruise operators using the Framework will be verified by a competent, independent third party to ensure their COVID-19 Management Plans meet the standards contained in the Framework. In addition to this, cruise vessels operating from UK ports with UK passengers will also be subject to an Expanded Inspection by surveyors of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). This will provide additional assurance that the requirements of the Framework are being adhered to.

The Covid-19 Framework for cruise sets out a number of procedures designed to protect passengers and address the risk of transmission. This includes a requirement for both passengers and crew to present a negative Covid-19 test prior to embarkation. As we look ahead to the restart of cruises, my Department will continue to support and facilitate engagement between Public Health England (PHE), Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the cruise sector to ensure industry testing protocols remain robust for both passengers and crew.

Cruise ship operations and restart have been discussed with the relevant experts and organisations who are represented on SAGE. My Department has engaged with the DHSC, PHE, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on transmission risks and mitigations to Covid-19.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on how many road traffic accidents there have been that have involved someone driving under the section 88 provision of the Road Traffic Act 1988 in each month since March 2020.

The information requested is not held by the Department.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the report by Deloitte on home working at the DVLA which was commissioned in June 2020.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has thoroughly reviewed its processes and systems, with advice from a range of external experts, to understand what could be done to reduce the backlogs that had built up during the initial lockdown in 2020, not specifically on home working. Any reports which contain information relating to the DVLA’s IT systems are not routinely placed in the public domain due to security requirements.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 26 February 2021 to Question 155126, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect of the section 88 provision of the Road Traffic Act 1988 on road safety.

Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 allows drivers who have submitted a valid application to renew a driving licence to continue to drive while waiting for their application to be processed. Strict criteria apply and these are outlined online here. Where these criteria are met, there is no evidence that there is an adverse effect on road safety.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the comments made by Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment of 26 January 2021 advising people not to book overseas summer holidays, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing sector specific support for (a) airline companies and (b) other companies in the travel industry.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the aviation and travel industries as a result of Covid-19.

The travel sector can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital and flexibilities with tax bills. We estimate that by the end of April 2021 the air transport sector (airlines, airports and related services) will have benefitted from around £7bn of government support since the start of the pandemic. The extension of Government-backed loans and furlough payments announced at the budget build on this and will help ensure this vital and vibrant part of the UK economy is ready to bounce back in the wake of the pandemic.

We are listening to sectors affected by Covid to understand their recovery horizons, as we roll out the vaccine.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the wording of road toll information on meeting the needs of people with severe dyslexia.

The Department has made no specific assessment of the adequacy of the wording of road toll information on meeting the needs of people with severe dyslexia. Traffic signs always display the minimum amount of words and pictograms are used extensively, including for tolling and charging.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the accessibility of train ticket machines for people with severe dyslexia.

It is the responsibility of train operators to procure ticket vending machines (TVMs) in line with relevant legislation. Suppliers of TVMs used on National Rail work with a variety of organisations to ensure these are compliant with the Equality Act.

Although my Department has not carried out a specific assessment of TVMs for customers with severe dyslexia we do recognise that TVMs are not always accessible to all. However, improvements have and continue to be made. For example, some machines have been fitted with remote assistance facilities which can host a video call with a remote ticket sales agent who can input all of the customer’s requirements on the screen

We are challenging the rail industry to roll out barcode ticketing and improve online purchasing so that people wanting to travel can buy and receive their ticket at their convenience and without needing to visit a TVM.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that critical workers have effective access to driving tests after the end of the national lockdown.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) does not hold data on a candidate’s occupation, or reason for taking a test, when they apply for a routine theory or practical test.

During the current lockdown, the DVSA is offering a limited theory test and practical test service in England and Wales to NHS health and social care workers, emergency services and local council workers who need to both drive as part of their job and respond to 'threats to life' as part of their job. Mobile emergency workers who have a valid compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate and wish to apply for a motorcycle licence would also be eligible.

The DVSA has not cancelled any mobile emergency worker tests.

No assessment has been made because the national restrictions have been implemented to protect the NHS and save lives.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the national lockdown in England, all routine theory and practical tests have been suspended. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is offering a limited theory test and practical test service in England and Wales to NHS health and social care workers, emergency services and local council workers who need to both drive as part of their job and respond to 'threats to life' as part of their job. Mobile emergency workers who have a valid compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate and wish to apply for a motorcycle licence would also be eligible.

Mobile emergency worker tests cannot be currently offered in Scotland due to Covid restrictions.

The DVSA will continue to offer mobile emergency worker tests once the current lockdown restrictions have been lifted, and will keep that service under review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the effect on critical workers of the ban on driving tests during the third national lockdown.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) does not hold data on a candidate’s occupation, or reason for taking a test, when they apply for a routine theory or practical test.

During the current lockdown, the DVSA is offering a limited theory test and practical test service in England and Wales to NHS health and social care workers, emergency services and local council workers who need to both drive as part of their job and respond to 'threats to life' as part of their job. Mobile emergency workers who have a valid compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate and wish to apply for a motorcycle licence would also be eligible.

The DVSA has not cancelled any mobile emergency worker tests.

No assessment has been made because the national restrictions have been implemented to protect the NHS and save lives.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the national lockdown in England, all routine theory and practical tests have been suspended. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is offering a limited theory test and practical test service in England and Wales to NHS health and social care workers, emergency services and local council workers who need to both drive as part of their job and respond to 'threats to life' as part of their job. Mobile emergency workers who have a valid compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate and wish to apply for a motorcycle licence would also be eligible.

Mobile emergency worker tests cannot be currently offered in Scotland due to Covid restrictions.

The DVSA will continue to offer mobile emergency worker tests once the current lockdown restrictions have been lifted, and will keep that service under review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many critical workers have had driving tests cancelled during the third national lockdown.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) does not hold data on a candidate’s occupation, or reason for taking a test, when they apply for a routine theory or practical test.

During the current lockdown, the DVSA is offering a limited theory test and practical test service in England and Wales to NHS health and social care workers, emergency services and local council workers who need to both drive as part of their job and respond to 'threats to life' as part of their job. Mobile emergency workers who have a valid compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate and wish to apply for a motorcycle licence would also be eligible.

The DVSA has not cancelled any mobile emergency worker tests.

No assessment has been made because the national restrictions have been implemented to protect the NHS and save lives.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the national lockdown in England, all routine theory and practical tests have been suspended. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is offering a limited theory test and practical test service in England and Wales to NHS health and social care workers, emergency services and local council workers who need to both drive as part of their job and respond to 'threats to life' as part of their job. Mobile emergency workers who have a valid compulsory basic training (CBT) certificate and wish to apply for a motorcycle licence would also be eligible.

Mobile emergency worker tests cannot be currently offered in Scotland due to Covid restrictions.

The DVSA will continue to offer mobile emergency worker tests once the current lockdown restrictions have been lifted, and will keep that service under review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward the date of 1 April 2021 that the UK Commercial Pilot Licence can be applied for via the Civil Aviation Authority.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is currently developing a process to enable pilots who have previously held a UK issued EASA Part-Flight Crew Licence (FCL), but now hold a licence that was issued by an EASA member state prior to 31 December 2020, to apply for the issue of a UK Part-FCL licence. The CAA aim to make this process as simple and efficient as possible. This will be available from 1 April 2021.

Pilots holding licences issued by EASA member states will not immediately require a UK Part-FCL licence to enable them to fly UK registered aircraft, as pilots holding licences issued by EASA member states prior to 31 December 2020 will be able to continue to operate UK registered aircraft for a period of up to two years from the end of the Transition Period, or until the expiry date, whichever is sooner.

Given this, we believe the 1 April 2021 date to be sufficient.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made on the effect of the (a) UK leaving the EU and (b) covid-19 pandemic on employment opportunities for UK pilots.

The UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, including agreements on aviation safety and air services, will support opportunities for the UK aviation sector and for UK pilots.

There are existing processes for aviation professionals to transfer licenses to secure employment opportunities. For example, UK licence holders wishing to continue operating EU-registered aircraft may seek a licence validation from any of the EASA Competent Authorities, which would be valid for aircraft registered in any EASA Member State. The Civil Aviation Authority’s website https://info.caa.co.uk/uk-regulations/ has information for people affectedby EU Exit.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the aviation sector and workers. The Department is working with industry on maximising use of the existing support measures such as DWP’s Flexible Support Fund and Rapid Response Service to support aviation workers, including pilots, at risk of redundancy to stay in employment. Government also launched the Aviation Skills Retention Platform 10th February 2021. This platform allows former and current aviation sector workers who are out of work to register their skills, so they can be notified of relevant jobs opportunities, advice and upskilling opportunities. More broadly, the government has set out a Roadmap foreasing Covid-19 measures, that will help support people and businesses as part of the recovery.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of drivers who are driving under the section 88 provision of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

No data is available about the number of drivers who continue to drive under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This is because it is for individual drivers to consider if they can meet the relevant criteria.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the cost of a commercial pilot licence from 1 April 2021.

The Civil Aviation Authority has just completed statutory consultation on their charges for 2021-22, including the cost of a commercial pilot licence. I expect the CAA to review its proposals in the light of the consultation responses and then to consult the Secretary of State on the charging schemes. I can assure the Honourable Member that we will scrutinise the schemes carefully when they come to us to ensure that they are fair, justified and proportionate, especially at this unprecedentedly challenging time. We will also have regard to the consultation responses.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of consumer protections for flight-only transactions during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Civil Aviation Authority reviewed the airlines’ compliance on refunds during Summer 2020. This led to improved performance on refunds from most airlines. In addition, in December 2020 the Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation that is underway on the issuing of refunds by airlines to customers affected by the travel restrictions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what type of covid-19 tests were used at the port of Dover from 24 December to 28 December 2020; how many tests were used; and how many of those tests produced positive results for covid-19.

21,849 INNOVA SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Qualitative Test had been used at the Port of Dover by 28 December 2020 with 66 positive results. All hauliers waiting to cross the border have received an INNOVA SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Qualitative Test and the backlog had now been cleared.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is taking longer to process Blue Badge applications due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department for Transport is responsible for the legislation of the Blue Badge scheme. The day-to-day administration of the scheme remains the responsibility of local authorities. Each local authority will have a plan in place to ensure the continuation of its services during times of uncertainty, including providing the Blue Badge service.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he is having with stakeholders on EU Aviation Safety Agency regulations and licensing; and how he plans to communicate those decisions to the aviation sector.

The Secretary of State, Ministers and officials have regular engagement with aviation and aerospace stakeholders to discuss the UK’s preparations for leaving the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) system. We will continue to engage with the sector to communicate the changes that will come into effect at the end of the year.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the tier system of covid-19 restrictions on the coach industry.

The transition from national to local tier restrictions has opened up business in tier 1 and 2 areas. Coach journeys within, into and out of these areas are now permitted. Only essential journeys are advised in tier 3 and coach tours should not stop in the tier 3 area unless there is an emergency.

The re-introduction of the tiering system has seen an increase in demand for coach services. Department for Transport officials continue to regularly discuss the impacts of national restrictions being eased and of the tiering system being re-introduced with coach operators and the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with the Confederation of Passenger Transport on covid-19 and the coach industry since July 2020.

Department for Transport Ministers and officials continue to meet regularly with the Confederation of Passenger Transport to discuss the issues facing the coach industry and how these can be addressed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions his Department has had with the aviation sector on the effect of the second national covid-19 lockdown on that sector.

The second national COVID-19 lockdown has not changed the way we engage regularly with the sector. We continue an open dialogue as we work towards our shared ambition of getting aviation up and running again in a safe and secure way.

We do not provide comments on the commercial or financial matters of private firms, and therefore it would be inappropriate to share individual discussions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has reassessed the business case for High Speed Two to take account of recent changes to working and commuting patterns.

The rapid development and the uncertain outcome of the Covid-19 outbreak mean it has not yet been possible to undertake specific analysis to determine its impact on HS2. The Department for Transport is working with colleagues across Whitehall to understand the impact on transport demand and the pandemic’s wider effect on the economy.

The Full Business Case for Phase One published in April looked at both high and low demand scenarios, underpinned by population and economic growth forecasts. That analysis showed that even in a scenario where demand is relatively low, there is still a clear case for pressing ahead with HS2.

We are confident that the strategic case for HS2, including its subsequent stages to Crewe, Manchester and Leeds remains clear, and that there remains a case for increasing capacity on the UK rail network, bringing cities closer together and levelling up regions across the UK. HS2 also remains key to achieving net-zero by 2050, a commitment which remains unchanged despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish guidance for taxi drivers on how to be covid-secure.

The Government has published ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators’ on the safe provision of transport services during the pandemic. Taxi drivers, as transport providers, should follow this guidance.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the average waiting time for a driving test date in (a) England and (b) Ellesmere Port and Neston in the latest period for which information is available.

In March 2020, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) suspended most of its services in line with Government guidance, whilst maintaining access for critical workers to support the national emergency response.

The DVSA is restoring its testing services with new procedures in place to keep people safe and help stop the spread of coronavirus.

As the DVSA has been unable to provide its normal level of service for the past six months, demand for practical driving tests are higher than usual.

Currently, the average waiting time for a practical car driving test in England is 10 weeks.

The nearest test centres to Ellesmere Port and Neston are:

  • Widnes – 9 weeks

  • Upton – 11 weeks

  • Chester – 16 weeks

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what evidence he has received on the use of face coverings on public transport to help prevent the spread of covid-19 since 22 May 2020.

The Department for Transport is working closely with scientific and medical advisors and Public Health England to continually review and update our guidance for passengers and operators, to reflect the evidence base as it develops.

The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering may protect others if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms. In our guidance we continue to advise passengers that maintaining social distancing and washing their hands for at least 20 seconds remain critically important.

13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many contractors working for his Department have had their employment status assessed in relation to the new IR35 rules on off-payroll working; and how many of those staff are subject to those rules.

Following the recent HMRC decision to postpone the implementation of the new IR35 rules until 2021, we are unable to provide a response to this question.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many people working on the Parliamentary estate are earning less than the London living wage of £10.75 an hour.

The House of Commons is accredited by Citizens UK as a London Living Wage Employer. Payment of the London Living Wage or the UK Living Wage is included as a condition within our Standard Terms and Conditions of Contract of all our contracts.

In addition, the terms of the accreditation licence require that contractors and sub-contractors with dedicated staff who are based on parliamentary premises are paying those staff at least the London Living Wage; and contractors and sub-contractors which provide services in relation to our contracts but who are not based on parliamentary premises are required to pay dedicated staff at least the London Living Wage, or the UK Living Wage if based outside London.

We can confirm that, to our knowledge, no directly employed or contracted workers are paid less than the London Living or the UK Living Wage.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2020 to Question 127581, on Bereavement Support Payment, whether an assessment of the economic effect of the introduction of the Bereavement Support Payment has now been undertaken.

To date no assessment of the economic effect of the introduction of Bereavement Support Payment has been made. However, we are currently evaluating Bereavement Support Payment and will consider our next steps once we know the outcome

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit sanctions have been administered in each month since January 2021.

Sanctions statistics on those people claiming Universal Credit are published quarterly and can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/jobseekers-allowance-sanctions

The latest statistics are to October 2020 and the statistics from November 2020 to January 2021 are expected to be published on 18 May 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit sanctions have been administered for failure to comply with work claimant commitments due to complying with covid-19 self-isolation requirements.

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

Claimants who have been advised to self-isolate will not be required to conduct any work related activity outside the home but they may be required to complete work-related activity that it is safe and reasonable to do in their circumstances. Where a claimant has failed to meet their requirements, we will look at any evidence of good reason, including whether they are self-isolating, when considering if a sanction is warranted.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what impact assessment was undertaken on the effect of the equalisation of the state pension age on women.

Changes to State Pension age were made over a series of Acts by successive governments from 1995 onwards, following public consultations and extensive debates in both Houses of Parliament.

Multiple assessments were made by the Coalition Labour and Conservative governments before changes were made. The legality of this process by successive governments has been extensively tested in the courts, and on both occasions the courts have agreed the legality of the process.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants had wages assigned to different assessment periods in each week from 21 February 2021 to 1 April 2021 under the legislation introduced in response to the judgment in Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Danielle Johnson, [2020] EWCA Civ 778.

Weekly figures of Universal Credit claimants who have their monthly-paid wages assigned to different assessment periods as described in the Universal Credit (Earned Income) Amendment Regulations 2020 from 21 February 2021 to the most recent week for which complete data is available is shown in the table below.

The data supplied is derived from unpublished management information and a database which relies on manual input. This was collected for internal Departmental use only and has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. The data should therefore be treated with caution.

