Karin Smyth Portrait

Karin Smyth

Labour - Bristol South


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 21st September 2021
09:25
Health and Care Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
21 Sep 2021, 9:25 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 21st September 2021
14:00
Health and Care Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
21 Sep 2021, 2 p.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 23rd September 2021
11:30
Health and Care Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
23 Sep 2021, 11:30 a.m. View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 23rd September 2021
14:00
Health and Care Bill - Debate
Subject: Further to consider the Bill
23 Sep 2021, 2 p.m. View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Protecting the Public and Justice for Victims
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 0
Speeches
Thursday 16th September 2021
Health and Care Bill (Seventh sitting)

I agree, and we will probably all have examples through the primary care networks of practices that were not in …

Written Answers
Tuesday 17th August 2021
Mental Health Services: Young People
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from Ipsos MORI, 3 Thomas More Square, London EW1 1YW, for surveys. All fees donated to Bristol South Labour …
EDM signed
Tuesday 31st January 2017
VISIT TO PARLIAMENT BY PRESIDENT TRUMP
That this House deplores recent actions taken by US President Donald J Trump, including his Executive Order on Immigration and …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 4th March 2020
International Development (Women’s Sanitary Products) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report on the use of official development assistance to increase the …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Karin Smyth has voted in 236 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Karin Smyth Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Edward Argar (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
(16 debate interactions)
Brandon Lewis (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
(14 debate interactions)
Robin Walker (Conservative)
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
(13 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(61 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(13 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(12 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Karin Smyth's debates

Bristol South 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).

Karin Smyth has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Karin Smyth

30th January 2017
Karin Smyth signed this EDM on Tuesday 31st January 2017

VISIT TO PARLIAMENT BY PRESIDENT TRUMP

Tabled by: Stephen Doughty (Labour (Co-op) - Cardiff South and Penarth)
That this House deplores recent actions taken by US President Donald J Trump, including his Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees, and notably his comments on torture and women; notes the historical significance and honour that comes with an invitation to address both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall or …
206 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Feb 2017)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 134
Scottish National Party: 49
Independent: 11
Liberal Democrat: 7
The Independent Group for Change: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Plaid Cymru: 2
Crossbench: 1
Green Party: 1
Non-affiliated: 1
9th June 2016
Karin Smyth signed this EDM on Wednesday 15th June 2016

150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CREATION OF THE POSITION OF COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL

Tabled by: Meg Hillier (Labour (Co-op) - Hackney South and Shoreditch)
That this House commemorates the 150th anniversary of the creation of the position of Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), an Officer of the House, resulting from the passage of the Exchequer and Audit Act 1866; notes that Act, which entrusted the C&AG with responsibility for auditing the financial accounts produced …
28 signatures
(Most recent: 13 Oct 2016)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 13
Conservative: 7
Scottish National Party: 4
Independent: 2
Liberal Democrat: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Karin Smyth's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Karin Smyth, 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.


Karin Smyth has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Karin Smyth has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Karin Smyth has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


264 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Right hon. Member for East Hampshire, representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what the timetable is for the publication of the Strategic Review on Renewal and Restoration.

The Sponsor Body has been analysing various options as part of its Strategic Review. Engagement with Parliamentary bodies on this is ongoing, and the Review analysis will be published in due course. Meanwhile, the Programme continues its work on developing the Outline Business Case, including the vital surveys of the building's condition.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the UN Report The Impact of Covid 19 on Women; and what steps she is taking to in response to that report's findings that the covid-19 outbreak has had a greater negative economic impact on women, has led to an increase in unpaid care work, and has led to a rise in gender-based violence.

This Government is working tirelessly to support people impacted by COVID-19, including women.

The UN Report has highlighted some key issues that women are facing globally as a result of this pandemic. To respond to these challenges, we have taken unprecedented steps to support lives and livelihoods, including increasing the generosity of Universal Credit, introducing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and made changes to ensure people do not miss out on parental leave, childcare support or carer’s allowance. We have also been clear that those with caring responsibilities (including childcare) can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will continue until October. We have also engaged extensively with a wide variety of key stakeholders to inform our work in this area, including the Fawcett Society, Equally Ours, a network of UK equal opportunities organisations, the UK Civil Society Women's Alliance, and small women’s organisations. The cultural shift in flexible working for all that we’ve seen in recent months can and must be part of how we build back better after the crisis.

Gendered violence of any kind is unacceptable, which is why we announced an extra £76 million to support the most vulnerable – including survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. This is in addition to the £2 million made available by the Home Office to help bolster domestic abuse helplines and online services, to ensure that support continues to be available for victims. Despite lockdown regulations, we made clear that anyone at risk of domestic abuse could still leave their home and go somewhere they feel safe. The Home Office is running an awareness campaign - #YouAreNotAlone - to signpost victims to the support services available.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what estimate she has made of the number of young people under the age of 18 charged with air weapons offences.

The CPS does not maintain a central record of the age of defendants charged with offences relating to air weapons. This information could only be obtained by an examination of CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Michael Ellis
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many air weapons offences there were in each year since 2014-15.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
9th Feb 2021
What plans he has to promote a green recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

We are delivering on our commitment to build back greener. The Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution will create long-term advantage for the UK in low-carbon technologies and services. It will support up to 250,000 green jobs, levelling up regions across the UK, and reinvigorate our industrial heartlands. The Plan will mobilise £12 billion of Government investment to unlock three times as much private sector investment by 2030.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 2 July 2020 to Question 64958 on Females: Coronavirus, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the cultural shift in flexible working for all during the covid-19 outbreak is embedded in future workforce practices.

The Government is clear about the benefits of flexible working for employers and their employees.

Since Covid-19 measures were introduced many more people have been working from home with many businesses rapidly adapting to remote working, using new technology and finding new ways of working. As we move beyond the current situation we are keen to do more to promote flexible working in all its forms.

All employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer have the right to request Flexible Working. In our manifesto we committed to take this further and we will be looking at this in light of COVID.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to ensure that Local Industrial Strategies developed by devolved authorities have targeted plans in place to improve skills and access to jobs in areas with high deprivation.

The Local Industrial Strategies which have been published to date are based on robust evidence, allowing places to make the most of their distinctive strengths, address their weaknesses, and maximise their potential contribution to UK productivity. Local Industrial Strategies have a strong skills focus and are supported by analysis by locally led Skills Advisory Panels (SAPs), to which Government has given each £75,000 funding for the 2020/2021 financial year. SAPs help places to identify local skills priorities based on analysis of the local area, and agree how these will be met through local education and training provision.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on facilitating the safe re-opening of (a) gymnastics and (b) trampolining centres in England as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active and the government is committed to reopening facilities as soon as it is safe to do so. The government has announced that indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities would remain closed but since 4 July other indoor facilities, including some indoor games, recreation and certain entertainment venues have reopened.

The Secretary of State has established a task force to work with the sport and leisure sector to help them become COVID-secure and re-open as soon as possible. As with all aspects of the government’s response to COVID-19, we will be guided by public health considerations to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Association of Colleges survey which found that three quarters of 16 to 18 year olds are performing below normal expectations, as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking in response to that matter.

We are currently looking at a wide range of proposals that will support education recovery across all age groups, working with the Education Recovery Commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins. The department is working closely with the Association of Colleges and other sector representative bodies to develop these proposals.

I am meeting with the Association of Colleges very soon and will be discussing the findings from their survey.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department plans to take to increase the number of teachers required to deliver the measures outlined in the Skills for Jobs.

The reforms set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper cannot succeed without outstanding teachers and teaching. The measures announced in the Skills for Jobs white paper come with a total investment of over £65 million in financial year 2021-22, allowing us to deliver greater support for teacher recruitment, retention, and development.

As set out in the white paper, we will launch a national recruitment campaign for teachers in further education (FE) settings and will strengthen Initial Teacher Education so that it is based on clear employer-led standards. We will also continue to offer financial support for FE teacher training in priority subjects and our Taking Teaching Further programme will continue to help industry experts retrain as FE teachers.

In addition to our continuing T Level Professional Development programme, we will also increase the provision of high-quality professional development, including early career and post-COVID-19 support for online and a mixture of remote and face-to-face teaching. We will also facilitate a stronger relationship between industry and education and training providers through the introduction of a new national Workforce and Industry Exchange programme.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve the quality of traineeships.

We know that traineeships have significant positive outcomes for young people. 66% of trainees progressed into work, an apprenticeship or further learning in 2018/19 academic year, the year after they completed their traineeship.

We are supporting the largest ever expansion of traineeships, providing funding for an additional 30,000 places in 2020/21 academic year, to ensure that more young people have access to high-quality training. We have extended the £1,000 incentive payments for employers who offer traineeship work placement opportunities to July 2022. We are also providing an additional £126 million to create a further 43,000 places in 2021/22 academic year.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak we have also introduced flexibilities to enable traineeships to support more young people into work wherever possible. These include extending the maximum duration from 6 to 12 months and extending the programme eligibility to include young people with level 3 qualifications who require support to access an apprenticeship or other employment.

We are working with employers to develop new traineeships which will provide young people with a tailored springboard into their chosen industries. From May 2021 we will start to deliver the first ever traineeships developed alongside trade bodies and employers specifically for construction and rail, with further sectors to follow in the summer. These traineeships will be aligned to apprenticeship standards and will significantly increase the opportunities for young people to progress into apprenticeships or other employment.

To help improve traineeship quality and share best practice, we run provider webinars through the Association of Colleges and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers. We have introduced one-to-one meetings with providers to discuss their programmes and achievements with them.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the Association of Colleges' proposal that his Department adopt a business case approach in determining a provider's ability to deliver 90 per cent of their adult education provision.

We are lowering the reconciliation threshold for Education and Skills Funding Agency grant funded Adult Education Budget (AEB) adult skills, including non-formula funded community learning and 19-24 traineeships, and Advanced Learner Loan Bursary fund providers for 2020 to 2021, from 97% and 100% respectively to 90%.

Our primary aim is to support providers to continue to deliver as much quality provision as possible, including above the 90% threshold, whether that be face to face where permitted, online or otherwise remotely, and including through subcontracting (for AEB-funded provision only) where that is in line with our subcontracting conditions set out in the rules and contracts.

We acknowledge the situation is still difficult for providers but equally we know that many providers have been able to deliver very successfully remotely during lockdown and the return to face to face learning should enhance further providers’ ability to deliver.

We are announcing this change now, to help providers plan their provision better for the remainder of the 2020/21 academic year.

In areas where the AEB has been devolved, Mayoral Combined Authorities or the Greater London Authority are responsible for considering any provider flexibilities in their areas.

For those providers who are eligible and are at risk of insolvency, they would be referred to the Insolvency Regime or emergency funding process.

We are monitoring the situation carefully and, in particular, if there are providers that may need further support.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the ability of colleges to be able to offer 90 per cent of adult education during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are lowering the reconciliation threshold for Education and Skills Funding Agency grant funded Adult Education Budget (AEB) adult skills, including non-formula funded community learning and 19-24 traineeships, and Advanced Learner Loan Bursary fund providers for 2020 to 2021, from 97% and 100% respectively to 90%.

Our primary aim is to support providers to continue to deliver as much quality provision as possible, including above the 90% threshold, whether that be face to face where permitted, online or otherwise remotely, and including through subcontracting (for AEB-funded provision only) where that is in line with our subcontracting conditions set out in the rules and contracts.

We acknowledge the situation is still difficult for providers but equally we know that many providers have been able to deliver very successfully remotely during lockdown and the return to face to face learning should enhance further providers’ ability to deliver.

We are announcing this change now, to help providers plan their provision better for the remainder of the 2020/21 academic year.

In areas where the AEB has been devolved, Mayoral Combined Authorities or the Greater London Authority are responsible for considering any provider flexibilities in their areas.

For those providers who are eligible and are at risk of insolvency, they would be referred to the Insolvency Regime or emergency funding process.

We are monitoring the situation carefully and, in particular, if there are providers that may need further support.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of adult education funding for colleges facing financial difficulties following the covid-19 outbreak.

We are lowering the reconciliation threshold for Education and Skills Funding Agency grant funded Adult Education Budget (AEB) adult skills, including non-formula funded community learning and 19-24 traineeships, and Advanced Learner Loan Bursary fund providers for 2020 to 2021, from 97% and 100% respectively to 90%.

Our primary aim is to support providers to continue to deliver as much quality provision as possible, including above the 90% threshold, whether that be face to face where permitted, online or otherwise remotely, and including through subcontracting (for AEB-funded provision only) where that is in line with our subcontracting conditions set out in the rules and contracts.

We acknowledge the situation is still difficult for providers but equally we know that many providers have been able to deliver very successfully remotely during lockdown and the return to face to face learning should enhance further providers’ ability to deliver.

We are announcing this change now, to help providers plan their provision better for the remainder of the 2020/21 academic year.

In areas where the AEB has been devolved, Mayoral Combined Authorities or the Greater London Authority are responsible for considering any provider flexibilities in their areas.

For those providers who are eligible and are at risk of insolvency, they would be referred to the Insolvency Regime or emergency funding process.

We are monitoring the situation carefully and, in particular, if there are providers that may need further support.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has had discussions with the Department for (a) Work and Pensions and the (b) Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the steps required to improve accountability in the further education system in order to meet local need.

We are having regular conversations with The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on the further education reforms we set out in the skills for jobs white paper, where we described our plans to shift the accountability system towards focussing on meeting local and national skills need and giving employers a stronger role in shaping local skills provision through new employer-led plans. We have been having these conversations at official and ministerial level. We have committed to consulting on our proposals on accountability in the spring and will be engaging on the detail with other government departments, including DWP and BEIS, before launching the consultation.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the reduction in apprenticeship starts at Levels 2 and 3 on social mobility in deprived areas.

We want to ensure that more people from disadvantaged backgrounds can undertake apprenticeships, particularly those that offer higher wage returns and progression opportunities, and we continue to look at how the programme is supporting those from deprived areas.

Employers decide which apprenticeships they offer and when in order to address their skills needs. High-quality apprenticeships at levels 2 and 3 remain an important part of our programme, supporting people from all backgrounds to gain the skills they need to begin or progress in their career. In the first half of 2020/21 academic year, there were 110,500 apprenticeship starts at levels 2 and 3 - over two-thirds of all starts in this period.

We are supporting more people from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds to access apprenticeships through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network of over 85 employers. The Network promotes best practice in recruiting and supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds. In addition, our Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge programme supports schools across England to provide students from diverse backgrounds with information on apprenticeships.

Smaller employers play an important role in providing apprenticeship opportunities across the country, particularly for young people and those in deprived areas. To support more smaller employers to offer apprenticeships all SMEs can now reserve funding for up to 10 new apprenticeship starts in 2021-22 financial year. Employers of all sizes can also benefit from the increased incentive payment of £3000 for taking on an apprentice as a new employee.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are also providing a range of support to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds access high-quality training to develop the skills, experience, and confidence to obtain an apprenticeship. We are supporting the largest-ever expansion of traineeships, providing funding for an additional 30,000 places in 2020/21 academic year, and we are working with the Department for Work and Pensions to enable Kickstart placements to turn into apprenticeships where that is the right thing for the employer and the young person. We have made a special provision to allow employers taking on Kickstarters as apprentices to be eligible for the incentive payment, supporting a pathway between the schemes.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the T-level roll out for 2021-22 on social mobility in deprived areas.

T Levels are new, gold standard qualifications that, when fully rolled out, will boost access to high-quality technical education for thousands of young people so they can progress to the next level, whether that is getting a job, going on to further study or an apprenticeship. Designed by over 250 leading employers, T Levels will have real currency in the labour market and help more young people from all backgrounds to access skilled work.

From September 2021, over 100 providers situated across the country will deliver T Levels and we have ensured they are represented in Opportunity Areas. The rollout of T Levels will continue with all 24 subjects available by 2023. T Levels started in September 2020, so students have yet to complete their courses. The department has an evaluation programme in place to assess the impact of T Levels, which will include consideration of the impact on disadvantaged students and groups, but it will take some years to assess the full impact of the programme for disadvantaged students and for social mobility.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with Amey on increasing the number of apprenticeships at their central Bristol office.

Apprenticeships are more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need. To help employers offer new apprenticeships we have increased the level of incentive payments. Employers will be able to claim £3,000 for each apprentice they take on as a new employee between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 under the government’s Plan for Jobs. It is encouraging that employers continue to see the value apprentices can bring to their businesses; as of 3 March employers had so far claimed incentive payments for 34,810 apprentices.

Officials engage regularly with Amey to support the growth of their apprenticeship programmes across all areas of their operations and to help them make the most of the wider Plan for Jobs offer.

From May, we will start to deliver the first ever rail traineeships, developed alongside the National Skills Academy for Rail, trade bodies and employers, which will provide a progression route into apprenticeships and jobs in the sector.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to allocate catch-up funding to further education colleges due to the covid-19 outbreak in the 2021-22 academic year.

We recognise that the disruption that COVID-19 has caused in education settings has had a huge impact on children and young people’s learning.

Overall, the government has committed to a catch-up package worth £1 billion. This includes a ‘Catch-Up Premium’ worth a total of £650 million to support schools to make up for lost teaching time.

The £1 billion catch-up package also includes the £350 million National Tutoring Programme, which includes £96 million for a 16-19 Tuition Fund for the 2020-21 academic year to enable further education and sixth form colleges, school sixth forms and other 16-19 providers of further education to provide small group tuition for students aged 16-19 to help them catch-up.

We are also providing a further £300 million for tutoring, building on the existing £350 million. This funding will support a range of catch-up efforts, including those to support colleges, sixth forms and other FE providers to arrange high quality tuition, building on the £96 million provided last year. Further details will be shared in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of public sector organisations have met the public sector apprentice target in each year since the target was introduced.

Public sector bodies with 250 or more staff in England have a target to employ an average of at least 2.3% of their staff as new apprentice starts over the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2021. While the target period is divided into 4 reporting periods lasting a year each, the regulations state that the target will be measured as an average over the full 4-year target period. As such, we cannot determine which organisations have or have not met the target until the final returns for the 2020-21 reporting period have been made later this year.

The latest public sector apprenticeship statistics cover the first 3 years of the target. The target-monitoring data returns that have been submitted so far by individual organisations are published via the following link: https://content.explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/api/download/apprenticeships-and-traineeships/2020-21/ancillary/e931cffc-3aab-4ce6-366a-08d8b2fbc21f.

This data shows that, of the 865 public sector organisations that submitted returns in the latest 2019-20 reporting period (and have been included in national aggregates), 99 (11.4%) had employed, on average, at least 2.3% of staff as new apprenticeship starts over the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2020.

The percentage above has been calculated based only on those organisations that made a return in the latest reporting period (2019-20).

The average percentage of staff employed as new apprenticeship starts in each organisation is calculated across all the returns made by that organisation over the target period. Those that have not submitted in each of the 3 years have an average based just on the returns that have been made.

Not all public sector organisations are in the scope of the target (for instance, those with headcounts of fewer than 250 employees are exempt).

Additionally, in their returns, public bodies provide self-reported information on the employment period and headcount relating to the target. The onus is on individual bodies to be accountable for their programme and to publish this information independently as well as report progress to the department. The underlying data for the associated statistical releases exactly replicates the information supplied by public sector bodies. As such, the accuracy of these submissions cannot be completely verified in all aspects.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many nursing (a) apprenticeship starts and (b) apprentices there were in 2019-20.

There were 82,200 apprenticeship starts in the health, public services, and care sector subject area in the 2019/20 academic year in England. The data for this can be accessed here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships/2019-20.

We want to increase the number of nursing apprenticeships and now have a complete apprentice pathway, from entry level to postgraduate advanced clinical practice in nursing. This will support people from all backgrounds to enter a nursing career in the NHS.

The number of apprenticeship starts and participating apprentices in the 2019/20 academic year on the Registered Nurse and Nursing Associate apprenticeship standards are shown in the table below:

Apprenticeship starts in 2019/20

Apprenticeship participation in 2019/20

Registered Nurse – degree

940

2,080

Nursing associate

3,620

8,370

Notes:

(1) Data source is the Individualised Learner Record.

(2) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

(3) There are different versions for both of these standards. These have been combined to give a single total for 2019/20.

(4) Participation is the count of funded learners that participated at any point during the year.


We are working closely with employers, Health Education England and ministers in the Department of Health and Social Care to make sure that the NHS is fully supported to recruit apprentices, both in nursing and a range of other occupations.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that further education colleges receive a further allocation of laptops.

For students in further education across England, we have extended the Get Help with Technology service to provide support with devices and connectivity. This forms part of a £400 million investment, including an additional £100 million announced in January 2021, to help children and young people continue their education at home and access online social care services.

Colleges and other further education institutions are eligible to receive devices where they have students aged 16 to 19 who are in receipt of free meals, and where they have students aged 19 and over with an education, health and care plan who are also in receipt of free meals.

Further education providers will own the laptops and tablets provided under this scheme and can lend these to the young people who need them the most.

The vast majority of further education providers with eligible students have already been invited to order devices, and orders are currently being fulfilled within 5 working days.

Once providers have joined the service and placed an order for devices, they will also be eligible to request 4G wireless routers for financially disadvantaged students who do not have a broadband connection at home.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 7 December 2020 to Question 22783 on Apprentices: Taxation, where that unspent levy money is located in his departmental budget.

The apprenticeship levy is collected by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs from all UK employers with a pay bill above £3 million. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland receive a share of levy funding and decide how their allocations should be used.

In each of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years, the annual budget available for investment in apprenticeships in England was set at almost £2.5 billion, which is double that spent in the 2010-11 financial year. This budget is agreed in advance with Her Majesty’s Treasury and is set at a level to fund employer demand for apprenticeships; it is not dependent on income from the levy and does not equate to the funds in employer’s apprenticeship service accounts.

When an employer draws from its levy account, it effectively draws down funding from the fixed, annual apprenticeships budget. We do not anticipate that all employers who pay the levy will need or want to use all the funds in their accounts, though they are able to do so.

Unspent levy money does not therefore feature in the department’s apprenticeship budget. The budget is not affected by the value of funds which may enter or expire from employers’ accounts each month.

Funds raised by the levy are used to support the whole apprenticeship system through the set apprenticeships budget, supporting apprenticeships in smaller employers and covering the ongoing costs of apprentices already in training.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 4 December 2020 to Question 122787 on Apprentices, what support he plans to provide for employers who are unable to fund a laptop for an apprentice to enable that apprenticeship to continue.

We are committed to supporting apprentices and employers to safely continue with, and complete, their programmes during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following the announcement of a new national lockdown on 4 January 2021, employers and training providers must ensure that training and assessment takes place remotely. Face to face training and assessment can continue for vulnerable young apprentices – which includes 16 to 18 year olds who may have difficulty engaging with remote training and assessment at home due to a lack of IT equipment or connectivity – and in employers’ COVID-secure settings where it is essential for workers to attend their workplace, and where it is safe and practical to do so.

Employers are responsible for providing their employees, including apprentices, with the tools they need to work remotely and should support apprentices with the digital resources they need to also continue their apprenticeship training remotely.

To support businesses during this time, we have extended the incentive payments for employers of up to £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire until 31 March 2021. Employers can use this funding to help meet any of the costs associated with supporting a new apprentice in the workplace, including providing laptops and other resources for learning.

Where it is not possible and practicable for the apprentice to continue training, a break in learning can be agreed and the apprentice may return to learning at a future date. Our guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regarding the level of likelihood of enforcement action by the Competition and Markets Authority against universities in response to potential breaches of consumer law as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The government has been clear throughout the COVID-19 outbreak that we expect providers to ensure they are fully complying with their consumer law obligations. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) offers guidance on consumer law for higher education (HE) providers. The CMA has been clear that obligations under the law have not changed and providers must ensure they are meeting them.

The CMA currently has a programme of work relating to cancellations and refunds, and has issued advice and taken enforcement action in several sectors. Officials at the Department for Education are in regular contact with the CMA and the Office for Students (OfS) in relation to relevant issues in the HE sector which have arisen due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On 30 November 2020, the CMA published a re-statement of their views on consumer law in relation to HE. The CMA had also previously published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by COVID-19. This sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help students understand their rights and help providers treat their students fairly. This is available via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/consumer-protection-review-of-higher-education.

