Matt Vickers Portrait

Matt Vickers

Conservative - Stockton South

First elected: 12th December 2019


Finance (No. 2) Bill
10th May 2023 - 18th May 2023
Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) (No. 2) Bill
8th Mar 2023 - 15th Mar 2023
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill
15th Jun 2022 - 20th Oct 2022
Home Affairs Committee
15th Mar 2022 - 27th Jun 2022
Justice Committee
15th Mar 2022 - 27th Jun 2022
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee
19th Oct 2021 - 21st Jun 2022
Public Order Bill
25th May 2022 - 21st Jun 2022
Glue Traps (Offences) Bill
12th Jan 2022 - 19th Jan 2022
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
2nd Mar 2020 - 16th Jan 2021


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Monday 4th December 2023
Victims and Prisoners Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 238 Conservative No votes vs 22 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 246 Noes - 242
Speeches
Thursday 30th November 2023
Oral Answers to Questions
Many people are aware of the incredible story of the Redcar steelworks site being reborn as Teesworks, creating 20,000 jobs …
Written Answers
Thursday 23rd November 2023
Educational Psychology: Training
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of part-funding …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: The Cayzer Trust Company Limited
Address of donor: Cayzer House, 30 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6NN
Amount …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 17th January 2023
Markets and market traders (review of support) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to undertake a review of the support available to markets and market …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Matt Vickers has voted in 781 divisions, and 5 times against the majority of their Party.

1 Dec 2020 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Matt Vickers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 53 Conservative No votes vs 290 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 291 Noes - 78
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Matt Vickers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Matt Vickers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
22 Jun 2022 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Matt Vickers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 61 Conservative No votes vs 106 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 70
18 Oct 2022 - Public Order Bill - View Vote Context
Matt Vickers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 103 Conservative No votes vs 113 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 297 Noes - 110
View All Matt Vickers 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(9 debate interactions)
Gavin Williamson (Conservative)
(8 debate interactions)
Steve Barclay (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(7 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(36 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(21 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Matt Vickers's debates

Stockton South Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Stockton South signature proportion
Petitions with most Stockton South signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Swifts have declined by over 50% in the UK. Adult swifts, known for site-fidelity, return to the same nests. We want swift bricks to be required in all new housing, to provide homes for these birds. Surveys show these are used by red-listed swifts, house martins, starlings and house sparrows.

The Government should create an emergency fund to deal with the massive waiting lists for autism & ADHD assessments for children AND adults. This would provide resources for local health services deal with current waiting lists and new patients.

The Government should commission a review of how Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) assessments are managed by the NHS, including through Shared Care Agreements, and increase funding to reduce waiting times.

Every year across the UK, millions of farmed animals are kept in cages, unable to express their natural behaviours and experiencing huge suffering. These inhumane systems cannot be the future of British farming. The UK Government must legislate to ‘End the Cage Age’ for all farmed animals.

We demand the Government restore England’s publicly funded, publicly provided NHS by reversing all privatising legislation, ending ongoing PFI contracts, and scrapping plans for Integrated Care Systems and for-profit US-style ‘managed care’.

Now the hedgehog has been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the UK, we are calling on the Government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection.

Enact legislation to protect retail workers. This legislation must create a specific offence of abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker. The offence must carry a penalty that acts as a deterrent and makes clear that abuse of retail workers is unacceptable.

The right to peaceful assembly and protest are fundamental principles of any democracy and the proposed part of this bill that gives the police new powers to tackle disruptive peaceful protests should be removed from The Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

We propose to amend the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to make pet theft a specific offence, distinct from that of inanimate objects; and in sentencing, the courts must consider the fear, alarm or distress to the pet and owners and not monetary value.

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


Latest EDMs signed by Matt Vickers

Matt Vickers has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Matt Vickers, 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.


Matt Vickers has not been granted any Urgent Questions

3 Adjournment Debates led by Matt Vickers

Wednesday 26th October 2022
Thursday 28th October 2021

Matt Vickers has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


512 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
3 Other Department Questions
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that the Eurovision Song Contest celebrates Ukrainian culture.

The UK is hosting Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine and we are committed to hosting a competition that celebrates both the UK and Ukraine.

I have announced £10 million in support of a collaborative show celebrating music and how it unites people from around the world.

This funding will be used by Liverpool and the BBC to collaborate with the Ukrainian national broadcaster, and artists and performers from Ukraine, and for security and other operational aspects of the competition.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is taking steps to increase levels of physical footfall at public libraries of (a) children at key stage 1 and 2 and (b) other users.

The Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 places a duty upon local authorities to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. This duty includes having regard to encouraging both adults and children to make full use of the library service. It is for local authorities to ensure that their libraries provide services such as access to books, PCs and study space, as well as access to activities and events which meet residents’ needs and will therefore contribute to and encourage footfall.

Libraries actively engage with a number of organisations and people to encourage visits and use of their services. This includes working with schools on a programme of class visits to encourage children to read for pleasure, to support schools with literacy, and to support parents with the home-learning environment, while also driving footfall. They are also actively engaged in specific initiatives aimed at school children such as the Holiday Activities and Food programme. Libraries also work in partnership with the Reading Agency to bring people of all ages into libraries each year through reading programmes, such as the Summer Reading Challenge, Reading Friends; through book issues, such as Reading Well and Quick Reads and attendance at themed events, such as the Big Jubilee Read and Story Trails.

The Government has appointed Baroness Sanderson of Welton to chair an independent panel to help inform a new libraries strategy. Baroness Sanderson has visited a number of library services across the country to find out about their work, and is having numerous discussions with the libraries sector, plus partners and others with an interest in their work. These include organisations active in boosting and supporting children’s literacy work such as the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians, The Reading Agency, National Literacy Trust and BookTrust.

Baroness Sanderson is also running a series of deep-dive discussion sessions at libraries around the country, themed on different aspects of libraries’ work. Four have already been held (covering culture, health and well-being, communities, and digital), with five others planned through to the middle of May (covering learning, business support and employability, reading, governance and blue-sky thinking).

Julia Lopez
Minister on Leave (Minister of State)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps she is taking to help reduce regional inequality.

This Government’s central mission is to level up the UK and break the link between geography and destiny so that no matter where you live, you have the same life chances. Our landmark Levelling Up White Paper, published in February, sets out how we will address regional disparities across the UK, put more money in the pockets of those who need it most, and transform the UK economy by generating higher paid jobs and new investment.

To support this, we are delivering the Equality Data Programme, which is the Government’s biggest and broadest review of the equality challenges we face, including geographic and socio-economic barriers to opportunity.

The work of the Social Mobility Commission is also central to the Government’s commitment to levelling up opportunities and ensuring fairness for all. We have bolstered the Commission by recruiting Katharine Birbalsingh as its new Chair and Alun Francis as Deputy Chair, and giving the Commission more leverage to influence other government departments.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Crown Prosecution Service in prosecuting terrorism offences.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) works closely with the police to help deliver the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy to ensure we have the best possible response to the threat from all forms of terrorism. Within the CPS, the Counter-Terrorism Division is responsible for prosecuting terrorism cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. The Division is made up of highly specialised prosecutors, including thematic experts, and has a strong record of bringing successful prosecutions in terrorism cases. Prosecutors engage with the police at a very early stage of investigations to provide advice and to help build strong cases, and to assist in identifying criminal justice opportunities to disrupt terrorist-related activity, using terrorism and non-terrorism legislation as appropriate. Recent terrorism statistics published by the Home Office confirm that in the year ending 30 June 2022, 88% of people tried for terrorism-related offences were convicted.

Michael Tomlinson
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the performance of the Crown Prosecution Service in (a) East of England, (b) London, (c) Cheshire, (d) North East, (e) North West, (f) Thames, (g) East Midlands, (h) West Midlands, (i) Yorkshire and Humber, (j) South West, (k) South East and (l) Wales.

I meet regularly with the Chief Inspector of HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) to discuss his independent assessments of CPS performance. HMCPSI is currently conducting independent inspections of all 14 CPS Areas in 2021-22 as part of its Area Inspection Programme, which focuses on the quality of magistrates’ court casework, Crown Court casework and rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) casework. Baseline reports covering the South East, North East, West Midlands, North West, London South, East of England, Yorkshire and Humber, Wessex, London North, South West, Mersey-Cheshire, East Midlands and North West have all been published on the HMCPSI website. The final report on CPS Thames and Chiltern is due to be published soon. All CPS Areas will be subject to follow-up inspections by HMCPSI in due course to evaluate progress made since the baseline report. The CPS makes a public response to all HMCPSI Area inspections, and these are available on the CPS website. Performance data relating to CPS Areas is also available on the CJS Delivery Data Dashboard, which can be found here: Criminal Justice System Delivery Data Dashboard - GOV.UK

Michael Tomlinson
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent steps he has taken to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Disclosure.

In May, the Government published the review of disclosure and amended the Disclosure Guidelines to deliver improvements for police prosecutors, and victims of crime.

The new guidelines feature an annex on data protection which will ease the burden on police, leaving them more time on the beat and investigating crime.

Updated principles on accessing third party material have strengthened the protection of victim's personal information and mandate officers to have clear, written reasons in place before accessing any material such as therapy notes.

Michael Tomlinson
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the judgment of the Court of Appeal on the Attorney General’s Reference on a Point of Law, No. 1 of 2022 (pursuant to section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1972).

On 28 September this year, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the Colston statue case, after the then Attorney General asked the Court to clarify a point of law following the acquittal of those who pulled down the statue on 07 June 2020.

The Attorney General welcomes the Court's judgement and is pleased that the law has been clarified. The proper scope of certain defences to criminal damage arising from protests is now clear. While the acquittals in question were not the subject of the challenge, it has now made clear that in future, defendants will not be able to rely on this particular defence in the same way.

Michael Tomlinson
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment he has made of the performance of Serious Fraud Office on complex cases of fraud.

The Law Officers regularly meet the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the senior leadership team to discuss the SFO’s progress in tackling the top-level of serious or complex fraud, bribery, and corruption. The SFO is continuing to deliver significant results in cases of complex fraud. The 2022/23 financial year will see the SFO prosecute seven cases in court, five of which involve complex fraud. Three of these trials have already concluded, resulting in four fraudsters being convicted and sentenced to a total of 48 years in prison and justice being delivered to thousands of victims. I have included further details below:

  • Andrew Skeene and Junie Bowers, who were behind a fraudulent “green” investment scheme that took in approximately £37 million of fraudulent investments from around 2,000 victims, were convicted and sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment.
  • David Ames, who was behind a £226 million fraud that deceived over 8,000 UK investors, was convicted and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.
  • Timothy Schools, who was behind a “no-win-no-fee” fraud that scammed £100 million from around 500 investors, was convicted sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment.

Michael Tomlinson
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps the Government is taking to support the Ukrainian Government with (a) investigations and (b) prosecutions of possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

The Government is appalled by the atrocities being committed in Ukraine by Russian forces, including the targeting of civilians, mass graves, and rape and sexual violence being used as weapons of war. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine, at the forefront of international efforts to ensure there is no impunity.

The Attorney General has an ongoing and fruitful dialogue with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova (PG), having signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with her to underline UK support for her Office’s work investigating and prosecuting crimes committed in the course of the conflict and visited the Prosecutor General in Ukraine. The Attorney and former Solicitor General hosted the PG for a two-day visit in London at the end of May. The Attorney has also appointed Sir Howard Morrison QC, one of the UK’s leading war crimes lawyers, to support her directly on her domestic investigations.

The Attorney convened a meeting of the Quintet of Attorneys General from the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with Prosecutor General Venediktova. Following this meeting, we published a joint statement which makes clear our countries’ support for Ukraine’s domestics war crimes investigations and prosecutions, and our commitment to work together with the Prosecutor General and her Office to ensure every perpetrator faces justice.

The preservation and collection of evidence is vital. The UK, together with the United States and EU, has launched the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA) to directly support the War Crimes Units of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (OPG) in its investigation and prosecution of conflict-related crimes. The ACA seeks to streamline coordination and communication efforts to ensure best practices, avoid duplication of efforts, and encourage the expeditious deployment of financial resources and skilled personnel to respond to the needs of the OPG as the legally constituted authority in Ukraine responsible for dealing with the prosecution of war crimes on its own territory. This shows the Government’s clear commitment to supporting Ukraine in its investigations.

The Metropolitan Police has also set up an online reporting tool for witnesses, including refugees, to submit evidence.

The UK also led the largest group referral made by States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC’s) Rome Statute to refer the atrocities in Ukraine to ICC. The ICC Prosecutor, Karim Khan QC, has jurisdiction to prosecute perpetrators for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. We have offered the ICC a comprehensive package of financial and technical support to ensure that leaders under President Putin and those in the field can be held to account for any war crimes in Ukraine.

We will continue to work with Ukraine, partners and international mechanisms in their investigations and to collect and preserve evidence of war crimes in Ukraine. Those responsible will be held to account.

29th Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she has taken to increase the number of prosecutions relating to domestic violence.

Tackling domestic abuse is an important priority for this government. Over 10,900 suspects were charged with DA offences in the last quarter with a conviction rate of over 75% and in the last 5 years, the number of coercive and controlling behaviour cases has increased from 5 to 1,403.

We have continued focus on tackling this heinous crime by introducing non- fatal strangulation offence as part of our landmark Domestic Abuse Act. Those who strangle their partners in an attempt to control or induce fear will face up to 5 years behind bars.

29th Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent steps she has taken to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of disclosure.

In May, we published the review of disclosure and amended the Disclosure Guidelines to deliver improvements for police, prosecutors and victims of crime.

The new Guidelines feature an annex on data protection which will ease the burden on police handling digital material, leaving them more time for front line duties and investigating crime.

Updated principles on accessing third party material have strengthened privacy protections for victims and mandate officers to have clear, written reasons in place before accessing any material such as therapy notes.

29th Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Crown Prosecution Service in prosecuting terrorism offences.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) works closely with the police to help deliver the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy to ensure we have the best possible response to the threat from all forms of terrorism.

Within the CPS, the Counter-Terrorism Division is responsible for prosecuting terrorism cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. The Division is made up of highly specialised prosecutors, including thematic experts, and has a strong record of bringing successful prosecutions in terrorism cases.

Prosecutors engage with the police at a very early stage of investigations to provide advice and to help build strong cases, and to assist in identifying criminal justice opportunities to disrupt terrorist-related activity, using terrorism and non-terrorism legislation as appropriate.

Recent terrorism statistics published by the Home Office confirm that in the year ending 31 March 2022, 90% of people tried for terrorism-related offences were convicted.

29th Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to increase prosecution rates for rape.

We are united in our combined efforts across government to improve performance for victims and increase the number of successful rape cases that go through our courts.

Since we published our Rape Review action plan there has been a steady increase in the number of rape charges, prosecutions and convictions, quarter on quarter.

Prosecutions for rape offences were 29% higher in 2021 than 2019.

In 2021, 900 offenders were convicted for rape offences, 67% higher than 2020 and 27% higher than 2019.

29th Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of steps taken by the Serious Fraud Office to increase the number of cases it prosecutes.

In its role as a specialist law enforcement agency tackling the top level of serious or complex fraud, bribery and corruption, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is prosecuting seven cases this calendar year. Across these cases, 20 defendants will face trial for criminality collectively exceeding £500m in value.

Given this specialist role, as well as the scale and complexity of the cases it takes on, the focus of the SFO is less on increasing the number of cases it takes on, but rather increasing its capacity through the use of technology, reducing manual errors and delivering this year’s trials effectively.

Driving this, the SFO received a funding uplift in the 2021 Spending Review which included £4.4m over three years to invest in technology. This will complement the wider work that it is doing to reduce case lengths and ensure the tools it uses to investigate and prosecute fraudsters match the evolving methods used by these criminals.

29th Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the performance of the Crown Prosecution Service in Stockton South constituency.

The Stockton South constituency falls under the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) North East Area. HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) published a report on the performance of CPS North East in October 2021.

Overall, the inspection showed that the Area generally makes the right charging decisions and selects the right charges, properly reflecting the criminality and giving the court adequate sentencing powers.

The Area adds value by the appropriate use of applications to strengthen the evidence in RASSO cases and, to a lesser extent, Crown Court cases. The handling of sensitive unused and third-party material is of a high standard, adding value to the prosecution’s compliance with disclosure duties.

Added value was also demonstrated at sentencing when the prosecution in most instances (and in all casework types) sought the right orders to protect victims, witnesses, and the public.

Although inspectors highlighted where improvements could be made, there were aspects of strength across the Area, which reflects the determination of the CPS to drive improvements.

16th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment she has made of the performance of the Crown Prosecution Service in (a) London South, (b) London North, (c) East of England, (d) Yorkshire and Humberside and (e) Wessex.

Since February, Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) have published reports on the performance of 5 CPS Areas: London South, London North, East of England, Yorkshire and Humberside, and Wessex.

Despite the pressures of the pandemic, the reports found improvement had been made in all the Areas. In the two London Areas, increasing caseloads and challenges in recruitment were both acknowledged by HMCPSI. However, inspectors noted that both Areas added value in aspects of their work with victims and witnesses.

In East of England and Wessex, inspectors praised both Areas for their joint working with other criminal justice agencies and found quality decision-making around disclosure of unused material.

The Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) team in Yorkshire and Humberside were commended for seeking appropriate orders to protect complainants, witnesses and the public and consulting with witnesses in RASSO cases.

Although inspectors highlighted where improvements could be made, there were aspects of strength for all the Areas, which reflects the determination of the CPS to drive improvements.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
16th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment has she made of the ability of the CPS to effectively prosecute cases of stalking and coercive behaviour.

This Government takes stalking and coercive behaviour very seriously. Since the implementation of legislation, the number of stalking and coercive behaviour cases brought to court has increased year on year.

To further improve the handling of these important cases the CPS has committed to key actions in the VAWG strategy and has recently published an updated programme of work on Domestic Abuse to help narrow the disparity between reporting and criminal justice outcomes, helping to secure justice in every possible case.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
16th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to ensure that correspondence sent by the CPS to victims of crime is suitable in tone and content.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) fully recognises the importance of clear and open explanations of its decision-making, especially to victims of crime. The CPS’ Victim Communication and Liaison scheme ensures that timely letters are sent to victims when a significant decision has been made on their case. These letters have recently been revised to increase clarity of language, empathy and to introduce signposting to sources of information on the role of the CPS within the criminal justice system and victims’ rights.

The CPS recognises that it still needs to improve in its communication with victims and commissioned last year a significant piece of research to better understand victims’ needs. It is using those findings, together with stakeholder engagement, to inform its future work on improving their communications with victims.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
16th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what steps the Government is taking to improve prosecution rates for (a) fraud and (b) other economic crime.

In the last financial year, the Serious Fraud Office prosecuted two corporates, recovered over £45m in proceeds of crime and agreed three Deferred Prosecution Agreements. Between February 2022 and January 2023, the SFO has eight trials; 23 people have been charged with criminality worth over £550m.

The Law Officers meet regularly with senior officials at the Serious Fraud Office to discuss strategy and funding; through these meetings, as well as regular engagement between my Office and the Serious Fraud Office, I am confident that the organisation has the resource required for those trials.

The Government is committed to tackling fraud and economic crime, and the 10-year Fraud Strategy that will be published this year will set out plans to address the threat of fraud including the prosecution of fraudsters.

The majority of Serious Fraud Office cases already pass the ‘no case to answer’ stage. This is when the Judge rules that the prosecution’s evidence is sufficient, the trial will proceed to enable a jury to consider its verdict. It is not within the gift of the Serious Fraud Office, or the Government, to influence this.

In addition to the Fraud Strategy, the Serious Fraud Office received a funding uplift in the 2021 Spending Review, which included £4.4m over three years to invest in technology. This investment will complement the wider work that they are doing to reduce case lengths over the same period. This will have a positive impact on the SFO’s capacity to tackle serious economic crime.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
16th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment has she made of the Serious Fraud Office's capacity to tackle serious economic crime in 2022-23.

In the last financial year, the Serious Fraud Office prosecuted two corporates, recovered over £45m in proceeds of crime and agreed three Deferred Prosecution Agreements. Between February 2022 and January 2023, the SFO has eight trials; 23 people have been charged with criminality worth over £550m.

The Law Officers meet regularly with senior officials at the Serious Fraud Office to discuss strategy and funding; through these meetings, as well as regular engagement between my Office and the Serious Fraud Office, I am confident that the organisation has the resource required for those trials.

The Government is committed to tackling fraud and economic crime, and the 10-year Fraud Strategy that will be published this year will set out plans to address the threat of fraud including the prosecution of fraudsters.

The majority of Serious Fraud Office cases already pass the ‘no case to answer’ stage. This is when the Judge rules that the prosecution’s evidence is sufficient, the trial will proceed to enable a jury to consider its verdict. It is not within the gift of the Serious Fraud Office, or the Government, to influence this.

In addition to the Fraud Strategy, the Serious Fraud Office received a funding uplift in the 2021 Spending Review, which included £4.4m over three years to invest in technology. This investment will complement the wider work that they are doing to reduce case lengths over the same period. This will have a positive impact on the SFO’s capacity to tackle serious economic crime.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
16th May 2022
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment has she made of international support for Ukraine’s domestic war crimes investigations and prosecutions.

The Government stands side-by-side with Ukraine in its domestic war crimes investigations and prosecutions. I have a close relationship with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, and met her and her team in person in Ukraine on 9 May 2022, to better understand how the UK and the international community can support Ukraine in its search for justice and accountability for Russia’s actions in its illegal invasion.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has opened over 12,000 case files and has hundreds of suspects. The UK and its allies are determined to provide practical and technical expertise to support their investigations. I have appointed Sir Howard Morrison QC, one of the UK’s leading war crimes lawyers and a former judge at the International Criminal Court, as an Independent Adviser to Prosecutor General Venediktova. My visit to Ukraine was also to lead a delegation of war crimes experts, who remained in Poland to meet international partners, NGOs, and other stakeholders to scope out the assistance the UK can provide. The Government and the UK’s wider operational bodies are carefully considering what support we can provide.

I know that our allies are equally supportive. Earlier this month I convened a meeting of the Quintet of Attorneys General from the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with Prosecutor General Venediktova. Following this meeting, we have published a joint statement which makes clear our countries’ support for Ukraine’s domestics war crimes investigations and prosecutions, and our commitment to work together with the Prosecutor General and her Office to ensure every perpetrator faces justice.

20th Oct 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that UK elections are not affected by political interference by (a) China and (b) other countries.

It is, and always will be, an absolute priority for this government to protect our democratic and electoral processes against foreign interference.

Last year, the Prime Minister established the Defending Democracy Taskforce to protect the democratic integrity of the UK from threats of foreign influence. Its mission is to reduce the risk to the UK’s democratic processes, institutions and society, and ensure that these are secure and resilient to threats of foreign interference.

In addition, the National Security Act 2023 creates a new offence of foreign interference. This will make it an offence to illegitimately influence the UK’s democratic processes and elected officials on behalf of a foreign power. The offence will also significantly increase sentences for electoral offences if they are carried out on behalf of a foreign power. Related measures in the Online Safety Bill will require digital platforms to proactively take action against a wide range of state-sponsored disinformation and state-linked online interference, including digitally manipulated content, where this has the aim of interfering with UK elections.

The Elections Act 2022 strengthened three important components of the political finance framework: fairness, transparency and controls against foreign spending. Since its introduction, the Government has restricted foreign campaign spending at elections and introduced a new requirement on political parties to declare their assets and liabilities over £500 upon registration. Foreign donations (and channelling foreign money) are already illegal. The Act also ensures greater transparency on digital campaigning, through the introduction of digital imprints.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the emergency alert system is used for life and death situations only.

For an emergency alert to be issued, a major incident must pose a risk to life. Risks to health or property will not be considered reasonable use. Members of the resilience community who may need to request an alert have been informed of this threshold.