Week Ending

Volume

28/02/2021

246

07/03/2021

1,635

14/03/2021

1,268

21/03/2021

538

28/03/2021

285

04/04/2021

538

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of Kickstart scheme applications have been received from SMEs; and how many of those applications have been successful.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 165631.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department has published on advertising jobs via the Kickstarter scheme; and how long vacancies should be advertised for.

Once an application to the Department of Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme has been approved, along with their grant agreement, the gateway or employer receives the necessary documentation and guidance to create their job advert, that will be uploaded onto the Universal Credit system and made visible only to DWP staff. Young people are then matched and referred to the Kickstart jobs by their Work Coach who supports them in selecting and applying for these jobs - including giving them access to the vacancy information.

The length of time a job is advertised is flexible to meet the employer’s needs, including how many referrals they would like and how long the vacancy will be live for. General information is available on gov.uk.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints have been lodged with the Health and Safety Executive pertaining to employees being asked to return to a workplace during the third covid-19 national lockdown; and how that number compares with such complaints in the previous two national lockdowns.

Data pertaining specifically to employees being asked to return to a workplace during the pandemic is not captured in the complaints (or ‘workplace concerns’) submitted to the Health and Safety Executive. Data captured for Covid related complaints pertains to social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), general complaints (where these are not social distancing or PPE related) and unknown complaints (where multiple issues are disclosed and the categories are too narrow to describe the complaint fully).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what monitoring her Department is carrying out to ensure that approved jobs via the Kickstart scheme are made available and advertised.

Once a Kickstart vacancy is approved, the job is uploaded on to Universal Credit system and is visible only to DWP staff. Young people who are eligible for the scheme are then matched and referred to the Kickstart jobs by their Work Coach who supports them in selecting and applying for these jobs, including giving them access to the vacancy information.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with representatives of the live events sector on the Kickstart scheme.

Ministers and officials in the Department for Work and Pensions are engaging with employers, representative bodies and organisations from all parts of the economy to ensure that there is a rich mix of jobs made available through the Kickstart Scheme. This includes discussions with the creative arts and media industries, encouraging them to participate in the scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March to Question 158103 on the Kickstart Scheme, to publish a breakdown by (a) location and (a) sector of the 30,000 jobs linked to the scheme.

Figures for 11th March show that over 50,000 jobs had been made available for young people to apply to, including the almost 6,000 Kickstart jobs that young people had started at that time. Below are tables showing this information split by region. Sector data is based on information provided by the employer. An employer could provide jobs across multiple sectors.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. 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.

Region

Number of jobs made available for young people to apply to

East Midlands

3600

East of England

4000

London

9300

North East

2300

North West

6300

South East

5900

South West

4000

West Midlands

4900

Yorkshire and The Humber

4000

Scotland

3500

Wales

2900

These numbers are rounded to the nearest 100. Jobs made available for young people to apply to includes 1,000 non-grant funded jobs.

Sector

Number of jobs made available for young people to apply to

Administration

12,900

Animal Care

200

Beauty and Wellbeing

300

Business and Finance

2100

Computing, Technology and Finance

4000

Construction and Trades

1900

Creative and Media

3800

Delivery and Storage

1800

Emergency and Uniform Services

less than 100

Engineering and Maintenance

1500

Environment and Land

900

Government Services

100

Healthcare

2400

Home Services

400

Hospitality and Food

2600

Law and Legal

100

Managerial

400

Manufacturing

1400

Retail and Sales

8000

Science and Research

300

Social Care

1600

Sports and Leisure

800

Teaching and Education

2600

Transport

200

Travel and Tourism

100

These numbers are rounded to the nearest 100. Jobs made available for young people to apply to includes 1,000 non-grant funded jobs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many covid-19 related complaints the Health and Safety Executive has received in each month since March 2020; and what proportion of those complaints resulted in (a) investigation, (b) improvement notices and (c) fines .

Since March 2020, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has received 21752 complaints (or ‘workplace concerns’) relating to Covid-19. Of these, 6240 - assessed as being higher risk - were assigned to regulatory operational staff for investigation.* The remainder were dealt with by HSE’s Concerns and Advice Team. The breakdown is provided in the table below.

HSE does not have the power to issue fines. However, where a defendant is convicted of breaching health and safety at work law, the court may impose sanctions including fines, imprisonment and disqualification for directors. HSE will recover its costs where material breaches of health and safety at work law are identified.

Month / Year

Total Covid-19 concerns

Number investigated* by regulatory operational staff (% of total concerns)

Number resulting in verbal advice

Number resulting in formal written correspondence

Number resulting in improvement notices

March 2020

331

-

-

-

-

April 2020

3721

1717 (46%)

411

46

1

May 2020

2060

987 (48%)

273

42

8

June 2020

1247

552 (44%)

147

38

10

July 2020

1269

397 (31%)

128

41

4

August 2020

1016

302 (30%)

75

23

4

September 2020

1154

413 (36%)

124

40

6

October 2020

1520

498 (33%)

172

33

1

November 2020

2347

502 (21%)

167

41

2

December 2020

1203

248 (21%)

59

20

0

January 2021

3116

458 (15%)

144

33

3

February 2021

1587

150 (9%)

55

14

1

March 2021

191

16 (8%)

7

1

0

Totals

21752

6240 (29%)

1762

372

40

* The figures relate to concern investigations only and do not include investigations carried out in response to reports received under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).

Note: Figures were obtained from HSE’s live operational database on 12th March 2021 and are subject to change, e.g. as there can be a delay of up to ten working days before data is uploaded to the system.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 158103 on the Kickstart Scheme, if she will publish (a) a monthly breakdown of when the 140,000 jobs linked to the scheme were approved and (b) the timescale for those jobs being launched.

There are over 150,000 approved Kickstart jobs, of which:

  • 43,000 jobs were approved between 04/02/2021 – 04/03/21;
  • 54,000 jobs were approved between 04/01/2021 – 03/02/21.

The remaining 47,000 is from the start of Kickstart in September 2020 to 03/01/2021 and data is not available to break this down further.

These jobs can be opened for application and started at any point up to the final jobs starting in December 2021.

All figures are rounded to the nearest thousand jobs. Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. 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.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of employees from the DWP Debt Management team are on sick leave as at 24 February 2021.

As at 24 February 2021, 3.2 per cent of Debt Management staff were recorded as being on sickness absence, this rises to 3.7 per cent when sickness absence due to COVID, which is recorded separately as Special Leave with Pay, is included.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have had wages assigned to different assessment periods under the legislation introduced to comply with court ruling case no. C1/2019/0593.

The amendment affects claimants who receive monthly wages. Where two payments in one assessment period is identified we take the required action.

Weekly figures of Universal Credit claimants who have their monthly-paid wages assigned to different assessment periods since the Universal Credit (Earned Income) Amendment Regulations 2020 came into force on 16th November 2020 are shown in the table below.

Week ending

Volume

22/11/2020

8

29/11/2020

43

06/12/2020

510

13/12/2020

392

20/12/2020

180

27/12/2020

173

03/01/2021

544

10/01/2021

1186

17/01/2021

608

24/01/2021

316

31/01/2021

197

07/02/2021

540

14/02/2021

466

21/02/2021

243

The UC data supplied is derived from unpublished management information and a database which relies on manual input. This was collected for internal Departmental use only and has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. The data should therefore be treated with caution.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2021 to Question 137230, how many applications to the Kickstart scheme have been approved by (a) region and (b) sector to date.

I refer the honourable member to PQ 145064.

I am pleased to announce that as of the 26th of February 2021 my department has received over 11,000 applications for funding from the Kickstart Scheme. So far there has been:

  • Around 4,000 young people starting their new jobs with over 30,000 jobs made available to eligible young people;
  • Over 140,000 approved jobs;
  • Over 900 approved Gateway Organisations.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many child maintenance overpayments via direct pay there have been since 2018.

The Department does not have information available regarding Direct Pay cases with overpayments. When customers opt to use the Direct Pay service and a balance of unpaid child maintenance accrues or an overpayment occurs, normally customers need to make repayment arrangements between themselves.

The Child Maintenance Service do not record information where reimbursement occurs due to agreement between parents or where they have contacted her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal service (HMCTS) on Direct Pay cases.

A parent can request reimbursement from Child Maintenance Service on a Direct Pay case in certain scenarios. However, there is no available published data on such reimbursements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 17 December 2020 to Question 131324 on Children: Maintenance, how many child maintenance overpayments via direct pay have been reimbursed through (a) agreement between payments and (b) the courts.

The Department does not have information available regarding Direct Pay cases with overpayments. When customers opt to use the Direct Pay service and a balance of unpaid child maintenance accrues or an overpayment occurs, normally customers need to make repayment arrangements between themselves.

The Child Maintenance Service do not record information where reimbursement occurs due to agreement between parents or where they have contacted her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal service (HMCTS) on Direct Pay cases.

A parent can request reimbursement from Child Maintenance Service on a Direct Pay case in certain scenarios. However, there is no available published data on such reimbursements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many sanctions have been applied to benefit claims since 2 November 2020.

Sanctions statistics on those people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance (Work Related Activity Group), Income Support and Universal Credit are published quarterly and can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/jobseekers-allowance-sanctions

Additional breakdowns of the figures can be found at:

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

Guidance for users is available at:

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

The latest statistics are to July 2020 and the statistics from November 2020 to January 2021 are expected to be published in May 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 December 2020 to Question 122760 on the Kickstart scheme, how many organisations in each region have applied to be representatives of the Kickstart scheme since that scheme was launched on 2 September 2020.

As of 11/01/21, we have received 6,232 applications for funding from the Kickstart Scheme. We are not currently able to break this figure down by region, an organisation may also submit multiple applications for funding.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 7 October 2020 to Question 96942, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of security for online universal credit journals.

Since my answer of 7 October 2020 to Question 96942, no specific assessments have been made. The Department continuously tests the security and integrity of the digital systems which deliver Universal Credit, including online journals.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many child maintenance cases via Direct Pay have been found to have overpayments; and how many of those cases her Department has agreed to reimburse.

It may be helpful to explain when our customers opt to use the Direct Pay service and a balance of unpaid child maintenance accrues or an overpayment occurs, normally they need to make repayment arrangements between themselves.

However, where this action has failed and the paying parent has made a request, the Child Maintenance Service has issued 37 reimbursements for Direct Pay cases, since 2018 where overpayments occurred.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the economic effect of the introduction of the Bereavement Support Payment.

Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) was introduced in April 2017, to replace Widowed Parent’s Allowance, Bereavement Allowance and Bereavement Payments. To date no assessment of the economic effect of the introduction of BSP has been made.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 25 November 2020 to Question 118005, when the Kickstart data will be available by region.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given to question 122760 on 11th December 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 10 September 2020 to Question on Kickstart Scheme, how many organisations in each region have applied to be representatives of the Kickstart scheme since that scheme was launched on 2 September 2020.

So far applications from Gateways and employers covering 32,113 jobs have been approved.

We are currently working on refining our MI data and we will be able to provide further information on organisations taking part early in the new year.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer pf 10 September 2020 to Question 88348 on Kickstart Scheme, what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of businesses that are (a) eligible and (b) not eligible to sign up to be representatives of the Kickstart scheme.

Kickstart is open to employers and organisations from all sectors. An application may be rejected and unable to receive funding if it fails to show appropriate proof of (a) the fiscal competence of the employer and gateway, (b) the quality of the employability support provided, and (c) the additionality of the jobs proposed (placements should not replace existing employees or vacancies).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to implement changes in response to the court ruling (Case No: C1/2019/0593 22 June 2020) in respect of two wages being received in one assessment period for universal credit.

On 20th October I laid secondary legislation in response to the Court of Appeal Judgment made on 22 June in the case of Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart, which concerned claimants who receive two calendar monthly payments of earnings in one Universal Credit assessment period. This will allow us to reallocate a payment of earnings reported via the Real Time Information service to a different Universal Credit assessment period, either because it was reported in the wrong assessment period or (in the case of calendar monthly paid employees) it is necessary to maintain a regular payment cycle. This legislation will come into force on 16 November and will mean that in future, claimants who are paid calendar monthly will have one salary payment taken into account in each assessment period. It also means that certain claimants will also benefit from any applicable work allowance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many personal independence assessments were completed in each month from April 2019 to August 2019.

Please see the table below which provides the number of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments completed in each month from April 2019 to August 2019.

PIP Assessments

Apr-19

May-19

Jun-19

Jul-19

Aug-19

Total

78,580

81,070

74,530

84,400

75,240

Please note:

All volumes have been rounded to the nearest 10.

All of the above data is derived from contractual management information produced by the Assessment Providers.

The above data is derived from unpublished management information which is collected for internal Departmental use only and has not been quality assured to Official Statistics Publication standards.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for the Kickstart Scheme have been successful since the scheme opened.

I refer the honourable member to my answer to question 107629, answered on 2 November 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, is she will publish a breakdown of the reasons for unsuccessful applications to the Kickstart scheme.

Applications for funding from the DWP’s Kickstart Scheme are assessed on (a) the fiscal competence of the employer and gateway, (b) the quality of the employability support provided, and (c) whether the jobs being created are additional. Guidance on ensuring an application meets these criteria is available on the Kickstart gov.uk website.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the digital solution to verify the identities of those applying for National Insurance numbers who have not been through the Home Office visa application process will go live.

DWP aims to reduce the reliance on a single Identity Verification Service by Quarter 2 in 2021. Part of this work is to introduce a new flexible reusable online service which will meet the needs of a wider range of customers that is not possible using a single solution. DWP will conduct the work to identify an online solution for those customers who have not been processed through the Home Office visa application process, to apply for National Insurance Numbers in the next Financial Year.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims are subject to deductions for tax credit overpayments; and how many of those deductions are related to the cross over period between tax credit claims ending and universal credit claims starting.

The latest available data, for March 2020, shows around 15% of all Universal Credit claims had a deduction for Tax Credit Overpayments.

We do not capture data on how many of the deductions taken from Universal Credit are due to the cross over period between tax credit claims ending and Universal Credit claims starting.

When a claim for Universal Credit is made and it has been established that the customer meets the basic entitlement conditions, DWP automatically instructs HMRC to end the Tax Credit award with effect from the day before the Universal Credit claim was made. Delays in ending Tax Credits are therefore minimal once the basic entitlement conditions of Universal Credit have been established.

When a Tax Credit claim comes to an end and the claimant makes a new claim to Universal Credit, any outstanding Tax Credit overpayments are transferred to DWP. HMRC will inform the claimant prior to transfer and provide details of the debt to be transferred.

Once transferred, the claimant is notified via their online Universal Credit journal about the rate of deduction in respect of Tax Credits debt. Where a claimant is in financial hardship they can contact DWP Debt Management to discuss and agree a sustainable rate of repayment.

From 3rd April 2020, other deductions, including Tax Credit overpayments, were suspended for three months due to Covid-19, resulting in none of these deductions being taken during May and June 2020.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what financial support is available for people on the National Minimum Wage, who are ineligible for the self-isolation payment, in the event that they have to self-isolate.

People who are infected with Covid-19, or self-isolating in line with Government guidance are eligible for ESA, subject to the normal conditions of entitlement. We have removed the waiting days and claimants will be treated as having Limited Capability for Work in ESA without the requirement for fit notes or a Work Capability Assessment from day one. Households may also be able to claim Universal Credit where eligible. New claim advances are available urgently if a claimant needs financial support. These advances allow claimants to receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. The Budget already announced that claimants will be able to access advances via phone or online, instead of having to attend the jobcentre. This applies to all claimants, including those who are required to self-isolate.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many child maintenance cases with arrears awaiting enforcement action were put on hold as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and how many of those cases are yet to commence enforcement action.

We have been clear throughout COVID-19 that those found to be abusing the system can be subjected to the full extent of our enforcement powers and the Child Maintenance Service will continue to pursue all cases, where appropriate.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent closure of all courts, legal enforcement action was put on hold for 2,198 cases. The information required to assess the current status of these particular cases is not collated centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

It may be helpful to note, however, that at the beginning of October; 390 enforcement cases had been progressed and now have a confirmed court date, and 1790 cases were awaiting further court action, consisting of both newly referred cases and the original cases put on hold.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) paper-based and (b) telephone personal independence payment assessments have taken place in each month since April 2020.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department made a number of changes to health and disability benefits to safeguard the health of claimants and staff and to prioritise new claims and continuity of awards. These changes included the suspension of all face-to-face assessments and the introduction of telephone-based assessments where suitable, in addition to pre-existing paper-based assessments.

In each month from April to August 2020 there has been the following number of (a) paper based, and (b) telephone Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments.

PIP Total

Apr-20

May-20

Jun-20

Jul-20

Aug-20

Paper Based Assessments

13,970

9,460

7,760

7,420

7,500

Telephone Assessments

38,090

42,830

47,000

52,440

48,370

All volumes have been rounded to the nearest 10.

All of the above data is derived from contractual management information produced by the Assessment Providers.

