Justin Tomlinson Portrait

Justin Tomlinson

Conservative - North Swindon

First elected: 6th May 2010


1 APPG membership (as of 24 Jan 2024)
Literacy
4 Former APPG memberships
Consumer Protection, Learning Disability, Sport, Video Games
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Apr 2019 - 16th Sep 2021
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jul 2018 - 4th Apr 2019
Work and Pensions Committee
4th Jun 2018 - 26th Nov 2018
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)
8th May 2015 - 17th Jul 2016
Consolidation Bills (Joint Committee)
6th Dec 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee)
6th Dec 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Public Accounts Committee
12th Nov 2012 - 8th Sep 2014


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Ceasefire in Gaza
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 24 Conservative No votes vs 9 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 20 Noes - 212
Speeches
Monday 5th February 2024
Disability Action Plan
I welcome these proposals, and I thank the fantastic disability unit team, and the stakeholders who have helped to shape …
Written Answers
Monday 29th January 2024
UK Games Fund
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of potential impact of …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 19th June 2013
Graduated Driving Licence Scheme Bill 2013-14
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 19th April 2022
8. Miscellaneous
From 30 March 2022, Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. This post carries a part-time salary, first paid on 30 …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 5th September 2017
Public Sector Exit Payments (Limitation) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Justin Tomlinson has voted in 849 divisions, and 4 times against the majority of their Party.

22 Mar 2023 - CRIMINAL LAW - View Vote Context
Justin Tomlinson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 14 Conservative No votes vs 282 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 290 Noes - 14
6 Jun 2023 - Committee on Standards - View Vote Context
Justin Tomlinson voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 28 Conservative Aye votes vs 32 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 185 Noes - 40
4 Dec 2023 - Business without Debate - View Vote Context
Justin Tomlinson voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Conservative No votes vs 217 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 381 Noes - 37
4 Dec 2023 - Victims and Prisoners Bill - View Vote Context
Justin Tomlinson voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 22 Conservative Aye votes vs 238 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 246 Noes - 242
View All Justin Tomlinson 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
Vicky Foxcroft (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)
(9 debate interactions)
Debbie Abrahams (Labour)
(8 debate interactions)
David Linden (Scottish National Party)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Social Justice)
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Work and Pensions
(237 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(16 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(8 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Justin Tomlinson's debates

North Swindon Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

People with a lifelong illness should not be subject to regular reviews for eligibility for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). People suffering lifelong conditions should not have to prove they are still ill every couple of years.

The Government should remove the requirement for people claiming disability benefits, such as the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), to have to go through an assessment process. Claims should be based solely on evidence from medical professionals, such as a letter from a GP or consultant.

We want the Government to conduct a full review of the PIP process. This should look at DWP policy and the performance of ATOS and Capita, which conduct the health assessments for applicants. We believe the current process is inherently unethical and biased, and needs a complete overhaul.

The Government should not reduce the existing adult-child childcare ratios as has been suggested. There are surely better ways to reduce the cost of living – potentially endangering children in trusted care is not how it should be done.


Latest EDMs signed by Justin Tomlinson

Justin Tomlinson has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Justin Tomlinson, 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 Tomlinson has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Justin Tomlinson has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Justin Tomlinson


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 for a graduated driving licence scheme; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 19th June 2013

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 regarding local authority powers to require developers to deposit funds in the form of a bond to be used if the local area is not maintained properly; and for connected purposes;

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 27th October 2010

113 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
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department has taken to ensure the provision of accessible communications for disabled people in (a) pandemic and (b) disaster preparedness work.

The Government Communication Service (GCS) is committed to ensuring that all government communications are available and accessible to all audiences. Its crisis communications operating model commits to improving preparedness plans across the risks facing the government. This includes meeting statutory requirements and setting standards of best practice for accessible communications.

Departments make commonly-requested alternative formats of communications such as Easy Read and Large Print available in order to meet people’s needs. The recently published British Sign Language (BSL) report details what the government is doing to promote and facilitate the use of BSL in its communications with the public.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, GCS continuously engaged with disability charities, using polling and focus groups with hard-to-reach audiences, to better understand how our communications were received. Examples of new guidance were also discussed in regular sessions with disability charities and experts in accessibility, so these groups could review and make recommendations on how to improve government communications. We used these insights to improve government messaging and challenge misinformation.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to paragraph 124 of the Fourth Report of Session 2019-21 from the Women and Equalities Select Committee on Unequal impact? Coronavirus, disability and access to services: full Report, HC1050, published on 22 December 2020, what steps his Department has taken to evaluate the extent to which Government communications comply with the accessible communications checklist.

The Government Communication Service (GCS) is committed to ensuring the government communicates effectively to everyone by making its communications inclusive and accessible. This includes standards, monitoring, training and guidance on accessibility and inclusion. We have aligned, where possible, with the charity sector’s accessibility checklist.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to recommendation 13 of the Fourth Report of the Women and Equalities Select Committee of Session 2019-21, on Unequal impact? Coronavirus, disability and access to services, HC1050, published on 22 December 2020, what progress his Department has made on ensuring that all Government communications comply with the accessible communications checklist.

The Government Communication Service (GCS) is committed to ensuring the government communicates effectively to everyone by making its communications inclusive and accessible. This includes standards, monitoring, training and guidance on accessibility and inclusion. We have aligned, where possible, with the charity sector’s accessibility checklist.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all press conferences from Downing Street are provided with British Sign Language translation during national emergencies.

I refer the Hon Member for North Swindon to my answer on 15th November 2023 (PQ 322).

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made an estimate of the number of people employed in the UK hospitality industry in each of the last five years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publish a large range of labour market statistics, including releases that track the number of workers employed in the hospitality sector.

The ONS publish a detailed guide to using these statistics. As the guidance states, due to the survey design the preferred source for statistics at the industry level is the ONS JOBS02 workforce jobs by industry.

Data is also available from NOMIS, the official website for labour market statistics run by the University of Durham on behalf of the ONS.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has made an estimate of the number of people employed in the UK retail industry in each of the last five years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publish a large range of labour market statistics, including releases that track the number of workers employed in the retail sector. The ONS publish a detailed guide to using these statistics. As the guidance states, due to the survey design the preferred source for statistics at the industry level is the ONS JOBS02 workforce jobs by industry.

Data is also available from NOMIS, the official website for labour market statistics run by the University of Durham on behalf of the ONS.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to progress the government's work to protect intellectual property in relation to music and film.

The Government is continuing its work with the music industry to improve music streaming for creators and Ministers will shortly be updating the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is also considering evidence about how to implement the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, which will secure additional protections for British performers abroad. A public consultation on this is planned for the new year.

Additionally, in February 2022, the IPO published its 5 year IP Counter Infringement Strategy setting out its ambition to make IP infringement socially unacceptable and which includes measures to reduce copyright infringement, including of music and film.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government is planning any further national schemes like the Year of Engineering in 2018 to encourage more young people into STEM careers.

Through UKRI, BEIS currently funds a variety of national programmes open to young people in all parts of the UK, to encourage them to take up the study of STEM subjects and to consider STEM careers.

These include the STEM Ambassadors programme, a nationwide network of over 30,000 volunteers representing over 7,000 employers, who engage with young people to increase their interest in STEM subjects and to raise awareness of the range of careers that science qualifications offer. BEIS also supports the CREST Awards, the UK’s largest national award scheme for project work in STEM subjects is based on enquiry-based learning principles which encourage motivation and engagement.

Programmes such as this are critical to inspiring more young people from all backgrounds to study STEM subjects and take up relevant careers. UKRI is currently reviewing these youth engagement programmes and their impacts to ensure that they remain effective in encouraging moreyoung people into research and innovation careers.

23rd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of potential impact of the UK Games Fund on (a) employment, (b) investment, (c) studio formation and (d) IP development.

DCMS is currently evaluating the impact of the updated UK Games Fund, which is providing £13.4million over 2022-2025 to accelerate the growth of the UK games sector. In 2023, an independent evaluator, Alma Economics, was procured to produce a process, impact and economic evaluation of the fund between 2022-2025. This evaluation is due to be completed in Spring 2025 and will assess the impact of the fund across a range of metrics, including employment, investment, business formation and growth, and IP development.

It will also review the longer-term impact of earlier funding administered from 2015 onwards. A previous evaluation of the UKGF in 2019 found that the UK Games Fund had an estimated return on investment of £5 for every £1 spent.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how many games studios have been supported by the UK Games Fund since its inception.

The UK Games Fund supports the development of new intellectual property (IP) and graduate talent.

The UK Games Fund has provided 308 grants supporting the development of new games IP from UK studios. This includes grants for 27 studios that participated in Tranzfuser, and four studios that participated in the residential programme DunDev. It does not include grants from the new £5 million Content Fund which was launched in September 2023.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding her Department has provided to Sport England in each of the last three financial years.

The departmental funding in the form of Grant-in-aid to Sport England over the last 3 years is as follows:

Financial Year

£000s

2020-21

222,150 *

2021-22

163,761*

2022-23

113,571

*These figures include additional investment to deliver the National Leisure Recovery Fund (NLRF) and the Sport Survival Package (SSP).

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how many times Sport England has used statutory powers to restrict community access to sports (a) pitches and (b) other facilities in the latest period for which data is available.

Sport England does not proactively record the number of times they have used statutory powers to restrict community access to pitches or facilities.

Recent records show that between 2021 and 2023, Sport England introduced two planning conditions to limit community use to some degree, so as to not undermine the viability of nearby sites.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding her Department has provided to the Football Foundation in each of the last three financial years.

The government has committed to delivering the facilities that every community needs and is investing over £300m across the UK between 2021 and 2025 as a step towards that ambition - including a £230m uplift, on top of an existing £18m annual commitment in England.

Since 2021, DCMS has provided £184.2m of funding to the Football Foundation:

2021/22 - £39m

2022/23 - £64.2m

2023/24 - £81m

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will take steps to help ensure that regional media content is made available in the region to which it relates by radio stations in the context of localised opt-outs.

