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


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 25th January 2022
Judicial Review and Courts Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 155 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 176 Noes - 316
Speeches
Tuesday 25th January 2022
Downing Street Parties: Police Investigation
On 8 December the Prime Minister told this House “there was no party”. Paragraph 1.3 of the “Ministerial Code” says …
Written Answers
Tuesday 25th January 2022
Ministry of Defence: Freedom of Information
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many requests made under the Freedom of Information Act have been …
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 7th December 2020
8. Miscellaneous
From 26 November 2020, Trustee of Ellesmere Port and Neston Helping Hands, a charity which aims to provide poverty relief …
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 362 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
Edward Argar (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
(135 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(34 debate interactions)
Nadine Dorries (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
(23 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(393 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(20 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(19 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
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 highest Ellesmere Port and Neston signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

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

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

The Government should class in-person interaction with family members and unmarried partners abroad as an essential reason to travel.

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.


Justin Madders has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Justin Madders

Tuesday 9th March 2021
Wednesday 26th February 2020

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)

1039 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
18 Other Department Questions
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 25 October 2021 to Question 57080 on Park Homes: Property Transfer, when he will release the report on the effect of the 10 per cent commission fee on the sale of mobile park homes.

We received the report on 12 January 2022. We are considering its findings and will publish it in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, how many allegations of breaches of coronavirus regulations have been made by staff employed in Downing Street.

I refer the Hon Member to the Terms of Reference to the Cabinet Office investigation, which have been deposited in the Library of the House.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will publish the details of all non-successful bids made to the Community Renewal Fund by lead authorities.

All unsuccessful bids made to the Community Renewal Fund have been published.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what the location is of each Levelling Up Fund application by parliamentary constituency.

On 27 October, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the winners of the first round of the Levelling Up Fund. This will see £1.7 billion of funding allocated to 105 projects. Citizens across the UK can expect to see projects getting underway from early 2022.

305 Levelling Up Fund bids were received on time, of which 105 were successful. Unfortunately, data is not held for bids at constituency level. The attached table provides a breakdown of the 305 Levelling Up Fund bids by local authority area.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when feedback will be made available to hon. Members and local authorities on unsuccessful Levelling Up fund bids.

On Wednesday 27 October, the Chancellor announced the outcome of the first round of the Levelling Up Fund, which will see £1.7 billion invested in 105 local infrastructure projects across the UK. Citizens across the UK can expect to see projects getting underway from early 2022.

Those applicants that were unsuccessful in the first round have been contacted. Unsuccessful applicants, who passed the gateway assessment stage, have been offered a feedback session to discuss their application, expected to take place over the next few weeks.

The second round of bidding for the Levelling Up Fund will be opened in spring 2022 and more information on this will be set out in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will publish all details of meetings between Ministers and officials from his Department and representatives of Summit Resorts and Developments Limited, or its predecessor David Lloyd Developments Limited, since January 2019.

Details of ministerial meetings are published quarterly and can be found on Gov.uk.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Prime Minister, what meetings have taken place between (a) Ministers and/or civil servants and (b) officials from Summit Resorts and Developments Limited (formerly David Lloyd Developments Limited) since 2019.

Formal Ministerial meetings, and Permanent Secretaries' meetings, with external organisations are published each quarter on gov.uk

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many applications have been made to the Levelling Up Fund, by constituency.

The successful list of 477 bids made to the UK Community Renewal Fund were published on Gov.uk on the day of announcement: 3 November 2021


I wrote to all lead authorities who bid into the UK Community Renewal Fund immediately after the announcement, notifying them of the outcome of their bids.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he made (a) oral and (b) written requests to any hon. Members that were expressed as conditions of departmental support for levelling up bids in their constituencies.

No.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what the Government's timetable is for bringing forward legislative proposals changing the Pitch Review Inflationary Index from Retail Price Index to Consumer Price Index.

The Government remains committed to improving protections for park home residents and this includes changing the pitch fee review inflationary index from the Retail Prices Index (RPI) to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what progress the Government has made on its research into the impact of the 10 per cent commission fee on the sale of mobile park homes.

Following an initial scoping study, University of Liverpool were appointed in March this year to undertake the research.

The research team has completed focus group meetings and surveys with residents and site owners and is currently assessing and modelling the data obtained. The final report is expected at the end of the year.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many and what proportion of the Union Jack flags purchased by his Department in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

Four Union Jack flags have been purchased during this time, but the Department does not hold information on where the flags were manufactured.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which companies have supplied Union Jack flags to his Department since 2019.

Since 2019 the Department have purchased flags from Flagmakers, a division of Specialist Canvas Services Ltd; 21st Century Office Concepts Ltd trading as Cupaz; and Harrison Flagpoles.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assumptions he has made for the revenue that will be raised by the social care precept for each of the next five years.

The future of the adult social care precept will be determined as part of the upcoming Spending Review. Decisions on council tax levels are taken annually by local authorities, with reference to the referendum principles set by the Secretary of State.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
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
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Attorney General, if she will list the companies that have supplied Union Jack flags to her Department since 2019.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Government Legal Department (GLD) and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) have not purchased any Union Flags over the last two years.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Attorney General, how many and what proportion of Union Jack flags purchased by her Department in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Government Legal Department (GLD) and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) have not purchased any Union Flags over the last two years.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the publication of the timetable for the covid-19 inquiry.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into COVID-19 will be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022. The Prime Minister has committed to appointing an independent chair by the end of the year.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish all details of meetings between Ministers and officials from his Department and representatives of Summit Resorts and Developments Limited, or its predecessor David Lloyd Developments Limited, since January 2019.

Details of ministerial meetings are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what proportion of the Union Jack flags purchased by the Prime Minister's Office in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

Downing Street flags are supplied by JW Plant and by The Flag Consultancy. I understand these companies manufacture their flags in the United Kingdom.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which companies have supplied Union Jack flags to the Prime Minister's Office since 2019.

Downing Street flags are supplied by JW Plant and by The Flag Consultancy. I understand these companies manufacture their flags in the United Kingdom.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will list the companies that have supplied Union Jack flags to his Department since 2019.

Flags have been supplied to the Cabinet Office by Mitie FM Ltd. and Flagmakers. These flags were manufactured in the UK.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the (a) membership and (b) terms of reference is for the UK commission in Covid Commemoration.

Every death during the pandemic has been a tragic loss, made so much harder for those unable to say goodbye or grieve as they would have wished. It is absolutely right that we come together to mark and remember this period appropriately.

The Prime Minister announced on 12 May that the Government will support these efforts by establishing a UK Commission on Covid Commemoration. The Commission will carefully consider how communities across the country can remember those who have lost their lives and recognise those involved in the response in a fitting and permanent way.

The Government recognises the need for bereaved families to be represented on the Commission and are committed to ensuring this happens. I am grateful to them for all their efforts throughout the pandemic. The Government will set out the Commission membership and terms of reference in due course.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many business in Ellesmere Port and Neston Constituency placed a bid for a public contract in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021; and what proportion of those bids were successful.

This information is not held centrally.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people are employed on zero hour contracts in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group on the launch of the covid-19 inquiry; and how that group will be represented during that inquiry.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed the public inquiry into COVID-19 will begin in Spring 2022. The Government recognises that it must engage and consult with bereaved families and others, before the terms of reference are finalised. The terms of reference will set out the purpose and structure of the Covid-19 inquiry, including the exact areas that will be investigated.

The Government is aware of Bereaved Families for Justice’ call to be represented during the COVID-19 Inquiry. Throughout the pandemic senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

We also recognise the need for bereaved families to be represented on the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration. The Commission will carefully consider how communities across the country can remember those who have lost their lives and recognise those involved in the response in a fitting and permanent way. I want to thank the Bereaved Families for Justice group for all their efforts in representing bereaved families throughout the pandemic.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people are employed on zero hour contracts in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what proportion of the Union Jack flags purchased by the Government were manufactured in the UK in each of the last two years.

Departments are responsible for their own procurement, therefore this information is not held centrally.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will list the companies that have supplied Union Jack flags to the Government since 2019.

Departments are responsible for their own procurement, therefore this information is not held centrally.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on introducing memorials across the UK in remembrance of people who have died from covid-19.

While the Government's immediate focus is on protecting the lives and livelihoods of the nation, there is nonetheless the need to mourn those who have died, and to mark and remember this period as one of immense struggle.

The Prime Minister announced on 12 May that the Government will establish a UK Commission on COVID Commemoration to consider the appropriate way to remember those who have lost their lives and to recognise those involved in the unprecedented response. The Government will set out the Commission membership and terms of reference in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the average waiting time is for a complaint to be assigned to a Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman caseworker in the most recent period for which that information is available; and what that average waiting time was in March 2020.

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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
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 (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans for pre-legislative scrutiny of the Employment Bill.

It is important that any legislative reforms to our employment framework are fully informed by stakeholder engagement and scrutiny. That is why we have consulted in detail in most measures proposed and have carefully considered responses. We also have regular stakeholder engagement across the proposed measures. Due to this scrutiny already applied to these measures, we do not currently propose to undertake pre-legislative scrutiny.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what consultation his Department has conducted with (a) relevant stakeholders and (b) other Government Departments on the forthcoming Employment Bill.

The Government is committed to bringing forward reforms to our employment framework to make the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business. It is important we consult widely on proposals for change and ensure stakeholders have the opportunity to share their views. For example, we have recently concluded a consultation containing proposals to reform flexible working regulations (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/making-flexible-working-the-default) and have published a Government response to a consultation regarding the establishment of a single enforcement body for employment rights (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/good-work-plan-establishing-a-new-single-enforcement-body-for-employment-rights).

We will carefully consider all consultation responses, which will help inform decisions around how we take forward measures. As this is a complex cross-cutting topic, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has regular dialogue with other Government Departments with an interest.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many officials are working on the Employment Bill.

The Government is committed to building a high skilled, high productivity, high wage economy that delivers on our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business. As this is complex and cross-cutting, officials in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have been working closely with officials across other Government Departments on developing measures. For instance, we have recently concluded a consultation containing proposals to reform flexible working regulations (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/making-flexible-working-the-default) and have published a Government response to a consultation regarding the establishment of a single enforcement body for employment rights (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/good-work-plan-establishing-a-new-single-enforcement-body-for-employment-rights).

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress the Government has made on drafting the Employment Bill.

The Government is committed to building a high skilled, high productivity, high wage economy that delivers on our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business. We will bring forward reforms to our employment framework when Parliamentary time allows it. In the meantime, we will continue to take necessary action to support businesses and protect jobs.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 26 April 2018 to Question 137053, the Answer of 20 May 2019 to Question 254256, the Answer of 24 September 2020 to Question 95140 and the Answer of 19 July 2021 to Question 32423 on Parental Leave, when he plans to publish the report of his Department's evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave scheme.

Evaluating Shared Parental Leave and Pay is an important part of the policymaking process.

As part of the evaluation, we commissioned large, representative surveys of parents and employees which asked about a range of parental leave and pay entitlements as well as their experience of Shared Parental Leave specifically. We also consulted on high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay.

We are currently analysing this information and will publish our findings in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to encourage the take up of shared parental leave.

In order to make it easier for parents to access Shared Parental Leave, and easier for employers to administer it, the Government also launched a new online tool last year. This shows how many weeks of leave and pay are available and lets parents map out how weeks will be shared with their partner, supporting conversations with employers.

In addition, the Government is evaluating the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme, which will help us understand what would enable more parents to take up the entitlement. We will publish the findings in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to extend the time limit for employment tribunals.