Please note: the above data is derived from unpublished management information which is collected for internal departmental use only and has not been quality assured to Official Statistics Publication standards.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many personal independence payment applications are awaiting in-person assessments; and when she plans to enable in-person assessments to recommence.

The information requested is not available.

From 17 March, we suspended face to face assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP). All assessments are currently being progressed on the basis of the paper based evidence alone or that evidence together with a telephone assessment to ensure decisions on PIP can be made without delay.

The health and safety of our claimants and our staff are our key priority. Face to face assessments for health and disability benefits remain suspended at present; this is being kept under review in line with the latest public health guidance. Any re-introduction of face to face assessments would involve additional safety measures to comply with public health guidance.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the effectiveness of security for online universal credit journals.

The Department, like other government departments, is obliged to comply with legal, security and regulatory requirements, including published minimum government security standards. Universal Credit, including the journal function, complies with all relevant security standards.

The security of the Universal Credit system is continuously monitored.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information his Department holds on online security breaches and hacking of universal credit accounts.

The security of the Universal Credit system is continuously monitored.

For security reasons, we do not disclose what information about security monitoring including information relating to cyber-attack attempts.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit overpayments have been caused by maladministration by her Department between April 2019 and April 2020.

DWP is focused on paying people their correct entitlement and a quality checking regime is in place. However, there are occasions where administrative or ‘official errors’ have arisen from processing or delays, which we look to correct as quickly as possible.

The latest National Statistics Fraud and Error statistics were published on 14th May 2020 and show that estimated losses from official error in 2019/20 accounted for 0.4% of total benefit expenditure.

These statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fraud-and-error-in-the-benefit-system-financial-year-2019-to-2020-estimates

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that statutory sick pay is available to NHS health and social care staff (a) whose covid-19 symptoms extend beyond two weeks and (b) who are affected by long covid and unable to return to work.

Individuals should tell their employer that symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) persist and that they must continue to self-isolate.

Individuals will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they have tested positive for coronavirus and are staying at home and self-isolating for 10 days, or until they no longer have symptoms, and they are not able to work as a result. Individuals should continue to self-isolate beyond 10 days if they still have symptoms other than a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste. SSP remains available to individuals who are unable to work because of sickness resulting from Covid-19 or otherwise. Other SSP eligibility criteria will apply.

Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support, for example where they are not eligible for SSP, they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on their individual circumstances.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of businesses that (a) will and (b) will not be eligible to sign up to the Kickstart scheme.

The department is now processing many applications from across the UK, this is currently a clerical process, so reliable management information, particularly on geographical areas, is not yet available.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the resources available to the Health and Safety Executive to ensure that social distancing measures in work places are complied with during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State and I have had regular meetings with senior officials from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and receive weekly written updates on the work HSE is doing to support the Government during the COVID-19 outbreak. HSE is working within its current budget adopting a flexible regulatory approach to adjust to the new challenges that COVID-19 presents. This includes:

  • maintaining its wide ranging regulatory functions, in particular continuing to investigate work related fatalities and the most serious major injuries, dealing with reported concerns and regulating major hazard industries. Undertaking regulatory activities that do not require site visits such as approvals and permissioning work. Whilst some of HSE’s regulatory intervention work can be done remotely, where it is necessary to provide public assurance that hazards are being effectively managed and to secure compliance with the law, site visits are being made;

  • working with Public Health England (PHE), other Government departments and Devolved Administrations to ensure the country is geared up to treat people in Great Britain diagnosed with the COVID-19. HSE continues to offer information and advice on workplace and workforce issues to support the government’s response, including technical advice on personal protection equipment to ensure that healthcare workers and others are adequately protected;

  • working closely with stakeholder groups including trade unions to develop practical guidance to support businesses to continue to operate and, where currently closed, to return to operation whilst ensuring the safety of workers; and

  • where it comes to HSE’s attention that employers are found not to be complying with PHE’s guidelines taking appropriate action, ranging from specific advice through to serving enforcement notices, so as to ensure that practicable measures are implemented to protect workers and others.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many enforcement notices have been issued by the Health and Safety Executive during the covid-19 outbreak.

There have been 136 enforcement notices issued between 23 March 2020 and 29 April 2020. This data was extracted from an operational database on 30 April 2020 and is subject to change as the administrative process of recording the information in the database can take up to 10 days.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans the Government has for the future role of the Health and Safety Executive.

Ministers meet regularly with HSE officials to discuss its functions. HSE sets out its roles and activities in annual plans and strategy documents.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the role of trade unions in encouraging health and safety practices in the workplace.

The health and safety system in Great Britain depends on collaboration between trade unions, business and government to maintain its global reputation as a leader and standard setter in the field.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) framework ensures there is a tripartite Board composition of local authority, employee and employer representatives. This encourages an open and constructive approach to strategic decision making and is replicated throughout key industry groups.

HSE places great importance on worker involvement and consultation as it is a key factor in improving health and safety in the workplace. Trade union workplace health and safety representatives operating in partnership with management are an important part of realizing health and safety benefits.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many contractors working for her Department have had their employment status assessed in relation to the new IR35 rules on off-payroll working; and how many of those staff are subject to those rules.

As at 1st April 2020, our records show that DWP has a total of 448 contingent labour workers through its Public Sector Resourcing contract engaged across the Department. Of these, under the definitions in accordance with the HMRC Off-Payroll working legislation:

  • 53 are assessed and engaged as ‘Off-Payroll’;
  • 383 are assessed and engaged as ‘On-Payroll’, and;
  • 12 are engaged under a PAYE basis and therefore outside of the scope of the off-payroll working legislation.

Whilst the updated legislation for off-payroll working has been postponed for 12 months, the 2017 Off-Payroll working legislation still applies to public sector bodies, and DWP continues to carry out its obligations accordingly.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what income the Child Maintenance Service has received from (a) bank interest and (b) other investments made as a result of payments held by that organisation in each of the last three years.

No income has been received from bank interest or other investments by the Child Maintenance Service over the last three years.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length of time was that payments from parents were held by the Child Maintenance Service before being paid to the receiving parent, in each of the last three years.

This information is not held.

The Department does not hold the payments for longer than is required for the payment to clear and the funds to be administered to the receiving parent.

Where a payment has a correct reference number applied and is paid into the correct bank account it will allocate automatically and pay out once the payment has cleared, so long as the RP has provided bank details.

The only delays that may occur are when a receipt does not allocate to a case automatically. This could be because:

(i) a customer fails to quote a correct reference number, which results in a payment falling into a suspense account requiring investigation. Once the intended RP is traced, and funds have cleared, the payment will be transferred to the RP account.

(ii) a paying parent makes a payment when no maintenance is outstanding, in which case the payment will allocate to a RP account and pay out once the next payment falls due.

(iii) Receipts arrive as part of a bulk schedule of payments, which may need some manual intervention to ensure payments are allocated to the individual customer, for example Employer or Bailiff receipts.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much was received by the Child Maintenance Service in charges for (a) collection and (b) payment services in each of the last three years.

The amounts charged for the last three years of audited accounts are set out in the table below.

2016/17
£m

2017/18
£m

2018/19
£m

Receiving Parent Charges

4%

2.026

3.241

5.430

Paying Parent Charges

20%

10.494

16.878

27.905

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 15 January 2021 from the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston on covid-19 vaccinations for clinically extremely vulnerable children.

We replied to the hon. Member on 26 April.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the letter dated 24 February 2021 from the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston, reference PO-1272489.

We replied to the hon. Member on 26 April 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mapping programmes 999 call centres have access to in order to clarify the location of emergency reports.

Ambulance emergency operations centres use mapping technology within their computer aided despatch system. Information from ordnance survey, national databases such as the Royal Mail and local intelligence are held on a gazetteer. In addition, all English ambulance services use What3Words which is an application which has mapped every three metre square location to a unique combination of three words. These three words can be provided by the caller to help enable ambulance services to locate the incident.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston of 7 October 2020 on hidden disabilities.

We replied to the hon. Member on 27 April 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the provision of a courier collection service for covid-19 testing companies is a requirement for inclusion on the Government's approved list of covid-19 testing companies for people returning to the UK from overseas.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what well-being impact assessment was conducted for the Government guidance on visits out of care homes for care home residents.

Before publishing updated guidance on visiting care homes on 22 April, we considered the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty as set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. Our guidance on visiting in and visiting out seeks to balance the known health and wellbeing benefits to residents of visits with the need to protect individuals from the risk to life posed by COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidential basis is for his policy that care home residents returning from visits out must self-isolate for 14 days on their return; and for what reason this is not in line with the 10 day self-isolation period for people who have come into contact with a person with covid-19.

A 14-day period of isolation is recommended for residents in care homes as these are a particularly vulnerable group, living in a setting at risk of experience an outbreak of COVID-19 if the virus is introduced. Based on their clinical vulnerability and the potential for longer incubation periods for care home residents, Public Health England recommended that the 14-day isolation period should remain unchanged when the new 10-day self-isolation period for contacts of those testing positive for COVID-19 was established.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 179196 on Coronavirus: Screening, what the names of the companies are who (a) are responsible for the operation and (b) have legal ownership of the (i) 328 mobile screening units in service and (ii) 60 mobile screening units in reserve.

England’s mobile testing units contracted directly by NHS Test and Trace are operated by a number of service management providers. These are Mitie, Serco, G4S Sodexo and Levy. NHS Test and Trace has contracted LeasePlan to manage the leasing arrangement for the mobile testing units and contracts the units directly from them.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on how many occasions the covid-19 variant 1.617 has been identified in tests in each week since 4 January 2021.

The following table shows the number of occasions COVID-19 variant B.1617 has been identified in tests in each week since 22 February 2021. There are no cases from sequenced positive tests prior to this date.

Week Beginning

Cases

22 February 2021

2

1 March 2021

6

8 March 2021

11

15 March 2021

18

22 March 2021

19

29 March 2021

30

5 April 2021

33

12 April 2021

33

19 April 2021

1

Null

2

Note:

Data includes two cases which have not been matched to a Second Generation Surveillance System record and so no date exists. The date refers to the date of a positive test. There is approximately a one to two week lag between the point of a positive test to the sequenced results entering into the data feed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date and for what reason livecovidtesting were removed from the Government's approved list of covid-19 testing companies.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 March 2021 to Question 165584, if he will publish by (a) constituency and (b) volume where that personal protective equipment was manufactured.

We do not hold collated and validated data on the location within the United Kingdom where personal protective equipment (PPE) was manufactured. We have published the overall volume of PPE sourced from UK manufacturing for the three months from 1 December 2020 which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-protective-equipment-ppe-made-in-the-uk-as-at-1-december-2020

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many variants of concern of covid-19 have been identified as being present in the UK in 2021.

In total there are four variants of concern that have been identified as present in the United Kingdom in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many current NHS employees have been required to sign Non Disclosure Agreements in 2021 to date.

This information is not held centrally.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the covid-19 testing arrangements for international arrivals into the UK, what number and proportion of travellers received their Day 2 and Day 8 covid-19 test results within (a) 24 hours, (b) 48 hours and (c) 72 hours of returning those tests.

This information is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department monitors in advance of adding or removing a company from the Government's approved list of providers for covid-19 testing.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many doses of flucelvax have been procured for winter 2021-22.

Local providers are responsible for the procurement of flu vaccines. The Department has not procured any adult flu vaccines for a central stock for the upcoming winter. Information with regard to the amount of flucelvax which has been procured locally is commercially sensitive.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many doses of flucelvax were administered from September 2020 to March 2021.

The information is not held in the format requested. The majority of vaccines were procured and managed locally therefore on doses administered by vaccines type is not available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the total cost to the NHS was of using (a) agency staff and (b) bank staff (i) for each quarter and (ii) in total for 2020-21.

The following table shows expenditure on agency and bank staff in National Health Service trusts for the first three quarters of the financial year 2020-21.

Agency staff

Bank staff

Quarter 1

£537,442,477

£987,839,313

Quarter 2

£563,825,034

£1,027,155,620

Quarter 3

£625,646,943

£1,172,794,134

Data for Quarter 4 will be available at the end of April 2021, therefore the total cost for 2020-21 is not yet available.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Learning from Deaths programme, what the timeframe is for the establishment of the new board; and when the first meeting of that board will take place.

We are now in the process of establishing the board and the purpose of its function. We will develop the details of its governance arrangements, timescales for implementation, family engagement and success criteria in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Learning from Deaths programme, what plans he has to publish a new framework for investigating deaths.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently piloting a new Patient Safety Incident Response Framework to replace the current Serious Incident Framework.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 mobile testing units are operating in England.

There are 328 mobile testing units operating throughout England, while a further 60 are kept as strategic reserves. The strategic reserve fleet of vehicles are used across the United Kingdom to support in outbreaks.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Learning from Deaths programme, what plans he has to publish updated guidance for NHS trusts.

There are no immediate plans to update the guidance further as trusts are required to review and publish locally the numbers of deaths, evidence of what they have learned and the actions taken to prevent such deaths in future in their annual Quality Accounts.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the second interim bulletin published by Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch on 25 March 2021 entitled Oxygen issues during the covid-19 pandemic, what plans he has to issue guidance on the (a) role, (b) function and (c) key attendees of medical gas committees.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have already commenced work on guidance which will clarify the role, function and key attendees of medical gas committees which will be published shortly.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Learning from Deaths programme, what recent assessment he has made of the independence of NHS investigation systems.

The Department works closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure that there are independent and transparent systems in place to support those affected by patient safety incidents.

Following an assessment of the current systems, NHS England and NHS Improvement are piloting a new Patient Safety Incident Response Framework to replace the current Serious Incident Framework used for investigations. An update on the development of the Patient Safety Incident Response Framework is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/patient-safety/serious-incident-framework/

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March 2021 to Question 162633, on Coronavirus: Screening, how many and what proportion of covid-19 tests were processed in the UK in (a) total and (b) each month since March 2020.

This data is not held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to extend the notice made under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI) requiring NHS Digital to share confidential patient information for purposes relating to the outbreak of covid-19 beyond September 2021.

It is important that health and care organisations can continue to make the best use of data to respond to COVID-19 and as such the notices will be reviewed and extended as appropriate to ensure this is the case.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Learning from Deaths programme, what plans he has to undertake a national inquiry into unresolved historical cases.

The Government has initiated inquiries and investigations in the past, where there has been evidence of serious harm relating to specific healthcare settings and there is an important opportunity for system-wide learning. We will continue to consider cases where there is merit and there is an opportunity for learning and improving the quality of care for patients. However, we have no plans to undertake a national inquiry into unresolved historical cases.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS referral-to-treatment waiting list, how many patients in (a) England, (b) each STP-ICS area in England and (c) each acute trust in England had been waiting more than one year in the latest collected data in each of the following time bandings (i) 52-56 Weeks, (ii) 56-60 Weeks, (iii) 60-64 Weeks, (iv) 64-68 Weeks, (v) 68-72 Weeks, (vi) 72-76 Weeks, (vii) 76-80 Weeks, (viii) 80-84 Weeks, (ix) 84-88 Weeks, (x) 88-92 Weeks, (xi) 92-96 Weeks, (xii) 96-100 Weeks, (xiii) 100-104 Weeks and (xiv) 104+ Weeks.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 December 2020 to Question 128690 on health services: private sector, if he will publish the (a) total cost and (b) cost per month of his Department's contracts for private sector capacity in each month since 1 June 2020.

Total actual costs relating to the national contracts entered into by NHS England with independent sector providers for private sector capacity are expected to be made available by the autumn, subject to reconciliation by both NHS England and NHS Improvement and the independent sector.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the cost of covid-19 tests for people returning to the UK have been calculated.

The testing package of two COVID-19 tests is £210 from NHS Test and Trace. In enabling any market where the Government is delivering a service alongside other providers, the Government must set its price at a level that allows the market to compete. We recently introduced private sector for travellers quarantining at home to offer a wider choice of providers for those who wish to purchase private tests. The prices and service offered by these approved providers may vary. The costs, as with all of these measures will be kept under constant review.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost to the public purse has been of setting up and maintaining each of the seven Nightingale hospitals.

