Marsha De Cordova Portrait

Marsha De Cordova

Labour - Battersea

Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities
6th Apr 2020 - 15th Sep 2021
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)
9th Oct 2017 - 6th Apr 2020
Work and Pensions Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 23rd Oct 2017


Scheduled Event
Monday 18th July 2022
16:30
Westminster Hall debate - Westminster Hall
18 Jul 2022, 4:30 p.m.
e-petition 592642, relating to BTEC qualifications
View calendar
Division Votes
Monday 4th July 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 154 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 220 Noes - 283
Speeches
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Windrush Review
I thank my right hon. Friend for that intervention, and I could not have said it any better; she absolutely …
Written Answers
Friday 1st July 2022
Air Pollution: Pollution Control
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Detailed evidence report on …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 10th May 2022
Disability Benefit Assessments and the Health & Disability Green Paper
That this House notes that Department for Work and Pensions statistics show that of the 1.5 million Incapacity Benefit claimants …
Bills
Wednesday 28th November 2018
Fire Safety (Leasehold Properties) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 14th June 2021
1. Employment and earnings
12 February 2021, received £200 from Leigh Day (solicitors), Priory House, 25 St John's Ln, London EC1M 4LB, for speaking …
EDM signed
Monday 13th June 2022
Treatment of Liverpool fans at the 2022 Champions League Final in Paris
That this House condemns the deeply disturbing treatment by French police of Liverpool and Real Madrid fans outside Stade de …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 19th July 2017
Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018
To make provision about the oversight and management of the appropriate use of force in relation to people in mental …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Marsha De Cordova has voted in 394 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Marsha De Cordova 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
Kemi Badenoch (Conservative)
(24 debate interactions)
Elizabeth Truss (Conservative)
Minister for Women and Equalities
(20 debate interactions)
Michael Gove (Conservative)
Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(30 debate contributions)
Home Office
(25 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(18 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(17 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Marsha De Cordova's debates

Battersea 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

Make specialist training mandatory for all police and other government agencies that support black women and girls affected by domestic abuse. Police and agencies should have culturally appropriate training to better understand the cultural needs of black women affected by domestic abuse.

Black Women in the U.K. are 5 times more likely to die during pregnancy and after childbirth compared to White Women (MBRRACE, 2019). We need more research done into why this is happening and recommendations to improve health care for Black Women as urgent action is needed to address this disparity.


Latest EDMs signed by Marsha De Cordova

6th June 2022
Marsha De Cordova signed this EDM on Monday 13th June 2022

Treatment of Liverpool fans at the 2022 Champions League Final in Paris

Tabled by: Ian Byrne (Labour - Liverpool, West Derby)
That this House condemns the deeply disturbing treatment by French police of Liverpool and Real Madrid fans outside Stade de France at the Champions League Final in Paris; notes catastrophic failures in stadium management by UEFA and French authorities which threatened the lives and wellbeing of supporters; further notes the …
79 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 56
Scottish National Party: 6
Independent: 4
Liberal Democrat: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Conservative: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Alliance: 1
23rd May 2022
Marsha De Cordova signed this EDM on Monday 6th June 2022

Reducing levels of PM2.5 pollution

Tabled by: Angela Eagle (Labour - Wallasey)
That this House recognises the danger that high levels of air pollution pose to human health; acknowledges the importance of reducing air pollution as quickly as possible; and urges the Government to commit to reaching annual levels of fine particulate matter in line with the World Health Organization’s interim target …
20 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Jun 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 14
Independent: 2
Liberal Democrat: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Marsha De Cordova's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Marsha De Cordova, 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.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Marsha De Cordova

Monday 1st March 2021

2 Adjournment Debates led by Marsha De Cordova

Tuesday 21st June 2022
Tuesday 11th February 2020

1 Bill introduced by Marsha De Cordova


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 require freeholders of certain properties that have failed fire safety tests to carry out remedial work; to make provision for sanctions for such freeholders who fail to carry out such work; to ensure that leaseholders are not held liable for the costs of such work; to make provision for a loan scheme to assist freeholders in carrying out such work; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 28th November 2018
(Read Debate)

464 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
58 Other Department Questions
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the task force on housing for older people announced in the Levelling Up White Paper published in February 2022, what plans he has to reform the planning system to more clearly define different kinds of housing for older people.

As part of the Levelling Up White Paper, we announced a new taskforce to look at ways we can provide more choice, better quality and greater security of housing for older people, and support the growth of a thriving older people's housing sector. This includes considering how to increase the supply of a range of specialist housing, including housing with care, across the country.

This work will be taken forward in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, building on the commitments set out in their recent white paper on adult social care reform.

The taskforce will examine barriers to increasing the supply of older peoples housing, as well as the issues older people face when it comes to considering their housing options in later life. This includes the role of the planning system in ensuring new development caters for a diverse range of housing needs. Further information on the taskforce will be announced soon.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the task force on older people’s housing announced in the Levelling Up White Paper will focus on expanding the provision of housing-with-care and Integrated Retirement Communities.

As part of the Levelling Up White Paper, we announced a new taskforce to look at ways we can provide more choice, better quality and greater security of housing for older people, and support the growth of a thriving older people's housing sector. This includes considering how to increase the supply of a range of specialist housing, including housing with care, across the country.

This work will be taken forward in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, building on the commitments set out in their recent white paper on adult social care reform.

The taskforce will examine barriers to increasing the supply of older peoples housing, as well as the issues older people face when it comes to considering their housing options in later life. This includes the role of the planning system in ensuring new development caters for a diverse range of housing needs. Further information on the taskforce will be announced soon.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has plans, through the task force on older people’s housing announced in the Levelling Up in the United Kingdom White Paper, to reform the planning system to define different kinds of housing for older people.

As part of the Levelling Up White Paper, we announced a new taskforce to look at ways we can provide more choice, better quality and greater security of housing for older people, and support the growth of a thriving older people's housing sector. This includes considering how to increase the supply of a range of specialist housing, including housing with care, across the country.

This work will be taken forward in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, building on the commitments set out in their recent white paper on adult social care reform.

The taskforce will examine barriers to increasing the supply of older peoples housing, as well as the issues older people face when it comes to considering their housing options in later life. This includes the role of the planning system in ensuring new development caters for a diverse range of housing needs. Further information on the taskforce will be announced soon.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the task force on older people’s housing announced in the Levelling Up in the United Kingdom White Paper plans to consider expanding the provision of housing-with-care and integrated retirement communities.

As part of the Levelling Up White Paper, we announced a new taskforce to look at ways we can provide more choice, better quality and greater security of housing for older people, and support the growth of a thriving older people's housing sector. This includes considering how to increase the supply of a range of specialist housing, including housing with care, across the country.

This work will be taken forward in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, building on the commitments set out in their recent white paper on adult social care reform.

The taskforce will examine barriers to increasing the supply of older peoples housing, as well as the issues older people face when it comes to considering their housing options in later life. This includes the role of the planning system in ensuring new development caters for a diverse range of housing needs. Further information on the taskforce will be announced soon.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the Levelling Up white paper will include (a) improving life expectancy and (b) healthy life expectancy among its core aims.

Levelling up means empowering local leaders and communities to seize their own destiny; boosting living standards, particularly where they are lower; spreading opportunity and improving public services, particularly where they are weak; and restoring local pride across the UK.

More details are set out in the White Paper which was published today.

11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to help protect leaseholders from paying the costs of non-cladding related fire safety defects, such as defective fire doors.

The new funding schemes will make sure leaseholders never pay a penny to fix dangerous cladding.

On non-cladding, we are clear that we have to make sure there is a proportionate approach – there are too many incentives currently to try to find new problems and declare buildings unsafe. We recognise there is a specific heightened safety risk with cladding which can accelerate fires. That is why our new plan to apply common sense is so important. If there are any remaining non-cladding costs, we want to support leaseholders across the board – they should not be bearing an unfair burden.

That is why:

  • Developers will be expected to fix all fire defects in the buildings they built;
  • We will work with MPs on broad statutory protections for leaseholders; and
  • We are working across government to ensure leaseholders will be protected against eviction for any fire safety defect costs.
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to help ensure that property developers are responsible for covering the remedial costs of fire safety defects; and what steps he is taking give those undertakings a statutory footing.

As the Secretary of State announced on 10 January, building owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders, and leaseholders living in their own medium and high-rise buildings should not pay a penny to remediate historic cladding defects that are no fault of their own.

It is also wrong to look to the taxpayer for another bailout for manufacturers and developers who created and installed dangerous fire safety building systems. Instead, we are clear that industry must develop a solution to resolve the problems they have caused and pay to fix them. If they do not agree to solving this crisis, we will look to impose a solution in legislation.

15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to his Answer to the hon. Member for Putney on 29 November 2021, Official Report, column 658, what progress he has made in ensuring leaseholders are not responsible to pay for remediation works.

I refer the Hon Member to my answer to Question UIN 94569 on 5 January 2022.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to help ensure that banks are not requesting EWS1 forms for buildings that are under 18 meters.

An independent expert statement in July this year was clear that there is no systemic risk of fire in residential buildings under 18 metres and that EWS1s should not be required by lenders on buildings under 18 metres. The Government continues to challenge industry on the use of the EWS1 process, as well as pressing for more data in order to understand how the RICS guidance is being applied, and the impact of the process on mortgage applications.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he is taking steps to regulate EWS1 surveys to prevent erroneous assessment outcomes.

An EWS1 form is not a statutory requirement nor ​a​ safety ‘test’. It is not a replacement for a fire risk assessment ​which is a regulatory requirement, carried out by a competent professional. The Government has provided the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) with nearly £700,000 to develop and deliver training for assessors to carry out external wall system assessments. Additionally, RICS have published a list of professionals suitable to sign an EWS1 form.

9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what support his Department is putting in place for leaseholders that have an EWS1 assessment that is under 18 meters and has been classified as a B2 property.

An EWS1 assessment is a valuation tool and not a safety assessment. Where remediation is recommended supporting material should be transparent and alternatives such as mitigation should have been clearly considered. Leaseholders may seek second opinions if they are concerned about the recommendations. The Government is examining what more can be done to protect leaseholders from unnecessary costs.

8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when the Government plans to publish its response to the consultation on raising accessible housing standards for new homes which closed on 1 December 2020.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave to Question UIN 80458 on 1 December 2021.

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making the provision of public toilets a statutory duty for local authorities.

Local authorities are best placed to make decisions about public toilet provision in their localities. In this year’s Settlement, the Government made available an increase in Core Spending Power in England from £49 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.3 billion in 2021-22, a 4.6% increase in cash terms. This recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain current service levels.

23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether all new homes will meet the accessible and adaptable standard following the consultation on raising accessibility standards for new homes.

We are currently considering responses to the consultation on raising accessibility standards and will publish a government response setting out next steps as soon as possible.

23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when his Department plans to respond to the consultation on raising accessible housing standards.

We are currently considering responses to the consultation on raising accessibility standards and will publish a government response setting out next steps as soon as possible.

21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Written Statement of 21 July 2021, HCWS228, on Housing Update, when his Department plans to launch the Government-backed professional indemnity insurance scheme for qualified professionals conducting external wall system assessments.

We are progressing work on the state-backed Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) scheme for qualified professionals conducting External Wall System (EWS1) Assessments, and will announce further details.

14th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she plans to take to ensure that survivors who are asked to contribute to the Government’s consultation on banning conversion therapy receive support.

The Government is working at pace to deliver on our commitment to ban conversion therapy. As previously stated, we will also ensure there is support available for victims of conversion therapy; the first time the UK Government has offered this. The support will be available to whoever considers themselves to be at risk of - or has undergone - conversion therapy, whatever the circumstances.

The importance of developing a quality service is of central importance, and we are working at pace to explore delivery options available to realise this commitment. An announcement with more details on the service and how it will be delivered will be made in due course.

14th Sep 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, for what support services for victims of conversion therapy have not yet been commissioned.

The Government is working at pace to deliver on our commitment to ban conversion therapy. As previously stated, we will also ensure there is support available for victims of conversion therapy; the first time the UK Government has offered this. The support will be available to whoever considers themselves to be at risk of - or has undergone - conversion therapy, whatever the circumstances.

The importance of developing a quality service is of central importance, and we are working at pace to explore delivery options available to realise this commitment. An announcement with more details on the service and how it will be delivered will be made in due course.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending the legal deadlines for individuals making employment discrimination claims.

Individuals who experience discrimination in the workplace can access justice through an Employment Tribunal, under the Equality Act 2010. While the time limit for bringing a claim is three months from the last incident, tribunals have the discretion to provide extensions where they consider it ‘just and equitable’ to do so.

The Government Equalities Office consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace recently considered the impact of the three month time limit where it applies to Equality Act based cases. In our July 2021 response to that consultation, we committed to keeping the extension of the 3 month limit under review.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the impact of legal deadlines for employment discrimination claims on individuals' access to justice.

Individuals who experience discrimination in the workplace can access justice through an Employment Tribunal, under the Equality Act 2010. While the time limit for bringing a claim is three months from the last incident, tribunals have the discretion to provide extensions where they consider it ‘just and equitable’ to do so.

The Government Equalities Office consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace recently considered the impact of the three month time limit where it applies to Equality Act based cases. In our July 2021 response to that consultation, we committed to keeping the extension of the 3 month limit under review.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if her Department will publish a report on the outcome of its research entitled, Research into the barriers to disabled people seeking elected office, that it launched on 29 January 2019, at the earliest possible date.

A research report into barriers facing disabled candidates was commissioned in December 2018. We intend to publish the report alongside an evaluation of the EnAble Fund in due course.

29th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment her Department has made of the extent and nature of the barriers experienced by disabled people throughout the UK in contesting elections.

A research report into barriers facing disabled candidates was commissioned in December 2018. We intend to publish the report alongside an evaluation of the EnAble Fund in due course.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether a risk assessment has been carried out on the secure holding of CCTV footage within her Department.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, it is not government policy to comment on security procedures in government buildings.

28th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether any departmental business has been conducted on private email addresses; and what mechanisms are in place to ensure that full records are kept of that business.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Cabinet Office guidance to departments on use of private emails.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she plans to respond Question 14209, tabled by the hon. Member for Battersea on 11 June 2021.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 14209.

17th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the potential effect of mandatory vaccines for care workers on equalities.

As Minister for Equalities, I frequently discuss with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and other Ministers the impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minority people and how the government should respond to this.

The new regulations on vaccinations for care home staff follow an extensive consultation with the social care sector, staff, residents and their families.

11th Jun 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to implement the recommendations for G7 GEAC in the UK, specifically with reference to (a) targeted pandemic response and recovery plans that take account of the needs of women and girls, (b) strengthened public investment in social care infrastructure, including childcare to tackle gender imbalances in paid and unpaid care work and (c) steps to end violence against women and girls through increased investment in prevention and response and the ratification of relevant conventions.

The UK is using our Presidency of the G7 this year to champion women’s and girls’ rights at home and around the world, with the independent Gender Equality Advisory Council (GEAC) bringing solutions, expertise and new voices to the heart of G7 discussions.

The GEAC presented its recommendations to G7 Leaders at the G7 Leaders’ Summit this month, with a strong call to action so women can build back better. In the coming months, the GEAC will produce a report setting out their recommendations in further detail.

We have rolled out unprecedented levels of economic support to protect jobs for both women and men, including the Self Employment Income Support Scheme which has received nearly 2.1 million claims from self-employed women, as of January 31 2021. As we look to build back better, we can see that COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to reform our approach to work, and we are committed to further encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default.

We recognise the pressures faced by those balancing work with caring responsibilities, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we know that often the majority of these pressures fall on women. This Government continues to support families with their childcare costs and we have spent over £3.5 billion in each of the past three years on early years entitlements, and last November the Chancellor announced a £44 million investment in 2021-22 for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers. At the election last year, we pledged a new £1 billion fund to create more high-quality affordable childcare, including before and after school and during the school holidays.

We will be publishing a new Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls strategy in 2021 to better target perpetrators and support victims of these crimes, and appointed Nimco Ali OBE as the Independent Government Adviser on Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls.

I will shortly be saying more about the action the Government is taking to ensure women can build back better in the recovery.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
17th May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment she has made of levels of discrimination experienced by single parents; and what steps she is taking to tackle any such discrimination.

We are clear that the Equality Act 2010, which provides protection against direct and indirect discrimination across a range of fields, including employment, service provision and housing, already offers some protection for single parents.

Given that significantly more women than men, and disproportionately more members of particular ethnic groups, have single parent responsibilities, employers in particular must ensure that their rules and practices which may affect single parents do not indirectly discriminate on grounds of sex or race. We continue to keep the effectiveness of the Act under review.

13th May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the 2018 LGBT+ Action Plan, whether the research carried out by her Department and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on LGBT+ homelessness, also includes research on (a) LGBT+ youth homelessness and (b) the experiences of LGBT+ youth who are hidden homeless.

The Government recognises that homelessness amongst LGBT people is an important issue and is determined to understand it better.

The research on LGBT homelessness aims to improve understanding of the needs of people who are homeless and LGBT. It also looks at how housing and support services are being delivered to LGBT people and how they can be improved to better meet their needs. The research takes into account the experiences of LGBT people of a range of ages and with experiences of different forms of homelessness.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she plans to publish a response to the findings of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities published the report of its findings on 31 March 2021. The report can be read on GOV.UK.

The Government is considering the Commission’s recommendations and will respond in due course.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when her Department plans to respond to the Consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace, which closed on 2 October 2019.

The Government consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace focussed on ensuring that laws to protect people from harassment at work are operating effectively.

We have considered the responses received and listened carefully to the experiences shared through this consultation. We will be setting out the Government’s response shortly.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps her Department is taking to (a) co-ordinate equalities strategies across government and (b) monitor departmental performance against those strategies.

All departments ensure that equality considerations are at the heart of their decision-making; this is key to the Government’s commitment to delivering equality of opportunity for all as well as complying with legal requirements under the Public Sector Equality Duty. My officials in the Equality Hub provide advice to departments to assist with this.

We also work with other departments to ensure they publish substantive equality objectives, as part of their departmental plans, that relate to their policy and service delivery responsibilities. Publishing equality objectives as part of core departmental planning processes means that performance against these objectives is measured and that we are advancing equality across Government.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the Government’s accessible communication during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQs 115573, 115574, 115575 answered on 19 November 2020.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the implications for the Government's policies of the findings published by the BBC on 9 February 2020 entitled Covid: South Asian death rates still alarming; and what steps her Department is taking to help (a) protect ethnic minority communities from the health and economic effects of covid-19 and (b) encourage covid-19 vaccine uptake in those communities.

The government continues to assess all of the latest data and evidence about the impact of COVID-19 on different ethnic groups, including the findings of the Office for National Statistics’ analysis on which the BBC article of 9 February was based. This has been summarised in my latest report to the Prime Minister and Health Secretary, which I sent to you on Friday 26 February.

We have taken a number of steps to improve health outcomes for ethnic minority groups, including providing additional funding to the Public Health England Better Health campaign in order to reach Black African, Black Caribbean, Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani groups. This is in addition to existing efforts within the COVID-19 campaign to engage ethnic minorities. To mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19 we introduced an unprecedented package of support – including boosts to Universal Credit, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Kick-start Scheme – helping to protect incomes, jobs, and support those most in need.

Uptake of vaccines is the best way to protect people from COVID-19 and will save thousands of lives. The government has launched a multi-channel communications campaign to encourage uptake of vaccines among ethnic minority groups and to counter misinformation. We have also provided over £23m in funding to the Community Champions scheme which is enabling local authorities to use trusted local voices to encourage vaccine uptake.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities will publish its report to the Prime Minister, due to be published in February 2021.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities aims to provide its full report to the Prime Minister by the end of this month. The Commission then intends to publish its results on gov.uk in due course.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when the second quarterly report to the Prime Minister and Health Secretary on progress to understand and tackle covid-19 disparities experienced by people from an ethnic minority background will be published.

I will very shortly be publishing my second quarterly progress report to the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to her oral contribution of 13 January 2021, Official Report, column 281, on the launch of an Equality Data Project which will consider data on a wide range of personal characteristics, including socioeconomic status and geography, whether her Department will continue to record data by (a) ethnicity, (b) age, (c) sex and (d) disability.

The Equality Data Programme will continue to consider data on a wide range of personal characteristics including ethnicity, age, sex and disability. In addition, we will also consider factors such as socioeconomic status and geography to give a holistic picture of equality.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2021 to Question 137304 on Equality, what the evidential basis is for her assessment in that Answer that the socio-economic duty provided for by the Equality Act 2010 could become a general due regard duty with the potential to become a tick-box exercise, complied with to minimise the risk of legal challenge rather than to promote real change in social mobility.

The socio-economic duty in the Equality Act is, as the legislation stands, a “due regard” duty, and therefore similar in form to the public sector equality duty, which is also a “due regard” duty.

The way that the public sector equality duty is used by some public authorities, as a tick-box exercise, has been criticised on various occasions, including in the 2013 Hayward Review of the Duty; by the 2015-16 House of Lords Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability; and in a number of court judgments, for instance London and Quadrant Housing Trust v Patrick (2019).

For these reasons this Government, like its Conservative predecessors, thinks that it is better to focus on specific policies and practical actions that will deliver real change in tackling poverty and promoting social mobility – for example in education, through a reformed welfare system, and in following through on our manifesto commitment to greater developmental devolution in England and rebalancing the economy with the introduction of schemes such as the Towns Fund.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Equalities of 13 January 2021, Official Report, column 276, what assessment she has made of the susceptibility of Black, Asian and ethnic minority people to the range of socioeconomic and geographical factors such as occupational exposure, population density and household composition which increase the risk of exposure to covid-19.

My first quarterly report to the Prime Minister and Health Secretary of 22 October summarised the evidence available at the time on the role of various factors in increasing the risk of Covid-19 infection and mortality for different ethnic minority groups. This included risk factors such as occupation, population density and household size.

I will shortly be publishing my second quarterly report providing updates where there is further evidence. This will include updates on the role of household composition, geography and occupation in Covid-19 infection rates.

15th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Equalities of 13 January 2021, Official Report, column 276, where in her first report on the disproportionate impact of covid-19 on ethnic minority groups published in October 2020 it concludes that there is no evidence suggesting that ethnicity itself is a risk factor.

My first report to the Prime Minister and Health Secretary of 22 October summarised the current evidence which shows that a range of socioeconomic and geographical factors such as occupational exposure, population density and household composition, coupled with pre-existing health conditions, contribute to the higher infection and mortality rates for ethnic minority groups. This is stated in the executive summary of my report and in paragraph 20.

As also stated in my report, a small part of the excess risk remains unexplained for some groups, although there is no evidence thus far suggesting that ethnicity on its own is a risk factor. The Race Disparity Unit has been conducting further analysis of risk factors, which I will summarise in my second quarterly report in the coming weeks.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to her oral contribution of 25 November 2020, Official Report, column 814, whether there have been Equality Impact Assessments which have not been published.

In compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), Whitehall Departments routinely undertake equality assessments of policy and operational changes.

The documentation produced as part of these assessments is often informally referred to as an ‘equality impact assessment’ but production of an equality impact assessment is not a legal requirement, and different documentary formats may be appropriate depending on the function in question.

There is no statutory requirement to publish assessments and there are certainly assessments that are not published. Decisions on publication are a matter for the public body concerned, given the particular circumstances.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, in 2010, whether the Government plans to enact the Equality Act’s socio-economic duty.

There are no plans to implement the socio-economic duty for English and cross-border bodies. Such a general “due regard” duty has the potential to become a tick-box exercise, complied with to minimise the risk of legal challenge rather than to promote real change in social mobility.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to her oral contribution of 13 January 2021, Official Report, on the launch of an equality data project which will look at the life paths of individuals across the UK and deliver hard data about the barriers that people face, what data types he plans to collate.

The Equality Data Programme will include aggregated, and individual-level, data across a range of themes. We will focus on the themes that matter to individuals’ lives such as the economy, health, education, justice and living standards. We will consider data on a wide range of personal characteristics, including socioeconomic status and geography.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the Written Statement of 22 September 2020 entitled Government Equalities Office Update, HCWS462 what steps she is taking to help ensure that (a) her Department, (b) the Equality and Human Rights Commission and (c) other public bodies produce statutory guidance on the provision of single-sex exemptions consistent with the Equality Act 2010.

The government believes that the protection of single-sex spaces, as provided for in the Equality Act, is important. The Act makes clear that providers have the right to restrict the use of spaces on the basis of sex, and exclude transgender people, with or without a Gender Recognition Certificate, if this is justified.

At this stage, we are not proposing further legislative guidance but we will keep this under review. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is independent of the government and makes its own decisions in relation to drafting the guidance that it creates and publishes.

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the increase in levels of (a) transphobia and (b) misogyny.

Transphobia and misogyny are completely unacceptable and have no place in British society. We are determined that everyone in the UK should be free to live their lives and fulfil their potential regardless of their gender identity or sex.

Misogyny is not a hate crime in law, therefore no data is held about specific incidents. The Government has heard concerns about the coverage and effectiveness of existing legislation and asked the Law Commission to undertake a full review of hate crime legislation, which is due to report in early 2021. This includes considering whether there should be additional protections against misogyny or ageism for example, and bring parity to the law by making sexual orientation and transgender hate crimes aggravated offences. We will respond in full when it is complete.

We have funded multiple projects aimed at tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime and have taken steps to bolster the police response to hate crime through supporting additional police training. We have also invested £4m to support schools to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to her statement of 22 September 2020, Official Report, HCWS462, that she will improve the process and experience of transgender people applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate by making it kinder and more straightforward, what the Government's timeline is for developing that new process; whether she plans to consult stakeholders on that new process; and what the new nominal fee for that certificate will be.

We want transgender people to be free to live and to prosper in modern Britain. We have looked carefully at the issues raised in the consultation, including the impact of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 on trans people. It is the Government’s view that the balance struck in this legislation is correct, in that there are proper checks and balances in the system and also support for people who want to change their legal sex.

We will make the gender recognition certificate process kinder and more straightforward. We will cut bureaucracy by enabling applications via gov.uk and reduce the fee. We are working with the Ministry of Justice, who lead tribunal fees policy, to agree the new fee level and plan the implementation of this change. We will be consulting relevant stakeholders to ensure implementation works from an operational perspective, but will not be consulting more widely since the GRA consultation provides evidence on people’s views of the fee.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, which organisations the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities has called on to give evidence.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities will engage across Government, and with as broad a range of public bodies, the voluntary and private sectors, and members of the public as is possible over the course of its duration.

The Commission will be launching a public call for evidence in due course. Organisations or individuals seeking to submit evidence to the Commission can already do so if they wish - contact details are published on its website. No discussions have been had about organisations to exclude from consultation.

Finally, on 10 August the Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch MP, wrote to all of the stakeholders who participated in the Public Health England review thanking them for their contribution and asking whether they wished to be involved in future engagement. A number of the stakeholders responded positively to this and the Race Disparity Unit has included them in its ongoing engagement strategy.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, for how long the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities plans to consult interested parties.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities will engage across Government, and with as broad a range of public bodies, the voluntary and private sectors, and members of the public as is possible over the course of its duration.

The Commission will be launching a public call for evidence in due course. Organisations or individuals seeking to submit evidence to the Commission can already do so if they wish - contact details are published on its website. No discussions have been had about organisations to exclude from consultation.

Finally, on 10 August the Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch MP, wrote to all of the stakeholders who participated in the Public Health England review thanking them for their contribution and asking whether they wished to be involved in future engagement. A number of the stakeholders responded positively to this and the Race Disparity Unit has included them in its ongoing engagement strategy.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether the opportunity to give evidence to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities will be open to anyone or by invitation only.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities will engage across Government, and with as broad a range of public bodies, the voluntary and private sectors, and members of the public as is possible over the course of its duration.

The Commission will be launching a public call for evidence in due course. Organisations or individuals seeking to submit evidence to the Commission can already do so if they wish - contact details are published on its website. No discussions have been had about organisations to exclude from consultation.

Finally, on 10 August the Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch MP, wrote to all of the stakeholders who participated in the Public Health England review thanking them for their contribution and asking whether they wished to be involved in future engagement. A number of the stakeholders responded positively to this and the Race Disparity Unit has included them in its ongoing engagement strategy.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether she has had discussions with the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities on organisations to exclude from its consultation.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities will engage across Government, and with as broad a range of public bodies, the voluntary and private sectors, and members of the public as is possible over the course of its duration.

The Commission will be launching a public call for evidence in due course. Organisations or individuals seeking to submit evidence to the Commission can already do so if they wish - contact details are published on its website. No discussions have been had about organisations to exclude from consultation.

Finally, on 10 August the Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch MP, wrote to all of the stakeholders who participated in the Public Health England review thanking them for their contribution and asking whether they wished to be involved in future engagement. A number of the stakeholders responded positively to this and the Race Disparity Unit has included them in its ongoing engagement strategy.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to Public Health England’s review of the effect of covid-19 on BAME communities, whether she has written to all stakeholders who engaged with that review on continuing that work.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities will engage across Government, and with as broad a range of public bodies, the voluntary and private sectors, and members of the public as is possible over the course of its duration.