A claim to an Employment Tribunal must usually be made within three months. For certain claims, redundancy pay or equal pay, the claim must be made within six months. The Employment Tribunals already have the discretion to allow claims submitted out of time, on a case by basis.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the amount of compensation awarded by employment tribunals but not received by employees in each of the last three years.

In England and Wales, individuals can choose to pursue enforcement of their award through applying to their local county court for an enforcement order. After this, enforcement officers will seek to secure payment from the employer. In 2010, a Fast Track scheme was introduced which was designed to speed up and simplify the process of enforcing tribunal awards and ACAS settlements. In Scotland unpaid claimants can ask for an ‘extract of the judgment’ so that a sheriff officer can use this to force the respondent to pay.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy also offers a free service to help incentivise prompt payment. Should an employer fail to pay an award then individuals can apply to ask to have them fined and named publicly. The respondent will get a warning notice giving them 28 days to pay the outstanding award. If this is not done they may be eligible for an additional financial penalty on top of the original award.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish a response to his Department's consultation entitled Making flexible working the default.

The Government’s consultation on making flexible working the default was published on 23 September 2021 and ran for 10 weeks until 1 December 2021, receiving over 1,600 responses. The Government is now analysing these responses and will issue its response to the consultation in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Department's press notice of 9 December 2021 entitled National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme, how many of the employers named have a contract with a Government Department.

All employers need to pay their staff correctly. Paying the minimum wage is not optional, it’s the law. Under the National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme, employers who have previously broken minimum wage law can be publicly named. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy follows a clear and thorough process allowing firms to make representations against being named if they meet our published criteria.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with stakeholders on reducing the qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State meets regularly with a wide range of stakeholders, including trade unions and employers, to discuss various policy matters including questions of employment law.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on changes to the Working Time Regulations.

BEIS Ministers have regular discussions with stakeholders – but no specific recent discussions with stakeholders on changes to Working Time Regulations have been had.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made on the effectiveness of the arrangements on royalties, music copyright and licensing for (a) small musicians and (b) new and upcoming acts.

As set out in its response to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s report on the economics of music streaming, the Government has launched a comprehensive programme of work to ensure the music industry, including grassroots musicians and new and upcoming acts, can continue to thrive in the age of streaming.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish all details of meetings between Ministers and officials from his Department and representatives of Summit Resorts and Developments Limited, or its predecessor David Lloyd Developments Limited, since January 2019.

Departments publish quarterly details of Ministers’ meetings with external organisations on GOV.UK. Details for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

Data for July to September 2021 will be published in due course.

Details of meetings held by officials are not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish the outcome of the consultation on further policy designs for the Clean Heat Grant.

The Government Response for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, previously the Clean Heat Grant, has now been published alongside the Heat and Building Strategy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the feed in tariff in line with the increase in energy costs.

Support under the FIT scheme, which is closed to new entrants, aims to deliver returns of approximately 5-8% for investors in small-scale low-carbon generation. The methodology used to set the tariffs considers the technology costs and electricity generation expectations and not the retail price of electricity. The tariff rates are adjusted annually, in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI). FIT generators also benefit from a reduction in their electricity bills when the electricity is used onsite and import costs are avoided.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Green Home Grant Scheme vouchers have been issued in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency; and what proportion have been redeemed.

Official statistics published on 23rd September for the Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme describe the status of applications prior to 6th September

This includes vouchers issued and measures installed in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency. To be recorded as installed, the customer must have begun the process of redeeming their voucher.

The next statistical release will be published on 18th November.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with stakeholders on the difficulties Green Home Grant Scheme Voucher holders have experienced redeeming their vouchers.

BEIS officials have worked collaboratively with ICF, the scheme administrator, and partners within industry.

This has included regular roundtable and working group meetings with stakeholders chaired by senior officials, and senior official attendance of meetings hosted by installer trade bodies.

Ensuring customers and installers are clear on the information and checks required has been a top priority.

As of 27 September, 36,441 vouchers with a value of £161.9 million have been paid.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the impact of increased energy costs on households in the UK.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State is working closely with Ministers across government on the impact of global gas price rises and that will continue.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of Green Home Grant Scheme vouchers have been redeemed as of August 2021.

Official statistics published on 23rd September for the Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme describe the status of applications prior to 6th September.

Statistics include figures on measures installed and vouchers paid. In order to be recorded as measure installed, the customer must have begun the process of redeeming a voucher. Redemption is complete on payment of the voucher.

The next statistical release will be published on 18th November 2021.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to help ensure that people on pre-payment meters are supported to maintain energy supply in the event of an increase in gas prices.

Protecting the most vulnerable during this period of high gas prices has been our top priority. The Pre-payment Meter Price Cap came into force on 1 April 2017 and currently protects 4 million pre-payment meter households on default tariffs.

In December 2020 Ofgem introduced new licensing conditions, including an Ability to Pay Principle, and an obligation on suppliers to proactively identify self-disconnecting and self-rationing pre-payment meter customers. These new rules require energy suppliers to offer emergency and friendly-hours credit to all pre-payment meter customers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of Union Jack flags purchased by his Department in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

The Department purchased six Union Jack flags in 2020 and one Union Jack flag in 2021. Three of these were for display on a pole and four for table settings.

The flags were purchased from the Hampshire Flag Company, which manufactures at its site in Waterlooville, Hampshire.

All flags purchased in the past two years have therefore been manufactured in the UK.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which companies have supplied Union Jack flags to his Department since 2019.

Since 2019 all Union Jack flags purchased by the Department have been supplied by the Hampshire Flag Company.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department's timetable is for responding to the Clean Heat Grant consultation which concluded on 5 March 2021.

The Government Response to the Clean Heat Grant consultation is expected to be published in autumn this year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the postcodes of the 260 post office branches which were listed as closed as of 30 June 2021.

BEIS does not hold information on specific postcodes of post office branch closures.

A list of open post office branches can be found in the post office network report: https://corporate.postoffice.co.uk/secure-corporate/our-network/post-office-network-reports/#.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency have received income under the feed-in tariff.

There are 953 accredited domestic Feed-in tariff (FIT) installations listed on the Central FIT Register in the Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency. Of those accredited, 927 are currently in receipt of FIT payments and 947 have received FIT payments at some point.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what percentage of households in (a) Cheshire West and Chester (b) England have prepayment meters.

Data on electricity customers on prepayment tariffs are published as part of the Quarterly Energy Prices statistical series (here).

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many mobile park home owners have been investigated by Ofgem for mis-selling or over-charging in their roles as energy resellers.

Ofgem has not investigated any mobile park home owners acting as energy resellers. Mobile park home owners acting as exempt energy resellers are exempt from the requirement to hold a supply licence, but must comply with certain duties set out in the Electricity Act 1989 and Gas Act 1986.

Ofgem are responsible for setting the maximum resale price that applies to energy resellers. The maximum resale price is the most that anyone can charge for reselling gas or electricity. The most recent direction was made in 2014: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/docs/2014/03/mrp_direction.pdf.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the total amount is of funds approved under the (a) Bounce Back Loan scheme and (b) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme for businesses in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency.

The analysis of final Coronavirus loan scheme data was published on July 6, 2021 on the British Business Bank website.[1]

Under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, 1,560,309 loans were delivered in total, to the sum of £47.36 billion.

Under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, 131 loans were offered in the Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency, to the sum of £31,605,525. Under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme in the same constituency, 1461 loans were offered, to the sum of £39,697,177.

In total, 1592 loans were offered across the constituency, to the sum of £71,302,701.

[1] https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/press-release/analysis-of-final-coronavirus-loan-scheme-data-shows-79-3bn-of-loans-to-1-67m-businesses-evenly-distributed-across-whole-of-the-uk/

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2021
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 recommendation from the Climate Change Committee's 2021 Report to Parliament that Ofgem undertake a programme of research with his Department to identify priority candidate areas for hydrogen for the decarbonisation of heat.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 9th July 2021 to Question 25021.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Green Homes Grant applications were (a) received and (b) approved in each month since January 2021 for (i) England and (ii) Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency.

Official statistics published on 24th June for the Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme describe the status of applications prior to 3rd June. This includes applications received and approved across England and the English Parliamentary Constituency, Ellesmere Port and Neston.

The next statistical release will be published on 22 July.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendation from the Climate Change Committee's 2021 Report to Parliament to set requirements for all new gas boilers to be hydrogen-ready by 2025 at the latest, while ensuring that all new boilers outperform current and expected future air quality standards.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 9th July 2021 to Question 25020.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the combined potential effect of (a) UK Emission Trading Scheme costs and (b) industrial energy oncosts on the competitiveness of UK ammonia production.

To mitigate adverse affects on competitiveness and the risk of carbon leakage from UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) costs, ammonia producers receive a significant number of allowances for free. As part of the Free Allocation Review, we will be looking at possible future changes to the allocation of free allowances within the UK ETS. We published a call for evidence on 17 March 2021 which closed on 23 April 2021, and we will publish a response in due course.

The Government recognises that the UK’s industrial electricity costs are currently higher than those in many other countries. This partly reflects how the costs of the electricity system are distributed across household and industrial customers. Nevertheless, we are committed to minimising energy costs for businesses to ensure our economy remains strong and competitive and we have therefore put various schemes in place to reduce the policy cost in electricity prices for those energy intensive industries most at risk of facing a significant competitive disadvantage, including production of ammonia.

Furthermore, the Government has schemes worth nearly £2 billion in operation, or in development, supporting energy intensive industries to decarbonise. These schemes include the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund to help companies reduce their energy costs and transition to low carbon technologies, the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge Fund to support industry with the deployment of low-carbon technologies in industrial clusters, and to improve the resource and energy efficiency of foundation industries.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take in response to the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee's 2021 Progress Report to Parliament, published on 24 June 2021, that his Department should set requirements for new gas boilers to be hydrogen-ready by 2025 while ensuring that new boilers outperform current and expected future air quality standards.

The Government will respond formally to this and the Climate Change Committee’s other recommendations by October 15.

We are supporting the development of prototype ‘hydrogen-ready’ boilers through the Hy4Heat programme.

In advance of strategic decisions on the role of hydrogen for heating, we will assess the case for encouraging, or requiring, new gas boilers to be readily convertible to hydrogen in preparation for any future conversion of the gas network. As set out in the 2020 Energy White Paper, we will consult on the role of ‘hydrogen ready’ appliances later this year.

The Government is exploring the benefits of improving efficiency and raising product standards in heating appliances, including gas boilers. This presents an opportunity to improve energy efficiency in millions of homes, reducing carbon emissions now, while providing householders greater comfort and savings on energy bills. More detail on how we will look to improve the efficiency of energy-using products such as gas boilers will be set out in the Energy-Related Products Policy Framework as announced in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take in response to the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee's 2021 Progress Report to Parliament, published on 24 June 2021, that OFGEM should undertake a programme of research with his Department to identify priority candidate areas for hydrogen for the decarbonisation of heat.

The Government will respond formally to this and the Climate Change Committee’s other recommendations by October 15.

Hydrogen is a potential key option for decarbonising heating, alongside heat pumps and heat networks. The Department is working with OFGEM, industry and others to deliver a range of research, development, testing and trials projects designed to determine the feasibility, costs and benefits of using low carbon hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas for heating, including transitioning all or parts of the gas network.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the scientific evidential basis is for the Government's policy on covid-19 restrictions on weddings.

The roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its working groups on the pace and sequencing of reopening.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with wedding industry representatives on the outcome of the test events in Liverpool; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing the measures used at those test events to permit larger weddings to take place.

Information provided by the Liverpool test events is contributing to the Events Research Programme and helping us draw conclusions on how to bring about the return of larger events, including weddings, after Step 4.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced that, from 21 June, there will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees. The number of guests will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the restart grant scheme for businesses in the wedding industry.

The £5 billion Restart Grant scheme announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3 March 2021 are one-off grants to businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors, to support businesses to reopen as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed.

Strand One of the Restart Grants aims to support non-essential retail with grants of up to £6,000. Stand Two is to support hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses, with grants of up to £18,000. The higher amount is in recognition that these sectors have been allowed to open at a later date and are likely to be more severely impacted by remaining restrictions.

The Department does not hold sector or subsector level data, however we have released a breakdown of Restart Grant funding allocations and payments by Local Authority area which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the covid-19 restrictions on the wedding industry; and what discussions his Department has had with wedding industry representatives on the potential implications for that industry of extending the roadmap out of covid-19 lockdown.

BEIS Ministers and officials meet with representatives of the sector-led UK Weddings Taskforce on a regular basis to discuss the challenges faced by the sector and how best to support it through the pandemic.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing sector specific support for those in the wedding and events industry for the remainder of 2021.

Over the course of the pandemic the Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support to businesses, including those in the wedding industry, which we keep under regular review.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to Answer of 25 May 2021 to Question 2333 on Employment: Coronavirus, how many fixed penalty notices have been issued.

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.

We will publish information on the number of fixed penalty notices which have been issued in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons mental health services were excluded from personal care businesses for the eligibility criteria of the Re-Start Grant.

The Restart Grant scheme aims to support businesses in their local economies to reopen as coronavirus restrictions are eased across the country. Mental health services are out of scope for this scheme as they were not mandated to close during the January Lockdown due to the services they provide being essential to the public.

However, further funding has been made available via the Additional Restrictions Grant to support those businesses that have had their trade adversely affected by the local and national restrictions.

The Additional Restrictions Grant is a discretionary fund and is also administered by Local Authorities to support businesses in the way they see fit. Local Authorities in England have been allocated £2bn in additional funding to provide support that best suits their area.

Businesses should consult their Local Authority to determine whether they might be eligible for Additional Restrictions Grant support.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many fixed penalty notices have been issued to employers for knowingly allowing a person who is required to self-isolate to work other than where they are self-isolating since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

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)
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, of 9 March 2021, Official Report, column 822, if he will publish the ACAS report on the use of fire and rehire practice.

The information gathered by Acas is a valuable source of information for Officials who are now giving this evidence thorough consideration. The Government will communicate its response in due course.

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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
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
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 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
Secretary of State for Education
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
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
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
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
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
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate she has made of the number of demand letters for non-payment of the TV Licence fee that have been sent to people who are over 75 years of age.

More than nine in ten over-75s customers have now made arrangements for a free or paid licence, or updated the BBC on a change in their circumstances. The BBC has provided assurances to the government that its letter writing policy has not changed since the over-75s concession was removed.

The Secretary of State has been clear that the BBC must ensure that it supports those affected by its decision on the over-75s concession and we expect them to do so with the utmost sensitivity.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has had recent discussions with Capita on collecting non-payment of TV Licence fines from people who are over 75.

The Government has not had any recent discussions with Capita on the issue of TV Licencing. Responsibility for collecting and enforcing the Licence Fee is the responsibility of the BBC.

We expect the BBC to ensure that it supports those affected by its decision on the over-75s concession with the utmost sensitivity.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on a potential Great Exhibition project; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State has had no such meetings. For meetings conducted by the previous Secretary of State please see the answer to Written Parliamentary Question 98965.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she plans to reply to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston of 20 September 2021 regarding a constituent's case and the music industry.

A response was issued on 6 December 2021 under the case reference MC2021/17134. We apologise for the delay in responding.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials in her Department have had with PRS for Music on matters relating to the music industry and artists.

DCMS ministers and officials are regularly in contact with a number of stakeholders across the music sector on a range of issues, and this includes PRS for Music.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many and what proportion of Union Jack flags purchased by her Department in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

All of the 67 Union Flags purchased by the Department in the last two years have been manufactured in the UK.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which companies have supplied Union Jack flags to his Department since 2019.

Since 2019 all of the Union flags that have been supplied to the Department have been provided by The Flag Consultancy, a subcontractor of Arcadis, who are contracted to deliver flags and flag services under the current Event Management Services Contract.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the absence of pricing standards and regulation for fixed wireless operators on digital exclusion.

Pricing regulation in the telecoms sector is a matter for Ofcom, the independent regulator. However, most providers of fixed wireless access price their services in line with comparable fixed line services and on a national basis.

In 2019 the Government issued Ofcom with a Statement of Strategic Priorities for telecommunications to which it must have regard when exercising its regulatory functions. This includes tackling harmful industry practices and improving the support available to vulnerable consumers.

In order to tackle digital exclusion we have introduced the Broadband Universal Service Obligation to provide a digital safety net, ensuring a minimum level of service to participate in society and the economy, based on information provided by Ofcom. The USO came into effect on 20 March 2020, providing consumers with a legal right to request a decent broadband service, providing download speeds of at least 10 Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps. Whilst there is still more to do, the evidence suggests this approach is working as Ofcom’s Online Nations 2021 report showed that people are using online services more than ever with the number of UK homes with internet access increasing to about 94%.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment has been made of the cost of fixed wireless internet access in households where fibre broadband is not accessible.

There is now a thriving market of over 80 providers rolling out gigabit broadband all over the UK and 46% of premises currently have access. Furthermore 96% of the UK have access to superfast broadband services, one of the highest in Europe. Some premises in the UK may be served by broadband provided over a wireless network (known as fixed wireless access, or FWA), using either a mobile network or a dedicated network.

The pricing of fixed wireless internet access services is typically defined by most providers on a national basis, and does not vary depending on whether fibre broadband is available or not. Analysis suggests that pricing is comparable with fixed line services. These services are made available by providers where they have coverage and capacity to do so. Consumers can compare fixed wireless access products through various price comparison and other consumer websites, and both MNOs and Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) offer a range of services and prices to suit consumer needs.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the timetable is for the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Football Index to be published.

The Secretary of State has appointed Malcolm Sheehan QC to lead the independent review into the regulation of BetIndex Limited, the operators of Football index. The review is expected to provide a report for publication in the summer. Its findings will form part of the evidence informing the government’s ongoing Review of the Gambling Act 2005, which was announced in December 2020.

9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2021 to Question 21254 on broadband: rural areas, what the contracted investment ratios are for each superfast contract across the country.

The public investment percentages for each superfast contract are set out in the attached table. All elements of public funding not provided by BDUK are classed as Local Body funding, who will in turn have agreements in place with their respective funding partners. The public investment ratios can change through the life of a contract through contract changes or as a result of any underspends.

8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the provision of subtitles on catch up TV platforms.

The government recognises that as part of a digitally inclusive society, television content should be accessible for all UK audiences. The Digital Economy Act 2017 introduced new provisions to the Communications Act 2003 giving the Secretary of State the power to establish new accessibility requirements - including subtitling - for on-demand providers.

Ofcom published further recommendations on 9 July 2021, following a request made by this Government and a public consultation. We will give careful consideration to these and will set out next steps in due course.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the £825 million owed by BT to his Department following rural broadband upgrades has been returned; and how much of that funding has been re-invested to complete rural upgrades.

£825m is BT's current forecast of clawback repayments due over the terms of the respective contracts awarded under the Superfast programme, not a figure that is owed immediately.

Contractually, take-up clawback can be placed in an account held by the supplier for up to the full seven years of the contract's term. An early release of these clawbacks was agreed to be reinvested through the programme of up to £129m for the furtherance of the programme's objectives.

Returned funding beyond this will be apportioned to the public investors in each superfast contract across the country in line with contracted investment ratios and the public investors in turn will need to decide how they wish to utilise this funding.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much has been invested in the delivery of super-fast broadband by constituency for each year since 2015.

DCMS does not hold information on spend on superfast broadband at constituency level. Spend within superfast broadband project areas in England is summarised in the below table:

DCMS Investment in the delivery of Superfast Broadband from financial year 2015/16

Financial year = April to March

Negative amounts represent unused funding returned to DCMS.

County

2015/16 £m

2016/17 £m

2017/18 £m

2018/19 £m

2019/20 £m

2020/21 £m

South Yorkshire

0.85

2.37

1.21

3.21

1.98

-

Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes

0.70

0.08

2.38

1.31

1.13

0.62

Cheshire

1.35

2.29

0.08

-

-

-

Cornwall

-

2.29

0.84

1.40

1.43

-

Cumbria

8.06

4.21

1.60

-

-

-

Derbyshire

6.47

1.58

0.61

-

-

-

Dorset

5.66

-

1.30

0.16

1.84

-

Durham

4.38

1.40

1.28

-

0.33

-

East Riding of Yorkshire

2.17

1.92

2.39

1.60

-

-

East Sussex

5.18

2.00

1.00

-

-

-

Essex

3.01

2.67

2.43

1.20

0.96

0.54

Hampshire

2.22

2.64

4.51

2.05

-

-

Herefordshire & Gloucestershire

9.72

0.06

1.50

0.65

0.73

4.05

Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire

0.22

2.03

2.81

0.30

-

-

Isle of Wight

1.34

(0.93)

(0.01)

-

-

-

Kent

0.62

3.38

1.68

-

-

-

Lancashire

2.10

0.47

2.44

0.93

-

-

West Yorkshire

0.35

1.04

-

-

-

-

Leicestershire

0.42

0.94

3.61

-

-

-

Lincolnshire

5.94

0.68

-

-

-

-

Merseyside

2.70

-

-

-

-

-

Norfolk

2.70

-

3.41

4.40

-

-

North Lincolnshire

0.39

1.10

-

0.40

-

-

Northamptonshire

0.49

3.18

0.13

0.85

0.85

-

Northumberland

4.24

1.58

1.42

-

-

-

Nottinghamshire

3.49

2.63

-

-

0.55

0.17

North Yorkshire

-

-

-

1.14

6.18

-

Oxfordshire

4.12

-

-

-

-

-

Rutland

-

0.18

-

-

-

-

Black Country

2.19

0.71

0.09

-

-

(0.08)

Shropshire

3.01

0.10

2.89

2.03

4.25

0.73

Devon & Somerset

17.97

1.01

-

1.36

1.09

0.42

South Gloucestershire

0.05

0.46

-

0.11

1.58

0.46

Staffordshire

1.43

1.85

0.33

-

-

-

Greater Manchester

0.85

-

-

-

-

-

Suffolk

1.41

-

-

13.85

-

-

Swindon

0.19

0.54

-

0.20

-

-

Telford & Wrekin

0.13

0.28

1.75

-

-

(0.05)

Warwickshire

0.99

2.83

1.12

0.67

1.62

2.27

Berkshire

1.35

0.72

0.57

0.10

0.94

-

West Sussex

2.04

0.92

0.33

-

-

-

West Oxfordshire

-

-

-

-

1.60

-

West Yorkshire

-

1.44

2.08

2.71

0.06

-

Wiltshire

0.05

2.22

0.33

0.07

0.53

0.58

Worcestershire

1.39

2.39

-

0.02

0.87

0.61

Funding for delivery in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was provided through funding transfers to the devolved administration governments. The devolved administrations in turn manage deployment and funding delivery in each of the nations. In the period 2015/16 to 2020/21 the relevant funding transfers were: Scotland £50.99m; Wales £12.11m; Northern Ireland £11.45m.