Estimates previously provided by NHS England and NHS Improvement to the Department indicated that the set-up cost for the Nightingale hospitals would be approximately £220 million. The following table breaks down the original estimate by each individual Nightingale hospital:

Site

Set up costs £’000

London

57,411

Birmingham

66,408

Manchester

23,471

Harrogate

27,314

Bristol

14,209

Exeter

11,163

Sunderland

20,102

Total

220,078

NHS England and NHS Improvement are in the process of reviewing all spending incurred for each individual site. The forecast for total costs including set-up, running costs, stand-by costs and costs of decommissioning across all sites will reach around £532 million across financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 February 2021 to Question 147891 on Coronavirus: Screening, what evidence the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies based its assessment on when assessing the effect that discharging patients from hospital into the community without testing had on covid-19 community infection rates.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) considered the contribution of nosocomial infections to hospital COVID-19 cases and the overall epidemic from February to July 2020 at SAGE meeting 63 on 22 October 2020. The minutes of the meeting are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sage-63-minutes-coronavirus-covid-19-response-22-october-2020

The related updated paper considering ‘The contribution of nosocomial infections to the first wave, 28 January 2021’, was published on 12 February 2021. The paper provides an estimate of hospitalised COVID-19 cases that could have been due to nosocomial transmission. A key conclusion of the paper is that nosocomial infections and onward community cases due to nosocomial infection may lead to a substantial number of subsequent COVID-19 hospital admissions. The paper is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phe-and-lshtm-the-contribution-of-nosocomial-infections-to-the-first-wave-28-january-2021

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many inpatients have been treated for (a) covid-19 and (b) non-covid-19 related issues at each Nightingale hospital in each month since April 2020.

This information is not held in the format requested. NHS England and NHS Improvement are collating some data relating to patient activity in the Nightingale hospitals, but this information has not been centrally validated.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many complaints his Department has received from hon. Members on NHS Test and Trace; and what the average response time is to those complaints.

The information is not held in the format requested and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government plans to publish its response to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review Report, published on 8 July 2020.

My Written Ministerial Statement of 11 January (HCWS692) provided an update on the Government’s response to the Review.

We currently plan to respond further during 2021.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 134477 tabled on 7 January 2021 by the Hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 134477 of 18 March.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people who are not registered with a GP have received (a) their first covid-19 vaccination and (b) both vaccinations to date.

The number of people not registered with a general practitioner who have received their first covid-19 vaccination and both vaccinations is not collected centrally in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that all people who are not registered with a GP who are eligible for the covid-19 vaccine are (a) identified and (b) contacted to access that vaccine.

The terms under which general practitioner (GP) practices are commissioned to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination services enable practices to vaccinate unregistered patients. Individuals who are not registered with a GP will therefore be able to access the vaccine in line with the priority groups outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations (JCVI). However, we would strongly encourage everyone to register so that they may be more easily invited for vaccination.

Every local system should have a plan for full coverage for inclusion health groups - for example, homeless people. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with local government, voluntary, community and social enterprise partners and Healthwatch England on a campaign to support all people, particularly those in inclusion health groups, to register with a GP. A key driver of the registration campaign is to support identification of those who should be prioritised for the vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of personal protective equipment purchased by the Govenrment was manufactured in the UK in each month in the last 12 months.

The Government’s personal protective equipment (PPE) strategy published in September said that by 1 December 2020, United Kingdom manufacturers would be able to provide 70% of the PPE we expected to use in England through the winter, for all items except gloves. That commitment was met and exceeded. The volume of UK manufactured PPE supplied in the three months from 1 December 2020 to 28 February 2021 was sufficient to meet 82% of the amount needed over that time period. Data prior to December is not available in a fully validated form.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Department for Education's document, Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance, published in February 2021, if he will publish the evidence his Department holds on the effectiveness and covid-safety of transparent face coverings.

The Department for Education’s ‘Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance’, sets out the educational settings in which face coverings should be worn. Their guidance states that transparent face coverings may also be worn as an alternative to cloth face coverings.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and Public Health England (PHE) regularly monitor and review the international evidence on the effectiveness of face coverings. Their most recent consideration of the science around face coverings was concluded in January. Copies of the rapid reviews undertaken by PHE ‘Face coverings in the community and COVID-19: a rapid review’ and ‘Face coverings in the community and COVID-19 A rapid review (update 1)’ are attached. Both reviews contain references to the scientific literature as part of the study.

Although the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggest that transparent face coverings would be expected to work similarly to other non-medical face coverings if properly fitted, there is currently limited evidence regarding their effectiveness or safety but along with other measures such as social distancing and good hand hygiene, they may help reduce the spread of COVID-19. There is a stronger evidence base for the use of fabric face coverings in reducing the respiratory particles emitted from the mouth and nose of someone who is infected. SAGE has advised that using a cloth face covering is an important mitigation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Departments operational guidance Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) dated February 2021, who undertook the research or evidence gathering regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings; and whether that research or evidence gathering was specific to educational settings.

The Department for Education’s ‘Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance’, sets out the educational settings in which face coverings should be worn. Their guidance states that transparent face coverings may also be worn as an alternative to cloth face coverings.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and Public Health England (PHE) regularly monitor and review the international evidence on the effectiveness of face coverings. Their most recent consideration of the science around face coverings was concluded in January. Copies of the rapid reviews undertaken by PHE ‘Face coverings in the community and COVID-19: a rapid review’ and ‘Face coverings in the community and COVID-19 A rapid review (update 1)’ are attached. Both reviews contain references to the scientific literature as part of the study.

Although the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggest that transparent face coverings would be expected to work similarly to other non-medical face coverings if properly fitted, there is currently limited evidence regarding their effectiveness or safety but along with other measures such as social distancing and good hand hygiene, they may help reduce the spread of COVID-19. There is a stronger evidence base for the use of fabric face coverings in reducing the respiratory particles emitted from the mouth and nose of someone who is infected. SAGE has advised that using a cloth face covering is an important mitigation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 148827 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, what estimate he has made of the number of patients who have been admitted to hospital with covid-19 since 1 January 2021 having received (a) one dose and (b) two doses of the (i) AstraZeneca and (ii) Pfizer vaccines.

Public Health England has made no such estimate.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 23 February 2021 to Question 153230, on NHS Test and Trace: Databases, on (a) how many occasions and (b) what dates he has met with representatives of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) since 29 January 2021 to finalise the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between his Department and the NPCC; and when his Department plans to publish that MoU.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has not met with representatives of the National Police Chiefs Council since 29 January 2021 to finalise the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU was updated to reflect amendments to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 and was published on 24 March 2021. We have agreed a review process with all parties, with the next review to take place on 16 April.

The MoU is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/972961/umbrella-memorandum-of-understanding-between-DHSC-and-NPCC-March-2021.pdf

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 6 January 2021 to Question 110152, on Hospitals: Fire Prevention, what assessment he has made of the (a) fire safety defects and (b) cost of repair for the nine NHS buildings identified with Aluminium Cladded Material (ACM).

Of the nine National Health Service buildings that were identified to potentially have Aluminium Cladded Material (ACM), it was found that one did not have ACM, four have had their ACM removed, two sites are currently in the process of removing their cladding and one has some ACM remaining but due to how the building is used the local Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) have agreed it can remain. The assessment of the potential fire safety defects of the remaining building is currently being finalised with the local FRS.

The Department has committed £10 million to deliver the removal and replacement of ACM across the NHS. To date, capital funding has been provided to all NHS trusts with ACM to pay for its removal, totalling £6.24 million.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of expanding the list of symptoms which trigger a covid-19 test.

Scientific experts keep the symptoms under review as our understanding of the virus develops.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the provision of Vitamin D supplements which ended on 21 February 2021 will be extended to people who have recently been added to the clinically vulnerable list.

There are no current plans to extend the registration period for free vitamin D supplements for those on the clinically extremely vulnerable list beyond the winter months. The longstanding Government advice is that between October and early March everyone is advised to take a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. The free vitamin D supplement scheme was introduced to benefit those asked to stay indoors more than usual over the spring and summer 2020 due to national restrictions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that all unpaid carers who meet the definition set out in the Covid-19 Greenbook Chapter 14a for vaccine priority under clinical need will be offered a vaccination in Group 6.

We have published bespoke guidance for unpaid carers set out in a Standard Operating Procedure, which has been co-produced with Carers UK, the Carers Trust, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Local Government Association, in order to help ensure that all eligible unpaid carers are offered a vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports that patient data has been wiped from the EMIS Web system; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the completeness of that data on covid-19 vaccine priority being correctly applied.

Reports that patient data has been wiped from the EMIS web system are inaccurate and COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation has not been affected.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people with moderate learning disabilities have died of covid-19 since 30 December 2020.

We do not hold data. NHS England and NHS Improvement publish weekly data about the number of COVID-19 related deaths of people with a learning disability reported to the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review programme by date of death, where COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed as the cause of death. However, this data does not identify the ‘severity’ of learning disability.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 February 2021 to Question 86684 on Coronavirus: Screening, if she will publish data on the number of covid-19 tests that have been sent overseas for processing in each of the last 12 months.

The information is not currently held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2021 to Auestion 140150 on General Practitioners: Registration, how many people not registered with a GP have received their first covid-19 vaccination.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of claims received by the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme were made by (a) healthcare and (b) social care workers; and if he will publish a breakdown of claims by occupation.

The latest data for the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme (England) was released on 23 February, with 354 claims to the Scheme having been received in total. Of these, 209 have come from the National Health Service, 138 from social care and seven are of an unknown employment type. The NHS Business Services Authority has requested further information from the claimant in these cases. Further information on claims by occupation is not available.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 11 February 2021, when he plans to answer Question 150832 tabled on 8 February 2021 by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 150832 of 11 March.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department undertook a data protection impact assessment before extending the NHS data-sharing contract with Palantir in December 2020; and if he will publish that assessment.

We are unable to provide the requested information as it is currently subject to legal proceedings and it would be inappropriate for us to comment.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what definition of severe and profound learning difficulties he uses for the purpose of covid-19 vaccine priority.

On 24 February 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published a clarification of their advice on vaccinating people with a learning disability. They confirmed their view that priority should be given to those with a severe and profound learning disability, but recognised concerns about coding of learning disability on general practitioner (GP) systems and supported a practical approach of inviting everyone who is on the GP Learning Disability Register for vaccination in cohort six.

The JCVI also recognised that some people with a learning disability would not be coded at all on GP systems, and supported the planned approach to work with local authorities to identify those in residential and nursing care and those who required support - for example as part of assisted living in the community - and those in shared accommodation with multiple occupancy, to ensure this population could be offered vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 130124 tabled by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston on 15 December 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 130124 of 12 March.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 118537 tabled by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston on 20 November 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer we gave to Question 118537 on 9 March.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the risk of covid-19 among people with a learning difficulty which is not severe and profound.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has made an assessment of the risks facing people with a learning disability, including those with a learning disability which is not severe or profound. This is set out in their letter of 23 February 2021 which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-from-the-health-and-social-care-secretary-on-covid-19-vaccination-in-people-with-learning-disabilities/letter-from-the-jcvi-to-the-health-and-social-care-secretary-23-february-2021

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) prosecutions have been commenced and (b) convictions have been secured by the CQC against (i) individuals and (ii) organisations in each of the last five years.

The following table details convictions secured by the Care Quality Commission against individuals and organisations in the last five financial years.

Financial Year

Organisation

Individuals

2015/16

1

4

2016/17

4

1

2017/18

5

1

2018/19

6

5

2019/20

13

7

2020/21

12

2

As of 25 February 2021, there are 14 prosecutions that have been commenced without a conviction secured of which one is pending trial and the remainder are either guilty pleas or awaiting first hearings.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of vaccinators have been offered employment in the mile radius they specified as part of the recruitment process.

The data is not held centrally in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of prescription charges on people with mental health conditions.

The Government has no current plans to extend the prescription charge medical exemptions list. Around 89% of prescriptions are dispensed free of charge and extensive arrangements are already in place to help people, including those with mental health conditions to access National Health Service prescriptions, including a broad range of prescription charge exemptions. To support those with the greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption, they can spread the cost of their prescriptions by purchasing prescription pre-payment certificates. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of including long-term mental health conditions in the prescription charge medical exemptions list.

The Government has no current plans to extend the prescription charge medical exemptions list. Around 89% of prescriptions are dispensed free of charge and extensive arrangements are already in place to help people, including those with mental health conditions to access National Health Service prescriptions, including a broad range of prescription charge exemptions. To support those with the greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption, they can spread the cost of their prescriptions by purchasing prescription pre-payment certificates. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the (a) average and (b) furthest distance a vaccinator has been asked to travel to deliver the covid-19 vaccine since the roll out of that vaccine.

The data is not held centrally in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2021 to Question 109439 on Hearing Impairment: Coronavirus, when the pilot referred to in relation to clear face coverings will be reviewed; and how many of the 250,000 clear face coverings procured have been provided to health and social care systems in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency.

Distribution of these masks was split between the seven regions. However, information at a constituency level is not currently available.

The ClearMask pilot is now complete and the feedback has been assessed. Based on the feedback, we will be running an assessment of a broader scope of products from a range of manufactures. This assessment will test different types of transparent masks currently at prototype stage, against a new technical specification being developed by the regulatory bodies. The assessment and engagement will also assess the appropriateness of different masks for each end-user and setting.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the reintroduction of targets for NHS dental practices, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of those targets on access to urgent dental care; and what discussions he has had with the British Dental Association on the reintroduction of those targets.

The Department has no current plans to assess the contractual arrangements for 2021/22. Contractual arrangements for the first six months of the 2021/22 financial year have been introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement. The revised unit of dental activity threshold set at 60% is based on data that indicates practices may now have capacity to safely achieve more dental activity. Arrangements will be monitored on a monthly basis and are expected to be in place for six months in order to provide increased stability for dental practices. National Health Service commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate.

The Department will work with the British Dental Association and NHS England and NHS Improvement who will lead the next stage of dental contract reform. This will involve designing implementable proposals that address the key challenges facing the delivery of NHS dentistry and will encourage a more preventative approach to dentistry.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 vaccine doses have been (a) supplied to and (b) delivered by, each CCG in England.

For security reasons it is not possible to provide detailed information concerning the number of how many COVID-19 vaccine doses have been supplied to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

Since 14 January NHS England has published weekly regional data of doses administered. This data now includes the number of vaccinations by CCG of residence and is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to monitor the effectiveness of existing covid-19 vaccines against new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Public Health England has published early estimates of vaccine effectiveness which includes the United Kingdom variant of concern which is available at the following link:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.01.21252652v1

The 2021 Budget included £28 million to increase the United Kingdom’s capacity for vaccine testing, support for clinical trials and improve the UK’s ability to rapidly acquire samples of new variants of COVID-19. In addition, £22 million has been allocated to a world-leading study to test the effectiveness of combinations of different vaccines and fund the world’s first study assessing the effectiveness of a third dose of vaccine to improve the response against current and future variants of COVID-19. A further £5 million investment in clinical-scale mRNA manufacturing has been provided to create a ‘library’ of vaccines to work against COVID-19 variants for possible rapid response deployment.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been (a) offered and (b) given vaccinations in each Clinical Commissioning Group area in England by JCVI priority group and (i) disability status and (ii) ethnicity.

The National Health Service has offered the vaccine to everyone in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) priority cohorts one to four by 15 February 2021.

We do not currently publish data for the number of people who have been vaccinated by each JCVI group or at clinical commissioning group (CCG) level by JCVI priority group, disability status or ethnicity. NHS England and NHS Improvement publish weekly data for vaccinations in England, including data on the number of people who have been vaccinated by CCG, clinical vulnerability, age group and ethnicity. This is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people in each JCVI priority group have been (a) offered and (b) given vaccinations.

The National Health Service has offered the vaccine to everyone in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) priority cohorts one to four by 15 February 2021.

We do not currently publish data for the number of people who have been vaccinated by each JCVI group or at clinical commissioning group (CCG) level by JCVI priority group, disability status or ethnicity. NHS England and NHS Improvement publish weekly data for vaccinations in England, including data on the number of people who have been vaccinated by CCG, clinical vulnerability, age group and ethnicity. This is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to monitor the effectiveness of different covid-19 vaccines on different age groups.

Public Health England is leading on the surveillance of the COVID-19 vaccine programme and has developed a surveillance strategy to monitor the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against mortality, hospitalisations, confirmed infections, markers of infectiousness and the impact on transmission.

Whilst phase three clinical trials provided evidence of vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease, further evidence is needed on how effectiveness varies by subgroup, including by age. This will be done using advanced surveillance techniques once the earliest eligible cohorts have been offered a full course of vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to commission a long term study of immune responses in people vaccinated against covid-19.

Public Heath England’s surveillance strategy will continue to monitor how effective the vaccine is at protecting against a range of outcomes including infection, symptomatic disease, hospitalisations, mortality and onwards transmission. The surveillance strategy is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-surveillance-strategy

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the UK Research and Innovation are jointly funding the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium to address key questions around the immune system’s response to COVID-19. The NIHR’s Health Protection Research Unit in Respiratory Infections is also looking at the size and longevity of the immune response.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been (a) offered and (b) given vaccinations in each Middle Layer Super Output Area in England by JCVI priority group.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publish weekly data for vaccinations in England. This provides a more detailed breakdown, including data on vaccinations by Middle Layer Super Output Area (MSOA) of residence and age group. This is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

We do not currently publish data at MSOA level by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s priority groups or data for vaccinations offered.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled The government’s approach to test and trace in England, interim report, published by the NAO in December 2020, if he will publish the business case submitted to this Department for NHS Test and Trace.

