Mark Hendrick Portrait

Mark Hendrick

Labour (Co-op) - Preston

Committees on Arms Export Controls
6th Jul 2020 - 2nd Feb 2021
International Trade Committee
2nd Jul 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee
5th Jan 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Foreign Affairs Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill (Commons)
7th Jul 2015 - 22nd Feb 2016
Foreign Affairs Committee
18th Jun 2012 - 30th Mar 2015
Opposition Assistant Whip (Commons)
8th Oct 2010 - 18th Mar 2013
International Development Committee
19th Jan 2009 - 6th May 2010
European Scrutiny Committee
25th Jan 2001 - 14th Jun 2004


Department Event
Tuesday 6th September 2022
Department for International Trade
Programme Motion - Main Chamber
Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill
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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
Tuesday 6th September 2022
14:30
Department for International Trade
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
6 Sep 2022, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Movement etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2022
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Scheduled Event
Friday 28th October 2022
09:30
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
28 Oct 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Co-operatives, Mutuals and Friendly Societies Bill: Second Reading
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Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Tuesday 19th July 2022
Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement: Scrutiny
In October 2020, the then International Trade Secretary—the current Foreign Secretary—set out the CRaG process for Parliament to have a …
Written Answers
Wednesday 27th July 2022
Iron and Steel: Import Duties
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with trade partners on the …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 5th July 2022
The contribution of the co-operative movement in the UK economy
That this House recognises the vital contribution of the UK co-operative movement to the economy; further notes that co-operatives in …
Bills
Wednesday 15th June 2022
Co-operatives, Mutuals and Friendly Societies Bill 2022-23
A Bill to make provision about the types of share capital issued by co-operatives; to make provision about the taxation …
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 11th July 2022
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Newcleo Ltd
Address of donor: 2 Portman Street, London W1H 6DU
Amount of donation or nature and …
EDM signed
Tuesday 28th June 2022
Recruiting and retaining NHS staff
That this House acknowledges there is a staffing crisis in the National Health Service, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic but …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 13th December 2016
Mutualisation of the Royal Bank of Scotland Bill 2016-17
A Bill to transfer the ownership of the Royal Bank of Scotland to its customers and employees; and for connected …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Mark Hendrick has voted in 385 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Mark Hendrick Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(6 debate interactions)
Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Conservative)
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
(5 debate interactions)
Greg Hands (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(4 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for International Trade
(15 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(8 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Mark Hendrick's debates

Preston Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

Reverse the plan to withdraw funding for most applied general qualifications such as BTECs and guarantee they will continue to play a major role in the qualifications landscape. Students should not be forced to choose between studying A levels or T levels from the age of 16.

The Government should provide more funding for stalking advocates for victims of stalking. This would help support victims, and should also help the police to investigate cases more thoroughly, potentially helping prevent threats to life.

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Mark Hendrick

5th July 2022
Mark Hendrick signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Tuesday 5th July 2022

The contribution of the co-operative movement in the UK economy

Tabled by: Mark Hendrick (Labour (Co-op) - Preston)
That this House recognises the vital contribution of the UK co-operative movement to the economy; further notes that co-operatives in the UK operate across a wide range of sectors, all guided by the values and principles of co-operation that include concern for community and member economic participation; recognises the importance …
17 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 6
Plaid Cymru: 3
Scottish National Party: 2
Liberal Democrat: 2
Independent: 2
Conservative: 1
Green Party: 1
22nd June 2022
Mark Hendrick signed this EDM on Tuesday 28th June 2022

Recruiting and retaining NHS staff

Tabled by: Tony Lloyd (Labour - Rochdale)
That this House acknowledges there is a staffing crisis in the National Health Service, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic but predating it; recognises the intense pressure on healthcare staff, who having worked incredibly hard during the pandemic now face the vast challenge of clearing the backlog of care caused by …
57 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 36
Liberal Democrat: 10
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Conservative: 1
Alliance: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All Mark Hendrick's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Mark Hendrick, 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.


Mark Hendrick has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Mark Hendrick has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Mark Hendrick


A Bill to make provision about the types of share capital issued by co-operatives; to make provision about the taxation of mutual insurers and friendly societies which issue deferred shares; to permit the capital surplus of co-operatives, mutuals and friendly societies to be non-distributable; to amend the Friendly Societies Act 1992; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 15th June 2022
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 28th October 2022
Order Paper number: 1
(Certain to be Debated)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision about the meeting by the United Kingdom of the target for official development assistance (ODA) to constitute 0.7 per cent of gross national income; to make provision for independent verification that ODA is spent efficiently and effectively; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 20th June 2012

1 Bill co-sponsored by Mark Hendrick

Mutualisation of the Royal Bank of Scotland Bill 2016-17
Sponsor - Gareth Thomas (LAB)


468 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
3 Other Department Questions
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether her Department has made an assessment of the impact of the availability of childcare on the retention of mothers in the workforce.

We recognise that access to, and the availability of, affordable childcare is a key factor in enabling women to enter, remain, and progress in the workplace. That is why this Government continues to support families with their childcare costs.

All three- and four-year-olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare each week, providing children with high-quality early education, and helping parents to return to work. We have also spent over £3.5bn in each of the past three years on early education entitlements; and, at the Spending Review in October 2021, we announced additional funding for early years entitlements worth £160m in 2022-23, £180m in 2023-24 and £170m in 2024-25.

The provision of affordable, high-quality childcare is just one way in which we are changing the culture of the workplace to ensure that parents can balance work and care. In addition, we have extended the right to request flexible working to all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer.

Furthermore, the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme gives working families more choice and flexibility about who cares for their child in the first year, and when. We have recently launched an online tool to make it easier for parents to check if they are eligible for shared parental leave and pay.

24th Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of prohibiting employers from requesting salary history from new employees in an effort to help tackle the replication of pay gaps between organisations.

There is growing evidence to show that, when pay is negotiable, asking applicants to disclose previous salary information increases the risk that historic disparities will be replicated. This is also the case when employers fail to provide clear salary information within their job adverts.

Both practices, when taken together, can limit an applicant’s ability to understand the value of their skills, and prevent them from negotiating on a level playing field. This can be particularly detrimental to those applicants who have been historically paid less, and who may not benefit from the informal sharing of pay information; ultimately putting them at a disadvantage during salary negotiations.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to tackle the increase in incidents of online workplace sexual harassment.

Under the Equality Act 2010 employers have a legal responsibility to take all reasonable steps to protect their employees against workplace sexual harassment. If they fail to do so, the employer is vicariously liable for any sexual harassment committed by their employees during the course of their employment; this includes online.

The Government expects employers to take these responsibilities seriously. If they fail, employees can seek advice from ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) and, if necessary, take legal action in an Employment Tribunal.

Last year the Equality and Human Rights Commission, with the Government’s support, published guidance on harassment and sexual harassment at work. This made clear that employers should ensure policies on IT, communications systems and social media include appropriate warnings against online harassment and encourage workers to report it.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what the scientific basis is for lifting remaining covid-19 restrictions as announced on 21 February 2022.

I refer the Hon. Member to both my statement to the House and press conference of 21 February.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of (a) exports and (b) imports between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the hon. Member's Parliamentary Questions of 18 February 2022 is attached.

Heather Wheeler
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of knife crime in the last 10 years.

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

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether behavioural scientists are involved in implementing national lockdown guidance and messaging.

Behavioural science has been fully embedded in Covid-19 communications since the start of the pandemic. The evidence-based principles from this field have been applied across all key campaigns, including the decision to enter national lockdown. Behavioural science support during the pandemic has been provided by internal government teams and academic experts, including those who are members of SPI-B.

The Government constantly monitors and gains insight on public awareness. We use regular evaluations to maximise the impact of our campaigns across the UK. Recall of Government communication has remained extremely high.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has made an assessment of the effectiveness of public health messaging in saving lives during the covid-19 outbreak.

Behavioural science has been fully embedded in Covid-19 communications since the start of the pandemic. The evidence-based principles from this field have been applied across all key campaigns, including the decision to enter national lockdown. Behavioural science support during the pandemic has been provided by internal government teams and academic experts, including those who are members of SPI-B.

The Government constantly monitors and gains insight on public awareness. We use regular evaluations to maximise the impact of our campaigns across the UK. Recall of Government communication has remained extremely high.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what criteria is used by Government Departments when granting public contracts to private companies.

Public sector purchasing authorities are required to purchase products and services in accordance with public procurement legislation. Against this background, UK public procurement policy is to award contracts on the basis of value for money, which means the optimum combination of cost and quality over the lifetime of the project.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an automated traffic light system to control the number of people entering and leaving government buildings.

The guidance designed for Government workplaces does not currently consider the use of such traffic light systems. Current advice includes consideration of staggered arrival and departure times to reduce crowding.

Additional measures will be considered as necessary.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have died in care homes in (a) April, (b) May and (c) June 2020 in (i) Preston and (ii) Lancashire compared to the same period in each of the last two years.

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)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the (a) median age (b) sex (c) race (d) religion and (e) gender was of covid-19 (i) deaths and (ii) cases in Preston constituency.

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)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, the exact number of daily excess all-cause mortality in (a) age group and (b) PHE centres in week 30 of covid-19.

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)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he took to ensure that (a) women and (b) ethnic minorities were represented in shaping the Government's covid-19 response (i) planning and (ii) decision-making.

The Government’s COVID-19 response has been a cross-Government effort, involving thousands of people who have worked tirelessly as the UK faces unprecedented challenges. Planning and decision making has touched almost all of Government, with women and ethnic minorities represented at all levels.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) applications were made under the right to ask element of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) (b) disclosures were made as a result of the DVDS application and (c) proactive disclosures were made under the right to know element of that scheme to people who had not made an application for DVDS in each year since the introduction of that scheme in March 2014 in (a) Lancashire and (b) each police force area.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many disclosures made under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme were made within the 35 day time limit in each year since the introduction of the scheme in (a) Lancashire and (b) in each police force in England and Wales.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) men and (b) women were killed by their partner or ex-partner in each of the last three years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to support small and medium businesses to recruit and retain suitably qualified employees.

Throughout the pandemic the Government provided historic levels of support to the economy – a total of £370 billion. At the heart of this was the Plan for Jobs programme – a comprehensive and ambitious plan to help people back into work and develop the skills they need to thrive.

The Plan for Jobs supported people throughout the pandemic and continues to do so as we see sustained economic improvement with unemployment returning to pre-pandemic levels. Accompanied with this recovery were record levels of vacancies and as a result, the Government launched the new Way to Work campaign in January 2022 to focus on supporting unemployed and work-ready claimants into work quickly.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had recent discussions with his counterparts in (a) Europe, (b) the Middle East and (c) Asia on procurement of the (i) Eurofighter Typhoon and (ii) other defence aircraft which were designed and manufactured in the UK.

The procurement of defence equipment by other countries is a matter for the Ministry of Defence, and the Department for International Trade. Matters relating to these subjects should be directed to those Departments.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the supply of (a) steel, (b) zinc and (c) other metals necessary for the aerospace industry in the UK.

The invasion of Ukraine has created uncertainty in the global economy. The sanctions and strong response by the UK and its allies are vital in supporting the Ukrainian people, but these decisions will inevitably have an impact on the supply of goods, both in the UK and in other economies.

We have been in close contact with the UK aerospace sector to understand the implications of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on the supply of metals, and their timelines for finding alternative sources where needed. We are aware of the sector’s priorities and are looking to work with them whilst, at the same time, ensure HM Government’s policy stance reflects the unacceptability of Russia’s action towards Ukraine.

The resilience of critical supply chains is a priority for the Government. The UK benefits from an open international trading system and our priority is to work with allies and international partners, including Japan, to promote it.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) assessment he has made of the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on titanium supplies for the aerospace industry in the UK and (b) discussions he has had with his counterparts in Japan and other supply countries on the meeting the UK demand for titanium.

The invasion of Ukraine has created uncertainty in the global economy. The sanctions and strong response by the UK and its allies are vital in supporting the Ukrainian people, but these decisions will inevitably have an impact on the supply of goods, both in the UK and in other economies.

We have been in close contact with the UK aerospace sector to understand the implications of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on the supply of metals, and their timelines for finding alternative sources where needed. We are aware of the sector’s priorities and are looking to work with them whilst, at the same time, ensure HM Government’s policy stance reflects the unacceptability of Russia’s action towards Ukraine.

The resilience of critical supply chains is a priority for the Government. The UK benefits from an open international trading system and our priority is to work with allies and international partners, including Japan, to promote it.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much the Government is (a) paying and (b) receiving for Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) by (i) KWh, (ii) total payments and resale, (iii) various forms of FiT renewables and (iv) commercial and domestic generation.

Feed in Tariffs is a scheme designed to promote the uptake of small-scale renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies. The scheme is funded through Energy suppliers who levy the costs onto consumers.

In Year 11 (20/21) of the FiT scheme, the overall capacity was approximately 6.43 GW, which generated 9.14 TWh of renewable electricity with the annual value of the scheme costing £1.76 billion.

Eligible technologies for FiT include photovoltaic, onshore wind, anaerobic digestion, hydro and Micro CHP. Installed microgeneration (0 – 50 kW) accounted for an installed capacity of 3,484 MW with larger installations (>50 kW) totalling an installed capacity of 2,942 MW.

Details of the tariff structure for each technology can be found here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/feed-tariff-fit-tariff-table-1-april-2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is his Department will take steps to ensure that energy and utility companies suspend disconnections of customers unable to afford payment of their bills.

The energy regulator Ofgem prohibits energy suppliers from disconnecting customers who are of pensionable age during the winter months (October to March). Ofgem takes all reasonable steps during winter to avoid disconnecting premises where the occupants include a person who has a disability or a chronic sickness or is a person of pensionable age.

Suppliers must not disconnect customers for unpaid charges unless they have offered a range of repayment options and have exhausted all available means to recover a debt. In addition, suppliers are also required to identify and support pre-payment meter (PPM) customers at risk of self-rationing or self-disconnection through provision of emergency/friendly-hours credit and additional support credit.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans extend the warm home discount.

The Government consulted on expanding and reforming the Warm Home Discount Scheme from 2022 until 2026 in the Energy White Paper. Under the plans, the total spending will increase from around £350 million to £475 million per year, and the value of the rebates will increase to £150. As a result of the additional funding, 780,000 more low-income and vulnerable households will receive rebates on their energy bills every winter, with the majority receiving the money automatically and without having to apply.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to tackle energy poverty.

The Sustainable Warmth Strategy, published in February 2021, details the Government’s approach to tackling fuel poverty in England.

The Government recognises more immediate support is needed for energy bills and is providing financial support through established schemes including the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment. Additional support has also been announced including a doubling of the Household Support Fund to £1 billion to be delivered through local authorities, a £200 payment through household energy bills for domestic electricity customers in Great Britain, and a £150 non-repayable reduction in Council Tax bills for all households in Bands A-D in England.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing support to users of prepayment energy meters who are unable to make prepayment.

Ofgem has rules in place that require energy suppliers to provide extra support for customers using prepayment meters. These include an obligation on suppliers to make emergency and friendly-hours credit available to all pre-payment meter customers. Where a supplier identifies that a prepayment customer is self-disconnecting or self-rationing their supply, they must also offer additional support credit. When assessing how a customer will repay any credit offered, suppliers must consider their ability to pay.

The Government is already taking action to support households with rising energy bills through a package of support worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23. This includes a £150 Council Tax rebate for bands A-D for properties in England, with funding provided to the Devolved Administrations for comparable provision, £144 million discretionary funding for local authorities and a £200 energy bill reduction from October 2022 to be recouped over 5 years from 2023. This support is available to customers with prepayment meters.

As announced in the Spring Statement, the Government continues to provide targeted cost of living support for households most in need. From April, an additional £500 million will be provided to help households with the cost of essentials, bringing total funding for this support to £1 billion. In England, £421 million will be provided to extend the existing Household Support Fund, whilst the devolved administrations will receive £79 million through the Barnett formula.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Autumn 2021 Budget, how much and what proportion of the £63 million committed to Companies House reform has been spent as of 17 March 2022.

The £63 million allocated to Companies House at the Autumn 2021 Budget is to be spent across the Spending Review period of 2022-2025, which will begin at the start of the forthcoming financial year.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many full-time equivalent staff were employed by Companies House in each year since 2015.

The average full time equivalent of staff employed by Companies House since 2014/15, including projections until 2024/25 are:

Financial Year

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

2023-24

2024-25

FTE

854

810

832

849

884

928

999

1040

1199

1182

1143

2021/22 is provided as a year to date average to the end of February 2022

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the annual budget for Companies House (a) was in each year since 2015 and (b) is for each year until 2024.

The total departmental expenditure limits for Companies House since 2014/15 until 2024/25 are

Financial Year

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019- 20

2020- 21

2021- 22

2022-23

2023- 24

2024- 25

Budget

£ 6.00m

£ 5.40m

£ 9.40m

£ 7.50m

£ 7.40m

£ 14.30m

£ 34.20m

£ 33.10m

£ 38.40m

£ 33.90m

£ 40.80m

Companies House recovers the majority of its costs through fees, therefore it’s departmental expenditure limits are set net of its income.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his timetable is for implementing the changes to Companies House proposed in the Corporate Transparency and Register Reform White Paper.

The Government has committed to legislating on register reform in the next session of this parliament. The proposed changes will be implemented as expeditiously as possible thereafter.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of the covid-19 outbreak on the pay gap for ethnic minority groups.

The economic impacts of Covid-19 are still playing out and it is difficult to draw firm conclusions as to whether any groups have been disproportionately impacted.

The ONS publish official data on ethnicity pay and the first set of data covering the pandemic will be published in due course. Data for 2019 is available here:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/articles/ethnicitypaygapsingreatbritain/2019.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the causes of women of colour being more likely than white men and women to be employed on zero-hours contracts.

The Government is committed to building a fairer Britain and ensuring that equality and opportunity is available for all.

Overall, individuals on zero-hours contracts represent a very small proportion of the workforce – just 3%. For this small group, this may be the type of contract which works best for them. The majority of people (62%) on zero-hours contracts say that they do not want more hours.

Zero-hours contracts remain an important part of the UK’s flexible labour market, for both employers where there is not a constant demand for staff and for individuals who may need to balance work around other commitments such as childcare and study.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to protect the intellectual property of digital works.

The UK’s IP framework is consistently rated as one of the best in the world. A good IP framework alongside an effective enforcement regime provides the best environment for creators of digital works to thrive.

Officials from the Intellectual Property Office have been holding roundtable meetings with representatives from social media businesses, alongside the creative industries, to discuss the protection of digital works on their platforms. These roundtable discussions have further enhanced our ability to fight piracy on social media platforms.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of the provision of bereavement leave to (a) mothers and (b) partners who have experienced a (i) miscarriage and (ii) stillbirth.

We recognise that losing a child at any age can be deeply upsetting. We encourage employers to provide appropriate support to women who have suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth.

In April 2020, we legislated to give parents who lose a child under the age of 18 a right to take up to 2 weeks off work in the 56 weeks following the death of their child. This right extends to parents of babies stillborn after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy. It is too early to conduct an evaluation of this policy.

Individuals who do not feel able to return to work following a miscarriage may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay while off work. All employees are also entitled to 5.6 weeks of Annual Leave a year and many employers also offer ‘Compassionate Leave’. We encourage employers to respond sensitively to each individual’s specific needs.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of making daylight saving time permanent.

The Government believes that the current daylight-saving arrangements represent the optimal use of the available daylight across the UK. We do not believe there is sufficient evidence to support changing the current system of clock changes, including for travel, tourism and energy usage.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of making daylight saving time permanent.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of the provision of bereavement leave to (a) mothers and (b) partners who have experienced a (i) miscarriage and (ii) stillbirth.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the economic consequences of annual leave entitlement not taken by employees in 2020 as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

In light of the pandemic, the Government introduced the Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which allow four weeks of annual leave to be carried into the following two leave years if, due to the effects of coronavirus, it is not reasonably practicable for a worker to take this leave in the year to which it relates. These regulations ensure that workers who are unable to take their holiday due to coronavirus do not risk losing their holiday entitlement.

These regulations relax the obligation on employers to ensure that workers can take holiday in the leave year to which it relates, providing additional flexibility to support both employers and workers. It is a matter for individual employers and their workers to consider whether it is possible to facilitate a worker taking annual leave at a specific time.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to require gig workers to have the same rights as permanent employees.

This Government is clear that that everyone deserves to be treated fairly at work and rewarded for their contribution to the economy, both in terms of fair pay and fair working conditions.

An individual’s entitlement to rights at work, including those who work in the gig economy, is determined by their employment status, employee, worker or self-employed. Employees are entitled to all rights (subject to qualifying periods) and have responsibilities towards their employer. So-called Limb (b) workers are only entitled to some rights but have increased flexibility. The self-employed generally have no employment rights but have complete flexibility in their work.

The Government will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that any options to clarify Employment Status are effective, preserving the flexibility of the labour market while making it easier to understand for individuals.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of anonymous recruitment.

Employers should treat all job applicants courteously as well as being fair and objective in their selection of successful candidates. Provided they do not discriminate unlawfully, for example on grounds of race, sex or disability, they are free to use the recruitment methods that best suit their business needs.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is taking steps to protect furloughed jobs from automation.

The World Economic Forum has estimated that robotics, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will displace 75 million jobs globally between 2018 and 2022 but create 133 million new ones – a “net positive” of 58 million jobs.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has taken unprecedented steps to protect jobs. The objective of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is to enable employers to keep people in employment. So far, the CJRS has helped 1.2 million employers to pay the wages of 9.9 million jobs across all sectors of the economy.

Analysis published by HMRC shows that 90 per cent of employees that left the CJRS between April and July were still on their original payroll in August, suggesting they remained working for their original employer. The OBR have also estimated that unemployment would have been higher in the second quarter of 2021 in the absence of the CJRS and other measures.

The Government continues to monitor CJRS take-up, with HMRC's latest official statistics producing analysis of claims split by characteristics including employer size, sector of the economy, geography, age and gender.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many doses of the covid-19 vaccine are produced each day in the UK.

The Government has invested over £300 million to scale up the UK’s manufacturing capabilities. Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and vaccine supplies are part of our critical national infrastructure. Vaccines are a precious resource in very high demand across the world; therefore, for security reasons, it is not possible to provide detail about the size of our supplies and exact detail about deliveries.

We remain in close contact with all vaccine suppliers to ensure we can hit our target of offering vaccinations to priority groups 1 to 4, as advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, by 15 February 2021.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the UK manufacturing capacity is of the covid-19 vaccine.

The Government has invested over £300 million to secure and scale up the UK’s manufacturing capabilities to be able to respond to the pandemic. This includes:

a) Facilities that have come online:

  • £4.7 million for skills training through the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network, which will be delivered through both virtual and physical centres;
  • £8.75 million for the set-up of the rapid deployment facility at Oxford Biomedica in Oxfordshire; and
  • £65.5 million for the early manufacture of the University of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • We have also funded fill and finish through a contract with Wockhardt in Wrexham, North Wales which is currently providing Fill-Finish capabilities to the University of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.

b) Facilities that will come online later this year, to help provide longer term UK capacity:

  • £93 million to accelerate the completion and expanded role of the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Oxfordshire; and
  • £127 million for the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Braintree in Essex.

In addition to the above, we have also funded the expansion of the Valneva factory in Livingston, Scotland.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help protect workers' rights after the end of the transition period.

The Government’s ambition is for the UK to be the best place in the world to work and grow a business. The Government has already passed legislation to ensure that employment rights are protected at the end of the transition period. The legislation and the explanatory memorandum for each can be read at the following links: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/535/contents/made and https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/536/contents/made; and for Northern Ireland: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/537/contents/made and https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/538/contents/made.

More information the continuing availability of workplace rights from 1 January 2021 is available online: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/workplace-rights-from-1-january-2021.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to publish guidance on worker's rights for people working from home.

ACAS has produced comprehensive guidance on the key employer considerations for when people are working at home during the pandemic. This covers health and safety and insurance – the link to the relevant section of the ACAS site can be found here https://www.acas.org.uk/working-from-home.

There is also a legal framework in place that grants all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer the statutory Right to Request Flexible Working, where employees can request a change to their hours, working patterns or to work from home. There is supporting guidance currently available online which explains both eligibility and the process for making a request to work flexibly on GOV.UK – this can be found here https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working. In addition, there is the ACAS Code of Practice on making and responding to flexible working requests, which can be found here https://www.acas.org.uk/acas-code-of-practice-on-flexible-working-requests.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to ensure people who work remotely are not being required to accept a loss in (a) pay, (b) job stability, and (c) opportunities for promotion.

ACAS has produced comprehensive guidance on the key employment issues for when people are working at home during the pandemic. This covers practical issues such as pay and insurance, as well as offering training on managing people who work remotely – the link to the relevant section of the ACAS site can be found here https://www.acas.org.uk/working-from-home.

There is also a legal framework in place that grants all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer the statutory Right to Request Flexible Working, where employees can request a change to their hours, working patterns or to work from home. There is supporting guidance currently available online which explains both eligibility and the process for making a request to work flexibly on GOV.UK – this can be found here https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working.

Employers should not dismiss or treat staff unfairly because they have made a flexible working request or intend to make a flexible working request, which can include working remotely. To treat staff unfairly means to cause them detriment such that they are worse off than they were previously. Examples of unfair treatment include employers reducing the hours of staff, overlooking individuals for promotions or development opportunities, and saying no to training requests without good reason.

If an employee feels they have experienced detriment because of a flexible working request, they may qualify to make a claim to an employment tribunal.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he is providing to businesses that are (a) closed and (b) trading with reduced capacity as a result of covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The Government has announced there will be further funding to support businesses that are required to close due to localised restrictions being put in place to manage the spread of coronavirus and save lives.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant is now in place, which offers a helping hand to businesses in Very High Tier areas as they close their doors to help save lives. Businesses in these areas in England can receive up to £3,000 per month and payments will kick in after two weeks of closure. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 22nd October that further funding will be put in place to support businesses in High Local Alert Level area restrictions. Funding will be provided via local authorities to support businesses, including hospitality and leisure businesses, that have had their trade affected by the restrictions but have not been required to close.

Where government has not required that businesses close, other support has been provided to help businesses through difficult trading conditions. In addition to the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund which provided support from April to September this year, the Government has extended the deadline for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Future Fund until 30th November 2020.

We will work with lenders and business representatives to introduce a new, successor loan guarantee scheme, set to begin in January 2021. In addition, the Job Support Scheme will run from 1st November to help support viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand in the winter months.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the exploitation of people working in UK garment factories.

In light of the very serious recent allegations of illegal and unsafe working conditions for garment workers in Leicester, a multi-agency Taskforce, led by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has been set up in Leicester to enable the relevant enforcement bodies to work together at pace to take appropriate action against unscrupulous employers and individuals who exploit workers. The taskforce includes: HMRC National Minimum Wage; Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate (BEIS); Leicestershire Police; National Crime Agency; Leicester City Council; Department for Work and Pensions and Immigration Enforcement (Home Office). The Taskforce has identified around 200 businesses and premises for investigation and is conducting a programme of site visits.

We are also working with industry through the Apparel and General Merchandise Public and Private Protocol, a partnership between enforcement bodies and industry partner – including the British Retail Consortium, UK Fashion and the Textile Association – aimed at tackling all forms of labour exploitation in the garment trade.

The Government is committed to improving enforcement of employment rights. We have announced the intention to introduce a Single Enforcement Body, which will provide a clearer route for workers to raise a complaint and get support, enabling more coordinated enforcement action and the use of pooled intelligence to better target proactive enforcement.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure businesses do not terminate staff required to self-isolate due to covid-19.

Employees with the necessary qualifying periods are protected from unfair dismissal and employers who dismiss an employee because they are, or have been, self-isolating, may be liable for unfair or automatically unfair dismissal. However, there could be other factors which might be support a dismissal being considered to be fair. These factors will need to be reviewed by an employment tribunal and the tribunal’s decision will depend on all the circumstances in each individual case.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to provide additional funding for schemes to support business affected by covid-19 that are owned by (a) minorities and (b) women.

The Government is committed to ensuring people from all backgrounds and regions benefit from the Government’s access to finance schemes. A diverse and inclusive ecosystem is good for entrepreneurs, companies, investors, and society as a whole.

The Department’s Ministerial team is also actively engaging with the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) business community on a regular basis to cover multiple issues, including access to finance.

The Future Fund provides government co-investment to innovative businesses. As of 5 July, 376 convertible loans worth a total of £380 million have been approved under the scheme. The British Business Bank (BBB) published diversity data for the Future Fund on 23 June 2020, which showed that companies with BAME-only and mixed ethnicity management teams accounted for over 55% of applications, valued at £118.5m, and that 79% of funding had been issued to companies with mixed gender management teams.

The Future Fund is also a signatory of the Investing in Women Code and encourages co-investors to do the same.

The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme had delivered more than 73,600 loans to entrepreneurs by the end of May 2020, providing more than £609 million of funding. Of these, 40 per cent of these loans have gone to women, and 25 per cent of the total were to applicants from a BAME background.

The Government’s loan schemes to support businesses affected by Covid-19, including the Bounce Back Loan schemes, are open to all businesses which meet the eligibility criteria, including those owned by women as well as those owned by people from a BAME background. We will monitor the implementation and take up of the schemes.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that covid-19 social distancing measures are being implemented by businesses which hold Government contracts.

It is critical that all employers offer safe workplaces. The Government has published guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These guides cover a range of working environments and are available at www.gov.uk/workingsafely.

Our legal framework already requires employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees and this includes risks from COVID-19. This guidance forms part of employers’ normal health and safety practice. Health and safety legislation is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and by local authorities.