The total DCMS investment in the Superfast Broadband Programme to date across the UK as whole is £737m from the start of the programme in 2011.

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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

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.

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
Shadow Minister (Education)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many properties in the UK 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%.

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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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 (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the shortage of public service vehicle drivers on the ability of schools to arrange educational trips.

The department has not undertaken any assessment of the potential effect of the shortage of public service vehicle drivers on the ability of schools to arrange educational visits.

The department is aware of the pressure placed on the school travel sector and the wider travel industry as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and has worked directly, and on behalf of the school travel sector, to raise these issues with other government departments, including the Department for Transport.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his timetable is for the publication of guidance to schools on the future of the primary PE and Sport Premium funding.

The department is considering arrangements for the primary PE and sport premium for the 2022/23 academic year and beyond. We are aware of the importance of providing schools with sufficient notice of future funding and will confirm the position as early as possible in the new year.

Similarly, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) are considering arrangements for the School Games Organisers programme and will confirm the position on future funding as soon as possible.

We are also working to deliver on the nearly £30 million announced in October 2021 towards improving and opening school sport facilities in England, as well as to improve the teaching of PE at primary school. We will continue to work closely with DCMS and DHSC to deliver on the aims of the School Sport and Activity Action Plan which we will be updating next year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with stakeholders on long-term funding for physical education and sport in schools.

The department is considering arrangements for the primary PE and sport premium for the 2022/23 academic year and beyond. We are aware of the importance of providing schools with sufficient notice of future funding and will confirm the position as early as possible in the new year.

Similarly, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) are considering arrangements for the School Games Organisers programme and will confirm the position on future funding as soon as possible.

We are also working to deliver on the nearly £30 million announced in October 2021 towards improving and opening school sport facilities in England, as well as to improve the teaching of PE at primary school. We will continue to work closely with DCMS and DHSC to deliver on the aims of the School Sport and Activity Action Plan which we will be updating next year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on extending funding for the School Games Organiser network beyond March 2022.

The department is considering arrangements for the primary PE and sport premium for the 2022/23 academic year and beyond. We are aware of the importance of providing schools with sufficient notice of future funding and will confirm the position as early as possible in the new year.

Similarly, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) are considering arrangements for the School Games Organisers programme and will confirm the position on future funding as soon as possible.

We are also working to deliver on the nearly £30 million announced in October 2021 towards improving and opening school sport facilities in England, as well as to improve the teaching of PE at primary school. We will continue to work closely with DCMS and DHSC to deliver on the aims of the School Sport and Activity Action Plan which we will be updating next year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has been made on the potential impact of covid-19 on access to education for child aged under 12 who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Our priority is to maximise the number of children in face-to-face education or childcare.

The latest evidence suggests that children and young people face a very low risk of serious illness from COVID-19. This includes children previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV).

Children and young people previously considered CEV were advised to return to childcare, nurseries, schools and colleges when shielding paused on 1 April 2021, and on 19 July 2021 people previously identified as CEV, including children and young people, were advised to follow the same guidance as the rest of the population. Schools should continue to support pupils who were formerly considered CEV so that they can attend school, in line with the wider population. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

If a child has been advised to isolate or reduce their social contact by their specialist, due to the nature of their medical condition or treatment, they should continue to follow the advice of their specialist.

The department’s published operational guidance for nurseries, schools and colleges provides details on the testing, ventilation and hygiene measures that all should have in place to manage the transmission of COVID-19 day to day. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-schools-coronavirus-covid-19.

The contingency framework includes the additional measures nurseries, schools and colleges should include in their contingency plans in case they are advised to take extra steps because of a spike in infections: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings.

If parents, carers or pupils are anxious about attendance, they should speak to the education setting about their concerns and discuss the measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk. Nurseries, schools and colleges should continue to conduct risk assessments for their particular circumstances and take appropriate action in line with our guidance.

The department is committed to protecting education, which is why the safety measures are based on the latest scientific advice and strike a balance between managing transmission risk with measures such as regular testing, enhanced ventilation and hygiene and reducing disruption to face-to-face education.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact of delays progressing Education and Health Care Plans on the well-being of children with special educational needs.

The special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice makes clear that local authorities must give their decision in response to any request for an education, health and care needs assessment within a maximum of 6 weeks from when the request was received or the point at which a child or young person was brought to the local authority’s attention. The department is aware of the evidence in recently published reports by Ofsted and the Disabled Children’s Partnership that the COVID-19 outbreak disproportionately affected children with disabilities and had a detrimental effect on the well-being of their families. The department recognises that improvement is needed so that the system works better for children and their families.

Steps that the department are taking to tackle delays include:

  • Providing support and challenge to those local authorities where there are long-standing delays.
  • The department's team of SEND advisers and colleagues in NHS England continuing to work with local areas where delays are identified through the Ofsted and Care Quality Commission inspection programme.
  • For some local authorities, the department commissions specialist support from our delivery partners, such as the Council for Disabled Children.
  • The department delivers training programmes to local authorities, health and social care staff across the country on their statutory assessment duties.

The government’s review of the SEND system is making progress in identifying improvements needed to secure lasting and tangible change, drawing on significant input from a wide range of organisations, children, young people and parents. Proposals for consultation will be published in the first three months of 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take to tackle delays to education and health plans.

The special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice makes clear that local authorities must give their decision in response to any request for an education, health and care needs assessment within a maximum of 6 weeks from when the request was received or the point at which a child or young person was brought to the local authority’s attention. The department is aware of the evidence in recently published reports by Ofsted and the Disabled Children’s Partnership that the COVID-19 outbreak disproportionately affected children with disabilities and had a detrimental effect on the well-being of their families. The department recognises that improvement is needed so that the system works better for children and their families.

Steps that the department are taking to tackle delays include:

  • Providing support and challenge to those local authorities where there are long-standing delays.
  • The department's team of SEND advisers and colleagues in NHS England continuing to work with local areas where delays are identified through the Ofsted and Care Quality Commission inspection programme.
  • For some local authorities, the department commissions specialist support from our delivery partners, such as the Council for Disabled Children.
  • The department delivers training programmes to local authorities, health and social care staff across the country on their statutory assessment duties.

The government’s review of the SEND system is making progress in identifying improvements needed to secure lasting and tangible change, drawing on significant input from a wide range of organisations, children, young people and parents. Proposals for consultation will be published in the first three months of 2022.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on (a) the reach of additional funding for breakfast clubs announced in July 2021 as of 24 November 2021 and (b) improving that reach to more children.

The government is committed to continuing support for school breakfast clubs and we are investing up to £24 million to continue our national programme for the next two years. This funding will support around 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas meaning that thousands of children from low income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to better support their attainment, wellbeing and readiness to learn.

The focus of the programme is to target the most disadvantaged areas of the country, including the department's Opportunity Areas. Schools’ eligibility for the programme is based on the income deprivation affecting children index (IDACI) deprivation scale, a nationally recognised indicator of need, to ensure provision is directed where it is most needed. Schools will be eligible for the programme if they have 50% or more pupils within bands A to F of the IDACI scale.

The enrolment process for schools joining the programme is currently ongoing, and we have seen a strong interest so far from eligible schools since we invited the expressions of interest. Throughout the current contract we will be working with our provider, Family Action, to monitor different aspects of the current programme, including the reach the programme is having in relation to pupil attendance at the breakfast provision in schools. We will consider the best opportunities to share information on the programme as it progresses.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the average amount of time it takes to prepare, draft and implement an education, health and care plan in England.

The department does not hold data on the time it takes to prepare, draft and implement an education, health and care plan in England. The department does collect data on how many plans are issued within the statutory 20 week time limit. For 2020, this was 58.0%. The data for 2020 and previous years is published here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/ce41e6bd-60a7-40b9-938e-8ae46c5e32b4.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of Union Jack flags purchased by his Department in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

Two Union Jack flags have been purchased by the department this year, through our facilities management provider OCS Group UK. The two flags were purchased from the company House of Flags, whose factory is located in Kimbolton, Huntingdon.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which companies have supplied Union Jack flags to his Department since 2019.

Two Union Jack flags have been purchased by the department this year, through our facilities management provider OCS Group UK. The two flags were purchased from the company House of Flags, whose factory is located in Kimbolton, Huntingdon.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many Educational, Health Care Plans have been sought in each month of (a) 2021, (b) 2020 and (c) 2019.

Monthly data on the number of Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) assessments is not available, but annual data is published at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

The number of initial requests made for assessment for an EHCP in 2019 was 82,329 and 75,951 in 2020.

The department does not yet hold information on the number of EHCPs requested in 2021. This will be published in May 2022 at the link above.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 26 July 2021 to Question 35600 on Special Educational Needs, what funding and support is being provided to local authorities unable to meet their statutory duties in respect of Education, Health, Care plans.

The department funds a range of support to help local authorities meet their statutory duties including the opportunity to work with expert special education needs and disability (SEND) advisers, and/or the provision of specialist support from our delivery partners or facilitate peer to peer support. Depending on the underlying issues that a local authority faces, we may also draw in support from NHS England advisers. Additionally, we also fund and provide sector led, peer to peer, or regional support to address issues common in specific areas or regions.

This year councils have access to £51.2 billion to deliver their core services, including children's services. The government has also provided an additional £6 billion of funding directly to councils to support them with the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including children's services.

Furthermore, high needs funding will increase by £780 million, or 9.6%, in financial year 2022-23, following an increase of more than £1.5 billion over the previous two years. This will bring the total high needs budget to £8.9 billion, an increase of over a third since financial year 2019-20.

We will continue to work with other government departments, including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, to ensure the upcoming spending review reflects the needs of children’s services.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 26 July 2021 to Question 35600 on Special Educational Needs, what data set is referred to in that Answer.

We collect and publish data annually on children and young people with an education, health and care plan in England, which is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of childcare hours funded by the Government are used in (a) England and (b) Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency.

Government funding of early education is based on actual take-up. The number and percentage of disadvantaged 2-year-olds and all 3 and 4-year-old children registered to received funded early education in January 2021 in Cheshire West and Chester local authority and England is published in the National Statistics release ‘Education Provision: Children under 5 years of age’, which can be accessed here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-provision-children-under-5/2021. This information is also attached. Figures by parliamentary constituency are not available, therefore data has been provided for Cheshire West and Chester local authority, in which Ellesmere Port and Neston parliamentary constituency is located.

All children aged 3 and 4-years-old, and eligible disadvantaged 2-year-olds, are entitled to 15 hours per week of funded early education for 38 weeks of the year. Eligible working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds are entitled to an additional 15 weekly hours of extended funded early education for 38 weeks of the year. It is estimated that almost 3 in 4 eligible children took up some extended hours in January 2021. It is not possible to calculate this estimate at local authority level, therefore the percentage take-up is not included in the attached table.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what comparative assessment he has made of (a) availability of pre-school places and (b) demand for those places.

Local authorities are responsible for stewardship of local childcare markets. The department continues to work in close partnership with local authorities to monitor sufficiency of provision for children and parents. We have not seen a significant number of parents unable to secure a childcare place, this term or since early year settings re-opened fully on 1 June 2020. Where parents have been unable to temporarily secure a childcare place, for example due to their usual setting being temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this has been able to be quickly resolved locally. Local authorities are not reporting any significant sufficiency issues.