The Department will not be publishing the internal business case as it relates to the formulation of Government policy.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients have been admitted to hospital with covid-19 on each day in 2021 having had (a) one dose and (b) two doses of the (i) AstraZeneca and (ii) Pfizer vaccines.

This information is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 outbreaks there have been in special education schools since the start of 2021.

Since 4 January 2021, there have been 89 confirmed COVID-19 clusters or outbreaks in schools serving children with special educational needs reported to Public Health England.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reviewing the covid-19 care home visiting guidance once care home staff and residents have received their full dosage of the covid-19 vaccine.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we are constantly reviewing our guidance in line with policy changes, based at all times on the best scientific advice.

We have been consistently clear in our messaging that everyone must continue to follow the rules to protect the NHS and save lives, even after they have been vaccinated.

We recognise how important it is to allow care home residents to meet their loved ones safely. We will be looking to enable a wider range of visiting arrangements when it is safe to do so. We will publish updated guidance as this period of national lockdown ends.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of assigning essential partners designation to family caregivers to enable care home visits to take place.

In December 2020, we rolled-out testing and personal protective equipment to care homes nationwide for use by visitors to enable more meaningful, indoor visits. Close-contact visits facilitated by testing are currently not advised during this period of national lockdown. We will review the guidance when the period of national lockdown ends and look to open up more opportunities for visiting when it is safe to do so.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many vitamin D supplements have been issued as part of the Government's online offering; and whether he plans to extend that scheme into winter 2021-22.

The free vitamin D supplement scheme was introduced to benefit those asked to stay indoors more than usual over the spring and summer 2020 due to national restrictions. As of 3 February, supplements had been sent to over 300,000 adults on the clinically extremely vulnerable list that have opted in to receive the supplements, and over 150,000 residents in residential and nursing care homes in England. There are no current plans to extend the scheme into winter 2021-22.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of not requiring covid-19 testing for hospital discharges into the community where care is not required on rates of community covid-19 transmission.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies discussed the effect that discharging patients from hospital into the community without testing had on COVID-19 community infection rates when considering nosocomial infections. It found that while this likely drove onward community transmission during the first wave of COVID-19 infections, it was less likely to do so during a second wave, due to the improved infection control measures implemented in hospitals.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many care home (a) residents and (b) staff in England have received the (i) first and (ii) second dose of the covid-19 vaccine.

We are working with the vaccination programme in NHS England to monitor progress. NHS England now publish weekly data on the vaccination of residents and staff in older adult care homes, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2021 to Question 140829 on NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme 2020, how many of the 261 accepted claims have been paid.

The latest data for the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme (England) was released on 27 January, with 268 claims to the Scheme having been accepted. Payment has been made for 175 of these claims, with a further 92 accepted for payment pending proof of probate from the claimant, and one case in the course of payment.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2021 to Question 140829 on the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme, how many applicants have received payments through that scheme to date.

As of 27 January, the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme (England) has received 307 claims, of which 268 have been accepted. Payment has been made for 175 of these claims, with a further 92 accepted for payment pending proof of probate from the claimant, and one case in the course of payment. Two cases have not been accepted and the rest are under consideration.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to confirm what discussions he has had with the Chief Medical Officer on reintroducing the established relationship exemption from social distancing rules during the covid-19 lockdown.

Ministers and officials in the Department have regular discussions regarding the COVID-19 restrictions.

There has never been a specific exemption from regulations for people in an established relationship. A previous version of the social distancing guidance advised that people in an established relationship who are not in the same household or support bubble did not need to maintain social distancing. However, the guidance has been amended to outline that these couples should maintain social distancing. The Government keeps all restrictions and guidance under continual review.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason ECOLOG has reportedly lost its Government contract for covid-19 testing.

The Department has taken the decision not to proceed with a contract for Ecolog to provide deployable laboratory and testing services. For reasons of commercial confidentiality, we are unable to provide further details on this specific contract.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 109439 tabled on 30 October 2020 by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 109439 on 27 January.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he will respond to my letter of 21 September 2020 on ME and Covid-19.

We are working to provide all Members and external correspondents with accurate answers to their correspondence, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s letter will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department uses to determine the geographical distribution of covid-19 vaccines.

Work has been carried out with local clinical commissioning groups to ensure that vaccine supply aligns with the number of registered patients in the priority cohort groups in the local area. Where sites progress through their supply more quickly than others, NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with sites across the country to ensure that supplies are replenished to ensure an adequate and consistent supply of vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of women who (a) presented in labour, (b) attended an antenatal appointment and (c) were admitted to a postnatal ward (i) had already been confirmed as positive for covid-19 or (ii) received a positive result for a covid-19 test carried out as a part of their care in each region of England in the most recent period for which figures are available.

This information is not held centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of applications made under the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance scheme have been accepted since its introduction.

As of 20 January, 295 claims have been received in England. 261 claims have been accepted for payment and 32 are going through the stages of being processed and assessed. Two claims have been declined as the eligibility criteria was not met.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 18 November 2020 to question 95111 on Protective Clothing, if he will publish the number of items of (a) surgical masks, (b) FFP3 masks, (c) gowns, (d) gloves and (e) eye protection that are currently stockpiled; and what estimate he has made of how long those stockpiles of personal protective equipment will last.

Departmental statisticians are reviewing and validating the data on our personal protective stockpile (PPE) stockpile, with the intention of publishing this information as official statistics in the near future.

Since February 2020 we have ordered almost 32 billion items of PPE, the majority of which has already been delivered or is on its way and by December we had built a four-month stockpile of all COVID-19 critical PPE. We are confident we have secured enough PPE for the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and that we have the processes and logistics in place to distribute PPE to where it is needed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of calls to the covid-19 NHS Test and Trace service were (a) answered and (b) answered within 60 seconds in (i) November 2020 and (ii) December 2020.

In November 2020 there were 1,164,683 calls made to the Test and Trace 119 Service, with 1,145,479 calls answered and 99.8% of these answered within 60 seconds.

In December 2020 there were 1,546,068 calls with 1,485,864 calls answered and 92.4% answered within 60 seconds. From 22 December 2020 60,919 calls were made with 51,626 calls answered and 97.9% answered within 60 seconds.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the correlation between covid-19 mortality rates and homelessness.

In July 2020, the Office for National Statistics’ data indicated that 16 deaths due to COVID-19 occurred in the homeless population between 1 January and 26 June 2020. During that period, nearly 15,000 vulnerable homeless people were housed in emergency accommodation, including hotels, to reduce the risk of transmission. By November the Government had supported around 33,000 people with nearly 10,000 currently in emergency accommodation and over 23,000 already moved on into longer-term accommodation since the pandemic began.

The Department of Health and Social Care is working closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England to ensure a rapid joint health and housing response to protect some of the most vulnerable in society throughout the pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people in England are not registered with a GP; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of a publicity campaign to raise awareness of the need to be registered with a GP to receive a covid-19 vaccination.

No estimate has been made of the number of people in England not registered with a GP surgery.

The General Practice COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21 Enhanced Service Specification, the agreement under which general practices will deliver COVID-19 vaccinations under, enables practices working within their Primary Care Network groupings from shared vaccination sites to vaccinate unregistered patients. Individuals who are not registered with a general practitioner (GP) will therefore be able to access the vaccine.

While no major campaign is currently planned around registering with a GP practice, NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to highlight the importance of being registered through a range of channels including the National Health Service website. As part of the vaccination programme, there is ongoing work to ensure that the NHS communicates with all eligible people, so it is clear how they can get vaccinated.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent comparative assessment he has made of the level of access to routine dental check-ups for NHS and private patients.

No such assessment has been made. Data is not collected on private dental provision.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with representatives of care homes on the reliability of lateral flow tests.

The Department has regular discussions with care sector stakeholders including the National Care Forum and Care England, care home provider groups and individual care homes regarding the use of lateral flow device testing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with representatives of care homes on the provisions in his Department's guidance entitled Visiting care homes during COVID-19, last updated on 12 January 2021.

The visits to care homes guidance has been developed in collaboration with a range of stakeholders including clinicians, representatives of the care sector and individual care providers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice he has received from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on increasing the time period between the administration of the first and second dose of covid-19 vaccine for NHS and social care staff.

The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) advises the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation. After studying all the available data, the JCVI concluded that the first dose of both vaccines currently deployed provides substantial protection within two to three weeks of vaccination from severe COVID-19 disease.

The second vaccine dose is important to sustain the protection and extend its duration. However, in the short term, the additional impact of the second dose is likely to be modest and most of the initial protection from clinical disease is after the first dose of vaccine. The four UK Chief Medical Officers agreed with the JCVI that at this stage of the pandemic prioritising the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list would protect the greatest number of at-risk people in the shortest possible time.

Operationally this means that second doses of both vaccines will be administered towards the end of the recommended vaccine dosing schedule of 12 weeks. This will maximise the number of people getting the vaccine and receiving protection within the next 12 weeks.
The JCVI’s statement on changing the dose interval is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/prioritising-the-first-covid-19-vaccine-dose-jcvi-statement/optimising-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme-for-maximum-short-term-impact

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on trends in the level of covid-19 transmission rates of reducing the length of the period of self-isolation from 14 days to 10 days.

While we have not made a specific assessment, the evidence shows a low likelihood of being infectious as a contact after 10 days. We will keep this under constant review.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis as a treatment option for fibromyalgia.

The Department has made no such assessment. Clinical guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend that cannabis-based products for medicinal use are not offered to manage chronic pain in adults and that cannabidiol (CBD) only be offered as part of a clinical trial. NICE recognises the lack of evidence to support the use of these medicines and recommends that further research is carried out on the clinical and cost effectiveness of CBD as an add-on treatment for adults with fibromyalgia.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many vaccinators have been recruited for the covid-19 vaccination rollout to date; and how many of those vaccinators are currently distributing vaccines.

The National Health Service has so far recruited over 13,000 newly trained vaccinators from NHS Professionals who are either starting their local on-boarding or will shortly be invited to do so and over 19,516 volunteer vaccinators from St John Ambulance. These are in addition to the 71,400 full-time equivalent existing NHS staff supporting the COVID-19 vaccination programme. The number of newly recruited vaccinators increases on a weekly basis.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the efficiency of the recruitment process for vaccinators who are already medically qualified and registered.

Secondary legislation enabling more healthcare workers to administer flu and COVID-19 vaccines has been introduced to allow the National Health Service to expand the vaccination workforce.

Former healthcare professionals who are still registered in their profession, including those on the temporary register, are no longer required to complete the full statutory and mandatory training package.

The NHS has so far recruited over 13,000 newly trained vaccinators from NHS Professionals and over 19,000 volunteer vaccinators from St John Ambulance.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many vaccinators have been recruited, by English region.

This information is not available in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients were (a) admitted and (b) discharged from each Nightingale hospital in each month of 2020.

This information is not held in the format requested. NHS England and NHS Improvement are collating some data relating to patient activity in the Nightingale hospitals but this information has not been centrally validated.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people tested positive for covid-19 following a lateral flow test in each week since 1 November 2020; and of those how many (a) took a subsequent PCR test and (b) tested positive for covid-19 in that PCR test in each week in that period.

This information is not currently held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of removing delivery targets for NHS services during the 2021 covid-19 national lockdown.

We are committed to supporting National Health Service providers and commissioners to release capacity to help the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has included NHS England and NHS Improvement have reduced the usual reporting that is required for official statistics. However, there are no plans to remove patient access standards as set out in the NHS Constitution for the purpose of responding to the pandemic.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the return of UDA to dental practices on the transmission of covid-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have set a 45% dental activity target. This target is based upon clinical advice and modelling from the office of the Chief Dental Officer and has taken into consideration robust adherence to infection prevention and control guidance and social distancing requirements. Furthermore, data on the percentages of activity dental practices have achieved to date supports the view that the target can be safely attainable.

National Health Service commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate and the reinstatement of shielding during the national lockdown. There are currently no plans to review or change the unit of dental activity targets for January to March 2021.

A steady increase in dental activity has been made possible following updated Public Health England’s Infection Prevention and Control guidance. However, dental services continue to operate at reduced capacity due to the need for social distancing, personal protective equipment and other measures. By following this guidance, the risk of COVID-19 transmission is significantly reduced. Dental practices have a responsibility to ensure that social distancing is always adhered to, irrespective of activity targets.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many cases of hospital acquired covid-19 there in each month of 2020.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Given the incubation period of the virus and local differences in application of testing protocols, it is not possible to definitively determine the number of people who contracted the virus while in hospital in England to date.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to introduce passport-style documents for people who have received the covid-19 vaccine.

As with other vaccination programmes, vaccine record cards are issued to patients with the relevant details about the vaccine including the date of their vaccination and their vaccine type. This does not constitute an immunity passport and will not be used as a form of identification.

The Government will review whether COVID-19 status certification, could play a role in reopening the economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. This review will include assessing to what extent certification would be effective in reducing risk and the potential uses to enable access to settings or a relaxation of COVID-19 secure mitigations. The Government will also consider the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of this approach and what limits should be placed on organisations using certification. We will continue keep options under review as more evidence emerges.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the independent rapid review into West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust undertaken by Christine Outram has concluded; and when he plans to publish the findings of that review.

The independent rapid review of issues at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust was commissioned by NHS Improvement at the request of the Department.

The investigator, Christine Outram was originally aiming to complete the review by April 2020, but the work was delayed due to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings are expected to be published in spring of this year once the review has been completed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 97607, tabled by the hon Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston on 30 September 2020 on Congenital Abnormalities and Coronavirus.

We responded to the hon. Member’s Question 97607 on 30 December 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients in England are overdue for their cervical cancer screening appointments.

While we do not hold waiting lists for National Health Service screening programmes, NHS England and NHS Improvement are confident that no one eligible for cervical screening has missed an invitation for an appointment. Invitation and reminder letters for the NHS cervical screening programme in England continued to be issued throughout the pandemic. The intervals at which invitation and reminder letters were issued for the programme was extended on 9 April 2020. This meant that some have received an invitation later than expected. This was a temporary measure put in place to support cervical screening providers as they faced reduced capacity. From June 2020, the normal invitation and reminder parameter was restored with normal service resumed by October 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with NHS Trusts to ensure that cervical cancer screening appointments remain available during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are committed to the continued operation of cancer services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is recognised as a priority by National Health Service trusts and screening service providers, who have been instructed that invitations and appointments should be maintained for all NHS screening services, including cervical screening and that staff and facilities should not be redeployed.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have liaised with providers of the NHS Cervical Screening Programme to ensure that cervical appointments are available for those eligible and due to be screened. NHS England and NHS Improvement have developed and issued guidance to its regional teams to support providers to continue to deliver services, including Infection Prevention and Control advice and innovations such as providing screening appointments in a greater range of venues.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department plans to make of the effectiveness of only testing for cervical cell changes for people who test positive for HPV following their cervical cancer screening.

In November 2015, the United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC) recommended that women who test positive for human papillomavirus infection (HPV) would go on to have cytology or assessment of cell changes. The recommendation was that HPV screening should replace the previously used cytology test as the primary screening for cervical disease. Evidence from four European randomised controlled trials considered the use of high-risk HPV (hrHPV) testing as a primary screening test and found that hrHPV was found in 99.7% of cervical cancers as it looks for the presence of the virus which in turn can detect more pre-cancerous lesions than cytology. HrHPV testing has been shown to reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer through increased sensitivity for underlying disease.

The programme recommends that women continue to be screened regularly and speak to their general practitioner if they have any concerns or symptoms.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific evidence that supports the closure of group exercise classes in areas under tier 3 covid-19 restrictions.

The Government is committed to publishing data that has informed its decision making, including the tiers framework and allocations.

We have also published supporting information to accompany the most recent regulations which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf

This provides further information and context beyond the headline metrics as to why areas are in particular tiers currently.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific evidence supporting the restrictions on overnight educational stays at outdoor educational residential centres during the covid-19 outbreak.

Evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies supports that the main risk of transmission of COVID-19 is through people having close contacts with others, especially those outside their household. They have stated that the most effective method to tackle this is to maintain social distancing to break the chains of transmission. By closing overnight settings, such as residential camps, we are reducing all settings where people are able to mix and therefore transmit the virus. The new variant, which is up to 70% more transmissible, means that this requirement to limit social interaction is more urgent.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what process his Department used to appoint members of the Aerosol Generating Procedures Panel; and how he has ensured that panel had appropriate expertise from all areas of clinical care.