Although the CMA is able to take enforcement action where there are breaches of consumer law, in HE the OfS as the regulatory body also has an important role. All registered providers are subject to ongoing OfS conditions of registration relating to student protection and consumer law.

The government expects quality and academic standards will be maintained, and the OfS has made it clear that all HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and standards. I wrote to the OfS on 13 January 2021, outlining the government’s expectations of the higher education sector following the new national measures put in place.

Following this, the OfS wrote to providers’ Accountable Officers, setting out the actions they are taking in connection with providers’ compliance with existing regulatory requirements. The OfS has produced specific guidance as to how compliance will be assessed in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The OfS has also previously published guidance on student consumer protection during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available via the following link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/student-wellbeing-and-protection/student-protection/consumer-benefit-forum/.

If students have concerns, they should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for higher education to consider their complaint.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Office for Students regarding the level of likelihood of enforcement action under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 against universities in respect of potential non-compliance with the general ongoing conditions of registration due to the covid-19 pandemic.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and I have regular discussions with the Office for Students (OfS) on a range of issues, including their regulatory approach and the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on students and universities. The government has made it clear to the OfS that our priority is to support the wellbeing of students and staff throughout higher education and to enable students to complete their courses and secure excellent outcomes. I wrote to the OfS on 13 January 2021 to support their intention to reiterate to providers their obligation to have regard to relevant guidance about consumer protection law. The government has been very clear to the OfS that higher education providers are expected to maintain quality and academic standards, and the quantity of tuition should not drop. Universities and colleges have risen to the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, producing interactive, high quality and innovative remote learning.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what methodology his Department used to determine the level of the one-off funding of £20 million to higher education providers in December 2020 to help to address student hardship during financial year 2020-21.

We realise that this is an incredibly difficult time for students and are aware of the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 outbreak will have on some students. The up to £20 million of additional hardship funding has been made available to support those that need it most, particularly disadvantaged students.

The level for this funding was set following discussions with Student Money Advisers within higher education providers and with reference to the views of providers gathered by Universities UK.

The funding has been targeted towards those providers who recruit and support high numbers of disadvantaged students, reflecting where this funding is needed most to enable students to continue with their courses and achieve successful outcomes.

We asked the Office for Students to ensure that the funding is available to students as quickly as possible, so that it can meet the immediate needs of students and be allocated by the end of this financial year (31 March 2021).

On the 2 February 2021 we announced that we are making available a further £50 million of hardship funding for this financial year, for higher education (HE) providers to use to support students in greatest need. This funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including international students impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding which HE providers are also able draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds. We shall continue to monitor the situation going forward to look at what impact this funding is having.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with universities regarding the potential effect on those institutions of a reduction in undergraduate tuition fees where the quality of the course has been impacted by the covid-19 pandemic.

I recognise that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought, and will continue to bring, very significant challenges for higher education (HE) providers, including financially. This is why I established the HE taskforce which is made up of representatives from across the sector to discuss COVID-19 related challenges which universities and other HE providers are facing.

Alongside the taskforce, I have been regularly meeting with representatives of the HE sector, including university Vice Chancellors, the National Union of Students, the Union for Colleges and Universities and the devolved administrations.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees, up to a maximum of £9,250 for standard full-time undergraduate courses offered by approved (fee cap) providers. However, the Government has been clear that universities are expected to maintain quality and academic standards and the quantity of tuition should not drop. Universities should seek to ensure all students, regardless of their background, can access their studies remotely. We have seen some fantastic and innovative examples of high-quality online learning being delivered by providers across the country.

If students have concerns about the quality of their course, they should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

The changing COVID-19 situation will continue to present challenges and the nature and extent of impact will remain variable across the sector. The Office of Students is monitoring the situation and the Department for Education is working closely with it and sector representative bodies to maintain an up-to-date understanding of issues arising during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of whether the Office for Students has fulfilled its four primary regulatory objectives in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

We work closely with the Office for Students (OfS) to ensure that it is working with universities and that universities are delivering what students expect and require for their studies. We will always work closely with the OfS to deliver the very best for students and ensure that universities deliver on students’ behalf.

To support students, the OfS has funded mental health support, distributed hardship funding, monitored quality, issued guidance and set expectations for providers concerning support for self-isolating students throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

The performance of the OfS is closely monitored at all times by the department and its board, as set out in the framework agreement between the OfS and the Department for Education, and in line with the Cabinet Office code of good practice on arms-length bodies.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to implement covid-19 lateral flow testing for staff working in the maintained and private nursery sector.

Rapid, regular testing for people without symptoms of COVID-19 has been made available across the country from week commencing 11 Jan with the eligibility of the community testing programme expanded to cover all 317 local authorities.

The best way currently for those in private early years settings and childminders to access asymptomatic testing is via the community testing programme.  Local authorities have been encouraged to target testing at critical workers such as early years staff during the national lockdown.  We continue to look at more direct approaches.

We are rolling out our asymptomatic testing programme to primary schools, who will receive testing kits for staff this week. This includes schools-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools. The asymptomatic testing programme will offer all primary school, schools-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff home Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test kits for routine testing.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the steps schools need to take to conduct the January 2021 school census during the covid-19 England national lockdown.

Following the recent announcement made on 4 January 2021 by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, and as part of our ongoing work to help manage the burden on educational and care settings, the Department has reviewed all data collections (including the school census) to ensure that they remain both necessary and feasible at this time. This review has included consultation with a subset of external representatives from the sector.

As the scope of the school census is all children on the school’s admission register, rather than those physically in attendance on census day or census week, the majority of data schools need to return should be information they already hold. As such, the requirements on schools for the school census collection are not directly impacted by the national lockdown. However, where relevant, we have updated and clarified the guidance for the small subset of data collected which refer to the situation on census day (namely information on class activity and take up of free school lunches by infant pupils).

The data collection will remain open for schools to make a return for at least 8 weeks until 17 March 2021. We also have a dedicated service available to support, and work with, schools having any difficulties.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 3 December 2020 to Question 122780 on Uni Connect Programme: Finance, what assessment he has made of the effect of the timetable for a funding decision for Uni Connect on (a) staff delivering and (b) the continuity of that programme.

The Uni Connect outreach programme operated by the Office for Student (OfS) has, since its inception in 2017, established 29 regional partnerships of universities, colleges, employers and other local partners, to provide sustained outreach to young people in schools and colleges in areas with low or unexplained gaps in higher education (HE) participation. The programme has been successful in addressing cold spots in outreach and enabling engagement from schools and colleges. Funding this programme has embedded a collaborative approach to widening access and enabled local partners to galvanise action around higher education outreach to complement the funding already spent by HE Providers on outreach as part of their Access and Participation Plans.

The initial investment in the Uni Connect programme to establish a collaborative model and set up a regional infrastructure comes to an end in July 2021, so it is an appropriate time to consider the scope and objectives of the programme, including funding other areas of increasing importance for students and prospective students, particularly in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The OfS is currently consulting on the future of Uni Connect and will want to consider all aspects of the programme including the impact of any changes on staff and the continuity of the programme. The OfS has provided partnerships with programme-wide updates at regular meetings with Programme Leads and Chairs, regarding the next phase of funding for Uni Connect. These updates have been clear that decisions about future funding for academic year 2021/2022 will be subject to decision making from spring 2021 by the OfS, in light of the teaching grant available and having regard to general duties, public sector equality duty and statutory guidance.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, writes annually to the OfS, setting out the available teaching grant funding, and will issue the letter for 2021/2022 in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a long-term approach to funding (a) Uni Connect and (b) other social mobility projects to enable them to establish themselves and demonstrate their effect.

The Uni Connect outreach programme operated by the Office for Student (OfS) has, since its inception in 2017, established 29 regional partnerships of universities, colleges, employers and other local partners, to provide sustained outreach to young people in schools and colleges in areas with low or unexplained gaps in higher education (HE) participation. The programme has been successful in addressing cold spots in outreach and enabling engagement from schools and colleges. Funding this programme has embedded a collaborative approach to widening access and enabled local partners to galvanise action around higher education outreach to complement the funding already spent by HE Providers on outreach as part of their Access and Participation Plans.

The initial investment in the Uni Connect programme to establish a collaborative model and set up a regional infrastructure comes to an end in July 2021, so it is an appropriate time to consider the scope and objectives of the programme, including funding other areas of increasing importance for students and prospective students, particularly in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The OfS is currently consulting on the future of Uni Connect and will want to consider all aspects of the programme including the impact of any changes on staff and the continuity of the programme. The OfS has provided partnerships with programme-wide updates at regular meetings with Programme Leads and Chairs, regarding the next phase of funding for Uni Connect. These updates have been clear that decisions about future funding for academic year 2021/2022 will be subject to decision making from spring 2021 by the OfS, in light of the teaching grant available and having regard to general duties, public sector equality duty and statutory guidance.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, writes annually to the OfS, setting out the available teaching grant funding, and will issue the letter for 2021/2022 in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the effect (a) Uni Connect and (b) other outreach projects on people from disadvantaged young people during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Uni Connect outreach programme operated by the Office for Student (OfS) has, since its inception in 2017, established 29 regional partnerships of universities, colleges, employers and other local partners, to provide sustained outreach to young people in schools and colleges in areas with low or unexplained gaps in higher education (HE) participation. The programme has been successful in addressing cold spots in outreach and enabling engagement from schools and colleges. Funding this programme has embedded a collaborative approach to widening access and enabled local partners to galvanise action around higher education outreach to complement the funding already spent by HE Providers on outreach as part of their Access and Participation Plans.

The initial investment in the Uni Connect programme to establish a collaborative model and set up a regional infrastructure comes to an end in July 2021, so it is an appropriate time to consider the scope and objectives of the programme, including funding other areas of increasing importance for students and prospective students, particularly in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The OfS is currently consulting on the future of Uni Connect and will want to consider all aspects of the programme including the impact of any changes on staff and the continuity of the programme. The OfS has provided partnerships with programme-wide updates at regular meetings with Programme Leads and Chairs, regarding the next phase of funding for Uni Connect. These updates have been clear that decisions about future funding for academic year 2021/2022 will be subject to decision making from spring 2021 by the OfS, in light of the teaching grant available and having regard to general duties, public sector equality duty and statutory guidance.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, writes annually to the OfS, setting out the available teaching grant funding, and will issue the letter for 2021/2022 in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on college finances of the disproportionally low payment made by ESFA for 16-18 provision in March 2020, which leaves the sector under-funded by around 6% according to the Association of Colleges.

The existing payment profile is based on the academic year (August to July) and is based on historical analysis. It takes into consideration the higher costs faced by colleges early in the year, as well as varying profiles in other months. Currently, colleges receive payments that are higher than the flat profile in the autumn and lower monthly payments over the winter that lead to the ‘shortfall’ in the spring, as identified by the Association of Colleges.

We have no plans at this time to change the profile; it has been used for many years and is well understood by colleges. However, this academic year has seen a significant boost to levels of funding for 16-19 education. The government previously announced in August 2019 that it will invest an extra £400 million in 16-19 education in 2020-21. This is the largest injection of money in a single year since 2010 and represented an increase of 7% in overall 16-19 funding. The base rate of 16-19 funding has since increased by 4.7% this academic year 2020/21, from £4,000 to £4,188.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 12 October to Question 100465 on Apprentices; how many apprenticeships were available at (a) level 2 and (b) level 3 through apprenticeship (i) standards and (ii) frameworks in the latest period for which figures are available.

The number of learners starting apprenticeships for the 2019/20 academic year in England is published here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships. The table attached provides figures for level and type of apprenticeship.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the decision not to include Early Years providers in the short term Covid Workforce Funding offered to schools and colleges.

The government recognises the importance of supporting the early years sector financially during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is why we are continuing to fund childcare for the autumn term at the same level as before the COVID-19 outbreak, giving nurseries and childminders another term of secure income, regardless of how many children are attending.

Given the uncertain times ahead, we are keeping our plans for the funding of spring term 2021 under close review. Further details will be announced as soon as possible.

In addition to this, the government has provided a package of support for individuals and businesses which is directly benefitting providers of childcare. This includes business rates relief and grants, the extended Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will remain open until March 2021.

Early years settings will continue to benefit from a planned £3.6 billion funding in the 2020-21 financial year to create free early education and childcare places. On 25 November, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a £44 million investment in the 2021-22 financial year, for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers. This will pay for a rate increase that is higher than the costs nurseries may face from the uplift to the national living wage in April. Further information on how this will be distributed will be made available as soon as possible.

The Covid Workforce Fund aims to support schools and colleges to remain open, even when they face significant workforce pressures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The number of early years providers has remained broadly stable throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. An estimated 80% of early years settings were open on 26 November and we estimate that 826,000 children were attending early years settings. The attendance in education data and Ofsted data on joiners and leavers in the childcare sector, contains further information.

The attendance in education data is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. Ofsted data on joiners and leavers in the childcare sector is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/joiners-and-leavers-in-the-childcare-sector.

Data published on 26 October in the latest parent survey by Ipsos MORI showed that, in September, 94% of parents whose child received formal childcare before the COVID-19 outbreak were either using formal childcare now or were intending to return their child to formal childcare if they could by January 2021. The Ipsos MORI parent survey is available here: https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/childcare-and-home-learning-families-0-4-year-olds-during-covid-19-0.

We continue to work with the early years sector to understand how they can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available for those returning to work now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his polices of the Early Years Alliance’ survey which found that one in six early years providers could close by Christmas 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic without additional funding.

The government recognises the importance of supporting the early years sector financially during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is why we are continuing to fund childcare for the autumn term at the same level as before the COVID-19 outbreak, giving nurseries and childminders another term of secure income, regardless of how many children are attending.

Given the uncertain times ahead, we are keeping our plans for the funding of spring term 2021 under close review. Further details will be announced as soon as possible.

In addition to this, the government has provided a package of support for individuals and businesses which is directly benefitting providers of childcare. This includes business rates relief and grants, the extended Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will remain open until March 2021.

Early years settings will continue to benefit from a planned £3.6 billion funding in the 2020-21 financial year to create free early education and childcare places. On 25 November, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a £44 million investment in the 2021-22 financial year, for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers. This will pay for a rate increase that is higher than the costs nurseries may face from the uplift to the national living wage in April. Further information on how this will be distributed will be made available as soon as possible.

The Covid Workforce Fund aims to support schools and colleges to remain open, even when they face significant workforce pressures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The number of early years providers has remained broadly stable throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. An estimated 80% of early years settings were open on 26 November and we estimate that 826,000 children were attending early years settings. The attendance in education data and Ofsted data on joiners and leavers in the childcare sector, contains further information.

The attendance in education data is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. Ofsted data on joiners and leavers in the childcare sector is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/joiners-and-leavers-in-the-childcare-sector.

Data published on 26 October in the latest parent survey by Ipsos MORI showed that, in September, 94% of parents whose child received formal childcare before the COVID-19 outbreak were either using formal childcare now or were intending to return their child to formal childcare if they could by January 2021. The Ipsos MORI parent survey is available here: https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/childcare-and-home-learning-families-0-4-year-olds-during-covid-19-0.

We continue to work with the early years sector to understand how they can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available for those returning to work now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure that disadvantaged students without laptops and IT software studying at further education colleges are not digitally excluded.

We have encouraged further education providers to use their 16-19 bursary funding to purchase devices and connectivity for disadvantaged students aged 16-19 where this is a barrier to learning. Earlier in the year, additional funding was made available to further education providers via a business case process, to support them with additional costs arising from students participating in education online. In addition, in August 2020, we announced that colleges can access help with device needs for students aged 14-16 attending a further education provider through the ‘Get Help with Technology’ service.

For adults aged 19 and over, we introduced a change to the Adult Education Budget (AEB) funding rules for the 2020/21 academic year to enable providers to use learner support funds to purchase IT devices for disadvantaged students to help them meet technology costs. In areas where the AEB budget is devolved, mayoral authorities determine adult student support arrangements.

In addition, where further education providers are supplementing their on-site education with online learning, our guidance asks colleges to preserve provision on-site for all learners who need it, including learners without access to devices or connectivity at home.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on enabling greater flexibility to the rules on capital grants for further education colleges to allow that funding to be spent on laptops and IT software provision for disadvantaged students who require them in order to effectively continue their studies.

All further education colleges and designated institutions eligible to receive the Further Education Capital Allowance grant were asked to sign up to the terms and conditions as set out in their grant letter. The terms of this capital grant were negotiated between Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Department for Education and were clear. Funding should be used to address condition improvement of substandard or deteriorating buildings in the college or institution estate identified in the Further Education Condition Data Collection (undertaken by the department) or through a college’s own more detailed survey. This includes IT infrastructure, where identified as requiring remedial action. Hardware and software (including laptops) do not constitute IT infrastructure and are therefore are not eligible for capital spend under the terms of this grant.

However, further education providers have been able to use their 16-19 bursary funding to purchase devices and connectivity for disadvantaged students aged 16-19 where this is a barrier to learning. Earlier in the year, additional funding was made available to further education providers via a business case process, to support them with additional costs arising from students participating in education online. In addition, in August 2020, we announced that colleges can access help with device needs for students aged 14-16 attending a further education provider through the ‘Get Help with Technology’ service. For adults aged 19 and over, we introduced a change to the Adult Education Budget (AEB) funding rules for the 2020/21 academic year to enable providers to use learner support funds to purchase IT devices for disadvantaged students to help them meet technology costs. In areas where the AEB budget is devolved, mayoral authorities determine adult student support arrangements.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on reversing the decision to clawback any capital grant allocation allowance given to further education providers that has not been spent by 21 March 2021.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced in June that an initial £200 million of the £1.5 billion capital funding to upgrade the further education estate was to be brought forward to this year. This was paid to all eligible further education colleges and designated institutions in September 2020. This Further Education Capital Allocation is supporting further education colleges to undertake immediate remedial work in this financial year to upgrade the condition of their estate and is providing a boost to the economy by supporting the pipeline of new work for our construction sector. Details of the wider Further Education Capital Transformation programme, which will invest the remaining £1.3 billion over the coming 5 years, to upgrade the further education estate, will be announced in due course.

We are pleased that the majority of colleges have identified immediate projects to improve the condition of the estate. Some colleges have identified there would be an operational benefit to being able to carry out works at Easter or during the summer holidays next year. We are engaging with Her Majesty’s Treasury on this matter and will inform colleges of the outcome in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on further education college finances of the extra intake of 16 to 18 year old students in academic year 2020-21 and Education and Skills Funding Agency lagged funding methodology which means colleges will not receive additional income for those students until next year.

The 2020/21 academic year has seen a significant boost to levels of funding for 16-19 education. In August 2019, the government announced that it would invest an extra £400 million in 16-19 education in the 2020-21 financial year. This is the largest injection of money in a single year since 2010, and represented an increase of 7% in overall 16-19 funding. In November 2020, an additional £291 million was announced for 16-19 education in the 2021-22 financial year, building on the £400 million made available in 2020-21. The base rate of 16-19 funding has increased by 4.7% this academic year, up from £4,000 to £4,188. Further guidance about 16-19 education funding is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-funding-how-it-works.

The lagged funding methodology allows us to make clear allocations based on data about students and the courses they study. The department recognises that there can be a financial pressure on institutions if they recruit significantly more students in an academic year than allowed for in their allocation. However, the current funding process does provide for exceptional in-year growth funding to be made available to colleges or other educational providers, with significant increases in student numbers over and above the lagged calculation, subject to affordability. The department will consider the affordability of exceptional in-year growth funding for the 2020-21 academic year in light of student recruitment by colleges and other providers.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding Phase 3 of the Uni Connect programme.

Uni Connect is a 4-year programme which has established 29 regional partnerships between universities, colleges, employers, and other local partners to provide sustained outreach to young people in schools and colleges in areas of low or unexplained gaps in higher education (HE) participation.

The programme is funded at a level of £60 million per academic year, until July 2021, and has enabled local partners to galvanise action around HE outreach, as a supplement to the significant funding that is already spent by HE providers on outreach, as part of their access and participation plans.

The department is considering the approach to future funding of outreach. Decisions about the longer term remain under review.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support SMEs in hiring apprentices before the introduction of the extended apprenticeship employer incentives announced in the Spending Review 2020.

The department recognises the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the UK economy. We will make sure that training for apprentices in smaller employers is properly funded, to drive up the number of apprenticeship opportunities available in SMEs across the country.

SMEs are a priority focus as we look to rebuild the economy from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, and to increase opportunities for young people and people from disadvantaged areas to embark on apprenticeships. The department is making sufficient funding available this year and next to enable smaller employers to access the apprenticeships they need, as they move onto the apprenticeship service and gain greater control over their apprenticeship choices. From August 2020, as outlined in the Plan for Jobs, we introduced payments of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a payment of £1,500 if they are aged 25 and over: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-plan-for-jobs-documents/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

In January 2020, the department expanded access to the full functionality of our flagship apprenticeship service to include employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy. SMEs can now make up to 10 reservations through the service (increased from 3), enabling them to recruit more apprentices and claim incentive payments through the service. Moving onto the service also increases their choice of training provider and puts them in control of managing their apprenticeships. Further guidance about the incentive payments available for hiring a new apprentice is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/incentive-payments-for-hiring-a-new-apprentice.

Smaller employers can also benefit from transfers from levy-paying employers which do not count towards the reservation cap. In April 2019, the department increased the transfer allowance from 10% to 25% of the annual value of funds entering the apprenticeship service account of levy-paying employers. From August 2021, employers who pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to transfer unspent levy funds in bulk to SMEs with a new pledge function. We will also introduce, from August 2021, a new online service to match levy payers with SMEs that share their business priorities.

The department will continue to work with smaller employers to give them the confidence and support to take on new apprentices. As my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced in the recent Spending Review, the eligibility period for these incentives has been extended to the end of March 2021, to continue to support employers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the effect on the (a) quality and (b) quantity of apprenticeships of allowing levy-paying employers to choose which non-levy employers to transfer their unspent levy funds.

Levy-paying employers can transfer funds to any employer, including smaller employers, apprenticeship training agencies and charities, to support high-quality apprenticeship training. Transfers enable levy-paying employers to support employers in their supply chains, address local skills needs, and help sectors build sustainable capability for the future.

Apprenticeships funded by transfers are on the same high-quality employer designed standards and are delivered only by providers that are approved to deliver apprenticeship training. All apprenticeships must last a minimum of 12 months and provide a minimum of 20% off-the-job training to ensure that every apprentice develops the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for them to achieve full occupational competence. This is confirmed by a rigorous and independent end-point assessment.

In April 2019, the department increased the amount that levy payers could transfer and are seeing numbers of transfers rise steadily. The latest figures show that in the 2018/19 academic year, 670 apprenticeship starts resulted from transferred commitments. This increased to 4,630 starts the in the 2019/20 academic year. We publish further detail on apprenticeship transfers here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships/2019-20.

As my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, set out in the Spending Review, the department will be making it easier for employers who pay the levy to find and transfer unspent levy funds to small and medium sized enterprises, with the development of a new online matching service and the facility to pledge funds in bulk from August 2021.

This work will build on initiatives, such as the Health Education England scheme and the successful regional levy transfer pilot led by West Midlands Combined Authority, where we are already seeing the benefits of work being undertaken to bring large and small employers together.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what amount of apprenticeship levy funding expired each month since January 2020.

The funds in apprenticeship service accounts are available for levy-paying employers to use for 24 months before they begin to expire on a rolling, month-by-month basis. This means the expiry figures in the months from January to October 2020 relate to the funds which entered levy-paying employer accounts from January to October 2018.

£1,961 million entered employer accounts between January and October 2018 and between January and October 2020, £1,038 million expired. This accounts for 53%. The table below provides a monthly breakdown.

Month

Levy expired (in millions of pounds)

Jan-20

£91

Feb-20

£92

Mar-20

£96

Apr-20

£140

May-20

£96

Jun-20

£98

Jul-20

£105

Aug-20

£104

Sep-20

£105

Oct-20

£110

Total

£1,038

The figures in the table refer to the total value of expired levy funds in accounts registered with the apprenticeship service. Levy-paying employers are not obliged to register for an account. Expiry in January 2020 relates to unused levy declared in January 2018. Levy declarations in April 2018 were higher than prior months, as employers made upwards adjustments in this month to correct the total levy declarations for the 2017-18 financial year. This therefore results in a higher amount of expired funds in April 2020.