If the enforcing authority finds that an employer is not taking action to properly manage workplace risk, a range of actions is open to them including specific advice or issuing enforcement notices.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on gender equality in the workplace.

We are actively monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market, including the impact on men and women.

It is too early to draw any firm conclusions. We are analysing the ONS labour market statistics released on the 16th of June, which cover the 3-month period up to the end of April. Analysis of this and other data will provide an indication of early impacts of Covid-19 on the labour market

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support independent convenience store (a) owners and (b) workers affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Chancellor has announced an unprecedented package of Government-backed and guaranteed loans to support UK businesses. For example, from 1 April 2020 businesses of all sizes in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors will pay no business rates in England for 12 months. In addition to the Small Business Grant Scheme, we will also provide small businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors with a higher grant of £25,000 per business, if they have a rateable value of under £51,000.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access financial support, so they can continue to pay their employees’ salaries where they may otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the payroll, otherwise described as furloughed workers. The Government will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month to safeguard workers from being made redundant.

On 26 March, the Chancellor announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, which will support individuals and members of partnerships whose income has negatively been impacted by the Coronavirus. HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The Scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000.

We have also made changes to the welfare system, increasing Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £1,000 a year. We have suspended the minimum income floor for 12 months – meaning every self-employed person can now access Universal Credit at a rate that is equivalent to statutory Sick Pay.

Public Health England have published further advice for employers and employees regarding Covid-19 at:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made an assessment of the (a) impact of the rise in the cost of energy on the charity sector’s ability to maintain services and (b) potential merits of providing energy grants to charity organisations.

We recognise that many organisations, including charities, are facing pressures due to the significant increases in global gas prices. The Government’s priority is to ensure costs are managed and supplies of energy are maintained.

Extensive engagement continues at both a ministerial and official level on this situation. Though we do not anticipate a need for sector-wide support at this time, we will continue to work closely with the sector to monitor the impact of increased energy costs.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the potential merits of introducing a national register of defibrillators located in (a) football stadiums, (b) sports pitches, (c) gyms and (d) leisure centres.

My Department holds discussions with the Department for Health and Social Care on a variety of matters, including the safety and welfare of those who participate in sport and physical activity.

Events at UEFA EURO 2020 earlier this year demonstrated the immense value of access to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and first aid training for anyone involved in sport. Sports facility owners have a responsibility to make the safety and welfare of those who use their facilities their top priority, including through access to life-saving first aid equipment and relevant training and education.

The NHS in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been working in partnership with The British Heart Foundation, the Resuscitation Council UK and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives to set up a pioneering database that will register AEDs across the UK, called The Circuit.

The Circuit will link a UK wide network of AEDs to every ambulance service in the country and the public in a bid to help save more lives from Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest.

Sports venues can register their AEDs via The Circuit (www.thecircuit.uk) and we would encourage them to do so in order to increase the chances of successful life-saving outcomes.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure the safety of young people online.

Protecting young people online is a priority for the government. In May 2021, we published the draft Online Safety Bill, which places duties on platforms to protect their users from harmful content and activity. The strongest protections in the legislation are for children. Services which are likely to be accessed by children will have to protect children from inappropriate and harmful content like pornography, and behaviour such as bullying. The regulator, Ofcom, will be able to take enforcement action against companies that fail to comply.

Ahead of online safety legislation, the UK’s regulatory regime for video sharing platforms requires UK-established platforms to take appropriate measures to protect children from harmful material. In addition, the Information Commissioner’s Age Appropriate Design Code, which came into force in September 2021, provides stronger protections for children’s personal data.

The government also recognises that it is important that children and parents are supported to stay safe online. In July 2021, we published the Online Media Literacy Strategy. This supports the empowerment of users, including young people, with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and informed decisions online, whilst making the most of all the internet has to offer. In June 2021, we also published Safety by Design guidance and a “One Stop Shop” on child online safety. These provide voluntary guidance on steps that platforms can take to design safer services and protect children.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to promote anti-racism in football.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in football, sport, or society at large. The sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart.

The Government continues to liaise closely and regularly with all the football authorities about their work to tackle discrimination. This includes actions targeted at and around football grounds, such as improving reporting systems, providing better training and support for referees and stewards, and improving the quality of CCTV around stadia.

We also welcomed the launch of The FA’s ‘Football Leadership Diversity Code’ last year which is a step in the right direction to ensure English football better represents our modern and diverse society, on and off the pitch.

In January, the Government convened a roundtable with footballers, alongside the Chair of The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board and the Professional Footballers’ Association, to discuss social media abuse and the upcoming Online Safety Bill. There is still progress to be made and the Government will continue to press the football authorities to build on their work to date to tackle discrimination.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many referees in the (a) professional and (b) grassroots football sector are trained in administrating CPR.

First aid skills, including how to administer CPR, are important life skills for everyone. Recent events at UEFA EURO 2020 have demonstrated the particular value of first aid training for anyone involved in football, or indeed any sport.

The department does not hold information about the number of professional or grassroots referees who have been trained in CPR. This information is held by the relevant national governing body, which in England is The Football Association.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring all (a) players, (b) coaches and (c) referees at each club level of football to undertake an emergency first aid course.

First aid skills, including how to administer CPR, are important life skills for everyone. Recent events at UEFA EURO 2020 have demonstrated the immense value of first aid training and access to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for anyone involved in football.

While I fully support everyone acquiring first aid skills, it is for The Football Association, as the national governing body for football in England, and the operators of the various league competitions to determine what courses should be mandatory for participants in football.

AEDs are already recommended best practice at all sports stadia, including football stadia, as set out in guidance from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority. Local authorities are able to mandate AED provision (at grounds designated under the Safety of Sports Grounds 1975 Act or sports grounds with regulated stands under the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 Act) through medical plans included in General Safety Certificates.

At the grassroots level, support over recent years has been provided by the Football Association and the British Heart Foundation to help ensure AEDs are available in football facilities. Building on this, I welcomed the Premier League’s announcement in June 2021 of their new Defibrillator Fund, which will fund AEDs at thousands of football clubs and facilities across the country. Each grant recipient will be required to have at least one person successfully complete The FA Education’s free online Sudden Cardiac Arrest course.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment with the Secretary of State for International Trade of the potential merits of working with his counterparts in the (a) EU and (b) US Administration to create a digital free trading zone.

Digital trade is one of the government's top trade priorities. The ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on electronic commerce present an excellent opportunity to agree plurilateral rules on digital trade. The UK is an active participant and the government is fully committed to a successful outcome that liberalises digital trade across all those WTO members taking part, which includes the European Union and the United States.

The UK’s digital ambition will also be driven through bilateral trade agreements. The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement includes some of the world's most liberalising provisions for digital trade. The government is also negotiating a modern, ambitious digital trade chapter with the US as a part of the UK-US FTA.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the spread of misinformation to critically ill patients with covid-19 on the use of ventilators.

The Government takes disinformation very seriously and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle it. In response to the harmful disinformation and misinformation relating to Covid-19 we stood up the Cross-Whitehall Counter Disinformation Unit on 5 March 2020, which brings together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. Its primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and the reach of disinformation and misinformation linked to Covid-19, and to work with partners to stamp it out.

We are working closely with social media platforms to help them identify and take action to remove incorrect claims about the virus, including health misinformation and anti-vaccination content, in line with their revised terms and conditions. Major platforms have updated their terms of service and introduced new measures to tackle misinformation and disinformation related to Covid-19. Government welcomes such measures to ensure the public has access to reliable and trusted information.

We have also launched a toolkit with content designed to be shared via Whatsapp and Facebook community groups, as well as Twitter, Youtube and Instagram, to tackle false information spread through private channels. The campaign is fronted by trusted local community figures such as imams, pastors and clinicians in short, shareable videos which include simple tips on how to spot misinformation and what to do to stop its spread. This toolkit is based on the core principles of the SHARE checklist, which aims to increase audience resilience by educating and empowering those who see, inadvertently share and are affected by false and misleading information.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment with the Secretary of State for International Trade of the potential merits of working with his counterparts in the (a) EU and (b) US Administration to create a digital free trading zone.

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

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that the prevalence of QR codes is not exploited by people seeking to commit fraud.

QR codes are quick links which point to locations on the internet so, as with other types of links, users should avoid clicking on those which seem suspicious and be particularly wary of those from unknown sources. Some smartphones and apps enable the user to check the link address before visiting the website to assess whether it is genuine. Further information on how the public can protect themselves online is available at www.cyberaware.gov.uk.

QR codes are managed by companies and organisations to interact with their customers. Like other digital technologies, these carry an element of risk. Organisations are urged to follow NCSC guidance to manage their digital technologies against cyber threats. The government is working to set standards on cyber security, provide advice and guidance to businesses, organisations and consumers on how to protect themselves online and will mandate these where necessary.

Matt Warman
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) gender and (b) racial discrimination is not incorporated into the development of artificial intelligence systems.

We recognise the need to address gender disparities in AI. In 2019, DCMS via the joint DCMS/BEIS Office for AI worked with the Office for Students and DfE to deliver new conversion course Masters courses at Universities across the country, with scholarships for people from underrepresented backgrounds, including women, black, and disabled students. The programme launched last September and the cohort of 1265 students that started included, 40 per cent women, one quarter black students, and 15 per cent disabled students. For those receiving a scholarship, the figures were even more encouraging – with 76 per cent of scholarship students going to women, 45 per cent of the students identifying as black and 24 per cent as being disabled. The upcoming National AI Strategy, being led by the Office for AI, looks to double down on such commitments to further improve diversity.

In addition to improving diversity via the conversion course Masters programme, in 2019, DCMS partnered with the World Economic Forum to create guidelines for responsible public sector procurement of AI systems. In June 2020, the guidelines were published on GOV.UK and operationalised through Crown Commercial Service’s AI Marketplace, launched September 2020. The Guidelines, which build on the Government’s Data Ethics Framework, recommend that AI procurement in Government be conducted by diverse teams, and stipulate that specific steps be taken to ensure the Public Sector Equality Duty is upheld – including performing an equality impact assessment alongside data protection impact assessments. Crown Commercial Services have implemented a baseline ethical standard for suppliers to be added to the procurement system. These concrete interventions are intended to mitigate against gender or racial bias being incorporated into AI systems procured into the public sector, which at 40% of the economy, sets the standard for AI suppliers in the wider economy.

The Government’s Data Ethics Framework and ‘Guide to Using AI in the Public Sector’, alongside other area-specific guidance available on GOV.UK, support the ethical and safe use of algorithms in the public sector.

Further to this, as part of our commitment in the National Data Strategy, the Cabinet Office are exploring appropriate and effective mechanisms to deliver more transparency on the use of algorithmic assisted decision making within the public sector and to monitor their impact; and are working with leading organisations in the field of data and AI ethics to do so.

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, in their report into algorithmic bias, make a number of recommendations to Government to reduce or mitigate the propensity for algorithms to encode bias. The Government is currently reviewing those recommendations.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to tackle gender disparities in artificial intelligence technology.

We recognise the need to address gender disparities in AI. In 2019, DCMS via the joint DCMS/BEIS Office for AI worked with the Office for Students and DfE to deliver new conversion course Masters courses at Universities across the country, with scholarships for people from underrepresented backgrounds, including women, black, and disabled students. The programme launched last September and the cohort of 1265 students that started included, 40 per cent women, one quarter black students, and 15 per cent disabled students. For those receiving a scholarship, the figures were even more encouraging – with 76 per cent of scholarship students going to women, 45 per cent of the students identifying as black and 24 per cent as being disabled. The upcoming National AI Strategy, being led by the Office for AI, looks to double down on such commitments to further improve diversity.

In addition to improving diversity via the conversion course Masters programme, in 2019, DCMS partnered with the World Economic Forum to create guidelines for responsible public sector procurement of AI systems. In June 2020, the guidelines were published on GOV.UK and operationalised through Crown Commercial Service’s AI Marketplace, launched September 2020. The Guidelines, which build on the Government’s Data Ethics Framework, recommend that AI procurement in Government be conducted by diverse teams, and stipulate that specific steps be taken to ensure the Public Sector Equality Duty is upheld – including performing an equality impact assessment alongside data protection impact assessments. Crown Commercial Services have implemented a baseline ethical standard for suppliers to be added to the procurement system. These concrete interventions are intended to mitigate against gender or racial bias being incorporated into AI systems procured into the public sector, which at 40% of the economy, sets the standard for AI suppliers in the wider economy.

The Government’s Data Ethics Framework and ‘Guide to Using AI in the Public Sector’, alongside other area-specific guidance available on GOV.UK, support the ethical and safe use of algorithms in the public sector.

Further to this, as part of our commitment in the National Data Strategy, the Cabinet Office are exploring appropriate and effective mechanisms to deliver more transparency on the use of algorithmic assisted decision making within the public sector and to monitor their impact; and are working with leading organisations in the field of data and AI ethics to do so.

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, in their report into algorithmic bias, make a number of recommendations to Government to reduce or mitigate the propensity for algorithms to encode bias. The Government is currently reviewing those recommendations.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle conspiracy groups that share misinformation online.

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle it. In response to the harmful disinformation and misinformation relating to Covid-19 we stood up the Cross-Whitehall Counter Disinformation Unit on 5 March 2020, which brings together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities.

We are working closely with social media platforms to help them to quickly identify and respond to potentially harmful content on their platforms, including unfounded conspiracy theories, in line with their terms and conditions.

We are also working with industry to support the introduction of systems and processes that promote authoritative sources of information. We have seen positive steps taken by social media platforms to curtail the spread of harmful and misleading narratives. Platforms have updated their terms of service and made technical changes to their products, including the addition of labels and warning messages which provide additional context and information on content containing disputed or misleading information related to Covid-19. We welcome those moves, but more action is needed to further limit the spread of misinformation on their platforms - particularly where this could result in real-world harm.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of QAnon's influence in the UK.

The Government is focused on addressing disinformation or misinformation by any group. In response to the harmful disinformation and misinformation relating to Covid-19 we stood up the Cross-Whitehall Counter Disinformation Unit on 5 March 2020, which brings together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities.

The Unit’s primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation and misinformation regarding Covid-19 and to work with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken.

There has been no recent assessment of the extent of QAnon’s influence in the UK. However, we have been working closely with social media platforms to quickly identify and help them respond to potentially harmful content on their platforms, including removing harmful content in line with their terms and conditions, and promoting authoritative sources of information.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that organised sports are accessible to all children regardless of socioeconomic status.

Government is committed to ensuring that all children and young people, particularly those who are currently least active or from under-represented groups, have the best opportunities to engage in sport and physical activity. Our Sporting Future strategy sets out how important it is for all children to have a good experience of sport and physical activity while they are young. We want all young people, regardless of economic background, to be healthy and active.

To help achieve this Sport England is investing over £190m into physical activity for children and young people over 2016-2021, including programmes such as the £40m Families Fund, which encourages low-income families with children to do sport and physical activity together.

In July 2019 the Department for Education (DfE), Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), jointly published the Government’s School Sport and Activity Action Plan (SSAAP). It sets out a joint commitment to ongoing collaboration to support the delivery of high-quality PE lessons and to ensure that sport and physical activity are an integral part of both the school day and after-school activities. This will contribute to the ambition of the Government’s Sporting Future strategy and the aim set out in the Childhood Obesity Plan that all children should take part in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, with 30 minutes a day in school.

The government also provides £320m of funding each year to primary schools through the PE and sport premium to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of PE, physical activity and sport. It is allocated directly to schools, so they have the flexibility to use it in the way that works best for their pupils. The amount of the PE and sport premium was doubled in 2017 to the current £320 million amount. The 2019 Primary PE and sport premium survey investigated the impact of this doubling of the PE and sport premium amount. Teachers reported improvements across all five key indicators for the PE and sport premium as well as other positive impacts such as increased participation in PE, extra-curricular sport and competitions for children from disadvantaged backgrounds (Pupil premium/Free School Meals) and pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle (a) AI-powered misinformation and (b) political deepfakes.

The Government recognises the potential challenges artificial intelligence and digitally manipulated content such as deepfakes may pose and we are considering these issues carefully as part of work to tackle online manipulation and disinformation.

As set out in the full government response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation, the new regulatory framework will establish a duty of care on companies to improve the safety of their users online, which will be overseen and enforced by an independent regulator.

Where mis- and disinformation presents a significant threat to public safety, public health or national security, Ofcom will be able to take steps to build users’ awareness and resilience to disinformation and misinformation and require companies to report on steps they are taking in light of such a situation.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure social media companies tackle the spread of misinformation on the covid-19 vaccine on their platforms.

The Government takes the issue of misinformation and disinformation very seriously. That is why we stood up the Counter Disinformation Unit up on 5 March to bring together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities.

We are working closely with social media platforms to help them identify and remove incorrect claims about the virus, particularly around the vaccine, and to promote authoritative information. Vaccine misinformation is harmful and it is everyone's responsibility to access information from authoritative sources and not share false or misleading information.

In a meeting with the Digital Secretary and Health Secretary last month, social media companies agreed to continue to work with public health bodies to ensure that authoritative messages about vaccine safety reach as many people as possible; to commit to swifter responses to flagged content; and to commit to the principle that no user or company should directly profit from COVID-19 vaccine mis/disinformation.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to grow the UK tech sector.

The digital sector contributed £149bn to the UK economy in 2018, accounting for 7.7% of UK GVA, and supports 1.2 million jobs. Last year venture capital investment in the UK tech sector leapt by 44%, with record growth in many key sub-sectors including fintech and AI.

My Department is striving to support this growth. This year we introduced the UK Gigabit and Shared Rural Network programmes to develop the UK’s digital infrastructure; published the National Data Strategy to drive confidence in data; committed to establishing a Digital Markets Unit within the CMA to support fair and competitive digital markets; and supported programmes to showcase the unique strengths of the UK tech sector - major events across the UK include London Tech Week, Founders Forum, and Leeds Digital Festival. We also support the sector through our partnership with Tech Nation, delivering a wide range of initiatives to support and grow UK tech start-ups and scale-ups. This reiterates Government’s commitment to the sector, and our ambition to ensure the UK remains Europe's No1 tech nation, and the best place to start, grow or invest in a digital business.

To help SMEs access liquidity needed to get through the COVID crisis, my Department worked closely with BEIS and the British Business Bank to introduce the Future Fund, expanded grants and loans for R&D-intensive SMEs, and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

My Department is committed to driving growth across the digital sector and wider economy, maximising the benefits of a digital-led economic recovery. The forthcoming Digital Strategy supports these objectives, in the context of Covid-19 and into the future.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to encourage (a) private companies and (b) the public sector to train and hire staff in (i) robotics (ii) data science and (iii) cybersecurity.

The National Data Strategy has a number of proposals to encourage and support the training of data scientists in both the public and private sector. In June 2020, DCMS and the Office for AI announced provision of £13m to the Office for Students to support degree conversion courses in data science and AI . At least 2,500 graduate places will be created through the programme with over 600 students starting courses this Autumn with more starting in early 2021. Industry partners and universities provided an additional £11m to support the programme.

In relation to cyber skills we are keen to make careers in cyber security easily accessible for all individuals, across the UK, with an interest in this area. As a result, we have funded the creation of the new UK Cyber Security Council to help carry out this ambition. The Council will look to make it easier for individuals to enter and develop a career in cyber security through creating a comprehensive career pathways framework, as well as supporting employers to identify and recruit the appropriate talent to ensure their organisational resilience.

In 2019, the Government convened a new robotics leadership group, the Robotics Growth Partnership, working with sector leaders across academia and industry to help realise the significant potential of smart robotics for our economy and society. This includes giving consideration to the role of Government as well as the private sector in areas such as skills measures.

My department is currently delivering The Fast Track Digital Workforce Fund, a £3 million programme within the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Lancashire LEP areas to boost digital skills training. The Fund will encourage employers and training providers to form partnerships to co-design and co-deliver short, bespoke skills courses that match employers needs, and is supporting skills such as cyber security, data science, software development and digital marketing.

My Department has also established the Digital Skills Partnership to bring together organisations from the public, private and third sector to improve digital skills across the skills spectrum. In addition, Local Digital Skills Partnerships have been established in seven regions across England.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to ensure AI used in public services operates on the same principles of responsibility, transparency, and security as other local government activities.

Local Government’s use of AI and Algorithms is currently not that widespread; in the few cases where the technology is used, it is used to aid decision making and not make decisions.

We are aware of the emerging importance of AI and algorithms, and we encourage local government to use the government guidance document ‘A guide to using artificial intelligence in the public sector’, when utilising this technology.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to launch AI registers that track how algorithms are being used locally.

Local Government’s use of AI and Algorithms is currently not that widespread; in the few cases where the technology is used, it is used to aid decision making and not make decisions.

We are aware of the emerging importance of AI and algorithms, and we encourage local government to use the government guidance document ‘A guide to using artificial intelligence in the public sector’, when utilising this technology.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has put in place to ensure that all households in the UK are digitally enabled in response to a potential second wave of covid-19.

The Government is continuing to assess what needs to be done in preparation for a potential second wave of Covid-19.

In March, the government agreed a set of voluntary commitments with telecommunications providers to support and protect vulnerable consumers and those who might become vulnerable as a result of Covid-19. Some of the offers made by providers, including those on landline and mobile, are still in place.

My Department has been promoting the DevicesDotNow campaign, which is working with community organisations to distribute devices to vulnerable adults and help them get online. The aim is to enable elderly and vulnerable people, particularly those to who are shielding, to communicate with the outside world and get access to vital services.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that pensioners do not suffer (a) social isolation or (b) loneliness as a result of the withdrawal of free TV licences from the over 75s.

The government recognises the importance of television to people of all ages, particularly for older people who value television as a source of entertainment, companionship and a way to stay connected with the world. We are urging the BBC to do more for older people affected by its decision to restrict the over 75 concession.

It is also worth noting that my colleague Baroness Barron, the Minister for Loneliness, launched a National Awareness campaign for loneliness this summer, as part of the government loneliness strategy backed by £20 million of government funding.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data his Department holds on the number of incidents of violence, verbal threats and aggression towards (a) headteachers, (b) teachers, and (c) teaching staff at primary schools have been reported in Preston and Lancashire over the last three years; and what steps have been taken to tackle the levels of violent incidents and abuse experienced by educators.

The department does not hold information on the number of incidents of violence, verbal threats and aggression towards headteachers, teachers and teaching staff in primary schools. Data is collected on the number of exclusions and suspensions where the reason given is ‘Physical assault against an adult’ or ‘Verbal abuse or threatening behaviour against an adult’. Data for Lancashire, for the three most recent years for which this data is available, can be found at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/21bc45ac-5922-46f9-9ed1-33bd9c534a28

Schools have a duty and a responsibility to protect pupils and staff from violent incidents and abuse. The government supports schools with a range of guidance to help them fulfil their responsibilities, including advice on health and safety, school security and targeted advice on gangs and youth violence. In addition, the department is clear that teachers should not be subjected to any form of abuse simply for doing their jobs, and that any form of violence in school is completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated. While the department expects schools to take immediate and robust action if incidents of violence occur, any decision on how to issue sanctions that address misbehaviour is a matter for the school to decide. Should the incident constitute a criminal offence, the school should report it to the police.

We will shortly be publishing the updated Behaviour in Schools guidance. This will advise schools on how they can build a positive behaviour culture through a whole-school approach, to help schools create calm, safe and supportive environments.

We are also publishing the updated Searching, Screening and Confiscation guidance to provide a clear process for staff to follow through various stages of searching and screening, while still enabling pupils to express any concerns that may arise.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils with an Education Health and Care plan were missing education whilst awaiting a place at a Specialist School in Preston and Lancashire at the beginning of the last three academic years; and for how long was each pupil missing education.

The department collects and publishes data annually from local authorities on the total number of children and young people who are awaiting the provision specified in their Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

Figures for Lancashire on the number of children of compulsory school age who have an EHC plan and were not in education can be found at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/2d628262-9886-457c-aca3-e0c32b749269. Data is only collected at local authority level so figures for Preston are not available.

The information requested on how long each pupil was missing education is also not held.

Brendan Clarke-Smith
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support children and young people with vision impairment.

The Department for Education is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including those with visual impairments, receive the support they need to achieve in their early years, at school and at college.

Local authorities in England are required to publish information on the support commissioned and provided for children and young people with a visual impairment in a local offer, and on the availability of specialist services. To ensure local needs are met, they must work with children, young people, and their families to develop this.

It is a legal requirement for qualified teachers of classes of pupils who have sensory impairments to hold the relevant mandatory qualification. Providers must be approved by the Secretary of State for Education to offer these qualifications.

High needs funding, which is specifically for supporting children with more complex SEND, including those with vision impairment, will be increasing by £1 billion in financial year 2022/23, bringing the overall total of funding for high needs to £9.1 billion. This unprecedented increase of 13% comes on top of the £1.5 billion increase over the last two years.

The government recognises that the current SEND system, established through the Children and Families Act 2014, does not consistently deliver the outcomes we want and expect for children and young people with SEND, their families, or the people and services who support them. A key priority of the SEND Review is to improve the outcomes and experience of all children and young people with SEND, within a financially sustainable system. The review will be published as a green paper for full public consultation in the first 3 months of this year.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary school (a) children and (b) teachers and staff have been diagnosed with covid-19 in each month in (i) 2020 and (ii) 2021.

The department does not hold the primary data source of COVID-19 cases. This is accessible from the ‘Coronavirus in the UK’ dashboard. COVID-19 case data can be found here: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/?_ga=2.91108568.335840232.1603021384-1347302696.1578321854.

The department publishes daily school attendance data on a fortnightly basis. This helps with the monitoring of the COVID-19 impact on school attendance. Absence due to suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 is available from the 23 May 2020 to 6 January 2022 and information can be found on Explore Education Statistics. The most recent national, regional and local authority data can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-23-march-2020-to-6-january-2022.

National level pupil data can be found in Table 1B of the underlying data files, whilst teacher data can be found in Table 1D. For dates where any local authority is on half term, a holiday methodology is applied and the national data for both pupil and teachers can be found in Table 1A.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria his Department is using to determine where Government provided air purifiers are distributed to primary and secondary schools in England.

The department has provided CO2 monitors to state-funded education providers, including early years, schools, and further education (FE) colleges, backed by £25 million in government funding.

Over 99% of eligible maintained schools, FE colleges, and the majority of early years providers have now received a CO2 monitor, with over 353,000 delivered. Special schools and alternative provision were prioritised to receive their monitors first, given their higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils. Final deliveries are due to made during February.

Applications for air cleaning units from all providers were assessed based on need, using the eligibility criteria we have set out in guidance. Please note that applications are now closed.

In total, 1,265 settings that applied for Department for Education funded air cleaning units were eligible for air cleaning units. This mirrors published summary findings from the department’s survey of the use of CO2 monitors, which show that only 3% of providers using CO2 monitors reported sustained high carbon dioxide readings that could not otherwise be addressed. These findings are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/co2-monitor-survey-and-applications-for-air-cleaning-units.

The total number of air cleaning units that providers have applied for was just over 8,000. Up to an additional 1,000 units have now been ordered, bringing the total number of units available up to 9,000, allowing all eligible applications to be fulfilled. Those providers who applied but will not receive units did not meet the eligibility criteria set out in our guidance.

The eligibility criteria included:

  • Sustained high CO2 readings: where there has been sustained, high CO2 readings (1500ppm or higher) for at least one week while the room is occupied, despite taking all measures possible to improve ventilation with the current provisions, such as opening windows, and

  • Suitable space: air cleaning units were allocated for teaching spaces only (or childcare spaces in early years providers), and we have not provided units for non-teaching rooms such as staff rooms, halls, corridors, and dining rooms.
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent guidance has been given to protect primary school children and staff from the Omicron variant of covid-19.

COVID-19 continues to be a virus that we learn to live with and the imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education remains. The government continues to manage the risk of serious illness from the spread of COVID-19.

While it has been announced that face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors in classrooms, and from 27 January, face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors in communal areas, a range of protective measures remain in place in primary schools. Additionally, local directors of public health may temporarily advise the use of face coverings in communal areas where this is proportionate due to specific local public health concerns.

Testing remains important in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 within schools. Staff should continue to test twice weekly at home, with lateral flow device (LFD) test kits. Schools are encouraged to ask all visitors to take an LFD test before entering the school.

Young people aged 5 to 18 and fully vaccinated adults who are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 can take an NHS LFD test every day for 7 days and continue to attend their school or college as normal, unless they have a positive test result. People with COVID-19 in England can now end their self-isolation after 5 full days if they test negative on day 5 and day 6.

Children aged 5 to 11 years in a clinical risk group or who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed are now able to get 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine 8 weeks apart.

We have provided carbon dioxide monitors backed by £25 million in government funding. Over 99% of eligible maintained schools, further education colleges, and the majority of early years education providers have now received a carbon dioxide monitor with over 350,000 now delivered. The government is also making available a number of funded air cleaning units for poorly ventilated teaching spaces where quick fixes to improve ventilation are not possible.

Schools should regularly review their risk assessments as well as continuing to comply with health and safety law implementing proportionate control measures in line with our guidance, such as ensuring good hygiene for everyone and maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes. All education and childcare providers should already have their own contingency plans in place in cases of outbreaks within schools, as set out in the contingency framework here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings, to help break the chains of transmissions.

The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, mental and physical health. This harm disproportionately affects children and young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. Therefore, the government has made it a national priority that education and childcare providers should continue to operate as normally as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to Schools Covid Operational Guidance, published in January 2022, how primary school pupils, aged five to 11 years, and school staff's positions were considered in developing that guidance.