Appointments to the panel are made on merit and in accordance with the principles of the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees. The panel draws on the expertise of scientists and healthcare professionals, including clinicians, microbiologists, virologists, infection prevention and control, public health and engineering.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when NHS staff employed by ambulance trusts will receive their covid-19 vaccination.

All frontline healthcare staff and social care workers involved with direct patient care have been prioritised in the deployment of COVID-19 vaccinations. National Health Service ambulance trust staff are included in this definition and have been prioritised for a vaccination in priority cohort two.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the performance of the online systems used by the NHS Test and Trace service.

No such assessment has been made.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific evidence supporting the closure of bingo halls and clubs in areas under tier 3 covid-19 restrictions.

As set out in the Government’s Winter Plan, decisions on tiers are made by Ministers based on public health recommendations primarily informed by five key indicators. We know that the virus spreads readily in indoor environments where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together, so the transmission risk in indoor settings remains high. Our approach has always been guided by scientific and medical advice. The restrictions that apply at each tier will be reviewed every 28 days to ensure they remain necessary and proportionate.

The Government is committed to publishing data that has informed its decision making, including the tiers framework and allocations. We have also published supporting analysis to accompany the laying of the most recent regulations is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf.

This provides further information and context beyond the headline metrics as to why areas are in particular tiers currently.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many recorded covid-19 transmissions have been linked to bingo halls since July 2020.

As set out in the Government’s Winter Plan, decisions on tiers are made by Ministers based on public health recommendations primarily informed by five key indicators. We know that the virus spreads readily in indoor environments where members of different households and/or support bubbles spend time together, so the transmission risk in indoor settings remains high. Our approach has always been guided by scientific and medical advice. The restrictions that apply at each tier will be reviewed every 28 days to ensure they remain necessary and proportionate.

The Government is committed to publishing data that has informed its decision making, including the tiers framework and allocations. We have also published supporting analysis to accompany the laying of the most recent regulations is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach

Epidemiological data and projection models on local restriction tiers, including commentary on individual tier allocation decisions, is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938964/Coronavirus_England_briefing_26_November.pdf.

This provides further information and context beyond the headline metrics as to why areas are in particular tiers currently.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many IT problems have resulted in the NHS Test and Trace service being unable to carry out contact tracing since that system was established.

There have been no IT failures preventing contact tracing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many complaints have been raised relating to NHS Test and Trace failures to contact trace which were found to be caused by system problems.

The information is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) total cost and (b) cost per month was of his Department's contracts for private sector capacity in each month since 1 June 2020.

Total actual costs relating to the national contracts entered into by NHS England with independent sector providers for private sector capacity to address the effects of coronavirus on the provision of health services in England, will not be known until the reconciliation of the contracts in 2021.

Information on the number patients seen, day cases, outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests, chemotherapy appointments and elective admissions under National Health Service contracts for private sector capacity in each month since 1 June 2020 is not held centrally.

NHS-funded surgery in independent hospitals has substantially increased during the autumn.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2020 to Question 109428 on Test and Trace Support Payment scheme, for what reason information on (a) the number of applications, (b) the number of successful applications and (c) amounts paid out has not been published.

Further work is needed to assure the quality of information received by the Department on applications and payments before publishing the data.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) patients seen, (b) day cases, (c) outpatient appointments, (d) diagnostic tests, (e) chemotherapy appointments and (f) elective admissions under Government-agreed contracts for private sector capacity in each month since 1 June 2020.

Total actual costs relating to the national contracts entered into by NHS England with independent sector providers for private sector capacity to address the effects of coronavirus on the provision of health services in England, will not be known until the reconciliation of the contracts in 2021.

Information on the number patients seen, day cases, outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests, chemotherapy appointments and elective admissions under National Health Service contracts for private sector capacity in each month since 1 June 2020 is not held centrally.

NHS-funded surgery in independent hospitals has substantially increased during the autumn.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many mechanical ventilators (a) were purchased and (b) have been used since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

As of 9 December, there are over 30,000 mechanical ventilators available to patients across the United Kingdom. This compares to around 9,000 at the start of the pandemic in March.

Of the additional stock that has arrived and is available to the National Health Service, 15,150 have been bought via the Prime Minister’s ventilator challenge and 7,150 from established suppliers.

Of the 22,300 mechanical ventilators bought and delivered since March, 3,300 have been distributed to hospitals across the UK and 19,000 remain in storage ready to be distributed if needed.

Figures on the numbers of patients on ventilators are reported daily at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2020 to Question 121858 on Coronavirus: Disease Control, if he will publish in full the advice referred to in that Answer in advance of the 23 December 2020.

In assessing the approach to take over Christmas, the Government considered advice from the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor, alongside other scientific advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational sub-group (SPI-M-O) on both behaviours and transmission. These are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sage-66-minutes-coronavirus-covid-19-response-5-november-2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spi-b-key-evidence-and-advice-on-celebrations-and-observances-during-covid-19-5-november-2020

SAGE and SPI-M advice has been published and is available at the following links:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/939078/S0904_SAGE69_201118_SPI-M-O_Consensus_Statement.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938977/S0909_Sixty-ninth_SAGE_meeting_on_Covid-19.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 83849 tabled on 1 September 2020 by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Questions 100432, 99000, 89748, 87566, 83847 and 83849.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 83847 tabled on 1 September 2020 by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Questions 100432, 99000, 89748, 87566, 83847 and 83849.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 87566 tabled on 8 September 2020 by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Questions 100432, 99000, 89748, 87566, 83847 and 83849.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 89748 tabled on 14 September 2020 by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Questions 100432, 99000, 89748, 87566, 83847 and 83849.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 99000 tabled on 4 October 2020 by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Questions 100432, 99000, 89748, 87566, 83847 and 83849.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer question 100432 tabled by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston on 7 October 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Questions 100432, 99000, 89748, 87566, 83847 and 83849.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November to Question 87567, whether his Department holds (a) information on the location of each laboratory engaged in processing tests for covid-19; and (b) data on how many tests were processed at each of those laboratories in each month since April 2020; and for what reason that information is not published.

Laboratories at the following locations are engaged in processing of tests for COVID-19:

- Glasgow;

- Manchester;

- Cambridge;

- Milton Keynes;

- Charnwood (Loughborough);

- Newport;

- Queen Mary London; and

- Randox (Northern Ireland).

Data is published on the number of tests conducted by lower tier local authority, rather than by specific laboratory.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 113131, tabled on 6 November 2020 by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s questions will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 109428, tabled on 28 October 2020 by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s questions will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many full-time equivalent (a) doctors and (b) nurses there were in each quarter from Q1 2020-21 to the latest available data.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), but not staff working in primary care, general practice surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

As at the end of quarter one 2020/21 there were 121,142 full time equivalent HCHS doctors working in the National Health Service. There were also 324,599 full-time equivalent (FTE) registered nurses, health visitors and midwives, of which 295,818 FTE were nurses, 6,652 FTE were health visitors and 22,128 were midwives. Data for the end of quarter two 2020/21, September 2020, will be published on 22 December.

NHS England and NHS Improvement collect vacancy data for three staff groups; doctors, registered nurses (nurses, health visitors and midwives) and ‘other staff’. These vacancy statistics are published by NHS Digital for England and at regional level.

The following table shows the number of FTE vacancies and vacancy rates for doctors and registered nurses, health visitors and midwives in each quarter of 2020-21 to the latest available data. The quarterly vacancy figures provided are based on the number of vacancies at the end of the respective quarter.

Nurses, health visitors and midwives

Medical

FTE vacancies

Vacancy rate

FTE vacancies

Vacancy rate

Q1 2020/21 June 2020

37,185

10.1%

7,924

5.9%

Q2 2020/21 September 2020

36,655

10.0%

7,502

5.5%

Source: NHS England and NHS Improvement – NHS vacancy statistics April 2015-September 2020 England Tables – published by NHS Digital

The vacancy figures and workforce statistics do not perfectly align as they are derived from different sources. Vacancy figures are derived from a bespoke data collection from trusts, relating to the number of established posts they have and how many are not filled by substantive staff. Staff in post figures on the number of doctors and nurses working in the National Health Service are derived from the Electronic Staff Record, the Human Resources and payroll system for the NHS.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many full-time equivalent vacancies there were for (a) doctors and (b) nurses in each quarter from Q1 2020-21 to the latest available data.

NHS Digital publishes Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) workforce statistics. These include staff working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), but not staff working in primary care, general practice surgeries, local authorities or other providers.

As at the end of quarter one 2020/21 there were 121,142 full time equivalent HCHS doctors working in the National Health Service. There were also 324,599 full-time equivalent (FTE) registered nurses, health visitors and midwives, of which 295,818 FTE were nurses, 6,652 FTE were health visitors and 22,128 were midwives. Data for the end of quarter two 2020/21, September 2020, will be published on 22 December.

NHS England and NHS Improvement collect vacancy data for three staff groups; doctors, registered nurses (nurses, health visitors and midwives) and ‘other staff’. These vacancy statistics are published by NHS Digital for England and at regional level.

The following table shows the number of FTE vacancies and vacancy rates for doctors and registered nurses, health visitors and midwives in each quarter of 2020-21 to the latest available data. The quarterly vacancy figures provided are based on the number of vacancies at the end of the respective quarter.

Nurses, health visitors and midwives

Medical

FTE vacancies

Vacancy rate

FTE vacancies

Vacancy rate

Q1 2020/21 June 2020

37,185

10.1%

7,924

5.9%

Q2 2020/21 September 2020

36,655

10.0%

7,502

5.5%

Source: NHS England and NHS Improvement – NHS vacancy statistics April 2015-September 2020 England Tables – published by NHS Digital

The vacancy figures and workforce statistics do not perfectly align as they are derived from different sources. Vacancy figures are derived from a bespoke data collection from trusts, relating to the number of established posts they have and how many are not filled by substantive staff. Staff in post figures on the number of doctors and nurses working in the National Health Service are derived from the Electronic Staff Record, the Human Resources and payroll system for the NHS.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the (a) scientific and (b) medical advice he has received in respect of families meeting over the Christmas period.

Throughout this crisis, senior medical and scientific advisors have provided robust scientific evidence and advice to guide decisions regarding the measures taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government has also undertaken significant wider analysis and evaluation to inform decisions. This includes consideration of the Christmas period.

The measures taken have been effective at slowing the virus while balancing the need to protect the economy. Ahead of what will be a challenging winter, the Government will continue to take swift action to combat the spread of the virus.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies will continue to publish minutes from its meetings and the supporting scientific papers on GOV.UK, as has been the case since the start of the pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions (a) he or (b) his officials have had with the Prime Minister's Health and Social Care Taskforce.

Ministers and officials across the Department have engaged with the Health and Social Care Taskforce on a regular basis. Officials joined the Taskforce’s weekly Steering Group meetings from July to September. In addition, there were frequent working-level conversations between Departmental and Taskforce officials on a wide range of health and social care policy issues.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the covid-19 transmission rates caused by airborne viral load.

The Environmental and Modelling Group and the Transmission Group have considered airborne transmission in a range of their papers as one of the three main routes of transmission for COVID-19 and provided advice to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

Good ventilation of indoor spaces will dilute and remove virus in the air. People should not spend long periods of time in poorly ventilated spaces with other people. Cloth face coverings are likely to have some benefit in reducing the risk of aerosol transmission. Face coverings will reduce the dispersion of respiratory droplets and small aerosols that carry the virus into the air from an infected person.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of primary care networks have applied to deliver the direct enhanced scheme for the covid-19 vaccine rollout.

NHS England and NHS Improvement commissioned the general practice COVID-19 vaccination service in line with agreed national terms and conditions, as an enhanced service (ES). Individual general practices, rather than Primary Care Networks (PCNs), have applied to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations, coming together in groupings to administer the vaccine. Some of these groupings mirror existing PCN configurations but others do not.

The number of practices that have opted into the ES is not held centrally. Hundreds of PCN sites have already been mobilised; further PCN sites are due to mobilise over the coming weeks so coverage will continue to increase. These groupings can vaccinate both unregistered patients and patients registered with practices that have not signed up to deliver the vaccine.

Where there are gaps in provision, NHS England will commission additional providers, such as community pharmacy, to provide COVID-19 vaccinations, with 200 community pharmacies due to be online next week. and that process has commenced. As more vaccines become available, there will be increased flexibility in local delivery.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many primary care networks have not applied to deliver the covid-19 vaccine; and what plans are in place to deliver the vaccine in areas covered by those networks.

NHS England and NHS Improvement commissioned the general practice COVID-19 vaccination service in line with agreed national terms and conditions, as an enhanced service (ES). Individual general practices, rather than Primary Care Networks (PCNs), have applied to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations, coming together in groupings to administer the vaccine. Some of these groupings mirror existing PCN configurations but others do not.

The number of practices that have opted into the ES is not held centrally. Hundreds of PCN sites have already been mobilised; further PCN sites are due to mobilise over the coming weeks so coverage will continue to increase. These groupings can vaccinate both unregistered patients and patients registered with practices that have not signed up to deliver the vaccine.

Where there are gaps in provision, NHS England will commission additional providers, such as community pharmacy, to provide COVID-19 vaccinations, with 200 community pharmacies due to be online next week. and that process has commenced. As more vaccines become available, there will be increased flexibility in local delivery.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of formaldehyde free flu vaccinations in (a) Ellesmere Port and Neston and (b) England.

The flu vaccines being offered for the 2020/21 flu season do not include formaldehyde as an ingredient.

Formaldehyde is used during the manufacturing process of some inactivated flu vaccines. It is used to kill or inactivate the flu virus so it is possible that residual traces of it may remain in some flu vaccines.

Formaldehyde is not used in the production of the following vaccines currently used in the United Kingdom Influenza Immunisation Programme; the live attenuated influenza vaccine Fluenz Tetra used in the children’s flu programme and the cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIVc), Flucelvax Tetra.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what responsibility health and social care partnerships have for determining local funding priorities.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are clinically-led statutory National Health Service bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of high-quality healthcare services that meet the needs of their local population. In England, it is CCGs who are responsible for deciding how to best use their budgets to make sure they are delivering high quality care to their patients. They do this by developing strategic clinical plans covering a wide range of healthcare services based on their local population needs using their knowledge and links to the community in which they work.

In order to plan their commissioning decisions, local authorities and CCGs, through Health and Wellbeing Boards, use Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies to agree local priorities for local health and care commissioning.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the remit letters for the NHS Pay Review Body for 2021-22 will be issued; and for what reasons they have not already been issued.

Due to the timing of the Spending Review this year, we currently expect to issue a remit letter for 2021-22 to the Pay Review Bodies in the coming weeks. The Government will carefully consider the Bodies’ recommendations when we receive them.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on ensuring that pay increases for NHS staff under the Agenda for Change system are funded through additional resources set out in the forthcoming spending review.

Agenda for Change Staff are in their third and final year of a multi-year pay and contract reform deal (2018/19-2020-21) agreed with National Health Service trade unions and employer representatives. The deal has seen the pay of those below the top of their pay band increase by at least 9% and pay for most staff at the top of their pay band increase by 6.5%.

For recommendations on pay for Agenda for Change staff for 2021/22, when the deal ends, the Government intends to look to the independent NHS Pay Review Body as the established mechanism for determining pay increases in the NHS.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of providing funding for an earlier than planned pay rise for staff subject to the Agenda for Change system.

Agenda for Change Staff are in their third and final year of a multi-year pay and contract reform deal (2018/19-2020-21) agreed with National Health Service trade unions and employer representatives. The deal has seen the pay of those below the top of their pay band increase by at least 9% and pay for most staff at the top of their pay band increase by 6.5%.

For recommendations on pay for Agenda for Change staff for 2021/22, when the deal ends, the Government intends to look to the independent NHS Pay Review Body as the established mechanism for determining pay increases in the NHS.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which local authority areas have been chosen to trial plans allowing specific family and friends to visit care homes supported by testing.

Visitor testing was trialled in care homes in Cornwall, Devon and Hampshire.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the second covid-19 national lockdown on (a) babies and (b) young children.

The indirect impact of COVID-19 has been significant for pregnant women and young families. Therefore, support for families is a priority, as is responding to the increased risk of hidden harms. Chief Nurses together with the Local Government Association have recommended front-line support for children and families is maintained throughout the winter, with health visitors continuing to prioritise vulnerable families.

New support for safeguarding vulnerable babies was introduced during the COVID-19 response.  Cross-Government work is underway to build on lessons from early lockdown and establish best practice. In addition, the Early Years Health Adviser (the Rt hon. Member Andrea Leadsom MP) is carrying out a review. Part of the review will be to look at lessons learned from COVID-19, including minimising the risks from the pandemic to very young children.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people between the ages of 18-21, who for reasons not relating to long-term health conditions, are not up to date with their vaccinations.

We do not hold specific data on the overall vaccination uptake data of individuals between the ages of 18-21 years old.