We do not anticipate that all employers who pay the levy will need or want to use all the funds in their accounts, though they are able to do so. Funds raised by the levy are used to support the whole apprenticeship system. This means that employers’ unused funds are not lost, but are used to support apprenticeships in smaller employers and to cover the ongoing costs of apprentices already in training,

The apprenticeship budget is not affected by the value of any funds which may expire from employers’ accounts each month. As my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, set out in the Spending Review, we will again be making available £2.5 billion for investment in apprenticeships in the 2021-22 financial year, which is double that spent in 2010-11.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that traineeships and placements under the Kickstart scheme lead to an opportunity of an apprenticeship.

The government’s Plan for Jobs was announced in July 2020 and set out several key policy initiatives to support individuals and employers: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020. This included the introduction of a new £2 billion Kickstart scheme to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. We also announced a £111 million investment to triple the scale of the existing Traineeship programme in the 2020-21 financial year, ensuring more young people have access to high-quality training.

In addition, the government has scaled up support for businesses to enable more people to benefit from training opportunities, and introduced payments for employers taking on new apprentices, with businesses now able to access payments of £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25 and £1,500 for new apprentices over 25 from 1 August 2020 to 31 March 2021. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment we already provide for new 16 to 18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Traineeships already deliver good outcomes for young people. In the 2017-18 academic year, 66% of learners completing a traineeship had a sustained positive destination, with almost a quarter (24.9%) progressing to an apprenticeship before the end of the 2018-19 academic year: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/further-education-outcome-based-success-measures/2017-18. We will strengthen progression to apprenticeships as a destination through the new sector-specific traineeships we are currently developing with employers. These will act as a direct pipeline to real apprenticeship opportunities, in addition to the engagement activity we are planning to target towards young people, employers, and training providers.

We have already amended our funding rules to ensure that employers supporting a Kickstart individual to begin an apprenticeship can still benefit from the apprenticeship incentive payment.

Together with the Department for Work and Pensions, we will be engaging with employers to encourage them to create new apprenticeship opportunities for the young people on their Kickstart placements. We know that many employers have already expressed an interest in creating apprenticeship placements for existing Kickstart participants, but we want to support more businesses, large and small, to take advantage of the opportunity this scheme represents for investing in their skills needs as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of apprentices have not had the required amount of training in the workplace necessary to complete their apprenticeship; and what steps he is taking to ensure apprentices receive the training they require.

We are committed to supporting apprentices and employers to safely continue with, and complete, their programmes during the COVID-19 outbreak while maintaining quality. Provisional figures show that 46,930 apprentices achieved their apprenticeships (frameworks and standards) between 23 March and the end of July 2020.

In recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, we introduced a number of flexibilities in March to ensure that apprenticeships can continue where possible. These includes flexibilities to off-the-job training to support remote learning and making it possible for furloughed apprentices to continue their apprenticeships and undertake end-point assessments.

For apprentices who have experienced disruption to their training due to the COVID-19 outbreak, employers are able to extend the planned duration of the apprenticeship to accommodate this. 54,330 breaks in learning were recorded from the 23 March to the end of July 2020.

Where apprentices are continuing with their apprenticeships, they should continue to receive the minimum 20% off-the-job training requirements, and their training must remain relevant to their apprenticeship. Where a provider is able to do so safely, apprenticeship training can be delivered in the workplace where that workplace meets COVID-19 secure guidelines on ensuring the workplace is secure. Apprentices are only put forward for end-point assessment when the employer and training provider judge them to display occupational competence and meet the minimum requirements of the apprenticeship, including for off-the-job training.

We continue to engage with providers and employers to understand the situation for their apprentices and help them make the most of the existing flexibilities to best deliver training.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of paying apprenticeships providers upon delivery of training.

Apprenticeship training providers are paid retrospectively for the training they have delivered. The department pays 80% of the cost of training in equal monthly instalments according to the planned duration of the apprenticeship. The remainder is paid on completion of the apprenticeship. The way that providers are paid is set out in the apprenticeship funding rules for main providers: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/928015/2021_Provider_Rules_Version_2_v1.0_FINAL__published_.pdf.

Like other apprenticeship policies, the department will continue to keep this under review, as we encourage greater use of innovative apprenticeship training models, such as the front-loading of off-the-job training as set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the Spending Review 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spending-review-2020-documents.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many current apprentices are not able to complete their apprenticeship because there is no digital functional skills offering available; and what steps he is taking to ensure the availability of that qualification.

The department is committed to supporting apprentices, employers, and training providers to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. Where Functional Skills assessments have been disrupted, we have been clear that providers, employers, and Awarding Organisations must work together in the best interests of apprentices. In addition to wider programme flexibilities, we have expanded the Examination Support Service to include apprenticeship training providers. They can now use this service to book COVID-19 secure exam space, and invigilators, and claim additional funding where this exceeds their normal delivery costs. The departmental guidance about providing apprenticeships during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-apprentices-employers-training-providers-end-point-assessment-organisations-and-external-quality-assurance-pro.

We continue to work closely with Ofqual, awarding organisations, and sector representatives to monitor the situation and agree how we can, together, identify and support apprentices that are unable to take their functional skills exam.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Education and Skills Funding Agency plans to clawback any unspent adult education budget funding from the 2020-21 financial year from further education providers.

We fully appreciate the steps being taken by further education providers to continue to support adult learners and acknowledge their achievements in responding to the challenge posed by COVID-19.

We know that many providers have been able to continue delivery very successfully during the COVID-19 outbreak, including remotely, and would expect that all providers should now be able to function adequately under the current restrictions.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Adult Education Budget (AEB) funding and performance management rules for academic year 2020/21 (covering the period 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021) set out the funding arrangements for ESFA AEB providers, including the criteria for clawback of funds in cases of under-delivery. At present, we are not planning to further amend the ESFA AEB funding and performance rules for academic year 2020/21, but this will be kept under review.

Currently, approximately 50% of the AEB is devolved to 7 Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) and the Mayor of London, acting where appropriate through the Greater London Authority (GLA). These authorities are now responsible for the provision of AEB-funded adult education for their residents and allocation of the AEB to providers. MCAs and the GLA are responsible for considering any flexibilities to their funding rules, in their respective areas.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many new apprentices (a) aged under 25 and (b) aged over 25 were taken on in (i) August and (ii) September 2020 where the employer benefitted from the Government payment announced in its Plan for Jobs.

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow. To help support employers to offer new apprenticeships, employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those aged 25 and over until 31 January 2021. The new payment means it is a great time for employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities and take advantage of existing flexibilities to train their apprentices in a way that suits their needs.

We are in the very early stages of monitoring the take-up of the new payment to employers, and its impact on apprenticeship starts. The first payment is made 90 days from the apprentice’s start date and as such no payments have yet been made.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many new apprentices in (a) SMEs and (b) large employers taken on in (i) August and (ii) September 2020 are in placements where the employer benefitted from the Government payment announced in its Plan for Jobs.

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow. To help support employers to offer new apprenticeships, employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those aged 25 and over until 31 January 2021. The new payment means it is a great time for employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities and take advantage of existing flexibilities to train their apprentices in a way that suits their needs.

We are in the very early stages of monitoring the take-up of the new payment to employers, and its impact on apprenticeship starts. The first payment is made 90 days from the apprentice’s start date and as such no payments have yet been made.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Association of Education and Learning Providers on a stand-alone apprenticeships budget for SMEs.

In the 2020-21 financial year funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England is around £2.5 billion - double the amount spent in the 2010-11 financial year. The department wants to ensure that we grow the number of small and medium sized entreprises (SMEs) offering apprenticeships supported by funding, given that they are vital to the UK economy. We continue to work with smaller employers to give them the confidence and support to take on new apprentices.

We are also working with large employers to improve the transfer process, making it easier for them to find smaller employers to transfer levy funds to, thus helping them maximise the amount of funding they will be able to transfer.

We continue to listen to and work with the Association of Education and Learning Providers and other stakeholders on how best to support SMEs to make the most of apprenticeships.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of Sate for Education, what assessment she has made of (a) the level of childcare provision available during the covid-19 outbreak; and what assessment she has made of the effect of available childcare on the number of mothers taking redundancy since March 2020 to date.

Since April 2020, we have been collecting weekly data from all English local authorities to monitor the availability of early years childcare. We collect and publish information on the number of open and closed early years providers as well as the number of children attending. This information contributes to our regular publication, ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’, which is available here:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Term-time attendance at early years settings has been increasing since September. On a typical day in the autumn term, we estimate attendance to be around 887,000 children, due to different and part-time patterns of childcare during the week. We estimate that 753,000 children attended early years settings on 8 October, which is approximately 85% of the usual daily level, and an increase of almost 340,000 from at the end of the summer term. 80% of early years settings were estimated to be open on 8 October.

From 4 July, wraparound childcare providers and other providers of out-of-school activities have been able to care for all children, with protective measures in place. We have published further updated guidance for providers who run before and after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings for children on the protective measures that should be put in place to ensure they are operating as safely as possible. This is also to ensure that with the introduction of our new local COVID-19 alert levels, that wraparound childcare is able to remain open, to support parents to continue to work. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We also know that many schools operate their own breakfast and after school clubs, and they should be working to resume this provision, if they have not already. As part of our guidance to schools on full opening, we have provided schools with guidance to support them in reopening this valuable provision. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The department does not hold information on the reasons for redundancy. However, the poll of 1000 parents of 0-4 year old children in May 2020 showed only 7% of critical worker families disagree that ‘the hours their child(ren) can access childcare or school at the time of the poll fits with the working hours of the adults in the household’. Of all parents surveyed who previously used childcare and were not intending to return to formal childcare after the wider reopening on 1 June, only 6% said this was because their usual provider or school was remaining closed and 4% stated their child’s usual provider is only open for some children and their child is not eligible. More details on the poll are available here:
https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/parents-0-4-year-olds-and-childcare-1st-june-2020.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much was (a) raised by the Apprenticeship Levy and (b) spent by employers on apprenticeships in 2019-2020.

The department does not hold information on total levy collected. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is responsible for collecting the levy on behalf of the government. This information is held by HMRC and is published in their annual report and accounts, which can be found at HMRC Annual Report and Accounts. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmrcs-annual-report-and-accounts.

In the 2019-20 financial year, £2.5 billion was paid into levy paying employer’s accounts, this includes a 10% top-up and accounts for the English fraction adjustment.

Levy paying employers spent £950 million of funds on apprenticeship training from their apprentice service accounts in the 2019-20 financial year. Payments made out of accounts relate to the apprenticeships learning element only and exclude any other items that are not funded from employers’ funds in their accounts, such as English and Maths training.

Apprenticeship ringfenced budget covers the cost of training that started pre-reforms as well as training of levy and non-levy employers. In the 2019-20 financial year this amounted to £1.9 billion.

Levy employers have 24 months to spend the levy paid into accounts, after which the funds will expire. We continue to work with large employers to improve the transfer process, making it easier for them to find smaller employers to transfer levy funds to, thus helping them maximise the amount of funding they will be able to transfer.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on ensuring that people who are made redundant are able to access suitable education and training between October 2020 and when the lifetime skills allowance is rolled out.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has worked closely with Cabinet colleagues to ensure that a robust package of support is available for adults to learn and reach their potential in the labour market.

The government is providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) for the National Skills Fund.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, as part of his Lifetime Skills Guarantee, announced that for adults who do not currently have a level 3 qualification, we will be fully funding their first full level 3, focusing on the valuable courses that will help them get ahead in the labour market. The offer will be funded from the National Skills Fund and offered from April 2021.

The Prime Minister also announced digital bootcamps to support local regions and employers to fill in-demand vacancies by providing valuable skills. Adults in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, and Liverpool City Region can now register their interest to take part in the digital bootcamps. In early 2021 the digital bootcamps will also be available in Leeds City Region, Heart of the South West and Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. We are planning to expand the bootcamps to more of the country from spring 2021 and we want to extend this model to include other technical skills training.

Alongside the National Skills Fund, the department has been working to provide further support in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. In his Summer Economic Update, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced investment of over £500 million to deliver a package of support for people to access the training and develop the skills they will need to go on to high-quality, secure and fulfilling employment. The Skills Recovery Package included:

  • Apprenticeships: A new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire who is aged 24 or below, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire who is aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021.
  • Traineeships: £111 million to triple the scale and reform traineeships for those aged 16 - 24 (25 with an Education, Health and Care plan): with additional funding available to providers in 2020-21 to support 30,000 new places. We have also introduced, for the first time, payments of £1,000 per trainee for employers who offer new or additional work placements (up to 10 trainees).
  • Careers information, advice and guidance: £32 million over 2 years to help 269,000 more people of all ages receive advice from the National Careers Service.
  • Sector-based work academy programme (SWAP): £17 million to triple the number of SWAP placements in the 2020/21 financial year, enough funding to support an extra 40,000 job seekers with additional training opportunities and the chance of a job.
  • £101 million for school / college leavers to study high value courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.

In addition, the recently announced expansion of The Skills Toolkit means that people can now choose from over 70 courses, covering digital, adult numeracy, employability and work readiness skills, which have been identified as the skills employers need the most. These courses will help people stay in work, or take up new jobs and opportunities.

In response to COVID-19, the Department for Work and Pensions has also established an alternative service to their usual face to face offer. People will be able to access redundancy help and job search advice on the department’s new Job Help campaign website. There is also information on GOV.UK and updated information packs provided to employers to help them signpost employees to the support that is available. The support available includes:

  • Connecting people to jobs in the labour market though our Find a Job website, virtual jobs fairs, sector-based work academy programmes and mentoring circle opportunities.
  • Help with job search including CV writing, interview skills, where to find jobs and how to apply for them.
  • Help to identify transferable skills and skills gaps (linked to the local labour market).

In addition to this, the new Kickstart scheme is underway. This is a £2 billion programme which will create thousands of new jobs for young people aged between 16-24 who will be offered 6 month work placements with wages paid by the UK government.

The government appreciates the importance of adult education to improving people’s life chances. We will continue to explore options within adult education to aid the post COVID-19 recovery.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of intermediate level apprenticeship starts for young people under the age of 19 between May 2019 and May 2020; and what steps his Department is taking to increase support for apprentices under 19 at that level.

Apprenticeship starts across all levels and across all ages have reduced between May 2019 and May 2020, by 58% overall. Starts at Intermediate level have reduced by 73% on average but the reduction has been more pronounced amongst the 16-18 year-old group at 80%, compared to 75% for 19-24 year-olds and 68% for those over the age of 25. The reduction is starts at advanced and higher levels is 61% and 21% respectively.

Data from March 2020 onwards includes the period affected by COVID-19 and the nationwide lockdown, therefore, extra care must be taken in comparing and interpreting data from this period to earlier months as the COVID-19 outbreak has affected provider behaviour in terms of the reporting of FE and apprenticeship learning during the affected period, and this could vary by provider.

This change in intermediate starts has largely occurred where apprenticeships were struggling to meet the minimum quality standards required by our reforms. We have replaced old-style frameworks, which apprentices and employers told us were not providing the skills they needed, with new employer-designed standards. All new apprentices now start on high-quality standards, following the withdrawal of frameworks in July.

Apprenticeship standards and frameworks are different products. It was previously possible to undertake a framework for the same job at different levels, but on standards there is just one level per occupation. The level of the standard refers to the level an apprentice reaches at the end of the apprenticeship once they are occupationally competent not at the beginning, and this is determined by employers.

Traineeships can help young people build the skills they need to undertake an apprenticeship or other job, and we are tripling the number of places in the 2020/21 academic year so that more young people have access to high-quality training.

Apprenticeships are more important than ever in helping people of all ages develop the skills they need and supporting our economic recovery. To encourage employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities, to people of all ages and at all levels, we have introduced incentive payments. Employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25 between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021, and £1,500 for those 25 and over.

We are working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions to enable Kickstart placements to turn into apprenticeships where that is the right thing for the employer and the individual. Employers offering apprenticeships to young people on the placements will be able to claim the new incentive.

We want to expand apprenticeship opportunities and are exploring with employers how we can make apprenticeships work better in certain sectors, for example those with more flexible and short-term models of employment. We also want to ensure we grow the number of small and medium-sized enterprisess offering apprenticeships and are continuing to work with smaller employers to give them the confidence and support to take on new apprentices.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's statistical data on apprenticeships and traineeships, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the change in the number of apprenticeships starts in all age groups at intermediate level between May 2019 and May 2020; and what steps his Department is taking to improve the take-up of apprenticeships at that level.

Apprenticeship starts across all levels and across all ages have reduced between May 2019 and May 2020, by 58% overall. Starts at Intermediate level have reduced by 73% on average but the reduction has been more pronounced amongst the 16-18 year-old group at 80%, compared to 75% for 19-24 year-olds and 68% for those over the age of 25. The reduction is starts at advanced and higher levels is 61% and 21% respectively.

Data from March 2020 onwards includes the period affected by COVID-19 and the nationwide lockdown, therefore, extra care must be taken in comparing and interpreting data from this period to earlier months as the COVID-19 outbreak has affected provider behaviour in terms of the reporting of FE and apprenticeship learning during the affected period, and this could vary by provider.

This change in intermediate starts has largely occurred where apprenticeships were struggling to meet the minimum quality standards required by our reforms. We have replaced old-style frameworks, which apprentices and employers told us were not providing the skills they needed, with new employer-designed standards. All new apprentices now start on high-quality standards, following the withdrawal of frameworks in July.

Apprenticeship standards and frameworks are different products. It was previously possible to undertake a framework for the same job at different levels, but on standards there is just one level per occupation. The level of the standard refers to the level an apprentice reaches at the end of the apprenticeship once they are occupationally competent not at the beginning, and this is determined by employers.

Traineeships can help young people build the skills they need to undertake an apprenticeship or other job, and we are tripling the number of places in the 2020/21 academic year so that more young people have access to high-quality training.

Apprenticeships are more important than ever in helping people of all ages develop the skills they need and supporting our economic recovery. To encourage employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities, to people of all ages and at all levels, we have introduced incentive payments. Employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25 between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021, and £1,500 for those 25 and over.

We are working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions to enable Kickstart placements to turn into apprenticeships where that is the right thing for the employer and the individual. Employers offering apprenticeships to young people on the placements will be able to claim the new incentive.

We want to expand apprenticeship opportunities and are exploring with employers how we can make apprenticeships work better in certain sectors, for example those with more flexible and short-term models of employment. We also want to ensure we grow the number of small and medium-sized enterprisess offering apprenticeships and are continuing to work with smaller employers to give them the confidence and support to take on new apprentices.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's ring-fenced annual apprenticeship budget was for the 2019-20 academic year; how much of that budget was spent on training and assessment; and whether there was an underspend in that academic year.

The department’s ring-fenced apprenticeship budget is set to fund apprenticeships in England only. This budget is used to fund training for new apprenticeship starts in levy and non-levy paying employers and to cover the ongoing costs of apprentices already in training.

It is also used to cover the cost of end-point assessment and any additional payments made to employers and providers. This means that employers of all sizes, across England, can provide apprenticeship opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds.

In the 2020-21 financial year, funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England is almost £2.5 billion – double what was spent in 2010-11. Similarly, the ring-fenced apprenticeship budget for the 2019-20 financial year was almost £2.5 billion.

The total spend in the 2019-20 financial year, inclusive of spend on training and assessment, was £1.9 billion, leading to an underspend against the budget of approximately £600 million.

Details of actual spend against the apprenticeships budget are published in the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s annual report and accounts.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of careers advice in secondary education; and what assessment he has made of the effect of that advice on the social mobility of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Evidence shows that careers education is improving, as young people are benefitting from a new world-class approach to careers guidance. The department has invested in a careers infrastructure which is proven to accelerate schools and colleges' progress against the eight Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance. The average number of benchmarks achieved by schools and colleges in Careers Hubs was 3.9, compared to 2.0 for those not in a Careers Hub and outside of the Enterprise Adviser Network. There is more progress to be made and we will continue to support schools and colleges to improve their performance against the benchmarks.

Schools and colleges serving disadvantaged communities are among the highest performers. For example, schools and colleges in the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership achieved 4.2 benchmarks on average in academic year 2018-19.

Careers education is effective in driving social mobility. From a survey carried out in 2018-19, 73% of young people who have taken part in careers guidance activities said that they are more aware of different careers and 69% said they were clearer about what they need to do to achieve their ambitions.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the adequacy of the level of funding announced for early years' provision on (a) nurseries, (b) pre-schools and (c) childminders.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and ministers at the department, meet regularly with colleagues across government, including HM Treasury, to discuss the Department for Education's agenda. Future funding for the early years is being considered as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review process, alongside wider public expenditure.

The survey published by Coram is part of the evidence base available for consideration in the Spending Review and is one of several pieces of research on the provider market. We continue to monitor the market closely through a range of research projects which provide insight into various aspects of the childcare and provider market.

The department carries out its own regular research on the cost of delivering childcare. The 2018 provider finances report is published here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/provider-finances-evidence-from-early-years-providers.

The Department for Education is due to publish a 2019 provider finances report in the autumn.

The provider finances reports include data on the total coast and total income of delivering childcare, the variation in unit costs (an approximate measure of the average cost per child per hour for all children in the setting) and staff hourly pay, and patterns in parent-paid hourly fees for parents.

The 2019 Survey of Childcare and Early Years Providers includes information on the costs of providing childcare and is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/845080/SCEYP_2019_Main_Report_Nov19.pdf.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on the introduction of the 30 hour childcare extended entitlement of the Childcare survey 2020, published by Coram.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and ministers at the department, meet regularly with colleagues across government, including HM Treasury, to discuss the Department for Education's agenda. Future funding for the early years is being considered as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review process, alongside wider public expenditure.

The survey published by Coram is part of the evidence base available for consideration in the Spending Review and is one of several pieces of research on the provider market. We continue to monitor the market closely through a range of research projects which provide insight into various aspects of the childcare and provider market.

The department carries out its own regular research on the cost of delivering childcare. The 2018 provider finances report is published here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/provider-finances-evidence-from-early-years-providers.

The Department for Education is due to publish a 2019 provider finances report in the autumn.

The provider finances reports include data on the total coast and total income of delivering childcare, the variation in unit costs (an approximate measure of the average cost per child per hour for all children in the setting) and staff hourly pay, and patterns in parent-paid hourly fees for parents.

The 2019 Survey of Childcare and Early Years Providers includes information on the costs of providing childcare and is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/845080/SCEYP_2019_Main_Report_Nov19.pdf.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 31 October 2019 to Question 6463 on Children: Day Care, what research the Government has carried out since 2018 to ensure that the evidence base on the costs of providing early years education is kept up to date.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and ministers at the department, meet regularly with colleagues across government, including HM Treasury, to discuss the Department for Education's agenda. Future funding for the early years is being considered as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review process, alongside wider public expenditure.

The survey published by Coram is part of the evidence base available for consideration in the Spending Review and is one of several pieces of research on the provider market. We continue to monitor the market closely through a range of research projects which provide insight into various aspects of the childcare and provider market.

The department carries out its own regular research on the cost of delivering childcare. The 2018 provider finances report is published here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/provider-finances-evidence-from-early-years-providers.

The Department for Education is due to publish a 2019 provider finances report in the autumn.

The provider finances reports include data on the total coast and total income of delivering childcare, the variation in unit costs (an approximate measure of the average cost per child per hour for all children in the setting) and staff hourly pay, and patterns in parent-paid hourly fees for parents.

The 2019 Survey of Childcare and Early Years Providers includes information on the costs of providing childcare and is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/845080/SCEYP_2019_Main_Report_Nov19.pdf.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the findings of the Women’s Budget Group report, A Care-Led Recovery from Coronavirus, published on 30 June 2020, what steps he plans to take to increase investment in the (a) child and (b) social care sectors to create more jobs in each of those sectors.

We are planning to spend more than £3.6 billion on early education entitlements in 2020-21. During the COVID-19 outbreak, government has continued to pay early years entitlements funding to councils in the usual way. The childcare sector has also been able to access a wider package of government support in the form of a business rates holiday, business interruption loans and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We will also establish a new £1 billion fund from 2021 to create more high-quality wraparound and holiday childcare places for school-age children.