The Commission will be launching a public call for evidence in due course. Organisations or individuals seeking to submit evidence to the Commission can already do so if they wish - contact details are published on its website. No discussions have been had about organisations to exclude from consultation.

Finally, on 10 August the Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch MP, wrote to all of the stakeholders who participated in the Public Health England review thanking them for their contribution and asking whether they wished to be involved in future engagement. A number of the stakeholders responded positively to this and the Race Disparity Unit has included them in its ongoing engagement strategy.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to her oral contribution of 17 June 2020, Official Report, column 794, when she plans to write to the hon. Member for Battersea on the Government's response to the consultation on ethnicity pay reporting.

I am pleased to confirm that my letter to the Honourable Member for Battersea on ethnicity pay reporting was dispatched on 2 July.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what the terms of reference are for the Government's cross-governmental commission to look at racism and discrimination announced on 14 June 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement made by the Prime Minister on 16 July 2020.

The new Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities announced on 14 June will examine continuing race and ethnic disparities in Britain. The aim of the Commission is to set out a new, positive agenda for change - balancing the needs of individuals, communities and society, maximising opportunities and ensuring fairness for all. The Commission will be chaired by Dr Tony Sewell (CBE).

A list of commissioners and the Commission’s ambitious Terms of Reference, has been placed in the library of both Houses. Commissioners will be supported by a secretariat in the Cabinet Office Race Disparity Unit and will submit their report by the end of the year.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, who will comprise the membership of the Government's cross-governmental commission to look at racism and discrimination announced on 14 June 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement made by the Prime Minister on 16 July 2020.

The new Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities announced on 14 June will examine continuing race and ethnic disparities in Britain. The aim of the Commission is to set out a new, positive agenda for change - balancing the needs of individuals, communities and society, maximising opportunities and ensuring fairness for all. The Commission will be chaired by Dr Tony Sewell (CBE).

A list of commissioners and the Commission’s ambitious Terms of Reference, has been placed in the library of both Houses. Commissioners will be supported by a secretariat in the Cabinet Office Race Disparity Unit and will submit their report by the end of the year.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when she plans to announce the chair of the Government's cross-governmental commission on racism and discrimination announced on 14 June 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement made by the Prime Minister on 16 July 2020.

The new Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities announced on 14 June will examine continuing race and ethnic disparities in Britain. The aim of the Commission is to set out a new, positive agenda for change - balancing the needs of individuals, communities and society, maximising opportunities and ensuring fairness for all. The Commission will be chaired by Dr Tony Sewell (CBE).

A list of commissioners and the Commission’s ambitious Terms of Reference, has been placed in the library of both Houses. Commissioners will be supported by a secretariat in the Cabinet Office Race Disparity Unit and will submit their report by the end of the year.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what gaps in the PHE report Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups he has identified; and what the timeframe is for removing those data gaps.

The Public Health England (PHE) report, “COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes”, published on 2 June 2020, looks at the COVID-19 mortality rates of different ethnic groups. This rapid review necessarily had some gaps, and as Minister for Equalities, I am now leading further work to build on this by, for example, driving forward work examining the impact of factors such as sub-categories of occupation and co-morbidities; analysing the key drivers of disparities in COVID-19 outcomes, the relationships between different risk factors, and what can be done to close the gap. This work is supported by the Race Disparity Unit in the Cabinet Office.

‘Beyond the Data: understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups’, is a separate piece of work that was carried out by the PHE; PHE engaged with a significant number of individuals and organisations within the BAME community to hear their views about the impact of COVID-19 and this informed ‘Beyond the Data’ which was published on 16 June 2020.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when gender pay gap reporting will be resumed.

In recognition of the unprecedented uncertainty and pressure facing employers due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission suspended enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines for 2019/20. However, employers can still choose to report their data and we have carried on providing support to those who need it. Over 5,500 employers have reported to date and more continue to do so.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on the public inquiry into the Government's response to the covid-19 pandemic, announced on 21 May 2021.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details will be set out in due course.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress he has made on the commencement of the public inquiry into the handling of covid-19 outbreak.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed to this House that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons a British Sign Language interpreter is not provided in the Government’s daily press briefings on covid-19; and if he will take steps to ensure that a British SIgn Language interpreter is included in future briefings.

It is vital that key information is accessible to all. Since the daily press briefings began, British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation has been available on the national broadcaster. The BBC provides BSL interpretation at the daily No10 press conference via its News channel, Youtube channel and iPlayer. This is available free to air.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Prime Minister’s Implementation Unit plans to complete its research into the effect of universal credit on vulnerable claimants.

Research by the Prime Minister's Implementation Unit is conducted in partnership with Departments to provide advice and recommendations as part of ongoing policy development.

Research by the Prime Minister's Implementation Unit relies on the voluntary supply of information from third parties, which is provided on the basis that details of individuals and organisations will not be disclosed.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, which voluntary organisations were consulted as part of the Prime Minister’s Implementation Unit’s research on the effect of universal credit on vulnerable claimants.

Research by the Prime Minister's Implementation Unit is conducted in partnership with Departments to provide advice and recommendations as part of ongoing policy development.

Research by the Prime Minister's Implementation Unit relies on the voluntary supply of information from third parties, which is provided on the basis that details of individuals and organisations will not be disclosed.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to take steps to introduce a price cap on communal energy systems for domestic use in the context of the Government's strategy to expand heat networks.

District or communal heating systems typically buy their energy through commercial contracts which are not covered by the Default Tariff Act. The government is aware that this can lead to large increases in the bills of some consumers on communal networks and that some consumers are seeing increases larger than would be allowed under the domestic price cap.

The measures announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3 February are intended to cover heat network consumers and the Government is engaging closely with industry and consumer groups to understand the specific impacts in the heat network sector and continue to assess whether further options are needed to help households through this challenging period.

The Government needs to ensure heat network consumers receive a fair price for their heating. The Government is therefore committed to legislating within this parliament to regulate the heat networks sector and in December 2021, the Government announced that Ofgem will take on the role of regulator and give Ofgem new powers to regulate prices in this sector as a matter of priority. This will enable equivalent protection for domestic heat network customers as well as ensuring heat network operators are securing good purchasing deals for their consumers. This will mean that consumers are charged a fair rate for heating whilst encouraging investment in heat networks.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to ensure that domestic residents are not classed as business users under communal heating systems.

District or communal heating systems typically buy their energy through commercial contracts which are not covered by the Default Tariff Act. The government is aware that this can lead to large increases in the bills of some consumers on communal networks and that some consumers are seeing increases larger than would be allowed under the domestic price cap.

The measures announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3 February are intended to cover heat network consumers and the Government is engaging closely with industry and consumer groups to understand the specific impacts in the heat network sector and continue to assess whether further options are needed to help households through this challenging period.

The Government needs to ensure heat network consumers receive a fair price for their heating. The Government is therefore committed to legislating within this parliament to regulate the heat networks sector and in December 2021, the Government announced that Ofgem will take on the role of regulator and give Ofgem new powers to regulate prices in this sector as a matter of priority. This will enable equivalent protection for domestic heat network customers as well as ensuring heat network operators are securing good purchasing deals for their consumers. This will mean that consumers are charged a fair rate for heating whilst encouraging investment in heat networks.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the increase in energy prices on residents who are on a communal heating plan.

District or communal heating systems typically buy their energy through commercial contracts which are not covered by the Default Tariff Act. The government is aware that this can lead to large increases in the bills of some consumers on communal networks and that some consumers are seeing increases larger than would be allowed under the domestic price cap.

The measures announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3 February are intended to cover heat network consumers and the Government is engaging closely with industry and consumer groups to understand the specific impacts in the heat network sector and continue to assess whether further options are needed to help households through this challenging period.

The Government needs to ensure heat network consumers receive a fair price for their heating. The Government is therefore committed to legislating within this parliament to regulate the heat networks sector and in December 2021, the Government announced that Ofgem will take on the role of regulator and give Ofgem new powers to regulate prices in this sector as a matter of priority. This will enable equivalent protection for domestic heat network customers as well as ensuring heat network operators are securing good purchasing deals for their consumers. This will mean that consumers are charged a fair rate for heating whilst encouraging investment in heat networks.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to help protect leaseholders of shared ownership properties who face high energy price increases where developers have enrolled those leaseholders in Community Energy Partnerships which are not regulated by Ofgem and not protected by the Government's energy price cap.

The Default Tariff Act requires Ofgem, as the gas and electricity markets regulator, to put licence conditions in place for a cap on domestic default gas and electricity tariffs. District or communal heating systems typically buy their energy through commercial contracts which are not covered by the Act.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to bring forward proposals to extend pregnancy redundancy discrimination protections.

The Government consulted on increasing redundancy protection for pregnant women and new mothers in 2019. In our response to the consultation, we said that the existing framework which applies while a mother is on Maternity Leave (Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave etc.) would be extended into the period from the start of her pregnancy and for six months on return to work. We will also extend redundancy protection into a period of return to work for those taking shared parental leave and adoption leave.

We will introduce these changes as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to extend eligibility to the covid-19 small business grant fund and business rates holiday to tenants of New Covent Garden Flower Market that occupy larger units with a rateable value of £15,000 or more to allow those businesses access to the same support available to tenants with smaller units.

The Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF), the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF) and the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF) have supported many thousands of small businesses through this challenging period.  Between April and September 2020, over £11.68 billion was paid out to 999,735 business premises. I am grateful for the hard work of Local Authorities in delivering this funding.

These schemes are now closed, and we are unable to extend the eligibility criteria.

Local authorities are responsible for decisions about the award of business rates relief having regard to legislation and guidance. Markets may be eligible for the expanded retail discount if the local authority’s view is that they meet the criteria but there is no rateable value limit for the scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason wholesale and supply chain businesses are ineligible for funding under the Restart Grant scheme; and what assessment his Department has made of the impact of that decision on wholesale and supply chain businesses.

The Restart Grant scheme aimed to support businesses in specific sectors to reopen as coronavirus restrictions eased across the country. One-off grants were given to eligible businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors.

The Government is committed to continuing to provide financial support via Local Authorities for businesses that are required to close, or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, published in July 2017 and the Government's Good Work response and consultations of 2018, what plans have been put in place to end exploitative working practices as part of the Government's covid-19 outbreak recovery plans.

We have already made good progress on delivering on Matthew Taylor’s recommendations to help end exploitative working practices, including introducing legislation that quadruples the maximum fine for employers who treat their workers badly and closing a loophole which sees agency workers employed on cheaper rates than permanent workers.

The Government has also continued support workers throughout the pandemic, including protecting the earnings of furloughed workers who take Maternity Pay and other forms of Parental or Adoption Pay, and published a review into how employers can support victims of domestic abuse in the workplace.

We will continue to build on this record as we build back better from the pandemic and to deliver on our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business. We are consulting on proposals to help achieve this ambition and will bring forward details in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government response entitled Good work: a response to the Taylor Review of modern working practices, published on 7 February 2018, what plans he has to help end exploitative working practices as part of the Government's recovery plans as covid-19 restrictions are eased. .

We have already made good progress on delivering on Matthew Taylor’s recommendations to help end exploitative working practices, including introducing legislation that quadruples the maximum fine for employers who treat their workers badly and closing a loophole which sees agency workers employed on cheaper rates than permanent workers.

Government has also continued support workers throughout the pandemic, including protecting the earnings of furloughed workers who take Maternity Pay and other forms of Parental or Adoption Pay, and published a review into how employers can support victims of domestic abuse in the workplace.

We will continue to build on this record as we build back better from the pandemic and to deliver on our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business. We are consulting on proposals to help achieve this ambition and will bring forward details in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to implement the 53 recommendations of the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.

We have already made significant progress in implementing recommendations arising from the Taylor Review, including legislating for stronger protections for vulnerable agency workers and extending the right to a written statement to workers.

As we build back better, we will bring forward measures when parliamentary time allows to establish an employment framework which is fit for purpose and keeps pace with the needs of modern workplaces.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken during the covid-19 outbreak to support small businesses that supply goods to the events and hospitality sector.

The Government has brought forward a substantial package of financial support for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the Budget, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £65 billion three-point plan to provide support for jobs and businesses, including small businesses in the supply chains of the events and hospitality sectors, with extensions to furlough, self-employed support, business grants, loans and VAT cuts.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Department's consultation, Good Work Plan: proposals to support families, which closed on 29 November 2019, if he will take steps to respond to that consultation in respect of shared parental leave.

We are currently assessing the responses from the consultation on high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay. We are also conducting a formal evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme, including large-scale, representative surveys of employers and parents. We are currently processing and analysing the data that we have collected.

Together, the consultation and the evaluation will give us a fuller picture of how well the current system of parental leave and pay is working for parents and employers. We intend to publish the Government Response to the consultation and the findings of the evaluation later this year.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing mandatory ethnicity pay reporting.

In 2018/2019, the Government consulted on options for employer-level ethnicity pay reporting. Following this, the Government met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers to reporting and to explore what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken.

Following the consultation, we ran a methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation. This highlighted the genuine difficulties in designing a methodology that will produce accurate figures that facilitate analysis, interpretation and meaningful action.

The Government is continuing to analyse this data. We will respond to the Ethnicity Pay Reporting consultation as soon as we can.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendation by the Women and Equalities Select Committee that HR1 forms should be amended to collect data on the protected characteristics of people that are made redundant in large numbers.

The Government is grateful for the work of the Women and Equalities Select Committee on “Unequal impact? Coronavirus and the gendered economic impact”. We are currently considering the report and will be responding to its recommendations in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 restrictions on people with sight loss or visual impairment who cannot shop online while non-essential shops are closed.

The Government recognises the specific challenges faced by people with sight loss or visual impairment.

We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to employment support, disability benefits, financial support, food, medicines, as well as accessible communications and updated guidance.

We are clear that consideration of equality impacts must be integral in all key policy decisions. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit works with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the Government’s response to COVID-19.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has secured online shopping slots for people whose independence has been challenged by lockdown, including those with sight loss. Eligible people can be referred through the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s helpline on 0303 123 9999.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to avoid gaps in the delivery of supplies of the covid-19 vaccine affecting areas of (a) London and (b) the UK.

Vaccines are a precious resource and are 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 future deliveries.

We have been monitoring the requirements across the supply chain from supplier through to patients for some time. All vaccine candidates’ supply and onward deployment have clear supply chain plans across the value chain, including materials, manufacturing, transportation, storage, and distribution. We continue to work to meet our target of vaccinating all four priority groups, as advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, by the middle of February.

The vaccine is being rolled out as quickly as doses can be supplied and quality checked, with over 4.6 million people already vaccinated across the UK. The UK COVID-19 Vaccines Delivery Plan sets out how the Government will work with the NHS, devolved administrations, local councils, and the Armed Forces to deliver the largest vaccination programme in British history.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the number of covid-19 financial support applications made to local authorities that are (a) approved and (b) declined.

Local Authorities work within the guidance provided by the Department to ensure that support is provided where needed. The Department receives weekly progress updates from Local Authorities which includes information on the number and value of grants paid by Local Authorities to date.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to recommendation 26 of the report Race in the workplace: the McGregor-Smith review, published on 28 February 2017, what assessment he has made of whether (a) the recommendations of that review have been implemented and (b) the need for government action to ensure their implementation.

A one-year on review of how employers in the UK are performing against the recommendations outlined in the McGregor-Smith Review ‘Race in the workplace’ was conducted in 2018 by Business in The Community and was sponsored by BEIS.

As the Government said in its response to the ‘McGregor-Smith Review’, this was an industry-led review with recommendations that are mostly for the private sector to consider. The Government remains committed to building an economy that works for everyone. This is a mission that needs to start from the top – Chairs, CEOs, and CFOs – to help effect the change and Government stands ready to support all businesses on this. As the Government noted in its response, it is important that all employers play their part in harnessing this potential.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which organisations the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets has met with to discuss mandatory pay gap reporting in the last month.

Details of meetings held by Ministers in the Department are recorded in our transparency data, which is published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Government will publish its response to the consultation on Ethnicity pay reporting, which closed on 11th January 2019.

Following the consultation, Government met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers to reporting and explore what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. We also ran a voluntary methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data. The Government is continuing to analyse this data and will respond in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to monitor progress against the recommendations of the Race in the workplace: the McGregor-Smith review, published on 28 February 2017.

A one-year on review of how employers in the UK are performing against the recommendations outlined in the McGregor-Smith Review ‘Race in the workplace’ was conducted in 2018 by Business in The Community and was sponsored by BEIS.

As the Government said in its response to the ‘McGregor-Smith Review’, this was an industry-led review with recommendations that are mostly for the private sector to consider. The Government remains committed to building an economy that works for everyone. This is a mission that needs to start from the top – Chairs, CEOs, and CFOs – to help effect the change and Government stands ready to support all businesses on this. As the Government noted in its response, it is important that all employers play their part in harnessing this potential.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support he has made available to (a) private dental practices and (b) other healthcare providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government’s ultimate priority has been to act to reduce the high levels of Covid-19 infection and we are taking many steps to protect the long-term financial future of all businesses during the current economic emergency.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented and comprehensive package of support to help as many individuals and businesses during this difficult period. This includes the small business grants, the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more.

On 24 September, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced his Winter Economy Plan, setting out how current support will evolve and adapt as we move to the next stage of our economic plan. This includes extending and amending the coronavirus loan guarantee schemes to allow businesses more time and greater flexibility to repay their loans, the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, and the introduction of a new Jobs Support Scheme. These new measures are in addition to those announced in the Chancellor’s summer statement on 8 July, such as VAT rate cuts, the £1,000 Jobs Retention Bonus, and the Kickstart Scheme.

Businesses can also access tailored advice through our Freephone Business Support Helpline, online via the Business Support website or through their local Growth Hubs in England. Furthermore, the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, supported by the Government and hosted on the Enterprise Nation website, offers small firms access to free, one-to-one advice with an expert adviser to help them through the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for long-term recovery. Further information can be found at: https://www.enterprisenation.com/freesupport/.

The Government will continue to work closely with local authorities, businesses, business representative organisations, and the financial services sector to monitor the implementation of current support.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason households without access to the internet are excluded from the Green Deal scheme; and whether he is taking steps to ensure that that scheme is open to everyone.

The Green Deal scheme closed in 2015. The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme launched on 30th September 2020 and the scheme administrator will offer alternative means to apply such as by telephone or post.

The scheme is open to all homeowners including park homes on a residential site (including Gypsy and Traveller sites) and residential landlords in private or social rented sectors (including local authorities and housing associations).

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has conducted Equalities Impact Assessments on its covid-19 policies.

All BEIS policies are assessed against their impact on equality. Where the Department’s Covid-19 interventions have been introduced at pace, impact assessments have sometimes been done in parallel with implementation. In cases where schemes are implemented by parties outside the department, delivery partners are required to adhere to all legal requirements and equality assessments.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps are being taken to protect pregnant women who are unable to work from home.

Government advice is clear. If at all possible, people should work at home and where they cannot, employers should ensure that the work environment is a safe one and follow all relevant public health guidance. This advice applies equally to pregnant women.

Government is determined to ensure that pregnant women do not suffer detriment at work in any circumstances, including where they have followed public heath guidance.

The Coronavirus outbreak has not changed the law on pregnancy and maternity discrimination. There is no place for it under any circumstances. If a pregnant woman is dismissed or made redundant on the grounds of her pregnancy, this is automatically unfair dismissal.

Under Health and Safety at Work legislation, it remains the employer’s responsibility to put in place arrangements to control health and safety risks. There are already specific requirements in place for pregnant workers and guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) sets out the expectations around risk assessments, finding alternative work and medical suspension. HSE will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks where it is clear an employer is not following PHE guidance properly.

In terms of new specific coronavirus interventions, Government guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme makes it clear that pregnant women can be furloughed if they and their employer agree, and provided they meet the normal eligibility requirements.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the Government plans to publish the findings of its review of the Gambling Act 2005.

The Review of the Gambling Act 2005 was launched on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. This closed on 31 March and received approximately 16,000 submissions from a broad range of interested organisations and individuals.

We are considering the evidence carefully with the aim of setting out conclusions and any proposals for reform in a white paper by the end of the year.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress his Department has made on its fan-led review of football.

Football clubs are the heart of local communities, they have unique social value and many also have a great history. It is vital they are protected and I continue to engage in regular discussions with stakeholders across football, as they tackle the most immediate challenges of the pandemic.

The Government is committed to undertaking a fan-led review of football governance and is currently considering the scope and structure of the review.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to allocate additional funding to the culture and arts sector in Battersea constituency.

On 12 October, we announced £257 million of funding awarded to 1,385 arts organisations through the Culture Recovery Fund. Eight organisations based in Battersea received over £2.2 million of funding.

There will be further announcements about hundreds more allocations in the coming weeks as we provide additional financial support through the Culture Recovery Fund to assist the UK’s incredible culture, heritage, arts and creative industries.

In addition, Arts Council England recently reopened the National Lottery Project Fund programme with a budget of £77.9 million which will be available until April 2021 for organisations across the country. This programme will support independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers.

24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the timescale is for bringing forward an online harms Bill.

The government is firmly committed to making the UK the safest place to be online, and we are working at pace on our proposals. We will publish a full government response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation later this year. This will be followed by legislation, which will be ready early next year.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much of the £360 million allocated to charities to help mitigate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak has been allocated to disability charities.

The £750 million funding package announced by the Government on 8 April is to ensure charities providing frontline services to vulnerable people affected by the pandemic can continue their vital work. £360 million of this is being distributed via individual government departments based on evidence of service need. £200 million of this will directly support hospices and be administered by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Departments are using a range of approaches to allocating the remaining funding in order to meet identified needs quickly, including bidding processes and awarding funding directly. Applications are now open for funding for the distribution of food to vulnerable people, safe accommodation for survivors of domestic abuse, armed services charities, and charities working to tackle loneliness and homelessness. Further announcements from individual departments are expected shortly. Further information has been released on GOV.UK.

As applications are still open for several of the funds and there are announcements yet to be made, it is not possible to determine how much of this funding has been allocated to disability charities at this stage. Disability charities will be eligible for a range of the funds.

On 20 May the government committed £200 million to the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, which will be distributed by the National Lottery Community Foundation. The fund will support small and medium sized charities and social enterprises and will be open for applications on 22 May. Disability charities will be eligible to apply for this funding.

23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to end the handcuffing and restraint of children in the care system by private secure transportation providers except when there is a considerable risk of the child harming themselves or others.

The Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015 and supporting statutory guidance clearly sets out the law regarding the use of restraint where children are placed in children’s homes. This guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/childrens-homes-regulations-including-quality-standards-guide.

Homes are required to record any incidents of restraint under Regulation 35. There is also a requirement under Regulation 40 for the Registered Person to inform Ofsted of any incident in relation to a child that they consider to be serious.

The Registered Person and the local authority overall have a responsibility to ensure that children are kept safe, and their welfare is promoted. If transportation is arranged by the local authority who has responsibility for the child, then the care of the child would fall to them.

In 2019, the government published guidance on reducing the need for restraint for those responsible for providing education, health, and social care to children and young people under 18 years of age with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions and mental health difficulties in these settings. This can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/812435/reducing-the-need-for-restraint-and-restrictive-intervention.pdf.

Where local authorities have contract arrangements with transport services, restraint should only be used in very limited circumstances, in accordance with this guidance on the use of restraint and must always be necessary and proportionate.

14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many school-age children in (a) Wandsworth and (b) Battersea are not in full time education.

The department does not hold figures for school-age pupils who are not attending education full-time.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the rates of staff turnover are in schools across Wandsworth in the latest period for which figures are available.

Information on the numbers and rates of qualified teachers entering and leaving state-funded schools in England is published in the ‘School Workforce in England’ statistical publication at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england. In state-funded schools in England, between November 2019 and November 2020 (the latest two years of data available), the full time equivalent of one in ten teachers (9.7%) were new entrants to teaching, while under one in ten teachers (7.8%) left the profession.

Between November 2019 and November 2020 in Wandsworth schools specifically, the full time equivalent of one in ten teachers (11.7%) were new entrants to teaching, while one in ten teachers (11.1%) left the profession. Please note that these figures have been compiled by breaking down national entrant and leaver figures sub-nationally, although this level of breakdown is not published, and the methodology is not exact.

Staff, including teachers, turnover figures for individual schools are not centrally calculated and would incur disproportionate cost to compile. Similarly, entrant and leaver figures of support staff are not routinely calculated and would also incur disproportionate cost to compile.

21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of top sixth form schools in the Central London area that are available to girls.

Across inner London there are 60 state funded schools with sixth forms and further education colleges which are rated Outstanding by Ofsted. Of these, 45 are accessible to boys and 54 accessible to girls[1].

Local authorities have broad duties to encourage, enable and assist young people to participate in education or training. This includes securing sufficient suitable education and training provision for all young people in their area who are over compulsory school age but under 19, or up to age 25 for learners with an education, health and care plan.

The government’s free schools programme has opened eight 16-19 free schools in inner London with places available to female students and a further 21 mainstream free schools that have 16-19 places. All of these schools that have been inspected to date have been judged Good or Outstanding by Ofsted. This includes the London Academy of Excellence in Newham, a 16-19 free school judged Outstanding by Ofsted, which in the 2020/21 academic year had 57% female students. Proposals for approving further free schools will be set out in due course.

Nationally, capital funding of £83 million has also been made available in the 2021/22 financial year to existing post-16 providers, including sixth form colleges, to enable them to accommodate the demographic increase in 16-19 year olds.

[1] Some single sex schools may have mixed sixth forms. This is not reflected in the figures provided above.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the change in the level of funding on BTEC qualifications.

Employers are facing a skills shortage that we must act to address. It is vital in a fast moving and high-tech economy that technical education closes the gap between what people study and the needs of employers. This is why we are introducing over 20 T Levels, developed with 250 leading employers, and reviewing the wider post-16 qualifications system at level 3 and below.

The department’s plans for reform of level 3 qualifications were published on 14 July 2021. We will continue to fund high quality qualifications that can be taken alongside or as alternatives to T Levels and A levels where there is a clear need for skills and knowledge that T Levels and A levels cannot provide. This may include some Pearson BTECs, provided they meet the new quality criteria for funding approval.

The impact assessment published alongside the consultation response recognised that some students may find it more difficult to achieve level 3 qualifications in future. However, the assessment stated that the changes will generally be positive as students will have access to higher quality qualifications in the future, including new T Levels. This will put students in a stronger position to progress onto further study or skilled employment. The assessment acknowledged that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to take qualifications that could have their funding approval removed. These students should gain the most from these changes because they are the most likely to be taking qualifications that do not deliver the skills employers need. We are committed to ensuring that T Levels are accessible to all young people and have introduced flexibilities for students with special educational needs and disabilities. The T Level Transition Programme will support young people who are not yet ready to progress to a T Level but have the potential to succeed on it after some further preparation.

All qualifications will need to meet new quality criteria to be approved for funding in future. Technical qualifications will need to be approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) in order to be considered for funding approval. For academic qualifications, the department will set criteria to ensure all qualifications approved for funding are necessary alongside A levels. Ofqual will provide advice about quality to both the Institute and the department. This will ensure that all qualifications are high quality and provide the skills needed to support progression either into skilled employment or further study.

Alongside our reforms to level 3 qualifications, the department wants to improve study at level 2 and below, which has been neglected for too long. Improving level 2 and below is key to making sure that every student has a clear progression route – whether that is to high quality level 3 qualifications, apprenticeships, traineeships, or directly into skilled employment at level 2. The department is considering feedback to the call for evidence, which ran from 10 November 2020 to 14 February 2021, and there will be consultation on reform proposals later this year.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding covid-19 recovery policies for disabled children.

We recognise that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s learning, health and wellbeing, particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We are committed to supporting them and their families.

Since June 2020, we have announced more than £3 billion to support education recovery in schools, 16-19 providers and early years settings.

We have consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts to these settings in both the 2020 Catch-up Premium and the 2021 Recovery Premium. In mainstream settings, school leaders are able to target these initiatives to vulnerable children and are able to use the recovery premium to meet wider non-academic needs. Funding announced for school-led tutoring will also provide greater flexibility to schools and we anticipate that this will especially benefit children and young people with SEND in all settings, where tutors familiar to these children can support them to realise the benefits of tuition. Specialist settings were given an uplift to deliver summer schools, at three times the normal rate.

The government is committed to an ambitious, long-term education recovery plan. The next stage will include a review of time spent in school and 16-19 education and the impact this could have on children and young people’s attainment and wellbeing. The findings of the review will be set out later in the year to inform the spending review. We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on education and consider what more needs to be done to help children and young people, including those with disabilities, catch up.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent guidance he has provided to universities on returning to face-to-face teaching for the 2021-22 academic year as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Following the announcement to move forward to Step 4 of the government’s Roadmap, we can confirm there will be no further restrictions on the provision of in-person teaching and learning in the autumn term in higher education (HE) settings.

HE providers should continue to conduct risk assessments based around their particular circumstances and should implement sensible and proportionate control measures which follow the health and safety hierarchy of controls to reduce the risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level. HE providers should have contingency plans to deal with any identified positive cases of COVID-19 or outbreaks.