Releasing an alert will require a request from the lead government department to the Cabinet Office National Situation Centre watchkeeper, and then approval by a Cabinet Office Duty Director. Where an alert is likely to be received by 1 million people or more, it must also receive ministerial approval. This system ensures that the Cabinet Office will only send emergency alerts when there is an imminent threat to life.

4th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Great campaign in encouraging investment in the UK.

GREAT’s global promotion of the UK for over 10 years has been highly effective. In the last year alone, GREAT has attracted over £50m of foreign direct investment and helped generate over £400m through international promotion of the UK education sector. Finally, there is a further £600m of export, investment and tourism returns that are currently being assessed.

4th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to increase apprenticeship opportunities in the Civil Service.

Departments are working towards having 5% of headcount being apprentices by 2025 as set out by the CS apprenticeship strategy. Apprenticeships will be integrated into skills and capability plans and other people strategies. We will provide entry and progression routes within a range of careers and professions for new and existing staff.

4th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress his Department has made on implementing the Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan.

Since the Veterans Strategy Action Plan was published in January, we have delivered 24% of the over 60 cross-government commitments.


Recent achievements delivered through the Strategy Action Plan include;

  • Provision of £150k in grant funding to charities to aid the development of best practice to ensure that veteran charities are inclusive and promote accessibility to female veterans

  • Appointment of the first Veterans Commissioner for Wales, Colonel James Phillips

  • Completion of a scoping study looking into the design of a service offering the digital verification of veteran status, with a further investment of £1m provided to develop this project further

  • Continued support to phase 4 of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research longitudinal study through over £1.2m in funding being provided over the next two years. This study looked at the health and wellbeing of UK Armed Forces Personnel and for the first time, this will also look at topics including social mobility, taking the insights beyond health and wellbeing.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to protect the public purse by reducing fraud.

The Government takes fraud seriously. HM Government has announced the establishment of the Public Sector Fraud Authority, once launched, will ensure increased scrutiny of counter-fraud performance and build broader and deeper expert services for public bodies, including the use of data analytics, intelligence and risk services.

4th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress his Department has made on reducing the cost of Government projects to help ensure value for money in public spending.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority provides expert advice and independent assurance on the Government’s Major Project Portfolio (GMPP). Working with HM Treasury, who are responsible for Value for Money, they develop robust project cost estimates and build capacity and capability to deliver effectively. The 2022 IPA Annual Report will set out progress made on the GMPP.

2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps her Department is taking to support businesses to export.

The Government’s Export Strategy, ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’, supports businesses through a 12 point plan which targets barriers to trade and helps them at every stage of their export journey.

My Department supports companies through its network of domestic and overseas trade advisers, sector specialists, the Export Support Service, and the Export Academy, as well as UK Export Finance (UKEF) which ensures that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, what steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to support UK car manufacturing.

DBT Secretary of State and her ministerial team regularly engage with Cabinet colleagues to discuss measures to support the UK automotive sector’s successful transition to electric vehicles.

The Government is committed to securing investment into the automotive sector, which will play an important role in levelling up across the UK and driving down emissions to net zero by 2050.

The Government supports an industry-led transition to Net Zero and it continues to work with global investors via the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to unlock private investment to build an internationally competitive electric vehicle supply chain.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
12th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps her Department is taking to encourage developers to purchase off-shore wind contracts.

The UK is home to the four largest operational offshore wind farms thanks to its successful Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme. Following the publication of the last CfD allocation round outcome on 8 September, the Government held a roundtable with the offshore wind sector on 12 September to discuss the results. Officials are analysing the results as they build the evidence base for the next round, which will open in March 2024. The timeline for the round has been published on the CfD microsite. Core parameters will be published in mid-November. These will be informed by updated evidence and benchmarked against industry intelligence. The Government will publish its methodology note at the same time.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department is taking steps to speed up the approval process for modular nuclear reactors.

The Government invested up to £12m with the UK’s nuclear regulators between 2017 and 2022 under the Nuclear Innovation Programme, to build regulatory capability for small and advanced modular reactors (SMR and AMR).

With this funding, the regulators modernised the Generic Design Assessment process introducing efficiencies while maintaining rigour and updated their Technical Assessment Guidance and Assessment Principles for regulating SMRs and AMRs.

As outlined in the British Energy Security Strategy, the Government will work with the regulators to understand the potential for additional streamlining or removing of duplication from the regulation of new nuclear power stations.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the use of artificial intelligence (AI) by UK businesses; and whether she plans to take steps to monitor the potential impact of AI use by businesses on the number of jobs created in each of the next five years.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology draws on regularly updated evidence from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS run the regular Business and Insights Conditions Survey (BICS) survey, which is refreshed every two weeks and now contains questions on AI uptake in UK businesses.

The ONS estimated that in September 2023, only 16% of UK businesses were using AI, with 19% planning to adopt solutions in the future (ONS, BICS survey). A separate global study by KPMG finds a similar level of uptake in the use of AI in business settings of 20% in the UK (KMPG, Trust in Artificial Intelligence 2023).

Our understanding of AI diffusion in the economy can also be informed by consumer use, which is reported at much higher levels. 50% of adults reported to the ONS that they used AI in their day-to-day life (ONS, OPN survey). It is possible that while businesses do not report formal use of AI, workers in these companies use tools such as ChatGPT or other Large Language Models for daily work tasks.

On the potential impact of AI use by businesses on the number of jobs created, in each of the next five years, AI has the potential to be a net creator of jobs and have a positive impact on economic growth - the World Economic Forum concluded in October 2020 that while AI may take away 85 million jobs globally by 2025, it is also likely to generate

97 million new jobs in areas such as data, machine learning and digital marketing.

DSIT will continue to monitor the take-up of AI in businesses and the impact this has on job creation closely.

Saqib Bhatti
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to prevent children from accessing potentially harmful content online.

Protecting children is at the heart of the Government’s Online Safety Bill. All companies in scope will need to take robust steps to protect children from illegal content and criminal behaviour on their services. In addition, services which are likely to be accessed by children, which will include social media platforms, will be required to provide safety measures for child users to protect them from inappropriate and harmful content or activity, such as pornography, bullying and content that promotes or glorifies self-harm, suicide and eating disorders. If they fail to do so, they will be subject to tough enforcement action by the regulator, Ofcom.

Ahead of the Online Safety Bill, video-sharing platform (VSP) providers currently regulated by the VSP regime are required to take ‘appropriate measures’ to protect under-18s from potentially harmful material. Appropriate measures could include, but are not limited to, age assurance, parental controls, and comprehensive terms and conditions.

20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to help prevent children accessing inappropriate material on social media.

Protecting children is at the heart of the Government’s Online Safety Bill. All companies in scope will need to take robust steps to protect children from illegal content and criminal behaviour on their services. In addition, services which are likely to be accessed by children, which will include social media platforms, will be required to provide safety measures for child users to protect them from inappropriate and harmful content or activity, such as pornography, bullying and content that promotes or glorifies self-harm, suicide and eating disorders. If they fail to do so, they will be subject to tough enforcement action by the regulator, Ofcom.

Ahead of the Online Safety Bill, video-sharing platform (VSP) providers currently regulated by the VSP regime are required to take ‘appropriate measures’ to protect under-18s from potentially harmful material. Appropriate measures could include, but are not limited to, age assurance, parental controls, and comprehensive terms and conditions.

17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to help improve access to full-fibre broadband for households.

The Government is committed to delivering nationwide gigabit connectivity as soon as possible. Today, 74% of premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just 6% in February 2019. By 2025, the Government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage, and we are investing £5 billion as part of Project Gigabit to ensure the hardest-to-reach areas in the UK receive coverage.

Through Project Gigabit, we have issued procurements with a value of over £700 million to deliver gigabit connections to hard-to-reach homes and businesses across the UK, including a £6.6 million contract covering over 4,000 premises in Teesdale in Durham.

Alongside this, the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme allows eligible individuals and businesses to apply for vouchers to help incentivise broadband providers to build in certain areas. The scheme and its previous iterations have already issued more than 111,000 vouchers, and are enhancing the scheme further by boosting the value of vouchers so individual applicants can access as much as £4,500 worth of support.

We have also made it as easy and attractive as possible for firms to build their networks, having instructed Ofcom to increase competition and investment in the market. These measures include reducing barriers to entry by requiring Openreach to offer competitors access to their existing duct and pole network via Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) where possible, rather than deploying new infrastructure.

We also introduced measures in the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 to specifically assist telecoms operators providing broadband services, such as an increased ability to upgrade and share the existing duct and pole network and a procedure to deal with non-responsive landowners. This is in addition to the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021, which makes it easier for broadband operators to install in multiple dwelling units where the landlord is repeatedly unresponsive to requests for access.

Additionally, it is a priority to ensure that new homes are built with fast, reliable and resilient broadband. On 26 December 2022, new regulations came into force making it mandatory for new homes in England to be future-proofed with gigabit-ready physical infrastructure and - where they can be provided within a cost cap - gigabit-capable connections. This will help ensure that many more new households each year get the connectivity they want and need without costly and disruptive installation work after the home is built.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase R&D spending in the UK.

The Government is providing the fastest ever sustained uplift in R&D funding, reaching £20 billion per annum by the end of the SR period – £5 billion more than 2021/22 with HM Treasury committed to £22bn in 2026/7 as part of our commitment to the target of UK economy-wide R&D investment reaching 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

In order to achieve 2.4% by 2027, we are mapping out the current private and public R&D investment by sector and modelling options for securing the necessary private sector investment, using a combination of policy tools across the R&D ecosystem – from innovation accelerators to the catapults, catalyst funds, and a range of fiscal incentives including R&D tax credits, the patient capital review, scale up capital taskforce, pension fund reforms and post-Brexit regulatory reform.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to support Ukrainian scientists and researchers in the UK.

The UK stands in solidarity with Ukraine, and we are assisting those who have been displaced and disrupted by this illegal invasion, including researchers and scientists.

We have announced the Researchers at Risk Fellowship Programme, which will support Ukrainian researchers fleeing the conflict, as well as those already in the UK who are unable to return home. The ‘Researchers at Risk’ programme, which launched in March 2022, was initially allocated £3m and a further £9.8 million of funding was announced on 28 June. With this funding more than 130 Ukrainian academics will be brought to, and supported in, the UK.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress he has made on formalising the UK’s association with Horizon Europe.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central on 27 April 2022 to Question 156445.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the development of new low-carbon technologies in the UK.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 25th May 2022 to Question 3766.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the (a) development and (b) delivery of (i) new and (ii) advanced nuclear power in the UK.

The Government intends to take one project to Final Investment Decision (FID) this Parliament and future projects in the next Parliament, subject to value for money and relevant approvals.

The Government will set up Great British Nuclear later this year, which will help projects through every stage of the development process and develop a resilient pipeline of new builds. The Government is working with industry to scope its functions and has appointed Simon Bowen as industry advisory on the scoping of the organisation.

The Future Nuclear Enabling Fund was launched in May 2022, which will provide targeted support to address barriers to entry to the nuclear market.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the UK’s oil and gas sector.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 25 May 2022 to Question 3769.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to enhance workers’ rights.

Over the past year, we have proven our steadfast commitment to supporting workers across the UK, including raising the national living wage to its highest rate yet, to help with the cost of living.

We remain committed to bringing forward reforms which build on our strong, flexible and dynamic labour market, giving businesses the confidence to create jobs and invest in their workforce and giving workers more choice over how they work.

Numerous Private Members Bills have been introduced on the matter of employment rights, as a result of the PMB ballot in the Common and we are working closely with these members on their proposals.

17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase research and development spending.

The Government is providing the fastest ever sustained uplift in R&D funding, reaching £20 billion per annum by the end of the SR period – £5 billion more than 2021/22. We remain committed to the target of UK economy-wide R&D investment reaching 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

As the custodian of the R&D system, BEIS received its largest ever R&D budget at SR21 with £39.8bn over the SR period. We have now set out how funding will be allocated across our partner organisations over the next three years. Details of funding for specific programmes will be agreed by BEIS and partner organisations and set out in due course.

17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress he has made on the UK’s application to associate to Horizon Europe.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central on 27 April 2022 to Question 156445.

17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to enhance workers’ rights.

We are proud there are now more employees on the payroll than ever before, and we will continue to build a high skilled, high productivity, high wage economy that delivers on our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to work.

Over the past year, we have proven our commitment to supporting workers across the UK, including raising the national living wage in April 2022 to its highest rate yet, to help with the cost of living.

We remain committed to making progress and on 9 May we announced our intention to bring forward legislation which will widen the ban on exclusivity clauses, which restrict staff from working for multiple employers, to contracts where the guaranteed weekly income is equivalent to or below the Lower Earnings Limit of £123 a week.

17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress his Department has made on securing business investment in the UK.

In April, we launched the £1.4bn Global Britain Investment Fund, which provides grant support to encourage internationally mobile companies to invest in the UK. This will ensure highly productive firms providing high skilled, high paying jobs invest in the UK bringing prosperity and economic growth.

17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK businesses benefit from the UK leaving the EU.

This Government is committed to growing the UK’s economy by making the most of our Brexit freedoms and lightening the regulatory burden to boost UK businesses. The Brexit Freedoms Bill will enable law inherited from the EU to be changed more easily to suit the UK and the Government intends to prioritise areas where reform can deliver the greatest economic gain, aiming to cut £1 billion of business costs from retained EU red tape.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will reform our public procurement regime so that more small and medium-sized businesses benefit and is committed to delivering regulatory reforms proposed by Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform within this parliament.

17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the manufacturing sector in the UK.

Manufacturing is a bedrock of our country’s resilience and there is significant work underway to strengthen our industrial base, including substantial funding for projects in important sub-sectors such as aerospace, automotive and life sciences. Furthermore, we have committed over £150 million of taxpayer subsidy for Made Smarter, the national industrial digitalisation programme to help UK manufacturers to capitalise on new digital technologies.

Later this year we will launch the UK’s new manufacturing investment prospectus so we can promote the UK as the destination of choice for investment in manufacturing and help the sector make the most of what support is already available.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to deliver new and advanced nuclear power in the UK.

The Government intends to take one project to Final Investment Decision (FID) this Parliament and two projects in the next Parliament, subject to value for money, approvals and technology readiness/maturity.

The Government will set up a new flagship body - ‘Great British Nuclear’ - to develop a resilient pipeline of projects. The Government appointed Simon Bowen to lead and help drive forward government proposals for a new Great British Nuclear vehicle.

On the 13th of May 2022, the Government launched the £120million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund, which will provide targeted support to address barriers to entry to the nuclear market, with a Request for Information.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support the generation of offshore wind in the UK.

The British Energy Security Strategy increased the ambition for offshore wind to up to 50GW by 2030 and outlined the Government’s commitment to accelerating deployment, reducing the consenting time for wind farms from up to four years to one year.

Generation of offshore wind is supported through the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme. The Fourth CfD Allocation Round is underway, and the Fifth Round will open in March 2023 – the first in a series of annual CfD auctions.

The Government has also announced up to £320 million to support offshore wind ports and factories.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the UK’s oil and gas sector.

The North Sea Transition Deal sets out how the Government is working with the offshore oil and gas industry in partnership to achieve a managed energy transition, which leaves no-one behind.

In April, the Government published the British Energy Security Strategy, setting out plans to support the North Sea as a foundation of our energy security, This includes plans for the North Sea Transition Authority to launch another licensing round in the autumn, taking into account the forthcoming climate compatibility checkpoint and the need for energy security; as well as Gas and Oil New Project Regulatory Accelerators.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support new low carbon technologies.

The Government articulated its plans for increasing low carbon power generation in the British Energy Security Strategy. The Strategy spans renewables, nuclear and hydrogen and will help drive up to £100 billion of investment by 2030. The Strategy set an ambition for new nuclear power of up to 24GW by 2050, with a ‘Great British Nuclear Vehicle’ established to develop a pipeline of projects. On renewables, the Government is accelerating annual Contracts for Difference auctions from 2023 to support deployment. For offshore wind, the Strategy sets a new 50GW by 2030 ambition, alongside plans to reduce consent time for projects.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the financial impact of inflation on small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Office for Budget Responsibility, in their March 2022 forecast, expects GDP to grow by 3.8% in 2022. Further details can be found in the OBR’s latest Economic and Fiscal Outlook published in March 2022: https://obr.uk/efo/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-march-2022/.

The Government is providing a range of support to help with the cost of living. As announced on 23 March, the Government is cutting fuel duty for 12 months, doubling the Household Support Fund with an extra £500m, zero-rating VAT on energy-saving materials, and aligning National Insurance and Income Tax starting thresholds from July 2022 so people will be able to earn £12,570 a year without paying any Income Tax or National Insurance.

This builds on existing support, including business rates relief worth £7 billion over five years and the package of support announced on 3 February to help households with rising energy bills worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support investment in UK manufacturing.

The UK is one of the largest manufacturing nations, ranked 9th globally by output, and manufacturing contributed £173 billion of GVA to the UK economy in 2020. The sector plays a vital role in the UK economy through innovating (accounting for 61% of all business expenditure for UK research and development), exports (46% of total UK exports) and job creation (supporting 2.6 million jobs).

As such, the Government recognises the importance of UK manufacturing and is committed to its continued development as a strong, vibrant and diverse sector. Although decisions about investments and job creation are ultimately a matter for individual private enterprise, the Government is providing funding for strategically important manufacturing subsectors through the Global Britain Investment Fund: leveraging billions across the renewables supply chain; backing Britain’s automotive sector through new Gigafactories; and onshoring new offshore wind manufacturing to the UK.

Furthermore, we continue to focus on improving the long-term competitiveness and productivity of manufacturing by investing in research & development, skills and support for digital technology through initiatives such as Made Smarter, Help to Grow and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

In addition, the Government is encouraging companies to invest in productivity-enhancing plant and machinery. Manufacturing businesses can benefit from the super-deduction, which allows companies to claim 130% capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery investments, as well as the extension to the Annual Investment Allowance to 31 March 2023 at its higher level of £1 million.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of the war in Ukraine on research collaboration with Russian institutions.

The Government has announced that it will not support any new publicly funded research collaborations with Russia. Existing research projects with Russian involvement are paused. I have commissioned an assessment, on top of the existing and strong due diligence processes of UK public research funders, to isolate and freeze activities which benefit the Russian regime.

The Government is also funding a £3 million package of support for Ukrainian researchers at risk.

22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of off-shore wind to the security of the UK’s energy supply.

Offshore wind will play a key role in helping the UK decarbonise its power system by 2035, achieving net zero and providing secure, domestically generated energy. The UK currently has 11GW installed, generating enough electricity to power every home in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland twice over, with a further 8.5GW in construction. The Government has an ambitious target of 40GW by 2030 including 1GW of floating wind. The Government also anticipates further rapid expansion of both fixed and floating offshore wind through the 2030s and beyond. The Government will publish a British Energy Security Strategy shortly, which will set out how the UK will become more self-sufficient and reduce reliance on imported oil and gas.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of sanctions on Russia on Government plans to phase out use of hydrocarbons imported from Russia in the UK’s energy supply.

On 8th March, the Government announced a plan to phase out the import of Russian oil products by the end of the year. Phasing this out by the end of the year gives enough time to adjust supply chains. More than two thirds of all road fuel comes from domestic production here in the UK and Russia produces just a fraction of the oil imported into the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of trends in the level of investment in renewables on reducing household energy bills.

The Government has seen the cost of renewable technologies reduce, most notably offshore wind. As more renewable energy is added to the system, household electricity bills will be less affected by fluctuations in volatile global gas prices.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce reliance on Russian oil and gas.

The UK is a significant producer of both crude oil and petroleum products.

Unlike other countries in Europe, the UK is not dependent on Russian gas supply. The UK is able to meet the vast majority of supply through domestic production and reliable imports from Norway. Less than 4% of British gas consumption comes from Russia.

Energy security is an absolute priority for this Government. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy regularly discusses this with G7 and EU partners.

The current volatility in global oil and gas prices only underscores the importance of building strong, home-grown renewables sectors and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, including Russian hydrocarbons.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the contribution of North Sea oil and gas to energy security.

The Government is committed to the UK offshore oil and gas sector, which continues to keep people warm, fuel their cars and strengthen the country’s energy security.

UK-produced gas met nearly half of the UK’s domestic gas consumption in 2020. The North Sea Transition Deal recognises the important role that gas will play as the UK economy transitions from one based on fossil fuels towards one based on clean energy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether feed-in-tariff payments for solar panels will increase in alignment with the increase in energy prices.

Support under the Feed in Tariff scheme is not related to the retail price of electricity. The methodology used to set the tariffs considers the technology costs and electricity generation expectations rather than the retail price of electricity. The scheme rewards generation, provides a guaranteed price and market for exports as well as savings on imports.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to assist homeowners in (a) grade two listed and (b) other protected properties to make upgrades to their homes to be more energy efficient.

There are a number of Government schemes to support low-income households improve the energy efficiency of their homes, including the £787 million Local Authority Delivery Scheme and the £1.1 billion Home Upgrade Grant.

Growing the market for Green Finance is a priority for Government to help support homeowners not eligible for grants with the upfront costs of improvement. The £1.8m Green Home Finance Innovation Fund, which will be completed by March 2022, is a key early step in supporting the lending community to design, develop and pilot green mortgage products for homeowners.

A follow-up £10 million Green Home Finance Accelerator programme will launch this summer with the aim of supporting lenders to develop a wider range of green lending products for homeowners. This could include products for owners of harder to treat properties, including historic buildings.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the growth of the hydrogen sector in the UK.

The Government detailed the key steps needed to deliver the ambition for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 in its Hydrogen Strategy, published in August 2021.

The Hydrogen Strategy set out almost £1 billion of government funding for hydrogen and other low carbon technologies, including a £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.  The Government has since announced the Industrial Decarbonisation and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme to provide £100million funding for up to 250MW of initial electrolytic hydrogen projects allocated in 2023, with a further allocation round in 2024 and plans to announce a funding envelope for up to 1GW of CCUS-enabled hydrogen in 2022.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support the UK’s manufacturing sector.

The UK is one of the largest manufacturing nations, ranked 9th globally by output, and manufacturing contributed £173 billion of GVA to the UK economy in 2020. The sector plays a vital role in the UK economy through innovating (accounting for 61% of all business expenditure for UK research and development), exports (46% of total UK exports) and job creation (supporting 2.6 million jobs).

As such, the Government recognises the importance of UK manufacturing and is committed to its continued development as a strong, vibrant and diverse sector. Although decisions about investments and job creation are ultimately a matter for individual private enterprise, the Government has provided funding for strategically important manufacturing subsectors: leveraging billions across the renewables supply chain; backing Britain’s automotive sector through new Gigafactories; and onshoring new offshore wind manufacturing to the UK.

Furthermore, we continue to focus on improving the long-term competitiveness and productivity of manufacturing by investing in research & development, skills and support for digital technology through initiatives such as Made Smarter, Help to Grow and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

In addition, the Government is encouraging companies to invest in productivity-enhancing plant and machinery. Manufacturing businesses can benefit from the super-deduction, which allows companies to claim 130% capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery investments, as well as the extension to the Annual Investment Allowance to 31 March 2023 at its higher level of £1 million.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effects that the covid-19 Plan B measures will have on small businesses; and what steps his Department is taking to limit the impacts those restrictions may have on businesses.

The Government’s Plan B has been designed to help control the spread of the virus whilst avoiding unduly damaging economic and social restrictions. Our £400bn COVID support package will continue to help businesses into spring next year. This includes the Recovery Loan scheme, Additional Restrictions Grants and protection from eviction.

We will continue to respond proportionately to the changing path of the virus, as we have done since the start of the pandemic.

8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of (a) public and (b) private research and development funding in the North East.

