Kate Osborne Portrait

Kate Osborne

Labour - Jarrow

First elected: 12th December 2019


Backbench Business Committee
25th May 2021 - 26th Oct 2023
Education Committee
13th Jul 2021 - 13th Mar 2023
Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill
16th Nov 2022 - 23rd Nov 2022
Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill
2nd Mar 2022 - 22nd Mar 2022
Approved Premises (Substance Testing) Bill
8th Dec 2021 - 15th Dec 2021
Skills and Post-16 Education [HL] Bill
24th Nov 2021 - 28th Nov 2021
Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Bill (England and Wales)
27th Oct 2021 - 3rd Nov 2021
Building Safety Bill
9th Sep 2021 - 26th Oct 2021
National Insurance Contributions Bill
16th Jun 2021 - 22nd Jun 2021


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Kate Osborne has voted in 645 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Kate Osborne voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Labour No votes vs 176 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
13 May 2020 - Remote Division result: New Clause 2 - View Vote Context
Kate Osborne voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Labour No votes vs 183 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 277 Noes - 328
View All Kate Osborne 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
(14 debate interactions)
Paul Scully (Conservative)
(14 debate interactions)
Priti Patel (Conservative)
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(38 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(33 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(29 debate contributions)
Home Office
(18 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Kate Osborne's debates

Jarrow Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

Ensure any ban fully includes trans people and all forms of conversion therapy.

There should be a public inquiry into Government contracts granted during Covid-19. Many contracts have been granted without full and open procurement processes. A public inquiry would be able to ascertain whether contracts had been procured fairly and represent value for money for tax payers.

Bring in a law which enforces professional football clubs to have at least 51% fan ownership similar to how the Bundesliga operates this rule.

The Government should use the recently established fan led review of football to introduce an Independent Football Regulator in England to put fans back at the heart of our national game. This should happen by December 2021.

The government is helping private firms to protect jobs by paying up to 80% of staff wages through this crisis. If it can do this why can it not help key workers who will be putting themselves/their families at risk and working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

During the pandemic government workers have delivered vital public services and kept our country safe and secure. After ten years in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship. The Government must start to restore the real value of their pay with a 10% increase in 2020.


Latest EDMs signed by Kate Osborne

15th April 2024
Kate Osborne signed this EDM on Monday 15th April 2024

Trapped podcast on IPP sentences

Tabled by: John McDonnell (Labour - Hayes and Harlington)
That this House praises the tireless work by campaigners fighting against the injustice of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences, which were abolished in 2012 but not retrospectively, and commends the Trapped podcast for shining a powerful spotlight on the ongoing scandal of these indefinite and potentially never-ending sentences; agrees …
24 signatures
(Most recent: 17 Apr 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 12
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 3
Scottish National Party: 3
Liberal Democrat: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
19th March 2024
Kate Osborne signed this EDM on Tuesday 26th March 2024

Government legal advice on Israeli Government actions and international law

Tabled by: Richard Burgon (Labour - Leeds East)
This House notes the remarks by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 19 March 2024 that the Israeli Government’s restrictions on humanitarian aid for Gaza may amount to the use of starvation as a method of war, which is a war crime; is alarmed at the mounting …
44 signatures
(Most recent: 15 Apr 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 24
Scottish National Party: 10
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Alba Party: 1
Workers Party of Britain: 1
View All Kate Osborne's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Kate Osborne, 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.


Kate Osborne has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Kate Osborne has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Kate Osborne


A Bill to provide for the Secretary of State to make regulations about the safety of goods sold online; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 24th March 2023

Latest 50 Written Questions

(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
9th Jan 2024
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, who recommended Paula Vennells for an award in the 2019 New Year Honours list.

Honours nominations are made in confidence, and there is an expectation that they remain confidential in order to protect the integrity and confidentiality of the honours system.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to provide a live British Sign Language interpreter at each daily covid-19 briefing.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 166585 answered on 15 March 2021.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to make a decision on the request for a framework of compensation for victims and the families of the contaminated blood scandal before the inquiry into that scandal reports.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQ 141420 on 29 January 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
21st Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what recent discussions she has had with (a) Ofcom and (b) Royal Mail on the potential implications for her Department's policies of Royal Mail's failure to meet the universal service obligation.

The Government’s objective continues to be ensuring the provision of a sustainable, accessible, and affordable universal postal service.

It is for Ofcom, as the independent regulator of postal services, to set and monitor Royal Mail’s service standards and decide how to use its powers to investigate and take enforcement action where there are reasonable grounds for Royal Mail failing to achieve its obligations.

Following its investigation into quality of service performance for 2022-23, Ofcom imposed a £5.6 million fine on Royal Mail for contravening its service conditions. Ofcom has committed to closely monitoring Royal Mail’s performance and the steps it is taking to return delivery offices to pre-pandemic practices.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to work with the community development finance institute sector to create a long-term tool to leverage investment into underserved businesses.

The Government is committed to fostering a strong, diverse and competitive financial services sector to ensure that SMEs can access the right type of finance to meet their needs.

The Government recognises the vital role that alternative lenders, including Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), have played in the provision of credit to SMEs and is grateful for the way the sector has responded during the pandemic. It remains committed to promoting competition and widening the finance options available to UK businesses. We will continue to review our policies and work with the sector through its trade body, Responsible Finance, to achieve those outcomes.

One example of this collaboration is the Start Up Loans programme, whose extension for a further three years was confirmed at Budget. The programme offers loans of up to £25,000 to entrepreneurs and the participation of CDFIs as delivery partners helps to ensure that this opportunity is available to underserved businesses across the UK. 11 of the 21 Start Up Loans delivery partners are CDFIs, and they account for approx. 30 per cent of the loans issued through the scheme in 2020/21.

More widely, the British Business Bank was working with 21 CDFI delivery partners across a range of its programmes at July 2021. These programmes include the Regional Funds and the Recovery Loan Scheme. In addition, 14 CDFIs were accredited lenders for the Covid loan schemes.

3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 21 October 2021 to Question 56362 on Insolvency: Standards, when proposals for consultation on the insolvency profession will be published.

The Government will publish its proposals for consultation on the regulatory regime for the insolvency profession shortly.

20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to ensure that the Local Electricity Bill achieves its aim of unblocking the potential for community renewable energy generation.

The Government agrees with the broad intentions of the Local Electricity Bill, but does not support it as the means to enable local energy supply. There are already mechanisms in the market to allow local supply. The current Ofgem regulatory regime allows for a company to supply a specific geographic area, and small-scale generators can also apply for a licence exemption in some cases to reduce the regulatory burdens of operating at a community level.

The Government supports community energy projects through the Rural Community Energy Fund and will work with Ofgem to ensure that local communities can play their role in delivering Net Zero and a Green Recovery.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with (a) employers and (b) trade unions on the health and safety of workers returning to work.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy worked with a wide range of stakeholders to draft the guidance on safe return to work, as well as Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

The Secretary of State chaired seven roundtables and held other discussions involving employers, employees, unions, employer representative organisations and industry bodies. Additionally, there was extensive official-level engagement with those stakeholders as well as other Government department officials.

In all, the Department engaged in over 1000 one-to-one and group discussions. We made drafts of the guidance available to stakeholders to gather direct feedback, and we received over 750 responses to that consultation process. The final guidance reflects that incredible collective effort.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he plans to provide to newly formed businesses that are not eligible for his Department's covid-19 support schemes.

Government continues to monitor the Covid-19 schemes and is providing support across business for VAT and tax deferrals; and all business can reach out to their lenders and landlords for payment holidays during the Covid crisis.

Government is working with lenders to ensure that businesses can access finance. Depending on their eligibility newly formed businesses may be eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) or Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).

Businesses are eligible for the CBILS if they are UK-based in their activity, with annual turnover of no more than £45m. For start-ups, or SMEs which have traded for less than 12 months, the lender should estimate turnover based upon the SME’s forecasted turnover for the first 12 months of trading.

Businesses are eligible for the BBLS if they are UK-based in their activity, were established on or before 1 March 2020 and have been negatively affected by Coronavirus.

All businesses in England including your constituency, can continue to access support through our GOV.UK website, the Business Support Helpline (0300 456 3565), and through their Local Growth Hubs.

5th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will take steps to ensure that BT (a) refunds in full late payment charges incurred by customers because of delays caused by postal strikes in full and (b) issues an apology to such customers.

BT customers who have incurred late payment charges should contact BT customer service to discuss and resolve any issues that the postal strikes may have caused.

Ofcom, the independent telecoms regulator, requires all communication providers to be members of an approved independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme, which can assist in settling complaints. BT has signed up to the Communications Ombudsman service, which is free for consumers: https://www.ombudsman-services.org/sectors/communications

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department for funding (a) the building of new and (b) refurbishing of existing swimming pools in the upcoming Budget and Spending Review.

We recognise the importance of ensuring public access to indoor and outdoor pools and that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy.

Government has provided a range of support for swimming pools during the pandemic. The £100 million National Leisure Recovery Fund supported the reopening of local authority swimming pools throughout the country. In addition, Sport England have made 127 Covid support awards to the Swimming & Diving community (totalling £1,100,560), and a further 20 awards to multi-sport projects (totalling £211,171) where swimming and diving are expected to benefit.

Beyond Covid, Sport England have awarded £8,529,154 to swimming and diving projects since April 2017, and have provided £16,123,002 of funding to Swim England in the same period.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support he plans to provide to bingo clubs for their reopening on 17 May 2021 to help those clubs deal with the financial pressure they have faced during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises that the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extremely challenging for businesses, including in the Bingo sector. In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, we have introduced an enhanced package of support, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which have been required to remain closed beyond Step 2. The package also includes extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with further discretionary funding for Local Authorities.

Bingo clubs have accessed £44m of government support via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (£26.8m), Eat Out to Help Out (£600k), Business Rates Relief (£15.9m) and Grant funding (£1.6m). We are continuing to work with organisations in the land-based gambling sector to understand the impacts and how we may be able to support them.

23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the decision to allow fans inside the Crucible to watch the World Snooker Championship, if he will allow spectators back to grassroots football games in outdoor stadiums.

The government recognises the importance of spectators to competitive sport, and to football in particular, as our national game, from the grassroots to the Premier League.

We welcome the return of spectators at selected sporting events as part of the science-led Events Research Programme (ERP). The ERP is running a series of pilots in April and May to inform decisions around the safe removal of social distancing at Step 4 of the Roadmap. The pilots will be run across a range of settings, venues, and activities, including football games, so that findings will support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors.

The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ setting out the roadmap out of the lockdown restrictions for England, and which explains how restrictions will be eased over time.

Step 2 of the Government's roadmap sets out that spectators are not permitted to attend sporting events taking place on private land, other than for safeguarding purposes for or providing care or assistance to a person with disabilities participating in an organised sporting event or activity. They should maintain social distance and not mix with other households. This does not prevent people from viewing recreational or organised sport that is taking place in a public space, e.g. a park, in groups of up to 6 people or 2 households.

Sporting events that are intended to attract spectators (including ticketed events), or events that are likely to attract a significant number of spectators (e.g. a major marathon) should not take place in a public space, or on private land, until Step 3.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the return of spectators to the indoor World Snooker Championship on 3 May 2021, whether a decisions has been made on attendance of spectators at the FA Vase final at Wembley Stadium on the same day.

Whilst we would like to offer as many businesses as possible the opportunity to take part in the pilot programme, unfortunately it is not logistically feasible at this stage to run a large number of pilot events. I fully recognise that in normal times, fans would cherish the opportunity to travel to Wembley Stadium to support their club’s participation in the FA Vase final, and I understand the disappointment with this not being possible this year. The return of crowds is our priority for all football clubs, and we look forward to being able to welcome back fans to clubs as soon as it is safe to do so.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department plans to take to close to the digital poverty gap in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) the North East and (c) the UK.

In response to Covid-19, the Government and Ofcom agreed a set of commitments with the UK’s major broadband and mobile operators to support vulnerable consumers during the pandemic. In order to ensure that those in financial difficulty have access to the connectivity they need, there are currently social tariffs in place that provide low cost landline and broadband services for those on means-tested benefits, including BT Basic and Virgin's new service, Essential. Vodafone has also launched a mobile service providing unlimited data at low-cost to those receiving certain means-tested benefits.

In the slightly longer term, Ofcom is reviewing affordability issues in the communications market more generally, and intends to publish recommendations in the first half of this year. This will improve the evidence base of where households face difficulty, and inform any future Government interventions.

Public libraries are also a vital component in tackling the digital poverty gap. During 2019/20, South Tyneside’s eight static libraries had 96 electronic workstations available with internet access, providing 298,632 hours of available use of the People’s Network and with 74,449 hours recorded use of People’s Network. In addition, the libraries also recorded 129,983 hours of use of Public Access Wi-Fi. Of the eight libraries in South Tyneside, two are open during the current national lockdown, one of which is Jarrow Focus that is offering access to public computers for essential use on a strict appointment basis.


The current lockdown requires libraries to close, other than to provide specific services, such as order and collect or providing access to public PCs for essential services. In addition, home library services and school library services can still operate on a no-or low-contact basis. While the regulations enable library services to continue to provide certain services, it is up to local Councils to determine after appropriate risk assessments around safety of both users and people working in libraries whether these services can and will be provided.

15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding has been allocated to the live comedy industry as part of his Department's coronavirus arts funding support package.

The Secretary of State provided a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. Live comedy is a much loved part of the British cultural landscape. Comedy venues and organisations are eligible for support through the package.

The Culture Recovery Fund will provide targeted support to organisations in the cultural and heritage sectors. The Fund is being delivered by Arts Council England, the British Film Institute, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, who are currently considering applications. Announcements about allocations will be made in the coming weeks.

The Live Comedy Association has attended regular ministerially-chaired roundtables that seek to ensure Creative Industries sectors are being assisted as effectively as possible.

We will continue to work with the comedy sector to understand the difficulties the industry faces and help it access support available to address challenges.

2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2020 to Question 61607 on leisure: Coronvirus, whether a potential date of reopening can be provided to business owners of (a) soft play centres, (b) trampoline parks and (c) other leisure facilities for planning purposes.

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 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
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when (a) soft play centres, (b) trampoline parks and (c) other leisure facilities will be allowed to reopen during the covid-19 outbreak.

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 from 4 July other indoor facilities, including indoor games, recreation and entertainment venues would reopen.

The Secretary of State has established a task force 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 the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of a TV license fee reduction for people with severe hearing impairment.

Under the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004, TV Licence concessions are available to people who are registered blind or severely sight impaired, people who live in qualifying residential care and are disabled or over 60 years old.

There are no further concessions available for people with severe hearing impairment and we are not considering making changes to the current concessions regime at this time.

The government has made clear that the TV Licence model will be reconsidered again ahead of the next Charter Review, which is set to be completed by 2027.

23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the guidance for schools on transgender pupils will help to ensure that students are protected from transphobic bullying.

The Government is clear that bullying should never be tolerated and is committed to supporting schools to tackle bullying. The Department provides advice for schools, which outlines schools’ responsibilities. The advice makes clear that schools should make appropriate provision for a bullied child's social, emotional and mental health needs. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying.

Gender is a complex and sensitive issue. That is why the Department is working with the Minister for Women and Equalities to develop guidance to support schools in relation to gender questioning pupils. The Department will publish a draft for consultation later in the summer term.

More widely, the Department is providing over £2 million of funding, between 10 August 2021 and 31 March 2023, to five anti bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying.

The Department is also making sure that all children in England will be taught about respectful relationships, in person and online, as part of new mandatory Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE). These subjects are designed to give pupils the knowledge they need to lead happy, safe and healthy lives and to foster respect for other people and for difference.

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy that outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. The policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and rewards for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff and parents. This behaviour policy is supported by ‘Respectful School Communities’, a self review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline. This tool is available here: https://educateagainsthate.com/resources/respectful-school-communities-self-review-signposting-tool-2/. This can help with combatting bullying, harassment and prejudice of any kind, including hate based bullying.

13th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the affordability of subsidised milk under the School Milk Subsidy Scheme in the context of the increasing cost of living; and what steps the Government is taking to ensure that families are able to afford to purchase subsidised milk for their children in schools.

Milk is an excellent food for children’s growth and development. This is why under the school food standards, schools must ensure it is available to all pupils who want it during school hours. Further guidance on the school food standards can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Lower fat milk or lactose reduced milk must be available for drinking at least once a day during school hours and milk must be provided free of charge to pupils eligible for free school meals. Schools may offer milk as many times as they wish, however it must be free to infant and benefits-based free school meal pupils when it is offered as part of their school meal and free to benefits-based free school meal pupils at all other times.

Where schools provide milk, they can also choose whether to participate in the School Milk Subsidy Scheme which can be used to reduce the cost of the milk. The rate for the subsidy is topped up nationally for pupils in primary education.

Further information about the scheme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/the-school-milk-subsidy-scheme-guidance.

As announced in the Spring Statement, the government is continuing to provide targeted cost of living support for households most in need. From April 2022, the government is providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of household essentials, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing the total funding for this support to £1 billion.

3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Lifelong Loan Entitlement, for what reason a student studying a module at level 4 in higher education will be eligible for maintenance support, but an adult wishing to do a full level 3 qualification does not qualify for that support.

The Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE) will provide individuals with a loan entitlement to the equivalent of four years of post-18 education to use over their lifetime. It will be available for both modules and full years of study at higher technical and degree levels (levels 4 to 6), regardless of whether they are provided in colleges or universities.

We want to drive a transformative impact on post-18 study, delivering greater parity between further education (FE) and higher education (HE). Under this flexible skills system, people will be able to space out their studies and learn at a pace that is right for them, including choosing to build up their qualifications over time, within both FE and HE providers.

The Skills and post-16 Education Bill modifies my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education’s existing powers to set the levels of loan available to support more modular provision, which could extend across both tuition fee and maintenance support. The LLE is also intended to fund whole courses, or their component modules if taken separately, that meet the necessary regulatory requirements and are provided by or on behalf of a registered provider. We are considering what maintenance loans and student support grants would be available for any study funded through the LLE, as well as how to best support modular study. We will consult on the detail and scope of this in due course. The LLE does not extend to level 3 provision, which is already funded through a number of other funding streams.

The Adult Education Budget (AEB) fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to support adults to gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. This includes a statutory entitlement to full funding for adult learners aged 19-23 undertaking their first full qualification at level 3.

Since 1 April 2021, the National Skills Fund has been supporting any adult who does not have A level equivalent or higher qualifications, to access over 400 fully funded level 3 courses, with Free Courses for Jobs. This offer is a long-term commitment, backed by £95 million from the National Skills Fund in year one. From April, any adult in England earning under the national living wage annually (£18,525) or unemployed, will also be able to access the Free Courses for Jobs offer for free, regardless of their prior qualification level.

Living costs support is not offered to those undertaking level 3 qualifications. General support for those costs is provided for by the Department for Work and Pensions. Through grant funding and a bursary fund for those with an advanced learner loan, colleges and other training providers are able to help adult learners overcome barriers which prevent them from taking part or continuing in learning. This includes:

  • Learner support to support learners in financial hardship. Providers have discretion to help learners meet course related costs such as transport, accommodation, books, equipment and childcare.
  • Learning support to meet the additional needs of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason the Government is introducing a Lifelong Loan Entitlement for modules and full years of study at levels 4-6 but not at level 3 and below.

The Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE) will provide individuals with a loan entitlement to the equivalent of four years of post-18 education to use over their lifetime. It will be available for both modules and full years of study at higher technical and degree levels (levels 4 to 6), regardless of whether they are provided in colleges or universities.

We want to drive a transformative impact on post-18 study, delivering greater parity between further education (FE) and higher education (HE). Under this flexible skills system, people will be able to space out their studies and learn at a pace that is right for them, including choosing to build up their qualifications over time, within both FE and HE providers.

The Skills and post-16 Education Bill modifies my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education’s existing powers to set the levels of loan available to support more modular provision, which could extend across both tuition fee and maintenance support. The LLE is also intended to fund whole courses, or their component modules if taken separately, that meet the necessary regulatory requirements and are provided by or on behalf of a registered provider. We are considering what maintenance loans and student support grants would be available for any study funded through the LLE, as well as how to best support modular study. We will consult on the detail and scope of this in due course. The LLE does not extend to level 3 provision, which is already funded through a number of other funding streams.

The Adult Education Budget (AEB) fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to support adults to gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. This includes a statutory entitlement to full funding for adult learners aged 19-23 undertaking their first full qualification at level 3.

Since 1 April 2021, the National Skills Fund has been supporting any adult who does not have A level equivalent or higher qualifications, to access over 400 fully funded level 3 courses, with Free Courses for Jobs. This offer is a long-term commitment, backed by £95 million from the National Skills Fund in year one. From April, any adult in England earning under the national living wage annually (£18,525) or unemployed, will also be able to access the Free Courses for Jobs offer for free, regardless of their prior qualification level.

Living costs support is not offered to those undertaking level 3 qualifications. General support for those costs is provided for by the Department for Work and Pensions. Through grant funding and a bursary fund for those with an advanced learner loan, colleges and other training providers are able to help adult learners overcome barriers which prevent them from taking part or continuing in learning. This includes:

  • Learner support to support learners in financial hardship. Providers have discretion to help learners meet course related costs such as transport, accommodation, books, equipment and childcare.
  • Learning support to meet the additional needs of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made, in discussion with the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in agreeing funding for the School Games Organiser network beyond March 2022.

The government can confirm that funding for the School Games Organisers will be available for the full 2021/22 academic year. The government is considering arrangements for the School Games Organiser network for the 2022/23 academic year and beyond, and will confirm the position in 2022.

We are also working to deliver on the nearly £30 million announced in October 2021 towards opening up school sport facilities in England, as well as to improve the teaching of Physical Education at primary school. We will continue to work closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport and the Department of Health and Social Care to deliver on the aims of the School Sport and Activity Action Plan which we will be updating in 2022.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to monitor and publish impact data on the effect of school breakfasts provided through the National School Breakfast Programme on (a) reducing classroom hunger, (b) educational attainment outcomes and (c) health outcomes in the 2021-22 academic year.

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

The focus of the programme is to target the most disadvantaged areas of the country, including the Department for Education’s Opportunity Areas. Throughout the contract we will be working with our provider, Family Action, to monitor the benefits the programme is having on pupils who are attending. We will consider opportunities to share information on the programme as it progresses.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to prioritise the replacement of Consortium of Local authorities Special Programme (CLASP) schools in the School Rebuilding Programme to ensure that teachers and schoolchildren are safe from asbestos.

The Department takes the issue of asbestos in schools very seriously, and is committed to supporting schools, local authorities, and academy trusts to fulfil their duty to manage asbestos safely. Expert advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is that if asbestos is unlikely to be damaged or disturbed then it is best managed in situ. We are clear that if asbestos does pose a safety risk and cannot be effectively managed in situ, then it should be removed from schools.

Since 2015, the Department has allocated over £9.5 billion, including an additional £560 million in the 2020-21 financial year, to those responsible for school buildings for essential maintenance and improvements, including removing or encapsulation when it is the safest course of action to do so.

In February 2021, the Department announced the first 50 schools to benefit from the new School Rebuilding Programme as part of a commitment to 500 projects over the next decade. School Rebuilding Programme investment is targeted on the basis of buildings’ condition. A full explanation of the methodology used to prioritise the first 50 schools has been published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme.

The Department intends to consult later this year on the approach to prioritising schools for the longer term programme.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional teaching support is available to university students during the January 2021 lockdown period while they do not have full access to their tutors; and what financial support students can access to compensate for lost income from part-time work.

Due to the national lockdown measures now in place, we must take further steps to reduce transmission, including by significantly reducing the number of students returning to university from their winter break accommodation, and limiting the number of people travelling to and from university facilities. We are now prioritising the return to face-to-face teaching for courses which are most important to be delivered in-person to support the pipeline of future key workers. All other courses should be delivered online until at least mid-February. Our aim is to minimise the number of students who return to university to access university facilities.

The government’s clear and stated expectation is that universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students regardless of their background have the resources to study remotely. This is more important than ever at the moment with the vast majority of students studying solely online. The Office for Students (OfS), as regulator for higher education (HE) providers in England, has made it clear that HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected, regardless of whether a provider is delivering its courses through face-to-face teaching, remote online learning, or a combination of both.

The OfS has published guidance on how best to ensure students continue to receive a high-quality academic experience in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak. This sets out that providers should make all reasonable efforts to provide alternative teaching and support for students that is at least broadly equivalent to the provider’s usual arrangements. The OfS will keep this guidance under review to ensure it remains relevant to the developing circumstances of the outbreak.

The OfS is actively monitoring providers to ensure that they maintain the quality of their provision, that it is accessible for all and that they have been clear in their communications with students about how arrangements for teaching and learning may change throughout the year. The OfS is also following up directly with providers where they receive notifications from students, parents or others raising concerns about the quality of teaching on offer and require providers to report to them when they are not able to deliver a course or award a qualification. If the OfS has concerns, it will investigate further.

OfS capital grants can be used to address the needs of individual students for remote access to learning, teaching, assessment and the related services of a provider, for example through the provision of equipment or connectivity services, where students would not otherwise be able to secure these.

The government has also worked closely with the OfS to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to increase hardship funds. Providers are able to use OfS Student Premium funding worth approximately £256 million for this academic year towards student hardship funds. We are also currently making available up to £20 million of additional hardship funding on a one-off basis to support those that need it most, particularly disadvantaged students.

Students with a part-time employment contract should also speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking with headteachers to gather information on covid-19 in their local area and take steps to create a safer environment for children in schools.

Schools supply daily attendance updates relating to COVID-19 to the Department through the schools’ online portal.

The Department also has well established Regional Education and Children’s Teams (REACTs) in place. Their purpose is to help coordinate how information and intelligence about local needs and circumstances is captured during the COVID-19 outbreak.

REACTs are in regular contact with local authorities (Directors of Children’s Services or their representatives) in England to discuss local plans and to offer support. Similarly, the same teams are in regular contact with a range of academy trusts. Through these conversations, REACTs discuss providing practical support to those local authority areas that require it. This includes a range of actions, from answering questions to action planning, and offering and negotiating resources to support local authorities.

On 7 January, the Department published further guidance which sets out what all schools will need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

Schools will be familiar with much of this guidance, including the system of controls, which they have been implementing since the start of the autumn term.

The Department will continue to keep its plans under review and ensure our position is informed by the latest evidence.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will cancel the publication of school performance tables in the 2020-21 academic year.

The Government announced on 3 December 2020 that the Department would not publish the normal school and college performance tables in autumn 2021, based on summer 2021 grades. This remains the case. The announcement is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-school-and-college-performance-measures.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether free school meal vouchers will still be sent to parents and carers who decide to not send their child back to school as covid-19 lockdown restrictions as eased.

As schools open more widely, and their kitchens reopen, we expect schools to make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are staying at home.

Arranging food parcels helps ensure that eligible children have access to a healthy free meal and can also help the school to stay in contact with those families. We know that many schools have made excellent food parcel arrangements throughout this period.

If a school cannot provide meals or food parcels for children who are at home, they can continue to offer vouchers to families of eligible pupils.

Our guidance on free school meals during this period is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many disadvantaged pupils have been provided with a laptop for homeworking during the period of school closures due to the covid-19 outbreak in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) the North East and (c) England.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G routers.

We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers.

Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. The Department is agreeing the number of devices allocated to each local authority and academy trust based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he has provided to (a) primary and (b) secondary schools on helping to ensure a smooth transition for Year 6 pupils in September 2020.

The Department is asking primary schools to invite back Year 6 pupils to support their transition to secondary school.

Primary schools should ensure that information is transferred to destination secondary schools as soon as possible. If practical in the absence of examination results, primary schools should ensure that secondary schools are briefed in as much detail as possible about the attainment profile of pupils.

The Department’s latest guidance for primary schools can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools.

The Department is working to publish further guidance for secondary schools shortly.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether grandparents who have no underlying health conditions and are under the age of 70 can provide childcare for their grandchildren when parents return to work during the covid-19 oubreak.

Our staying alert and safe (social distancing) guidance explains the measures that will help everyone to stay alert and safe as we continue to respond to the challenges of COVID-19.

Grandparents may only provide childcare for their grandchildren if they live as part of the same household. It is still not permitted to leave your house to visit friends and family in their home.

The government is looking at how to facilitate greater contact with close family or friends and will explain how this can be done safely in the coming weeks.

The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the Government's policy is on the implementation of social distancing measures in early years primary school.

From the week commencing 1 June, at the earliest, we will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by the Government justify the changes at the time. We are asking school to plan on this basis, ahead of confirmation that these tests are met.

We have published guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

By returning pupils gradually, settings can initially reduce the number of children and young people in classrooms compared to usual and put protective measures in place to reduce risks.

Eligible children – including priority groups - are strongly encouraged to attend their education setting, unless they are self-isolating or they are clinically vulnerable. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time and schools and colleges will not be held to account for attendance levels. Further guidance for parents and carers can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether parents or carers will be fined if they do not send their children to school in the remainder of academic year 2019-20.

From the week commencing 1 June, at the earliest, we will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by the Government justify the changes at the time. We are asking school to plan on this basis, ahead of confirmation that these tests are met.

We have published guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

By returning pupils gradually, settings can initially reduce the number of children and young people in classrooms compared to usual and put protective measures in place to reduce risks.

Eligible children – including priority groups - are strongly encouraged to attend their education setting, unless they are self-isolating or they are clinically vulnerable. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time and schools and colleges will not be held to account for attendance levels. Further guidance for parents and carers can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the return of children to education in academic year 2019-20 will be voluntary.

From the week commencing 1 June, at the earliest, we will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by the Government justify the changes at the time. We are asking school to plan on this basis, ahead of confirmation that these tests are met.

We have published guidance on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

By returning pupils gradually, settings can initially reduce the number of children and young people in classrooms compared to usual and put protective measures in place to reduce risks.

Eligible children – including priority groups - are strongly encouraged to attend their education setting, unless they are self-isolating or they are clinically vulnerable. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time and schools and colleges will not be held to account for attendance levels. Further guidance for parents and carers can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he plans to provide to special school pupils who are due to finish their studies in the current academic year to ensure those pupils are on a level playing field with pupils who are receiving predicted GCSE grades.

Our ambition is for every child, no matter what challenges they face, to have access to a world-class education that sets them up for life. We want to support children and young people with education, health and care plans and ensure that they are able to access all the same opportunities as their peers.

Due to the cancellation of exams, students who were due to sit GCSEs this year, including those who attend special schools, will receive calculated grades.

Students in special schools may also be studying a range of vocational qualifications. The department has been working with the regulator, Ofqual, to ensure that as many students as possible receive results for any exams or assessments they were due to take this summer and it is our policy that pupils taking vocational or technical qualifications alongside or instead of GCSEs (or A levels) should receive calculated results, in a similar way to their peers taking GCSEs. Ofqual is working with awarding organisations to implement this. These students should also receive their results on the same day as GCSE (or A level) pupils. We recognise that some courses do not lend themselves to calculated grades and so may need to have their assessments adapted, or in minority of cases, delayed.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to make additional funding available to cover childcare costs for key workers during the covid-19 outbreak who would normally rely on relatives for childcare.

Early years and childcare settings are closed except for children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home. The list of critical workers is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

On 17 March 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed that we will continue to pay local authorities for free early years entitlement places for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds. We will publish guidance shortly to set out how local authorities can use their free entitlement funding differently, redistributing it in exceptional cases and in a clearly focused and targeted way, in order to secure childcare for the children of critical workers and for vulnerable children at this time, where their usual arrangements are no longer possible.

Guidance, including details of additional business support available, for early years and childcare providers is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support students in year 9 that have missed out on education as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is committed to ensuring that children can continue to learn at home in these very difficult circumstances. We recognise that many schools and colleges have already shared resources for children who are at home, and we are grateful for this.

The Department has issued guidance for schools which signposts to an initial list of free online resources identified by educational experts and teachers. Many other suppliers have also helpfully made their resources available for free. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

The Department has also issued information, guidance and support to parents and carers of children who are learning from home at:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supporting-your-childrens-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Leading state schools have collaborated to open The Oak National Academy, which was launched online on 20 April. This new initiative is led by 40 teachers who have assembled video lessons and resources for any teacher in the country to make use of if they wish to do so. 180 video lessons will be provided each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10. Additionally, the BBC has developed resources for families as part of a comprehensive new education package, which is now available on TV and online at BBC Bitesize.

The Government has also committed over £100 million to boost remote education. This includes, providing devices and internet access for those who need it most, ensuring every school that wants it has access to free, expert technical support to get set up on Google for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education, and offering peer support from schools and colleges leading the way with the use of education technology. Further information can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-technology-for-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether students will receive maintenance loans whilst their schools or colleges are closed during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) will make term 3 (summer term) tuition fee payments as scheduled and college students will continue to receive maintenance payments on the scheduled dates, whether or not campuses are closed or learning has been moved online.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether he has plans to provide financial support to students that are required to pay private rent for their accommodation after being encouraged by their university to return home.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current, 2019/20, academic year.

While it is for universities and private accommodation providers to make their own decisions about charging rents to absent students, we would encourage them to consider the fairness of doing so and to clearly communicate their policies to students. It is also important to stress that accommodation providers should not have instructed any student to leave. If any accommodation provider did formally instruct a student to leave the property then it would be unacceptable to continue to charge student rents.

We understand that, to date, 75 higher education providers have waived or refunded rents with 3 more making rent adjustments on a case-by-case basis.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
2nd Mar 2020
What recent estimate he has made of the number of looked after children being placed in out-of-area placements as a result of the unavailability of a place in their home local authority.

The most recent figures show that 20% of all looked-after children were placed more than 20 miles from home, which is a concern.

Moving a child away from their home area is not a decision to be taken lightly and we have strengthened legislative safeguards in relation to children placed out of their local area. The needs of the child are paramount when deciding the right care placement. Local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure that there is sufficient provision for their looked after children.

We want to reduce out of area placements, but they will always be part of the care landscape. Sometimes circumstances make it the right decision for a child to be placed elsewhere, for example when they are at risk from sexual exploitation, trafficking or gang violence.

We’re helping to improve commissioning of placements, including providing funding through our £200 million children’s social care Innovation Programme. We are also providing seed funding to fostering partnerships to increase sufficiency of foster parents.

We have committed to undertaking a review of the care system. We have been clear that this review will be bold and broad, taking a fundamental look across children’s social care, with the aim of better supporting, protecting and improving the outcomes of vulnerable children and young people.

26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made on the potential merits of revising the action levels for the disposal of dredged material; and when a decision will be made on the outcome.

Defra is reviewing information provided from the Port of Tyne and other stakeholders in response to proposals for changes to Action Levels for sea disposal of dredged sediment, as well as evidence from work carried out by Cefas, and no decision has yet been made. Officials will continue to engage with stakeholders including those from the River Tyne to ensure we fully understand the impacts of the proposals for the region. Before implementing any proposed changes, an impact assessment will be completed. We will communicate the next steps in the review of Action Levels shortly.

The sediment transport pathways in the Tyne means that there is both a legacy contamination issue and transport of pollutants down the catchment where they are contributing to the issues. Action is therefore being taken via the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines Programme to control inputs of metals which pollute more than 150kms of rivers in the Tyne catchment and to alleviate problems in the estuary. This is supported by our proposed target tackling metal pollution under the Environment Act to reduce the length of rivers and estuaries polluted by target substances from abandoned metal mines, which we are currently consulting on.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in the context of the Proposed Changes in Cefas Action Levels for Sea Disposal of Dredged Sediment, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of evidence (a) within the Port of Tyne’s Response to Proposed Changes in CEFAS Action Levels for Sea Disposal of Dredged Sediment (January 2022) including research work undertaken by Newcastle University suggesting that the naturally occurring contaminants, especially zinc and lead, are not in a form which is adversely affecting marine rivers organisms and (b) from the Environment Agency, who are working in partnership with the Coal Authority and Defra to implement measures to control inputs of naturally occurring contaminants in the headwaters as part of the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines Programme.

Defra is reviewing information provided from the Port of Tyne and other stakeholders in response to proposals for changes to Action Levels for sea disposal of dredged sediment, as well as evidence from work carried out by Cefas, and no decision has yet been made. Officials will continue to engage with stakeholders including those from the River Tyne to ensure we fully understand the impacts of the proposals for the region. Before implementing any proposed changes, an impact assessment will be completed. We will communicate the next steps in the review of Action Levels shortly.

The sediment transport pathways in the Tyne means that there is both a legacy contamination issue and transport of pollutants down the catchment where they are contributing to the issues. Action is therefore being taken via the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines Programme to control inputs of metals which pollute more than 150kms of rivers in the Tyne catchment and to alleviate problems in the estuary. This is supported by our proposed target tackling metal pollution under the Environment Act to reduce the length of rivers and estuaries polluted by target substances from abandoned metal mines, which we are currently consulting on.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of evidence from the Port of Tyne’s Response to Proposed Changes in CEFAS Action Levels for Sea Disposal of Dredged Sediment (January 2022), and the British Ports Association’s Proposed Cefas Guideline Action Levels - Review of Cost Implications (May 2021) both of which suggest that the proposed Action Levels would have an adverse impact on the region.

Defra is reviewing information provided from the Port of Tyne and other stakeholders in response to proposals for changes to Action Levels for sea disposal of dredged sediment, as well as evidence from work carried out by Cefas, and no decision has yet been made. Officials will continue to engage with stakeholders including those from the River Tyne to ensure we fully understand the impacts of the proposals for the region. Before implementing any proposed changes, an impact assessment will be completed. We will communicate the next steps in the review of Action Levels shortly.

The sediment transport pathways in the Tyne means that there is both a legacy contamination issue and transport of pollutants down the catchment where they are contributing to the issues. Action is therefore being taken via the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines Programme to control inputs of metals which pollute more than 150kms of rivers in the Tyne catchment and to alleviate problems in the estuary. This is supported by our proposed target tackling metal pollution under the Environment Act to reduce the length of rivers and estuaries polluted by target substances from abandoned metal mines, which we are currently consulting on.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to provide support to businesses affected by potential changes in CEFAS Action Levels for Sea Disposal of Dredged Sediment.

Defra is reviewing information provided by stakeholders in response to proposals for changes to Action Levels for sea disposal of dredged sediment and no decision has yet been made. Officials will continue to engage with stakeholders to ensure we fully understand the impacts of the proposals on businesses. Before implementing any proposed changes, an impact assessment will be completed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if her Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing Local Action Levels for specific areas such as the River Tyne in the context of naturally occurring contaminants and unique environmental characteristics.

Defra is reviewing information provided by stakeholders in response to proposals for changes to Action Levels for sea disposal of dredged sediment. Defra recognise there are regional variabilities and will continue to engage with stakeholders including those from the River Tyne to ensure we fully understand the impacts of the proposals for the region. Before implementing any proposed changes, an impact assessment will be completed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)