Councils have been given access to an additional £1.5 billion for adults and children’s social care in 2020-21 on top of maintaining £2.5 billion of existing social care grants. This will support local authorities to meet rising demand and continue to stabilise the social care system.

We recognise that the COVID-19 outbreak is imposing significant pressures on the social care sector. We have now made £3.7 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in social care.

There will be a spending review in the autumn, where government will agree their overall priorities for the coming years and will take the opportunity to examine the overall funding.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of new apprenticeships that will be taken up by (a) SMEs and (b) large employers benefiting from the £2,000 incentive announced in the summer economic update on 8 July 2020.

As part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover post COVID-19. Apprenticeships also present excellent opportunities to young people seeking to start and build careers.

The number of new apprenticeships that will be taken up by employers benefiting from the incentive payments announced in the summer economic update on 8 July 2020 will depend on a wide range of factors that will impact on the recruitment decisions of those employers in difficult economic circumstances.

The new incentive payments are there to encourage employers to take on new apprenticeship recruits. They are designed to help as many employers as possible in responding to the pressures of the first six months of the economic recovery, in enabling flexibility to create the apprenticeship opportunities which will benefit their business.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding of the Social Mobility Commission’s Report on Apprenticeships and Social Mobility, published 24 June 2020, that disadvantage gaps exist at every stage of the apprenticeship journey; and what steps he is taking to reduce those gaps.

As the Social Mobility Commission found, apprenticeships help boost employment and reduce the gap in earnings between people from disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged backgrounds. I met recently with the Social Mobility Commission to discuss the report, the importance of quality in the apprenticeship system, and our commitment to working closely with the Commission in future.

We are committed to levelling up opportunity across the country, and think apprenticeships will be key to the recovery, especially in providing high-quality employment opportunities for young people. We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices and so we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. Employers can choose how best to spend this payment to support their apprentices; this could include supporting with uniform and travel costs. The new payment is on top of the additional payments we make to cover costs associated with apprentices who may need extra support, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. We are also investing £111 million to triple the number of traineeships to support those further from the labour market into employment and training. Details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury.

We have worked with some of the country’s most influential employers through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to promote best practice at each stage of the apprenticeship journey – from outreach and recruitment, to supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds achieve their apprenticeship and progress. Our Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge programme supports schools across England to provide disadvantaged students with information on apprenticeships.

We continue to listen to employers, providers and apprentices, to see how we can build on our reforms so that they continue to support people from all backgrounds and the economy more broadly.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2020 to Question 64956, what estimate his Department has made of how much per pupil the £35 million funding equates to for pupils without a GCSE in (a) maths and (b) English at grade 4 or above.

From academic year 2020/21, we are providing an additional £35 million to providers of 16-19 education for students on substantial Level 3 programmes who have not yet attained a GCSE grade 9 to 4 (or equivalent) in maths and/or English. For students on two year programmes, providers will receive additional funding at a rate of £750 for each subject in which a student does not hold a GCSE pass grade. For students on one year programmes, the provider is funded at a rate of £375 per student per subject.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the of unspent levy funds.

The government is committed to improving the working of the apprenticeship system and the apprenticeship levy. Ministers and officials meet regularly with HM Treasury to discuss all matters relating to apprenticeships, including how to best support employers to develop apprenticeship programmes and spend their available funds. We also continue to work closely with businesses and to listen to their views about the operation of the levy and the apprenticeships program more broadly, taking into account the impact of COVID-19.

We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices. To encourage employers of all sizes to take on apprentices, and to support large employers to spend their levy funds, we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

Employers’ levy funds are not the same as the department’s ring-fenced apprenticeship budget, which is set to fund apprenticeships in England only. This budget is used to fund training for new apprenticeship starts in levy and non-levy paying employers and to cover the ongoing costs of apprentices already in training. It is also used to cover the cost of end-point assessment and any additional payments made to employers and providers. We do not anticipate that all employers who pay the levy will need or want to use all the funds in their accounts, however they are able to. This means that levy payers’ unspent funds are not lost but are used to support apprenticeships in smaller employers and additional payments. We have also increased the number of reservations that SMEs can now make through the apprenticeship service, from 3 to 10, enabling them to recruit more apprentices.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 15 July 2020 to Question 64242 on Covid-19 Education Catch-up Fund, what assessment he has made of the effect of lost teaching time on the educational attainment of young people in Further Education as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused disruption to people of all ages in education, in particular lost teaching time.

Colleges and providers swiftly moved more learning online to allow students to continue with studies remotely.

We want to get all further education learners back into education settings as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers and teachers.

Many further education providers are already open for some learners who are 16 to 19 and adults, subject to the required safety measures being met. From Autumn 2020, all learners will return to a full high-quality education programme delivered by their college or post-16 learning provider.

We announced on 20 July that we will be providing a one-off, ring-fenced grant of up to £96 million for colleges, sixth forms and all 16 to 19 providers, to provide small group tutoring activity for disadvantaged 16 to 19 year old students whose studies have been disrupted.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the provision of adult skills.

We are aware that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused disruption to people of all ages in education, in particular lost teaching time.

Colleges and providers swiftly moved more learning online to allow students to continue with studies remotely.

We want to get all further education learners back into education settings as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers and teachers.

Many further education providers are already open for some learners who are 16 to 19 and adults, subject to the required safety measures being met. From Autumn 2020, all learners will return to a full high-quality education programme delivered by their college or post-16 learning provider.

We announced on 20 July that we will be providing a one-off, ring-fenced grant of up to £96 million for colleges, sixth forms and all 16 to 19 providers, to provide small group tutoring activity for disadvantaged 16 to 19 year old students whose studies have been disrupted.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 8 July 2020 to Question 64954 on Nurses: Coronavirus, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the deadline of the apprenticeship levy so that NHS trusts do not lose unused funds as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We currently have no plans to extend the expiry period for employers’ levy funds. From the point at which funds enter an employer’s account, they already have 24 months in which to spend the funds, and these funds only begin to expire on a rolling, month-by-month basis 24 months after they enter an employer’s account. Levy-paying employers can transfer up to 25% of their annual funds to help support apprenticeship starts in their supply chain or to meet local skills needs. We remain committed to improving the operation of the apprenticeship levy, and while we recognise the current challenges facing employers, we currently consider that this period is sufficient to give employers time to develop their apprenticeship programmes and encourage them to create new apprenticeship opportunities.

Employers’ levy funds are not the same as the department's ring-fenced apprenticeship budget. Any unspent funds are not lost but are used to support apprenticeships in smaller employers.

To help employers, including NHS trusts, offer new apprenticeships, they will be able to claim £1,500 for every apprentice they hire as a new employee from 1 August 2020 until 31 January 2021- rising to £2,000 if they hire a new apprentice under the age of 25. In addition, we have increased the number of reservations that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can now make through the apprenticeship service, from 3 to 10, enabling them to recruit more apprentices. Details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

The new payment means it’s a great time for employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities and take advantage of existing flexibilities to train their apprentices in a way that suits their needs.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the merits of providing apprenticeships programmes that are more affordable to the NHS and the opportunities this might offer local economies.

Nursing apprenticeships offer a high-quality work-based route, in addition to the established higher education route, into the profession. There is now a complete apprentice pathway from entry-level through to postgraduate-level. We are working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and Health Education England to try to maximise the potential of this route to deliver trained nurses and nursing associates to the NHS.

Apprenticeships are able to help meet the long-term skills needs of a changing NHS and to widen access to the professions. There are currently 65 standards available for delivery from levels 2 to 7 in the health and science route. There are over 550 standards available overall, many of which can be used in the healthcare sector.

We are committed to minimising disruption to nurses’ training while supporting the NHS to deal with the challenges of COVID-19. Nursing apprentices who have completed their programme and passed through the apprenticeship gateway will be regarded to have met the end-point assessment requirements and achieved their apprenticeship.

We work closely with Health Education England, who have established a dedicated team of relationship managers to provide bespoke support to trusts. We continue to engage regularly with NHS stakeholders, including Health Education England and NHS Employers, to make sure that the NHS is fully supported to recruit the apprentices that it needs to deliver high-quality care in all areas, including emergency services, nursing, and care. I was pleased to speak recently to apprentices at the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, who shared with me their inspiring stories of how apprenticeships have allowed the Yorkshire Ambulance Service to do its vital work in supporting the NHS.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating funding to (a) maths and (b) skills teaching for the provision of education to young people for whom a lack of a qualification in those subjects presents a barrier to social mobility.

We recognise the importance of achieving a Level 2 qualification in maths to improving social mobility. We have taken a range of actions to ensure young people secure the maths skills they need for employment, further education, and everyday life.

We require students who leave key stage 4 without a GCSE grade 4 or above in maths and English to continue to study the subject and be given the opportunity to achieve a GCSE grade 4 or above during their 16 to 19 study programme. However, we recognise that for students with prior attainment of a GCSE grade 2 or below, a Functional Skills Level 2 may be more appropriate. We have recently reformed Functional Skills qualifications to improve their rigour and relevance to employers.

For both T-Levels and apprenticeships, we fund providers to support learners to achieve up to an approved level 2 qualification in maths and English qualification where they do not already hold a suitable equivalent qualification.

We are providing an additional £35 million to 16 to 19 providers to support students on Level 3 courses who do not yet have a GCSE maths and English grade 9 to 4 or equivalent, so they can re-sit their exams in these critical subjects.

Since 2018, we have been investing in a network of post-16 schools and colleges to be Centres for Excellence in Maths to improve the quality of maths teaching in post-16 institutions. There are 21 centres across the country – with at least one in every region of England – which are designing new and improved teaching resources, building teachers’ skills, and spreading best practice across the country through their wider networks with the aim of improving the outcomes of the lowest attaining maths students.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to review the apprenticeships levy; and what progress he has made on that review.

The government is committed to improving the working of the apprenticeship levy. We are continuing to engage closely with businesses and to listen to their views about the operation of the levy and the apprenticeships programme more broadly, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have already introduced the flexibility for levy-payers to transfer up to 25% of their funds, enabling them to support apprenticeship starts in their supply chains or to meet local skills needs. In response to the outbreak, we have introduced a range of flexibilities to enable apprentices and employers to continue with their apprenticeships and start new ones wherever possible. This includes encouraging the remote delivery of training and allowing changes to end point assessment.

We are also bringing non-levy paying employers onto the apprenticeship service during 2020-21 to give smaller employers more control over the apprenticeships they choose and the training providers they use.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which organisations his Department has met with to discuss the Government’s forthcoming apprenticeship guarantee.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow following the COVID-19 outbreak. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses who want to take on an apprentice this year.

Ministers and officials continue to work closely with business representative organisations including the Confederation of Business Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, Make UK, the Institute of Directors and British Chambers of Commerce. Ministers and officials are also working closely with other governmental departments including HM Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on economic recovery and the role of apprenticeships and other skills programmes.

In my role as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, I have held many conversations with employers and training providers, in addition to recently hosting two cross-sectoral employer roundtables. These roundtables were used to gain insight into their experiences of the impact of COVID-19 and the government’s response, and to share their ideas as to how apprenticeships can drive economic recovery and continue to be an accessible, high-quality route to employment and skills. Employers in attendance covered a diverse spectrum of the economy, including retail, manufacturing, construction, digital, creative arts and the public sector. I was also pleased to recently meet a broad range of members of the Federation of Industry Sector Skills & Standards to consider key skills shortages in different sectors and how COVID-19 has impacted these.


Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the £1 billion support package to tackle the impact of lost teaching time announced on 19 June 2020 will include funding for 16-19 providers.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced a £1 billion support package for schools to help pupils catch up on lost teaching time.

Many FE providers are already open for 16-19 learners on the first year of a two-year study programme and all learners under 19 years old can be offered a face-to-face meeting before the end of the summer term - subject to the required safety measures being met. Our guidance on how to phase the return of learners in further education is underpinned by our latest understanding of COVID-19 and we will continue to be led by the scientific evidence.

From Autumn 2020, all learners, including those who are 16-19 and adults will return to a full high-quality education programme delivered by their college or post 16 learning provider.

Colleges should plan on the basis that, from September 2020, all learners will return to a full high-quality education programme.

We are currently working through the implications of the Covid-19 disruption and are reviewing options on how students can be supported to make up for the disruption to their learning.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effects of the covid-19 outbreak on learners who have not been able to gain training placement experiences and as a result may struggle to achieve the necessary competency for their programme.

The current situation means that many learners are not able to carry out any placement element of their programme due to social distancing measures and employers being closed or having ‘work at home’ arrangements that are not suitable. This is particularly the case for traineeships where the work experience is an integral part of the programme. In such cases, temporary flexibilities that apply from 23 March 2020 allow reduced duration of work experience to complete learning aims where appropriate. This also includes potential extension of traineeships by up to 12 months where required and confirmation of attainment of qualification by email until hard copy certificates can be issued.

More widely on other vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs), Ofqual has set out in guidance how results should be issued this summer to enable as many learners as possible to progress as they have planned. For many VTQs, a calculated grade will be awarded – in a similar way to GCSEs and AS/A levels. For other VTQs where a calculated grade is not possible, assessments will be delivered in an adapted way this summer. We know for some VTQs that neither of these approaches will be possible and that the only option will be to delay assessments into the next academic year - this should be a last resort. Awarding organisations are working with Ofqual and centres to deliver results and assessments wherever possible this summer.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he is providing to NHS trusts to mitigate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on their ability to use mapped career pathways of apprenticeships to improve social mobility.

Apprenticeships offer a complete pathway from entry-level through to postgraduate level, giving people of all backgrounds the opportunity to pursue a career in the health and social care sector. We are committed to minimising disruption to nurses’ training and career progression, while supporting the NHS to deal with the challenges of COVID-19, and we have introduced a broad range of flexibilities to help support this.

Nursing apprentices who have completed their programme and passed through the apprenticeship gateway will be regarded to have met the end-point assessment requirements and achieved their apprenticeship. The apprentice will then have the opportunity to continue along the nursing apprenticeship pathway. We have also issued guidance on how critical workers such as nurses may be able to continue off-the-job training when redeployed to a new role.

We continue to engage regularly with NHS stakeholders, including Health Education England and NHS Employers, to make sure the NHS is fully supported to recruit the apprentices it needs to deliver high-quality care.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on providing additional (a) support and (b) incentives to SMEs to (i) retain and (ii) take on apprentices while dealing with the economic challenges resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow post COVID-19.

The flexibilities we have introduced, including remote learning, are enabling apprenticeships to continue. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course.

We will ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year and have extended the transition period of transferring onto the apprenticeship service from 1 November 2020 to 1 April 2021. This will enable smaller employers to have more control over the funding they use to create new apprenticeship opportunities and allow them to reserve funds before choosing the provider that best meets their needs.

As the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, I hosted a series of round tables in June 2020 with employers, business representative groups and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to discuss what further support employers may need in continuing to access apprenticeships.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Social Mobility Commission’s proposal to set up a dedicated government unit to co-ordinate action and ensure the recommendations of the commission are delivered.

We welcome the Social Mobility Commission’s annual report, which recognises progress in areas such as improving life chances for people, boosting mental health support for young people, and keeping disadvantaged pupils in education for longer.

On the specific recommendation of establishing a social mobility unit, we do not believe creating another government body is the solution – as it risks adding bureaucracy and distracting from addressing the issues at hand.

Government’s policy to level up opportunity across the country is already championed across Whitehall and most government departments have a part to play. The new Equality Hub in the Cabinet Office, comprising the Government Equalities Office, the Race Disparity Unit and the Disability Unit, will be broadening their work to look more widely at barriers to opportunity and working across government to support delivery on this agenda.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of enabling public sector employers to utilise unspent apprenticeship levy funding to help alleviate the decline in the number of apprentices as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Public sector employers are embracing the opportunities that apprenticeships bring to develop their workforces. Apprenticeships accounted for more than one in ten new appointments in the public sector (12.7 per cent) between April 2018 and March 2019. We continue to engage regularly with employers from across the public sector, to support them to address any barriers to recruiting apprentices.

The apprenticeships budget funds the training and assessment costs in England for both levy payers and non-levy paying employers. Levy-paying employers, including those in the public sector, have full control over when and where they spend the funds available to them to meet their current and future skills needs, including by transferring up to 25% of an employer’s annual levy funds to support the sustainable development of skills in their supply chain or local area. We strongly encourage all public sector employers to make maximum use of their levy, particularly at the current time.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, and in supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce that they need to recover and grow, following the COVID-19 outbreak. We want to support employers to take on new apprentices this year and will provide further detail in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the number of level 2 and level 3 apprenticeships.

Employers are at the heart of our reforms to apprenticeships, designing high-quality standards that deliver the skills that they need, and determining which apprenticeships they offer and when. Of the 554 standards now available, 316 are available at Levels 2 and 3 across a range of sectors.

In response to COVID-19 we have introduced a broad range of flexibilities, including encouraging the remote delivery of apprenticeships, to ensure that apprentices can continue with their learning, as far as possible, and to support the continued take up of apprenticeships at all levels by employers.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support the Government plans to provide (a) businesses and (b) the education sector to maintain apprenticeships during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working with training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance organisations to support apprentices and employers during this challenging time.

We are encouraging training providers to deliver training remotely and via e-learning as far as is practicable. We are also allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments where possible, to ensure that apprentices can continue to complete their apprenticeships.

We recognise that some apprentices may be unable to undertake training and that training providers may be unable to deliver it at present. We have therefore temporarily changed the funding rules to allow employers and training providers to initiate a break in learning of over 4 weeks, enabling apprenticeships to resume when it becomes possible to do so.

On 23 March 2020, we issued guidance setting out how the apprenticeship programme is responding to the impact of Covid-19: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response. We are keeping the guidance under review and will publish updates as the situation evolves.

The government has set out a comprehensive package of support for business which includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms to keep people in employment: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2020 to Question 64952 on Air Pollution: Coronavirus, what further studies he has (a) commissioned or (b) plans to commission on the association between covid-19 and air pollution; and if he will make it his policy to publish those studies.

The Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) report provides an early snapshot of evidence (pre-April 30 2020) and is an important component of Defra's response to COVID-19 and strategic leadership to improving air quality in the UK. A detailed follow-up by AQEG in the form of a more traditional review of the peer reviewed evidence will follow when more is known on the impact of the pandemic on air quality.

Defra continues to have extensive discussions with DHSC and the research community, on the relationship between air quality and health. We are committed to improving our understanding of the possible links between air quality and COVID-19, to inform policy development and will publish any studies at an appropriate time.

I welcome the EFRA Committee Inquiry into Air Quality, and we will be submitting further information about work on the links between air pollution and Covid-19 in our response to the call for evidence.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will provide updated guidance and advice to local authorities on how Clean Air Zone programmes are affected by the covid-19 lockdown.

We are in active dialogue with all local authorities with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exceedances, including those planning Clean Air Zones (CAZs), and are continuing to provide them with specific support and guidance. We are clear that even in these challenging times, we are committed to delivering compliance with NO2 limits in the shortest possible time and that NO2 reduction measures, including CAZs, are still needed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential implications for his Department's policies of research that links dirty air and increased infections of covid-19; and what additional steps he is taking to keep air pollution levels low.

The Government is taking a proactive approach to understand the possible links between air quality and COVID-19. That is why, with our Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG), we ran a rapid Call for Evidence to ensure we can more fully understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on air pollutant emissions, concentrations and human exposure. This report was published on 1 July. On the specific issue of COVID-19 and the link to air pollution, it is a particularly challenging and uncertain area. We note that there is emerging evidence suggesting an association, but many of the emerging papers are, as yet, generally not peer-reviewed and are of variable quality. Currently, there is no clear evidence to suggest that air pollution has a direct link to the spread or severity of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.

Improving air quality remains a top priority for the Government and, especially during these unprecedented times, we will continue to take robust and comprehensive action to improve air quality in the UK and minimise public health impacts.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 14 April 2021 to Question 174890, when he plans to publish an updated Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline list, which was last updated on 21 October 2019.

We will be publishing an update to the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline in the near future.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of re-purposing the eastern arm of the East Coast Main Line, such as for direct travel from Bristol to east of the Pennines, after the opening of HS2.

The Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands is considering how best to deliver schemes such as HS2 Phase 2b, Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Engine Rail in the North and Midlands.

In addition, under its current franchise agreement, CrossCountry, which operates InterCity services between south-west England, Bristol, the north of England and Scotland, is required to develop proposals for timetable and capacity improvements to deliver for expected future passenger demand over the next few years.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) electrifying the main railway line between Bristol and Birmingham and (b) connecting Britsol to the HS2 terminus under construction at Birmingham Curzon Street.

a) Further electrification of the rail network will play an important role in achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Electrification schemes will be developed through the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) to ensure that they represent value for money and can be delivered in a sustainable way.

b) The Midlands Rail Hub programme, currently under development, maximises the opportunities of HS2 by allowing trains from the southwest of Birmingham (including Bristol) to use Moor Street Station.

Moor Street Station is adjacent to the HS2 Birmingham Station at Curzon Street and convenient interchange is proposed between the two.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with Great Western Rail on increasing the number of apprenticeships at their St Philip's Marsh depot.

Great Western Railway’s (GWR) Franchise Agreement includes targets to ensure opportunities for apprentices. Despite the pandemic, GWR recruited thirty apprentices in September 2020 which is a significant increase from the nineteen taken on in 2019. GWR plans to recruit the same number of apprentices again in 2021, with six of the thirty apprenticeships available in the engineering profession. Currently, GWR’s intention is that two apprentices will be placed in St Philip’s Marsh depot.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with Hitachi Rail on increasing the number of apprenticeships at their Filton depot near Bristol.

Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd currently has six apprentice roles at Stoke Gifford, Bristol, four Level 3 and two Level 4 in Rolling Stock Engineering. The Department understands that Hitachi Rail Europe has a full programme currently, but would look to increase with any new orders that they receive.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how may emergency driving tests were undertaken by essential workers during the suspension of regular tests as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Between the period 23 March 2020 and 19 June 2020, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency conducted 5,967 emergency tests for critical workers:

Test category

Tests conducted

Motorcycle tests

124

Vocational tests

584

Car tests

5259

5967

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he has made on legislative proposals in relation to financial penalties for idling vehicles.

Improving air quality is a key priority for this Government.

Further announcements relating to the powers which Local Authorities have to tackle unnecessary vehicle idling are expected to be made shortly.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the outcome of the High Court case (R [Blundell & Ors] v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) whether her Department permits the placing of deductions for Child Maintenance payments ahead of all other deductions.

Child Maintenance can be recovered from Universal Credit where claimants who should contribute towards their non-resident children have no earnings.

Schedule 6 of the Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Claims and Payments) Regulations 2013 sets out the priority order in which Departmental staff must consider all deductions from Universal Credit, including Child Maintenance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the number of people in receipt of income based jobseekers' allowance who have not been migrated to universal credit and have not received the £20 uplift to their benefit payments since spring 2020.

138,000 people were on income-based JSA in 2019/20.

Legacy JSA claimants retain the option of claiming Universal Credit instead if they believe they will benefit from the temporary increase in the Universal Credit Standard Allowance.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative assessment she has made of the adequacy of social security support for (a) mortgage costs and (b) renters during the covid-19 outbreak.

No comparative assessment has been made of the adequacy of social security support for mortgage costs and renters during Covid-19.

Support for mortgage costs during the covid-19 outbreak is as follows:

  • Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) provides support for homeowners who qualify for an income related benefit.
  • SMI helps people maintain their existing, reasonable mortgage commitments so they can remain in their homes.
  • New claimants to Universal Credit who are not in work are entitled to claim help with their mortgage payments once they have served the nine-month qualifying period.
  • Homeowners experiencing financial difficulties meeting mortgage repayments because of Covid-19 should contact their lender as soon as possible to discuss what support might be available.