Our official data collection has monitored attendance in early years settings throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, and can be accessed here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. Additionally, Ipsos MORI conducted wave 8 of our parent poll, ‘Childcare use, perceived impact on child development, and information on working from home for families of 0-4 year-olds during COVID-19’ in March 2021, with a representative sample of 1,000 parents of children aged 0-4 in England. The data has been weighted to match the population profile of parents of children aged 0-4 in England by region, social grade and the age of the selected child. Key points from the findings include:

  • Most parents (86%) who used formal childcare before the COVID-19 outbreak and are currently using it say that their child is spending about the same number of hours or more in formal childcare as they did before.
  • More than half (53%) of parents report their child is currently using formal childcare, this increases to 88% when looking at just those children who were receiving formal childcare before the COVID-19 outbreak. Households in the least deprived areas were more likely to be using formal childcare.
  • Only 4% of parents who are not currently using formal childcare would like to use it but cannot find a suitable provider.
  • Nearly two thirds of parents of 0–4-year-olds currently using childcare (64%) agree that the hours their child(ren) can access formal or informal childcare/school fits with the working hours of the adults in the household.

The report can be accessed via this link: https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/childcare-use-perceived-impact-child-development-and-information-working-home-families-0-4-year.

Wave 9 of the parent poll, which covers similar territory, was conducted by Ipsos MORI in July 2021. The government intends to publish this evidence as soon as possible. The government continues to work in partnership with local authorities and stakeholders to monitor sufficiency of early education and childcare provision for parents and children.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of pre-schools in England have closed since March 2020.

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's policy is on how school complaints relating to racism are (a) identified and (b) recorded.

Previous departmental guidance on Recording and Reporting Racist Incidents, published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, encouraged state-funded schools to record, monitor, and report all racist incidents to their responsible body, informing local authorities at least annually of the pattern and frequency of any incidents. This changed with the introduction of the Equality Act 2010. Under section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010 (the Public Sector Equality Duty), state-funded schools must, in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Act; advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

Under regulation 4 of the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017, state-funded schools must publish information annually to demonstrate their compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty. Identifying and reporting incidents of prejudice-related behaviour can help responsible bodies to identify any actions required to eliminate discrimination, evaluate whether actions taken are effective and demonstrate compliance with the Equality Act 2010.

Academies also have their own procedures by which they record complaints. The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, Part 7, section 25, paragraph j – ‘provides for a written record to be kept of all complaints’.

Complaints about racism in a school should first be made to the school itself. The Department may then be asked to consider them and does so on an individual basis, depending on the nature of the complaint and whether it falls within the scope of the Secretary of State’s powers of intervention. These are set out under sections 496/7 of the Education Act 1996 for maintained schools and the funding agreements in place for academy and free schools.

The Department does not use a separate category to identify school complaints relating to racism. Depending on the level of detail provided by the complainant, some complaint handling teams may record that the nature of the complaint is linked to racism under a broader subject heading of behaviour (for incidents involving pupils), governance (if a school’s policy or governance is deficient under the Equality Act 2010) or staff conduct (if an employee is accused of inappropriate conduct).

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many complaints relating to schools have been lodged from July 2020 to April 2021.

Between 1 July 2020 and 30 April 2021, the Department received approximately 3,039 written complaints about schools. This total is made up of 1,714 complaints related to local authority maintained schools, 1,093 related to academies and free schools, and 232 related to independent schools.

The Department’s National Helpline received 2,882 calls relating to complaints about schools between 25 August 2020, when the Department introduced new call handling software, and 30 April 2021. We no longer hold the data that predates 25 August 2020. There were 2,215 related to local authority maintained schools, 566 about academy and free schools, and 101 related to independent schools.

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 (Department for Education) (Higher and Further 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.

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.

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.

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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the benefits to pupils with hearing impairments of clear face coverings being used in educational settings during the covid-19 outbreak.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

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.

6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 25 October 2021 to Question 57091 on Dogs: Artificial Insemination, what his planned timetable is his Department to consider the recommendations on future veterinary legislation submitted by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

As I stated in my previous answer, Defra officials are currently considering the recommendations submitted by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons concerning the reform of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966. Any possible subsequent legislation would be when parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Environment Agency's Sludge Strategy in regulating the use of sewage sludge by farmers.

The Environment Agency published its sludge strategy in March 2020 and is currently working on the delivery of this strategy with the water industry, Defra and other key stakeholders - including the National Farmers’ Union. The strategy’s implementation is due to be completed in 2023. Current work includes preparation for a public consultation to effect the changes laid out in the strategy, including an assessment of the strategy’s approach.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have had with relevant stakeholders on the concerns raised by Greenpeace on the Environment Agency's Sludge Strategy.

The Greenpeace article published on 4 February 2020 was associated with a consultant's report produced as part of an Environment Agency Materials-to-Land project. The Environment Agency takes its responsibility to protect the environment very seriously, which is why it commissioned this report to inform its upcoming sludge strategy and make sure regulations are based on the latest scientific data.

On 17 March 2020 the Environment Agency completed and published its Strategy for safe and sustainable sludge use on gov.uk. Section 9.5 of the strategy lays out aims associated with hazards including chemicals and micro-plastics. An update was then published on 15 July 2020 to reflect adjustments to our delivery timeline due caused by having to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current timeline is to implement the strategy in 2023. The Environment Agency is currently working with the water industry, Defra and other key stakeholders on the preparation for a public consultation to effect the changes laid out in the published strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish a (a) list of the companies his Department has engaged in the delivery and operation of inland border control posts and (b) a timetable for any contracts awarded for that purpose.

Defra has engaged Mott MacDonald under contract to provide Design Assurance services to support the delivery of the Sevington Border Control Post (BCP) and the Dover Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) BCP. Their contract in support of Sevington BCP currently runs until 31 January 2022 and their work in relation to Dover SPS BCP until 4 February 2022. The Department is also in the process of engaging other companies to support the delivery and operation of its three inland border control posts.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many people carrying out the artificial insemination of canines have been found by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to not be suitably competent to carry out the procedure, in the latest period for which data is available.

Anyone performing artificial insemination of canines and not considered competent would be operating outside of the regulatory framework. As a result, Defra or the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons do not hold information on instances of people who are not suitably competent carrying out this activity.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many and what proportion of Union Jack flags purchased by his Department in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has purchased one Union Jack flag since 2019. This flag was made in the UK.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which companies have supplied Union Jack flags to his Department since 2019.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has purchased one Union Jack flag since 2019. This flag was made in the UK.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the cost of fly-tipping to local authorities.

Research conducted by Eunomia on behalf of Defra estimated the total costs of fly-tipping for all UK authorities to be £103 million per annum. However, the report notes that better information on incident type, size, composition and clean-up cost would be necessary to provide more certainty around this 'very indicative, initial estimate'. This report can be found at: WRAP-eunomia-financial-cost-of-packaging-litter-phase-2-2021

Until 2016/17 Defra estimated the cost of clearing fly-tipping to local authorities in England each year as part of Defra published statistics. The estimated cost in 2016/17 was £57.7 million. These cost estimates are no longer produced but figures for previous years can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fly-tipping-in-england

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which companies are involved with delivering Border Control Points for plant inspections.

High-priority plants and plant products imported from the EU, and all regulated plant and plant products from the rest of the world, are currently inspected at destination by plant health inspectors from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Inspections of all regulated plants and plant products with be conducted at designated border control posts (BCPs) from 1st July 2022 by APHA inspectors. BCPs are being established by commercial ports and by Government at the Short Straits. We do not hold details on which companies are employed by the commercial ports.

DfT is responsible for the construction of the Sevington Border Control Post which will accommodate inspections of plants, plant products, products of animal origin (POAO) arriving through Eurotunnel, and large animals and livestock and Defra is leasing a second facility in the Dover area for POAO.

Defra is engaging contractors and other companies to support the delivery and operation of the inland Border Control Posts and contracts will be awarded once the process is concluded.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking at border control posts to ensure that plant inspection charges are fair and reasonable.

It has long been UK Government policy to charge for many publicly provided goods and services. The standard approach is to set fees to recover the full costs of service delivery. This relieves the general taxpayer of costs, so that they are properly borne by users who benefit from a service. This allows for a more equitable distribution of public resources and enables lower public expenditure and borrowing. Defra plant health services operate in line with that principle and have done for many years. Plant health fees are reviewed regularly and adjusted to ensure no under, or over, recovery of costs and amended as necessary.

Additionally, to reduce the burden on businesses, Defra took the decision to delay the introduction of inspection fees for imports of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products from the EU until 1 June 2021 in England and Wales. In arriving at the decision to delay the introduction of plant health import inspection fees for these goods, officials have had to balance the need to support affected businesses, against legal considerations and the rules around managing public money. Delaying these fees until 1 June 2021 struck the right balance between these competing demands.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what economic impact assessment he has carried out on the impact of plant inspection charges on garden centres.

It has long been UK Government policy to charge for many publicly provided goods and services. The standard approach is to set fees to recover the full costs of service delivery. This relieves the general taxpayer of costs, so that they are properly borne by users who benefit from a service. This allows for a more equitable distribution of public resources and enables lower public expenditure and borrowing. Defra plant health services operate in line with that principle and have done for many years.

No assessment on the impact of plant inspection charges on garden centres has been carried out.

Legislation relating to fees does not fall within the bounds of the Business Impact Target and so does not require the development of impact assessments.

Additionally, The Plant Health etc. (Fees) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, which extended the existing plant health charging regime to imports from and exports to the EU, was covered by a statutory exclusion under the Small Business Enterprise and Employment (SBEE) Act, because the instrument was varying an existing charge levied by a public body (the Animal and Plant Health Agency). The actual cost to businesses will vary depending on how they organise their imports and the type of material being imported.

However, Defra has engaged extensively with industry and, to reduce the burden on businesses, Defra took the decision to delay the introduction of inspection fees for imports of ‘high priority’ plants and plant products from the EU until 1 June 2021 in England and Wales. In arriving at the decision to delay the introduction of plant health import inspection fees for these goods, Defra has had to balance the need to support affected businesses against legal considerations and the rules around managing public money. Delaying these fees until 1 June 2021 struck the right balance between these competing demands.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of air quality in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency.

Under the Local Air Quality Management Framework local authorities are required to review and assess air quality in their area. If their assessment shows that local pollution levels exceed, or are likely to exceed, local air quality objectives they must declare an Air Quality Management Area and develop an Air Quality Action Plan with the aim of reducing air pollution to within statutory limits.

Defra’s Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution. The Government has awarded over £70 million in funding since the air quality grant started in 1997. Cheshire West and Chester Council were awarded £44,000 from the 2018 Air Quality Grant Scheme for local research on domestic burning stoves and health impacts.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish his response to the consultation on the Introduction of a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland which closed on 24 March 2021.

The Government remains committed to introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers. We are currently analysing responses to the recent consultation and will set out next steps in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his timetable is for announcing a final decision on Natural England’s proposals for the English coastal path from Birkenhead to the Welsh border.

The Birkenhead to Welsh Border stretch of the England Coast Path has been split into three lengths. Length 1 (Seacombe Ferry Terminal, Birkenhead to Red Rocks Slipway, Hoylake) and length 3 (‘The Boat House’ Public House, Parkgate to the Welsh border) were approved by the Secretary of State on the 7th July and establishment works can now begin.

Length 2 (Red Rocks Slipway, Hoylake to ‘The Boat House’ Public House, Parkgate) has not yet been determined as a Planning Inspectorate investigation into objections received on the length is ongoing. On completion of this by the Appointed Person, a report will be submitted to the department for consideration in the Secretary of State’s determination decision.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on the timeframe for the continuation of discounts to UK REACH applicable fees for small and medium-sized enterprises.