We have updated our guidance to the sector in preparation for Step 4: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

As COVID-19 vaccination is now being offered to everyone aged 18 and over, all students and staff should be encouraged to participate in the programme and take up the offer of both doses of the vaccine.

HE providers should communicate clearly to their students on what they can expect from planned teaching and learning, in current circumstances and in different scenarios, and the changes that might need to be made in response to changing public health advice, so that they are able to make informed choices.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Education
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that there is equality for disabled children and their non-disabled peers in their recovery from the effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

Our ambition is for every child and young person, no matter what challenges they face, to have access to a world-class education that sets them up for life. We want pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including those in specialist settings, to continue to receive high-quality teaching and specialist professional support. We know that these pupils and students and their families can be disproportionately impacted by having been out of education, and we are committed to helping all pupils and students, including those with SEND, to make up learning lost because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The government will continue to focus on education recovery and making sure no child is left behind with their learning, with over £3 billion announced for catch up so far. We have consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts both in the 2020 catch-up premium and in the 2021 Recovery Premium, in recognition of the significantly higher per pupil costs they face.

Special schools will receive additional funding to ensure these settings can provide one-to-one tutoring for their pupils. We will also provide greater flexibility to schools to make it easier for them to take on local tutors or use existing staff to supplement those employed through the existing National Tutoring Programme. We anticipate that this will particularly benefit children and young people with SEND, where tutors familiar to these children can support them to realise the benefits of tuition.

Children will further benefit from additional funding to ensure that teachers in schools and early years settings are able to access high quality training and professional development. We know that high quality teaching is the best way to support all students, including those with SEND.

Young people with SEND aged 19 to 24 who have an education, health and care plan will be eligible for support via the 16 to 19 tuition fund, where they meet the fund criteria.

As part of the major investment in education, an additional £730 million is being provided for high needs this year, coming on top of an extra £780 million last year, which means high needs budgets will have grown by over £1.5 billion, nearly a quarter, in just two years.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the transfer of information from school to college is as good as the transfer of information from school to school for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The SEND Review has listened carefully to children and young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) and is alert to the barriers which pupils with SEND can face transitioning from school to college.

The review is considering how to improve the transition process for students, with, and without, education health and care plans, as well as how we can support schools and colleges in effectively managing the transition process.

The SEND Review is exploring with all partners across education, health and care, how data sharing can be improved to support children and young people with SEND.

This includes considering how the transfer of information between school to college can be improved, to strengthen pathways into further education, by being more effective and well timed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the forthcoming review into support for children with special educational needs and disabilities, what plans he has to include measures that remove potential barriers to a smooth and supportive transition from school to college for young people with Education Health and Care Plans.

The SEND Review has listened carefully to children and young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) and is alert to the barriers which pupils with SEND can face transitioning from school to college.

The review is considering how to improve the transition process for students, with, and without, education health and care plans, as well as how we can support schools and colleges in effectively managing the transition process.

The SEND Review is exploring with all partners across education, health and care, how data sharing can be improved to support children and young people with SEND.

This includes considering how the transfer of information between school to college can be improved, to strengthen pathways into further education, by being more effective and well timed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that college students with special educational needs or disabilities but without high needs funding receive the same level of support that they received when at school.

In 2014, the Children and Families Act introduced significant reforms to the system for special educational needs and disability (SEND). It brought the further education (FE) sector into a single coherent SEND system spanning early years, schools and FE, and placed new duties on FE colleges and other post-16 providers, who must have regard to the SEND Code of Practice. Colleges are required to identify and address the special educational needs of the learners they work with and must make sure that the young person gets the support they need.

​The SEND Code of Practice states that colleges should be ambitious for all young people with SEND, whatever their needs and whatever their level of study.

The national funding formula for 16–19 year-olds includes disadvantage funding to attract, retain and support disadvantaged students, including those with learning difficulties and disabilities. In the 2020/21 academic year we allocated over £530 million of disadvantage funding within 16-19 funding formula.

Through the grant which we have in place with the Education and Training Foundation (£1.2 million in the 2021-22 financial year) we fund training and support for the college workforce to equip them to offer high quality provision for learners with SEND, throughout their time in college.

We are currently conducting a review of SEND policy, which includes looking at how we can provide the highest quality support across school and colleges, ensuring that children and young people with SEND are enabled to thrive, prepare for adulthood and secure high quality outcomes.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to contraception for people with learning disabilities as part of relationships and sex education.

As part of relationships, sex and health education (RSHE), pupils are taught that everyone has the right to free confidential sexual health advice and services, including information on how to access these services, how to get advice on and access to contraception.

To support teachers to deliver effective RSHE to pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), the Department has developed a SEND teacher training module which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health#pupils-with-send.

In July 2020, the Department hosted a national RSHE SEND webinar with a presentation from the Sex Education Forum. We have also funded eight regional webinars to support teachers of pupils with SEND to teach the new curriculum effectively. These were delivered by the National Association for Special Educational Needs and the PSHE Association.

Contraception and sexual health content also form part of the ‘Intimate Sexual Relationships and Sexual Health’ teacher training module. More information on this teacher training module can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-training-intimate-and-sexual-relationships-including-sexual-health.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what comparative assessment he has made of the funding gap between how much in funding (a) local authorities have spent on disabled children’s health and care services and (b) the Government has so allocated to local authorities for those services (i) before and (ii) after the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has not made an assessment of local government expenditure on disabled children’s health and care services in comparison to funding allocated over the period referenced. The government is clear that the responsibility for, and management of local government funding lies with local authorities, who are best placed to determine their priority needs. However, supporting local government to meet the health and care needs of all children and young people, particularly the most vulnerable, remains a priority.

Since 2019-20, the government has provided additional funding for adults’ and children’s social care via the social care grant, giving £1.7 billion this year. In addition to the social care grant, the government made available an increase in Core Spending Power in England from £49 billion in 2020-21 to up to £51.2 billion in 2021-22, a 4.5% increase in cash terms. This recognised the resources councils need to meet their pressures and maintain current service levels, including for disabled health and social care services.

The department is providing an additional £730 million of ongoing high needs funding for educating children and young people up to the age of 25 with complex special educational needs and disabilities, during the financial year 2021-22. This means that the total high needs funding allocation will have risen by nearly a quarter in two years to over £8 billion this year.

Total support committed to councils in England to tackle the impacts of COVID-19 is over £12 billion. Over £6 billion of this is unringfenced, in recognition that local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major COVID-19 pressures in their local area.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what fiscal steps he is taking to help disabled children and their families recover from the covid-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been extremely challenging for many families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Supporting them is a priority for this government, and their wellbeing remains central to our response to COVID-19.

We have consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts to these settings in the 2020 catch-up premium, the 2021 recovery premium, the National Tutoring Programme, and in funding to deliver summer schools.

Special schools will receive additional funding for tutoring to ensure that these settings can provide one-to-one tutoring for their pupils. Across all settings, funding for school-led tutoring will provide greater flexibility to schools to take on local tutors or use existing staff to deliver tutoring. We anticipate that this will particularly benefit children and young people with SEND, where tutors familiar to these children can support them to realise the benefits of tuition. The Recovery Premium can also be used to support wider non-academic interventions, such as therapies.

Additional funding, announced in June 2021, will ensure that teachers and practitioners in schools and early years settings are able to access high quality training and professional development to support all pupils to succeed. We know that high quality teaching is the best way to support all students, including those with SEND.

We are also providing more than £27.3 million for the Family Fund in the 2021-22 financial year, supporting over 60,000 families on low incomes raising children and young people with disabilites and serious illnesses.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of giving people on a spousal dependent visa access to student finance.

Generally, to be eligible for student support, a student must be resident in England and have ‘settled’ status or a recognised connection with the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course and must have been a resident of the UK and Islands (Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) for the 3 years prior to that date.

It is important that the limited public funds available for student support are targeted on those categories of persons with a lawful and substantial residential connection to the UK and who are likely to remain indefinitely. The only exceptions to the requirement to be settled are where an individual has been granted international protection (such as refugee status) or where they fall within certain exceptions within the relevant regulations.

There are no plans to enable persons with limited leave to remain on a family visa, including for spouses, to access student finance prior to achieving settlement.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Education
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support disabled children and their families in the recovery from covid-19.

Supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families is a priority for this government, and their educational, physical and mental wellbeing remains central to our cross-government response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have provided £40.8 million for the Family Fund in 2020-21 to support over 80,000 families on low incomes raising children with disabilities or serious illnesses. This includes £13.5 million to specifically respond to needs arising from the outbreak.

We have published guidance for children's social care services, making clear that parents or carers of disabled children and young people may continue to access respite care, and have communicated best practice to Directors of Children's Services and local authorities to ensure that as many disabled children and young people as possible can continue to access these services during the COVID-19 outbreak. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

The government has provided £4.6 billion of additional funding in financial year 2020-21 to support councils through the COVID-19 outbreak to respond to local needs, including to deliver services to support vulnerable children.

We have and continue to develop plans for COVID-19 recovery. As part of this, both special schools and alternative provision will be able to access funding to provide summer schools and the National Tutoring Programme, and we recognise the additional costs associated with offering provision to pupils in specialist settings. This means that eligible pupils in special schools, special units in mainstream primary and secondary schools and alternative provision settings will attract a higher rate of the new one-off Recovery Premium funding worth £302 million, as well as funding for summer schools. We have consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings in our Recovery Premiums to schools by providing additional uplifts both in 2020 and in 2021.

Young people with SEND aged 19 to 24 who have an education, health and care plan will be eligible for support via the 16 to 19 Tuition Fund, where they meet the fund criteria. Providers are asked to have regard to the needs of students with SEND when prioritising students that would benefit most from small group tuition. Furthermore, the proposals to support early language and literacy recovery will benefit all children, including those with SEND.

£200 million will be available to all secondary schools, including specialist settings, to deliver face-to-face summer schools. Schools will be able to target provision based on pupils’ needs. The size and shape of the summer schools will be decided by school leaders who know best what the most effective summer school will look like for their pupils, allowing them to tailor support for pupils, including those with SEND.

Sir Kevan Collins has also been appointed as the Education Recovery Commissioner and is considering how schools and the system can more effectively target resources and support at pupils in greatest need.

The department will continue to assess the impact of the outbreak and its subsequent COVID-19 recovery plans on all pupils, including those with SEND, to ensure it targets support across the system most effectively.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department collects data on free school meals by ethnicity.

Data on free school meals is collected in each term of the school census. Breakdowns by ethnicity are collected in the spring school census.

The most recent figures for number of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals by ethnicity were published in the response to parliamentary question UIN 63494, tabled on 23 June 2020. This is available here: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-06-23/63494.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take to tackle unequal exclusions for (a) Black and (b) Roma children.

The Department has made a public commitment to work in partnership with my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister’s Independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities to understand disparities in expulsion rates.

It is clear in guidance on suspension and expulsion that all schools should consider what extra support might be needed to identify and address the needs of children from groups with disproportionately high rates of expulsion.

The Department is pursuing an ambitious programme of work on school behaviour across the school system, including through our £10 million behaviour hubs programme. The Department is also focusing on reforms needed to deliver significantly improved outcomes for children and young people in alternative provision, so that children who are suspended or expelled, and children at risk of suspension or expulsion, receive high quality education and support suited to their individual needs.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will work with Cabinet colleagues to bring forward proposals to end the provisions in section 38 and Schedule 17 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 as covid-19 restrictions are lifted to make it the duty of schools to secure SEND provision for disabled children and young people.

The legal duties on schools, local authorities, and health bodies to provide support to children and young people with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans are fully in force. As part of the early response to the COVID-19 outbreak, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, did issue notices under the Coronavirus Act 2020 for the months of May to July 2020 that temporarily modified the law over the provision set out in EHC plans. However, when the July notice expired last year, the full duty to secure or arrange provision under section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 was reinstated.

The safeguards built into the Coronavirus Act 2020 include that such notices can only be made where this is an ‘appropriate and proportionate action in all the circumstances relating to the incidence or transmission of Coronavirus’. Therefore, this is not a power that can be used without compelling reason. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, continues to keep the need to issue further such notices under review, but he has made it clear that he will not do so unless the evidence changes.

As part of the one year review of the Coronavirus Act 2020, and in line with the announcement of the roadmap, the government has conducted a thorough review of the non-devolved provisions to check that they are necessary and proportionate. We have considered whether there is a robust justification for keeping each power. Where we have concluded that powers are no longer necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are providing for these to expire or be suspended. We do not, however, consider it appropriate at this stage to remove the power to issue notices relating to the law on EHC plans. Use of the power was and remains an important contingency to use swiftly in the event of local authorities, health bodies and education settings again needing flexibility to prioritise their resources in response to the changing demands of the outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will bring forward proposals to end the provisions in section 38 and Schedule 17 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 as covid-19 restrictions are lifted to make it the duty of schools to secure SEND provision for disabled children and young people.

The legal duties on schools, local authorities, and health bodies to provide support to children and young people with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans are fully in force. As part of the early response to the COVID-19 outbreak, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, did issue notices under the Coronavirus Act 2020 for the months of May to July 2020 that temporarily modified the law over the provision set out in EHC plans. However, when the July notice expired last year, the full duty to secure or arrange provision under section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 was reinstated.

The safeguards built into the Coronavirus Act 2020 include that such notices can only be made where this is an ‘appropriate and proportionate action in all the circumstances relating to the incidence or transmission of Coronavirus’. Therefore, this is not a power that can be used without compelling reason. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, continues to keep the need to issue further such notices under review, but he has made it clear that he will not do so unless the evidence changes.

As part of the one year review of the Coronavirus Act 2020, and in line with the announcement of the roadmap, the government has conducted a thorough review of the non-devolved provisions to check that they are necessary and proportionate. We have considered whether there is a robust justification for keeping each power. Where we have concluded that powers are no longer necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are providing for these to expire or be suspended. We do not, however, consider it appropriate at this stage to remove the power to issue notices relating to the law on EHC plans. Use of the power was and remains an important contingency to use swiftly in the event of local authorities, health bodies and education settings again needing flexibility to prioritise their resources in response to the changing demands of the outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to monitor access to essential assistive technology for children with vision impairments to use when learning remotely.

All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in England are now expected to provide remote education for the majority of their pupils and students, with the exception of vulnerable children and young people (including those with an Education, Health and Care Plan) and the children of critical workers, who can attend school or college in person. Where vulnerable children and young people and children of critical workers do not attend school or college, the department expects schools and colleges to provide them with remote education.

We have updated the remote education guidance for schools and colleges, including guidance for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), to clarify and strengthen expectations while on site attendance is restricted, drawing on our evolving understanding of best practice in remote education. The guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952443/210114_School_national_restrictions_guidance_FINAL_14012021.pdf.

For pupils with SEND, their teachers are best placed to know how the pupils’ needs can be most effectively met to ensure they continue to make progress even if they are not able to be in school due to COVID-19. The requirement for schools to use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision called for by the pupils’ special educational needs remains in place.

Where possible, special schools should follow the age related guidance for primary schools and secondary schools. For example, for Key Stage 1 children in a special school, a minimum of 3 hours should be the aim on average across the cohort, with less for younger pupils. However, the department expects schools to consider these expectations in relation to the pupils’ stage of development and special educational needs, for example, where this would place significant demands on parents’ help or support.

Schools should work collaboratively with families, putting in place reasonable adjustments as necessary, so that pupils with SEND can successfully access remote education and an ambitious curriculum appropriate for their level of need alongside their peers. All further education colleges should give particular consideration of how best to support vulnerable and disadvantaged students and students with SEND who may not be able to access remote education without support.

To ensure pupils with SEND are supported effectively, we have provided additional funding to one of our demonstrators, National Star College, to provide specialist training in assistive technologies to teachers, leaders and SENCOs in all state funded schools in England.  This training will help to secure remote education arrangements for pupils with special educational needs. Advice and guidance is also available to support the development of an inclusive curriculum.

In addition, the department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Specialist content for pupils with SEND is also available.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he will take to increase provision of (a) brailed, (b) large print materials and (c) other essential alternative learning formats for children with vision impairment during the covid-19 outbreak.

Children with vision impairment may be vulnerable children, such as those with education health and care plans, and as such are strongly encouraged to attend school. Braille, large print materials and other essential alternative learning formats should be provided by schools as normal. Where pupils with vision impairment are not in school, we expect schools to provide suitable remote learning materials, which could include braille, large print materials and other essential alternative learning formats.

We are also funding National Star College to provide specialist online training on assistive technology to strengthen remote education provision for pupils with special educational needs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure Qualified Teachers of Vision Impairment are able to safely provide face-to-face support to children with vision impairment.

The department has worked closely with Public Health England (PHE) to publish comprehensive guidance based on a system of controls which, when implemented in line with a revised risk assessment, creates an inherently safer environment for staff, pupils and students where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. This provides a framework for all schools to put in place proportionate protective measures to measure risk effectively. New guidance has been published on the period during the national lockdown, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

We recognise that social distancing and other protective measures can be harder to implement in specialist settings, particularly when working with children and young people with complex needs, or those who need close contact care. The ’Guidance for full opening: Special Schools and other specialist settings’ has been developed with experts from PHE and provides advice on how special schools and other special education settings specifically can implement a ‘system of controls’ to reduce the risk of transmission. The guidance can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

Specialist settings should use their discretion and assess their own individual circumstances to achieve the greatest reduction in contacts. This should not unduly limit the quality or breadth of teaching, or access to support, specialist staff and therapists. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings#the-system-of-controls-protective-measures.

The government is delivering a program of rapid asymptomatic testing from the start of January 2021 for staff, pupils and students in secondary schools and colleges. The Department for Education has provided guidance on delivering asymptomatic testing in specialist settings to support delivering testing in special schools and specialist colleges, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings/mass-asymptomatic-testing-in-specialist-settings. The government also announced that all primary schools, including primary special schools, will receive testing kits for staff from 18 January 2021 with testing of staff commencing from the 25 January.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure that Qualified Teachers of Visual Impairment are not deployed away from their core role of providing specialist support for children with a vision impairment.

During the period of national lockdown, primary, secondary, alternative provision, special schools and special post-16 institutions should allow vulnerable children and young people, including those with an education, health and care plan to attend. To support this, on 7 January 2021, we published guidance for schools on the current national lockdown, which is available at the following web link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

On 14 January 2021 we published additional guidance for special school, special post-16 providers and alternative provision during the national lockdown at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952377/Guidance_for_special_schools__specialist_post-16_providers_and_alternative_provision_during_the_national_lockdown.pdf.

This guidance makes clear that specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils can provide interventions as usual where this is reasonably necessary, including where this requires them to move between settings.

On occasions, special schools may encounter circumstances where they cannot provide their usual interventions and provision at adequate staffing ratios, or with staff with vital specialist training. In these circumstances they should seek to resume as close as possible to the specified provision for the child or young person as soon as possible.

Where it is necessary to take this approach, education settings should work collaboratively with families to make these assessments and agree an approach that is in the child or young person’s best interests. This should take into account the support that the child or young person needs and the specific circumstances affecting the family, and their views as to what would be appropriate. Any decisions taken should be regularly reviewed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what specific guidance is in place for schools on determining the grades of pupils with visual impairment.

The Government has announced that, from 5 January 2021, schools and colleges have moved to remote provision, except for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. In light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department will not be asking pupils to sit GCSE, AS and A level exams this summer as planned.

The Department and Ofqual have launched a two week consultation on how to fairly award all pupils, including pupils with visual impairments and other additional needs, with a grade that supports them to progress to the next stage of their lives.

The consultation proposes that teachers will be supported in awarding grades with the provision of training, guidance, and papers to inform assessments. Guidance materials will be made available after the consultation has closed and the detail of the approach is agreed. The Department would strongly encourage our stakeholders to respond to the consultation.

We will continue to engage with a range of relevant stakeholders, including groups with special educational needs and disabilities, when developing plans for our policy on GCSE, AS and A level assessments in 2021, as will the exams regulator, Ofqual.

Ofqual’s equalities analysis for 2020 can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/896443/Equalities_impact_assessment_appeals_consultation_300620.pdf#:~:text=Ofqual%20has%20an%20ongoing%20programme%20of%20work%20to,next%20on%20the%20grade%20awarded%20to%20the%20centre

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether there is legislation in place to ensure that schools seek the advice of Qualified Teachers of Visual Impairment when determining the grades of pupils with visual impairment.

The Government has announced that, from 5 January 2021, schools and colleges have moved to remote provision, except for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. In light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department will not be asking pupils to sit GCSE, AS and A level exams this summer as planned.

The Department and Ofqual have launched a two week consultation on how to fairly award all pupils, including pupils with visual impairments and other additional needs, with a grade that supports them to progress to the next stage of their lives.

The consultation proposes that teachers will be supported in awarding grades with the provision of training, guidance, and papers to inform assessments. Guidance materials will be made available after the consultation has closed and the detail of the approach is agreed. The Department would strongly encourage our stakeholders to respond to the consultation.

We will continue to engage with a range of relevant stakeholders, including groups with special educational needs and disabilities, when developing plans for our policy on GCSE, AS and A level assessments in 2021, as will the exams regulator, Ofqual.

Ofqual’s equalities analysis for 2020 can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/896443/Equalities_impact_assessment_appeals_consultation_300620.pdf#:~:text=Ofqual%20has%20an%20ongoing%20programme%20of%20work%20to,next%20on%20the%20grade%20awarded%20to%20the%20centre

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason his Department decided not to make funding available for the Union Learning Fund after March 2020.

The decision was taken to increase the scale and reach of our offer in response to the challenges facing our changing economy, by consolidating our support in larger, more comprehensive offers.

The Unionlearn model has its limitations. It is reliant on a trade union presence in the workplace, which is more focused on larger employers and does not necessarily reach the unemployed, self-employed, start-ups and many more small and medium-sized businesses that do not have union representation. The 2018 evaluation by Exeter University found only 2% of people supported through Unionlearn were unemployed and 5% were self-employed.

We are focussing on a much larger and more comprehensive package of training support, including the establishment of a £2.5 billion National Skills Fund to help adults get the skills they need, including the Lifetime Skills Guarantee – to support any adult who does not yet have an A-level equivalent qualification to obtain one. This is in addition to the existing entitlement for adults without English and Maths level 2 qualifications or Basic Digital Skills level 1 to get fully funded support to gain these essential qualifications.

As a result, it was decided not to continue to fund the smaller Unionlearn offer but I can confirm all the money will be invested in skills and retraining that will be fully accessible to everyone.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to fund counselling in all schools and colleges as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

It is important for schools and colleges to have the freedom to decide what support to offer pupils based on their particular needs and drawing on an evidence base of effective practice. Our survey of mental health provision in schools and colleges in 2016 and 2017 found that 61% of schools and colleges (56% of primary schools, 84% of secondary schools and 93% of colleges) reported offering a counselling service for their pupils.

The department has published guidance on how to put in place effective school-based counselling, which schools can use to identify where further counselling support is appropriate for their pupils. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/counselling-in-schools.

We know that access to mental health support has been more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. To ensure that staff were equipped to support wellbeing as children and young people returned to schools and colleges, we made it a central part of our guidance on the return to school. We supported this with a range of training and materials, including webinars which have been accessed by thousands of education staff and accelerating training on how to teach about mental health as part of the new relationships, sex and health curriculum, so that all pupils can benefit from this long-term requirement. As part of this, we are investing £8 million in the new Wellbeing for Education Return programme which is funding expert advisers who will be able to train and support schools and colleges, in every area of England, and can make links to available local authority provision, including counselling.

We have also worked hard to ensure that all pupils and learners were able to return to a full high-quality education programme in September. Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package, with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020-21 academic year, is supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place.

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support and resources he is providing to schools to allow children who have had a tracheostomy or require other aerosol generating procedures to return to school during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

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

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

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

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to allocate additional ring-fenced funding in the Comprehensive Spending Review to support children with SEND to (a) catch up on lost learning and (b) receive the therapies and social care support they require.

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

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

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support children in receipt of free school meals in the event that their school is closed as a result of covid-19.

As schools and their kitchens are now open, all children should be able to access a healthy, nutritious meal at school, free to those that are eligible for infant free school meals or benefit-related free school meals. If children are eligible for benefit-related free school meals but are self-isolating we expect catering providers to be in a strong position to support any eligible pupils through food parcels, be those daily or weekly. We have put guidance in place for schools on how they can support children in these circumstances, which is complemented by advice from the schools food trade organisation LACA, and Public Health England on what a good food parcel should comprise. Our latest guidance for schools is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

If a school closes, we would expect its catering team to remain available to assist, and free school meal funding remains available to schools, as it has done throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. We encourage schools to work creatively with their food suppliers on these arrangements. We understand that parcels may not be feasible in all situations and, while this remains the preferred method, schools also have the freedom to make alternative local arrangements.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many disadvantaged pupils in Battersea constituency have been provided with technological support by the Government during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

The Department has delivered laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts based on the Department’s estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify children and young people who need devices and prioritise their needs.

The Department has published information about how many laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers have been delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts in total, which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data. As of the end of June, over 202,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers had been delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts. This includes 1,073 devices dispatched to Wandsworth Local Authority, in which Battersea is located, for children with a social worker and care leavers and disadvantaged year 10s.

The Department has also launched a service to provide children and young people free access to BT wifi hotspots. 10,000 families will initially be able to access the pilot scheme, which will be rolled out across England in the coming months.

In addition, the Department is also working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families. For families who rely on a mobile internet connection, mobile network operators are working to provide access to free additional data while the COVID-19 outbreak requires children to learn from home and more social care services are online.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of (a) school students and (b) Black, African and Caribbean school students were excluded in Battersea in 2019.

Exclusions data for 2019 are not yet available. The National Statistics release ‘Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England 2017 to 2018’ has further information on the number and rate of permanent and fixed period exclusions, the data for which has been presented in the attached table.

The release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england-2017-to-2018.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of (a) school students and (b) BAME school students were excluded in Battersea in 2019.

Exclusions data for 2019 are not yet available. The National Statistics release ‘Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England 2017 to 2018’ has further information on the number and rate of permanent and fixed period exclusions, the data for which has been presented in the attached table.

The release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england-2017-to-2018.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of (a) school students and (b) BAME school students were excluded in 2019.

The information requested is not held centrally, as data on exclusions in 2019 is not yet available.

The National Statistics release ‘Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England 2017 to 2018’ includes information on the number and rate of permanent and fixed period exclusions.

The release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england-2017-to-2018.

In the national tables, table 1 has overall exclusion rates. The Department does not collect exclusion data for disabled students separately. Table 5 has exclusion rates by Special Educational Needs provision. Table 8 has exclusion information by ethnic group.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of (a) school students and (b) Black, African and Caribbean school students were excluded in 2019.

The information requested is not held centrally, as data on exclusions in 2019 is not yet available.

The National Statistics release ‘Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England 2017 to 2018’ includes information on the number and rate of permanent and fixed period exclusions.

The release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england-2017-to-2018.

In the national tables, table 1 has overall exclusion rates. The Department does not collect exclusion data for disabled students separately. Table 5 has exclusion rates by Special Educational Needs provision. Table 8 has exclusion information by ethnic group.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of (a) school students and (b) disabled school students were excluded from school in 2019.

The information requested is not held centrally, as data on exclusions in 2019 is not yet available.

The National Statistics release ‘Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England 2017 to 2018’ includes information on the number and rate of permanent and fixed period exclusions.

The release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england-2017-to-2018.

In the national tables, table 1 has overall exclusion rates. The Department does not collect exclusion data for disabled students separately. Table 5 has exclusion rates by Special Educational Needs provision. Table 8 has exclusion information by ethnic group.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Detailed evidence report on Air quality PM2.5 targets, published by his Department on 6 May 2022, for what reasons the reductions achieved by the high scenario are lower than those required by the National Emissions Ceiling Directive.

The indicative scenarios used in the development of the Environment Act PM 2.5 targets were based on realistic and feasible measures specific to our national circumstances.

A different approach was taken for the National Emissions Ceiling Regulations comparison scenario which was constructed to meet our EU legacy emission ceilings and does not take into account feasibility.

Neither are proposed policy pathways which will be developed as part of the Environmental Improvement Plan due in 2023.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has modelled the likelihood of reducing the average annual concentration of PM2.5 pollution to 10µg/m3 at any point between 2030 and 2040.

We set out the information we considered when setting our PM2.5 Environment Act target in the evidence packs which can be found at:

https://consult.defra.gov.uk/natural-environment-policy/consultation-on-environmental-targets/

14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits relating to blue carbon of banning bottom trawling in Marine Protected Areas.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, on 23 July 2021, PQ UIN 33202.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will use its new powers under the Fisheries Act 2020 to restrict the fishing licences of supertrawlers and bottom trawlers and prevent them from operating in offshore UK Marine Protected Areas.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, on 19 July 2021, PQ UIN 33200.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the compatibility of the activity of supertrawlers and bottom trawlers in UK Marine Protected Areas with its target to protect 30 per cent of the UK's oceans by 2030.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, on 19 July 2021, PQ UIN 33197.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effects of fully and highly-protected Marine Protected Areas on the (a) ecological health of inshore waters and (b) livelihoods of local fishing communities.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, on 19 July 2021, PQ UIN 33198.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential effect on mobile fish stocks of banning supertrawlers from the offshore Marine Protected Areas network, in the context of the Government’s plan to introduce management measures in 40 English offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPA) over the next three years.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion on 23 July 2021, PQ UIN 33201.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a complete waste export ban to help reduce the UK's contribution to the global plastics crisis.