The operational guidance for each school, college and university provides details on the testing, ventilation and hygiene measures that all education and childcare provider should have in place to manage transmission of COVID-19 day to day. The department has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to revise this guidance.

When developing guidance for education providers, the department regularly reviews data, analysis and advice from a number of different sources, including the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), UKHSA, and the Office for National Statistics.

We work closely with the DHSC and UKHSA, as well as local authorities and directors of public health, to inform our planning and response. The department engaged regularly with schools and their representatives in relevant planning, including primary schools.

10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children in local authority care are EU citizens that were born in the UK; and what proportion have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The information requested relating to children looked after by English local authorities is not held centrally. Information for Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved administrations.

From 4 October to 30 November 2021, the Home Office undertook the most recent in a series of surveys of local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland and of Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland to provide an update on the estimated number of looked after children and care leavers eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The figures were published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-home-office-looked-after-children-and-care-leavers-survey-2020/eu-settlement-scheme-home-office-looked-after-children-and-care-leavers-survey-november-2021.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the reasons for poorer pupils having missed more school days in autumn 2020 compared with their better off counterparts; and what plans his Department has to tackle that discrepancy.

Regular attendance is vital for children’s education, mental health and long-term development.

The national statistics release on pupil absence in schools in England during the autumn term includes information on absence by free school meals (FSM) and is published here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england-autumn-term. For pupils eligible for FSM, the overall absence rate was 7.8% and for pupils not eligible, the overall absence rate was 3.8%.

From the autumn term 2020 data, for pupils eligible for FSM, the three biggest reasons by percentage of sessions missed were illness (43.4%), unauthorised absence for no specified reason (34.9%) and authorised absence for no specified reason (10.4%).

Ensuring that the most disadvantaged children and young people regularly attend school to be able to catch-up on any lost education is a top priority for the department. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has established an alliance of national leaders from education, children’s, and allied services to work together to raise school attendance. The Attendance Action Alliance, which includes amongst others Dame Rachel De Souza, the Children’s Commissioner, Isabelle Trowler, the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families and Amanda Spielman, Ofsted Chief Inspector, have pledged to take a range of actions to remove barriers preventing children attending school. This also includes work by Rob Tarn, CEO of the Northern Education Trust, a multi academy trust serving areas with high levels of disadvantage, who will work with other trust leaders to identify and disseminate best practice across schools. A webinar on the Northern Education Trust’s approach to attendance took take place on 14 December and has been recorded for all schools to view.

The department recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak has affected all students, but especially disadvantaged students. That is why we are investing nearly £5 billion in education recovery, which will be targeted at those that need help most. This includes an additional £1.8 billion of funding announced in the recent Spending Review to support young people to catch up on lost education. This is on top of a strong core funding settlement, which will see funding rise by £4.7 billion by the 2024-25 financial year compared to existing plans.

The department continues to make clear that schools can and should use their additional recovery and pupil premium funding to support strong improved attendance for disadvantaged children where this is identified as an issue.

The Government’s Supporting Families programme continues to work closely with families where absence is an issue, to support better attendance. More information on this programme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/supporting-families.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including CPR as a compulsory part of secondary education.

All state-funded schools in England are required to teach first aid, including CPR, as part of Health Education, which is statutory alongside Relationships Education for primary school aged pupils and Relationships and Sex Education for secondary school aged pupils.

The statutory requirements, which came into force in September 2020, include basic first aid for primary school children, for example dealing with common injuries such as head injuries. Pupils in secondary schools are taught further first aid, for example how to administer CPR and the purpose of defibrillators.

The statutory guidance can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

To support schools further, the Department’s teacher training modules cover all the teaching requirements in the statutory guidance. This includes online modules for primary and secondary teachers, containing key knowledge and facts to help teachers understand what they must teach in relation to basic first aid. The Teaching Basic First Aid training module for secondary school teachers aims to increase teachers’ knowledge and skills, develop strategies to deal with questions, and help them feel more confident teaching about basic first aid. More information about the training module is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-training-basic-first-aid.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of home schooling and social distancing during the covid-19 outbreak on children's language skills.

The Government recognises that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education. On 4 June updated findings based on assessments taken in the autumn and spring terms were published. These show that primary pupils were, on average, behind expectations on their return to the classroom in the spring, by a similar amount as they were in September 2020. For reading, this is around 2 months behind.

The Government believes that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak is vital for developing their vocabulary, grammar, reading, and writing. Attaining proficient standards in language development and the reading and writing of standard English are key to unlocking the rest of the curriculum. They are also key indicators for future success in further education, higher education, and employment.

Research findings from the Social Distancing and Development Study show that babies and toddlers from disadvantaged backgrounds have been missing out on activities to support their development. Programmes to support language development include:

  • £153 million for training for early years staff to support the youngest children’s learning and development, which includes speech and language skills.
  • An investment of £17 million to provide Nuffield Early Language Intervention, improving the language skills of Reception age children.
  • £10 million for a pre-Reception early language continued professional development programme, supporting early years staff to work with disadvantaged children who are at risk of falling behind.
  • £5.3 million grant funding to existing early years voluntary and community sector partners to support children’s early literacy and language development, including support for children in early years with special educational needs and disabilities, and the wellbeing of disadvantaged children in the early years.

The Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs programme in 2018, dedicated to improving the teaching of reading. The 34 English Hubs in the programme are primary schools which are excellent at teaching early reading. The Department has since provided a further £17 million for this school to school improvement programme, which focuses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. Since its launch, the English Hubs programme has provided appropriate and targeted support to several thousands of schools across England. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, English Hubs have continued to offer support and training to schools across the country by bringing much of their offer online. This has involved opening up virtual training and professional development events to a wider pool of schools and distributing materials targeted specifically at remote education and recovery.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including the climate emergency and ecological crisis in teaching training courses.

It is vital that young people are taught about climate change, which is why it is covered in the science and geography National Curricula at Key Stages 1 to 4 and 1 to 3 respectively. This National Curriculum is mandatory in all state maintained schools, whilst academies are required to follow a broad and balanced curriculum as exemplified by the National Curriculum.

Trainee teachers starting their training from September 2020 onwards will benefit from at least three years of evidence based professional development and support. This starts with initial teacher training (ITT), based on the new ITT Core Content Framework (CCF), followed by a new two year induction supported by the Early Career Framework reforms which are being rolled out nationally from September 2021.

The CCF sets out a mandatory minimum entitlement for trainees on ITT courses. The CCF describes the fundamental knowledge and skills that all new entrants to the profession need to effectively teach and support all children. It is not intended to be a full curriculum for ITT courses and it remains for individual institutions to design a coherent and well sequenced curricula appropriate for the subject, phase, age range and needs of the children that trainees will be teaching. These will include, where appropriate, content on climate change. Courses must be designed so that trainee teachers can demonstrate that they meet all the Teachers' Standards at the appropriate level including Standard 3 ‘Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge’. Standard 3 is also clear that teachers should be able to ‘demonstrate a critical understanding of developments in the subject and curriculum area’, which may include, where appropriate, content on climate change.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of home schooling and social distancing during the covid-19 outbreak on children's language skills.

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

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage women to (a) study and (b) take jobs in engineering.

The government is committed to tackling the gender imbalance in some science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Around half of all science A levels are taken by girls. There has been an increase of around 30% in the number of science A level entries taken by girls in England between 2010 and 2020, and we are funding programmes to further increase take-up.

The government funds extracurricular school programmes, delivered by UK Research and Innovation, to inspire young people to consider STEM studies and careers and to support the creation of a more diverse current and future STEM workforce. These include the STEM Ambassadors scheme, which supports over 20,000 STEM Ambassadors, over 40% of which are women, and the CREST Awards. Further information on the CREST Awards is available here: https://www.crestawards.org/. Engineering UK launched the Tomorrow’s Engineers Code in October 2020, an initiative to get organisations working together to increase the diversity and number of young people entering careers in engineering.

The department funds interventions to boost girls’ participation and representation in the STEM pipeline. We are investing in programmes to address female participation, particularly in subjects like computing, physics and mathematics, which can support later study and jobs in engineering. This includes the Stimulating Physics Network, which has a specific strand focusing on increasing the number of girls studying a physics A level.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including mindfulness in the national curriculum for all school ages in England.

The department wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy, and safe. We want to equip them for adult life and to make a positive contribution to society.

Health education is now compulsory for pupils in all state funded schools. Health education gives schools the opportunity to drive up the consistency and quality of pupils’ mental wellbeing and physical health knowledge by delivering clear content through evidence based teaching.

The department is committed to supporting all schools to deliver Relationships and Sexual Health Education, which includes a range of specific teaching requirements on mental health and wellbeing. A mental wellbeing teacher training module and implementation guidance have been published for the new curriculum to help subject leads and teachers understand what they should teach, as well as improving their confidence in delivering mental wellbeing as part of the new curriculum.

It is up to schools to decide how to teach this subject and what additional pastoral provision to put in place. To support schools to make evidence-based decisions about how to best support their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing, the department is funding a large scale programme of randomised control trials of mental health interventions in schools. The aim of this programme is to provide robust evidence on what works to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing and whether programmes can be delivered effectively in schools.

The programme is testing the effectiveness of five different approaches to supporting pupil mental health and wellbeing in primary and secondary schools across England. It includes a programme of brief mindfulness exercises to be run by teachers in the classroom, which provides teachers with a short training session and materials to run brief mindfulness exercises with their classes.

The department remains committed to long term improvements to support children and young people’s mental health, set out in the government’s response to its green paper and NHS Long Term Plan. This includes the roll out of mental health support teams and the provision of training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department took to ensure that (a) laptops and (b) tablets provided to children for home learning during the covid-19 outbreak were not infected with malware from international servers.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including making 1.3 million laptops and tablets available for disadvantaged children and young people.

To date, over 1.29 million laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools, academy trusts, local authorities and further education colleges. We have also provided support for over 100,000 families to get online through uplifts in mobile data and 4G wireless routers.

Schools are responsible for ensuring their IT infrastructure is secure. This includes checking the security of any laptops and tablets accessing the school’s network.

Devices available through the Get Help with Technology programme include Microsoft Windows devices, Chromebooks and Apple iPads. Microsoft Windows devices come with Windows Defender Antivirus. Chromebooks come with Chrome OS which manages encryption, anti-malware, and anti-virus. Apple iPads are built on the Apple iOS which is designed to be secure in a way which makes iOS targeted Malware very rare and specific protection against this unnecessary.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of adding media literacy to the school curriculum in England.

All state-funded schools are required to offer a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development, and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.

The National Curriculum, which focuses on the key knowledge that schools should teach, enables children to acquire a secure understanding of core concepts and provide them with the understanding they need to participate fully in society.

Media literacy can be taught through the compulsory computing and citizenship curriculum and in the statutory relationships and health education curriculum.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Black British history is incorporated into the national curriculum of schools in England.

The National Curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject. The curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The Department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their pupils, and to make choices about what they teach.

As part of the National Curriculum for history, pupils should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experience of Black people. The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about Black history across the spectrum of themes and eras set out in the curriculum.

The Department has discussed Black history with a number of organisations and we welcome the profile given to the importance of teaching Black history by bodies such as the Runnymede Trust, The Black Curriculum, Fill in the Blanks, and many other groups and individuals over the years. The Department will continue to explore what more we can do to support the teaching of Black history.

5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending 15 hours of free childcare to one-year olds.

All three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare each week, providing children with high-quality early education and helping parents to return to work. The government currently has no plans to extend these schemes.

A small number of two-year-olds are also able to access up to 15 hours of free childcare each week. The core purpose of the two-year-old entitlement is to provide a developmental boost to disadvantaged children from low-income families who are less likely to use formal childcare, but who stand to benefit from it the most. Whilst the entitlement provides some practical support with the cost of childcare, this is not its purpose, with the primary focus of the entitlement remaining improving outcomes for children.

The 2012 effective pre-school, primary and secondary education study in England and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development analysis of international Programme for International Student Assessment data both found no additional child development benefits of starting in childcare under the age of two.

In addition to the free early education entitlements, the government offers tax-free childcare for children from 0 to 11 years old, or up to 16 if disabled. This scheme means that for every £8 parents pay their provider via an online account, the government will pay £2, up to a maximum contribution of £2,000 per child each year, or £4,000 if disabled.

Working parents on a low income may also be eligible for help with up to 85% of their childcare costs through Universal Credit childcare. This is subject to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1108 for two or more children, payable in arrears.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve the digital skills of older workers.

The government recognises the importance of digital skills for employability and participation in society. This is why we introduced a legal entitlement in August 2020 for adults with no or low digital skills to study new Essential Digital Skills Qualifications (EDSQs) at entry level and level 1 for free. The digital entitlement mirrors the existing legal entitlements for English and maths and will provide adults with the digital skills needed for life and work. EDSQs are a new qualification type, based on new national standards for essential digital skills, designed to meet the diverse needs of adults with no or low digital skills. We also continue to support the provision of basic digital skills training for adults in community learning settings through the Adult Education Budget.

In April 2020, we introduced The Skills Toolkit, an online platform providing free courses to help individuals build the skills that are most sought after by employers. We have recently expanded the platform so that people can now choose from over 70 courses, covering digital, adult numeracy, employability and work readiness skills, which have been identified as the skills employers need the most. These courses will help people stay in work or take up new jobs and opportunities.

We have introduced the skills bootcamps, which are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving adults the opportunity to build up sector specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. The skills bootcamps are open to all adults aged 19 or over, who are either in work or recently unemployed. In September 2020 these were launched in West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Liverpool City Region, initially focusing on digital skills such as software development, digital marketing, and data analytics. In December 2020, registrations opened for the skills bootcamps in Leeds City Region, Heart of South West (Devon and Somerset) and Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, with delivery set to begin in early 2021.

From April 2021 we are investing a further £43 million through the National Skills Fund to extend skills bootcamps further in England. These bootcamps will cover not only digital skills but also technical skills training including engineering and construction.

Public libraries are also a vital component in tackling digital exclusion at all ages. There are around 2,900 public libraries in England, providing a trusted network of accessible locations offering free Wi-Fi, computers and other technology. The library staff, supported by volunteers, have been trained to enable them to provide library users with support in using digital skills. Libraries help tackle the combined barriers of skills, confidence and motivation by offering skills training, helping people to understand the benefits that using the internet and accessing online services can bring. Their vital role has been recognised during the current lockdown, with the new regulations enabling libraries to continue some services during this lockdown period including access to public PCs for essential purposes.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) teachers and (b) auxiliary school staff that tested positive for covid-19 from March to July 2020.

Keeping close track of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in schools is a priority for the Government. The Department collects data on daily suspected COVID-19 related absences as well as data on the number of schools that have indicated they have sent children home due to COVID-19 containment measures. However it is not possible to extrapolate from this the number of confirmed positive cases.

Public Health England (PHE) collects data on infection, incidence and COVID-19 cases overall. PHE publishes data on COVID-19 incidents by institution, including educational settings, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports (page 20). The data are not broken down by year group, nor by profession.

All children, young people, members of staff and their households have access to a test if they are displaying symptoms of coronavirus and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario. Where a positive result is identified local health protection teams will work with the setting to carry out a rapid risk assessment and advise them of the actions to be taken.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) reception, (b) Year 1 and (c) Year 6 students have tested positive for covid-19 since 1 June 2020.

Keeping close track of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in schools is a priority for the Government. The Department collects data on daily suspected COVID-19 related absences as well as data on the number of schools that have indicated they have sent children home due to COVID-19 containment measures. However it is not possible to extrapolate from this the number of confirmed positive cases.

Public Health England (PHE) collects data on infection, incidence and COVID-19 cases overall. PHE publishes data on COVID-19 incidents by institution, including educational settings, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports (page 20). The data are not broken down by year group, nor by profession.

All children, young people, members of staff and their households have access to a test if they are displaying symptoms of coronavirus and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario. Where a positive result is identified local health protection teams will work with the setting to carry out a rapid risk assessment and advise them of the actions to be taken.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential long-term effects of the covid-19 lockdown of the social development of children between the ages of 0 and eighteen.

The department is working closely with educational institutions, sector organisations, the Department for Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England to understand the effects of the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of children and identify the children and young people that need help and will continue to do so as more pupils return to school.

We have been working closely with partners to provide resources and to update guidance to support and promote children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes signposting to resources on supporting and promoting mental wellbeing among the list of resources to help children to learn at home, which are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

The return to school is a key part of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils. In addition to providing more opportunities for physical activity, attendance at school allows for 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 for schools is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

We are working with the Department of Health and Social Care to put in place further specific support for school staff to understand the issues that pupils will face with their mental 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:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.

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. 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:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

In addition, children and young people can access free confidential support any time from government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations either by texting SHOUT to 85258, or by calling Childline on 0800 1111 or The Mix on 0808 808 4994. Children and young people can also find online information on COVID-19 and mental health on the Young Minds website, which is available here:
https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the free school meal national voucher scheme, whether (a) Edenred's contract as the Government's supplier will be renewed or (b) there will be a competitive tendering process after 21 June 2020.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation this summer. To reflect this, the Edenred contract was extended to enable free school meal provision until the end of the summer term (through the national voucher scheme) and to support the Covid Summer Food Fund.

The free school meal vouchers contract was extended on 22 June following ministerial direction to extend the contract to cover the summer holiday period. In order to ensure families receive the support they needed in a timely manner, the department did not have sufficient time to run a competitive procurement for the extension. The extension did not make any substantial changes to the extant contract as defined by PCR Reg 72(1)(e).

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to collect and publish data relating to the progress of pupils at independent schools on a similar basis to the data collected for secondary maintained schools and academies.

There are no plans to collect or publish such data.

The Department’s progress measures, particularly Progress 8, aim to capture the progress that pupils make from the end of Key Stage 2 to the end of Key Stage 4. They are a type of value added measure, which means that pupils’ results are compared to the actual achievements of other pupils nationally with similar prior attainment.

As pupils at independent schools are not required to take end of Key Stage 2 tests, we are unable to include independent pupils in the calculation of Progress 8 scores. We do publish other attainment headline measures on independent schools. The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 require that independent schools enable pupils to make good progress according to their ability, and this is checked during inspections of all independent schools.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the costs incurred by local education authorities as a result of schools becoming academies; and what criteria his Department uses to risk assess the financial health and governance standards of (a) trusts and (b) sponsors planning to take on new academies.

The Department does not routinely collect data on costs incurred by local authorities as a result of schools becoming academies.

The Department reviews a broad range of data and intelligence when assessing the financial health and governance of trusts and sponsors planning to take on academies. This includes trusts’ audited accounts and other financial returns, and key risk indicators such as whether trusts are subject to Financial Notices to Improve, or concerns about financial health, governance, qualified accounts or potential compliance issues.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many qualified teachers are employed in schools run by (a) the local education authority, (b) free schools and (c) academies in Lancashire; and what steps her Department is taking to ensure the adequacy of the number of qualified teachers at each of those categories of schools.

In Lancashire in 2018, there were 9,2081 full-time equivalent (FTE) qualified teachers employed in state-funded schools. The breakdown of this into local authority maintained, free schools and academies are as follows:

FTE qualified teachers[1]

Local-authority-maintained schools[2]

7,618

Free schools

82

Academies

1,509

It is a top priority of the Government to ensure the whole country has a strong teaching workforce. Last year the Department launched the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy – the first ever integrated strategy ensuring there are excellent teachers for every child. The strategy includes the biggest teaching reform in a generation, the Early Career Framework (ECF). The ECF provides new teachers with the solid foundations for a successful career in teaching, backed by £130 million a year in funding when fully rolled out in 2021. We have also committed to plans to raise starting salaries for new teachers to £30,000 by 2022-23, putting teaching on a par with other top graduate professions.

Implementation of the national recruitment and retention strategy will support all schools. However, we recognise that some schools and local areas face greater challenges with recruitment and retention than others. We are making every effort to refocus national teacher recruitment and retention programmes to ensure they address local variations in teacher supply, so that more schools can benefit from tried and tested programmes.

This includes targeting interventions to support teacher recruitment and retention in all school types in Lancashire. Over £20 million of scholarships funding has been made available in 2017-19 to support teachers and leaders in Category 5 and 6 areas to take up a National Professional Qualification (NPQ), doubling our initial intended investment. The aim of the investment is to retain good teachers and leaders in these areas and support their professional development. Burnley and Pendle are areas that received this support in Lancashire.

In addition to this, the Department has set aside £30 million in tailored support for schools struggling with teacher recruitment and retention. This support is designed to help schools improve existing recruitment and retention plans, join national programmes, build local partnerships or fund new initiatives. Three schools in Lancashire local authority are currently receiving this support.

[1] Figures have been rounded to whole numbers.

[2] Includes a small number of centrally employed staff.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many academies are rated by Ofsted as (a) inadequate and (b) requires improvement in (i) Preston constituency, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) the North West; and what steps he is taking to improve educational outcomes for pupils in these areas.

The information requested is published by Ofsted and is set out in the tables attached. The first table shows the number of academies in Preston, Lancashire and the North West that are rated as ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’. The second table shows the national breakdown for all school types in England.

As at 31 August 2019, the two academies in Preston constituency were both rated as ‘outstanding’ and 95% of the academies in the Lancashire local authority were rated as ‘good’ or 'outstanding’. Nationally, 86% of all schools in England were rated as either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

Where an academy’s performance is a cause for concern, the Department will respond. Where Ofsted have inspected an academy and issued it with an ‘inadequate’ rating, the Department has powers to take decisive action to bring about school improvement, including whether it is in the school’s best interests to be transferred to a stronger academy trust, with the capacity to deliver strong and rapid school improvement. For ‘requires improvement’ schools, including academies, the Department has published a School Support Offer for the academic year 2019/20. The offer provides support from a National Leader of Education and other funded support for schools, based on published criteria. The details of the School Support Offer are available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-improvement-support-for-the-2019-to-2020-academic-year.

There are currently no academies in Preston constituency that were rated ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’. In Lancashire, however, there was one academy (Fulwood Academy) that was rated as ‘inadequate’ in February 2018 and one academy (Penwortham Priory Academy) that was rated as ‘inadequate’ in July 2017.

The Regional Schools Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire is overseeing and monitoring the steps that Fulwood Academy is taking to secure improvements, in line with the Schools Causing Concern guidance published at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-causing-concern--2.

Penwortham Priory Academy meets the eligibility criteria for the School Support Offer, which provides support from a National Leader of Education. Eligible schools are supported by the Teaching School Council to access this support.

17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to allocate additional funding for the provision of early years childcare.

The Government plans to spend £3.6 billion to support early education in the financial year 2020-21. Details of how this funding is distributed across local authorities was published in December 2019 and can be found here:

https://skillsfunding.service.gov.uk/single-funding-statement/latest/dedicated-schools-grant/download-funding/2020-to-2021.

The funding allocations for local authorities are based on actual take-up of the entitlement hours. Therefore, allocations for 2020-21 will be updated, first in summer 2020 using updated data from the January 2020 schools and early years censuses, and then in summer 2021 using January 2021 census data for the final allocation.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on the academies programme for the next five years.

The Government's vision is to continue developing a world-class school-led system by giving school leaders the freedom to run their schools in the way they know best. The academies programme can provide opportunities for this through its key principles of autonomy, accountability and collaboration.

Academies will continue to be the at the core of the Government's flagship schools reform policies. Over 7 in 10 sponsored academies that have been inspected by Ofsted are now judged 'Good' or 'Outstanding'. Prior to converting to academies, only 1 in 10 of these schools were judged ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.

The Government wants to ensure that the opportunities afforded by the academies programme are spread to those areas that are not currently benefitting.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to increase the funding streams of all schools in England.

The Department has committed to increase core schools funding by £2.6 billion next year, and by £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively. This has enabled a 5% increase to school funding next year alone, which will continue to be allocated via the National Funding Formula – ensuring that funding is based on schools’ and pupils’ needs and characteristics. On top of this, the Department will provide £1.5 billion per year to fund additional pension costs for teachers. As a result, every school will attract an increase to their core schools funding per pupil next year.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the war in Ukraine on international food and agriculture supply chains.

Agricultural commodity prices are closely correlated to energy costs since gas is used to manufacture fertiliser and fuel energy is needed throughout the food chain. Energy prices were rising following the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine, a key global exporter of agricultural products, has caused additional turbulence in international commodity markets, for example the global prices of wheat, maize and vegetable oil have all increased since the start of the war.

The UK is working with G7 and other partners in multilateral fora, such as the World Trade Organisation, to monitor and address global food security issues, focusing on the ongoing benefits of open markets, and working together to ensure that sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious food continues to be available and accessible to all.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of developing a vaccine to prevent covid-19 in animals; and what steps his Department has taken to prevent covid-19 transmission among animals.

We are aware of the development of vaccines for animals, specifically for farmed mink and the possible use in companion animals, big cats and non-human primates in zoos and private collections. At present we do not consider that it is necessary to vaccinate animals against the virus that causes COVID-19. There have been very few cases of infection reported from companion animals or zoo animals and none provide evidence to support development of severe clinical signs as a result of infection with this virus alone. If the virus biology changes such that companion animals do become important in the epidemiology of transmission to humans, we will reconsider.

Presently, there is only limited transmission of the virus between certain species of animals – namely between captive mink and under experimental conditions, between ferrets and between cats. No transmission has been detected with livestock species.

We have provided updates to SAGE on the likely risk of infection of cats and dogs, and of Mustelinae (including mink and ferrets). As a result, the detection of SARS-COV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in any animal sample is now legally reportable under the Zoonoses Order (relevant in all four Devolved Administrations). The requirement to register large breeding groups of ferrets is going through consultation and stakeholders have reacted positively.

We have been involved in the recent scientific opinion from European Food Safety Authority / European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on surveillance for mink farming countries, and the World Organisation for Animal Health guidance on trade in live mink and raw mink pelts. We also have a subgroup with Joint Biosecurity Centre. The risk assessments produced by this group are currently being used to inform the UK Government’s COVID-19 response.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to ban the burning of peatland in England.

The Government has always been clear on the need to end burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats and we are looking at how legislation could achieve this.

Progress is being made in promoting sustainable alternatives. We have urged landowners to adopt these and we continue to work with them constructively.

Our intention has always been to legislate if a voluntary approach failed to deliver.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to reduce the risk of flooding in flood risk areas by maintaining (a) peatland, (b) natural dams and (c) other natural catchment areas and defences.

The use of nature based solutions is an important part of the Environment Agency’s (EA) strategy in strengthening resilience to flood and coastal erosion risk. Nature based solutions can include activities in different areas of a catchment for example:

  • Upper slopes (tree planting, leaky debris dams and peatbog restoration)

  • Mid-catchment (flood washlands and river re-connection and naturalisation)

  • Coastal (management and creation of coastal marsh and sand dune systems)

Nature based solutions that are appropriately designed and situated, can help manage flood and coastal risks, often alongside other measures. Nature based solutions can also provide benefits to the natural environment, including but not limited to habitat creation, increased biodiversity and improved water quality. Approximately 40 projects in the EA’s core Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Investment programme include natural flood risk management elements and we expect the use of nature based solutions to increase.

Defra has a £15 million programme of 58 projects piloting the effectiveness of nature based solutions. These projects are testing new approaches to help determine where natural measures can be most effective at improving resilience to flood risk. Additionally, since 2003, the Moors for the Future Partnership has transformed over 32 square kilometres of bare and eroding peat in the Peak District and South Pennines through re-vegetation, grip and gully blocking, and sphagnum planting.

Finally the Government’s Agriculture Bill introduced to the House of Commons on 16 January sets out an ambitious and effective system based on the principles of ‘public money for public goods’. This new scheme will enable land managers to enter into agreements to be paid for delivering a range of public goods set out in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. This includes mitigation of and reduced risk from environmental hazards, such as flooding which could be achieved through natural flood management.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding has been allocated to flood defence schemes in (a) Lancashire, (b) Yorkshire and (c) Oxfordshire in each of the last five years.

The Government is investing £2.6 billion to better protect the country from flooding and coastal erosion between April 2015 and March 2021. This will better protect 300,000 homes in that period.

In the last five years the Environment Agency (EA) has invested £137 million on flood and coastal erosion management schemes in Lancashire.

In the last five years the EA has invested £261.3 million on flood and coastal erosion management schemes in Yorkshire. This is the total spend for the ceremonial counties of North Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

In the last five years the EA has invested £18.9 million on flood and coastal erosion management schemes in Oxfordshire.

Financial Year

Total Government spend (£m)

Lancashire

Oxfordshire

Yorkshire

2014-15

32.7

6.4

47.7

2015-16

30.4

4.1

44.7

2016-17

34.7

2.3

44.7

2017-18

18.3

5.2

51.1

2018-19

20.9

0.9

73.1

Total

137.0

18.9

261.3

19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with trade partners on the Government’s decision to extend steel import tariffs until mid-2024.

The Department has so far held discussions with Brazil, the EU, Switzerland and Japan. These discussions have included giving an overview of the UK trade remedies legislation and answering questions on how this relates to the extension of the safeguard measure.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has had recent discussions with her counterparts in (a) Europe, (b) the Middle East and (c) Asia on procurement of the (i) Eurofighter Typhoon and (ii) other defence aircraft which were designed and manufactured in the UK.

I refer the Hon. Member for Preston to the answer given by my Hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Defence Procurement on 1 July 2022, UIN: 25739.

14th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has had recent discussions on potential aerospace trade with (a) the UK Aerospace Industry and (b) her international counterparts in countries with which the UK seeks future trade deals.