On 1 January 2021, legislation to bring REACH into UK law came into force. The regulation on REACH fees and charges was retained, along with the fee reductions for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Under UK REACH SMEs will continue to receive these discounts for all applicable fees, which will reduce fees by up to 90% in some cases.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of issuing financial penalties against companies who have to recall food items due to not disclosing allergens.

The Food Information Regulations 2014 already provide for criminal sanctions including fines in respect of non-disclosure or incorrect information around the presence of allergens in food. While some cases of undisclosed allergenic ingredients will be detected by enforcement officials, it is often the company themselves who detect and notify authorities of an issue while simultaneously withdrawing the affected food from the market. Imposing a penalty on the basis of the product withdrawal and recalls rather than the dangerous non-disclosure of allergenic ingredients would potentially hamper the current high levels of transparency on this issue. This in turn could lead to an increased risk to consumers and their safety should the threat of penalties deter notification of non-compliances to authorities and subsequent communication of the risk to consumers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government's written commitments to the Real Bread Campaign to review the Bread and Flour Regulations in November 2018, what progress the Government has made to ensure that there will be a public consultation on that matter; and if he will publish the timetable for the commencement of that consultation.

Defra committed to reviewing the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998, as they apply in England, following the end of the transition period. The planned review is being scoped now but it will focus on ensuring alignment with retained laws in other overlapping areas, as well as considering requests from industry for additional measures and exemptions. The review will also need to consider any DHSC decisions around folic acid. As part of the review, we will hold a public consultation on policy options. We very much welcome views from key stakeholders such as the Real Bread Campaign to feed into this. Many of the issues raised by stakeholders to date are technically complex and we expect this review will need sufficient time to consider responses and agree the best way forward.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish details of the charge for inspections in respect of EU imported plants after the transition period.

Inspection fees for imports of regulated plants and plant products from the EU will not apply until 1 April 2021 in England and Wales. This will give businesses time to adjust to the new fee arrangements and factor it into financial planning for next year. A full list of regulated plants and plant products can be found on GOV.UK.

The fees for import checks on such goods from the EU will be proportionate to the frequency of checks applicable to each commodity. These fees have been published on the Plant Health Portal and have been communicated to stakeholders directly.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (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
Minister of State (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 (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many and what proportion of Union Jack flags purchased by her Department in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

There were 14 Union Jack flags purchased in the last two years for use by the Department, all of which were manufactured in the United Kingdom.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, which companies have supplied Union Jack flags to her Department since 2019.

Union Jack flags flown by the Department’s buildings were supplied by:

  • Flag Consultancy
  • House of Flags

The Department’s ceremonial Union Jack flags were supplied by;

  • JW Plant – The Flag Company
Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
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.

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.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of omicron covid-19 variant on the travel sector; and whether he has had discussions with (a) officials in his Department and (b) Cabinet colleagues on sector specific economic support measures.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the international travel sectors due to COVID-19. Additional temporary testing measures introduced in response to the Omicron variant have helped prevent additional cases of Omicron from entering the UK. Government recognises the impact these temporary health measures have had on the travel and aviation industry, and they were updated on 5 January.

Since the start of the pandemic, we estimate that the air transport sector (airlines, airport and related services) will have benefitted from around £8bn of government support.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on levels of road safety of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

The Department for Transport does not anticipate any effects on road safety in the UK as a result of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has had discussions with EU officials on sharing vehicle keepers' details for the purpose of enforcing driving fines.

Officials of the Department for Transport have had no such discussions on this issue with officials of the EU since the UK fully left the EU.

While the UK was a member of the EU, the UK electronically provided vehicle keeper data to EU Member States who enquired about vehicles who committed certain traffic offences. This was facilitated under the EU Cross-Border Enforcement Directive (CBE). The UK only used the outbound mechanism of CBE, meaning that we responded to enquiries from Member States, but we never sought to obtain the equivalent information from them about their nationals driving in the UK. Since leaving the EU, the UK is no longer obliged to provide vehicle keeper data to requesting EU Member States through this mechanism.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with industry experts and stakeholders on the potential merits of telematic technology being regulated and independently verified.

No discussions have taken place on the possibility of telematic technology being regulated and independently verified. Vehicles are not required by law to be fitted with a telematic technology.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has been made on the reliability of Telematic technology used in black boxes.

The Government has not made an assessment of the reliability of telematic technology used in black boxes.

Vehicles are not required by law to be fitted with a black box telematic device. The reliability of such equipment for insurance purposes is a matter for the policy provider.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with stakeholders on the potential merits of extending the bus recovery scheme beyond the current financial year due to the shortage of PSV drivers.

The Government is closely monitoring the shortage of PSV drivers, and is committed to working with the bus sector to encourage new entrants to the bus driving profession.

Through the Coronavirus Bus Service Support Grant (CBSSG), over £1.5 billion in emergency support was provided to the sector. Additionally, £226.5 million in recovery funding will be made available through the Bus Recovery Grant (BRG). The Government remains in discussion with stakeholders to ensure funding challenges in the sector are addressed.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials have had with local authorities to assess the impact of the shortage of PSV drivers on school (i) transport and (ii) budgets in England in the last year.

The Department for Transport has engaged with multiple Local Authorities on this issue, primarily through engagement with the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) and, the Urban Transport Group (UTG).

Our colleagues in DfE are also speaking regularly to their contacts in local authority school transport teams about this issue.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with EU officials on the potential impact of the 90 in 180 day rule on UK citizens working in the EU.

Visa and work permit arrangements for the purpose of undertaking paid work is a matter for individual EU Member States. Since these rules are set by individual Member States,  it is not a matter that the Department has discussed recently with EU officials.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the experience following the UK's departure from the EU of light haulage and express couriers who operate across the EU.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) allows EU hauliers to continue to operate to, from, through and within the UK without the need for permits. The TCA ensures that the vast majority of journeys will continue as they did before the end of the transition period.

The implementation of changes contained in the TCA, which will be introduced during 2022, will include some changes for the light haulage sector in the scope of shared rules for international transport related to operator licensing. This has been discussed cross-departmentally.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of covid-19 guidance applying to cruise ships in response to the reported MSC Virtuosa covid-19 outbreak.

As part of the Department’s ongoing monitoring of cruise restart, we were notified through both industry reporting and Test and Trace that a number of crew and passengers tested positive for COVID-19 during and after domestic sailings on the MSC Virtuosa last month.

Cases on board were managed in line with industry protocols, in coordination with Public Health England and port health authorities. My officials have spoken with MSC and are content with the implementation of the protocols.

The evidence from cruises continues to strongly demonstrate that cruises can operate safely and respond to any outbreaks effectively.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many covid-19 cases have been linked to the outbreak of covid-19 on MSC Virtuosa.

As part of the Department’s ongoing monitoring of cruise restart, we were notified through both industry reporting and Test and Trace that a number of crew and passengers tested positive for COVID-19 during and after domestic sailings on the MSC Virtuosa last month.

Cases on board were managed in line with industry protocols, in coordination with Public Health England and port health authorities. My officials have spoken with MSC and are content with the implementation of the protocols.

The evidence from cruises continues to strongly demonstrate that cruises can operate safely and respond to any outbreaks effectively.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of Union Jack flags purchased by his Department in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

During the last two financial years the Department for Transport purchased 6 Union flags. The flags were purchased from a supplier (Flags and Flag Poles) based in the UK. Information is not recorded on the country of manufacture.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which companies have supplied Union Jack flags to his Department since 2019.

During the last two financial years the Department for Transport purchased 6 Union flags. The flags were purchased from a supplier (Flags and Flag Poles) based in the UK. Information is not recorded on the country of manufacture.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to announce the winners of the Green Fuels, Green Skies competition.

An announcement on shortlisted winners of the Green Fuels, Green Skies (GFGS) competition was made on 23 July and is currently available on the competition’s webpage. Eight projects were shortlisted for a share of an overall sum of £15m to support the early-stage development of UK sustainable aviation fuel plants.

Final announcements on GFGS winners will be released when the grant offer process has completed with all projects. We hope to be able to make a full announcement shortly.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 16 July to Question 29812, what the planned timetable is for the successful Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund bid to be announced.

We are assessing the bids and currently expect to announce the outcomes later this year.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with commercial airline companies on the impact of the UK leaving the EU on employment opportunities for UK registered pilots.

The Secretary of State regularly meets with airlines (and other stakeholders in the sector) and listens to issues raised.

The Department also regularly engages with industry to discuss concerns and update industry about developments, for example through the Aviation Safety Industry Engagement Forum.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the retention and recruitment of commercial pilots in the UK.

The most recent data from the Annual Population Survey – Employment, provided by the Office of National Statistics, shows that the number of aircraft pilots and flight engineers employed reduced from 26,100 in 2019 to 24,000 in 2020. This latter figure includes pilots who may have been furloughed by their employers and experienced support under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Skills retention and skills fade for highly trained jobs needs to be a key element of the sector’s recovery plan. To support this, we introduced the Aviation Skills Retention Platform (ASRP) in February 2021 to support the retention of skills within the sector, including for pilots, by offering increased visibility of opportunities across the sector. We are also looking to better understand employment trends through vacancy data submitted to the ASRP by employers.

The Department is also 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 at risk of redundancy to stay in employment or move between sectors.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what economic assessment he has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the travel sector in the UK.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement allows the vast majority of journeys between the UK and the EU to continue as they did before the end of the transition period, giving people the freedom to travel to and from the EU for work, holidays and to visit loved ones, Covid-19 restrictions allowing.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many plug-in car grants have been approved by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles for households in (a) England and (b) Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency.

The Department holds data on plug-in car grants but this database does not provide the geographic breakdown required. By the end of 2020, the total number of plug-in car grant eligible models registered for the first time was as follows:

England 274,222
Ellesmere Port and Neston 193

Not all of these would necessarily have received a grant.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many applications for the plug-in car and plug-in taxi grants have been received in each month since the start of those schemes; and how many of those applications have been approved.

The Plug in Car Grant has supported over 350,000 vehicle applications since it was launched in December 2010. The following tables list the number of vehicles that have been approved. The Plug in Car Grant eligibility criteria and the amount of the grant has changed over time and the impact of those changes is reflected in uptake figures. Key changes are listed below:

  • In March 2016, minimum electric range and CO2 emission requirements were introduced and the grant rate for plug in hybrids reduced to significantly below rates for zero emission cars.
  • In October 2018, a further change was made to raise the minimum electric range to 70 miles to focus the grant on the cleanest vehicles. This excluded all available plug-in hybrids from eligibility for the grant.
  • In March 2020, the Department announced changes to the Plug in Car Grant rate and introduced a £35,000 price cap on grant eligibility, to focus the grant on where it is most likely to have an impact.

There are several reasons why orders placed may not eventually be approved. The main reason is order cancellations. Order numbers since April 2021 have not been included as they are commercially sensitive for Government until the financial year has been completed.

It is important to note that orders are allowed 9 or 12 months to complete – the point at which the car is registered and delivered to the customer and the grant subsequently paid. For this reason the number of approved car placed in the November to March 2021 period is likely to increase.