Waste is a commodity which is traded on a legitimate global market. Where the UK cannot currently recycle materials economically, exports can help enable more materials to be recycled rather than landfilled or incinerated.

The Government therefore has no plans to assess the merits of a complete waste export ban.

Recognising the difficulties experienced by some countries in managing imports of plastic waste, the Government stated its ambition to ban exports of plastic waste to non-OECD countries in its manifesto. The Government has committed to consult on this measure and work is underway to make this happen. Defra has commissioned research to gain a better understanding of the plastic waste recycling capacity in the UK and OECD member countries and this research will be key to the development of policy options to implement the manifesto commitment. The Environment Bill will enable us to deliver on this commitment and we currently plan to consult before the end of 2022 on options to deliver the proposed ban. The Bill also allows us to introduce mandatory electronic tracking of waste to help tackle waste crime here in the UK and prevent illegal waste from being shipped abroad.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that private water companies are held accountable for illegal dumping of untreated sewage into rivers across the UK.

All discharges to the water environment require a permit issued by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. The Environment Agency will include the necessary conditions in water company discharge permits to ensure discharges occur only under strict permitted conditions. Where discharges occur outside of these conditions, the Environment Agency investigates and takes appropriate action, which includes enforcement action if necessary.

Environment Agency action has resulted in 48 prosecutions against water companies in the last six years, securing fines of £35 million. £10.4 million has also been donated to environmental and wildlife trusts organisations in the same period through enforcement undertakings, a voluntary agreement which will include a donation to environmental charities to restore any harm done. The Environment Agency will continue to take enforcement action against water companies which fail to uphold the law or cause serious environmental harm.

I have met water company CEOs and made clear that the volume of sewage discharged into rivers and other waterways in extreme weather must be reduced.

To achieve this, the new Storm Overflows Taskforce - bringing together the Government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs - has agreed to set a long-term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows. The Taskforce is meeting regularly and working on plans to make progress towards that goal, and has commissioned research to gather evidence on the costs, benefits and feasibility of different options.

As announced on 11 May, we are introducing amendments to the Environment Bill that will help to reduce the harm that storm overflows cause to our waterways. We are introducing new duties that will require the Government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows and to report progress to Parliament on implementing that plan. We are also introducing duties requiring water companies and the Environment Agency to publish data on storm overflow operations on an annual basis. These legally-binding obligations on water companies and the Government will help to reduce pollution in rivers – protecting wildlife and public health.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Environmental Agency in enabling the Government to meet its commitments to making the UKs rivers, lakes and streams healthy by 2027.

The Environment Agency corporate scorecard shows a high-level overview of its performance against environmental and business aims and is used to update senior leaders on the Environment Agency’s progress every three months.

My Rt Hon Friend the Environment Secretary regularly keeps the Environment Agency’s progress under review on how well it is achieving stated aims as set out in the Environment Agency Action plan.

Delivering a healthy water environment is a task that goes beyond the scope of any single organisation’s capability. The Environment Agency is the body that is responsible for developing plans to achieve the objective of a healthy water environment in England. However, a far wider range of organisations must participate if it is to succeed. The Environment Agency will consult over the draft plans covering the period until 2027 this year and I encourage all interested parties to engage with that process.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what environmental impact assessment has been undertaken on the proposed closure of Forestry England’s Wykeham nursery in Yorkshire.

Following a detailed review of future tree seedling supply needs, Forestry England proposes to close Wykeham nursery and to concentrate production at its Delamere nursery facilities. The nurseries exist primarily to supply trees for Forestry England; the closure at Wykeham will not impact upon current or future tree planting ambitions nationally or by Forestry England. The proposed closure does not require a formal Environmental Impact Assessment, though assessment of any future plans for usage of the site will need consideration under the relevant regulatory processes.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will ensure that baby/food banks are able to provide first infant formula for formula-fed babies in need.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the UK Government does not have any role in their operation. Decisions about which donations to accept and make available to food bank users are therefore a matter for food bank providers.

Healthy Start vouchers support pregnant women or households with children under four, who are on a low income, with the cost of milk (including infant formula), fruit and vegetables helping to boost children’s long-term health. The Government is increasing the weekly value of these vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to remove the requirement for VI-1 forms on EU wine imported into Great Britain after 30 June 2021.

Wine imports to the EU have been subject to the requirement to provide a VI1 certificate for many years. The basis for their introduction was to provide a level of assurance that the wine being imported met the standards required to be marketed in the EU. Over time the VI1 requirement has been relaxed in some cases to allow simplified forms of the certificate to be used, where for instance the exporting country and the EU have reached trade agreements covering the production of wine.

The Withdrawal Act 2018 retained the requirement for third country wines to be accompanied by a VI1 certificate as a means of maintaining that level of assurance. We have not conducted an analysis of the potential impact of the introduction of VI1 measures on the UK’s standing as an international wine hub or the effect it will have on our fine wine trade. However, considering that VI1 provisions already exist for wine imports from other origins such as Australia, USA and Chile, and these wines remain extremely competitive in our and the EU’s marketplaces, we believe the new requirement to be appropriate and affordable. In addition, were we not to apply equal provisions to wine from the EU our policies would risk contravening WTO most favoured nation obligations.

Nevertheless, we do recognise that the rules underpinning detailed VI1 requirements were contained in legislation that had to be made late in the transition period, and that did not provide time for the EU industry to adjust. We have therefore provided an easement until 1 July 2021 in the Food and Drink (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 that will allow scope for EU wine to continue to be imported to GB using commercial documentation, as it did when the UK was subject to EU rules.

Although the easement will still apply to all EU wine imports, the new UK / EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement has established a highly simplified, self-certified VI1 certificate to cover the movement of wine products made in the UK or the EU and moving to the other territory. This will not apply to bulk imports of wine from other origins that are traded between the UK and the EU which will have to continue to meet the basic VI1 requirements. We have therefore introduced streamlined measures to issue VI1 certificates to the trade and ensure that re-exports of bulk wine from other origins bottled in the UK will continue to operate with minimal effect.

As I and colleagues in Government have said on many occasions, leaving the EU gives us the ability to look critically at the laws we have inherited from the EU to ensure they remain fit for purpose. We will consider in due course whether there is a case to revisit the requirement for VI1 certification.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the intended purpose is of the VI-1 import certificate.

Wine imports to the EU have been subject to the requirement to provide a VI1 certificate for many years. The basis for their introduction was to provide a level of assurance that the wine being imported met the standards required to be marketed in the EU. Over time the VI1 requirement has been relaxed in some cases to allow simplified forms of the certificate to be used, where for instance the exporting country and the EU have reached trade agreements covering the production of wine.

The Withdrawal Act 2018 retained the requirement for third country wines to be accompanied by a VI1 certificate as a means of maintaining that level of assurance. We have not conducted an analysis of the potential impact of the introduction of VI1 measures on the UK’s standing as an international wine hub or the effect it will have on our fine wine trade. However, considering that VI1 provisions already exist for wine imports from other origins such as Australia, USA and Chile, and these wines remain extremely competitive in our and the EU’s marketplaces, we believe the new requirement to be appropriate and affordable. In addition, were we not to apply equal provisions to wine from the EU our policies would risk contravening WTO most favoured nation obligations.

Nevertheless, we do recognise that the rules underpinning detailed VI1 requirements were contained in legislation that had to be made late in the transition period, and that did not provide time for the EU industry to adjust. We have therefore provided an easement until 1 July 2021 in the Food and Drink (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 that will allow scope for EU wine to continue to be imported to GB using commercial documentation, as it did when the UK was subject to EU rules.

Although the easement will still apply to all EU wine imports, the new UK / EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement has established a highly simplified, self-certified VI1 certificate to cover the movement of wine products made in the UK or the EU and moving to the other territory. This will not apply to bulk imports of wine from other origins that are traded between the UK and the EU which will have to continue to meet the basic VI1 requirements. We have therefore introduced streamlined measures to issue VI1 certificates to the trade and ensure that re-exports of bulk wine from other origins bottled in the UK will continue to operate with minimal effect.

As I and colleagues in Government have said on many occasions, leaving the EU gives us the ability to look critically at the laws we have inherited from the EU to ensure they remain fit for purpose. We will consider in due course whether there is a case to revisit the requirement for VI1 certification.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on UK fine wine trade as a result of rolling over VI-1 import forms to half of all UK wine imports.

Wine imports to the EU have been subject to the requirement to provide a VI1 certificate for many years. The basis for their introduction was to provide a level of assurance that the wine being imported met the standards required to be marketed in the EU. Over time the VI1 requirement has been relaxed in some cases to allow simplified forms of the certificate to be used, where for instance the exporting country and the EU have reached trade agreements covering the production of wine.

The Withdrawal Act 2018 retained the requirement for third country wines to be accompanied by a VI1 certificate as a means of maintaining that level of assurance. We have not conducted an analysis of the potential impact of the introduction of VI1 measures on the UK’s standing as an international wine hub or the effect it will have on our fine wine trade. However, considering that VI1 provisions already exist for wine imports from other origins such as Australia, USA and Chile, and these wines remain extremely competitive in our and the EU’s marketplaces, we believe the new requirement to be appropriate and affordable. In addition, were we not to apply equal provisions to wine from the EU our policies would risk contravening WTO most favoured nation obligations.

Nevertheless, we do recognise that the rules underpinning detailed VI1 requirements were contained in legislation that had to be made late in the transition period, and that did not provide time for the EU industry to adjust. We have therefore provided an easement until 1 July 2021 in the Food and Drink (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 that will allow scope for EU wine to continue to be imported to GB using commercial documentation, as it did when the UK was subject to EU rules.

Although the easement will still apply to all EU wine imports, the new UK / EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement has established a highly simplified, self-certified VI1 certificate to cover the movement of wine products made in the UK or the EU and moving to the other territory. This will not apply to bulk imports of wine from other origins that are traded between the UK and the EU which will have to continue to meet the basic VI1 requirements. We have therefore introduced streamlined measures to issue VI1 certificates to the trade and ensure that re-exports of bulk wine from other origins bottled in the UK will continue to operate with minimal effect.

As I and colleagues in Government have said on many occasions, leaving the EU gives us the ability to look critically at the laws we have inherited from the EU to ensure they remain fit for purpose. We will consider in due course whether there is a case to revisit the requirement for VI1 certification.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the requirements for wine import certificates on the UK's position as an international wine hub.

Wine imports to the EU have been subject to the requirement to provide a VI1 certificate for many years. The basis for their introduction was to provide a level of assurance that the wine being imported met the standards required to be marketed in the EU. Over time the VI1 requirement has been relaxed in some cases to allow simplified forms of the certificate to be used, where for instance the exporting country and the EU have reached trade agreements covering the production of wine.

The Withdrawal Act 2018 retained the requirement for third country wines to be accompanied by a VI1 certificate as a means of maintaining that level of assurance. We have not conducted an analysis of the potential impact of the introduction of VI1 measures on the UK’s standing as an international wine hub or the effect it will have on our fine wine trade. However, considering that VI1 provisions already exist for wine imports from other origins such as Australia, USA and Chile, and these wines remain extremely competitive in our and the EU’s marketplaces, we believe the new requirement to be appropriate and affordable. In addition, were we not to apply equal provisions to wine from the EU our policies would risk contravening WTO most favoured nation obligations.

Nevertheless, we do recognise that the rules underpinning detailed VI1 requirements were contained in legislation that had to be made late in the transition period, and that did not provide time for the EU industry to adjust. We have therefore provided an easement until 1 July 2021 in the Food and Drink (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 that will allow scope for EU wine to continue to be imported to GB using commercial documentation, as it did when the UK was subject to EU rules.

Although the easement will still apply to all EU wine imports, the new UK / EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement has established a highly simplified, self-certified VI1 certificate to cover the movement of wine products made in the UK or the EU and moving to the other territory. This will not apply to bulk imports of wine from other origins that are traded between the UK and the EU which will have to continue to meet the basic VI1 requirements. We have therefore introduced streamlined measures to issue VI1 certificates to the trade and ensure that re-exports of bulk wine from other origins bottled in the UK will continue to operate with minimal effect.

As I and colleagues in Government have said on many occasions, leaving the EU gives us the ability to look critically at the laws we have inherited from the EU to ensure they remain fit for purpose. We will consider in due course whether there is a case to revisit the requirement for VI1 certification.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to maintain animal welfare after the end of the transition period.

This Government is committed to high standards of animal welfare. We are working to deliver a number of manifesto commitments that will strengthen our position as a world leader in this field at the end of the Transition Period.

We have committed to introduce tougher sentences for animal cruelty. To deliver this, we are currently supporting the passage of a Private Member’s Bill, the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, which increases the maximum custodial penalty for the worst animal cruelty offences from six months or an unlimited fine to five years or an unlimited fine.

We will take advantage of our departure from the EU to deliver our manifesto commitment to end excessively long journeys for slaughter and fattening of livestock. We have previously run a call for evidence on the topic and will launch a full consultation before the end of the year.

We are continuing to work on delivering our other manifesto commitments, including developing new laws on animal sentience and cracking down on the illegal smuggling of dogs and puppies. We will also be consulting in the near future on our commitments to ban pet primates, introduce mandatory cat microchipping and implement the Ivory Act. We have also committed to ban imports from trophy hunting of endangered animals. We ran a call for evidence and consultation on this issue and the Government will be publishing our response to this as soon as we are able to do so.

In addition to supporting the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, we are considering the best legislative vehicle to bring forward these reforms in the near future.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to include targets for tree (a) planting and (b) preservation in relation to (i) planning and (ii) building requirements in his forthcoming England Tree Strategy.

We committed in our manifesto to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025. As noted in a public paper this summer, we are exploring whether a statutory target for trees in England would be appropriate, under the target setting process proposed by the Environment Bill.

To increase planting in England, we recently consulted on proposals for a new ambitious England Tree Strategy, which will be published in spring 2021. This will set out our long-term vision for trees in England and the policy priorities needed to achieve this, as well as plans for how the £640 million Nature for Climate Fund will support the substantial increase in woodland creation that we have committed to achieving in this Parliament.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to ban destructive industrial fishing in marine protected areas.

Marine protection is a devolved matter and the information below relates to England only.

Good progress has been made for Marine Protected Areas in the inshore area. Over 90 have byelaws in place to prevent activities such as trawling which could damage protected features on the seabed. The Common Fisheries Policy has inhibited our ability to protect offshore areas. At the end of the Transition Period, we will use new powers contained in the Fisheries Bill to put byelaws in place as we have done in the inshore environment. A Call for Evidence for the first sites will be launched shortly, followed by the formal consultation in early 2021.

The MMO will monitor the activity of fishing boats to ensure compliance with protection measures. Not all fishing activities within Marine Protected Areas will require management, only those likely to damage the habitats and species they were set up to protect.

When the transition period ends, the UK will be able to decide which vessels can access our waters and the new licensing framework within the Fisheries Bill will allow us to apply conditions to the activities of all vessels fishing in UK waters. Any vessels granted access to fish in our waters, regardless of nationality, will need to abide by UK rules including those on sustainability.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure people who are blind or partially sighted are able to access essential groceries.

The Government is working to ensure that approximately 1.8 million people in England identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract Coronavirus have access to the food they need. We are also working quickly to support people who do not fall into the category of being clinically extremely vulnerable, but still need help getting essential food supplies. This group includes blind or partially sighted people who may struggle to comply with social distancing in food shops as they often rely on a combination of touch and guiding from another person to navigate.

Defra has been working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Local Government Association and local authority chief executives who are leading on vulnerable people to ensure that all local authorities can provide the necessary support to all food-vulnerable people. The vast majority of local authorities have dedicated COVID-19 helplines and accessible resources for people who need support and help to access food. Local authorities are establishing networks of local volunteers and linking in with the voluntary and community sector to deliver groceries to people who do not have friends, family or neighbours who can shop for them.

Supermarkets have been working at pace to expand the total number of delivery and click and collect slots and we are working with major retailers to ensure that they prioritise delivery slots for those who are most vulnerable and at risk, including the blind or partially sighted.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she has had discussions with UN agencies on increasing funding for gender-based violence services as part of the Global Humanitarian Response plan.

The UK is deeply concerned about the surge in gender-based violence (GBV) during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have consistently encouraged the UN agencies, including United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to prioritise GBV within the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) through bilateral channels and joint advocacy with other donors.

Whilst we are pleased to see improvements in how GBV is being addressed overall in the GHRP, the UK is continuing to discuss with UN agencies what more can be done to ensure sufficient focus, finance and accountability for GBV in the humanitarian response. All UN agencies and international actors must demonstrate that the shadow pandemic of GBV is taken seriously in the global response to COVID-19 and be held accountable for addressing it.

We have committed £20 million to UNICEF and £10 million to UNFPA through the GHRP, which includes funding to scale up reporting, protection and support services for women and girls affected by violence in the world’s poorest countries. £20 million of UK Aid funding to UNHCR’s work with refugees and internally displaced people also includes support for adapting and scaling-up essential services for gender-based violence and child protection.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding her Department has allocated to gender-based violence services during the covid-19 pandemic.

The?UK?is?working?to?leverage a strong?and co-ordinated response?globally to address the “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have committed £20 million to UNICEF and £10 million to UNFPA, which includes funding to scale up reporting, protection and support services for women and girls affected by violence in the world’s poorest countries. £20 million of UK Aid funding to UNHCR’s work with refugees and internally displaced people also includes support for adapting and scaling-up essential services for gender-based violence and child protection.

We are urgently?reorienting?existing?bilateral?programmes to ensure women and girls can continue to access support during the lockdown. For example, in Nepal, the UK is financing 14 Women’s and Children Service Centres across the country and 62 One Stop Crisis Centres.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the planned upgrades to deliver accessible access at Battersea Park Station will begin.

The Access for All project to provide a new step-free accessible route at Battersea Park station is currently undergoing detailed design. Onsite works are anticipated to commence in early 2024 and further updates will be provided in due course.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that Blue Badge pass holders are able to use that badge when travelling in Europe.

The Government remains committed to confirming the status of UK issued Blue Badges for motorists visiting Europe.

Twenty countries have already committed to recognising Blue Badges and are listed on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/blue-badge-using-it-in-the-eu/using-a-blue-badge-in-the-european-union

Discussions are yet to conclude with a number of countries. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the progress of discussions while they are ongoing.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will provide details of any proposed reductions in headcount at South Western Railway as a result of the proposed December 2022 timetable changes.

South Western Railway (SWR), Network Rail (NR) and the Department are currently analysing the feedback from the consultation with the aim of NR and SWR publishing a report together with details on next steps by the end of the calendar year.

I recently spoke about the estimated cost savings as a result of the proposed timetable changes on SWR at an adjournment debate and followed this with a letter which is available in the Libraires of the House.

The Department has already published correspondence between the Department and senior SWR representatives which is available online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/dft-foi-disclosure-log-2021.

The Department has not carried out any assessments into the carbon impact of SWR running a reduced timetable compared to pre-pandemic service levels, and there are no proposed reductions in headcount as a result of the December 2022 timetable proposals.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish any assessments his Department has undertaken on the carbon impact of reducing South Western Railway services from the level they were at prior to the covid-19 outbreak.

South Western Railway (SWR), Network Rail (NR) and the Department are currently analysing the feedback from the consultation with the aim of NR and SWR publishing a report together with details on next steps by the end of the calendar year.

I recently spoke about the estimated cost savings as a result of the proposed timetable changes on SWR at an adjournment debate and followed this with a letter which is available in the Libraires of the House.

The Department has already published correspondence between the Department and senior SWR representatives which is available online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/dft-foi-disclosure-log-2021.

The Department has not carried out any assessments into the carbon impact of SWR running a reduced timetable compared to pre-pandemic service levels, and there are no proposed reductions in headcount as a result of the December 2022 timetable proposals.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the correspondence between his Department and senior representatives of South Western Railway since the launch of the South Western Railway and Network Rail stakeholder consultation in July 2021.

South Western Railway (SWR), Network Rail (NR) and the Department are currently analysing the feedback from the consultation with the aim of NR and SWR publishing a report together with details on next steps by the end of the calendar year.

I recently spoke about the estimated cost savings as a result of the proposed timetable changes on SWR at an adjournment debate and followed this with a letter which is available in the Libraires of the House.

The Department has already published correspondence between the Department and senior SWR representatives which is available online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/dft-foi-disclosure-log-2021.

The Department has not carried out any assessments into the carbon impact of SWR running a reduced timetable compared to pre-pandemic service levels, and there are no proposed reductions in headcount as a result of the December 2022 timetable proposals.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish (a) a detailed breakdown of the stakeholder responses to the South Western Railway and Network Rail stakeholder consultation and (b) the full responses to that consultation.

South Western Railway (SWR), Network Rail (NR) and the Department are currently analysing the feedback from the consultation with the aim of NR and SWR publishing a report together with details on next steps by the end of the calendar year.

I recently spoke about the estimated cost savings as a result of the proposed timetable changes on SWR at an adjournment debate and followed this with a letter which is available in the Libraires of the House.

The Department has already published correspondence between the Department and senior SWR representatives which is available online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/dft-foi-disclosure-log-2021.

The Department has not carried out any assessments into the carbon impact of SWR running a reduced timetable compared to pre-pandemic service levels, and there are no proposed reductions in headcount as a result of the December 2022 timetable proposals.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the timeframe for the (a) publication of the results of the South Western Railway and Network Rail stakeholder consultation and (b) implementation of proposed December 2022 timetable changes on South Western Railway.

South Western Railway (SWR), Network Rail (NR) and the Department are currently analysing the feedback from the consultation with the aim of NR and SWR publishing a report together with details on next steps by the end of the calendar year.

I recently spoke about the estimated cost savings as a result of the proposed timetable changes on SWR at an adjournment debate and followed this with a letter which is available in the Libraires of the House.

The Department has already published correspondence between the Department and senior SWR representatives which is available online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/dft-foi-disclosure-log-2021.

The Department has not carried out any assessments into the carbon impact of SWR running a reduced timetable compared to pre-pandemic service levels, and there are no proposed reductions in headcount as a result of the December 2022 timetable proposals.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the evidential basis is for his Department's decision to assign countries to the red, amber or green travel list for covid-19.

The traffic light system categorises countries based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors. Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country include:

  • genomic surveillance capability
  • COVID-19 transmission risk
  • Variant of Concern transmission risk

A summary of the JBC methodology, alongside key data that supports decisions on the traffic light system is published on gov.uk.

The data for all countries be kept under regular review and the Government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that passengers arriving at airports from countries on the covid-19 green list do not mix with passengers arriving from amber and red list countries.

Since June, direct red list arrivals on direct flights have been required to enter dedicated terminals at Heathrow and Birmingham. These have helped to keep passengers separate, focussing processing capacity and easing the passengers of both red and non-red passengers through the airport.

The Government has worked closely with UK airports on social distancing guidance and maintained a consistent approach with international counterparts to protect public confidence when travelling. Airports have also retained preventative measures such as face coverings, hygiene stations and signage, which have been determined through each individual airport’s risk assessment process.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the findings of the Rail Accident Investigation Board's Report 01/2021 Eden Park published on 19 February 2021 on additional risks posed to blind and partially sighted people, what steps he is taking in response to the finding that half of mainline railway stations do not have tactile paving.

This was a tragic incident and we fully accept the recommendations in the report. Whenever industry installs, replaces or renews platform infrastructure they are required to install tactiles. I have asked Network Rail to work up a costed plan for a wider roll out of tactiles for stations where tactiles are not being delivered as part of an existing enhancements or renewal project.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch's report into a fatality at Eden Park station in 2020, what funding he plans to provide to accelerate the installation of tactile paving at mainline rail stations.

This was a tragic incident and we fully accept the recommendations in the report. Whenever industry installs, replaces or renews platform infrastructure they are required to install tactiles. I have asked Network Rail to work up a costed plan for a wider roll out of tactiles for stations where tactiles are not being delivered as part of an existing enhancements or renewal project.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to extend the grace period for non-GB driving licence holders so they can continue to drive in the UK while driving tests have been suspended.

There are no plans to extend the 12-month period for which holders of foreign driving licences can drive in Great Britain using that licence. To continue driving after the 12-month period the driver must either exchange their licence, if it was issued by a country which has been designated for licence exchange purposes, or apply for a provisional driving licence and pass both a theory and practical driving test.

In line with the government’s recent roadmap announcement, practical and theory driving tests will resume no earlier than 12 April. Driving test candidates affected by the suspension in testing are automatically being booked onto the next available test at their chosen centre. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will increase the number of driving tests available through extended operating hours and prioritising practical driving tests. A recruitment campaign is also underway to increase the number of driving examiners.

The DVSA is currently offering a very limited testing service for mobile emergency workers who are required to drive in their role.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effect of e-scooters on the safety of blind and partially sighted people.

The Department continues to work closely with all local authorities and e-scooter operators in areas where e-scooters are being trialed. We know there are concerns about e-scooter use, particularly for blind and visually impaired people.

Local authorities must engage with local groups that represent the interests of disabled people before submitting a proposal to hold a trial. This is to allow concerns to be raised and, where possible, mitigated before trials commence. We have rejected proposals where this engagement has not taken place. Local authorities must also ensure that plans are in place to continue with this engagement during the trials.

and officials have engaged with a range of key stakeholders, including representatives from: Guide Dogs, the RNIB, and the National Federation of the Blind of the UK.

We have sought to limit any potentially negative impacts of e-scooters on blind and partially sighted people by requiring local authorities, working with e-scooter operators, to design trials in a way that takes account of their needs.

In all trial areas there needs to be sufficient parking provision. If a dockless operating model is being used, local authorities should ensure that e-scooters do not become an obstruction to other road users and pedestrians, particularly disabled people.

Following our consultation last year, and feedback from subsequent stakeholder activities, we have required all e-scooters used in trials to have a horn or bell so that users can make others aware of their presence.

We have also asked operators to develop more robust geo-fencing to tackle pavement riding and other anti-social behaviour. We have also asked local authorities and operators to ensure that trials are launched in a controlled way, with a small number of e-scooters and that trials are scaled up gradually as demand increases.

We will continue to take account of the needs of blind and partially sighted people as the trials progress.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of not extending CBT certificates for motorcyclists and moped drivers who rely on driving for their work; and what steps he plans to take to ensure that all drivers have access to the vehicles and certification that they need for work.

The two-year validity period of a CBT certificate is set out in legislation. It is in place to ensure learner moped and motorcycle riders can ride safely on their own, with L-plates, while they practise for a full moped or motorcycle test. That includes critical workers. Mobile emergency workers who hold a valid CBT certificate are able to take a motorcycle test during the current restrictions if put forward by their employer.

The DVSA has measures in place to increase testing availability for all drivers, including offering overtime to examiners and buying back annual leave, asking around 240 warrant card holders who are qualified to conduct tests but do not do so as part of their current day job to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays). It also launched a national recruitment campaign on Wednesday 10 February for around 300 new driving examiners to increase the overall number of examiners available for testing. The agency will continue to assess further options for increasing testing capacity and reducing the backlog as quickly as possible. Ensuring a COVID-secure service is maintained for employees, trainers and candidates remains a top priority.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with South Western Railways on the provision of catering services following the operator’s decision to terminate its contract with Elior.

There have been no further discussions to date with South Western Railway.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the (a) payment of a management fee to a train operating company and (b) payment of a permitted dividend by the operator to its parent company is still permitted by his Department if a train operating company is responsible for (i) direct or (ii) indirect job losses.

As set out in the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs), fees are calculated based on actual performance and financial efficiency. The ERMAs require train operating companies to act efficiently. If operators perform poorly then fees can be reduced to nil, dividends not permitted and potentially, further penalties incurred.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, the date on which he was informed of South Western Railway’s plans to terminate its on-board catering contract with Elior.

The Department was informed of South Western Railway’s plans on 5 August 2020.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department’s authorisation was required for South Western Railway to terminate its on-board catering contract with Elior.

Under the terms of the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement, South Western Railway was required to seek the approval of the Secretary of State to terminate the Elior catering contract.

It had became clear to South Western Railway and Elior that in the current circumstances the terms of the contract were not financially viable.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the South Western Railway franchise agreement requires the provision of on-board catering on services provided by that company.

The South Western Railway Franchise Agreement does not specify that catering services should be provided by a particular catering company. The Franchise Agreement Committed Obligation to provide on-board catering has been waived for the remainder of the current Franchise Term as part of the Emergency Measures Agreement and Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the rail Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements allow rail operators to seek dispensations or exemptions from Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2010 compliance.

The provisions of the Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Non-interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2010 in relation to seeking for exemption from accessibility standard(s) are unchanged by the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements amend any rail operator’s franchise obligations in relation to providing accessible services for disabled passengers.

The ERMAs (Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements) preserve the existing accessibility obligations under the franchise agreements, they also include an additional requirement that TOCs undertake a diversity impact assessment on all projects that will or may affect the interests of persons with protected characteristics.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has (a) received an application for and (b) granted a dispensation from the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2010 requirements in relation to South Western Railway and the improvement notice issued to it by the Office of Rail and Road concerning access for passengers who use wheelchairs at Liphook station.