The Government recognises the positive impact that local public service broadcasting – particularly access to local radio and television services – has on local communities. On a local level, our public service broadcasters, local TV providers, news publishers and commercial and community radio stations all play a crucial role in disseminating accurate news and reflecting the unique interests of the audiences that they serve. Our Broadcasting White Paper published in April this year outlined our plans to support this diversity of content through a changing landscape.

The Government is disappointed that the BBC is planning to reduce parts of its local radio output. The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government as set out in its Royal Charter, and decisions on service delivery are a matter for the BBC. However, I have been clear with the Chairman of the BBC Board and the Director General that the BBC must make sure it continues to provide distinctive and genuinely local services, with content that reflects and represents people and communities from all corners of the UK.

The Government also expects Ofcom, as regulator of the BBC, to ensure the BBC is robustly held to account in delivering its public service duties. The Secretary of State has already asked Ofcom about how they are considering this issue, and Ofcom is continuing to discuss these proposals with the BBC.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will meet with the Professional Footballers' Association to discuss what steps her Department could take to help encourage more ex-professional football players to pursue a career in teaching.

I will be meeting the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) next month to discuss a range of issues. Football players have many options available to them when they retire and the PFA does important work to help them prepare for life after football, which may include a career in teaching.

We are continuing to invest in attracting the best teachers where they are needed the most through our teaching marketing campaign, support services for prospective trainees, and our new in-house teacher recruitment journey and associated digital services which are making it easier for great people to become teachers.

We will deliver 500,000 teacher training and development opportunities by 2024, giving all teachers and school leaders access to world-class, evidence-based training and professional development at every stage of their career.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps she has taken to progress her policy to provide all households with broadband speeds which satisfy the Universal Service Obligation.

In March 2021, we launched our £5 billion Project Gigabit to deliver lightning-fast, reliable broadband across the UK. Project Gigabit’s objective is to level up the UK by giving hard-to-reach areas access to gigabit-capable internet speeds and, coupled with commercial gigabit delivery, ensuring almost all of the UK has access to gigabit-capable internet as soon as possible.

We have recently signed our first local Project Gigabit contracts in North Dorset and Teesdale, prioritising delivery to rural, hard-to-reach premises and to those with the lowest broadband speeds, and we will be awarding further contracts over the coming months.

Furthermore, up to £210 million is available for Gigabit Broadband Vouchers to support rural communities with the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections.

Separately to Project Gigabit, the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) provides the legal right to request a decent broadband connection, helping to ensure full participation in both society and the economy.

Since its launch in 2020, the number of premises eligible for the broadband USO has fallen from 189,000 to 66,000 as of May 2022. Ofcom estimates that a further 17,000 premises are currently unable to receive a decent broadband connection, but are expected to receive an upgrade by a publicly funded rollout scheme within the next 12 months.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions her Department has had with (a) with representatives of the Football Association (FA) and (b) other football bodies on the potential merits of establishing a football-led consensus to the fan-led review.

The Government published its response to the recommendations made by the Independent Fan Led Review of Football Governance in April 2022. We absolutely recognise the need for football to be reformed to ensure the game’s sustainability in the long term. We are now taking the time to consider the policy, and are continuing to engage with the Football Authorities and fan groups as this policy develops. We remain committed to publishing a White Paper, setting out our detailed response to the fan led review of football governance, and will set this out in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress her Department has made in implementing the recommendations of the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance.

The Government published its response to the recommendations made by the Independent Fan Led Review of Football Governance in April 2022. We absolutely recognise the need for football to be reformed to ensure the game’s sustainability in the long term. We are now taking the time to consider the policy, and are continuing to engage with the Football Authorities and fan groups as this policy develops. We remain committed to publishing a White Paper, setting out our detailed response to the fan led review of football governance, and will set this out in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the proposal by The Independent Game Developers’ Association to introduce a Video Games Investment Fund.

The government is committed to supporting the growth of the UK’s games sector. As part of a wider package of support for the creative industries, the government has announced an £8 million expansion of the UK Games Fund. The UK Games Fund will provide valuable support to early stage games development businesses and talented graduates throughout the UK.

We are not seeking to take forward a proposal for a new Video Games Investment Fund. We welcome continued discussions with the games industry on how best to support a thriving UK games sector.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans she has to increase the effectiveness of the National Citizen Service through working alongside (a) trust organisers and (b) local authorities.

Following the recent Spending Review, officials are working closely with the National Citizen Service Trust (NCS Trust) and across Whitehall to increase the effectiveness of the funding provided by this government to support young people.

My officials will continue to provide support and oversight to the management team at the NCS Trust, setting ambitious delivery targets and working closely with other Departments to explore new opportunities and align the programme with the changing needs of young people and of the youth sector.

DCMS and the Trust will ensure that the programme is maintaining a strong, diverse supply chain. The Trust works with over 120 network partners nationwide and its programme delivery is highly localised. It aims to strengthen this network of providers moving forward, focusing its commissioning on localised and place-based delivery, co-creation, and partnership.

NCS Trust works closely with a range of local authorities providing engaging and inspiring initiatives, including:

  • Changemakers: community action groups that take place in every local authority, offering young people the opportunity to create real, positive change.

  • Skills Booster: programme that delivers off-the-shelf personal development packages in schools and colleges, available to all local authority youth teams

DCMS and the Trust will continue to focus on the twelve Opportunity Areas and leverage data analytics to enhance opportunities for young people in every local authority area.

The Government will continue to support the National Citizen Service Trust over the next three years, when it is expected to engage with more than 100,000 young people each year.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government can take to protect the exclusivity window that cinemas have for new film releases.

The Government recognises the important cultural and economic value of cinemas, which is why we are pleased to have supported the sector during the pandemic with £33.8 million of Culture Recovery Fund awards and our generous package of pan-economy measures.

In film distribution, an exclusivity window is the period of time for which a film is only available in cinemas before it is released more widely, such as on a video-on-demand service. The Government encourages industry to work together on the agreements regarding exclusivity windows and does not intend to intervene.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students took undergraduate degrees in Games and Animation in the academic year 2022-23.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency, which is now part of JISC, is responsible for collecting and publishing data about UK higher education. The latest statistics refer to the 2021/22 academic year.

The number of full person equivalents [1] studying at undergraduate level in the subject area ‘Games and Animation’ [2] in 2021/22 was 13,430, including 4,820 first year enrolments. To note, figures have been rounded to the nearest five. An additional 4,075 full person equivalents, including 1,420 first year enrolments, were recorded in the ‘animation’ category’ [3], which falls under ‘Cinematics and photography’ subjects, and includes other forms of animation, not gaming animation specifically.

More information is available via the following link: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-52.

Updates on the timing of statistics for the 2022/23 academic year are available here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/upcoming.

[1] Counts are on the basis of full-person-equivalents (FPE). Where a student is studying more than one subject, they are apportioned between the subjects that make up their course.

[2] Enrolments in Computer games and animation (code 11-01-06 of the Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) tier 3). More information on CAH codes can be found at the following link: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/support/documentation/hecos/cah.

[3] Enrolments in Animation (code 100057 of the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS)). More information on HECoS codes can be found at the following link: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/support/documentation/hecos.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of allowing schools to access SEN funding outside of the statutory assessment period.

The department expects schools to have access to high needs funding wherever the costs of additional support for a pupil with Special Educational Needs (SEN) are in excess of £6,000 per pupil per annum. Local authorities can provide this additional SEN funding for schools in respect of pupils who are awaiting the completion of a statutory Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment, or do not otherwise have an EHC plan. Local authorities determine the circumstances in which such allocations of high needs funding are made and the amounts to allocate to schools.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many standalone multi-academy trusts there are in each local authority area; and if she will make a comparative assessment of the effectiveness of multi-academy trusts that (a) are standalone and (b) have a number of schools.

In December 2023, there were 1,000 Single Academy Trusts (SATs) running one school compared to 1,321 Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) running more than one school, which accounts for 9,603 academies and free schools in total in MATs. A full breakdown of the number of SATs in each local authority and more information is available here: https://get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/Downloads.

In terms of assessing effectiveness, a direct performance comparison between SATs and MATs is not possible because many good and outstanding schools converted as SATs and some remain as such. Schools that underperformed as local authority maintained schools are typically transferred into MATs as sponsored academies.

The department believes that the best way to improve school standards is for all schools to be in strong families of schools, benefitting from the support of the best in the group and the resilience that comes from being part of a larger group of schools. Over time, the department would like all schools to be in a strong multi-academy trust because of the positive impact it can have on children’s lives. The department aims to have the vast majority of schools in trusts before 2030.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
16th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many people have participated in the Holiday Activities Programme since that programme was launched.

This year the government invested over £200 million in the department’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, with all Local Authorities in England delivering in the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays and continuing to do so until March 2025.

The HAF programme provides heathy meals, enriching activities and free childcare places to children from low-income families, benefiting their health, wellbeing and learning.

During the pilot phase of the programme in 2018, the HAF programme reached around 18,000 children across the country. In 2019, the HAF programme reached around 50,000 children in 11 Local Authority areas, and in 2020, the programme reached around 50,000 children across 17 Local Authority areas. The HAF programme was rolled out nationally in England, to all areas in 2021 and reached over 685,000 children and young people in summer 2022, including over 475,000 children eligible for free school meals.

The 2023 data is not yet available.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department are taking to ensure that developers are installing school sports pitches that are (a) safe and (b) meet quality standards.

The department does not monitor playing fields installed by developers. This is a matter for local planning authorities. Sport England are statutory consultees on planning applications which include outdoor PE facilities. They also provide separate guidance on good practice.

The School Premises (England) Regulations 2012 set regulations for physical education, including the playing of games outdoors. They are available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/1943/introduction/made.

The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 include the same regulation for independent schools, including academies. The Education Regulations are available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/3283/made.

Building Bulletin 103 and 104 (BB103/4) at Area guidelines and net capacity provide non-statutory guidance on what site area is needed to provide sufficient sports pitches for any school, depending on the type, age range and size. The guidelines are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/area-guidelines-and-net-capacity. Local Planning Authorities can require BB103/4 minimum standards to ensure that the site area will support the PE facilities needed.

The department’s Output Specification for new and refurbished school grounds applies to all school projects directly funded by the department. These are published and can be used by local authorities to set standards.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if her Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing childminders to claim childcare funding for the costs of caring for (a) their own child and (b) a related child they are parenting when they have been registered for over five years.