Support for renters during the covid-19 outbreak is as follows:

  • In response to Covid-19 Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased in April 2020 for renters in the private sector. This provides around 1.5 million claimants who receive either the housing element of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit with around £600 more housing support per year than they would otherwise have received.
  • We are maintaining LHA rates at their increased levels for 2021/22 ensuring claimants renting in the private rented sector will continue to benefit from the significant increase in the rates applied this year, providing claimants with stability during this period.
  • For those living in the Social Rented Sector, maximum housing costs support is based on actual rent and eligible service charges less any deductions for under-occupation.
  • For those who require additional support with housing costs Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available from local authorities.
Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the implications for her policies of the Disability Benefits Consortium report on the benefit losses that disabled people experienced during the benefit freeze.

The benefit freeze was in place for 4 tax years from 2016/17 and ended in April 2020. During the freeze we excluded benefits and payments relating to the additional costs of disability and for carers. In April 2020 these rates were increased by 1.7% in line with inflation.

The Department is bringing forward the Health and Disability Support Green Paper which will explore how the welfare system can better meet the needs of disabled people and people with health conditions now and in the future. We will be considering the range of feedback we have had from stakeholders and disabled people through our engagement events whilst developing the Green Paper.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the adequacy of benefit rates during the covid-19 outbreak for disabled people on legacy benefits.

Department for Work and Pension Ministers and officials are in regular contact with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Treasury officials. We will spend over £55 billion this year (2020/21) on benefits to support people with health conditions and disabilities. This will increase by £1.6 billion to £57 billion in 2021/22.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Child Maintenance Service’s Financial Investigation Unit since it was established in 2014.

The Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) is equipped with powers to conduct full and in depth investigations in to allegations made against a paying parent’s financial circumstances. They will then determine the most appropriate action to get Child Maintenance Payments flowing to the receiving parent.

Please see available statistics below of actions taken by the FIU. These can be found on Table 12 of the National Tables available on Gov.uk. Table 11.2 also refers.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-statistics-data-to-march-2020-experimental

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases the Financial Investigation Unit has investigated since it was established in 2014; and how many and what proportion of those cases resulted in (a) an increase in payment to the receiving parent and (b) a fraud prosecution.

Information relating to the number of cases the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) has reviewed back to 2017 is available on Gov.uk. These can be found on Table 12 of the National Tables available on Gov.uk which provides information on intake at lines 11, 20, 32 and 42. And line 25 shows volumes of assessments changed. Table 11.2 also refers and this shows applications to court for prosecutions and resulting sanctions applied by the court.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-statistics-data-to-march-2020-experimental

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the accuracy of telephone-based personal independence payment assessments compared with face-to-face appointments.

The department is committed to improving the assessment process and ensuring that claimants receive high quality, objective and accurate assessments, as part of the suite of evidence the department uses to decide entitlement. We are closely monitoring all new assessment processes, including telephone assessments, to ensure they are working well for those claiming Personal Independence Payment, as well as providing the right level of information to allow claims to be assessed.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the proportion of personal independence claim awards of the standard rate of care to an applicant previously in receipt of the enhanced rate of care that are increased following a mandatory reconsideration.

The specific information requested on PIP claims moving from an enhanced daily living award to a standard daily living award, and then being awarded an enhanced daily living award again at Mandatory Reconsideration (MRs) or appeal is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the proportion of personal independence claim awards of the standard rate of care to an applicant previously in receipt of the enhanced rate of care that are increased following an appeal to HM Courts and Tribunal Service.

The specific information requested on PIP claims moving from an enhanced daily living award to a standard daily living award, and then being awarded an enhanced daily living award again at Mandatory Reconsideration (MRs) or appeal is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to consult on changing the 39 week qualifying period for Support for Mortgage Interest loans.

The Department has no plans to consult on amending the qualifying period for Support for Mortgage Interest.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 26 June 2020 to Question 63380, whether her Department collects information on which universal credit claimants have received a payment under the Self-employment Income Support Scheme; and what estimate her Department has made of the cost of publishing that information.

HMRC owns this information on Self Employed Income Support Scheme. DWP has made no estimate of the cost of undertaking or publishing any analysis of the scheme and its links with Universal Credit.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training has been given to staff who have been redeployed from the Child Maintenance Service to help process the increase in claims for universal credit resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department responded at pace to the increase in customers and the upsurge of UC claims during the COVID-19 outbreak, c10,000 DWP staff were trained and redeployed to business critical roles to support Universal Credit (UC) case management.

Those staff redeployed to UC received training to enable them to support DWP to pay claimants on time and in full. The learning has been updated to incorporate COVID-19 processes which have been streamlined for UC and shows staff how to:

  • Carry out their role by managing their caseload
  • hand off work for complex cases and payments, and
  • communicate with claimants via journals and outbound telephone calls

We have moved to virtual delivery of training and to cope with increased capacity have on-boarded additional temporary Learning Delivery Officers. To meet longer term learning delivery requirements, we are building our cadre of Learning Delivery Officers with a blend of permanent and temporary recruitment.

Alongside virtual delivery, we are enhancing the support given to colleagues both pre and post training, to ensure staff have a quality learning experience.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on the administering of child maintenance of the redeployment of staff from the Child Maintenance Service to help process the increase in claims for universal credit resulting from the covid-19 lockdown.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is making temporary changes to services to continue to ensure we can deliver our priorities to support separated parents and also to help wider efforts to provide essential financial support to more people.

Child Maintenance services can be accessed online with parents urged to make use of this in the first instance, and phone lines remain open for those who need them. The CMS has updated guidance on telephone and online services to encourage parents to report changes online where possible, except where changes must be reported by phone.

Over time the CMS will ensure that everyone pays or receives the right amount of child maintenance. No one will get away with giving false information and those abusing the system could find themselves subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have received a payment under the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants who are lone parents have received a payment under the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have received a payment under the Self Employed Income Support Scheme which exceeds their standard and any other allowance for that assessment period.

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has plans to undertake a public consultation on changing the sequence by which deductions from benefits are ordered to ensure that child maintenance payments, if applicable, would always be one of the three possible third party deductions.

The Department recognises the importance of Child Maintenance payments and these deductions are already prioritised above others such as legacy benefit overpayments of Housing Benefit, Tax Credit and DWP overpayments and Recoverable Hardship and Social Fund loans.

There are no plans to consult on the sequence by which deductions from benefits are ordered.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the Health Foundation's estimate that there could be 11 per cent more referrals a year for mental health services in the next three years as a result of the covid-19 outbreak, as set out in Health Foundation's analysis entitled Spending Review 2020: Managing uncertainty, published on 24 November 2020; and if he will take steps to respond to that analysis.

We have no specific plans to do so. However, we continue to work with the National Health Service, Public Health England and others to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of existing (a) service provision and (b) capacity to meet the mental health needs of young people.

The Care Quality Commission makes an annual assessment of health and care services in England and publishes its findings through the State of Care report. The most recent ‘The state of health care and adult social care in England 2019/20’ finds that 71% of National Health Services (NHS) mental health core services were rated as good and 11% as outstanding. The report does not provide a breakdown for services for children and young people, or young people specifically.

On capacity, the NHS Digital publishes quarterly data through the NHS Mental Health Dashboard. It includes the proportion of children and young people who have had at least two contacts with NHS-funded community mental health services, based on estimated prevalence available in 2016, namely the Office for National Statistics report Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain, 2004. In 2019/20, 36.9% of children and young people with a diagnoseable mental health condition had at least two contacts with such services. This exceeds the aims of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health to increase access for children and young people from 25% to at least 35% of expected prevalence by 2020/21.

We know that the pandemic has had an impact on the mental health and wellbeing of many children and young people. This is why we are investing an additional £500 million in 2021/22 to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need, and invest in the NHS workforce. As part of this investment, we have committed to accelerate key commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan. We continue to work with Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement to understand the impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health, including commissioning regular surveys via NHS Digital to monitor this over the course of the pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that there is sufficient provision of specialist beds throughout the country for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Tier 4 inpatient units for severe eating disorders.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have announced £40 million in 2021/22 to address the impact on children and young people’s mental health and enhance services across the country, including for eating disorders. We are ensuring the appropriate beds are available or that alternatives to admission are in place in England.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the finding that young people, particularly young women, have experienced greater declines in their mental health than others during the covid-19 outbreak, as set out in the Institute for Fiscal Studies report, The mental health effects of the first two months of lockdown and social distancing during the covid-19 pandemic in the UK, published on 10 June 2020; and what steps he is taking to support young (a) men and (b) women so affected.

While we have no current plans to make a specific assessment, we are working with the National Health Service, Public Health England and other stakeholders to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 across all demographics.

The COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan, details the actions taken across the Government to support people’s mental wellbeing and to prevent the onset of mental health difficulties, including for all young people. This includes our campaign through Every Mind Matters to raise awareness of the guidance and tools available to support children and young people’s mental wellbeing; £79million to significantly expand children’s mental health services; and £13 million to accelerate the improvements to mental health support for 18 to 25 year olds in the NHS Long Term Plan. This funding is for 2021/22 and in addition to funding through the NHS Long Term Plan.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that there is sufficient psychological support within non-specialised clinical settings for young people experiencing severe eating disorders unable to access a Tier 4 bed.

We are enhancing capacity in community eating disorder services to improve urgent response and the delivery of intensive home treatment. Community eating disorder teams for children and young people are resourced to support early identification and access to treatment as soon as an eating disorder is suspected. These teams are working with schools, colleges and primary care to support improved awareness and access to expert advice and treatment.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what advice he received from the Permanent Secretary under S7.2 of the Ministerial Code when Topwood Ltd was awarded a place on a framework contract by SBS NHS from 2 January 2019.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s declarations of interests are published bi-annually and are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-ministers-interests

The declaration of interests was discussed with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. These matters have been considered in the Annual Report of the Independent Advisor on Ministerial Interests which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/annual-report-of-the-independent-adviser-on-ministers-interests-may-2021

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Prime Minister have exchanged correspondence on this matter, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/correspondence-between-the-prime-minister-and-the-secretary-of-state-of-health-and-social-care-28-may-2021

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he took advice from the Permanent Secretary under S7.2 of the Ministerial Code when Topwood Ltd was awarded a place on a framework contract by SBS NHS from 2 January 2019.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s declarations of interests are published bi-annually and are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-ministers-interests

The declaration of interests was discussed with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. These matters have been considered in the Annual Report of the Independent Advisor on Ministerial Interests which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/annual-report-of-the-independent-adviser-on-ministers-interests-may-2021

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Prime Minister have exchanged correspondence on this matter, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/correspondence-between-the-prime-minister-and-the-secretary-of-state-of-health-and-social-care-28-may-2021

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the ownership of shares in Topwood Ltd by his family members were listed on his appointment under S7.3 of the Ministerial Code.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s declarations of interests are published bi-annually and are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-ministers-interests

The declaration of interests was discussed with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. These matters have been considered in the Annual Report of the Independent Advisor on Ministerial Interests which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/annual-report-of-the-independent-adviser-on-ministers-interests-may-2021

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Prime Minister have exchanged correspondence on this matter, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/correspondence-between-the-prime-minister-and-the-secretary-of-state-of-health-and-social-care-28-may-2021

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of how many and what proportion of NHS dentists that closed in the last 18 months have been replaced.

National Health Service dental activity is replaced through recommissioning of services. The most recent data is available to September 2020. Of the 77 contracts terminated or handed back between January and September 2020, 41 contracts have been recommissioned or approximately 60%.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of access to NHS dentistry provision for new patients; and what plans he has to ensure there are sufficient NHS dental patient places available to meet demand.

We have made no specific assessment. NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for commissioning primary dental care services to meet local need, including for new patients. Where a prospective new patient is unable to access National Health Service dentistry, NHS England’s Customer Contact Centre can provide assistance.

We continue to work closely with the NHS, Public Health England and the profession to safely increase levels of service and ensure that there are sufficient NHS dental places available to meet demand


This includes increasing access to dental services, while maintaining measures to protect staff and patients from COVID-19 infection; reviewing the current dental contract; and exploring opportunities and options for flexible dental training pathways, to develop dental care teams, improve retention and deliver safe and effective care.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what procedures or guidance governs and discussions between him and his departmental Permanent Secretary; and in what circumstances are Ministers in his department required to consult the departmental Permanent Secretary on potential conflicts of interest.

The Permanent Secretary discusses a range of issues with Ministers, including on propriety matters. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has discussed his declarations of interests with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. A record of all specific occasions where potential conflicts of interests were discussed is not held. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care discussed his declarations of interests with the then Deputy Cabinet Secretary.

Ministers have a duty to abide by the Ministerial Code, which states that:

“It is the personal responsibility of each Minister to decide whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict, taking account of advice received from their Permanent Secretary and the independent adviser on Ministers’ interests.”

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when discussions took place with the departmental permanent secretary about the transfer of shares in Topwood Limited to the ownership of the Secretary of State.

The Permanent Secretary discusses a range of issues with Ministers, including on propriety matters. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has discussed his declarations of interests with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. A record of all specific occasions where potential conflicts of interests were discussed is not held. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care discussed his declarations of interests with the then Deputy Cabinet Secretary.

Ministers have a duty to abide by the Ministerial Code, which states that:

“It is the personal responsibility of each Minister to decide whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict, taking account of advice received from their Permanent Secretary and the independent adviser on Ministers’ interests.”

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he had with his departmental Permanent Secretary or other officials when or after Topwood Limited was awarded a contract with NHS Wales.

The Permanent Secretary discusses a range of issues with Ministers, including on propriety matters. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has discussed his declarations of interests with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. A record of all specific occasions where potential conflicts of interests were discussed is not held. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care discussed his declarations of interests with the then Deputy Cabinet Secretary.

Ministers have a duty to abide by the Ministerial Code, which states that:

“It is the personal responsibility of each Minister to decide whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict, taking account of advice received from their Permanent Secretary and the independent adviser on Ministers’ interests.”

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on how many occasions his departmental Permanent Secretary has been involved in discussions with Ministers in his Department on potential conflicts of interest in the last three years.

The Permanent Secretary discusses a range of issues with Ministers, including on propriety matters. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has discussed his declarations of interests with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. A record of all specific occasions where potential conflicts of interests were discussed is not held. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care discussed his declarations of interests with the then Deputy Cabinet Secretary.

Ministers have a duty to abide by the Ministerial Code, which states that:

“It is the personal responsibility of each Minister to decide whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict, taking account of advice received from their Permanent Secretary and the independent adviser on Ministers’ interests.”

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he received advice from his departmental Permanent Secretary when Topwood Ltd was placed on the framework contract for NHS Waste Management and Minimisation Services.

The Permanent Secretary discusses a range of issues with Ministers, including on propriety matters. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has discussed his declarations of interests with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. A record of all specific occasions where potential conflicts of interests were discussed is not held. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care discussed his declarations of interests with the then Deputy Cabinet Secretary.

Ministers have a duty to abide by the Ministerial Code, which states that:

“It is the personal responsibility of each Minister to decide whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict, taking account of advice received from their Permanent Secretary and the independent adviser on Ministers’ interests.”

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he had discussions with the departmental Permanent Secretary on the matter of Topwood Ltd after that company had already been placed on the framework contract for NHS Waste Management and Minimisation Services.

The Permanent Secretary discusses a range of issues with Ministers, including on propriety matters. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has discussed his declarations of interests with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. A record of all specific occasions where potential conflicts of interests were discussed is not held. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care discussed his declarations of interests with the then Deputy Cabinet Secretary.

Ministers have a duty to abide by the Ministerial Code, which states that:

“It is the personal responsibility of each Minister to decide whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict, taking account of advice received from their Permanent Secretary and the independent adviser on Ministers’ interests.”

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has received advice from his (a) departmental Permanent Secretary and (b) the Cabinet Secretary on the transfer of shares in Topwood Ltd to his ownership.

The Permanent Secretary discusses a range of issues with Ministers, including on propriety matters. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has discussed his declarations of interests with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. A record of all specific occasions where potential conflicts of interests were discussed is not held. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care discussed his declarations of interests with the then Deputy Cabinet Secretary.

Ministers have a duty to abide by the Ministerial Code, which states that:

“It is the personal responsibility of each Minister to decide whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict, taking account of advice received from their Permanent Secretary and the independent adviser on Ministers’ interests.”

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what record was taken of the discussions with his departmental Permanent Secretary on the transfer of shares in Topwood Ltd to his ownership.

The Permanent Secretary discusses a range of issues with Ministers, including on propriety matters. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has discussed his declarations of interests with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. A record of all specific occasions where potential conflicts of interests were discussed is not held. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care discussed his declarations of interests with the then Deputy Cabinet Secretary.

Ministers have a duty to abide by the Ministerial Code, which states that:

“It is the personal responsibility of each Minister to decide whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict, taking account of advice received from their Permanent Secretary and the independent adviser on Ministers’ interests.”

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he made contact with those responsible for the procurement of the Shared Business Services framework contract for Waste Management and Minimisation in 2019 to disclose his personal connection with Topwood Limited.

The Permanent Secretary discusses a range of issues with Ministers, including on propriety matters. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has discussed his declarations of interests with the Permanent Secretary and advice was provided. A record of all specific occasions where potential conflicts of interests were discussed is not held. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care discussed his declarations of interests with the then Deputy Cabinet Secretary.

Ministers have a duty to abide by the Ministerial Code, which states that:

“It is the personal responsibility of each Minister to decide whether and what action is needed to avoid a conflict or the perception of a conflict, taking account of advice received from their Permanent Secretary and the independent adviser on Ministers’ interests.”

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Health Foundation's report, Build back fairer: the covid-19 Marmot review, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the links between (a) poverty and (b) higher covid-19 mortality rates; and what steps he is taking to tackle that matter.

We are determined to address the long-standing inequalities that exist in many areas.NHS England has committed to inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the National Health Service has set eight actions to reduce inequalities in its restoration of services including reporting on providing services to the 20% poorest neighbourhoods.

Regular discussions continue to take place with Cabinet colleagues. The Minister for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) is leading work to take forward the response to tackle COVID-19 disparities experienced by individuals from an ethnic minority background. There is also wider work underway across Government to consider the impact the virus has had on other groups, such as disabled people.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Health Foundation report, Build Back Fairer: The Covid-19 Marmot Review, that health was deteriorating, life expectancy stalling and health inequalities widening over the last decade and that this impacted case fatality ratios of covid-19 on the poorest in society.

We are determined to address the long-standing inequalities that exist in many areas.NHS England has committed to inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the National Health Service has set eight actions to reduce inequalities in its restoration of services including reporting on providing services to the 20% poorest neighbourhoods.

Regular discussions continue to take place with Cabinet colleagues. The Minister for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) is leading work to take forward the response to tackle COVID-19 disparities experienced by individuals from an ethnic minority background. There is also wider work underway across Government to consider the impact the virus has had on other groups, such as disabled people.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Health Foundation analysis that there will be 11 per cent more mental health service referrals a year for services in the next three years due to the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking in response to that matter.

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

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the backlog of care caused by the covid-19 pandemic on health inequalities; and what steps he is taking to tackle those health inequalities.

We are continuing to monitor and address the effect of the backlog of care caused by the pandemic on health inequalities. NHS England has committed to inclusive recovery in its ‘Implementing phase 3 of the NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic’ published in July 2020. The National Health Service has set eight actions to reduce inequalities in its restoration of services, including reporting on providing services to the 20% poorest neighbourhoods and black and Asian patients, which are available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/C0716_Implementing-phase-3-v1.1.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Institute for Fiscal Studies report, The mental health effects of the first two months of lockdown and social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, that young people, particularly young women, have experienced greater declines in their mental health than others during the pandemic; and what steps he is taking to support those groups.

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

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish data on the number of complaints made (a) by and (b) on behalf of patients in respect of the NHS Test and Trace programme.

The information is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the additional resources required to ensure that outstanding Continuing Health Care assessments are undertaken in a timely manner in accordance with the statutory guidance.

As of 14 March 2021, there were just under 3,000 assessments outstanding from the period when NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) assessments were not required, as a result of the legislation implemented due to the pandemic. Funding from the COVID-19 hospital discharge scheme was made available in order to support the National Health Service and social care to undertake the NHS CHC deferred assessments and colleagues continue to make excellent progress towards completion of the deferred assessments.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of Continuing Health Care assessments that are outstanding as a result of the six-month suspension imposed in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

As of 14 March 2021, there were just under 3,000 assessments outstanding from the period when NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) assessments were not required, as a result of the legislation implemented due to the pandemic. Funding from the COVID-19 hospital discharge scheme was made available in order to support the National Health Service and social care to undertake the NHS CHC deferred assessments and colleagues continue to make excellent progress towards completion of the deferred assessments.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the level of shortfall in funding to local councils to meet demand for discretionary self isolation payments in areas where covid-19 rates are categorised as very high.

The Government keeps all elements of its COVID-19 response under review, including the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. An initial £50 million was made available to local authorities following the launch of the scheme in September 2020, including £15 million for discretionary payments. In January 2021, in response to rising incidence levels, the Government made a further £20 million available, including another £10 million to cover the cost of discretionary payments. We will continue to work closely with all 314 local authorities in England to monitor the delivery of the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 2 December 2020 to Question 120891 on NHS Trusts: Subsidiary Companies, what criteria he will use to measure the benefits to patients of the subsidiary transaction.

The measurement of patient benefits in proposals by trusts for forming or changing a subsidiary under NHS England and NHS Improvement’s addendum to transaction guidance is through trust board certification and a review process.

As part of the review, the trust board should clearly demonstrate why the formation of trust subsidiaries is the best option for patients, the trust and the local health economy. Plans require the support of key stakeholders in the local health economy, including those from patients to gain their perspective on perceived benefits of any subsidiary.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a national pay-scale for apprentices across the NHS.

The Agenda for Change multi-year pay and contract reform deal 2018/19 to 2020/21 included a commitment for the NHS Staff Council to negotiate a new provision on pay for apprentices within the National Health Service terms and conditions of service.

Employers and trade unions were unable to reach a consensus on pay following lengthy negotiations but did agree on other areas including on job descriptions and person specifications for apprentices and on treatment of internal applicants to apprenticeship roles.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 30 September 2020 to Question 97629, what assessment he has made of the benefits to patients of NHS trusts managing their estates and property through a wholly owned subsidiary company.

Current NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance on the creation of Wholly Owned Subsidiaries considers the specific aims of the business case for National Health Service trusts managing their estates and property through a wholly owned subsidiary company.

Trusts are asked to certify that they have considered a detailed options appraisal before deciding that the proposed subsidiary transaction aligns with wider system plans and is at least financially neutral for the wider system. Trusts must also demonstrate that the proposed transaction delivers benefits for patients and for the trust and that the subsidiary is the best vehicle to deliver these benefits.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on NHS Property Services of NHS Trusts setting up wholly owned subsidiary companies to manage their estates and property.

National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts occupy about a third of NHS Property Services’ estate as tenants. The Company provides facilities management and other estates services to these properties; the trusts provide elements of these services to NHS Property Services themselves in many cases and these may be delivered through Wholly Owned Subsidiary Companies in areas where these have been established. It is for individual NHS trusts to decide on the best contracting model for the delivery of these services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October to Question 97626 on Hospital Beds: Private Sector, what the total amounts paid to the Contractors under the 26 Contracts placed through the Contract Award 492193-2020 are to date.

A Contract Award Notice in respect of each of the 26 individual contracts entered into by NHS England with independent sector hospital providers was published on 16 October 2020 by the Official Journal of the European Union.

It provides an estimate of the payments to each provider until their termination from the national contract or until the contract ends on 31 December 2020. These payments are estimates based on agreed criteria as they are subject to final additional review and validation. These do not take place until after the contracts are terminated


All of the 26 contracts are in the form of the NHS Standard Contract, with certain amendments and derogations to reflect concessions being applied to National Health Service providers of the same types of services and to reflect the specifics of the agreed payment and other arrangements and the circumstances in which and for which the contracts were awarded


The contracts placed through the award do meet the requirements for commissioners to pay providers in accordance with the National Tariff. To the extent they relate to payment for services delivered they constitute a combination of local variations and local prices within the rules and principles as set out in the National Tariff.

No contracts have been extended. When the contracts were entered into their expiry dates were uncertain but they provide for termination, at NHS England’s option, on one month’s notice. A number have since been terminated through that mechanism.