Cars - All Orders

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2010

16

2011

22

84

367

96

58

115

45

59

49

30

32

57

2012

80

101

248

124

201

125

337

218

169

352

232

146

2013

111

185

342

185

440

325

384

330

436

273

335

470

2014

690

496

940

514

778

1391

1372

1177

2485

2094

1968

2115

2015

1927

2695

4223

1746

2790

2835

2535

1775

2963

2427

2416

4174

2016

6314

12555

1693

1490

1328

1841

1590

2743

3383

1707

2405

2647

2017

3353

3884

5608

2899

3908

4542

4007

4175

5895

4056

4787

4170

2018

4388

5038

6469

3587

3890

4129

3897

4526

5365

14388

1232

1464

2019

1344

1395

2912

2083

2548

4538

5719

5091

5776

4832

4514

6757

2020

8238

11825

35912

1083

1168

4555

5822

6318

13646

8637

7500

13465

2021

6927

9932

17908

Cars - Approved

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2010

16

2011

21

72

297

81

56

83

44

55

47

28

25

57

2012

72

88

213

82

187

72

300

204

158

340

218

145

2013

103

178

333

177

435

305

354

317

412

264

328

432

2014

623

450

856

470

732

1325

1312

1104

2385

1994

1887

2011

2015

1833

2620

4096

1629

2582

2584

2257

1638

2809

2242

2244

3744

2016

5053

9553

1506

1248

1111

1519

1279

2541

3100

1569

2232

2486

2017

3103

3537

5240

2577

3507

4050

3486

3581

5223

3459

4195

3527

2018

3836

4414

5840

3082

3431

3724

3482

4096

4890

10661

1011

1204

2019

1142

1160

2532

1461

2075

3788

4685

4376

5067

4063

3569

5369

2020

6801

9063

22720

797

963

3911

5004

5553

11920

7691

6624

11683

2021

5535

8147

13286

The Plug-in Taxi Grant was introduced in January 2018 and the numbers of vehicles which have received funding from the scheme are as follows.

Taxis - All Orders

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2018

82

134

46

42

75

125

117

125

98

220

190

159

2019

107

96

252

157

193

183

204

204

234

301

204

145

2020

197

279

119

4

5

49

71

78

166

65

58

42

2021

11

28

125

Taxis - Approved

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2018

60

87

40

35

65

102

102

115

85

199

160

149

2019

83

93

238

146

190

162

195

189

220

260

197

141

2020

190

212

48

3

5

43

65

75

160

60

56

36

2021

11

23

111

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential link between the number of unmanned train stations in the UK and the 283 suicides that occurred on mainline rail in 2019-20.

British Transport Police regularly analyse suicide patterns. The causes of these tragic events are complex and the most significant risk factors relate to mental health. My officials and I work with industry, the British Transport Police and charities to ensure that vulnerable people can be identified and provided the support they need. Staffing and staff training plays a key role in our response, and industry colleagues make approximately 2,000 lifesaving interventions each year which means six lives are saved for everyone lost.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of (a) Network Rail and (b) other rail operators on the increase in (i) suicides, (ii) attempted suicides and (iii) injuries on mainline rail from 2017 to 2020.

The Secretary of State regularly engages with Network Rail, Transport for London and train operators to discuss fatalities on the rail network. The number of suicides each year is relatively static averaging about 300 per year. We support the extensive work taking place within the rail industry to both prevent, and attempt to drive a reduction in incidents.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with local transport providers on regulations to make face coverings mandatory on public transport in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

The success of the vaccination rollout has paved the way for the gradual lifting of restrictions. Since 19 July, many of the legal restrictions that the Government has imposed through the pandemic have been lifted, including the requirement to wear face coverings on public transport. However, cautious guidance will remain. The Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas. This includes public transport but also other settings which are busy. By practising key behaviours, people can continue to protect themselves and others. Employees and customers who wish to wear a face covering should be supported to do so. If transport operators wish to set their own policy on face coverings, that is a matter for them to consider, as long as they meet existing legal obligations including under equalities law.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 30 June 2021 to Question 21251 on driving licences, what steps are being taken to reduce the turnaround times for each of those licence types.

To improve the length of time taken to process medical licensing applications, the DVLA has recruited additional staff. This includes increasing the number of in-house doctors it employs and temporary administrative staff. Nurse caseworkers are being utilised to deal with specific conditions. The DVLA is also working with the relevant bodies to explore ways of reducing the time taken to receive the information needed to make licensing decisions.

The DVLA has also recently trialed a simplified renewal process for some medical conditions. This has significantly reduced the turnaround times for some drivers.

Where possible the DVLA will refer specific medical conditions to its in-house doctors in the first instance, to make a licensing decision using the information held.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps he has taken to review rail transport options in (a) Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency, (b) Cheshire West and Chester and (c) the North of England.

The Department is looking at a range of measures to improve rail across the North of England including services between Cheshire and Manchester, which were part of the consultation on Manchester timetable changes held earlier this year. In a separate review, the Department is also asking the public for views on services along the East Coast Mainline. Neston station is expected to benefit from a more frequent service on the Wrexham – Bidston line in the coming year.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many train stations per resident there are in (a) Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency and (b) England.

Stations per parliamentary constituency are published by the Office for Rail and Road (ORR):

Estimates of station usage | ORR Data Portal

Estimates of population per parliamentary constituency are published on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) population estimates website:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/parliamentaryconstituencymidyearpopulationestimates

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase rail transport infrastructure in Ledsham Garden Village.

I understand that the Hon Member has sponsored a bid to the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund for the Ledsham Railway Renewal scheme to build a new station at Ledsham to serve the upcoming Ledsham Garden Village development. We expect to announce the outcomes in the summer.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the feedback analysis of the consultation on timetable options to improve rail performance in the North of England.

The Department continues to talk and work with transport leaders across the North to shape a timetable that delivers trains passengers can rely upon.

Once there is agreement, the Department will publish an analysis of the consultation responses

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the decision making criteria are for applications to the Stations Fund for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

The aim of the New Stations Fund (NSF) is to open new and restored stations across England and Wales. Funding is distributed through a competition and the full eligibility criteria are available on the Network Rail website:

https://www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/passengers/station-improvements/new-stations-fund/

There are a number of other station improvement funds available that could potentially be drawn on by train operating companies through their franchise agreement, such as the Minor Works budget.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the evidence supporting the placement of the United Arab Emirates in the red list for travel.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre continuously monitor the epidemiological situation in other countries to determine their status under the traffic light system. These system categorises countries based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19.

A summary of the JBC methodology has been published on GOV.UK, alongside key data and evidence from publicly available platforms such as GISAID, the World Health Organization and host government websites.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average processing time was for the renewal of driving licences where there is a medical consideration in June (a) 2019 and (b) 2020.

The average number of working days taken to make a medical licensing decision in the month of June (a) 2019 and (b) 2020 is shown below.

Year

Licence type

Number of working days

2019

Group 1 (cars/motorcycles)

36

Group 2 (lorries/buses)

34

2020

Group 1 (cars/motorcycles)

62

Group 2 (lorries/buses)

66

The length of time taken to deal with an application depends on the medical condition and if further information is required from medical professionals. Where an examination is necessary, waiting times are currently longer due to the current pressures on the NHS.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average processing time is for the renewal of driving licences where there is a medical consideration.

As of 7 June 2021, the average number of working days taken to make a decision on whether to issue a driving licence where there is a medical consideration is shown below.

Licence type

Number of working days

Group 1 (cars/motorcycles)

78

Group 2 (lorries/buses)

63

The time taken to issue a licence to drivers with a medical condition will vary where the DVLA is often reliant on receiving information from medical professionals to ensure drivers can meet the required medical standards.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the (a) regional distribution and (b) local authority breakdown is for successful applications for the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme.

As at 1 April 2021, the On-Street Residential Scheme (ORCS) has delivered 681 charging devices across 31 local authorities. Funding for a further 3,235 devices has been awarded to successful applicants with their installations yet to be completed. The regional distribution and local authority/council breakdown can be found in the attached table document.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many domestic chargepoints there are in (a) Ellesmere Port and (b) the UK.

As of 1 April 2021, there were a total of 213 domestic charging devices funded by the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) and the preceding Domestic Recharge Scheme (DRS) in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency.

As of 1 April 2021, there were a total of 177,063 domestic charging devices funded by the EVHS and DRS in the UK.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston of 8 March 2021 on pilotage legislation.

A response to your letter of 8 March was sent on 24 May.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the accessibility of the covid-19 business support measures for taxi and private hire drivers.

The majority of taxi and PHV drivers are self-employed and can therefore apply for grants through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles may also be eligible for other sources of support, including locally administered grant funding. An online support finder tool has been made available to help businesses and self-employed workers determine what support is available to them.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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, whether there will be any independent checks to ensure that the covid-19 quarantine arrangements for cruise ship staff which are advertised by Cruise Ship Operators are complied with.

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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Home Office)
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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average response time for answering personal independence payment new claims calls was in each month from December 2020 to November 2021.

Thank you for your question the following table presents Personal Independent Payment (PIP) New Claims (NC) Monthly Management Information for period December 2020 to November 2021.

The table details on a month by month basis for the above noted period the total number of calls answered for the service and the average speed to answer (ASA) for those calls, the ASA data is presented in minutes and seconds.

Month

Average speed of answer (min:sec)

Total Calls Answered

Dec-20

00:36

45,298

Jan-21

02:50

64,403

Feb-21

03:41

62,357

Mar-21

02:16

96,578

Apr-21

02:59

78,690

May-21

05:06

78,075

Jun-21

06:52

89,427

Jul-21

03:28

87,532

Aug-21

02:56

86,099

Sep-21

07:48

93,654

Oct-21

12:38

91,025

Nov-21

08:06

101,186

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many consolatory payments were made by her Department for poor service in each month from March 2020; and what the value of those payments was.

DWP makes consolatory payments to acknowledge the non-financial impact of DWP maladministration. The information is recorded quarterly. The number of authorised payments and the total amount paid per quarter in 2020/21 is provided in the table. Equivalent data for 2021/22 will be finalised at the end of the financial year.

DWP Consolatory Payments 2020-21

No. of authorised payments

Amount paid £

Quarter 1

598

67,615

Quarter 2

778

81,306

Quarter 3

1,216

107,050

Quarter 4

1,244

110,069

Total

3,836

366,040

The number and value of special payments authorised in quarter 1 and 2 are significantly lower than quarter 3 and 4. This is because, as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department redeployed colleagues normally tasked with special payments to support processing regular claims and payments. As staff moved back into their normal duties, and changes were made to our DWP complaints model to prioritise vulnerable claimants who may be at risk, we saw a temporary increase in special payment referrals from mid Q2, while claims in the system were processed.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she will respond to correspondence dated 8 June 2021 from the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston on the PHSO use of the severity of injustice scale.

Despite a thorough search, we are unable to locate any correspondence from the hon. Member for this subject or date. We have contacted the hon. Member’s office for further information.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many of people eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment in 2020 did not receive payment as a result of a computer upgrade.

All eligible payments for the 20/21 year were issued based on the information DWP held, or subsequently reported by citizens.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the success rate is for applications to the Support for Mortgage Interest loan scheme compared to the previous Support for Mortgage Interest payment scheme.

Entitlement to help under the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loans system is the same as it was under the previous SMI benefit system. The key difference is that acceptance of the offer of a loan is optional. Around 20% of those eligible to receive a loan have taken up the offer so far, according to Management Information published in August 2020.

Information on take up of SMI can be found via this link - Conversion of Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) from a benefit into a loan

Further statistics on the numbers in receipt of Support for Mortgage Interest loans can be found via the following link - Support for Mortgage Interest statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department made of rental prices prior to the decision to maintain the Local Housing Allowance levels.