Childminders in England cannot claim funding from the department’s early education entitlements for related children in their care. Early years entitlements are only available where a registered early years provider provides 'childcare' for a child. The definition of 'childcare' is set out in the Childcare Act 2006 and excludes care provided for a child by a parent, a person with parental responsibility for the child, a stepparent, foster parent, or other certain relatives (for example a grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister, whether they are full blood or half blood, or by marriage or civil partnership).

An Education Select Committee report, published on 18 July 2023, recommended that the department should permit parents to claim funded hours for their child if they are cared for by a registered childminder who is also a member of their extended family (for example a grandparent, aunt or uncle, rather than a child’s parent or primary carer). The department’s current approach avoids creating an incentive for adults to register to become childminders and being paid to look after related children that they are already looking after on an informal basis, which could apply to extended family members as well as parents and carers. Currently, the department has no plans to change this position as allowing childminders to receive funding for related children in their care would not be an effective use of public money, and may have a negative impact on the viability of existing childcare businesses.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the average annual budget was for primary school libraries in the latest period for which data is available.

​​The National Curriculum requires teachers to encourage pupils to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information. It also emphasises the importance of listening to, discussing, and reading for themselves a wide range of stories, poems, plays and non-fiction books.

​​The Department believes that all pupils deserve to be taught a knowledge rich curriculum that promotes the extensive reading of books and other texts, both in and out of school. School libraries complement public libraries in allowing pupils to do this.

Overall, core schools funding (including funding for both mainstream schools and high needs) is £3.5 billion higher in 2023/24, compared to 2022/23. That is, on top of the £4 billion, year-on-year increase provided in 2022/23 – an increase of £7.5 billion, or over 15%, in just two years. It is for headteachers to decide how best to manage their budgets, including investment in resources such as library provision. This funding is not ringfenced and can include funding book corners, school libraries and librarians.

​It is for individual schools to decide how best to provide and maintain a library service for their pupils, including whether to employ a qualified librarian. Many head teachers recognise the important role school libraries play in improving literacy and encouraging pupils to read for pleasure and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided. School libraries can take many forms, with some schools preferring to make books a focus in other ways, including housing them within classrooms.

Given the autonomy granted to schools, the Department does not collect information on the number and proportion of schools that purchased books through local bookshops in the last 12 months, or the average annual budget for primary school libraries.

3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an estimate of the number and proportion of schools that purchased books through local bookshops in the last 12 months.

​​The National Curriculum requires teachers to encourage pupils to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information. It also emphasises the importance of listening to, discussing, and reading for themselves a wide range of stories, poems, plays and non-fiction books.

​​The Department believes that all pupils deserve to be taught a knowledge rich curriculum that promotes the extensive reading of books and other texts, both in and out of school. School libraries complement public libraries in allowing pupils to do this.

Overall, core schools funding (including funding for both mainstream schools and high needs) is £3.5 billion higher in 2023/24, compared to 2022/23. That is, on top of the £4 billion, year-on-year increase provided in 2022/23 – an increase of £7.5 billion, or over 15%, in just two years. It is for headteachers to decide how best to manage their budgets, including investment in resources such as library provision. This funding is not ringfenced and can include funding book corners, school libraries and librarians.

​It is for individual schools to decide how best to provide and maintain a library service for their pupils, including whether to employ a qualified librarian. Many head teachers recognise the important role school libraries play in improving literacy and encouraging pupils to read for pleasure and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided. School libraries can take many forms, with some schools preferring to make books a focus in other ways, including housing them within classrooms.

Given the autonomy granted to schools, the Department does not collect information on the number and proportion of schools that purchased books through local bookshops in the last 12 months, or the average annual budget for primary school libraries.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve the provision of careers advice in educational settings.

The Department is investing £30 million to support the improvement of careers programmes for young people across educational settings.

In primary schools, the Department is introducing a new careers programme, targeting primary schools in disadvantaged areas. The programme will seek to inspire pupils about the world of work, and help children link what they are taught in the classroom to future jobs and careers.

In secondary schools and colleges, the Department has adopted the eight Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance, a careers framework based on rigorous national and international research. Over 4,200 schools and colleges are using the Benchmarks to develop and improve their careers programmes.

We are strengthening the underpinning legislation. On 1 September 2022, the Department commenced new legislation that extends the legal entitlement to independent careers guidance to all secondary aged pupils in all types of schools. On 1 January 2023, the Department is strengthening the law so that all pupils have the opportunity for six encounters with providers of approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships, as they progress through school years 8 to 13.

The Department is working with The Careers & Enterprise Company to complete the national rollout of careers infrastructure that is proven to accelerate performance against the Gatsby Benchmarks: Careers Hubs, digital support, Careers Leader training and an Enterprise Adviser Network. By August 2023, 90% of schools and colleges will be part of a Careers Hub. Over 2,170 Careers Leaders have been trained since training was launched in September 2018. Around 3,750 business professionals are working as Enterprise Advisers with schools and colleges to develop their careers strategies and employer engagement plans.

The Department is strengthening quality and accountability. We strongly recommend that schools and colleges achieve external national accreditation through the Quality in Careers Standard. Ofsted inspectors assess the quality of careers education in all graded inspections.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on the introduction of emergency life saving skills lessons in schools.

Schools are now required to teach first aid as part of statutory health education. In this subject, pupils are taught how to deal with common injuries, call the emergency services, administer CPR and understand the purpose of defibrillators.

To support teachers to deliver this topic the department published a first aid teacher training module, which was produced with expert input from St John Ambulance and Resuscitation Council UK. This module is freely available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-training-basic-first-aid. Many schools use organisations such as St John Ambulance, the British Heart Foundation and the British Red Cross to support delivery of the topic.

The national curriculum for physical education (PE) also sets out that schools should teach water safety skills by the end of key stage 2 alongside compulsory swimming lessons. These include a requirement for children to be able to perform safe self-rescue in a variety of water-based situations. Oak National Academy, funded by the department, have also made virtual water safety lessons available. To further support schools, the government has committed to invest £30 million over the next three financial years, which will include a specific programme to improve provision of PE, school sport and physical activity in primary schools in England, including swimming and water safety.

22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding schools in Swindon have received per pupil in each of the last 5 years.

The schools block funding allocated to schools from the 2018/2019 to the 2022/2023 financial year for Swindon local authority is as follows:

Swindon Local Authority

Primary funding per pupil

Secondary funding per pupil

2018-19

£3,735.80

£4,894.86

2019-20

£3,789.21

£5,042.79

2020-21

£3,986.98

£5,259.99

2021-22

£4,345.79

£5,702.33

2022-23

£4,460.37

£5,872.04

Further information on school funding statistics can be found here:

https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-funding-statistics.

21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage more women to take up STEM qualifications.

To ensure a strong pipeline of qualified students into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) areas, the department has committed substantial spending on mathematics, digital and technical education. This includes funding the Stimulating Physics Network which provides tailored support to schools to increase rates of progression to physics A level and funding an Inclusion in Schools project, delivered by the Association for Science Education, which is designed to increase the uptake of A level physics from students in underrepresented groups, including girls. The department has also funded an £84 million programme to improve computing teaching and participation at GCSE and A level, particularly amongst girls.

Additionally, the department has funded research programmes to investigate ways to tackle gender balance in STEM subjects, including the Improving Gender Balance national research trial for physics and the Gender Balance in Computing Programme. The computing research, led by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has now concluded and its findings will be published in due course.

The department has introduced T Levels as a high-quality technical alternative to A levels. The current T Levels in Science and Digital, as well as the upcoming T Levels in Engineering and Manufacturing, will provide opportunities for all students to study STEM-related subjects. To challenge stereotypes which may hold young people back, including gender stereotypes, we are using T Level ambassadors to showcase a wide range of voices from those already studying T levels, including girls taking STEM-related T Levels.

21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps the Government has taken to encourage young people to take up STEM qualifications.

To ensure a strong pipeline of qualified students into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) areas, the department has committed substantial spending on mathematics, digital and technical education. This includes funding the Stimulating Physics Network which provides tailored support to schools to increase rates of progression to physics A level and funding an Inclusion in Schools project, delivered by the Association for Science Education, which is designed to increase the uptake of A level physics from students in underrepresented groups, including girls. The department has also funded an £84 million programme to improve computing teaching and participation at GCSE and A level, particularly amongst girls.

Additionally, the department has funded research programmes to investigate ways to tackle gender balance in STEM subjects, including the Improving Gender Balance national research trial for physics and the Gender Balance in Computing Programme. The computing research, led by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has now concluded and its findings will be published in due course.

The department has introduced T Levels as a high-quality technical alternative to A levels. The current T Levels in Science and Digital, as well as the upcoming T Levels in Engineering and Manufacturing, will provide opportunities for all students to study STEM-related subjects. To challenge stereotypes which may hold young people back, including gender stereotypes, we are using T Level ambassadors to showcase a wide range of voices from those already studying T levels, including girls taking STEM-related T Levels.

21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to help make school uniforms more affordable.

The ‘Cost of school uniform’ guidance, which was published in November 2021 and came into force at the start of September, requires schools to ensure that their uniform is affordable and secures best value for money for parents. It requires schools to:

  • keep branded items to a minimum and limited to low cost or long-lasting items
  • give the highest priority to cost and value for money in their supply arrangements
  • make second-hand uniform available for parents to acquire
  • publish their uniform policy on their website and ensure that this is easily understood
  • engage with parents and pupils on cost issues when they are developing their uniform policy.

Headteachers know their school communities best and can make decisions on the branded items that are most appropriate to their school. Branded items create a sense of common identity and prevent pupils from competing against one another in the latest fashion trends. The guidance requires school leaders to carefully consider the overall cost implications of their chosen approach, including whether requiring a branded item is the most cost-effective way of achieving the desired result for their uniform. To ensure that school uniform acts as a social leveller, optional branded items should be kept to a minimum.

The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-school-uniforms/cost-of-school-uniforms.

21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to recruit adequate numbers of computing teachers in schools.