The Secretary of State can confirm that no applications under the Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Non-interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2010 has been received from South Western Railway in relation to passengers who are wheelchair users at Liphook station.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many applications for dispensations or exemptions from the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2010 his Department has received in the last two years; from which rail operators those applications were received; what dispensations or exemptions were sought; and what the outcome was for each of those applications.

The Secretary of State publishes an Annual Report to Parliament on the granting of exemptions and dispensations against accessibility standards. Reports are available from 2010 onwards and the most recent report can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rail-vehicle-accessibility-regulations-exemption-orders-annual-report-2019.

The 2020 annual report will be published shortly, which contains the details of the one exemption granted under the Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Non-interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2010 in 2020 and the one application received.

All requests for exemption are subject to public consultation and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-rvar-exemption-orders/list-of-rail-vehicle-accessibility-regulations-exemption-orders

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the proportion of each Train Operating Company’s fleet that is not compliant with the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2010.

Details on the level of compliance in each operator’s fleet can be found in the regular statistics publication on accessible rail vehicles https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-rail-vehicles-built-or-refurbished-to-modern-accessibility-standards.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the evidential basis for the exclusion of African nations for the purposes of an air bridge to allow covid-19 quarantine free travel from UK.

Ministerial decisions on International Travel Corridors are informed by risk assessments provided by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), working closely with Public Health England (PHE), using a methodology endorsed by the four Chief Medical Officers of the UK which has been published on GOV.UK.

Risk assessments focus on the public health risk, posed by incoming travellers, to the UK population. The JBC and PHE monitor information from over 250 countries, territories and islands daily to inform these risk assessments.

The Government has made consistently clear it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the virus, including removing countries from the Travel Corridors list rapidly if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high.

The African nations of Namibia, Rwanda, and Mauritius and the Seychelles are currently on the Travel Corridors list.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what deadline his Department has set for making all train carriages fully accessible.

It is extremely disappointing that some train carriages were not made fully accessible by the December 31 2019 deadline.

The Department has reluctantly granted dispensations for some carriages that have not yet met modern accessibility standards, these are time limited and on a case by case basis. If all non-compliant trains had been removed from service on December 31 2019 there would have been a disproportionately negative effect on the provision of services for passengers.

A full list of rolling stock and their associated exemption expiry dates is publicly available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exemptions-from-rail-vehicle-accessibility-regulations-and-their-expiry-dates

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to strengthen the social safety net to support households in the context of the rising cost of living.

This government is committed to supporting those on low incomes. We will spend over £242bn through the welfare system in Great Britain in 2022/23 including £108bn on people of working age and over £134 billion on pensioners. Of the total amount, around £64 billion will be spent on supporting disabled people and people with health conditions.

We understand the pressures people are facing with the cost of living. These are global challenges, but the Government has taken action to support and help families worth over £22 billion in 2022-23. This includes the £9.1 billion energy bill rebate package, worth up to £350 each for around 28 million households and we are giving 1.7 million families an extra £1,000 a year through our cut to the Universal Credit taper and increase to work allowances. Also, from July 2022, the government are raising the National Insurance threshold to £12,570.

We are also providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing the 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.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she will be taking to ensure adequate consultation with disabled people and disabled peoples organisations on its National Disability Strategy following the judgment by the High Court on 25 January 2022.

The National Disability Strategy was informed by one of the biggest listening exercises with disabled people in our recent history with over 14,000 people providing information about their everyday experiences.

The government is disappointed with last week’s judgment and we are seeking permission to appeal the decision. We are considering the decision carefully before determining what, if any, further steps to take in response.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have been affected by the underpayment of social security after transitioning from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance in Battersea constituency.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 19th January to question number 104377.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many of the 4,500 responses to the consultation on the health and disability Green Paper were from (a) individuals and (b) organisations.

We received over 4,500 responses to the public consultation Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper.

This includes thousands of responses from individuals, many reflecting their lived experience of the disability benefits system or on behalf of people with this experience. Charities and organisations representing disabled people and people with health conditions also responded.

As almost half of the responses came via email rather than the digital platform that we used, we are unable to provide a breakdown. This is because people did not routinely provide information on whether they were responding as an individual or on behalf of an organisation in their email responses.

Throughout the consultation period itself, we held more than 40 events with disabled people, people with health conditions and their representatives. These included both virtual and face-to-face events across the UK.

In the 18 months prior to the formal launch of the consultation, we ran a significant stakeholder engagement programme to ensure that the views of disabled people and their representatives shaped the content of the consultation. This saw MPs from across the political spectrum host organisations and individuals from their own constituencies.

We are very grateful to everyone who contributed to the consultation. While the formal consultation period has now ended, we will continue to engage with disabled people and people with health conditions regularly.

We are currently reviewing responses from individuals, charities and other organisations who took part in the consultation, and will respond with a White Paper next year. It would be premature to quantify support for a particular reform option.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many individuals or organisations indicated support for the proposal for a single assessment for all health and disability benefits in the engagement work her Department conducted in preparation for the publication of the Health and Disability Green Paper.

We received over 4,500 responses to the public consultation Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper.

This includes thousands of responses from individuals, many reflecting their lived experience of the disability benefits system or on behalf of people with this experience. Charities and organisations representing disabled people and people with health conditions also responded.

As almost half of the responses came via email rather than the digital platform that we used, we are unable to provide a breakdown. This is because people did not routinely provide information on whether they were responding as an individual or on behalf of an organisation in their email responses.

Throughout the consultation period itself, we held more than 40 events with disabled people, people with health conditions and their representatives. These included both virtual and face-to-face events across the UK.

In the 18 months prior to the formal launch of the consultation, we ran a significant stakeholder engagement programme to ensure that the views of disabled people and their representatives shaped the content of the consultation. This saw MPs from across the political spectrum host organisations and individuals from their own constituencies.

We are very grateful to everyone who contributed to the consultation. While the formal consultation period has now ended, we will continue to engage with disabled people and people with health conditions regularly.

We are currently reviewing responses from individuals, charities and other organisations who took part in the consultation, and will respond with a White Paper next year. It would be premature to quantify support for a particular reform option.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of ending the £20 uplift to universal credit on levels of poverty.

No impact assessment has been made.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

The latest poverty figures (2019/20) demonstrate that absolute poverty rates (both before and after housing costs) for working-age adults in working families have fallen since 2009/10. In 2019/20, 8% of working age adults in working families were in absolute poverty (before housing costs), compared to 9% in 2009/10.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of legacy benefit payments in meeting the costs of living for disabled people during the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, including those who claim legacy benefits, and has delivered an unprecedented package of support; injecting billions into the welfare system.

We continue to monitor the impact on disabled people, while ensuring that they are able to access the support they need.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government’s national strategy for disabled people will take to prevent the further widening of the disability employment gap.

We are making progress on decreasing the disability employment gap. The disability employment gap between the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled people, was 28.6 percentage points in Q1 2021. This is a decrease of 0.3 percentage points on the year, and 5.2 percentage points since Q1 2014.

The government has set a goal to see one million more disabled people in employment between 2017 and 2027 and is committed to improving the lives of disabled people. The National Strategy for Disabled People will be published shortly and will be informed by insights from the lived experience of disabled people, focusing on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life. Employment will be a central theme of the strategy. The strategy’s significance is even greater, as we rebuild the UK's economy and society in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure economically inactive disabled people are supported to find jobs.

The Government is committed to improving the lives of disabled people, and will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People shortly. The Strategy will be informed by insights from the lived experience of disabled people, focusing on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life, including employment. Employment will be a central theme of the strategy.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people to stay in and enter work. These include the Work and Health Programme, the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, Access to Work, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advice in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services. The Government has also increased the number of specialist Disability Employment Advisors (DEAs) in Jobcentres.

The Department will shortly publish a Green Paper on health and disability support which will consider how we can improve our current service, provide extra support to navigate the system and seek to better understand how we can improve the current employment support offer.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the disability pay gap.

Pay gaps are caused by a range of factors. To address them, we must ensure that everybody has equal access to opportunities.

A range of DWP initiatives are currently supporting disabled people to stay in and enter work. These include the Work and Health Programme, the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, Access to Work, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advice in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services. The Government has also increased the number of specialist Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs) in Jobcentres.

The Department has also published a voluntary reporting framework on disability, mental ill health and wellbeing, in November 2018. This is aimed at large employers (over 250 employees) and it is recommended that they publicly report on the pay and progression of disabled people at regular intervals.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of allowing candidates on the (a) Kickstart scheme and (b) Restart scheme greater flexibility to take on part-time placements rather than a fixed number of hours.

The Kickstart Scheme provides flexibility and support for young people who may need to work reduced hours because of their specific requirements, such as a health condition. These are to be discussed and agreed with the Kickstart employer.

Restart Scheme participants can take up part time roles as we have not specified the number of hours someone should work. Restart Scheme providers will receive an outcome payment when a participant earns over a certain threshold (the equivalent of six months’ work at the National Living Wage, with 16 hours worked each week), therefore part-time workers will take longer to reach this threshold, should their income be at a similar level. Based on experience of other programmes, this threshold is considered a reasonable proxy for sustainment of a job outcome and we believe this approach will ensure people are supported to find and stay in sustainable employment.

There are currently no plans to extend the eligibility criteria of the Kickstart Scheme or the Restart Scheme.

Disabled people, including those on Employment Support Allowance, who require more intensive employment support would have access to both the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) and can volunteer for this support at any time irrespective of benefit claimed or no benefit. The WHP predominantly helps people with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions to enter into and stay in work, and is suited to those who expect to find work within 12 months. IPES is an intensive, highly personalised voluntary support package that is flexible to participants’ needs. It supports disabled people with complex barriers to work who would be more than 12 months from the labour market without the benefit of IPES support.

Young people with a disability or health condition on Universal Credit who wish to take up the opportunity of a Kickstart job can discuss what roles they are interested in and any reasonable adjustment they require with either a Work Coach, Youth Employability coach or Disability Employment Adviser. If adjustments are required to enable the young person to take up a Kickstart job these are to be discussed and agreed with the Kickstart employer.

The Restart Scheme will be fully accessible for all scheme participants, including disabled people and people with health conditions. At the core of the programme is the requirement on providers to design and deliver a personalised service that addresses individuals’ support needs. Under the terms of the Equality Act, providers will be required to enable equal access to the provision. Restart Scheme providers will also be required to be Disability Confident Leaders, and therefore to be fully aware of best practice in supporting disabled people.

The department will be monitoring the characteristics of people who participate in employment programmes. We will be evaluating the Kickstart Scheme and Restart Scheme to explore the delivery and outcomes from the programmes. This will include capturing the experiences of a range of participants, including disabled participants.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how regularly her Department plans to review the eligibility criteria of the (a) Kickstart scheme and (b) Restart scheme.

The Kickstart Scheme provides flexibility and support for young people who may need to work reduced hours because of their specific requirements, such as a health condition. These are to be discussed and agreed with the Kickstart employer.

Restart Scheme participants can take up part time roles as we have not specified the number of hours someone should work. Restart Scheme providers will receive an outcome payment when a participant earns over a certain threshold (the equivalent of six months’ work at the National Living Wage, with 16 hours worked each week), therefore part-time workers will take longer to reach this threshold, should their income be at a similar level. Based on experience of other programmes, this threshold is considered a reasonable proxy for sustainment of a job outcome and we believe this approach will ensure people are supported to find and stay in sustainable employment.

There are currently no plans to extend the eligibility criteria of the Kickstart Scheme or the Restart Scheme.

Disabled people, including those on Employment Support Allowance, who require more intensive employment support would have access to both the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) and can volunteer for this support at any time irrespective of benefit claimed or no benefit. The WHP predominantly helps people with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions to enter into and stay in work, and is suited to those who expect to find work within 12 months. IPES is an intensive, highly personalised voluntary support package that is flexible to participants’ needs. It supports disabled people with complex barriers to work who would be more than 12 months from the labour market without the benefit of IPES support.

Young people with a disability or health condition on Universal Credit who wish to take up the opportunity of a Kickstart job can discuss what roles they are interested in and any reasonable adjustment they require with either a Work Coach, Youth Employability coach or Disability Employment Adviser. If adjustments are required to enable the young person to take up a Kickstart job these are to be discussed and agreed with the Kickstart employer.

The Restart Scheme will be fully accessible for all scheme participants, including disabled people and people with health conditions. At the core of the programme is the requirement on providers to design and deliver a personalised service that addresses individuals’ support needs. Under the terms of the Equality Act, providers will be required to enable equal access to the provision. Restart Scheme providers will also be required to be Disability Confident Leaders, and therefore to be fully aware of best practice in supporting disabled people.

The department will be monitoring the characteristics of people who participate in employment programmes. We will be evaluating the Kickstart Scheme and Restart Scheme to explore the delivery and outcomes from the programmes. This will include capturing the experiences of a range of participants, including disabled participants.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to widen the eligibility of the (a) Kickstart scheme and (b) Restart scheme to allow people receiving employment and support allowance to access those schemes.

The Kickstart Scheme provides flexibility and support for young people who may need to work reduced hours because of their specific requirements, such as a health condition. These are to be discussed and agreed with the Kickstart employer.

Restart Scheme participants can take up part time roles as we have not specified the number of hours someone should work. Restart Scheme providers will receive an outcome payment when a participant earns over a certain threshold (the equivalent of six months’ work at the National Living Wage, with 16 hours worked each week), therefore part-time workers will take longer to reach this threshold, should their income be at a similar level. Based on experience of other programmes, this threshold is considered a reasonable proxy for sustainment of a job outcome and we believe this approach will ensure people are supported to find and stay in sustainable employment.

There are currently no plans to extend the eligibility criteria of the Kickstart Scheme or the Restart Scheme.

Disabled people, including those on Employment Support Allowance, who require more intensive employment support would have access to both the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) and can volunteer for this support at any time irrespective of benefit claimed or no benefit. The WHP predominantly helps people with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions to enter into and stay in work, and is suited to those who expect to find work within 12 months. IPES is an intensive, highly personalised voluntary support package that is flexible to participants’ needs. It supports disabled people with complex barriers to work who would be more than 12 months from the labour market without the benefit of IPES support.

Young people with a disability or health condition on Universal Credit who wish to take up the opportunity of a Kickstart job can discuss what roles they are interested in and any reasonable adjustment they require with either a Work Coach, Youth Employability coach or Disability Employment Adviser. If adjustments are required to enable the young person to take up a Kickstart job these are to be discussed and agreed with the Kickstart employer.

The Restart Scheme will be fully accessible for all scheme participants, including disabled people and people with health conditions. At the core of the programme is the requirement on providers to design and deliver a personalised service that addresses individuals’ support needs. Under the terms of the Equality Act, providers will be required to enable equal access to the provision. Restart Scheme providers will also be required to be Disability Confident Leaders, and therefore to be fully aware of best practice in supporting disabled people.

The department will be monitoring the characteristics of people who participate in employment programmes. We will be evaluating the Kickstart Scheme and Restart Scheme to explore the delivery and outcomes from the programmes. This will include capturing the experiences of a range of participants, including disabled participants.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the Government’s new employment programmes including Kickstart and Restart meet the needs of disabled people.

The Kickstart Scheme provides flexibility and support for young people who may need to work reduced hours because of their specific requirements, such as a health condition. These are to be discussed and agreed with the Kickstart employer.

Restart Scheme participants can take up part time roles as we have not specified the number of hours someone should work. Restart Scheme providers will receive an outcome payment when a participant earns over a certain threshold (the equivalent of six months’ work at the National Living Wage, with 16 hours worked each week), therefore part-time workers will take longer to reach this threshold, should their income be at a similar level. Based on experience of other programmes, this threshold is considered a reasonable proxy for sustainment of a job outcome and we believe this approach will ensure people are supported to find and stay in sustainable employment.

There are currently no plans to extend the eligibility criteria of the Kickstart Scheme or the Restart Scheme.

Disabled people, including those on Employment Support Allowance, who require more intensive employment support would have access to both the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) and can volunteer for this support at any time irrespective of benefit claimed or no benefit. The WHP predominantly helps people with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions to enter into and stay in work, and is suited to those who expect to find work within 12 months. IPES is an intensive, highly personalised voluntary support package that is flexible to participants’ needs. It supports disabled people with complex barriers to work who would be more than 12 months from the labour market without the benefit of IPES support.

Young people with a disability or health condition on Universal Credit who wish to take up the opportunity of a Kickstart job can discuss what roles they are interested in and any reasonable adjustment they require with either a Work Coach, Youth Employability coach or Disability Employment Adviser. If adjustments are required to enable the young person to take up a Kickstart job these are to be discussed and agreed with the Kickstart employer.

The Restart Scheme will be fully accessible for all scheme participants, including disabled people and people with health conditions. At the core of the programme is the requirement on providers to design and deliver a personalised service that addresses individuals’ support needs. Under the terms of the Equality Act, providers will be required to enable equal access to the provision. Restart Scheme providers will also be required to be Disability Confident Leaders, and therefore to be fully aware of best practice in supporting disabled people.

The department will be monitoring the characteristics of people who participate in employment programmes. We will be evaluating the Kickstart Scheme and Restart Scheme to explore the delivery and outcomes from the programmes. This will include capturing the experiences of a range of participants, including disabled participants.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2021 to Question 12293, how insights shared by disabled people on their lived experiences with the benefits system will inform the Government's upcoming health and disability Green Paper.

Through the Health and Disability Green Paper events we have gathered valuable insights from disabled people and their representatives. These insights have shaped the main themes of the Green Paper: improving claimant experience of our services, enabling independent living, and improving employment outcomes.

The Department also commissions independent research with disability benefit claimants on an ongoing basis. The Green Paper will explore proposals to improve the health and disability benefit system in the short and long-term, which are grounded in research evidence, data analysis and consultation.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the reasons are for the time being taken by her Department to publish the results of its review of the Special Rules for Terminal Illness.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. The Department remains committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation and will announce the outcome in due course.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to publish its review of the Special Rules for Terminal Illness.

The Department is committed to delivering an improved benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation. The Department remains committed to implementing the key areas identified in the evaluation and will announce the outcome in due course.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that disabled people are proactively and directly engaged in the public consultation on the forthcoming health and disability Green Paper.

It is vital that the voices of disabled people are at the centre of health and disability policy development. Over the past 18 months I have personally led a series of events in which I have heard directly from disabled people about their lived experiences with the benefits system. We will continue this direct engagement with disabled people up to and following the publication of the Health and Disability Green Paper.

8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recommendations from the Social Security Advisory Committee in its recent report on the quality of her Department’s engagement with disabled people when designing or evaluating programmes that affect them.

I am grateful to the Committee for their report and pleased to see that our sustained efforts to engage with disabled people have been recognised. We are planning to respond to the Committee in the coming weeks.

17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits exempting or limiting lone parents from work-related conditionality.

The Secretary of State has not made a specific assessment on the merits of exempting or limiting lone parents from work-related conditionality. For those lone parents receiving Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit there are specific flexibilities to help them balance their caring responsibilities with work search and availability requirements.

Work Coaches have the ability to tailor the frequency and type of face-to-face support they offer to the needs of each lone parent/lead carer and have the discretion to require parents to undertake work-related activity in cases where they feel this will move them closer to the labour market. Additional safeguards apply where the youngest child in the claim is 3 or 4. Those expected to look for work may also limit the time they can spend travelling to and from work and have additional time to attend an interview or take up work so they can make childcare arrangements.

17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure equity of treatment for lone parents in the administration of (a) child benefit payments, (b) national insurance contributions, (c) carers' allowance and (b) other social security system matters.

(a) Entitlement to Child Benefit is dependent on a person making a claim for it and is payable to a person responsible for the child or qualifying young. All claimants are treated equally within the administration of Child Benefit, with the exception that payments can be made weekly rather than four-weekly for lone parents.

(b) The amount of NICs payable is dependent on the person’s earnings and there is no difference in this regard between lone parents and non-lone parents.

(c) The primary purpose of Carer’s Allowance is to provide a measure of financial support and recognition for people who give up the opportunity of full-time employment in order to provide regular and substantial care for a severely disabled person. All carers are treated equally within the administration of Carer’s Allowance.

(d) Under Universal Credit (UC), comprehensive support is provided to lone parents. There is help available for childcare costs for children of any age. Claimants can recover up to 85% of their eligible childcare costs through UC (or 70% of those costs through working tax credits). Further assistance may be available through the Flexible Support Fund. Jobcentre Plus staff can help parents to find work that fits around childcare responsibilities and provide intensive support to lone parents. UC is designed to make work pay, so not all of a person’s net earnings are deducted from UC. Claimants with children and/or disabilities will benefit from a work allowance which means they can keep either: £293 per month if they also receive housing costs element, or £515 per month if they don’t receive any housing costs element.

23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that workplaces are implementing the recommendations from covid-19 risk assessments.

Businesses must control the risks in their workplace including those from COVID-19. The first step is to conduct a risk assessment. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has detailed web guidance on COVID risk assessments which complements information on Gov.UK about Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) and that published by the Welsh & Scottish Governments. Businesses are responsible for implementing the controls identified by this risk assessment.

HSE and Local Authorities use a range of interventions to influence, encourage and advise business and, where necessary, hold to account those who fail to meet their responsibilities. Throughout the pandemic, HSE has engaged with businesses through the three stage Spot Check process which includes phone calls and, where face to face contact is necessary, site visits. Determining whether businesses have implemented the controls identified by this risk assessment is a central part of the process.

HSE has to date conducted 183,632 COVID related spot checks in 2020/21.

8th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what Government support is available to disabled candidates at the upcoming local elections given that the Access to Elected Office fund and EnAble fund are no longer active.

It is the Government’s ambition to see more disabled people in public office. We have been clear that the responsibility for supporting disabled candidates sits with political parties, and they should lead the way in improving diverse representation.

Government will continue to discuss the representation of disabled people in politics with parties and encourage them to put in place their own arrangements to attract and support disabled candidates.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether there is an alternative arrangement in place for Irish nationals to obtain National Insurance numbers while face-to-face interviews are paused.

It is still possible to take up employment without a NINo. Irish nationals can evidence their right to work in the UK by providing their passport or National Identity card and right to work checks carried out by all employers do not include the provision of a NINo.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the digital service for issuing National Insurance numbers will be able to be used by Irish nationals.

The digital service to apply for National Insurance numbers (NINos) requires a manual identity check, either by DWP or another Government Department. The service is currently available to applicants who have already been through an identity verification process by another Government Department, primarily the Home Office or the UK Passport Agency.

Residents of the Common Travel Area, such as Irish Nationals, are not required to seek permission to live and work in the UK, and therefore do not have their identity verified by another Government Department. This means that DWP need to confirm their identity at a face to face interview, prior to allocating a NINo.

This service is currently suspended, due to Covid19 restrictions. It will be made available when DWP face to face services resume, in line with the easing of Covid19 restrictions.

It is still possible to take up employment without a NINo. Irish nationals can evidence their right to work in the UK by providing their passport or National Identity card and right to work checks carried out by all employers do not include the provision of a NINo.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish a list of successful Kickstart Gateway applicants, associated employers and number of jobs created in time for the 2021 spring Budget.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 148795.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether EU nationals who moved to the UK after March 2020 and prior to 31 December 2020 are eligible to apply for a National Insurance number.

EU Nationals who moved to the UK after March 2020 and prior to December 2020 are eligible to apply for a National Insurance number.

Prior to allocating a National Insurance Number, the applicant’s identity must be confirmed. For those who have already had their identity verified through another government department, primarily the Home Office, they are able to apply for a National Insurance Number. This includes EU/EEA nationals who have been granted settled or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on previewing the cap on savings for universal credit recipients.

We have no plans to make any changes to the £16,000 savings limit, and no recent discussions have taken place to that effect.

The limit strikes a balance between protecting less well-off people and the taxpayer, whilst at the same time encouraging saving.

23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor if the Exchequer on extending six month eligibility for jobseeker’s allowance during the covid-19 outbreak.

There have been no discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on extending eligibility for contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance during the covid-19 outbreak.

People who are entitled to contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or whose entitlement ends before they find employment, may have access to income-related support through Universal Credit. Entitlement will depend on individual circumstances.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to (a) undertake and (b) publish Equalities Impact Assessments on its covid-19 policies.

The Secretary of State has complied with her duties under the Equality Act 2010 in respect of Covid 19 policies.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number women who have been (a) made redundant and (b) furloughed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

ONS estimate redundancies using the Labour Force Survey. The latest figures can be found at;

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peoplenotinwork/redundancies/datasets/redundancieslevelsandratesseasonallyadjustedred01sa

There is no data currently available by either ONS or HMRC on the impact of the furlough scheme by gender as a result of covid-19.

15th May 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will publish the accessibility guidance that issued by his Department to the (a) Head of Digital Communications and (b) Director of Communications in each Government Department on their accessibility obligations under the Equality Act.

It is vital that public health information reaches everyone across the United Kingdom. The Cabinet Office has issued internal guidance to every government department reiterating their duties under the Equality Act 2010. This is to ensure that all communications are fully accessible in order that they reach everyone in appropriate, inclusive formats.

We have already shared this guidance with the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and Action on Hearing Loss (AoHL) because we have been working closely with them during this time.

The internal guidance to departments will be placed in the House of Commons Library.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made on the effect of changes to Child Maintenance Service payments on single mothers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that as with other households, the income of many separated parents is being impacted by the public health emergency and some receiving parents may receive less maintenance as a result of a paying parent’s drop in income.

We are however clear that no parent should be using this time as an excuse not to pay what they owe. Those found to be abusing the system at this difficult time could find themselves subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers once the emergency passes.

We have made a number changes to the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. These include increasing the standard rate of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by around £1000 per year. People who need money urgently continue to be able to access up to a month’s Universal Credit advance upfront by applying online. In addition, Statutory Sick Pay now applies from day one, rather than the fourth day of illness. We are increasing in the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest third of local rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

Taken together, these measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether Access to Work claims can be processed electronically during the covid-19 outbreak.

Access to Work is keen to continue to support disabled people whether working in the workplace or at home. In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, Access to Work have implemented a number of easements to support customers, one of these easements is removing the need for customers to obtain a physical signature from either their employer or support worker.

From 23rd April, Access to Work will not require a physical signature from employers or support workers to validate customer claims. Instead the employer or support worker will be able to send in an email confirmation to support the claim, or the customer can attach the email to their claim form.

Recognising that some customers have expressed concerns about still having to sign claim forms and post them, Access to Work is exploring alternative ways of accepting claim forms and customer signatures.


11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to ensure that social security claimants that are unable to attend (a) work capability or (b) work-related activity assessments as a result of covid-19 will not face benefit sanctions.

Special arrangements will be in place for people in receipt of benefits who cannot attend Work Capability Assessments or Jobcentre Plus appointments because they are self-isolating or infected by coronavirus.

a) Disabled and sick claimants who cannot attend a Work Capability Assessment will continue to receive their payments while their assessment is rearranged.

b) Claimants should tell us ahead of a Jobcentre Plus appointment if they are unable to attend because they are self-isolating or have been diagnosed with Covid-19, to avoid a sanction. Where conditionality requirements are still appropriate, these will be tailored to the claimant’s circumstances, for example, having the appointment over the phone instead of face-to-face, so it is realistic and achievable.

22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to help ensure that local authorities are tackling isolation and loneliness among people with a learning disability by re-opening day services.

During the pandemic we supported local councils and providers to continue to offer safe services. As social distancing measures have relaxed, the Department continues to work with local councils to monitor capacity and explore how the resources of day services and social activity can be used, including for people with a learning disability. In addition, we recently engaged with local authorities to identify the challenges in delivering day services for local communities and understand their long-term strategy to deliver these services.

During the pandemic, more than £34 million of the £750 million provided to the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector was allocated to measures to reduce loneliness. In addition, £1.6 million was provided to charities supporting autistic people and people with a learning disability for activities such as virtual peer support and helpline capacity.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking with NHS leaders to tackle discrimination and provide support for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority staff to progress into leadership roles in response to the findings of the independent report, Leadership for a collaborative and inclusive future, published on 8 June 2022.

The Government has accepted the recommendations in report and an implementation plan will follow. This will include embedding inclusive leadership practice as the responsibility of all leaders, more stringently enforcing existing equal opportunity and fairness measures, such as increasing the representation of ethnic minority staff at senior levels and enhancing the role of the Care Quality Commission to improve outcomes.

The National Health Service is overhauling recruitment and promotion practices to increase representation at senior levels and reducing the disproportionate number of minority ethnic people entering disciplinary processes.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to review pre-visit notifications for domiciliary eyecare visits to care homes.

The current regulatory framework for domiciliary eye care services requires contractors to provide at least 48 hours’ notice to NHS England of the intention to provide National Health Service sight testing services to two patients at the same address and at least three weeks’ notice where contractors intend to provide services to three or more patients. However, the current framework allows for contractors to see up to three additional urgent cases without notice on the day of a planned visit.

The Department and NHS England are in discussions with the eye care profession on whether there is a need to amend the legal framework for domiciliary services, including the potential review of pre-visit notifications.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of removing the requirement for pre-visit notifications for domiciliary eyecare visits to care homes to ensure that the care people receive in residential care homes is in line with that received by people in their own homes or attending a high-street optician.

The current regulatory framework for domiciliary eye care services requires contractors to provide at least 48 hours’ notice to NHS England of the intention to provide National Health Service sight testing services to two patients at the same address and at least three weeks’ notice where contractors intend to provide services to three or more patients. However, the current framework allows for contractors to see up to three additional urgent cases without notice on the day of a planned visit.

The Department and NHS England are in discussions with the eye care profession on whether there is a need to amend the legal framework for domiciliary services, including the potential review of pre-visit notifications.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are currently on waiting lists for eye treatments in England.

The latest available data shows that as of March 2022, there were 632,817 people on the National Health Service waiting list for ophthalmology treatments in England.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of inequalities in health outcomes for sickle cell disease in (a) mothers and (b) ethnic minority communities; and what steps his Department is taking to improve outcomes for those groups.

No specific assessment has been made. However, the Department is considering the recommendations made in the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sickle Cell and Thalassemia’s report ‘No One’s Listening’. We will work with relevant organisations to develop measures to improve the quality of care for sickle cell patients. The forthcoming white paper on improving the nation’s health and reducing health disparities in England will address any inequalities in the care and treatment of sickle cell disease.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the availability of innovative treatments for patients with (a) sickle cell disease and (b) cystic fibrosis.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) makes recommendations for the National Health Service on the clinical and cost effectiveness of new medicines. The NHS is legally required to fund medicines positively appraised by NICE, usually within three months of the publication of its final guidance. NICE has recently recommended crizanlizumab for the prevention of sickle cell crises, subject to a managed access agreement between the manufacturer and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

In 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement agreed a four year interim access deal with Vertex for its portfolio of cystic fibrosis medicines in line with the marketing authorisations. This is supported by NICE and will allow eligible NHS patients to benefit from access to innovative treatments for cystic fibrosis while further evidence is collected to inform a future NICE evaluation. Further groups of patients may access these treatments if licences are updated during the term of the agreement.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to paragraph 19 of the NICE report entitled The NICE methods of health technology evaluation: the case for change, published in November 2020, what assessment his Department has made of potential impact of introducing a health inequalities modifier to patient access to treatments for sickle cell disease.

No such assessment has been made. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for its procedures and recently concluded a review of its methods and processes for health technology evaluation. NICE considered health inequalities as part of the review and consulted on its proposals with stakeholders. Following this consultation, NICE concluded that more work is needed before a formalised modifier for health inequalities could be introduced.

Health inequalities are considered in all aspects of NICE’s work. NICE has committed to reducing health inequalities by prioritising areas which target specific populations or conditions where there is most variation in practice or outcomes, where there can be the greatest impact and to accelerate access to most effective treatments.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on sickle cell services.

NHS England worked with the National Haemoglobinopathy Panel and Haemoglobinopathy Coordinating Centres on an expert clinical panel to understand and assess the effect of the pandemic on patients with sickle cell disease. The panel produced a range of policies and clinical guidelines on the treatment of haemoglobinopathy patients during the first wave of the pandemic. Regional commissioning teams worked directly with Haemoglobinopathy Coordinating Centres and Specialised Haemoglobinopathy Teams to understand and resolve localised impacts on service delivery.

The Haemoglobinopathy Clinical Reference Group undertook two national lessons learned exercises to understand the impact on sickle cell patients. This identified that services had adapted to different ways of supporting patient care, with some trusts reporting a significant decrease in patients attending their appointments in-person as they were now being seen virtually.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the inequalities in health outcomes for sickle cell disease in (a) mothers and (b) ethnic minority communities; and what steps his Department is taking to improve outcomes for those groups.

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

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 31 January 2022 to Question 111706 on Health: Disadvantaged, what plans he has to steps to help tackle potential inequalities in sickle cell care and treatment.

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

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much public funding has been spent on (a) research, (b) new treatments and (c) clinical care for (i) sickle cell disease and (ii) cystic fibrosis in each of the last five years.

The Department funds research on health and social care through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The following table shows the total award expenditure on NIHR-funded research programmes relating to sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis in each of the last five years.

Financial year

Sickle cell disease

Cystic fibrosis

2017/18

£150,396

£1,297,912

2018/19

£131,709

£831,339

2019/20

£99,063

£144,976

2020/21

£196,198

£615,475

2021/22

£943,602

£2,440,800

In the last five years the NIHR has also supported the delivery of 54 studies relating to sickle cell disease and 130 studies relating to cystic fibrosis via its Clinical Research Network (CRN). However, information on expenditure for specific CRN-supported studies is not available in the format requested.

There are a range of care and treatments available for sickle cell disease. Information on the total funding of new treatments or clinical care for sickle cell disease in England is not held in the format requested.

The following table shows total expenditure on high-cost drugs, which includes the cost of new treatments, and clinical care for cystic fibrosis.

Year

High-cost drugs £

Clinical care £

2017/18

13,438,326

45,641,077

2018/19

80,524,960

108,454,676

2019/20

116,568,939

123,425,771

2020/21

316,447,363

127,204,405

2021/22 to December 2021

360,783,738

99,406,649

Source: NHS contract monitoring information system – Secondary User Services

Note:

Data collected in 2017/18 may not be comparable to data in other years due to the way in which the information was collected.

In 2020/21, half of patients benefited from home monitoring with £1,165,200 made available to provide remote spirometry. This was to allow clinical teams to monitor and support people with cystic fibrosis who were advised to shield and reduce the need for face-to-face assessments and hospital visits.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to review the implementation of the Accessible Information Standard, DCB1605, introduced in 2016, to ensure that the healthcare information and communication support needs of people with a disability, including visual impairments, are being met.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently reviewing the Accessible Information Standard (AIS), to ensure that communication needs are met in healthcare provision. The review will consider the effectiveness of the current AIS, how the standard is implemented and enforced in practice and identify recommendations for improvement. NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently in the consultation and engagement phase of the review and expect the updated AIS and supporting documents to be published later in 2022.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has set a target for the number of rough sleepers who will receive support in (a) 2022-23 and (b) 2023-24 from the Government's £30 million programme for specialist mental health services as set out in the NHS Long Term plan.

There is no target for the number of people sleeping rough who will receive support through the £30 million programme for specialist mental health services. However, The NHS Long Term Plan committed to establish new specialist mental health provision for rough sleepers in 20 areas of the highest need by 2023/24. NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided funding to 23 sites and are continuing to expand specialist mental health support to people sleeping rough.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Health Promotion Taskforce will meet next.

The next meeting of the Taskforce will take place shortly.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will launch a public awareness campaign around the importance of eye health.

We have no current plans to do so. Advice provided on NHS.UK sets out the importance of regular sight tests whilst also providing information about entitlement to free National Health Service sight tests. The Department also regularly uses the National Eye Health Week as a means of promoting the importance of NHS sight tests.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Health and Care Bill, how his Department will measure progress on the integration of eye care services into mainstream health services.

Progress on the integration of eye care services into mainstream health services will be measured at a local level, due to the flexibility required to meet varied local circumstances. However NHS England’s Eye Care Planning and Implementation Guidance 2021/22 explains how systems should plan local eye care recovery and transformation in line with the requirements of the 2021/22 priorities and operational planning guidance.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what investment his Department is providing to enable the gathering of population level data on eye health.

We have invested in collating population level data on eye health and advice on tackling risk factors. This information was published in the Atlas of Variation in August 2021. The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities is continuing to invest in developing further eye health metrics to support local systems in commissioning and evaluating services to improve eye health.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will develop a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities is developing relationships across Government, the National Health Service, the wider public health system and industry to improve health outcomes and reduce inequalities. Further information on plans to tackle the disparities in health outcomes will be made available in due course.

The Health Promotion Taskforce has been established to promote the importance of preventing ill-health and addressing health disparities, informed by expert, evidence-based advice, including from the Chief Medical Officer. In addition, the Government will publish a white paper this year, setting out interventions to improve livelihoods and opportunity in all parts of the country and supporting local government.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish an update on progress made in implementing the National Outpatient Transformation Programme, with specific reference to ophthalmology services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement launched the National Outpatient Transformation Programme in April 2020 to modernise outpatient services and reduce face to face appointments by a third. As of October 2021, it had facilitated over 34.4 million remote consultations, supporting general practitioners to treat more patients without onward referrals and enabling patients to book follow up appointments when needed. This has increased capacity for those needing face to face consultations.

In November 2021, 1,327 or 0.21% of ophthalmology outpatients booked follow up appointments. There were 11,574 specialist advice requests for ophthalmology which reduced onward referrals by 15.5%.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the oversight framework for 2021-22 for the National Outpatient Transformation Programme.

While there is no specific oversight framework, a copy of the ‘New Board and executive governance framework’ is attached.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish the (a) organisations and people responsible for the (i) oversight and (ii) implementation of the National Outpatient Transformation Programme for ophthalmology and (b) dates and minutes of programme meetings.

The National Outpatient Transformation Programme is overseen and implemented by the NHS Improvement Directorate, led by Hugh McCaughey, the National Director of Improvement. The Programme is based within the NHS Transformation Directorate, led by Tim Ferris, the National Director of Transformation. Ophthalmology formed part of this work from 2020 to March 2021, when a new National Eyecare Improvement Programme took responsibility for ophthalmology outpatient service improvement.

The governance framework and the minutes for these meetings, including dates, are attached. The minutes have been redacted to remove personal information.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of the October 2021 survey by the Private Healthcare Information Network of a 30 per cent increase in the number of patients self-funding cataract surgery, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that patients can access eyecare services through the NHS in a timely manner.

Surgical hubs are being used to deliver high volume low complexity operations, which is increasing the number of cataract operations being performed. National Health Service trusts are also increasing the use of technology to improve ophthalmic diagnostics, including virtual eye hubs where technicians administer tests and consultants can review results via cloud software. In some cases, these hubs have halved patient journey times and reduced costs and unnecessary referrals.

Clinicians from the Getting It Right First Time programme and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists are producing a best practice guide to support providers to increase capacity as well as the quality of services. This guidance will be circulated to providers shortly.

We have made £2 billion available through the Elective Recovery Fund in 2021/22 and a further £8 billion from April 2022 to March 2025 to increase activity and tackle the backlogs in elective care services. This is expected to deliver the equivalent of approximately nine million more checks, scans and procedures across elective services. The NHS in England can aim to deliver approximately 30% more elective activity by 2024/25 than pre-pandemic levels. A further £5.9 billion capital funding was announced in the October 2021 to support elective recovery, diagnostics and technology from 2022 to 2025.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the waiting times for elective surgery for people with inflammatory bowel disease.

No formal assessment has been made.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will increase housing-based care options for older people.

No formal assessment has been made. However, we recognise that supported housing, including housing-with-care, can be the best model of care for some people, leading to better health, greater independence and closer connection with the community. An independent pre-evaluation scoping exercise commissioned by the Department has found good evidence for the benefits of extra care housing for older people.

We will continue to incentivise the supply of supported housing through the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, alongside a new £300 million investment to embed the strategic commitment in all local places to connect housing with health and care and drive the stock of new supported housing. We will work in partnership with local authorities, housing providers and others to design and establish our new investment.

Our white paper on the reform of adult social care includes our strategy to build a workforce which is well-trained, developed, healthy, supported, sustainable and recognised. Reforming the way care is delivered has significant potential to manage demand for the adult social care workforce as part of longer-term planning.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will make an assessment of the implications for its policies of the finding of ARCO's November 2021 report, Putting the care in Housing-with-Care, that an expansion of the integrated retirement community sector could reduce the need for care staff by tens of thousands.

No formal assessment has been made. However, we recognise that supported housing, including housing-with-care, can be the best model of care for some people, leading to better health, greater independence and closer connection with the community. An independent pre-evaluation scoping exercise commissioned by the Department has found good evidence for the benefits of extra care housing for older people.

We will continue to incentivise the supply of supported housing through the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, alongside a new £300 million investment to embed the strategic commitment in all local places to connect housing with health and care and drive the stock of new supported housing. We will work in partnership with local authorities, housing providers and others to design and establish our new investment.

Our white paper on the reform of adult social care includes our strategy to build a workforce which is well-trained, developed, healthy, supported, sustainable and recognised. Reforming the way care is delivered has significant potential to manage demand for the adult social care workforce as part of longer-term planning.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will make an assessment of the implications for its policies of the finding of ARCO's November 2021 report, Putting the care in Housing-with-Care, that integrated retirement communities are key to improving care quality and tackling the care worker shortage.

No formal assessment has been made. However, we recognise that supported housing, including housing-with-care, can be the best model of care for some people, leading to better health, greater independence and closer connection with the community. An independent pre-evaluation scoping exercise commissioned by the Department has found good evidence for the benefits of extra care housing for older people.

We will continue to incentivise the supply of supported housing through the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, alongside a new £300 million investment to embed the strategic commitment in all local places to connect housing with health and care and drive the stock of new supported housing. We will work in partnership with local authorities, housing providers and others to design and establish our new investment.

Our white paper on the reform of adult social care includes our strategy to build a workforce which is well-trained, developed, healthy, supported, sustainable and recognised. Reforming the way care is delivered has significant potential to manage demand for the adult social care workforce as part of longer-term planning.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on how many and what proportion of severely immunosuppressed people have received a third covid-19 vaccination as of 21 October 2021 in accordance with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation guidance of 1 September 2021.

The UK Health Security Agency collects data on the number of people with severely immunosuppressed conditions as recorded on their electronic health record and the number of COVID-19 vaccinations they have received. Data on the proportion of severely immunosuppressed people who have received a third COVID-19 vaccine as of 21 October has not yet been evaluated.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure women living with endometriosis are supported mentally and physically while they are on the waiting list for treatment.

To support women with endometriosis, all obstetricians and gynaecologists have been trained in the diagnosis, investigation, and management of the condition, which is within the core curriculum for obstetrics and gynaecology. Women with endometriosis or suspected endometriosis should receive good care in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guideline ‘Endometriosis: diagnosis and management’. Within the guideline, clinicians are advised to direct women to local support groups, online forums and national charities and how to access them and if the woman agrees, to involve people important to them in discussions.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding his Department is providing to research into endometriosis diagnosis and treatment in (a) 2021-22 and (b) each of the next three financial years.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has invested £8.4 million into diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis since 2013. While it is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions, including for future financial years, the NIHR’s funding is available through open competition for research into endometriosis diagnosis and treatment and we encourage researchers to submit applications in these areas.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase (a) funding for eye health services and (b) the effectiveness of public eye health strategy.

The National Health Service is receiving £2 billion this year and an additional £8 billion across the next three years to increase activity and tackle elective backlogs caused by the pandemic, including in ophthalmic services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s National Eye Care Recovery and Transformation programme aims to transform secondary care ophthalmology services by using existing funding more effectively to improve service quality and patient outcomes. The programme is also looking for opportunities to invest in eye care services in order to move activity into primary care settings, supported by specialists in NHS trusts.

The Public Health Outcomes Framework Eye Health Indicator continues to track the rate of sight loss for age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. This information is available to commissioners and can also be used to drive improved local outcomes and interventions.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help increase vaccine uptake among Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups given the figure for vaccine hesitancy among Black and Black British adults is at 21 per cent. compared with 4 per cent. for white adults.

A local, community-led approach, with support provided from Government, NHS England and NHS Improvement and local authorities to coordinate and enable action, is in place. Directors of public health receive daily updates on vaccine uptake in their areas, broken down to small areas and key subgroups including by gender and ethnicity.

On 25 January £23.75million was invested in the Community Champions Scheme. The Scheme targets older people, disabled people, and people from ethnic minority backgrounds who are more likely to suffer long-term impacts and poor outcomes from COVID-19. Local authorities participating in the Community Champions Scheme provide monthly progress reports.

We have also provided information and advice via TV, radio and social media, translated into 13 languages. Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice has appeared in over 600 national, regional, local and specialist titles including media aimed at Asian, Bangladeshi, Bengali, Gujarati and Pakistani communities. We have met with faith leaders and the Moral and Ethical Advisory Group on COVID-19 immunisation and sought consideration of how best to clearly communicate about the benefits of the vaccine.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of reintroducing NHS ear wax syringing services.

General Practices (GPs) do offer National Health Service (NHS) ear wax syringing services if they consider it clinically necessary. If the procedure is seen as clinically necessary by the GP, the procedure will take place at the practice, or the patient will be referred to an appropriate local NHS service depending on the arrangements in place in the local area.

GP practices are increasingly recommending self-care methods (e.g. use of olive oil drops) as the primary means to support the safe removal of ear wax.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) UK nationals and (b) non-UK nationals who have received covid-19 vaccinations overseas will be able to be certified as vaccinated by the NHS Covid Pass.

No such estimate has been made. Since 30 September, a pilot process has been in place for overseas vaccinations to be recorded in NIMS and for some of these to be surfaced through the COVID Pass. This process is a proactive outreach model run by the Vaccine Data Resolution Service who contact patients with overseas vaccinations in their health records. They are invited to book a slot in a regional vaccination centre to present evidence of their vaccination, and to receive any additional vaccinations they may need. By the end of October there will be one vaccination site in every region in England offering this service. The vaccination site creates a NIMS record for the overseas vaccinations. Currently any Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen or Moderna vaccinations administered by the EMA, FDA or Swissmedic will then be inputted into the NHS COVID Pass.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on arrangements for UK citizens to access the EU covid-19 pass.

Following technical discussions with the European Union, we have now applied to join the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate scheme. This will enable digital verification of COVID-19 certification. In the meantime, passengers can continue to demonstrate their status via physical checks.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterpart on accepting the Novavax covid-19 vaccine for international travel.

The Government continues to make the case that anyone on a COVID-19 vaccine trial should be treated the same in terms of certification as someone who has received a deployed vaccine. Our Chief Medical Officer has written to all of his counterparts in the European Union and European Economic Community on this matter. Discussions are ongoing with other countries, including through groups such as the Group of Seven, the European Commission and the World Health Organisation to shape the approach taken around the world to sharing health status for travel.

The Vaccines Taskforce and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are working with Novavax to help ensure their COVID-19 vaccine is authorised as quickly as possible. The decision to license a vaccine is made by the MHRA.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what financial support is available to frontline healthcare workers suffering with long covid who have had difficulties returning to work in the NHS.

National Health Service (NHS) staff on national terms and conditions receive sick pay support which provides up to six months full sick pay, followed by up to six months half pay depending on length of service. In addition, in March 2020 the Department introduced temporary COVID-19 full sick pay for NHS staff, subject to regular review, providing an additional level of support.

Staff experiencing the symptoms of long COVID will also be supported through NHS England and NHS Improvement’s plan for long COVID, which provides support for patients experiencing long-term effects of COVID-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement intend to review terms and conditions for staff in September 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of funding dedicated health and care catch-up policies for disabled children and their families.

This specific assessment has not been made, however, as part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to look at how we can improve the provision of health and care services for disabled children.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on adequately funding disabled children’s health and care services in the long-term.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Chancellor of the Exchequer regularly discuss a range of issues related to health and social care services.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to ensure that every family with a disabled child can access the therapies and respite care they have missed out on during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to look at how we can improve the provision of health and care services for disabled children.

The Government has given over £6 billion in un-ringfenced funding directly to councils in the period of 2020-21 and 2021-22 to support them with the impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including for children’s social care. Since 2019-2020, the Government has provided additional funding for the social care grant and is giving £1.7 billion in 2021-2022. Additionally, we have invested £6.6 billion from March to September 2021 to help National Health Service (NHS) recovery and an additional £1 billion in funding to the NHS in 2021-22 to reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children, to access NHS services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of making covid-19 testing kits for international travel free of charge for fully vaccinated people returning from countries subject to covid-19 green list travel rules.

Free National Health Service tests cannot be used for travel in order to preserve existing testing capacity to protect public health, and the Department has no plans to provide free tests for fully vaccinated people from countries on the green list for travel. We are committed to working with the travel industry and private providers to reduce the cost of travel testing. We have invited the Competition and Markets Authority to conduct a review into pricing and standards in the market for international travel tests. We have also announced that the cost of NHS Test and Trace tests for international arrivals has been reduced from £88 to £68 for green or fully vaccinated amber arrivals.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish his Department's evidence on the relationship between mandatory calorie labelling on menus and reduction in levels of obesity.

We have consulted extensively throughout the development of our policy to mandate calorie labelling for the out-of-home sector. Our 2018 consultation received 1,158 responses including feedback from a wide range of experts. However, a record of the specific number of experts who have contributed to this process is not held centrally.

The Department has published an impact assessment detailing the likely effect of the policy. This includes analysis on the estimated benefits that would be generated from a reduction in calorie intake as well as the evidence used to support our assessment. The Department has also published an equality assessment, which together with the impact assessment, considers evidence of the potential impact of the policy on mental health.

We are committed to reviewing the Regulations within five years of them coming into force. In part, the review will consider whether the policy has achieved its aims in helping consumers make more informed, healthier choices when eating out or getting a takeaway and whether it has encouraged businesses to reformulate their food offers. Officials are developing plans for evaluating the effectiveness and implementation of the policy.

The impact assessment and equality assessment are available at the following link:

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

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, (a) when and (b) how many experts were consulted by his Department on its policy to make calorie labelling mandatory for all restaurants, pubs and cafes with 250 or more employees.

We have consulted extensively throughout the development of our policy to mandate calorie labelling for the out-of-home sector. Our 2018 consultation received 1,158 responses including feedback from a wide range of experts. However, a record of the specific number of experts who have contributed to this process is not held centrally.

The Department has published an impact assessment detailing the likely effect of the policy. This includes analysis on the estimated benefits that would be generated from a reduction in calorie intake as well as the evidence used to support our assessment. The Department has also published an equality assessment, which together with the impact assessment, considers evidence of the potential impact of the policy on mental health.

We are committed to reviewing the Regulations within five years of them coming into force. In part, the review will consider whether the policy has achieved its aims in helping consumers make more informed, healthier choices when eating out or getting a takeaway and whether it has encouraged businesses to reformulate their food offers. Officials are developing plans for evaluating the effectiveness and implementation of the policy.

The impact assessment and equality assessment are available at the following link:

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

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department will use to determine the (a) efficacy and (b) success of its policy to make calorie labelling mandatory for all restaurants, pubs and cafes with 250 or more employees.

We have consulted extensively throughout the development of our policy to mandate calorie labelling for the out-of-home sector. Our 2018 consultation received 1,158 responses including feedback from a wide range of experts. However, a record of the specific number of experts who have contributed to this process is not held centrally.

The Department has published an impact assessment detailing the likely effect of the policy. This includes analysis on the estimated benefits that would be generated from a reduction in calorie intake as well as the evidence used to support our assessment. The Department has also published an equality assessment, which together with the impact assessment, considers evidence of the potential impact of the policy on mental health.

We are committed to reviewing the Regulations within five years of them coming into force. In part, the review will consider whether the policy has achieved its aims in helping consumers make more informed, healthier choices when eating out or getting a takeaway and whether it has encouraged businesses to reformulate their food offers. Officials are developing plans for evaluating the effectiveness and implementation of the policy.

The impact assessment and equality assessment are available at the following link:

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

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a full mental health impact assessment was carried out prior to the creation of his Department's policy to make calorie labelling mandatory for all restaurants, pubs and cafes with 250 or more employees.

We have consulted extensively throughout the development of our policy to mandate calorie labelling for the out-of-home sector. Our 2018 consultation received 1,158 responses including feedback from a wide range of experts. However, a record of the specific number of experts who have contributed to this process is not held centrally.

The Department has published an impact assessment detailing the likely effect of the policy. This includes analysis on the estimated benefits that would be generated from a reduction in calorie intake as well as the evidence used to support our assessment. The Department has also published an equality assessment, which together with the impact assessment, considers evidence of the potential impact of the policy on mental health.

We are committed to reviewing the Regulations within five years of them coming into force. In part, the review will consider whether the policy has achieved its aims in helping consumers make more informed, healthier choices when eating out or getting a takeaway and whether it has encouraged businesses to reformulate their food offers. Officials are developing plans for evaluating the effectiveness and implementation of the policy.

The impact assessment and equality assessment are available at the following link:

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

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the Government requires people who have received both covid-19 vaccinations abroad to quarantine when returning to the UK from a country on the amber travel list, while those who received both vaccines in the UK and have also returned from an amber list country are not required to quarantine.

We are taking a phased approach to amending requirements for vaccinated passengers and exploring plans to remove quarantine for vaccinated non-United Kingdom residents from ‘amber list’ countries later this summer. The Test to Release scheme remains an option for travellers returning from ‘amber list’ countries to shorten their quarantine period.

We are working with medical and public health experts and international partners to broaden this scheme to more countries. We will provide an update in due course on the approach for individuals vaccinated in other countries, including those who have been vaccinated with vaccines not approved for use in the UK.

19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many pregnant women have received (a) one dose (b) two doses of a covid-19 vaccine in the London Borough of Wandsworth as of 19 July 2021.

This information is not held centrally.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the number of pregnant women yet to receive a single dose of the covid-19 vaccine, what steps he is taking to help ensure that pregnant women are kept safe as covid-19 (a) infection rates increase and (b) restrictions lift.

On 19 April the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) updated their advice regarding pregnant women to reflect that they should be offered vaccination at the same time as non-pregnant women, based on their age and clinical risk group.

Our vaccine toolkits for local services, stakeholders, partners and employers cover information around any concerns pregnant women may have in order to reduce hesitancy. We have also sourced and shared case stories of women of childbearing age who have been vaccinated before, during or after pregnancy to reassure women. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Chief Midwifery Officer and ‘media medics’ have made appearances on consumer and lifestyle media. And at a local level we have supported webinars and engagement sessions specifically focused on women’s vaccines concerns.

Women can also discuss any concerns with their general practitioner practice, maternity service or a healthcare professional at their vaccination appointment.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the process is for ensuring health professionals (a) are discussing with pregnant women the risks and benefits of the covid-19 vaccine and (b) have up to date information on the risks and benefits of the vaccine.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with regional teams and providers to ensure that advice on vaccination in pregnancy, including the risks and benefits of vaccination to pregnant women, is being offered antenatally and that information materials are available across antenatal and primary care settings. To ensure that healthcare professionals are having these discussions, NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked maternity and primary care services to support all general practitioners, practice nurses, midwives and obstetricians to give objective, evidence-based advice to women on vaccination in pregnancy at every antenatal contact. For healthcare professionals, there is also a checklist to aid discussions on the potential benefits and risks of COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy, and to gain informed consent. This is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2021/04/C1293-COVID-19-vaccination-in-pregnancy-vaccinator-checklist-version-2-19-May-2021.pdf

As part of their professional development, healthcare professionals and medical staff are expected to familiarise themselves with the latest guidance on matters of clinical importance. This could be through a range of mediums including clinical guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, journal reviews, circulars, bulletins, Royal Colleges guidance, information from the General Medical Council and guidance from Public Health England.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of pregnant women currently in hospital with covid-19.

We have made no such estimate.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is collecting data on the number of pregnant women and new mothers being vaccinated against covid-19.

We are not collecting this information in the format requested.

Weekly vaccination statistics are published by NHS England and NHS Improvement including by age, sex, ethnicity, population subgroup and National Health Service organisational footprint. The level of data published by NHS England is regularly reviewed. The weekly vaccination data is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) assess and (b) reduce covid-19 vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) updated their advice on 19 April, which indicates that women who are pregnant should be offered vaccination at the same time as non-pregnant women, based on their age and clinical risk group.

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy data, including for among pregnant women, is monitored by the Office for National Statistics, recording the reasons given for vaccine refusal. Two of the available response options are related to pregnancy and fertility.

Our vaccine toolkits for local services, stakeholders, partners and employers cover information around pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility concerns to reduce hesitancy. We have sourced and shared case stories of women of childbearing age who have been vaccinated before, during or after pregnancy to reassure women. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Chief Midwifery Officer and ‘media medics’ have made appearances on consumer and lifestyle media to reassure people about their concerns. We have also supported local webinars and engagement sessions focused on women’s vaccines concerns and have also been tailored to specific demographic groups. Women can also speak to their general practitioner practice or maternity service if they have any questions about the vaccine or can talk to a healthcare professional at their appointment.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide an Answer to Question 29135 on Coronavirus: Disease Control by 15 July 2021 which is the last sitting day of the House of Commons before covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 26 July to Question 29135.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is collecting data on the proportion of people testing positive for the Delta covid-19 variant who are unvaccinated.

Public Health England collects and publishes data on COVID-19 vaccination status for all confirmed Delta variant cases. This information is available in the variant technical briefings at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/investigation-of-novel-sars-cov-2-variant-variant-of-concern-20201201

8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of proposals to set a target to reduce the maternity mortality gaps experienced by Black and Asian women.

The Health and Social Care Committee published its report on 6 July following its inquiry into the Safety of Maternity Services in England. The report recommended that the Government introduce a target to end the disparity between black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and white women in maternal and neonatal outcomes with a clear timeframe for achieving that target. The Department is assessing the proposals and recommendations made by the Health and Social Care Committee and will publish its response in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish data on the number of pregnant and breastfeeding women who have had covid-19 vaccinations.

The data is not held centrally in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what equalities impact assessments his Department has made of plans to end covid-19 restrictions on 19 July for the protected characteristics of (a) sex, (b) maternity, (c) disability and (d) race.

The Department has produced equality analyses of the potential impact of COVID-19 restrictions to assist in decision-making. We will consider an updated equality analysis before any decisions are taken on restrictions from 19 July which will cover all protected characteristics, including sex, maternity, disability and race. This satisfies the public sector equality duty on public authorities to consider how their policies or decisions affect people who are protected under the Equality Act 2010.

6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of publishing a Social Care People Plan.

We are engaging with frontline staff, sector leaders and our partners on how we can best support those who work in social care through professionalisation, wellbeing and recognition.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that people participating in the Novavax vaccine trials are (a) able to show proof of their vaccine status for international travel and (b) not placed at a disadvantage when travelling overseas.

The Government is working with clinical research sites to add participant information of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials to the National Immunisation Management Service, in order to allow participants to access their Covid Pass for both domestic and international travel purposes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people participating in the Novavax vaccine trials are not disadvantaged by national and international vaccine certification policies.

The Government is working with clinical research sites to add participant information of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials to the National Immunisation Management Service, in order to allow participants to access their Covid Pass for both domestic and international travel purposes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure long-term immune monitoring of people who have received different covid-19 vaccines for each dose.

The National Institute for Health Research has commissioned the National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium to undertake the Com-CoV trial. This trial is gathering data on the long-term immune response of using different COVID-19 vaccines for the first and second dose. Public Health England has also undertaken follow up on people given mixed schedules as part of routine care to monitor self-reported side effects and antibody response. The results will be published in due course. Current guidance recommends every effort should be made to complete the course with the same vaccine unless there are specific circumstances in which this is not appropriate.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has for a covid-19 vaccine booster campaign in autumn 2021.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim advice on a potential COVID-19 booster vaccination programme on 30 June 2021, which is available at the following link:

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

Final decisions on the timing and scope of the COVID-19 vaccine booster programme, as well as cohorts and eligibility, will not be made until later in the year, informed by further independent advice from the JCVI. NHS England and NHS Improvement are asking all local systems to develop detailed plans to ensure they are ready to deliver a booster programme from the start of September.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure long-term immune monitoring of people who have received a covid-19 vaccine booster.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has made interim recommendations on the potential use of a COVID-19 vaccine booster. If the COVID-19 booster programme goes ahead, plans to evaluate the programme will be developed in due course.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the prevalence of homophobia in residential care settings.

We have made no specific assessment. Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities have statutory duties to safeguard adults with care and support needs from discriminatory abuse as a result of a person’s sexual orientation. This includes carrying out safeguarding enquiries where a safeguarding concern is raised.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with Chancellor of the Exchequer on increasing funding for disabled children's health and care services as part of the covid-19 outbreak recovery.

There have been no specific discussions. However, as part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement on improving the provision of health and care services to disabled children. We have provided over £6 billion directly to councils to support them with the impacts of COVID-19, including for children’s social care. Since 2019-2020, the Government has provided additional funding for adults’ and children’s social care via the social care grant and is allocating £1.7 billion in 2021-2022.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th 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 health and wellbeing of disabled children.

We have made no specific assessment.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help disabled children whose conditions have worsened during the covid-19 outbreak to recover progress on their healthcare outcomes.

We are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health services and therapies for disabled children. In 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance that restoration of essential community services, including therapeutic support, must be prioritised for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25 years old and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or are going through an assessment for one. We have invested £6.6 billion from March to September to help the National Health Service recover from the pandemic and asked that systems ensure health inequalities are tackled in their recovery plans.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that disabled children can catch-up on missed (a) therapies and (b) health services as part of the recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health services and therapies for disabled children. In 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance that restoration of essential community services, including therapeutic support, must be prioritised for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25 years old and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or are going through an assessment for one. We have invested £6.6 billion from March to September to help the National Health Service recover from the pandemic and asked that systems ensure health inequalities are tackled in their recovery plans.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th 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 (a) mental and (b) physical health of mothers of disabled children and young people.

We have made no specific assessment.

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 steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) the transition to a midwifery-led Continuity of Carer model is adequately resourced and (b) women who are pregnant after the death of a baby are prioritised for access to that model.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have committed to the rollout of Midwifery Continuity of Carer, so that it becomes the default model of care for women using maternity services across England by March 2023. NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided Local Maternity Systems with £90.05 million from 2018 to 2021 to fulfil transformational objectives, including implementing Continuity of Carer models. An additional £96 million was announced earlier this year in response to the emerging findings from the Ockenden Report, the majority of which will be invested in additional midwives and obstetric capacity.

Upcoming NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance will include advice on the implementation of maternal medicine-focused Continuity of Carer teams, which could be used to accommodate women deemed higher risk due to previous loss, whilst still offering continuity of the midwife caring for them.

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 steps his Department is taking to ensure that gender affirming surgery is available to transgender men.

NHS England and NHS Improvement committed additional funding for specialised surgical services for individuals with gender dysphoria in 2020/21, to reflect an increase in the number of commissioned surgical providers following a national procurement in 2019. NHS England and NHS Improvement are funding fellowships for surgeons to train in gender reassignment surgery. The first fellowship started in May at Imperial College. The contract for phalloplasty services is currently out to tender with view for rapid award.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will meet families bereaved by covid-19 in preparing for the public inquiry into the handling of the covid-19 outbreak.

We will continue to have meetings with those bereaved as a result of the pandemic, in order to hear and learn from their experiences.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what equalities impact assessment his Department has undertaken on mandatory vaccines for care home staff for (a) disabled people (b) women (c) Black, Asian and ethnic minority people.

The Public Sector Equality Duty Equality Impact Assessment form for making vaccination a condition of deployment in care homes was published on 16 June and is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/994476/Vaccination_as_a_condition_of_deployment_in_care_homes_-_public_sector_equality_duty_impact_assessment.pdf

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what measures will be included in the forthcoming Women's Health Strategy to increase the safety of pregnant women with epilepsy.

The exact topics to be addressed by the Women’s Health Strategy have not yet been decided. The call for evidence will inform the priorities, content and actions in the new Strategy.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Women's Health Strategy, if he will allocate additional funding to research on anti-epileptic drugs so that babies born to women with epilepsy can avoid preventable disabilities.

The Women’s Health Strategy is still in development. The call for evidence will inform the priorities, content and actions in the new Strategy.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to respond in full to the findings of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, published in July 2020.

The Government is carefully considering the recommendations of the Review and will provide an update in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the announcement on General Practice Data for Planning and Research service from NHS Digital on sharing data on medical histories with third parties, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure people are informed about how their medical information will be used.

NHS Digital is promoting this new data collection through their website, engagement with the media, stakeholder and patient groups and on social media channels. They have sought to raise awareness of the collection and its importance to the health and care system.

The data collection has now been paused until 1 September 2021 and in the next two months we will communicate the significant benefits this system will have for the health and care system.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle disparities in access to contraception experienced by Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities.

The Department are developing a new Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy, which will be published in 2021. We will consider issues relating to disparities in access to contraception experienced by black, Asian and ethnic minority communities and health inequalities in relation to sexual and reproductive health more broadly, as part of the process to develop the Strategy.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department can provide a timeline for when regular face-to-face GP appointments may return as commonplace following the covid-19 outbreak.

General practice is open and has been throughout the pandemic. In March 2021, more than half of appointments were face-to-face. On 20 May 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement published updated standard operating procedures for general practice. A blended approach of both face to face and remote appointments should be available to patients according to clinical appropriateness. Patient preferences for face-to-face and remote care need to be respected unless there are good clinical reasons to the contrary. Remote services alongside face to face appointments provides extra flexibility and convenience for patients.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will investigate reports of delayed PCR covid-19 tests from Latus Health.

Latus Health have been removed from the list of private providers for day two and eight testing hosted on GOV.UK.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure adequate provision of covid-19 testing by private providers.

The Government is committed to working with the travel industry and private testing providers to reduce the cost of travel testing. Private providers of travel tests must meet the minimum standards for COVID-19 testing services and those processing tests or taking swabs must also be at the relevant stage of United Kingdom Accreditation Service accreditation. These providers are listed on GOV.UK. The Department monitors all providers’ performance.

To ensure there is adequate provision, the Government has also made NHS Test and Trace testing available at the market mid-point to ensure tests are available at an appropriate cost.

4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the disparities of race and ethnicity enclosed in the latest still birth data published by the ONS.

The Chief Midwifery Officer for England is leading work to reduce health inequalities around maternal and perinatal mortality. NHS England and NHS Improvement are also working to develop an equity strategy that will focus on reducing disparities. In January, the Department launched a £7.6 million Health and Wellbeing Fund which aims to reduce health inequalities among new mothers and babies.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to make covid-19 testing kits for the purpose of international travel affordable.

Since its introduction, costs for travel testing has fallen significantly.

Charging by private providers is based on a market model and the Government has made NHS Test and Trace testing available at the market mid-point to ensure appropriately priced tests are available. A list of providers offering testing bundles for international arrivals, which can be filtered by cost, is available on GOV.UK to find an appropriately priced test. We also offer deferred payment plans and hardship support for people who cannot afford to pay for the cost of managed quarantine and testing.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether a Mental Health Bill will be introduced in the 2021-22 parliamentary session.

The public consultation period on the Reforming the Mental Health Act white paper ended on 21 April 2021. We are now analysing the consultation responses and will respond with a formal report later this year. This will inform the development of our planned Mental Health Bill which will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to ensure that human rights are prioritised in his Department's (a) response to the covid-19 outbreak and (b) longer-term social care reforms.

All Government policy is developed in a way that supports people’s fundamental rights, such as those set out in the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010.

18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that disabled people are able to live independently as part of their local communities.

In England, the Disabled Facilities Grant supports older and disabled people on low incomes, to adapt their homes to make suitable for their needs. We also provide funding to build specialised housing through the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund for older people and adults with learning and physical disabilities and mental ill-health.

In addition, we are working closely with the Cabinet Office’s Disability Unit on a national strategy for disabled people, aimed at improving the lives of disabled people, removing barriers and extending opportunities. The strategy is expected to be published shortly.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) prevent people with learning disabilities and autism being inappropriately detained under the Mental Health Act 2007 and (b) ensure that adequate support is available in the community for people with learning disabilities and autism.

In the Reforming the Mental Health Act White Paper we set out proposals to limit the scope to detain people with a learning disability or autistic people under the Act. Autism or a learning disability would not be considered mental disorders warranting compulsory treatment.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits increased investment in intensive, crisis and forensic community support for people with a learning disability and autistic people which will enable more people to receive personalised care in the community, closer to home and reduce preventable admissions to inpatient services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to minimise the time taken to receive PCR covid-19 test results.

Almost all in-person polymerase chain reaction test results are received the day after the test is taken - 98.6% for week 8 to 14 April. This improvement in turnaround times has been a result of continued focus on operational improvements, including the use of robotics.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure access to covid-19 vaccination for people on temporary visas.

Anyone living in the United Kingdom, including those on temporary visas, can receive the vaccine free of charge in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s prioritisation groups.

If individuals are registered with a general practitioner (GP), their GP will contact them in due course. If they are not registered with a GP, the GP COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21 Enhanced Service Specification enables practices working within their Primary Care Network groupings from shared vaccination sites to vaccinate unregistered patients provided they are eligible.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to take steps to guarantee that people without NHS numbers have access to a covid-19 vaccination.

A National Health Service number is not a pre-requisite to be offered the vaccine. The provision of the COVID-19 vaccine is a primary medical service and will be offered to all individuals living in the United Kingdom. If individuals are registered with a general practitioner (GP), their practice will contact them in due course. If they are not registered with a GP, NHS regional teams, working with various appropriate local systems, will contact unregistered people to ensure they are offered the vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to promote NHS England guidance for (a) GPs, (b) vaccination centres and (c) health trusts on vaccinating people without an NHS number.

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

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of new mothers from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds was offered the continuity of care midwifery model in (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s latest survey of 108 trusts indicated that in October 2020, services had continuity of carer teams in place to offer continuity to 15.9% of women. That represents 2,322 midwives offering continuity of care to an estimated 94,000 women. Of these teams, over 60% or 214 were reported as being placed in areas of deprivation and approximately half or 165 in areas with high proportions of black, Asian and mixed ethnic groups.

Information on the proportion of new mothers from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds offered continuity of carer in 2019-20 and 2020-21 is not available. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with trusts to improve the quality of data recorded in maternity information systems, so provision of continuity of carer can be evidenced nationally from routine care records of all women, including those that are of black, Asian and mixed ethnic groups, or living in deprived areas.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made on implementing the continuity of care model of midwifery for women (a) of Black and Asian ethnic backgrounds and (b) living in the most deprived decile lower layer super output areas.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s latest survey of 108 trusts indicated that in October 2020, services had continuity of carer teams in place to offer continuity to 15.9% of women. That represents 2,322 midwives offering continuity of care to an estimated 94,000 women. Of these teams, over 60% or 214 were reported as being placed in areas of deprivation and approximately half or 165 in areas with high proportions of black, Asian and mixed ethnic groups.

Information on the proportion of new mothers from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds offered continuity of carer in 2019-20 and 2020-21 is not available. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with trusts to improve the quality of data recorded in maternity information systems, so provision of continuity of carer can be evidenced nationally from routine care records of all women, including those that are of black, Asian and mixed ethnic groups, or living in deprived areas.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations of the Care Quality Commission’s interim report into the use of Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department welcomes the publication of Care Quality Commission’s report into the use of Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions taking during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to the recommendations set out in the report. We will establish a Ministerial Oversight Group to bring together partners across health and social care to implement improvements in DNACPR decisions and ensure everyone receives the compassionate care they deserve.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the continued need for Care Act 2014 easements in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

The Care Act 2014 easements provision in the Coronavirus Act 2020 was intended as a temporary measure to help local authorities continue to meet the most urgent needs in the face of COVID-19. Our most recent two-monthly review of the provision sought views from across the adult social care sector, including care providers, local authorities, and groups representing recipients of care and support. This review concluded that the easements are no longer needed. For this reason, we considered it appropriate to expire the provision and regulations were laid on 21 April 2021 using the draft affirmative procedure.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to deliver accessible (a) information, (b) appointments and (c) venues for the covid-19 vaccine for blind and partially sighted people; and what steps he is taking to ensure such provision is compliant with the NHS Accessible Information Standard.

Public Health England has published braille, and large print versions of COVID-19 vaccination leaflets which are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-what-to-expect-after-vaccination/what-to-expect-after-your-covid-19-vaccination

Vaccination sites are subject to the same standards as all health care services to support people with accessibility needs, including those with visual impairments. This includes ensuring good lighting and clear signage. Furthermore, marshals and staff help people attending vaccination centres navigate through the centre safely. Additionally, people can choose the most appropriate vaccination service to suit their needs.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to encourage vaccine take up among health and social care staff working in all settings.

We have opened the National Booking Service to eligible frontline health or social care workers which provides an additional option for them to access a vaccination appointment at a time and place that is convenient for them. Furthermore, a programme of work is underway at the national and local level to support and encourage vaccine uptake among staff in health and social care working in all settings. The National Health Service has produced guidance to support NHS organisations in vaccinating their workforce including engagement guides, checklists, and frequently asked questions documents.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to fund scientific research and development into inherited genetic retinal diseases.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supports research in response to proposals from the research community and welcomes high-quality applications for support into any aspect of human health, including inherited genetic retinal diseases. These proposals are subject to peer review and judged in open competition. The amount of the NIHR’s funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.

On 9 January 2021, the Government published the United Kingdom Rare Diseases Framework, outlining four key priorities for how the UK will improve the lives of those living with rare diseases. Pioneering research is included as one of the five underpinning themes. The Framework will be followed by nation-specific actions plans, detailing how each administration will meet the shared priorities of the Framework.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to increase funding for (a) safer medicines research and (b) ensuring safer medicines for pregnant women with epilepsy in order to limit existing risks around physical and neurodevelopmental harm.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working with NHS Digital to develop a registry to monitor the use of valproate and compliance with the current regulatory position, and to monitor any children born to women on valproate. A report detailing the findings from the first stage of the registry was published in January. Work is now ongoing to extend the registry to include to women in the devolved administrations. As recommended in the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review (IMMDSR), it will be further developed to include all women prescribed an antiepileptic drug. This has been prioritised within the next phase of development.

The conclusions of the Commission on Human Medicines’ safety review of epilepsy medicines in pregnancy were communicated publicly to support decisions around the best treatment options for girls and women. These communications were via the MHRA’s Drug Safety Update bulletin, an accompanying public assessment report and a patient safety leaflet. A news release and social media accompanied the publication alongside email alerts that targeted relevant healthcare professionals, prescribing publications and professional organisations. The MHRA is also working with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Association of British Neurologists to update relevant clinical guidance to reflect the findings of the review. The impact of this review and the uptake of communications will be monitored and consideration be given to the need for further communications to healthcare professionals.

The Department, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds a range of research in maternal and neonatal health focussing on the safety of maternity and neonatal services, and the national maternity ambition to halve maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths and brain injury by 2025. The NIHR has funded three studies on anti-epilepsy medication use during pregnancy. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including safer medicines for pregnant women with epilepsy.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the publication of the Commission on Human Medicines' report, Epilepsy Medicines in Pregnancy on 7 January 2021, what plans he has in place for an awareness raising campaign to inform healthcare professionals and the general public of the risks associated with the use of anti-epileptic drugs taken in pregnancy.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working with NHS Digital to develop a registry to monitor the use of valproate and compliance with the current regulatory position, and to monitor any children born to women on valproate. A report detailing the findings from the first stage of the registry was published in January. Work is now ongoing to extend the registry to include to women in the devolved administrations. As recommended in the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review (IMMDSR), it will be further developed to include all women prescribed an antiepileptic drug. This has been prioritised within the next phase of development.

The conclusions of the Commission on Human Medicines’ safety review of epilepsy medicines in pregnancy were communicated publicly to support decisions around the best treatment options for girls and women. These communications were via the MHRA’s Drug Safety Update bulletin, an accompanying public assessment report and a patient safety leaflet. A news release and social media accompanied the publication alongside email alerts that targeted relevant healthcare professionals, prescribing publications and professional organisations. The MHRA is also working with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Association of British Neurologists to update relevant clinical guidance to reflect the findings of the review. The impact of this review and the uptake of communications will be monitored and consideration be given to the need for further communications to healthcare professionals.

The Department, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds a range of research in maternal and neonatal health focussing on the safety of maternity and neonatal services, and the national maternity ambition to halve maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths and brain injury by 2025. The NIHR has funded three studies on anti-epilepsy medication use during pregnancy. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including safer medicines for pregnant women with epilepsy.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to immediately extend the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and NHS Digital's Medicines in Pregnancy Valproate Registry to include all anti-epileptic drugs.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working with NHS Digital to develop a registry to monitor the use of valproate and compliance with the current regulatory position, and to monitor any children born to women on valproate. A report detailing the findings from the first stage of the registry was published in January. Work is now ongoing to extend the registry to include to women in the devolved administrations. As recommended in the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review (IMMDSR), it will be further developed to include all women prescribed an antiepileptic drug. This has been prioritised within the next phase of development.

The conclusions of the Commission on Human Medicines’ safety review of epilepsy medicines in pregnancy were communicated publicly to support decisions around the best treatment options for girls and women. These communications were via the MHRA’s Drug Safety Update bulletin, an accompanying public assessment report and a patient safety leaflet. A news release and social media accompanied the publication alongside email alerts that targeted relevant healthcare professionals, prescribing publications and professional organisations. The MHRA is also working with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Association of British Neurologists to update relevant clinical guidance to reflect the findings of the review. The impact of this review and the uptake of communications will be monitored and consideration be given to the need for further communications to healthcare professionals.

The Department, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds a range of research in maternal and neonatal health focussing on the safety of maternity and neonatal services, and the national maternity ambition to halve maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths and brain injury by 2025. The NIHR has funded three studies on anti-epilepsy medication use during pregnancy. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including safer medicines for pregnant women with epilepsy.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people on temporary visas, including overseas visitors, are eligible for the covid-19 vaccine.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is a primary care service and is free to everyone living in England, including all overseas visitors, regardless of their immigration status or nationality.

If individuals are registered with a general practitioner (GP), then their GP will contact them in due course. If they are not registered with a GP, National Health Service regional teams, working with various appropriate local systems will contact unregistered people to ensure they are offered the vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding of Public Health England published in COVID-19: deaths of people with learning disabilities on 12 November 2020, whether younger adults with learning disabilities have appropriate vaccine priority when they are 30 times more likely to die of covid-19 than young adults in the general population.

On 24 February 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published a clarification of their advice on vaccinating people with a learning disability. They confirmed their view that priority should be given to those with a severe and profound learning disability and supported a practical approach of inviting everyone on the general practice Learning Disability Register for vaccination in cohort six.

The JCVI also supported the planned approach to work with local authorities to identify those in residential and nursing care and those who required support, for example as part of assisted living in the community and those in shared accommodation with multiple occupancy, to ensure this population could be offered vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding of Ethnic inequalities in health-related quality of life among older adults in England: secondary analysis of a national cross-sectional survey, published in the Lancet on 28 January 2021, that being a member of some ethnic groups is equivalent to being 20 years older than chronological age in terms of health care and outcomes, what recent assessment he has made of the steps needed to tackle racial health inequalities.

The Minister for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) is leading cross Government work to tackle COVID-19 disparities experienced by ethnic minority groups. The second quarterly report was published on 26 February 2021. Action to address broader health inequalities will be informed by the work of the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. The Commission is currently finalising its report, which will be submitted to the Prime Minister on 10 March.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the (a) adequacy of (i) transparency and (ii) accountability and (b) compatibility with the Equality Act 2020 of the Care Act easements process created under the Coronavirus Act 2020.

In developing the Care Act 2014 easements provision under the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Department engaged with stakeholders to ensure the needs of all groups were considered as part of our Public Sector Equality Duties. We have undertaken reviews of the provision at two-monthly intervals as required by the Act, working closely with the Care Quality Commission, Think Local, Act Personal and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services to understand the impact on individuals. Their feedback has been reflected in my review conclusions and in updates to guidance. To improve transparency, we introduced a mechanism for local authorities to notify us when they are operating under easements and their reasons for doing so. How people access services is determined by individual local authorities, who are responsible for complying with the Equality Act 2020.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish data on the proportion of care home residents and staff who have been (a) offered and (b) refused each vaccine dose.

NHS England publishes weekly data on the vaccination of care home residents and staff which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Data on vaccine refusals is not collected.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on the mental health of care home residents suffering from Alzheimer's and other dementia-related diseases of the restrictions on care home visits during the covid-19 outbreak.

Our guidance says that those residents with the highest care needs can now nominate an ‘essential care giver’. These visitors will be able to visit in order to provide essential care. They will have the same testing and personal protective equipment arrangements as care home staff so that they can also provide extra support, like help with washing and dressing or eating well.

We have commissioned research through the National Institute for Health Research to address the immediate priorities of people living with dementia and their carers.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will set out a timetable for re-introducing close contact care home visits in England.

New visiting arrangements began on 8 March. Every care home should ensure that each resident can nominate one named person who can have regular, indoor visits.

Those residents with the highest care needs can also receive visits from a family member or friend who is an ‘essential care giver’. Following agreement between the care home, resident and their family or friends, these visitors will be able to visit more often in order to provide care that is critical to the resident’s immediate health and wellbeing. They will have the same testing and personal protective equipment arrangements as care home staff so that they can also provide extra support, like help with washing and dressing or eating well.

We will assess the data and take a decision on opening up further opportunities for visiting, setting out a plan for the next phase of visits for people in residential care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure an equitable distribution of the covid-19 vaccine across parliamentary constituencies.

All available vaccine doses are being delivered to vaccination sites regularly. Targeted deliveries are being made to areas where there are more people left to vaccinate in the priority cohorts, proportionate to the at-risk population they have registered. This should allow any existing disparities to be addressed. The opening of more Community pharmacies and additional vaccination centres across the country will ensure access for everyone.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his oral contribution of 13 January 2021, Official Report, on a new vaccination confidence campaign, whether that campaign plans to issue information for people with learning difficulties, hearing loss and visual impairments.

The Department has been working closely with Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement to provide accessible information to the public on COVID-19 vaccination. This includes a series of leaflets, posters and flyers which have been developed in various formats including Braille, British Sign Language video, large print and easy read on GOV.UK.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s learning disability and autism programme has worked collaboratively across the National Health Service, with Public Health England and other partners to support the delivery of reasonable adjustments in the vaccination programme. This has included a range of training resources for vaccination teams on communicating with people with a learning disability and autism and making reasonable adjustments to training materials for COVID 19 vaccinators and volunteers. A general film on vaccinations for individuals with learning disabilities and autism can also be accessed on the NHS website.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to collect comprehensive data on the number of (a) covid-19 tests taken, (b) positive covid-19 test results, (c) covid-19 vaccinations and (d) deaths from covid-19 among Black, Asian and ethnic minorities on a (i) national and (ii) regional level.

Public Health England publish data on people testing positive for COVID-19 by ethnicity at the national level in their surveillance reports, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports

NHS England and NHS Imprvement publish weekly data on COVID-19 vaccinations, including vaccinations by ethnicity at a national and regional level, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

NHS England and NHS Improvement also publish weekly data on the deaths of patients who have died in hospitals in England and tested positive for COVID-19. This contains breakdowns by ethnicity and can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/weekly-total-archive/

Data on the number of Covid-19 tests taken by people who are Black, Asian or from minority ethnic backgrounds at national and regional level is not centrally held.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his oral contribution of 13 January 2021, Official Report, on a new impactful all-age autism strategy, when in spring he plans to publish that strategy.

We aim to publish this strategy, subject to COVID-19 pressures, at the earliest opportunity in spring 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the disproportionate effect of covid-19 on Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities, whether he plans to collect ethnicity data on people who are vaccinated against covid-19; and what his Department's reasons are for that data collection decision.

Data on a patient’s ethnicity is recorded on the National Immunisation Management System and on a patient’s general practitioner record at the point of vaccination. There is clear evidence that certain black, Asian and minority ethnic groups have higher rates of infection and higher rates of serious disease, morbidity and mortality. Whilst there is no strong evidence that ethnicity is the sole explanation for this, it is important to capture ethnicity data to understand the level of uptake in different groups.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the definition of frontline health workers prioritised in the covid-19 vaccination programme will include people undertaking non-clinical roles such as hospital cleaners and porters.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI have advised that the first priorities for any COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems.

The Committee considers frontline health and social care workers who provide care to vulnerable people a high priority for vaccination. Non-clinical staff in secondary or primary care/community healthcare settings are also included in the definition of front-line health workers. This includes non-clinical ancillary staff who may have social contact with patients but are not directly involved in patient care. This group includes some receptionists, ward clerks, porters and cleaners.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of YouGov's survey for Queen Mary University of London that 39 per cent of ethnic minority and 70 per cent of white people living in London said they were likely to have the covid-19 vaccination, how the Government’s vaccination public information campaign plans to target Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities.

The Department is working with Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement and key stakeholders to encourage uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. The Department is also working with community press, TV and radio stations to deliver information on vaccination in over a dozen languages.

Activity is also focusing on working with trusted voices such as healthcare personnel, faith leaders, community influencers and community organisations for priority multicultural audiences, with a particular focus on Muslim, Polish, black African and Caribbean and Jewish communities. The Department is building on pre-existing relationships and established channels as well as reaching out to more influencers through virtual sessions.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that family members can safely visit and make meaningful contact with relatives in care homes during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 1 December, we published updated guidance to enable visits to take place for care home residents once national restrictions end. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to include (a) teachers in SEND schools and (b) other teachers in the winter 2020-21 flu vaccine programme.

The flu vaccination is recommended for those in at risk groups, and frontline health and social care workers who have direct contact with patients, so they can protect themselves and the vulnerable people that they care for. This is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Responsibility for offering a free flu vaccination to frontline health and social care workers rests with their employers, as part of their occupational health responsibility.

Teachers and other key workers, aside from frontline health and care staff, who are not in an at-risk group are not eligible for a free flu vaccination. However, they may have access to the flu vaccine under their employers’ occupational health scheme.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to encourage housing providers to prohibit smoking on private balconies to prevent the problem of smoke drift.

The Health Act 2006 and the subsequent Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 made it illegal to smoke in public enclosed or substantially enclosed areas and workplaces. The are no current plans to change this legislation. However, organisations can make their own non-smoking policies for outside space which is not captured under the Act or Regulations.

20th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, when the first report of Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities will be published.

Since the Prime Minister established the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities in July of this year, it has met with a broad range of stakeholders across sectors around the UK, in each of its priority areas. It has also held evidence gathering sessions with a range of external stakeholders and influencers, and launched a call for evidence on 26 October.

The Commission will aim to report its findings to the Prime Minister at the end of the year.

The Commission is independent, and its Commissioners have been appointed by the Prime Minister.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to lift restrictions on care home visits to enable families to visit loved ones with dementia.

We appreciate the particular challenges visiting restrictions pose for people with dementia and their loved ones.

On 15 October we published updated visiting guidance for care homes. Care homes can develop a policy for limited visits, following the advice set out in this guidance. This should be on the basis of a dynamic risk assessment which takes into account circumstances and needs of the individual care setting including both residents and staff, and the external COVID-19 environment including local COVID alert levels. This should include an assessment of whether residents’ needs make them particularly clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 and if they make visits particularly important. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

This guidance will be updated as the risk posed by COVID-19 continues to change.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 29 July 2020 to Question 75237, what definition of birth applies in the guidance produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on women being encouraged to have a birth partner present during any type of labour and birth.

There is no definition of birth included in guidance produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists but the guidance is clear that women should be encouraged to have one birth partner, who has no symptoms of COVID-19, present with them during any type of labour and birth, unless the birth occurs under general anaesthetic.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to allocate funding for a national secondary breast cancer audit covering diagnosis, treatment and access to support.

There are no plans in place for a dedicated audit into national secondary breast cancer.

The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership commissions, develops and manages the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme, on behalf of NHS England, Wales and other devolved administrations. The programme currently consists of over 30 national clinical audits, six clinical outcome review programmes and the National Joint Registry.

The existing audit of breast cancer in older women does include some sections on women with metastatic breast cancer. The latest audit is available at the following link:

https://www.hqip.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/REF212_NABCOP-2020-Annual-Report-V1_high-res_20200702.pdf

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to extend bursaries for student mental health social workers.

Final year students in receipt of the bursary whose studies were disrupted by the pandemic will receive a pro-rated 2019/20 bursary for the period of their course extension to enable them to complete their studies.

The NHS Business Services Authority administer the social work bursaries and we would encourage any student who needs a course extension to speak directly to their university who can advise on requesting one through the NHS Business Services Authority process.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the 22 September 2020 Government response to its consultation on how to reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004, what steps the Government plans to take to radically reduce the waiting times for people to access gender clinics.

Healthcare for transgender people did not fall within the scope of consultation on how to reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

In 2018 a new service specification was developed for gender identity clinics, this new specification concluded that access to specialist interventions by trained healthcare professionals was needed within primary care and other local health settings. As a result, three new clinics were announced earlier this year. The clinics are based in London, Manchester, and Cheshire and Merseyside. The first of these services began in July 2020 in London and they will be evaluated as pilots over a period of up to three years to determine how they could be expanded nationally.

Access to these new services will initially be given to people who are already on a waiting list at an established Gender Dysphoria Clinic and it is expected that the three new services will reduce the current national waiting list for gender services.

24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to protect people living in deprived areas from covid-19.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) is reviewing the findings from Public Health England’s reports to better understand the drivers behind the disparities in the risk and outcomes from COVID-19 and the relationships between the different risk factors. Her work will help us to improve understanding of the virus and who it affects so we can build on and protect our most vulnerable communities the existing action. This includes our childhood obesity plan, National Health Service health checks, our tobacco control plan and diabetes prevention programme.

24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what lessons he has learnt from the first wave of the covid-19 outbreak with respect to protecting older people from covid-19.

The adult social care COVID-19 taskforce worked with a broad range of stakeholders, including residential and domiciliary care providers and representatives of those who receive care to produce recommendations for the Government in supporting the adult social care sector through a potential second wave and the winter.

‘Adult social care: our COVID-19 winter plan 2020 to 2021’ drew on the recommendations of the taskforce, advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and Public Health England, to set out the actions the Government would take to support the sector, along with the steps local authorities, the National Health Service and care providers should take to prevent and control COVID-19 outbreaks. This plan draws extensively on lessons learned from first wave.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review social care easements alongside the upcoming review of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, all provisions must be reviewed every two months and debated every six months. The first debate occurred on 28 September 2020. The Department has kept the Care Act 2014 easements under review and, on the basis of expert clinical and social care advice, has concluded that they have been used appropriately by local authorities and should remain in place at this time.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure adequate covid-19 testing is available before students take examinations in academic year 2020-21.

We have quickly established walk-through sites and deployed mobile test sites so that almost all universities are within one and a half miles, allowing staff and students to get access to tests should they develop symptoms.


In cases of outbreaks we are working with universities to deliver large batches of home test kits which can then be distributed to students isolating in their households or halls of residence to test themselves. We also have a home testing programme that provides access to testing to anyone, anywhere, in the United Kingdom.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to provide ring-fenced funding in the Comprehensive Spending Review for community social care services to help ensure disabled people receive the support they need.

To support adult social respond to growing demand and pressures, we have provided councils with access to an additional £1.5 billion for adults and children’s social care in 2020/21.

We have now made £3.7 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care. On 17 September 2020 we announced the extension of the Infection Control Fund, meaning we have provided over £1.1 billion of ring-fenced funding for infection control throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government will continue to monitor pressures on adult social care. Decisions on future funding will be set out at the Comprehensive Spending Review in the autumn.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when adequate covid-19 testing capacity will be available to allow Battersea residents with covid-19 symptoms to get tested within a reasonable distance of their home.

The nearest testing sites for Battersea residents are at Grosvenor Hall, Vincent Street, Westminster and Wheatsheaf Community Hall, Wheatsheaf Lane in Lambeth. Between 12 November and 18 November, the median distance to a testing site was 2.5 miles, nationally.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS organisations completed and published risk assessments for high-risk staff within the four-week deadline of the NHS England and NHS Improvement letter dated 24 June 2020 requesting them to do so.

All 217 National Health Service trusts submitted data on 31 July and 81% of known at risk staff and 92% of known black, Asian and minority ethnic staff had received risk assessments with mitigating steps agreed where necessary.

Also on 31 July, Sir Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive for NHS England and NHS Improvement, wrote to NHS organisations regarding the third phase of the NHS response to COVID-19 and supplementary material to support implementation was published on 7 August. This makes it clear to NHS systems that the continued deployment of risk assessments on an ongoing basis must remain a priority for the duration of the pandemic.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the (a) health and social care, (b) informal care, (c) quality of life, (d) lost productivity and (e) welfare administration costs of eye conditions.

The Department has made no such estimate.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to publish guidance on allowing partners to attend antenatal appointments and scans during the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service is making arrangements to ensure that women are supported and cared for safely through pregnancy, birth and the period afterwards during this pandemic.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published a new Framework to assist NHS trusts to reintroduce access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women in English maternity services on 8 September which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/09/par001599-framework-for-the-reintroduction-of-visitors-throughout-maternity-services-sep-2020.pdf

We expect trusts to use this Framework and consider as a priority how access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women can be reintroduced whilst maintaining the safety of all service users, staff and visitors.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what definition of labour is used by (a) local trusts and (b) NHS bodies.

NHS England and NHS Improvement endorses the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s definitions of all stages of labour which can be found in Clinical guideline [CG190] on Intrapartum care for healthy women and babies. We expect all National Health Service trusts and bodies to give due regard to the guidance, but we do not collect data on the definitions that trusts use.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many local trusts and other NHS bodies are permitting partners to attend (a) scans and (b) other antenatal appointments.

NHS England and NHS Improvement do not hold data on the numbers of trusts allowing partners to attend routine antenatal appointments, including scans. On 8 September 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published a Framework to assist all National Health Service trusts to reintroduce access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women in maternity services in England, developed in partnership with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of Midwives and the Society and College of Radiographers. NHS England and NHS Improvement expect trusts to now use this Framework and consider how access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women can be safely reintroduced to maternity services as a priority.

The Framework document is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/09/par001599-framework-for-the-reintroduction-of-visitors-throughout-maternity-services-sep-2020.pdf

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many Black people are in psychiatric custody; how long they have been in psychiatric custody; and what assessment he has made of the reasons for the use of that custody.

In 2018/19 there were 5,137 people detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 whose ethnicity was recorded as Black or Black British. Analysis of length of stay and length of detention has not yet been undertaken. This analysis is complex and as such would exceed the proportionate costs available to answer this question.

Detentions are made under the Mental Health Act 1983 to enable the treatment of patients who require care in hospital for their mental health and who may otherwise present a risk to themselves or others. The operation of the Mental Health Act 1983 is regulated by the Care Quality Commission, which produces an annual report, Monitoring the Mental Health Act, the most recent edition of which is available at the following link:

https://www.cqc.org.uk/publications/major-report/monitoring-mental-health-act-201819

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on a national eye health strategy; and what assessment he has made of the effect of medical research on finding solutions to the capacity issues that NHS ophthalmology services face.

There are no plans to develop a national eye health strategy. Given the size of England, and the diversity of the health needs of different communities, we believe commissioning needs to be owned and managed locally.

However, no specific assessment has been made of the effects of medical research on finding solutions to the capacity issues faced by National Health Service ophthalmology services. We welcome medical research and the contribution it makes to the development of better treatments, improved diagnostics, prevention, care and quality of life for everyone.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s outpatient transformation programme is working with key stakeholders to help local systems redesign and improve outpatient services across primary and secondary care, including ophthalmology, so that trusts are better able to meet future demand.

14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on medical research on eye conditions.

Early in the pandemic a decision was taken to pause many of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded and supported studies to enable the research workforce to focus on delivering the nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies or enabling redeployment to frontline care where necessary. We have now entered a new phase of the pandemic: the NIHR is working towards the restoration of research funded and/or supported by the NIHR – including research on eye conditions.

The NIHR has awarded £48.3 million through its Programmes for research regarding eye conditions and has supported a further £97.9 million of research through its infrastructure between 2010/11 and 2018/19. UK Research and Innovation has funded £54.1 million on research regarding eye conditions between 2015/16 and 2019/20. The Department has not made an assessment of return on investment specifically from medical research into eye conditions.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much the Government and its agencies have spent on medical research on eye conditions in each financial year since 2010-11.

Early in the pandemic a decision was taken to pause many of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded and supported studies to enable the research workforce to focus on delivering the nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies or enabling redeployment to frontline care where necessary. We have now entered a new phase of the pandemic: the NIHR is working towards the restoration of research funded and/or supported by the NIHR – including research on eye conditions.

The NIHR has awarded £48.3 million through its Programmes for research regarding eye conditions and has supported a further £97.9 million of research through its infrastructure between 2010/11 and 2018/19. UK Research and Innovation has funded £54.1 million on research regarding eye conditions between 2015/16 and 2019/20. The Department has not made an assessment of return on investment specifically from medical research into eye conditions.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what resources and funding he is allocating to restart ophthalmology services and provide increased ophthalmology capacity as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of the third phase of the National Health Service response to COVID-19, focus is on accelerating the return of non-COVID-19 health services, including ophthalmology, whilst also preparing for winter demand pressures.

To support with this, the Government is providing an additional £3 billion to the NHS, which includes funding for continued access to the independent sector to carry out routine treatments and procedures as well as provide additional capacity for COVID-19 patients, should it be needed.

The restoration of services will also be done alongside continued vigilance in light of any further COVID-19 spikes locally and possibly nationally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the return on investment from medical research into eye conditions.

Early in the pandemic a decision was taken to pause many of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded and supported studies to enable the research workforce to focus on delivering the nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies or enabling redeployment to frontline care where necessary. We have now entered a new phase of the pandemic: the NIHR is working towards the restoration of research funded and/or supported by the NIHR – including research on eye conditions.

The NIHR has awarded £48.3 million through its Programmes for research regarding eye conditions and has supported a further £97.9 million of research through its infrastructure between 2010/11 and 2018/19. UK Research and Innovation has funded £54.1 million on research regarding eye conditions between 2015/16 and 2019/20. The Department has not made an assessment of return on investment specifically from medical research into eye conditions.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many risk assessments have been (a) carried out and (b) published regarding decisions on allowing partners to attend antenatal (i) scans and (ii) other appointments.

NHS England and NHS Improvement do not hold data on local risk assessments.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of BAME health and social care workers have had occupational risk assessments as at 30 June 2020.

The Department does not currently mandate the collection of data on the completion of occupational risk assessments from social care or National Health Service providers and therefore we do not hold information about the number of health and social care workers who have had completed occupational risk assessments by 30 June 2020.

Employers have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their staff under the The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Completing risk assessments for at-risk members of staff is a vital component of this. NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to all NHS organisations on 24 June requiring them to complete risk assessments for high risk staff within four weeks and to publish metrics to demonstrate compliance.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase the use of occupational risk assessment tools for health and social workers in relation to the covid-19 outbreak.

Employers have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their staff under the The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Risk assessments are an important tool in ensuring staff are kept safe.

The Department has developed a Risk Reduction Framework for the adult social care sector to support employers to sensitively discuss and manage specific risks to their staff.

NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to all National Health Service organisations on 24 June requiring them to complete risk assessments for vulnerable staff within four weeks and to publish metrics to demonstrate compliance. Guidance on completing risk assessments and other supporting tools including a risk reduction framework, has been made available through NHS Employers.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of babies born from 1 March 2020 that tested positive for covid-19 were from a BAME background.

The Department does not hold this data.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the NHS test and trace system will be (a) inclusive and (b) accessible for disabled people.

We aim to ensure that the NHS Test and Trace system is accessible for all groups in society. Equality assessments have been undertaken to inform policy decisions to implement the system and, in line with our legal duties, we continue to assess impact as NHS Test and Trace is rolled out. We will make ongoing improvements to ensure the system is fully inclusive and accessible to all.

Work to date has included ensuring the Coronavirus Testing Call Centre can be accessed by people with hearing or speech difficulties, putting in place a home testing service so that those who cannot leave the home are able to access testing, using clinical contact tracers to conduct telephone interviews with those who do not use the internet, developing guidance for unpaid carers on administering tests for others, and ensuring local services are in place for vulnerable people who may need additional support when self-isolating.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the effect of covid-19 on BAME pregnant women.

A new national collaborative study has just begun to help guide the prevention and management of COVID-19 in pregnant women and their infants. The study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, will use the UK Obstetric Surveillance System to collect information about all pregnant women admitted to hospital who are confirmed to have the virus infection including the influence of demographic characteristics on outcomes for mother and infant.The information will be analysed to inform ongoing guidance for women and maternity staff as we respond to the pandemic.

It is known that some viral infections are worse in pregnant women but at the moment, there is no evidence that this is the case for COVID-19, but the amount of evidence available is still quite limited.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of babies born with covid-19.

It is not yet possible to say whether any babies have been born in the United Kingdom with COVID-19. With funding from the National Institute for Health Research, the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit are using the UK Obstetric Surveillance System to determine the incidence of hospitalisation with pandemic COVID-19 infection in pregnancy and assess the outcomes of pandemic COVID-19 in pregnancy for mother and infant.

The initial analysis of the data published on 11 May, found that of the 247 women admitted to hospitals in the UK between 1 March and 14 April 2020, six infants tested positive for SARS CoV 2 RNA within the first 12 hours after birth.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce racial disparities in maternal healthcare.

The commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan to rolling out continuity of carer will ensure that thousands of women receive safe and personal maternity care, improving outcomes for both mother and baby, and reducing health inequalities.

By 2024, 75% of women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and a similar percentage of women from the most deprived groups, will receive this continuity of care from their midwife throughout pregnancy, labour and the postnatal period, as a key part of our ambition to achieve 50% reductions in stillbirth, mother and child deaths and serious brain injury.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure employers do not use the Government's shielding list for covid-19 to decide who can and cannot travel to work.

Guidance for adults who are clinically vulnerable remains that they should follow stringent social distancing measures. We continue to advise those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to shield at home until at least the end of June.

The shielded patient list should not be used to determine who is or is not able to travel to work. Guidance for employers can be found at the following link:

www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of people who have tested positive for covid-19 are disabled.

At this stage, the data that we hold is not available in the format requested. We will continue to review the data we publish.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the £60,000 death-in-service lump sum payment in respect of covid-19 will be available to the families of contract workers in (a) hospitals and (b) care homes.

The Government has announced a life assurance scheme for frontline National Health Service and social care staff. The scheme is non-contributory and pays a £60,000 lump sum where staff who had been recently working where personal care is provided to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 die as a result of the virus.

Staff working in hospitals and care homes are eligible, providing that their work requires them to be present in frontline NHS or social care settings where COVID-19 is present.

As well as NHS employees, the scheme also covers staff who work for organisations that support the delivery of NHS services or work on an NHS contract, such as agency and bank staff. Within social care the scheme covers all staff employed by an organisation registered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to provide social care services. In addition, any members of the social care workforce in non-CQC registered organisations are also eligible, if their employer receives public funding.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of people who have been tested positive for covid-19 are BAME.

Data on the proportion of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in England by ethnicity is publicly available in the weekly national surveillance reports. These can be accessed on the GOV.UK site at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports

The last report, based on week 19 (reflecting data up to 10 May 2020 and where available up to 13 May 2020) showed 17.8% of cases who are from a Black, Asian, and minority ethnic group.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when (a) the Government and (b) Public Health England began to record data on ethnicity in the number of deaths due to covid-19.

Routine statistics on deaths produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) do not include any breakdowns by ethnicity, because ethnicity is not one of the particulars recorded at death registration. The content of the death certificate and the process of registration are laid down by law. However, the ONS is working to produce estimates of death rates by ethnicity by linking death registrations to demographic characteristics recorded at the 2011 Census.

Standard recording practice of laboratory confirmed cases across laboratory systems requires recording of only minimal data, such as date of birth and name; this does not include ethnicity. As these records are not intended for disease surveillance purposes, Public Health England is matching thousands of laboratory records of COVID-19 cases to other health records to draw down accurate data on ethnicity.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made on the effect of the suspension of the Care Act 2014 in the Coronavirus Act 2020 on deaf and disabled people’s access to social care.

The relevant Public Sector Equality Duty process was undertaken during the development of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and we engaged with groups representing service users prior to the passage of the Bill. The Department has issued guidance setting out steps local authorities should take before deploying the powers in the Act, including upholding the principles of safeguarding, and is working closely with social care and local government partners to monitor the use of Care Act easements. Access to services and how disabled people do so are determined by individual local authorities, who are responsible for complying with the Equality Act.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what preparations are in place to ensure access to social care for disabled people during the delay phase of covid-19.

The Government have published a number of guidelines covering all sectors within social care. New Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 or those with special needs was published on 24 March. Additional guidance has been published for those people who are classed as essential workers of which social care falls under to ensure access is ongoing.

On 1 April the government published ‘Care Act easements: guidance for local authorities’ which sets out how local authorities can use the new Care Act easements, created under the Coronavirus Act 2020, to ensure the best possible care for people in our society during this exceptional period.

More information can be found at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-changes-to-the-care-act-2014/care-act-easements-guidance-for-local-authorities

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations she has made to her Israeli counterpart on the killing of the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank; and what steps she is taking to ensure that there is an independent international investigation into her death.

On 11 May, I publicly expressed my sadness upon hearing news of the tragic death of veteran Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, and called for a thorough investigation. The Foreign Secretary also made this clear in a statement on 12 May. On 19 May, I also spoke to the Israeli Ambassador to the UK and reiterated the importance of a thorough, transparent and impartial investigation. The safety of journalists across the globe is vital and they must be protected when carrying out their critical work.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to protect freedom of religion or belief in the world following the murder of a student who was beaten and burnt to death for alleged blasphemy in Nigeria.

The murder of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto State, Nigeria, on 13 May was a barbaric and heinous act. I [Minister Ford] have expressed my public condemnation, and have urged the relevant authorities to ensure the perpetrators face justice in line with the law.

The severity and scale of violations and abuses of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) in many parts of the world remain deeply troubling. Defending FoRB for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities, is a longstanding human rights priority for the UK Government. Bilaterally, Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern with different countries; we do not shy away from challenging those we believe are not meeting their obligations. Multilaterally, we work with the UN, G7, and other multilateral fora to promote FoRB. The UK Government regularly discusses human rights in Nigeria with the Nigerian authorities, stressing the importance of protecting and promoting human rights for all. During my visit to Nigeria in February, I met with community and religious leaders, with whom I discussed, among other things, the impact of the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria on local people, and their rights. I also discussed growing insecurity and violence with Nigeria's Vice President and Foreign Minister during my visit.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) gender equality and (b) women’s rights are supported beyond commitments to girls’ education in its International Development Strategy.

FCDO is committed to ensuring gender equality and women's rights remain at the heart of the UK's approach to development, and commitments beyond girls' education will feature in the new International Development Strategy. We look forward to engaging with partners and stakeholders, including civil society, on the Strategy over the coming months.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that women’s rights organisations and experts have opportunities to input into the new International Development Strategy.

We look forward to engaging with a diverse range of partners and stakeholders, including civil society, on the International Development Strategy over the coming months. Women's rights organisations are critical to achieving lasting transformation in women's and girls' rights, and the Integrated Review specifically commits FCDO to work closely with them to tackle the violence and discrimination that hold women back.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the new International Development Strategy will support implementation of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

The FCDO is committed to advancing the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda through the National Action Plan. We look forward to engaging with partners and stakeholders over the coming months to ensure that the WPS agenda is appropriately supported by the International Development Strategy.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the OHCHR report entitled Agenda towards transformative change for racial justice and equality, published in June 2021, whether the Government supports the proposals to establish a new international expert mechanism to further that agenda in the context of law enforcement globally.

The United Kingdom is committed to combatting all forms of racism, including antisemitism, both at home and abroad. We believe that one of the most effective ways to tackle injustices and advocate respect among different religious and racial groups is to encourage all states to uphold their human rights obligations. We have received the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and are reviewing it, including the proposal for a new international mechanism.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to discuss implementation of the Declaration on Girls' Education at the next G7 Foreign and Development Ministers' meeting.

Implementation of commitments made in the Foreign and Development Ministers' Meeting, and at the Leaders' summit, including the Girls' Education Declaration, is a major focus of our ongoing engagement with G7 partners. This includes the monitoring and implementation of our G7 Girls' Education deliverables, which are still under discussion with G7 partners.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he will take to (a) monitor and (b) account for the commitments made in the Declaration on Girls' Education endorsed at the G7 Leaders' Summit in June 2021.

Implementation of commitments made in the Foreign and Development Ministers' Meeting, and at the Leaders' summit, including the Girls' Education Declaration, is a major focus of our ongoing engagement with G7 partners. This includes the monitoring and implementation of our G7 Girls' Education deliverables, which are still under discussion with G7 partners.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking through its presidency of the G7 to progress the policy of ending the preventable deaths of mothers, new-borns and children by 2030.

Under the UK presidency, G7 health ministers affirmed our joint commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights of all persons and to promoting safe and respectful maternal health, new-born health and child health, free from discrimination, coercion, exploitation and violence.

The UK government commitment to ending the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030 encompasses a wide range of our global health and development priorities including: health systems strengthening; nutrition; sexual and reproductive health and rights; water, sanitation and hygiene; climate and environmental impacts on health. Through our G7 presidency, we have committed to strengthen global health systems. This work is crucial for further progress on maternal, new-born and child health and is also essential to ensure historic progress in these areas is not stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is a human rights priority country for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). We regularly monitor and report on human rights developments and raise concerns with the government of Sri Lanka, both privately and publicly. These concerns include the harassment of civil society, the range of civilian functions brought under military control, the situation for minority communities, and the importance of accountability and reconciliation following the conflict.

The Minister of State for South Asia, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has raised concerns with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister and the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK about a number of human rights issues, most recently during calls in January and May respectively. The UK government also led a new resolution on promoting accountability, reconciliation and human rights in Sri Lanka which was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on 23 March. The resolution provides a continued framework for international engagement on human rights in Sri Lanka, and highlights serious concerns about the situation, including those detailed in the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It calls on the government of Sri Lanka to make progress on accountability and human rights, and stresses the importance of a comprehensive accountability process for all violations and abuses committed in Sri Lanka. We will continue to engage with the government of Sri Lanka on these important issues.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support the Government is providing to the Moise Administration in Haiti for constitutional reforms, including tackling gender disparities by creating a female political representation quota of 35 per cent at every level.

The UK sees women's political empowerment, participation and leadership as a critical foundation for girls' and women's broader rights and for making progress on gender equality. The UK is closely following developments in Haiti including the upcoming constitutional referendum. Whilst we are not currently providing direct bilateral support the UK supports the work of the United Nations. This includes that of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and of the UN Special Political Mission (the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti), in their ongoing diplomatic engagement with the Haitian authorities on both the proposed constitutional referendum and elections.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he last made representations to the Government of Israel on the reports of ill-treatment of Palestinian minors and Palestinian human rights defenders in Israeli military detention.

We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation, including the treatment of Palestinian children. We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, in particular the need to protect children. We remain concerned about Israel's extensive use of administrative detention which, according to international law, should be used only when security makes this absolutely necessary rather than as routine practice and as a preventive rather than a punitive measure. We remain committed to working with Israel to secure improvements to the practices surrounding children in detention.

The UK is aware of the challenges facing human rights defenders (HRDs) and organisations operating in Israel and the OPTs.

The UK continues to urge the Israeli Government to respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of Human Rights Defenders (HFDs), of which the FCDO is a fervent champion everywhere. We have been clear that a strong, vibrant civil society is in Israel's own interest and have raised concerns with the Palestinian Authority about the treatment of HRDs in the West Bank. Officials from the British Embassy in Tel Aviv last raised the issue of HRDs on 23 February with the Israeli Ministry of Justice.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what consular assistance has been provided to support British national, Anoosheh Ashoori, who has been detained in Iran since 2017; and whether he plans to grant Anoosheh Ashoori diplomatic protection to support his urgent return to the UK.

We remain committed to securing the immediate and permanent release of arbitrarily detained dual British nationals in Iran so that they can return to the UK and be reunited with their families. Our Embassy in Tehran continues to request consular access to Mr Ashoori and we have been supporting his family since being made aware of his detention. The Foreign Secretary regularly raises the UK's serious concerns about Iran's practice of detaining foreign and dual nationals directly with Foreign Minister Zarif, most recently on 3 April, and the Prime Minister has raised the issue with President Rouhani, most recently on 10 March. The ambassador in Tehran consistently raises the dual national detainees with the Iran authorities. We remain in close contact with the family on this matter.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assistance his Department is providing to Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe since her sentence ended in March 2021; and for what reason a representative from the British Embassy in Iran did not attend her most recent court hearing with her.

Iran's decision to sentence Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on further charges is totally inhumane and wholly unjustified. This government remains committed to doing all we can to secure Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's return home. We requested access to the 14 March hearing, which was refused - Iran routinely denies our requests to attend the hearings of dual British nationals, because they do not recognise them as dual British nationals.

We continue to raise Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case at the most senior levels in the Iranian Government and are doing all we can to bring her home as soon as possible. The Foreign Secretary regularly presses Foreign Minister Zarif for her release, most recently on 3 April, and the Prime Minister has raised this with President Rouhani, most recently on 10 March. Our Ambassador in Tehran consistently raises the subject of our detainees with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, most recently on 27 April.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps he has taken on ending the maltreatment of Uyghur Muslims in China.

The UK Government remains gravely concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. We have led international efforts to hold China to account for its human rights violations, leading the first two statements on Xinjiang at the UN and utilising our diplomatic network to raise the issue up the international agenda. In February, the Foreign Secretary used a personal address at the UN Human Rights Council to call for China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, or another independent expert, urgent and unfettered access to Xinjiang.

The UK is also committed to taking robust domestic action. On 22 March, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK has imposed, under the UK's Global Human Rights sanctions regime, asset freezes and travel bans against four senior Chinese Government officials, as well the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the organisation responsible for enforcing the repressive security policies across many areas of Xinjiang.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Israel counterpart to encourage the timely import of vaccines and equipment needed to (a) run immunisation programmes and (b) combat the covid-19 pandemic in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Under International Humanitarian Law, Israel, as the Occupying Power, has a duty of ensuring and maintaining public health and hygiene in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), to the fullest extent of the means available and with the cooperation of the local authorities. We also recognise the Palestinian Authority's (PA) responsibilities for vaccinations under the Oslo Accords (under Article 17).

We welcome the steps that the parties have taken so far to coordinate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage further dialogue in this regard. The UK Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised the issue of vaccines with the Israeli Authorities on 24 February, encouraging the Government of Israel to continue to facilitate the transfer of vaccines to the PA when required. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv and the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem are in regular contact with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities respectively, and will continue to raise timely and appropriate access to COVID-19 vaccines and medical equipment.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to repatriate British nationals who are stranded abroad as a result of covid-19.

Consular teams are continuing to support British people who are experiencing disruption. If people want to return to the UK we encourage them to get in touch with their airline as soon as possible while flights remain available. We are working intensively with the Governments of those countries that have closed their borders to people travelling to and from the UK, to enable airlines to bring back British people to the UK, if that is what they want.

We are also in close touch with air carriers. We encourage affected British nationals to contact their airline and insurer as a first step. We are providing direct support to individuals through our contact centre and consular teams, but call volumes are high. In the light of the rapidly changing situation, we urge all travellers to sign up for our travel advice alert service. We will keep the situation under review and remain in contact with the airline operators and authorities overseas to facilitate return travel.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th May 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the UK's departure from the EU on the cost of living; and if he will publish the (a) economic and (b) equality impact assessments conducted by the Government on the UK leaving the EU.

The government understands how the rising cost of living is making life harder for people. These are global challenges however, as set out in the Spring Statement, and the government is providing support worth over £22 billion in 2022-23 to help families across the UK with these pressures.

It remains challenging to separate out the effects of Brexit and COVID on the UK economy, with recent events and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine adding further pressures to trade, prices and the wider economy. The Bank of England has noted that the majority of the increase in inflation since the pandemic is likely due to global factors.