The total paid up to 23 November 2020 is £1,404,512,878. This only includes those payments that have been made through the central process and does not include anything paid under local contracts through clinical commissioning groups, regions or providers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October to Question 97626 on Hospital Beds: Private Sector, how many of the Contracts placed through the Contract Award 492193-2020 have been extended beyond the date of conclusion of the contract as stated in the Contract Award Notice.

A Contract Award Notice in respect of each of the 26 individual contracts entered into by NHS England with independent sector hospital providers was published on 16 October 2020 by the Official Journal of the European Union.

It provides an estimate of the payments to each provider until their termination from the national contract or until the contract ends on 31 December 2020. These payments are estimates based on agreed criteria as they are subject to final additional review and validation. These do not take place until after the contracts are terminated


All of the 26 contracts are in the form of the NHS Standard Contract, with certain amendments and derogations to reflect concessions being applied to National Health Service providers of the same types of services and to reflect the specifics of the agreed payment and other arrangements and the circumstances in which and for which the contracts were awarded


The contracts placed through the award do meet the requirements for commissioners to pay providers in accordance with the National Tariff. To the extent they relate to payment for services delivered they constitute a combination of local variations and local prices within the rules and principles as set out in the National Tariff.

No contracts have been extended. When the contracts were entered into their expiry dates were uncertain but they provide for termination, at NHS England’s option, on one month’s notice. A number have since been terminated through that mechanism.

The total paid up to 23 November 2020 is £1,404,512,878. This only includes those payments that have been made through the central process and does not include anything paid under local contracts through clinical commissioning groups, regions or providers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October to Question 97626 on Hospital Beds: Private Sector, whether the payment arrangements under the 26 Contracts placed through the Contract Award 492193-2020 met the requirements for Commissioners to pay Providers in accordance with the National Tariff.

A Contract Award Notice in respect of each of the 26 individual contracts entered into by NHS England with independent sector hospital providers was published on 16 October 2020 by the Official Journal of the European Union.

It provides an estimate of the payments to each provider until their termination from the national contract or until the contract ends on 31 December 2020. These payments are estimates based on agreed criteria as they are subject to final additional review and validation. These do not take place until after the contracts are terminated


All of the 26 contracts are in the form of the NHS Standard Contract, with certain amendments and derogations to reflect concessions being applied to National Health Service providers of the same types of services and to reflect the specifics of the agreed payment and other arrangements and the circumstances in which and for which the contracts were awarded


The contracts placed through the award do meet the requirements for commissioners to pay providers in accordance with the National Tariff. To the extent they relate to payment for services delivered they constitute a combination of local variations and local prices within the rules and principles as set out in the National Tariff.

No contracts have been extended. When the contracts were entered into their expiry dates were uncertain but they provide for termination, at NHS England’s option, on one month’s notice. A number have since been terminated through that mechanism.

The total paid up to 23 November 2020 is £1,404,512,878. This only includes those payments that have been made through the central process and does not include anything paid under local contracts through clinical commissioning groups, regions or providers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October to Question 97626 on Hospital Beds: Private Sector, whether the payment arrangements under the 26 Contracts placed through the Contract Award 492193-2020 used the NHS Contract.

A Contract Award Notice in respect of each of the 26 individual contracts entered into by NHS England with independent sector hospital providers was published on 16 October 2020 by the Official Journal of the European Union.

It provides an estimate of the payments to each provider until their termination from the national contract or until the contract ends on 31 December 2020. These payments are estimates based on agreed criteria as they are subject to final additional review and validation. These do not take place until after the contracts are terminated


All of the 26 contracts are in the form of the NHS Standard Contract, with certain amendments and derogations to reflect concessions being applied to National Health Service providers of the same types of services and to reflect the specifics of the agreed payment and other arrangements and the circumstances in which and for which the contracts were awarded


The contracts placed through the award do meet the requirements for commissioners to pay providers in accordance with the National Tariff. To the extent they relate to payment for services delivered they constitute a combination of local variations and local prices within the rules and principles as set out in the National Tariff.

No contracts have been extended. When the contracts were entered into their expiry dates were uncertain but they provide for termination, at NHS England’s option, on one month’s notice. A number have since been terminated through that mechanism.

The total paid up to 23 November 2020 is £1,404,512,878. This only includes those payments that have been made through the central process and does not include anything paid under local contracts through clinical commissioning groups, regions or providers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October to Question 97626 on Hospital Beds: Private Sector, what payment mechanisms were agreed under the 26 Contracts placed through the Contract Award 492193-2020.

A Contract Award Notice in respect of each of the 26 individual contracts entered into by NHS England with independent sector hospital providers was published on 16 October 2020 by the Official Journal of the European Union.

It provides an estimate of the payments to each provider until their termination from the national contract or until the contract ends on 31 December 2020. These payments are estimates based on agreed criteria as they are subject to final additional review and validation. These do not take place until after the contracts are terminated


All of the 26 contracts are in the form of the NHS Standard Contract, with certain amendments and derogations to reflect concessions being applied to National Health Service providers of the same types of services and to reflect the specifics of the agreed payment and other arrangements and the circumstances in which and for which the contracts were awarded


The contracts placed through the award do meet the requirements for commissioners to pay providers in accordance with the National Tariff. To the extent they relate to payment for services delivered they constitute a combination of local variations and local prices within the rules and principles as set out in the National Tariff.

No contracts have been extended. When the contracts were entered into their expiry dates were uncertain but they provide for termination, at NHS England’s option, on one month’s notice. A number have since been terminated through that mechanism.

The total paid up to 23 November 2020 is £1,404,512,878. This only includes those payments that have been made through the central process and does not include anything paid under local contracts through clinical commissioning groups, regions or providers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October to Question 97626 on Hospital Beds: Private Sector, what payments have been made under each of the 26 Contracts placed through the Contract Award 492193-2020.

A Contract Award Notice in respect of each of the 26 individual contracts entered into by NHS England with independent sector hospital providers was published on 16 October 2020 by the Official Journal of the European Union.

It provides an estimate of the payments to each provider until their termination from the national contract or until the contract ends on 31 December 2020. These payments are estimates based on agreed criteria as they are subject to final additional review and validation. These do not take place until after the contracts are terminated


All of the 26 contracts are in the form of the NHS Standard Contract, with certain amendments and derogations to reflect concessions being applied to National Health Service providers of the same types of services and to reflect the specifics of the agreed payment and other arrangements and the circumstances in which and for which the contracts were awarded


The contracts placed through the award do meet the requirements for commissioners to pay providers in accordance with the National Tariff. To the extent they relate to payment for services delivered they constitute a combination of local variations and local prices within the rules and principles as set out in the National Tariff.

No contracts have been extended. When the contracts were entered into their expiry dates were uncertain but they provide for termination, at NHS England’s option, on one month’s notice. A number have since been terminated through that mechanism.

The total paid up to 23 November 2020 is £1,404,512,878. This only includes those payments that have been made through the central process and does not include anything paid under local contracts through clinical commissioning groups, regions or providers.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer dated 8 October to Question 97635 on Hospitals: Construction, what information has been published on the progress to date of the 40 hospital building projects and other capital schemes.

On 2 October we announced that 48 hospitals will be built by 2030 with 40 schemes confirmed and a remaining eight to be determined following a future competition. The delivery of these schemes will be led through a national programme that will ensure trusts are fully supported to build the next generation of intelligent healthcare facilities, as well as to embed within the National Health Service a long-term capability for future capital investment. Four of the hospitals named in the announcement are already in construction.

Progress on the development of other significant capital schemes will be publicised locally by trusts, by their annual reports or websites. For example, sustainability and transformation partnership funding has been publicised by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group in the establishment of a new practice in Weston-Super-Mare.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 8 October to Question 97634, on Hospitals: Construction, whether the revised process for approving business cases referred to in that Answer has been published.

The business case review and approvals process has not been published but is communicated to all trusts as part of discussions regarding business cases.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 30 September to Question 97626 on Hospital Beds: Private Sector, and with reference to the report entitled Investigation into government procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic, published by the National Audit Office on 18 November, when the 26 contracts for the use of private sector beds will be published.

A Contract Award Notice in respect of each of the 26 individual contracts entered into by NHS England with independent sector hospital providers was published on 16 October 2020 by the Official Journal of the European Union.

The Contract Award Notice is an estimate of the payments to each provider until their termination from the national contract or until the contract ends on 31 December 2020. These payments are estimates based on agreed criteria as they are subject to final additional review and validation. These do not take place until after the contracts are terminated.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 14 October to Question 100452 on Integrated Care Systems, if he will publish the record of the discussions with local authority leaders on legislative proposals that would put Integrated Care Systems on a statutory basis.

We have no central record of the discussions referred to.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure local authorities are adequately supported in the reopening of comprehensive contraceptive services to support choice of appropriate contraception for women.

Sexual and reproductive health services have remained open during the pandemic though some are temporarily reducing their face-to-face appointments and may only be able to see emergency or urgent cases in person. Services are maintaining access during this time through scaling up of online services including increasing eligibility through current provision or utilising a neighbours’ service for residents of another local authority. Public Health England have recently launched the National Framework for e-Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. This new national framework will allow local authorities and service providers to purchase an expanded range of on-line services including emergency contraception and the contraceptive pill.

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare have published clinical advice to support ongoing provision of effective contraception which health professionals should work to. This is available at the following link:

https://www.fsrh.org/documents/fsrh-guidance-srh-services-second-wave-covid-october-2020/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with local authority leaders on legislative proposals that would put Integrated Care Systems on a statutory basis.

NHS England has set out its goal that all sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) will become integrated care systems (ICSs) by April 2021. As it stands 18 out of 42 STPs have developed into ICSs. NHS England previously made recommendations in the NHS Long Term Plan for giving ICSs a legal underpinning. These proposals were discussed in an engagement exercise, concluding in April 2019, which engaged more than 190,000 people and consulted stakeholders including the Local Government Association.

The Government is considering how to take forward the proposals put forward by NHS England. If legislative change is required to support the establishment of ICSs, we will work closely with all parts of the health and care system to achieve this, including local authorities, building on work started by NHS England with the publication of the Long Term Plan.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the organisational integration of NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Since 2018, NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working collaboratively to enable them to work more effectively with commissioners and providers in local health systems; to speak with one voice to set clear and consistent expectations; to use collective resources more efficiently; and to remove unnecessary duplication. In 2019, the Health and Social Care Committee supported legislative proposals to merge NHS England and NHS Improvement into a single body which would be responsible for the management of the sector, making best use of its collective resources for the greatest benefit for patients. The Government is committed to supporting and enabling the National Health Service to work effectively together, and where this requires legislative change, we will bring forward proposals in due course. We are continuing to work closely with the system, building on NHS England’s publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, to ensure that the NHS is best placed to deliver the best possible care to patients.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will pause proposals for NHS trusts to (a) form or (b) make changes to subsidiary companies until after the Government has concluded its assessment of its proposals to reform VAT refund rules.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 established a level playing-field in which any qualified provider can provide National Health Service-funded services to encourage greater diversity of supply and improve patient choice. As such, it is vital that all providers, be they NHS or private sector, operate within existing VAT legislation as applicable to their particular entity.

Initial responses to the HM Treasury consultation on changes to S41 of the 1994 VAT Act are due by 19 November 2020. There are no plans to pause proposals for NHS trusts to form or make changes to subsidiary companies.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the £325million capital funding that he announced in July 2017 at the Kings Fund for local projects to support transformation of patient care and modernisation of the NHS has been received by successful bidders.

Delivering capital investment is a complex process and it takes time to be done thoroughly and professionally, alongside delivering the everyday healthcare services. There is a necessary process of assurance to ensure the outcome is as intended i.e. it transforms services for the benefit of patients. This process is led by the trust, and includes a number of business case checkpoints. Funding is usually provided when the Full Business Case has been approved.

Since the original announcement in July 2017, additional funding has been allocated to the first wave of sustainability and transformation partnerships schemes. The total allocation for these schemes is £445 million, subject to relevant business case approvals. Of the total allocation, 21% has been received by trusts as of 12 October 2020.

Future National Health Service capital funding will be determined as part of the Department’s multi-year settlement at the upcoming Spending Review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on nursing staff retention of the Public Accounts Committee's report entitled, NHS Nursing Workforce, Eighteenth Report of Session 2019–21, HC408.

The Department will respond to the Public Accounts Committee with regards to the National Health Service nursing workforce: Eighteenth Report of Session 2019-21 in line with the formal Treasury Minute process. The Treasury Minute is due to be published on 16 November 2020.

Nursing staff retention is a priority for this Government and a key aspect of the 50,000 nurses commitment.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Retention Programme supports local delivery and launched a large-scale pathfinder programme across three regions in September to explore further how staff can be empowered and supported to remain part of the workforce. This programme has an initial focus on nursing but will encompass the entire NHS workforce.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of (a) the number of nurses the NHS needed to be able to safely meet demand and (b) the specialisms requiring additional nurses.

The data is not held in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to NHS trusts on the process for authorising the transfer to local ownership of NHS properties currently owned and managed by NHS Property Services.

The guidance for National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts on requesting transfer of estate in the ownership of the NHS Property Companies (which includes NHS Property Services) is published on the Government website at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/requesting-transfers-of-estate-owned-by-nhs-property-companies

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for the publication of the contracts on the use of private sector beds in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

A Contract Award Notice in respect of each of the 26 individual contracts entered into by NHS England with independent sector hospital providers was published on 16 October 2020 by the Official Journal of the European Union. The Notice can be viewed at the following link:

https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:492193-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the terms of reference for the periodic review of NHS Property Services Limited referred to by Sir Chris Wormald in his oral evidence to the Public Accounts Committee on 9 September 2020.

Sir Chris Wormald gave his oral evidence to the Public Accounts Committee on their hearing into NHS Property Services Ltd (NHSPS) on 9 September 2019 following the publication of an NAO report into NHSPS in June 2019.

The scope of the review of NHS Property Services Limited is an update of the strategic context and justification for the company delivery model; a review of the Company’s operational and financial performance; and both with reference to changes to the role and function of the Department since the formation of the company in 2013.

The review has been completed and the findings were published on 24 September 2020 and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/results-of-department-of-health-and-social-cares-review-of-nhs-property-services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the periodic review of NHS Property Services Limited referred to by Sir Chris Wormald in oral evidence to the Public Accounts Committee on 9 September 2020 will include an assessment of the effect of the recent trend by NHS trusts to set up wholly owned subsidiary companies to manage their estates and property.

Sir Chris Wormald gave his oral evidence to the Public Accounts Committee on their hearing into NHS Property Services Ltd (NHSPS) on 9 September 2019 following the publication of an NAO report into NHSPS in June 2019.

The scope of the review of NHS Property Services Limited is an update of the strategic context and justification for the company delivery model; a review of the Company’s operational and financial performance; and both with reference to changes to the role and function of the Department since the formation of the company in 2013.

The review has been completed and the findings were published on 24 September 2020 and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/results-of-department-of-health-and-social-cares-review-of-nhs-property-services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what process is in place to authorise the transfer to local ownership of NHS properties currently owned and managed by NHS Property Services.

The guidance for National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts on requesting transfer of estate in the ownership of the NHS Property Companies, which includes NHS Property Services, is published at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/requesting-transfers-of-estate-owned-by-nhs-property-companies

To date, business cases have been approved for six properties. Of these, two transfers have been completed and it is anticipated that the remaining four will transfer in the coming months, subject to the terms of transfers being met. Trusts have expressed an interest in around 30 other properties and are considering how they want to proceed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many requests have been made to transfer to local ownership NHS properties owned and managed by NHS Property Services.

The guidance for National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts on requesting transfer of estate in the ownership of the NHS Property Companies, which includes NHS Property Services, is published at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/requesting-transfers-of-estate-owned-by-nhs-property-companies

To date, business cases have been approved for six properties. Of these, two transfers have been completed and it is anticipated that the remaining four will transfer in the coming months, subject to the terms of transfers being met. Trusts have expressed an interest in around 30 other properties and are considering how they want to proceed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 8 October 2019 to Question 293621 on hospitals: construction, what assessment his Department has made of the amount of VAT that will be payable in respect of the 40 hospital building projects.

Funding in relation to the 40 hospital building projects and other capital schemes includes provision for Value Added Tax (VAT) under current VAT rules and recovery will be assessed for each scheme in line with current guidelines. Our funding allocation for the Health Infrastructure Plan has been built up by overall cost estimates of the schemes inclusive of VAT, however the amount of VAT that will be payable will be determined once schemes have been fully scoped.

National Health Service organisations undertaking investment schemes are required to produce business cases to support their decisions. Business cases are prepared by the NHS. The Department does not routinely publish business cases and the decision to publish the outline or full business cases would be for the lead NHS organisation.

Business cases will be supported by a range of stakeholders including sustainability and transformation partnerships and NHS regional teams. We have announced changes to the process for approving business cases, including looking at offering more assistance for providers in developing their business cases, and releasing some funding earlier and streamlining the approvals process for submitted cases.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 8 October 2019 to Question 293621 on hospitals: construction, whether the business cases should be published.

Funding in relation to the 40 hospital building projects and other capital schemes includes provision for Value Added Tax (VAT) under current VAT rules and recovery will be assessed for each scheme in line with current guidelines. Our funding allocation for the Health Infrastructure Plan has been built up by overall cost estimates of the schemes inclusive of VAT, however the amount of VAT that will be payable will be determined once schemes have been fully scoped.

National Health Service organisations undertaking investment schemes are required to produce business cases to support their decisions. Business cases are prepared by the NHS. The Department does not routinely publish business cases and the decision to publish the outline or full business cases would be for the lead NHS organisation.

Business cases will be supported by a range of stakeholders including sustainability and transformation partnerships and NHS regional teams. We have announced changes to the process for approving business cases, including looking at offering more assistance for providers in developing their business cases, and releasing some funding earlier and streamlining the approvals process for submitted cases.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 8 October 2019 to Question 293621 on hospitals: construction, whether the business cases should be supported by the relevant sustainability and transformation partnership.

Funding in relation to the 40 hospital building projects and other capital schemes includes provision for Value Added Tax (VAT) under current VAT rules and recovery will be assessed for each scheme in line with current guidelines. Our funding allocation for the Health Infrastructure Plan has been built up by overall cost estimates of the schemes inclusive of VAT, however the amount of VAT that will be payable will be determined once schemes have been fully scoped.

National Health Service organisations undertaking investment schemes are required to produce business cases to support their decisions. Business cases are prepared by the NHS. The Department does not routinely publish business cases and the decision to publish the outline or full business cases would be for the lead NHS organisation.

Business cases will be supported by a range of stakeholders including sustainability and transformation partnerships and NHS regional teams. We have announced changes to the process for approving business cases, including looking at offering more assistance for providers in developing their business cases, and releasing some funding earlier and streamlining the approvals process for submitted cases.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 8 October 2019 to Question 293621 on hospitals: construction, whether the criteria used referred to in paragraph five of that answer will be published.

The criteria used to arrive at the 21 projects covering 34 hospitals, identified to receive seed funding to kick start their schemes considered various aspects. The estates and facilities running costs were a factor, and backlog - in particular, Critical Infrastructure Risk, a subset of the highest risk elements of backlog with a potential for significant impact, for example, fire safety. Other areas considered were unused and functionally unsuitable space and incidents having an impact on clinical services. Furthermore, the list was checked to ensure regions were fairly represented. All this took place with engagement through National Health Service regional teams taking their view on overall investment need and local prioritisation.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what consultations will take place with local NHS acute care providers before any new contracts for private sector beds are signed.

National Health Service patients benefit from an unprecedented partnership with private hospitals as we battle the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the independent sector to secure all appropriate inpatient capacity and other resource across England.

The addition of around 6,500 additional beds has increased NHS capacity and ensured that facilities are available for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 whilst ensuring continuity of service for non-COVID patients requiring elective activity, including cancer and other urgent treatment. Latest collected information shows that over 215,000 patient contacts had taken place under the contract.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of using private sector beds during the covid-19 outbreak.

National Health Service patients benefit from an unprecedented partnership with private hospitals as we battle the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the independent sector to secure all appropriate inpatient capacity and other resource across England.

The addition of around 6,500 additional beds has increased NHS capacity and ensured that facilities are available for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 whilst ensuring continuity of service for non-COVID patients requiring elective activity, including cancer and other urgent treatment. Latest collected information shows that over 215,000 patient contacts had taken place under the contract.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applications by NHS trusts for permission for the formation of a wholly owned subsidiary company to manage property and estates included an appraisal of the option for NHS Property Services to manage those services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published new guidance in November 2018 which updated the way wholly owned subsidiaries are reported to and approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement. Since that time, 34 proposals have been reported to them for classification and potential review.

NHS England and NHS Improvement do not hold data on the number of applications for the formation of a whole owned subsidiary company to manage property and estates that included an appraisal of the option for NHS Property Services to manage those services.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to publish a formal response to the proposals from HM Treasury on Reform to VAT refund rules.

The Department will respond to the proposals in line with the HM Treasury deadline of 19 November 2020 and is currently talking to its arm’s length bodies and the wider National Health Service to assess any impact of the changes. HM Treasury will publish the outcomes of the responses they receive in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the review of the Addendum to the transactions guidance for trusts forming or changing a subsidiary will include the consideration of the role for NHS Property Services.

On 26 November 2018, NHS Improvement published new guidance on the creation of subsidiaries that allows providers and others to understand what would count as a sound commercial case for setting up subsidiaries.

At the time of publication, NHS England and NHS Improvement committed to a review of the proposals for implementing a subsidiary. The update to the guidance has been delayed by the prioritisation of the National Health Service’s response to COVID-19. NHS England and NHS Improvement are continuing to engage with a range of stakeholders and subject matter experts during this time and the approach, including consideration of the role for NHS Property Services, has not been finalised.

NHS England and NHS Improvement now anticipate that the updated guidance will be published in spring 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timetable is for the publication of changes to the guidance from NHS Improvement on the formation of subsidiary companies.

On 26 November 2018, NHS Improvement published new guidance on the creation of subsidiaries that allows providers and others to understand what would count as a sound commercial case for setting up subsidiaries.

At the time of publication, NHS England and NHS Improvement committed to a review of the proposals for implementing a subsidiary. The update to the guidance has been delayed by the prioritisation of the National Health Service’s response to COVID-19. NHS England and NHS Improvement are continuing to engage with a range of stakeholders and subject matter experts during this time and the approach, including consideration of the role for NHS Property Services, has not been finalised.

NHS England and NHS Improvement now anticipate that the updated guidance will be published in spring 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS trusts have adequate information on future funding to facilitate planning for rescheduling outpatient appointments cancelled as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

On 21 July 2020, the Chancellor launched the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review. The Spending Review, which will be published later this year, will set out the Government’s spending plans for health and social care, setting resource budgets for the years 2021/22 to 2023/24 and capital budgets for the years 2021/22 until 2024/25. Any additional funding secured to reduce elective care backlog would be communicated by NHS England and NHS Improvement via planning guidance.

£3 billion of additional funding was announced by the Prime Minister in July to support the National Health Service. £2.7 billion will go directly to local NHS systems as part of their block contracts for the second half of the year. The remainder is direct commissioning funding which will be distributed at a regional level. The funding will be available to organisations to cover the period from the 1 October to the end of the financial year, which has been calculated to provide systems with the resources to manage ongoing COVID-19 pressures alongside recovering activity levels.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to inform NHS trusts of their financial settlement for the remainder of 2020-21, for the period October 2020 to March 2021.

On 15 September 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to integrated care system and sustainability and transformation partnership leaders to confirm their individual system financial envelopes for the period October 2020 to March 2021. Each system will identify how to deploy the envelopes to the individual organisations in the system including National Health Service trusts. NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided detail at organisation level, which systems may wish to use as a starting point for their work, but all organisations are expected to work together to ensure resources are used to deliver maximum benefit for patients and value for taxpayers across the system as a whole.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the NHS People Plan.

We are the NHS: People Plan 2020/21, published on 30 July, sets out actions to support transformation across the whole NHS. It builds on the creativity and drive shown by the NHS workforce in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and seeks to embed those innovations. It focusses on ensuring staff have the mental and physical wellbeing support they need.

Further action for 2021/22 and beyond is expected to be set out later in the year, once funding arrangements for future years have been confirmed.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing more flexible bridging programmes to enable NHS staff to meet the entry requirements for (a) nursing and (b) nursing associate programmes.