In 2021, there were almost 6,600 computing teachers in state-funded secondary schools in England, which is 520 more than in 2020.

Recruitment to computing is supported by tax free scholarships of £26,000 and bursaries of £24,000 for postgraduate trainees, as it is considered a high priority subject.

The teaching marketing campaign provides inspiration and support to explore a career in teaching and directs people to the Get Into Teaching service. Prospective trainees can access support and advice through expert one-to-one Teacher Training Advisers, a contact centre and a national programme of events.

Additionally, the Get School Experience digital service arranges school experience placements between prospective candidates and schools. Get Into Teaching is also developing innovative activities to ensure future interest in teaching, with a focus on shortage subjects, such as teaching internships for computing, physics and maths undergraduates.

21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking with local authorities to help ensure that school facilities are available for use by local communities.

The Department encourages all schools to take an active part in their local communities with many schools already opening up their facilities to support local groups. These include sports teams using school pitches, or community groups using school halls in the evening. For academies, the Department has also taken steps to ensure community use through the funding agreement which states that academy trusts ‘must ensure that each of its academies is at the heart of its community, promoting community cohesion and sharing facilities with other schools and/or other educational institutions and the wider community.’

The Department announced in October 2021 that it will invest nearly £30 million per year to open up school sport facilities in England, as well as to improve the teaching of Physical Education in primary schools. The Department is currently procuring phase 3 of the Opening School Facilities programme, which will provide further support to schools to open their sport and leisure facilities in the evenings, at weekends and during the school holidays.

7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of setting different school term times for different regions in order to spread the demand for school holidays and thereby reduce holiday costs for parents and school staff.

The department does not have any plans to propose changes to term dates. School holidays are not determined at national level, they are agreed locally by trusts, schools, and local authorities (depending on school type). We believe that they are best placed to set school term and holiday dates in the interests of the pupils at their schools and their parents.

If schools do decide to change their term dates, they are required to act reasonably, giving parents notice and considering the impact on those affected. This includes pupils, teachers, the local community, parents’ work commitments and childcare options for both parents and teachers.

7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of encouraging schools to use their powers to alter term dates in order to spread the demand for school holidays and reduce holiday costs for parents and school staff.

The department does not have any plans to propose changes to term dates. School holidays are not determined at national level, they are agreed locally by trusts, schools, and local authorities (depending on school type). We believe that they are best placed to set school term and holiday dates in the interests of the pupils at their schools and their parents.

If schools do decide to change their term dates, they are required to act reasonably, giving parents notice and considering the impact on those affected. This includes pupils, teachers, the local community, parents’ work commitments and childcare options for both parents and teachers.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the accreditation system introduced by The Independent Game Developers’ Association in ensuring that universities and colleges can provide graduates with skills relevant to the game development sector.

Driving up quality of higher education (HE) provision is a key priority for this government, and we are working with Office for Students to ensure all students receive high quality outcomes and are supported to progress to high skilled employment or further study through their HE course.

We expect higher and further education providers to ensure their courses at level 4 to 7 support students to progress into the workplace. Professional standards and progression frameworks like those developed by The Independent Game Developers’ Association can help providers design and deliver courses and work experience and ensure students can progress in professions. Assessment of the benefit of these standards is a matter for the provider.

As part of our technical education reforms, we want to make sure that the majority of technical qualifications at level 3 and below are based on employer-led occupational standards.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of concerns highlighted by The Independent Game Developers’ Association on the impact of removing funding for BTECs for young people on people wishing to pursue a career in the video games industry.

In July 2021 the department published the response to the second stage consultation in its review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reforms-to-post-16-qualifications-at-level-3-in-england. The consultation outlines the types of qualifications that we plan to fund in the future.

This will include some applied general type qualifications, for example BTECs, as part of mixed programmes alongside A levels where there is a need and they meet quality and other criteria. We will also fund high-quality alternative qualifications as a whole study programme in areas not well served by A levels and where they do not overlap with a T Level.

The department has made no decisions on the individual qualifications. We will shortly publish a provisional list of qualifications that will have public funding approval withdrawn as they duplicate the content and purpose of wave one and two T Levels. Qualifications that do not overlap with T Levels will be replaced by high quality reformed technical qualifications in future.

The updated impact assessment published alongside the response to the second stage consultation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-post-16-qualifications-at-level-3-in-england. The assessment looked at the potential impact of the review on students, but it did not look specifically at those looking to pursue a career in the video games industry.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of vocational educational opportunities in Swindon.

We are investing £3.8 billion in further education and skills, to ensure people can access high-quality training and education that leads to good jobs, addresses skills gaps, boosts productivity and supports levelling up.

We are introducing T Levels, boosting access to high quality technical education for thousands of 16-19 year olds. Young people in Swindon are now benefitting from these new qualifications, as New College Swindon began teaching T Levels in Digital, Education & Childcare, Health and Science from September last year.

The department is also committed to supporting more people to benefit from the high-quality training that apprenticeships offer, including those at the start of their career or those looking to retrain. Funding for apprenticeships will grow to £2.7 billion by financial year 2024-25, delivering the first increase to employer-led apprenticeships funding since financial year 2019-20. We are also investing over £550 million by financial year 2024-25 to make sure adults can upskill to reach their potential, delivering on the National Skills Fund commitment.

The Free Courses for Jobs offer, launched in April 2021, gives adults the chance to access their first level 3 qualification for free. We have also recently announced that from April, any adult in England earning under the National Living Wage annually (£18,525) or unemployed, will also be able to access these qualifications for free, regardless of their prior qualification level. New Swindon College is amongst many training providers who have been allocated funding to deliver this offer.

Complementing this, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with an employer. Skills Bootcamps are now available in areas across the country as well as online, covering digital, technical, construction, logistics (HGV driving), and green skills. In Swindon, Skills Bootcamps in HGV driving are currently available. We continue to expand Skills Bootcamps further, and more courses will become available across England over the next few months.

We are also launching Multiply, a new £560 million programme to help people improve their basic numeracy skills through free digital training, flexible courses and tutoring. Launching in Spring 2022, the Multiply programme is in addition to the England-wide statutory entitlement for numeracy and will give people who don’t have at least a GCSE Grace C/4 or equivalent in maths, access to free new flexible courses to improve their maths skills. This will include a new website with bitesize training and online tutorials, as well as flexible courses.

Apprenticeships have long been a growth area for New College Swindon and in September 2021, the college opened the Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology, with a mission to be a high-quality employer-led training facility delivering high level technical and digital skills training for young people and to those already in employment.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of people in (a) apprenticeships and (b) vocational educations in (i) Swindon and (b) England.

The latest published apprenticeship starts data covers the 2020/21 academic year and was published in November 2021 in the apprenticeships and traineeships statistics publication: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships/2020-21.

Apprenticeship participation for Swindon between academic years 2018/19 and 2020/21 is contained in the below table:

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

Participation

3,030

2,920

2,720

More data on apprenticeship participation by region can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/fast-track/7cb8ccbd-43d2-4909-822d-6cac2fae30eb

Apprenticeship participation for England between 2018/19 and 2020/21 is contained in the below table:

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

England - Participation

742,400

719,000

713,000

More information on apprenticeship participation can be explored here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/8b98defb-9b2b-4edd-89a5-4177bbf27fed

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to (a) encourage the growth of new Grammar Streams and (b) facilitate the expansion of existing Grammar Streams within schools.

Setting and streaming by ability is common in secondary schools. We believe that teachers are best placed to decide the approach in their own schools. It is therefore a matter for the school in question whether to test pupils on entry for ability and place them in a grammar stream, or to otherwise stream pupils by ability.

The census data we collect from schools does not include information on whether children are streamed by ability.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils attend secondary schools that offer a grammar stream for high achieving students in England.

Setting and streaming by ability is common in secondary schools. We believe that teachers are best placed to decide the approach in their own schools. It is therefore a matter for the school in question whether to test pupils on entry for ability and place them in a grammar stream, or to otherwise stream pupils by ability.

The census data we collect from schools does not include information on whether children are streamed by ability.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is planning to take to increase the number of foreign-language teachers available in (a) the South West and (b) England.

The 2020/21 academic year saw an increase of more than 5,000 full time equivalent (FTE) teachers in state-funded secondary schools across the whole of England, including the south-west. This equates to a 2.5% growth on the year before, the largest observed in the last 10 years, and has resulted in the largest qualified teacher workforce since 2015/16.

To support the recruitment of modern foreign language (MFL) teachers, the department has raised the languages bursary to £15,000 for the 2022/23 academic year to incentivise candidates to train to teach MFL. All MFL trainee teachers on tuition fee-funded initial teacher training routes are also able to apply for a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional student finance is also available depending on individual circumstances, such as the Childcare Grant.

The department has also now launched our early career framework reforms, as part of the department’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy. These reforms provide a funded entitlement for all early career teachers trained in England to access high quality professional development at the start of their career.

To support international recruitment across several subjects including MFL, the department is also piloting a new Support Overseas Teachers acclimatisation service in 2022. It is designed to provide newly recruited overseas trained teachers moving to England with pre-arrival training and support during the first term, to ensure they make a successful transition to teaching in England, with the intention of improving retention.

In line with the government’s Professional Qualifications bill, in 2022 the department will review how we recognise the qualifications of overseas teachers with qualified teacher status (QTS). This includes foreign-languages teachers and aims to ensure that overseas teachers with the right overseas qualifications can be awarded QTS, meaning they can work unrestricted in English schools.

The department is also launching a new international teaching qualification called iQTS, with a pilot beginning in September 2022. iQTS will allow teachers to train to English standards overseas, meaning a greater global pool of employable teachers trained to our domestic standards.

In addition, the department continues to develop policies to increase the supply of specialist MFL teachers by focusing on new interventions. This covers a broad range of areas, including growing awareness and experience of teaching among undergraduates.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to review the performance of students in mathematics compared to their performance in English and science in schools.

The government has no current plans to review the performance of students in mathematics compared to their performance in English and science in schools.

The department’s secondary school accountability measures are designed to encourage schools to teach a broad and balanced curriculum, with a strong academic core, and to incentivise schools to focus on improving the attainment of all pupils. School performance tables include information on pupil entries and attainment across a range of subjects and qualifications, compared to national and local authority averages.

