Lisa Cameron Portrait

Lisa Cameron

Scottish National Party - East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Mental Health)

(since June 2017)
80 APPG memberships (as of 6 Oct 2021)
22q11 Syndrome, American Football, Antisemitism, Arctic and Nordic Councils, Armed Forces, Armed Forces Covenant, Assistive Technology, Australia and New Zealand, Autism, Bahrain, Banning Trophy Hunting, Belgium, Bermuda, Boys' Brigade, Breast Cancer, British Jews, British Overseas Territories, Canada, Cats, Cerebral Palsy, Channel 4, Channel Islands, Childhood Trauma, Chile, China, Commonwealth, Cyprus, Darts, Dementia, Diabetes, Disability, Dog Advisory Welfare, Down Syndrome, Dying Well, Eating Disorders, Entrepreneurship, Estonia, Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, Fair Business Banking, Financial Education for Young People, Foreign Affairs, Future of Retail, Global Health, Health, Holocaust Memorial, Hydrogen, Inclusive Entrepreneurship, International Freedom of Religion or Belief, Japan, Learning Disability, Liechtenstein, Limits to Growth, Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness, Luxembourg, Media, Mentoring, Montserrat, Olympic and Paralympic Games, Pacific Islands, Pro-Life, Psychology, Pubs, Qatar, Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022, Reserves and Cadets, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Small Island Developing States, Social Media, Switzerland, Textiles and Fashion, Thalidomide, Twelve Steps Recovery Programme from Addiction, United Nations, United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development, United Nations Women, Vulnerable Groups to Pandemics, Whistleblowing, Woods and Trees
22 Former APPG memberships
Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Alcohol Harm, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Boxing, Children, Teenagers, and Young Adults with Cancer, Dairy, Fair Business Banking and Finance, Fair Trade, Fairtrade, Future of Work, Markets, New Towns, Religion in the Media, Religion or Belief, Soft Drinks, Sustainable Clothing and Textiles, Sustainable Development Goals, Taiwan, Textile and Fashion, Twelve Steps Recovery Programme for Addiction, Universal Credit, Young Disabled People
Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion
19th Jul 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Health and Social Care Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 14th Jan 2019
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Climate Justice)
20th May 2015 - 20th Jun 2017
International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact
28th Jun 2016 - 3rd May 2017
International Development Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Oral Question
Tuesday 19th October 2021
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral Question No. 22
What steps his Department is taking to help ensure adequate investment in eating disorder research.
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Department Event
Tuesday 19th October 2021
11:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Oral questions - Main Chamber
19 Oct 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Health and Social Care (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Friday 19th November 2021
09:30
Department of Health and Social Care
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
19 Nov 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill: Second Reading
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Compensation (London Capital & Finance plc and Fraud Compensation Fund) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 36 Scottish National Party Aye votes vs 0 Scottish National Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 52 Noes - 292
Speeches
Thursday 23rd September 2021
Violence against Christians: Central African Countries

The hon. Gentleman mentioned Nigeria, and I wanted to raise the plight of people there, which is extreme. This week, …

Written Answers
Tuesday 21st September 2021
Dogs: Smuggling
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Dogs Trust's report, Puppy …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 8th September 2021
Play therapy
That this House recognises the importance of play therapy in helping children who are experiencing mental illness or trauma and …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 20th September 2021
6. Land and property portfolio: (i) value over £100,000 and/or (ii) giving rental income of over £10,000 a year
One residential property in Edinburgh: (i) and, from 19 August 2021, (ii). (Registered 05 June 2015; updated 14 February 2019 …
EDM signed
Tuesday 21st September 2021
Centenary of the Victory Baths in Renfrew
That this House notes that the Victory Baths in Renfrew celebrated its centenary on 19 September 2021; understands that the …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lisa Cameron has voted in 220 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Lisa Cameron voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Scottish National Party No votes vs 2 Scottish National Party Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
View All Lisa Cameron 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
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(16 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(13 debate interactions)
Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
View all Lisa Cameron's debates

East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow signature proportion
Petitions with most East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Many missing microchipped pets are never reunited as it’s optional to scan & check microchip registration. It’s time veterinary professionals, authorities and rescues checked pet & keeper match on the original database at a pets 1st consultation or yearly checkup. It’s their only chance to get home

A healthy young dog with RBU was euthanised. The person who requested euthanasia was not the registered keeper.

Leading veterinary and welfare bodies are concerned by the alarming rise in ear-cropped dogs in the UK. Ear cropping is illegal in the UK and an unnecessary, painful mutilation with no welfare benefit. The practice involves cutting off part of the ear flap, often without anaesthesia or pain relief.

Plenty of dogs from UK breeders & rescues need homes. Transporting young pups long distances is often stressful, before being sold for ridiculous prices to unsuspecting dog-lovers. Government must adjust current laws, ban this unethical activity on welfare grounds & protect these poor animals ASAP.

Now that we have left the EU, the UK has the ability to finally stop the importation of Shark Fins. They had previously stated that 'Whilst in the EU, it is not possible to unilaterally ban the import of shark fins into the UK.'

Every year more and more people, animals and wildlife get hurt by fireworks. It’s time something was fine to stop this. There are enough organised firework groups around for us to still enjoy fireworks safely so please help me stop the needless sale of them to the public!

Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.


Latest EDMs signed by Lisa Cameron

21st September 2021
Lisa Cameron signed this EDM on Tuesday 21st September 2021

60th anniversary of Kirklandneuk Primary School

Tabled by: Gavin Newlands (Scottish National Party - Paisley and Renfrewshire North)
That this House notes that Kirklandneuk Primary School in Renfrew celebrated its 60th anniversary on 28 August 2021; understands that the school has over the last three weeks had several events celebrating the occasion; believes that Kirklandneuk Primary School has made a substantial contribution to educating youngsters in the Renfrew …
46 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 45
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
21st September 2021
Lisa Cameron signed this EDM on Tuesday 21st September 2021

Centenary of the Victory Baths in Renfrew

Tabled by: Gavin Newlands (Scottish National Party - Paisley and Renfrewshire North)
That this House notes that the Victory Baths in Renfrew celebrated its centenary on 19 September 2021; understands that the swimming baths were gifted to the town by shipbuilder and government minister, Sir Frederick Lobnitz, who, along with his wife, Lady Lobnitz and Lady Blythswood conducted the opening ceremony watched …
46 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 45
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Lisa Cameron's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lisa Cameron, 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.


Lisa Cameron has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lisa Cameron has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Lisa Cameron has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Lisa Cameron has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


438 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
1 Other Department Questions
11th Mar 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he has taken to ensure that children and young people are (a) involved in and (b) engaging with COP26.

The UK COP26 Presidency is committed to working with young people from across the globe to amplify their climate action and to inspire governments to increase their ambition and deliver an inclusive COP26.

The COP26 Unit has a dedicated youth engagement team who are coordinating the UK Government’s strategy to ensure youth voices are heard at COP26 and in its legacy. As COP President Designate I have established a COP26 Civil Society and Youth advisory council, these meetings are co-chaired by youth representatives. Officials also chair a 6 weekly open call, to which we invite a large network of civil society and youth stakeholders to engage them in our planning for COP26.

As COP President Designate, I have committed to meeting young people and civil society organisations in every country I visit. Most recently, I launched an Ethopian youth ‘enfluencers network’ and met with the youth climate cafe in Nepal.

We are also working in partnership with the Italian Government, who will host the Pre-COP and Youth4Climate2021: Driving Ambition Event this September in Milan. In addition, the UK COP26 Presidency has endorsed the sixteenth Conference of Youth (COY16) and will be working in conjunction with YOUNGO, the official youth constituency to the UNFCCC, to deliver this event.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether covid-19 social distancing restrictions will remain in place for weddings after 21 June 2021.

The Government announced a four-week pause at Step 3 of the roadmap following an assessment of the data against the four tests.

After carefully considering the potential impacts, on 14 June the Government announced that there will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees at wedding and civil partnerships, and receptions set out in law. From 21 June, the number of attendees at weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place.

The changes allow people to celebrate their union with their families and loved ones, and aligns the wedding sector with the way most other COVID Secure venues operate - such as restaurants and pubs - where social distancing determines a venue’s capacity. Additionally, changes also bring commemorative events, such as wakes, in line with existing rules on funerals so people can say goodbye to those they have lost.

This change does not enable a wedding of any size to take place. To manage the risks around the virus the exact number of attendees will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of each venue or outdoor space, and measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

At Step 3, social distancing and COVID-secure rules apply to all businesses, venues and workplaces. While we feel it is safe to make some easements, we have not made the decision to move to Step 4. We will only lift remaining restrictions on weddings, civil partnerships and commemorative events when the decision is taken to move to the next stage of the roadmap. We know this pause will be disappointing to many people, including those planning weddings and other events, but we hope that these cautious changes will enable some more people to attend these special events.

We have published extensive guidance on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations on GOV.UK, which can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-wedding-and-civil-partnership-ceremonies-receptions-and-celebrations

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Government will publish updated guidance on any covid-19 restrictions on weddings taking place after 21 June 2021.

We recognise that any restrictions on weddings may be disappointing for those planning such events. We do not wish to keep restrictions in place for any longer than we have to.

At Step 4, which will take place no earlier than 21 June, the Government aims to remove all restrictions on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions.

The decision on whether to proceed to Step 4 will be taken a week in advance of 21 June in order to take into account the latest data. Guidance will then be updated as soon as possible.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the protection and prioritisation of disabled veterans' employment.

Veterans offer a vast range of skills and talent to civilian employers and the Government recognises that having a job is one of the key foundations for those leaving the Armed Forces to transition into civilian life. This is why the Government has made it easier for veterans to join the Civil Service and introduced a National Insurance tax break for their employers.

Veterans, including those with disabilities, requiring specialist employment support to find work can benefit from early voluntary entry to the Department for Work and Pensions’ Work and Health Programme and in due course we look forward to the publication of the National Disability Strategy which will set out further support for people, including veterans, with disabilities, building on the existing protections and opportunities they enjoy today.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that a UK trade deal with the (a) US and (b) EU will be compliant with the (i) UK's climate action commitments and (ii) UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The UK is committed to using its free trade agreements to support our climate commitments, such as net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and promote sustainable development, as our published UK objectives for negotiations with the EU and US make clear.

In both agreements, the UK is seeking provisions that support and help further the Government’s climate ambition.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will ensure that all key information and communications on covid-19 are (a) accessible to disabled people and (b) available in a range of formats.

Accessibility of public information on Covid-19 is a high priority for the Government. We have worked to ensure that key health advice like detailed social distancing guidance is available in alternative formats including large print, British Sign Language, braille in English and Welsh and audio description.

We ensure that we publish guidance on how to access a range of formats on our website through the gov.uk accessibility statement. We are continually reviewing our communications to ensure they are as accessible as possible.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of employment of women with young children since 2015.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) proactive and (b) reactive measures the Office for Product Safety and Standards' voluntary commitment will require online marketplaces to take in order to reduce the risks from unsafe products sold online.

The Government is committed to ensuring that only safe products can be sold in the UK.

The new voluntary commitment that the Office for Product Safety and Standards is developing will build on international best practice to reduce the risks from unsafe products being sold online. This will strengthen the commitment of online marketplaces to work with UK regulators, including by taking proactive and reactive action to protect consumers.

Discussions with the online marketplaces are ongoing and more details will be announced in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support early career researchers in the R&D People Strategy.

The R&D People and Culture Strategy, due to be published in Summer 2021, will look to ensure the UK has the people we need at all levels, working in a culture that gets the best out of everyone and delivers the best outcomes for the country.

The Strategy will set out the actions that the R&D sector, including government, funders, employers and individuals will need to take to help achieve this ambition. It will also look to ensure we value all the roles that people play in our R&D system, ensuring capacity and capability across academia and industry.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with representatives of the UK Weddings Taskforce on the potential (a) job losses in the wedding industry and (b) effect on women working in that industry of its operation at a restricted capacity until 21 June 2021 following the Government's announcement of the covid-19 roadmap.

I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce, established to represent all parts of the UK Weddings sector, to understand the impact on jobs and businesses. We regularly discuss the sector’s financial position and the companies’ preparations for reopening, in line with the Government’s “Covid-19 Response – Spring 2021” roadmap.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions officials in his Department have had with women working in the wedding sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

I meet regularly with the industry-led Weddings Taskforce, established to represent all parts of the UK Weddings sector, to understand the impact on jobs and businesses, including on women who work in the sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional support the Government plans to provide to Debenhams staff and suppliers following its brand acquisition by Boohoo.

The DWP Rapid Response Service is in ongoing conversations with Debenhams, who have been offered support from the service. The Rapid Response Service offers support including: helping people write CVs and find jobs; providing information about benefits; helping people to find the right training and learn new skills; and helping with costs like travel to work expenses.

We are helping those who have lost jobs in the pandemic through our £238m JETS (Job Entry Targeted Support) programme and have launched a £2bn Kickstart scheme.

Local authorities have been allocated a further £500m in discretionary funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant to support those businesses that are significantly impacted by the restrictions even though they may not be required to close.  This is in addition to £1.1bn already allocated in November 2020.  Local authorities have discretion to use this funding to support businesses in the way they see fit, which could include supporting businesses which supply the retail sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with Boohoo concerning its acquisition of the Debenhams brand.

While Government has no role in the strategic direction or management of private retail companies, officials have been in regular contact with the administrators throughout the administration process, who have been exploring all potential options to protect Debenhams and its employees.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to tackle third-party sellers on online marketplaces that are listing recalled products for sale.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has recently taken action to ensure that a number of non-compliant products being sold by overseas 3rd party sellers have been removed from sale and are recalled, including toys and electrical appliances.

The OPSS is also working to ensure that major online marketplaces play their part in protecting UK consumers from unsafe goods. As part of this work, OPSS is developing a new voluntary commitment for online marketplaces to agree actions they will take to reduce the risks from unsafe products being sold online and provide robust data on the effectiveness of these actions.

The OPSS is currently conducting a review of the Product Safety framework to ensure it is fit for purpose, protects consumers, and enables businesses to innovate and grow. It will also consider the impact on product safety of new technologies and new business models, including e-commerce.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Office for Product Safety and Standards will conclude and publish its review of the Product Safety framework.

The Government has commenced its review of the UK Product Safety framework to ensure it is fit for purpose, protects consumers, and enables businesses to innovate and grow. The review will focus on regulations that cover the majority of consumer products, including electrical equipment, cosmetics, toys and gas appliances. It will also consider the impact on product safety of new technologies and new business models, including e-commerce.

The review is at an early stage and is gathering evidence on current, emerging and anticipated challenges and opportunities for product safety. In the coming months, we will be engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to understand if and how the UK Product Safety framework could be improved to work better for everyone.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) plans to publish its voluntary commitment with online marketplaces; and how the OPSS plans to hold online marketplaces to account if they fail to uphold the additional actions agreed as part of that commitment.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has recently taken action to ensure that a number of non-compliant products being sold by overseas 3rd party sellers have been removed from sale and are recalled, including toys and electrical appliances.

The OPSS is also working to ensure that major online marketplaces play their part in protecting UK consumers from unsafe goods. As part of this work, OPSS is developing a new voluntary commitment for online marketplaces to agree actions they will take to reduce the risks from unsafe products being sold online and provide robust data on the effectiveness of these actions.

The OPSS is currently conducting a review of the Product Safety framework to ensure it is fit for purpose, protects consumers, and enables businesses to innovate and grow. It will also consider the impact on product safety of new technologies and new business models, including e-commerce.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support the UK's fashion and textile industry to rebuild following the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government continues to offer a comprehensive support package for businesses including loan schemes, grant funding, tax deferrals, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all of which have been designed to be accessible to businesses in most sectors and across the UK.

On 5 January, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £594 million discretionary fund to support other impacted businesses outside of the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, which is in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities and Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month.

Ministers and officials in the Department and across Government continue to regularly engage with the fashion and textiles industry to explore ways in which Government can support long term recovery in the sector.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to publish guidance on the rights of disabled workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has published extensive guidance on employment and safer working throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. This can be found on GOV.UK and through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Further guidance on employment rights and aspects of good practice has been published by other bodies such as ACAS and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Government has also produced guidance around some new situations which have arisen from the Covid-19 outbreak, for example for those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and in self-isolation. This suite of guidance covers the employment rights of disabled people alongside other groups in the workforce.

Officials are discussing this employment rights guidance with disability groups to ensure the published material continues to meet the needs of disabled workers and their employers.

The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work, including during the Covid-19 outbreak. Through the Disability Confident scheme, we are engaging employers and providing them with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace.? Our new Employer Help site provides advice on recruitment and employment of disabled people, explaining how Disability Confident and Access to Work can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with the British Retail Consortium on introducing a fit to trade licensing scheme to tackle labour exploitation in garment factories.

BEIS and Home Office officials have had two meetings with representatives from the British Retail Consortium to understand more about their proposal to introduce a fit to trade licensing scheme for garment factories, and what action brands are taking to ensure compliance throughout their supply chain. I also regularly meet with the British Retail Consortium as part of his frequent engagement with the retail sector.

BEIS and the Home Office are also working in partnership with the industry through the Apparel and General Merchandise Public and Private Protocol, a partnership between enforcement bodies and industry partners, including, the British Retail Consortium, UK Fashion and the Textile Association. This is aimed at tackling all forms of labour exploitation in the garment industry.

The Government will continue to work closely with the multi-agency Taskforce, which has been established in Leicester to tackle allegations of exploitation in the sector, to consider the most appropriate measures to tackle labour exploitation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Government's bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for covid-19 vaccine candidates on (a) the quantity of vaccine candidates that the Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility can procure for low and middle income countries and (b) the availability of covid-19 vaccine candidates for healthcare workers and vulnerable groups globally.

The UK’s bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for Covid-19 vaccines include funding for research and development, investment in manufacturing and vaccine trials. This investment supports the global scale up of vaccine production and therefore the quantity of vaccines available for low and middle-income countries as well as for healthcare workers and vulnerable groups globally. The UK is a strong supporter of the multilateral Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) initiative as a means to both get vaccines for the UK population and ensure equitable global access. The UK has contributed £48 million to COVAX already to help ensure vaccines are available in lower income countries.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 27 May 2020 to Question HL4482 on Construction: Mental Health, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendations of the Chartered Institute of Building's report entitled Understanding Mental Health in the Built Environment.

The health and wellbeing of our construction workforce is of the utmost importance. The Government welcomes the Chartered Institute of Building's report on mental health in the sector, as well as other initiatives that are being undertaken by the industry to improve mental health among construction workers.

The Government will continue to work with the industry on these issues through the Health and Safety Executive’s Construction Industry Advisory Committee and Construction Industry Advisory Network.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what measurement traceability the UK uses for dispensed quantity at hydrogen refuelling stations.

Measuring equipment used for trade in hydrogen is regulated under the Weights and Measures Act 1985. It is an offence to use any measuring equipment for trade purposes which is false or unjust or to commit any fraud using it.

Each Local Authority Trading Standards Department has a legal duty to enforce the Act and to ensure it has the capacity necessary for carrying out its functions in its local area. Where required, trading standards would test fuel dispensers in use for trade using instruments whose calibration or test is traceable to the national measurement standards. The Office for Product Safety and Standards provides central advice and technical support to Local Authority Trading Standards on metrology issues.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what capability Trading Standards has to investigate disputes on dispensed quantity at hydrogen refuelling stations.

Measuring equipment used for trade in hydrogen is regulated under the Weights and Measures Act 1985. It is an offence to use any measuring equipment for trade purposes which is false or unjust or to commit any fraud using it.

Each Local Authority Trading Standards Department has a legal duty to enforce the Act and to ensure it has the capacity necessary for carrying out its functions in its local area. Where required, trading standards would test fuel dispensers in use for trade using instruments whose calibration or test is traceable to the national measurement standards. The Office for Product Safety and Standards provides central advice and technical support to Local Authority Trading Standards on metrology issues.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will (a) develop and (b) publish a hydrogen strategy.

The Government is committed to the development of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier for the UK. We are currently developing our strategic approach to hydrogen and its potential to deliver against our net zero goals.

In order to inform our approach, we are undertaking extensive stakeholder engagement, including through the launch of our Hydrogen Advisory Council enabling government to work in partnership with industry, as we develop new policy to help bring forward the technologies and supply chain we will need to grow the UK hydrogen economy. This includes developing business models to support the deployment of, and investment in, low carbon hydrogen production and a £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund to stimulate capital investment.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to make a decision on whether to fund a clean fuels metrology centre.

The UK is committed to tackling climate change and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It is also committed to backing business and unleashing innovation through a doubling of R&D investment. A clean fuels metrology centre, based in Scotland, would provide UK industry with the measurement tools to support decarbonised fuel supply chains, which are themselves critical to achieving these goals. A decision on whether to fund a clean fuels metrology centre will be taken in due course.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to (a) support retailers that have sought to close stores during the covid-19 outbreak in (i) East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow constituency and (ii) other areas of the UK and (b) enable anchor stores to remain open.

The UK Government has provided unprecedented support to retail businesses across the UK, with generous income support schemes, loans and grants, and tax deferrals. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been instrumental in protecting jobs, including 779,500 Scottish employments furloughed.

Additionally, we have extended the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to businesses in deep debt, which will allow small and independent retailers that are not insolvent to access the scheme.

The Scottish Government has put a comprehensive package of measures worth £2.3 billion to help sustain Scottish businesses, including 100% rates relief for properties in the retail, hospitality, leisure and airport sectors, and a local authority-delivered Business Support Fund worth over £1 billion, which includes Small Business Grants to the ratepayers of properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

Public health is a devolved matter and therefore business closures may differ between devolved nations. Details of business restrictions and closures are set out in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for (a) Health and Social Care and (b) Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the suitability of existing Government support packages for medical research charities in light of the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers and officials in BEIS have maintained regular contact with other departments throughout the pandemic, including DHSC and DCMS, as we develop our response. BEIS and the Department of Health and Social Care have been closely liaising with the Association of Medical Research Charities, as well as individual charities, to understand the impact of the pandemic on this sector and identify how best Government and charities can work together to ensure that patients continue benefiting from charity funded research.

This is in addition to the £750 million package announced by DCMS to ensure Voluntary, Community and social Enterprises can continue their vital work supporting the country during the coronavirus outbreak.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to consult medical research charities during the development of the Government's comprehensive R&D plan.

Ministers in BEIS and officials have met regularly with the Association of Medical Research Charities and their members over the last months to discuss how charity-funded research can best be supported and we have sought their input on the Government’s R&D Roadmap.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) research into heart and circulatory diseases and (b) UK research and development of the Association of Medical Research Charities' estimated £310 million decrease in charity-funded medical research as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers in BEIS and officials have met regularly with the Association of Medical Research Charities and their members over the last months to discuss how charity-funded research can best be supported through the Government’s University Research Stabilisation Package.

Universities will?be asked?to demonstrate how these funds?are being utilised to sustain research in areas typically funded by charities and business, for example to protect areas of medical research that have been developed in part with support of charities. We continue to engage with the sector as the details of the package are developed further.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the UK Government plans to participate with the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility for the domestic procurement of covid-19 vaccines.

We are committed to ensuring that there is adequate global distribution of vaccines to bring the quickest possible end to the pandemic and the economic damage it inflicts. This includes UK participation in live discussions relating to the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX). The UK have expressed interest in COVAX and are working with international partners to shape the design of the facility.

We have?already committed £48 million of re-programmed funds?to the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC).

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ensuring that people with (a) diabetes and (b) other clinically vulnerable conditions are able to (i) work from home and (ii) receive fair remuneration if their employer cannot guarantee a covid-19 safe workplace.

The advice to those who are clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) remains that they should take extra care to follow hygiene and social distancing guidelines but they can leave their homes, including to go to work. This includes employees with diabetes.

The Government is clear that in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, anyone who can work from home should still do so. Employers also have a legal duty to make sure the workplace is safe for their employees. Where working from home is not possible, employers should provide the safest onsite roles available to enable clinically vulnerable employees to follow social distancing measures.

In addition, the Government has set out an unprecedented package of financial support to help the country through the coronavirus pandemic, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which has supported 9.2million jobs.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to reallocate the unspent funding allocated to the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund to (a) small breweries and (b) other businesses that support the hospitality sector.

The Government has put forward a package of support for business in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. As part of this, as of 21 June, £10.48 billion has been paid out to over 853,800 business properties under the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). We are working closely with all local authorities to deliver remaining funding to eligible businesses. Due to reasons of fairness, those local authorities with unspent funding will not be able to reallocate this beyond these schemes, and all local authorities will need to carry out a reconciliation exercise with government in due course.

On 1 May, the Government announced a further up to £617 million available for local authorities in England to support small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that are not liable for business rates or rates reliefs, and are therefore out of scope of the SBGF and RHLGF. Local authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this scheme in their area, within the government guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

We are keeping in close contact with local authorities to understand how the schemes are rolling out and any additional support which could be offered to help businesses and support local economies.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support retailers facing financial difficulties as a result of the covid-19 outbreak to uphold their contractual obligations to their manufacturers and suppliers.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a host of measures to help businesses uphold their contractual obligations to manufacturers and suppliers, with £330 billion worth of government backed and guaranteed loans including:

A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) which enables SMEs with a turnover of up to £45 million access vital financial support. The Chancellor has extended CBILS so that all viable businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.

A Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) providing finance to mid-sized and larger UK businesses with a group turnover of more than £45 million. We have increased the maximum amount available through CLBILS to a borrower and its group from £50 million to £200 million.

A Bounce Back Loans Scheme which provides loans of up to £50,000 to benefit small businesses with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.

Additionally we have introduced temporary changes to VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 to help businesses manage their cash flow. UK VAT registered business have the option to defer payments without interest or penalties. Businesses must pay the VAT due on or before 31 March 2021.

On 4 June, we announced that the Trade Credit Insurance market will receive up to £10 billion of government guarantees. The guarantees will support supply chains and help businesses to trade with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will be protected if a customer defaults or delays on payment.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that wherever possible jobs are advertised as flexible for homeworking in increase the participation of marginalised employees.

This Government is clear about the benefits of flexible working for employers and for their employees. In our manifesto we said that, subject to consultation, we would introduce measures to make flexible working the default.

We consulted last year on proposals to require large employers to publish flexible working policies and to advertise jobs as suitable for flexible working.

We are considering next steps.

Currently, we are seeing an increase in flexible working with many businesses rapidly adapting to remote working, using new technology and finding new ways of working. As we move beyond the current situation, and the economy begins to reopen, we are very keen to do more to promote flexible working in all its forms.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government plans to provide to small firms without their own premises.

On 1 May 2020, the Business Secretary announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). The additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. Local Authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund and may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria. Businesses already in receipt of the Small Business grant, a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant or Self-employed Income Support Scheme payment are not eligible.

Eligible small businesses are also encouraged to seek support through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme - support which is available to both tenants and landlords.

Government has also introduced temporary new measures to further safeguard the high street and millions of jobs by helping to protect them from permanent closure through aggressive forms of rent recovery during this time. Statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants will be temporarily voided and changes have been made to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery, building on measures already introduced in the Coronavirus Act.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will publish guidance on the financial support available during the covid-19 outbreak for small businesses that (a) work with a licence as a business within another business rather than having a lease contract of a property and (b) are ineligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief.

In England, the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) have supported many thousands of small businesses with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. These grants only apply to businesses in England.

Local business support policy is devolved and the Barnett consequentials formula is being applied. Therefore, the Devolved Administrations will receive over £2.3bn additional funding as a result of these English grant schemes, enabling them to provide support to businesses in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

On 1 May 2020, the Business Secretary announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants. This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF).

The additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses in England with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Local Authorities in England are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund and may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria. Businesses already in receipt of the Small Business grant, a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant or Self-employed Income Support Scheme payment are not eligible.

The Devolved Administrations will receive additional funding as a result of this announcement through the Barnett formula in the usual way, with up to £116m of additional Barnett consequentials.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government’s priorities are for dementia research.

Improving the lives of people living with dementia, including their families and carers, is a top priority for the Government. We remain strongly committed to advancing research into dementia and will be setting out our new plans for supporting people with dementia in England for 2020-2025 later this year.

Under the current Challenge on Dementia 2020 strategy, the Government’s commitment to spend over £300 million on dementia research between 2015 and 2020 was met a year early, with £341 million being spent by March 2019 via the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Department of Health and Social Care.

Through the £2.5 billion Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), Government is also supporting the £79 million Accelerating Detection of Disease challenge, a project bringing together the NHS, industry and leading charities to support research into the early diagnosis of disease, including dementia.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ensuring that travel exemptions apply to fashion creatives on the same basis as they are applied to performing arts professionals, TV production staff and journalists arriving in the UK.

The bar for exemptions remains very high due to the current public health context.The gov.uk website lists the jobs that qualify for travel exemptions here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules). The travel quarantine exemptions do not currently include an exemption for fashion professionals, but this list is kept under review.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether people employed in the fashion industry are included in the travel corridor exempt list.

The gov.uk website lists the jobs that qualify for travel exemptions here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules). The travel quarantine exemptions do not currently include an exemption for fashion professionals, but this list is kept under review.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to work with internet providers throughout the UK to ensure that rural areas have adequate level of connectivity.

The UK Government has legislated to implement the Universal Service Obligation (USO), which launched on 20th March 2020. The USO is a UK-wide measure which provides eligible households with the legal right to request a broadband connection that provides download speeds of at least 10Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1Mbps up to a Reasonable Cost Threshold of £3,400 per premise. The eligible premises are predominantly located in rural areas.

In addition, the Government’s Superfast programme has invested more than £1.8bn of public money, to connect over 5.2 million homes and businesses to superfast broadband, providing download speeds of at least 24 Mbps. Over 96% of the UK now has access to these speeds. Building Digital UK (BDUK) continues to work closely with Local Authorities and Devolved Administrations to deliver improved connectivity through the programme, overwhelmingly focussing on premises in rural areas.

The Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme, which is part of the Government’s £200 million Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme, provides vouchers of up to £3,500 for SMEs and up to £1,500 for residents in rural areas to connect to gigabit-capable broadband. This government will also be investing an additional £5 billion to ensure that premises in the hardest to reach areas are able to access gigabit-capable broadband.

Alongside this investment in broadband, the Government announced in March 2020 that it had agreed a £1 billion deal with the mobile network operators to deliver the Shared Rural Network. This will see operators collectively increase mobile phone coverage throughout the UK to 95% by the end of 2025, underpinned by legally binding coverage commitments.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of incidences of abuse directed at hon. Members on social media from (a) anonymous and (b) pseudo-anonymous accounts.

We are working closely with technology companies, civil society and academia to support users to understand and manage the risks and benefits of being online during this period. The Cross-Whitehall Counter-Disinformation Unit was stood up on 5 March 2020 to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation and misinformation on Covid-19, and is working with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken. On April 23rd DCMS published new guidance for all users on staying safe online during the Covid-19 pandemic. It includes detailed advice on privacy settings, cyber security and disinformation.

The Government is committed to making the UK the safest place to be online. We expect companies to take responsibility for tackling abusive behaviour on their services such as taking steps to limit anonymised users abusing their services, including harassing others. We are continuing work to develop the final policy position on the new online harms regulatory framework and intend to publish a full government response later this year.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the role of (a) anonymous and (b) pseudo-anonymous social media accounts in spreading disinformation about the covid-19 pandemic.

We are working closely with technology companies, civil society and academia to support users to understand and manage the risks and benefits of being online during this period. The Cross-Whitehall Counter-Disinformation Unit was stood up on 5 March 2020 to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation and misinformation on Covid-19, and is working with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken. On April 23rd DCMS published new guidance for all users on staying safe online during the Covid-19 pandemic. It includes detailed advice on privacy settings, cyber security and disinformation.

The Government is committed to making the UK the safest place to be online. We expect companies to take responsibility for tackling abusive behaviour on their services such as taking steps to limit anonymised users abusing their services, including harassing others. We are continuing work to develop the final policy position on the new online harms regulatory framework and intend to publish a full government response later this year.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring mobile network operators to supply people working from home with unlimited mobile data.

In response to Covid-19, my Department has already agreed a package of measures with the UK’s major fixed and mobile providers in order to help and support vulnerable consumers, and those who may be vulnerable, with their connectivity needs.

In recognition of more people working from home, signatory companies have agreed to lift data caps on all their customers’ fixed broadband connections. To assist those relying on mobile networks, companies have also agreed to provide new generous offers, including free voice and data boosts to their mobile customers. All signatories have also committed to working with customers who find it difficult to pay their bill as a result of Covid-19 to ensure that they are treated fairly and appropriately supported.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to provide for the early years in its covid-19 education recovery plan; and how play will be (a) encouraged, (b) supported and (c) facilitated in that plan.

On 2 June 2021, as part of the government’s announcement on providing an additional £1.4 billon for education recovery, we announced a £153 million investment for high-quality professional development for early years practitioners. This includes new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development, and physical and emotional development for the youngest children, of which play is an important part. This is in addition to the £18 million announced in February and the £9 million announced in June 2020 to support early language development for children in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The package will build on our Early Years Foundation Stage reforms, which support more effective early years curriculum and assessment, and reducing unnecessary assessment paperwork so that practitioners and teachers can spend more time engaging children in rich activities, including through play, to support their learning.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how his Department plans to fund the forthcoming family hub network.

There are already many family hubs up and running across the country. Local areas are using their existing funding pots to move to a family hub model.

We are strengthening support for families by championing family hubs to help families access the crucial services they need. The government is investing a further £14 million in family hubs, including a new National Centre for Family Hubs to provide expert advice and guidance, an evaluation innovation fund to build the evidence base, and data and digital products to support the practical implementation of family hubs by helping local early years professionals to provide joined up planning and support for families.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of the children referred to CAMHS in 2019-20 that did not meet the threshold to receive treatment received support from a school counselling service.

School and college-based counselling is valuable provision which can play a particularly effective role as part of a whole school or college approach within which support can come from several sources. In that context, it is important that schools and colleges have the freedom to decide what support to offer to students and staff based on their particular needs and drawing on an evidence base of effective practice. The purpose of the blueprint was to support schools to make provision and set out advice from school and counselling experts to illustrate to schools how to make best use of counselling support.

The government does not hold central data on the mental health support accessed by individual children and young people. The department does not require schools to provide regular information on the provision of counselling in schools and colleges for pupils and staff. Our most recent survey of mental health provision in schools and colleges published in 2017 found that 61% of schools and colleges (56% of primary schools, 84% of secondary schools and 93% of colleges) reported offering access to counselling service for their pupils.

In the long term, we remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

We have recently announced a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, including through mental health support teams. These teams, which provide early intervention on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in schools and colleges, will grow from over 180 teams currently established or in development to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children across the country. This increase means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the document published by his Department in 2016 entitled Counselling in schools: a blueprint for the future, what progress his Department has made on meeting the expectation set out in that document that all schools should provide counselling services to pupils.

School and college-based counselling is valuable provision which can play a particularly effective role as part of a whole school or college approach within which support can come from several sources. In that context, it is important that schools and colleges have the freedom to decide what support to offer to students and staff based on their particular needs and drawing on an evidence base of effective practice. The purpose of the blueprint was to support schools to make provision and set out advice from school and counselling experts to illustrate to schools how to make best use of counselling support.

The government does not hold central data on the mental health support accessed by individual children and young people. The department does not require schools to provide regular information on the provision of counselling in schools and colleges for pupils and staff. Our most recent survey of mental health provision in schools and colleges published in 2017 found that 61% of schools and colleges (56% of primary schools, 84% of secondary schools and 93% of colleges) reported offering access to counselling service for their pupils.

In the long term, we remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

We have recently announced a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, including through mental health support teams. These teams, which provide early intervention on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in schools and colleges, will grow from over 180 teams currently established or in development to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children across the country. This increase means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure children in primary and secondary schools are (a) educated on the sustainable development goals via the curriculum and (b) engaging with COP26.

It is vital that pupils are taught about environmental and sustainability issues and the curriculum already includes much about these issues. From primary onwards, there is coverage of environmental issues in both the science and geography curriculums and, within both, there is scope for a practical focus to support pupils to apply the knowledge they are taught to the real world.

As the National Curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject, teachers have the flexibility and freedom to determine how they deliver the content in the way that best meets the needs of their pupils. Teachers can choose to cover particular subjects or topics in greater depth if they wish and, as knowledge of sustainability develops, teachers can adapt their school curriculums for these subjects.

To supplement their teaching, schools will have access to a variety of resources in the teaching of science and geography. The decision about which resources to use is a matter for schools and teachers.

The Department has made £4.84 million available for the Oak National Academy both for the summer term of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years, in order to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. These lessons and their accompanying resources include coverage of climate change and the environment.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that children with SEND are able to access education remotely which meets their needs.

During the period of national lockdown primary, secondary, alternative provision and special schools remained open to vulnerable children and young people, including those with an education, health and care plan.

The Department published guidance regarding the provision of remote education during national lockdown, including guidance for pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND), which is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/968401/Schools_operational_guidance_-March-2021-update.pdf. Where remote education is needed for pupils with SEND, their teachers are best-placed to know how their pupils’ needs can be most effectively met to ensure they continue to make progress even if they are not able to be in school due to COVID-19. The requirement for schools is to use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision called for by the pupils’ special educational needs remains in place. Where possible, special schools should follow the age-related remote education guidance for primary schools and secondary schools.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. As of Monday 8 March, over 1.2 million laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools, academy trusts, local authorities and further education (FE) colleges.

The Department has also made £4.84 million available for the Oak National Academy both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20, and then for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Specialist content for pupils with SEND is also available. This covers communication and language, numeracy, creative arts, independent living, physical development and early development learning. Additionally, the Oak National Academy offers therapy-based lessons and resources across occupational, physical, sensory and speech and language therapy.

We are providing £40.8 million for the Family Fund this year to support over 80,000 families on low incomes raising children with disabilities or serious illnesses: https://www.familyfund.org.uk/. £13.5 million of this is to specifically address needs arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, which may include assistive technology to aid remote education.

To ensure pupils with SEND are supported effectively, we have also funded the National Star College to launch their SEND Hub, providing advice and guidance on ways to ensure the curriculum is accessible and inclusive for all. This includes training on ways assistive technology can be used by teachers and Special Educational Needs Coordinators to support all pupils, including those with SEND.

There is a wide range of resources available to support schools and FE colleges to meet the expectations we have set. The Get Help with Remote Education page on gov.uk provides a one-stop-shop for teachers, signposting the support package, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education. This includes helping schools and FE colleges to access technology that supports remote education, as well as peer-to-peer training and guidance on how to use technology effectively. It also includes practical tools, a good practice guide and school-led webinars to support effective delivery of the curriculum. Information is also available on issues such as safeguarding, statutory duties and expectations, supporting pupils and students with SEND, and recovery and catch up to stop pupils and students falling behind.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he is providing to schools to plan their reopening and return to face to face learning for children and young people with SEND as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Vulnerable children and young people, including those with an education, health and care plan, have been allowed and encouraged to attend school and college throughout the current national lockdown. Special schools and specialist post-16 providers have continued to offer face-to-face provision for all their pupils and students who wished to attend during this time.

On 22 February, the government set out its plans for the wider return of all pupils and to schools and colleges from 8 March. This included updated guidance, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

Sir Kevan Collins has been appointed as the Education Recovery Commissioner and is considering how schools and the system can more effectively target resources and support at pupils in greatest need. This will be supported with a new £700 million recovery package, focusing on an expansion of one-to-one and small group tutoring programmes, as well as supporting summer provision for those pupils who need it the most. This includes pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

Given the additional costs associated with offering provision to pupils in specialist settings, eligible pupils in special schools, special units in mainstream schools and alternative provision settings will attract a higher rate of recovery premium funding and funding for summer schools.

We have also announced a £42 million package of continued support for the 2021-22 academic year, which will help us ensure that children and young people with SEND and their families are supported throughout school and into adulthood during this challenging time.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how he plans to allocate resources to the post of mental health lead in schools; and if he will take steps to ensure that those resources include (a) a ring-fenced sum for training and training materials and (b) the ability to implement a salary structure that incentivises the holder of that post.

The Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care jointly published 'Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision: A Green Paper' in 2017, and a subsequent consultation response in 2018, setting out the government’s commitments to improve mental health support in and around schools and colleges. We remain committed to these proposals, including incentivising and supporting all schools and colleges to have an effective senior mental health lead by offering training free of charge to every school and college in England by 2025.

The senior lead role is not a mandatory role; rather, it is about helping schools and colleges to make the best use of existing resources to help improve the wellbeing and mental health of pupils and students. It is up to schools and colleges to decide on the precise nature of the role and salary arrangements the most of their setting’s existing approaches. We know that most schools and colleges have an individual who leads on mental health as part of their role: 82% of schools, including those with a sixth form (81% of primary, 86% of secondary) (school snapshot survey: winter 2018), and 77% of post-16 education settings, including sixth forms (91% of further education colleges) (Post-16 institutions and providers omnibus, summer 2018).

The government has prioritised providing bespoke training and support to meet the immediate challenges that all schools and colleges face in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak through our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme, delaying delivery of senior lead training.

We have recently assessed the impact of the COVID-19 otubreak on the training needs of senior mental health leads and examined the feasibility of a range of delivery options. We are now engaging the training provider market to understand how it may be able to support this commitment to help schools and colleges access quality training, with a view to providing schools and colleges with a grant to pay directly for quality training courses from appropriate providers. This training will equip senior mental health leads with the skills and knowledge to introduce or develop their whole-school/college approach to positive mental health and implement effective processes for ensuring pupils and students with mental health problems receive appropriate support.

We want local partners to have a key role in supporting delivery as good local partnerships make a huge difference in supporting schools and colleges with their role in children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. We remain keen to encourage and reinforce ongoing improvements to partnership working at the local level. We are also engaging representative groups to explore how best we can support partnership working on this, including the role of local authorities in the delivery of the training.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that children and young people’s mental health is supported in schools and colleges following crisis intervention or inpatient provision.

We remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

To expand access to mental health support for children and young people with emerging mental health issues, we have committed to establishing new Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) in 20% to 25% of the country by 2023, as part of the additional support for children and young people’s mental health in the NHS Long Term Plan. MHSTs are intended to provide early intervention on mild to moderate issues, as well as helping staff within a school or college setting to provide a ‘whole-school approach’ to mental health and wellbeing. Where already established, MHSTs are adapting their services to continue supporting children and young people remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. The first 25 trailblazer sites, delivering 59 MHSTs (covering approximately 4% of the country) were announced in December 2018. A further 57 sites were confirmed in July 2019 and started developing 123 MHSTs during 2020. More teams have been commissioned to begin training in the academic year 2020/21. These teams will become operational once the training of new Education Mental Health Practitioners completes. Training will be completed as soon as circumstances allow, in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department is also committed to provide training for senior mental health leads in all state-funded schools and colleges in England. The training will equip senior mental health leads with the knowledge to introduce or develop their whole school/college approach to positive mental health are identified and implement effective processes for ensuring that they receive appropriate support, both to treat specific issues and appropriate pastoral support to keep them engaged in education where they are receiving or have had specialist treatment. MHSTs will be able to support leads with whole school approaches.

The COVID-19 outbreak has delayed the delivery of specific training for senior leads, as we decided to prioritise providing bespoke training and support to meet the immediate challenges that all schools and colleges will face in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are reviewing how to provide training for senior leads, building on the wider recovery offer. In the interim, we know that mental health leads will want to consider their whole school/college approach to supporting students as they return to settings. The Wellbeing for Education Return training, which has been available during the COVID-19 outbreak, will support this by giving staff increased confidence to support their colleagues, children and young people, and local knowledge so that they know how and where to access appropriate specialist support where needed. Schools can also draw on existing guidance and evidence that we have already made available to support effective whole school approaches. This includes Public Health England guidance on whole school approaches and wellbeing measurement (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/promoting-children-and-young-peoples-emotional-health-and-wellbeing) and our Mental Health and Behaviour Guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2) and this advice aims to help schools to support pupils whose mental health problems manifest themselves in behaviour.

In addition, in September 2020, the department made health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools. In health education, there is a strong focus on mental wellbeing; pupils will be taught how to recognise the early signs of mental wellbeing concerns and where and how to seek support, amongst many other mental health-related topics. We published the mental wellbeing module ahead of the other Relationships, Health and Sex Education modules to make sure that teachers felt confident to address the mental wellbeing needs of their pupils.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that mental health issues in children and young people are being (a) identified and (b) addressed where appropriate by schools and colleges before crisis intervention is required.

We remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

To expand access to mental health support for children and young people with emerging mental health issues, we have committed to establishing new Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) in 20% to 25% of the country by 2023, as part of the additional support for children and young people’s mental health in the NHS Long Term Plan. MHSTs are intended to provide early intervention on mild to moderate issues, as well as helping staff within a school or college setting to provide a ‘whole-school approach’ to mental health and wellbeing. Where already established, MHSTs are adapting their services to continue supporting children and young people remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. The first 25 trailblazer sites, delivering 59 MHSTs (covering approximately 4% of the country) were announced in December 2018. A further 57 sites were confirmed in July 2019 and started developing 123 MHSTs during 2020. More teams have been commissioned to begin training in the academic year 2020/21. These teams will become operational once the training of new Education Mental Health Practitioners completes. Training will be completed as soon as circumstances allow, in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department is also committed to provide training for senior mental health leads in all state-funded schools and colleges in England. The training will equip senior mental health leads with the knowledge to introduce or develop their whole school/college approach to positive mental health are identified and implement effective processes for ensuring that they receive appropriate support, both to treat specific issues and appropriate pastoral support to keep them engaged in education where they are receiving or have had specialist treatment. MHSTs will be able to support leads with whole school approaches.

The COVID-19 outbreak has delayed the delivery of specific training for senior leads, as we decided to prioritise providing bespoke training and support to meet the immediate challenges that all schools and colleges will face in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are reviewing how to provide training for senior leads, building on the wider recovery offer. In the interim, we know that mental health leads will want to consider their whole school/college approach to supporting students as they return to settings. The Wellbeing for Education Return training, which has been available during the COVID-19 outbreak, will support this by giving staff increased confidence to support their colleagues, children and young people, and local knowledge so that they know how and where to access appropriate specialist support where needed. Schools can also draw on existing guidance and evidence that we have already made available to support effective whole school approaches. This includes Public Health England guidance on whole school approaches and wellbeing measurement (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/promoting-children-and-young-peoples-emotional-health-and-wellbeing) and our Mental Health and Behaviour Guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2) and this advice aims to help schools to support pupils whose mental health problems manifest themselves in behaviour.

In addition, in September 2020, the department made health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools. In health education, there is a strong focus on mental wellbeing; pupils will be taught how to recognise the early signs of mental wellbeing concerns and where and how to seek support, amongst many other mental health-related topics. We published the mental wellbeing module ahead of the other Relationships, Health and Sex Education modules to make sure that teachers felt confident to address the mental wellbeing needs of their pupils.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding his Department plans to make available to schools to encourage the uptake of mental health leads and mental health support team roles in schools as proposed by the 2017 Green Paper, Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision.

We remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

To expand access to mental health support for children and young people with emerging mental health issues, we have committed to establishing new Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) in 20% to 25% of the country by 2023, as part of the additional support for children and young people’s mental health in the NHS Long Term Plan. MHSTs are intended to provide early intervention on mild to moderate issues, as well as helping staff within a school or college setting to provide a ‘whole-school approach’ to mental health and wellbeing. Where already established, MHSTs are adapting their services to continue supporting children and young people remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. The first 25 trailblazer sites, delivering 59 MHSTs (covering approximately 4% of the country) were announced in December 2018. A further 57 sites were confirmed in July 2019 and started developing 123 MHSTs during 2020. More teams have been commissioned to begin training in the academic year 2020/21. These teams will become operational once the training of new Education Mental Health Practitioners completes. Training will be completed as soon as circumstances allow, in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department is also committed to provide training for senior mental health leads in all state-funded schools and colleges in England. The training will equip senior mental health leads with the knowledge to introduce or develop their whole school/college approach to positive mental health are identified and implement effective processes for ensuring that they receive appropriate support, both to treat specific issues and appropriate pastoral support to keep them engaged in education where they are receiving or have had specialist treatment. MHSTs will be able to support leads with whole school approaches.

The COVID-19 outbreak has delayed the delivery of specific training for senior leads, as we decided to prioritise providing bespoke training and support to meet the immediate challenges that all schools and colleges will face in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are reviewing how to provide training for senior leads, building on the wider recovery offer. In the interim, we know that mental health leads will want to consider their whole school/college approach to supporting students as they return to settings. The Wellbeing for Education Return training, which has been available during the COVID-19 outbreak, will support this by giving staff increased confidence to support their colleagues, children and young people, and local knowledge so that they know how and where to access appropriate specialist support where needed. Schools can also draw on existing guidance and evidence that we have already made available to support effective whole school approaches. This includes Public Health England guidance on whole school approaches and wellbeing measurement (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/promoting-children-and-young-peoples-emotional-health-and-wellbeing) and our Mental Health and Behaviour Guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2) and this advice aims to help schools to support pupils whose mental health problems manifest themselves in behaviour.

In addition, in September 2020, the department made health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools. In health education, there is a strong focus on mental wellbeing; pupils will be taught how to recognise the early signs of mental wellbeing concerns and where and how to seek support, amongst many other mental health-related topics. We published the mental wellbeing module ahead of the other Relationships, Health and Sex Education modules to make sure that teachers felt confident to address the mental wellbeing needs of their pupils.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what training and support his Department plans to make available for members of staff in order for them to qualify for mental health support team roles in schools as proposed by the 2017 Green Paper, Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision.

We remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

To expand access to mental health support for children and young people with emerging mental health issues, we have committed to establishing new Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) in 20% to 25% of the country by 2023, as part of the additional support for children and young people’s mental health in the NHS Long Term Plan. MHSTs are intended to provide early intervention on mild to moderate issues, as well as helping staff within a school or college setting to provide a ‘whole-school approach’ to mental health and wellbeing. Where already established, MHSTs are adapting their services to continue supporting children and young people remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. The first 25 trailblazer sites, delivering 59 MHSTs (covering approximately 4% of the country) were announced in December 2018. A further 57 sites were confirmed in July 2019 and started developing 123 MHSTs during 2020. More teams have been commissioned to begin training in the academic year 2020/21. These teams will become operational once the training of new Education Mental Health Practitioners completes. Training will be completed as soon as circumstances allow, in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department is also committed to provide training for senior mental health leads in all state-funded schools and colleges in England. The training will equip senior mental health leads with the knowledge to introduce or develop their whole school/college approach to positive mental health are identified and implement effective processes for ensuring that they receive appropriate support, both to treat specific issues and appropriate pastoral support to keep them engaged in education where they are receiving or have had specialist treatment. MHSTs will be able to support leads with whole school approaches.

The COVID-19 outbreak has delayed the delivery of specific training for senior leads, as we decided to prioritise providing bespoke training and support to meet the immediate challenges that all schools and colleges will face in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are reviewing how to provide training for senior leads, building on the wider recovery offer. In the interim, we know that mental health leads will want to consider their whole school/college approach to supporting students as they return to settings. The Wellbeing for Education Return training, which has been available during the COVID-19 outbreak, will support this by giving staff increased confidence to support their colleagues, children and young people, and local knowledge so that they know how and where to access appropriate specialist support where needed. Schools can also draw on existing guidance and evidence that we have already made available to support effective whole school approaches. This includes Public Health England guidance on whole school approaches and wellbeing measurement (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/promoting-children-and-young-peoples-emotional-health-and-wellbeing) and our Mental Health and Behaviour Guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2) and this advice aims to help schools to support pupils whose mental health problems manifest themselves in behaviour.

In addition, in September 2020, the department made health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools. In health education, there is a strong focus on mental wellbeing; pupils will be taught how to recognise the early signs of mental wellbeing concerns and where and how to seek support, amongst many other mental health-related topics. We published the mental wellbeing module ahead of the other Relationships, Health and Sex Education modules to make sure that teachers felt confident to address the mental wellbeing needs of their pupils.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Government plans to introduce mental health leads and mental health support team roles in schools which are to be supervised by NHS Children and Young People NHS staff as proposed by the 2017 Green Paper, Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision.

We remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams for all schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

To expand access to mental health support for children and young people with emerging mental health issues, we have committed to establishing new Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) in 20% to 25% of the country by 2023, as part of the additional support for children and young people’s mental health in the NHS Long Term Plan. MHSTs are intended to provide early intervention on mild to moderate issues, as well as helping staff within a school or college setting to provide a ‘whole-school approach’ to mental health and wellbeing. Where already established, MHSTs are adapting their services to continue supporting children and young people remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. The first 25 trailblazer sites, delivering 59 MHSTs (covering approximately 4% of the country) were announced in December 2018. A further 57 sites were confirmed in July 2019 and started developing 123 MHSTs during 2020. More teams have been commissioned to begin training in the academic year 2020/21. These teams will become operational once the training of new Education Mental Health Practitioners completes. Training will be completed as soon as circumstances allow, in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department is also committed to provide training for senior mental health leads in all state-funded schools and colleges in England. The training will equip senior mental health leads with the knowledge to introduce or develop their whole school/college approach to positive mental health are identified and implement effective processes for ensuring that they receive appropriate support, both to treat specific issues and appropriate pastoral support to keep them engaged in education where they are receiving or have had specialist treatment. MHSTs will be able to support leads with whole school approaches.

The COVID-19 outbreak has delayed the delivery of specific training for senior leads, as we decided to prioritise providing bespoke training and support to meet the immediate challenges that all schools and colleges will face in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are reviewing how to provide training for senior leads, building on the wider recovery offer. In the interim, we know that mental health leads will want to consider their whole school/college approach to supporting students as they return to settings. The Wellbeing for Education Return training, which has been available during the COVID-19 outbreak, will support this by giving staff increased confidence to support their colleagues, children and young people, and local knowledge so that they know how and where to access appropriate specialist support where needed. Schools can also draw on existing guidance and evidence that we have already made available to support effective whole school approaches. This includes Public Health England guidance on whole school approaches and wellbeing measurement (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/promoting-children-and-young-peoples-emotional-health-and-wellbeing) and our Mental Health and Behaviour Guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2) and this advice aims to help schools to support pupils whose mental health problems manifest themselves in behaviour.

In addition, in September 2020, the department made health education compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools. In health education, there is a strong focus on mental wellbeing; pupils will be taught how to recognise the early signs of mental wellbeing concerns and where and how to seek support, amongst many other mental health-related topics. We published the mental wellbeing module ahead of the other Relationships, Health and Sex Education modules to make sure that teachers felt confident to address the mental wellbeing needs of their pupils.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing financial education at a primary school level.

Education on financial matters helps to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions, and know where to seek further information when needed. In 2014, for the first time, financial literacy was made statutory within the National Curriculum as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year olds. This can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-citizenship-programmes-of-study.

The Department has also introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides young people with the knowledge and financial skills to make important financial decisions. The Government has published statutory programmes of study for mathematics and citizenship that outline what pupils should learn about financial education from Key Stages 1 to 4: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-mathematics-programmes-of-study.

In the primary Mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on essential arithmetic that pupils should have. This knowledge is vital, as a strong understanding of numeracy and numbers will underpin the pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money, including, for example, percentages. There is also some specific content about financial education such as calculations with money.

The Department trusts schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular school, drawing on the expertise of subject associations and organisations such as Young Money.

Schools should have resumed teaching an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the autumn term. This means that all pupils will be taught a wide range of subjects so they can maintain their choices for further study and employment. Our latest guidance on teaching to support children is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

For the longer term, the Department will continue to work closely with The Money and Pension Service and HM Treasury, to consider how to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to promote conversations about financial education in primary schools to build financial capability in future generations.

Education on financial matters helps to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions, and know where to seek further information when needed. In 2014, for the first time, financial literacy was made statutory within the National Curriculum as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year olds. This can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-citizenship-programmes-of-study.

The Department has also introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides young people with the knowledge and financial skills to make important financial decisions. The Government has published statutory programmes of study for mathematics and citizenship that outline what pupils should learn about financial education from Key Stages 1 to 4: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-mathematics-programmes-of-study.

In the primary Mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on essential arithmetic that pupils should have. This knowledge is vital, as a strong understanding of numeracy and numbers will underpin the pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money, including, for example, percentages. There is also some specific content about financial education such as calculations with money.

The Department trusts schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular school, drawing on the expertise of subject associations and organisations such as Young Money.

Schools should have resumed teaching an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the autumn term. This means that all pupils will be taught a wide range of subjects so they can maintain their choices for further study and employment. Our latest guidance on teaching to support children is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

For the longer term, the Department will continue to work closely with The Money and Pension Service and HM Treasury, to consider how to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that education of children who have been told to shield for medical reasons is protected during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department published expectations of the quality of remote education for schools on 2 July as part of the schools guidance for full opening and for further education (FE) providers in August as part of the autumn term guidance, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/what-fe-colleges-and-providers-will-need-to-do-from-the-start-of-the-2020-autumn-term.

Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education in line with previous guidance and the Temporary Continuity Direction which has been in effect since 22 October 2020.

On the 1 October, the Department announced a further remote education support package, to help schools and FE colleges meet the remote education expectations set out in guidance and Direction. Many elements of the support package are already in place and more will be available over the coming months to schools and FE providers, these can be accessed through the remote education service on GOV.UK, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The support package includes access to the right technology to deliver remote education, peer to peer training on how to use this effectively, and practical tools, good practice guidance and school-led webinars. This adds to existing support including the resources available from Oak National Academy, which provides video lessons across a broad range of subjects for every year group from Reception to Year 11. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for 2020-21. This is available here: https://www.thenational.academy/.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, the Department is making over 340,000 laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children whose face-to-face education may be disrupted.

Schools can order devices for clinically extremely vulnerable children who have been advised to shield by contacting covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish the refreshed National Plan for Music Education.

A call for evidence on music education was launched on 9 February 2020 and closed on 13 March 2020, the findings from which will inform the refreshed National Plan for Music Education. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the refresh of the plan is currently on hold but will be published in due course.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) guidance, (b) support and (c) resources his Department is providing to schools with students returning to school who have (i) tracheostomies and (ii) other aerosol-generating procedures.

As I set out in my letter of 2 September to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, their families and carers and those who work to support them, we know that it is critical that all pupils and students can once again benefit from a full-time on-site education 5 days a week. There are a small number of children with complex needs that require aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) to be undertaken where risks need to be carefully managed in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Schools, health, and local authority partners need to work together on how the current guidance applies in their setting and to the specific children they are working with to enable them to return to school safely. We have heard examples of good practice locally and are working with Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England to establish whether any changes to the guidance or further information about practice principles are needed.

It is important that schools communicate clearly with parents on progress towards supporting children who need AGPs to return to school safely, and provide remote education and support if they are unable to do so.

As part of their risk assessment, schools will need to consider measures so that specialists, therapists, clinicians, and other support staff for their pupils can continue to provide support that is needed. Schools should refer to the guidance for special schools, specialist colleges, local authorities and any other settings in managing the needs of children and young people with complex needs, such as AGPs. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

The government’s guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children's social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment, provides further support on preventing and controlling infection and contains a section on caring for children who need AGPs at Annex A. This guidance reflects advice from PHE and is updated as necessary to reflect current advice. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of additional ring-fenced funding for children with SEND in the Comprehensive Spending Review to allow them to catch up on (a) learning, (b) therapy and (c) social care support lost as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is currently working hard with HM Treasury as a part of the Spending Review to understand what resources the education and children’s social care sectors in England need over the coming years. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will set out the department’s settlement when the Spending Review concludes.

In advance of the Spending Review, we have introduced a COVID-19 catch-up premium worth £650 million to support mainstream and special schools to make up for lost teaching time. There is additional weighting for specialist settings, in recognition of the significantly higher per pupil costs they face. Headteachers will decide how this premium is spent, according to the needs of their pupils. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on additional activities required to support children to catch up. We have also introduced a £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. This will increase access to high-quality tuition for disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackling the attainment gap between them and their peers. This includes a £96 million tuition fund for students aged between 16 and 19 years.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 21 July 2020 to Question 72965, on Schools: Mental Health, whether schools will be able to use the £650 million catch-up premium for pastoral support for young people.

The £650 million ‘catch-up premium’ is to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on the additional activities required to support children and young people to catch up after a period of disruption to their education.

To support settings to make best use of this funding, the Education Endowment Foundation have published a COVID-19 Support Guide for Schools with evidence-based approaches to catch-up for all students. Schools should use this document to help them direct their additional funding in the most effective way, which is available here:
https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/covid-19-support-guide-for-schools/#nav-covid-19-support-guide-for-schools1.

The guide is clear that evidence-based interventions, including those focused on tackling pupils’ behaviour or social and emotional needs in order to support them with re-engaging with school, will support pupils to catch up as they return to school.

The Education Endowment Foundation have also published a further School Planning Guide for the new academic year, which is available here:
https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/guide-to-supporting-schools-planning/.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his 15 June 2020 guidance for secondary school provision, what the face to face check will consist of; how that check will be standardised and accredited; and what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) those carrying out that check are appropriately trained and registered through an independent Government-approved agency, (b) actions as a result of the check align with Government guidance and include adequate help and support to families and (c) all matters relating to that check are transparent, subject to Ofsted inspection and publicly funded.

The guidance for secondary school provision from 15 June 2020 was issued to support schools in England to welcome back pupils from eligible year groups. This can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools.

From 15 June, secondary schools in England have been able to invite year 10 and 12 pupils (years 10 and 11 for alternative provision schools) back into school for some face-to-face support with their teachers, to supplement their remote education. This is alongside vulnerable children and the children of critical workers who have been able to attend school throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Whilst secondary schools have been unable to welcome back additional year groups, they have had the flexibility to invite pupils in other year groups in for a face-to-face meeting before the end of this term, where it would be beneficial. We have asked schools to ensure this happens in line with wider protective measures guidance, and guidance on the numbers of pupils permitted on-site at any one time.

Schools have the flexibility to implement this support in the way that best suits their circumstances, including considerations around staff availability, expertise and workload. It is up to schools to decide how they want to use face-to-face support in the best interests of their pupils (e.g. additional pastoral support, academic support, practical support, or a combination of these) and which staff are best placed to provide it.

Ofsted’s routine school inspections are suspended at this time to enable schools to focus entirely on the immediate challenge of supporting pupils for the remainder of this term and preparing for a full return of pupils from September. Ofsted will not therefore be assessing the face-to-face support being provided by schools during this period. As set out in the Government’s guidance on the full opening of schools, published on 2 July, Ofsted will conduct a programme of non-graded visits to a sample of schools in the autumn to discuss how they are managing the return to education of all their pupils. This guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

It is intended that routine Ofsted inspections will restart from January 2021, with the exact timing being kept under review.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which of this Department's funding streams will be used to allocate funding to schools for mental wellbeing in September 2020.

The return to school is a vital factor in supporting the mental wellbeing of pupils, in addition to providing more opportunities for physical activity, attendance at school allows social interaction with peers, carers and teachers, which benefits wellbeing. To support this, we have encouraged schools to focus on mental wellbeing as pupils return.

The department has now published detailed plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education from September. The guidance highlights the particular need to focus on pastoral support and mental wellbeing as a central part of what schools provide, in order to re-engage them and rebuild social interaction with their friends and teachers. This will involve curriculum provision as well as extra-curricular and pastoral support. Our recently published mental wellbeing module, part of the relationships, sex and health education curriculum, will support teachers to prepare to deliver content on mental health and wellbeing. The guidance for schools is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The mental wellbeing teacher training module as part of the relationships, sex and health education curriculum is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.

Schools already support the mental wellbeing of their pupils as part of their curriculum provision and pastoral support. This is paid for from schools’ core funding, which is rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20 funding levels. To support the return to school, the government has also announced an additional £650 million ‘catch-up’ premium, as part of our wider £1 billion Covid catch-up package, to be shared across all state-funded schools over the 2020-21 academic year. School leaders will have the discretion on how to use this funding to best support their pupils to catch up for lost time, which in some cases, will include support to parents, carers and children to help them re-engage with learning. Pastoral support is a core job for schools, we do not place restrictions on spend because it is important that schools are free to decide how best to use the core funding they receive.

Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open, and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. During Mental Health Awareness Week, the government also announced that a further £4.2 million will be awarded to mental health charities, including the Samaritans, Young Minds and Bipolar UK. All NHS mental health trusts have been asked to ensure that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a catch-up pupil premium for vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people after the covid-19 lockdown.

We will do whatever we can to ensure no child, whatever their background or location, falls behind as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. So far, we have committed over £100 million to support remote education. We are providing laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for exams in year 10, to those receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, and care leavers. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in year 10 do not have internet connections, we will be providing 4G wireless routers to them so that they can learn at home.

As well as announcing the biggest funding increase for schools in a decade, raising current levels by £14.4 billion over the next three years, we continue to pay schools quarterly additional funding worth £2.4 billion each year through the pupil premium to help them support their disadvantaged pupils. Since April 2020, pupil premium rates per pupil are at their highest ever.

We are working with partners to explore how schools can use their resources, including pupil premium, to most effectively support pupils to make up for time spent out of school.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to provide schools with flexibility under the national curriculum to meet the emotional and mental health needs of staff and pupils when schools reopen as part of the easing of covid-19 restrictions.

Schools and colleges continue to be best placed to make decisions about how to support and educate all their pupils during this period, based on the local context and staff capacity.

Where year groups are returning to school, we would expect school leaders and teachers to consider their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing and identify any pupil who may need additional support so they are ready to learn. They should also assess the stage pupils have reached in the school curriculum and the adjustments that may need to be made.

No school will be penalised if they are unable to offer a broad and balanced curriculum to their pupils during this period.

Our planning framework for schools advises them to prepare wellbeing support, and the primary planning guide sets out further guidance on managing pupil and staff wellbeing and mental health as schools open more widely:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools#managing-pupil-and-staff-wellbeing-and-mental-health.

The Department has signposted resources on supporting and promoting mental wellbeing among a list of resources to help children to use at home: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

BBC Bitesize have worked with the Department to provide content with substantial focus on mental health, wellbeing and pastoral care.

Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, including bereavement support. This advice is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the timescale for publishing guidance for schools on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils and staff when they return to school when the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased..

Ministers and officials in the Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care are meeting regularly to discuss how to provide support for mental health and wellbeing of pupils and their teachers in England. Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. The NHS is also setting up 24/7 open access telephone lines for urgent mental health support for people of all ages.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers. From week commencing 1 June 2020, primary schools have welcomed back children in nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, alongside priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers). From 15 June 2020, secondary schools will provide some face-to-face support for young people in Year 10 and Year 12.

The department issued guidance regarding the wider opening of schools from 1 June, first published 11 May, making clear that schools are best placed to make decisions about supporting and educating all their pupils during this period, based on local context and staff capacity. As set out in the guidance, where year groups are returning to school, we would expect school leaders and teachers to consider their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing and identify any pupils who may need additional support, so they are ready to learn; assess where pupils are in their learning and agree what adjustments are needed to the school curriculum over the coming weeks; identify and plan how best to support the education of high needs groups, including disadvantaged pupils, SEND and vulnerable pupils.

Mental wellbeing is also included as specific a theme in the planning framework issued by the department, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020/opening-schools-for-more-children-and-young-people-initial-planning-framework-for-schools-in-england.

Further guidance is provided in the planning guide for primary schools, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools.

To help schools implement this, we are putting in place further support for children and teachers on mental health and wellbeing. This includes training for teachers, such as a new module developed with clinical experts on how to teach about mental health in health education and more details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.

The support also includes advice seminars, £750,000 to three organisations extend support and advice to schools on tackling bullying, and grants to the Education Support Partnership and Timewise to support teachers’ mental health and flexible working. The Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care will continue to work together on what further support we might provide as more children and young people return to school.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to introduce a readjustment period in schools with pupils returning as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased to allow adjustments to the curriculum to focus on wellbeing.

Ministers and officials in the Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care are meeting regularly to discuss how to provide support for mental health and wellbeing of pupils and their teachers in England. Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. The NHS is also setting up 24/7 open access telephone lines for urgent mental health support for people of all ages.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers. From week commencing 1 June 2020, primary schools have welcomed back children in nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, alongside priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers). From 15 June 2020, secondary schools will provide some face-to-face support for young people in Year 10 and Year 12.

The department issued guidance regarding the wider opening of schools from 1 June, first published 11 May, making clear that schools are best placed to make decisions about supporting and educating all their pupils during this period, based on local context and staff capacity. As set out in the guidance, where year groups are returning to school, we would expect school leaders and teachers to consider their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing and identify any pupils who may need additional support, so they are ready to learn; assess where pupils are in their learning and agree what adjustments are needed to the school curriculum over the coming weeks; identify and plan how best to support the education of high needs groups, including disadvantaged pupils, SEND and vulnerable pupils.

Mental wellbeing is also included as specific a theme in the planning framework issued by the department, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020/opening-schools-for-more-children-and-young-people-initial-planning-framework-for-schools-in-england.

Further guidance is provided in the planning guide for primary schools, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-primary-schools.

To help schools implement this, we are putting in place further support for children and teachers on mental health and wellbeing. This includes training for teachers, such as a new module developed with clinical experts on how to teach about mental health in health education and more details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.

The support also includes advice seminars, £750,000 to three organisations extend support and advice to schools on tackling bullying, and grants to the Education Support Partnership and Timewise to support teachers’ mental health and flexible working. The Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care will continue to work together on what further support we might provide as more children and young people return to school.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will launch a national communications campaign to reassure children and parents about returning to school as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Department is communicating with parents, carers and children to reassure them about the measures that are in place to reduce the risk to children, staff and their families and inform them about the benefits of eligible children being in school. In addition to direct communications with parents, the Department has been working closely with schools, local authorities and education leaders to ensure our guidance on the phased wider opening of schools in England is clear and to encourage them to support parents and children returning to school.

The Department has produced a range of communications content to help inform parents about the carefully managed plan to widen the opening of schools as well as the social, wellbeing and educational benefits to children. We are working with key partners and other Government Departments to reach a wide audience and coordinate with other communications activity such as the Department for Transport’s safer transport campaign. We are working closely with the Cabinet Office who coordinate the national COVID-19 public information campaign to ensure key messages on education are communicated through the Stay Alert campaign. Additionally, we are working with the Cabinet Office on sharing our messaging to reassure parents and children through a media partnership with around 600 national, regional and community media titles.

It should be noted that that education is a devolved matter and it is right that individual jurisdictions take decisions in line with their circumstances. It is for the Scottish Government to take the decisions that are right for them to address concerns and reassure parents and children who are learning in the Scottish education system, be this through a national communications campaign or other means.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to (a) collate and (b) publish information on the (a) school attendance, (b) school achievement and (c) wellbeing of young carers.

The government is committed to supporting young carers so that they are properly protected from excessive or inappropriate caring responsibilities and supported to achieve their full potential. Consistent identification remains challenging, with many being ‘hidden’ and therefore unrecognised and/or unsupported.

Changes through the Children and Families Act 2014 simplified the legislation relating to young adult carers’ assessments, making rights and duties clearer to both young people and practitioners. This included promoting whole family approaches which triggers children and adults’ support services into action – assessing why a child is caring, what needs to change and what would help the family to prevent children or young people from taking on this responsibility in the first place.

Schools also monitor attendance and if a child’s absence reaches a level of concern, the school will wish to raise this in the best interest of the child’s education. Schools have a duty to inform the local authority of any child who fails to attend school regularly. Schools and local authorities should consider the individual circumstances of each case and take the appropriate course of action to ensure the child receives consistent education.

The Department for Education provides schools with £2.4 billion each year in additional funding through the pupil premium to support disadvantaged pupils. We expect schools to make effective use of their pupil premium budgets; schools know their pupils best and will spend the grant according to meet pupil needs, which includes where needs are based on a parent’s health issues or disability.

We published the Children in Need Review conclusion in 2019. This sets out our approach to helping schools and children’s social care improve the educational outcomes of children in need, including those young carers assessed as being in need of help and protection.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that young carers are (a) identified and (b) adequately supported to ensure attainment at school.

The government is committed to supporting young carers so that they are properly protected from excessive or inappropriate caring responsibilities and supported to achieve their full potential. Consistent identification remains challenging, with many being ‘hidden’ and therefore unrecognised and/or unsupported.

Changes through the Children and Families Act 2014 simplified the legislation relating to young adult carers’ assessments, making rights and duties clearer to both young people and practitioners. This included promoting whole family approaches which triggers children and adults’ support services into action – assessing why a child is caring, what needs to change and what would help the family to prevent children or young people from taking on this responsibility in the first place.

Schools also monitor attendance and if a child’s absence reaches a level of concern, the school will wish to raise this in the best interest of the child’s education. Schools have a duty to inform the local authority of any child who fails to attend school regularly. Schools and local authorities should consider the individual circumstances of each case and take the appropriate course of action to ensure the child receives consistent education.

The Department for Education provides schools with £2.4 billion each year in additional funding through the pupil premium to support disadvantaged pupils. We expect schools to make effective use of their pupil premium budgets; schools know their pupils best and will spend the grant according to meet pupil needs, which includes where needs are based on a parent’s health issues or disability.

We published the Children in Need Review conclusion in 2019. This sets out our approach to helping schools and children’s social care improve the educational outcomes of children in need, including those young carers assessed as being in need of help and protection.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to make Apprenticeship Levy funding more flexible to enable businesses to access it for a wider range of accredited training.

The apprenticeship levy underpins our reforms to raise apprenticeship quality and support employers to make a long-term, sustainable investment in the skills that they need to grow. Income from the levy is used to fund apprenticeships in all employers (both in employers who pay the levy and employers who do not).

In response to employers, we have already introduced the flexibility for levy-payers to transfer up to 25% of their funds, enabling them to support apprenticeship starts in their supply chains or to meet local skills needs. In January, we extended the use of transfers to cover the full cost of training for 16 to 18 year olds and eligible 19 to 24 year olds in employers with fewer than 50 employees.

We are committed to improving the working of the apprenticeship levy to ensure it continues to deliver the skilled workforce that employers need.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to provide additional support to schoolchildren with SEND.

The government has announced a £780 million increase to local authorities’ high needs funding, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020-21. In addition, we have launched a cross-government Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) review to improve how children and young people with SEND are supported in the current system.

We have also invested a total of £365 million through the special provision capital fund from 2018-19 to 2020-21. This funding can be used to create more places in special educational needs units and resourced provision in mainstream schools or colleges, in special schools, or in any of the other types of provision used by local authorities for pupils and students with education, health and care plans.

This government is also committed to expanding AP schools as well as delivering more school places for children with complex SEND including through the free schools programme. Currently there are 43 open special free schools and 47 open alternative provision free schools. These schools have helped to provide innovation, choice and higher standards for parents. There are a further 48 special free schools and 7 AP free schools due to open in the future.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Dogs Trust's report, Puppy Smuggling: the scandal continues, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Dogs Trust’s recommendation that checks at the border should include a visual check to ensure that the pet animal is the same as the animal listed on the pet passport, and is the age stated.

We operate one of the most rigorous and robust pet travel checking regimes in Europe. All non-commercial dogs, cats and ferrets entering Great Britain on approved routes under the Pet Travel rules undergo 100% documentary and identity checks by authorised pet checkers.

Authorised pet checkers are trained by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) prior to being granted approval and receive annual audits of their checking and processing to ensure they uphold our requirements. They also receive refresher training and are encouraged to liaise with their APHA contacts to identify non-compliance trends and additional training requirements.

Pet checkers will refuse travel or share intelligence with the APHA who can intercept at the port/border if non-compliance is suspected.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Dogs Trust's report, Puppy Smuggling: the scandal continues, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Dogs Trust recommendation that the focus on enforcement of the pet travel legislation must be shifted from carriers to a qualified animal professional from a government agency and this should include a requirement for there to be sufficient out-of-hours and weekend cover at ports.

Carriers work closely with operational colleagues at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Border Force and are committed to preventing illegal imports of pet animals. Authorised pet checkers are trained by the APHA prior to being granted approval and receive annual audits of their checking and processing to ensure they uphold our requirements. The APHA regularly reviews its border enforcement work against known travel trends of those that seek to illegally import puppies to the UK, to keep pace with this rapidly evolving criminal activity. Part of this work includes intelligence-led targeting of suspected smugglers, alongside partner agencies, including Border Force. Border Force operates a 24-hour service seven days per week and alerts the APHA to suspected non-compliant dogs and puppies. Targeted intelligence-led work often takes place outside of normal working hours as needed. The Government is satisfied with the workings of these current arrangements.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of the French and German Governments' decision to end the killing of day-old male chicks in the egg production sector; whether the Government plans to bring forward similar legislative proposals; and if he will make a statement.

We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and we continue to explore ways to enhance our position as a global leader.

The killing of day-old male chicks from the egg production sector is used to provide a valuable food source for reptiles and raptors. We are aware that alternatives to culling male laying hen chicks are currently being investigated by a number of research establishments around the world. A few systems are being used in commercial hatcheries in some EU countries, including France and Germany, but are not yet scaled up enough to meet the demands of the entire industry. We will be assessing the success of these systems.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish details of the Government's targeted investment for animal welfare charities.

The Government shares the public's high regard and appreciation for the important work that our animal welfare charities undertake. This extends to the valuable work of their many supporters and volunteers. We remain committed to deliver our Action Plan for Animal Welfare. The Government has made a range of support measures available to businesses and charities across the UK since the emergence of COVID-19, including those charities protecting animal welfare. This includes comprehensive guidance issued by the Charity Commission on running a charity during COVID-19.

Meanwhile it has been encouraging to see the sector working collaboratively and successfully to support itself, establishing various emergency grants schemes for numerous smaller organisations. While organisations have seen a drop in income during the pandemic, the financial sustainability of the sector appears to be improving. We will continue to engage closely with the sector and keep the situation under review.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the welfare of exotic animals being held in private residences is being protected.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government takes the issue of animal welfare very seriously. Our manifesto and the recent Action Plan for Animal Welfare published on 12 May were clear about the importance of high standards of animal welfare. We have a long tradition of protecting animals and that will continue.

As with all kept animals, the welfare of exotic animals held in private residences is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Under this legislation it is an offence to cause suffering to a kept animal or to fail to provide for their needs. The Government's recent Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 realises the Government's manifesto commitment to increase the sentences available to our courts for the most serious cases of animal cruelty. From 29 June 2021, anyone who is cruel to an animal faces a prison sentence for up to five years, an unlimited fine, or both.

The private keeping of specific exotic animals deemed to be dangerous in the UK is also regulated by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. This legislation requires those keeping particular species to obtain a licence from their Local Authority. Whilst this legislation is primarily concerned with public safety, licence holders are required to provide suitable accommodation, food, drink and bedding for any animals held under licence and are subject to regular inspections by a veterinary practitioner.

In the 2019 manifesto, the Government committed to ban the keeping of primates as pets. Primates are highly intelligent wild animals with complicated welfare needs and as such are unsuitable to be kept as pets. In a Call for Evidence on the welfare of primates kept as pets which closed in January 2020, Defra received evidence of the harm that can be done to primates kept in domestic settings, both physical and psychological.

Defra sought public input on proposals to tackle the issue of primates kept as pets in a consultation launched at the end of 2020. As outlined in the Government's Action Plan for Animal Welfare we will legislate to prohibit primates as pets. Keepers that are able to provide welfare standards akin to those of licensed zoos will be able to keep their primates under a new licensing regime, subject to conditions and inspections. Ownership of these exotic animals with complex needs will be phased out for keepers unable to meet these standards.

The Government is considering which other wild animals these restrictions could apply to and steps to ensure this is possible will form part of the upcoming Kept Animals Bill.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to announce a moratorium on the incineration of waste to help meet the Government’s climate objectives.

Waste is a devolved area of policy.

There are no plans to announce a moratorium on the incineration of waste in England.

Through the Resources and Waste Strategy we committed to monitoring residual waste treatment capacity. The Government intends to revisit waste projections to help understand future residual waste infrastructure capacity needs, taking account of waste prevention measures, our high recycling ambitions and municipal waste landfill reduction goals. This capacity analysis will also help us to further develop our preferred options for residual waste treatment as we move towards a circular economy and focus on delivering our net zero ambitions.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to ban the sale of eggs produced from caged hens.

The Government is examining the future use of cages for all laying hens and I welcome the commitment from our major retailers, with positive support from our egg producers, to stop retailing eggs from enriched colony cage production systems by 2025. I am pleased to state that the UK already has a much larger free-range sector by far than any EU country, with over 50% of our hens kept in free range systems.

The UK is rightly proud of the high animal welfare standards we expect of our farmers. In examining the future use of cages, we will consider the most appropriate tools available to ensure our animal welfare objectives are achieved.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many (a) meetings, (b) telephone calls, (c) emails, (d) letters and (e) other communications have taken place between his Department and officials of the Government of the Netherlands on implementing a ban on hunting trophy imports similar to the ban introduced in that country in 2017.

Defra officials have engaged with a range of stakeholders to inform our policy on hunting trophy imports, including officials from other governments. As part of this work we have spoken to officials from the Government of the Netherlands. As we develop our policy, we are looking at how other countries have approached this issue, alongside the wide range of views and evidence we have received through our consultation and call for evidence.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the effects of offshore unexploded ordnance disposal on marine mammals.

Defra recognises the impact that underwater noise from clearing unexploded ordnance can have on vulnerable marine species. We are working closely with other government departments, the Marine Management Organisation, statutory nature conservation bodies and marine industries to reduce underwater noise but must ensure any clearance method for the removal of unexploded ordnance is both safe and effective.

Defra is investigating deflagration as an alternative to detonation in the removal of unexploded ordnance from the seabed. This involves the controlled burning of explosive material in a manner that does not result in full detonation. We welcome the research commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy into the impact of using low order deflagration techniques for unexploded ordnance removal which is ongoing.

The Marine Management Organisation already includes the use of deflagration as an advisory voluntary request within marine deemed licences requesting that developers investigate deflagration as an initial method of mitigation.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how he plans to allocate money from the (a) Biodiverse Landscapes Fund and (b) Blue Planet Fund; and what criteria he plans to apply to determine that supported projects benefit both human development and nature conservation objectives.

The Biodiverse Landscapes Fund will deliver poverty reduction, conservation and climate outcomes across biologically diverse, transboundary landscapes worldwide. It will create sustainable economic development for local communities which supports the protection, restoration and sustainable management of these critical landscapes, rather than deriving short-term gains from their unsustainable use.

The Biodiverse Landscapes Fund is currently in development. Funding will be allocated, however, to a range of delivery partners who have demonstrated that they can deliver interventions that will meet the Fund's objectives in a landscape via an open, competitive process. Full details of this process, its timelines and the Fund's objectives will be published in due course.

The Blue Planet Fund aims to help countries eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA) to reduce poverty through the protection and sustainable management of their marine resources. It will focus on addressing human-generated threats across four key themes: biodiversity, climate change, marine pollution, and sustainable seafood. The Fund is currently being designed by Defra and FCDO, based on available evidence and drawing on information from across HMG's international network, and will be launched later this year.

Both programmes are ODA funded, and so are subject to the Government’s guidelines and rules for designing and implementing ODA programmes. As such, once operational, progress will regularly be assessed against pre-agreed criteria and through a robust monitoring, evaluation and learning cycle to ensure projects achieve economic development and conservation objectives. Defra publishes information on ODA funded programmes to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) registry and adheres to the transparency standards set out in the UK Aid Strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to deliver on commitments made as part of the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature at the United Nations General Assembly.

The UK Government is committed to working with partners around the world to implement the ten commitments under the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, which the UK co-created. To demonstrate our dedication to delivering on the Pledge commitments, in January 2021, the Prime Minister committed to spending at least £3 billion of the UK’s International Climate Finance over the next five years, on climate change solutions that protect and restore nature and biodiversity.

As you will be aware, Lord Goldsmith wrote to the devolved administrations prior to the Pledge’s launch to seek their support. I am grateful for the support of the Scottish Government, as signalled in their recently published ‘Statement of Intent’ on post-2020 biodiversity, and I am also grateful to the Welsh Government for their support.

In line with Pledge commitments, the UK Government is taking strong action on nature domestically as well as internationally. The environment is a devolved policy area and, in England, we are maintaining and extending key protections; introducing new legislation and new funding streams; we are supporting partnerships and we are working across Government to secure broad action. We have, for example, brought forward the first Environment Bill for more than 20 years which, alongside our strengthened Agriculture and Fisheries Acts, sets a new legal foundation for government action to improve the environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the fashion industry to improve the clarity of information and labelling on the sustainability of clothing.

In the Resources and Waste Strategy the Government committed to providing consumers with better information on the sustainability of their purchases, including through better product labelling. In the Environment Bill, currently being taken through Parliament, we are seeking powers that will enable us to introduce labelling and information requirements for clothing, as well as eco-design requirements and producer responsibility schemes.

We have also worked closely with WRAP to develop the new voluntary agreement on textiles to succeed the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP 2020) from next year. Textiles 2030 was announced on 10 November and has ambitious targets, aligning with global goals on carbon, water and circularity and aims to drive the shift to a more resource-efficient textiles sector in the UK. Signatories will take action to improve the sustainability of their products in line with the ambitions of the new agreement.

We plan to publish our draft Waste Prevention Programme for consultation in the new year which will set out this Government’s approach to improving resource efficiency and reduce waste in a number of key sectors including textiles.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the 2019 Food Waste Strategy on levels of food waste from major retailers.

The UK Government has not published a 2019 Food Waste Strategy. The hon. Member’s question may refer to the Scottish Government’s Food Waste Reduction Action Plan from 2019. The following answer describes other strategic documents which are relevant to the question.

In 2019, Defra commissioned Henry Dimbleby, its lead Non-Executive Director, to lead an independent review of the food system to develop recommendations to shape a National Food Strategy. Part One was published in July 2020, with Part Two due in Spring 2021.

To help tackle food waste, Defra and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) launched the UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap (FWRR) in September 2018. The roadmap sets out a clear direction for what all large businesses in the UK need to achieve in order for us to achieve our international targets for food waste reduction and provides a basis to track progress. It also allows a wider population of food businesses to show their commitment to implementing the Target, Measure, Act (TMA) approach.

The Resources and Waste Strategy (published in December 2018) sets out the Government's approach to tackling food waste, building on the direction set out in the FWRR. The 2020 annual progress report for the FWRR, published by WRAP and industry experts IGD, shows growing adoption of the TMA approach to food waste prevention with more than 70 new organisations committing to the Roadmap in the last twelve months.

Following support from respondents to our public consultation on increasing consistency in recycling, we are legislating through the Environment Bill to ensure that businesses and other organisations in England will be required to arrange for the collection of a core set of materials for recycling, including a separate food waste collection where this material is produced. We will be consulting further on this in 2021. We also committed in the Resources and Waste Strategy to consult to introduce mandatory reporting of food waste by businesses. We are currently engaging with industry and related stakeholders to inform the development of this consultation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will introduce mandatory food waste reporting for all major food retailers.

In the Resources and Waste Strategy the Government committed to consult on introducing mandatory reporting by businesses. We are engaging with industry and related stakeholders to inform the development of this consultation.

Due to the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on food and drink businesses, we have postponed the launch of this consultation until 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to allocate funding to (a) research and development in sustainable fabrics and (b) fabric recycling facilities in the UK.

Through the WRAP-administered Resources Action Fund we made £1.5 million available for small scale capital grants of between £20,000 to £170,000 to encourage innovation and support the development of textile reuse and recycling. Funds have been allocated to organisations in England to invest in facilities to improve the reprocessing of textiles waste, including recycling of waste textiles to create recycled fibres for manufacturers.

With backing from Defra, £30 million of research funding (of which £22.5 million is Government investment) has been allocated through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to establish five circular economy research centres. £4.5 million has been allocated to a centre focused on sustainable textiles. The Interdisciplinary Textiles Circularity Centre, led by the Royal College of Art, aims to reduce our reliance on imported clothing materials by leading research to turn post-consumer textiles and household waste into renewable materials for use in textiles products. This programme will harness academic excellence and industry expertise to deliver for the UK.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what representations he has received on the recently proposed bans on the human consumption of dog meat in Shenzhen and Zhuhai, China.

While this department has received representations about the treatment of dogs in China, we have not received any representations about the proposed ban on the human consumption of dog meat in Shenzhen or Zhuhai, China.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 May 2020 to Question 46697, on Animal Products: Trade, by what date the Government plans to publish its response to his Department's consultation on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply previously given to her on 19 May 2020, PQ UIN 46697, which remains the current situation.

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-05-13/46697]

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his timescale is for publishing the Government's response to his Department's consultation on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies published in November 2019 and updated in January 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a delay in publication of the Government response to the consultation and call for evidence on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies. We are, however, continuing to work on this important area and will publish the Government response as soon as it is practical to do so. The outcome of the consultation, and the accompanying call for evidence, will inform our next steps.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on ensuring the safeguarding and welfare of equines moving between the UK and the EU in a future trade deal with the EU.

The Secretary of State meets regularly with his Cabinet colleagues to discuss a range of topics, including the future trade deal with the EU. As the PM has made clear in his speech of 3 February, animal welfare is a priority for the UK in trade negotiations. The UK is proud of its world-leading food, health and animal welfare standards. We will not lower our standards as we negotiate the new trade deal.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he has made an assessment of the potential merits of a common veterinary area to reduce the need for additional checks on animals at the border with the EU after the transition period.

At the end of 2020 the UK will leave the EU’s customs area and the EU’s single market. We will maintain our own Sanitary Phytosanitary (SPS) system so that we can set our own rules and standards. The UK has been clear that the UK-EU future relationship will be based on friendly relations and free trade, not on the EU’s treaties or principles - there will be no regulatory alignment.

The UK and the EU may agree equivalence in certain areas to reduce practical barriers to trade at the border. However, this will only be done if the UK’s regulatory autonomy is respected and there is no role for the ECJ.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals for the licensing of equine (a) sanctuaries, (b) rescue centres and (c) re-homing centres.

Animal sanctuaries and rescue and rehoming centres carry out important work to ensure that unwanted and abandoned animals are offered the opportunity of finding a permanent home. This includes those organisations caring for equines. Concerns have been raised by the sector about variations in welfare standards across the sector, and that some individuals prioritise commercial gain over the welfare needs of animals.

In England, Defra has been working closely with organisations such as World Horse Welfare and the National Equine Welfare Council and its members, to better understand the benefits and impacts, particularly on smaller rescue centres, if licensing or other regulation was introduced on the sector.

We continue to engage with the sector on these questions. Any proposal to bring forward such regulation will be subject to a full public consultation.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to issue the public consultation on welfare in transport and minimum journey times for animals for slaughter.

We have a manifesto commitment to end excessively long journeys for live animals going for slaughter and fattening, which is an opportunity we have gained through leaving the EU. We intend to issue a consultation on how we deliver on that commitment shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to promote sustainable practices in the clothing and textiles industry.

In the Resources and Waste Strategy for England (2018), the Government committed to develop policy measures to promote sustainable practices in the clothing and textiles industry. We are currently working with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and industry to develop an ambitious new phase of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan, which has to date delivered significant reductions in signatories’ carbon and water footprints. The recently introduced Environment Bill also seeks powers to develop ecodesign and consumer information requirements subject to consultation to support durable, repairable, and recyclable textiles. We have also identified textiles as a priority area in which to consult on an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme. We are seeking to support closed loop recycling through the WRAP-administered Resource Action Fund. Our plans to promote sustainable practices in the textiles sector will be developed and enhanced in a new Waste Prevention Programme on which we will consult this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to (a) support a circular economy for clothing and textiles and (b) create the required infrastructure for fibre-to fibre recycling of garments.

In the Resources and Waste Strategy for England (2018), the Government committed to develop policy measures to support a circular economy for clothing and textiles. We are currently working with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and industry to develop an ambitious new phase of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan. We are seeking enabling powers in the forthcoming Environment Bill to develop ecodesign and consumer information requirements subject to consultation to support durable, repairable, and recyclable textiles. We have also identified textiles as a priority area in which to consult on an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme. We are seeking to support closed loop recycling through the WRAP-administered Resource Action Fund. Our plans for shifting towards greater circularity in the textiles sector will be developed and enhanced in a new Waste Prevention Programme on which we will consult this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans the Government has to bring forward a new UK Aid Strategy.

The Integrated Review, announced by the Prime Minister and expected to conclude later in the year, will define the Government's ambition for the UK's role in the world. Its outcomes will shape the objectives including for overseas development spending.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that disability inclusion in international development will remain a priority of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

This Government is committed to supporting a long-term movement for change on the neglected global issue of disability inclusion. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda.

The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy is expected to conclude later in the year, which will define the Government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world and its outcomes will shape the objectives of the FCDO. Both the review and the merger are evidence of the Prime Minister’s commitment to a unified British foreign and development policy that will maximise our influence around the world, including on disability inclusion.

As part of the merger discussions, we will review, refresh and build on all existing strategies, including DFID’s Disability Inclusion Strategy.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department's investments into (a) covid-19 related research and development and (b) other product development research and development will be managed by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office after the merger.

Merging the Department for International Development (DFID) with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to form the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will bring together the best of what we do in aid and diplomacy. It will ensure that all of our national efforts including our aid budget and expertise are used to make the UK a force for good in the world. DFID is a long-term supporter of product development research through Product Development Partnerships to develop new diagnostics, drugs, vaccines and other health technologies for use in the developing world. This includes recent investments in a wide range of health research and development to tackle COVID-19

The UK’s role in the world will be defined by the Integrated Foreign Policy Review, expected to conclude later in the year. The objectives for the new department, including for research and development, will be informed by the findings of that review. The work of Official Development Assistance will remain central to the new department’s mission, and the budget of the new department will combine the FCO and DFID budgets.

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to assess the potential effect on developing countries of the UK's future relationship with the EU.

Leaving the EU does not change the UK’s commitment to supporting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Nor does it mean the UK and EU have stopped working together to alleviate global poverty and tackle shared global challenges. The UK frequently works alongside a range of development partners where we have a shared common goal.

As a Member State, the UK spent approximately 10% of all Official Development Assistance (ODA) through the EU each year. Going forward we will be able to make our own decisions about where, when and how we invest that money. Ministers will take decisions on ODA funding through normal departmental processes and bids to the Spending Review, in line with the conclusions of the Integrated Review. The Government remains committed to the 0.7% ODA/GNI target.

We will also continue to ensure development and global prosperity are at the heart of UK trade and investment policy. For example, we will look to improving our trade preferences scheme to create more trading opportunities for around 70 developing countries. We will also continue to work on integrating development interests into UK trade policy including in Free Trade Agreements.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans the Government has to consult with (a) civil society and (b) development partners on the development of the new UK Aid strategy.

The Integrated Review, announced by the Prime Minister and expected to conclude later in the year, will define the Government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world. Its outcomes will shape the objectives including for overseas development spending. Civil society organisations play invaluable role in our fight against poverty. We continue to engage with them including through regular roundtables.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she made an assessment of the potential effect on the health and well-being of people classed as living in extreme poverty of the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will enable us to bring together our international efforts; will strengthen our ability to contribute to the global recovery from COVID-19; and allow us to seize opportunities which arise as we prepare to take on the G7 presidency and host COP26 next year. The UK will continue to play a leading role on global health and is committed to achieving the health-related global goals, including ending the preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns and children by 2030.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she plans to take to help ensure that future (a) development and (b) humanitarian spending is in line with the Leave No One Behind principle and reaches (i) people with disabilities and (ii) others in the most vulnerable category.

The UK is proud of its strong record on inclusive development and protecting the most vulnerable, and this Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda.

In co-hosting the Global Disability Summit two years ago, the UK demonstrated its leadership on disability inclusion and the principle of Leave No One Behind.

The vital work of UK aid to reduce poverty and protect vulnerable groups will remain central to the new FCDO’s mission. The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy is expected to conclude later in the year, which will define the Government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world and its outcomes will shape the objectives of the FCDO. Both the review and the merger are evidence of the Prime Minister’s commitment to a unified British foreign and development policy that will maximise our influence around the world.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans she has to commission a future review of the transparency of Official Development Assistance spending by all Government departments.

The UK is globally recognised for its expertise and transparency in aid spending. We are committed to improving transparency of aid globally and maintaining our high standards for overseas spending. We will continue to be accountable to parliament and to taxpayers for how we spend UK aid.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what time planned timescale is for the (a) review and (b) prioritisation of her Department's programmes; and if she will take steps to ensure that her Department's merger with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not delay that process.

DFID is working closely with the FCO and other ODA-spending departments to consider how best to manage the 0.7% commitment in the coming year. A cross-HMG process is underway, and no decision has been taken but we are considering the full range of our work. As the Prime Minister has stated, the government will remain committed to the 0.7% target through the creation of the new FCDO.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will maintain the Government's policy that 50 per cent of its official development assistance budget is allocated to fragile or conflict-affected states.

DFID’s work in fragile and conflict affected states (FCAS) is vital. DFID has consistently spent at least 50% of its Official Development Assistance in fragile and conflict affected states from 2015 to 2017. Figures for 2018 will be published in due course.

The Government’s 0.7% GNI commitment is directly linked to the size of our economy and in light of the impact of COVID-19, we are reviewing our programmes to make our response as effective as possible.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she is taking steps to ensure that the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office focuses its single departmental plan on the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The UK remains committed to the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs will play an important role in post-COVID-19 recovery, recognising the connection between healthy lives, healthy societies and a healthy environment. As the Prime Minister affirmed on 28 May, we owe it to future generations to build back better, basing our recovery on a fairer, greener and more resilient global economy, and to get our shared goals back on track, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether there are plans for voluntary redundancies at her Department's office in East Kilbride after her Department's merger with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

DFID’s existing office in East Kilbride will become part of the new Department’s estate. Some roles in East Kilbride may change due to business needs and any changes will be handled in accordance with relevant civil service policy and guidance. It is too early to be able to say precisely what effect those changes will have. We can confirm that there will be no compulsory redundancies for DFID employees as a result of the decision to create the new Department and any changes will be handled in accordance with relevant civil service policy and guidance.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that expert staff from her Department are retained when that Department is merged with Foreign and Commonwealth of Office.

Merging the departments will bring together the best of what we do in aid and diplomacy, and create new opportunities for staff. The ambition, vision and expertise of DFID staff will be at the heart of the new department – taking forward the work of UK aid, which will remain central to our mission. There will be no compulsory redundancies and we will work closely with staff throughout the process of implementing the merger. Any changes to team structures or to roles and responsibilities will be fair, open and transparent.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if the Government will delay the implementation of the decision to create the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office until the publication of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The Prime Minister is determined that the Integrated Review later this year will set an ambitious vision for the future of the UK as an active, internationalist, problem-solving and burden-sharing nation. The new Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office will be central to the delivery of that vision, so it needs to prepare now to be ready by the Autumn.

This reform will create a department that for the first time for many years has the combination of size, reach and expertise to project us effectively internationally and make sure that we spend our development money in the best possible way.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the (a) Independent Commission for Aid Impact, International Development Committee and (b) National Audit Office will maintain its existing role in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The National Audit Office, the UK’s independent public spending watchdog, supports Parliament in holding government to account and helping to improve public services through independent audits. The Comptroller and Auditor General certifies the accounts of all government departments and has statutory authority to examine whether departments have used their resources efficiently, effectively and with economy. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will be accountable to parliament for how it spends UK aid. The form this takes is a matter for Parliament. We remain committed to full transparency in our aid spending and there will continue to be parliamentary and independent scrutiny of the aid budget.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department has taken to engage with faith-based actors in (a) communicating public health messages and (b) her Department's response to the covid-19 pandemic.

I recognise both the important place that religious belief has for many people around the world affected by COVID-19 and the role that faith-based actors are playing in the response, particularly in communicating public health messages. Faith-based actors are key policy and delivery partners for DFID. We are committed to working with and alongside faith-based actors to meet the challenges posed to both the UK and internationally by COVID-19.

DFID is taking forward a structured approach to engagement with UK and international civil society, including faith-based actors. This is incorporating strategic and technical discussions to help inform the sector’s response to the pandemic. Specifically, Baroness Sugg has chaired two round table discussions with the Chief Executive Officers from key civil society organisations including faith-based organisations on 3 April and the 1 May to update the sector on DFID’s COVID-19 response to date, engage with concerns across the sector, and explore how to mitigate the threats posed by COVID-19 to sector resilience. Lord Ahmad is also planning to host a round table with faith leaders and faith-based development organisations to discuss how we can work together more effectively.

DFID has pledged new funding for civil society organisations including faith-based organisations to support the response. This includes £20 million through the Rapid Response Facility which includes funding for Christian Aid; up to £30 million of new grants through the next round of the UK Aid Direct programme, and significant funding through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition. Faith-based organisations can receive funding through multilateral organisations as downstream partners as part of the UK’s response and through our country office network. We have been reviewing our programme portfolio in light of the COVID-19 response, enabling us to identify existing activities which can already support the response and others which can be adapted or scaled up, such as our support to health systems and humanitarian crises.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of effect of the Bangladeshi Government’s internet restrictions in Rohingya refugee camps on the ability of human rights organisations to respond to the covid-19 pandemic.

Good communications are critical for all aspects of the COVID-19 preparedness and response in the camps. Human rights organisations are working to provide legal guidance, monitor and advocate for the safety and wellbeing of refugees in line with international standards, and support the efforts of the protection sector overall, particularly to respond to violence against women and girls.

The internet and access restrictions limit the ability of agencies to share information with the refugees and with each other; and of the Rohingya to communicate among themselves. However, despite the decreased presence of humanitarian personnel in the camps, and internet and sim card restrictions, Rohingya are still able to communicate on a limited scale with human rights organisations. Protection services are among the critical services continuing in the camps and information sharing structures between organisations are functional. We continue to emphasise the importance of telecommunication access in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in our senior meetings with the Government of Bangladesh. We have requested the lifting of restrictions and allowing full communication access in the camps.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the validity of reports that religious minorities in Pakistan are being denied adequate support during the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID is paying close attention to ensure that all COVID-19 assistance is inclusive and does not discriminate on religious grounds.

DFID is actively engaged with the Government of Pakistan to shape their COVID-19 response so that those most at risk of being left behind, including religious and other minority groups, can receive assistance. We are currently looking at how we can best support vulnerable groups through the crisis.

We are concerned by media reports of incidents where minorities in Sindh were refused assistance. We therefore welcome the establishment of initiatives like the government’s Ehsaas Rashan Portal, which seeks to prevent some of these inequities by connecting the private sector and civil society organisations with those most in need of assistance.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent steps she has taken to ensure that religious minorities are not disproportionately adversely affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Government works to ensure that all aid reaches the most vulnerable including those from religious minorities. Vulnerable populations will experience COVID-19 outbreaks differently. COVID-19 is likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, on 9 April, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of all religious minorities should be taken into account when developing practical programmes to tackle COVID-19.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps he is taking to (a) ensure children with disabilities progress under the 12 years’ quality education for all girls by 2030 policy and (b) monitor the progress of those children.

Through DFID’s 2018 education policy and disability strategy, the UK committed to show leadership in disability inclusion.

We are making good progress. We support the ‘Inclusive Education Initiative’ with the World Bank and Government of Norway to get children with disabilities into school and learning. Our Disability Inclusive Development programme tests what works at scale in education for children with disabilities. UK Aid supports the development and publication of the annual Global Education Monitoring report. This year’s focus is inclusive education.

DFID is also scaling up support to children with disabilities through our country education programmes. In Rwanda, UK Aid will support inclusion training of one teacher in every school, and in Ethiopia, we supported establishment of inclusive education resource centres to support teachers with inclusive practice.

We are monitoring our progress through tracking of DFID’s Disability Strategy and Education Policy.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the use of unenriched cages in Australia; what assessment she has made of whether the use of such cases complies with British standards; whether imports of those egg products will be given zero-tariff imports under a free trade agreement; and if she will make a statement.

This agreement does not create new permissions for imports from Australia. All agri-food products imported into the UK – including into Scotland – under existing or future free trade agreements will, as now, have to comply with the UK’s import requirements.

As the Government has stated in its manifesto, the UK will not compromise on high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards in any trade negotiations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has plans to ban the (a) importation and (b) sale of foie gras produced from the force-feeding of ducks and geese following the UK's departure from the EU; and if she will make a statement.

The Government has made clear that force feeding for the production of foie gras from ducks or geese raises serious welfare concerns.

Production is banned in the UK as it is incompatible with domestic legislation, including the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it a criminal offence not to provide for an animal's welfare needs and to allow an animal to suffer unnecessarily.

The Government is committed to upholding our high standards. Now our relationship with the European Union has been established, the Government is considering further steps it could take in relation to foie gras.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to reimburse learner drivers who have had to retake their driving theory test as a result of the cancellation of practical driving tests due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has a number of measures in place to increase the availability of practical driving tests when it is safe for them to resume. These include offering overtime and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays). The DVSA has also started a recruitment campaign to increase the number of examiners. The aim is to increase testing capacity and reduce the backlog as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining a COVID-secure service for customers and examiners.

There are no current plans to reimburse learners drivers, given that they will have already received the service for which they paid.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) pays its contractor, Pearson, per theory test delivered. If candidates were exempted from having to pay for a retake then the DVSA and in turn other fee payers would incur these costs. This would be unfair to fee payers who would not benefit from the arrangement. In addition, applications for a re-test would need to be validated and systems amended to remove the requirement for payment in these cases. The DVSA’s focus should rightly be on developing solutions to address the backlog of practical driving tests that has arisen as a result of the pandemic.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the backlog of drivers that are waiting to take a practical driving test as quickly as possible.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has a number of measures in place to increase the availability of practical driving tests when it is safe for them to resume. These include offering overtime and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays). The DVSA has also started a recruitment campaign to increase the number of examiners. The aim is to increase testing capacity and reduce the backlog as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining a COVID-secure service for customers and examiners.

There are no current plans to reimburse learners drivers, given that they will have already received the service for which they paid.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) pays its contractor, Pearson, per theory test delivered. If candidates were exempted from having to pay for a retake then the DVSA and in turn other fee payers would incur these costs. This would be unfair to fee payers who would not benefit from the arrangement. In addition, applications for a re-test would need to be validated and systems amended to remove the requirement for payment in these cases. The DVSA’s focus should rightly be on developing solutions to address the backlog of practical driving tests that has arisen as a result of the pandemic.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government plans to take to reduce the disruption to key workers who have had vital driving tests cancelled since 2020 due to the covid-19 outbreak and are now at risk of being unable to work.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus, driving tests have been suspended in all areas of England, Scotland and Wales.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is not currently offering a critical worker service in England or Scotland. In Wales, the DVSA is responding to requests only from the Welsh ambulance trust for the testing of ambulance drivers.

In England and Wales, essential delegated bus and emergency service testing will continue where they are identified as an operational priority by bus companies and the emergency services.

The DVSA is in discussions with all Governments to address critical worker services in England, Scotland and Wales.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of bi-lateral testing protocols with key trading partners to allow people who are travelling for work purposes to be exempt from covid-19 quarantine requirements.

The Government is actively working on the practicalities of using testing to release people from self-isolation earlier than 14 days. The Global Travel Taskforce is working at pace to consider how testing, technology and innovation can drive a recovery for international travel and tourism, without adding to infection risk or infringing on our overall NHS test capacity.

In its work, the GTT has sought views from the following stakeholders to inform its work:

  • the transport industry, to discuss shared challenges, the value of the sector to the economy, and the future of international travel
  • international partners, to discuss different approaches to health measures at the border, and what standards and practices are needed to maintain safe international travel
  • the tourism sector and local business leaders, to consider the economic impact on domestic tourism, and how international travel can support economic recovery
  • the private testing sector, to consider capacity constraints, pricing, and how quickly testing capacity can be rolled out
  • academia and policy institutes to provide insight and innovative solutions to the challenges the sector is facing
Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the environmental impact of HS2.

An environmental statement has been prepared for each phase of HS2, which sets out a detailed assessment of the likely significant environmental effects of building and operating the railway, as well as proposed ways to avoid, reduce, mitigate and monitor the environmental effects.

The Environmental Statement for Phase 1 is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hs2-phase-one-environmental-statement-documents

The Environmental Statement for Phase 2a is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hs2-phase-2a-environmental-statement

The Working Draft Environmental Statement for Phase 2b is available here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hs2-phase-2b-working-draft-environmental-statement

In April this year, the Government published a Full Business Case for HS2, which included a section on decarbonisation and sustainability. This is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hs2-phase-one-full-business-case

Following the launch of construction of Phase One, HS2 Ltd will begin publishing an annual environmental sustainability report, from 2021 onwards, which will provide updates on a range of environmental impacts, such as carbon and biodiversity, alongside the associated mitigation measures being delivered as part of the HS2 Green Corridor initiative.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Government advice against all but essential international travel, whether the Government has plans to support the outbound travel sector.

Aviation is an important sector for the UK’s economy and businesses across the industry will be able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures we have put in place during this time. This includes a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital, two business interruption loan guarantee schemes for different sizes of business, Time to Pay flexibilities with tax bills, financial support for employees and VAT deferrals.

If businesses across the sector find themselves in severe and urgent financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus, even following the government’s cross-economy wage and financial interventions, then we remain open to discussions about bespoke financial support but only as a last resort. Any such support must represent value to the tax payer.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2020 to Question 9065, on Aviation: Disability, if he will take steps to ensure that the aviation industry receives the (a) resources and (b) funding it needs to support equal access to air travel.

The Government is working closely with industry partners and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to ensure the focus on accessibility continues to deliver on the ambition of equal access to aviation for all. In particular, the accessibility performance framework, introduced by the CAA, has been key to incentivising airports to improve accessibility through targeted investment.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve the experience of wheelchair users on flights from UK airports.

The Government wants to ensure equal access to air travel for all. As part of Aviation 2050 green paper the government consulted on delivering a long-term aim, which will enable disabled passengers to travel in their own wheelchair in the cabin. The Government is working closely with key industry groups like The Safe Transportation of Wheelchairs (STOW) Group, Flying Disabled and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to deliver on this ambition.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the findings by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, published May 2021, on the design of the universal credit journal and the ability of people with mental health problems to use third party support to help manage their universal credit account.

No assessment has been made. Universal Credit (UC) provides personalised and tailored support for all claimants and Work Coaches are available to discuss any queries they may have about their online journals. Claimants can also provide authority for a third party to discuss aspects of their claim on their behalf.

The Department provides mental health training for staff who have direct contact with claimants, including all Work Coaches, to equip them to identify mental wellbeing issues or vulnerabilities, and to take appropriate action to support individuals. Work Coaches will tailor support to the needs of the individual and work closely with local organisations that provide additional specialist support. To enable Work Coaches to provide that tailored experience, with the permission of the claimant, they are able to record, in a free text format, through the use of ‘pinned notes’ in the UC system, information which supports staff in identifying and managing relevant experiences and circumstances of individual claimants.

The Department is committed to providing the best possible support for all our claimants, including the most vulnerable in society, in both making and maintaining their claim. Help to Claim, delivered through Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland, offers tailored and practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if the Government will take urgent steps to remove barriers within the universal credit online system to ensure that people who need help to maintain their universal credit account are able to receive it.

There are no barriers to claiming Universal Credit, as there is already assistance available to make and maintain their Universal Credit claim using the Freephone Universal Credit helpline.

Throughout the pandemic, Jobcentres have remained open for anyone who needed face-to-face support and could not be helped in any other way. Since 12 April 2021, Jobcentres in England and Wales have resumed full face to face services, returning to normal opening hours from 9am to 5pm. Jobcentres in Scotland have restarted the same full face to face service since 26 April 2021. All Jobcentre Plus offices across the country have Wi-Fi and computers available for claimants to access the internet. Work Coaches will continue to support those maintain their Universal Credit claim. To support our ongoing commitment in helping claimants, we have recruited an additional 13,500 Work Coaches in our Jobcentres.

The Department is committed to providing the best possible support for all our claimants, including the most vulnerable in society, in both making and maintaining their claim. Help to Claim delivered through Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland offers tailored, practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. This support has been bolstered by the announcement of a further 12 months of funding this year for Help to Claim.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps are being taken to limit the practice of sending successful PIP appeal cases back to the First-Tier Tribunal for a rerun.

There are no circumstances in which an appeal outcome would be sent back to the Tribunals Service with a request that it should be re-heard. The Secretary of State would refer a tribunal decision back to the Tribunals Service, where for example the tribunal’s decision was for some reason unimplementable and clarification was needed so that payment could be made – this is not a request for the case to be re-heard. The Secretary of State can also ask for a decision to be set aside and can seek permission to appeal a decision to the Upper Tribunal – both could result in a re-hearing but the grounds for applying are strictly limited. And ultimately it is of course for the tribunal to decide how such requests should be handled.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of suspending the cap on Access to Work funding for disabled entrepreneurs in response to the disruption to business caused by the covid-19 outbreak.

Access to Work has not made an assessment of the merits of suspending the cap for disabled entrepreneurs as there are alternative options of support they can explore with their Access to Work adviser whilst retaining the cap. If the honourable member has any examples she could share where this has not worked, we will explore what more can be done.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the proportion of employers that publish the percentage of (a) disabled staff they employ and (b) disabled staff they employ by pay grade.

In November 2018, the DWP introduced the Voluntary Reporting Framework (VRF) to encourage employers to actively report on disability employment and mental health. DWP is promoting the use of the VRF to employers across the UK; thereby encouraging employers to be more transparent and to start having open conversations about disability and health at work. We continue to work with employers and expert partners to promote its usage, including requiring new and renewing Disability Confident Leaders (Level 3) to use it. However, there is no requirement for companies to notify Government if they have signed up to the framework and are publishing this data.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the proportion of employers that (a) have a disability leave policy and (b) allow homeworking as a reasonable adjustment.

DWP does not collate information about which employers have a disability leave policy and does not collate information on employers that allow homeworking as a reasonable adjustment. Through the Voluntary Reporting Framework, we are encouraging employers to become more transparent and to have open conversations about disability and health at work. The Access to Work scheme supports employers to provide workplace adjustments.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the timescale is for the consultation on the National Strategy for Disabled People; and when that process will include consultation with (a) disabled people’s organizations and representatives of disabled workers and (b) trade unions.

The Government is committed to transforming the lives of disabled people, and will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People this year.

It will be informed by insights from the lived experience of disabled people, and will focus on the issues that disabled people say are most important across all aspects of life, from transport to education, and housing to employment. On Friday 15th January, we launched the online UK Disability Survey, which complements the range of engagement already undertaken and ongoing, including lived experience research with disabled people, discussions with the Disabled Charities Consortium, the Regional Stakeholder Networks and others. Contributions to the survey will feed not only into the development of the strategy but also its delivery.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that older people are aware of the passported benefits Pension Credit claimants are entitled to.

The Department looks to promote at every opportunity the message that even a small amount of Pension Credit can act as a passport to a wide range of other benefits and services, as we did in the February 2020 nationwide raising awareness campaign. We are currently sending letters to over 11 million pensioners in Great Britain informing them about the increase in their State Pension from April. In order to better promote Pension Credit and encourage eligible pensioners to make a claim, an accompanying leaflet includes specific information about Pension Credit, highlighting that an award of Pension Credit can mean being eligible for other benefits such as Housing Benefit or a free over-75 TV licence.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data the Government holds on the proportion of disabled workers who are turned down for reasonable adjustments by their employer; and what plans the Government has to use data on the proportion of disabled workers who are turned down for reasonable adjustments by their employer to inform the proposed National Strategy for Disabled People.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave on 03 February to question number 145803.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on people on legacy benefits; and if she will make a statement.

Legacy benefits were increased by 1.7% in April 2020 following the Government’s announcement to end the benefit freeze and 0.5% this coming year.

We increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants, so they now cover the lowest 30% of local rents. This increase, costing almost £1 billion, will mean that 1.5 million households see an increase, on average, of £600 this year. We also increased the additional earnings disregard in Housing Benefit to ensure increases in the maximum rate of the basic element of Working Tax Credit did not impact on a claimant’s Housing Benefit award.

We legislated to allow access to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from day one of a claim for Covid-19 related cases and we have made it easier to access ESA by launching a portal for new style ESA online claims.

It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for UC if they believe that they will be better off. There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who are now able to make a new claim to UC. Claimants should check their eligibility before applying to UC as legacy benefits will end when they submit their claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future.

From 22nd July 2020, a two-week run on of Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (IR) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (IB) is available for all claimants whose claim to UC ends entitlement to these benefits to provide additional support for claimants moving to UC.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that the Access to Work scheme is available to all disabled workers who need reasonable adjustments to be able to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

During Covid-19, Access to Work has continued to provide funding for people with a disability or health condition whether they have been working in the workplace or working from home. The changing working environment has meant some disabled people have adapted their support, for example switching from face-to-face British Sign Language Interpreting to Video Remote Interpreting services or making greater use of assistive technology and software. Access to Work has actively worked with employers during the pandemic. For example, Access to Work worked with employers to transport assistive technology from the workplace to the home to enable home working. And where the support cannot be removed from the workplace, Access to Work has put in place alternative adjustments or supported adaptations to standard equipment.

Covid-19 has impacted the way we work and where we work. Recognising the additional challenges the Covid-19 lockdown has produced for disabled people, Access to Work has put in place a series of measures to ensure disabled people were not adversely affected and were able to continue to receive support. The measures included:

  • Accepting email claim forms from customers who request this as a reasonable adjustment;
  • Accepting employer and support worker signatures via email;
  • Extending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end by 6 months;
  • Extending the timeframe customers have to submit payment claim forms to 9 months;
  • Adapting the way assessments are undertaken to support customers who don’t know what support they need; and
  • Prioritising new applications from key workers and those with jobs starting within the next 4 weeks.

As Covid-19 has continued to change working environments, employers have asked employees to work flexibly and work from home where possible. To enable disabled people to have the flexibility to adapt to new working arrangements Access to Work has introduced a new flexible offer to address concerns raised by Stakeholders. The new offer complements support provided by employers and contains a flexible mix of support that can be adapted to meet the needs of new Covid-19 working arrangements. The offer includes:

  • support to work from more than one location;
  • a package of home working support which can be blended with workplace support;
  • mental health wellbeing support for people returning to work after a period of furlough or shielding;
  • travel-to-work support for those who may no longer be able to safely travel by public transport due to the nature of their disability; and
  • prioritising Access to Work applications from disabled people in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Group.


Background

Access to Work (ATW) is a demand-led, discretionary grant to de-risk the recruitment and retention of disabled people for employers. The grant contributes to the disability related extra costs of working faced by disabled people and those with a health condition that are beyond reasonable adjustment, but it does not replace an employer’s duty under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments. The grant provides personalised support and can provide workplace assessments, travel to/in work, support workers, specialist aids and equipment for individuals to enable disabled people and those with a health condition to move into or retain employment. And can fund up to £60,700 worth of flexible, personalised support per person per year.

Access to Work provides assurance for disabled people that they can access the support they need to overcome their barriers to employment. Knowing that support is available empowers disabled people, it provides confidence for both the disabled person and potential employers and works to remove any disadvantage in the labour market.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that disabled entrepreneurs who have used the Access to Work scheme in (a) 2020 and (b) 2019 are not negatively affected by plans to use evidence of business viability and turnover to determine whether this support is renewed.

Access to Work has put in place measures to support disabled people who are working from home or are continuing to work during the Covid-19 outbreak. These measures include disabled people who are self-employed and have seen impacts on their business, meaning that for the tax year 2020/2021 the lower earnings limit will be waived due to the impacts of Covid-19.

Background


Access to Work (ATW) is a demand-led, discretionary grant to de-risk the recruitment and retention of disabled people for employers. The grant contributes to the disability related extra costs of working faced by disabled people and those with a health condition that are beyond reasonable adjustment, but it does not replace an employer’s duty under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments. The grant provides personalised support and can provide workplace assessments, travel to/in work, support workers, specialist aids and equipment for individuals to enable disabled people and those with a health condition to move into or retain employment. And can fund up to £60,700 worth of flexible, personalised support per person per year.

Access to Work provides assurance for disabled people that they can access the support they need to overcome their barriers to employment. Knowing that support is available empowers disabled people, it provides confidence for both the disabled person and potential employers and works to remove any disadvantage in the labour market.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department's 2017 Green Paper entitled Improving Lives, what research she has commissioned on potential new policies to support disabled people in employment; and when the conclusions of that research are planned for publication.

A range of research and evaluations have been commissioned to explore the commitments made in Improving Lives. This includes:

  • Investigating the acceptability of different healthcare professionals issuing fit notes amongst different audiences
  • Understanding the provision of occupational health and work-related musculoskeletal services
  • Employment Advisers in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies: Evaluation
  • Self-employment for people with disabilities and health conditions
  • Private providers of occupational health services
  • Employers’ motivations and practices: A study of the use of Occupational Health Services
  • Sickness absence and health in the workplace: understanding employer behaviour and practice
  • Innovation and knowledge development amongst providers of occupational health
  • International comparison of occupational health systems and provisions
  • Group Work/JOBS II: Process Evaluation
  • Group Work/JOBS II: Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Health-led Employment Trial Evaluation
  • The work aspirations and support needs of claimants in the ESA Support Group and Universal Credit equivalent

The following reports have been published on gov.uk:

  • Exploring perceptions and attitudes towards the extension of fit note certification (August 2020)
  • Understanding the provision of occupational health and work-related musculoskeletal services (May 2020)
  • Employment Advisers in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies: process evaluation report (July 2019)
  • The work aspirations and support needs of claimants in the ESA Support Group and Universal Credit equivalent (February 2020)
  • Sickness absence and health in the workplace: employer behaviour and practice. An interim summary report (June 2019)
  • Self-employment for people with disabilities and health conditions (May 2019)
  • Private providers of occupational health services: interim report (April 2019)
  • Employers’ motivations and practices: A study of the use of Occupational Health Services (April 2019)

Publication dates are not confirmed for the remainder of commissioned projects.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 28 September 2020 to Question 93723 on Pension Credit, what the comparative rate of successful applications was (a) during the course of the Pension Credit awareness raising campaign and (b) in 2019.

The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost to the department.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 28 September 2020 to Question 93723, what comparative assessment she has made of the rate of successful applications for pension credit made through the (a) new online application service and (b) telephone service.

The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost to the department.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will review the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 to strengthen the provisions protecting mental health within existing legislation and enshrine parity of esteem for mental health in law.

I refer the hon. Member to my previous response to question 53549.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) pension credit claims and (b) successful pension credit claims there were in each of the last 12 months for which data is available.

The number of Pension Credit Claims Received in the last 12 months is shown in table below.

We do not hold the information requested in part (b) of your question.

Aug-19

Sep-19

Oct-19

Nov-19

Dec-19

Jan-20

Feb-20

Mar-20

Apr-20

May-20

Jun-20

Jul-20

Pension Credit Claims Received

7487

7873

10645

8318

6615

8540

9574

12557

9567

8613

9004

17087

Source: DWP internal data

Please note that the data supplied is derived from unpublished management information which was collected for internal Departmental use only and has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. The data should therefore be treated with caution.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to remove barriers to disabled people returning to work after the covid-19 outbreak.

Recognising the challenges Covid-19 may present, DWP has introduced a number of measures to support disabled people whether they are working from home, or returning to work at their workplaces.

The Access to Work offers disabled people practical in-work support above the level of statutory reasonable adjustments, including a discretionary grant of up to £60,700 per year. The scheme’s new Blended Offer complements support provided by employers and contains a flexible mix of support, including support to work from more than one location, a package of home working support which can be blended with workplace support, mental health support for people returning to work after a period of furlough or shielding, travel-to-work support where the individual’s disability means social distancing on public transport is too risky and the prioritisation of applications from disabled people in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Group.

During the pandemic Access to Work introduced a number of measures to enable disabled people to move into or retain employment, the measures included:

  • Transporting assistive technology from the workplace to the home environment to support home working and, where this is not possible, AtW will work with the disabled person and their employer to consider new adjustments to support adaptations to standard equipment.
  • Extending timeframes for receiving claims for payments
  • Accepting email claim forms and employer/support signatures via email so customers can shield.
  • Delivering assessments through virtual means to further protect customers.
  • Accepting email claim forms from customers who request this as a reasonable adjustment;
  • Extending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end by 6 months;
  • Prioritising new applications from key workers and those with jobs starting within the next 4 weeks.

Disabled people who have lost their job and require more intensive employment support still have access to both the Work and Health Programme and Intensive Personalised Employment Support. Providers are making use of digital channels to provide one to one support, including regular health and wellbeing conversations with our most vulnerable claimants.

In addition, Disability Confident provides employers with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to attract, recruit, retain and develop disabled people in the workplace

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the Government plans to publish its National Strategy for Disabled People.

Due to Covid 19 impacts, a slower timetable for publication of the National Strategy for Disabled People is inevitable. This is to ensure that we are able to meaningfully engage with stakeholders and strengthen our evidence base to deliver the ambitious strategy that the Prime Minister has called for. We are aiming to publish in Spring 2021.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing the level of the state pension as a result of the financial difficulties faced by pensioners during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government remains committed to providing dignity and security in retirement to all pensioners. In April 2020, full amounts of the basic and new State Pensions increased by 3.9%, in line with average earnings growth. This was the highest increase since 2012.

The full yearly amount of the basic State Pension is worth around £700 more in 2020/21 than if it had been uprated by earnings since 2010. That is over £1,900 in cash terms.

Pension Credit provides a safety net for people of State Pension age most in need. It provides a top up for people with a weekly income below £173.75 (for single people) or £265.20 (for couples). On 6th May we introduced an online claim process for Pension Credit in addition to the existing ways of claiming by telephone and by post, making it quicker and easier for people to apply.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has had discussions with children’s organisations on a potential increase in the child element of universal credit and child tax credit; and if she will make a statement.

The child element of universal credit and child tax credit have recently increased as part of the annual uprating of benefits.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people claiming universal credit since the start of the covid-19 outbreak will receive the child element of that benefit.

Between March 16th and March 29th, 180,000 open claims (26% of open claims) received the Child Element in their first assessment period.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that there is no increase in levels of child poverty as a result of the economic effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government committed to supporting everyone through this emergency and has announced an unprecedented programme of support to mitigate the strain that Covid-19 is putting on households, livelihoods, businesses and our nation’s economy. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, both of which are helping to protect people’s livelihoods.

We have also taken steps to strengthen our safety net welfare system, which will provide over £6.5bn of additional support. Measures include:

  • Increasing Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by over £1,000 a year for this financial year, benefiting over 4 million households.
  • Increasing Local Housing Allowance rates - putting an average of £600 into people’s pockets.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to monitor the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on its goal of supporting one million more disabled people into work.

The Government is committed to reducing the disability employment gap and seeing one million more disabled people in work between 2017 and 2027. We continue to monitor employment of disabled people using the quarterly Labour Force Survey along with other relevant sources. Collection of this information is happening now but there will be a period until data needed to robustly assess the effects of the covid-19 outbreak on disabled people’s employment is available.

Labour Force Survey statistics for the first quarter of 2020, will be reported by the Office for National Statistics on 19 May 2020, covering the very start of the covid-19 outbreak in March. Statistics for the second quarter of 2020 will be available in August.

The Office for National Statistics is producing a range of wider information about the social and economic impacts of covid-19 such as the Business Impact of Coronavirus (BIC) survey. Statistics from the ONS Omnibus survey for 3 April 2020 to 13 April 2020 show that a lower proportion of disabled people than non-disabled people were worried about aspects of work and household finances.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential economic merits of granting 1950s-born women who are not eligible for universal credit but would otherwise be eligible for pension credit, early access to pension credit in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a range of issues.

The Government has already introduced a number of measures to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and is committed to providing financial support for people at every stage of their life, including when they near or reach retirement. It is important to stress that the welfare system will continue to provide support to men and women who unable to work or those who are on a low income but who are not eligible to pensioner benefits because of their age.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of relaxing the savings rules that determine eligibility for and support from universal credit during the covid-19 outbreak in circumstances where the applicant can demonstrate those funds are required for pending tax bills.

A key principle of UC is that it supports people who do not have assets available to meet their basic needs. While it is important to protect the incentive to save for claimants on low earnings, people with substantial capital can take responsibility for their own support. This is to ensure that we can maintain our focus on getting money to citizens who need it and safeguarding the most vulnerable.

If capital exceeds £16,000 there will be no entitlement to UC, unless the capital can be disregarded, for example personal injury compensation payments. Capital above £6,000 will reduce the amount of UC paid by £4.35 per month for every £250 of capital or part thereof.

If someone has money in their account that is to be used for business purposes, for example for paying tax, it will not be counted towards their capital, but they may be asked to prove that the money is for business purposes. People should make clear in their application the savings that are business assets, and note it in their online journal.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of upfront childcare costs under the childcare element of universal credit on maternal employment rates.

The Department has not made an assessment of the effect of upfront childcare costs on maternal employment rates and it would require disproportionate costs to do so.

The Government recognises that high childcare costs can affect parents’ decisions to take up paid work or increase their working hours. Working families claiming Universal Credit can therefore reclaim up to 85 per cent of their eligible childcare costs each month up to £646.35 for one child and £1,108.04 for two or more children. Eligible claimants can also get help from the Flexible Support Fund with initial up-front fees and advance costs as they move into work. Alternatively, help with upfront costs may also be available through Budgeting Advances.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many couples had a claimant who was receiving a carer element as part of universal credit between (a) May and August 2019 and (b) September and December 2019.

The available information on the number of households with a carer entitlement on Universal Credit is published 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

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people received support for upfront childcare costs under the Flexible Support Fund in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of that Fund was used for childcare in that period.

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

In response to the WPSC inquiry on childcare in June 2019 we committed to publish a breakdown of flexible support funds spent on upfront childcare costs at the end of the financial year once accounts audited.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many pensioners have been required to make a claim for universal credit rather than pension credit due to the fact that their partner did not reach pension age between September and December 2019.

From September 2019 to December 2019, there were 2,200 new claims to Universal Credit where one member of the couple was above State Pension age and the other below.

This change in the way support is provided to couples where one partner is below State Pension age will ensure that the same incentives to work and save for retirement apply to the younger partner as apply to other people of the same age. Unlike Pension Credit, which in most cases allows couple to retain only £10 a week of earned income, Universal Credit provides clear incentives for people to find and progress in work.

The younger partner in a mixed-age couple claiming Universal Credit will get the personalised support provided by Work Coaches to help them find and progress in work where appropriate. If the younger partner is unable to work because of disability or caring requirements, additional amounts may be payable and conditionality requirements adjusted. No work-related requirements will be applied to the older partner.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure safe and timely access to state pensions for older adults during the covid-19 outbreak.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy for Jobcentre Plus staff to receive adequate training on autism.

Training and guidance is provided for working with different vulnerable groups, including customers with Autistic Spectrum Conditions. Support is also provided by Disability Employment Advisers and Work Psychologists. Work Coaches can refer individuals to personalised provision and support such as the Work and Health Programme (available in England and Wales) or Fair Start Scotland (devolved programme available Scotland).

We are continuing to build on local initiatives in Jobcentre Plus, to ensure that we deliver a consistently supportive service across the country. For example:

• As part of Autism Awareness Week in April 2019, we introduced short ‘Bitesize’ Autism Awareness Learning for work coaches and promoted Calm and Quiet Sessions across the network

• North London District developed and organised Calm and Quiet sessions, including a toolkit for organising these elsewhere. This is being promoted across the Jobcentre network. The extension of service hours, from March 2020, will give more opportunities to run calm and quiet sessions and to schedule appointments at less busy times.

Through a contract with Autism Alliance DWP has:

• Developed the Disability Confident Autism and Neurodiversity Toolkit to help staff from all Government Departments to understand how to support people with Autism and associated Neuro-Diverse conditions. The toolkit was launched in April 2017.

• Developed the Disability Passport ‘About Me’, to encourage disabled claimants, including individuals with Autism, to disclose their disability/ health conditions at the earliest stage to their Adviser, to improve communication and ensure reasonable adjustments are put in place. The passport was launched in March 2017.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to encourage (a) managers and (b) employees to undertake autism awareness training in the workplace.

Through the Disability Confident scheme, DWP is engaging with employers and helping to promote the skills, talents and abilities of people with disabilities, including people with autism. Through the scheme, DWP is providing advice and support to help employers feel more confident about employing disabled people, by signposting them to appropriate advice guidance and support. As of 31 December 2019, 15,832 employers have signed up. A Disability Confident Toolkit has been developed to provide employers with comprehensive information on autism and hidden impairments, as well as guidance on employment and local authority services. This Toolkit is hosted on the Autism Alliance website:

https://www.autismandneurodiversitytoolkit.org/

Access to Work has staff with a specialist knowledge of autism and offers customers and employers tailored packages of support and advice.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to help support people with autistic spectrum disorder in making job applications.

Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches provide personalised support to people to find jobs and move towards work, including individuals with Autistic Spectrum Conditions.

Training and guidance is provided for working with different vulnerable groups, including customers with Autistic Spectrum Conditions. Support is also provided by Disability Employment Advisers and Work Psychologists. Work Coaches can refer individuals to personalised provision and support such as the Work and Health Programme (available in England and Wales) or Fair Start Scotland (devolved programme available Scotland).

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent comparative assessment she has made of the potential benefits to (a) workers, (b) employers and (c) the NHS of providing workers who have physical and mental health conditions with (i) early access to free clinical support and (ii) 28 consecutive days of absence.

The government is exploring a range of policy options aiming to reduce ill-health related job loss. The consultation ‘Health is Everyone’s Business: Proposals to Reduce Ill Health-related Job Loss’ closed in October 2019.

It set out proposals to boost Government support available to employers to support employees who are managing health conditions in work and to manage sickness absence more effectively. It included proposals to encourage employers to take early, sustained and proportionate steps to support a sick employee to return to work, reform Statutory Sick Pay, improve occupational health availability and improve the provision of advice and support for employers. We have received a good response from a range of stakeholders, which we are reviewing.

We know that being in the right work is good for health and that being out of work can have a detrimental effect on health. In addition to working with employers to help individuals get the support they need, at the right time, to return to work, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for up to 28 weeks to employees needing to take time off to recover from short-term illness.

There is limited evidence to suggest that making the tax treatment more generous is the most effective way of incentivising more employers to offer occupational health provision, if the initial cost of provision is the main barrier for them.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on making (a) early intervention mental health support and (b) physiotherapy provided by employers non-taxable benefits-in-kind.

The government is exploring a range of policy options aiming to reduce ill-health related job loss. The consultation ‘Health is Everyone’s Business: Proposals to Reduce Ill Health-related Job Loss’ closed in October 2019.

It set out proposals to boost Government support available to employers to support employees who are managing health conditions in work and to manage sickness absence more effectively. It included proposals to encourage employers to take early, sustained and proportionate steps to support a sick employee to return to work, reform Statutory Sick Pay, improve occupational health availability and improve the provision of advice and support for employers. We have received a good response from a range of stakeholders, which we are reviewing.

We know that being in the right work is good for health and that being out of work can have a detrimental effect on health. In addition to working with employers to help individuals get the support they need, at the right time, to return to work, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for up to 28 weeks to employees needing to take time off to recover from short-term illness.

There is limited evidence to suggest that making the tax treatment more generous is the most effective way of incentivising more employers to offer occupational health provision, if the initial cost of provision is the main barrier for them.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what stage her discussions have reached with the Office for National Statistics on including the number of autistic people in work as a recordable characteristic in the labour force survey; and when that recordable characteristic will be included in that survey.

Following testing in late 2019, the Office for National Statistics has added a measure of autism to the Labour Force Survey questionnaire for interviews carried out from January 2020 onwards and I welcome this development. In time, this will give us a better understanding of the employment status for many people with autism as a long standing health condition. It is anticipated that early data will be available from May 2020, however, numbers are likely to be low to start with and it may be longer before numbers are high enough to support further analysis of the data.

12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to ensure that dedicated maternity wards in the NHS are available for mothers who have experienced a miscarriage.

We have no plans to do so.

We expect National Health Service trusts to have due regard to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s Quality Standard ‘Ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage’, which sets out that women with a suspected miscarriage should be referred to an early pregnancy assessment service for diagnosis and management based on an initial clinical assessment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Office for Health Promotion will be fully operational during the course of the 2021-22 parliamentary session.

The Office for Health Promotion will be fully established in autumn 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle the deterioration in symptoms experienced by people with dementia as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have made guidance available to address the rehabilitation needs of people living with dementia, including the ‘Dementia wellbeing in the COVID-10 pandemic’ resource which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/dementia-wellbeing-in-the-covid-19-pandemic/

We have also commissioned research through the National Institute for Health Research on how to manage or mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia and their carers living in the community. Summary leaflets were produced for people with dementia and their carers which are available at the following link:

http://www.idealproject.org.uk/covid/

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to introduce a rehabilitation strategy for people with (a) dementia and (b) other long-term health conditions as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

There are currently no plans to introduce a specific rehabilitation strategy for people with dementia and long-term conditions.

Guidance is provided to clinical commissioning groups to support them in commissioning rehabilitation services for their local population. The guidance covers the scope and components of good quality rehabilitation and how to compare rehabilitation services locally, regionally and nationally. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s resource ‘Dementia wellbeing in the COVID-19 pandemic’ which includes specific considerations for rehabilitation.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the findings and recommendations of the paper entitled, Moving forward stronger: Addressing deterioration in people with long-term conditions during the pandemic, by the Alzheimer’s Society et al, published in June 2021.

The Government welcomes the Alzheimer’s Society paper Moving forward stronger, and will consider the findings and recommendations carefully.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's Family Hubs: Growing up Well project, what role the Office for Health Promotion will play in the (a) siting of, (b) access to and (c) audit of family hubs.

The Department is working with the Department for Education and other Government departments on the development of Family Hubs as part of the Growing Up Well project. We will present more detail on our plans and ambitions for the Office for Health Promotion in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding the Government has allocated to eating disorder services for children and young people in each of the last five years.

This information is not collected centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) projected future demand for clinical palliative care services and (b) funding implications of that matter.

The Government recognises the importance of palliative and end of life care services, including hospices. The hospice sector has played a vital role in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic and received up to £280 million of additional funding from March 2020 to March 2021.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement proactively engage with the whole sector to understand the issues they face. Most hospices are independent, charitable organisations that receive some statutory funding, mainly from clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for providing local services. CCGs will have an understanding of future demand and associated funding requirements. There are seven regional Palliative and End of Life Care Strategic Clinical Networks working closely with CCGs and integrated care systems to understand the needs, sustainability and future commissioning of palliative and end of life care services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of his Department’s ability to meet the Government’s 2024 target of a 50 per cent reduction in inpatient beds for people with a learning disability and/or autism.

As of the end of April 2021, there were 2,040 people with a learning disability and autistic people in specialist-in patient settings. This is a net reduction of 30% on the inpatient number in March 2015. The Building the right support Delivery Board has been established to drive further progress in reducing the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people in specialist in patient settings. The Board is monitoring progress and can commission any work considered necessary to ensure the target is met.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of how the recommendations of the Hospital Food Review can support improvements in nutritional care in social care and community settings.

No such assessment has been made.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014: Regulation 14 is in place to ensure that people who use care services have adequate nutrition and hydration. Registered care providers must assess people’s nutritional needs and food, including prescribed nutritional supplements and/or parenteral nutrition, must be provided to meet those needs.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many autism services provide post-diagnostic support; and how many people have an autism spectrum condition diagnosis in their medical records.

The information requested about the number of autism services providing post-diagnostic services is not held centrally.

Comprehensive data is not currently available on how many people have an autism diagnosis in their medical records.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to ensure that brain tumour patients have equality of access to 5-ALA across all health boards.

In May 2019, the Government announced that the fluorescent dye 5-AminoLevulinic Acid (5-ALA) was being used in all 27 neurological units in the National Health Service in England, in accordance with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidelines. Each of England’s neurosurgical units is expected to have an average of around 55 patients requiring 5-ALA per year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of current levels of statutory funding for palliative care services provided by independent hospices in meeting projected future demand for those services.

The Government recognises the importance of palliative and end of life care services, including hospices. The hospice sector has played a vital role in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic and received up to £280 million of additional funding from March 2020 to March 2021.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement proactively engage with the whole sector to understand the issues they face. Most hospices are independent, charitable organisations that receive some statutory funding, mainly from clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for providing local services. CCGs will have an understanding of future demand and associated funding requirements. There are seven regional Palliative and End of Life Care Strategic Clinical Networks working closely with CCGs and integrated care systems to understand the needs, sustainability and future commissioning of palliative and end of life care services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish details of additional funding that has been allocated by the Government to support brain tumour (a) research and (b) treatment following the outbreak of covid-19.

No specific funding has been allocated by the Government to support brain tumour research following the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Government has provided an additional £3 billion to support the National Health Service’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19, including treatment for cancer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's press release of 29 March 2021, how the Office for Health Promotion will work across government to promote the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people; and if he will make a statement.

The Office for Health Promotion will work to promote and improve health, including a particular focus on improving the health of children across the Department, the health system, national and local government and wider partners to drive and support action on mental and physical wellbeing. We will present more detail on our plans for the Office for Health Promotion in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make a statement on the role that the new Office for Health Promotion will play in the provision of mental and emotional support services for children and young people within (a) school, (b) community and (c) clinical settings.

The Office for Health Promotion (OHP) will bring health improvement focused expert advice, analysis and evidence together with policy development and delivery from across Public Health England and the Department, including a particular focus on improving the health of children. We will provide more detail on plans for the OHP in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 29 April 2021 to Question 184486 on Functional Neurological Disorder, what plans he has to ensure consistent coding and recording among clinical commissioning groups and Health Boards of Functional Neurological Disorder through a nationally agreed data code and definition.

There are currently no specific plans to do so. The Department is currently funding research projects into functional neurological disorder through the National Institute for Health Research, which will improve understanding of the condition.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will use the digitisation of the red book from April 2023 to improve data collection on babies and children with (a) cerebral palsy and (b) other neuro disabilities.

The Personal Child Health Record is constantly under review, overseen by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. NHS England has advised that there are currently no plans to establish a national register of children with cerebral palsy. NHS England and NHS Improvement will be meeting in due course to consider the recommendations to improve early detection and treatment pathways for cerebral palsy set out in the report, ‘Early identification, intervention and pathways of care of infants and young children with cerebral palsy: The case for reform and investment’, published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cerebral Palsy in March 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how he plans to use the Government’s response to the Early years’ healthy development review consultation to help improve health outcomes for children with (a) cerebral palsy and (b) other neuro disabilities.

NHS England and NHS Improvement will be meeting in due course to consider the recommendations to improve early detection and treatment pathways for cerebral palsy set out in the report.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will use the digitization of the red book to facilitate the creation of a national cerebral palsy register by April 2023.

The Personal Child Health Record is constantly under review, overseen by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. NHS England has advised that there are currently no plans to establish a national register of children with cerebral palsy. NHS England and NHS Improvement will be meeting in due course to consider the recommendations to improve early detection and treatment pathways for cerebral palsy set out in the report, ‘Early identification, intervention and pathways of care of infants and young children with cerebral palsy: The case for reform and investment’, published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cerebral Palsy in March 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the collection of data on the number of patients who are diagnosed with functional neurological disorder within the NHS.

People with functional neurological disorder (FND) are likely to be diagnosed under a local clinical commissioning group care pathway and therefore any data would only be collected a local level. There are presently no specific plans to further ensure the collection of data on the number of patients with FND.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made in the NHS Long Term Plan to achieve a tenfold increase in the proportion of stroke patients who receive a thrombectomy by 2022.

The implementation of thrombectomy is part of a multi-year development programme to establish thrombectomy services across England. Thrombectomy is available in 22 centres, with another two non-neuroscience centres currently under development. There additional plans to increase the number of operators able to perform thrombectomy. Due to training requirements this is currently restricted to Interventional Neuroradiologists in England. Over the past two years there has been work undertaken with the General Medical Council to develop a credentialing programme which would enable acceleration of training to a wider cohort of medical professions such as radiologists, interventional cardiologists and neurosurgeons.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is working with the providers of discount schemes for the health service and carer workforce to ensure that all eligible staff are able participate in those schemes.

The Department does not currently work directly with providers of discount schemes. However, individual employers are free to develop their local reward offer through discount schemes with providers of their choice.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding in the report published in December 2020 by NHS Digital, entitled Health Survey for England 2019 Eating Disorders, that 16 per cent of adults screened positive for a possible eating disorder, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce waiting lists for adult eating disorders services and (b) ensure that provision of those services is prioritised following the covid-19 outbreak.

In 2021/22 the National Health Service will receive an additional £500 million to help to address the impacts of COVID-19, which will support people with a variety of mental health conditions, including eating disorders. This includes programmes to address waiting times for mental health services. As part of this funding, £58 million will be allocated to bring forward the expansion of integrated primary and secondary care for adults with severe mental illness, including eating disorders. As part of this, a four-week waiting time standard for adult community mental health services, including eating disorder services, is being piloted and considered as part of the clinically led review of NHS access standards.

In addition, NHS England has announced additional early intervention services for young people aged 16-25 years old with eating disorders in 18 areas across the country, so young adults seeking support could be contacted within 48 hours and begin treatment within two weeks.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to use the recently announced £79 million in funding for mental health support for children and young people to meet the needs of disabled children and their families.

No funding has been specifically allocated to support the mental health needs of disabled children and their families.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding of the report by the Disabled Children’s Partnership, entitled The longest lockdown, that three in 10 of families with disabled children felt their child had depression as a result of delays to routine health appointments during the covid-19 outbreak, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the effect of that outbreak on disabled children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

On 23 November 2020 we published a Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Plan for COVID-19, setting out the steps we have taken to strengthen the support available during the pandemic, including for disabled children. On 5 March 2021, we announced that £79 million, will be used to significantly expand mental health services for children, including disabled children. This additional funding will allow around 22,500 more children and young people to access community health services and enable a faster increase in the coverage of mental health support teams in schools and colleges over the next financial year. Additionally, NHS England and NHS Improvement have been clear that services for disabled children with an Education, Health and Care plan should be fully restored.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding plans he has to ensure an adequate number of nurses are in place to deliver the targets for cancer set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The National Health Service in England is continuing to increase the Cancer Nurse Specialist (CNS) workforce. Health Education England is offering training grants for 350 nurses to become CNS and chemotherapy nurses. The NHS People Plan also commits to extending cancer support-worker training which will further increase the capacity of CNS already in post.

The Spending Review 2020 will also provide £260 million to continue to increase the NHS workforce and support commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan. Full details on funding allocations in 2021-22, including for the NHS cancer workforce and cancer diagnostics, will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the risk of co-occurring conditions such as substance misuse and mental health issues in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

No specific assessment has been made. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline ‘Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: diagnosis and management’, which was last updated in September 2019, does identify the risk of co-occurring conditions in adults with ADHD. This includes substance misuse and mental health issues. The guidance highlights the recognition of co-occurring conditions as an important factor in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. We expect clinical commissioning groups to take account of clinical guidelines published by NICE when commissioning services for their local populations.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that parents receive timely mental health and wellbeing support in the event that their baby has been admitted to a neonatal unit during the ​covid-19 outbreak.

We are taking steps to protect the mental health of parents during the perinatal period, including ensuring parents are able to visit and be involved in their child’s care as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NHS Long Term Plan includes new measures to improve safety, quality and continuity of care and a commitment for a further 24,000 women to be able to access specialist perinatal mental health care by 2023/24. This care will also be available from preconception to 24 months after birth, which will provide an extra year of support. Partners of women accessing specialist care will be able to access an assessment for their mental health and signposting to support as required.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding of the recent Mind the Income Gap report by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute that people with mental health problems median income is 68 per cent of that of people without those conditions, what steps he is taking to tackle that income gap.

We recognise the important link between money and mental health and we are working to improve the financial security of those living with mental illness. A cross-Government group of Ministers was convened to consider the impact of the pandemic on mental health and wellbeing and we will be bringing our plans forward in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has consulted with clinicians, dieticians and relevant organisations on the nutritional needs of patients with covid-19.

Public Health England, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published a rapid guideline on vitamin D and COVID-19 in December 2020. The guideline development process included consultation with key stakeholder groups such as the Royal Colleges, the Nutrition Society and the British Dietetic Association. The rapid guideline on vitamin D and COVID-19, which considers both prevention and treatment, is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng187

In June 2020, the SACN published a scoping exercise on nutrition and immune function in relation to COVID-19. This scoping exercise may be updated or a more formal assessment undertaken, if robust evidence becomes available. The scoping paper is available at the following link:

https://app.box.com/s/ivrivaemf7fgeo9a17xdmv167c4uvteu/file/683666967452

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will enable (a) the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE), (b) local authorities and (c) GPs to recommend people with complex disabilities and their family carers to the covid-19 vaccine prioritisation list.

There are no plans to do so.

Based on current evidence, complex disabilities are not considered by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to mean an automatically increased risk for serious outcomes from COVID-19. However, many people with complex disabilities will have other conditions which mean they do meet the criteria for either priority group four for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or priority group six for those who have underlying conditions which create a heightened risk. Anyone in either of those groups or who are aged 50 years old or over have now been offered vaccination.

Adult carers, defined as those aged 16 years old or over, are being prioritised for vaccination alongside priority group six. This includes unpaid and family carers. Criteria include eligibility for a carer’s allowance, being the sole or primary carer for an elderly person or person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that disabled children who are at home are able to receive (a) physiotherapy, (b) respite care and (c) other required therapies.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s guidance ‘COVID-19 restoration of community health services for children and young people: second phase of NHS response in the community health restoration’ makes clear that community services, such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, must be prioritised for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25 years and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or who are going through an assessment for one. With respect to access to respite care, we have encouraged local authorities to adopt a flexible approach where possible, to ensure that as many families as possible can continue to access these services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of offering holistic support packages to secondary breast cancer patients in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets a clear ambition that where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer, including those with secondary cancers, should have access to personalised care by 2021, which is based on a holistic needs assessment.

The latest available data from December 2019 show that 94% of trusts offered personalised care and support planning for breast cancer patients.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 restrictions announced in January 2021 on the backlog of cancer treatments; and what estimate he has made of the number of patients that (a) have missed and (b) had delays to diagnosis and treatment in respect of (a) cancer surgery, (b) chemotherapy, (c) radiotherapy and (d) follow up.

Data for referral numbers and those starting treatment for cancer in January 2021 will be published shortly.

The Government has taken a number of steps to ensure people can continue to access high-quality cancer care throughout the pandemic. For example, there are 53 live regional diagnostic centre pathways across hospitals in England, compared to 12 in March 2020. In October, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England launched the latest Help Us Help You campaign to urge people with potential symptoms of cancer to see their general practitioner.

Additionally, COVID-19 protected hubs for cancer surgery have been established to keep vulnerable cancer patients safe. This particularly protects cancer patients from immunocompromised infection. All 21 Cancer Alliances across England have arrangements in place for surgical cancer hubs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to prioritise front-line workers in the justice sector for covid-19 vaccination.

Workers in the justice sector who are eligible for a vaccine, because of their age or other clinical factors such as underlying health conditions, will have access to a vaccine in the first phase.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has now published their interim advice for phase two, their advice states that the best way to achieve this objective is to continue prioritising people for vaccinations by age based on risk but also as this will enable the most rapid deployment across the population.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to promote the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities during the covid-19 outbreak through (a) accessible communications and (b) ensuring the provision of reasonable adjustments.

Access to annual health checks for people with a learning disability remains a key priority for the National Health Service in England during and beyond COVID-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have co-produced a range of accessible resources relating to COVID-19 for people with a learning disability, autistic people and their families. Resources include easy read documents, information leaflets and films.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked to support the use of reasonable adjustments in the vaccination programme. This has included providing a range of training resources for vaccination teams on communicating with people with a learning disability and autistic people and making reasonable adjustments to the way vaccines are delivered.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the cross-departmental strategy to move people with a learning disability and/or autism out of assessment and treatment units.

The latest NHS Digital Assuring Transformation data, there has been a 29% reduction in the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people in specialist in-patient settings in England since March 2015.

We have established a new Building the right support Delivery Board to oversee implementation of the Building the right support national plan. The Board brings together representatives from Government departments, local government and other organisations with responsibilities for elements of the plan.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 November 2020 to Question 115555, on Mental Health Services: Mothers, whether those specialist care services are also provided to women during consultations on abortion.

Guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists sets out that healthcare staff caring for women requesting abortion should identify those who require more support in the decision-making process and pathways to additional support, including counselling and social services.

Abortions provided by independent sector abortion providers must meet the Required Standard Operating Procedures (RSOPs) set out in the Department’s Procedures for the Approval of Independent Sector Places for the Termination of Pregnancy (Abortion).

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to guidance published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and the Society and College of Radiographers that emphasises the need to discuss the results of prenatal testing for Down's syndrome in a 'non-directive' manner, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that that guidance is being followed.

The Department expects clinicians to take note of the consensus statement published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and the Society of Radiographers on pregnancy screening.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are currently reviewing their clinical guidelines on non-invasive prenatal testing and guidance for the care of women through antenatal screening and further diagnostic testing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of pausing treatment as a result of the covid-19 pandemic on the outcomes of patients suffering from metastatic breast cancer.

No assessment has yet been made. The full extent of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the outcomes of patients will not be known until the data is fully available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mental health support resources he will make available to (a) patients suffering from secondary breast cancer and (b) patient groups advocating on their behalf.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets a clear ambition that where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer, including those with secondary breast cancer, should have access to personalised care to ensure people’s social, emotional, physical and practical needs are identified and addressed at the earliest opportunity. Over the next five years, Cancer Alliances will be embedding personalised care interventions, which will identify and address the changing needs of cancer patients from diagnosis onwards.

Many Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services have strong links with a range of health and care settings and the patient groups within them. These IAPT services will share informational materials with patient groups to educate and signpost towards IAPT.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to exempt healthy snacks from restrictions proposed by his Department on the promotion of confectionery products.

In December 2020 we published our response to the 2019 consultation on restricting promotions of products that are high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) by location and price. The response confirmed the categories in scope of the restrictions and that the 2004/05 Nutrient Profiling Model will be used to define whether a product in these categories is HFSS.

The Nutrient Profiling Model uses a simple scoring system where points allocated for ‘C’ nutrients (fruit, vegetables and nut content, fibre and protein) are subtracted from ‘A’ nutrients (energy, saturated fat, total sugar and sodium). Foods scoring four or more points, and drinks scoring one or more points, are classified as ‘less healthy’ and will be subject to the restrictions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his long-term strategy to tackle the 30,000 missing diagnoses outlined in the Government’s Cancer Services Recovery Plan beyond March 2021.

Significant work has gone into encouraging people to come forward with the aim of restoring demand to at least pre-pandemic levels through running major public awareness campaigns, ensuring efficient routes into the National Health Service for people at risk of cancer, including through supporting restoration of screening programmes and by improving referral management practice in primary and secondary care.

After March, local systems will be expected to carry out local plans formed as part of the Cancer Services Recovery Plan and carry on with the progress that has already been made. The NHS Long Term Plan ambitions and actions for cancer remain the ultimate goal – to diagnose 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2 and for 55,000 more people to survive five years or more by 2028.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of NIHR processes in progressing research into brain tumours; and if he will make a statement.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including brain tumours. As with other Government funders of health research, the NIHR does not allocate funding for specific disease areas. The level of research spend in a particular area, is driven by factors including scientific potential and the number and scale of successful funding applications.

In May 2018 the Government announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission through the NIHR. The NIHR released a public announcement to the research community in April 2018, making clear our desire to receive brain tumour research funding applications. We are relying on researchers to submit high-quality research proposals in this very difficult area.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients have been diagnosed with malnutrition on admission to hospital since December 2019.

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) database indicates that there were 701 finished admission episodes (FAEs) with a primary diagnosis of malnutrition and 7,966 FAEs with a secondary diagnosis between December 2019 and October 2020 which is the latest data available.

However, it should be noted that HES data is based on a count of hospital episodes rather than numbers of patients, one patient may account for more than one hospital episode. Additionally, data from April 2020 onwards is provisional at this time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect of poor nutritional status on mortality rates for covid-19.

In 2020, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) conducted a rapid scoping exercise on nutrition and immune function in relation to COVID-19 and found a lack of robust evidence at this current time to suggest that specific nutrients or supplements can prevent individuals from catching COVID-19 or mitigate its effects. Their report is available at the following link:

https://app.box.com/s/36j0gn01npxfjigjmzogyomysd17l3hq

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Public Health England and the SACN are continuing to monitor evidence as it is published.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November to Question 105411, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of breast cancer recurrences recorded in the Cancer Services and Outcomes Dataset.

Public Health England has been sharing provider-level data on the completeness of recurrence reporting with individual National Health Service trusts since July 2016. This is accepted as being significantly below the estimated number of secondary breast cancers. The latest data with figures covering 2014 to 2018 was published in November 2020 and are available at the following link:

http://www.ncin.org.uk/cancer_type_and_topic_specific_work/topic_specific_work/recurrence

Since 2019, the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) has discussed recording of recurrence data with Breast Cancer Now, formerly Breast Cancer Care, Cancer52, Pancreatic Cancer UK, National Audit of Breast Cancer in Older People National Bowel Cancer Audit Macmillan, Cancer Research UK and the developers of the NHS England Cancer Waits Dataset.

NCRAS works closely with cancer service managers at hospital trusts to determine sources of data which can be used to complete the Cancer Services and Outcomes Dataset (COSD) items. The NCRAS Data Liaison team provide direct support to hospital providers to improve their ability to collect data. This includes system procurement support, review of COSD data, clinical engagement and data reporting and validation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November to Question 105411, what charities the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service has met and (b) when have those meetings took place.

Public Health England has been sharing provider-level data on the completeness of recurrence reporting with individual National Health Service trusts since July 2016. This is accepted as being significantly below the estimated number of secondary breast cancers. The latest data with figures covering 2014 to 2018 was published in November 2020 and are available at the following link:

http://www.ncin.org.uk/cancer_type_and_topic_specific_work/topic_specific_work/recurrence

Since 2019, the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) has discussed recording of recurrence data with Breast Cancer Now, formerly Breast Cancer Care, Cancer52, Pancreatic Cancer UK, National Audit of Breast Cancer in Older People National Bowel Cancer Audit Macmillan, Cancer Research UK and the developers of the NHS England Cancer Waits Dataset.

NCRAS works closely with cancer service managers at hospital trusts to determine sources of data which can be used to complete the Cancer Services and Outcomes Dataset (COSD) items. The NCRAS Data Liaison team provide direct support to hospital providers to improve their ability to collect data. This includes system procurement support, review of COSD data, clinical engagement and data reporting and validation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November to Question 105411, what steps his Department is taking to improve the (a) collection and (b) submission of data on cancer recurrence by hospital trusts.

Public Health England has been sharing provider-level data on the completeness of recurrence reporting with individual National Health Service trusts since July 2016. This is accepted as being significantly below the estimated number of secondary breast cancers. The latest data with figures covering 2014 to 2018 was published in November 2020 and are available at the following link:

http://www.ncin.org.uk/cancer_type_and_topic_specific_work/topic_specific_work/recurrence

Since 2019, the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) has discussed recording of recurrence data with Breast Cancer Now, formerly Breast Cancer Care, Cancer52, Pancreatic Cancer UK, National Audit of Breast Cancer in Older People National Bowel Cancer Audit Macmillan, Cancer Research UK and the developers of the NHS England Cancer Waits Dataset.

NCRAS works closely with cancer service managers at hospital trusts to determine sources of data which can be used to complete the Cancer Services and Outcomes Dataset (COSD) items. The NCRAS Data Liaison team provide direct support to hospital providers to improve their ability to collect data. This includes system procurement support, review of COSD data, clinical engagement and data reporting and validation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 8 December 2020 to Question 84278, whether he plans to allocate ring-fenced funding to assist employers in devising bespoke strategies to help support the mental health and wellbeing of workforces to include the prioritisation of suicide awareness during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

We have no such plans at present. The Department for Work and Pensions will continue to work with the ‘Thriving at Work Leadership Council’ and Mind to promote resources supporting mental health of employees, including resources to reduce the risk of suicide.

The Department of Health and Social Care also funds the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA), which aims to achieve zero suicides across the NHS and in local communities by improved suicide awareness and prevention training. Part of the ZSA’s work includes an online training module to raise awareness of suicide prevention amongst individuals and the workforce of member organisations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding of the most recent Royal College of Anaesthetists census that 39 per cent of consultant anaesthetists are aged over 50, what plans his Department has to (a) train and (b) recruit NHS anaesthetists.

In England, training programmes for anaesthetics had over two applicants per place this year, at both core and specialty training level. There are over 63% more anaesthetic trainees in core programmes since 2010. The anaesthetic workforce overall has increased by almost 23% since 2010, with a 30% increase in the number of consultants.

Health Education England are also supporting the Royal College of Anaesthetists to develop their new anaesthetics curriculum, due to launch in 2021 pending General Medical Council approval. This would see the length of the programme reduced from eight years to seven years, which would more quickly generate a supply of consultant-level anaesthetists.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has in place to ensure people with or at risk of malnutrition who require support from relevant services are not disproportionately affected by the second wave of covid-19.

The new COVID Winter Grant Scheme provides an additional £170 million for local authorities in England, to support families with children and other vulnerable people with the cost of food and essential utilities this winter.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what clinical guidelines his Department has developed on assessing and managing the nutritional needs of patients with covid-19 (a) in hospital and (b) on discharge into the community.

Nutrition assessment tools like the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool are used in hospitals and in the community to assess a person’s individual needs and can be used to develop a care plan.

There are no specific nutritional assessment or nutritional management tools for patients with COVID-19 either in hospital or in the community.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) support patients suffering from long covid after their discharge from hospital and (b) assess and monitor the nutritional status of those patients.

On 7 October, NHS England announced £10 million of investment to establish a network of specialist clinics in England to support people suffering from the persistent effects of COVID-19 or ‘long COVID’.

These specialist clinics will support patients suffering from various symptoms of long covid. Every patient experiencing symptoms will undergo a physical and psychological assessment to help address the problems being faced. Further details on the location of these clinics will be announced shortly.

The National Health Service has also launched ‘Your Covid Recovery’, an online rehabilitation service that provides personalised support to patients for both their physical and mental health. The support offered by this service includes nutritional advice about eating well and the potential benefits of supplements such as vitamin D.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policies of the international response to meeting increased demand in cancer care as a result of treatment delays during the covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement.

No such assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on additional funding in the Comprehensive Spending Review to address the (a) pre-existing shortage of and (b) increased demand for cancer nurse specialists to tackle the covid-19 cancer treatment backlog.

As part of the Spending Review, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Chancellor of the Exchequer have discussed a range of matters. Decisions on future investment in the cancer workforce in England will be subject to the outcome of the current Spending Review which will be announced in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Digital report entitled Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2020 which found that the proportion of children with mental health issues is 50 per cent higher than before the covid-19 outbreak, what steps he plans to take to tackle the mental health needs of children.

National Health Service mental health services have remained open throughout the pandemic and services have deployed digital tools to connect with people and provide ongoing support. NHS England has also asked all mental health trusts to ensure there are 24 hours a day, seven days a week open access telephone lines for urgent NHS mental health support, advice and triage for all ages through a single point of access.

Our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme is providing schools and colleges with the knowledge and access to resources to support children and young people, teachers and parents. On 8 September, Public Health England (PHE) launched a mental wellbeing campaign for children and young people. It expands PHE’s Better Health-Every Mind Matters website with content specifically for children and young people and their parents and carers.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review the proposed spending on mental health services for children set out in the NHS Long Term Plan in response to the findings of the 2020 NHS Digital Report entitled Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2020 that identifies covid-19 and its consequent economic and domestic pressures as causal factors in the 50 per cent increase in mental health problems for children and young people.

We remain committed to continuing our investment in expanding and transforming mental health services in England. That will amount to an additional £2.3 billion of funding a year in mental health services by 2023/24.

We recognise just how important it is that all people, including children and young people, get the support they need with their mental health and have the tools to protect their mental wellbeing. Our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and access to resources they need to support children and young people, teachers and parents.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the mental health needs of bereaved families who have experienced a miscarriage are supported within NHS mental health provision.

Every part of the country has perinatal mental health services in place and we remain committed to improving and expanding these services. By 2023/24, at least 66,000 women in total with moderate to severe perinatal mental health difficulties will have access to specialist perinatal mental health services. The new services will integrate maternity, reproductive health and psychological therapy for women experiencing moderate-severe or complex mental health difficulties directly arising from, or related to, the maternity experience, including perinatal loss.

The national bereavement care pathway brings together information, tools and resources to support the provision of high quality care for women and their families who experience pregnancy or baby loss, as well as linking to online learning for all healthcare professionals and staff who are involved in the care of a woman who experiences perinatal loss. This is available at the following link:

https://nbcpathway.org.uk/

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that GPs are allocated additional funding during a national covid-19 vaccination programme.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have now agreed with the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee in England that the general practice COVID-19 vaccination service will be commissioned in line with agreed national terms and conditions as an enhanced service.

The Item of Service fee will be £12.58 per vaccination. This is 25% more than the current fee for service for an influenza vaccination; recognising the extended requirements around the COVID-19 vaccination. In addition, a £150 million fund is being made available to support expanding general practitioner capacity in England up to the end of March 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with limited access to technology do not experience adverse health consequences due to an increase in online GP appointments as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Digital services do not replace face-to-face care but are an essential additional tool that primary care can use alongside other access routes, such as by telephone and in person, to help ensure patients are receiving the right care as quickly and easily as possible. Patients are still able to book general practitioner appointments via the telephone and through NHS 111, and the service has the same features as available online. In addition, we have developed alternative ways for people to access digital services, such as booking appointments by proxy where a family member or carer has access to the internet.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to prioritise the mental health needs of primary care staff and GPs in a future mental health strategy for frontline workers.

Supporting the mental health of all National Health Service staff is a priority for the Government. In response to COVID-19, NHS England and NHS Improvement, in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners, launched the #LookingAfterYouToo: Coaching Support for Primary Care Staff service. The service provides access to mental health services to all primary care workers employed or contracted to deliver work on behalf of the NHS. A national health and wellbeing support package is also available for NHS staff, including a helpline and text service. The NHS People Plan, published in July, is focused on ensuring staff have the health and wellbeing support they need as we look ahead to winter 2020/21. As part of this offer, the NHS is setting up a first wave of staff mental health hubs providing outreach and assessment services to help frontline staff receive rapid access to mental health services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the correlation between age-standardised mortality rates for covid-19 deaths in England and relative deprivation; and if he will make a statement.

The Office for National Statistics found that the rate of mortality for deaths involving COVID-19 was 2.2 times higher in the most deprived areas than in the least deprived areas in England over the months of March to July.

In an earlier analysis, Public Health England stated that people in deprived areas are more likely to be diagnosed and to have poor outcomes following diagnosis than those in less deprived areas. Poor outcomes remained after adjusting for ethnicity, however further investigation would be needed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the projected reduction in cancer diagnoses in 2020 via GP referral and screening.

No assessments of the full effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on NHS services can be made until the pandemic is over and the data is available in full.

One of the key priorities for cancer services is to restore the number of people coming forward and being referred with suspected cancer, and therefore having diagnostic tests, to at least pre-pandemic levels. By September 2020, the latest data published, urgent referrals were at the same levels in 2019. We are continuing to monitor this and are further encouraging anyone with symptoms to come forward to their general practitioners through our ‘Help Us Help You’ public awareness campaign.

To support this, systems are ensuring sufficient diagnostic capacity in COVID-19 secure environments. Endoscopy capacity is being increased, and the capacity of surgical hubs expanded to meet demand. Specific actions are being put in place to support any groups of patients who might have unequal access to diagnostics and/or treatment, and all cancer screening programmes have restarted routine invitations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to improve access to personalised, evidenced, community-based mental health services as recommended in the National Autistic Society’s Left Stranded report and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism’s The Autism Act, 10 Years On report.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year in mental health services by 2023/24 to support adults and children, including autistic people. This includes a focus on improving access to community mental health services.

We are currently developing a new cross-government all-age autism strategy, which will consider autistic people’s mental health needs. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism’s report informed the strategy’s development, as did the National Autistic Society’s Left Stranded report, which highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on autistic people.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that inquiries into covid-19 inequalities include the impact of that matter on disabled people.

We continue to review all available evidence and have commissioned new research to gain a greater understanding of the specific impact of COVID-19 for disabled people.

The Department has also commissioned research to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the wellbeing and lives of people with learning disabilities. This project is being led by researchers at the University of Warwick and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to bring forward its strategy on transforming care.

Transforming care is a programme of work to reduce the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people who are inpatients in mental health settings.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets the targets on inpatient rates for 2023/24 and Building the Right Support is the national plan to reduce the reliance on inpatient services by developing suitable community alternatives.

We are committed to improving all aspects of care and support for people with a learning disability and autistic people. We are developing a new action plan. The plan brings together work planned or currently underway to deliver the objectives of Building the Right Support in full. This plan, which we intend to publish, will complement the actions in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on financial support available to disabled people and carers in non-registered supported living settings.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the issues facing social care. We are working closely with the Cabinet Office Disability Unit on the development of a National Strategy for Disabled People. The Strategy will take into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people and will be aimed at improving the lives of disabled people, removing barriers and extending opportunities. The Strategy is expected to be published in spring 2021.

Where someone is living in supported accommodation and is responsible for their own housing costs, they may be eligible to receive benefits, including those to provide a contribution towards the additional costs of disability.

The Government has provided councils with access to over £1 billion of additional funding social care next year. In the longer term, the Government is committed to sustainable improvement of the adult social care system and will bring forward proposals this year.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve support and care for vulnerable patients with (a) respiratory disease, (b) cancer and (c) chronic diseases during the covid-19 outbreak.

In with line the wider National Health Service, the Cardiovascular Disease and Respiratory programme has focused its work in 2020/21 on the response to COVID-19 and has spent £5.5 million to support the response to the disease including work on ‘long-COVID’. This included bringing forward the implementation of Respiratory Clinical Networks by one year. The networks are vital in promoting an integrated approach to respiratory care during COVID-19 and are in parallel supporting delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan’s priorities.

Cancer services have continued throughout the pandemic. The strategy for maintaining services through the second wave of COVID-19 is concentrating on maintaining or stepping up hubs for cancer surgery and maximising independent sector use, along with further rolling out of Rapid Diagnostic Centres. This work is being overseen by the Cancer Recovery Taskforce, who will publish a recovery plan shortly.

Throughout the summer and autumn of 2020, the NHS has run an ongoing media campaign ‘Help us to help you’, encouraging patients to seek urgent medical help when they are unwell, including clear messaging for patients with heart attack symptoms to call 999.

With a rise in COVID-19 activity, we’ve been clear that non-COVID-19 services will be maintained as far as possible. Essential care should only be postponed if a clinician and patient agree it is in the patient’s best interests. Doctors will always have the safety of patients at the centre of any decisions they make.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all rare disease patients in the UK have access to licenced treatments as soon as possible after approval by the European Medicines Agency.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has taken steps to recognise, for two years, future European Medicines Agency decisions for medicine licences including for rare diseases approved through the centralised authorisation procedure from January 2021 and provide United Kingdom licences with no additional assessment.

The Government has also established the Early Access to Medicines Scheme, which will continue to give patients with seriously debilitating conditions prompt access to medicines that do not yet have a marketing authorisation, when there is a clear unmet medical need.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support autistic (a) adults' and (b) children’s mental health (i) during and (ii) after the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service has worked hard to keep mental health services going during the COVID-19 pandemic, using technology where needed but also face to face appointments where appropriate.

During this time, the Government has provided £10.2 million of additional funding for mental health charities to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing. We have also provided a further £6 million to support various charities, including those working with people with a learning disability, autistic people and people with complex needs.

Under the NHS Long Term Plan the Government is also investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year in mental health services by 2023/24 to support adults and children, including autistic people.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) clarity and (b) adequacy of implementation of the Government’s guidance on visitation rights for care homes and supported living settings.

Updated visiting guidance, published 12 January, clearly outlines how visits to care homes can continue to take place during the national lockdown with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, outdoors or through windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not currently allowed. Visits in exceptional circumstances including end of life should always be supported and enabled.

We recognise that in supported living settings, the accommodation is the person’s own home.

In this period of national lockdown, visits within support bubbles are still allowed for people in supported living settings. Supported living managers, care and support workers, individuals in supported living environments and their families and friends should follow national guidance on support bubbles and meeting others.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made on the accessibility to (a) healthcare information and (b) support and advice for (i) people with learning disabilities and (ii) their carers during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that COVID-19 presents serious risks and challenges for people with a learning disability and their carers. We have worked closely with the social care sector and public health experts to put in place appropriate guidance and support.

Public Health England has produced easy-read and accessible versions of guidance issued to the public. We strive to release accessible versions of guidance and information as quickly as possible. We have provided approximately £1.2 million to charities supporting people with a learning disability and autistic people to boost their online and helpline capacity. We have supported carers by provided funding to extend the Carers UK support phoneline and publishing guidance for carers of adults and children with a learning disability, covering wellbeing, communication, social distancing and signposting to further resources.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support patient support groups for rare diseases that are experiencing reductions in funding as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department, alongside NHS England, is considering the impact of COVID-19 on patients with rare diseases. NHS England has had discussions with some services and patients/patient groups to understand the impact of COVID-19 including what has worked well; what has not worked so well; and opportunities for transformation. NHS England has worked with commissioned providers, patient groups and charities throughout the pandemic to ensure that patients, carers and their families have been supported during the COVID-19 outbreak and ensuring those discussions inform planning for autumn and winter.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review the language in NICE criteria to ensure it is (a) accessible and (b) understood by (i) patients and (ii) people caring for them.

We have no plans to review the language the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) uses. NICE is an independent body and is responsible for its own methods and processes. NICE has a public involvement programme team that develops and supports patient, service user, carer and public involvement.

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 steps his Department has taken to ensure the continuation of progress on dementia research during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government remains strongly committed to supporting research into dementia and the United Kingdom research community is playing a significant role in the global effort to find a cure or a major disease-modifying treatment by 2025.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) published a framework in May to support the restarting of research paused due to COVID-19 which is available at the following link:

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/documents/restart-framework/24886

The NIHR is supporting the research community to amend study protocols for COVID-19 security. Last week the NIHR published guidance that NIHR-funded research staff should not be deployed to frontline duties except in exceptional circumstances.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many abortions have been carried out to date in 2020 on the grounds of a prenatal diagnosis of Down's syndrome.

Between January and June 2020 there were 339 mentions of Down’s Syndrome on HSA4 Abortion Notification Forms. This figure includes all legal abortions performed in England and Wales. This data should be treated as provisional, meaning that it may be subject to revision if the Department receives further information from hospitals and clinics on missing information from HSA4 forms, or more forms are received.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure that paediatric mental health services are financially supported to cope with a potential increase in referrals as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We are committed through our NHS Long Term Plan to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year into mental health services by 2023-24. This will see an additional 345,000 children and young people able to access support through National Health Service-funded services or school- and college-based mental health support teams.

In 2018 we announced the first 25 trailblazer sites delivering 59 mental health support teams in and near schools and colleges with the first becoming operational earlier this year. In July 2019, NHS England confirmed a further 57 areas would develop 123 new mental health support teams and a number of these have been commissioned and training has begun.

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 progress his Department has made on collecting data on secondary breast cancer patients’ (a) diagnosis, (b) treatment and (c) access to support.

As part of the Cancer Outcomes and Services Dataset, the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) is supporting the direct reporting of cancer recurrence data by hospital trusts. Recurrence data collection is also mandated as part of the Cancer Waiting Times Standards.

NCRAS is working closely with cancer charities to improve data collection in this area, looking at how they can help improve completion rates and thus gain a better picture of the burden of recurrence and metastatic disease across the health service. To further support this work NCRAS has been sharing provider-level data on the completeness of recurrence reporting with individual National Health Service trusts since July 2016. The data was last updated in October 2019 and is available on the NCRAS website at the following link:

http://www.ncin.org.uk/cancer_type_and_topic_specific_work/topic_specific_work/recurrence

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the Government's guidance on Admission and care of residents in care homes during Covid-19 does not include guidance for emergency respite care providers.

The Government recognises the importance of respite provision. The ‘Admission and care of residents in care homes during COVID-19’ guidance is aimed at care homes. There are different respite care provisions to suit different needs, including short stays in care homes. Where care homes provide respite services, they should continue to follow the advice set out in the ‘Admission and care of residents in care homes during COVID-19’ guidance.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of potential therapeutics for the long term symptoms of covid-19.

In some patients, there may be additional long-term effects from COVID-19.

Because of this wide range of possible problems, the National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation launched an 18-month research study in July that aims to understand the long term medical, psychological and rehabilitation needs of hospitalised patients.

This is expected to recruit 10,000 patients and aims to develop trials of new strategies for clinical care, including personalised treatments for groups of patients based on the disease characteristics they show as a result of having COVID-19 to improve their long-term health.

Information on this study can be found at the following link:

https://www.leicesterbrc.nihr.ac.uk/themes/respiratory/research/phosp-covid/

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to reform the Mental Health Act 1989 during the 2019 Parliament; and whether children's mental health needs will be part of those reforms.

We have committed to publishing a White Paper which will set out the Government’s response to Sir Simon Wessely’s Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 and pave the way for reform of the Act.

We will publish our White Paper as soon as it is possible to do so. We will consult publicly on our proposals and will bring forward a Bill to amend the Act when parliamentary time allows.

The Independent Review made a number of recommendations around how the law works for children and young people. The Government will respond to these in the White Paper.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what financial assistance he will make available to employers to help support the mental health of their employees and ensure that mental health and suicide awareness are prioritised in workplaces during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise the crucial role that employers play in ensuring individuals are supported to take positive actions to improve their wellbeing at work.

The Health and Safety Executive’s ‘talking toolkit’ is a resource to help employers to have effective conversations with employees on how to prevent work-related stress to inform tangible actions in the workplace, for example, completion of a stress risk assessment.

As we move into winter, guidance and best practice will be available to employers on the Mental Health at Work website at the following link:

www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to work with (a) disabled people, (b) their families and (c) social care providers to develop an action plan to reintroduce safe and flexible community care and support services.

Local authorities and service providers should have maintained contact with carers and those receiving services throughout the lockdown. They will now be discussing arrangements to reintroduce care packages where these had been limited due to lockdown restrictions.

Understanding and mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people was a focus of the Social Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce. The Taskforce was supported by several advisory groups, one of which was the learning disability and autism advisory group. The group included members with lived experience.

The recommendations of the Taskforce will shape our approach to COVID-19 in the adult social care sector and, in particular, the plans we put in place for winter which we will set out in the Adult Social Care Winter Plan, being published later this month.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support longitudinal studies to track (a) the durability of the covid-19 immune response and (b) the long term disease consequences in covid-19 patients.

A number of different studies are considering the durability of the COVID-19 immune response, by assessing antibody waning over time and whether previous infection protects against future infection. This includes UK Biobank, REACT-2 and the Public Health England SIREN study.

The National Health Service and the wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of COVID-19 infection, including the prevalence, severity and duration of symptoms, and how best to support recovery. The National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation have invested £8.4 million in the Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID), led by Christopher Brightling at the University of Leicester. This study is one of the world’s largest comprehensive research studies into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the pathology of the long term symptoms of covid-19.

The National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation have invested £8.4million in the Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID), led by Christopher Brightling at the University of Leicester. The study is multi-disciplinary and is one of the world’s largest comprehensive research studies into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients.

This study will create a research platform embedded within clinical care to understand the long-term outcomes for survivors following hospitalisation with COVID-19. Expert groups from across the United Kingdom will use standardised assessments of patients, including advanced imaging, recording of information and collection of samples, and will also cover the study of novel interventions in the rehabilitation pathway, including mental health interventions.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timetable is for concluding cross-party discussions on long-term funding for social care reform to enable the publication of the Green Paper on social care.

The Government’s number one priority for adult social care is for everyone who relies on care to get the care they need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are committed to bringing forward a plan for social care to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect and to find long term solutions for one of the biggest challenges we face as a society. There are complex questions to address and it is important that we give these issues our full consideration in the light of current circumstances.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effect of his Department's policies as part of a recovery strategy from the covid-19 outbreak on children (a) with mental health issues and (b) who are at higher risk of mental health problems as a result of their personal circumstances and backgrounds.

Monitoring and tracking the impact of COVID-19 on children’s and adults’ mental health is a key part of the national response to the pandemic. We are working with the National Health Service, Public Health England and others to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term impacts and plan for how to support mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

NHS mental health services have remained open for business throughout this time. Our community, talking therapies and children and young people’s services have deployed innovative digital tools to connect with people and provide ongoing support. We have published guidance to parents and carers on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

We have also provided £9.2 million for mental health charities, including charities like Young Minds and Place 2 Be, which specifically support the mental health of children and young people.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to tackle the mental health needs of children upon the easement of local authority Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service duties to assess, plan for and meet individuals’ care and support needs under the Care Act 2014.

National Health Service mental health services for children and young people have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering support digitally, over the phone and face to face where possible.

Since 29 June 2020, no local authorities in England have been operating under Care Act 2014 easements.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress the Government has made on implementing the commitments set out in the 2019 Prevention Green Paper; and what the timelines are for the full implementation of those commitments.

The Prevention Green Paper, ‘Advancing our health: Prevention in the 2020s’ outlined commitments with varying timelines, regarding the services we receive, the choices we make and the conditions in which we live. The Green Paper consultation closed on 14 October 2019 and attracted over 1,600 responses. The Government response to the consultation, with more detail on progress against the Green Paper commitments, has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government intends to publish the response in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Questions (a) 41067, (b) 41068, (c) 41069 and (d) 41074, on Coronavirus, tabled on 28 April 2020 by the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave for Question 41067 on 13 July.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hon. Member’s questions will be answered as soon as possible.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress the Government has made on implementing the actions it set out in (a) Chapter 1 published in August 2016 and (b) Chapter 2 published in June 2018 of its Childhood obesity: a plan for action; and what the timelines are for the full implementation of those actions.

We have seen important successes since publication of the first chapter of the childhood obesity plan in 2016 including the average sugar content of drinks subject to the soft drinks industry levy decreasing by 28.8% between 2015 and 2018, and significant investment being made in schools to promote physical activity and healthy eating.

As part of delivering key measures outlined in chapter two of the plan, published in 2018, we have held consultations on ending the sale of energy drinks to children, calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector, restricting promotions of high fat, sugar and salt foods by location and by price, further advertising restrictions on television and similar protection online, and updating the nutrition standards in the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services. We will be setting out our responses as soon as we can.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Question 37887, on Coronavirus, tabled on 20 April 2020 by the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow .

I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 21 July to Question 37887.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has for the (a) timely diagnosis of and (b) deliver prompt treatment and care for people with pancreatic cancer during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 8 June 2020, the National Cancer Director and the National Clinical Director for Cancer issued a further letter of guidance to National Health Service cancer services on ‘Second phase of NHS response to COVID-19 for cancer services’. The letter notes that the work for local systems and Cancer Alliances to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer should now be well advanced, so that referrals, diagnostics and treatment can be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand.

The NHS is now working on the restoration and recovery of all cancer services. We are encouraging anybody with symptoms that could be indicative of cancer to contact their general practitioner (GP). GPs will continue to refer on to cancer pathways in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance so that patients can be managed appropriately

NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a public information campaign, ‘Help us to help you’, which urges the public to contact NHS services if they have a worrying symptom. The NHS will continue to repeat this message in the coming weeks.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of on patients of the pause in pancreatic cancer surgery during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to reduce the waiting list for pancreatic cancer surgery.

On 8 June 2020, the National Cancer Director and the National Clinical Director for Cancer issued a further letter of guidance to National Health Service cancer services on ‘Second phase of NHS response to COVID-19 for cancer services’. The letter notes that the work for local systems and Cancer Alliances to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer should now be well advanced, so that referrals, diagnostics and treatment can be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand. The new guidance is based on three key principles: capacity, fairness and confidence. Cancer Alliances should work with their regional teams to provide such services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people (a) shielding and (b) self-isolating with pancreatic cancer are provided adequate (i) support and (ii) information on (A) symptom management, (B) nutritional advice, (C) psychological support in relation treatment and post-treatment recovery and (D) palliative care.

Support and information for all cancer patients in England is provided through four key personalised care interventions:

- Personalised care and support planning based on holistic needs assessments;

- Health and wellbeing information and support (including nutritional advice and psychological support);

- End of treatment summaries, that provide symptom management information; and

- A Cancer Care Review with their general practitioner.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all personalised care and support should continue by telephone, video, online or by post if face-to-face appointments and group sessions have not been possible. As set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, these interventions will be implemented where appropriate for every person diagnosed with cancer by 2021.

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, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of remote health appointments on people with autistic spectrum disorder.

The Department has not made an assessment of the effect of remote health appointments on people with autistic spectrum disorder.

We are urgently considering research in to the impact of COVID-19, including of social distancing, on autistic people.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to issue guidance to care homes on safe visitation guidance to ensure that people with dementia can retain cognitive and communication skills.

The Department, Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission and the National Health Service have published guidance on the care of residents in care homes, including those with dementia. It asks care homes to consider alternatives to in-person visiting, including use of telephones or video, or the use of plastic or glass barriers between residents and visitors. Care homes are responding with innovative solutions which are allowing residents to stay in touch with their family and friends.

While we have recommended that family and friends should be advised not to visit care homes, we are clear that there may be exceptional situations where this is appropriate. This includes visits at the end of life.

Work is ongoing with the National Clinical Director for dementia, service providers, and user groups to develop additional resources on dementia to support those in care homes and the community.

We will continue to review our policies in line with the latest scientific advice.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the covid-19 R rate in care homes.

We do not currently have reproduction (R) rates for care homes. The Government Office for Science published the latest R number range for the United Kingdom on 15 May. The range of 0.7-1.0 is an estimate based on latest data available to determine infection and transmission rates.

The Government is committed to publishing the scientific evidence that has informed the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’ advice. These papers are being published in batches. The latest batches were released on 20 March 2020 and 5 May 2020 and the next batch will published in the coming weeks. The full list of papers released to date is available at the following link. This list will be updated to reflect papers considered at recent and future meetings:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the long term effect of the covid-19 lockdown on social isolation amongst disabled people.

The Government recognises that social distancing and self-isolation are likely to increase the risk of loneliness and mental health issues, particularly for disabled people. We continue to monitor the evidence here in the United Kingdom and internationally.

The Government and NHS England are working closely with mental health trusts to ensure those who need them have access to mental health services, maximising the use of digital and virtual channels to keep delivering support to patients. Numerous community volunteering efforts are now operating nationally and we have also set up NHS Volunteer Responders to help support the 1.5 million people in England who are at most risk from the virus.

Public Heath England has published guidance on self-isolation and staying at home for everyone in the UK, including for those with mobility issues.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of long-term social distancing measures on disabled people and their families; and what discussions he has had with those groups on the effect of social distancing measures on them.

The Government recognises that the effect of long-term social distancing is likely to impact different groups in a variety of ways, including disabled people and their families. These impacts have been carefully considered as part of the process for determining what measures to include in the Coronavirus Regulations and at each review point, in line with the Public Sector Equality Duty requirement for public bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities. We appreciate this is an ongoing concern which is why we are engaging closely with a wide range of charities and representative organisations.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that plans to ease the covid-19 lockdown will not adversely affect (a) staff and (b) patient safety.

The safety of staff and patients remains paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic. NHS England and NHS Improvement regularly publish updated COVID-19 guidance to support clinicians and National Health Service managers, which is available on the NHS website at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/

The Government has been clear throughout the pandemic that it is vital to take the right steps at the right time. Decisions on when to adjust lockdown measures are guided by scientific advice and based on the following five tests that need to be met:

- The NHS is able to provide sufficient care, facilities and treatment across the United Kingdom to meet demand;

- A fall in the death rate;

- The rate of infection has decreased across all settings;

- Confidence that operational challenges, such as increasing our testing capacity and having enough personal protective equipment, are in hand; and

- Confidence that any changes will not lead to a significant second peak of infections.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the restoration of planned surgery will be accompanied by (a) an assessment of and (b) investment in the staffing and resources required to deliver that surgery safely, efficiently and sustainably.

National Health Service local systems and organisations have been asked to work with regional colleagues to step up non-COVID-19 urgent services as soon as possible. This needs to be a safe restart with full attention to infection prevention and control as the guiding principle.

In addition, service providers have been asked to work across local systems and with regional teams to begin to reset routine non-urgent elective care. These plans factor in the availability of staff, associated medicines, personal protective equipment, blood, consumables, equipment and other needed supplies.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure public health and care services remain aware of their legal obligations to (a) make reasonable adjustments, (b) meet communication needs and (c) assess capacity during care or treatment for disabled people during the covid-19 outbreak.

A range of guidance has been published to ensure that public health and care services remain aware of their legal obligations to make reasonable adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, NHS England and NHS Improvement have produced the ‘Grab and Go’ hospital passport and related guidance to support organisations to make reasonable adjustments for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

We expect organisations to continue to comply with the requirements of the Accessible Information Standard which National Health Service organisations must follow to support effective communication. NHS England and NHS Improvement have also published a range of easy read documents to support the communication needs of people with a learning disability, autism or both during COVID-19.

The principles of the Mental Capacity Act (2005) and the safeguards provided by the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards still apply during the COVID-19 outbreak. On 9 April we published guidance to help decision makers make decisions regarding capacity quickly and safely, whilst also keeping the person at the centre of the process.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has made for heart failure patients to resume access to standard levels of care following a reduction in the level of covid-19 related cases.

The suspension of non-urgent elective operations did not apply to emergency admissions, urgent cancer treatment and other clinically urgent care.

As a result of the measures put in place to tackle COVID-19, we now appear to be passing the peak of new cases and it has been decided to release and redeploy some of the treatment capacity that could have been needed while the number of COVID-19 patients was rising sharply.

All National Health Service organisations have therefore been asked to step-up non-COVID-19 services as soon as possible, starting with the most urgent.

The NHS is running an ‘Open for Business’ media campaign, encouraging all patients in need of urgent or emergency medical care to seek appropriate treatment including, where appropriate, attendance at accident and emergency.

This media campaign specifically targets heart attack patients, as well as anyone else with a potentially serious health condition.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that patients with heart and circulatory diseases are able to safely access (a) standard levels of care and (b) specialist services in the community during the covid-19 outbreak.

The suspension of non-urgent elective operations did not apply to emergency admissions, urgent cancer treatment and other clinically urgent care.

As a result of the measures put in place to tackle COVID-19, we now appear to be passing the peak of new cases and it has been decided to release and redeploy some of the treatment capacity that could have been needed while the number of COVID-19 patients was rising sharply.

All National Health Service organisations have therefore been asked to step-up non-COVID-19 services as soon as possible, starting with the most urgent.

The NHS is running an ‘Open for Business’ media campaign, encouraging all patients in need of urgent or emergency medical care to seek appropriate treatment including, where appropriate, attendance at accident and emergency.

This media campaign specifically targets heart attack patients, as well as anyone else with a potentially serious health condition.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the long-term effect of the covid-19 lockdown on (a) mental and (b) physical health inequalities among (i) autistic people and (ii) other neurodivergent groups.

We recognise the challenges that autistic people and neurodivergent people and their families face as a result of the response to COVID-19, and it is clear that we need to understand how the response will affect these groups of people in the longer term.

The Department is currently exploring research opportunities to assess the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic response to vulnerable people such as those with learning disabilities and/or autism.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will extending eligibility for covid-19 testing to include people under 65 who have symptoms and who receive care in (a) their own homes and (b) supported living; and if he will make a statement.

Testing is a vital part of the United Kingdom’s response and millions of people from across the UK are now eligible to receive a test if they need one.

The Government’s overall ambition is to ensure that everyone who needs a test can get one. We will continue to be guided by the science and regularly review eligibility for testing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Coronavirus support from business web page.

To date over 26,000 offers have been received by the central support from business triage point and survey. All offers are automatically acknowledged by email upon receipt and by a call.

To date, the Crown Commercial Service has made phone contact with most suppliers (around 99.5%) that have made non-medical offers of support and as a result has published a catalogue of offers which is designed to make it as easy as possible for offers of non-medical goods and services to be taken up by anyone across the United Kingdom public sector. To date 9,145 offers are published on the catalogue. Offers relevant to specific Departments or sectors are shared in some cases directly with the appropriate Department.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to deliver widespread testing of NHS staff and patients; and whether he has set a target date for that delivery.

In March we began swab testing National Health Service patients and staff for COVID-19. Since then we have continuously expanded testing capacity, in line with our national testing strategy to control the virus and save lives.

We are now testing people who need elective surgery before being admitted, on top of testing patients already in hospital.

NHS staff are prioritised for testing should they exhibit symptoms. In line with Chief Medical Officer guidance, asymptomatic staff are tested in situations where there was an untoward incident, outbreak, or high prevalence of the virus. Asymptomatic staff are also being periodically tested as part of Public Health England’s SIREN study.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the next steps set out on page 14 of his Department's policy paper of 4 April 2020, Coronavirus (COVID-19): scaling up testing programmes, what progress has been made on implementing those next steps.

Following the publication of the Department’s Testing Strategy, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): scaling up testing programmes’, there has been significant progress against the objectives set out as next steps, including achieving delivering 100,000 swab tests per day by the end of April.

The Department has ensured that the National Health Service uses its spare capacity to test its staff and has rolled out a commercial swab testing programme that is now testing hundreds of thousands of people a day.

We have now delivered over 2.3 million antibody tests to NHS staff and patients and continue to evaluate lateral flow style antibody tests for home use should that be appropriate.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to prevent companies profiteering from the supply of personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has set up a personal protective equipment (PPE) sourcing unit to secure new supply lines from across the world and published rigorous standards against which we will buy. Maximising the central purchasing and supply of PPE should prevent trusts needing to buy directly and so reduce the levels of profiteering.

Although the vast majority of firms are acting responsibly, the Competition and Markets Authority has written to the small number of firms suspected of exploiting the current COVID-19 situation for financial gain, and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy met business and consumer representatives to discuss what further action might be necessary to address the issue. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will continue to review the options open for tackling profiteering.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Cancer Research UK’s call for widespread testing of NHS staff and patients to create covid-19-free hospitals and to prevent unnecessary cancer deaths.

In response to COVID-19, 21 Cancer Alliances across England now have arrangements in place for cancer hubs. These are hospitals dedicated to cancer care away from hospitals dealing with the virus to keep often vulnerable cancer patients safe.

A letter was issued to trusts on 29 April 2020 detailing the Second Phase of Response to COVID-19. This letter sets out that:

Local systems and Cancer Alliances must continue to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer, and providers must protect and deliver cancer surgery and cancer treatment by ensuring that cancer surgery hubs are fully operational. Full use should be made of the available contracted independent sector hospital and diagnostic capacity locally and regionally. Regional cancer Senior Responsible Officers must now provide assurance that these arrangements are in place everywhere.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government’s news story, Coronavirus (COVID-19): scientific evidence supporting the UK government response, published on 20 March 2020, what steps he has taken to ensure that the evidence-base used to develop guidance on behavioural change is effectively communicated to the public.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides timely and coordinated scientific and technical advice to support United Kingdom cross-Government decision-makers during emergencies.

We recognise that transparency is important in these unprecedented times. We are therefore continuing to publish the statements and the accompanying evidence to demonstrate how our understanding of COVID-19 has continued to evolve as new data emerges, and how SAGE’s advice has quickly adapted to new findings that reflect a changing situation.

The most recent advice was published on 5 May 2020 with a more regular publishing cycle to follow.

The scientific evidence supporting the Government response to COVID-19, including the evidence-base used to develop guidance on behavioural change can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people have (a) telephone and (b) digital access to psychological therapies during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to ensure that access to those therapies is (i) safe and (ii) confidential.

NHS England has asked all mental health trusts to review advice lines to ensure that 24 hours a day, seven days a week advice is available to people of all ages through a single point of access. Mental health providers are also looking at how they can maximise the use of digital and virtual channels to keep delivering support to existing and new service users.

NHSX has published guidance to support the use of digital and virtual channels, including off-the-shelf applications such as Skype and WhatsApp, and designed-for purpose commercial products. This advice is endorsed by the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Data Guardian and NHS Digital.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the survey of young people with a history of mental health published by YoungMinds on 30 March 2020; and what steps the Government is taking to help ensure provision of support to young people (a) in self-isolation and (b) socially distancing during the covid-19 outbreak..

Children and young people’s mental health remains a priority for this Government.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked all mental health trusts to ensure they have 24 hours a day, seven days a week open access telephone lines in place for urgent National Health Service mental health support, advice and triage for people of all ages through a single point of access. Mental health providers are also looking at how they can maximise the use of digital and virtual channels to keep delivering support to existing and new service users.

Public Health England has also updated resources, such as the Every Mind Matters platform, and published guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support the psychological (a) welfare and (b) resilience of NHS staff during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop a comprehensive emotional, psychological and physical support package for all National Health Service staff, including those working in Nightingale hospitals, during and after the COVID-19 outbreak.

This package includes free-to-access self-guided mental health support, confidential helpline and 24 hours a day, seven days a week text service, as well as free-to-download mental health and well-being apps.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are also co-ordinating commercial offers to provide practical support for NHS staff at a local level.

More information can be found online at the following link:

people.nhs.uk/help

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure the (a) psychological and (b) physical welfare of NHS staff working in temporary hospitals during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop a comprehensive emotional, psychological and physical support package for all National Health Service staff, including those working in Nightingale hospitals, during and after the COVID-19 outbreak.

This package includes free-to-access self-guided mental health support, confidential helpline and 24 hours a day, seven days a week text service, as well as free-to-download mental health and well-being apps.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are also co-ordinating commercial offers to provide practical support for NHS staff at a local level.

More information can be found online at the following link:

people.nhs.uk/help

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of deploying psychological professionals to support the wellbeing of NHS staff during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop a comprehensive support package for all National Health Service staff during and after the COVID-19 outbreak.

As a part of this support package all NHS staff are now able to call or text a free number staffed by specially trained respondents, to receive support and advice for the pressures they face every day during the global health emergency.

Anyone who requires further help will be signposted to other services including specialist professional psychological support where this is needed. The phone line will be open between 7am and 11pm every day, while the text service will be 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More details, including the numbers to call, can be found online at the following link:

people.nhs.uk/help

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the number of people identified by the Government as extremely vulnerable during the covid-19 outbreak (a) by health condition, (b) who are under 60 years old and (c) who pay for their prescriptions.

We have no plans to do so as the information is not held in the format requested.

Information on the clinical extremely vulnerable people included on the Shielded Patient List is available at the following link. This includes a breakdown by the following age groups: 0-18, 19-69, 70+

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/mi-english-coronavirus-covid-19-shielded-patient-list-summary-totals/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensuring that the (a) education and (b) training of psychological professionals continues during the covid-19 outbreak to meet the (i) ambitions of the Long- Term Plan and (ii) potential additional psychological needs caused by that pandemic.

The education and training of psychological professionals in England remains a Health Education England (HEE) priority during the COVID-19 outbreak. Regulatory bodies representing professions in the psychological workforce have recently issued statements on how training and education will be managed during this outbreak.

It is too early to make a full evaluation of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on any additional psychological needs for the population, but the Government will continue to keep this under review. HEE and NHS Improvement are working with professional bodies to ensure staff training continues during COVID-19 such as moving studies on line to ensure we continue to have the pipeline of staff we need to support patients and to accommodate increased demand.

Education and training in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales is a matter for each of the devolved administrations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has commissioned any modelling of potential increased need for psychological interventions during the covid-19 outbreak; what plans he has to increase the psychological professions workforce; and if he will make a statement.

Health Education England is currently working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to model the increased demand for psychological professions both during and after the COVID-19 outbreak.

The workforce development, education and training of psychological professionals also remains a Health Education England priority both now and in the future.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with a healthy BMI are not denied treatment for an eating disorder.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on ‘Eating disorders: recognition and treatment’ makes it clear that a person’s Body Mass Index is just one of the factors that should be taken into account to determine whether to offer treatment for an eating disorder, but that it should not be used on its own. The Eating Disorder Commissioning Guide, published by NHS England, is clear that people should not be rejected for treatment solely on the grounds of weight or Body Mass Index. We expect commissioners and providers to adhere to this guidance.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support rough sleepers with (a) drug and alcohol addiction and (b) mental health problems.

The Government recognises that many people who are sleeping rough have mental health issues and suffer disproportionate harms from drugs and alcohol misuse. The Government has committed to end rough sleeping by the end of this term of Parliament.

To support this commitment the Government has announced £262 million of funding over four years for substance misuse treatment and recovery services for people experiencing rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping.

Guidance to support commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs and alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic is being developed and will be issued shortly.

The Department is also providing £2 million in funding to test ways to improve access to health services for people with co-occurring mental ill-health and substance misuse problems who are currently, or at risk of returning to, sleeping rough. This builds on the commitment already made in the NHS Long Term Plan to spend up to £30 million over five years on mental health services for rough sleepers.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will update the Rough Sleeping Strategy to include further provisions for mental health support for rough sleepers.

As a part of the NHS Long Term Plan, NHS England has committed to spending up to £30 million over five years on mental health services for rough sleepers, to ensure that the parts of England most affected by rough sleeping will have better access to specialist homelessness National Health Service mental health support, integrated with existing outreach services.

We are also providing £2 million in funding to test ways to improve access to health services for people with co-occurring mental ill-health and substance misuse problems who are currently, or at risk of returning to, sleeping rough.

The Government has announced £262 million of funding over four years for substance misuse treatment and recovery services for people experiencing rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping. Urgent access to mental health services will be an integral part of this approach, as many rough sleepers have both mental health and substance misuse needs.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish its strategy for the delivery the dementia moonshot.

There is currently no planned date for publication of a strategy to deliver the dementia moonshot. However, the Government remains strongly committed to supporting research into dementia. We will be setting out our new plans for supporting people with dementia in England for 2020-2025 later this year.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Comprehensive Spending review will include funding for the delivery of the dementia ,moonshot.

The Government is strongly committed to research into dementia, and to the moonshot. We will be setting out our new plans for supporting people with dementia in England for 2020-2025 later this year. Further details on priorities and timings for the comprehensive spending review will be set out in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the delivery of accessible community rehabilitation care.

Rehabilitation is a fundamental part of our modern health system. Services should be built around the patient, addressing their needs in an integrated manner and provided close to home where safe to do so.

To achieve this, the Department is committed to supporting our vital community services, facilitated by £4.5 billion of investment for primary and community health services, outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan. This investment will fund, amongst other things, expanded community multidisciplinary teams aligned with primary care networks.

NHS England has committed to improve community health response services within the next five years to deliver crisis services within two hours and reablement care within two days across the country. This urgent response and recovery support will be delivered by flexible teams working across primary care and local hospitals, developed to meet local needs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what time period will be covered by the forthcoming NHS People Plan.

The final NHS People Plan will be published in early 2020 and will set out how the National Health Service will grow and sustain its workforce over the next five years – from 2020/21 to 2024/25. The NHS People Plan will be refreshed on an annual basis to take account of changing patient needs, new models of care and improvements in recruitment, retention, skill mix and ways of working.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help support the prevention of malnutrition at the community level.

Malnutrition (or under-nutrition), is both a cause and a consequence of ill health and government recognises the multiple complex issues associated with it.

Public Health England has published an evidence review which considers what works in supporting older people to maintain a healthy diet and reduce the risk of malnutrition in a community setting. The review can be found at the following link:


https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/helping-older-people-maintain-a-healthy-diet-a-review-of-what-works/helping-older-people-maintain-a-healthy-diet-a-review-of-what-works

Government advice is that most people should follow a diet in line with the United Kingdom’s national food model, the Eatwell Guide. Those who are underweight may need more energy or nutrient-dense foods and drinks. The Eatwell Guide is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2012 quality standard 'Nutrition support in adults’ provides advice to help identify people who are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition in hospital or in the community. This is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs24

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to prevent malnutrition in (a) hospitals, (b) care homes and (c) primary care settings.

Malnutrition is a common health problem, affecting all ages and all health and care settings.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence quality standard for nutrition support in adults (QS24) requires that all care services take responsibility for the identification of people at risk of malnutrition and provide nutrition support for everyone who needs it. An integrated approach to the provision of services is fundamental to the delivery of high-quality care to adults who need nutrition support.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to raise awareness of malnutrition among (a) older people, (b) relatives of older people and (c) health and social care professionals.

Government advice is that most people should follow a diet in line with the United Kingdom’s national food model, the Eatwell Guide. Those who are underweight may need more energy or nutrient-dense foods and drinks. The Eatwell Guide is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide

The National Health Service website provides information to help raise awareness of the common signs of malnutrition and seeking treatment for individuals and carers. This is available at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/malnutrition/

Health Education England (HEE) have a number of e-learning sessions covering diet and nutrition across the life course that can be accessed via the e-Learning for Healthcare platform. The HEE population wellbeing portal offers free access to education, training and professional development resources, to help deliver improvements in public health and prevention. HEE are currently developing a healthier weight competency framework.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on prioritising best practice in dementia care in the allocation of dementia research funding.

Under the current Challenge on Dementia 2020 strategy, the Government’s commitment to spending £300 million on dementia research between 2015 and 2020 was met a year early, with £341 million spent by March 2019 via the Departments of Health and Social Care and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This included a £15 million research initiative announced in January 2019 on dementia prevention, care and technology, co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Funding Council and National Institute for Health Research.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the 70 per cent target threshold for the faster diagnosis standard for cancer on diagnosis of stage (a) one and (b) two cancer.

In recognition that current standards measure time to be seen by a doctor rather than the time to being provided a diagnosis of cancer, in 2015 the Independent Cancer Taskforce recommended the introduction of a new standard, to ensure that people receive a life changing confirmation of whether or not they have cancer within 28 days.

The Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS) has been tested as part of the wider clinical review of access standards, and no performance threshold has yet been set.

The NHS Standard Contract consultation, which closed at the end of January, set an initial expectation that the threshold will be set between 70-85%, and outlined NHS England and NHS Improvement’s intention to increase the performance threshold over time as appropriate. The threshold for the FDS will be included in the finalised standard contact for 2020/21.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the performance management of NHS providers, and will ensure appropriate contractual and financial levers are in place to drive performance improvement.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to incentivise (a) cancer alliances and (b) NHS trusts to raise their performance threshold for the Faster Diagnosis Standard for cancer.

In recognition that current standards measure time to be seen by a doctor rather than the time to being provided a diagnosis of cancer, in 2015 the Independent Cancer Taskforce recommended the introduction of a new standard, to ensure that people receive a life changing confirmation of whether or not they have cancer within 28 days.

The Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS) has been tested as part of the wider clinical review of access standards, and no performance threshold has yet been set.

The NHS Standard Contract consultation, which closed at the end of January, set an initial expectation that the threshold will be set between 70-85%, and outlined NHS England and NHS Improvement’s intention to increase the performance threshold over time as appropriate. The threshold for the FDS will be included in the finalised standard contact for 2020/21.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the performance management of NHS providers, and will ensure appropriate contractual and financial levers are in place to drive performance improvement.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the NHS Operational and Contracting Guidance 2020-21, when the consultation on the Faster Diagnosis Standard for cancer closed; and when that guidance was published.

In recognition that current standards measure time to be seen by a doctor rather than the time to being provided a diagnosis of cancer, in 2015 the Independent Cancer Taskforce recommended the introduction of a new standard, to ensure that people receive a life changing confirmation of whether or not they have cancer within 28 days.

The Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS) has been tested as part of the wider clinical review of access standards, and no performance threshold has yet been set.

The NHS Standard Contract consultation, which closed at the end of January, set an initial expectation that the threshold will be set between 70-85%, and outlined NHS England and NHS Improvement’s intention to increase the performance threshold over time as appropriate. The threshold for the FDS will be included in the finalised standard contact for 2020/21.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for the performance management of NHS providers, and will ensure appropriate contractual and financial levers are in place to drive performance improvement.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on implementing the recommendations of Professor Sir Mike Richard’s independent review of adult screening programmes in England.

The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England are considering the findings of Professor Sir Mike Richards’ report, together with recommendations made by the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office and any outstanding recommendations form the Independent Breast Screening Review, as part of a wider screening improvement programme.

We intend to publish an implementation plan in spring 2020, which will build on the findings from Professor Richards’ review and include actions that will support delivery of our vision for a more personalised, targeted screening offer as set out in the Green Paper ‘Advancing our Health: Prevention in the 2020s’.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timescale is for publication of the implementation plan for the recommendations of Professor Sir Mike Richard’s independent review of adult screening programmes in England, published in October 2019.

The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England are considering the findings of Professor Sir Mike Richards’ report, together with recommendations made by the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office and any outstanding recommendations form the Independent Breast Screening Review, as part of a wider screening improvement programme.

We intend to publish an implementation plan in spring 2020, which will build on the findings from Professor Richards’ review and include actions that will support delivery of our vision for a more personalised, targeted screening offer as set out in the Green Paper ‘Advancing our Health: Prevention in the 2020s’.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) reduce waiting times for carer's assessments and (b) improve the tailoring of support for carers after an assessment.

Information is not held centrally.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve support for the health and wellbeing of (a) young and (b) other carers.

The Government is committed to supporting carers to provide care as they would wish, and to do so in a way that supports their own health and wellbeing and other life chances.

In June 2018 we published the cross-Government Carers Action Plan (CAP) 2018-2020 which includes commitments from across Government to support the health and wellbeing of all carers. The CAP includes a chapter containing actions specifically relating to young carers.

In July 2019 we published the ‘Carers action plan 2018 to 2020: 1-year progress review’ to demonstrate the progress the CAP had made so far and plan to publish a final report this summer following the conclusion of the CAP.

31st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish a further review of the Carers’ Action Plan 2018-2020; and whether that review plans to assess the needs of carers of people living with dementia.

We plan to publish a final report this summer on the Cross-Government Carers Action Plan following its conclusion. The report will consider all commitments and the actions taken.

Improving the lives of people living with dementia is a top priority for this Government. We are delivering the Challenge on Dementia 2020 to make England the best country in the world for dementia care.

We will be setting out our plans on dementia for England for the period 2020-2025 later this year.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to take tackle smoking in the vicinity of (a) schools, (b) playgrounds and (c) hospitals.

The Government has a track record of reducing the harm caused by tobacco. The United Kingdom is a world leader and we have been rated the best in Europe on tobacco control by independent experts.

The Health Act 2006 and the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 made it illegal to smoke in public enclosed or substantially enclosed areas and workplaces. We support the development and implementation of smoke-free policies locally in and around public premises.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will work with NHS England & Improvement to establish an autism diagnosis waiting time standard.

We are committed to ensuring people receive a timely diagnosis of autism in line with the clinical guideline set by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). This guideline recommends the length of time between referral and a first appointment to start an assessment should be no more than three months.

Whilst a diagnosis of autism should happen as soon as possible, it is important to recognise that a diagnosis is often complex and involves many different professionals and agencies. We are following the clinical guideline set by NICE.

Under the NHS Long Term Plan, over the next three years, autism diagnosis will be included alongside work with children and young people’s mental health services to test and implement the most effective ways to reduce waiting times for specialist services. This will be a step towards achieving timely diagnostic assessments in line with best practice guidelines. The Department will support NHS England and NHS Improvement’s work on this.

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on achieving the target of reducing out-of-area placements for people receiving inpatient care for severe mental health conditions by 2021.

We remain fully committed to ending such placements by 2021 and are prioritising a number of actions to achieve this ambition. NHS England and NHS Improvement continues to provide targeted, intensive support to local areas to develop robust recovery plans where there is reliance on out of area placements.

To achieve longer-term sustainable improvements NHS England and NHS Improvement is supporting local areas to test innovative approaches to providing locally-based care for those with the most complex needs. This will also improve our understanding of how people currently cared for in long-term inpatient settings might be better supported closer to home, and in the community.



Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much research funding his Department has allocated for multi-diagnostic assessments for neurodevelopmental conditions in the last five years.

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). It is not usual practice to ring-fence funding for particular topics or conditions. The NIHR welcomes funding on applications for research into any aspect of human health, including neurodevelopmental conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged on open competition, with awards being made on the basis of importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the diagnosis process for autistic spectrum disorder for people in custody.

Reception screening tools are used by prisons in England to flag up potential learning disabilities and difficulties, cognitive impairment and other neuro-disabilities with onward referral for specialist screening/assessments and potential diagnostic assessment. Any subsequent healthcare interventions would then be tailored to meet the patient’s needs to ensure they fully understand, and can participate in, any treatment/interventions they may require.

Revised primary care service specification and accompanying best practice guidance, scheduled to be published by NHS England and NHS Improvement in April 2020, are expected to set out the specific elements of support expected for people with learning disabilities, autism or both when accessing healthcare services in prison.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve hospital inspections to ensure adequate treatment and care for patients with mental health conditions.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care providers in England and is responsible for deciding its own regulatory inspection and assessment framework.

The CQC is delivering a programme of improvement to its regulation of inpatient and community mental health services, with specific improvements for people who are subject to the Mental Health Act 1983 and a focus on human rights principles.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) researching and (b) introducing multi-diagnostic pathways for neurodevelopmental conditions.

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). It is not usual practice to ring-fence funding for particular topics or conditions. The NIHR welcomes funding on applications for research into any aspect of human health, including neurodevelopmental conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged on open competition, with awards being made on the basis of importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the provision of information on the (a) signs and (b) symptoms of secondary breast cancer.

By 2021, where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer will have access to personalised care, including needs assessment, a care plan, health and wellbeing information and support. This will be delivered in line with the NHS Comprehensive Model for Personalised Care. This will empower people to manage their care and the impact of their cancer and maximise the potential of digital and community-based support. Over the next three years, every patient with cancer will receive a Personalised Care and Support Plan based on holistic needs assessment, end of treatment summaries, health and wellbeing information and support. All patients, including those with secondary cancers, will have access to the right expertise and support, including a Clinical Nurse Specialist or other support worker.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of making (a) early intervention mental health support and (b) physiotherapy provided by employers non-taxable benefits-in-kind.

The Government is exploring a range of policy options aiming to reduce ill-health related job loss. The consultation ‘Health is Everyone’s Business: Proposals to Reduce Ill Health-related Job Loss’ closed in October 2019.

It set out proposals to boost Government support available to employers to support employees who are managing health conditions in work and to manage sickness absence more effectively. It included proposals to encourage employers to take early, sustained and proportionate steps to support a sick employee to return to work, reform Statutory Sick Pay, improve occupational health availability and improve the provision of advice and support for employers. We have received a good response from a range of stakeholders, which we are reviewing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on how Government can encourage employers to invest in early clinical intervention.

The Government is exploring a range of policy options aiming to reduce ill-health related job loss. The consultation ‘Health is Everyone’s Business: Proposals to Reduce Ill Health-related Job Loss’ closed in October 2019.

It set out proposals to boost Government support available to employers to support employees who are managing health conditions in work and to manage sickness absence more effectively. It included proposals to encourage employers to take early, sustained and proportionate steps to support a sick employee to return to work, reform Statutory Sick Pay, improve occupational health availability and improve the provision of advice and support for employers. We have received a good response from a range of stakeholders, which we are reviewing.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the potential savings to the NHS of the provision of cognitive behavioural therapy services by employers.

The Government is exploring a range of policy options aiming to reduce ill-health related job loss.

The consultation ‘Health is Everyone’s Business: Proposals to Reduce Ill Health-related Job Loss’ closed in October 2019. It set out proposals to boost Government support available to employers to support employees who are managing health conditions in work and to manage sickness absence more effectively. It included proposals to encourage employers to take early, sustained and proportionate steps to support a sick employee to return to work.

While people with health conditions need timely delivery of effective treatment, available evidence shows that treatment alone is not enough to address occupational health issues.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to use the Global Partnership for Education replenishment fund to help ensure that there is equitable education financing for the most marginalised children, including children with disabilities.

The UK has made strong commitments on inclusive education for children with disabilities, and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is an important vehicle for improving mainstream education systems to be inclusive of all learners. The Prime Minister and President Kenyatta of Kenya will co-host the Global Education Summit: Financing the Global Partnership for Education in London this July. A well-funded GPE will be central to delivering the two global objectives endorsed by G7 Foreign and Development Ministers - to get 40 million more girls in school, and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 in the next 5 years.

As one of the biggest donors to GPE, the UK has been instrumental in ensuring equity and gender is hardwired throughout GPE's new strategy for 2025. During the pandemic, GPE funding has targeted the most marginalised children, with 54 countries including interventions for children with disabilities and special needs in their Emergency Response Plans. For example, in Nepal, fast-tracked GPE funding guaranteed accessible remote learning content with captioning, interpretation, and inclusive examples that do not stigmatize.

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, whether supporting women and girls from marginalised religious and belief communities is a priority for his Department.

We recognise that women and girls from religious minorities can often suffer because of both their gender and their faith. That is why we ensure our human rights policy work considers the intersectionality of human rights, for example the importance of addressing the specific vulnerabilities experienced by women and girls from religious minority communities. We have no programmes that specifically target women and girls from marginalised religious or belief communities but there are programmes that benefit these women and girls.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has publicly committed to retaining and building on the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/708116/Strategic-vision-gender-equality1.pdf) which sets out our commitment to leave no girl or woman behind, particularly those facing multiple exclusions including on the basis of their ethnicity, religion or belief.

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, what programmes run by his Department specifically support women and girls from marginalised religious or belief communities; and how much was spent by those programmes in 2020.

We recognise that women and girls from religious minorities can often suffer because of both their gender and their faith. That is why we ensure our human rights policy work considers the intersectionality of human rights, for example the importance of addressing the specific vulnerabilities experienced by women and girls from religious minority communities. We have no programmes that specifically target women and girls from marginalised religious or belief communities but there are programmes that benefit these women and girls.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has publicly committed to retaining and building on the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/708116/Strategic-vision-gender-equality1.pdf) which sets out our commitment to leave no girl or woman behind, particularly those facing multiple exclusions including on the basis of their ethnicity, religion or belief.

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, what recent representations he has made to the UN and the international community on the treatment of Uighur women by the Chinese Government.

We are deeply concerned by distressing testimony of the treatment of Uyghur women in Xinjiang detention centres. In February, the Foreign Secretary used a personal address at the UN Human Rights Council to draw attention to the plight of Uyghur women and call for China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, or another independent expert, urgent and unfettered access to Xinjiang so that they are able to assess the situation first hand.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department makes an assessment of the environmental protections in relation to overseas projects when allocating UK foreign aid to those projects.

In designing new development programmes, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office staff are expected to identify risks to the environment and climate change and take action to avoid doing harm.

Tackling climate change and addressing biodiversity loss is a high priority for the Government. The Prime Minister announced on 11 January that the UK will commit at least £3 billion of our International Climate Finance to climate change solutions that protect and restore nature and biodiversity over the next five years. We are also acting internationally to secure more urgent action on nature with the Leaders' Pledge for Nature.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Pakistan on the new single curriculum, regarding discrimination of religious minorities; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the monitoring of UK aid promotes freedom of religion or belief in school syllabus and text books.

The new Single National Curriculum has the potential to be a significant step forward on inclusion and tolerance by introducing an inclusive, standards-based curriculum across all schools in the country. Work is still ongoing to reform textbooks to reflect this curriculum, and we are engaging with the Provincial and Federal Governments to ensure that the new textbooks promote diversity and inclusion.

The Minister for South Asia raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of minority religious communities with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 16 November and with Pakistan's Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for the Interior, Shahzad Akbar, on 7 December. In addition, he met with Pakistan's Minister for Education, Mr Shafqat Mahmood on 1 October, and on 8 September with the Governor of Punjab, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, to discuss inclusive and tolerant education.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Pakistani counterpart on the abduction, rape, forced conversion and marriage of girls who belong to minority religions.

The UK Government strongly condemns the abduction, rape, forced conversion and forced marriage of women and girls from religious minorities in Pakistan. We regularly raise our concerns on these issues with the Government of Pakistan. The Minister for South Asia raised our concerns about child, early and forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from minority religious communities, with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 19 October. He raised our concerns about human rights, including Freedom of Religion or Belief, with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights on 16 November and with Pakistan's Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for the Interior, Shahzad Akbar, on 7 December.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the findings of the report Violence and Discrimination against Women of Religious Minority Backgrounds in Pakistan published by the Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development on 25 November 2020; and whether his Department has made representations to the Government of Pakistan on that matter.

We welcome the Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development's report titled 'Violence and Discrimination against Women of Religious Minority Backgrounds in Pakistan' published on 25 November. We regularly raise our concerns on human rights issues, including Freedom of Religion or Belief, women and girls' rights and gender equality, with the Government of Pakistan. The Minister for South Asia raised our concerns about child, early and forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls from minority religious communities, with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 19 October. He raised our concerns about human rights, including Freedom of Religion or Belief, with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights on 16 November and with Pakistan's Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for the Interior, Shahzad Akbar, on 7 December.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to reports of attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria and increasing Islamic terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso, Congo, Kenya, Uganda and other countries in West and Central Africa, what support his Department has provided to multi-national responses to (a) resist extremism and (b) protect vulnerable minority Christian communities.

We condemn all criminal and terrorist attacks on civilians, whatever their religion or belief. Attacks have caused immense suffering to local communities. The UK supports multi-national responses to tackle the threats from different terrorist groups in North East Nigeria, the Lake Chad Basin and East Africa. For example, we support Nigeria and its neighbours in the fight against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa in North East Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad Basin by helping fund the Lake Chad Basin Regional Stabilisation Facility to strengthen community security, provide basic services and support livelihoods. We have provided funding and operational support for the Multinational Joint Task Force, a regional force coordinating military efforts for regional security. In the Sahel, we are providing logistical support to the French-led counter-terrorism Operation Barkhane. We are increasing focus on the protection of civilians through our deployment to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and as one of the largest humanitarian donors. Additionally, the UK supports regional security and efforts to counter the threat posed by Al-Shabaab in East Africa, including through UK military training to forces from troop contributing countries to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army. We are delivering a three year programme to strengthen regional, national and community level efforts to prevent radicalisation and recruitment across East Africa, including Kenya and Uganda. Across the continent, the UK continues to be a committed contributor to and supporter of UN peacekeeping operations.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief for all (FoRB) globally, and promoting respect between communities. Where we have concerns, we raise them directly with governments, including at Ministerial level. Defending FoRB was a core pledge in our successful campaign to be re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council, and we will continue to use our position to stand up for individuals who are persecuted for their faith, belief, or because they have no religious belief. We work within the UN, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Council of Europe and other multilateral fora to promote and protect FoRB for all where it is threatened. In November 2020, the Minister responsible for human rights, Lord Ahmad (Tariq) of Wimbledon, underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB, speaking at the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Ministers' Forum of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many voluntary redundancies have been sought involving staff previously employed on permanent Department for International Development (DfID) contracts in (a) London (b) East Kilbride and (c) overseas offices following the merger of his Department with DfID.

There have been no voluntary redundancy offers made to staff who were previously employed by the Department for International Development following the merger.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many temporary contracts involving staff previously employed by the Department for International Development (DfID) in (a) London, (b) East Kilbride and (c) overseas offices have not been renewed following the merger of DfID and his Department.

Temporary contracts, in the form of agency workers and contractors, are used to fill short-term and immediate vacancies when all other routes to fill have been explored in line with departmental and civil service resourcing policies and processes.

By their very nature, they are set up for an agreed period of time and would not routinely be renewed.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to include measurable policies on disability equality in his Department's next Single Departmental Plan.

Disability inclusion is an important issue for the FCDO, and the Ministerial team remain committed to embedding it across all of our work. Last month, we published a progress paper outlining achievements against the 2018 DFID Disability Strategy and we are planning a refresh of this strategy in 2021.

Following the Spending Review outcome, FCDO Ministers are currently considering which policies and metrics will underpin our departmental plans. HMG departmental plans for delivery during the next financial year (2021-22) will be published next year following approval by the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury and No10. FCDO will report regularly to the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury on progress against the agreed metrics. The public will be able to track government (and FCDO) performance against finalised outcomes through public reporting.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the international impact of the Government's reduction of the Official Development Assistance budget.

The seismic impact of the pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take tough but necessary decisions and we have concluded after extensive consideration, and with regret, that we cannot for the moment meet our target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on ODA. We remain a world leading aid donor spending 0.5% of GNI to fight poverty, tackle climate change and improve global health. We are holding the G7 presidency and hosting COP26 in 2021, it is a unique opportunity to galvanise international action, lead and shape the direction of international development.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government has plans to make representations to the UN Security Council on the deployment of peacekeeping forces to north-east Nigeria to protect vulnerable local communities in that country.

The UK has no plans to make representations to the UN Security Council on the deployment of peacekeeping forces to North-East Nigeria as we do not assess their deployment to be the most effective way to tackle the conflict and create long term stability. We continue to support the affected nation states of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon to tackle the terrorist threat in North-East Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad Basin. We work closely with the UN to support the nations states' response and to support local communities. This includes support to the UN Development Programme stabilisation facility in North-East Nigeria and support to the work of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel. On 5 June 2020, we led a statement in the Security Council which reiterated our commitment to West Africa and the Sahel, including Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin. On 16 June 2020, we led a statement at the Security Council condemning the recent terror attacks in North-East Nigeria.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps plans to take to ensure that (a) development and (b) humanitarian issues are represented at Cabinet level.

Once the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is formally established in early September, the Foreign Secretary will represent the FCDO at Cabinet. Foreign and development policy will be fully integrated in all Ministers' portfolios in the new Department.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support the Government of Nigeria in tackling the advance of (a) Boko Haram and (b) Islamic State West Africa.

The UK is supporting the Government of Nigeria and its neighbours in the fight against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa. We provide a comprehensive package of security, stabilisation and humanitarian assistance to Nigeria to help tackle the threat from these terrorist groups. This includes: capacity building support for the Nigerian armed forces, with an emphasis on adherence to internationally recognised Rules of Engagement, International Human Rights and Humanitarian law; counter-IED and bomb scene management training; and support to the Multinational Joint Task Force, a regional taskforce which seeks to coordinate military efforts in the region. The UK is also providing up to £300 million of humanitarian support to affected communities between 2017-2022, which includes the provision of vital food assistance for 1.5 million people affected by the conflict.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Nigerian counterpart on the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law's finding that more than 60,000 people have been killed by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa since 2010.

We are aware of the report published in May by the Nigerian NGO International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law. While the United Nations and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project assess the number of fatalities to be lower, at just over 36,000 people killed in the decade-long conflict in North East Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin, each death caused by the conflict represents a tragedy.

The UK remains committed to supporting the Government of Nigeria and its neighbours in the fight against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa. The Prime Minister discussed UK support for tackling the insurgency in the North East with President Buhari at the UK Africa Investment Summit in January. We provide a comprehensive package of security, stabilisation and humanitarian assistance to Nigeria to help tackle the threat from these terrorist groups and support affected communities. This includes up to £300 million of humanitarian support to affected communities between 2017-2022.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he plans to take to (a) maintain the current level of parliamentary and independent scrutiny of the aid budget and (b) ensure departmental accountability to UK taxpayers after the merger of his Department and the Department for International Development.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be accountable to Parliament and to taxpayers for how it spends UK aid. The form this takes is a matter for Parliament. We remain committed to full transparency in our aid spending and there will continue to be parliamentary and independent scrutiny of the aid budget.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what conversations he has had with his (a) Australian and (b) Canadian counterparts on the merger the of the Department for International Development with his Department.

We will learn from the examples of Australia and Canada, who run generous and respected development programmes from their foreign ministries. There are lessons we can draw from the experiences of other countries, but ultimately we will do this in a way that works best for the UK.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) the Secretary of State for International Development had with (i) NGOs, (ii) aid recipients, (iii) local in-country representatives and (iv) other key stakeholders before the announcement of 16 June 2020 to merge his Department with the Department for International Development.

The Government continues to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including UK and international Non-Governmental Organisations, on issues relating to the merger. The Prime Minister has concluded that in the next decade, international issues will be even more important to the lives of our citizens and our own national interest; that the world will become even more complex and competitive, with growing, interconnected challenges and opportunities for the UK; and that therefore we need a new all-of-government approach if we are to secure our values and interests in a changing world.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he plans to take to retain staff expertise and experience of working directly with local communities held within the Department for International Development when that Department is merged with his Department.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has amassed world class expertise and all of its people can take pride in how they have helped transform hundreds of millions of lives around the world. Merging the departments will mean changes for how teams are structured and some roles and responsibilities will change, but there will be no compulsory redundancies. The ambition, vision and expertise of DFID staff will remain at the heart of the new department - taking forward the work of UK aid which will remain central to the mission of the new department.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he will take to ensure the Disability Inclusion Strategy and Strategic Vision for Gender Equality frameworks are embedded and implemented in the work of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Advancing gender equality and women's rights are a core part of this Government's mission, and vital to fulfilling every girl's right to 12 years of quality education. This government is committed to supporting a long-term movement for change on the neglected global issue of disability inclusion. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to these agendas.

The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy is expected to conclude later in the year, and will define the Government's ambition for the UK's role in the world. The Integrated Review's outcomes will shape the objectives of the FCDO. Both the Review and the merger are evidence of the Prime Minister's commitment to a unified British foreign and development policy that will maximise our influence around the world, including on disability and gender equality.

As part of the merger discussions, we will review, refresh, and build on all existing strategies, as well as developing new approaches where appropriate. We do not see the core ambitions of the Department For International Department's Strategic Vision for Gender Equality or Disability Inclusion Strategy changing. The challenges for the advancement of girls' education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, women's political empowerment, women's economic empowerment, ending violence against women and girls, and supporting people with disabilities are as acute now, if not more so, as when the strategy was published in 2018.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, International Development Committee and the National Audit Office will continue to play a role in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The National Audit Office, the UK's independent public spending watchdog, supports Parliament in holding Government to account and helping to improve public services through independent audits. The Comptroller and Auditor General certifies the accounts of all government departments and has statutory authority to examine whether departments have used their resources efficiently, effectively and with economy. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will be accountable to parliament for how it spends UK aid. The form this takes is a matter for Parliament. We remain committed to full transparency in our aid spending and there will continue to be parliamentary and independent scrutiny of the aid budget.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Turkish counterpart on the upcoming trial of Amnesty International Turkey’s (a) honorary Chair Taner Kiliç and (b) former Director Idil Eser and their nine co-defendant human rights defenders.

We remain concerned by the Amnesty arrests in the summer of 2017 of eleven human rights defenders, including Amnesty Turkey's former director, Idil Eser, and former chair, Taner Kiliç. We have followed the cases closely, including attendance at court hearings. We have raised their cases at Ministerial level with the Turkish Government on several occasions, as well as raising them in January this year through the UN's Universal Periodic Review of Turkey. We hope that the outstanding charges against them can be brought to a timely and equitable conclusion. We will be monitoring the next hearing in early July.

The United Kingdom recognises that human rights defenders play an essential role in promoting and protecting democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. We regularly raise our human rights concerns with the Turkish authorities at the highest level, particularly around detentions, freedom of expression and association. We continue to urge the authorities to ensure that all detainees are treated in accordance with relevant international human rights standards, such as access to legal representation and medical care We will continue to engage the Turkish Government on these important issues. We are clear in our expectation that Turkey, like all countries, should live up to its human rights obligations towards all its citizens.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations has he made to his Turkish counterpart Turkey on (a) that country's treatment of human rights defenders and (b) the condition of detention facilities in which they are kept in that country.

We remain concerned by the Amnesty arrests in the summer of 2017 of eleven human rights defenders, including Amnesty Turkey's former director, Idil Eser, and former chair, Taner Kiliç. We have followed the cases closely, including attendance at court hearings. We have raised their cases at Ministerial level with the Turkish Government on several occasions, as well as raising them in January this year through the UN's Universal Periodic Review of Turkey. We hope that the outstanding charges against them can be brought to a timely and equitable conclusion. We will be monitoring the next hearing in early July.

The United Kingdom recognises that human rights defenders play an essential role in promoting and protecting democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. We regularly raise our human rights concerns with the Turkish authorities at the highest level, particularly around detentions, freedom of expression and association. We continue to urge the authorities to ensure that all detainees are treated in accordance with relevant international human rights standards, such as access to legal representation and medical care We will continue to engage the Turkish Government on these important issues. We are clear in our expectation that Turkey, like all countries, should live up to its human rights obligations towards all its citizens.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the report published by Amnesty International entitled We dried our tears: addressing the toll on children of Northeast Nigeria's conflict, if he will make it his policy that continued support by the Government for Operation Safe Corridor is conditional on the Nigerian authorities (a) undertaking a full investigation into deaths in the military-run detention centre and (b) taking steps to ensure that the military respects children's rights.

We are concerned by allegations of human rights abuses in Amnesty International's recent report, We Dried Our Tears. The British High Commissioner has raised the report's findings with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, calling for a full investigation into the allegations and prosecution of any individuals found to have committed abuses in military detention facilities. The UK Government does not provide any support to the military detention facilities mentioned or provide funding directly to the Government of Nigeria.

We are also concerned by criticisms in the report of Operation Safe Corridor. The programme is run by the Federal Government of Nigeria and is intended to provide defectors from Boko Haram with a voluntary way to disarm and reintegrate with society through de-radicalisation, psychosocial support and livelihood training. By providing a way to disengage from conflict, these programmes are an essential part of peacebuilding but they must fit for purpose and conducted in a way that fully respects human rights.

The UK, alongside the US and EU, provides funding to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to assist in the reintegration element of the Operation Safe Corridor. All UK Government programme spend is subject to regular monitoring and review. We are urgently following up points raised in the report with IOM, in particular in relation to the process for screening participants, the conditions in which they are detained and the timeline for rehabilitation. IOM have assured us that no children are currently enrolled. The UK's position on human rights is clear: they are universal and must apply equally to all people. The UK will continue to call on all parties to the conflict in North East Nigeria to respect human rights, including the rights of children, and abide by international humanitarian and human rights law.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the document UK Support for Human Rights Defenders, published in July 2019, what additional support his Department plans to provide to women in Saudi Arabia who campaigned for the right to drive but remain on trial.

We remain concerned about the continued detention of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Secretary raised our concerns about the ongoing detention of political detainees, including women's rights defenders with Saudi Ministers during his visit this year to Riyadh on 4 and 5 March. We regularly raise areas of concern with the Saudi authorities at all levels, through Ministers, our Ambassador and the Embassy in Riyadh. We continue to raise concerns about individual cases regularly and monitor the situation closely.

We welcome recent positive developments, including the end on the ban on women driving and guardianship reforms. Women's rights still fall short of international standards, and we will continue to raise the issue with Saudi Arabia.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the report published by Amnesty International entitled We dried our tears: addressing the toll on children of Northeast Nigeria's conflict, what steps he is taking to ensure that Government support does not contribute to abuses taking place in that region as a result of conflict.

We are concerned by the reports of abuse and of children being held in military detention facilities, detailed within Amnesty International's Report, 'We Dried Our Tears'. The UK position is clear: children are victims of the conflict in North East Nigeria, not perpetrators and must not be treated as perpetrators.

The British High Commissioner has raised the report's findings with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs and has called for a full investigation into the allegations and prosecution of any individuals found to have committed abuses. The UK will continue to call on the Nigerian security forces to respect human rights, including the rights of children and abide by international humanitarian and human rights law. It is essential that victims can have trust in, and are protected by, their security forces.

All UK Government programme spend in difficult, conflict environments is subject to regular monitoring and review. The UK Government does not provide any support to the military detention facilities mentioned in Amnesty's report.

We are concerned by the criticism of the demobilisation, de-radicalisation and reintegration programme 'Operation Safe Corridor' in Amnesty's report, and are urgently following up with the implementer, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). They have assured us that no children are currently enrolled in the Operation Safe Corridor programme. Operation Safe Corridor is funded by international donors including the UK, US and EU.

Through our humanitarian and development assistance in Nigeria, we are supporting children affected by the conflict in the North East, including those previously detained by the Nigerian authorities. This includes support to programmes which ensure children's essential material needs are met. We will continue to urge all parties to prioritise mitigating the effect of conflict on civilians, particularly the most vulnerable including children.

19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department responded to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief’s call for evidence for his report to the United Nations General Assembly on the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is presently coordinating the UK's response to the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief's report on eliminating intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16, taking into account contributions from other Government Departments. We aim to submit our response by the UN's deadline of 6 June.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Iranian Government on the release from prison of (a) Soheil Arabi, (b) Sina Dehgan and (c) Mohammed Nourie, as a result of the risk of contracting covid-19 in those prisons.

We routinely discuss with Iran our concerns relating to the risks posed by COVID-19 in Iran and have provided funding to the UN to help combat the rapid spread of the disease. On 9 May President Rouhani acknowledged that there were known cases of COVID-19 in Iranian prisons. We are urgently seeking further information from the Iranian authorities on these reports and have consistently raised this with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We continue to express our concerns to the Government of Iran at the ongoing incarceration of prisoners of conscience and religion, and encourage Iran to live up to its international human rights obligations towards all its citizens.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Turkmenistan on the release from prison of Vepa Matyakubov as a result of the risk of contracting covid-19 in that prison.

We are aware of the case of Vepa Matyakubov, and are concerned by further reports that Turkmenistan has imprisoned a number of conscientious objectors to military service. The FCO, including through our Embassy in Ashgabat, has raised and will continue to raise with the Turkmen authorities the importance of taking steps to protect and respect individuals' rights to exercise freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression. Our Embassy in Ashgabat remain in close contact with the Turkmen authorities about COVID-19 prevention measures, and continue to monitor the situation closely.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on tackling modern slavery in the textile industry globally of the UK's commitments under the 2017 UN Call to Action to End Forced Labour, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

The UK Government is committed to the eradication of all forms of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking worldwide by 2030 as set out in Sustainable Development Goal 8.7. Building on the 2017 Call to Action to end forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking, which has now been endorsed by 92 countries, the UK jointly launched the 'Principles to Combat Human Trafficking in Global Supply Chains' with the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand at the UN General Assembly in September 2018. These Principles commit governments to implementing a range of measures that help address modern slavery in global supply chains. The UK is now focused on implementation of the Call to Action and encouraging member states to devise national action plans and deliver on their own commitments. Currently we are working across Government with partners to assess the impact of COVID-19 on modern slavery including in the textile industry.

The UK is the first country to require businesses to report on the steps they have taken to tackle modern slavery in their operations and global supply chains. The landmark 'Transparency in Supply Chains' provision in the Modern Slavery Act requires certain businesses with a turnover of £36m or more to publish annual modern slavery statements and applies to all sectors, including textiles.

In addition, the Department for International Development funds two programmes which seek to tackle modern slavery in the textile industry. The UK's contribution to the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery seeks to trial new approaches to tackling modern slavery in the apparel sector in India and Bangladesh, among other sectors. One of the objectives of the Work in Freedom programme is to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to forced labour in the textiles, clothing, leather and footwear industries of South Asia.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate consultation with civil society as part of its Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence, security and international development.

The Integrated Review has been paused given the pressing need to focus on COVID-19. We will return to the Integrated Review when appropriate to do so, ensuring that we engage with all relevant stakeholders, including civil society.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential implications for his policies of the (a) findings and (b) recommendations in the Bishop of Truro’s Review into the Persecution of Christians Worldwide relating to the persecution of Christians in the northern part of Cyprus.

The UK is committed to defending Freedom of Religion or Belief, and promoting respect between communities of different religions and those of no religion. The British Government has accepted all the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro's review. Work is ongoing to implement the recommendations in a way that will bring real improvements to the lives of those persecuted because of their faith or belief. The UK has supported the work of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in the northern part of Cyprus. This committee was created under the auspices of the United Nations and works to promote and protect the cultural heritage of the island of Cyprus. This includes preservation of religious sites in the north of Cyprus.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Turkish counterpart on freedom of Christian worship in the northern part of Cyprus.

On 3 March, the Foreign Secretary met Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu. The two Foreign Ministers discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including human rights. We have long encouraged Turkey to work towards the full protection of fundamental rights, particularly in the area of freedom of expression. We will continue to engage the Turkish government on these issues and to urge respect for Freedom of Religion or Belief. Defending persecuted Christians, and persecuted individuals of all faiths or beliefs wherever they are based, remains a long standing priority for the British Government.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to monitor the effect of Government funding for Colombia on human rights and the peace process in that country.

The United Kingdom is committed to the implementation of the Peace Accords of 2016, and we remain steadfast in our support of the Colombian authorities as they seek to ensure sustainable peace in Colombia. We are proud to be the penholder on the issue at the United Nations Security Council, and have committed almost £45 million over 5 years through the United Kingdom Conflict Stability and Security Fund for Colombia to support development across conflict-affected regions. As a Human Rights Priority Country, our Embassy in Colombia also provides significant programming to help at-risk human rights defenders and to tackle the legacy of sexual violence from Colombia's decades-long conflict.

The British Government undertakes extensive risk assessments when designing projects in Colombia and deciding which to fund, including any potential negative impact on human rights or the peace process. This includes the OSJA process, which ensures any United Kingdom overseas security and justice assistance (OSJA) work meets our human rights obligations and our values. We continually monitor the effects of our programme work in consultation with colleagues working in Colombia, making a thorough assessment of the impact of all of our projects.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Com