Individual higher education institutions provide access courses for students who may wish to study for a pre-registration nursing degree

Health Education England has been working with National Health Service employers and education providers, including further education colleges, to enable individuals that do not hold entry requirements such as Functional Level Mathematics or English Language to undertake these qualifications to enable successful entry onto Nursing Associate training programmes.

Individuals who successfully complete the Nursing Associate programme can access a two-year apprentice pathway to become Registered Nurses.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applications have been received for traditional higher education self-funding degree programmes for nursing in 2020 to date.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) publishes information on the number of applications to nursing courses throughout the application cycle.

The latest data as at the 30 June 2020 application deadline shows there were 47,320 unique applicants to the B7 category of courses, which includes both nursing and midwifery, at English providers.

The UCAS figures are published at the following link:

https://www.ucas.com/data-and-analysis/undergraduate-statistics-and-reports/ucas-undergraduate-releases/applicant-releases-2020/2020-cycle-applicant-figures-30-june-deadline

Students on these courses normally finance their studies via the student finance system. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/student-finance

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the King's Fund report, Closing the gap: Key areas for action on the health and care workforce, published in March 2020, what recent assessment he has made of the level of attrition during nursing training.

Health Education England (HEE) is working with higher education institutions to understand and mitigate against attrition building on the Reducing Pre-registration Attrition and Improving Retention (RePAIR) research published in 2018. This is available at the following link:

https://healtheducationengland.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/Comms/Digital/EeNMV6yMRllLgk3zKaV8nlMBi78dT-8MUwvJXJ8uAMyfCg?e=b1VIyY

The RePAIR programme identified financial support as the most significant concern amongst students who were considering leaving their course in all years of study. In December 2019, the Government announced that from September 2020, all eligible new and continuing nursing and midwifery and Allied Health Profession students on pre-registration courses at English universities will receive additional funding of at least £5,000 a year. There will be up to a further £3,000 to support eligible students with childcare costs, for students studying specialist subjects or in an area struggling to recruit.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to protect (a) mental health and (b) learning disability nursing routes.

In December 2019, the Government announced that from September 2020, all eligible new and continuing nursing and midwifery and Allied Health Profession students on pre-registration courses at English universities will receive additional funding of at least £5,000 a year.

There will be up to a further £3,000 to support eligible students including an additional £1,000 to support those studying a shortage specialism which includes new students on mental health nursing and learning disability nursing courses.

The latest Universities and Colleges Admissions Service statistics show that the number of unique applications for nursing and midwifery courses are up 16% year-on-year - reaching 47,320 by the end of June.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effect on colleges of reduced student nurse intake levels as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Health Education England (HEE) is working with stakeholders and partners across the system to ensure that we continue to attract prospective students onto pre-registration programmes, reduce attrition from those programmes and support newly qualified nurses into roles within trusts. HEE is working with universities to understand the impact of COVID-19 on students being able to complete their programmes, understanding what they need to do to complete their degree and putting steps in place that will enable them to graduate and take up roles within the National Health Service.

The health and education sectors are working jointly to increase applications and places; the Government announced 5,000 more healthcare places from September. From September 2020, eligible new and continuing nursing, midwifery and most allied health profession students studying pre-registration courses at English universities will benefit from a new, non-repayable, training grant of at least £5,000 per academic year in addition to the funding available already through the Learning Support Fund and Student Loans Company.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure hospitals and NHS trusts have the continued stability of supply routes and skills of trainee nurses required in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Health Education England (HEE) is working with stakeholders and partners across the system to ensure that we continue to attract prospective students onto pre-registration programmes, reduce attrition from those programmes and support newly qualified nurses into roles within trusts. HEE is working with universities to understand the impact of COVID-19 on students being able to complete their programmes, understanding what they need to do to complete their degree and putting steps in place that will enable them to graduate and take up roles within the National Health Service.

From September 2020, eligible new and continuing nursing, midwifery and most allied health profession students studying pre-registration courses at English universities will benefit from a new, non-repayable, training grant of at least £5,000 per academic year in addition to the funding available already through the Learning Support Fund and Student Loans Company.

This Government continues to support and fund the apprenticeship programme, which includes Nurse Degree Apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are an excellent way to enter rewarding and valuable careers within the NHS and social care, and they will continue to play a vital role in delivering the high-quality skills employers need and that will support our economic recovery post-COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of backfilling costs in the NHS on the NHS' ability to provide affordable apprenticeships programmes for (a) nursing and (b) other careers in healthcare.

The Department for Education operate the apprenticeship levy to support employers across all sectors to undertake training as apprentices. Apprenticeships funding can be used to cover the eligible costs of training and assessment for the apprentice, but it currently does not allow costs of backfill to be met – this falls to National Health Service employers employing apprentices.

We recognise that the nursing apprenticeship requires a high percentage of apprentice time spent in off the job training. Apprenticeships are real jobs with training and employers cover employment costs as they would with any employee, including wages while training.

Apprenticeships continue to play a vital role in delivering the high-quality skills employers need and that will support our economic recovery post COVID-19.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on education and apprenticeships in the NHS.

Health Education England (HEE) has continued to prioritise education and training during the COVID-19 outbreak. Regulatory bodies representing health and social care professions have issued statements on how training and education is being managed during this outbreak. HEE and NHS Improvement are working with professional bodies to ensure staff training continues during COVID-19, such as moving studies online.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the wellbeing of NHS trainees during the covid-19 outbreak.

The health and wellbeing of National Health Service trainees is very important to the Government. We commissioned NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop a comprehensive package of emotional, psychological and practical support.

NHS England and NHS Improvement launched the support package on 8 April 2020. The support package is available to all NHS trainees and it includes a helpline and text service for counselling and support, a dedicated bereavement helpline, and a range of well-being apps. All the support available can be accessed via the following link:

people.nhs.uk/help

Medical trainees will continue to have access to the support of their clinical and educational supervisors, their schools and Performance Support and Wellbeing Units. Health Education England has introduced the ‘Wellness Check in’ to ensure learners know how to seek help.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to address health inequalities in areas of high deprivation that have been exacerbated by the covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England’s (PHE) report ‘COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes’, published on 2 June 2020, confirmed that the risk of dying among those diagnosed with COVID-19 was higher in those living in the more deprived areas than those in the least deprived.

Every single person deserves to lead a long and healthy life, no matter who they are, where they live, or their social circumstances. We remain committed to levelling up and spreading opportunity around this country, which will be an essential part of the economic and social recovery from this crisis.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities, (Kemi Badenoch MP), is reviewing the findings from PHE’s reports to better understand the drivers behind the disparities and the relationships between the different risk factors. Her work will help us to improve our understanding of the virus and who it affects so we can build on the existing action we are taking to tackle health inequalities. This includes our childhood obesity plan, NHS Health Checks, our tobacco control plan and diabetes prevention programme. In addition the NHS Long Term Plan commits all major national programmes and every local area across England to set out specific measurable goals and mechanisms by which they will contribute to narrowing health inequalities over the next five and 10 years.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 48519 tabled on 18 May 2020 by the hon. Member for Bristol South, on social services.

I answered the hon. Member’s question on 11 June.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on potential long-term sustainable funding solutions for adult social care to inform the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020.

At the 2019 Spending Round we announced that we would be providing councils with access to an additional £1.5 billion for adult and children’s social care in 2020/21 on top of maintaining £2.5 billion of existing social care grants and will support local authorities to meet rising demand and continue to stabilise the social care system.

This includes an additional £1 billion of grant funding for adults and children’s social care, and a 2% precept that enables councils to access a further £500 million for adult social care.

We have now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by COVID-19, including in adult social care. On 15 May we published details of an additional £600 million Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care.

Future funding for social care will be set out at the next Spending Review.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what steps he might take to help mitigate the long-term financial effects of uplifts in care fees as a result of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) Bristol City Council and (b) other local authorities.

We recognise that COVID-19 is imposing significant new pressures on local authorities and the social care sector. We have now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care.

We are closely monitoring the financial situation of local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Future funding decisions for social care will be determined in a comprehensive Spending Review later this year.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Health on 9 January, Official Report, Column 727, what guidance his Department plans to issue to hospital trusts in receipt of funding for new buildings under the health infrastructure plan on the creation of subsidiary companies that will take ownership of those new buildings.

The Department wrote out to the finance directors of all National Health Service providers in September 2017 reminding them of their responsibilities around tax and advising that tax avoidance arrangements should not be entered into under any circumstances. We would expect all NHS providers to follow this guidance when considering any new arrangements or different ways of working.

The Department does not hold information on the decisions taken locally by NHS trusts and wholly owned subsidiary companies regarding the reward packages they offer to staff.

Staff who are compulsorily transferred from an NHS organisation to a wholly owned subsidiary retain their employment terms and conditions, in accordance with Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, and access to the NHS Pension Scheme, in accordance with HM Treasury’s New Fair Deal guidance.

NHS trusts with wholly owned subsidiaries can choose to offer terms and conditional of service that are different to those on national terms for new starters. Trusts can also apply for access to the NHS Pension Scheme for new starters.

As part of its subsidiary review process, NHS England and NHS Improvement considers businesses cases from hospital trusts at the planning stage only and does not hold any data with regard to the future performance of wholly owned subsidiaries.

NHS England and NHS Improvement carried out a formal consultation on the Addendum to the transactions guidance published in November 2018. It does not intend to carry out a further consultation as part of the planned update to the Addendum to the transactions guidance, but has been engaging with the Department, NHS Providers, provider trusts, trade unions and internal subject matter experts as part of the planned update.

NHS England and NHS Improvement plans to publish an updated Addendum to the transactions guidance in spring 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Health of 9 January 2020, Official Report, Column 727, what evidence has been provided to his Department in relation to plans to review section 41 VAT rules.

At the current date, no such evidence has been received as this has not yet been requested. The Government is currently working on the section 41 VAT policy paper and this, along with a corresponding ‘call for evidence’ will be published in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Health of 9 January 2020, Official Report, Column 728, if he will publish the names of the NHS trusts that have been able to employ staff on more generous terms and conditions as a consequence of forming a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The Department wrote out to the finance directors of all National Health Service providers in September 2017 reminding them of their responsibilities around tax and advising that tax avoidance arrangements should not be entered into under any circumstances. We would expect all NHS providers to follow this guidance when considering any new arrangements or different ways of working.

The Department does not hold information on the decisions taken locally by NHS trusts and wholly owned subsidiary companies regarding the reward packages they offer to staff.

Staff who are compulsorily transferred from an NHS organisation to a wholly owned subsidiary retain their employment terms and conditions, in accordance with Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, and access to the NHS Pension Scheme, in accordance with HM Treasury’s New Fair Deal guidance.

NHS trusts with wholly owned subsidiaries can choose to offer terms and conditional of service that are different to those on national terms for new starters. Trusts can also apply for access to the NHS Pension Scheme for new starters.

As part of its subsidiary review process, NHS England and NHS Improvement considers businesses cases from hospital trusts at the planning stage only and does not hold any data with regard to the future performance of wholly owned subsidiaries.

NHS England and NHS Improvement carried out a formal consultation on the Addendum to the transactions guidance published in November 2018. It does not intend to carry out a further consultation as part of the planned update to the Addendum to the transactions guidance, but has been engaging with the Department, NHS Providers, provider trusts, trade unions and internal subject matter experts as part of the planned update.

NHS England and NHS Improvement plans to publish an updated Addendum to the transactions guidance in spring 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applications have been considered under the process set out in the Addendum to the transactions guidance for trusts forming or changing a subsidiary; and how many of those applications have been approved.

Ministers do not have a role in approving Wholly Owned Subsidiary companies created by National Health Service foundation trusts, with this role undertaken through the statutory powers and duties of NHS England and NHS Improvement.

As of 28 January 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement had been notified of 22 business cases as part of their Wholly Owned Subsidiary review process. A number of these are still ‘live’ cases where information is still being received as part of the review.

Information of how many applications have been approved is not available in the format requested. When trusts submit a proposal to NHS England and NHS Improvement, a panel reviews the business case and determines a transaction classification based on the nature and level of risks identified, in accordance with the requirements of the Addendum to the transactions guidance. Transactions are then classified as material or significant. Of the cases reviewed to date, the following classification decisions have been made:

- 13 cases were material;

- 4 cases were significant;

- 1 case did not meet the threshold for being material; and

- 4 cases have yet to receive a classification decision.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Health on 9 January 2020, official report, column 728, which NHS Trusts have provided more efficient services as a consequence of forming a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The Department wrote out to the finance directors of all National Health Service providers in September 2017 reminding them of their responsibilities around tax and advising that tax avoidance arrangements should not be entered into under any circumstances. We would expect all NHS providers to follow this guidance when considering any new arrangements or different ways of working.

The Department does not hold information on the decisions taken locally by NHS trusts and wholly owned subsidiary companies regarding the reward packages they offer to staff.

Staff who are compulsorily transferred from an NHS organisation to a wholly owned subsidiary retain their employment terms and conditions, in accordance with Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, and access to the NHS Pension Scheme, in accordance with HM Treasury’s New Fair Deal guidance.

NHS trusts with wholly owned subsidiaries can choose to offer terms and conditional of service that are different to those on national terms for new starters. Trusts can also apply for access to the NHS Pension Scheme for new starters.

As part of its subsidiary review process, NHS England and NHS Improvement considers businesses cases from hospital trusts at the planning stage only and does not hold any data with regard to the future performance of wholly owned subsidiaries.

NHS England and NHS Improvement carried out a formal consultation on the Addendum to the transactions guidance published in November 2018. It does not intend to carry out a further consultation as part of the planned update to the Addendum to the transactions guidance, but has been engaging with the Department, NHS Providers, provider trusts, trade unions and internal subject matter experts as part of the planned update.

NHS England and NHS Improvement plans to publish an updated Addendum to the transactions guidance in spring 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Health on 9 January 2020, Official Report, column 728, which NHS trusts have employed more staff from the local employment market since forming a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The Department wrote out to the finance directors of all National Health Service providers in September 2017 reminding them of their responsibilities around tax and advising that tax avoidance arrangements should not be entered into under any circumstances. We would expect all NHS providers to follow this guidance when considering any new arrangements or different ways of working.

The Department does not hold information on the decisions taken locally by NHS trusts and wholly owned subsidiary companies regarding the reward packages they offer to staff.

Staff who are compulsorily transferred from an NHS organisation to a wholly owned subsidiary retain their employment terms and conditions, in accordance with Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, and access to the NHS Pension Scheme, in accordance with HM Treasury’s New Fair Deal guidance.

NHS trusts with wholly owned subsidiaries can choose to offer terms and conditional of service that are different to those on national terms for new starters. Trusts can also apply for access to the NHS Pension Scheme for new starters.

As part of its subsidiary review process, NHS England and NHS Improvement considers businesses cases from hospital trusts at the planning stage only and does not hold any data with regard to the future performance of wholly owned subsidiaries.

NHS England and NHS Improvement carried out a formal consultation on the Addendum to the transactions guidance published in November 2018. It does not intend to carry out a further consultation as part of the planned update to the Addendum to the transactions guidance, but has been engaging with the Department, NHS Providers, provider trusts, trade unions and internal subject matter experts as part of the planned update.

NHS England and NHS Improvement plans to publish an updated Addendum to the transactions guidance in spring 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish a revised Addendum to the transactions guidance for NHS trusts forming or changing a subsidiary.

The Department wrote out to the finance directors of all National Health Service providers in September 2017 reminding them of their responsibilities around tax and advising that tax avoidance arrangements should not be entered into under any circumstances. We would expect all NHS providers to follow this guidance when considering any new arrangements or different ways of working.

The Department does not hold information on the decisions taken locally by NHS trusts and wholly owned subsidiary companies regarding the reward packages they offer to staff.

Staff who are compulsorily transferred from an NHS organisation to a wholly owned subsidiary retain their employment terms and conditions, in accordance with Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, and access to the NHS Pension Scheme, in accordance with HM Treasury’s New Fair Deal guidance.

NHS trusts with wholly owned subsidiaries can choose to offer terms and conditional of service that are different to those on national terms for new starters. Trusts can also apply for access to the NHS Pension Scheme for new starters.

As part of its subsidiary review process, NHS England and NHS Improvement considers businesses cases from hospital trusts at the planning stage only and does not hold any data with regard to the future performance of wholly owned subsidiaries.

NHS England and NHS Improvement carried out a formal consultation on the Addendum to the transactions guidance published in November 2018. It does not intend to carry out a further consultation as part of the planned update to the Addendum to the transactions guidance, but has been engaging with the Department, NHS Providers, provider trusts, trade unions and internal subject matter experts as part of the planned update.

NHS England and NHS Improvement plans to publish an updated Addendum to the transactions guidance in spring 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what organisations he will consult prior to the publication of a revised Addendum to the transactions guidance for NHS trusts forming or changing a subsidiary.

The Department wrote out to the finance directors of all National Health Service providers in September 2017 reminding them of their responsibilities around tax and advising that tax avoidance arrangements should not be entered into under any circumstances. We would expect all NHS providers to follow this guidance when considering any new arrangements or different ways of working.

The Department does not hold information on the decisions taken locally by NHS trusts and wholly owned subsidiary companies regarding the reward packages they offer to staff.

Staff who are compulsorily transferred from an NHS organisation to a wholly owned subsidiary retain their employment terms and conditions, in accordance with Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, and access to the NHS Pension Scheme, in accordance with HM Treasury’s New Fair Deal guidance.

NHS trusts with wholly owned subsidiaries can choose to offer terms and conditional of service that are different to those on national terms for new starters. Trusts can also apply for access to the NHS Pension Scheme for new starters.

As part of its subsidiary review process, NHS England and NHS Improvement considers businesses cases from hospital trusts at the planning stage only and does not hold any data with regard to the future performance of wholly owned subsidiaries.

NHS England and NHS Improvement carried out a formal consultation on the Addendum to the transactions guidance published in November 2018. It does not intend to carry out a further consultation as part of the planned update to the Addendum to the transactions guidance, but has been engaging with the Department, NHS Providers, provider trusts, trade unions and internal subject matter experts as part of the planned update.

NHS England and NHS Improvement plans to publish an updated Addendum to the transactions guidance in spring 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of Self Employed Income Support Scheme grants which were initially refused and subsequently awarded following a review of the application on the grounds of exceptional circumstances.

The information requested about the number of Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants awarded on the grounds of exceptional circumstances following a review is not held centrally by HM Revenue and Customs and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the policies outlined in the Skills for Jobs White Paper are adequately funded.

At Spending Review 2020, the government announced £291 million of investment in Further Education in 21-22, to ensure that core funding for 16-19 year-olds is maintained in real terms per learner, rising in line with demographic growth, as well as £180m of additional capital funding to build new FE college places, for the roll-out of T Levels, and for Institutes of Technology.

The Government is also maintaining its commitment to provide £1.5 billion of capital funding to bring the entire college estate up to a good condition by 2025, announced at Budget 2020, of which £200m was allocated in 20-21 for immediate remedial projects.

Spending Review 2020 also committed £375 million from the National Skills Fund for 21-22. This includes £138 million to deliver the PM’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee - of which £95 million will fund free in-demand technical courses for adults at Level 3 (equivalent to A Level) and £43 million to expand employer-led skills bootcamps across England - and £110 million, including £50m of capital investment, to drive up higher technical provision in support of the future roll out of a flexible Lifelong Loan Entitlement, and to test and develop innovative models for local collaboration between skills providers and employers.

Funding beyond 21-22 will be considered as part of the next Spending Review.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the (a) decision to clawback adult skills funding and (b) potential effect of that matter on further education providers.

Treasury Ministers regularly meet with the Secretary of State for Education to discuss education funding.

I refer the honourable member to answers on this matter by Minister Keegan on 15 April 2021 and 20 April 2021.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the job support scheme announced on 24 September 2020 will support early years' providers.

The Job Support Scheme will support businesses facing lower demand over the winter due to Covid-19, keeping their employees attached to the workforce.

The Job Support Scheme can be claimed by all employers with a UK bank account who use a PAYE, regardless of whether they made a previous claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The government will confirm specific details around eligibility for the Job Support Scheme in guidance, which will be published in due course.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what criteria are used to decide whether to allow an appeal for a Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant application; how many SEISS applications have been allowed an appeal; and how many of those applications subsequently had their decisions reversed since that scheme was introduced.

The review process for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is a non-statutory process put in place by HMRC to provide additional protection to customers. There is no legal right of appeal against decisions made in relation to the SEISS, and there is also no legal provision for ‘reasonable excuse’ within the legal framework for SEISS.

HMRC have limited discretion in operating the SEISS and any exercise of this discretion must be rational and justifiable on the grounds of good management and administration. This discretion can only be used in exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances could include situations where HMRC have made an error which has affected an individual’s eligibility for, or amount of, a SEISS grant.

HMRC publish statistical information through structured Management Information and statistical releases on GOV.UK. They are currently working through the analysis they are able to provide based on the data available. HMRC will give an update in due course on the types of data available and timing for publication.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on amending the terms of the Lifetime ISA.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of ministerial discussions are not normally disclosed.

The government keeps all aspects of savings and tax policy under review as part of the process of policy development and delivery. The government has recently amended the terms of the Lifetime ISA to support savers during the COVID-19 pandemic. On 1 May 2020 the government announced that the Lifetime ISA withdrawal charge will be reduced temporarily to 20% from 25% for any unauthorised withdrawal made between 6 March 2020 and 5 April 2021 recouping the government bonus and any interest or growth that may have accrued on that bonus, but with no further charge.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 64246 on Self-employment Income Support Scheme: Maternity Leave, whether self-employed women who took maternity leave during the last three years will be entitled to the same amount under the Self Employed Income Support Scheme as they would had they not taken maternity leave during that period.

The Government has amended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) eligibility conditions to support newly self-employed parents. This is an amendment to bring these individuals into eligibility for the scheme.

The grant for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is calculated using an average of the self-employed individual’s trading profits and has been designed to even out fluctuations in earnings which self-employed people may experience for any number of reasons.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with his Department on the implications for Government policy of the amount of support through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme self employed women on maternity leave can claim.

As announced on 17 June, the Government is amending the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) eligibility conditions to support self-employed new parents.

This means self-employed parents will be able to claim grants if they were taking time out of their trade to care for their new-born or newly adopted child and, as a result, did not submit a Self-Assessment tax return for 2018-19 or their trading profits in 2018-19 were less than their non-trading income.

Further details of the change for self-employed parents will be set out at the start of July in published guidance.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of underwriting the City Region Deal for the West of England to remove the financial risk from the unitary authorities of the economic downturn caused as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The devolution deal agreed between Government and West of England Combined Authority provides the region with several grant funding streams, such as a 30-year commitment to £30m p/a of ‘gainshare’ funding, as well as devolved budgets and powers across transport and skills. Government has committed to these funding streams in the devolution deal it agreed with the West of England – this should provide reassurance to the local area that this funding will continue to come forward.

The constituent Local Authorities of the West of England have received support from a significant package of Government funding to help them meet pressures resulting from Covid-19, with Local Authorities in the region receiving over £50m of the £3.2bn of new grant funding approved.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a council tax support grant for local authorities that face significant shortfalls in council tax as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has provided councils with a significant package of support to help them meet a range of pressures they face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have announced over £3.2bn of new funding for councils and over £5bn of further measures to support councils’ cashflow.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
27th Jan 2020
VAT
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Health on 9 January 202, Official Report, Column 727, what progress his Department has made on the review of the section 41 VAT rules.

The Government is currently working on the section 41 VAT policy paper and this will be published in due course.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2020
VAT
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Health of 9 January 2020, Official Report, Column 727 when he plans to issue a call for evidence on the review of the section 41 VAT rules.

The Government is currently working on the section 41 VAT policy paper and this will be published in due course.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish the Government's response to the Firearms Safety Consultation.

The Government recognises the interest generated by the firearms safety consultation which ran from 24 November 2020 to16 February 2021. The public consultation sought views on a number of proposals on firearms safety issues and received over 12,000 responses. The Government will publish a response to the consultation following a full and careful consideration of the responses we received.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what additional resources she plans to allocate to law enforcement agencies to ensure effective action against people perpetrating online fraud.