14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to ensure that regional school commissioners encourage multi-academy trusts to follow the national curriculum.

Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based, which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental, and physical development of pupils, and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.

Academies and free schools have greater freedom and autonomy in how they operate for areas such as the curriculum. They are expected to teach a curriculum that is comparable in breadth and ambition to the national curriculum, and many choose to teach the full national curriculum to achieve this.

The curriculum at an academy or free school is the responsibility of the academy trust. The curriculum provided in each academy to pupils up to the age of 16 is set out in their academy and free school funding agreement, which provides the framework for an academy or free school to operate in. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academy-and-free-school-funding-agreements.

If autonomous academies or multi academy trusts wish to deliver the national curriculum in their schools, they can do so. Academies may use their freedoms to develop their own curricula, tailored to meet the particular needs of their pupils, local area, or the particular ethos of the school.

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide the overall cost to the public purse for regional schools commissioners since their inception.

The annual workforce budgets for the National Schools Commissioner, Regional Schools Commissioners and wider Regional Delivery Directorate (RDD) that support them in their roles is set annually through the internal departmental business planning process. Funding is allocated proportionately amongst commissioners according to the size of region, delivery challenges and staffing requirements. However, the directorate works flexibly and collaboratively to ensure priorities are delivered in an effective and efficient manner.

Since the financial year 2014-15, the overall cost for the National Schools Commissioner, Regional Schools Commissioners and the regional teams that support them is £197.65 million.

Workforce budget spend for Regional Schools Commissioners and RSC regions

Financial Year

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22 [1]

£ million

£4.10

£4.75

£26.35

£31.55

£32.31

£32.07

£34.67

£32.15

[1] forecast as at November 2021.

With regard to the costs set out above, the costs for the National Schools Commissioner, Regional Schools Commissioners and their teams were £4.1 million in financial year 2014-15 and £4.75 million in 2015-16. This was funded from existing departmental resources.

As a result of structural changes within the Department for Education in 2016-17, the Academies Regional Delivery Group (ARDG) was created, which amalgamated the National Schools Commissioner and Regional Schools Commissioners with complementary regional and other functions. Workforce costs for ARDG and its successor, RDD, are therefore not comparable with predecessor structures and organisation.

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the annual budget is for regional schools commissioners; and how that budget is allocated among commissioners.

The annual workforce budgets for the National Schools Commissioner, Regional Schools Commissioners and wider Regional Delivery Directorate (RDD) that support them in their roles is set annually through the internal departmental business planning process. Funding is allocated proportionately amongst commissioners according to the size of region, delivery challenges and staffing requirements. However, the directorate works flexibly and collaboratively to ensure priorities are delivered in an effective and efficient manner.

Since the financial year 2014-15, the overall cost for the National Schools Commissioner, Regional Schools Commissioners and the regional teams that support them is £197.65 million.

Workforce budget spend for Regional Schools Commissioners and RSC regions

Financial Year

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22 [1]

£ million

£4.10

£4.75

£26.35

£31.55

£32.31

£32.07

£34.67

£32.15

[1] forecast as at November 2021.

With regard to the costs set out above, the costs for the National Schools Commissioner, Regional Schools Commissioners and their teams were £4.1 million in financial year 2014-15 and £4.75 million in 2015-16. This was funded from existing departmental resources.

As a result of structural changes within the Department for Education in 2016-17, the Academies Regional Delivery Group (ARDG) was created, which amalgamated the National Schools Commissioner and Regional Schools Commissioners with complementary regional and other functions. Workforce costs for ARDG and its successor, RDD, are therefore not comparable with predecessor structures and organisation.

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, on how many occasions regional schools commissioners have made interventions in each year since their inception in 2014.

Regional Schools Commissioners (RSC) take key operational decisions delegated to them by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and will intervene in schools in the following circumstances:

  • Maintained schools that have been judged inadequate by Ofsted are required to become sponsored academies to receive additional support to secure rapid and sustainable improvement from a strong sponsor. In these circumstances the RSC issues the academy order, matches the school with a suitable sponsor, and agrees at which point the funding agreement can be signed.
  • To commission high quality support for under-performing academies and free schools to improve them quickly.

The below table sets out how many sponsored academies have been opened because of an academy order being issued to a local authority-maintained school having been judged inadequate. It also shows how many academies and free schools have been judged inadequate between academic years 2014/15 and 2021/22 and therefore the number of academies and free schools that have been eligible for intervention over this period. The department’s policy on intervening in inadequate academies is set out in the published schools causing concern guidance.

Source: Get Information About Schools, and Ofsted Official Statistics 2014/15 to 2021/22

Academic Year

Number of sponsored academies that have been opened due to intervention

Number of inadequate academies

2014/2015

/

92

2015/2016

2

71

2016/2017

98

131

2017/2018

139

89

2018/2019

151

92

2019/2020

90

57

2020/2021

96

5

2021/2022

10

0

Total

586

537

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, who holds regional schools commissioners accountable for their performance.

Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) are Senior Civil Servants who act on behalf of my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and are held to account by the National Schools Commissioner. Their performance is managed through the normal and existing service arrangements for Senior Civil Servants. The department publishes annual reports relating to school and academies performance, within which the work of RSCs is included, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dfe-annual-reports.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to educate young people on crypto currencies.

Education on financial matters helps to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information when needed. Pupils receive financial education through the national curriculum for mathematics and citizenship which, for secondary school-aged pupils, includes compulsory content covering the functions and uses of money, financial products and services, and the need to understand financial risk.

Schools have flexibility over how they design their curricula, and can tailor it to the needs of their pupils. The Money and Pensions Service published financial education guidance for primary and secondary schools in England during Talk Money Week (8-12 November 2021), an annual event that encourages people of all ages to talk about money. I provided a supportive foreword for the guidance, which was developed in consultation with financial education experts and is designed to support school leaders and education decision makers to enhance the financial education currently delivered in their schools. The guidance includes links to quality assured resources for schools, including specific content and activities on cryptocurrencies. It also sets out the knowledge and skills pupils need to protect their personal data, critically evaluate online content and identify scams. The guidance is available to view here: https://maps.org.uk/2021/11/11/financial-education-guidance-for-primary-and-secondary-schools-in-england/.

There are also other opportunities across the national curriculum to teach pupils about cryptocurrencies. For example, the computing curriculum teaches the fundamental knowledge and skills that support pupils to make well-informed choices about technology. It covers the principles of e-safety at all key stages, with progression in the content to reflect the different and escalating risks that young people face. The computing curriculum is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study.

The department will continue to work closely with the Money and Pensions Service and other stakeholders such as Her Majesty's Treasury, to support the teaching of financial education to children and young people, including novel financial products.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to (a) encourage more academies to adopt school uniforms and (b) make school uniforms more affordable.

The department sets out in statutory guidance that it strongly encourages schools to have a uniform and recognises the valuable role that uniforms can play in promoting the ethos of a school, setting an appropriate tone for education and providing a sense of belonging and identity.

It is for the governing body of a school (or the academy trust, in the case of academies) to decide whether there should be a school uniform, and if so, what it should be.

The government published statutory guidance on the cost of school uniforms on 19 November 2021, to ensure the cost of school uniforms is reasonable and secures the best value for money for parents. The department’s guidance states that schools should keep the use of branded items to a minimum and should ensure that their supplier arrangements give the highest priority to cost and value for money. The guidance also requires schools to ensure that second-hand uniforms are available for parents to acquire.

The department’s statutory guidance on the cost of school uniform can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-school-uniforms/cost-of-school-uniforms.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to encourage uptake in school sports and physical activities.

The cross-government School Sport and Activity Action Plan (July 2019) aims to ensure that sport and physical activity are an integral part of both the school day and after school activities so that all children can take part in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The government has confirmed its intention to publish an update to the action plan shortly.

In October 2021 the government announced that it will invest nearly £30 million per year to open up school sport facilities in England, as well as to improve the teaching of physical education (PE) at primary school. More detail will be confirmed on this additional investment in due course.

Through the primary PE and sport premium, the government has invested over £1.6 billion of ringfenced funding to primary schools to improve PE and sport since 2013.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress the Government is making on encouraging more girls into STEM careers.

The department recognises the demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills is growing, which is why ensuring that anyone, regardless of their background, can pursue a career in a STEM occupation is a key priority for this government.

We are pleased to see that since 2010, there has been a 26% proportional increase in the number of STEM A level entries from girls in England. In 2020, girls made up just over half of science A level entries (in biology, chemistry and physics), and there was an increase in the number of female students taking both mathematics and further mathematics, by 4.2% and 4.8% respectively. We recognise, however, that there is still some way to go to address the gender gap in physics and the mathematical subjects.

In order to address this, and encourage more young people into STEM subjects and careers, the government is funding informal learning programmes to inspire young people in schools. For example, the STEM Ambassadors scheme is a nationwide network of over 37,000 volunteers representing over 7,000 employers, who provide engaging extracurricular activities for young people to increase their interest in STEM subjects and to raise awareness of the range of careers that STEM qualifications offer. STEM Ambassadors are relatable role models - 57% are under 35, 45% are female and 15% are from UK minority ethnic backgrounds.

Secondary schools are expected to provide pupils with at least one meaningful interaction with employers per pupil per year, with a particular focus on STEM employers. These interactions open young people’s eyes to a range of different career possibilities and challenge stereotypes, as well as helping to prepare them for the workplace. Furthermore, the Careers and Enterprise Company, working with STEM Learning, have launched a series of STEM toolkits to support teachers to link careers to the STEM curriculum.

In September 2020, we began the phased rollout of T Levels - new technical courses for 16-19 year olds which are equivalent to three A levels. A number of T Level subjects now being taught are related to STEM, such as Construction, Digital, Healthcare and Science. T Levels in Engineering and Manufacturing will be taught from September 2022. The content of these courses is designed by relevant employers and other industry experts, ensuring that students leave their course with the skills most needed by STEM employers. We want as many students as possible to be able to take advantage of T Levels – and to challenge any stereotypes which may hold young people back from applying. Our T Level ambassadors showcase a wide range of voices.

Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to receive high quality training and begin a successful career in STEM. There are over 340 employer-designed apprenticeship standards in STEM, including Cyber Security Technician at level 3 and Civil Engineer (degree) at level 6. In the 2020/21 academic year 24% of all apprenticeship starts were in STEM and it is encouraging to see that female representation in STEM apprenticeships is increasing. We are continuing to promote apprenticeships in schools through the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge programme and working with our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network of influential employers to promote best practices in encouraging and retaining more women in STEM apprenticeships.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to help tackle puppy smuggling.

The Government takes the illegal importation of pets seriously. It is an abhorrent trade which causes suffering to animals.

The Government is committed to delivering the manifesto commitment on puppy smuggling. We plan to take forward measures to crackdown on puppy smuggling as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to tackle dog theft.

We understand the devastating impact that the theft of a pet can have. The Government launched a Pet Theft Taskforce in May 2021 in response to concerns about a perceived increase in pet theft during COVID-19 restrictions. The taskforce published its findings and recommendations in September 2021, including the creation of a specific offence. We are making improvements to the cat and dog microchipping regime in England in line with the taskforce’s recommendations. In addition, police forces are working together to better coordinate and share best practice and advice on the steps owners can take to protect their pets.

The hon. Member for Southend West introduced a Pet Abduction Bill on 6 December 2023 and I welcome her interest in improving animal welfare. In accordance with parliamentary convention, the Government will set out its formal position on this Bill when it receives its Second Reading.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will take steps to amend regulations to improve access to waste nutrients for the production of low carbon fertiliser.

Defra is aware of promising technologies to remove nutrients from waste streams however, there are gaps in knowledge on market readiness, environmental impact and fertiliser value. Defra will consider any example brought to its attention where it is believed regulations need to change, and this would apply in this case.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to help increase the (a) adoption and (b) production of low carbon fertiliser.

Defra is committed to promoting the use of less environmentally damaging fertilisers and better nutrient use efficiency. The existing UK regulatory regime for the manufacture and placing of fertilisers on the market in the UK is fragmented and in need of modernisation. It does not cover organic or recycled nutrients, and newer types of fertilisers.

We aim to improve this by putting in place a conformity assessment framework for fertilisers and aim to consult on this later in 2023. The framework should smooth the route to market for new and innovative products which are less polluting to the environment or are less resource intensive in their creation. This should provide farmers with a wider choice of more sustainable fertilisers and will ease the route to market for low carbon fertilisers, therefore providing farmers with more opportunities to adopt these fertilising products.

The framework should valorise fertilisers made from organic materials, opening the market to products that re-use nutrients. The process of implementing new regulations will be iterative as more research is needed into newer fertiliser types before requirements for these products can be drafted into law.

Defra cannot recommend which fertilisers must be used. However we have responsibility for setting parameters to ensure their safety, to ensure that they maximise the use of nutrients, and also to reduce potential losses through emissions from their production through to their use.

Given the continuing high fertiliser prices, it remains a priority that we must work to pioneer new technologies to manufacture more organic-based fertiliser products in future. Where possible we will continue to encourage and support such applications for the development and adoption of these through the Farming Innovation Programme. We are also providing financial support to help farmers make best use of their manures and slurries, to complement inorganic fertilisers through the Farming Investment Fund.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential role of alternatives to fossil fuel dependent fertiliser in ensuring fertiliser availability for the agriculture sector.

Defra is committed to promoting the use of less environmentally damaging fertilisers and better nutrient use efficiency.

The efficient use of organic fertilisers can complement the use of mineral fertilisers, whilst reducing input costs. We know many farmers already use organic fertiliser to complement their nutrient management planning.

Given current fertiliser prices, a priority must be to pioneer new technologies to manufacture more organic-based fertiliser products in future and we will support the development of these through the Farming Innovation Programme. We are providing financial support to help farmers make best use of their manures and slurries, to complement inorganic fertilisers.

We must also look at alternatives to fertiliser, using techniques like nitrogen fixing legumes and clovers. We have therefore announced that the Government will pay farmers, through the Sustainable Farming Incentive, to help them with the costs of sowing nitrogen fixing plants and green manures in their crops - or in advance of their crops - to complement some of their fertiliser requirements.

We aim to streamline current regulation and implement a conformity assessment framework for fertilisers which will valorise fertilisers made from waste materials and provide farmers with a wider choice of more sustainable fertilisers.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to help prevent the placement of electric car charging cables across public footpaths.

The Government recognises that some households without off-street parking could access charging by running cables from their property to a vehicle. However, this can negatively impact other pavement users if done inappropriately and in some cases, breach the Highways Act 1980.

As part of the Plan for Drivers, the Government committed to provide guidance on the use of cross pavement solutions, which safely guide charging cables between a property and on-street vehicle. This will include best practice to local authorities on relevant legislation, permissions and how to consider applications. In addition, the plan committed to expand the Electric Vehicle Chargepoint Grant to trial support for safe cross pavement solutions.

Anthony Browne
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the current average waiting time is for a driving test.

Car practical driving test waiting times are currently at 15.7 weeks (November average).

As at 12 December, there were over 81,000 available car practical test slots to book within the 24-week booking window.

Since April 2021, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has created an extra 595,000 car practical driving tests appointments to help reduce waiting times. Actions already being taken by the DVSA include asking all those qualified to conduct tests but who do not do so as part of their current day job to return to conducting tests, conducting out of hours testing, and asking recently retired driving examiners to return.

To help increase practical driving test availability, the DVSA is recruiting more than 300 driving examiners across Great Britain. The DVSA’s examiner recruitment campaigns continue to be successful but, like many employers, the DVSA is finding the job market extremely competitive. As it moves through each recruitment campaign, the DVSA will continually review and make changes and improvements to its recruitment and selection process, and training courses.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether her Department has reviewed the potential impact of removing vehicle and operator signage from taxis on (a) service accessibility for passengers, (b) the safety of (i) women, (ii) children and (iii) other vulnerable people and (c) consumer confidence.

I refer to the Answer given on Thursday 22 September 2022 to the Parliamentary Question 53392.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
21st Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the removal of vehicle or operator taxi signage on trends in the levels of unlicensed taxi operators active on UK streets.

All taxis and private hire vehicles must be licensed to operate legally. The Government expects licensing authorities to undertake appropriate compliance and enforcement activity to deter illegal plying for hire by unlicensed drivers, and to raise public awareness of the risk of using unlicensed, uninsured and unvetted drivers and vehicles. The Government recently consulted on revised Best Practice Guidance for taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities in England which included proposals on vehicle signage. The responses to this consultation are currently being analysed. The Government’s response to this consultation will be published in due course, along with the final version of the guidance.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
7th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if her Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of charging a flat cost per mile for rail tickets, in the context of the cost of rail travel per mile between Swindon and London.

Distance is just one factor governing a particular rail fare; other factors taken into account include journey time, frequency of service and the historic volume of demand, amongst others.

There are a wide range of fares available to meet different passenger needs, including advance fares. Where advance fares are available, including on journeys between Swindon and London, they will be cheaper than flexible fares such as off-peak tickets.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps have been taken to speed up the processing of driving licence applications and renewals.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham. There may be additional delays in processing more complex transactions, for example if medical investigations are needed. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.

The large majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet specific criteria. More information can be found online here.

12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department has made on tackling the delays in processing driving licence applications and renewals.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham. There may be additional delays in processing more complex transactions, for example if medical investigations are needed. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.

The large majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet specific criteria. More information can be found online here.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the number of international travellers expected to travel to and from the UK over the Christmas period 2021-22 and the consequent demand that is expected to be placed on the private covid-19 testing market.

The Government undertakes regular analysis to monitor estimated passenger demand, including for the Christmas period 2021-22. The Government is also in regular contact with private testing providers about demand and capacity. Based on this engagement, the Department for Health and Social Care is confident that the private testing market has capacity to deliver the necessary tests.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has made an assessment of the potential implications for his Department’s policies of the US National Institutes of Health's decision to acknowledge a causal link between repeated blows to the head and chronic traumatic encephalopathy; and whether the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council has plans to look into this issue.

The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) is a scientific advisory body which provides advice and recommendations to DWP Ministers about the Industrial Injuries Scheme (IIS), of which Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) is a part. IIAC has recently launched an investigation into the potential occupational link between neurodegenerative diseases and professional sportspeople. The DWP will consider any recommendations from IIAC when they are available.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 September 2022 to Question 45528 on Disability: Playgrounds, what steps (a) her Department and (b) Ministerial Disability Champions are taking to track progress on increasing the accessibility of playgrounds; and how that progress is being measured.

I refer my right honourable friend to my answer to question 45528. The Secretary of State for DWP, Chloe Smith, and I remain committed to improving disabled people’s lives and continue to meet colleagues across government to push work in this space forward.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of disability employment rates.

The disability employment rate is 53.0% for the quarter April-June 2022, up 0.6 percentage points from the same quarter in 2021. This rate has steadily risen since 2013, when comparable data collection began, with an overall increase of 9.4 percentage points since 2013.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing claimants who are applying for both Personal Independence Payment and work capability assessment to re-use evidence already provided for one of those claims for the other application.

We recognise that there is scope to improve the way we deliver our disability benefit assessment services. In ‘Shaping Future Support - The Health and Disability Green Paper’, we proposed ways that could make our services easier to access and make our processes simpler, to improve the experience of people using the health and disability benefits system, including ways of offering greater flexibility and simplicity in the way that assessments are delivered. We will respond to the Green Paper consultation with a White Paper later this year.

The Health Transformation Programme (HTP) is modernising Health and Disability benefit services. It is procuring new Functional Assessment Service (FAS) contracts, which will bring together current Health and Disability Assessment Services and Personal Independence Payment assessments under single geographic contracts and provide the foundation for a new integrated Health Assessment Service.

The new claimant-focussed service will provide the opportunity to join up the process by re-using information to improve the claimant experience and reduce the time it takes to make a claim.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department monitors or reviews the quality of entries made by work coaches in a Universal Credit claimant's journal.