The National Health Service vaccination programme does not include any vaccinations delivered routinely to those aged between 18 and 21 years old, aside from Pertussis for pregnant women, and for those with long-term health conditions. However, there remain opportunities for individuals who have not been vaccinated, or fully vaccinated, to do so when they attend their general practitioner.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the availability of the pneumoccal vaccine in (a) Ellesmere Port and Neston and (b) England.

There are two pneumococcal vaccines that are currently recommended for use, pneumococcal polysaccharide 23-valent vaccine (PPV23) and pneumococcal polysaccharide conjugate 13-valent vaccine PCV13 (Prevenar 13).

We are aware that, due to high demand, supplies of pneumococcal vaccine PPV23 (Pneumovax 23) are limited across the country. We are working closely with suppliers and the healthcare system to ensure that patients with the greatest clinical need can access the vaccine. We are continuing to liaise with the supplier to support expedited future deliveries. Public Health England has issued comprehensive clinical guidance which provides information on management of potentially affected patients during this time. Practitioners have been advised to prioritise PPV23 vaccinations based on clinical risk and to plan vaccinations to ensure demand is more consistent across the year. Further, on 6 November 2019, all pneumococcal vaccines were added to the list of medicines that cannot be parallel exported, further protecting United Kingdom supplies and vaccine availability.

We are not aware of any issue affecting the supply PCV13.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will develop a strategy to deal with potential implications on childhood development from (a) previous, (b) existing and (c) potential future national covid-19 lockdowns.

The indirect impact of COVID-19 has been significant for pregnant women and young families. Therefore, support for families is a priority, as is responding to the increased risk of hidden harms. Chief Nurses together with the Local Government Association have recommended front-line support for children and families is maintained throughout the winter, with health visitors continuing to prioritise vulnerable families.

New support for safeguarding vulnerable babies was introduced during the COVID-19 response.  Cross-Government work is underway to build on lessons from early lockdown and establish best practice. In addition, the Early Years Health Adviser (the Rt hon. Member Andrea Leadsom MP) is carrying out a review. Part of the review will be to look at lessons learned from COVID-19, including minimising the risks from the pandemic to very young children.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what methodology his Department plans to use to evaluate the success of trials to allow specific family and friends to visit care homes supported by testing.

We have begun a trial of testing visitors to care homes to support care home providers and families to work together to find the right balance between the benefits of visiting on wellbeing and quality of life, and the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to social care staff and vulnerable residents.

We will be having regular calls with each of the care homes and providers involved in the pilot to understand how testing is working in practice including understanding the training needs of staff, any workforce implications and the experiences of staff, residents and loved ones throughout. If successful, care home testing will be rolled out in a phased way across the country.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the contribution of the hon Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston in the Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee on 19 October 2020, Official Report, col 10, whether he has made an assessment of the compatibility of the official Government guidance and the Test and Trace notifications on self-isolation periods.

Notifications on self-isolation periods are given out by contact tracing staff who have received training for their role on the policies, operating procedures and scripts related to contact tracing. This training is updated in line with any changes to Government policy and guidance. Individuals who feel that they have been incorrectly notified of their self-isolation period are able to raise a dispute and have their case reviewed.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many previously retired NHS staff have worked in the NHS in each month since March 2020.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided the following information. As at July 2020, 15,245 former healthcare professionals had completed pre-employment checks, 8,755 former clinicians had been deployed to acute services for employment and 2,140 former clinicians had been employed across NHS 111, NHS Test and Trace, acute trusts and social care.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a public inquiry into hospital fire safety for the (a) 18 PFI projects with fire safety issues and (b) 38 hospitals identified by NHS Improvement as having cladding similar to Grenfell Tower.

Following the Grenfell tragedy, a review of all National Health Service buildings was undertaken to identify those with Aluminium Cladded Material (ACM). This identified nine buildings with ACM where mitigation actions were immediately put in place. A public inquiry is not seen as required in relation to NHS fire safety at this time.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish (a) civil contingency plans and (b) fire safety strategies for NHS field hospitals.

The civil contingency plans for all National Health Service-funded organisation, including NHS field hospitals, are set out in the NHS England Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Framework. This strategic national framework containing, principles for health emergency preparedness, resilience and response for NHS England at all levels including NHS provider organisations, providers of NHS-funded care, clinical commissioning groups, general practitioners and other primary and community care organisations. The Framework is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/eprr/gf/

The fire safety strategies for NHS provider organisations, including NHS field hospitals are not published because of the potential security risk.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS (a) nurses and (b) doctors have agreed to work in each Nightingale hospital in the next six weeks.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the covid-19 testing capacity required to ensure that (a) care homes and (b) hospitals continue to receive priority.

Information is not available on the average waiting time to receive COVID-19 tests. However, we record and publish data on COVID-19 test result waiting times. As of 28 October, care home testing turnaround times have halved and are currently at a median average of 45 hours. In hospitals, between 22 October and 28 October, 86.1% of pillar 1 test results were made available within 24 hours. This has remained broadly consistent since Test and Trace began.

We have also continued to work to improve testing capacity, which has already seen capacity increase to more than 500,000 on 31 October. We are able to deliver more than 130,000 tests a day to care homes across the country, prioritising high priority outbreak areas. We have also encouraged care homes to conduct testing at weekends in order to improve turnaround times by spreading the flow of tests arriving at labs over the full seven days of the week.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of updating the hospital fire code to include the (a) 18-metre rule, (b) requirement for limited combustibility insulation and (c) large-scale testing requirement to BS841 which is included in residential building regulations.

The National Health Service has unique fire safety issues given the nature of its services and the patients it treats. Fire safety guidance is provided to the NHS in the Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 05-02 generally referred to as ‘Firecode’. This will be updated to reflect recent changes in legislation and guidance, such as the changes to Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 that have recently been consulted on.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the waiting time is for covid-19 tests in (a) care homes and (b) hospitals in England as of 2 November 2020.

Information is not available on the average waiting time to receive COVID-19 tests. However, we record and publish data on COVID-19 test result waiting times. As of 28 October, care home testing turnaround times have halved and are currently at a median average of 45 hours. In hospitals, between 22 October and 28 October, 86.1% of pillar 1 test results were made available within 24 hours. This has remained broadly consistent since Test and Trace began.

We have also continued to work to improve testing capacity, which has already seen capacity increase to more than 500,000 on 31 October. We are able to deliver more than 130,000 tests a day to care homes across the country, prioritising high priority outbreak areas. We have also encouraged care homes to conduct testing at weekends in order to improve turnaround times by spreading the flow of tests arriving at labs over the full seven days of the week.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 99000, tabled on 4 October 2020.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s questions will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the proportion of people in work who will be eligible for the self-isolation support payment.

The Test and Trace Support Payment is designed to provide financial support to individuals who have been asked to self-isolate and who, if unable to work from home, would lose income and suffer financial hardship as a result. Over four million people could be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment if they are told to self-isolate and will lose income as a result, because they cannot work from home.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance track and trace operatives are given on contact tracing positivecovid-19 test results from in-patients in hospitals.

When contacting a hospital inpatient, call handlers are first asked to check whether the individual is available to speak with them. If they are, they will proceed with the call as usual. If they are not available, they are advised to ask if they can speak to a next of kin. Any complex contact tracing will be carried out by staff who have already received clinical or public health training and have worked in public health or healthcare, some for many years.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many eye tests are available for NHS patients in (a) England and (b) Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency in comparison to the same time last year.

Data is not available in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many clear face masks have been sent to NHS and social care workers in each NHS region since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Last year, the Department procured 250,000 transparent facemasks, which are currently being piloted within the health and social care systems. Initial distributions commenced mid-August with equal allocations across the health and social care sectors, as well as allocations to the devolved administrations and the National Supply Disruption Response.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement will continue to work closely with suppliers on future orders based on demand.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 100432, tabled on 7 October 2020.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s questions will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applications for the payment for people self-isolating his Department (a) received and (b) accepted from 28 September 2020 to 28 October 2020.

We are working closely with all 314 lower tier and unitary local authorities to collate information on how the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is progressing and will release information on the number of applications, number of successful applications and amounts paid out in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to improve public awareness of exemptions to the rules on the wearing of face coverings for deaf people and those who assist people who rely on lip reading to communicate.

Our guidance published online is clear that there are exemptions where people do not need to wear face coverings. We are also clear that people do not need to prove they are exempt and they should not be challenged about this

The Government is running a major proactive communications campaign on face coverings to alert the public where they are now required to wear a face covering, who is exempt from wearing one, and how to wear one correctly. As part of this campaign, we are prioritising the need to communicate who is exempt from wearing one.

We are actively engaging with stakeholders including disability charities to communicate new guidance to their members as well as highlighting this message to the general public on social media and via broadcasting opportunities.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the reproduction rate for covid-19 was in the Greater Manchester area on (a) 6 September 2020, (b) 20 September 2020, (c) 4 October 2020 and (d) 20 October 2020.

The published growth rate, or ‘R’ number, for England and the North West regions is available on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk#other-key-statistics

Estimates of growth rate for geographies smaller than regional level are less reliable and it is more appropriate to identify local hotspots through, for example, monitoring numbers of cases, hospitalisations, and deaths.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Lord Bethell, of 6 October 2020, Official Report, column 544 on Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 , if he will publish the research from the frontline on children and the rule of six.

The Government’s priority is for children to attend school and for further education colleges to remain open, in recognition of the important role that such settings play in children’s development and in supporting and sustaining local communities. We also recognise the importance of exercise for children to help them develop and maintain their mental and physical wellbeing.

Studies have shown that such settings can sustain high levels of COVID security and are a low transmission risk. For example, Public Health England’s ‘SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in educational settings’ which is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/911267/School_Outbreaks_Analysis.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applications for the payment for people self-isolating in highest risk areas were (a) received and (b) accepted between 28 September and 4 October 2020.

We are working closely with all 314 lower tier and unitary local authorities to collate information on how the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is progressing and will release information on the number of applications, number of successful applications and amounts paid out in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of calls (a) made to, (b) answered by and (c) that were answered within 60 seconds by the 119 covid-19 NHS test and trace service in September 2020.

In September 2020, 1,686,294 calls were made to the 119 Test and Trace Contact Centre. Out of these, 939,020 calls were answered with 46% of calls answered within 60 seconds.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the risk that covid-19 poses to people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

People with spina bifida and hydrocephalus are not automatically identified as clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable.

GPs and hospital clinicians have the discretion to add individual patients to the shielded patient list based on careful, clinical assessments of each individual’s needs. This will require expert clinical judgement on a patient-by-patient basis. If anyone is unsure if they should be following the guidnece for the clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable. we would encourage them to discuss this with their GP or hospital specialist.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to correspondence from the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston of the 29 May 2020 regarding the experience of parents with extremely clinically vulnerable children during the covid-19 outbreak.

I replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 9 October 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of care home visiting guidance on the health and wellbeing of care home residents with dementia.

We are aware that limiting visits in care homes has been difficult for many families and residents who want to see their loved ones, particularly for people with dementia.

As part of the Adult Social Care Winter Plan (published on 18 September) we have set out tightened infection prevention and control measures to enable visits to continue safely. The Winter Plan is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adult-social-care-coronavirus-covid-19-winter-plan-2020-to-2021/adult-social-care-our-covid-19-winter-plan-2020-to-2021

These measures build on the visiting arrangements published on 22 July 2020 that allows local decision making, based on the assessment of the Director of Public Health and the care provider. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus

Care home providers should develop a policy for limited visits (if appropriate), in line with up-to-date guidance from their relevant Director of Public Health and based on dynamic risk assessments which consider the vulnerability of residents. This should include both whether their residents’ needs make them particularly clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 and whether their residents’ needs make visits particularly important.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2020 to Question 27030, what steps he has taken to consider how NHS England can ensure better access to dentistry for cancer patients.

National Health Service dentistry is a universal NHS service. This should be available to all including those diagnosed with cancer or any other disease. Where a patient has difficulty in finding an NHS dentist with availability they should contact NHS England and NHS Improvement who commission dentistry and have a duty to help patients who are having difficulty in finding a practice.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the assessed requirement for PPE eye protection was for the period May to December 2020; and whether that amount has been procured.

Amid unprecedented global pressures on supply chains, since 25 February 2020, over 3.7 billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been delivered to frontline workers thanks to the efforts of the Government, National Health Service, industry and the armed forces to massively scale up distribution networks.

Our PPE Strategy, published on 28 September, sets out how the Government is preparing for a potential second wave or current pandemic alongside winter seasonal pressures.

PPE delivery statistics are published on a weekly basis and provide the latest number of PPE items which have been distributed for use by health and social care services in England. They are available online at GOV.UK.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the covid-19 outbreak on the long-term funding requirements of community pharmacies.

The Government has put in place an unprecedented financial package during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing support to all businesses, including community pharmacies. We have also made £370 million in advance payments to alleviate cash flow pressures and have provided extra funding to cover the costs of Bank Holiday opening, a new medicine delivery service for shielded patients, and measures taken by community pharmacy to support social distancing. For June to September 2020, there has also been an increase of £15 million per month to reimbursement prices of the most commonly prescribed generic medicines.

Additional funding, for costs incurred during the peak of the pandemic, is being actively discussed with the sector. We will also carefully consider other representations on how we can further support community pharmacy so they can continue to deliver.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to MBRRACE's report of 2018 entitled Saving lives, improving mothers' care, what steps the Government has taken to tackle health inequalities among Black (a) pregnant women and (b) mothers in the last two years.

Work to reduce health inequalities around maternal mortality rates is being led by Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, Chief Midwifery Officer. This includes understanding why mortality rates are higher, considering evidence about what will reduce mortality rates and taking action.

The NHS Long Term Plan outlines plans to reduce health inequalities and address unwarranted variation in maternity care. Targeted and enhanced continuity of carer can significantly improve outcomes for women. The Long Term Plan sets out that 75% of black women will receive continuity of carer from midwives by 2024.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with community pharmacies to determine whether there are ongoing pressures on their services a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and I meet regularly with key stakeholders to determine the impact of COVID-19.

In respect of stakeholders representing community pharmacy, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have hosted regular meetings with a wide range of primary care stakeholders, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, to discuss the pressures community pharmacies are facing and what further support they need to be able to support patients in their communities, and will continue to do so.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the availability of dentist appointments for NHS patients in (a) England and (b) Ellesmere Port and Neston in August (i) 2019 and (ii) 2020.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for commissioning primary National Health Service dental services to meet the needs of the local population. A health needs assessment for West Cheshire, including Ellesmere Port and Neston was undertaken for the period 2018/2019 which was subsequently updated in January 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the way NHS dental services are delivered and, unfortunately, the particular risks of infection COVID-19 presents for some dental procedures means that service activity is still reduced due to the impact of infection prevention and control requirements. NHS England and NHS Improvement and dental practices themselves remain focused on restoring as much service as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many flu vaccines were held in stock on 29 September 2020.

Overall, there is sufficient vaccine for over 30 million people to be vaccinated in England this winter.

Public Health England (PHE) secures sufficient volume of flu vaccines used in the children’s flu programme to ensure that eligible children aged less than 18 years who present for vaccination can be offered an appropriate vaccine. Information on the number of doses procured by PHE is commercially sensitive. However, by 29 September 2020, PHE had distributed over 1.3 million doses of flu vaccine to National Health Service providers of the children’s flu programme in England.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to review guidance on the use of personal protective equipment to protect NHS health and social care workers ahead of a second wave of covid-19.

We withdrew the ‘Considerations for acute personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages guidance’ on 9 September because our supply position has improved.

Public Health England published infection prevention and control (IPC) Guidance on 20 August 2020 ‘COVID-19: Guidance for the remobilisation of services within health and care settings: Infection prevention and control recommendations’. This guidance supersedes the COVID-19 United Kingdom IPC guidance of 18 June 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many items of (a) surgical masks, (b) FFP3 masks, (c) gowns, (d) gloves and (e) eye protection are stockpiled; and what estimate he has made of how long those stockpiles of personal protective equipment will last.

We have stabilised the United Kingdom personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chain. Since 25 February 2020, the Department has distributed over 4.9 billion PPE items for use by health and social care services in England, which includes gowns, gloves, visors and surgical masks. We have around 32 billion PPE items on order and this month, we will have a four month stockpile of all COVID-19 critical PPE in place, with a tremendous contribution from UK manufacturers.

‘Personal protective equipment (PPE) strategy: stabilise and build resilience’, published on 28 September and available on GOV.UK, sets out how the Government is moving beyond the emergency COVID-19 response to stabilise and build resilience. We are confident we have secured enough supply for this winter period and that we have the processes and logistics in place to distribute PPE to where it is needed.

The operational process to build stockpiles is supported by a range of detailed operational and management data. We are working with those data flows to produce figures that could be published as official statistics; making the information available in a fully validated and clear way that aids understanding.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether household members of health and social care workers will be prioritised for covid-19 testing.

Essential workers within home care can order five test kits for themselves and other symptomatic members of their households. However, for households of more than five the 119 contact centre raise on order on their behalf.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will set out what constitutes a successful contact within the covid-19 test and trace system.

The Test and Trace service, which launched in England on 28 May, identifies people at high risk of having been exposed to the virus through close recent contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and notifies them of the need to self-isolate. This is an important element in controlling the spread of the virus.

When someone who has tested positive shares information with NHS Test and Trace about a close recent contact, there are three possible outcomes as follows:

- Contact tracers successfully reach the individual and notify them of the need to self-isolate;

- Contact tracers are unable to contact the individual because no usable contact details have been provided, for example phone number or email address; and

- Contact tracers attempt to reach the individual, but there is no response to text, email and call reminders.

Since the service launched, 84% of all contacts for whom usable contact details were provided have been reached and notified of the need to self-isolate.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average distance travelled by people to access a covid-19 test has been in each week since 3 August 2020.

The Government does not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 walk-in testing centres were made appointment-only on each day from 15 August to 14 September 2020.

The Government does not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been offered covid-19 tests more than 75 miles from their home address since 3 September 2020.

An issue with the booking portal resulting in some users being directed to tests sites a long distance from them has been resolved. There is now a travel restriction set at 75 miles. A few regional testing slots may remain visible outside of the 75 mile radius, but we continue to investigate and seek solutions to address these rare anomalies.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent meetings he has had with the Joint Biosecurity Centre to discuss the threat level from covid-19.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and Public Health England monitor a broad range of data daily to assess the risks from COVID-19 on a local, national and international level. The four Chief Medical Officers review the setting of the national alert level based on advice from the JBC at least once a week. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care chairs a decision-making meeting at least once a week to review the national picture and to decide also on the classification of risk at a local level (Areas of concern, for Enhanced support, for Intervention). The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care also holds a meeting at least once a week together with the Secretaries of State for Transport, the Home and Foreign offices to review travel corridors in light of international risks to United Kingdom public health from COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the location is of each laboratory engaged in processing tests for covid-19; and how many tests were processed at each of those laboratories in each month since April 2020.

The Government does not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests have been delivered by couriers; and how much has been paid to couriers for those deliveries, in each month since March 2020.

Home testing enables people to get tested without leaving their home. They are self-administered tests. They can be ordered via the self-referral portal. The order is fulfilled by Amazon and the user can drop their test kits into one of more than 35,000 priority post boxes in order to return them. For individuals who are shielding or unable to get to a priority post box the programme offers for the sample to be collected by Royal Mail couriers. We are unable to share commercially sensitive arrangements regarding the individual costs paid to couriers.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many completed home testing kits for covid-19 were (a) collected at the individual's home by courier and (b) delivered to the nearest royal mail collection point by the person taking the test in each month since April 2020.

The Government does not publish data in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of using overseas testing capacity to meet (a) short, (b) medium and (c) long term demand; and how many covid-19 test have been sent overseas for processing in each month since March 20202.

In addition to the network of six Lighthouse laboratories and other United Kingdom based partner laboratories, we have also worked with a number of ‘surge’ laboratories, some of which were overseas, enabling the programme to respond to demand. The vast majority of tests have been processed in the UK. We do not publish data.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Observer newspaper article of 6 September 2020 on the leaked Public Health England report on covid-19 lockdown restrictions, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of that report.

The NHS Test and Trace service is helping us to keep the spread of the virus at low levels by ensuring that we can quickly trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for COVID-19. This is playing an important role in helping ease restrictions but alongside the vital continuing importance of social distancing.

We are working closely with local authorities and local Directors of Public Health, sharing highly localised case data on a daily basis to understand and tackle local outbreaks. All 152 upper tier local authorities have created and shared their Local Outbreak Control Plans which focus on prevention, identification and management of outbreaks, and working to break the chain of transmission. We have also given councils £300 million in new dedicated funding to support their dedicated Local Outbreak Plans.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to improve the quality of care for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

No specific assessment on reducing variation in care for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis has been made.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance ‘Crohn’s disease: management, published in May 2019, and Ulcerative colitis: management’, also published in May 2019, set out best practice to improve and standardise the quality of care in the diagnosis, treatment care and support of patients with the condition. The NICE guidance can be found at the following links:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng129

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng130

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with NHS England on reducing variation in care for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients across the UK.

No specific assessment on reducing variation in care for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis has been made.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance ‘Crohn’s disease: management, published in May 2019, and Ulcerative colitis: management’, also published in May 2019, set out best practice to improve and standardise the quality of care in the diagnosis, treatment care and support of patients with the condition. The NICE guidance can be found at the following links:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng129

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng130

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of calls (a) made to, (b) answered by and (c) that were answered within 60 seconds by the 119 test and trace services in each month since it was introduced.

The information requested is shown in the following table:

Offered to agents

Answered by agents

Percentage answered

Answered in 60 seconds

May

314,438

313,570

99.7%

98.7%

June

356,340

355,454

99.8%

99.1%

July

456,238

454,491

99.6%

98.6%

August

991,857

939,020

94.7%

82.2%

Total

2,118,873

2,062,535

97.3%

91.2%

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with NHS England on improving care for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as the NHS resumes normal service levels as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

No specific assessment on the effect of care for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak has been made.

Early in the pandemic NHS England and NHS Improvement advised that in-person consultations “should only take place when absolutely necessary”. Providers have been rolling out remote consultations using video, telephone, email and text message services as a priority, including for those with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on care for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients of service pressures resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

No specific assessment on the effect of care for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak has been made.

Early in the pandemic NHS England and NHS Improvement advised that in-person consultations “should only take place when absolutely necessary”. Providers have been rolling out remote consultations using video, telephone, email and text message services as a priority, including for those with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the project plan for the contract with McKinsey in relation to the new permanent test and trace body.

McKinsey was asked to provide the fact base to support civil servants with decisions on organisation options for the United Kingdom’s Test and Trace Programme as it matures. Details of the contract award are published online at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/1a720c8a-85fd-4255-85ee-3c891c664bf0?origin=SearchResults&p=1

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of patients have been confirmed as infected with covid-19 (a) admission to hospital and (b) as a result of admission to hospital in (i) total and (ii) each month since the start of the outbreak.

Data is not currently available in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether independent laboratory validation of the Randox tests for covid-19 were undertaken by the Government.

Randox laboratory has completed the required standardised process as part of the National Laboratory Validation and Assurance for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) testing.

Test and Trace laboratories must perform a validation exercise which complies with International Organization for Standardization accreditation standards. Validation can be extensive and provides documentary evidence that any assay is suitable for its intended purpose. This may involve experiments to determine its performance characteristics, such as accuracy, sensitivity, limits of detection, reliability and reproducibility.

Any process changes within the end to end testing pathway must be revalidated to demonstrate performance.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many of the results of processed Randox tests for covid-19 were (a) positive, (b) negative, (c) unclear and (d) void.

The recall applied to all unused Randox kits in circulation at the time the recall notice was announced; up to 750,000 kits. This figure may be significantly less due to wastage and the majority have now been returned to Randox. We continue to work across the testing channels to remove any remaining kits from circulation. The specific data is not held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of hospital interventions to (a) minimise the risk of covid-19 outbreaks and (b) bring hospital acquired covid-19 outbreaks under control; and what support and resources are available for hospitals to help implement those interventions.

NHS England and NHS Improvement provide Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) support to trusts in the implementation of wide-ranging hospital interventions to prevent and control COVID-19 transmission, including a targeted IPC Safety Support Programme to multiple regions. An England wide surveillance system is available to provide trusts with data for tracking COVID-19 infection rates and allowing them to take local action to tackle outbreaks.

In addition, an operating framework for urgent and planned services in hospital settings during COVID-19 was published on 14 May, with a key objective of minimising the risk of transmission of COVID-19 infection within hospitals and supporting NHS organisations to maintain capacity to care for COVID-19 patients.

The Government has updated and published the United Kingdom guidance ‘COVID-19: Guidance for the remobilisation of services within health and care settings: Infection prevention and control recommendations’, providing guidance based on the latest scientific evidence for minimising COVID-19 transmission in healthcare settings.

NHS England and NHS Improvement oversee the dissemination of guidance and provides oversight through its regions to support local policies and interventions in healthcare settings. To further support implementation of the UK IPC Guidance within local settings, a Board Assurance Framework is available to all healthcare organisations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many Randox tests for covid-19 were processed (a) in total and (b) at Randox laboratories.

The recall applied to all unused Randox kits in circulation at the time the recall notice was announced; up to 750,000 kits. This figure may be significantly less due to wastage and the majority have now been returned to Randox. We continue to work across the testing channels to remove any remaining kits from circulation. The specific data is not held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a copy of (a) the contract and (b) any extension to the contract with Randox for covid-19 testing.
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date the Government entered into the Randox contract for covid-19 testing; whether that contract was extended; and what were the (a) date and (b) amount of each payment made to Randox under that contract.
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to Answer of 3 August 2020 to Question 59809 on Protective Clothing: Turkey, how many of the 185,000 gowns and coveralls have been used.

185,000 gowns and coveralls were transported from Turkey to the United Kingdom by the Royal Air Force on 22 April. While a small number of these gowns failed tests in the UK, the majority passed tests making them suitable for use in the National Health Service.

This consignment from Turkey was merged with the wider stock of gowns and coveralls and has since been split into stock units. The stock has been incorporated into the supply chain and has been available for order.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that measures introduced under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations are inclusive of people who are (a) deaf or (b) hard of hearing.

At each review point of the Regulations, impacts on groups with protected characteristics have been carefully considered, in line with the Public Sector Equality Duty requirement for public bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities.

The Government has set out in guidance to businesses that they should consider the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are hard of hearing at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb9703de90e07082fa57ce0/working-safely-during-covid-19-shops-branches-v2-140620.pdf

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) women with (i) epilepsy and (ii) bipolar disorder who are prescribed Valproate and (b) their children receive the healthcare they require.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been monitoring trends in the prescribing of sodium valproate in women and girls to assess the impact of regulatory restrictions including the introduction of the Pregnancy Prevention Programme (PPP) in April 2018.

Data from the NHS Business Services Authority show that in the second quarter (April-June) of 2020 13,574 women of child-bearing age (14-45 years) were dispensed with a prescription for valproate in England.

The number of pregnancies estimated to have been exposed to valproate in the United Kingdom during 2018 and 2019 were 370 and 190 respectively. These estimates are extrapolated from data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink as national data are not collected. No data are available on the number of children harmed by valproate or the number of diagnoses with Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder since 2018.

The number of children harmed by the use of valproate in pregnancy since 1973 is not precisely known. However, an estimate has been made of in the region of 20,000.

The MHRA is working on developing a valproate registry, the main aims of which would be to monitor the use of valproate in girls and women in the UK and compliance with the current regulatory requirements, and to identify and monitor outcomes in any children born to women on valproate. There has been a gradual decline in prescribing of valproate to women of childbearing age over a number of years but more needs to be done to reduce prescribing to the minimum. The MHRA is working with the National Health Service and professional regulators to drive forward compliance with the PPP and ensure that women with epilepsy and bipolar disorder receive the healthcare they require.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many children have been harmed by the use of Valproate in pregnancy since 1973.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been monitoring trends in the prescribing of sodium valproate in women and girls to assess the impact of regulatory restrictions including the introduction of the Pregnancy Prevention Programme (PPP) in April 2018.

Data from the NHS Business Services Authority show that in the second quarter (April-June) of 2020 13,574 women of child-bearing age (14-45 years) were dispensed with a prescription for valproate in England.

The number of pregnancies estimated to have been exposed to valproate in the United Kingdom during 2018 and 2019 were 370 and 190 respectively. These estimates are extrapolated from data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink as national data are not collected. No data are available on the number of children harmed by valproate or the number of diagnoses with Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder since 2018.

The number of children harmed by the use of valproate in pregnancy since 1973 is not precisely known. However, an estimate has been made of in the region of 20,000.

The MHRA is working on developing a valproate registry, the main aims of which would be to monitor the use of valproate in girls and women in the UK and compliance with the current regulatory requirements, and to identify and monitor outcomes in any children born to women on valproate. There has been a gradual decline in prescribing of valproate to women of childbearing age over a number of years but more needs to be done to reduce prescribing to the minimum. The MHRA is working with the National Health Service and professional regulators to drive forward compliance with the PPP and ensure that women with epilepsy and bipolar disorder receive the healthcare they require.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many children have been (a) exposed to Valproate in pregnancy, (b) harmed by Valproate in pregnancy and (c) diagnosed with Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder, since April 2018.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been monitoring trends in the prescribing of sodium valproate in women and girls to assess the impact of regulatory restrictions including the introduction of the Pregnancy Prevention Programme (PPP) in April 2018.

Data from the NHS Business Services Authority show that in the second quarter (April-June) of 2020 13,574 women of child-bearing age (14-45 years) were dispensed with a prescription for valproate in England.

The number of pregnancies estimated to have been exposed to valproate in the United Kingdom during 2018 and 2019 were 370 and 190 respectively. These estimates are extrapolated from data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink as national data are not collected. No data are available on the number of children harmed by valproate or the number of diagnoses with Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder since 2018.

The number of children harmed by the use of valproate in pregnancy since 1973 is not precisely known. However, an estimate has been made of in the region of 20,000.

The MHRA is working on developing a valproate registry, the main aims of which would be to monitor the use of valproate in girls and women in the UK and compliance with the current regulatory requirements, and to identify and monitor outcomes in any children born to women on valproate. There has been a gradual decline in prescribing of valproate to women of childbearing age over a number of years but more needs to be done to reduce prescribing to the minimum. The MHRA is working with the National Health Service and professional regulators to drive forward compliance with the PPP and ensure that women with epilepsy and bipolar disorder receive the healthcare they require.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 August 2020 to Question 71084, whether the independent panel on aerosol generating procedures has (a) been established, and (b) held a meeting.

An Independent High-Risk Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP) Panel has been set up to provide scientific advice to the Chief Medical Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The panel will assess the evidence on AGPs, taking into account the potential route of transmission, and recommend the appropriate classification.

The panel has been meeting fortnightly since the end of July.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women of child bearing potential receive prescriptions for Valproate in England.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been monitoring trends in the prescribing of sodium valproate in women and girls to assess the impact of regulatory restrictions including the introduction of the Pregnancy Prevention Programme (PPP) in April 2018.

Data from the NHS Business Services Authority show that in the second quarter (April-June) of 2020 13,574 women of child-bearing age (14-45 years) were dispensed with a prescription for valproate in England.

The number of pregnancies estimated to have been exposed to valproate in the United Kingdom during 2018 and 2019 were 370 and 190 respectively. These estimates are extrapolated from data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink as national data are not collected. No data are available on the number of children harmed by valproate or the number of diagnoses with Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder since 2018.

The number of children harmed by the use of valproate in pregnancy since 1973 is not precisely known. However, an estimate has been made of in the region of 20,000.

The MHRA is working on developing a valproate registry, the main aims of which would be to monitor the use of valproate in girls and women in the UK and compliance with the current regulatory requirements, and to identify and monitor outcomes in any children born to women on valproate. There has been a gradual decline in prescribing of valproate to women of childbearing age over a number of years but more needs to be done to reduce prescribing to the minimum. The MHRA is working with the National Health Service and professional regulators to drive forward compliance with the PPP and ensure that women with epilepsy and bipolar disorder receive the healthcare they require.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the long term health consequences of covid-19 on the NHS.

The National Health Service and the wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of the COVID-19 virus including symptom severity and duration, long term effects and how best to support recovery.

The National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation have invested £8.4 million in the Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID), led by Christopher Brightling at the University of Leicester. This study is one of the world’s largest comprehensive research studies into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients.

The research currently underway will inform future NHS service design and provision.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of how patient (a) acquisition and (b) outcome of covid-19 infection within a hospital setting differs by (i) occupation, (ii) clinical setting, (iii) ethnicity and (iv) social deprivation.

Public Health England’s (PHE) rapid review ‘Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19’ was published on 2 June 2020 and presented findings based on surveillance data available to PHE and through linkage to broader health data sets.

For this review, PHE matched thousands of laboratory records of COVID-19 cases to other health records to draw down accurate data on ethnicity, age, sex, deprivation, and region. They do not take into account the existence of comorbidities, which are strongly associated with the risk of death from COVID-19 and are likely to explain some of the differences.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of community-acquired cases of covid-19 were from (a) healthcare workers, (b) patients discharged to care facilities and (c) patients discharged home.

Data on community acquired COVID-19 cases are not available in the format requested.

The latest number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases can be viewed at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020