Throughout the year, rent officers collect data about local market rents for both new tenancies and renewals of tenancies, which is available on: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/indexofprivatehousingrentalprices/september2021.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 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 24 May 2021 to 31 August 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.

The following data shows how many Universal Credit claimants had wages assigned to different assessment periods in each week from 24 May 2021 to 31 August 2021:

Week ending

24/05/21

31/05/21

07/06/21

14/06/21

21/06/21

28/06/21

05/07/21

Volume

150

633

647

309

165

593

391

Week ending

12/07/21

19/07/21

26/07/21

02/08/21

09/08/21

16/08/21

23/08/21

30/08/21

Volume

200

184

398

402

258

225

239

794

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether it is her Department's policy that in circumstances where the automatic identification process has identified two wage payments in one assessment period, her Department's staff can assign one of those two payments to an earlier assessment period.

As part of our ongoing commitment to make the Universal Credit process as simple as possible, an automatic identification process was implemented in July this year. This allows the Department to assign earnings to the correct assessment period without any claimant intervention. This ensures benefits are paid without interruption in the vast majority of circumstances.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints were lodged with her Department in each month from September 2019.

The Department publish complaints received data on a quarterly basis on Gov.uk.

The data is currently published up to June 2021 and is available at DWP complaints data - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost to the public purse was of the implementation of the automated identification process in universal credit to ensure claimants receive more consistent benefit payments.

Costs are not readily identifiable for the implementation of the automated identification process as teams work in an agile way, and make a number of changes to specific parts of the system.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many benefit-capped households there were in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency in each financial year from 2019 to 2021.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The available information on the number of households, receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, who were subject to the Benefit Cap, by month and Parliamentary Constituency, is published every three months and can be found at:

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

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

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the equalisation of the State Pension on the (a) incomes, (b) well-being and (c) health outcomes of people affected.

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.

We do not hold any recorded information of an impact assessment that informed the rises in State Pension age of the Pensions Act 1995. However, the White Paper ‘Equality in State Pension Age’ 1993 contains some consideration of impacts. The document can be found here http://qna.files.parliament.uk/qna-attachments/1084399/original/Equality%20in%20State%20Pension%20age%201993.pdf

The 2006 impact assessment 'The Gender Impact of Pension Reform' considered a wide range of reforms to both state and private pension systems, including proposed State Pension age changes, and can be found here:

https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20111115164646/http:/www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/genderimpactassessment.pdf

The Department has carried out a number of impact assessments to consider how new regulatory legislation impact those affected by the changes. These include some mention of the impacts on income and health. Please see:

The 2007 Regulatory Impact Assessment can be found here: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121204130650/http:/www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/pensions-bill-ria.pdf

The Pensions Act 2011 Impact Assessment can be found here:

http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pensions-act-2011-impact-assessment

The Pensions Act 2014 Impact Assessment can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pensions-act-2014-impact-assessments-may-2014

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which companies have supplied Union Jack flags to her Department since 2019.

DWP are supplied Union Flags by The Flag Consultancy Ltd.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of Union Jack flags purchased by her Department in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

In the last 2 years, DWP has purchased 7 Union flags and all flags were manufactured in the UK.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people who reached state pension age in 2021 are in receipt of that pension.

This information is only available at disproportionate cost to The Department for Work and Pensions as the Department does not have a business requirement for this information to be retained.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average waiting time was for the processing of a State Pension application as of 13 September 2021.

DWP is aware that a small number of new State Pension claims have been subject to delays in receiving payment.

The Department is working hard to clear the current backlog, many of which have accrued since the Covid Pandemic.

We are prioritising overdue payments and payments that are imminent within the next few weeks. Normal service will be resumed by the end of October 2021.

Claimants don’t need to act, we have identified the cases and will process them as soon as possible.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps is she taking to ensure that unpaid carers in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency are supported to remain in work.

This Government is committed to promoting the benefits of retaining unpaid carers in the workforce, for both carer and employer. DWP has been working with national employer organisations to support and encourage employers, including small and medium sized enterprises, to retain employees who are carers, recently hosting a series of webinars delivered by the Business Champion for Older Workers and Employers for Carers.

Recognising that many carers experience considerable challenges balancing work with caring responsibilities, Government has also consulted on proposals to introduce a new employment right to one week of additional leave for unpaid carers, to support working people to balance employment with their caring responsibilities. We are now analysing the responses and will issue our response in due course, setting out the way forward.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions officials of the Cabinet Office Disability Unit have had with representatives of the British Standards Institute on its development of a public information symbol to support disabled people with non-visible disabilities.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit joined discussions between 2019 and 2020 involving BSI and other stakeholders to consider the development of a new non-visible disability sign.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average answering time was for all her Department's phone lines for each month since March 2019.

The average call waiting time (Average Speed of Answer) for calls to DWP Service Lines (excluding Debt) in each month from March 2019 to August 2021 is shown in the table below in the format of hours:minutes:seconds.

Year

Month

Average Speed of Answer

2018 -2019

March

00:05:22

2019 - 2020

April

00:06:20

May

00:06:44

June

00:06:26

July

00:07:14

August

00:07:11

September

00:07:11

October

00:06:31

November

00:07:07

December

00:07:01

January

00:05:19

February

00:05:50

March

00:14:02

2020 - 2021

April

00:21:26

May

00:10:58

June

00:06:24

July

00:08:33

August

00:08:24

September

00:07:50

October

00:06:52

November

00:06:47

December

00:07:15

January

00:08:32

February

00:07:36

March

00:07:15

2021 – 2022

April

00:13:44

May

00:13:06

June

00:09:40

July

00:10:37

August

00:11:25

Data Source: BT - Historical Management Information (GI2 – HMI) Serco, Capita, G4S

Average Speed of Answer is the average customer wait time from the point of entering a queue to connection to an agent.

The data supplied does not include Debt lines but includes outsourced lines and CMS calls from April 2020 onwards.

The data supplied is derived from unpublished management information which 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.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with local authorities on the link between the Local Housing Allowance rates and Discretionary Housing Payment applications.

We regularly engage with local authorities in relation to Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs), this includes discussions on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates.

DHPs can be paid to those entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs, including those in the private rented sector whose LHA maximum rate does not cover the full amount of their rent. Local authorities have broad discretion to spend in line with their local priorities, supported by non-statutory guidance, which provides a list of priority groups to assist with their decision making.

Funding for LHA rates was boosted by almost £1bn in 2020/21 and rates have been maintained in cash terms at their increased levels for 2021/22.

Local authorities are notified annually of the total amount allocated to each authority. For 2021-22 the Government has made available £140m in DHP funding for local authorities in England and Wales to distribute to help support vulnerable people with housing costs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 28 April 2021 to Question 183052 on Local Housing Allowance. what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies on Discretionary Housing Payment applications of the statistics on households in receipt of Local Housing Allowance where rent exceeds the allowance.

There has been no such assessment made. Data on households in receipt of Local Housing Allowance where rent exceeds the allowance is taken into account when allocating Discretionary Housing Payment funding between Local Authorities.

There is no limit to the length of time over which a Discretionary Housing Payment award may be made. It may be awarded for a short period to give a claimant time to deal with their financial circumstances or for a longer period until their circumstances change.

Since 2011, the government has provided over £1 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to local authorities to help support people who need help those who require further financial assistance towards housing costs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many of the pre-2008 female state pension recipients who had been divorced have been identified as being in receipt of the incorrect state pension entitlement; and how many of those recipients are now receiving the correct state pension.

Married women, whose husband became entitled to his State Pension before 17 March 2008, are required, as set out in Section 1 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992, to make a claim to get Category BL State Pension.

All State Pension recipients who become divorced should inform DWP of this change to check whether their State Pension position is affected. This has been the position with successive governments. We remind people to do this in the information included with annual uprating letters and there is also information on GOV.UK.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 28 April 2021 to Question186186 on Bereavement Support Payment, what his timetable is for completing the evaluation of the Bereavement Support Payment.

The exact timetable for completing the evaluation of BSP is still under review.

It has always been our intention to evaluate how Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) is working once sufficient time has elapsed to allow claimants to come to the end of the 18-month period of payment, and for a sufficient sample size of claimants to build.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what advice is being given to staff and customers attending in person at jobcentres in areas where guidance on enhanced covid-19 measures has been issued.

Throughout the pandemic, Jobcentres remained open for anyone who needed face-to-face support. DWP takes the safety of colleagues and customers very seriously and all of our offices are COVID secure and we have extensive measures in place to protect staff and customers including social distancing and enhanced cleaning regimes.

Staff and customers are instructed that they should not to come into our offices if they have covid or covid symptoms and that they should stay at home and book a test.

In addition, colleagues across the country are advised to undertake twice weekly lateral flow testing and to take up the offer of surge testing and vaccinations when these are made available.

We continue to follow all Government guidance in relation to measures in place in our sites.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Jun 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 1 April 2021 to 21 May 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.

To meet the Court of Appeal Judgment as soon as was practicable we introduced a solution based on a streamlined dispute process currently in place. This has enabled those who are affected to benefit under this regulation and claimants simply need to tell their work coach either in one of their regular discussions or via their journal if they think they are affected.

We expect to automate identification of affected claimants in mid-summer 2021. This will allow us to proactively correct awards before they are paid, without the need for the claimant to raise the issue.

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 for the period 4 April 2021 to 23 May 2021 are 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

04/04/2021

538

11/04/2021

662

18/04/2021

419

25/04/2021

189

02/05/2021

343

09/05/2021

260

16/05/2021

163

23/05/2021

115

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions he has had with HM Court and Tribunals Service on the restart of face to face tribunals.

Face to face appeal hearings have restarted. Decisions on whether appeal hearings are to be done face to face are made by tribunal judges based on the appellant’s circumstances and/or the nature of the decision under appeal.

19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of Local Housing Allowance relative to rental costs.

An assessment has been made in respect of Local Housing Allowance rates against rental costs for Housing Benefit and Universal Credit claimants in the private rented sector. See the attached table in the PQ 183052.

We increased LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local rents in April 2020. This significant investment of nearly £1billion has provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support last year than they would otherwise have received.

In 2021/22 claimants will continue to benefit from the increase. We are maintaining this investment by keeping LHA rates at the same levels from April 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish the new scheme for Special Rules for Terminal Illness.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. The Department remains committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation and will announce the outcome in due course.

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 Education)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households were subject to the benefit cap in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency in each month from March 2020 to March 2021.

The published benefit cap statistics are currently available to November 2020. Statistics for the number of households capped in Universal Credit and Housing Benefit in February 2021 will be published on 22nd June 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/benefit-cap-statistics

The available information on the number of households, receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, who were subject to the Benefit Cap, by month and Parliamentary Constituency, is published every three months and can be found at:

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

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

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

Mims Davies
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 Education)
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 Education)
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 Education)
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.

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 Education)
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.

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.

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.

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 Education)
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 Education)
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 Education)
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.

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)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when NHS England and NHS Improvement's response to the public consultation on the five new waiting time standards will be published.

The consultation closed on 1 September 2021. NHS England and NHS Improvement expect to publish the response to the consultation in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2022
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 30 July 2021 on NHS Dentistry.

We replied to the hon. Member on 20 January 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average length of time for resolution of complaints with the vaccination data resolution service regarding incorrect covid-19 vaccination records is.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of complaints logged with the vaccination data resolution service regarding incorrect covid vaccination records have been resolved.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people whose covid-19 vaccination records are incorrect.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)