Our Jobcentre teams are committed to delivering a quality service to ensure all claimants receive the best possible support to meet their individual circumstances. As part of our service delivery framework, Jobcentre Team Leaders are responsible for monitoring and assuring the quality of services provided to individual claimants through a combination of observation of interviews, feedback, coaching and appraisal. This can include a quality check of any Universal Credit journal messages written by the Work Coach undergoing the observation, as well as other channels of communication with our claimants.

Work Coaches undergo a comprehensive learning journey designed to equip them with the tools, skills and behaviours required to provide a high quality, efficient service. They receive on-going learning in their roles and have access to guidance that explains how to ensure that messages left on a claimant’s journal are clear, easy to understand and meet the right standards.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment her Department has made of the potential implications for its policies of the findings of the Healthwatch publication, Accessible Information Standard: Findings from our evidence review, published in February 2022, on levels of (a) training and (b) awareness of the standard.

NHS England is responsible for the Accessible Information Standard (AIS), and has completed a review of the AIS considering a wide range of evidence to help ensure that the communication needs of people with a disability, impairment or sensory loss are met in health and care provision.

The review considered the effectiveness of the current AIS, how the standard is implemented and enforced in practice, and identified recommendations for improvement. One of the aims of the review was to strengthen assurance of implementation of the AIS, and a self-assessment framework has been developed to support providers of National Health Service and social care services to measure their performance against the AIS and develop improvement action plans to address gaps in implementation.

Following publication of the revised standard in due course, NHS England will continue work to support its implementation with awareness raising, communication and engagement and updated e-learning modules on the AIS to ensure NHS staff are better aware of the standard and their roles and responsibilities in implementing it. NHS England is developing the updated e-learning training modules on the AIS. NHS England has and will continue to work with the voluntary sector and those with lived experience to ensure that the modules are fully accessible, reflective of people’s experience in using services and cover a range of examples across health and adult social care. These actions should support better and more consistent implementation of the standard.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of enabling the NHS to access and share data from social services for assessing for autism.

No specific assessment has been made. On 5 April 2023, NHS England published a national framework and operational guidance for autism assessment services. This guidance will help the National Health Service and local authorities improve autism assessment services and improve the experience for people referred to an autism assessment service. As referenced in the guidance, as part of an assessment process, when feasible, and consent-permitting, it can be useful to speak with professionals who are currently or have recently been in contact with the person, such as professionals working in health and social care, education, the criminal justice system or third sector organisations. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-read/operational-guidance-to-deliver-improved-outcomes-in-all-age-autism-assessment-pathways-guidance-for-integrated-care-boards/

In addition, we expect integrated care boards (ICBs) to have due regard to relevant National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines on autism when commissioning services, including autism assessments. It is the responsibility of ICBs to make available appropriate provision to meet the health and care needs of their local population, in line with these NICE guidelines.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to reduce barriers faced by blind and partially sighted people in accessing health and care information.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Loughborough on 15 December 2023 to Question 5695.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
7th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what specialist service provision the NHS provides for people with (a) psychosis and schizophrenia, (b) eating disorders and (c) bipolar.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed £1 billion of extra funding per year to transform and expand community mental health services. By the end of 2023/24, it is expected that 370,000 adults and older adults with severe mental health problems will be supported within newly transformed models of care in line with the Community Mental Health Framework.

The Community Mental Health Framework is applicable to people irrespective of their diagnosis, aiming to reorganise community mental health services to provide comprehensive holistic care and treatment to give them greater choice and control over their care and support them to live well in their communities.

As part of this new integrated offer, systems are supported to develop specialist services for adult eating disorders and early intervention for psychosis, while the expansion of psychological therapies includes extending the specific treatments people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Therefore, through expansion of community-based services, adults with severe mental health problems will be able to access treatment earlier, and closer to home, leading to better outcomes for them and their families.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on obesity rates among children in the last five years; and when he plans to publish his Department's most recent data on Overweight children.

The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) collects data on the weight status of children aged 4-5 years (Reception) and 10-11 years (Year 6). The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities publishes national and local level data on Fingertips. The following table shows data on national obesity prevalence from the NCMP in the last five years.

Prevalence of obesity (including severe obesity) in England

Year

Reception (%)

Year 6 (%)

2017/18

9.5

20.1

2018/19

9.7

20.2

2019/20

9.9

21.0

2020/21

14.4

25.5

2021/22

10.1

23.4

The most recent NCMP data on overweight children will be published by NHS England on Thursday 19th October 2023. The report will present analysis of height and weight data recorded among children in reception (aged 4-5) and year 6 (aged 10-11) for the school year 2022/23.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many meals per day are provided to children who are admitted to a NHS hospital.

This information is not collected in the format requested.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding is available for children’s cancer in the current financial year; and how much funding has been available for children's cancer in each of the last five financial years.

The information requested is not held centrally. National Health Service commissioners receive allocations for a range of services and specific funding for children’s cancer services is not recorded separately.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the current provision of play specialists is (a) across the NHS and (b) specifically for children with cancer.

The information requested is not held centrally. However, NHS England has established a taskforce with stakeholders, including the Starlight Foundation, National Association for Hospital Play Specialists. This group aims to develop guidance on play services for National Health Service providers and recognised practice standards. It will also explore options for the regulation of health play specialists.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that consumers have accurate information to make informed decisions when purchasing covid-19 testing services; and what measures the Government plan to implement to protect consumers from potential scammers operating in the covid-19 testing market.

In order to help consumers chose a reputable private provider for testing services, we have provided guidance which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing

We also monitor issues raised by the public and reports from other key regulatory and oversight bodies. If we become aware that a provider is not meeting the required minimum standards and it is not corrected, we can remove their listing from GOV.UK. Where a private provider’s activities pose a potential risk to public safety, we will refer them to the appropriate enforcement body, depending on the infringement. Where necessary we will support regulatory bodies undertaking further investigation of a provider and support any legal actions or interventions.

Consumers who have been a victim of fraud can make a report directly to Action Fraud, Citizens Advice and the police. Any report received directly to UK Health Security Agency will be reviewed and intelligence will be shared with the appropriate authority.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Competitions and Market Authority publication entitled Advice on PCR travel tests, published 10 September, what plans he has to implement the recommendations.

We are considering and already implementing many of the Competitions and Market Authority’s recommendations. We have established a test validation and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service accreditation process, which ensures that providers meet minimum standards before they are able to enter the market. We also continually monitor the pricing situation for travel testing, carrying out daily price checks on listings in addition to regular audits and reviews.

16th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what steps his Department is taking to support disabled children abroad.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ambition is for all children with disabilities to realise their right to education, equipped with the foundational skills and knowledge to lead fulfilling lives, and to learn in an environment that is inclusive, accessible, safe from all forms of violence, and free from discrimination.

Through the FCDO's Disability Inclusion and Rights Strategy and Girls' Education Action Plan, we have committed to prioritise interventions that tackle the barriers that children with disabilities experience in accessing quality education.

The Girls' Education Challenge has supported 154,386 girls with disabilities to attend school and the programme has provided over 5,000 assistive devices to learners who need them and addressed stigma and discrimination at community and school level to make it easier for children with disabilities to access schools.

Our Disability Inclusive Development programme is testing 'what works' in providing children with disabilities quality inclusive education in Nepal, Nigeria and Tanzania. The programme has already supported the education of 1,684 children with disabilities and the lessons learnt are being shared across FCDO's network of education programmes as well as being published as a global public good.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
16th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has made an estimate of the total value spent by his Department supporting educational opportunities worldwide in each of the last five years.

The UK is one of the most generous global aid donors, spending nearly £12.8 billion in aid in 2022. Education is an important international development priority. From 2018 to 2022, the FCDO (including former DfID) is estimated to have spent £2.5 billion in bilateral education ODA. The UK is estimated to have spent £906 million in multilateral education ODA from 2018 to 2021. UK support to education also extends beyond financing, to include country partnerships; influential research and expertise; and encouraging global financing from other partners.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many games studios have benefited from Video Games Tax Relief since its introduction.

HMRC publishes information on the number of companies that claim Video Games Tax Relief on an annual basis. The latest figures include data up to the 2021-2022 tax year.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/creative-industries-statistics-august-2023.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme on investment in early-stage British-owned businesses.

At Autumn Statement 2023, the Government published the report of an independent evaluation of the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), conducted in 2022. The evaluation explored the impact of the SEIS in meeting its policy objectives and found evidence that it was appropriately designed to mobilise additional investment in start-ups and early-stage companies from private investors, providing those businesses with valuable funding for business development and innovation that would otherwise be difficult to find from other sources. The full report can be found here: Evaluation of Venture Capital Schemes - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the impact of Video Games Tax Relief on inward investment into the UK video games industry.

HMRC commissioned an independent evaluation of Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) which included an assessment of the impact on inward investment. The findings can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/video-game-tax-relief-evaluation.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the impact on Ireland's competitiveness of its higher rate of video games tax relief at 32 per cent; and whether he has plans to accept the recommendation of The Independent Game Developers’ Association to increase the rate of video games tax relief in the UK.

The Government recognises the valuable economic and cultural contribution of the video games industry. The Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) has supported £4.4 billion of UK expenditure on 1,640 games since its introduction in 2014.

The Government regularly receives proposals for changes to tax reliefs. When considering changes, the Government must ensure they provide support to businesses in a fair way and that taxpayer money is effectively targeted. An uplift in the rate of VGTR is not currently under consideration. However, the Government keeps all tax reliefs under review.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the importance of the Shortage Occupation List to the UK video games industry.

The Government agrees with the view of the independent and expert Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) that the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) is only of "negligible benefit" to the UK video games industry – namely reduced visa fees. The industry can use the Skilled Worker route, regardless of whether its jobs are on the SOL.

The main benefit of the SOL is in providing a discount to the general salary threshold for the Skilled Worker route, currently set at £26,200 per year. The going rate for ‘Programmers and software development professionals (Standard Occupational Code: 2136)’ is above the current general threshold of £26,200 at £34,000 per year. Occupations with going rates above the general threshold would not benefit from this discount, as Skilled Workers would need to be paid the higher of the general threshold or the going rate for that occupation.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of permitting Tier 2 ICT visa holders, who had switched to a Skilled Worker visa, to be allowed to use their time spent on a Tier 2 ICT visas as a route to settlement in the UK.