The Government is aware fraudsters are exploiting the pandemic to commit opportunistic crimes such as fraud. We are regularly monitoring the number of cases being reported to the police and these – at present- remain very low.

Despite a difficult fiscal backdrop, as part of the 2020 Spending Review, the Government committed a further £63m to the Home Office to tackle economic crime, including fraud. This is in addition to funding the Home Office commits each year to the National Crime Agency, National Economic Crime Centre and police forces, including the City of London Police as the national lead force for fraud and the operator of the Action Fraud and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau services.

Our efforts to tackle online scams have been ramping up, including working with the National Cyber Security Centre to establish a new Suspicious Email Reporting Service which was launched in April 2020. This service allows the public to report potential scams safely and effectively. As of 28 February 2021, the number of reports received stand at more than 5,000,000 with the removal of more than 36,000 scams and 71,000 URLs.

The best way to deal with these scams is for the public to be well-informed on how to protect themselves. We have launched a gov.uk page containing easy-to-follow steps for people to spot potential frauds and the steps they can take to avoid them. It also signposts advice and support to those who may unfortunately have fallen victim. This page can currently be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-fraud-and-cyber-crime.

We continue to encourage anyone who has been a targeted by a scam to report it. Action Fraud is the central police reporting point for all victims of fraud and can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of online fraud during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is aware fraudsters are exploiting the pandemic to commit opportunistic crimes such as fraud. We are regularly monitoring the number of cases being reported to the police and these – at present- remain very low.

Despite a difficult fiscal backdrop, as part of the 2020 Spending Review, the Government committed a further £63m to the Home Office to tackle economic crime, including fraud. This is in addition to funding the Home Office commits each year to the National Crime Agency, National Economic Crime Centre and police forces, including the City of London Police as the national lead force for fraud and the operator of the Action Fraud and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau services.

Our efforts to tackle online scams have been ramping up, including working with the National Cyber Security Centre to establish a new Suspicious Email Reporting Service which was launched in April 2020. This service allows the public to report potential scams safely and effectively. As of 28 February 2021, the number of reports received stand at more than 5,000,000 with the removal of more than 36,000 scams and 71,000 URLs.

The best way to deal with these scams is for the public to be well-informed on how to protect themselves. We have launched a gov.uk page containing easy-to-follow steps for people to spot potential frauds and the steps they can take to avoid them. It also signposts advice and support to those who may unfortunately have fallen victim. This page can currently be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-fraud-and-cyber-crime.

We continue to encourage anyone who has been a targeted by a scam to report it. Action Fraud is the central police reporting point for all victims of fraud and can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish the Government’s response to the Firearms Safety Consultation.

The Government conducted a review of air weapons regulation following the death of a child involving an air weapon. We invited views on the issue from a wide range of interested parties. As part of the review, the Government also looked at the arrangements that apply to the controls on air weapons in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but we did not solicit specific evidence in relation to the position in those administrations.

We published the outcomes of the review and sought views on our proposals for changes to the regulation of air weapons in the public consultation on firearms safety issues which ran from 24 November 2020 to 16 February 2021.

We will publish our formal response to the consultation, including in relation to air weapons controls in due course, following a full and careful consideration of the responses we received.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2021 to Question 147915 on Airguns, if she will publish the evidence on controls on air weapons in Scotland and Northern Ireland that her Department considered as part of its review of air weapons.

The Government conducted a review of air weapons regulation following the death of a child involving an air weapon. We invited views on the issue from a wide range of interested parties. As part of the review, the Government also looked at the arrangements that apply to the controls on air weapons in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but we did not solicit specific evidence in relation to the position in those administrations.

We published the outcomes of the review and sought views on our proposals for changes to the regulation of air weapons in the public consultation on firearms safety issues which ran from 24 November 2020 to 16 February 2021.

We will publish our formal response to the consultation, including in relation to air weapons controls in due course, following a full and careful consideration of the responses we received.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the evidence gathered for the review of air weapons regulation in England and Wales.

The Government conducted a review of air weapons regulation following the death of a child involving an air weapon. We invited views on the issue from a wide range of interested parties. As part of the review, the Government also looked at the arrangements that apply to the controls on air weapons in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but we did not solicit specific evidence in relation to the position in those administrations.

We published the outcomes of the review and sought views on our proposals for changes to the regulation of air weapons in the public consultation on firearms safety issues which ran from 24 November 2020 to 16 February 2021.

We will publish our formal response to the consultation, including in relation to air weapons controls in due course, following a full and careful consideration of the responses we received.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish her Department's response to its Firearms Safety consultation.

The Firearms Safety Consultation was launched on the 24 November last year and concluded on the 16 February, receiving over 12,000 responses. The Government will consider these responses carefully and will publish its response to the consultation in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Feb 2021
What additional funding she plans to allocate to domestic abuse helplines to help meet demand during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

Throughout this pandemic, we have worked with the Domestic Abuse Commissioner and charities to protect those for who home is not a safe space. We have paid £25.76 million to domestic abuse organisations from the funds allocated in the first wave of the pandemic, in order to support their helplines and other services. That includes £20,512 for Your Housing Group, based in the honourable lady’s constituency, to provide additional bedspaces.

We have also allocated an additional £11 million to domestic abuse and sexual violence services to help them to deal with increased pressures as a result of the pandemic.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 1 February 2021 to Questions 143826 on Airguns: Scotland and 143828 on Airguns, whether the arrangements considered by her Department that apply to the controls on air weapons in Scotland and Northern Ireland included a review of the data on the number of air weapons incidents there between 2015-16 and 2017-19.

The Government looked at the controls on air weapons in Scotland and Northern Ireland when considering the review of air weapons regulation in England and Wales. Responsibility for air weapons regulation and publication of data related to this is devolved in Scotland, and Northern Ireland has separate firearms controls, which can make it difficult to draw firm conclusions to inform the case for potential changes in England and Wales.

We published the outcome of the review, and proposals for new controls, in the firearms safety consultation on 24 November 2020. The consultation will close on 16 February, after which the Government will publish its response, including in relation to air weapons controls. It is of course open to those responding to the consultation to set out their views on the case for, or against, the introduction of licensing arrangements for air weapons.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with ONS on the publication of data on types of offences involving air weapons and whether an offence resulted in injury, for each year since 2015-16.

There have been no ministerial discussions with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) around the publication of data on types of offences involving air weapons.

Home Office statisticians have regular discussions with ONS colleagues about the content of crime statistics and will raise this issue with ONS.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the effect of licensing air weapons in Scotland on the number of offences involving air weapons in that country from 2015-16 and 2017-18.

The Government has looked at the arrangements that apply to the controls on air weapons in Scotland and Northern Ireland in the context of the review of air weapons regulation in England and Wales. The outcomes of that review are reflected in the current public consultation on firearms safety, which was published on 24 November 2020. The consultation sets out proposals for new measures in relation to air weapons.

The firearms safety consultation will close on 16 February, after which the Government will publish its response, including in relation to air weapons controls.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the evidence gathered for the Air Weapons Review on the safety of air weapons in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where air weapons are subject to a licensing regime.

The Government has looked at the arrangements that apply to the controls on air weapons in Scotland and Northern Ireland in the context of the review of air weapons regulation in England and Wales. The outcomes of that review are reflected in the current public consultation on firearms safety, which was published on 24 November 2020. The consultation sets out proposals for new measures in relation to air weapons.

The firearms safety consultation will close on 16 February, after which the Government will publish its response, including in relation to air weapons controls.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the ages of the perpetrators of serious air weapons offences, alongside that of the ages of victims of serious air weapons offences currently provided by the ONS under Offences involving the use of weapons: data tables, table 13.

The Home Office special collection on offences involving firearms recorded by the police in England and Wales is a victim-focused collection and does not include any personal information on the perpetrators of these offences.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent progress she has made on a public consultation on firearms safety.

A public consultation on firearms safety issues will be published later this year. It will seek views on security arrangements for high muzzle-energy rifles and will cover other firearms safety issues that were raised during the passage through Parliament of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 12 February 2020 to Question 12349, when she plans to respond to the consultation entitled, Statutory guidance to police on firearms licensing, which closed in September 2019.

The Government is continuing to consider the 11,000 responses which were received in reply to the public consultation on the introduction of statutory guidance to the police on firearms licensing which closed on 17 September last year.

The Government intends to publish its response to the consultation and the statutory guidance in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 12 February 2020 to Question 12350, when she plans to respond to the consultation entitled, Policing and Crime Act: proposals to implement legislation to define antique firearms, which closed in December 2017.

We are carefully considering the consultation responses we received and are engaging further with interested parties on this technical issue. We will publish our conclusions as soon as possible and at the same time we will lay regulations before Parliament to define which firearms can safely be regarded as antique.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 12 February to Question 12342 on Airguns: Regulation, for what reason her Department has not published its response to the air weapons review that closed in February 2018.

We intend to publish our conclusions relating to the outcome of the review of air weapons regulations alongside a consultation on firearms safety issues, to which we committed during the passage of the Offensive Weapons Act. Preparations for that consultation are currently ongoing and it will be published later this year

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of young people under the age of 18 charged with air weapons offences.

The Home Office collects data from the police in England and Wales on crimes recorded and on the outcomes of investigations. However, it is not possible to separately identify offences involving air weapons.

A separate special collection on offences involving firearms does not collect information on charges.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent progress she has made on a public consultation on firearms safety.

The firearms safety consultation will be published shortly. It will seek views on security arrangements for high muzzle-energy rifles and will cover other firearms safety issues that were raised during the passage through Parliament of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the terms of reference will be for the public consultation on firearms safety.

The firearms safety consultation will be published shortly. It will seek views on security arrangements for high muzzle-energy rifles and will cover other firearms safety issues that were raised during the passage through Parliament of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department,when she plans to respond to the consultation entitled, Statutory guidance to police on firearms licensing, which closed in September 2019.

The Government launched a public consultation on the introduction of statutory guidance to the police on firearms licensing in July last year. The Home Office received over 11,000 responses to the consultation and these are now under consideration. The Government response to the consultation will be published in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to respond to the consultation entitled, Policing and Crime Act: proposals to implement legislation to define antique firearms, which closed in December 2017.

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 contains a power to define in regulations which firearms can safely be regarded as antique and which still present a danger to the public and therefore require licensing.

A public consultation was held in late 2017 to seek views on the detail of these regulations. We are presently considering all the responses received, many of which are necessarily technical, and we intend to publish the

Government’s response and lay the regulations before Parliament as soon as possible.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the oral contribution of 1 April 2019 of the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Official Report, column 786, what the timetable is for the publication of the outcome of the air weapons review which closed in February 2018.

The Government fully understands the interest that Members of Parliament and others have in the outcomes of the review of air weapons regulation, and the concerns that have been expressed about the consequences, sometimes tragic, arising from the misuse of these weapons.

We intend to publish our conclusions as soon as possible alongside a consultation on firearms safety issues, to which we committed during the passage of the Offensive Weapons Act.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of 10-19 year olds were victims of air weapons offences in each year since 2010.

The Home Office collects statistics on the number of offences involving the use of firearms recorded by the police in England and Wales. The age of victim is only collected for more serious offences when the principal weapon is an air weapon. The number and proportion of all victims of serious air weapon offences is in the table.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of under-18 year olds admitted to hospital for injuries caused by firearms were injured by firearms other than a (a) handgun, (b) rifle, (c) shotgun and (d) larger firearm in each year since 2010.

The Home Office does not hold information on those admitted to hospital due to injuries caused by firearms.

Information on hospital admissions are the responsibility of the Department of Health and Social Care. These are published by NHS Digital and are available here:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/hospital-admitted-patient-care-activity/2018-19

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his timescale is for publishing the (a) eligibility for and (b) timetable for implementation of the scheme of Government backed loans to leaseholders for fire safety works in buildings under 18 metres in height announced in February 2021.

Public safety is our first priority and we are working to ensure unsafe cladding is remediated as swiftly as possible. We will publish further details of the finance scheme as soon as we are in a position to do so.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on improving consumer protection in the residential building industry.

The Government is committed to improving consumer protection for residents across the housing market, including the residential building industry. This includes ensuring that the New Homes Ombudsman is established and developers are required to belong to it. Last year we published the draft Building Safety Bill which included provision for the New Homes Ombudsman. This will require developers to belong to the New Homes Ombudsman and provide better protection for new build homebuyers.​

We will bring forward legislation when Parliamentary time allows. Alongside introducing legislation, we continue to stay in touch with the industry-led New Homes Quality Board to consider the appointment of a voluntary New Homes Ombudsman scheme and produce a developers code of practice.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the provision of public health grants in 2021-2022.

Ministers and officials in my department regularly engage with counterparts in DHSC, Treasury and local authorities on matters relating to local authorities’ finances.

Government has released further details of the £3 billion in additional COVID support for 2021-22. This is additional to the £8 billion already allocated to councils since the start of the pandemic.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what data his Department has collected to assess the effectiveness of the voluntary Code of Practice for commercial property relationships introduced in June 2020 as a response to the covid-19 pandemic.

Government has announced an unprecedented package of support and measures for businesses in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

As well as extensive financial support, we have introduced a range of legislative measures to protect businesses from eviction and insolvency measures.

The voluntary Code of Practice for commercial landlords and tenants sit alongside these measures, and is designed to encourage constructive dialogue between tenants and landlords to help reach agreement on outstanding rent arrears. It is clear that those tenants who can pay in full should do so, those who cannot pay should pay what they can, and those landlords who can grant concessions should do so.

The Code was designed with the support of a steering group including representatives of both landlords and tenants, and was endorsed by this group and many more stakeholder bodies. While the outcomes of commercial negotiations are clearly sensitive, Government continues to meet with these groups on a regular basis to gather feedback on the impact of the Code as well as closely monitoring published data on rent payment rates. As a result, we will publish further guidance to support negotiations between landlords and tenants.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 910674 on Buildings: Insulation, when his Department plans to respond to the proposal by the all-party parliamentary group on Leasehold Reform for a bond scheme to pay for remedial works.

It is unacceptable for leaseholders to have to worry about the cost of fixing historic safety defects in their buildings that they did not cause.   The Government is determined to remove barriers to fixing historic defects and identify financing solutions that help to protect leaseholders, whilst also helping to protect the taxpayer.

The Government is accelerating this work and is continuing to engage with stakeholders including the all-party parliamentary group on Leasehold Reform. We will provide an update as soon as we are in a position to do so.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
11th Jan 2021
What estimate he has made of the total cost of remedial work required to replace dangerous material and rectify poor quality construction identified by EWS1 form inspections.

EWS1 is not a Government form or regulatory requirement, and it is not a safety certificate. It was designed by industry to aid valuation of high-rise residential properties with cladding, but we know it has been used far more broadly.

In relation to high rise buildings, the Government has already made £1.6 billion available to remediate dangerous ACM and non-ACM cladding on residential buildings 18m and over.

The Government is determined to further identify suitable financing solutions for high rise residential buildings and remove barriers to remediation where these exist.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on (a) leasehold property and (b) the right to manage.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market. This includes measures to ban the sale of new leasehold houses, restrict ground rents to zero for future leases, give freehold homeowners equivalent rights to challenge unfair charges, and close loopholes to prevent unfair evictions.

We are working with the Law Commission to simplify the process of leaseholders exercising their Right to Manage, so that it is easier for leaseholders to come together to take on responsibilities for the ownership of their property. They will be publishing their report on this shortly, alongside reports on enfranchisement and commonhold, and we will consider these and set out our proposed way forward in due course.

Given the impact of Covid-19 on the legislative agenda, we will bring forward legislation on leasehold reform as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the final report of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group, published July 2019, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to establish an independent regulator.

The Government remains committed to raising professionalism and standards amongst property agents and is grateful for the final report of the independent Regulation of Property Agents working group, chaired by Lord Best. We welcome the recent appointment of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town as the Chair of a new independent steering group on codes of practice for property agents as an important development towards ensuring all customers are treated fairly and all agents work to the same high standards. Though our collective efforts are currently focussed on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will respond to the report of Lord Best’s working group, setting out next steps, following careful consideration of its 53 recommendations, and we will consider any code produced by Baroness Hayter’s steering group in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on financial support for local authorities (a) that have lost income due to covid-19 and (b) for extra costs incurred as part of the covid-19 recovery.

The Secretary of State and I both speak to our counterparts at the Treasury regularly and discuss a range of issues affecting local government.

Government has now made an unprecedented £3.2 billion available to local authorities through an un-ringfenced grant so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The package recognises the additional costs and pressures on finances councils are facing as a result of the current crisis. It demonstrates the Government’s commitment to making sure councils have the resources they need to support their communities through this challenging time.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of whether the per capita methodology that is used to allocate emergency funding to local authorities accurately reflects the costs incurred by local authorities in responding to the covid-19 outbreak.

MHCLG continues to work closely with local authorities to manage the impacts of Covid-19 on our society.

The Government has made £3.2 billion available to councils in England through unringfenced grant so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first wave of £1.6 billion of funding, announced on 19 March, was primarily allocated through the Adult Social Care Relative Needs Formula, in recognition that the greatest immediate pressures would fall on local authorities with social care responsibilities. The second wave of £1.6 billion of funding, the allocations for which were announced on 28 April, was allocated on a per capita basis. This reflects our latest understanding of the distribution of additional Covid-related pressures, which are likely to be distributed in a way that is different from pre-existing needs.

It is important that these two waves of funding are seen together and that false comparisons between the two are avoided. Across both waves, more than 90 per cent of the funding will go to social care authorities.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the deadlines for when expenditure needs to be incurred on (a) Housing Infrastructure Fund, (b) Local Growth Fund and (c) Transforming Cities Fund projects to enable local authorities to re-adjust after the covid-19 outbreak.

The inevitable pressures caused by Covid-19 are impacting on the delivery of capital programmes. At this difficult time we recognise the need to take a pragmatic approach, supporting partners to enable continued delivery of these vital programmes where possible to stimulate the economy.

Government is working closely with relevant partners to better understand the impact on delivery across a number of programmes. We will review what further support or flexibility may be needed based on the outcome of those conversations.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the estimate by the Local Government Association that the cost to local authorities of tackling the covid-19 outbreak is £13 billion; and whether he has plans to allocate additional funding from the public purse to local authorities to meet that cost.

MHCLG continues to work closely with local authorities to manage the impacts of Covid-19 on our society.

The Government has made £3.2 billion available to local authorities in England through unringfenced grant so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have also announced measures worth over £5 billion to ease immediate cashflow concerns. These measures recognise the additional costs and financial pressures councils are facing as a result of the current crisis. ?They demonstrate the Government’s commitment to making sure all councils have the resources they need to support their communities through this challenging time.

These measures are part of a comprehensive package of support for local areas from across Government, including £13 billion to support small businesses, £10.2 billion in business rates support for businesses, £600 million for infection control in care homes and £500 million of council tax support for vulnerable families.

Estimates of full-year costs are necessarily unreliable at this stage since the progress of the pandemic is unknown. We will continue to work with councils over the coming weeks, including though new monthly financial monitoring, to ensure we have a collective understanding of the issues they are facing.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the long-term financial effects on local authorities in (a) the South West and (b) other areas of the England with low rates of covid-19 deaths of a potentially delayed peak in covid-19 cases in those areas compared to other areas of England.

The Government has now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities through an un-ringfenced grant so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Local authorities in the South West of England have received £316 million of this funding.

The package recognises the additional costs and pressures on finances councils are facing as a result of the current crisis. It demonstrates the Government’s commitment to making sure councils have the resources they need to support their communities through this challenging time.

We will continue to work with local government and their representatives to ensure they are managing the pandemic.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure that women on low incomes are able to access legal aid in cases where a child arrangement order has been breached.

Legal aid is available for certain specific private family law proceedings, including a breach of a child arrangement order (CAO), where a child is a party to those proceedings or where there is evidence of domestic violence or child abuse. The Government ensures that legal aid is available for victims of domestic abuse in all private family proceedings subject to evidence requirements and statutory means and merits criteria being met. In April 2020 we laid an SI to widen the acceptable forms of evidence of domestic abuse.

In June 2020 we published the ‘Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases’ and our Implementation Plan in which we committed to a number of measures that aim to improve the outcomes for those who go through private law children proceedings, especially those who are most vulnerable. The Domestic Abuse Bill focusses on further improving the effectiveness of the justice system in providing protection for victims of domestic abuse. The Domestic Abuse Bill completed its Commons stage on 6 July 2020. The Post-Implementation Review of LASPO (PIR), published in February 2019, also considered the impact of LASPO on victims of domestic abuse. In the Legal Support Action Plan, published alongside the PIR, we announced a review of the legal aid means tests, including a commitment to specifically considering the impact of the means test on victims of domestic abuse. This review will report in Spring 2021, at which point we will publish a full consultation paper setting out our future policy proposals in this area.

Alex Chalk
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has had made of the implications for his policies of the findings on pages 24 and 26 of the APPG on Endometriosis Inquiry Report 2020 entitled Endometriosis in the UK: time for change, that suggests prior to covid-19, a person suffering from endometriosis in Northern Ireland will wait on average more than 2 years for a laparoscopy, compared to 4 months in England, and what steps he is taking to address this.

The Executive’s focus, rightly and understandably, has been on Covid-19. But the pandemic has highlighted the need for urgent health reform in Northern Ireland and as a result, the Rebuilding Health & Social Care Strategic Framework was published by Minister Swann on 9 June.

The UK Government supports the Executive’s commitment to health and social care reform and the £2 billion committed over five years to facilitate NDNA commitments includes around £245m to support the transformation of public services.

As the hon Member will be aware, health and the allocation of funding for public services are devolved matters, within the competence of the Northern Ireland Executive. This includes consideration of the APPG’s recommendations on diagnosis times and surgery waiting times.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will hold discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive on the potential merits of including (a) endometriosis and (b) menstrual wellbeing in the health and wellbeing school curriculum in Northern Ireland.

I thank the Honourable Lady for her question on these important issues. Endometriosis affects 10% of women from puberty to menopause - over 1.5m in the UK - and we recognise the importance of the provision of education and information on these matters.

I am in regular contact with ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive on a range of important topics, including healthcare. As you will be aware, the Rebuilding Health & Social Care Strategic Framework was published by Minister Swann on 9 June.

However, education and the content of the school curriculum, including on health and wellbeing, in Northern Ireland are devolved matters for the Education Minister to carefully consider.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps the Government is taking to support women from Northern Ireland who are required to travel to England, Scotland or Wales to access abortion services during the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the law on abortion in Northern Ireland changed following the Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 coming into force in March 2020, the UK Government has continued to fund arrangements to enable women resident in Northern Ireland to have access to safe abortion services in England under the Abortion Act 1967. The Northern Ireland abortion scheme has been in place in England since June 2017 and the Department of Health and Social Care administers the scheme on behalf of the Government Equalities Office.

The Central Booking Service can also continue to be contacted for support and advice on options available to access abortion services at present. If services are required, all costs of the procedure, including travel and, where needed, accommodation, will be paid for, with no means testing required.

We are continuing to monitor the services being provided where any women and girls from Northern Ireland are still seeking to access services through this scheme.


Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking to ensure the swift and comprehensive commissioning of abortion services in Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland Department of Health; and if he will make a statement.

Following the Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 that the Government made having come into force in March 2020, we have been working to deliver, through the Northern Ireland Department of Health (DoH), the full commissioning of abortion services, in line with the Regulations we made.

Some service provision has commenced on the ground in Northern Ireland through existing sexual and reproductive health clinics across most Health and Social Care Trusts. I and my officials are in regular contact with DoH in order to understand progress towards the full commissioning of services as soon as possible so that women and girls in Northern Ireland have access to high-quality abortion care in a range of circumstances, equivalent to the rest of the UK.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, if he will hold discussions with the Scottish Government on the potential merits of including (a) endometriosis and (b) menstrual wellbeing in the health and wellbeing school curriculum in Scotland.

Health, Wellbeing and Education are policy areas devolved to the Scottish Government. However, the Department for Education (DfE) has regular discussions with the Scottish Government on a number of education related issues.

Menstrual health and wellbeing education is already a key part of relationships, sexual health and parenthood (RSHP) education, which is part of the health and wellbeing area of the Scottish curriculum. There are online learning resources available to assist teachers in delivering learning on menstrual health and wellbeing including endometriosis.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland