Kate Osborne Portrait

Kate Osborne

Labour - Jarrow


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 27th October 2021
09:15
Education Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Universities and the pandemic
27 Oct 2021, 9:15 a.m.
At 9.30am: Oral evidence
Jo Grady - General Secretary at University and College Union
Professor Tansy Jessop - Pro Vice-Chancellor at University of Bristol
Professor Liz Barnes - Vice Chancellor at Staffordshire University
At 10.30am: Oral evidence
Michelle Donelan MP - Minister of State for Higher and Further Education at Department for Education
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Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 27th October 2021
13:45
Women and Equalities Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: One-off: Annual session with the Equality And Human Rights Commission
27 Oct 2021, 1:45 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Baroness Kishwer Falkner - Chair at Equality and Human Rights Commission
Marcial Boo - Chief Executive Officer at Equality and Human Rights Commission
View calendar
Oral Question
Thursday 28th October 2021
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral Question No. 3
When he plans to publish the Government’s response to the National Food Strategy.
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Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 2nd November 2021
09:30
Education Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Prison Education
2 Nov 2021, 9:30 a.m.
At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Jonathan Gilbert - PhD Researcher and Graduate Tutor at Cardiff University
Kiri Jolliffe - Caseworker at St Giles Trust
Femi Laryea-Adekimi - Network Coordinator at Prison Reform Trust
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 2nd November 2021
16:00
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 3rd November 2021
09:15
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 3rd November 2021
14:00
Division Votes
Friday 22nd October 2021
Prayers
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 114 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 3 Noes - 336
Speeches
Thursday 21st October 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

T9. Ministers have repeatedly told this House that trade does not need to come at the expense of human rights, …

Written Answers
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Livestock: Environment Protection
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans she has to include the environmental …
Early Day Motions
Monday 19th July 2021
Retirement of Mr Martin Humble, Head Teacher of St. Matthew's RC Primary School
That this House applauds the outstanding contribution to education in South Tyneside by St Matthew’s RC Primary School Head Teacher, …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 2nd March 2020
1. Employment and earnings
31 December 2019, received £883.19 from North Tyneside Council, 10 The Silverlink, Cobalt Business Park NE27 0BY, for duties as …
EDM signed
Wednesday 27th October 2021
Equality Impact Assessment for Autumn Spending Review and future budgets
That this House notes that welfare cuts, benefit changes and reductions in public services disproportionally affect women, disabled people and …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021
A Bill to impose duties on certain education and training providers in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Kate Osborne has voted in 258 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
Paul Scully (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(13 debate interactions)
Priti Patel (Conservative)
Home Secretary
(9 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(20 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(16 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(16 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

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.

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.

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.


Latest EDMs signed by Kate Osborne

26th October 2021
Kate Osborne signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 27th October 2021

Equality Impact Assessment for Autumn Spending Review and future budgets

Tabled by: Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Labour - Streatham)
That this House notes that welfare cuts, benefit changes and reductions in public services disproportionally affect women, disabled people and Black, Asian and ethnic minorities (BAME); recognises a joint consultation response from the UK Women’s Budget Group, Maternity Action and the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) which has called …
19 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 14
Scottish National Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
23rd September 2021
Kate Osborne signed this EDM on Monday 25th October 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
110 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 76
Scottish National Party: 11
Liberal Democrat: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Plaid Cymru: 3
Conservative: 2
Independent: 2
Green Party: 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

Kate Osborne has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


104 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
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Minister of State (Department for International 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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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 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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of classifying broadband as an essential utility.

The Government believes that a fast, reliable broadband network is essential, which is why we are committed to ensuring nationwide gigabit-capable broadband as soon as possible. We are making good progress towards this target, with around 1 in 3 UK premises now able to access a gigabit-capable connection according to the latest figures from Ofcom and ThinkBroadband.

With regards to classifying broadband as an essential utility, operators already have strong rights to support rollout of new fibre. We are proposing to further strengthen these rights following through the Telecoms Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill, which aims to make it easier for providers to connect tenanted properties where there are unresponsive landlords. Alongside this, we are committed to consulting on further reforms to the Electronic Communications Code, the statutory framework underpinning the rights of telecoms operators to deploy digital infrastructure on public and private land.

The Government will continue to take action to support gigabit rollout in other ways. For example, in harder to reach areas, we are investing £5 billion through our UK Gigabit Programme.

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

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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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.

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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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 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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the concluded Fur Market in Great Britain Call for Evidence, whether the Government plans to take steps to tackle the killing of animals for fur.

Fur farming has been banned in England and Wales since 2000, and 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Whilst there are existing import restrictions on seal, cat and dog fur, we still import other fur from abroad. Following our departure from the EU, the Government is considering further steps it could take in relation to the fur trade.

The Government wants to hear from all interested parties as we look to develop proposals and form views on what the fur trade might look like. In order to do this, the Government has concluded a call for evidence to provide both stakeholders and the public with the opportunity to provide evidence and views on this important matter. We will publish a summary of responses shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the (a) adequacy and (b) safety of the workforce in food supply chains.

Defra works closely with other Government departments to ensure there is access to adequate numbers of suitably skilled domestic and migrant workers across the agri-food chain.

Defra, the Home Office and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, work together to ensure that businesses adhere to the stringent requirements set for ensuring safety and wellbeing of seasonal agricultural workers.

The Health and Safety Executive requires harvesting work in a field to be assessed by the farmer, or contractor, to determine risks, both to workers and others.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether food parcels will continue for people who have shielding status as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Whilst the Government’s existing advice on shielding remains in place, we are committed to providing a range of support to individuals who need to shield so that they can access the essential supplies they need.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how often updates to the list of people that are clinically extremely vulnerable to covid-19 are sent to supermarkets.

Supermarkets receive an updated list of the clinically extremely vulnerable every day.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it remains the Government's policy to support Metro Flow and the wider North East Transforming Cities Fund allocation.

The Tyne and Wear Metro has been an essential part of the public transport network in the North East for over 40 years. That is why the Government is committed to investing nearly £340m to upgrade the fleet and secure its future for decades to come. We will start to see the first new trains arrive from 2022 and enter passenger service in 2023. I can confirm the government’s continued support for Metro flow and the business case is proceeding as expected. An Early Award period was agreed which allowed Nexus to commence design and planning works whilst full funding approvals are being finalised.

My Department remain committed to the Transforming Cities Programme and the benefits it will bring to the North East.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the Government's policy is on the implementation of social distancing measures on public transport; and if he will provide funding to transport providers for the implementation of those measures.

On the 12 May, the Government published safer travel guidance for passengers, which states that people should consider all other forms of transport before using public transport.

On 12 May, the Government also published guidance for transport operators to help them keep their staff and passengers safe, including how social distancing rules should be interpreted to do this. Each transport provider will need to translate the principles and examples in this guidance into specific actions. This guidance will be kept up-to-date as restrictions on travel change.

The Department will announce shortly the further funding it will provide to bus and light rail operators to support the restoration of their services.

With regards to rail services, under the Emergency Measures Agreements agreed with franchised train operators, existing franchise agreements financial mechanisms have been suspended and all revenue and cost risk has been temporarily transferred to the Government. The Department will continue to manage rail services with close scrutiny of costs to ensure that any additional expenditure incurred, such as measures for social distancing, provides good value for taxpayers.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an estimate of the average (a) phone and (b) broadband costs incurred by universal credit claimants fulfilling their responsibility to spend 35 hours per week seeking employment.

The Department has no plans to estimate the average phone or broadband costs incurred by claimants fulfilling their responsibilities under the Universal Credit regime.

We are committed to supporting the individual needs of claimants, including agreeing realistic and structured steps to encourage them into or towards the labour market taking into the account their personal circumstances and resources.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative assessment her Department has made of the transport costs for universal credit claimants throughout the regions of the UK.

Since the introduction of Universal Credit, claimants have been supported by a more flexible approach to contact, with much greater use of digital and telephone channels. This enables claimants to continue to engage with the Department, receive appropriate support and satisfy the conditions of their personalised Claimant Commitment without having to always attend an appointment in person.

To assist with the affordability of public transport, and where an appointment at a Jobcentre has been agreed as necessary, Work Coaches are able to consider the reimbursement of a claimant’s travel costs. The Department publishes clear guidance to its staff of when mandatory awards for travel must be made from the Flexible Support Fund.

Concessionary travel legislation gives local authorities in England the power to offer discretionary concessions, such as extending free or discounted bus travel to groups of people such as those on Universal Credit. Local authorities decide to offer these concessions based upon their assessment of local needs and funding priorities, paying for them through local resources like Council Tax.

In addition, the rail industry, together with the Department for Work and Pensions, provides the Jobcentre Plus railcard that entitles card holders to a 50% discount on selected rail tickets. Some train operating companies and Jobcentres have also agreed to offer job seekers additional benefits, such as free rail tickets to job interviews.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants live in Jarrow constituency.

Universal Credit is now the main system of working age welfare support across the country. It is available in every Jobcentre, with a caseload of over 2.8 million claimants, growing every month, now able to access the additional support and flexibilities it offers.

Most people only move to Universal Credit because they have had a significant change in their circumstances which would previously have led them to make a new claim to a legacy benefit.

Data surrounding the number of households on Universal Credit in the parliamentary constituency of Jarrow is published online and can be found at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

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

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish guidance for medical exemptions for mandatory covid-19 vaccinations for those who work in care homes.

We will shortly publish further guidance on vaccination as a condition of deployment in care homes. This will provide further detail around medical exemptions and information on how individuals can check their exemption status.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to further reduce from eight weeks the length of time between the first and second dose of the covid-19 vaccine due to increasing rates of infection.

Currently, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends an interval of eight weeks between doses of all the available COVID-19 vaccines.

It should be noted that current evidence shows that a longer dose interval produces a better immune response. As such, the JCVI has advised against reducing the dose interval further in order to maximise the effectiveness of the vaccination programme. The JCVI regularly reviews its advice in relation to COVID-19 vaccination programme, taking into account new data and evidence on the effectiveness of the programme and epidemiological situation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to accelerate the covid-19 vaccination programme in the North East as a result of rising infection rates in that area.

The Government has implemented surge vaccination in areas with rising infection rates to protect communities supported with an Enhanced Response Package (ERP) which includes Test and Trace measures, enhanced self-isolation support and guidance. On 20 May, North Tyneside Council received this support and we will continue to monitor whether other areas within the North East might require an ERP.

South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group continues to work closely with South Tyneside Council and other partners to provide wide access to vaccination to all their population, including walk-in pop-up services and a vaccine bus.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to prioritise people with (a) asthma and (b) other respiratory conditions for the covid-19 booster vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim advice on a potential COVID-19 booster vaccination programme on 30 June, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jcvi-interim-advice-on-a-potential-coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-for-winter-2021-to-2022

The JCVI advises a two staged approach, with individuals in stage one offered a booster and flu vaccine, as soon as possible from September. Individuals in stage two should be offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as practicable after stage one, with equal emphasis on deployment of the flu vaccine where eligible. The JCVI suggests those aged 16 to 49 years old who are in an influenza or COVID-19 at-risk group, such as sufferers of chronic respiratory conditions and asthma are included in stage two.

Final decisions on the timing and scope and cohort eligibility, will be confirmed once the JCVI has provided their final advice.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jun 2021
What steps he is taking to tackle backlogs in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and care.

Cancer is a priority. As well as a £325 million investment in National Health Service diagnostic machines, with plans to increase endoscopy and computerised tomography capacity, we have provided an additional £1 billion to the NHS to tackle the elective backlog.

This will ensure there is sufficient capacity in place to diagnose and treat the additional people coming into the system and reduce the number of people waiting over 62 days on cancer pathways with a focus for those who have had their care delayed.

To encourage patients to come forward to their general practitioner (GP) if they have worrying symptoms we launched the successful ‘Help us Help you’ campaign, with latest March 2021 data showing urgent GP cancer referrals to be 190% higher than in April 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise supermarket workers for the covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

If supermarket workers are captured in phase one due to their age, or clinical risk factors they will be prioritised. However the Government, as advised by the JCVI, are not considering vaccinating supermarket workers as a phase one priority at this stage. Prioritisation decisions for next phase delivery are subject to of the surveillance and monitoring data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts such as the JCVI. Phase two may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jan 2021
What progress he has made on the (a) administration and (b) distribution of covid-19 vaccines.

We are delighted that over 2.2 million of the most vulnerable people in the country have now received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine.

We are on track to deliver our commitment of offering a first vaccine to everyone in the most vulnerable groups by the middle of next month.

There are already more than 2,700 sites across the United Kingdom already offering vaccines to those at risk by age and clinical priority.

As set out in the comprehensive UK vaccines delivery plan, by the end of January, everyone in England will be within 10 miles of a vaccination site, or, for a small number of highly rural areas, the vaccine will be brought to them via mobile teams.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of taking hydroxychloroquine to treat covid-19.

The Therapeutics Taskforce is continuing to monitor any new, high quality evidence on COVID-19 therapeutics and has been following recent findings on hydroxychloroquine.

In June 2020, the Government-funded RECOVERY trial concluded that there is no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised with COVID-19. For other patient cohorts, there is limited evidence at this stage to suggest hydroxychloroquine is effective in treating COVID-19 infection. The Therapeutics Taskforce is closely monitoring the large number of active trials that are yet to produce results and will assess any new evidence once this is available. The Department and its arm’s length bodies are prepared to act rapidly should any trial readouts prove positive at sufficient scale and significance.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise police officers for the covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), advised that the priority for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems. The Government will set out plans for phase two of the vaccination programme in due course, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two of the roll-out may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services. This could include first responders, the military, those involved in the justice system, teachers, transport workers, and public servants essential to the pandemic response.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Government's criteria is for lifting the national lockdown covid-19 restrictions introduced on 5 January 2021; and whether that criteria will be applied more stringently compared with previous lockdowns.

When making decisions on any COVID-19 restrictions the Government assesses a wide range of data. If our understanding of the virus does not change dramatically, deployment of the vaccine continues to be successful and pressures on hospitals decreases then we hope to be able to start lifting restrictions.

The Government therefore keeps the restriction measures under continual review and will make changes as and when the data and science supports it.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of administering covid-19 vaccines 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Nottingham's Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been piloting a 24 hours a day, seven days a week vaccination service since 20 January. Data from the Birmingham site is awaited. NHS England will consider the findings from both pilots before deciding on next steps.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise teachers and school staff for the covid-19 vaccine.

We are following the advice from independent experts on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on which groups of people to prioritise for COVID-19 vaccines.

The JCVI advised the immediate priority should be to prevent deaths and protect health and care staff, with old age deemed the single biggest factor determining mortality.

The Government will set out plans for phase two of the vaccination programme, based on further advice from the JCVI. Phase two may include further reduction in hospitalisation and targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the availability of community spaces for use as places for people to receive covid-19 vaccinations.

We are grateful for the offers from businesses up and down the country, including supermarkets and sporting arenas, to use their venues as vaccination centres. NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working to identify partners and work with those whose facilities have been identified as suitable. NHS England and NHS Improvement are ensuring that all offers are appropriately considered, alongside local leaders, including from local authorities, to understand potential partnerships that build on the existing network.

We have many partnerships already in place. Seven large scale vaccination centres opened on 11 January, a further ten opened on 18 January and over 30 opened on 25 January. The centres offer an alternative to general practice and hospital services and can each deliver thousands of vaccinations every week. The initial sites were chosen from those ready to vaccinate large numbers of people quickly to give a geographical spread covering as many people as possible.

Currently, in England, 96% of the population is within 10 miles of a vaccine service and by the end of January, everyone will live within 10 miles of a vaccination service. In a small number of highly rural areas, the vaccination centre will be a mobile unit. Regularly updated data on the locations of hospital hubs and local vaccination services is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/hospital-hubs-and-local-vaccination-services/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jan 2021
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 children’s mental health services.

Children and young people’s mental health services have remained open throughout the pandemic offering digital and remote access to maintain support and accept new referrals. This will continue over the winter ensuring children, young people and parents can access appropriate support whether face to face, via the telephone or via digital means.

The National Health Service has also provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week all-age crisis lines across the country. The Department has given more than £10 million of grant funding to the voluntary sector and funded the £8 million wellbeing for education return scheme to support children’s mental health.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing shielding for the clinically extremely vulnerable who work in (a) retail, (b) health and social care, (c) education and (d) other public-facing roles.

Shielding was paused on 1 August 2020 in England, however, it is important that clinically extremely vulnerable people continue to take extra care, particularly as infection rates rise again. On 13 October, the Government published new guidance to the clinically extremely vulnerable that advises additional things they are advised to do to keep themselves safe at each local COVID alert level.

While the previous shielding advice helped protect those most at risk from COVID-19, we acknowledge that many people found this advice very restrictive. The new protective guidance to the clinically extremely vulnerable is designed to offer practical and proportionate advice to help people protect themselves and minimise the need to introduce restrictive shielding advice.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of re-introducing shielding for the clinically extremely vulnerable in areas under (a) tier 1 (b) tier 2 and (c) tier 3 local covid-19 restrictions.

Shielding was paused on 1 August 2020 in England, however, it is important that clinically extremely vulnerable people continue to take extra care, particularly as infection rates rise again. On 13 October, the Government published new guidance to the clinically extremely vulnerable that advises additional things they are advised to do to keep themselves safe at each local COVID alert level.

While the previous shielding advice helped protect those most at risk from COVID-19, we acknowledge that many people found this advice very restrictive. The new protective guidance to the clinically extremely vulnerable is designed to offer practical and proportionate advice to help people protect themselves and minimise the need to introduce restrictive shielding advice.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to ask clinically extremely vulnerable people to shield again in areas with additional covid-19 restrictions in place.

Shielding was paused on 1 August 2020 in England and clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable people are now required to follow the same local/national arrangements in place as the rest of the population.

Only when the balance of benefit is clear, or in extreme circumstances, will shielding be reintroduced due to the potential harms to people’s mental and physical heath through social and financial isolation.

The highest risk local areas are discussed regularly each week to assess what level of guidance is appropriate. Where incidence and transmission rates are increasing, we can take a more targeted approach to shielding advice at local authority level. The Government will write to those affected when advice is changed and we continue to work closely with local authorities to ensure that local guidance is available on their websites.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the backlog of unmet clinical cancer need due to the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps his Department is taking to improve radiotherapy services.

One of the key priorities for cancer outlined in the third phase of the National Health Service response to COVID-19 is to reduce the number of patients who have waited longer than 62 days from urgent referral and/or 31 days from a decision to treat to pre-pandemic levels. Actions to reduce long waits include increasing diagnostic capacity (particularly endoscopy and CT) and expanding the capacity of surgical hubs set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the wider NHS recovery programme, local systems have determined how best to restore cancer services and recovery is now underway across the NHS.

During the COVID-19 pandemic radiotherapy services provision continued and radiotherapy services made use of fewer fraction protocols as supporting evidence emerged. Subsequently the focus for radiotherapy has been to embed the use of hypofractionated (fewer fraction) treatments in order to minimise trips to hospital, particularly for people likely to be worse affected by COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to include reference to the statutory duty to involve patients in service delivery in future guidance to NHS (a) trusts and (b) integrated care systems.

The priorities set across the National Health Service for the third phase of the COVID-19 response were published on 31 July in a letter sent to NHS leaders including integrated care systems, sustainability and transformation partnerships and trust chairs. The letter emphasises the need to listen and learn from patients and communities; and encouraged a renewed focus on health inequalities.

Beyond this work to ensure the prioritisation of the patient voice within the system, there is also existing statutory guidance on involving patients in the commissioning of health services. This includes duties across the system applying to NHS England, clinical commissioning groups, and NHS trusts. This guidance has been maintained during the COVID-19 pandemic and engagement has continued with the public in a range of virtual ways.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure collaboration between policies on tackling obesity and eating disorders.

We recognise concerns people with eating disorders may have on measures to reduce obesity and are committed to striking a careful balance between enabling people to make healthier food and drink choices whilst not negatively impacting on those with or recovering from an eating disorder.

Obesity represents a huge cost to the health and wellbeing of the individual, the National Health Service and the wider economy. With over six in 10 adults and more than one in three children aged 10 to 11 years old overweight or obese, it is right we take action.

In response to feedback to our consultation on out-of-home calorie labelling, we will introduce legislation to require large out-of-home sector businesses, that is businesses with 250 or more employees, to calorie label the food they sell.

An equalities assessment and impact assessment were published alongside the consultation response and can be viewed at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/calorie-labelling-for-food-and-drink-served-outside-of-the-home

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure that people with suspected ovarian cancer receive a timely diagnosis.

NHS England is establishing Rapid Diagnostic Centres across the country to bring together the latest diagnostic equipment and expertise. This builds on the Multidisciplinary Diagnostic Centre model, which focussed on diagnosing cancers where patients often present with non-specific symptoms. This is part of the NHS Long Term Plan, which set an ambition to see three quarters of all cancers detected at an early stage by 2028.

In September 2019 the Government announced funding of £200 million for new equipment to drive earlier diagnosis of cancer and improve survival. Over 300 diagnostic machines will be funded across the country, replacing outdated equipment with cutting edge technology.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to reform the Mental Health Act 1983.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Luton South (Rachel Hopkins MP) on 14 July 2020 to Question 68461.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the average waiting time for the result from a home testing kits for covid-19 in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Turnaround times for Home Test Kits are published weekly on GOV.UK as part of the Weekly NHS Test and Trace Bulletin. In the week of 23 July to 29 July, 72.2% of test results were received within 48 hours of the test being taken.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of regional lockdowns where there is a high covid-19 infection rate.

We are currently considering a range of options for addressing future phases of the COVID-19, including the implementation of tailoring containment measures to the regional and local level. As recently announced, each local authority has been allocated funding to develop local outbreak control plans, working with local National Health Service, Public Health England and other stakeholders.

Any decisions on how to approach the mid-to long-term strategy to address the pandemic will be led by the science, build on the Government’s test and trace strategy, and be supported by the new Joint Biosecurity Centre.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the scientific evidence on the lifting of lockdown restrictions due to the covid-19 outbreak for people who are shielding.

The scientific evidence supporting the United Kingdom Government response to COVID-19 gets published online on GOV.UK and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-scientific-evidence-supporting-the-uk-government-response

As our understanding of the virus increases, the Government continues to review the emerging evidence. We will continue to listen to our medical advisers on the level of clinical risk the virus presents to different groups of people at different points in time.

At each review point for the social distancing measures, we will also review the risks for the clinically extremely vulnerable and assess whether the shielding period needs to be extended or whether it is possible for the shielding guidance to be eased further. We will base our assessment on clinical advice from our medical experts, and the best data available about the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when routine services and treatments will recommence in private hospitals.

National Health Service patients are benefitting from an unprecedented partnership with private hospitals in the United Kingdom as we battle the COVID-19 outbreak. Throughout this period, independent providers have continued to provide urgent operations for private pay or insured patients as well as NHS patients.

From the middle of May 2020, independent providers have been able to provide more routine elective work to private pay or insured patients and where this has been agreed locally with the NHS.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when routine services and treatments will recommence in NHS hospitals.

With evidence suggesting that we are through the peak of the first wave of COVID-19, and with the National Health Service well-placed to provide world-leading care for those who do still have the virus, we are bringing back routine services that had been temporarily paused. We are working on the principle that the most urgent treatments should be brought back first and this will be driven by local demands on the system. The approach will be flexed at local level according to capacity and demand in different parts of the country, and will be gradual, over weeks.

We have continued to deliver the most urgent treatments, such as emergency and urgent cancer care, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many laboratories in the UK support the testing of returned covid-19 home testing kits.

We currently have four laboratories in the United Kingdom supporting the returning of all types of testing, including home testing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Prime Minister's statement of 11 May 2020, Official Report, column 24 on Covid-19: Strategy, whether it is Government policy that people with (a) asthma, (b) diabetes and (c) other underlying health conditions should be actively encouraged to go to work if they cannot work from home.

There are a number of underlying health conditions including asthma and diabetes that make people clinically vulnerable and increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. People in the clinically vulnerable category are advised to stay at home as much as possible and therefore should not be encouraged to go to work.

A full list of the conditions that make people clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 can be found on the Government’s social distancing guidance at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing#businesses-and-venues

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the UK is participating in information sharing exercises on covid-19 with other European countries.

The United Kingdom Government is working with Chief Medical Officers and Health Ministers across the four nations on personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance and supply.

In response to COVID-19, the UK continues to attend EU Health Security Committee (HSC) meetings and share information through the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

The UK will participate in the European Union Joint Procurement scheme on therapeutics that is soon to launch and will consider participating in other future schemes on the basis of public health requirements, including any on PPE.

Participating in any future EU procurements will complement the enormous domestic efforts we are already undertaking to tackle this outbreak, both independently and in direct collaboration with European countries and other international partners.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the UK will join EU schemes to share medical equipment and advice throughout Europe during the covid-19 outbreak.

The United Kingdom Government is working with Chief Medical Officers and Health Ministers across the four nations on personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance and supply.

In response to COVID-19, the UK continues to attend EU Health Security Committee (HSC) meetings and share information through the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

The UK will participate in the European Union Joint Procurement scheme on therapeutics that is soon to launch and will consider participating in other future schemes on the basis of public health requirements, including any on PPE.

Participating in any future EU procurements will complement the enormous domestic efforts we are already undertaking to tackle this outbreak, both independently and in direct collaboration with European countries and other international partners.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans she has to include the environmental impact of livestock farming on the agenda for COP26.

Livestock farming is essential to the livelihoods of millions of people, in both developed and developing countries, and makes a vital contribution to global food security and diets. Livestock farming is also a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions and nature loss, with rising global demand for meat and livestock products set to exacerbate these pressures. Sustainable solutions are needed urgently, to mitigate emissions and address adverse environmental impacts, while protecting the livelihoods of those who depend on livestock farming and ensuring nutritious diets for all.

The UK is working to mobilise action to address these challenges through the COP26 Presidency with a policy dialogue focused on accelerating the transition to sustainable agriculture. Governments provide over US$700 billion annually in public support to agriculture. A significant proportion of this spending contributes to climate change and environmental damage, and the dialogue aims to encourage countries to redirect this expenditure in ways that are more closely aligned with development, climate and nature objectives. Solutions to be highlighted at COP26 include an approach to low-carbon cattle ranching which increased livestock productivity while reducing the environmental footprint.

The COP26 Presidency has been calling for action on methane and is working with close partners, the US and EU, to gather support behind their Global Methane Pledge, which commits signatories to cut global methane emissions by 30 per cent from 2020 levels by 2030. This includes methane sources in the agriculture sector.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Colombian counterpart on reports of eye injuries resulting from the actions of Colombian police during protests.

UK ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights issues, as well as specific cases of concern with the Colombian Government, and in multilateral fora. We are clear that we support the right of all Colombians to protest peacefully, and that the right to peaceful assembly and association must be guaranteed.

Colombia is a UK 'Human Rights Priority Country,' and we have raised our concerns with the relevant state actors in Colombia since protests began. Most recently, I spoke with acting Foreign Minister Adriana Mejía on 14 May to express my concerns, and welcome Colombia's commitment to transparent investigations into allegations of abuse. We look to the Colombian authorities to investigate fully any reports on excessive use of force against protestors, and take appropriate action against those responsible. Security services must be held accountable for their actions, and any complaints thoroughly investigated.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Colombian counterpart on the high number of ocular injuries reportedly caused by the Colombian ESMAD police unit during demonstrations in that country.

UK Ministers and officials regularly raise human rights issues with their Colombian counterparts. Most recently, the UK's Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, raised our concerns around the killing of human rights defenders, media freedom, and sexual violence during a virtual visit to Colombia in February.

We are aware of the concerning reports on protestors being injured as a result of the police response to protests in Colombia. We are clear that we support the right of all Colombians to protest peacefully. We look to the Colombian authorities to investigate fully any reports on excessive use of force against protestors, and take appropriate action against those responsible. Security services must be held accountable for their actions, and any complaints thoroughly investigated.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports of the murder of community activist Ernesto Aguilar Barreras in the Catatumbo region of Colombia.

We are aware of the reports that the community activist Ernesto Aguilar Barreras was among the victims of an attack in Tibú in mid-July, consequent on competition between rival illegal armed groups for control of illicit economies and territory.

As we emphasised in the UN Security Council session on 14 July following the Special Representative's report, the UK continues to be concerned about the persistent level of violence towards human rights defenders, community activists such as Ernesto Aguilar Barreras, former FARC-EP combatants and others. We regularly raise these issues with the Colombian Government and in multilateral fora.

We have urged the Colombian Government to prioritise the tackling of this violence and to continue to work to improve security conditions around the country. The UK is also committed to continuing its own programming to support the government's efforts and mitigate risks to communities.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of reports of a massacre in Tibu in Colombia on 18 July 2020.

We are aware of reports of killings and subsequent displacement of civilians in the Norte de Santander border areas of Cúcuta and Tibú in mid-July, following competition between rival armed groups for control of illicit economies and territory. The UK remains most concerned about the continuing presence of such groups in Colombia, and the serious impact their crimes and other activities have on local people and environments, particularly during this challenging time.

President Duque's Government has publicly committed to implementing the Peace Accords of 2016 in their entirety, and we remain steadfast in our support of the Colombian authorities as they seek to ensure sustainable peace. We are proud to be the penholder on the issue at the UN Security Council. Most recently, our Permanent Representative to the UN spoke on the continued presence of illegal armed groups in Colombia at the UN Security Council on 14 July.

We have committed almost £53 million over 5 years through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund to support the implementation of the peace process in Colombia, including across conflict-affected regions such as Norte de Santander. Many of the humanitarian organisations supported by the United Kingdom are operating in the region and working to provide support to those displaced. We will continue to monitor the situation.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people in (a) the Jarrow constituency, (b) the North East and (c) England that have not received support for their business as a result of being ineligible for Government schemes.

Throughout this crisis, the government’s priority has been to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods. We have put in place an economic package of support which will provide businesses with certainty over the coming months, even as measures to prevent further spread of the virus change.

The government has put in place a comprehensive package of support worth over £280 billion, supporting millions of businesses and jobs, In the North East, 70, 400 jobs were furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as of 31 October 2020. Businesses have also received billions in loans, tax deferrals, Business Rate reliefs, and general and sector-specific grants. In Jarrow, a total of 2, 400 jobs had been furloughed through the CJRS scheme as of 31 October 2020.

In addition, on 5th January, the Government announced an extra £4.6 billion to protect jobs and support affected businesses as restrictions get tougher. Businesses forced to close can claim a one-off grant of up to £9,000. Local authorities will also receive an additional £500m, to a total of £1.6bn, of discretionary funding to allow them to support their local businesses.

As measures to control the virus have changed, government support has evolved. We continue to keep all policies under review.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing support to people excluded from financial help from Government schemes as a result of the eligibility criteria of those schemes.

Throughout this crisis, the Government’s priority has been to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods. Since the start of the pandemic we have committed over £280 billion to supporting the economy, including supporting 9.9 million jobs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and around 2.7 million self-employed individuals via the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

The Government has continued to review its support and brought in ineligible groups where possible. For example, the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is available to those directors who paid themselves a salary between 19 March and 30 October 2020, and to new starters who were employed and on their employer’s PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. Both the CJRS and SEISS have also been updated to provide support to those on maternity leave and to reservists. The Government continues to work closely with stakeholders to explore how we can best support different groups.

Those who are ineligible for the CJRS and SEISS may still be eligible for other elements of the COVID-19 support available. This comprehensive package of support includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support and other business support grants. The Government has also temporarily increased the Universal Credit standard allowance for 2020-21 by £20 per week and relaxed the Minimum Income Floor, meaning that where claimants' earnings have significantly fallen, their Universal Credit award will have increased to reflect their lower earnings.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether employees with a permanent part-year contract are eligible for the coronavirus job retention scheme.

To be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employees can be on any type of employment contract. This includes full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts as long as the furloughed employee was employed on 30 October 2020, and the employer made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide additional financial support to businesses that have had to (a) partially close and (b) fully close as a result of local covid-19 lockdown restrictions in the North East.

In order to protect jobs and businesses across the UK, the Chancellor recently announced an expansion to the Job Support Scheme for businesses legally required to temporarily close their premises as a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions. The Government will provide employers with a grant for employees unable to work, covering two thirds of their usual wages and subject to a cap. Support will be available to eligible businesses from 1 November for 6 months, with a review in January.

In addition, the Chancellor recently announced changes to the Local Restrictions Support Grant Scheme which provides grants to businesses which are forced to fully close due to local or national restrictions. Grant funding available has increased to £3,000 per month, and 80% of all Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure businesses in England will have their assumed rents covered in full as a result.

For employers that remain partially open but are subject to lower demand over the winter due to Covid-19, employers can access the other element of the Job Support Scheme that supports part-time working. The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer contributing a third. This will ensure employees can earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus (JRB) for each employee that meets the eligibility criteria of the JRB. This is worth £1,000 per employee and is paid to the employer. Under the Job Support Scheme and the Job Retention Bonus, an employer could receive over 60% of the wage costs of their employees if they are retained until February. The steps the government is setting out will help to protect jobs, support businesses through uncertain times, and help them prepare for recovery.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the mortgage lending sector on easing the financial pressures faced by people paying double interest on their mortgage during covid-19 outbreak; and what plans he has to help those people switch to new mortgage lenders.

The Government remains committed to supporting these borrowers, which is why the Government and the FCA have taken action to remove the regulatory barriers that previously prevented switching.

Lenders are currently making the necessary adjustments and system changes to enable them to use the modified affordability assessment for borrowers looking to re-mortgage. Due to the operational constraints caused by Covid-19 there was a temporary retraction of mortgage products in the market, therefore it would not have been of benefit to contact borrowers when meaningful options were not available to them. We expect lenders to start offering these borrowers switching options by the end of the year.

Earlier this year I wrote to UK Finance outlining my expectation that as many of its members as possible should move quickly to offer new deals to borrowers that are eligible to switch under the new FCA rules. You can read the letter here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-letter-from-john-glen-to-stephen-jones-on-mortgage-prisoners.

The Government continues to work with the mortgage lending sector to ensure support is available for consumers.

The FCA also recently noted that firms should be reviewing their variable rates to ensure they adhere to regulations regarding the fair treatment of consumers. The full statement can be found here: https://www.fca.org.uk/news/statements/statement-mortgage-prisoners

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the mortgage lending sector on tackling the situation affecting mortgage prisoners.

The Government remains committed to supporting these borrowers, which is why the Government and the FCA have taken action to remove the regulatory barriers that previously prevented switching.

Lenders are currently making the necessary adjustments and system changes to enable them to use the modified affordability assessment for borrowers looking to re-mortgage. Due to the operational constraints caused by Covid-19 there was a temporary retraction of mortgage products in the market, therefore it would not have been of benefit to contact borrowers when meaningful options were not available to them. We expect lenders to start offering these borrowers switching options by the end of the year.

Earlier this year I wrote to UK Finance outlining my expectation that as many of its members as possible should move quickly to offer new deals to borrowers that are eligible to switch under the new FCA rules. You can read the letter here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-letter-from-john-glen-to-stephen-jones-on-mortgage-prisoners.

The Government continues to work with the mortgage lending sector to ensure support is available for consumers.

The FCA also recently noted that firms should be reviewing their variable rates to ensure they adhere to regulations regarding the fair treatment of consumers. The full statement can be found here: https://www.fca.org.uk/news/statements/statement-mortgage-prisoners

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of establishing an additional fund for self-employed people who are not eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to help cover the costs of reopening their business as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, are eligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) if they have submitted their Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, continued to trade, and have been adversely affected by COVID-19. To qualify, their self-employed trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to their non-trading income.

Individuals who are ineligible for the SEISS may benefit from other elements of the unprecedented financial support provided by the Government. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support,?mortgage holidays, and other business support grants.

2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for businesses that have not been given a date for reopening.

After eight months of the CJRS, the scheme will close at the end of October. The SEISS will remain open for applications for the second and final grant until 19 October.

It is the case that some sectors will be affected by coronavirus for longer than others, and the Government will seek to support those sectors appropriately.

The Government will continue to engage with businesses and representative groups with the aim of ensuring that support provided is right for those sectors and for the economy as a whole.

18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to October 2020.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme on 29 May.

Eligible individuals whose business is adversely affected by COVID-19 will be able to claim a second and final grant when the scheme reopens for further applications in August. Individuals will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 70 per cent of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits and capped at £6,570 in total.

There will be no further changes and no further extensions to the scheme, which continues to be one of the most generous in the world.

11th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to extend the Self Employment Income Support Scheme to people that became self-employed in 2019.

The Government has designed measures that can be implemented quickly and effectively, and it continues to work with stakeholders to make sure funding reaches those who need it most. Anyone ineligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme who requires support should have access to other measures appropriate to their individual circumstances. These include the relaxation of the earnings rules in Universal Credit and the raising of the Local Housing Allowance rate.
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a pro-rata rate of business rate relief for all businesses with a rateable value above £51,000.

All eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will pay no business rates in England for 12 months from 1 April 2020. There will be no rateable value threshold on this relief, and both small and larger businesses will benefit. Local authorities will reflect this holiday in bills as soon as possible.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors given the acute impacts of COVID-19 on those sectors. A range of measures to support all businesses has also been made available, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme for SMEs, and a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the feasibility of extending mortgage payment holidays to people that have commercial mortgages during the covid-19 outbreak.

Banks and building societies are ready and able to support consumers impacted by COVID-19. On the 17 March, the Chancellor announced on behalf of the sector that banks and building societies will offer a 3-month ‘mortgage holiday’ for borrowers that are financially struggling with their repayments. This forbearance measure will enable affected borrowers to defer their mortgage payments for up to 3 months while they get back on their feet.

The FCA have also published guidance on payment holidays and repossession action for firms that engage in mortgage lending activities. This means that second charge mortgages are also captured by the measures. You can view the guidance here:

https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/mortgages-coronavirus-consumers

As a form of forbearance, the option of a mortgage repayment holiday is open to any customer regardless of whether they are in payment shortfall. Any customer who is concerned about their current financial situation should get in touch with their lender at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss the best option for their them.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented package of measures to support businesses access the finance they need during this difficult period, and announced significant measures to directly provide support for SMEs including grants, business rates relief and other tax measures.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's planned timescale is for Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre to start holding women who are detained under immigration powers.

The contract to operate services at Derwentside immigration removal centre (IRC) was awarded to Mitie Care & Custody from 4 June 2021 for 2 years. We expect that the IRC will start holding women who are detained under immigration powers in the autumn.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the statement in her Department's Detention Services Order 06/2016: Women in the detention estate report, published in June 2016, that women detainees are entitled to ask to be examined by a female nurse or doctor, what her policy is on the proportion of healthcare staff at the new Hassockfield immigration removal centre that will be women.

The safety, health and welfare of individuals in immigration detention are considered with the upmost importance. The new Hassockfield (to be known as Derwentside) immigration removal centre (IRC) will be operated in line with Detention Centre Rules 2001, published operating standards for IRCs and Detention Services Orders; a framework which ensures the safety and security of those detained in our care.

The workforce requirements for the new Hassockfield IRC will reflect the lessons learned from detaining women at Yarl’s Wood IRC and will include a ratio of female to male custodial staff that is appropriate for the specific needs of women in detention. It is our aim that around 60% of uniformed staff will be women.

Healthcare in IRCs in England is commissioned by NHS England, and the healthcare services at Hassockfield IRC will be provided by NHS England & NHS Improvement commissioned service providers and delivered in line with the national service specifications for healthcare services in IRCs. The healthcare provider will ensure that services within the IRC are delivered to meet the healthcare needs of women. As set out in Detention Services Order 06/2016 ‘Women in the detention estate’ women will be offered the option to choose to see a female healthcare professional wherever possible.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether it is her policy that at least 60 per cent of staff in direct contact with women detainees will also be women at the new Hassockfield immigration removal centre in line with her Department's acceptance of that recommendation in the HM Inspectorate of Prisions' Yarl’s Wood Service Improvement Plan, published on 12 August 2015.

The safety, health and welfare of individuals in immigration detention are considered with the upmost importance. The new Hassockfield (to be known as Derwentside) immigration removal centre (IRC) will be operated in line with Detention Centre Rules 2001, published operating standards for IRCs and Detention Services Orders; a framework which ensures the safety and security of those detained in our care.

The workforce requirements for the new Hassockfield IRC will reflect the lessons learned from detaining women at Yarl’s Wood IRC and will include a ratio of female to male custodial staff that is appropriate for the specific needs of women in detention. It is our aim that around 60% of uniformed staff will be women.

Healthcare in IRCs in England is commissioned by NHS England, and the healthcare services at Hassockfield IRC will be provided by NHS England & NHS Improvement commissioned service providers and delivered in line with the national service specifications for healthcare services in IRCs. The healthcare provider will ensure that services within the IRC are delivered to meet the healthcare needs of women. As set out in Detention Services Order 06/2016 ‘Women in the detention estate’ women will be offered the option to choose to see a female healthcare professional wherever possible.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what consultations have been undertaken with men abused at Medomsley Detention Centre on her Department's proposal to re-open the site as Hassockfield immigration removal centre.

The Home Office has acquired the former Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham and will open it as an immigration removal centre for women by the autumn.

Discussions with Durham County Council have taken place and will continue throughout the development of plans for the site. Consultations with local councillors, other local stakeholders and interested non-governmental organisations including the Refugee Council, will take place over the coming months.

The former Medomsley Detention Centre was demolished and rebuilt in 1988.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what consultations have been carried out with the local community on her Department's proposal to re-open the former Medomsley Detention Centre site as Hassockfield immigration removal centre.

The Home Office has acquired the former Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham and will open it as an immigration removal centre for women by the autumn.

Discussions with Durham County Council have taken place and will continue throughout the development of plans for the site. Consultations with local councillors, other local stakeholders and interested non-governmental organisations including the Refugee Council, will take place over the coming months.

The former Medomsley Detention Centre was demolished and rebuilt in 1988.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what security safeguards have been put in place since UK passport production was moved from De La Rue in the UK to Gemalto in France in 2016.

There are a range of safeguards in place to protect the security of the passport service throughout the change of supplier. This has included assuring the sites used by Thales (formerly Gemalto) to produce the UK passport against the UK Security Policy Framework. In addition, they have been independently certified to the international standard for the Management of Security Printing Processes, ISO 14298 and the international standard for Information Security Management, ISO27001.

All passports continue to be personalised with the passport holder’s personal details such as name and photograph, in the United Kingdom. This ensures no personal data leaves the UK.

The outgoing supplier has maintained the required standards of security throughout the transition, with agreed plans in place for the secure decommissioning and destruction of the assets from this service.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 14 June 2021 to Question 10678 on Armed Forces: Injuries, how many service personnel were not medically discharged despite having major injuries in each of the last 10 years.

“Major injuries” have been interpreted as injuries that have a NOTICAS (notification of casualty) listing of Very Seriously Injured (VSI) or Seriously Injured (SI), a limb amputation, or a Health and Safety incident with a Major or Specified severity. It is possible to recover from a ‘major’ injury and be retained in service in the same or an alternative role.

Between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2021, there were 10,915 UK Service personnel who suffered a major injury but were not medically discharged. A breakdown by Financial Year is presented as follows:

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 14 June 2021 to Question 10678 on Armed Forces: Injuries, whether Gavin Brierley, SN:30073719, of the Navy was one of the 3,205 people classified as having major injuries.

As my answer contains personal information, I will communicate privately with the hon. Member.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 14 June 2021 to Question 10678 on Armed Forces: Injuries, how many service personnel left the services (a) with and (b) without medical discharge in each of the last 10 years.

Between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2021, there were a) 20,970 UK Regular Armed Forces medical discharges and b) 157,295 UK Regular Armed Forces personnel who left service without a medical discharge. A breakdown by Financial Year is presented as follows:

Table 1: UK Regular Armed Forces1 medical discharges and other outflow, by Financial Year, numbers

1 April 2011 to 31 March 2021

Year

Medical Discharges

Other Outflow2

Total

20,970

157,295

2011/12

1,615

19,946

2012/13

2,314

21,553

2013/14

2,697

20,878

2014/15

2,644

16,643

2015/16

2,332

14,599

2016/17

2,467

12,839

2017/18

2,377

13,045

2018/19

1,822

13,021

2019/20

1,578

13,831

2020/21

1,124

10,940

Sources: DMICP, FMed 23, JPA

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many people are in their last year of service in the TG 317.01.

There are fewer than 20 personnel within their final year of service currently deployed with the Carrier Strike Group, the majority of whom have volunteered to participate in all or part of this exciting and professionally rewarding deployment.

These personnel should not be disadvantaged by their deployment and they will undertake their full resettlement training and transition from active service upon their departure from their respective units.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many UK service personnel have left without medical discharge despite major injuries in each of the last 10 years.

The table below shows the recorded numbers of UK Armed Forces personnel who suffered a major injury in each Financial Year (FY) from 2011-12 to 2020-21 and who subsequently left their service without medical discharge.

Financial Year

Personnel

2011-12

551

2012-13

442

2013-14

418

2014-15

523

2015-16

422

2016-17

307

2017-18

227

2018-19

181

2019-20

98

2020-21

27

Table Notes:

  1. Defence Statistics Health have interpreted ‘major’ injuries as those having a NOTICAS (notification of casualty) listing of Very Seriously Injured (VSI) or Seriously Injured (SI), a limb amputation or a Health and Safety incident with a ‘major’ or ‘specified’ severity.

  1. It is possible to recover from a ‘major’ injury and be retained in service in the same or an alternative role. A subsequent exit may be unrelated to an earlier injury.

  1. Ministry of Defence Health and Safety datasets for ‘major’ or ‘specified’ injury severity spans a wide range of injuries including fractures (other than to fingers, thumbs and toes), and any loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia.

  1. Due to the potential delay between personnel sustaining a major injury and exiting service, there may be personnel who were injured in recent years who have not yet left service.

  1. Amputations data for Financial Year 2020-21 is not yet available and is therefore excluded.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
5th Oct 2020
What recent assessment his Department has made of the financial effect on local authorities of additional local restrictions as a result of an increase in covid-19 infections.

We have provided over £4.8 billion in additional funding to support councils throughout the pandemic, including £3.7 billion of un-ringfenced funding.

We are extremely grateful to councils for their continued collaboration through our COVID-19 data collection and monitoring exercises, and continue to have discussions with councils about the pressures they are facing.