The Aerospace sector is a critical part of our economy and great example of the exporting potential of the UK, having exported £24.3bn of goods and services in 2020, over 97% of total production.

The Secretary of State and the DIT ministerial team has regular engagement with several aerospace companies to help boost their exports and secure vital foreign investment into the sector.

The aerospace sector is governed by bi-lateral and multilateral agreements that facilitate low and zero tariffs on the trade in aircraft goods, but the sector can also benefit from provisions in FTAs, for example digital and innovation.

Leveraging our extensive overseas network, Ministers are constantly looking for opportunities for British companies, including those in the Aerospace sector.

10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to findings of the statistical release from the Office for National Statistics published on 31 May 2022 of a higher level of quarter-on-quarter GDP growth for Northern Ireland than for the other countries of the UK, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of Northern Ireland’s continued access to barrier-free trade with the EU on the relative performance of Northern Ireland's economy.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has not made an assessment of the performance of Northern Ireland’s economy as DIT does not lead on sub-national economic growth. Also, DIT is not responsible for the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and its impact on the UK and nations and regions of the UK.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her counterparts in (a) India, (b) the US, (c) South Africa and (d) the EU on an agreed draft deal for a time limited waiver on covid-19 vaccine manufacture ahead of the World Trade Organisation’s 12th Ministerial Conference from 12 to 15 June 2022.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Membership reached a consensus-based decision on the TRIPS Agreement at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), held between 12 and 17 June 2022. The Decision, which has a five-year duration and is limited to COVID-19 vaccines, streamlines compulsory licencing processes for developing countries. The UK engaged constructively in the discussions with the wider WTO Membership, including India, the US, South Africa and the EU, demonstrating flexibility to help broker consensus.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her international counterparts on Russia’s role in the global food crisis.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has significantly exacerbated one of the most severe food and energy crises in recent history, which now threatens the poorest and most vulnerable globally.

The G7 is committed to providing support to those countries who need it and ensuring any sanctions against Russia have no direct impact on food security or supply chains.

The UK is working with Ukraine and international partners to help Ukraine export its grain and play its role as the breadbasket of the world. We will continue to fund humanitarian aid and economic support for those who need it most.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of trends in UK (a) export and (b) import levels compared with other economies.

UK trade flows are increasing, with the latest figures showing that in the 12 months ending February 2022 UK exports were up almost £50bn (8.2%) compared to the previous 12 months, whilst imports were up 15.6%.

Since the beginning of 2020 UK trade flows have largely been lower, driven by factors associated with the COVID pandemic, global recession, supply chain disruption, and adjustment to a new trading environment.

The impact of the global recession hit the UK harder than many other countries, in part because of our specialisation in services, which have been more negatively affected by COVID than goods production. Understanding the full impact of the different shocks, uncertainty and multiple factors in play will take time.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the war in Ukraine on international food and agriculture supply chains.

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

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that the UK's trade partners do not refrain from exporting food products as a result of the war in Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine placed global food security under increased pressure. Russia has compounded this by restricting exports of some of its basic foods and fertilisers. As the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General has pointed out, trade is of paramount importance in preventing hunger, and use of export restrictions can trigger a spiral of further price rises and restrictions.

G7 leaders committed to avoiding export bans and other trade restrictive measures and called on others to do likewise. The United Kingdom has been leading efforts in the WTO to put food security and the importance of open markets on the agenda for MC12, and in particular called for the prohibition of the use of export restrictions on humanitarian purchases made by the World Food Programme.

25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has made progress on securing trade deals with individual American states.

The Government is engaging across the US to enhance our existing sub-federal relationships. We want to make it easier, cheaper and quicker for UK and US businesses to work together. We are taking a twin track approach to trading with the US, seeking out ways to unlock barriers for businesses at the state level in addition to our engagement at the federal level.

This includes pursuing Memorandums of Understanding (MOU), as well as other tools such as mutual recognition agreements with states. This complements our continued efforts to strike a free trade agreement with the federal government.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure future trade deals tackle poverty in line with the Government's commitments to deliver the sustainable development goals.

Our Free Trade Agreements are a key means to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to reduce poverty and inequality. In line with the Government’s levelling up agenda, we are committed to ensuring that our Free Trade Agreements deliver opportunities for the whole of the UK.

Our recent Free Trade Agreement with Australia is expected to boost the economy by £2.3 billion and add £900 million to household wages each year in the long run. Government analysis suggests that the West Midlands, North East, North West, South East, South West and Wales are set to see the biggest gains.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that Fairtrade farmers and workers are considered in the Government’s trade policy.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) works closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including trade unions, trade for development NGOs and the Fairtrade Foundation – whose CEO sits on DIT’s Strategic Trade Advisory Group – to understand fully the interests of Fairtrade farmers and workers, and seeks to negotiate outcomes that support fair treatment of workers around the world.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of her Department’s trade policies on growth for British businesses.

We recently set out the potential benefits of a Free Trade Agreement with India in our published ‘Scoping Assessment’, which shows that the British economy could grow by between around £3,300 million and £6,200 million in the long run as a result of an agreement.

An ‘Impact Assessment’ has been published on the recently signed agreement with Australia too, which shows that the British economy could increase by around £2,300 million in the long run, compared to without the deal.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent steps her Department have taken to secure a free trade agreement with the United States.

We have had five productive rounds of negotiations to date and agreed a significant proportion of legal text across multiple chapters.

In September 2021, my Rt.Hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the President of the United States agreed to continue working towards a future Free Trade Agreement.

In December 2021, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade travelled to the US to bolster UK-US trade ties, support increased transatlantic trade and investment, and build on our shared interests and priorities with the US.

During my visit in December, I held productive meetings with Governors, Mayors, Commissioners, and business leaders. These stakeholders had great interest in doing more trade with the UK, including Memoranda of Understanding agreement, which we are following up.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to address the effects of (a) Brexit and (b) covid-19 pandemic on UK trade.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is working to ensure its International Trade Service best supports DIT’s strategic objectives and HM Government’s approach to economic recovery from the pandemic. We announced a refreshed cross-government Export Strategy: Made in UK, Sold to the World on 17 November 2021 at the United Kingdom’s first International Trade Week. At its centre is our new Export Support Service (ESS), providing a single point of contact and entry for businesses exporting to Europe, helping businesses to navigate HM Government support.

In addition, DIT has initiatives such as the UK Export Academy and grants from the Internationalisation Fund which enable firms to grow internationally and build their capability to export. We have also agreed trade deals with 70 countries plus the EU, accounting for £766bn of UK bilateral trade in 2020, helping our nation become an open and truly Global Britain.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of trends in the level of UK exports to the EU.

Latest official statistics for October 2021 show that UK goods exports to the EU are now 10% above average levels for 2020, although still below 2019 levels.

UK trade in services with the EU show little growth this year, as COVID continues to impact on the movement of people. Services exports to the EU remain below 2020 and 2019 levels.

On 1st October DIT launched the Export Support Service, which gives businesses across the UK one place to get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe by using the digital service on GOV.UK or by phoning the helpline.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to include provisions relating to climate change, green technology and the protection of the environment in the UK’s trade policy.

The United Kingdom is a world leader on climate change and environment, which are top priorities in our trade programme. We have facilitated significant multilateral progress on issues such as deforestation and the phasing out of coal at COP26, and will continue to put trade and climate change at the top of the agenda in multilateral forums, including the WTO.

In our Free Trade Agreements, we will protect our right to regulate to meet net zero and seek to co-operate on a range of environmental issues including promoting green-tech. We have already agreed such provisions with Australia and New Zealand.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to tackle disruptions in UK supply chains.

As the global economy has rebounded from this pandemic, we have seen pressures placed on supply chains across sectors and countries. HM Government has taken quick and decisive action to ease these pressures where immediate interventions have been required.

All parts of HM Government work together to tackle disruptions and the Department for International Trade seeks to strengthen critical international supply chains, improving the United Kingdom’s security and economic resilience through international trade.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her (a) South African and (b) Indian counterpart on the Government’s position on the time limited waiver on covid-19 vaccine manufacture in the global south.

I shall answer on the assumption that the Hon. Member for Preston is referring to the proposed World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver.

Unfortunately, due to the disappointing but correct decision to postpone MC12, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade did not meet with counterparts as hoped. UK officials have met with representatives from India and South Africa on a number of occasions to discuss the issue. These meetings are part of our continued efforts to engage proactively on our collective aim of reaching a pragmatic outcome on the TRIPS debate.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make a statement on the Government’s ongoing position on the time limited waiver on covid-19 vaccine manufacture in the global south.

I shall answer on the assumption that the Hon. Member for Preston is referring to the World Trade Organisation's (WTOs) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver, proposed by South Africa and India. However, this proposal is not time limited and in scope goes beyond both COVID-19 vaccines and the global south.

As such, I refer the Hon. Member for Preston to the answer given by my Hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, the Minister for International Trade, to the Hon. Member for Sefton Central on 23 November, UIN: 77440. I also note the continually increasing number of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured per month. Our challenge now is delivering vaccines and getting jabs administered.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if he will immediately suspend the export of (a) tear gas, (b) rubber bullets and (c) riot shields to the United States, following the murder of George Floyd.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also 15 Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

Much information is in the public domain already. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK – at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data – and whilst data on actual exports is not required to be centrally held, the licences issued until the end of December 2019 are available.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether security checks for passengers fitted with stoma bags is uniform across all forms of international travel form the UK via (a) planes (b) rail and (c) ferries.

The Secretary of State for Transport sets the security standards with which all forms of international travel must comply. This includes the requirement for people to be searched. We would expect all passengers being searched, including those fitted with medical devices, to be treated in the same respectful and dignified manner regardless of the mode of travel.

It is the industry’s responsibility to ensure that their security personnel conduct searches appropriately and with a sensitive regard to the person being screened such as passengers fitted with medical devices.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department provides additional guidance for people fitted with stoma bags on airport security checks.

The Secretary of State for Transport sets the security standards with which the aviation industry must comply. This includes the requirement for people to be searched. My department provides guidance to the industry on the need for consideration of those with fitted with medical devices when undertaking security searches and we would expect all passengers to be treated in a respectful and dignified manner. It is the airport’s responsibility to ensure that their security personnel conduct searches appropriately and with a sensitive regard to the person being screened.

My department works closely with the CAA which provides advice for passengers who have medical devices. This includes a Medical Device Awareness Card for passengers to use when travelling. This outlines what documentation passenger may wish to present (such as a medical letter) when arriving at the security checkpoint. It also acts as a reminder to security officers that alternative processes should be used for screening passengers with medical devices.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking with airports to ensure that airport operators security staff receive training on searching passengers who are fitted with stoma bags.

As part of training in the screening of passengers my department requires security staff to know how to respond to the specific needs of different passengers, including those with medical devices. It is the airport’s responsibility to ensure that their security personnel receive training to conduct security searches appropriately and are trained with a sensitive regard to the person being screened.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking with airport operators to ensure the privacy and dignity of airline passengers fitted with stoma bags when undergoing security checks by airport security staff.

As part of ensuring the privacy and dignity of passengers fitted with medical devices within the arrangements for the screening of passengers there is provision that allows security staff to carry out a hand search in a private room. Where necessary or appropriate, airports should enable hand searches of passengers in private.

Passengers are also able to make this request including that the security staff member is the same sex as the passenger. The passenger can also ask for a friend or family member travelling with them to be present in the room while the search is carried out.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking in response to reports of discrimination by (a) bus, (b) taxi and (c) minicab drivers against (i) assistance dog owners and (ii) wheelchair users.

All drivers of regular bus and coach services have been legally required to undertake disability awareness training since 2018. We expect all operators to comply with this requirement and the DVSA is responsible for identifying and investigating non-compliance.

We also remain committed to introducing mandatory disability awareness training for taxi and PHV drivers through new National Minimum Standards for licensing authorities when Parliamentary time allows. In the meantime, we will shortly publish for consultation updated best practice guidance for local licensing authorities, including a strengthened recommendation to require all taxi and PHV drivers to complete such training.

In December 2020, we launched the REAL disability equality training package to improve the transport sector’s confidence and skills in delivering inclusive journeys for disabled passengers.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will investigate his Department’s delayed response time in replying to cases brought forward to DVLA by (a) constituents and (b) Members of Parliament writing on behalf of constituents.

Information on the average time taken to respond to correspondence received from members of the public and Members of Parliament writing on behalf of constituents is not recorded. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is working hard to answer correspondence as quickly as possible and has also added extra resource to the team that deals with enquiries from honourable members.

The quickest and easiest way to make an application to the DVLA is to use its extensive suite of online services. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their documents within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham. The DVLA has reconfigured its accommodation to safely maximise the number of staff on site and is working hard to process paper applications as quickly as possible.

Throughout the pandemic the DVLA’s contact centre has actively managed its operation and flexed the services for customers in line with the available resources. This has included procuring the use of an additional building to increase the number of staff able to take calls within the social distancing guidelines. Remote working has been increased and additional staff are being recruited.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure calls made by the public to DVLA’s phone lines are answered.

Information on the average time taken to respond to correspondence received from members of the public and Members of Parliament writing on behalf of constituents is not recorded. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is working hard to answer correspondence as quickly as possible and has also added extra resource to the team that deals with enquiries from honourable members.

The quickest and easiest way to make an application to the DVLA is to use its extensive suite of online services. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their documents within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham. The DVLA has reconfigured its accommodation to safely maximise the number of staff on site and is working hard to process paper applications as quickly as possible.

Throughout the pandemic the DVLA’s contact centre has actively managed its operation and flexed the services for customers in line with the available resources. This has included procuring the use of an additional building to increase the number of staff able to take calls within the social distancing guidelines. Remote working has been increased and additional staff are being recruited.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department are taking to help tackle the backlog of licence applications at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Information on the average time taken to respond to correspondence received from members of the public and Members of Parliament writing on behalf of constituents is not recorded. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is working hard to answer correspondence as quickly as possible and has also added extra resource to the team that deals with enquiries from honourable members.

The quickest and easiest way to make an application to the DVLA is to use its extensive suite of online services. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their documents within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham. The DVLA has reconfigured its accommodation to safely maximise the number of staff on site and is working hard to process paper applications as quickly as possible.

Throughout the pandemic the DVLA’s contact centre has actively managed its operation and flexed the services for customers in line with the available resources. This has included procuring the use of an additional building to increase the number of staff able to take calls within the social distancing guidelines. Remote working has been increased and additional staff are being recruited.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the DVLAs average response time for correspondence received from (a) members of the public and (b) Members of Parliament writing on behalf of constituents.

Information on the average time taken to respond to correspondence received from members of the public and Members of Parliament writing on behalf of constituents is not recorded. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is working hard to answer correspondence as quickly as possible and has also added extra resource to the team that deals with enquiries from honourable members.

The quickest and easiest way to make an application to the DVLA is to use its extensive suite of online services. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their documents within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham. The DVLA has reconfigured its accommodation to safely maximise the number of staff on site and is working hard to process paper applications as quickly as possible.

Throughout the pandemic the DVLA’s contact centre has actively managed its operation and flexed the services for customers in line with the available resources. This has included procuring the use of an additional building to increase the number of staff able to take calls within the social distancing guidelines. Remote working has been increased and additional staff are being recruited.

Trudy Harrison
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of (a) suicide and (b) non-suicide fatalities on the mainline railway network in Great Britain.

There were 268 incidents of suicide on the national rail network during 2018/19. The level has been relatively static over the past five years, with approximately 250 incidents of suicide each year. This represents 4% of the total number of suicides nationally.

The trauma and devastation caused by suicide and the social impact on all those affected is immense. In addition, there is a significant operational and financial impact to the industry. There were 846,740 delay minutes linked to fatalities (which includes non-intentional deaths as well as suicide) on the railway during 2018/19, with associated costs more than £68m.

There is concerted activity by the rail industry to manage the risk and put in place suicide prevention strategies.

The industry’s suicide prevention programme is a partnership between Network Rail (NR), the Samaritans, the British Transport Police (BTP) and the wider industry. The programme also works closely with other suicide prevention experts, national agencies and charities such as Public Health England and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance to develop and maximise its impact. This programme has been recognised as an exemplar externally, and the previous Suicide Prevention Minister met rail representatives to discuss how learning from it can be shared more widely.

As a result of this work, there were nearly 2,000 lifesaving interventions on rail last year. Six people were saved for every one that took their life.

I was also pleased to see that over one hundred railway stations across England, Scotland and Wales took part in the Samaritans’ Brew Monday earlier this week, with volunteers handing out teabags to commuters and people passing by so they can share a cup of tea with someone they care about and to help people become better listeners.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to tackle situations in which benefits may have been wrongly ended as a result of a lack of medical evidence related to the covid-19 outbreak.

DWP is not aware that there is a widespread issue where claims have been wrongly ended as a result of a lack of medical evidence. It might be helpful to note that to ensure ESA claimants received their payments on time, there was an easement in place on the requirement for medical evidence from the start of pandemic until summer 2020, when claimants could not easily access GPs. A similar easement was also applied between 17 December 2021 and 26 January 2022, to allow GPs to support the Covid-19 vaccine booster campaign.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support she is providing to employers to help women considering leaving the workforce due to symptoms of menopause.

No assessment has been made on the economic impact of the menopause, but by retiring at 63 instead of 55, a female average earner that took a 10-year career break could have £180,000 extra income and might increase her pension pot by 50%.

Too many women feel forced either to leave work, reduce their hours, or take a step back in their careers, because of the menopause. That is why we asked the 50+ roundtable of employer organisations to look at menopause and employment, emphasising the importance of the provision of support by employers. An independent report is now published which the Government will respond to.

The Women’s Health Strategy will have menopause as a priority, and the UK wide Menopause task force will take a holistic approach to menopause care from healthcare to workplace support and education, enabling national coverage which will provide benefits at a local level.

Our 37 district 50PLUS Champions provide a local response, reinforcing Jobcentre Plus’s commitment to supporting over 50s claimants find and stay in work by sharing the benefits of employing over 50s to employers. Our champions utilise their knowledge and local links to support Work Coaches and employers to understand the characteristics of our customers and the issues that may affect them such as the impact of the menopause, helping them retain women’s skills and expertise.

24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential economic effect of workers taking early retirement as a result of menopause.

No assessment has been made on the economic impact of the menopause, but by retiring at 63 instead of 55, a female average earner that took a 10-year career break could have £180,000 extra income and might increase her pension pot by 50%.

Too many women feel forced either to leave work, reduce their hours, or take a step back in their careers, because of the menopause. That is why we asked the 50+ roundtable of employer organisations to look at menopause and employment, emphasising the importance of the provision of support by employers. An independent report is now published which the Government will respond to.

The Women’s Health Strategy will have menopause as a priority, and the UK wide Menopause task force will take a holistic approach to menopause care from healthcare to workplace support and education, enabling national coverage which will provide benefits at a local level.

Our 37 district 50PLUS Champions provide a local response, reinforcing Jobcentre Plus’s commitment to supporting over 50s claimants find and stay in work by sharing the benefits of employing over 50s to employers. Our champions utilise their knowledge and local links to support Work Coaches and employers to understand the characteristics of our customers and the issues that may affect them such as the impact of the menopause, helping them retain women’s skills and expertise.

24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the extent of the potential impact on pensions of women with menopause symptoms retiring early.

No such assessment has been made.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department plans to take to tackle child poverty in (a) England, (b) the North West, (c) Lancashire and (d) Preston constituency.

This Government is wholly committed to tackling child poverty. Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to protect the most vulnerable including spending an additional £7.4 billion last year to strengthen the welfare system for those most in need, taking our total expenditure on welfare support for people of working age to around £111bn in 2020/21.

Our Covid Local Support Grant is ensuring that families across England get help with food and essential utility bills. We have now extended this temporary scheme for a final time with an additional £160 million in funding between 21 June and 30 September, taking total funding under the scheme to £429 million. This funding recognises that while restrictions are planned to end in July, families might need additional help to get back on their feet as the vaccine rollout continues and our economy recovers. For Lancashire County Council this means total funding of £9,896,582.81.

This Government has long championed the principle of work as the best route out of poverty and towards financial independence. In 2019/20, there was only a 3% chance of children being in poverty (absolute, before housing costs) where both parents worked full-time compared with 42% where one or more parents in a couple was in part-time work. As the economy recovers and through investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs, our ambition is to help parents move into and progress in work as quickly as possible, substantially reducing the risks of poverty.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Health and Safety Executive’s operational database, for what reason the Health and Safety Executive had not brought a prosecution against an employer for breach of covid-19 workplace regulations as at 16 February 2021.

HSE has published an Enforcement Policy Statement which sets out the general principles and approach to enforcement and is available here.

In England & Wales, the decision to prosecute is made by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and in Scotland by the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service. HSE follows the Code for Crown Prosecutors and in order for a prosecution to go ahead there needs to be sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that the prosecution is in the public interest.

HSE will always act in the public interest and look to pursue cases where there is sufficient evidence to take action, and it is in the public interest to look to secure a prosecution.

5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of people's (a) mental health and (b) wellbeing with respect to remote working during the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic, whether directly or indirectly, is having an impact on the mental health of individuals, including those working remotely.

The determinants of mental health and wellbeing are numerous and their relationships to one another other complex. Therefore, the impact of working from home on mental health and wellbeing is likely to vary considerably across individuals depending on wider circumstances.

There is some evidence suggesting that mental health and wellbeing have improved for some homeworkers but worsened for others, and that this impact is influenced by the degree of organisational support among wider, social, factors.

Emerging evidence from the early stages of the pandemic suggests that the negative impacts of homeworking are likely to disproportionately affect women (particularly mothers), young people and those from lower socioeconomic groups.

We will continue to monitor outcomes from the range of data sources that become available.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of covid-19 national lockdown restrictions on the mental health of (a) business owners and (b) employees.

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic, whether directly or indirectly, is having a significant impact on the mental health of individuals. The percentage (and number) of employees with mental health conditions has been going up steadily since 2013, the earliest comparable year. This has continued over the latest year. It is therefore difficult to make a robust assessment of the degree to which this increase is as a direct or indirect result of the pandemic. We will continue to monitor this from the range of data sources available. We do not have data available to assess the mental health conditions amongst business owners.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to reduce the gender pay gap in pensions savings.

Automatic enrolment was developed and implemented by successive Governments to help groups who historically were poorly served or excluded from workplace pension saving, such as women and lower earners. These reforms have helped millions more women save into a workplace pension, many for the first time. Workplace pension participation among eligible women working in the private sector has risen from 40% in 2012 to 86% in 2019 – which is equal to men.

In terms of private pensions, the most important factors driving the gap in retirement outcomes are related to the labour market with inequalities in pay and working patterns. Women are more likely to take career breaks than men and to work part-time in lower-paid jobs because of caring responsibilities. We have put in place practical support to help people with caring responsibilities return to work, and to support families to share caring responsibilities more evenly. This includes doubling the free childcare available in England for eligible working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds to 30 hours per week, and consulting on increasing the transparency of employers' flexible working and parental leave policies, and on high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay, to allow both parents to play a greater role in childcare.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to encourage women to resume workplace pension contributions following a period of (a) part-time work or (b) time out of working.

Automatic enrolment has hugely increased women’s pension participation, participation across all ethnic groups, and among lower earners. Among eligible women in the private sector, participation has increased from 40% in 2012 to 86% in 2019, equal to men.

Automatic enrolment requires an employer to enrol eligible workers into a qualifying pension scheme when they start work or at the point they become eligible to be automatically enrolled due to a change in their circumstances, for example, by moving from part-time to full-time work. This ensures that workplace pension contributions would resume, in respect of women who increase their hours or re-join the labour market, if they meet the relevant earnings and other eligibility rules.

The level of earnings at which workers are automatically enrolled into workplace pensions (the earnings trigger) is subject to an annual statutory review. An analysis of the equalities impact always forms part of the review, as does an assessment of reducing the trigger to the NI threshold. This review has concluded that the earnings trigger be frozen at £10,000 for every year since 2014-15; this has proportionately benefited women. Analysis for the 2020/21 thresholds showed that 75% of those made eligible by freezing the trigger were women, compared to 37% of the eligible group under the baseline proposals.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of reducing the five-week wait time for universal credit claimants to receive their first payment.

No such assessment has been made and no-one has to wait 5 weeks for a payment.

New Claims Advances are available which allow claimants to receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront so that new claimants will receive their annual award over 13 payments during their first year, instead of 12. They are paid quickly and these can be applied for online or over the phone. The upfront payment phasing can be spread over a two-year cycle from October 2021, as was announced in the Budget 2020.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to offer financial support to British residents who are required to self-isolate on return from travelling abroad.

People who are required to self-isolate on their return from travelling abroad may be eligible for Universal Credit. This can be applied for online and includes extra money for housing and children.

If a British resident has paid and/or been credited with sufficient National Insurance contributions in the last 2 to 3 tax years, they may also be eligible for New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This can also be applied for on-line. It can be claimed on its own or as well as Universal Credit.

An application can also be made to New Style Employment and Support Allowance if the claimant has a disability or health condition that affects how much they can work.

We have made changes to ESA in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These includes removing waiting days for ESA for claimants affected by Covid-19, so it will be payable from day one of the claim, subject to the claimant satisfying the normal conditions of entitlement. In addition we are treating all ESA claimants who satisfy the conditions of entitlement and are required to self-isolate in line with government guidance, including those required to quarantine on returning from abroad, as having limited capability for work, without the requirement to provide a fit note or to undergo a Work Capability Assessment.

8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she will take to support workers on zero-hour contracts who are not working as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and are unable to qualify for universal credit because they are considered to have employment.

It is wrong to say that workers on zero-hour contracts, who are not working as a result of the covid-19 outbreak, are unable to qualify for Universal Credit because they are considered to have employment.

Universal Credit is payable in and out of work including for those working zero-hour contracts, part-time or temporary jobs.

The amount of Universal Credit paid to claimants reflects, as closely as possible, the actual circumstances of a household during each monthly assessment period. Monthly assessment periods align to the way the majority of employees are paid and also allows Universal Credit to be adjusted each month. This means that if a claimant’s income falls, they will not have to wait several months for a rise in their Universal Credit.

The Chancellor has also confirmed that, depending on their status, workers on zero hour contracts may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and we would urge people to explore this avenue too.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to allocate additional funding to support domestic abuse victims to maintain (a) employment and (b) economic independence.

DWP is committed to providing the best possible support for all our claimants, including the most vulnerable in society. This includes those who are, or have been, victims of domestic abuse and economic abuse.

DWP has a number of employment schemes that claimants, including victims of abuse, can access to improve their employability and skills. The Work and Health Programme gives ‘priority’ early access to victims of abuse. This programme supports people to enter and stay in work, and involves referrals to public, private and voluntary providers.

Alongside the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, the Government is providing £35 million to combat domestic abuse. This is on top of the £2 million we have already made available since the Covid-19 crisis, to support domestic abuse charities and raise awareness of the support available. We are also providing £3 million that will go to specialist services for children who have both been directly and indirectly affected by domestic abuse.

Government Departments are working together to look at the overall support we provide for victims and to ensure that it is holistic and effectively fulfils their needs, so that victims can rebuild their lives.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of benefit claims were successful in (a) Preston, (b) Lancashire and (c) England and Wales in April (i) 2018, (ii) 2019 and (iii) 2020.

The available statistics for Universal Credit claims by postcode area, and starts by postcode area and Jobcentre Plus office are published quarterly at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

The available statistics for outcomes of Work Capability Assessments (WCA) for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by various geographies are published quarterly at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

The available statistics for registrations and clearances for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) by various geographies are published quarterly at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance for users is available at:

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

The information for all other benefits is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the quarterly payment schedule of student finance on universal credit calculations for claimants who are responsible for one or more children; and whether she plans to halt the reduction of payments for those claimants whilst the fluctuations in income are adequately assessed.

Most full-time students in education do not qualify for Universal Credit. Students are able to access funding to support their education courses through various loans and grants, which are the responsibility of the Department for Education. It is important that Universal Credit does not duplicate this support, which is designed for their needs unlike the social security system. Exceptions are made only where students have additional needs that are not met through the student support system.

The full year’s award of student’s maintenance loan/grant is averaged out over the academic year. This average usually covers 10 monthly Assessment Periods as no student income is taken into account during the summer break. The amount taken into account is subject to a £110 disregard in each of these Assessment Periods, which is equivalent to that provided under Legacy Benefits, which includes an amount to cover the cost of books, travel and equipment.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many fraudulent cases of universal credit advance were (a) recorded and (b) processed at Jobcentres in (i) Preston, (ii) Blackburn, (iii) Blackpool and (iv) Bolton; what the value was of those fraudulent claims; and how much each claimant had to repay as a result of a fraudulent claim made on their behalf by a third party in the last two years.

I estimate that providing the information you request would incur disproportionate costs.

However, let me assure you that the Department takes this issue very seriously. We have set up a dedicated team to investigate this type of fraud and are proactively addressing it by using messaging on social media to remind people of the importance of safeguarding their identity, as well as shutting down social media sites that promote this fraud.

We have also made changes to the Universal Credit advance application process. Universal Credit claimants who wish to apply for a new claim advance are now required to attend a face to face interview. This change will help protect claimants from identity fraud and becoming victims of third party scams.

If a claimant has been the victim of a scam, and has not benefited from an advance in any way, they will not be asked to repay it. In these cases, we will seek recovery from the perpetrator of the scam. The Department considers all cases on their own merits and decisions are made on the strength of the evidence provided.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many avoidable deaths have occurred in (a) Preston and (b) Lancashire as a result of ambulance delays in the last three years.

No specific risk assessment has been made. The operational delivery of ambulance services, including decisions regarding its estate, is a matter for the local National Health Service. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that the long-term national strategy for ambulance services is a transition to a hub and spoke model, which delivers operational benefits. Research and modelling on the impact on response times is ongoing, including potential mitigations. In line with the national NHS staff terms and conditions, increased home to work mileage associated with a change in base will be reimbursed to those staff directly impacted.


Funding for the North West Ambulance Service is allocated through NHS England and NHS Improvement’s commissioners. Financial plans for the period requested are still being finalised. The information requested on avoidable deaths in Preston and Lancashire is not collected centrally. NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that there have been no Regulation 28 reports issued by coroners regarding ambulance delays due to activity or available resources in Preston and Lancashire since 2018.

13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding his Department has allocated to North West Ambulance Service for the period (a) 2022-23, (b) 2023-24 and (c) 2024-25; and how much of that funding has been allocated to provide emergency ambulance service and patient transport for people living in (i) Preston and (ii) Lancashire.

No specific risk assessment has been made. The operational delivery of ambulance services, including decisions regarding its estate, is a matter for the local National Health Service. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that the long-term national strategy for ambulance services is a transition to a hub and spoke model, which delivers operational benefits. Research and modelling on the impact on response times is ongoing, including potential mitigations. In line with the national NHS staff terms and conditions, increased home to work mileage associated with a change in base will be reimbursed to those staff directly impacted.


Funding for the North West Ambulance Service is allocated through NHS England and NHS Improvement’s commissioners. Financial plans for the period requested are still being finalised. The information requested on avoidable deaths in Preston and Lancashire is not collected centrally. NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that there have been no Regulation 28 reports issued by coroners regarding ambulance delays due to activity or available resources in Preston and Lancashire since 2018.

13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to ensure that the 999 Ambulance Station is retained in one or more areas of Preston constituency in the short- and long-term future.

No specific risk assessment has been made. The operational delivery of ambulance services, including decisions regarding its estate, is a matter for the local National Health Service. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that the long-term national strategy for ambulance services is a transition to a hub and spoke model, which delivers operational benefits. Research and modelling on the impact on response times is ongoing, including potential mitigations. In line with the national NHS staff terms and conditions, increased home to work mileage associated with a change in base will be reimbursed to those staff directly impacted.


Funding for the North West Ambulance Service is allocated through NHS England and NHS Improvement’s commissioners. Financial plans for the period requested are still being finalised. The information requested on avoidable deaths in Preston and Lancashire is not collected centrally. NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that there have been no Regulation 28 reports issued by coroners regarding ambulance delays due to activity or available resources in Preston and Lancashire since 2018.

13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what risk assessment his Department has undertaken on (a) proposals by the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to relocate Preston Ambulance Station in Deepdale to Lostock Hall and (b) the subsequent impact of that relocation on (i) ambulance waiting times for patients living in Preston, (ii) patient outcomes and (iii) NWAS staff terms and conditions.

No specific risk assessment has been made. The operational delivery of ambulance services, including decisions regarding its estate, is a matter for the local National Health Service. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that the long-term national strategy for ambulance services is a transition to a hub and spoke model, which delivers operational benefits. Research and modelling on the impact on response times is ongoing, including potential mitigations. In line with the national NHS staff terms and conditions, increased home to work mileage associated with a change in base will be reimbursed to those staff directly impacted.


Funding for the North West Ambulance Service is allocated through NHS England and NHS Improvement’s commissioners. Financial plans for the period requested are still being finalised. The information requested on avoidable deaths in Preston and Lancashire is not collected centrally. NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that there have been no Regulation 28 reports issued by coroners regarding ambulance delays due to activity or available resources in Preston and Lancashire since 2018.

25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to encourage the uptake of covid-19 (a) booster vaccinations and (b) future vaccinations.

The Department, the National Health Service and the UK Health Security Agency continue to provide advice and information to the public to increase uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations. Information materials have been translated into 28 languages and NHS England is working with employers and other groups to promote vaccination. This includes organising clinically- led question and answer sessions with groups with higher levels of vaccine hesitancy. Targeted approaches are being implemented, such as working with leading Muslim doctors and the British Islamic Medical Association to encourage eligible individuals from the Muslim community to receive their vaccinations during Ramadan via the spring vaccination programme.

As of 13 April 2022, over 92% of the United Kingdom population aged 12 years old and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine, over 86% have received two doses and over 67% have received a booster or third dose. Between 21 March and 13 April, more than 1.6 million doses have been administered in England.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the impact of staff absences due to the Omicron covid-19 variant on delivering care.

The National Health Service is providing additional guidance for managers to support staff affected by the impacts of COVID-19, such as signposting to wellbeing resources and mental health hubs. The deployment of a flexible workforce, such as temporary agency or bank staff, allows the NHS to meet fluctuations in demand and staffing levels.

25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of creating a compensation scheme for NHS frontline workers who have been unable to return to work due to the impact of long covid.

No assessment has been made. COVID-19 is a new disease and it is not yet clear what the physical, psychological, rehabilitation and support needs will be for those experiencing long-term effects. As more evidence emerges, the Department of Health and Social Care will continue to work with the Department for Work and Pensions to consider the Government’s provisions and approach for those experiencing the long-term effects of the virus.

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that pregnant women receive equitable care during (a) pregnancy and (b) childbirth.

On 23 February 2022, we announced plans to establish a Maternity Disparities Taskforce to tackle disparities for mothers and babies and reduce maternal and neonatal deaths by improving access to equitable maternity care for mothers and babies from ethnic minorities and those living in the most deprived areas.

On 6 September 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement published their Equity and Equality guidance for Local Maternity Systems to reduce disparities in health outcomes for women and babies from black, Asian and mixed ethnic groups and those living in the most deprived areas. This includes an investment of £6.8 million to support the implementation of local action plans.

Evidence that suggests continuity of carer is most effective for vulnerable and disadvantaged women. By 2024, we have committed that 75% of women from a black/black British and Asian/Asian British ethnic background and women from the 10% of neighbourhoods that are most deprived nationally will receive continuity of carer.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports that Black and Asian women are more likely to die in (a) pregnancy and (b) childbirth than white women in the UK.

The latest MBRRACE-UK report on maternal deaths occurring in 2017 to 2019 identified a small decrease in the maternal mortality rate for women from black, Asian and mixed ethnic groups. However, there was no substantive change in the disparity in mortality rates between women from black ethnic groups or women from Asian and white ethnic groups.

On 23 February 2022, we announced plans to establish a Maternity Disparities Taskforce to tackle disparities and reduce maternal and neonatal deaths by improving access to effective pre-conception and maternity care for women from ethnic minorities and those living in the most deprived areas. The Taskforce will bring together experts from across the health system, Government departments and the voluntary sector.

On 6 September 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance for Local Maternity Systems, which focuses on actions to reduce disparities in health outcomes for women and babies from black, Asian and mixed ethnic groups and those living in the most deprived areas. This includes an investment of £6.8 million to support the implementation of local action plans.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to assess the ethical implications of using artificial intelligence (AI) in the NHS.

In February 2021, we launched the AI Ethics Initiative, as part of the NHS AI Lab, to support research and practical interventions that could strengthen the ethical adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in health and social care. The focus of the Initiative is to counter the inequalities which can arise as these technologies are developed and deployed. We are funding research to ensure AI accounts for the health needs of diverse communities and how it can improve health outcomes in minority ethnic populations. We are also funding research to discover insights and potential approaches to strengthen safeguards and parameters that govern the deployment of AI across healthcare, such as the potential to assess the societal impact before it is used.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what long term support his Department offers for (a) people with and (b) carers of persons suffering from dementia.

The Department has provided guidance ‘After diagnosis of dementia: what to expect from health and care services’, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/after-a-diagnosis-of-dementia-what-to-expect-from-health-and-care-services/after-diagnosis-of-dementia-what-to-expect-from-health-and-care-services

Carers should be supported to feel able to cope with their caring responsibilities and to have a life alongside caring, including being made aware of and offered opportunities for respite. Local authorities are required to undertake a Carer’s Assessment for any carer who appears to have a need for support. Later in 2022, we will be setting out our plans on dementia for England. The new dementia strategy will include a focus on improving the experience of being diagnosed and living with dementia, for people with dementia and their carers.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps is the Government taking to address the backlog of dementia assessments.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor trends in the dementia diagnosis rate each month. The national target is for 66.7% of people living with dementia to receive a formal diagnosis. Due to the pandemic, the estimated diagnosis declined in 2020 but increased in March 2021 and has remained stable. At the end of January 2022, the rate was 61.6%.

In 2021/22, £17 million was allocated to NHS England and NHS Improvement to address dementia waiting lists and increase the number of diagnoses. This funding was made available to clinical commissioning groups in June 2021. In 2022, we will set out our plans for dementia in England, including a focus on dementia diagnosis.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of tends in the level of dementia diagnoses in the UK.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor trends in the dementia diagnosis rate each month. The national target is for 66.7% of people living with dementia to receive a formal diagnosis. Due to the pandemic, the estimated diagnosis declined in 2020 but increased in March 2021 and has remained stable. At the end of January 2022, the rate was 61.6%.

In 2021/22, £17 million was allocated to NHS England and NHS Improvement to address dementia waiting lists and increase the number of diagnoses. This funding was made available to clinical commissioning groups in June 2021. In 2022, we will set out our plans for dementia in England, including a focus on dementia diagnosis.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccination against (a) catching (b) cases of severe illness deriving from, and (c) hospitalisations arising from the Omicron covid-19 variant.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) publishes weekly COVID-19 vaccine surveillance reports, including the latest evidence on vaccine effectiveness against different outcomes, comparing rates of disease in vaccinated individuals to rates in unvaccinated individuals. The most recent assessment published on 17 February 2022 states that after two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, effectiveness against infection of the Omicron variant, starts at approximately 50% then reduces to almost no effect from 20 weeks after the second dose. After a booster dose with an mRNA vaccine, this increases to 60 to 70% then wanes to approximately 30% by 15 weeks and over after vaccination.

The UKHSA uses hospitalisation as an indicator of severe diseases. Two doses of either AstraZeneca vaccine was associated with a vaccine effectiveness of approximately 35% against hospitalisation following infection with the Omicron variant, after 25 weeks and over. After a booster dose with an mRNA vaccine, this increases to approximately 80 to 90%.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are registered as having received covid-19 vaccines administered abroad, in (a) England, (b) the North West, (c) Lancashire and (d) Preston.

The information is not collected in the format requested as individuals who have been vaccinated abroad can record multiple vaccination events.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the guidance is on receiving the covid-19 booster for people who have received one or both doses of the covid-19 vaccine abroad.

The offer of COVID-19 booster vaccination remains open for everyone including those who received one or both doses of the vaccine abroad. The minimum dosage interval for booster doses is three months from a final primary dose. For those requiring one or more United Kingdom doses, the three-month interval is taken from the final ‘additional’ dose given in the UK. Doses do not have to be recorded in the NHS App in order to access vaccination. The UK Health Security Agency’s guidance sets out eligibility for those vaccinated overseas and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccinations-received-overseas

The National Health Service has developed a service record to vaccinations received overseas. This service is available to individuals that have been vaccinated with specific vaccines anywhere in the world and reside in England. Face-to-face appointments at a specific vaccination centre can be booked to update patient record within the National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS). If an individual has their overseas vaccine recorded in NIMS, they will automatically be called for a booster dose when eligible. Individuals whose vaccinations are not recorded in NIMS in England will be unable to book an appointment for a booster vaccination through the National Booking System. However, these individuals can access a booster dose at a walk-in centre.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) double and (b) triple vaccinated covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital in each month since March 2021; and what assessment he has made of the differences in hospitalisation rates for individuals vaccinated with the (i) Pfizer, (ii) Moderna and (iii) AstraZeneca vaccines.

Data on the number of double and triple vaccinated COVID-19 patients who were admitted to hospital in each month since March 2021 is not available in the format requested.

However, between 23 January 2022 and 13 February 2022 there were 10,222 COVID-19 cases presenting to emergency care within 28 days of a positive specimen resulting in overnight inpatient admission. Of these, 1,810 people had received at least two vaccine doses and 4,939 people had received at least three vaccine doses. No specific assessment has been made of the differences in hospitalisation rates by vaccine as this information is not held centrally.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many cancer patients have not been seen within (a) the eight main operational standards for cancer waiting times and (b) the three key timeframes in which patients should be seen or treated as part of their cancer pathway in (i) England, (ii) the North West, (iii) Lancashire and (iv) Preston in each of the last three years.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeline is for primary school aged children to receive covid-19 vaccinations.

On 22 December 2021, the Government accepted advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that children aged five to 11 years old who are in a clinical risk group or who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed should be offered a primary course of COVID-19 vaccination. The National Health Service is preparing for deployment to begin by the end of January 2022. Children and their parents will be contacted by the NHS locally and offered appointments. Further advice regarding COVID-19 vaccination for other five to 11 year olds will be issued following consideration of additional data.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle recruitment challenges in the adult social care sector.

On 10 December, we announced £300 million to support local authorities and care providers to recruit and retain care staff through the winter. This funding will enhance the existing £162.5 million Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund, which was announced on 21 October. The latest phase of our adult social care national recruitment campaign launched in early November and will run until March 2022.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a national register of defibrillators.

NHS England and health services in the devolved administrations have been working with the British Heart Foundation, the Resuscitation Council UK and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives to establish a database to register defibrillators across the United Kingdom called ‘The Circuit’. The Circuit will provide a UK-wide network of defibrillators to every ambulance service in the country and the public.

Maria Caulfield
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to undertake an assessment of the impact of covid-19 lockdowns on (a) the rate of divorce, (b) relationship breakdowns and (c) people's health and wellbeing in the long term.

The Government is under a statutory duty to consider the impacts of policies and decisions on people’s protected characteristics, which includes marriages and civil partnerships. We also apply the Family Test to new policies, which considers of the impact on families before, during and after couple separation.

The Government recognised that restrictions on gathering indoors and on non-essential travel would limit some opportunities for families to meet their support network, which could have a negative impact on relationships. Therefore, we introduced measures to mitigate these risks, such as the creation of support bubbles and childcare support bubbles. We also prioritised keeping schools open and created a specific power to do so in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to tackle long-term mental ill-health resulting from covid-19 lockdowns.

Mental health services have continued to provide support throughout the pandemic. Community, adult talking therapies and children and young people’s services have deployed innovative digital tools to provide ongoing support.

We have also published the Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, supported by an additional £500 million in 2021/22. Of this funding, £110 million will be invested in expanding adult mental health services. This includes providing talking and psychological therapies, implementing the community mental health framework, investing in crisis services and maintaining the delivery of urgent mental health helplines. We are also allocating £79 million for children and young people’s mental health services. A further £2.3 billion a year will be invested in mental health services until 2023/24 to enable an extra two million people to access National Health Service mental health support.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of covid-19 lockdowns on the diagnoses of (a) behavioural and (c) mental health issues in school age children.

No specific assessment has been made, as data on diagnosis rates is not collected in the format requested. While data on autism diagnosis waiting times is collected through the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS), children and young people are currently largely out of scope.

The MHSDS shows that referrals to children and young people's mental health services in April 2020 had decreased by 42.4% from February 2020. By July 2020, referrals returned to pre-pandemic levels. However, this data shows the number of referrals and not diagnoses.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle racial bias in medical equipment.

The Department has made no specific estimate. However, a review is being conducted to understand the nature of issues, inaccuracies and risk in existing devices, determine whether actions are necessary and analyse evidence on potential issues in oximeters. This will include an independent review to start next year.

6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of deaths that could be attributed to racial bias in medical equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has made no specific estimate. However, a review is being conducted to understand the nature of issues, inaccuracies and risk in existing devices, determine whether actions are necessary and analyse evidence on potential issues in oximeters. This will include an independent review to start next year.

6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) women, (b) people from ethnic minority groups and (c) children took part in the development of the covid-19 vaccines.

The information is not available in the format requested. The National Institute for Health Research does not routinely collect data on the sex, age and ethnicity of participants in clinical research studies. However, data on ethnicity was collected at a national level for a subset of COVID-19 vaccine studies between July 2020 and May 2021. During this time, 2,416 people from ethnic minority groups took part in studies for the development of COVID-19 vaccines. There were also three paediatric and adolescent studies into COVID-19 vaccines which recruited 425 participants.

Work is underway to gather more data on the characteristics of research participants, including their ethnicity, as part of the National Institute for Health Research’s strategy ‘Best Research for Best Health: The Next Chapter’.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department takes to take into account the needs of men when developing mental health support policies.

The Department regularly engages a range of stakeholder organisations, individuals and people with lived experiences, to understand the needs of specific groups. The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on the Department to consider equality and disadvantaged groups when designing policies and delivering services. This includes age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and motherhood, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of increasing funding for bereavement support following the covid-19 outbreak.

Since March 2020, we have provided over £10.2 million to mental health charities, including those offering bereavement support. We continue to assess how to ensure grieving families and friends who have lost loved ones can receive the support they need.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Government's focus on responding to the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the number of early cancers being (a) diagnosed and (b) missed since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

We have not made a specific assessment as the data on rates of diagnoses in this period is not yet available.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of offering free CPR courses to adults in England.

No specific assessment has been made. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working in partnership with St John Ambulance to increase the awareness of the importance of CPR. St John Ambulance’s Community Advocates currently offer free face to face and virtual training for the general public.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether artificial intelligence is being used in the diagnosis of covid-19.

The National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database (NCCID) was created by the NHSX Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to support a better understanding of the COVID-19 virus and enable the best care for patients hospitalised with a severe infection. The NCCID has enabled National Health Service trusts such as Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to develop AI technologies, facilitate research studies and early detection and diagnosis of the disease.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in (a) opioid and (b) alcohol use during covid-19 outbreak.

Public Health England is monitoring intelligence on drug use from stakeholder and service user networks since the start of the pandemic. However, there is no official data on trends in opioid use over this period.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of banning vaping in (a) public and (b) indoor spaces.

The ban on smoking in enclosed public places is based on strong evidence of harm from exposure to second-hand smoke, and the health benefits of preventing that exposure. No evidence of comparable harm from exposure or benefit from protection exists in relation to exposure to electronic cigarette aerosol in public or indoor spaces.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what long term plans he has to support (a) babies and (b) children with behaviour issues or mental disabilities as a result of (i) opioid and (ii) alcohol withdrawal symptoms after being born.

The Department published guidelines on clinical management on drug misuse and dependence in 2017. The guidelines provide recommendations and best practice for social care and health professionals to treat pregnant women misusing illicit drugs, including opioids. The guidelines are available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/673978/clinical_guidelines_2017.pdf

To improve diagnosis and care of those affected by foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, we have asked the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to produce a Quality Standard in England, which is expected to be published later this year.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is providing to (a) mothers and (b) babies with withdrawal symptoms attributed to a mother’s (i) opioid and (ii) alcohol use while pregnant.

The Department published guidelines on clinical management on drug misuse and dependence in 2017. The guidelines provide recommendations and best practice for social care and health professionals to treat pregnant women misusing illicit drugs, including opioids. The guidelines are available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/673978/clinical_guidelines_2017.pdf

To improve diagnosis and care of those affected by foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, we have asked the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to produce a Quality Standard in England, which is expected to be published later this year.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of covid-19 lockdowns on diagnosing autism in (a) toddlers and (b) school age children.

No specific assessment has been made.

In 2021/2022 we are investing £7 million to help local systems improve their diagnostic pathways and address any backlogs. In addition, we are providing £3.5 million to support children while they await diagnostic assessments.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS track and trace app complies with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation.

The NHS COVID-19 App uses the minimum possible personal data and all data that could directly identify a person is not stored centrally. Expertise from across the Government and industry, including the National Cyber Security Centre, has been utilised to review the design and the App. Details of the data protection measures are set out in the Privacy Notice and Data Protection Impact Assessment which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-covid-19-app-privacy-information/nhs-covid-19-app-privacy-notice

There is an ongoing programme of monitoring and assessment to ensure that the App continues to comply with data protection law.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure the privacy and safety of data held by the NHS track and trace application.

The NHS COVID-19 App uses the minimum possible personal data and all data that could directly identify a person is not stored centrally. Expertise from across the Government and industry, including the National Cyber Security Centre, has been utilised to review the design and the App. Details of the data protection measures are set out in the Privacy Notice and Data Protection Impact Assessment which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-covid-19-app-privacy-information/nhs-covid-19-app-privacy-notice

There is an ongoing programme of monitoring and assessment to ensure that the App continues to comply with data protection law.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of classifying vaping under the same rules and regulations as smoking.

The Department is currently carrying out a consultation to review the effectiveness of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, which regulates tobacco and e-cigarettes in the United Kingdom. We are analysing the feedback to the consultation and will publish a response in due course.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to increase (a) resources and (b) funding streams for suicide prevention services.

We are continuing to launch our suicide reduction programme across England, funded by £57 million by 2023/24, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. This will see investment in every area of the country to support local suicide prevention plans and establish suicide bereavement support services.

In March 2021 we published our mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan alongside the latest progress report against the National Suicide Prevention Strategy. Many of the actions in the plan will support people at risk of self-harm or suicide. An additional £500 million has been allocated to the plan in 2021/22, £5 million of which will be made available to support voluntary sector organisations who work to prevent suicide. A further £1 million will be used to bolster NHS England and NHS Improvement’s suicide prevention programme.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to recruit additional nursing staff.

We have committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament. The latest NHS Digital statistics show the number of nurses has increased by 10,800 between March 2020 to March 2021, excluding health visitors and midwives. This commitment will be achieved through increased domestic and international recruitment and improved retention.

Health Education England is working with universities, the Medical Schools Council, Council of Deans of Health and the Royal Colleges to examine how COVID-19 may have impacted undergraduate cohorts and individuals in postgraduate medicine, including the impact on long-term recruitment.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the long term recruitment of (a) nurses and (b) doctors.

We have committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament. The latest NHS Digital statistics show the number of nurses has increased by 10,800 between March 2020 to March 2021, excluding health visitors and midwives. This commitment will be achieved through increased domestic and international recruitment and improved retention.

Health Education England is working with universities, the Medical Schools Council, Council of Deans of Health and the Royal Colleges to examine how COVID-19 may have impacted undergraduate cohorts and individuals in postgraduate medicine, including the impact on long-term recruitment.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance the Government has provided to businesses to ensure effective data protection in the collection of customer information and data for covid-19 contact tracing purposes.

The collection of customer, visitor and staff information became a legal requirement for designated venues on 18 September 2020. The Government’s guidance to support these organisations to maintain records of staff, customers and visitors is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace

In addition, the Information Commissioner’s Office has produced guidance on collecting, storing, sharing and deleting the personal data venues have been asked to obtain. This is available at the following link:

https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protection-and-coronavirus-information-hub/coronavirus-recovery-data-protection-advice-for-organisations/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-for-contact-tracing-purposes/#cs3

We also regularly engage with the sectors in scope of the regulations to explain the actions required, including how to ensure effective data protection.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the health impacts of (a) cancelled in-person GP visits and (b) virtual or telephone appointments during the covid-19 outbreak.

We continue to work with NHS England and NHS Improvement to assess the impacts of missed appointments and the use of remote consultations. In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned an independent evaluation to understand the impact for staff, patients and the wider health and care system of using digital tools in primary care to inform its long-term strategy.

Appointment numbers have risen to over 31.5 million in April 2021, with over half, or 54.8% of all appointments face to face and 40.7% telephone appointments.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people diagnosed with learning disorders who died of covid-19 in the last 12 months had do not resuscitate orders.

The Department is clear that learning disability should never be a reason for a Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decision and that blanket DNACPR decisions for whole groups of people are completely inappropriate.

The Department does not hold data centrally on the numbers or basis for DNACPR decisions. In October 2020, the Department asked the Care Quality Commission to review how DNACPR decisions were made during the COVID-19 pandemic, including for people with a learning disability. The report, published on the 18 March, looked at how DNACPR decisions were made in the earlier stages of the pandemic. The 2020/21 General Medical Services contract Quality and Outcomes Framework now includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability to be reviewed. The fifth annual report of the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review programme published on 10 June 2021, reported that in 2020, of the people with a learning disability who were reported as dying from COVID-19, 81% had a DNACPR decision.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many deaths of people with do not resuscitate orders have been attributed to covid-19 as the cause of death in the last 12 months.

The Department is clear that learning disability should never be a reason for a Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decision and that blanket DNACPR decisions for whole groups of people are completely inappropriate.

The Department does not hold data centrally on the numbers or basis for DNACPR decisions. In October 2020, the Department asked the Care Quality Commission to review how DNACPR decisions were made during the COVID-19 pandemic, including for people with a learning disability. The report, published on the 18 March, looked at how DNACPR decisions were made in the earlier stages of the pandemic. The 2020/21 General Medical Services contract Quality and Outcomes Framework now includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability to be reviewed. The fifth annual report of the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review programme published on 10 June 2021, reported that in 2020, of the people with a learning disability who were reported as dying from COVID-19, 81% had a DNACPR decision.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle health inequalities highlighted by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Minister for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) has been leading work on the response to tackle COVID-19 disparities experienced by individuals from an ethnic minority background. The ‘Third quarterly report on progress to address COVID-19 health inequalities’ was published in May 2021 and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/third-quarterly-report-on-progress-to-address-covid-19-health-inequalities/third-quarterly-report-on-progress-to-address-covid-19-health-inequalities

The focus over the last quarter has been on those ethnic minority groups worst affected by the second wave of the pandemic.

Widespread vaccination could potentially combat inequalities in the impact of COVID-19 between ethnic groups. The Community Champions scheme announced in the first quarterly report has continued to engage with a wide variety of communities to help dispel myths around vaccines. Funding was also provided to Strengthening Faith Institutions and Near Neighbours in order to utilise their networks with at-risk communities. Both organisations are partnering with a host of community organisations as well as Community Champions across England to increase vaccine uptake. Broader health inequalities work will be led by the Office for Health Promotion under the direction of the Chief Medical Officer.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the extent of the use of do not resuscitate orders for people with learning disabilities during the second wave of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is clear that learning disability should never be a reason for a Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decision and that blanket DNACPR decisions for whole groups of people are completely inappropriate.

The Department does not hold data centrally on the numbers or basis for DNACPR decisions. In October 2020, the Department asked the Care Quality Commission to review how DNACPR decisions were made during the COVID-19 pandemic, including for people with a learning disability. The report, published on the 18 March, looked at how DNACPR decisions were made in the earlier stages of the pandemic. The 2020/21 General Medical Services contract Quality and Outcomes Framework now includes a requirement for all DNACPR decisions for people with a learning disability to be reviewed. The fifth annual report of the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review programme published on 10 June 2021, reported that in 2020, of the people with a learning disability who were reported as dying from COVID-19, 81% had a DNACPR decision.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what long-term support he is providing to nurses and clinicians diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service has established a network of mental health hubs to support staff. These will provide a proactive outreach and assessment service and ensure staff receive rapid access to evidence based mental health services where needed. There will be 40 hubs in England, with 31 already operational and a further nine available soon. We invested £15 million in the hubs last autumn and a further £37 million has been made available for 2021/22 to enable the continuation of this offer. This funding will also support nurse advocacy training to critical care nurses to enable the implementation of restorative clinical supervision in all critical care settings. It will be invested in a national support service for staff with more complex needs, such as trauma or addictions, delivered by NHS Practitioner Health.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle health inequalities highlighted by the covid-19 outbreak.

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

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the extent of use of do not resuscitate orders for people with learning disabilities during the second wave of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

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

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of offering mindfulness to NHS staff.

From the onset of the pandemic, staff in the National Health Service have been able to access for free a range of mental health and wellbeing apps, which have included mindfulness and meditation.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the overall percentage uptake was of Healthy Start Vouchers by people eligible in each of the last 12 months for which data is available.

The following table shows the percentage uptake of Healthy Start vouchers by those who were eligible for each four-week cycle period over the last 12 months for which data is available.

Cycle

Start date

End date

Percentage uptake

Cycle 219

3 February 2020

1 March 2020

53.7%

Cycle 220

2 March 2020

29 March 2020

53.5%

Cycle 221

1 April 2020

26 April 2020

53.7%

Cycle 222

27 April 2020

24 May 2020

53.1%

Cycle 223

25 May 2020

21 June 2020

48.0%

Cycle 224

22 June 2020

19 July 2020

47.8%

Cycle 225

20 July 2020

16 August 2020

48.6%

Cycle 226

17 August 2020

13 September 2020

47.3%

Cycle 227

14 September 2020

11 October 2020

52.0%

Cycle 228

12 October 2020

8 November 2020

50.9%

Cycle 229

9 November 2020

6 December 2020

50.7%

Cycle 230

7 December 2020

3 January 2021

51.6%

Cycle 231

4 January 2021

31 January 2021

52.5%

Cycle 232

1 February 2021

28 February 2021

54.4%

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance the Government has provided to businesses to ensure effective data protection in the collection of customer information and data for covid-19 contact tracing purposes.

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

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the recruitment of nurses.

We are on target to deliver 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament.

The commitment is underpinned by a robust delivery programme which will be achieved through increased domestic recruitment, increased international recruitment and improved retention.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to ensure that the NHS covid-19 contact tracing app complies with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation on the retention of data.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data protection measures are in place for the NHS covid-19 contact tracing app.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the long term recruitment of (a) nurses and (b) doctors.

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

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the health impacts of (a) cancelled in-person GP visits and (b) virtual or telephone appointments during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the extent of long-term health problems experienced by socially- isolated children during covid-19 lockdown.

Health visitors are ideally placed to identify and provide early intervention support to children aged 0 to five years old who experience long-term health problems through social isolation. School nurses, in partnership with other health and education professionals, can help identify and support children aged five to 19 years old with long-term conditions or complex needs arising from social isolation. As a first point of contact, general practitioners (GPs) have a crucial role to play in identifying long-term conditions when children attend GP appointments.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what long-term support his Department plans to provide to children that suffer from social anxiety.

The Government’s £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme has supported education staff to respond to the emotional and mental health pressures some children and young people may be feeling as a result of COVID-19.

In the longer term, mental health support teams are being deployed in schools and colleges to support the mental health needs of children and young people in primary, secondary and further education and provide early intervention on some mental health and emotional wellbeing issues, such as mild to moderate anxiety.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2021 to Question 144608, on Loneliness: Health, whether his Department has plans to undertake an assessment of the effect of long-term isolation on health and well-being.

Public Health England has no plans to do so.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the potential effect on voucher uptake of introducing a digital card scheme to replace the existing paper Healthy Start Vouchers.

The NHS Business Services Authority are leading work to digitise the Healthy Start scheme.

There will be several benefits achieved with the move to a fully digitised system which include greater flexibility to individual families by removing the requirement for the full value to be spent in a single transaction, which is currently the case with paper vouchers and a reduction in the stigma associated with paper vouchers.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 149725, on Department of Health and Social Care: Contracts, from how many companies his Department has reclaimed money in relation to covid-19 contracts.

This information is not currently collated and held centrally and to obtain it would involve disproportionate cost.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the development and roll-out of a new card scheme to replace the existing Healthy Start Voucher Scheme.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a range of issues. The digitisation of the Healthy Start Scheme is part of the Government’s wider agenda for digital by default.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to help ensure that parents of (a) newborn babies and (b) young children in need of in-patient care are able to visit their children in hospital during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England published ‘Supporting pregnant women using maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic: Actions for NHS providers’ in which neonatal critical care providers are asked to adopt three action points on undertaking risk assessments, changing the configuration of space and using available testing capacity to maximize opportunities for parents to be with their babies and to identify how to facilitate parental presence at all times of day. This guidance states that parents of babies in neonatal critical care need to be involved in their baby’s care as much as possible. Parents are partners in care and should not be considered to be visitors. Guidance for visiting children in hospital is set out by NHS England in ‘Visiting healthcare inpatient settings during the COVID-19 pandemic: principles’.

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, whether newborns can be discharged to the care of (a) fathers, (b) partners and (c) family members in the event that a mother is awaiting test results for covid-19 after birth.

‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection and Pregnancy’ produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives sets out that postnatal care should be individualised according to the woman and newborn’s needs and should follow the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance for postnatal care as far as possible.

Women and their healthy babies should remain together in the immediate postpartum period, if they do not otherwise require maternal critical care or neonatal care. Women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should remain with their baby and be supported to practice skin-to-skin/kangaroo care, if the newborn does not require additional medical care at this time.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure the health and safety of (a) newborn babies and (b) new parents who have been diagnosed with covid-19.

Guidance on caring for pregnant and postnatal women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and their babies is published and available from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The guidance sets out that families should be guided on how to identify signs of illness in their new-born or worsening of the woman’s symptoms and provided with appropriate details on who to contact if they have concerns or questions. Women who have recently given birth and test positive for COVID-19 should receive all recommended advice, guidance and support in relation to their postnatal physical and mental health and wellbeing and care of their new-born baby.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish line-by-line data on the covid-19 vaccine uptake to local vaccination leads.

Local authority public health teams have access to NHS England systems where they can view vaccination event data for the sustainability and transformation partnerships (STP) within their boundaries. This is presented in the Validated Vaccination Events Dashboard and the COVID Vaccination Equalities Tool. The Dashboard provides views of all vaccination activity at all sites within a STP by delivery model, site, dose, vaccine type and vaccination uptake across ethnicity, age and other key Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation cohorts at STP level.

The COVID Vaccination Equalities Tool allows local authorities to track vaccinations by age cohort, ethnicity and Index of Multiple Deprivation compared to the national average and an adjustable uptake target. It also identifies gaps between targets and current vaccination levels in these groups.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria is used to determine which cancer surgeries are cancelled or postponed during the covid-19 outbreak.

National Health Service staff are working to ensure that, wherever possible, cancer treatment can continue safely. Any decision to reschedule cancer surgery will be a last resort and patients will be given the dates for their new treatment at the earliest opportunity. Doctors will always have the safety of patients at the centre of any decisions they make. NHS England’s guidance for clinical staff on prioritising cancer patients is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/Media/Default/About/COVID-19/Specialty-guides/cancer-and-COVID-19.pdf

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what long-term assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on the recruitment of care workers.

The flow of European Union workers into the sector annually is small comparable to the size of the workforce. Fewer than 5% of all workers joining the sector in a direct care role in 2019/20 had arrived from the EU in the previous 12 months. Therefore, we do not anticipate that the end-of-transition will have an immediate impact on workforce supply. However, we will monitor its impact closely as more data becomes available over the coming months.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of (a) depression and (b) anxiety in (i) children, (ii) teenagers and (iii) adults during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

No such assessment yet been made. However, Public Health England continues to update its ‘COVID-19: mental health and wellbeing surveillance report’, which is a routinely updated report on mental health and wellbeing in England during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise special education needs teachers in the covid-19 vaccine roll-out following the vaccination of the existing priority categories.

No decisions have yet been taken on prioritisation for phase two of the vaccination deployment programme but interim advice has been published by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommending an age-based approach which the Government has accepted in principle.

Their advice can be found online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-phase-2-of-the-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-programme-advice-from-the-jcvi/jcvi-interim-statement-on-phase-2-of-the-covid-19-vaccination-programme

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to ensure people access annual annual vaccinations for (a) flu and (b) covid-19.

Each year the Department put in plans to ensure those who are eligible get vaccinated for flu. These plans are set out in the annual flu letter published jointly by the Department, Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement each spring.

It is too early to say if the COVID-19 vaccine will become an annual programme. Vaccine effectiveness will be monitored in different population groups to understand how the effectiveness varies by age, presence of other medical conditions and other factors. Our surveillance systems will remain in place for the long term to monitor how long protection lasts to inform the need for booster doses.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the recruitment of care workers.

In order to attract more people into the sector we have been running a national recruitment campaign across broadcast, digital and social media. The latest phase of the campaign, Care for Others, Make a Difference, was launched in early February. We are also working with the Department for Work and Pensions to provide resources to work coaches to help them promote adult social care careers to jobseekers.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to increase funding for mental health support (a) immediately, (b) over the next six months, (c) over the next 12 months and (d) in the longer term.

As part of the Spending Review 2020, we announced that the National Health Service will receive around an additional £500 million in 2021/22 to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need and invest in the workforce. We are committed to the ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan to expand and transform mental health services in England and to investing an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to reschedule cancer operations that have been cancelled during the covid-19 crisis outbreak.

One of the key priorities outlined in the third phase of the National Health Service response to COVID-19 is to reduce the number of patients who have waited longer than 62 days from urgent referral to starting cancer treatment.

Action to reduce long waits includes expanding the capacity of COVID-19 secure cancer hubs, prioritising people for surgery centrally on the basis of clinical need and drawing on the independent sector to increase capacity.

19th 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 outbreak on cancer (a) surgeries, (b) treatments and (c) diagnosis.

While the Department has not made a formal assessment, NHS England’s Cancer Recovery Plan sets out the aims and actions needed to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

Latest official cancer waiting times data for December 2020 shows activity against the 62-day general practitioner urgent referral to first treatment for cancer was 6.7% higher than last December. The most recent data shows that recent activity is higher than the same time last year. The National Health Service continues to prioritise cancer diagnosis, treatments and surgeries throughout the pandemic to ensure that, wherever possible, cancer treatment can continue safely.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how funding is determined for local authorities issuing discretionary payments to people isolating due to covid-19.

The discretionary funding is determined according to the COVID-19 Relative Needs Formula (RNF). The RNF is used to allocate funding for each local authority based on population size and levels of deprivation. It also takes account of allocations to authorities across previous tranches of funding.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what financial support is available to Britons returning from high-risk countries who cannot afford the cost of a mandatory hotel quarantine.

For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of the managed quarantine charge, there will be an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. This is available for individuals who already receive income-related benefits and they will be required to pay in 12 monthly instalments.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of permitting covid-19 vaccinated (a) UK citizens and (b) international travellers returning from other countries into the UK without the requirement to quarantine.

Those entering the country internationally are required to quarantine in a hotel or at home. Further research and vigilance is needed to understand how effectively the current range of vaccines stop transmission of the virus and we must also monitor the potential emergence of further new variants. We will continue to keep options under review as more evidence emerges on the impact vaccines have on case rates, transmissions, hospitalisations and deaths.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department receives reimbursement from companies that do not uphold (a) the commitments and (b) delivery of services outlined in their contract with his Department.

The majority of contracts awarded by the Department have break clauses, along with clauses to manage product and service quality and delivery, meaning if the company supplies faulty products or services or misses delivery dates or key outputs, we are able to review the contracts and reclaim any money. Department only pays for goods and services received as standard.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to assess the mental wellbeing of people living alone who have been furloughed.

There are no plans to assess the mental wellbeing of this specific group.

However, Public Health England has developed a mental health and wellbeing surveillance tracker to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on the population’s mental health. This is a proactive step which will help ensure that our response to the effects of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing is shaped by emerging data. Its report is regularly updated with the most recent information and is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report

We recognise the effect that being furloughed and living alone may have mental wellbeing. We have published guidance on mental health and wellbeing on GOV.UK and the ‘Every Mind Matters’ portal. The Government has also invested £5 million in national loneliness charities, raising awareness and providing advice through the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what role the military played in Exercise Cygnus.

The Ministry of Defence was involved in the exercise at both the national and local level. At the national level, the Ministry provided policy advice to the participating Minister from that Department and responded to requests for military assistance which formed part of the exercise scenario. Standing Joint Command (UK) participated at the local level, with Joint Regional Liaison Officers providing advice to local authorities participating in the exercise.

The Ministry of Defence was further involved along with other Government departments in supporting the exercise development.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on health and wellbeing of long-term isolation.

PHE has made no recent assessment of the effect on health and wellbeing of long-term isolation.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) reasons for and (b) implications for his policies of the recent decline in the annual birth rate.

In their ‘Births in England and Wales: 2019’ report, the Office for National Statistics suggests that possible reasons for decreases in both the annual birth rate and the annual total fertility rate in recent years include improved access to contraception; the reduction in mortality rates of children aged under five years old, resulting in women having fewer babies; and lower levels of fertility or difficulties conceiving because of postponement in childbearing.

The Government’s overarching policy is that all women should receive safe, personalised care. Local Maternity Systems bring together providers, commissioners, women and their families to work in partnership to ensure services reflect the needs of their local populations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to encourage the public to receive annual inoculations of the covid-19 vaccine following the first two doses.

More evidence is needed to understand whether a seasonal vaccination or booster dose might be needed. While further evidence is gathered, the Government is planning for a re-vaccination campaign which is likely to run later this year in autumn or winter. Over the longer term, re-vaccination is likely to become a regular part of managing COVID-19.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to tackle the long-term pressures on NHS services in response to the ageing population.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out a range of important commitments to improve care and prevention to help control the growth in demand associated with an ageing population. This means treating people at the right time, in the right place, so that conditions are treated before they become serious and place greater pressure on the National Health Service.

The Government is supporting delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan through a historic long-term settlement, which will see NHS funding increase by £33.9 billion by 2023-24.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to improve the health and fitness of children from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Department continues to deliver actions set out in the childhood obesity plan including our ambition to halve the number of children living with obesity and significantly reduce the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030. We have also confirmed that schools in England will benefit from £320 million from the PE and sport premium during the academic year 2020-21.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether vaccine roll-out was a part of Exercise Cygnus.

The aim of Exercise Cygnus was to assess the United Kingdom’s preparedness and response to a pandemic influenza as reflected in the UK’s worst-case planning scenario. Arrangements to access a pandemic vaccine is one aspect of our ‘defence in depth’ approach, as set out in the UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011. The exercise was set in week seven of the UK’s response to a pandemic influenza. At this point, pandemic vaccine had been ordered but was not yet available.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of making the covid-19 vaccine mandatory for (a) the general population, (b) NHS staff, (c) police and other front-line workers and (d) care home staff.

The United Kingdom operates a system of informed consent for vaccinations. There are no current plans to make the COVID-19 vaccine compulsory.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason marriages can only take place under exceptional circumstances during 2021 covid-19 national lockdown.

Marriages should only take place in exceptional circumstances - for example, where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

We understand these rules are difficult but reducing social contact is paramount to protecting the National Health Service and saving lives. The Government keeps its restrictions under continual review and will make changes if the data and science support it.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to allow marriages to resume, under all circumstances, when the covid-19 local alert level tier system is reintroduced in England.

Marriages should only take place in exceptional circumstances - for example, where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

We understand these rules are difficult but reducing social contact is paramount to protecting the National Health Service and saving lives. The Government keeps its restrictions under continual review and will make changes if the data and science support it.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on investigations that have been undertaken on determining the long-term effectiveness of the covid-19 vaccination.

Public Health England (PHE), through its surveillance strategy, is actively monitoring the effect of the COVID-19 vaccine on the population. This includes measuring the long-term effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. The surveillance strategy at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-surveillance-strategy

PHE’s reports on vaccine effectiveness are available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/phe-monitoring-of-the-effectiveness-of-covid-19-vaccination

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of making the wearing of face masks compulsory in public spaces.

The wearing of face coverings is already mandatory in most indoor, public settings in England. However, the legal requirement for wearing a face covering has not been extended to outdoor public spaces. The Regulations and guidance currently apply to indoor settings as there is stronger scientific evidence about the risk of transmission being greater in enclosed, indoor spaces where social distancing cannot necessarily be maintained. It is this risk that wearing a face covering will help reduce.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average length of time is for people to receive the results of a covid-19 test in (a) England, (b) the North West, (c) London, (d) Lancashire and (e) Preston.

The data is not published in the format requested.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what emergency plans are in place in the event that there are shortfalls in hospital oxygen supplies during the covid-19 outbreak.

In England the supply chain has significant capacity to meet large surges in demand and delivery of oxygen to hospital tanks is not a limiting factor. There is no national shortage of oxygen.

National Health Service hospitals are carefully managing their oxygen flow and infrastructure to manage the current need and have deployed a number of contingency measures such as improved monitoring and maintenance of their oxygen systems to ensure they are operating at maximum efficiency. Before the winter, over 30 upgrade projects were completed to improve the long term oxygen and medical supply infrastructure within hospitals. The NHS has invested £15 million to date and further improvements continue to be carried out.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to provide additional funding to local authorities for the provision of discretionary payments to people self-isolating during the covid-19 outbreak.

Since September 2020, the Government has provided an initial £50 million to local authorities, including £15 million for discretionary payments. The Government provided a further £10 million for discretionary payments in January 2021 and a further £10 million in February.

The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme will continue into the summer and will be expanded to cover parents who are unable to work because they are caring for a child who is self-isolating. The funding made available for local authorities as part of this to make discretionary support payments will be increased to £20 million per month, to ensure local authorities can continue to make payments and support people on low incomes to stay at home and self-isolate when required to do so.

11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to support adults with long-term (a) physical and (b) mental health problems as a result of (a) covid-19 lockdowns and (b) remote working.

Several steps have been taken to support people with physical and mental health issues that have arisen from lockdown or remote working and prevent long-term complications.

NHS England and NHS Improvement launched ‘Your Covid Recovery’, a platform dedicated to helping people conquer the after-effects of COVID-19. The platform includes a range of information on how COVID-19 can affect someone’s mind and body – including possible interactions with cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions, and diabetes, and information for friends, families, and carers. It offers advice on how people can make sure they continue eating well, sleeping well, and exercising after having the disease.

Steps have been taken to increase access to health services at home and increase awareness across a wide range of physical health issues during the pandemic. This includes providing blood pressure monitors to people with high blood pressure who are shielding across England and free vitamin D supplements to those deemed to be high risk. In addition to this, guidance has been produced across several areas to increase awareness and provide digital resources for maintaining physical health. This includes the Health and Safety Executive guidance on home working and NHS England and NHS Improvement leading stakeholder guidance on maintaining musculoskeletal health, as well as digital weight management resources.

On mental health, the National Health Service has worked hard to keep mental health services going during the pandemic, utilising technology where needed but also face to face appointments where appropriate. All mental health trusts have established 24 hours a day, seven days a week urgent mental health helplines where people experiencing a mental health crisis can access support and advice.

To further support people’s mental health in the context of COVID-19, and the winter months, we have published our Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Plan for COVID-19 setting out the steps we have taken to strengthen the support available for people who are struggling, our commitments to ensure services are there to support those who need it, and the provision in place to keep our frontline workers well.

11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department made of the effect of cultural sensitivities on the implementation of covid-19 restrictions on days of (a) cultural or (b) religious celebrations.

The Government considers impacts on different groups of protected characteristics, including religious observance when making decisions on COVID-19 restrictions. The analysis and evidence is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-health-economic-and-social-effects-of-covid-19-and-the-tiered-approach

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the public receive the covid-19 inoculation once it is available to each demographic.

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme should prioritise individuals most at risk of mortality and protect health and social care staff and systems. As a result, vaccines are currently being given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 years old and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk.

To ensure the public can receive the vaccine, the National Health Service, alongside local health and social care partners, has developed three different delivery models appropriate to the varying infrastructure, population, and logistical requirements in place. This will allow the vaccine to become available to a wider population through hospital hubs, vaccination centres, and local vaccination services.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to ensure that healthcare workers have the covid-19 inoculation.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. In phase one of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, the JCVI has advised that prioritisation is specifically targeted to protect health and social care staff and systems, as well as to protect those individuals most at risk of mortality from COVID-19.

Healthcare workers have therefore been included in one of the top priority cohorts, as well as care home residents and staff and those over 80 years old.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the covid-19 inoculation will be compulsory for (a) healthcare workers and (b) the public.

Whilst vaccinations are one of the most effective methods to protect the public from illness and possible death caused by viruses and disease, there are no plans to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory. The United Kingdom operates a system of informed consent.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to communicate the importance of the covid-19 inoculation to different (a) age, (b) ethnic, (c) race, (d) gender, (e) religious and (f) socio-economic groups.

The Department, together with the National Health Service (NHS) and Public Health England, is providing advice and information at every opportunity to support those getting the vaccine and to anyone who might have questions about the vaccination process.

The Department, alongside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and NHS England are holding regular meetings with local authorities, faith leaders and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) organisations to provide advice and information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they will be made available.

The communications plan includes targeted information and advice via TV, radio, and social media, translated into 13 languages. Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice, will also appear in 600 national, regional, local, and specialist titles, including BAME media, to maximise reach.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle misinformation on the covid-19 vaccine.

The Government is committed to ensuring that people have access to accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. The Department is leading extensive communications activity to reassure the public, providing advice for anyone who has questions about the vaccination process.

The Government’s Counter Disinformation Unit looks for trends on social media platforms to respond to misleading content rapidly. This can be a range of actions from labelling, to ‘downranking’, to removal where there is significant risk of harm, in line with the platform’s terms and conditions.

We have developed the SHARE checklist which aims to educate and empower those who see, inadvertently share and are affected by false and misleading information.

Facebook, Twitter and Google agreed to the principle that no company should profit from or promote COVID-19 anti-vaccine misinformation and disinformation and to respond to flagged content more swiftly.

The major platforms have updated their terms of service and taken positive steps to reduce the spread of harmful and misleading narratives and to promote Government and National Health Service messaging, including around anti vaccination content.

The Government’s response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation includes details of new laws to deal with harmful content and behaviour online, such as misinformation and disinformation that could cause significant physical or psychological harm to an individual.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that mental health providers are able to offer online consultations to patients who need them.

Talking therapies delivered by Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services will continue to be made available remotely so people can access help safely from home with face-to-face support provided to people, where appropriate, from within COVID-19 secure settings. Children and young people’s community mental health services will also continue to offer digital and remote access to maintain support and accept new referrals over the winter.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 October 2020 to Question 81551 on Coronavirus: Ethnic Groups, if his Department will make an assessment of the effect of unconscious bias on the treatment of BAME covid-19 patients.

Through Public Health England’s Beyond the Data review, stakeholders said that some black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities felt that they receive different treatment when compared with white patients and that this has further exacerbated fear within BAME communities and reluctance to seek medical care.

We are concerned that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on people from BAME backgrounds. The Minister for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) has been tasked to lead the Government's work tackling this issue. With the support of the Race Disparity Unit, the Minister is also reviewing the effectiveness and impact of current actions being undertaken by relevant Government departments and their agencies to directly lessen disparities in infection and death rates of COVID-19.

10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 11 November 2020 to Question 104054 on Cancer: Cost of Living, if his Department will make an estimate of the average additional financial costs of living with cancer.

There are no plans to make such an estimate.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that data protection is maintained in the NHS covid-19 app.

The NHS COVID-19 app has been designed to use the minimum possible personal data or information. Expertise from across the United Kingdom Government and industry, including the National Cyber Security Centre, has been utilised to review our design and to help test and improve the app.

The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy to measure the distance between phones with the app downloaded, but it will never access location, contacts, or any other personal data saved in a phone.

There is an ongoing programme of monitoring and assessment to make sure that user data is safe and secure and to ensure that the app complies with protective measures established by data protection law.

9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle the national backlog in endoscopy procedures.

In October 2020, the National Health Service issued £150 million in capital funding to regions to invest in diagnostic equipment. The recent spending review included an additional £325 million for the NHS to invest in new diagnostic machines to improve clinical outcomes, replacing over two thirds of imaging equipment that is over 10 years old.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will list the private companies that tendered for Government contracts relating to personal protective equipment.

The Government issued a public call to action to support the increased requirements of personal protective equipment (PPE). The aim was to reach suppliers who had experience of supplying PPE and also those who had no prior experience but who had access to sources of PPE through their business contacts. To date this has resulted in 15,000 suppliers offering their help and support. All offers were prioritised based on volume, price, clinical acceptability and lead time – this is the time from an offer being accepted by the Department to the supplier delivering those items.

Contracting authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances under the Public Contract Regulations 2015 using a direct award of a contract without a competitive tender process. The great majority of PPE contracts let by the Department were direct awards.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the roles were of private companies involved in Exercise Cygnus.

No private companies were invited to participate in Exercise Cygnus.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will list the private companies that tendered for the contract to run the Government's covid-19 contact-tracing system in England.

The contracts awarded to Serco and Sitel to provide non-National Health Service call handling services for the contact tracing initiative were direct awards under Lot 2 of Crown Commercial Service’s Contact Centre Services framework. Serco and Sitel are approved suppliers on this framework contract having gained their places through fair and open competition via an Official Journal of the European Union procurement.

All suppliers on Lot 2 were engaged in order to ascertain capabilities to meet the contract output specifications. The contracts were awarded based on consideration of available capacity; mobilisation and set up time; the ability to work jointly with other suppliers to provide a solution of this scale; and ensuring value for money.

10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the science-based evidence on the transmission of covid-19 in places of (a) worship and (b) exercise.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic. Data and scientific advice informing the fight against COVID-19 are published on gov.uk and specific relevant findings are shared in presentations accompanying significant policy announcements.

Unfortunately, we know that the virus spreads readily in indoor environments. These restrictions are difficult in the first instance, including for those who want to use gyms and places of worship, but that we have to find a balance to make sure we reduce the transmission rates and save lives.

We realise the impacts that these regulations have on people’s health and wellbeing and we aim to minimise the impact wherever possible and noting that these restrictions are time limited. The Government have published guidance on mental health and wellbeing which includes guidance on looking after physical wellbeing and this is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19#what-can-help-your-mental-health-and-wellbeing

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that gym closures during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown do not have long term effects on public health.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic. Data and scientific advice informing the fight against COVID-19 are published on gov.uk and specific relevant findings are shared in presentations accompanying significant policy announcements.

Unfortunately, we know that the virus spreads readily in indoor environments. These restrictions are difficult in the first instance, including for those who want to use gyms and places of worship, but that we have to find a balance to make sure we reduce the transmission rates and save lives.

We realise the impacts that these regulations have on people’s health and wellbeing and we aim to minimise the impact wherever possible and noting that these restrictions are time limited. The Government have published guidance on mental health and wellbeing which includes guidance on looking after physical wellbeing and this is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19#what-can-help-your-mental-health-and-wellbeing

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide funding from the public purse for (a) a one-off bonus and (b) an annual pay increase to health care workers in recognition of their efforts in responding to the covid-19 outbreak.

We are incredibly proud of all National Health Service staff and value their extraordinary commitment to providing world class care during these unprecedented times.

Over one million of ‘non-medical’ NHS staff, including nurses, continue to benefit from the three-year Agenda for Change (AfC) pay and contract reform deal, agreed in partnership with NHS trade unions and employer representatives. This is the final year of the deal and has seen year on year pay increases for all AfC staff including 16% increases for the lowest paid since 2017/18. For NHS medical staff not in existing multi-year pay and contract reform deals we accepted in full the Review Body for Doctors and Dentists Remuneration’s (DDRB) recommendation for a uniform 2.8% pay uplift in July 2020.

For recommendations on pay for NHS staff for 2021/22, we intend to look to the independent Pay Review Bodies (PRB) and we expect to issue a remit letter to the PRBs in the coming weeks. The Government will carefully consider the NHS PRB and DDRB’s recommendations when we receive them.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 September to Question 81545, what checks were made prior to direct awarding Ayanda Capital Limited a contract for providing PPE to the NHS.

Using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015 Ayanda Capital was evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing, compliance with minimum product, service and technical specifications and ability to perform the contract. Contracts are awarded by the appropriate Departmental accounting officer in line with Departmental terms and conditions.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contract Regulations 2015, what criteria constitutes an emergency.

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0120-responding-to-covid-19

Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. The Department assesses the market conditions for procuring supplies related to any procurement, including those relating to COVID-19, in accordance with procurement guidance and regulations. The Department has to demonstrate on a case by case basis that it is satisfied the tests set out in the guidance permitting use of the negotiated procedure without prior publication have been met. These are summarized as follows:

- you need to respond to the COVID-19 consequences immediately because of public health risks, loss of existing provision at short notice, etc;

- you are reacting to a current situation that is a genuine emergency - not planning for one;

- the COVID-19 situation is so novel that the consequences are not something you should have predicted;

- there is no time to run an accelerated procurement under the open or restricted procedures or competitive procedures with negotiation;

- there is no time to place a call off contract under an existing commercial agreement such as a framework or dynamic purchasing system; and

- you have not done anything to cause or contribute to the need for extreme urgency.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 14 September to Question 81560, what other approaches were considered in determining where procurement meets the tests for the use of Regulation 32.

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0120-responding-to-covid-19

Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. The Department assesses the market conditions for procuring supplies related to any procurement, including those relating to COVID-19, in accordance with procurement guidance and regulations. The Department has to demonstrate on a case by case basis that it is satisfied the tests set out in the guidance permitting use of the negotiated procedure without prior publication have been met. These are summarized as follows:

- you need to respond to the COVID-19 consequences immediately because of public health risks, loss of existing provision at short notice, etc;

- you are reacting to a current situation that is a genuine emergency - not planning for one;

- the COVID-19 situation is so novel that the consequences are not something you should have predicted;

- there is no time to run an accelerated procurement under the open or restricted procedures or competitive procedures with negotiation;

- there is no time to place a call off contract under an existing commercial agreement such as a framework or dynamic purchasing system; and

- you have not done anything to cause or contribute to the need for extreme urgency.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 14 September 2020 to Question 81561 on Public Sector: Contracts, in which (a) regional areas and (b) constituencies have are companies awarded contracts by direct award based.

As of the beginning of November 2020, 937 contracts worth an estimated £17.8 billion have been awarded by the Department and its executive agencies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic for a wide range of products and services including personal protective equipment, the Test and Trace initiative, ventilators, IT, logistics, medicines.

The great majority of these contracts have been let using a direct award. Contract Award Notices are published for each contract which contain information on the value of the contract, its duration and the name and address of the supplier.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 14 September 2020 to Question 81561 on Public Sector: Contracts; what the average value is of contracts awarded to suppliers through direct award.

As of the beginning of November 2020, 937 contracts worth an estimated £17.8 billion have been awarded by the Department and its executive agencies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic for a wide range of products and services including personal protective equipment, the Test and Trace initiative, ventilators, IT, logistics, medicines.

The great majority of these contracts have been let using a direct award. Contract Award Notices are published for each contract which contain information on the value of the contract, its duration and the name and address of the supplier.

16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 14 September 2020 to Question 81561 on Public Sector: Contracts, what the average length is of contracts awarded to suppliers through direct award.

As of the beginning of November 2020, 937 contracts worth an estimated £17.8 billion have been awarded by the Department and its executive agencies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic for a wide range of products and services including personal protective equipment, the Test and Trace initiative, ventilators, IT, logistics, medicines.

The great majority of these contracts have been let using a direct award. Contract Award Notices are published for each contract which contain information on the value of the contract, its duration and the name and address of the supplier.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the scientific basis is for the imposition of different attendance restrictions between weddings and funerals during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the significance of life events, particularly funerals and treat them with sufficient sensitivity, which is why there are different exemptions to the rule of six for weddings and funerals. Allowing attendance at weddings of up to 15, and at funerals of up to 30, goes some way towards meeting the participants’ understandable wishes, while at the same time minimising the spread of the virus.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic. Although gathering in larger groups does increase the risk of transmission, but we have been clear that people should follow social distancing rules when gathering with people they do not live with. We continue to keep these restrictions under constant review and will ensure they remain proportionate to the threat to public health posed by COVID-19.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the average additional financial costs of living with cancer.

No estimate has been made.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance he is providing to people who (a) work in and (b) commute from an area with different three-tier covid-19 restrictions.

Everyone is currently advised to work from home where possible. We do however recognise this is not possible for all, and some workers must continue to commute between different local alert levels.

In COVID-19 level alert medium and high areas, no restrictions will apply to travel or transport. We advise people to keep travel to a minimum in local COVID alert level high and people should not travel in or out of local COVID alert level very high areas, though travel for work can continue. People will be advised to walk and cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes if using public transport.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason local authorities are not running covid-19 testing in local communities.

Local and mobile testing is locally coordinated by Local Resilience Forums and Recovery Coordinating Groups and decisions are centrally executed at their direction. Local testing sites are run under the control of Directors of Public Health who are best placed to direct testing capacity to local groups with the greatest needs. Regional test sites are centrally controlled and coordinated. We work with local authorities wherever possible on-site selection, particularly when a site needs to be relocated. However, we are actively exploring ways of enabling increased local control. The co-design approach between local and national teams has been key in achieving the pace at which these sites have been set up.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the (a) clinical performance and (b) delivery rate of NHS treatments not related to covid-19.

The Department uses data published on a monthly basis to monitor compliance against performance standards. There are robust processes in place to hold NHS England and NHS Improvement to account and action to ensure compliance with different performance standards is discussed in the course of this process.

Guidance issued by NHS England and NHS Improvement at the end of July set the ambition for providers to recover elective services in October to 90% of last year’s levels for admissions, and 100% for outpatients. The Department continues to monitor performance against these ambitions.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of British residents that have contracted covid-19 on a flight in each of the last six months.

It is not possible to systematically identify where infection occurs in individual positive cases of COVID-19.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that care homes are prepared for a second wave of covid-19 ahead of winter 2020-21.

The Adult Social Care Winter Plan published on 18 September sets out the actions we are taking at a national level to support those who provide and receive care. It also outlines the actions every local area (local authorities and National Health Service partners) and every care provider must be taking right now to protect residents and staff in care homes.

Our commitments in The Adult Social Care Winter Plan includes:

- Continuing to engage with local authorities, care providers, people with care and support needs, and their families and carers to understand their needs and provide support;

- Provide £546 million through the Infection Control Fund, set up in May, which has now been extended until March 2021, to help the care sector restrict the movement of staff between care homes to stop the spread of the virus;

- We will support care homes and domiciliary care providers by providing free PPE for their Covid-19 needs until March 2021;

- Making the flu vaccine available for free to all health and care staff, personal assistants, and unpaid carers; and

- Introducing tightened measures which will enable residents and their loved ones to have safe visits to care homes.

Working together will ensure that high-quality, safe and timely care is provided to everyone who needs it, whilst protecting people who need care especially those who are older or living with underlying health conditions who may be more vulnerable to the virus, their carers and the social care workforce from COVID-19.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his strategy is for administering a covid-19 vaccine once it has been approved by the Government.

We are preparing for the delivery of any potential COVID-19 vaccination programme as quickly as possible. The scale of what is rolled out and when will depend on a safe, effective vaccine being available. Plans include ensuring there is adequate of provision of transport, storage, personal protective equipment, and the consideration of the settings and workforce required to vaccinate against COVID-19.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the frequency of his weekly review of lockdown measures across England.

National decision-making takes place through the Government’s Local Action Committee command structure. It can escalate concerns and issues to the COVID Operations Committee to engage ministers across Government. The command structure is as follows:

- The Local Action Committee (gold) meets weekly. However, additional meetings are held if the data indicates they are needed;

- The Weekly Containment Group (silver) meets weekly. However, they can be convened rapidly as required; and

- The Daily Containment Group (bronze) meets daily and provides situational awareness on the latest outbreaks and epidemiological picture. This group also reviews and evaluates local outbreak response and action extra support.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contract Regulations 2015, what assessment the Government makes when procuring (a) goods (b) services and (c) works of the ability of successful bidding companies to produce the items ordered.

Using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015 suppliers will be evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing, compliance with minimum product, service and technical specifications and ability to perform the contract. Contracts are awarded by the appropriate Departmental accounting officer in line with Departmental terms and conditions.

Over 1,000 purchase orders have been raised with suppliers for COVID-19 related work under regulation 32(2)(c), the majority through a direct award. Contracts are awarded by the appropriate Departmental accounting officer in line with Departmental terms and conditions which contract management clauses to assess performance and value for money throughout the lifetime of the contract.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether regulation 32(2)c of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 applies to procuring vendors in making preparations for a second wave of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department assesses the market conditions for procuring supplies related to any procurement, including those relating to COVID-19, in accordance with procurement guidance and regulations. Where any procurement meets the tests for the use of Regulation 32 then that approached will be used; where it does not, other approaches will be considered.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many companies tendered for the Covid-19 contact-tracing system contract for England.

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0120-responding-to-covid-19

Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. These include a direct award due to extreme urgency or the absence of competition. Under the regulation contracting authorities may enter into contracts without competing or advertising the requirement.

Over 1,000 purchase orders have been raised with suppliers for COVID-19 related work, the majority through a direct award, this includes the contracts for the contact tracing system.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase mental health support as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working with the National Health Service, Public Health England and other key partners to take an expert look at what we might anticipate by way of need and plan for how to support mental health and wellbeing throughout the next few weeks and months.

Our NHS Long Term Plan commitment to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year to mental health services by 2023-24 remains. We have provided £5 million of additional funding for mental health charities to support adults and children struggling with their mental wellbeing during this time.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to recruit workers to the social care sector from within the UK.

In order to attract more people into social care, in April to July we rapidly increased the national recruitment campaign – with sustained activity across broadcast, digital and social media. The campaign highlighted the vital role that the social care workforce has played during the pandemic, along with the longer-term opportunity of working in case.

We are also working with the Department for Work and Pensions to provide job centre work coaches with resources to promote adult social care careers to jobseekers, including those who may have recently lost their jobs working in hard hit sectors such as hospitality, tourism and retail.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department is doing to ensure the availability of adequate (a) specialists and (b) treatment for patients facing long-term effects from covid-19.

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.

The NHS is working to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but still have problems with breathing, mental health problems or other longer-term complications. As part of this, in July the NHS launched ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service, a personalised programme to support the recovery of people who have been in hospital or suffered at home with the virus.

The research currently underway will inform future NHS service design and provision.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made the suicide rate for (a) Preston (b) Lancashire and (c) England between April 2020 to July 2020 with the same period in each of the last 2 years.

We have not made such an assessment. We do not yet have robust data to say what effect, if any, the COVID-19 pandemic has had on suicide rates.

We are nevertheless taking action to support people’s mental health and prevent suicides and self-harm. All National Health Service mental health providers have established 24 hours a day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines, and we have announced £9.2 million of additional funding to support mental health charities, including Samaritans and CALM.

Every local authority has a multi-agency suicide prevention plan in place. The expectation is that agencies will work together to ensure plans address the impacts of COVID-19 on specific groups.

We are working with the NHS and others to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 and plan for how to support the public’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 lockdown on suicide rates.

We have not yet made such an assessment. We do not at this time have robust data to say what effect, if any, the COVID-19 pandemic has had on suicide rates.

Public Health England is currently piloting the development of a national surveillance system to monitor suspected suicide and self-harm, by collecting in near real time data from local systems which can be used to identify patterns of risk and causal factors, to inform national and local responses.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of covid-19 patients who have been diagnosed with PTSD.

The Department has made no such estimate.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of children of essential workers that tested positive for covid-19 between March and July 2020.

The Department does not currently hold this level of data.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of unconscious bias on the treatment of BAME covid-19 patients.

No such assessment has been made.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what unconscious bias training his Department offers to healthcare professionals.

There are elements of the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Level 1 session, which deal with the concept of unconscious bias. This session is part of the e-Learning for Healthcare Statutory and Mandatory Training Programme and is aimed at all staff, including unpaid and voluntary staff.

Individual National Health Service organisations have responsibility for training their own staff and will provide further relevant training where appropriate.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the number of (a) British and (b) foreign travellers that have been fined for breaching quarantine rules following arrival to England from a non-exempt country in the last two months.

The Department does not collect this information.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to expand covid-19 testing to ensure all members of the public can access tests.

We are conducting over 300,000 tests a day and we are working with cutting-edge technology to increase the volume of tests and improve turnaround time. By November we will be able to conduct half a million tests a day and the vast majority of in-person test results are being returned the next day. We are increasing capacity through a combination of expanding our network of testing sites and laboratories, as well as investing in new technologies. We are also increasing our testing capacity which will allow us to expand asymptomatic testing to groups and areas at greatest risk, including in areas with local outbreaks.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many British manufacturers (a) approached the National PPE Sourcing team and (b) were awarded contracts to supply personal protective equipment to the NHS.

We have rapidly processed over 24,000 offers of personal protective equipment (PPE) from over 15,000 suppliers who approached the National PPE Sourcing team, to ensure they meet the safety and quality standards that National Health Service staff need, as well as prioritising offers of larger volumes.

The company ownership and nature of business for each supplier cannot be readily identified from the available data held by the Department, therefore whether suppliers are British manufacturers is not verifiable.

We have contracted with over 175 new suppliers to deliver PPE at the scale and pace the United Kingdom requires. This includes signed contracts with 27 UK-based manufacturers for facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons, ensuring we build and maintain a domestic base for the future.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to England’s Covid contact-tracing system, what criteria his Department used to award Serco a contract in relation to that system.

Serco are an approved supplier on the Crown Commercial Services (CCS). The CCS undertook a pre-procurement exercise engaging with all suppliers under the Framework to understand which suppliers could establish the contact centre in the volumes required and the timescales needed. The Department has put in place arrangements to ensure robust contract management in line with relevant guidance.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the qualifications of Ayanda Capital Limited to ensure compliance with NHS safety standards in relation to masks supplied by that company.

Any personal protective equipment (PPE) provided by suppliers must meet strict safety standards as per the published technical specification for PPE at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technical-specifications-for-personal-protective-equipment-ppe

When offers are being evaluated, the technical suitability of the products on offer are confirmed with separate teams at NHS Supply Chain.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the unrestricted travel into the UK in (a) April and (b) May 2020 on the domestic spread of covid-19.

On 17 March the Government advised against all non-essential international travel. The scientific advice was clear at that time that additional measures would not have had a significant impact while there was significant community transmission within the country. Information about the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and the scientific and technical advice that they provide is available on GOV.uk.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on people that suffer from eating disorders.

We have not made such an assessment. However, we recognise the COVID-19 pandemic and associated social distancing and self-isolation measures will impact the mental health and wellbeing of the population. This impact may be greater for some vulnerable people, particularly for those with pre-existing mental health conditions such as eating disorders.

Since March, we have announced over £9 million of funding support for mental health charities supporting vulnerable people through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are delighted that the eating disorder charity Beat has been awarded grant funding through this process to continue the valuable work it does in supporting people with eating disorders.

Mental health services are open and working to support people with mental health issues through the coronavirus pandemic and NHS England has instructed all National Health Service mental health trusts to establish 24 hours a day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines for urgent NHS mental health support, including for people with eating disorders.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS staff have sought mental health support through the NHS staff mental health hotline since its launch in April 2020.

The National Health Service staff support helpline was launched on 8 April 2020 and provides confidential listening, signposting, and support. It is operated by Samaritans from 7am – 11pm, seven days a week.

From 8 April 2020 until 12 June 2020 there have been 3,120 calls to the helpline. This information was collected by Samaritans.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Exercise Cygnus that took place in 2016, whether an assessment was made of the potential effect of a pandemic on the mental health of (a) health and (b) care workers.

Whilst the scope of Exercise Cygnus did not cover the effect of a pandemic on the mental health of health and social care workers specifically, staff wellbeing is a core part of United Kingdom pandemic preparedness planning. This includes strengthening the health and social care sector to surge and flex beyond normal operations, as demonstrated by the considerable increase in capacity and capabilities to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The wellbeing of health and social care staff has been central to the COVID-19 response, and the Government has implemented several measures to support staff, including a dedicated helpline and free access to several wellbeing apps for National Health Service and social care workers, and a CARE app which provides advice and wellbeing support to social care staff.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Exercise Cygnus that took place in 2016, what the findings of that exercise were in relation to care homes; and whether any recommendations for that sector were (a) identified and (b) implemented as a result of that exercise.

The lessons identified as a result of Exercise Cygnus continue to be considered by the Government and a range of stakeholders, including expert advisory groups and local emergency planners.

Taking the recommendations from Exercise Cygnus, the Department commissioned further work on pandemic influenza preparedness from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services. This was completed in the spring of 2018 and included advice and guidance on planning for a pandemic, which was circulated to Directors of Adult Social Services.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Exercise Cygnus that took place in 2016, what the key lessons learned from that exercise were for the preparedness of North West England to respond to a pandemic.

The Government has been extremely proactive in implementing lessons learnt around pandemic preparedness, including from Exercise Cygnus, to ensure that the United Kingdom remains well-prepared for infectious disease outbreaks. This includes being ready with legislative proposals and improving health sector plans to flex and expand systems beyond normal capacity levels.

The lessons learned from Exercise Cygnus continue to be considered by the Government and have been shared with a range of stakeholders, including local emergency planners, in reviewing response plans. Local planners are responsible for identifying and implementing specific lessons which most affect their areas (such as the North West).

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to assess the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the mental health of NHS staff.

The Government takes the health and wellbeing of National Health Service staff very seriously. At the beginning of the COVID-19 response, the Department commissioned NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop a comprehensive package of emotional, psychological, and practical support for all NHS staff. NHS England and NHS Improvement launched the support package on 8 April 2020 which can be accessed via the following link:

people.nhs.uk/help/

Development of the support package has been informed by both the experiences of NHS staff contacting the national telephone and text service, as well as expert advice and research into mental health needs following major incidents. The support package will continue to be updated by listening to feedback from NHS staff who use the services, including how COVID-19 response has affected them.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implication for his policies of the Care Quality Commission's published data of 2 June 2020 in relation to deaths of people with a learning disability as a result of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

Since the start of this outbreak we have been working closely with the sector and public health experts to put in place guidance and support for adult social care, including for people with learning disabilities.

We have commissioned Public Health England to undertake a thorough analysis of the numbers of deaths of people with a learning disability. This will draw on data published by NHS England and the Care Quality Commission to give as complete a picture of the impact of COVID-19 on this group of people as possible.

9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason prior to the publication of the 2 June 2020 Public Health England report entitled Disparities on the risk and outcomes of COVID-19 a section was removed which included evidence from more than 1,000 organisations and individuals suggesting that discrimination and poorer life chances played a part in the increased risk of covid-19 among those with BAME backgrounds; and whether he plans to publish that section.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Edmonton (Kate Osamor MP) on 1 July 2020 to Question 59534.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to protect people from BAME backgrounds who have been identified as being in an at-risk group during the covid-19 outbreak; whether lockdown restrictions will be amended for those at-risk groups of people; and what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on amending lockdown restrictions for those at-risk groups of the Public Health England report, Disparities on the risk and outcomes of covid-19, published on 2 June 2020.

We have all been struck by the conclusions of Public Health England’s report and will continue to help protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19 based on the best possible analysis available to us.

We are determined to get to the bottom of the report’s findings in a proper and scientific way and have already asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities, (Kemi Badenoch MP), to take forward work to fill the gaps in our understanding, review existing policies and guidance and amend or develop new policies where needed and where the evidence supports us doing so. The Terms of Reference for that work can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-steps-for-work-on-covid-19-disparities-announced

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to provide Local Resilience Forums with local operational control for covid-19 tracking and tracing.

Upper tier local authorities are leading local outbreak planning within a national framework, and with the support of NHS Test and Trace, Public Health England and other Government departments. In tier 2 areas, county councils are working closely with district councils who have responsibility for environmental health.

Each upper tier local authority has a local outbreak plan developed in line with the Association of Directors of Public Health guiding principles setting out how partners should work together to implement the plans and take a preventative approach.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to ensure that Local Resilience Forums receive (a) positive, (b) negative and (c) void covid-19 test results within three hours of those tests being taken.

All upper tier local authorities have access to record level (including sex, age, occupation and postcode) test and case data. Directors of Public Health are also receiving fully identifiable test, case and contact tracing data where the case data includes, address, postcode, sex, age, NHS Number, occupation, test date, and additional data describing progress through the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing process. Public Health England (PHE) provides access to this data via a secure platform to Directors of Public Health to support them to carry out their outbreak management responsibilities. This data is currently updated on a daily basis.

PHE began providing record level positive test data, including postcodes, to local authorities (including Directors of Public Health) on 24 June.

28th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the trends in the level of mental health issues experienced by former armed forces personnel; and how much funding his Department plans to allocate to the (a) treatment of and (b) suicide prevention for those personnel in the next three years.

Veteran mental health needs are very often no different to those of the general population. Data has shown that most patients suffer from common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety and readily make use of the mainstream mental health services provided throughout the United Kingdom.

In England, bespoke veteran mental health services receive £10.2 million funding each year. This will increase by an extra £5 million which will go towards developing a High Intense Service to help veterans nearing crisis.

Every local authority has a multi-agency suicide prevention plan in place and we are investing almost £600,000 in 2019/20 to support local authorities to strengthen their plans. From 2019/20, we are also investing £57 million in suicide prevention through the NHS Long-Term Plan. This will see investment in all areas of the country by 2023/24 to support local suicide prevention plans and establish suicide bereavement support services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent guidance he has issued to NHS hospitals on the bullying and harassment of junior doctors.

All National Health Service organisations should have in place a bullying and harassment policy that is easily accessible to staff – such as junior doctors - and is monitored regularly by senior managers.

The NHS Social Partnership Forum, chaired by Departmental ministers, has led a collective call to action to tackle bullying and harassment in the NHS. Working with NHS system leaders, NHS employers, staff and their trades unions, it encourages and supports the leadership and culture change required to eradicate bullying and harassment.

A ‘new offer’ will be published later this year alongside the final NHS People Plan and will detail the support that all NHS staff can expect to receive from their employer – including how the NHS will tackle bullying and harassment.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what reports his Department has received of (a) bullying and (b) harassment of junior NHS doctors working in hospitals.

The 2019 NHS Staff Survey published on 18 February 2020 shows that 14.6% of medical and dental staff in the National Health Service have personally experienced an instance of bullying, harassment or abuse from a manager; 21.3% from a colleague. These figures have decreased by 1.2% and 0.3% from the 2018 NHS Staff survey, respectively. This follows work that is being done by the NHS Social Partnership Forum working with NHS system leaders, NHS employers, staff and their trade unions to support the leadership and culture change required to eradicate all forms of bullying and of harassment.

However, this level of bullying and harassment is still unacceptably high. The final NHS People Plan, to be published later this year, will set out further action to tackle bullying and harassment as part of making the NHS the best place to work.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of vaping amongst children and young people; and what the implications are for the NHS with respect to the future treatment of young and adult patients with disorders associated with vaping.

While experimentation with e-cigarettes is not uncommon among young people, current and regular use remains low. E-cigarettes in the United Kingdom are tightly regulated by the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) and the Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 (NIP). These regulations aim to reduce the risk of harm to children; to protect against any risk of renormalisation of tobacco use; and to provide assurance on relative safety for users. The regulations include restrictions on mainstream TV and radio advertising; prevent sale to under 18s; and limit both tank sizes and nicotine content.

We are monitoring youth use closely and will take action, if necessary, to ensure that regular use among children and young people does not increase, and that e-cigarettes do not become a gateway to tobacco use. The Government has a statutory obligation to conduct post implementation reviews of TRPR by May 2021 and NIP later this spring. We continue to keep the evidence base on e-cigarettes under review and the next Public Health England annual review is due to be published later this month.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to (a) improve the accuracy of patient records for immunisations and (b) standardise the invite-reminder systems utilised by GP practices across England.

To improve patient record accuracy, the National Health Service is developing a platform that will enable immunisation information to be shared across approved systems. Following this, work will be initiated to support the delivery of reminder functionality that is of use to both GP practices and to individuals. This is in addition to updates to the 2020/2021 general practitioner (GP) contract, published on 6 February, which aim to ensure that call/recall services are being delivered in line with published standards and to move towards text-based reminders.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP patients in (a) Preston, (b) the North West and (c) England failed to secure a same-day appointment with their GP practice in each of the last three years.

The data on the number of patients that have failed to secure a general practice appointment is not collected or held centrally.

21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many vacant GP places there are in (a) Preston, (b) Lancashire and (c) the North West; and what (i) short- and (ii) long-term steps he is taking to tackle the shortage of GPs throughout the UK.

The data requested is not available in the format requested. NHS Digital publishes vacancy data for England only. Only a small proportion of practices in England provide data to NHS Digital on the vacancies they hold. The published data is therefore of limited use and cannot be disaggregated into vacancies by region or local area.

We recognise general practice is under pressure nationally and that is why we have committed to growing the workforce by 6,000 more doctors in general practice and 6,000 more primary care professionals. This is in addition to the 20,000 primary care professionals NHS England will provide funding towards through Primary Care Networks. The full People Plan, published later this year, will set out a broader strategy for a sustainable general practice workforce and how we will meet our commitments through both recruitment and retention programmes.

Growing the workforce will mean larger teams of staff providing a wide range of care options for patients and will free up more time for doctors to focus on those with more complex needs. This, alongside additional support and increasing the use of technology in general practice, will create an extra 50 million appointments a year by 2024/25 and improve patient access to primary care services.

17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he (a) is taking and (b) plans to take to tackle the over-prescription of opioids by GPs in deprived areas.

Guidance on opioid dependence is published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and was refreshed in July 2019. NICE is leading the development of new guidelines for safe prescribing of drugs associated with dependence. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) reviews how healthcare providers are using NICE guidelines and quality standards to prescribe safely.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care introduced prominent addiction warnings for all opioid medicines in 2019. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is seeking voluntary compliance from industry and, if necessary, the changes will be mandated. Packs including the warnings on product labelling began to be seen by patients in late 2019.

In September 2019 Public Health England published an evidence review of medicines associated with dependence or withdrawal. Alongside ongoing improvements to medicines safety and the use of prescribed drugs, NHS England and national partners are developing actions to reduce prescription medicine dependency.

A national review of overprescribing in the National Health Service is being led by Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Dr Keith Ridge and will be published in 2020. The review is looking at patients taking multiple medicines unnecessarily, the role of digital technologies in reducing overprescribing, and the increased role for alternatives to prescribing and other forms of care.

The UK Commission on Human Medicines Opioid expert working group is a comprehensive independent scientific review that will make recommendations this year about further regulatory action and information for clinicians and patients.

17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) alcohol and (b) drug-related deaths have there been in the last five years in (i) Preston, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) the North West.

A total of 358 alcohol-related deaths in Preston, 3,075 alcohol-related deaths in Lancashire and 18,757 alcohol related-deaths in the North West occurred in the last five years for which data is available (2014 – 2018). This data is available on the Local Alcohol Profiles for England webpage published by Public Health England which can be viewed at the following link:

https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/local-alcohol-profiles

Drugs poisoning deaths are published by the Office for National Statistics for overlapping three-year periods and are shown in the following table. They cannot be summed to create figures for other time periods:

Year

Preston

Lancashire

North West

2012-14

22

234

1530

2013-15

27

240

1658

2014-16

31

265

1758

2015-17

39

283

1835

2016-18

39

299

1888

They can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/drugmisusedeathsbylocalauthority

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding he plans to allocate to the prevention of child suicide over the next five years.

We are taking action to prevent child suicide through continued increasing investment in mental health services. Under the NHS Long Term Plan, mental health services will continue to receive a growing share of the National Health Service budget, with funding to grow by at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24. Spending for children and young people’s mental health services will grow faster than the overall spend on mental health, which will itself be growing faster than the overall NHS budget.

This increased funding will ensure that by 2023/24, at least an additional 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 will be able to access support via NHS-funded mental health services and school– or college-based mental health support teams.

We are also investing £57 million specifically in suicide prevention and bereavement services in all areas of the country by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to assess the mental health of (a) primary and (b) secondary school aged children.

The Department has committed to conduct a survey every seven years on the prevalence of mental health conditions in children and young people. The most recent survey is the ‘Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017’, published in November 2018.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that labelling on imported tobacco products complies with UK legislation.

All tobacco products imported into the United Kingdom are required to adhere to existing UK tobacco legislation. This is enforced by local authority trading standards officers.

20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent diplomatic steps she has taken to help promote the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

We have reached the end of talks in Vienna to restore the nuclear deal. There is a deal on the table that would return Iran to its JCPoA commitments, and return the US to the deal. Iran is currently preventing conclusion of the deal with demands beyond the JCPoA. If Iran does not take the deal in front of them, its continued nuclear escalation will bring about the collapse of the JCPoA. In this scenario, we would carefully consider all options in partnership with our allies.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
17th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with international counterparts regarding North Korea and that country's potential preparations to carry out a nuclear weapons test.

The UK is deeply concerned by reports that the DPRK may be planning to conduct a nuclear test, its first since 2017. We are working closely with our allies and partners to strongly urge the North Korean regime to return to talks and take credible steps towards denuclearisation. The Foreign Secretary discussed DPRK with her G7 counterparts on 13 May. I have raised concerns about DPRK testing with countries in the region, including with Mongolia, the Republic of Korea and China. Most recently, I raised DPRK with the Chinese Ambassador on 16 June. The UK has also made our concerns about the DPRK's increased ballistic missile testing clear in the UN Security Council and the General Assembly.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her counterparts in (a) Finland and (b) Sweden on those countries' applications for NATO membership.

The UK Government engages regularly with Finland and Sweden and has welcomed their applications for NATO membership. The UK will continue to work with all parties in support of this.

The Prime Minister has underlined the UK's support for the rapid accession of both countries, who will add to the collective security of the Alliance. The UK has deepened our defence and security relationship with both countries through mutual security declarations signed on 11 May.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations she has made to the International Criminal Court on conflict-related sexual violence during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

We welcome the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor to open an investigation and to include allegations of sexual violence. We stand ready to provide the necessary technical assistance to the ICC to support successful convictions. In coordination with the ICC, The Attorney General led a scoping mission to the region from 8 - 11 May to identify options for further UK support. The team included war crimes and conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) experts and Sir Howard Morrison QC, who was appointed by the Attorney General to help advise the Ukrainian Prosecutor General with her investigations, and cooperation with the ICC. The UK is collaborating closely with the Ukrainian Prosecutor General (UPG) to ensure an effective and coordinated response. We are taking steps to ensure the Murad Code, a UK-funded tool on best practice for documenting CRSV survivors' experiences, is widely adopted.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UN's prediction of extreme hunger in Sudan in the remaining months of 2022, what assessment she has made of the need to provide aid to that country.

We are concerned at the food insecurity situation in Sudan as highlighted by the 21 March Food and Agriculture Organization report. The World Food Programme (WFP) has subsequently estimated that up to 20 million people will face "emergency" or "crisis" levels of acute food insecurity in 2022. The UK continues to provide humanitarian support to those most in need in Sudan. In 2021, we contributed £27 million to humanitarian assistance, via partners including the WFP, the UN-led Sudan Humanitarian Fund, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations. This 2021 funding provided approximately 1.2 million people with lifesaving assistance (such as food, cash and voucher support, safe drinking water, shelter and sanitation), including providing over 500,000 vulnerable children with free school meals.

The overwhelming driver of current food insecurity in Sudan is the political and economic crisis. Since the military coup in October 2021, we have encouraged all Sudanese political actors to engage in the talks facilitated by the UN, African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to resolve the political crisis. Most recently, our Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea delivered this message directly to Sudan's military leadership on 28 April in Khartoum.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to tackle global hunger and food inflation linked to the conflict in Ukraine.

We are working with the international community including our G7 and humanitarian partners to track the impact of food insecurity in the most affected countries, scale up efforts to prevent famine and enhance global production. This includes support for Ukrainian farmers to enable them to continue to produce food, and advocacy for the protection of food supplies to the World Food Programme against export barriers. The UK supports the Central Emergency Response Fund and welcomes the recent announcement to allocate $100 million to counter disruption to global food markets. The UK succeeded in securing agreement at the Spring Meetings last week that the World Bank Group would commit $50 billion over the next three months, which will include support to countries most vulnerable to food insecurity. The UK has also allocated £10 million to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) for rapid agriculture investments in countries vulnerable to food insecurity.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of whether aid is needed by Sudan following reports by the UN predicting extreme hunger in that country over the coming months.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made recent representations to the Taliban to uphold international human rights standards.

FCDO officials continue to regularly raise human rights in their meetings with the Taliban including during visits by senior officials to Kabul in October 2021 and February 2022, and in other meetings with Taliban leaders. We are pressing them on key issues, including to ensure that women play a full, equal role in national life, girls of all ages can go to school, there is freedom of expression and rights of members of ethnic and religious minorities are respected.

The Foreign Secretary and other Ministers raise the importance of upholding human rights in Afghanistan in international fora. The UK Government made clear our condemnation of the Taliban's 23 March decision not to re-open girls secondary schools, including through statements from the G7+, women foreign ministers and the UN Security Council. The Foreign Secretary raised the importance of upholding human rights, including the rights of women and girls and ethnic and religious minorities, in her speech at the Afghanistan pledging conference that the UK co-hosted on 31 March.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her counterparts in Belarus on that country’s relationship with Russia.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.
James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recent discovery of mass graves in Syria; and what assessment she has made of whether those graves amount to further evidence of war crimes committed by President Bashar al-Assad's regime during the civil war in that country.

Reports of mass graves in Syria are concerning and in line with what we know about Asad's repressive regime. Since 2011, Asad's regime, with backing from its allies, has deliberately undermined the pursuit of peace, committed war crimes and caused untold suffering for Syrians. That is why the Government supports efforts to pursue accountability for the most serious crimes committed in Syria, including through the UN Commission of Inquiry and the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism with which we signed an MoU in March this year. These bodies were established with the express purpose of inquiring into and investigating potential war crimes. We praise those in Syria who bring the crimes of the Asad regime to light.

Through the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) programming, the UK provides funding to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to train first responders in Syria to safeguard forensic evidence at mass graves. We also use our position in the UNSC and leadership of Syria resolutions at the UNHRC to draw international attention to the human rights violations and abuses in Syria; we will continue to call for those violating international humanitarian law to be held accountable for their crimes.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her counterparts in Finland and Sweden regarding each of those countries' prospective applications for NATO membership.

The UK Government engages regularly with Finland and Sweden, including on security issues. The UK fully supports Sweden and Finland's relationships with NATO as Enhanced Opportunities Partners (EOP) and we also cooperate through the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force. As two of only six EOP countries, Sweden and Finland make significant contributions to NATO operations and have enhanced opportunities for dialogue and cooperation with Allies. Any application for NATO membership must be a decision taken by Sweden or Finland alone. The UK will continue to support and respect Finnish and Swedish decisions related to their own security policy.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations she has made to the International Criminal Court on ensuring that President Putin and his regime are held to account for any war crimes committed in Ukraine.

We have led efforts to refer the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has now secured the support of over 40 other countries. The UK will provide assistance to the ICC to support its Ukraine investigations, including an additional £1 million contribution.  We have mobilised UK expertise, including through deployments of specialist UK expertise such as the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative Team of Experts, to support Ukraine's domestic investigations into war crimes and to recommend how the UK can further add value to the response.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her Indian counterpart on New Delhi’s neutral stance on the war in Ukraine.

The UK is working with international partners, including India, to coordinate the international response to Russia's unlawful invasion of Ukraine. The Foreign Secretary visited India on 31 March where she discussed with India's Minister for External Affairs the importance of democracies working closer together to deter aggressors, reduce vulnerability to coercion and strengthen global security. The Prime Minister also visited India on 21-22 April where he discussed the issue with Prime Minister Modi. The two leaders released a statement after their meeting unequivocally condemning civilian deaths, and reiterating the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of imposing further sanctions on (a) Russia and (b) Russian allies as a result of the continued conflict in Ukraine.

The UK does not speculate on future sanctions. However, we will continue to increase pressure on Putin and his regime to ensure he is unable to fuel his war machine. In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine we have announced an unprecedented package of sanctions. We have now sanctioned over 1500 individuals and entities since the invasion. We have also implemented sanctions against Belarusian individuals and organisations in response to the role the country is playing in Russia's invasion, including facilitating the invasion from within its borders.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to (a) increase security, (b) help prevent Russian interference and (c) support refugees in (i) Moldova and (ii) other neighbouring countries that share a border with an active war zone.

The UK has worked closely with partners in the region to increase regional security, support refugees and prevent Russian interference.

We are supporting defence sector reform in Moldova, including through the NATO Defence Capacity Building Initiative. The UK is doubling the number of defence personnel in Estonia and sending additional military equipment. The Prime Minister also agreed with his Polish counterpart a programme to ensure our current cooperation on European security is broadened and strengthened for the years and decades to come.

On 26 March, the UK announced £25 million in funding to the UN Refugee Agency and £10 million to the International Federation of the Red Cross to support countries neighbouring Ukraine to receive and care for refugees. Our humanitarian field teams in the region provide logistical support and advice and coordinate with governments and the UN in neighbouring countries. UK support will reach over 140,000 refugees in the region, providing protection, shelter and cash for the most vulnerable groups and for people with specific needs.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many British nationals remain in Afghanistan as of 23 February 2022; and what plans her Department has to assist with repatriation efforts.

It remains very difficult to give an exact figure of how many British nationals remain in Afghanistan. The situation is fluid with numbers of British nationals entering and leaving all the time. Some British nationals have chosen to remain in Afghanistan. We encourage all British nationals in Afghanistan to sign up to and check FCDO Travel Advice updates and confirm their presence on the online registration system. British nationals can continue to access remote consular assistance on a 24/7 basis.

The FCDO has assisted British Nationals to leave Afghanistan when safe options are available such as Qatar Government sponsored charter flights.

British nationals who are in possession of valid passports, and their immediate Afghan family dependants (spouse and children under 18) who hold valid UK visas, or UK residency permits, are eligible to travel on Qatari Government chartered flights from Kabul to Doha.

FCDO Travel Advice notes other commercial flight options are available to regional capitals and encourages people to check safety notices published by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with (a) NATO and (b) her European counterparts on Russia’s continued military build-up on Ukraine’s border.

The Foreign Secretary spoke with EU Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell, and NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, on 28 December. She also spoke with her US, German and French counterparts on 30 December and attended a virtual meeting with NATO Foreign Ministers on 7 January.

The Foreign Secretary is in regular contact with her Ukrainian counterpart Foreign Minister Kuleba - as well as hosting him in London on 8 December, they spoke on 26 November, 1 December and most recently on 4 January. She will visit Ukraine in the next few weeks for further discussions. The Prime Minister spoke to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy on 13 January.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of recent events in Bosnia and Herzegovina and their geopolitical implications on the Western Balkans.

The UK supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) territorial integrity. Threats from within the Republika Srpska to withdraw from State institutions are dangerous, and amount to an attempt at de facto secession. We condemn Russian interference in the crisis, which undermines EU and NATO accession ambitions, sows division, and undermines stability. We work closely with partners in the Western Balkans (WB) region to strengthen stability, democracy and rule of law, and to tackle organised crime and corruption. The Foreign Secretary convened a meeting of WB Foreign Ministers in London on 13 December, to discuss strengthening economic and security ties and supporting freedom and stability in the region. The appointment by the Prime Minister of a Special Envoy to the Western Balkans, Sir Stuart Peach, clearly demonstrates the UK's ongoing commitment to the region's stability. The Special Envoy has already visited BiH and Albania.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the recent violent unrest against protestors in Kazakhstan.

The Government is closely following events in Kazakhstan. We greatly regret the loss of life and injuries sustained as a result of recent unrest and condemn the violence and destruction of property that occurred, particularly in the city of Almaty. The reasons behind the violence remain unclear, although we note that President Tokayev has characterised what happened as an 'attempted coup'. We also take note of the President's decision to establish an investigative commission and await a full account of what led to these unprecedented events and loss of life. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, was assured by President Tokayev's Special Representative, Ambassador Kazykhan, that the work of the commission would be transparent and effective.

The Government's long-standing position is that legitimate protest must be peaceful and genuine grievances resolved through dialogue. We have called for law enforcement responses to be proportionate, and for freedom of speech and expression to be respected in line with Kazakhstan's international commitments. We will continue to underline these points in our engagement with the Kazakh government, as we seek to understand the chain of events and to ensure that human rights are upheld.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her counterparts in (a) the US and (b) Iran on negotiations to restore Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action compliance.

Negotiations to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) are continuing in Vienna. On 10 December, the Foreign Secretary met E3 and US Foreign Ministers to discuss progress. I met them again on 20 January. We are resolute that Iran's continued nuclear escalation means that time is running out to conclude a deal. The Foreign Secretary continues to make this explicitly clear in her engagement with Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps her Department has taken to aid Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis during the winter months.

The UK has been at the forefront of efforts to address the situation, working with the UN Security Council, the G20, the G7 and countries in the region. The Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and other Ministers have all been working extensively with world leaders.

In August 2021, the Prime Minister announced that the UK would double its assistance for Afghanistan to £286 million this financial year, and we have now disbursed over £145 million. That will support over 3.4 million people in Afghanistan and the region, providing emergency food, healthcare, shelter, water and protection. We are working at pace to allocate the remaining funding in response to the crisis and the new UN appeal. I thank the British people for donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal launched in December, which has raised a total of £28 million so far, including £10 million provided by the UK Government through the UK Aid Match scheme.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, further to UK officials meeting with senior members of the Taliban on 5 October 2021, what recent discussions she has had with her international counterparts on Afghanistan’s interim government.

The Foreign Secretary discussed Afghanistan at the NATO Foreign Minister's meeting in Riga on 30 November and has had bilateral discussions with a range of other partners, including in the margins of COP26. The Foreign Secretary will be convening a discussion on Afghanistan at the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting in Liverpool on 10 December.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps the Government is taking to help tackle the escalating conflict in Ethiopia and the prospect of a humanitarian catastrophe in that country.

We are extremely concerned by the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia and the implications it has for the country as a whole.

The UK is working to bring an end to the violence and to facilitate humanitarian access. I have called on all parties to urgently agree a ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid through. I spoke with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Redwan on 18 November, stressing the need for all parties to the conflict to engage in meaningful talks, lift the blockade on aid, and end the mobilisation of civilians and ethnically targeted arrests. I also spoke to Ethiopian Minister of Justice Gedion on 6 December and pressed for an end to the fighting and for peace talks. I have continued to emphasise the need for a ceasefire through recent calls with my international counterparts, including Kenya and the African Union (AU). I spoke with the AU High Representative for the Horn of African Region, Olusegun Obasanjo on 4 November to discuss the situation and make clear our strong support, for his efforts to end the conflict. I also spoke with AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole, on 8 November and pressed him on the need for the AU to find a way forward.

UK officials have also travelled to Tigray on multiple occasions since November 2020 to promote mediation and humanitarian efforts. Overall, the UK has provided more than £76 million of funding to respond to the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict, making the UK the second largest donor.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment her Department has made of the build-up of Russian forces along the border of Ukraine.

We are deeply concerned by Russia's pattern of military build-ups in and around Ukraine and are closely monitoring the situation. The Prime Minister spoke with President Putin on 25 October and President Zelenskyy on 1 November where he underscored UK support for Ukrainian sovereignty. The Foreign Secretary spoke to her Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Lavrov on 2 December and re-stated the UK's support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, urging the Russian government to de-escalate the situation. The Foreign Secretary also spoke to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba on 26 November and 1 December to reassure Ukraine of our support. On the 8 December in London, the Foreign Secretary met Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba at the inaugural UK-Ukraine Strategic Dialogue and agreed to continue UK support to Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, deepen the trade relationship and invest in our shared future.

We have been clear with Russia that incursion into Ukraine would be a strategic mistake. The costs of an incursion would be catastrophically high and result in massive strategic consequences. We need to deter Russia from aggressive actions against Ukraine and we are looking at a package of sanctions to raise the cost of any further aggressive actions. We will back Ukraine in the face of destabilising or threatening behaviour. We have demonstrated strong support to Ukraine. The UK, alongside allies and partners, stand with Ukraine in opposing Russian threats to Ukraine's security and territorial integrity, and already support Ukrainian military development as well as regularly exercising with their armed forces.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress her Department has made on the resumption of consular services in Afghanistan.

British nationals who remain in Afghanistan are strongly encouraged to register their presence to receive important updates. The FCDO continues to provide remote consular assistance to British nationals and eligible dependents in Afghanistan, supporting more than 110 British nationals to leave via land or air routes since 9 September 2021.
James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to her Department's press release, UK officials travel to Afghanistan, published on 5 October 2021, what further discussions officials in her Department have had with representatives of the authorities in Afghanistan since 5 October 2021 on the safe passage from Afghanistan of (a) British nationals and (b) people at risk in that country to (i) the UK and (ii) third countries; and what further meetings officials in her Department plan to have with those representatives.

On 5 October, Sir Simon Gass (the Prime Minister's Special Representative for the Afghan Transition) and Dr Martin Longden (Chargé d'Affaires of the UK Mission to Afghanistan in Doha) visited Kabul where they met senior members of the Taliban. Further, on 12 October a senior-level Taliban delegation met with Dr Longden and other international partners in Doha. During these conversations the UK underlined the importance of safe passage to the UK for British Nationals and eligible Afghans, as well as the UK's key interests on counterterrorism, humanitarian issues, and human rights (including girls' education). The UK remains committed to a pragmatic and exploratory dialogue with the Taliban, and will continue to engage the authorities in Kabul, and their representatives in Doha, in support of the Afghan people, including on freedom of movement. We have no immediate plans to visit Kabul at present.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent negotiations officials in her Department have undertaken with their counterparts in neighbouring countries of Afghanistan to allow for the entry to those countries of Afghan nationals seeking to escape the Taliban.

We are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans have options for safe passage. We have been clear that the Taliban must stand by their assurances that these people can have safe passage and leave, which was also emphasised in the UN Security Council Resolution of 30 August.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to her Department's press release, UK officials travel to Afghanistan, published on 5 October 2021, what further discussions officials in her Department have had with representatives of the authorities in Afghanistan since 5 October 2021; and what further meetings officials in her Department plan to have with those representatives.

On 5 October, Sir Simon Gass (the Prime Minister's Special Representative for the Afghan Transition) and Dr Martin Longden (Chargé d'Affaires of the UK Mission to Afghanistan in Doha) visited Kabul where they met senior members of the Taliban. Further, on 12 October a senior-level Taliban delegation met with Dr Longden and other international partners in Doha. During these conversations the UK underlined the importance of safe passage to the UK for British Nationals and eligible Afghans, as well as the UK's key interests on counterterrorism, humanitarian issues, and human rights (including girls' education). The UK remains committed to a pragmatic and exploratory dialogue with the Taliban, and will continue to engage the authorities in Kabul, and their representatives in Doha, in support of the Afghan people, including on freedom of movement. We have no immediate plans to visit Kabul at present.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the UN on the (a) murder of George Floyd and (b) deaths of black men by armed police officers and members of the public in the US.

The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have been clear that the death of George Floyd was appalling, inexcusable and deeply distressing and we understand the strength of feeling around this issue. Domestic security policy is a matter for the US.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the US Administration on threats to use military force against US citizens to suppress peaceful protests in that country.

Domestic security policy is a matter for the US. Our Embassy in the US has raised the issue of the protests with the US Administration. The violence we have seen is clearly very alarming. People must be allowed to protest peacefully - peaceful protest remains a vital part of a democratic society and we understand the strength of feeling around this issue.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Israel on its proposed annexation of the West Bank.

The Foreign Secretary reiterated our opposition to the unilateral annexation of territory during a call with Alternate Israeli Prime Minister Gantz on 20 May and Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on 2 June. As we made clear at the UN Security Council remote meeting on the Middle East Peace Process on 20 May, we are concerned by reports that the new Israeli Government coalition has reached an agreement which may pave the way for annexation of parts of the West Bank. The UK position is clear: any unilateral moves toward annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to renewed efforts to restart peace negotiations, and contrary to international law.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on taking economic steps in response to the Government of Israel's proposed annexation of the West Bank.

We continue to work closely with international partners to advocate a two-state solution and encourage a return to meaningful negotiations between both parties. I reiterated, at the virtual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee with Israel, the Palestinians, the EU, and the wider international community on 2 June, our concerns about reports that the new Israeli Government coalition has reached an agreement which may pave the way for annexation of parts of the West Bank. The UK position is clear: any unilateral moves towards annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations and contrary to international law.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding of the United Nations Human Rights Office report on business activities related to settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, published on 12 February 2020, reference A/HRC/43/71.

The UK, along with a number of other European countries, opposed the creation of the UN Human Rights Office's database. Ultimately it is the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The British Government neither encourages nor offers support to such activity.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support an increase in freelance working.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting the self-employed, including freelancers, during the COVID-19 outbreak and has taken steps to deliver a very substantial economic support package, designed to provide individuals and businesses with the assistance and certainty they need over the course of the pandemic. This includes over £33bn of support provided to eligible self-employed individuals through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), as well as increased levels of Universal Credit, Extended Loss Carry Back rules, the Recovery Loan scheme, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, self-isolation support payments and other business support grants.

As restrictions are eased, economic activity and demand will gradually pick up as a result, and the Government will continue to consider how it can support all parts of the labour market, recognising that businesses will need some time to recover and adapt.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives of (a) Mastercard and (b) Visa on the interchange fee levied on consumers buying from an EU-based company following the UK's departure from the EU.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-giftsand-overseas-travel

The Government has legislated to ensure that interchange fees remain capped for UK domestic card transactions, where both the card issuer and acquirer are located in the UK, through the Interchange Fee (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 made under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. Any changes in cross-border interchange fees between the UK and EU, as between the UK and other third countries, are a result of commercial decisions by card schemes.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the covid-19 recovery plan considers the needs of the female workforce.

To protect people’s jobs and livelihoods across the UK since the emergence of Covid-19, the Government has already provided support on a scale unmatched in recent history. As of 28 February, 2.14 million jobs held by women were supported by the CJRS, and by 31 January 632,000 women had claimed for SEISS. Alongside this, the Government’s Plan for Jobs launched action to support individuals to get into work, including through the £2bn Kickstart scheme and £2.9bn Restart programme.

In addition to our Plan for Jobs, our plan to Build Back Better will support the female workforce and drive economic growth by investing in infrastructure, skills and innovation.

We also want to retain the positive culture shifts around flexible working that we have seen as a result of Covid-19 and support men and women to share care and work between them. We want to make it easier for people to work flexibly and in our manifesto we committed to further encouraging flexible working by consulting on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to provide support to employers for retraining their workers following the end of the Government's covid-19 job support schemes.

The changes to the level of employer contributions under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme align with the Government’s plan for lifting restrictions over the coming months. As the economy reopens, it is right that the Government asks employers to contribute more in order to strike the right balance between supporting the economic recovery past the end of the roadmap, to allow businesses time to plan and adjust, and ensuring incentives are in place to get people back to work as demand returns.

The Government remains committed to ensuring it takes the right action at the right time to support individuals and businesses in every region and nation of the UK. The Plan for Jobs, reinforced by the 2020 Spending Review, launched immediate action to support individuals to get into work, including through the £2 billion Kickstart and £2.9 billion Restart schemes, and by doubling the number of DWP work coaches to 27,000. At Budget 2021, in order to provide further support to employment, the Government announced an additional £126 million for traineeships in England and set up a new £7 million fund to enable apprentices to work across different employers.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of potential effect on the level of employment of the scaling back of the Government's covid-19 job support schemes following the end of the covid-19 outbreak.

The changes to the level of employer contributions under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme align with the Government’s plan for lifting restrictions over the coming months. As the economy reopens, it is right that the Government asks employers to contribute more in order to strike the right balance between supporting the economic recovery past the end of the roadmap, to allow businesses time to plan and adjust, and ensuring incentives are in place to get people back to work as demand returns.

The Government remains committed to ensuring it takes the right action at the right time to support individuals and businesses in every region and nation of the UK. The Plan for Jobs, reinforced by the 2020 Spending Review, launched immediate action to support individuals to get into work, including through the £2 billion Kickstart and £2.9 billion Restart schemes, and by doubling the number of DWP work coaches to 27,000. At Budget 2021, in order to provide further support to employment, the Government announced an additional £126 million for traineeships in England and set up a new £7 million fund to enable apprentices to work across different employers.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on what basis are banks permitted to close customers’ bank accounts.

In most circumstances, the provision of a bank’s services is a commercial decision for the bank and the Government does not intervene in these decisions. The terms and conditions of the contract between the two parties govern the termination of that contract, and although the Treasury sets the legal framework for the regulation of financial services it does not have investigative or prosecuting powers of its own and is not able to intervene in account closures.

HM Treasury sometimes receives representations from consumers with questions or concerns about their banking. However, any dispute arising between a bank and its customers is usually best resolved by the parties involved. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules require the banks to properly investigate all complaints and, through ongoing supervision, it continues to monitor the banks’ complaint handling processes. If customers are unable to resolve the issue with their bank, they will be eligible for further review by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS provides a free, independent dispute resolution service for bank customers.

Customers who are experiencing financial difficulty following a bank account closure may wish to contact the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), an arms-length body of the Department for Work and Pensions. MaPS was established to support consumers with comprehensive, consistent, guidance for every stage of their financial lives. It offers free and impartial information on money matters, available to all online, face-to-face or via telephone. This includes an impartial Debt Advice Locator Tool for those needing debt advice immediately.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support is available to people who have had their bank account closed but are unavailable to access funds from that account.

In most circumstances, the provision of a bank’s services is a commercial decision for the bank and the Government does not intervene in these decisions. The terms and conditions of the contract between the two parties govern the termination of that contract, and although the Treasury sets the legal framework for the regulation of financial services it does not have investigative or prosecuting powers of its own and is not able to intervene in account closures.

HM Treasury sometimes receives representations from consumers with questions or concerns about their banking. However, any dispute arising between a bank and its customers is usually best resolved by the parties involved. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules require the banks to properly investigate all complaints and, through ongoing supervision, it continues to monitor the banks’ complaint handling processes. If customers are unable to resolve the issue with their bank, they will be eligible for further review by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS provides a free, independent dispute resolution service for bank customers.

Customers who are experiencing financial difficulty following a bank account closure may wish to contact the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), an arms-length body of the Department for Work and Pensions. MaPS was established to support consumers with comprehensive, consistent, guidance for every stage of their financial lives. It offers free and impartial information on money matters, available to all online, face-to-face or via telephone. This includes an impartial Debt Advice Locator Tool for those needing debt advice immediately.

5th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what representations he has received of cases of NatWest closing customer accounts without explanation.

In most circumstances, the provision of a bank’s services is a commercial decision for the bank and the Government does not intervene in these decisions. The terms and conditions of the contract between the two parties govern the termination of that contract, and although the Treasury sets the legal framework for the regulation of financial services it does not have investigative or prosecuting powers of its own and is not able to intervene in account closures.

HM Treasury sometimes receives representations from consumers with questions or concerns about their banking. However, any dispute arising between a bank and its customers is usually best resolved by the parties involved. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules require the banks to properly investigate all complaints and, through ongoing supervision, it continues to monitor the banks’ complaint handling processes. If customers are unable to resolve the issue with their bank, they will be eligible for further review by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS provides a free, independent dispute resolution service for bank customers.

Customers who are experiencing financial difficulty following a bank account closure may wish to contact the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), an arms-length body of the Department for Work and Pensions. MaPS was established to support consumers with comprehensive, consistent, guidance for every stage of their financial lives. It offers free and impartial information on money matters, available to all online, face-to-face or via telephone. This includes an impartial Debt Advice Locator Tool for those needing debt advice immediately.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the economy in the event that the covid-19 outbreak causes a long-term decline in the annual birth-rate.

The Treasury monitors closely the impact of Covid-19 on the economy on an ongoing basis, although it does not prepare forecasts, which is the responsibility of the independent OBR. The OBR bases its forecasts on many factors and data, including labour market and population data, which will account for the impact of birth and retirement rates, among other factors.

The Treasury remains committed to ensuring we take the right action at the right time to support individuals and businesses in every region and nation of the United Kingdom. We have already announced considerable and unprecedented support for businesses and individuals through the pandemic.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting older workers to remain active in the labour market and is committed to supporting older workers to find and retain employment. The Government has recently refreshed it Fuller Working Lives strategy to include 50 PLUS: Choices, recognising the different situations and challenges currently faced by the over 50s. We are continuing to work closely with employers, while ensuring early and targeted employment and skills support is available to help over 50s stay in or return back to work. The Plan for Jobs package provides new funding to ensure more people, including those aged 50 and over, get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and to build the skills they need to get into work.

We continue to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential economic effect of older workers taking early retirement as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Treasury monitors closely the impact of Covid-19 on the economy on an ongoing basis, although it does not prepare forecasts, which is the responsibility of the independent OBR. The OBR bases its forecasts on many factors and data, including labour market and population data, which will account for the impact of birth and retirement rates, among other factors.

The Treasury remains committed to ensuring we take the right action at the right time to support individuals and businesses in every region and nation of the United Kingdom. We have already announced considerable and unprecedented support for businesses and individuals through the pandemic.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting older workers to remain active in the labour market and is committed to supporting older workers to find and retain employment. The Government has recently refreshed it Fuller Working Lives strategy to include 50 PLUS: Choices, recognising the different situations and challenges currently faced by the over 50s. We are continuing to work closely with employers, while ensuring early and targeted employment and skills support is available to help over 50s stay in or return back to work. The Plan for Jobs package provides new funding to ensure more people, including those aged 50 and over, get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and to build the skills they need to get into work.

We continue to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of taking steps to encourage companies to place parents on furlough while schools are closed as a result of the covid-19 national lockdown that has been in place since January 2021.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available to the employers of anyone who is unable to work, including from home, due to caring responsibilities arising from COVID-19, such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing. However, the furloughing of staff through the CJRS is a voluntary arrangement, entered at the employers’ discretion and agreed by employees. It is not for the Government to decide whether an individual firm should put its staff on furlough.

In the most recent national lockdown, the Government has chosen to keep early years settings open for all children. Vulnerable children and children of key workers can also continue to attend out-of-school settings, for example breakfast clubs and after-school clubs. Households with anyone aged under 14 can form a ‘childcare bubble’. This allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on the rate of jobs being replaced by automation.

The objective of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to enable employers to keep people in employment. So far, the CJRS has helped 1.2 million employers to pay the wages of 9.9 million jobs across all sectors of the economy.

Analysis published by HMRC shows that 90 per cent of employees that left the CJRS between April and July were still on their original payroll in August, suggesting they remained working for their original employer. The OBR have also estimated that unemployment would have been higher in the second quarter of 2021 in the absence of the CJRS and other measures.

The Government continues to monitor CJRS take-up, with HMRC's latest official statistics producing analysis of claims split by characteristics including employer size, sector of the economy, geography, age and gender.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his Department’s long-term strategy is on protecting jobs in the (a) hospitality, (b) leisure and (c) retail sector.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic the Government has worked closely with the hospitality, leisure, and retail sector to understand the impact the pandemic has had, and how to protect jobs in these sectors.


The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which has been extended until April 2021, was introduced to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by COVID-19 retain their employees and protect the UK economy. All businesses across the UK can access the scheme, with employees receiving 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.


The wholesale and retail sector are responsible for the greatest total value of claims up to the end of October at £8 billion, supporting over 1.8 million jobs. In addition, by the end of October, the accommodation and food services sector had claimed £6.9 billion supporting over 1.6 million jobs, and the arts entertainment and recreation sector £2 billion supporting over 450,000 jobs. The Government continue to take a flexible approach and extended the CJRS to support jobs and provide businesses with certainty over the coming months.


In line with the extension to the CJRS, the Government also recently announced an extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) until April 2021, to support self-employed individuals, across the UK, whose businesses have been adversely impacted by Covid-19, which is particularly important for the leisure sector.


The job support schemes come in addition to the wide-ranging package of business support available that will indirectly support jobs in these sectors, including protecting businesses with cash grants, Government backed finance through loan schemes, ‘Pay as You Grow’ long-term repayments options, a VAT deferral for up to 12 months, a 12-month business rates holiday; and a moratorium on evictions to protect commercial tenants.


The Government keeps all available business support under review and is continuing to collect evidence on the impact of the pandemic on these industries.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the (a) UK’s ageing population and (b) recent reduction in annual birth rate.

It is the responsibility of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to publish analysis of the sustainability of the public finances. The OBR published its latest projections in its July 2020 Fiscal Sustainability Report. This incorporated its assessment of the effect of changing demographics on the public finances. The OBR expects demographic change and other cost pressures in health spending to put upward pressure on public spending while leaving revenues broadly unchanged.

The government is committed to fiscal sustainability and ensuring the long-term health of the public finances, and HM Treasury continues to review the UK’s fiscal framework to ensure it remains appropriate for both the macroeconomic context and the longer-term pressures related to demographic change. The government will set out further details on its plans to put the public finances back on a sustainable footing when the economic uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic recedes. The OBR’s FSR provides important analysis and scenarios which will be used to inform this review, alongside a consideration of the regularly updated population projections provided by the ONS.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he is putting contingency plans in place in the event that the covid-19 lockdown continues until (a) summer and (b) autumn 2021.

Throughout this crisis, the government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting business and public services across the UK. To do this, the government has put in place an economic package of support which will provide businesses and individuals with certainty over the coming months, even as measures to prevent further spread of the virus change. The government has spent over £280 billion this year to provide this support.

As measures to control the virus change, it is right that government support should also evolve. Because of this, we continue to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department takes to consider the mental health of (a) business owners and (b) employees when providing financial support during the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout this crisis, the government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services across the UK. To do this, the government has put in place an economic package of support which will provide businesses and individuals with certainty over the coming months, even as measures to prevent further spread of the virus change. The government has spent over £280 billion this year to provide this support.

To support business owners, the government has implemented a package of support, including the Local Restrictions Support Grant, providing closed businesses with a grant of up to £3,000 per month. Local authorities have also recently received an additional £500 million, to a total of £1.6 billion, of discretionary funding to allow them to support their local businesses.

To support employees, The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of April. This provides a substantial grant for employers to cover 80% of the wages of their employees.

At the Spending Review 2020, the Chancellor announced an additional £500 million to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need, and invest in the NHS workforce. This builds on the comprehensive expansion of mental health services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, which commits at least a further £2.3 billion a year by 23/24.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that businesses are (a) lawfully claiming and (b) distributing funds received under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme forms part of a wider national effort to protect people’s jobs. Fraudulent claims put at risk the provision of public services and the protection of livelihoods. This could include employers claiming on an employee’s behalf and not then paying them what they are entitled to, asking employees to do work while on furlough, or making a backdated claim that includes times when workers were working.