It is Home Office policy that entry and stay under routes designed to accommodate intra-company transfers is temporary and should not lead to settlement. Consequently, leave granted to ICTs does not count towards settlement if the holder switches into another economic migration route. The ICT routes facilitate mobility of key staff in accordance with our trade commitments and are not intended to give access to the UK labour market long term.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to protect older and more vulnerable people from rogue traders.

The Government recognises the serious risks presented by scams and fraud and the huge financial and emotional impact they can have on victims. This is why the Home Office is working with other departments, law enforcement and the private sector to better protect the public and businesses from fraud, reduce the impact on victims, and ensure fraudsters have no space to operate.

This includes the development of a new Fraud Action Plan, the relaunch of the Joint Fraud Taskforce and publication of charters with the retail banking, telecommunications and accountancy sectors. As part of the Police Uplift Programme to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by 2023, we have prioritised more investigators in the City of London Police to fulfil their role as a world class fraud specialist force.

We have also channelled additional resource into the Regional Organised Crime Unit network to work on a host of serious and organised crime threats including fraud. The Government is also reviewing asset recovery powers to ensure the architects of such scams cannot profit from their crimes and intends to bring forward legislation on crypto assets when parliamentary time allows.

We continue to encourage the public to report fraud to Action Fraud and to forward any suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk and suspicious texts to 7726, free of charge.

This information is being used by the City of London Police alongside crime reports to identify, disrupt and stop fraudsters. Any contact with rogue traders should also be reported to Trading Standards at

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to protect older and more vulnerable people from online scams.

The Government recognises the serious risks presented by scams and fraud and the huge financial and emotional impact they can have on victims. This is why the Home Office is working with other departments, law enforcement and the private sector to better protect the public and businesses from fraud, reduce the impact on victims, and ensure fraudsters have no space to operate.

This includes the development of a new Fraud Action Plan, the relaunch of the Joint Fraud Taskforce and publication of charters with the retail banking, telecommunications and accountancy sectors. As part of the Police Uplift Programme to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by 2023, we have prioritised more investigators in the City of London Police to fulfil their role as a world class fraud specialist force.

We have also channelled additional resource into the Regional Organised Crime Unit network to work on a host of serious and organised crime threats including fraud. The Government is also reviewing asset recovery powers to ensure the architects of such scams cannot profit from their crimes and intends to bring forward legislation on crypto assets when parliamentary time allows.

We continue to encourage the public to report fraud to Action Fraud and to forward any suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk and suspicious texts to 7726, free of charge.

This information is being used by the City of London Police alongside crime reports to identify, disrupt and stop fraudsters. Any contact with rogue traders should also be reported to Trading Standards at

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government is developing plans to protect investors from potential crypto currency scams.

The Government recognises the serious risks presented by scams and fraud and the huge financial and emotional impact they can have on victims. This is why the Home Office is working with other departments, law enforcement and the private sector to better protect the public and businesses from fraud, reduce the impact on victims, and ensure fraudsters have no space to operate.

This includes the development of a new Fraud Action Plan, the relaunch of the Joint Fraud Taskforce and publication of charters with the retail banking, telecommunications and accountancy sectors. As part of the Police Uplift Programme to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by 2023, we have prioritised more investigators in the City of London Police to fulfil their role as a world class fraud specialist force.

We have also channelled additional resource into the Regional Organised Crime Unit network to work on a host of serious and organised crime threats including fraud. The Government is also reviewing asset recovery powers to ensure the architects of such scams cannot profit from their crimes and intends to bring forward legislation on crypto assets when parliamentary time allows.

We continue to encourage the public to report fraud to Action Fraud and to forward any suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk and suspicious texts to 7726, free of charge.

This information is being used by the City of London Police alongside crime reports to identify, disrupt and stop fraudsters. Any contact with rogue traders should also be reported to Trading Standards at

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will make an assessment of the impact of changes to permitted development rights for converting commercial buildings to residential use on local high streets; and if he will publish the findings of that assessment.

Permitted development rights for change of use to residential are making an important contribution to the delivery of new homes across the country, many of which may not have otherwise come forward through the planning system. We will continue to keep the rights under review.

29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will take steps to create additional guidance on accessible play equipment in the National Model Design Code, published on 20 July 2021.

The Government has set a clear vision to improve the everyday lives of disabled people as set out in the National Disability Strategy, to ensure that disability is not a barrier to people living full, independent lives where they can reach their full potential.

The Government’s guidance on creating well-designed places – the National Design Guide and the National Model Design Code are both part of the suite of national planning practice guidance that supports the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The NPPF encourages the creation of places that are safe, inclusive and accessible and which promote health and well-being. In support of this, the National Model Design Code encourages the design of children's play areas to be inclusive and accessible. This document is intended to provide broad design principles. It is not within the scope of the document to provide expert advice on accessible play equipment.

There is independent and voluntary best practice guidance in the form of British and European standards on inclusive built environments including play areas and playgrounds, and for children’s play equipment. BS 8300-1:2018, BS EN 17210:2021 and BS EN 1176:2017. Their status is independent of government guidance. Local authorities can choose to use these voluntary best practice standards.

13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many people in Swindon have taken part in the Help to Buy scheme.

Help to Buy Equity Loan has helped over 361,000 households buy a new-build home from its launch on 1 April 2013 until the end of March 2022. There have been 2,593 completions using the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme in Swindon since 1 April 2013.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many people have taken part in the Help to Buy scheme.

Equity Loan supports the Government's commitment to increasing home ownership. The scheme offers an equity loan of up to 20% (up to 40% in London) of the purchase price of a new-build home.

Equity Loan has helped over 361,000 households buy a new-build home from its launch in spring 2013 until the end of March 2022.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
22nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what progress his Department has made on building affordable homes.

The provision of affordable housing is a key element of the Government's plan to build more homes, tackle homelessness and provide aspiring homeowners with a step onto the housing ladder. The Government has committed an £11.5 billion taxpayer-funded grant towards the supply of new affordable homes.

Since 2010, we have delivered over 598,900 new affordable homes, including over 419,200 affordable homes for rent, of which, over 157,200 homes are for social rent’.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the guidance entitled National Model Design Code: Part 2 Guidance Notes, published by his Department in June 2021, how his Department defines the terms (a) inclusive and (b) accessible in the context of the creation of play friendly spaces that are accessible and inclusive for all.

The Government's National Planning Policy Framework encourages the creation of places that are safe, inclusive and accessible and which promote health and well-being. In support of this, the National Model Design Code, which guides the production of local design codes, encourages the design of children's play areas to be inclusive and accessible.

Local planning authorities are responsible for the achievement of these objectives locally and can influence the development of play areas through their local planning policies and decisions.

We aim to review the national planning and design guidance periodically, in consultation with relevant organisations.

The department does not hold data on the number and proportion of playgrounds that are accessible to disabled children in England.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of working with representatives of parents of disabled children to develop new guidance for local authorities on the creation of (a) accessible and (b) inclusive playgrounds.

The Government's National Planning Policy Framework encourages the creation of places that are safe, inclusive and accessible and which promote health and well-being. In support of this, the National Model Design Code, which guides the production of local design codes, encourages the design of children's play areas to be inclusive and accessible.

Local planning authorities are responsible for the achievement of these objectives locally and can influence the development of play areas through their local planning policies and decisions.

We aim to review the national planning and design guidance periodically, in consultation with relevant organisations.

The department does not hold data on the number and proportion of playgrounds that are accessible to disabled children in England.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the guidance entitled National Model Design Code: Part 2 Guidance Notes, published by his Department in June 2021, on the creation of inclusive and accessible playgrounds.

The Government's National Planning Policy Framework encourages the creation of places that are safe, inclusive and accessible and which promote health and well-being. In support of this, the National Model Design Code, which guides the production of local design codes, encourages the design of children's play areas to be inclusive and accessible.

Local planning authorities are responsible for the achievement of these objectives locally and can influence the development of play areas through their local planning policies and decisions.

We aim to review the national planning and design guidance periodically, in consultation with relevant organisations.

The department does not hold data on the number and proportion of playgrounds that are accessible to disabled children in England.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many and what proportion of playgrounds are accessible to disabled children in England.

The Government's National Planning Policy Framework encourages the creation of places that are safe, inclusive and accessible and which promote health and well-being. In support of this, the National Model Design Code, which guides the production of local design codes, encourages the design of children's play areas to be inclusive and accessible.

Local planning authorities are responsible for the achievement of these objectives locally and can influence the development of play areas through their local planning policies and decisions.

We aim to review the national planning and design guidance periodically, in consultation with relevant organisations.

The department does not hold data on the number and proportion of playgrounds that are accessible to disabled children in England.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the Levelling Up Parks Fund includes provisions to help ensure that parks are more inclusive for disabled children.

The UK Government launched the £9 million Levelling Up Parks Fund (LUPF) on 1 August. In England, 85 eligible local authorities have opted in to receive funding to deliver new or significantly refurbished green spaces in the neighbourhoods most deprived of green spaces.

The Fund will increase access to quality green spaces in some of our most deprived villages, towns and cities. It is for local leaders to decide how they can best do that in their neighbourhoods, considering the needs and views of local people. Where they decide that improved facilities for disabled children falls within their local priorities, the funding can be used for renovating parks to improve their inclusivity.

Local authorities are also subject to the public sector equality duty, which requires them to consider the needs and disadvantages faced by people with protected characteristics, which includes disabled users of their green spaces.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the Levelling Up Parks Fund on making parks more inclusive for disabled children.

The UK Government launched the £9 million Levelling Up Parks Fund (LUPF) on 1 August. In England, 85 eligible local authorities have opted in to receive funding to deliver new or significantly refurbished green spaces in the neighbourhoods most deprived of green spaces.

The Fund will increase access to quality green spaces in some of our most deprived villages, towns and cities. It is for local leaders to decide how they can best do that in their neighbourhoods, considering the needs and views of local people. Where they decide that improved facilities for disabled children falls within their local priorities, the funding can be used for renovating parks to improve their inclusivity.

Local authorities are also subject to the public sector equality duty, which requires them to consider the needs and disadvantages faced by people with protected characteristics, which includes disabled users of their green spaces.