The 2021 Spending Review sees record levels of investment in the UK’s world-leading research base with public spending on Research & Development (R&D) increasing by £5 billion per annum to £20 billion in 2024-25. The substantial uplift to research and science funding will not only allow the UK to build on our core strengths but will also provide opportunities to grow research and innovation investment across the entire country.

UKRI currently funds over 570 active science and research projects in the North East of England with a value of over £660 million. More specifically, the Government has already committed over £93.6 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund funding to organisations registered in the North East, which has leveraged an additional £41.8 million co-investment from non-public sources.

The Innovation Strategy, published in July, signalled how we would embed innovation across the country to level up the UK. We will create the right policy environment and send clear signals to unlock business investment in innovation and boost the private sector investment we need to achieve the 2.4% target by 2027 including in the North East. Making the most of R&D in places around the UK remains a key government priority and the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper will set out the plan for doing this.

UKRI are also publishing detailed breakdowns of their funding data at a regional level annually to increase transparency of how places benefit from R&D funding. Latest available data is at: https://www.ukri.org/our-work/what-we-have-funded/regional-distribution-of-funding/2018-to-2019-regional-distribution-of-funding/#contents-list.

19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the criteria are for businesses to access the Government’s Help to Grow: management scheme.

The Help to Grow: Management programme is open to senior business leaders with between 5 to 249 employees that have been trading for over 1 year. Applications are welcome from businesses across all sectors, including social enterprises.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the criteria are for businesses to access the Government’s Help to Grow: digital scheme.

Through Help to Grow: Digital, the Government will launch a new online platform this Autumn where businesses can access advice on software that could help them save time and money, and a voucher to reduce the costs of buying that software. Over the next 3 years, 100 000 eligible SMEs could benefit from a voucher providing up to a 50% discount (worth up to £5,000) to adopt approved productivity enhancing software.

The voucher is expected to be available to UK businesses that have more than 5 and fewer than 249 employees, that have been trading for more than 12 months, and that are purchasing the discounted software for the first time.

The programme will launch in Autumn 2021 and eligible businesses are encouraged to register their interest at https://helptogrow.campaign.gov.uk/.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the criteria are for businesses to access the £375 million Government funding to help scale-up the most innovative, research and development intensive businesses.

Future Fund: Breakthrough is a new £375m UK-wide programme that will encourage private investors to co-invest alongside government in high-growth, innovative firms that have received prior equity investment. The programme will launch in the early summer of 2021 and will support the growth of UK-based, R&D intensive companies.

Detailed eligibility criteria will be published once the programme is open for applications.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what businesses will be regarded as non-essential businesses and allowed to access the Restart Grants.

Local Authorities are responsible for determining if a business qualifies as non-essential and therefore eligible for the Restart Grant payment. A non-essential retail business can be defined as a business that is used mainly or wholly for the purposes of retail sale or hire of goods or services by the public, where the primary purpose of products or services provided are not necessary to the health and well-being of the public.

Local Authorities may use the following criteria to assess whether a business is eligible for a grant under this threshold:

  • Businesses offering in-person non-essential retail to the general public.
  • Businesses that were likely to have been required to cease their retail operation in the January 2021 lockdown.
  • Businesses that had retail services restricted during January lockdown.
  • Businesses that sell directly to consumers.

Local Authorities are advised to use their local expertise to evaluate the eligibility of a claim. If a business does not qualify for the Restart Grant further support is available through the Additional Restrictions Grant, a discretionary scheme. Local Authorities are free to provide support that suits their local area including to support those businesses not required to close but which have had their trade severely affected by restrictions or who do not qualify under the mandatory schemes.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the criteria are for businesses to access the full Restart Grant of £6,000.

A non-essential retail business may be eligible for Stand One of the Restart Grant Scheme, receiving payments of up to £6,000. A non-essential retail business can be defined as a business that is used mainly or wholly for the purposes of retail sale or hire of goods or services by the public, where the primary purpose of products or services provided are not necessary to the health and well-being of the public.

Local Authorities may use the following criteria to assess whether a business is eligible for a grant under this threshold:

  • Businesses offering in-person non-essential retail to the general public.
  • Businesses that were likely to have been required to cease their retail operation in the January 2021 lockdown.
  • Businesses that had retail services restricted during January lockdown.
  • Businesses that sell directly to consumers.

For those business who qualify as non-essential retail the following thresholds apply:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under: £2,667;
  • For properties with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000: £4,000;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over: £6,000.

Local Authorities are responsible for the administration of Restart Grants and determining eligibility.

Further information on eligibility for the Restart Grant can be found at GOV.UK: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/971363/restart-grant-la-guidance.pdf.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether hair salons are permitted to open during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021 for the sole purpose of performing hair replacement system services.

The business closures guidance states that hair salons must close during the national lockdown. However, personal care services provided for essential medical and health needs, which cannot be deferred, may continue such as cosmetic treatments associated with cancer treatment. In that case, the safer working guidance on close contact services should be followed.

5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to simplify the applications process for the Green Homes Grant scheme.

We have provided updated guidance to both installers and homeowners, so they are clear on the information needed for the scheme administrator to approve an application, for example around providing quotes. We have already made improvements based on feedback received and are working closely with the scheme administrator to identify further improvements and support increasing the numbers of vouchers to be issued. However, applications must be thoroughly checked for compliance with the scheme rules to help ensure value for money, consumer protection, and detect malpractice.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to ensure the adequacy of funding for cultural activities for (a) adults and (b) children in low-income areas.

His Majesty's Government is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to high-quality arts and cultural opportunities and activities, regardless of their background or where they live.

With the encouragement of the government, Arts Council England has developed a focus on Priority Places and Levelling Up for Culture Places to address historic imbalances in investment. As part of this, priority places receive dedicated Arts Council staff resources to build local capacity. The Arts Council’s Investment Programme for 2023–26, which is funding a record number of organisations in more places than ever before, has resulted in funding of £42.9 million per year in Levelling up for Culture Places. Stockton-on-Tees is a Levelling Up for Culture Place, and Tees Valley Combined Authority is a Priority Place.

The government’s Cultural Development Fund supports culture-led regeneration projects in areas across the country with the lowest levels of investment and engagement in arts and culture. This fund has provided £76 million of capital investment to 20 transformative, place-based creative and cultural projects over three rounds (2019 to 2023). In addition to this, in January 2023, the Government awarded £546 million to 31 culture and heritage projects as part of the second round of the Levelling Up Fund.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help prevent addiction to gambling among young people.

The Government recognises that it is particularly important to take steps to protect young people at risk of gambling harms and addiction.

We recently published a white paper following our Review of the Gambling Act 2005, and are working with the Gambling Commission and other stakeholders to bring these measures into force as soon as possible, subject to further consultation where appropriate. The paper introduces a range of proportionate measures to tackle practices and products which can drive harm and ensure that people who are at risk of gambling harm and addiction are protected, including young people. These include strengthening the land-based age verification regime, especially around gaming machines in pubs, bringing society lotteries and football pools into line with the National Lottery by raising the minimum age to 18, and putting new expectations on operators to consider age as a potential factor in customer vulnerability.

Over recent years, the Government has worked with the Gambling Commission and others on a range of measures to protect young people from gambling related harm. This includes tightening the age verification requirements for both land-based and online operators in 2019, and raising the minimum age to play the National Lottery to 18 and over in 2021. Last year the Committees of Advertising Practice updated advertising rules so that gambling adverts cannot have strong appeal to children even if they appeal more to adults.

In addition to these regulatory changes, specific steps have been taken to prevent and treat gambling harm in young people. Since September 2020, teaching young people about the risks relating to gambling, including the accumulation of debt, has been included in the curriculum for all schools under Health Education in all state-funded schools, alongside Relationships Education (primary) and Relationships and Sex Education (secondary). In 2019 the NHS young person gambling addiction service was also launched.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to ensure the adequacy of gambling regulation to protect people from the risk of gambling addiction.

We recognise that while millions of people gamble without experiencing problems, for some it becomes an addiction with serious consequences.

We recently published a white paper following our Review of the Gambling Act 2005. The paper introduces a range of proportionate measures to tackle practices and products which can drive harm and ensure that people who are at risk of gambling harm and addiction are protected. These include new player protection checks, a stake limit for online slots games, improvements to consumer redress and a statutory levy on operators to fund research, education and treatment.

We will work with the Gambling Commission and other stakeholders to bring these measures into force as quickly as possible, and where further consultations are necessary, our aim is to publish them by summer 2023.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that fans can watch major sporting events online.

The Government believes that certain sporting events of national interest should be shown on free-to-air television so that they can be enjoyed by as wide an audience as possible.

We want to ensure that as viewing habits change and technology evolves the regulatory framework remains fit for purpose.

Our Broadcasting White Paper confirmed our intention to undertake a review to look at whether the scope of the listed events regime should be extended to include digital rights. The Government is speaking to stakeholders to look at whether in the face of technological change, the objectives of the existing regime are still being met and whether digital rights should be included in the regime. The review will need to balance the ability for audiences to watch national sporting events at no additional cost with the ability for sporting organisations to generate revenues from sports rights to re-invest in their sports at all levels.

The Terms of Reference for the review can be found here.

Julia Lopez
Minister on Leave (Minister of State)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to protect children online.

Protecting children online is a priority for the government. The strongest protections in the Online Safety Bill are for children.

All companies in scope will need to take robust steps to protect children from illegal content and activity on their services. This includes proactively identifying and minimising the uploading and sharing of priority illegal content such as child sexual exploitation and abuse. Companies will also need to have effective systems and processes to quickly take down other illegal content or behaviour once it has been reported or they become aware of its presence.

Companies in scope will also need to assess whether their service is likely to be accessed by children and if so, deliver additional protections for children from harmful content or activity. If they fail to do so, they will be subject to tough enforcement action by Ofcom, the regulator.

23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support the UK’s film and television industry.

The Government is committed to ensuring that British film and television industries are able to deliver for audiences, expand their businesses, and offer opportunities for cast and crew across the UK.

In recent years, the Government’s actions have helped the film and TV industry bounce back from the pandemic, with production now stronger than ever. This includes the £500 million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme, supporting over 100,000 jobs and productions worth more than £3 billion. In addition, the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas supported over 200 independent cinemas to ensure that films could be screened in cinemas following the pandemic.

To build on this, and support the sector to not only survive but thrive, the government has taken further action. This includes the Government’s current £1.6 million annual funding of the British Film Commission, which has driven a near doubling of UK studio capacity, the £28 million UK Global Screen Fund, which is expanding the global reach of UK independent content, and the continued success of our screen sector tax reliefs (for film, high-end TV, animation and children’s TV), which in 2021-22 provided £792 million of support for over 1000 projects. HM Treasury has published a consultation on reforms to the audio-visual tax reliefs, which aims to ensure they remain world leading and continue to best serve the needs of creative companies.

In addition, the Government intends to update the existing legislative framework to ensure that our public service broadcasters have the tools to grow and flourish in the digital age. Our proposed reforms will, for example, ensure that public service content is always carried and easy to find on connected devices and major online platforms, including on smart TVs, set-top boxes and streaming sticks.

These and other reforms set out in our Broadcasting White Paper, published earlier this year, will ensure that our television and film industries continue to prosper in our new media landscape – an outcome that is good for both audiences and the creative economy.

Julia Lopez
Minister on Leave (Minister of State)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to increase use of digital documentation to reduce business costs.

The Government recognises that the UK’s economic future, prosperity and productivity are all reliant on continued and growing success in digital technology.

DCMS is playing its part by taking steps to create a secure and trusted digital identity marketplace that can operate across economic sectors. Enabling the use of trusted digital identities in the UK will provide individuals with an alternative to offline manual identity proofing, which are estimated to cost between £800 million to £2 billion per annum*. This work is strongly supported by businesses as it is estimated that a fully functioning digital identity market that could generate direct annual economic benefits to the UK economy between £743m and £938m*.

The Central Digital and Data Office is also working with government departments to baseline service performance and capture any opportunities for efficiency through digital transformation. This includes opportunities to reform non-digital transactions and processes such as manual handling of paperwork.

*Digital identity and attributes De Minimis Assessment (2022)

*Economic Benefits of Digital Identity, Deloitte, 2020 (unpublished)

Julia Lopez
Minister on Leave (Minister of State)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to promote growth in the British tech sector.

We are committed to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a technology business and to ensure the benefits are felt in all corners of the country. Our Digital Strategy, published in June 2022, sets out our vision and the actions required to deliver on it.

The Digital Strategy outlined the government’s desire to support our digital tech sector by ensuring that the next generation of innovative tech companies can access the capital they need to flourish in the UK and abroad. To accelerate the growth of start-ups and scale-ups, we have launched the Digital Growth Grant Competition, worth up to £12.09 million, which will support companies with access to finance, tailored advice, talent and markets across the regions and nations of the UK. We have also worked to expand the generosity of the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, the Company Share Option Plan and to ensure R&D tax credits will extend to data and computing costs for the first time.

We are also working to provide British tech companies with the infrastructure they need to grow. The government is investing in digital infrastructure to extend 4G mobile coverage and deliver gigabit-capable broadband across the UK through our £5 billion Project Gigabit delivering at least 85% gigabit-capable broadband coverage by 2025 and nationwide coverage by 2030.

Ensuring that British tech companies have access to a highly skilled workforce is critical to the growth of the sector. We are funding AI and Data Science Conversion Courses to support underrepresented groups from non-STEM backgrounds to undertake a masters in AI and Data Science, quickly upskilling to secure employment in the UK’s cutting-edge sectors. Earlier this year we announced up to a further 2,000 scholarships for the programme. We have also announced £117 million in funding to create 1,000 more PhDs through Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs).

To support further action on digital upskilling, we launched the Digital Skills Council in June. The Council brings together industry leaders and training experts and l will review what more government and industry can do collaboratively to improve workforce digital skills in the UK.

We are also driving growth in key areas of UK specialism. As part of the £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy the government is driving growth and innovation in the UK cyber security sector. This includes the Cyber Runway programme to grow, develop and scale cyber security businesses, and our network of regional cyber clusters which are driving growth across all regions of the UK by supporting businesses in areas such as Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and the North West.

23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to promote British sport.

The Government is committed to building on the UK’s world-leading sporting reputation, and we are supporting our athletes and international sport activity through over £77 million investment per year in UK Sport for the Paris Olympic and Paralympic cycle.

We also ensure the UK is a global focus for sport through our hosting of major sporting events. This year has seen us successfully host a number of major sporting events, including the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, UEFA Women’s Euros and the Rugby League World Cup.

Looking ahead, we continue to build on our pipeline of events hosted in the UK between now and 2030. These include the UCI World Cycling Championships in Glasgow in 2023, the return of the UEFA Champions League Final to Wembley in 2024, the women’s Rugby World Cup in England in 2025, the European Athletics Championships 2026 in Birmingham, as well as both the 2026 Women's T20 Cricket World Cup (England and Wales) and the 2030 Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup (UK and Ireland). We are also supporting a UK & Ireland bid for the UEFA European Championships 2028.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to encourage grassroots participation in sport.

Supporting grassroots sport is a key government priority. We recognise that taking part in sport brings communities together and contributes to making people both happier and healthier.

The majority of funding to grassroots sports projects is delivered through our Arms Length Body, Sport England. Last year, Sport England received almost £350 million from the Exchequer and National Lottery.

The government also invests £18 million a year into community sport facilities via the Football Foundation, alongside the English Football Association and the Premier League. We have committed an additional £230 million UK-wide between 2021 and 2025 to increase participation, particularly for under-represented groups including women and girls and disabled players.

Since 2019, Sport England has invested over £1.6 million in Stockton South and provided funding to the Football Foundation to invest nearly £190,000 in 20 projects across the constituency.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment her Department has made of the role of technology in creating a more accessible retail experience for British consumers.

Our forthcoming Digital Strategy will set out our ambitions for harnessing the power of digital technologies to the benefit of our economy and society as a whole. The strategy will highlight that digital technologies, through innovation, can drive better services across various sectors.

The Government believes that there are great gains to be made through the adoption of digital technologies across all sectors. According to ONS data, SMEs which use two or more business management technologies demonstrate productivity gains of up to 25%. That is why last year we announced our Help to Grow scheme which provides financial incentives for increased digital adoption by SMEs.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help support grassroots sport.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health and all generations and communities should be able to enjoy the health, wellbeing, social and other benefits of being active.

Since the government launched its sports strategy, Sporting Future in 2015, we have achieved a huge amount. Sport England has allocated over £1.5 billion to nearly 5,000 grassroots organisations across the UK. Sport England has also published its new ten year strategy which focuses on driving up activity levels and helping to improve physical and mental health.

In 2020 alone, Sport England distributed over £340 million of Exchequer and Lottery funding to support the development of grassroots sport in England, in addition to £100 million through the National Leisure Recovery Fund.

The Prime Minister has committed to delivering the grassroots pitches every community needs and this has already resulted in an investment of £25 million by the government to upgrade and improve facilities across the UK this year. At the Spending Review, a further £205 million was pledged over the next three years, targeted at the communities most in need, with the aim of increasing participation in sport among under-represented groups, as part of the government’s levelling up plans. This was in addition to a £30 million package to renovate 4,500 park tennis courts across the country.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress her Department has made in tackling fraudulent online advertisements.

We introduced the Online Safety Bill to Parliament on 17 March. Through the Bill, the largest tech companies will need to take robust action to tackle fraud, including fraudulent online advertisements. This will ensure that people using the largest platforms are protected from scams, and ensure these services do not profit from illegal activity.

We have also launched a consultation on proposals for wider reform of online advertising regulations, including the role of the online advertising ecosystem in relation to fraud.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help deliver full-fibre and gigabit-capable broadband to every home and business across the UK by 2025.

The Government is committed to delivering nationwide gigabit connectivity as soon as possible. Our target is a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage by 2025, but this is not the limit of our ambitions and we will continue to work closely with the industry to get close to complete gigabit coverage as quickly as we can thereafter.

We are investing £5 billion so hard-to-reach areas can get ultra-reliable gigabit speeds, have already upgraded 600,000 premises, and in three years national coverage has rocketed from six per cent to 66 per cent.

We are making excellent progress on Project Gigabit. Broadband providers have so far been invited to bid for Project Gigabit contracts worth up to £292 million to upgrade up to 187,000 premises across Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland, Cambridgeshire, North Dorset and West Cornwall - with initial work expected to commence later this year.

Up to 2.5 million premises are included in the Project Gigabit procurement pipeline within England, with further details published in our latest Project Gigabit Delivery Plan.

In addition to our procurement pipeline, we are investing up to £210 million in the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to support rural communities with the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections. To date, more than 63,500 households and small to medium businesses have benefited from an upgrade through the voucher scheme.

We are also providing funding of up to £110 million to connect up to 7,000 rural public buildings like schools, GP surgeries and libraries, which will act as hubs for connecting nearby homes and businesses.

Julia Lopez
Minister on Leave (Minister of State)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps her Department has taken to help improve broadband and mobile phone coverage in rural areas.

We are investing £5 billion through Project Gigabit to provide reliable, lightning-fast, future-proofed connectivity in areas not covered by commercial delivery. Project Gigabit is central to how we level up, future-proofing connectivity for decades to come and ensuring no-one is left behind.

We have already upgraded 600,000 premises to gigabit-capable broadband, and in three years national gigabit coverage has rocketed from six per cent to 66 per cent.

Procurements under Project Gigabit are now under way in a number of regions across the country to extend this further. Up to 2.5million hard-to-reach premises have been announced as within scope for gigabit procurements and up to £210 million in vouchers is available to help communities that are not in line for commercial or publicly-funded projects right now.

The Government also recognises the frustration arising from the impact poor mobile coverage has on communities, particularly in rural areas. That is why we agreed a deal with the mobile network operators to deliver the Shared Rural Network programme. This agreement will see the government and industry jointly invest over £1 billion to increase 4G mobile coverage to 95% UK geography by the end of the programme. It will improve coverage for an extra 280,000 premises and 16,000km of roads tackling not-spots and reduce the divide in connectivity between urban and rural areas.

The four mobile network operators have already commenced work on the first element of the programme, which is funded by industry, and work is already under way and on track to eliminate the majority of partial not-spots - areas of the UK where there is currently coverage from at least one, but not all operators - by mid-2024.

Julia Lopez
Minister on Leave (Minister of State)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

I am delighted that my Department is supporting Buckingham Palace in delivering celebrations to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s seventy years of service.

This includes government funding to support the major ceremonial events taking place in London; a Platinum Jubilee website with guidance on how the public can get involved; and an online map of Jubilee events across the UK.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help prevent children accessing legal content online that may be harmful to them.

Protecting children online is a key objective of the Online Safety Bill, which the government introduced to Parliament on 17 March 2022.

Providers in scope of the legislation will need to assess whether their service is likely to be accessed by children and, if so, deliver additional protections for them. Safety measures will need to protect children from content and activity which is legal but harmful to them such as pornography and bullying. If sites fail in their duties under the Bill, they will be subject to tough enforcement action by Ofcom.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps her Department has taken to help tackle harms that can be caused by problem gambling.

We are currently conducting a Review of the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure gambling regulation is fit for the digital age. This builds on action by the government and the Gambling Commission to strengthen protections in recent years including cutting the stake on gaming machines in betting shops, banning gambling on credit cards, mandating operator participation in the national online self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP, tightening restrictions on VIP schemes, making online slots safer by design and raising the minimum age of sale of National Lottery games.

In 2019, DCMS secured a commitment from industry to contribute £100m over four years to problem gambling treatment. NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) are also continuing work to improve and expand specialist treatment services, with up to 15 new NHS clinics set to open by 2023/24. Since 2020, children have been taught about the risks relating to gambling, including the accumulation of debt, as part of the statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum in England.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help prevent Russia and Belarus participating in international sporting events.

On Thursday 3 March, the Secretary of State and I convened a summit with 24 international ministerial counterparts - or senior representatives on their behalf - to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the response of international sport.

The summit followed bilateral meetings that I held with counterparts from Canada, Poland and Germany.

Following the international summit, a joint statement was signed by 37 nations and published on Tuesday 8 March, affirming the position outlined below:

  • Russia and Belarus should not be permitted to host, bid for or be awarded any international sporting events.

  • Individual athletes selected by Russia and Belarus, administrators and teams representing the Russian or Belarusian state should be banned from competing in other countries, including those representing bodies, cities or brands that are effectively representing Russia or Belarus, such as major football clubs.

  • Wherever possible, appropriate actions should be taken to limit sponsorship and other financial support from entities with links to the Russian or Belarusian states.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to increase access to the arts across England.

The Government is committed to the development of an arts and cultural sector that is representative of modern society and in which there are no barriers to participation. The Secretary of State has named increasing access to arts and culture across the whole country as one of her top priorities for the department.

In February, DCMS instructed Arts Council England (ACE) to enable a £75 million boost to culture and creativity outside of London between 2022 and 2025. As part of this funding, DCMS and ACE have identified 109 Levelling Up for Culture Places where additional investment will be focused. This support will galvanise the potential of the people in these areas that have previously not had sufficient attention and investment. The aim is to generate more opportunities for people across the whole country, and provide better access to cultural activities.

As outlined in Arts Council England’s Let’s Create strategy, all UK Arts Councils alongside the British Film Institute are currently working on a UK wide access scheme for disabled, d/Deaf, neurodivergent people or those that have other access needs. We want this scheme to work alongside existing infrastructure to find a way of best serving audiences and the sector. As part of the very early stages of this process, Arts Council England are inviting people who have access needs when attending arts events to take part in focus groups.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help improve access to cultural attractions across the country.

The Government is committed to the development of an arts and cultural sector that is representative of modern society and in which there are no barriers to participation. The Secretary of State has named increasing access to arts and culture across the whole country as one of her top priorities for the department.

In February, DCMS instructed Arts Council England (ACE) to enable a £75 million boost to culture and creativity outside of London between 2022 and 2025. As part of this funding, DCMS and ACE have identified 109 Levelling Up for Culture Places where additional investment will be focused. This support will galvanise the potential of the people in these areas that have previously not had sufficient attention and investment. The aim is to generate more opportunities for people across the whole country, and provide better access to cultural activities.

As outlined in Arts Council England’s Let’s Create strategy, all UK Arts Councils alongside the British Film Institute are currently working on a UK wide access scheme for disabled, d/Deaf, neurodivergent people or those that have other access needs. We want this scheme to work alongside existing infrastructure to find a way of best serving audiences and the sector. As part of the very early stages of this process, Arts Council England are inviting people who have access needs when attending arts events to take part in focus groups.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support the tourism industry throughout the North East.

In January this year I chaired the first Inter-Ministerial Group on the Visitor Economy, where we discussed how the visitor economy could support the levelling up agenda. We are now running a ‘Policy Sprint’ to look at how we can turn that into reality by maximising opportunities for the North East of England. The overall aim is to deliver genuine impact in the region and beyond, and provide long term growth by realising the potential of the Visitor Economy to level up the North East.

VisitEngland’s current domestic campaign ‘Escape the Everyday’ features Newcastle and York as two of the highlighted cities. The ‘Escape the Everyday’ campaign encourages the “pre-nester”(18-34 year old) audience to book an English city break this spring.

We also launched the second round of the Escape the Everyday Destination Management Organisation (DMO) Recovery Marketing Fund in February, providing the opportunity for DMOs across England to apply for grant funding to deliver local marketing activities.

VisitBritain’s business events team work closely with NewcastleGateshead Initiative and has provided recent support to them in the form of free participation at MeetGB, free promotion on a virtual platform to promote the region to international association organisers, attendance at VB’s City Sustainability roundtable and providing them access to apply to the Business Events Growth Programme for International events.

VisitBritain’s business support team has engaged with the North East during a variety of events and programmes including the ‘Taking England to the World Education Programme’, a ‘Business Support Roadshow’ and the North East Tourism Awards, which were run by NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

VisitBritain has also hosted international travel trade buyers on educational visits across Britain, including four buyers from the Nordics Group who visited Newcastle and Northumberland. A variety of suppliers from the North East attended ExploreGB Virtual, including: Durham Cathedral, Hadrian's Wall Holidays, the Sandman Hotel Group and Alnwick Castle and Gardens.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps her Department has taken to support local libraries and regional museums.

On 12 March the Arts Minister announced the public libraries, museums, galleries and cultural venues across the country that will benefit from £48 million of funding - part of the Cultural Investment Fund - to improve people’s access to the arts, safeguard cultural assets for future generations, and power economic growth through culture.

This includes:

  • investing £5 million in 25 library services through the Libraries Improvement Fund (LIF) to upgrade their buildings and technology, to enable them to be resilient and equipped to meet the changing needs of local communities; and

  • £18.8 million through the Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND) to help fund museum and local authority infrastructure projects and urgent maintenance works.

Through the Cultural Investment Fund we will invest up to a further £128.4 million of capital investment in innovative cultural and creative projects, libraries, and museums across the country over the Spending Review period (22/23 - 24/25), predominantly outside London. Earlier this month, we announced £48 million of investment through the Cultural Investment Fund, of which nearly £10 million was made for the North East, backing five projects.

DCMS also supports regional museums through a variety of core and project funding through Arts Council England and other Arms Length Bodies, tax relief opportunities, and other direct support such as the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund, the latest round of which was launched on 17 March this year.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how the proposed Single Customer View (CSV) to monitor customer activity of those who use internet betting platforms will be regulated to ensure that gamblers who make a profit are not unjustly registered as problem gamblers; and whether she has had discussions with relevant stakeholders on additional costs that may be caused by SCV to the levy and racing industry.

The Gambling Commission has made clear from the outset that the single customer view is only intended to facilitate data sharing for safer gambling purposes. It has worked closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office to understand how a single customer view can be delivered in compliance with all relevant data protection requirements. The project is currently entering a pilot stage with GAMSTOP, which operates the national online self-exclusion scheme, as technical provider.

The Government and the Commission will monitor the progress of the trials closely, and further information will be published in due course. The Gambling Commission’s most recent update surrounding progress and next steps can be found here.

We are considering impact at the appropriate stages for all policies in our Gambling White Paper which we will publish in the coming weeks.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support he is providing to the (a) events, (b) hospitality and (c) nightlife industries which are unable to open as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware that the events, hospitality and nightlife industries have been severely impacted by Covid-19. Businesses can continue to access the Government’s UK wide support package. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

As the Chancellor announced on 24 September, we are also offering affected businesses generous terms for the repayment of deferred taxes and government-backed loans, as well as extending the application window of the government-backed loan schemes.

We continue to engage with stakeholders - including through the Visitor Economy Working Group, the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, and meetings with representatives of the night time economy - to monitor the situation facing companies across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to publish a timescale for the renewal of the National Lottery licence.

The current National Lottery licence expires in 2023, and the Gambling Commission remains on track to appoint an operator to take on the new licence from this date. The competition is expected to commence in the first half of 2020, with the successful applicant being announced in 2021.

The Gambling Commission is providing regular updates on progress with the competition on the 4NLC website at https://www.4nlc.com/home.aspx.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much National Lottery funding has been allocated to each constituency; and what projects have received that funding in each of the last three years.

Information on National Lottery funding awards up to January 2018 is held on a publicly available database which allows searches to be made for good cause grants in each constituency within specific timeframes.

We expect to update the database with grant information from January 2018 to March 2020 later this Spring.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of part-funding the training of educational psychologists; and whether she is taking steps to increase the number of educational psychologists.

The department knows that educational psychologists play a vital role in the support available to children and young people, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

That is why, since 2020, the department has increased the number of educational psychologist trainees that it funds, from 160 to over 200 per annum, to continue supporting Local Authority educational psychology services. This includes full funding for the tuition fees and a bursary for the first year, while a bursary for the second and third years of training is funded by local authorities where trainees undertake their placements.

In November 2022, the department announced a further £21 million investment to train 400 more educational psychologists from 2024, in addition to the £10 million announced earlier in 2022 to train over 200 educational psychologists from September 2023.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support her Department provides to school pupils suffering from (a) partial and (b) total hearing loss.

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan outlines the department’s mission for more children and young people to have their needs met effectively, including pupils with partial or total hearing loss.

It is the responsibility of local authorities, schools, and further education settings to commission appropriately qualified staff to support the education of children and young people in their area.

To teach a class of pupils with sensory impairments, a teacher is required to hold the relevant mandatory qualification, which is a Mandatory Qualification in Sensory Impairment (MQSI). Teachers working in an advisory role to support these pupils should also hold the appropriate qualification.

To offer MQSIs, providers must be approved by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education. The department’s aim is to ensure a steady supply of teachers for children with visual, hearing, and multi-sensory impairments, in both specialist and mainstream settings. There are currently six providers of the MQSI, with a seventh to begin in September 2024.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has also developed a Sensory Impairment apprenticeship and expects it to be available from 2025. This will open a paid, work-based route into teaching children and young people with sensory impairments by enabling people to undertake high-quality apprenticeships.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if her Department will take steps to end the use of PFI contracts in schools.

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

11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she is taking steps to prevent ultra-processed foods from being served in schools.

Diets high in calories and saturated fat, salt, and sugar are associated with an increased risk of obesity and chronic diseases.

The standards for school food are set out in the Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014, accessible at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools/school-food-standards-practical-guide. These standards were implemented by the Department to ensure that schools provide pupils with healthy food and drink options, and to make sure that pupils have the energy and nutrition they need throughout the school day.

The standards set out that a pupil’s healthy, balanced diet should consist of:

  • plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • plenty of unrefined starchy foods
  • some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
  • some milk and dairy foods
  • a small amount of food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt.

The standards restrict foods high in fat, salt and sugar, as well as low quality reformed or reconstituted foods. The standards also specify which types of food should be served at school and how often. For example, one or more portions of vegetables or salad should be served as an accompaniment, and one or more portions of fruit must be provided every day. There must also be at least three different fruits and three different vegetables each week. These standards ensure that pupils always have healthy options available for their school lunch.

The Department keeps these standards under review.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to retain the current level of tuition fees for home fee status students.

Maximum tuition fees, and the subsidised loans available from government to pay them, remain at £9,250 for the current, 2023/24, academic year in respect of standard full-time courses.

The department is also freezing maximum tuition fees for 2024/25 to deliver better value for students and to keep the cost of higher education under control. By 2024/25, maximum fees will have been frozen for seven years.

The department believes a continued fee freeze achieves the best balance between ensuring that the system remains financially sustainable, offering good value for the taxpayer, and reducing debt levels for students in real terms.

Higher education (HE) providers are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees under this level. In deciding to keep charging full fees, providers will want to ensure that they can continue to deliver courses which are fit for purpose and help students progress their qualifications.

As part of wider HE reforms, the department is investing around £750 million of additional funding over the three year period from 2022/23 to 2024/25 to support high quality teaching and facilities including in science and engineering, subjects that support the NHS, and degree apprenticeships. This includes the largest increase in government funding for the HE Sector to support students and teaching in over a decade.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department are taking to improve the (a) recruitment and (b) retention rate of teachers.

There are now over 468,000 full time equivalent (FTE) teachers in state funded schools in England, which is an increase of 2,800 (less than 1%) since last year, and an increase of 27,000 (6%) since 2010. This makes it the highest FTE of teachers since the School Workforce Census began in 2010. Just over two thirds of teachers who qualified five years ago are still teaching.

The Department’s reforms are aimed at increasing teacher recruitment and at ensuring teachers across England stay and thrive in the profession.

The Department announced a financial incentives package worth up to £181 million for those starting initial teacher training (ITT) in the 2023/24 academic year. The Department is providing bursaries worth up to £27,000 and scholarships worth up to £29,000 to encourage trainees to apply to train in key secondary subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computing.

The Department provides a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 annually for mathematics, physics, chemistry and computing teachers in the first five years of their careers who work in disadvantaged schools nationally, including within Education Investment Areas (EIAs). The eligibility criteria and list of eligible schools are available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/levelling-up-premium-payments-for-teachers.

The Department has also raised starting salaries outside London by 8.9% to £28,000 and remains committed to the Government’s ambition of delivering £30,000 starting salaries to attract talented people to teaching.

The Department has created an entitlement to at least three years of structured training, support, and professional development for all new teachers, underpinned by the ITT Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework (ECF). Further information on the ITT Core Content Framework can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-itt-core-content-framework. Further information on the ECF can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-career-framework. Together, these ensure that new teachers will benefit from at least three years of evidence based training, across ITT and into their induction.

To support retention, the Department has worked with the education sector and published a range of resources to help address staff workload and wellbeing and to support schools to introduce flexible working practices. This includes the workload reduction toolkit and the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter. Further information on the workload reduction toolkit can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-workload-reduction-toolkit. Further information on the Education Staff Wellbeing charter can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-staff-wellbeing-charter. More than 2,600 schools have signed up to the Charter so far.

12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help reduce the number of violent assaults against teachers in schools.

No teacher should feel unsafe or face violence or abuse in the workplace. The Government is clear that all school employers, including trusts, have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees. The Government has taken decisive action to improve pupils’ behaviour and to ensure that all schools are calm, safe and supportive environments where pupils and staff can work in safety and are respected.

The Department supports head teachers in taking proportionate and measured steps to ensure good behaviour in schools. To support schools to do so, the Department has strengthened the Behaviour in Schools guidance, which is the primary source of help and support for schools on developing and implementing a behaviour policy that can create a school culture which has high expectations of all pupils. This guidance outlines effective strategies that will encourage good behaviour and the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour. The Government also backs head teachers to use exclusions when required, as a last resort.

The Government is providing £10 million of funding for the behaviour hubs programmes to enable schools and multi-academy trusts with exemplary behaviour cultures and practices to work in partnership with those that want to improve their behaviour culture.

12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that teachers who coach pupils in a sport are trained in treating and preventing concussion.

The PE Curriculum is designed to enable schools to coach pupils in a variety of sports and physical activities. Schools have the responsibility to ensure they have considered the health and safety of their pupils.

Staff should be given the information and training needed to effectively manage risks when delivering physical education. To support them to do this, the Department has published guidance. This guidance highlights resources that can support schools to consider health and safety risks and signposts teachers to the Association for Physical Education (AfPE) for advice on health and safety in PE and school sport. More information on the AfPE can be found here: http://www.afpe.org.uk/.

On 28 April 2023, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced the publication of the first UK-wide Concussion Guidelines for Grassroots Sport to help players, coaches, parents, teachers, wider school staff, National Governing Bodies and sports administrators to identify and manage concussion effectively. The publication can be found here: https://www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/policy/research-publications/concussion-guidelines.

Expert advice is also available for schools from the National Governing Bodies of individual sports, who are responsible for issuing the safety directives for their individual sports and for ensuring appropriate measures are in place to protect participants from harm.

19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to tackle racism in schools.

​The government condemns and strives to tackle all forms of racial discrimination, prejudice, and harassment. Under the Equality Act 2010, schools have a duty to take steps to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation, and to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations across all protected characteristics, including between people of different ethnic backgrounds. The department has published advice to support schools to fulfil their duties under the Equalities Act 2010, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools?msclkid=9ce22dddcc5d11ec9a0a2d6e2fd0a666.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include experiences and voices of people from all backgrounds. The curriculum offers many opportunities for schools to do this, notably through citizenship education and relationships, sex and health education (RSHE). The RSHE curriculum has a strong focus on equality, respect, the harmful impact of stereotyping, as well as the importance of valuing difference. Guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health.

Schools should address any intolerant, racist or discriminatory views expressed by pupils through their wider anti-bullying and safeguarding policies. All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour, and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. The policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and recognition for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff and parents. The department’s advice for schools, which outlines schools’ responsibilities, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying. .

The department publishes information, guidance and support for teachers and school leaders on how to challenge radical views, including racist and discriminatory beliefs, on the Educate Against Hate website. This includes the Respectful School Communities toolkit, a self-review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline. This can help to combat bullying, harassment and prejudice of any kind, including hate-based bullying, and is available here: https://www.educateagainsthate.com/school-leaders/?filter=guidance-and-training-school-leaders.

The department is also providing over £3 million of funding between August 2021 and March 2024, to five anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. We have deliberately focused this grant programme on preventing and tackling bullying of pupils with protected characteristics. This includes projects targeting the bullying of particular vulnerable groups, such as those who are victims of hate related bullying.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to promote British values in schools.

All schools have a duty to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance. Citizenship is an effective way of doing this and the Department expects teachers to reinforce these values as well as to support pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

Through citizenship, which is a statutory subject at Key Stages 3 and 4 of the National Curriculum, pupils are taught about Parliament, the importance of voting and elections, the legal system in the UK, different sources of law and how the law helps society deal with complex problems. The subject helps to prepare pupils to play a full and active part in society and teaches them how to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh up evidence, to debate, and to make reasoned arguments. Pupils should also be taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.

Pupils are taught about respect and tolerance through relationships, sex and health education (RSHE), which is compulsory for all school-aged pupils. The statutory guidance on RSHE sets out the content to be covered for each subject, which includes teaching about treating everyone with respect regardless of their background and characteristics. Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education.

The Department has published advice for schools on promoting these values, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/promoting-fundamental-british-values-through-smsc. Further resources have been made available through the ‘Educate Against Hate’ website, which can be found here: https://educateagainsthate.com/resources/respectful-school-communities-self-review-signposting-tool-2/.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects, so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils.

17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to allocate more support to (a) vulnerable and (b) disabled children in need of Educational Health Care Plans.

The department will be allocating more support to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including those who require education, health and care (EHC) plans.

High needs funding will be rising to £10.1 billion in the 2023/24 financial year, an increase of over 50% from the 2019/20 financial year allocations.

Both special schools and alternative provision (AP) schools will benefit from the additional funding allocated for the 2023/24 financial year. To ensure that they see increases equivalent to those that mainstream schools will receive, we have introduced a new condition that local authorities must pass on a 3.4% increase in total funding per place, to each special and AP maintained school and academy.

Local authorities will be able to use the rest of their additional allocation of high needs funding to support young people with special educational needs and disabilities in mainstream schools and elsewhere, including those requiring an EHC plan.

The department is also currently in the process of reviewing consultation responses through the SEND and AP Green Paper.

We are committed to publishing a full response to the SEND and AP Green Paper in an improvement plan early this year.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she plans to take to help pupils affected by industrial action in schools catch up with missed learning and development that has been delayed as a result of that action.

It is disappointing that the National Education Union (NEU) proceeded with strike action on 1 February 2023. Many parents and pupils will have faced disruption, but the Department is hugely grateful to head teachers, teachers and support staff who continued to work, ensuring over 90% of schools remained open to some or all pupils.

The Department knows that the best place for pupils to be for their education, physical and mental health is in schools with their friends and teachers.

The Department is engaged in ongoing, constructive talks with unions on a range of issues, including those around pay, workload, recruitment and retention.

In addition to engaging with unions, the Department has taken steps to mitigate the effects of any disruptive strike action on pupils’ education and wellbeing. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to every school in early January setting out the additional funding each school in England would receive following the £2 billion of additional funding announced for schools, both this year and next, in the Autumn Statement. This additional funding will support schools with increased costs and was a request from unions, which the Government delivered. The Secretary of State also wrote to union leaders on 27 January, asking the NEU to encourage their members to inform their head teachers if they intended to strike, in order to support schools in ensuring as many pupils are in school on strike days. The Department is clear that schools should remain open for as many pupils as possible.

In the Department’s guidance on handling strike action in schools, the Department has confirmed that if a head teacher needed to restrict attendance as a last resort, they should prioritise school places for vulnerable children, children of critical workers and pupils who are due to take public examinations and other formal assessments. Head teachers have also been asked to do all they can to ensure children continue to have access to education on strike days, including through online teaching. The Department has also provided advice to schools through bulletins, and to parents through the Department’s Education Hub.

The Department has made almost £5 billion available to support pupils’ education recovery from the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department is funding what it knows works, such as teacher training and evidence-based support, including tutoring and extra education opportunities.

4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase apprenticeships opportunities in the cyber technology sector.

Apprenticeships provide people with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start, progress or re-train in the technology sector, helping employers to address their current and emerging skills needs and build a diverse pipeline of talent.

The department continues to work in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and supports their newly launched strategy to make the digital economy more inclusive, competitive, and innovative by supporting the growth of Digital, Cyber, and Artificial Intelligence strategies.

We have put employers at the heart of our apprenticeship system, empowering them to design the standards they need. Employers in the digital sector have so far developed 26 high-quality digital apprenticeship standards across all levels in occupations such as Data Science, Cyber Security, Digital and Technology solutions, AI, Software Developer and Creative Digital Design.

In the 2020/21 academic year there were 18,400 apprenticeship starts in the Information and Communication Technology sector subject area, with 17,000 starts reported so far for the first eight months of the 2021/22 academic year.

The department is also encouraging all employers to offer more flexible training models. There are two flexi-job apprenticeship agencies supporting the digital sector, ensuring apprentices are ready to work on-site and can benefit from the high-quality long-term training that an apprenticeship provides.

We are working closely with stakeholders in the digital skills sector to identify opportunities for improvements that support digital growth and deliver sector growth campaigns via trusted sector voices including TechUK and BCS, to inspire and inform SMEs to recruit apprentices in the digital sector.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help improve behaviour in schools.

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

In addition, the department is pursuing an ambitious wider programme of work to improve behaviour in schools. Our £10 million behaviour hubs programme, launched in April 2021, is projected to support up to 700 schools over three years. It enables schools with exemplary positive behaviour cultures to work closely with schools that want and need to improve pupil behaviour, alongside a central offer of support and a taskforce of advisers.

Moreover, the national behaviour survey is underway and is asking panels of pupils, parents, leaders, and teachers about their perception of behaviour. The aim of the survey is to support future policy development by improving our evidence base and data collection on behaviour. By capturing the views of professionals and listening to the voice of children and parents, the department will gain a better understanding of behaviour and what we need to do to support teachers and leaders in practice.

In autumn 2021, the department introduced a new and updated suite of fully funded National Professional Qualifications (NPQs), including the new specialist NPQ for Leading Behaviour and Culture. Specialist and leadership NPQs provide training and support for teachers and school leaders at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in high-quality teaching practice, such as behaviour management, to those leading multiple schools across trusts.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the school places available for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

In March 2022, the department announced High Needs Provision Capital Allocations (HNPCA) amounting to over £1.4 billion of new investment. This funding forms part of the £2.6 billion we are investing between 2022 and 2025 and represents a significant, transformational investment in new high needs provision.

It will support local authorities to deliver new places in mainstream and special schools in the 2023/23 and 2024/25 academic years, as well as other specialist settings, and will also be used to improve the suitability and accessibility of existing buildings. This will improve existing provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or who require alternative provision (AP).

The department is also supporting local authorities through our ongoing delivery of new special and AP free schools. We have recently launched ‘How to Apply’ guidance for the 2022 Special and AP free school application waves. These waves are open to all local authorities in England. Guidance can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/special-free-school-applications and: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-to-open-an-alternative-provision-free-school.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the provision of training and professional development for teachers.

The department is committed to delivering 500,000 teacher training and development opportunities by 2024. This will give all teachers and school leaders access to world-class, evidence-based training and professional development at every stage of their career.

The department is creating an entitlement to at least three years of structured training, support, and professional development for all new teachers. Underpinning this is the refreshed Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework (ECF). Together, these ensure that new teachers will benefit from at least three years of evidence-based training, across ITT and into their induction.

Beyond the first few years of teaching, the department will help all teachers and school leaders to continuously develop expertise throughout their careers. We have launched a new and updated suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) for teachers and school leaders at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in high-quality teaching practice to those leading multiple schools across trusts. Since autumn 2021, eligible teachers and leaders have been able to access scholarships to undertake fully funded NPQs.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help support students with their mental health.

To ensure that all students have access to dedicated mental health support, no matter where they study, we have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to fund Student Space, a mental health and wellbeing online platform for students, with up to £3.6 million invested so far. Providing vital mental health and wellbeing resources to all students across the country, it has been accessed by over 250,000 students since its launch in August 2020.

We asked the OfS to allocate an additional £15 million towards student mental health in the 2022/23 financial year to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university and to support better joined-up working with NHS services. This funding targets those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard to reach students.

To make faster progress, the OfS will allocate up to £3 million of this funding towards developing stronger partnership working with NHS services. Alongside my hon Friend, the member for Chichester, the former Minister of State for Higher and Further Education chaired a summit in June to launch this work and ensure that the department and the Department of Health and Social Care work together to achieve this common goal.

The department also supports the University Mental Health Charter led by Student Minds. The University Mental Health Charter intends to drive up standards of practice across the higher education (HE) sector and, so far, 41 HE providers have joined the programme. I have written to heads of HE providers to set the ambition that all HE providers sign up within the next five years.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of Ukrainian school pupils in classrooms across the UK.

The department has started collecting information from each local authority in England on school placements for children from outside of the UK. This includes data on the number of applications and offers made to children from Ukraine. Data relating to the 2021/22 academic year can be found at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-placements-for-children-from-outside-of-the-uk.

The data shows that between September 2021 and May 2022 there has been an estimated 9,900 school place offers made to Ukrainian children. The data relates to local authorities in England only.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress he has made to improve the quality of higher education courses.

The government is committed to improving the quality of higher education (HE), tackling low-quality courses and ensuring all students, regardless of their background, benefit from high-quality world-leading education.

We are taking forward significant regulatory reform with the Office for Students (OfS) which aims to introduce a more rigorous and effective quality regime. This includes setting stringent minimum numerical thresholds for student outcomes, where the OfS is currently considering responses to its consultation, and measures to ensure a high-quality academic experience.

HE courses which lead to poor outcomes let down students, fail to provide value-for-money for taxpayers and students, and erode confidence in our world-class university system. Where quality requirements are not being met, the OfS will impose sanctions on providers where appropriate, including financial penalties, suspension from the OfS register or, in the worst cases, deregistration.

We have asked the OfS to implement a visible and effective inspections regime where the OfS has concerns about the quality of provision. This will involve on-site inspections. The OfS is delivering this and announced its first wave of onsite inspections on 26 May which will look specifically at Business and Management courses provided by eight HE providers. These will also examine whether poor-quality online learning has replaced face-to-face teaching to the detriment of students’ academic experience.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate collaboration between colleges and employers.

The introduction of the new Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIP) will forge closer and more dynamic relationships between employers and colleges as they work together to meet an area’s technical skills needs.

The eight LSIP Trailblazers engaged a range of employers and skills providers, helping to forge relationships and networks that had not previously existed. We are making good progress on the next stage of rolling out LSIP across the country, and we expect to designate the first tranche of employer representative bodies to lead on the development of the plans in the early autumn.

The rollout of LSIP will build on the excellent provider and employer collaboration that has been built upon through apprenticeships, T Levels and our other skills reforms.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase levels of adult numeracy.

The department has launched Multiply, a new programme for improving adult numeracy, funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Up to £559 million is available over the Spending Review period for Multiply, including up to £430 million across all four nations for local areas to deliver bespoke adult numeracy interventions.

All adults without a GCSE grade C/4 (or equivalent) in mathematics will be able to access free flexible courses that fit around their lives, including in person training, personal tutoring, and digital content.

Adults who don’t already have a GCSE pass Grade 4/C (or equivalent) or above in mathematics are already entitled to funding for mathematics qualifications up to level 2. Multiply does not remove this entitlement, nor does it reduce funding for the Adult Education Budget.

Multiply will boost funding for maths, enabling delivery of innovative approaches to improving numeracy in adults, helping more people take the next step to higher levels of training or unlock new job opportunities.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to upgrade the further education estate.

The Further Education (FE) Capital Transformation Programme is delivering the government’s £1.5 billion manifesto commitment to upgrade FE college estates in England.

We are delivering a programme of funding to address condition need across the FE sector, allocating £200 million in August 2020 to all FE colleges and designated institutions, to enable providers to undertake immediate remedial work and upgrade the condition of their estates.

We announced the next phase of the FE Capital Transformation Programme in April 2021, with our plans to work in partnership with 16 colleges to upgrade and revitalise some of the worst condition sites in England, with some construction work now beginning.

In April 2022, we announced that up to £405 million of funding is being provided to a further 62 colleges who were successful in bidding for funding through the FE Capital Transformation Fund. The programme will fund two condition improvement projects that will support colleges involved with the Education and Skills Funding Agency Specialist Restructuring Team.

We will aim to provide an update on plans for how we will deliver the remainder of the £1.5 billion of funding later this year.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the quality of technical qualifications.

We are reforming technical education to ensure that all post-16 students have access to technical options that support progression and meet employer needs. This includes the introduction of T Levels, designed with employers, reviewing all other technical qualifications at level 3 and below and introducing new Higher Technical qualifications.

We are putting employers at the heart of the skills system and boosting the quality of qualifications on offer, basing them on employer-led occupational standards, so that all students leave education with the skills most needed by industry.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect freedom of speech in universities.

This government believes that freedom of speech and academic freedom are fundamental pillars of our higher education system and that protecting these principles should be a priority for universities.

That is why the Higher Education Freedom of Speech Bill has been introduced. The bill will strengthen existing freedom of speech duties and directly address gaps within the existing law, ensuring, for example, that higher education providers found to be in breach of their duties can be clearly and robustly held to account. The bill also applies the duties directly to students’ unions and constituent colleges, including those at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The bill introduces a role for the Office for Students board, with responsibility for overseeing its strengthened duties to promote freedom of speech and investigate where potential breaches of the duties occur.

The changes will introduce clear consequences for breaches of the new duties and ensure that these principles are upheld.

The bill is currently passing through the House of Lords.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to attract (a) science, (b) technology, (c) engineering and (d) mathematics teachers in disadvantaged areas.

From autumn 2022, the Levelling Up Premium will provide early career teachers in maths, physics, chemistry, and computing with bonuses of up to £3,000 tax-free annually, in the first five years of their career, if they teach in eligible disadvantaged schools. The full eligibility criteria for the Levelling Up Premium, including eligible schools, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/levelling-up-premium-payments-for-teachers#eligibility-criteria-for-teachers.

The department is also offering bursaries, worth £24,000 tax-free, and scholarships, worth £26,000 tax-free, to encourage talented trainee teachers into key subjects such as maths, physics, chemistry, and computing.

These measures are supporting the recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in the schools and areas that need them most.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to deliver the Lifelong Loan Entitlement by 2025.

The Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE) will be accessible from 2025, providing individuals with a loan entitlement the equivalent of four years of post-18 education (£37,000 in today’s fees), to use over their lifetime. The government has already introduced key legislation as part of the Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022.

As part of the pathway towards the LLE, the department will also stimulate the provision of high-quality higher technical education (at levels 4 and 5). We have introduced pilots to inform future flexible and modular provision.

From the start of the 2022/23 academic year, the department will be trialling loan-funded access to tuition fees for certain short courses at levels 4-6 at a number of providers across England. This will help us build and test towards the LLE and will allow students to study and build up the skills they need more flexibly.

The government published a consultation on the Lifelong Loan Entitlement which concluded on 6 May. We are carefully considering the contributions and will publish our response in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to attract and retain high quality teachers.

There are now more than 461,000 (FTE) teachers working in state-funded schools across the country to inspire the next generation of young people. Over 37,000 new trainee teachers were recruited to start training in the 2021/22 academic year, showing that teaching continues to be an attractive profession.

At the heart of the Schools White Paper’s vision to boost literacy and numeracy outcomes is the need for an excellent teacher for every child. The department aims to continue attracting and retaining the highly skilled teachers that every child needs. To do this, the department is taking action to improve teacher recruitment and retention by transforming the training and support we provide, not only to attract more people into teaching but to encourage them to stay and thrive in the profession.

The department is creating an entitlement to at least three years of structured training, support and professional development for all new teachers, to bring teaching into line with other prestigious professions such as law, accountancy, and medicine. Underpinning this is the new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework. Together, these ensure that new teachers will benefit from at least three years of evidence-based training, across ITT and into their induction.

Beyond the first few years of teaching, the department's priority is to help all teachers and school leaders to continuously develop their expertise throughout their careers so every child in every classroom in every school gets the best start in life. Teachers and school leaders at all levels can now benefit from an updated suite of National Professional Qualifications. Aimed at those who want to develop expertise in high-quality teaching practice, to those leading multiple schools across trusts, these professional development programmes are now free to access for those eligible to apply.

These measures will create a golden thread running from ITT through to school leadership, rooting teacher and leader development in the best available evidence.

To support the recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in subjects that are harder to recruit for, the government has put in place a range of measures, including bursaries worth £24,000 tax-free and scholarships worth £26,000 tax-free. This will encourage talented trainees for key subjects such as chemistry, computing, mathematics, and physics. Additionally, we have announced a Levelling Up Premium worth up to £3,000 tax-free for maths, physics, chemistry, and computing teachers in the first five years of their careers who choose to work in disadvantaged schools, including in Education Investment Areas (EIAs). This will support the recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in these subjects and in the schools and areas that need them most.

The government also remain committed to increasing teacher starting salaries to £30,000 to make teaching an attractive graduate option.

Teacher retention is key to ensuring effective teacher supply and quality, and we are taking action to support teachers to stay in the profession and thrive. The department has published a range of resources to help address teacher workload and wellbeing and support schools to introduce flexible working practices.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of degree apprenticeships.

Degree apprenticeships provide people of all backgrounds with a unique opportunity to combine degree-level study with being in a job and earning from day one.

We are encouraged to see year on year growth in degree-level apprenticeships (levels 6 and 7), with over 138,000 starts since their introduction in the 2014/15 academic year. Employers, working in partnership with providers, have already developed over 150 apprenticeship standards available at levels 6 and 7, of which over 100 include a degree. We want to see that strong growth continue.

We are taking a number of steps to drive further growth, including exploring options with the Office for Students (OfS) to make up to £8 million available to higher education (HE) providers through the Strategic Priorities Grant. This will help providers to expand their current degree apprenticeship offers or develop new ones. Alongside this, the OfS is challenging HE providers to increase the proportion of degree apprentices they recruit, through refreshed access and participation plans.

In addition, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Further Education is reforming how degree apprenticeships are developed, approved and delivered so that they work better for apprentices and employers, and we are continuing to work with UCAS to capitalise on the excellent work it does to connect young people with a range of opportunities available to them when they are considering their next steps after school or college.

Taken together, these measures will ensure that more people benefit from the unique opportunities that degree apprenticeships offer to individuals, employers and the wider economy.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure political impartiality in schools.

The law is clear that schools must remain politically impartial. Schools must not promote partisan political views and should ensure the balanced treatment of political issues. Schools are free to teach about political issues and, of course, play an important role in supporting pupils to understand the society in which they grow up and to be prepared for life in modern Britain. However, it is important that schools uphold their duties with regard to political impartiality. To support school staff in understanding their legal duties in this area, the department has worked with the sector to publish clear and comprehensive guidance available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/political-impartiality-in-schools.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote T-Levels.

The department wants as many young people as possible to benefit from T Levels, the new gold standard qualifications in technical education. In January this year, we launched our ‘Get the Jump’ campaign, which helps 14-19-year-olds explore their education and training options, and spotlights T Levels, apprenticeships, traineeships and higher technical qualifications in particular. We are working closely with the Careers and Enterprise Company, Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge programme, academy trusts and other representative bodies to ensure that teachers and careers leaders have the information and resources they need to communicate the benefits of T Levels to their students. In addition, this August will see the first T Levels results day and there are a number of activities planned to celebrate and promote the achievements of the first cohort of T Level students, both regionally and around social media to signpost students to the dedicated T Levels website.

Our ‘Join the Skills Revolution’ campaign promotes the government’s training and employment schemes, including T Levels, to employers. We are also engaging directly with employers to raise awareness of T Levels and promote industry placements, and we have established a T Level employer ambassador network so that employers can promote T Levels within their industry networks.

Both campaigns make use of a wide range of channels, including the use of social media to get through to young people, parents and employers.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve the quality of higher education courses.

We want all students, regardless of their background, to benefit from high quality world-leading higher education. The government is committed to tackling low-quality courses and ensuring that students and the taxpayer see returns on their investment and receive value-for-money.

We are taking forward significant regulatory reform with the Office for Students (OfS) to introduce a more rigorous and effective quality regime. This includes, for the first time, setting stringent minimum numerical thresholds for student outcomes, and the introduction in May 2022 of revised conditions of registration.

In March 2022, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education and I made clear to the OfS that the government expects the OfS to step up its investigation activities through the implementation of a visible and effective on-site ‘boots on the ground’ inspections regime to be followed by robust regulatory action wherever that is appropriate. In cases where low and unacceptable quality is confirmed, regulatory action could include the imposition of formal sanctions including financial penalties and, ultimately, the suspension or removal from the OfS register, and with it access to student finance.

In addition, we have consulted on the introduction of targeted student number controls to prevent the growth of low-quality courses with poor outcomes. The consultation has now closed and we are considering the views submitted, which we will respond to in due course.

We have made clear our firm view that students must be able to expect high-quality teaching that includes face-to-face education. I wrote to Vice-Chancellors on 4 May 2022 setting out my expectation that, now the government has removed all restrictions on in-person teaching, all students should be receiving a comparable amount of in-person teaching to before the pandemic and that providers should be transparent about the sort of teaching students can expect.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to protect freedom of speech in universities.

This government believes that freedom of speech and academic freedom are fundamental pillars of our higher education (HE) system and that protecting these principles should be a priority for universities.

That is why the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill was introduced on 12 May 2021. The Bill will strengthen existing freedom of speech duties and directly address gaps within the existing law. This includes the fact there is no clear way of enforcing the current law when a HE provider breaches it as well as applying the duties directly to students’ unions and constituent colleges including those at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The Bill introduces a role on the Office for Students board, with responsibility for overseeing its strengthened duties to promote freedom of speech and investigate where potential breaches of the duties occur.

The changes will introduce clear consequences for breaches of the new duties and ensure that these principles are upheld.

The Bill will reach the Report Stage in the House of Commons shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve the transparency and consistency in university advertising.

This government believes in greater transparency from higher education (HE) providers so that prospective students can inform their decision making with meaningful comparisons between different providers and courses.

I have announced that all universities and other registered HE providers should prominently display their completion rates and progression to graduate jobs on every advert, whether that is online, on a billboard or in their prospectus – just as every advertisement for a loan must clearly state the annual percentage rate. I am working with the sector on this matter and expect to publish guidance next month.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support pupils who fall behind in maths and English.

The recent Schools White Paper (SWP) set out a vision for a system that helps every child to fulfil their potential by ensuring they receive the right support, founded on world class literacy and numeracy.

The department’s ambition, by 2030, is that 90% of primary school children will achieve expected standards in reading, writing and maths. The SWP also sets an ambition that the national GCSE average grade in both English language and in maths increases from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030.

Key to achieving these is providing targeted support for every child that needs it and we have made a pledge to parents that all schools will regularly assess their children to identify if they have fallen behind in English or maths, provide them with timely and evidence-based support if necessary, and keep parents informed on their progress.

To help schools in providing timely and evidence-based support to pupils who have fallen behind in English and maths, the SWP makes the following commitments:

  • National Tutoring Programme (NTP): evidence shows effective tutoring can make a big difference to those that have fallen behind. The department has invested £1 billion to establish the NTP, which will deliver up to 6 million tutoring packages by 2024
  • Education Endowment Foundation (EEF): the department will re-endow the EEF with at least £100 million, lasting for at least the next decade. This will ensure that schools will continue to have access to the most recent, very best evidence on ‘what works’
  • Accelerator Fund: the department will also provide over £55 million to develop and scale-up the best-evidenced literacy and numeracy interventions
  • Guidance on ‘what works’: the department has made it easier for schools to access the best evidence of 'what works' by introducing a menu of recommended evidence-based approaches. Further guidance on targeted support will be set out in due course

The department recognises that great teaching, high standards of behaviour and attendance, a strong curriculum, and a stronger school system will also have a key part to play in helping children to reach their potential in English and maths.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to invest in education in low performing areas.

Overall, core schools funding is increasing by £4 billion in the 2022/23 academic year, a 7% increase in cash terms per pupil from 2021/22. This includes an increase in mainstream school funding for 5-16 year olds of £2.5 billion, which is equivalent to an average 5.8% cash increase, or an average of £300 per pupil.

The low prior attainment factor in the national funding formula (NFF) supports low attainment areas by providing more funding for schools whose pupils are likely to need more help to catch up with their peers. We have allocated 6.7% of the total NFF to low prior attainment in 2022/23.

As the government’s Levelling Up White Paper and recent Schools White Paper outline, the government is committed to levelling up education standards and increasing capacity in the parts of the country that need this most. The first part of this journey will see investment in 55 Education Investment Areas. These are in the places where outcomes in literacy and numeracy are the poorest and there is the most urgent need for improvement. In these areas we will focus our support for schools not making necessary improvement and trust growth, as well as offering the Levelling Up premium, worth up to £3,000, to eligible teachers in disadvantaged schools and supporting improved digital connectivity through the Connect the Classroom programme.

The department will also be making additional intensive investment in a subset of 24 Priority Education Investment Areas, to address entrenched underperformance, including in literacy and numeracy, in areas with some of the highest rates of disadvantage in the country. This includes around £40 million of additional funding, which will be provided for bespoke interventions to address local needs, such as addressing high absence rates.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that schools are a safe environment for pupils.

Well-maintained, safe buildings are essential to support high-quality education, which is why investing in the estate is a priority for the department. We have significantly improved our understanding of the condition of the school estate through the Condition Data Collection programme, which allows effective targeting of funding where it is needed most.

Local authorities, academy trusts and school governing bodies are responsible for ensuring buildings are well-maintained, safe, and compliant with relevant regulations. The department supports the sector through capital funding, delivering major rebuilding programmes, and providing extensive guidance and support.

The department provides annual capital funding to schools, and those responsible for school buildings, to improve and maintain the condition of the estate, based on local knowledge of building issues and priorities. Since 2015, over £13 billion of condition funding has been allocated, including £1.8 billion committed in the 2022/23 financial year.

In addition to annual capital allocations, the School Rebuilding Programme will deliver rebuilding and refurbishment projects at 500 schools over the next decade, transforming education for hundreds of thousands of pupils. The first 100 schools to benefit from the programme were announced in 2021, and the department expects to announce up to 300 more schools this year. The latest round of nominations closed in March, and responsible bodies were able to submit evidence of severe need or potential safety issues, which will be prioritised by the programme.

The department is also helping to improve practice and safe management of buildings by providing extensive guidance, advice, and tools on effective estate management, including specific safety issues, such as asbestos.

The department has also recently revised its statutory guidance, ‘keeping children safe in education’, which provides a strong safeguarding framework for schools. This guidance along with revision of the ‘searching, screening and confiscation’ guidance, and the forthcoming updated ‘behaviour in school’ guidance, will support schools to create a safe environment for pupils.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to limit student loan interest payments.

The government has not yet decided on what interest rates will be applied to student loans from September 2022. The department will be considering all options over the coming months and will confirm in due course the rates to apply from 1 September.

Changes to student loan interest rates will not increase monthly student loan repayments. Monthly repayments are calculated as a fixed percentage of earnings above the relevant repayment threshold and do not change based on interest rates or the amount borrowed. If income is below the relevant repayment threshold, or a borrower is not earning, then they do not have to make repayments at all. Any outstanding debt, including interest accrued, is written off after the loan term ends (or in case of death or disability) at no detriment to the borrower. There are no commercial loans that offer this level of protection.

The government, by law, must cap maximum student loan rates to ensure the interest rate charged on the loan is in line with market rates for comparable unsecured personal loans. The government monitors student loan rates against the Bank of England’s data series for the effective interest rates on new and existing unsecured personal loans.

We announced in February that we will be reducing interest rates for new borrowers and so, from academic year 2023/24, new graduates will not, in real terms, repay more than they borrow. Alongside our wider reforms, this will help to make sure that students from all walks of life can continue to receive the highest-quality education from our world-leading HE sector.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support children in education who have foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

The government is committed to pupils with medical conditions, including foetal alcohol syndrome, being properly supported at school so that they have full access to education.

In 2014, the government introduced a new duty on schools to support pupils with all medical conditions and has published statutory guidance on this for schools and others. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3.

The guidance does not specify which medical conditions should be supported in schools. Instead, it focuses on how to meet the needs of each individual child and how their medical condition impacts on school life.

All schools are required to identify and address the special educational needs of the pupils they support, and to make sure that a child or young person gets the support they need.

15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help local authorities (a) identify, (b) assess and (c) support young carers.

The Children and Families Act 2014, amended the Children Act 1989 to place a duty on local authorities to assess the needs of young carers. The duties have remained in place throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Local authorities must ensure young carers are identified and referred to appropriate support if needed, and that the young carers are not taking on excessive or inappropriate care and support responsibilities. This provision works alongside those for assessing adults in the Care Act 2014, to enable whole family approaches to assessment and support.

On 7 September 2021, we announced investment of an additional £5.4 billion over three years in social care, which includes a commitment to take steps so that unpaid carers have support, advice and respite fulfilling the goals of the Care Act 2014. We will work with the sector, including unpaid carers to develop more detail on our plans and publish further detail in a White Paper for reform later this year. We have also provided councils with access to over £1 billion of additional funding for social care in the 2021/22 financial year. This will support councils to maintain care services while keeping up with rising demand and recovering from the impact of COVID-19.

15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle rising levels of anti-Semitic abuse on university campuses.

The government is clear that antisemitism is abhorrent, and we expect higher education (HE) providers to be at the forefront of tackling the challenge of it.

The department has pushed for several years for greater action from HE providers in addressing antisemitism. This has included encouraging institutions to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, in order to have clarity of what constitutes antisemitic behavior. This in turn enables providers to better understand and recognise incidences of antisemitism and take action to address them.

As part of this work, the former Secretary of State for Education wrote out to all HE providers urging adoption of the IHRA definition, stating that we would consider further action if institutions did not adopt. A follow-up letter was sent in May 2021, reinforcing the government's expectation that providers adopt the IHRA definition, stressing the even greater importance of doing so in light of an increased number of antisemitic incidents recorded as a result of the conflict in the Middle East.

In response to this, on 10 November 2021, the Office for Students published a list of providers who have adopted the definition. I am pleased to report good progress in the last year, an increase from around 30 to over 200 providers having adopted. This includes the vast majority of universities. I will continue to urge all providers to adopt.

Adoption of the IHRA definition is only a first step towards ridding HE of antisemitism. I want to be very clear that, while the government considers that adoption of the definition is crucial, it is not enough on its own. I will continue to work with the sector to ensure it better understands antisemitism and does more to end it. I intend to bring together key stakeholders from the sector to examine what more can be done to make Jewish students and staff feel safe on campus.

I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure it is eradicated from our world-leading providers.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to monitor and publish data on the average (a) food orders by schools supported through the National School Breakfast Programme and (b) proportion of students on roll that take up the offer of breakfast provision in the 2021-22 academic year.

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

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

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which schools in Stockton South constituency will be supported by the new National School Breakfast Programme tender during the academic year 2021-2022.

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

The focus of the programme is to target the most disadvantaged areas of the country, including the Department for Education’s Opportunity Areas. Schools’ eligibility for the programme is based on the Income deprivation affecting children index (IDACI) – a nationally recognised indicator of need – to ensure provision is directed where it is most needed. Schools will be eligible for the programme if they have 50% or more pupils within bands A-F of the IDACI scale.

The enrolment process for schools joining the programme is currently ongoing, and we have seen a strong interest so far from eligible schools since we invited the expressions of interest. Schools are currently still able to apply to join the programme. As we are still registering schools for the programme, it is too early to publish a list of participating schools. However, we will consider the best opportunities to share information on the programme as it progresses.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help schools improve (a) canteens, (b) playgrounds and (c) other facilities.

The Department allocates condition funding each year to schools and those responsible for school buildings to maintain and improve the condition of their estates, including canteens, playgrounds and other facilities. We have allocated £11.3 billion in condition funding since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed in this financial year. As part of that, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has been allocated over £1.3 million this financial year to invest in improving the condition of its schools. Allocations are informed by consistent data on the condition of the school estate.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced a new, ten-year School Rebuilding Programme in June 2020, which will replace poor condition school buildings with modern, energy efficient designs. We have announced the first 50 schools to benefit, as part of a commitment to 500 rebuilding projects over the next decade. We expect to confirm a further 50 projects this year and plan to consult on the approach to prioritising future projects later in 2021.

In addition, the existing Priority Schools Building Programme has been rebuilding or refurbishing buildings in poor condition at over 500 schools across England.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure the financial stability of early years providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government understands the importance of childcare, which is why we are planning to spend over £3.6 billion on our free early education entitlements in 2020-21.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a testing and disruptive time for all parts of society and the economy, including for the early years sector. We recognise the risk to providers’ financial viability that is caused by changing levels of parental demand.

We are providing extra stability and reassurance to nurseries and childminders that are open by ‘block-buying’ childcare places for the rest of this year at the level that we would have funded before the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of how many children are attending.

On top of that, nurseries, childminders and pre-schools can claim for various other forms of business support, including for the Coronavirus Job Retention and Self Employment Income Support Schemes.

To provide additional support to firms to keep employees as demand returns, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduced the Job Retention Bonus. This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers for each employee who was ever furloughed, has been continuously employed until 31 January 2021 and is still employed by the same employer as of 31 January 2021.

Around £60 million per year of supplementary funding is also being provided to local authorities to enable them to protect maintained nursery schools’ funding. We announced on 24 August that we will continue to provide this for the whole of the 2020-21 academic year.

We will continue to work closely with both local authorities and the early years sector organisations to monitor the impact of the outbreak on the sector.

Future funding for the sector will be considered in the next Spending Review.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that university students receive value for money from student fees during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises the challenges facing students and supports them in their desire to continue receiving the best possible learning experience from our higher education providers. This is a difficult and uncertain time for students, but we are working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies.

The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, has committed to protecting students throughout the present crisis and has produced guidance on practical ways in which students can complete their studies whilst ensuring quality and standards are upheld. This guidance is clear that standards must be maintained - further details are available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guidance-for-providers-about-quality-and-standards-during-coronavirus-pandemic/. The government is also working closely with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education to ensure students continue to leave university with qualifications that have real value, reflect their hard work and allow people to progress.

We have seen some fantastic and innovative examples of high-quality online learning being delivered by higher education providers across the country and the sector is working hard to provide learning materials for the summer and autumn terms. Our priority now is to maintain the integrity of higher education qualifications and the achievement of students’ learning aims. The government expects universities to continue delivering a high quality academic experience and help students to achieve qualifications that they and employers will value.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees. In deciding to keep charging full fees, universities will of course want to ensure that they can continue to deliver courses which are fit for purpose and which help students progress their qualifications. If providers are unable to facilitate good online tuition, then they should seek to avoid charging students for any additional terms they may need to undergo as a consequence – avoiding effectively charging them twice. Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student.

If students have concerns, there is a process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers based in England or Wales can contact the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to ask them to consider their complaint.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to support the existence of hedgehogs through (a) local nature recovery strategies, (b) biodiversity net gain measures and (c) future farm subsidy payments.

The Environment Act 2021 introduced a number of policies that will support the restoration of habitat. Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) and a strengthened biodiversity duty on public authorities will work together to drive action, including to create or restore habitats that will enable wildlife, such as hedgehogs, to recover and thrive, while conservation covenants will help secure habitat for the long term. LNRSs will bring local authorities, communities, landowners and conservation groups together to agree priorities to help nature and protect locally and nationally important species. They will also map specific proposals for habitat creation and improvement such as woodland, heathland and species-rich grassland, all of which will benefit vulnerable species including hedgehogs.

In addition, agri-environment schemes have provided a significant source of funding for habitat creation and management for threatened species. Our new environmental land management (ELM) schemes will provide farmers, foresters and other land managers with an opportunity to secure financial support in return for delivering environmental benefits. Hedgerows are an important habitat for hedgehogs and their food source. Actions to fund the creation, restoration and maintenance of hedgerows are available through the Countryside Stewardship and Sustainable Farming Incentive schemes.

Robbie Moore
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Summary of Responses to the Call for Evidence on Labelling for Animal Welfare, published by her Department in August 2022, whether she plans to take steps to bring forward legislative proposals to introduce labelling for animal welfare.

Defra’s Call for Evidence on Labelling for Animal Welfare gathered data on the impacts of different types of labelling reforms. Based on the information gathered, we will continue to work with stakeholders to explore how we can harness the market to improve food information for consumers. We will continue to gather evidence on the impacts of a wide range of market interventions, as well as how they could align with wider labelling proposals such as eco-labelling.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to help reduce the number of ultra-processed foods that are consumed by the public.

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

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to help ensure that appropriate guidance is provided to new pet owners.

Pet owners’ responsibilities are laid down in several Government codes of practice for animal welfare, which are available here: Animal welfare legislation: protecting pets - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). The codes summarise important information for owners and helps them to make decisions about how best to care for their animals.

Under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, licensed pet sellers are required to provide prospective owners information setting out how the animal’s health and welfare needs should be met.

In addition, my Department maintains a national communications campaign (Petfished) to raise awareness of issues associated with low-welfare and illegal supply of cats and dogs. This includes providing clear signposting on where responsible breeders and rehoming centres can be found and encouraging prospective buyers to research the seller thoroughly before they visit and decide to purchase.

Finally, my Department has also developed dog safety fact sheets in collaboration with the Child Accident Prevention Trust and animal welfare organisations to encourage safe interactions between families and dogs.

I welcome the efforts of veterinarians, animal welfare charities, breeders and other practitioners in sharing these sources of information with pet owners.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that dairy farmers whose herds are affected by bovine tuberculosis are provided with adequate support.

The Government is acutely aware of the devastating impacts bTB can have on livestock owners and their families. Defra is working hard to support dairy farmers whose herds experience a bTB breakdown and ensure that information and tailored support is accessible.

Defra is committed to helping farmers and their families tackle the mental health and livelihood impacts of bTB and has provided grant funding to the Farming Community Network since 2010. The TB Advisory Service (TBAS) is a Defra funded project that by means of over-the-phone advice, farm visits and badger sett surveys offers free, bespoke, practical and cost-effective advice to all eligible farmers in England to help reduce the risks associated with TB. In late 2021, Defra launched a new, nationwide TBAS, delivered by Farmcare Solutions: Home - TB Advisory Service (tbas.org.uk)

Defra is also working in partnership with the livestock sector and a wide range of academics, charities, and other experts to deliver the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, supporting continual improvement in farm animal health and welfare. That includes a programme of financial support for farmers in the pig, cattle, sheep, and poultry sectors, to help them continually improve animal health and welfare.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to (a) tackle fly tipping and (b) help local authorities to (i) prevent and (ii) prosecute fly tipping.

The PM’s Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan sets out how we will help councils take tougher action against those who fly-tip. We significantly raised the upper limit of on-the-spot fines in July, to £1,000 for fly-tipping and £600 for householders who give their waste to an unauthorised carrier. We have also increased transparency on the use of these fines by publishing league tables on fly-tipping enforcement and consulted stakeholders on ringfencing the money raised from fines for enforcement and clean up activity.

This builds on the £1.2m Defra has provided in grant funding to help more than 30 councils implement projects cracking down on fly-tipping, including Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council who received £23,000 to purchase CCTV equipment. We intend to launch another grant opportunity for councils later this year.

With the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group, we are developing a toolkit to help councils and others tackle fly-tipping. So far, the group has published a guide on how to present robust cases to court and a new framework which sets out how to set up and run effective local partnerships. The toolkit, and other resources, are available online at https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/national-fly-tipping-prevention-group.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to help ensure that (a) river and (b) coastal communities are protected from floods this year.

The Government is investing a record £5.2 billion in the flood and coastal erosion risk management capital programme running from 2021 to 2027, which will provide better protection from all sources of flooding. At the end of March 2023, the Environment Agency (EA) estimated that approximately £1.5 billion of this funding has been invested with around 60,000 properties better protected through over 200 completed schemes.

In addition, the Government is investing £200 million between 2021 and 2027 in the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation programme to support more than 25 local areas to trial innovative approaches for improving resilience for their communities. This includes £36 million support for communities in areas at significant risk of coastal erosion to transition and adapt to a changing climate.

The EA works in partnership with the Met Office as part of the Flood Forecasting Centre to provide flood warning information direct to those who have registered to receive these, as well as a five-day flood forecast through their Check for flooding service.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what her expected timescale is for debating the Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (England) Regulations 2023 in the House of Commons.

We remain committed to introducing a ban on electronic collars controlled by hand-held devices that deliver an electric shock to cats or dogs. Parliamentary business will be scheduled and announced in the usual way.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department taking to ensure that households have adequate access to recycling facilities.

This Government is committed to ensuring residents are able to dispose of their waste for recycling in a convenient and responsible manner. As part of this commitment, Government has announced this past Sunday that householders across England will no longer be charged to dispose of DIY construction waste at Household Waste Recycling Centres. The legislative changes will be brought into force later this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help prevent global warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2027.

In March 2023, government published the Net Zero Growth Plan which sets out how the UK will contribute towards global efforts to keep within 1.5 degrees of warming. Our transition to a green and sustainable future will provide new opportunities to grow and level up the UK economy and support hundreds of thousands of green, high skilled jobs, whilst ensuring the environment is in a better state for the next generation. The UK cannot achieve our climate and nature objectives alone and that is why we have also published The Strategic Framework 2030 for international climate and nature action, as well as our International Climate Finance Strategy, which set out the actions the UK will take to support climate and nature action across the world.

I have regular contact with my Cabinet colleagues to discuss climate change, including sitting on The Domestic and Economic Affairs (Energy, Climate and Net Zero) Cabinet Committee. This and supporting governance structures ensure that there is ongoing focus on implementation of our domestic and international net zero ambitions.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to support farmers with increases in living costs.

Farmers are eligible to the same support as any other member of the public. The Government recognises the challenges facing households due to elevated costs of living, so has taken action so has taken action at Spring Budget 2023 to go further to protect struggling families.

The Government extended energy support by keeping the Energy Price Guarantee at £2,500 for three months from April, saving households an additional £160, bringing total Government support for energy bills to £1,500 for a typical household since October 2022.

Alongside this, further steps are being taken by the Government to support households with the rising cost of living by ending the premium paid by over 4 million households using prepayment meters across the UK, introducing 30 hours of free childcare per week for working parents with children aged 9 months up to 3 years in England alongside a substantial uplift to the hourly rate paid to providers and market reforms, cancelling the planned increase in fuel duty and keeping rates at current levels for the next 12 months, and increasing Draught Relief.

This is in addition to the benefits uprating and support for vulnerable households announced at the Autumn Statement, which included new Cost of Living Payments in 2023-24, helping more than 8 million UK households on eligible means tested benefits, 8 million pensioner households and 6 million people across the UK on eligible disability benefits. The Government also announced at the Autumn Statement additional support to help with the cost ofrtgar household essentials, through the Household Support Fund in England.

Taken together, support to households to help with higher bills is worth £94 billion, or £3,300 per household on average, across 2022-23 and 2023-24 – one of the largest in Europe. The Government’s successful economic strategy will provide further help. The Bank of England forecast that inflation will fall to 5.1% by the end of 2023, before falling close to target by the end of 2024.

Hard-working people are the backbone of our economy. That is why last year the Government increased the national insurance starting threshold by £2,690, taking around 2.2 million working people out of paying national insurance. It is now possible to earn over £12,500 a year without paying any tax or national insurance.  While the Government has prioritised Cost of Living support for those most in need ensuring we act in a fiscally responsible way, significant universal support has been made available, for example through the Energy Price Guarantee.

As we move away from the EU’s bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy towards a new system of rural payments, the Government recognises that the Agricultural Transition will create challenges for some farming businesses. To support these changes, and to give farmers the best chance of benefiting from our reforms, we are providing support to build resilience during the early years of the transition.

The Future Farming Resilience Fund is designed to provide free business support to up to 32,000 farmers and land managers in England during the early years of the agricultural transition (until 2025). Initial feedback from participants indicates that the support on offer has helped them identify alternative options to increase income and/or reduce costs and diversify activities and income streams and consider options for succession planning.

One of the key required outcomes for Resilience Fund is that farmers’ mental health and wellbeing are supported. Some delivery providers are offering this support from in-house experts and others are signposting support available from external expert services. We have worked with the Yellow Wellies charity, to provide advice and information on how to identify potential mental health issues and provide tools for addressing them.

In addition, the Prime Minister set out a new package of support for farmers to help strengthen the long-term resilience and sustainability of the sector and provide greater stability for farmers following a difficult period caused by global challenges. Many farmers have also already applied for £168 million of grant funding available this year to support investments in productivity, animal health and welfare and the environment.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to help ensure that sewage systems are upgraded.

We recognise the importance of having a robust drainage system for now and the future.

All English water companies have published Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans which outline improvements to drainage and wastewater systems over the next 25-30 years. These plans follow the priorities and expectations of the government, which are set out in published Guiding Principles.

The next publication of Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans, in 2028, will be statutory and Government will have powers to direct companies to consider additional matters.

In August 2022 the Government launched an ambitious plan to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows. Delivering this plan will require the largest infrastructure programme ever delivered by water companies - £56 billion capital investment over 25 years.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of banning electronic collars for (a) sheep and (b) goats.

No such assessment has been made.

Defra did commission the independent Animal Welfare Committee to examine the welfare implications of using virtual fencing systems on livestock, where livestock are fitted with electronic collars as part of a system for containing, monitoring and moving livestock. The Committee’s report was published in October 2022: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awc-opinion-on-the-welfare-implications-of-using-virtual-fencing-for-livestock/opinion-on-the-welfare-implications-of-using-virtual-fencing-systems-to-contain-move-and-monitor-livestock#introduction. We are keeping the issue under review.

All livestock are protected by comprehensive and robust animal health and welfare legislation: the Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it an offence either to cause any captive animal unnecessary suffering or to fail to provide for the welfare needs of the animal; and The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 set down detailed requirements on how farmed livestock should be kept.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps her Department has taken to support beef farmers in (a) the North East and (b) North Yorkshire.

The Government has acted to support the agricultural sector, including beef farmers in the North-East and North Yorkshire, in a number of ways. During 2022 we took several actions to support farmers respond to the increase in input costs. These included:

  • Changes to guidance on farmers using manures and steps aimed at bringing about more sustainable fertiliser technologies through the Sustainable Farming Incentive.
  • Increased grants for farmers and growers and boosting research and development through the Farming Innovation Programme.
  • The Basic Payment Scheme payment being made in two instalments to give farmers greater financial fluidity for the remainder of the agricultural transition period.

Additionally in January 2023, I announced more money for farmers and landowners through both the Countryside Stewardship and the Sustainable Farming Incentive schemes, which will provide more support to the industry and drive uptake at a time of rising costs for farmers as a result of global challenges. I also confirmed an expanded range of actions under the schemes, which farmers could be paid for, would be published soon.

We are working closely with the industry to identify where further mitigations are available to tackle the challenges they face. We continue to keep the market situation under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments. We have also increased our engagement with industry to supplement our analysis with real time intelligence.

Support also continues to be available through the Farming Investment Fund. Launched in November 2021, it is helping farmers invest in the equipment, technology and infrastructure they need to drive their businesses forward. As of March 2023, £31.5 million worth of funding has been paid out to over 3,000 farmers.


Finally, the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway is central to the Government’s manifesto commitment to protect and enhance farm animal health and welfare, and to maintain and build on our existing world-leading standards. This includes a programme of financial support for farmers in the pig, cattle, sheep, and poultry sectors to improve animal health and welfare. The Pathway offers livestock farmers an exciting opportunity to focus on the improvements they would like to make on their own farm.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) tackle irresponsible dog ownership and (b) prevent dog attacks.

In December 2021, Defra published research in collaboration with Middlesex University investigating measures to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible dog ownership across all breeds of dog. In response to this research, we have established a Responsible Dog Ownership working group involving police, local authorities, and animal welfare organisations. Conclusions and policy reform recommendations are expected later this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help support local authorities to tackle (a) fly tipping and (b) littering on high streets.

The Government has set out its plans to support high streets in its 2021 Build Back Better High Streets Strategy, which includes a chapter on creating safer and cleaner spaces.

Since publication, we have provided funding of over £450,000 to help several councils purchase equipment that will help them tackle fly-tipping at known hot-spots, such as CCTV. A second round of grants will see a further £800,000 awarded later this year.

We have also announced our plans for a Deposit Return Scheme, which we estimate will result in 85% fewer drinks containers being discarded as litter.

Through Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging, we have committed to requiring producers of packaging that often ends up in street bins to pay for the cost of managing this waste, shifting the burden away from councils.

We will bring forward further measures in due course to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to help support people with the cost of water bills.

I am very mindful that consumers are concerned about their bills. Government expects all water companies to make sure customers are aware of the schemes that are available if they need support to pay their bills. These include bill discount schemes, payment holidays, adjusting payment plans and getting support for customers on managing their personal finances.

I encourage customers to access the Consumer Council for Water’s Advice Hub, which has information and useful tools to help customers reduce their bills or access financial support.

To support people with the cost of living, Government have put in place a substantial package of support. Further information can be found here: Cost of living support - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) relevant stakeholders to help reduce the cost of food.

The Government monitors food prices using the ONS’s inflation figures (Consumer Prices Index including Housing Costs).

Defra is taking action to maintain an efficient food supply chain by mitigating against any potential burdens or friction which could otherwise drive-up consumer food prices. For example, we have introduced labelling flexibility to reduce additional cost burdens resulting from the availability of sunflower oil. Food prices themselves are set by business and it is not for the UK Government to set retail food prices nor to comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by companies.

The broader affordability of food, and individuals’ access to food, is a key element of the Government’s approach to tackling poverty as we manage the impact of cost-of-living pressures. Defra is holding regular discussions with industry to explore ways in which industry can support low-income households by ensuring affordable food remains available, for example by maintaining value ranges, price matching, price freezing measures and use of loyalty card offers.

The Government recently announced a new £15 billion support package to help families with the cost of living, bringing total support for households this year to £37 billion.

Agricultural commodities are closely linked to global gas prices. Farmers are facing increased input costs for fertiliser, livestock feed, fuel and energy. We have taken steps to assist farmers with the availability of fertiliser ahead of the coming growing season and we have also brought forward 50% of the BPS payment to July to help ease cash flow pressures.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the UK’s food security.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources, strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. This provides us with the resilience we need in the face of risks such as adverse weather, animal or crop disease, or transport and border disruption.

Our production to supply ratio remains high in comparison with historical levels. We produce 60% of all the food we need, and 74% of food which we can grow or rear in the UK for all or part of the year, and these figures have changed little over the last 20 years. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply

Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report (UKFSR) was published in December 2021. This report will serve as an evidence base for future policy work. The UKFSR covers food security in the widest sense from global food availability and sustainability to domestic supply chain resilience, household food security and food safety.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the fishing industry.

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

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help farmers invest in their businesses.

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

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the pig farming industry.

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

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to level up rural areas.

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

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help support farmers with rising fertiliser costs.

Agricultural commodity prices are closely linked to global gas prices. Farmers are facing increased input costs, including for fertiliser, feed and fuel. We are monitoring the situation closely, including through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group. Defra is in regular contact with key industry figures including the National Farmers Union, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and key sector representatives.

The Government announced on 30 March a number of actions to help mitigate the current issues and support farmers and growers ahead of the next growing season. These included changes to statutory guidance to the Environment Agency on how they should implement the "Farming Rules for Water" to provide clarity to farmers on how they can use slurry and other manures during autumn and winter to meet agronomic needs; increased grants funding to help farmers and growers boost research and development; and a delay to changes to the use of urea by at least a year. When the urea restrictions are introduced, they will be related to the use of ammonia inhibitors rather than a complete ban.

We recognise that fertiliser pressures on the livestock and arable sectors may differ, particularly over the farming seasons. On 31 March, Minister Prentis hosted the first meeting of the Fertiliser Taskforce with key industry bodies to discuss potential mitigations to the challenges which global supply pressures are causing. Ministers will continue to meet with key industry bodies for further Fertiliser Taskforce sessions in the coming months, to help identify and mitigate potential risks.

Support in the form of guidance from fertiliser suppliers and agricultural organisations such as National Farmers Union can be found from various public sources. Defra is aware that AHDB have published many helpful public pieces of guidance, advice and webinar recordings on mitigating high fertiliser prices. They can be found on the AHDB website.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the likelihood of the implementation of the dog abduction offence leading to an increase in the theft of other kept animals.

In response to concerns about a perceived increase in pet theft during covid restrictions, the Government set up the Pet Theft Taskforce to investigate. The Taskforce's recommendations included the creation of a new 'pet abduction' offence to recognise that pets are not mere items of property and to recognise the potential impact on their welfare when they are taken by strangers. The Taskforce gathered, researched and commissioned work to build a clear evidence base of the issue and worked with police, law enforcement, and experts to formulate recommendations. Any unintended consequences of introducing a new offence focused on the taking of pets were considered during the Taskforce. The Taskforce also recommended improving the evidence base on pet theft by ensuring cases are recorded in a consistent manner and readily identifiable within police force information management systems, and Defra is currently working with Home Office and Ministry of Justice to implement this recommendation.

The offence as currently drafted and debated at the Commons Committee stage of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill focuses on dogs, with enabling powers. The inclusion of the enabling powers means that the Secretary of State will be able to extend the offence to other species of companion animal in the future by making regulations. Any regulations would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. This means that both the House of Commons and the House of Lords would need to approve such an extension.

The Government listened closely to views expressed on this issue during Commons Committee stage, in particular whether cats should also be included with dogs at the outset, and the Government is currently considering this issue carefully.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to extend the dog abduction offence to all kept animals.

In response to concerns about a perceived increase in pet theft during covid restrictions, the Government set up the Pet Theft Taskforce to investigate. The Taskforce's recommendations included the creation of a new 'pet abduction' offence to recognise that pets are not mere items of property and to recognise the potential impact on their welfare when they are taken by strangers. The Taskforce gathered, researched and commissioned work to build a clear evidence base of the issue and worked with police, law enforcement, and experts to formulate recommendations. Any unintended consequences of introducing a new offence focused on the taking of pets were considered during the Taskforce. The Taskforce also recommended improving the evidence base on pet theft by ensuring cases are recorded in a consistent manner and readily identifiable within police force information management systems, and Defra is currently working with Home Office and Ministry of Justice to implement this recommendation.

The offence as currently drafted and debated at the Commons Committee stage of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill focuses on dogs, with enabling powers. The inclusion of the enabling powers means that the Secretary of State will be able to extend the offence to other species of companion animal in the future by making regulations. Any regulations would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. This means that both the House of Commons and the House of Lords would need to approve such an extension.

The Government listened closely to views expressed on this issue during Commons Committee stage, in particular whether cats should also be included with dogs at the outset, and the Government is currently considering this issue carefully.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to (a) support British farmers to access ammonium nitrate fertiliser and (b) ensure a steady supply of that fertiliser at a reasonable price following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and in the context of the export by Russia of that fertiliser.

Due to the increase in cost of natural gas across the globe, a key feedstock for the production of nitrogen-based fertiliser products including ammonium nitrate, the cost of production of these fertiliser types has increased significantly. It has also affected Europe and the global market with some fertiliser companies halting or reducing production due to high input costs, leading to some countries such as China reducing the export of some fertiliser products to protect their domestic demands.

The UK sources fertiliser from a wide range of countries and also produces fertiliser domestically, such as ammonium nitrate. Russia and Belarus account for only c. 10% of our direct fertiliser imports by value.

The situation and impacts on farmers in particular, and industry more widely, of current high fertiliser prices, are being monitored closely. We will continue to engage with industry and farmers to understand any potential pressures and options to mitigate any risks. We understand from industry intelligence that the vast majority of fertiliser needs for this planting season have been met.

There are nutrient management techniques and technologies that can be used alongside fertiliser products that help the efficacy of fertilisers and help maintain high yield and good quality produce. Support in the form of guidance from fertiliser suppliers and agricultural organisations such as National Farmers Union (NFU) can be found from various public sources. Defra is aware that the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board have published many helpful public pieces of guidance, advice and webinar recordings on mitigating high fertiliser prices.

Defra is in regular contact with key industry figures including the NFU, fertiliser producers and importers, and the key sector representative body for fertilisers, the Agricultural Industries Confederation. We are continuing to monitor the security and stability of fertiliser and other supply chains, and working closely with colleagues across Government and devolved administrations as well as industry figures to share knowledge and discuss all options available to tackle these issues. This will help inform how Defra and other industry bodies can best support farmers.

Defra is committed to promoting the use of less environmentally damaging fertilisers and better nutrient use efficiency. The current shortage of inorganic fertilisers provides an opportunity for farmers to continue exploring increasing their use of environmentally sustainable products and more efficient nutrient management methods.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has had recent discussions with her Indian counterpart on increasing (a) trade with and (b) foreign direct investment from India.

The United Kingdom’s trading relationship with India was worth £24.3 billion in 2021 and we are already India’s top investment destination in Europe. A trade deal with India could take our trading relationship even further.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade recently met her counterpart, Indian Minister Goyal in London, to discuss the opportunities between both our countries.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of amending the UK’s trading relationship with Switzerland.

HM Government recognises the merits of strengthening our trading relationship with Switzerland and has kickstarted work on an enhanced trade deal.

While many British businesses currently benefit from tariff-free trade on goods, we want to do more for our world-leading services sector in particular, where we benefit from over £12 billion in exports to Switzerland annually. A new deal will seek to expand our relationship into industries of the future, including digital trade.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to increase trade with South American nations.

This year, we reached the final phase of the process to join the £9 trillion GDP Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade bloc, which includes Chile and Peru.

Beyond trade agreements, we are working with regional partners to grow trade and open markets. British pork producers are now able to export to Chile, a market worth over £280 million in 2021 and, through initiatives like our annual roadshow, we are helping British businesses to seize opportunities in the region, like GlaxoSmithKline who are set to open a new vaccine distribution centre in Uruguay.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to reduce barriers to global trade for British businesses.

In the financial year 2020-21, we resolved over 200 trade barriers across 74 countries. Removing these barriers supports British businesses to trade globally, such as opening access to Indonesia’s cosmetics market that imports £374 million a year, and access to the US for British lamb that is estimated to be worth £37 million in first five years of trade.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of UK Export Finance in supporting UK businesses.

As advised in my response to the Honourable Member’s previous question (UIN 148424), during financial year 2020/21 UK Export Finance (UKEF) provided support of £12.3 billion to UK exporters selling to 77 countries around the world, supporting 549 companies directly (of whom 79% were small and medium sized enterprises), and thousands more indirectly in supply chains. During that year, UKEF supported around 107,000 UK jobs. UKEF provided £29 billion of support to UK exporters during the period 2016/17 to 2020/21.

UKEF was recently named the world’s best ECA at the International TFG Trade Awards 2022.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to increase foreign direct investment in the UK’s green industries.

In a speech on 18 May, the Secretary of State for International Trade set out the UK's ambitions to become a global leader on Green Trade, including through driving greater investment into green industries that will boost economic growth, strengthen supply chains and increase exports, whilst cutting emissions.

The Department has already taken major steps to build the UK’s green industrial base, including those detailed in my answer to the hon. Member for Stockton South on 19 April 2022 (UIN 148430), and my answer to the hon. Member for Hendon on 30 November 2021 (UIN 79334).

To build on successes to date, this Autumn the Department for International Trade, along with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, will host a Green Trade and Investment Expo in the North East of England, to showcase green investment opportunities, as well as promoting the UK’s climate solutions to overseas buyers.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to lift US tariffs on imports from the UK.

In the last 12 months the UK and US have worked together to deliver some major trade breakthroughs, such as resolving the long-running Large Civil Aircraft dispute and agreeing to terminate the Section 301 investigation and suspend tariffs relating to the Digital Services Tax. We have also secured the lifting of the long-standing US ban on the import of British beef and lamb.

Most recently, we successfully removed Section 232 tariffs on imports of UK steel and aluminium products. This will bring welcome relief to the UK steel and aluminium industries which support the jobs of around 80,000 people across the UK supply chain. In response the UK has suspended the rebalancing measures on imports of US products.

During the Trade Dialogues in Baltimore and Aberdeen, Ambassador Tai and Secretary of State Trevelyan agreed to work together to develop a roadmap for further UK US Trade, including further collaboration on reducing market barriers.

We have also recently signed our first state-level trade and economic development Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Indiana, which will create a framework to discuss removal of barriers to trade and investment. We hope to sign more MOUs this year.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her US counterpart on reducing market barriers with the United States.

In the last 12 months the UK and US have worked together to deliver some major trade breakthroughs, such as resolving the long-running Large Civil Aircraft dispute and agreeing to terminate the Section 301 investigation and suspend tariffs relating to the Digital Services Tax. We have also secured the lifting of the long-standing US ban on the import of British beef and lamb.

Most recently, we successfully removed Section 232 tariffs on imports of UK steel and aluminium products. This will bring welcome relief to the UK steel and aluminium industries which support the jobs of around 80,000 people across the UK supply chain. In response the UK has suspended the rebalancing measures on imports of US products.

During the Trade Dialogues in Baltimore and Aberdeen, Ambassador Tai and Secretary of State Trevelyan agreed to work together to develop a roadmap for further UK US Trade, including further collaboration on reducing market barriers.

We have also recently signed our first state-level trade and economic development Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Indiana, which will create a framework to discuss removal of barriers to trade and investment. We hope to sign more MOUs this year.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has made a recent assessment of the potential impact of the UK’s trade agreements with (a) Australia and (b) New Zealand on the economy.

The Impact Assessment of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the UK and Australia and the Impact Assessment of the FTA between the UK and New Zealand are available on gov.uk.

The Australia and New Zealand FTAs are expected to increase bilateral trade by 53% and 59% respectively in the long run and boost the UK economy by £2.3 billion and £800 million when compared to projected levels of GDP in 2035. Take-home pay for UK workers could increase by £900 million and £200 million respectively, when compared to 2019 levels.

We have committed to publishing a biennial FTA monitoring report, and a comprehensive ex-post evaluation report for both these agreements within 5 years of their entry into force.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to lift US tariffs on imports from the UK.

It is a government priority to make UK-US trade easier, quicker and more cost effective. The UK and US have worked together to remove harmful trade irritants, such as resolving the long-running Large Civil Aircraft dispute and agreeing to terminate the Section 301 investigation and suspend tariffs relating to the Digital Services Tax.

On 22 March, we secured an expansive removal of Section 232 tariffs on US imports of UK steel and aluminium. From 1 June, the US will remove the 25% and 10% additional duties on UK steel and aluminium respectively, up to a specified volume. This will bring welcome relief to the UK steel and aluminium industries which support the jobs of around 80,000 people across the UK supply chain.

This clears the way for us to focus on strengthening the UK-US trading relationship, for example through our recently launched UK US Joint Dialogues on the Future of Atlantic Trade.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of UK sanctions on Russia in reducing international trade with that country.

In coordination with our allies, we are introducing the largest and most severe economic sanctions that Russia has ever faced. The expected impact of trade sanctions are available alongside the relevant legislation: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2022/195/impacts. We do not speculate on future sanctions.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to increase exports of digital services.

The UK is a services and digital superpower, the world’s second largest services exporter, and the fifth biggest exporter of digital tech services. The Department for International Trade (DIT) announced a refreshed cross-government Export Strategy: Made in UK, Sold to the World last autumn, which is business-focused and centred around a 12-Point Plan. By improving the capability and skills of exporters and internationalising key trading sectors like digital services in fast growing markets, this strategy will change the UK’s exporting culture and our ability to ‘sell to the world.’

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress her Department has made on securing UK membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

On 18 February 2022 the UK reached a major milestone in our accession process. Japan, on behalf of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) members, announced that the UK can move onto the final phase of the accession process, market access negotiations. This means the UK has demonstrated to members of the partnership that it is a high-standards, fair trading economy.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of UK Export Finance in supporting UK businesses.

UK Export Finance’s (UKEF’s) mission is to ensure that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance, while operating at no net cost to the taxpayer. During financial year 2020/21, UKEF provided support of £12.3 billion to UK exporters selling to 77 countries around the world, supporting 549 companies directly (of whom 79% were small and medium sized enterprises), and thousands more indirectly in supply chains. UKEF has provided £29 billion of support to UK exporters in the last five financial years. The corresponding figures for 2021/22 will be published in due course in the next Annual Report and Accounts.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to support UK manufacturing exports.

Last Autumn, the Department for International Trade (DIT) published the refreshed Export Strategy with an action-led 12-point plan to help exporters, including those in the manufacturing sector, to thrive in the global market and raise the UK’s exporting culture in the long-term. This includes initiatives such as the Export Support Service (ESS), the UK Export Academy, UK Export Finance, International Trade Advisers, and global networks. We are reaching out to businesses across all UK regions and nations to amplify exports opportunities for our manufacturers.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to reduce barriers to global trade for British businesses.

We have secured trade deals with 70 countries around the world, plus the EU, covering trade worth £772 billion in 2020.

In addition, we resolved over 200 trade barriers across 74 countries during the 2020/21 financial year - an increase of 20% on the previous year, securing access for wheat to be exported to Mexico, a market which imports approximately £900 million of wheat a year, and opening the Chilean market for British pork exports, estimated to be worth £20 million in the first five years of trade.

28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with her US counterpart on reducing market barriers at state level in the US for the purpose of increasing trade with that country.

I have met with Governors and stakeholders from states across the US, including during a visit between 5 and 15 December 2021 and a virtual US visit at the beginning of February. Through these engagements I have been met with great interest in doing more with the UK.

We are exploring mechanisms for deepening our trade and cooperation with states including through Memoranda of Understanding. We are also engaging with professional bodies and regulators across the US to explore where we can reduce barriers, including through recognition of professional qualifications.

This will help deliver value to business and supporting our areas of shared interest, such as through levelling up and strengthening our existing ties.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help UK exports reach Ukraine.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has expanded the Export Support Service to act as a single point of enquiry for businesses and traders with questions relating to the trading environment in Ukraine.

Any business that has question about trading with Ukraine can submit an online enquiry or call our helpline.

DIT will continue to support business and traders during this period. Having a dedicated export support team ready to help at the end of the phone will ensure business can access the information they need at any time.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department has taken to increase foreign direct investment in the UK’s green industries.

The Department, alongside the Office for Investment, drives green investment through several levers. Examples include the Clean Growth Campaign, which supports strategic investments into green supply chain capability and capacity, as well as the Investment Atlas, which promotes strategically important investment opportunities online, and our High Potential Opportunities programme, which highlights geography specific opportunities. We work to promote investment into green technologies across the UK, including opportunities in the Tees Valley into heat networks, carbon fibre, and biomanufacturing sectors.

In the period 18 November 2020 to 24 September 2021 the Department supported 46 investments linked to the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution. These projects had a combined capital expenditure of £2.6 billion and created 2,296 new jobs.

For further detail I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 30 November to Question UIN 79334.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
12th May 2020
What steps she is taking to strengthen the UK's trade in medical research and development with Israel during the covid-19 pandemic.

UK and Israeli experts have been cooperating on the COVID-19 response in such areas as testing, clinical response, epidemiological management and the development of vaccines and treatments. We will continue to assist in identifying and supporting further areas of cooperation between the private and public sectors of both countries.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will provide funding to reopen the Leamside rail line.

The Leamside Line is a Transport North East led project. The Government is giving locally elector mayors the means to spend on the priorities they determine are right for the parts of the country they represent, rather than taking all decisions in Westminster. We have made a promise to provide around £1.8 billion funding to the North East and they can then choose which schemes they allocate the funding to.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve connectivity between the east and west of England.

We are changing our approach to transport across the country with the announcement of Network North.

We are investing in schemes such as Northern Powerhouse Rail which will connect some of the North’s biggest towns and cities with faster, more frequent electrified services; East West Rail, a new railway line that will provide east-west connectivity across the Oxford-Cambridge region; improvements to the A50/A500 corridor; and the A66 project between M6 junction 40 at Penrith and A1(M) at Scotch Corner which will widen to dual-carriageway standard the remaining six single-carriageway sections and upgrade major junctions.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to (a) tackle reductions in bus services and (b) help ensure that older people can access transport.

The Department for Transport recently announced a long-term approach to protect and improve bus services backed by an additional £300 million until April 2025. £140 million of this funding will go to bus operators to support services, and the remaining £160 million will go to Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) to protect and enhance bus services, and support local fares initiatives. This funding builds on the over £2 billion the Government provided to bus operators and LTAs from March 2020 to June 2023 to keep bus services running and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

This funding is in addition to the over £1 billion the Government is providing to 34 counties, city regions and unitary authorities to help local areas level up their bus services and deliver their Bus Service Improvement Plans. We also make available up to £259 million every year for bus operators and LTAs to keep fares down and run services that might otherwise be unprofitable and could lead to cancellation through the Bus Service Operators Grant.

The Government supports council spending of around £1 billion a year on concessionary travel so that eligible older and disabled people can travel on off-peak buses up and down the country for free. Statistics for 2021/22 showed that concessionary bus journeys are down by more than a third since before the pandemic. That is why we recently launched the ‘Take the Bus’ communications drive to encourage older and disabled people who are eligible for a concessionary pass to use the free bus travel available to them to get out and about, meet friends and family, and rediscover local attractions.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle strike action which delays commuters.

Since coming into office, the Secretary of State and I have positively changed the tone and facilitated discussions to bring an end to the industrial action.

Negotiations are between industry and the trade unions. RMT and ASLEF decided not to allow their members to have a say on the fair and reasonable offers that were proposed by industry. Instead, they rejected these outright and have pressed on with industrial action that impacts their members and the public. This industrial action will not avoid the need for essential workforce reform.

Together with industry we are keen to press ahead with critical reforms so that we achieve a financially and operationally sustainable rail network that provides a service that passengers deserve.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve road safety for all road users; and what plans he has to help reduce the number of road (a) accidents and (b) fatalities.

Britain’s roads are some of the safest in the world, but we are always looking at ways to help keep drivers and all road users safe. In June 2018 the Department announced £100 million of funding for the Top 50 most dangerous ‘A’ roads in England, to date £147.5 million has been allocated throughout a series of rounds over the last 6 years.

This project works closely with the Local Authorities and the Road Safety Foundation, providing tailored safety interventions specific to each road’s risk, encouraging safe system principles and improving infrastructure for more active travel. This scheme is expected to save 1500 lives over the next 20 years and is already improving safety for all road users.

The Highway Code was updated on 29 January 2022, the changes will lead to improvements in road safety as they encourage more mutual respect and consideration for all road users.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that responses to the consultation on ticket office closures are given appropriate weight in line with the Equality Act 2010 and the Transport Act 2000.

Following the end of the consultations, the independent passenger bodies now play a vital role in assessing and shaping proposals. Train operators have entered into discussions with the passenger bodies to take account of feedback from the consultation responses. We expect train operators to work collaboratively with the passenger bodies in the coming weeks, to listen to the concerns raised and to refine their proposals accordingly.

The Department has no role in the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (TSA) process unless objections cannot be resolved between the train operator and passenger body and are referred to the Secretary of State for a decision. If called upon to make a determination on a specific ticket office proposal, the Secretary of State will follow the TSA process alongside the relevant guidance and will take into account the equality implications of the proposal in line with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) under the Equality Act 2010.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to encourage HGV drivers over the age of 60 to continue working; and whether his Department is taking steps to (a) reduce the cost for the Driver Qualification Card and (b) remove other barriers for people in this age range.

The five-yearly renewal of lorry and bus licences from age 45, and annual renewal from age 65 require an HGV driver to make a declaration regarding their health and to submit a medical report. This process is designed to be balanced and proportionate and reflect the greater road safety risks posed by the driving of larger vehicles. Age on its own is not a reliable indicator of health, however, it is widely accepted that the likelihood of developing conditions which may affect fitness to drive increases with age.

The Department for Transport has consulted on possible reforms to the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence, which was enabled by the UK leaving the European Union. Officials are reviewing responses to proposals, which include reforms to make renewal of cards and re-entry to the sector more proportionate for experienced drivers.

Welfare is key to driver retention and improving lorry parking facilities continues to be a central component of this work. Lorry drivers will soon benefit from improved roadside facilities and safer rest areas thanks to up to £100 million investment from industry and Government via the ‘HGV parking and welfare grant scheme’ and National highways funding to improve roadside facilities. This funding will support operators to improve security, showers and eating facilities.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure local commuter railway lines in the North East are served by (a) frequent and (b) reliable services.

Rail North Partnership (RNP), through which the Department and Transport for the North jointly manage Northern Train’s and TransPennine Express contracts, work closely with operators and stakeholders to monitor services and seek improvements to meet the needs of passengers and communities in the North East.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2023
A19
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve the (a) safety and (b) accessibility of the A19.

The A19 north of Thirsk is part of the strategic road network managed by National Highways. Safety is National Highways number one priority, and it is committed to continue improving road safety for all its customers, work force and supply chain across the network, including the A19.

National Highways has delivered a number of schemes recently on the A19, including carriageway widening between Norton and Wynyard, as well as new junctions at Testos and Downhill Lane, both of which are aimed at improving road safety, reducing congestion and enhancing accessibility for non-motorised users. It is also delivering a rolling programme of safety improvements at central reserve gaps along the A19.

The A19 is considered in National Highways London to Scotland East (North) route strategy. This will consider further work packages of interventions that address safety concerns on the route. It will also identify wider active travel, environmental, and resilience measures where possible. With regards to the accessibility of the A19, the route strategies process has used a broad range of metrics and stakeholder input to consider this, including: severance caused by the physical infrastructure, particularly the impact this has on pedestrians, cyclists and local communities; the physical capacity of the A19 and associated delay experienced by drivers; and the accessibility that the A19 affords to the work places and communities of the urban areas that it serves.

The initial findings of the London to Scotland East (North) route strategy will be published in the coming months. National Highways will continue to review the performance of the A19 and engage with its stakeholders ahead of the publication of final route strategies alongside its Strategic Business Plan and Delivery Plan following the publication of RIS3.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve electric vehicle infrastructure in the UK.

Government has committed over £1.6 billion to support charging infrastructure at homes, on the street, in workplaces, destinations and along major roads. We have published a landmark electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure strategy setting out our plans to accelerate the rollout of a world-class charging network across the UK. Our strategy sets out our vision and commitments to make EV charging cheaper and more convenient than refuelling at a petrol station.

In addition, we have announced new regulations for public chargepoints to improve confidence in the charging network and make the user experience truly seamless. Drivers will benefit from simplified payment methods as well as the ability to compare prices and access real-time information about chargepoints. We will ensure there is a 99% reliability rate at rapid chargepoints. We will be introducing payment roaming to support the electrification of fleets. Chargepoints will need to have open data so that they are easy to find using maps and apps. We will lay legislation later this year.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs to sanction and detain Russian aircraft and sea vessels.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented level of sanctions on Russia to maximise economic pressure on Putin's regime. This includes far reaching transport sanctions that prohibit any aircraft or ship owned, controlled, registered, flagged, chartered or operated by a designated person or those connected with Russia from arriving, overflying or landing in the UK. To date, at least 28 vessels have knowingly been disrupted by these sanctions, and we have detained 3 aircraft and 1 superyacht.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to support the launch of rockets and satellites from the UK.

The Government has bold spaceflight ambitions that we outlined in the National Space Strategy including achieving Europe’s first small satellite launch from the UK this year.

The Department for Transport has put in place the Space Industry Act 2018, the Space Industry Regulations 2021 and is funding the costs of the Civil Aviation Authority, which has been appointed as the spaceflight regulator. Our modern legal framework is internationally competitive - ensuring that new spaceflight activities regulated under these provisions are safe and provide the right opportunities for industry to support innovation and growth in the UK Space Sector.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to support UK supply chains.

Supporting supply chains is a top priority for the Government. In response to recent supply chain pressures, we have introduced 33 measures to address HGV driver shortages which are having a positive effect. At a longer-term strategic level, the Future of Freight Plan was published on 15 June which sets out how the Government will adopt a multi-modal approach to freight to support efficient, resilient and sustainable supply chains. Government is also supporting the industry-led Generation Logistics campaign to attract new talent to the logistics sector.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support the decarbonisation of the shipping sector.

My department is supporting the decarbonisation of the UK Maritime sector through a two-pronged approach: R&D funding and investment; and a comprehensive policy and regulatory programme.

In March 2022, the DfT announced £206m for the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions, (or UK SHORE) as part of the refresh of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, marking the biggest UK government investment ever in the commercial maritime sector. In May 2022, we launched the first of a series of packages under UK SHORE, including a second Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

On the policy and regulatory side, we are delivering on commitments made in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan; will publish a summary of responses to a call for evidence on increasing the uptake of shore power shortly which will then be followed by a full consultation; and will be launching consultations on phasing out the sale of new non-zero emission vessels and the course to zero, this year.

We will also continue to build momentum towards the publication of a refreshed Clean Maritime Plan in 2023.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy of the Union Connectivity Review’s recommendations on strengthening transport links.

The Union Connectivity Review (UCR) was published on 26 November 2021. The UK Government is grateful to Sir Peter Hendy for his work and is considering his recommendations carefully, to identify the solutions that work best for the people of the UK. We expect to publish the UK government’s response in due course.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the timescale for self-driving vehicles to be permitted on UK roads.

We expect self-driving vehicles to be permitted on the roads in two ways:

(1) commercially available self-driving systems, that can drive in certain circumstances and which require a responsible human in the vehicle (such as those compliant with the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) Regulation), will be deployed when a manufacturer brings a vehicle to market and it is approved; and

(2) self-driving passenger transport and logistics vehicles are also being trialled on the roads currently, and we anticipate progress towards the first deployment over the next 5 years.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of locating the national headquarters of Great British Railways in Stockton.

The Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) is currently overseeing a process to select a national headquarters for Great British Railways. 42 expressions of interest were received by the deadline of Wednesday 16 March 2022, from towns and cities across Great Britain, including one from Stockton-on-Tees. GBRTT are now assessing these using the published criteria.

A shortlist of the most suitable locations to go to an online consultative public vote will be announced in May. Ministers will then make a final decision on the headquarters location.

7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of involving abled and disabled non drivers involved in the development of driverless cars and their regulation in the UK.

The Department for Transport has ongoing research, analysis and public engagement programmes which seek to understand the opportunities associated with new transport technologies. Examples informing our view on the potential benefits of self-driving vehicles (SDVs) include:

  • 88% of all reported road accidents involved human error as a contributory factor (Reported Road Casualties GB Annual Report 2020), ​SDVs have the potential to make our roads safer by reducing human driver error.
  • The Connected Places Catapult forecast that in 2035, 40% of new UK car sales could have self-driving capabilities, with a total market value of £41.7 billion. This could in turn create 38,000 new skilled jobs.
  • A Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders study found that 70% of people with disabilities feel their ability to travel how and when they want is restricted. The same survey found that 45% of people with disabilities would be likely to use a SDV today.

In addition, Government is funding world-leading projects to explore how SDVs can improve mobility for an ageing population (in Bristol) and visually impaired people (in Birmingham), including the world’s first 4D tactile display in an automated vehicle. Separately in 2019, Coventry’s Aurrigo partnered with Blind Veterans UK on the world’s first trial of self-driving pods with blind veterans (in Brighton).

The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission (‘the Commissions’) recently published their recommendations for a legal framework for SDVs, and consulted widely on how to ensure SDVs are made accessible to disabled people as the recommendations were developed. The Commissions’ final recommendations include an advisory panel to guide the issuing of permits for passenger services, which would include representatives for disabled (and older) people. We are considering the Commissions’ final recommendations and will make a formal response in due course.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the possibility of having (a) differently-abled and (b) disabled non-drivers involved in the development of driverless cars and their regulation in the UK.

The Department for Transport has ongoing research, analysis and public engagement programmes which seek to understand the opportunities associated with new transport technologies. Examples informing our view on the potential benefits of self-driving vehicles (SDVs) include:

  • 88% of all reported road accidents involved human error as a contributory factor (Reported Road Casualties GB Annual Report 2020), ​SDVs have the potential to make our roads safer by reducing human driver error.
  • The Connected Places Catapult forecast that in 2035, 40% of new UK car sales could have self-driving capabilities, with a total market value of £41.7 billion. This could in turn create 38,000 new skilled jobs.
  • A Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders study found that 70% of people with disabilities feel their ability to travel how and when they want is restricted. The same survey found that 45% of people with disabilities would be likely to use a SDV today.

In addition, Government is funding world-leading projects to explore how SDVs can improve mobility for an ageing population (in Bristol) and visually impaired people (in Birmingham), including the world’s first 4D tactile display in an automated vehicle. Separately in 2019, Coventry’s Aurrigo partnered with Blind Veterans UK on the world’s first trial of self-driving pods with blind veterans (in Brighton).

The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission (‘the Commissions’) recently published their recommendations for a legal framework for SDVs, and consulted widely on how to ensure SDVs are made accessible to disabled people as the recommendations were developed. The Commissions’ final recommendations include an advisory panel to guide the issuing of permits for passenger services, which would include representatives for disabled (and older) people. We are considering the Commissions’ final recommendations and will make a formal response in due course.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing self-driving vehicles in the UK.

The Department for Transport has ongoing research, analysis and public engagement programmes which seek to understand the opportunities associated with new transport technologies. Examples informing our view on the potential benefits of self-driving vehicles (SDVs) include:

  • 88% of all reported road accidents involved human error as a contributory factor (Reported Road Casualties GB Annual Report 2020), ​SDVs have the potential to make our roads safer by reducing human driver error.
  • The Connected Places Catapult forecast that in 2035, 40% of new UK car sales could have self-driving capabilities, with a total market value of £41.7 billion. This could in turn create 38,000 new skilled jobs.
  • A Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders study found that 70% of people with disabilities feel their ability to travel how and when they want is restricted. The same survey found that 45% of people with disabilities would be likely to use a SDV today.

In addition, Government is funding world-leading projects to explore how SDVs can improve mobility for an ageing population (in Bristol) and visually impaired people (in Birmingham), including the world’s first 4D tactile display in an automated vehicle. Separately in 2019, Coventry’s Aurrigo partnered with Blind Veterans UK on the world’s first trial of self-driving pods with blind veterans (in Brighton).

The Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission (‘the Commissions’) recently published their recommendations for a legal framework for SDVs, and consulted widely on how to ensure SDVs are made accessible to disabled people as the recommendations were developed. The Commissions’ final recommendations include an advisory panel to guide the issuing of permits for passenger services, which would include representatives for disabled (and older) people. We are considering the Commissions’ final recommendations and will make a formal response in due course.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing hydrogen-powered trains.

In our Transport Decarbonisation Plan, we have committed to delivering a net zero rail network by 2050, with sustained carbon reductions in rail along the way. To help deliver the government’s net zero commitment, we will electrify most of the network and deploy battery and hydrogen trains on some lines, where it makes economic and operational sense.

The government is supporting the development of battery and hydrogen technology in rail through innovation funding and research. The outcome of this research will inform any assessment of the relevant merits of hydrogen, battery and electrification on the railway. Since the start of 2019, the Department has provided just over £4m of funding through Innovate UK-run First of a Kind competitions for new traction technologies that will help decarbonise the railway. This includes £750,000 to facilitate trials of the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train, HydroFLEX, which was showcased at COP 26.

In addition, Great Western Railway has signed a deal that will see the UK’s first battery-only train enter scheduled passenger service. The trial is supported by £2.15m funding from the Department for Transport's Rail Network Enhancement pipeline (RNEP).

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the cost of electrifying all railway lines in (a) the North East and (b) England.

As set out in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, the UK Government is committed to achieving a net zero railway by 2050. Achieving that will require a mix of battery trains, hydrogen trains and track electrification, not just wholesale electrification of the currently unelectrified network.

Electrification costs across the country can vary significantly depending on factors that include complexity and topography. We will continue to ensure that new schemes deliver value for money for taxpayers.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support disabled passengers on public transport.

The Department is committed to ensuring disabled passengers have the same access to transport as everyone else. We are working to deliver accessibility improvements across all modes of transport, as set out in the 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy, 2021 National Disability Strategy and the 2021 Williams-Shapps Rail Review.

Recent initiatives include:

  • Launching the rail Passenger Assist App
  • Revising guidance documents on tactile paving and inclusive mobility
  • Providing funding for a range of initiatives such as Changing Places Toilets and improving accessibility at lifeline ports
  • Partnering with disability charity Scope to develop a Disabled Passenger Charter for buses, coaches, rail, taxis and private hire vehicles.

We also ran the #World of Difference element of the ‘Its Everyone’s Journey’ public awareness campaign to support disabled passengers using public transport, including those with non-visible conditions. We also continue to engage with key stakeholders through the Inclusive Transport Stakeholder Group, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee and Disability Ambassadors for Transport.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to restore previously closed rail lines.

In January 2020 the Government pledged £500 million for the Restoring Your Railway programme to deliver on our manifesto commitment to start reopening lines and stations to reconnect smaller communities, regenerate local economies and improve access to jobs, homes and education. We reopened the Dartmoor Line in November, the first line to be reinstated under the programme, and are supporting over 45 schemes at different stages of development with funding and advice.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to maintain signage for cyclists to ensure their safety.

The Department for Transport sets legislation, in this case the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016, prescribing signs for cyclists. The deployment and maintenance of signing for cyclists to ensure their safety is the responsibility of local highway authorities.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of changes to IR35 tax status on the shortage of HGV drivers.

The introduction of changes to the off-payroll working rules announced by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs have been delayed until April 2021 to help businesses and individuals deal with the economic impact of COVID-19.

We will maintain a dialogue with the road haulage sector on this issue to assess whether the introduction has an impact on the HGV driver shortage.

22nd Oct 2020
What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the introduction of E10 fuel.

The Department consulted on proposals to introduce E10 in 2021.

There is no assessment that identified any Covid-19 impact on that timeline.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that travellers who booked holidays through (a) LoveHolidays and (b) On The Beach prior to the departure of those companies from ABTA have their bookings protected.

All travel agents trading in the UK must have an ATOL License and provide an ATOL certificate for holidays booked, regardless of their country of origin and regardless of ABTA membership. Consumers retain the same legal rights to a refund or a credit note for travel that is no longer possible. Where the travel agents are not liable to offer these, and FCDO guidance has changed, consumers should rely on their travel insurance.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to ensure that travel firms operating out of the UK treat British holidaymakers equitably in the event that the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office advises holidaymakers against non-essential travel to a destination that those holidaymakers had make a booking to prior to that advice being released.

All travel agents trading in the UK must have an ATOL License and provide an ATOL certificate for holidays booked, regardless of their country of origin and regardless of ABTA membership. Consumers retain the same legal rights to a refund or a credit note for travel that is no longer possible. Where the travel agents are not liable to offer these, and FCDO guidance has changed, consumers should rely on their travel insurance.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the introduction of E10 on UK (a) carbon emissions and (b) air pollution.

The document “Introducing E10 Petrol: consultation”, published by the Department in March 2020, notes that a switch to E10 could cut overall transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year, if it is combined with an increase to Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) targets. It also noted that we do not expect moving to E10 to deliver significant air quality benefits.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 2 May 2020 to Question 46196 on Biofuels, when his Department plans to publish its response to the Consultation on the Introduction of E10; and if he will publish that response before the House returns from recess in September 2020.

The Department aims to publish the Government response to our consultation on the introduction of E10, which closed in May, as early as possible this year.

17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 20 May 2020 to Question 46196, on Biofuels: Public Consultation, if his Department will publish the (a) responses to the consultation received from the public and (b) the Government's response and next steps before the 2020 summer recess.

As is the normal practice the Department will publish a summary of all responses to the consultation. The Department is working hard to publish this summary, as part of the Government response setting out next steps, as early as possible this year. However, taking into account that the consultation only closed last month it will not possible to publish the Government response before summer recess.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what meetings he has held with and what representations he has received from stakeholders on his Department's consultation on the Introduction of E10; and if he will make a statement on the steps his Department plans to take during that consultation process.

The Department publishes details of ministers’ meetings with external organisations on a quarterly basis and this information is made available on data.gov.uk. The consultation “Introducing E10 petrol”, on proposals to introduce petrol with a higher bioethanol content, closed on 3 May 2020. The Department received responses from a wide range of stakeholders and is analysing the responses at pace. We plan to publish a Government response later this year, summarising the representations made and setting out next steps.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the bioethanol industry.

The Government is in regular contact with companies in the fuel supply chain, including UK bioethanol suppliers, to apprise them of the support available to businesses as part of the response to COVID-19. It is too early to make any formal assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the bioethanol sector but the Department for Transport regularly monitors and reviews the schemes it has in place to support the renewable transport fuels sector to ensure these deliver cost effective carbon savings.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), a certificate trading scheme, is continuing to support a market for renewable fuels, such as bioethanol. The Department is working as flexibly as possible to ensure that renewable transport fuel certificates are issued quickly to improve the cash flow of renewable transport fuels suppliers.

The Department has also just consulted on proposals to introduce petrol with a higher bioethanol content in 2021 and is analysing responses at pace. It is understood that these proposals could potentially provide an economic boost to UK bioethanol producers in addition to wider economic benefits for the UK. Indeed, the UK bioethanol sector has stepped up to the challenge presented by COVID-19, by amending their production procedures to supply ethanol to the cleaning and sanitizer market. The Government is grateful to the producers involved.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the use of E10 fuel on the UK's carbon emissions.

Biofuels, such as ethanol, have a lower impact on net CO2 emissions compared with fossil fuel derived petrol. In the consultation paper “E10 petrol, consumer protection and fuel pump labelling”, the Department noted that using bioethanol in place of fossil fuels can reduce CO2 emissions by around 65% for an equivalent volume of fossil fuel. As a result, increasing the proportion of bioethanol in petrol from 5 to 10% could reduce the CO2 emissions of a vehicle by around 2%. Recently, the Government has made significant progress in relation to policy on E10 and we will publish our response to the previous call for evidence on E10, as well as next steps, as soon as possible.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to support people in the workplace with clinical neurodiversity conditions.

We continue to strive towards providing more support for people in the workplace with clinical neurodiversity conditions. On 2 April 2023, World Autism Acceptance Day, we announced the launch of a new review into autism and employment. The Buckland Review, which is being led by the Rt Hon Member for South Swindon, is focused on supporting employers to recruit and retain autistic people, identifying barriers to this, and developing ways to overcome those barriers. Whilst the Review's primary focus is autism, many of the adjustments and initiatives that would benefit autistic people could also benefit a wider group of people who think differently, including those with other neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia. The review will present recommendations to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions later this year.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department plans to provide additional support to people in the workplace with clinical neurodiversity conditions.

We continue to strive towards providing more support for people in the workplace with clinical neurodiversity conditions. On 2 April 2023, World Autism Acceptance Day, we announced the launch of a new review into autism and employment. The Buckland Review, which is being led by the Rt Hon Member for South Swindon, is focused on supporting employers to recruit and retain autistic people, identifying barriers to this, and developing ways to overcome those barriers. Whilst the Review's primary focus is autism, many of the adjustments and initiatives that would benefit autistic people could also benefit a wider group of people who think differently, including those with other neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia. The review will present recommendations to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions later this year.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government plans to support the Royal British Legion Credit their Service campaign.

The department has had a number of discussions with stakeholders about the treatment of armed forces compensation payments in the benefit system and has further such discussions planned. There are already special rules in place for the treatment of these payments.

Those receiving War Disablement Pensions and guaranteed income payments made under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme do not have their Universal Credit reduced to take account of this income. Pension Credit includes a weekly £10 disregard for War Pension payments. There are no plans to change these arrangements.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to improve the service being offered by the Child Maintenance Service.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can play an effective role in helping lift children out of poverty. Through both family-based arrangements (FBAs) and CMS arrangements, we estimate receiving parents in separated families received £2.6 billion annually in child maintenance payments in the three financial years ending 2020 to 2022. Overall, we estimate that on average these payments kept 160,000 children out of absolute low income on an after-housing costs basis each year.

The CMS is focussed on taking pro-active steps to improve the service being offered to both potential customers and those already in the service.

In 2022 the CMS introduced a new digital service ‘Get Help arranging Child Maintenance’ (GHACHM). GHACM is a digital service, available 24/7, making it more accessible for customers.

The majority of applications are now made online. Expanded payment functions via telephony and online services have also helped to provide more options to parents.

CMS has made significant improvements in their telephony service and internal management information suggests the average time to answer calls has reduced by a third since 2021/22.

The CMS recently piloted ‘Real Time Customer Feedback’ on behalf of the department to better understand customer experience.

A Private Members’ Bill (PMB) to streamline CMS enforcement, being taken forward by Siobhan Baillie, is currently ongoing working towards a third reading in the House of Lords. The PMB removes the requirement to make court applications for liability orders which enable the CMS to progress with enforcement action, thus improving the efficiency of the enforcement process.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to tackle benefit fraud.

Our Fraud Plan, Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System, published on 19 May 2022, sets out our approach and explains how additional investment is allowing us to recruit 1,400 more staff into our counter-fraud teams and develop enhanced data analytics as a means of preventing and detecting fraud and error.

Additionally, we are creating a dedicated team to deliver Targeted Case Reviews of existing Universal Credit claims. This supports wider Government aims of strong oversight and control and efficiently managing the public purse. Over the next five years we expect to review over 2 million potentially high-risk claims, including suspicious cases which entered our system at the height of the pandemic.

More information on our Fraud Plan, which also explains our ambition to modernise and strengthen our legislative framework, can be found here:

Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of extending the eligibility criteria for Carers Allowance to a larger number of unpaid carers; and if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of unpaid care work on the (a) physical and (b) mental health of women.

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.

Entitlement to Carer's Allowance depends on certain conditions relating to the circumstances of both the disabled person and the carer being satisfied. The carer must provide a minimum of 35 hours care a week for the disabled person who must be receiving a qualifying disability benefit. The carer must be aged 16 or over; should not be in full-time education; or receiving earnings above £132 a week, net after the deduction of certain allowances. In 2020/21, 850,000 people were in receipt of the Allowance, an increase of nearly 300,000 since 2010/11.

In addition to Carer’s Allowance, carers on low incomes can claim income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit and Pension Credit. These benefits can be paid to carers at a higher rate than those without caring responsibilities through the carer element and the additional amount for carers respectively. Currently, the Universal Credit carer element is £168.81 per monthly assessment period, and the additional amount for carers in Pension Credit is £38.85 per week.

Since April 2010, carers who do not get Carer's Allowance have been able to apply for National Insurance carer's credits if they are caring for one or more disabled people for at least 20 hours a week. These are Class 3 credits which can help towards the conditions of entitlement to the new State Pension and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

Carer’s Allowance is devolved to the Scottish Parliament and will, in due course be replaced by Scottish Government provision. Carer’s Allowance is a transferred matter in Northern Ireland.

The Government recognises that caring is not always easy or straightforward. There is a wide variety in caring circumstances, experiences and needs among unpaid carers. In England, the Care Act 2014 requires local authorities to deliver a wide range of sustainable high-quality care and support services, including support for unpaid carers and local authorities are required to undertake a Carer’s Assessment for any unpaid carer who appears to have a need for support and to meet their eligible needs on request from the carer. There is similar provision in Scotland and in Wales.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of people who have moved off Universal Credit and into work as a result of the Way to Work campaign.

As of 22 May, we estimate that at least 347,300 unemployed Universal Credit claimants have moved into work during the Way to Work Campaign between 31 January and the end of 22 May 2022.

This total figure is composed of our into work measure to the end of April (over 297,500) and our internal management information for up to 22 May (49,800). Figures are rounded to the nearest 100. These numbers will be higher than previously reported as it can take a number of weeks before all movements into work show in the data.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics but is provided in the interests of transparency and timeliness.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support more women over the age of 50 to return to the workplace.

The Government recognises the challenges faced by women aged 50 and over. Too many women feel forced either to leave work, reduce their hours, or take a step back in their careers because of the menopause. The Government will be responding shortly to the independent report on Menopause and the Workplace, commissioned from employer organisations who take part in the 50PLUS Roundtables, and which set out a series of recommendations for Government and employers. This will also examine the issues of Returners. The group will work collaboratively on a number of key issues outlining the evidence, barriers and recommendations.

The Restart Scheme is being delivered across England and Wales using 12 Contract Package Areas with providers working with employers, local government, and other partners to deliver tailored support for individuals, breaking down employment barriers that could be holding claimants back from finding work.

Alongside this, as part of the £500m Plan for Jobs expansion, we are funding a new enhanced support package for workers over the age of 50 to help them to stay in and return to work. This offer will ensure that older job seekers receive more intensive, tailored support as part of their Universal Credit claim and will give Work Coaches more time to spend with older job seekers who have recently become unemployed.

The 50PLUS Champions network also provides dedicated support to work coaches to enable them to effectively direct suitable support to claimants who are aged 50 and over.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have been auto-enrolled in workplace pensions in Stockton South constituency since 2012.

In the Stockton South constituency, since 2012, 8,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension and 1,470 employers have declared compliance with their automatic enrolment duties.

This data – which is based on the end of April 2022 – is updated by The Pensions Regulator each month and published on its website. This can be accessed via the following weblink:

https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/research-and-analysis/data-requests

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress has been made on increasing the number of disabled people in work by one million between 2017 and 2027.

In 2017 the Government set a goal to see a million more disabled people in employment between 2017 and 2027. The latest figures released for Q1 (January to March) 2022 show that between Q1 2017 and Q1 2022 the number of disabled people in employment increased by 1.3m – meaning the goal has been met after five years.

23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help people understand their personal pensions.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is currently introducing several initiatives to assist people in understanding their pensions.

The Stronger Nudge to pensions guidance regulations, coming into force on 01 June 2022, ensure no-one will be able to access their savings through pension freedoms without having received Pension Wise guidance or opted out. As part of this, schemes will offer to book of a Pension Wise appointment for the member as part of the application process, removing the inertia introduced by members having to book their own appointment.

From October this year, new regulations come into force that require defined contribution schemes used for automatic enrolment to send simpler, 2-page maximum, statements to members. These short, simpler statements will give savers the key information they need to be able to better engage with and understand their pensions. They will help people plan for the retirement they want.

DWP published a consultation on the draft regulations for Pensions Dashboards, which closed on 13 March 2022. Following publication of its response, expected this summer, the department will lay regulations for dashboards when parliamentary time allows. Pensions dashboards can help make accessing pensions information easier by empowering people to see what they have in their various pensions, including their State Pension, at the touch of a button on their smartphone, laptop or computer at home. This will put the saver in control and help reconnect people with their lost pension pots, transforming how people think and plan for their retirement.

DWP regulates for trust-based workplace pensions. Individual and other personal pensions within the contract-based market are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the level of fraud and error in the welfare system.

The Fraud Plan, Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System published 19 May 2022, sets out our plans for reducing the level of fraud and error in the welfare system by:

  • Investing in DWPs frontline counter-fraud professionals and data analytics, including recruiting 2,000 trained specialists to review over two million Universal Credit cases.
  • Creating new legal powers to investigate potential fraud and punish fraudsters (subject to legislation).
  • Bringing together the full force of public and private sectors to keep one step ahead.

The full document can be found on Welcome to GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

It sets out how we will invest £613m over the next three years in our frontline counter-fraud professionals and establish a brand-new team of trained specialists to conduct Targeted Case Reviews of Universal Credit claims, which will see us review 2 million cases over the next 5 years. This money represents a 75% increase in funding to combat fraud and error, taking our resourcing to £1.4bn over the next three years.

We estimate this investment will stop £2.0bn of loss in fraud and error during this time.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent progress her Department has made on the rollout of the Universal Credit programme.

We recently set out our revised approach to moving the remaining 2.6m households on legacy benefits over to Universal Credit by the end of 2024. This is available here: Completing the move to Universal Credit - Completing the move to Universal Credit - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

From 9th May, we started to issue a small number of migration notices in Bolton and Medway to claimants as part of a managed migration discovery exercise. This controlled approach will allow us to learn and iterate as we go so that we carefully build a service that both meets user needs and is sustainable in the longer term.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent progress her Department has made on allocating the Household Support Fund to local authorities.

Local Authorities have received their allocations from the £421m Household Support Fund extension for April – September 2022, alongside the grant determination and guidance. The allocations for Local Authorities for this period can be found here Household Support Fund (1 April 2022 to 30 September 2022): final guidance for county councils and unitary authorities in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) Local Authorities have discretion on exactly how and when this funding is used within the scope set out, based on their assessment of local need. This funding is available now for use by Local Authorities until 30 September 2022.

From October 2022, Government is providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, bringing the total funding for this support to £1.5 billion. In England £421m will be used to further extend the Household Support Fund (October 2022 – March 2023).

Guidance and individual local authority indicative allocations for this further extension to the Household Support Fund will be announced in due course.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she plans to take to implement the British Sign Language Act 2022.

The British Sign Language Act 2022 gained Royal Assent in April 2022 and does three things:

  • It recognises British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain in its own right;
  • It places a duty on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to report on the promotion and facilitation of British Sign Language by ministerial departments.
  • It places a duty on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to issue guidance to ministerial departments on the general promotion and facilitation of British Sign Language across their public communications - such as public announcements, consultations, plans, strategy, social media and press conferences.

A BSL Advisory Board will be established to advise the government on the implementation of the BSL Act from the perspective of those who use BSL. The board will also advise on related matters such as how to increase the number of BSL interpreters. This board is a key first step in implementation of the Act, and it is anticipated that recruitment for the board will begin soon, with the first board meeting to be held in the Autumn.

16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many exempt accommodation premises there are in Stockton.

Providing the requested information would incur disproportionate costs to the Department.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many exempt accommodation premises there are in (a) Stockton, (b) Darlington, (c) Middlesbrough, (d) Redcar and (e) Hartlepool.

Providing the requested information would incur disproportionate costs to the Department.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department records instances of a person's National Insurance Number being used as a payment reference on benefits statements as a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation; and what steps her Department is taking to protect people's data.

The Department does not record instances of a person’s National Insurance Number (NINO) being used as a payment reference on benefits statement as a breach of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). DWP provide banks with a reference up to 18 characters which for most DWP Benefits incorporates the NINO. The Department is aware that banks use the information in the exact format provided to them by DWP, but ultimately how much of it appears on the customer’s statement is the responsibility of the bank.

It is also important to note that the use of the NINO in this way does not breach the Data Protection Act as customers are made aware on the claim forms that their NINO may be shown on bank / building society account statements when payments are made.

The Department takes the security of citizen data very seriously and its strategy is to treat it as an asset. We continue to embed data protection and security by design – ensuring we hold ourselves to the highest security and protection standards. The Department has a suite of security policies, supported by real time risk-based controls, procedures and education and awareness products to protect customer data from inappropriate access or disclosure to unauthorised third parties.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have been auto-enrolled in workplace pensions in Stockton South constituency since 2012.

Since 2012, 8,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension and 1,460 employers have declared compliance.

This data is published by The Pensions Regulator each month:
https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/research-and-analysis/data-requests

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on her consultation on Disability Workforce Reporting.

The consultation on disability workforce reporting for large employers, which is being led by the Disability Unit based in the Cabinet Office, was launched on 16 December 2021 and will close on 25 March 2022. The consultation is available at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/disability-workforce-reporting

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her priorities are for the next six months of the National Disability Strategy.

The National Disability Strategy (NDS), published in July 2021, sets out a wide range of tangible actions that will impact across the everyday lives of disabled people. From housing to transport, education to leisure and justice, to challenging the unhelpful perceptions of others. Delivery of the policies in the strategy is progressing well.

For example, DfE has invested over £8 billion in 2021/2022 on children and young people with complex needs, improving outcomes for disabled children. DWP is piloting an Adjustments Passport supporting disabled people in the transition to employment, and BEIS launched an online advice hub offering accessible information and advice on employment rights for disabled people.

Priorities over the next 6 months will be to continue to deliver on the commitments in the NDS and reporting on progress as we have previously committed to do.

In addition, this government is supporting the successful delivery of the British Sign Language Private Members Bill through the House of Commons and Lords to ​​recognise British Sign Language (BSL) as a language of Great Britain, with ultimately the objective of increasing access to BSL interpretation.

Alongside recognising British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain, we will:

  • establish a non-statutory advisory board of British Sign Language users to advise the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on BSL guidance
  • examine how to increase the number of British Sign Language interpreters
  • review the Access to Work scheme, which funds workplace adjustments, to ensure users of British Sign Language receive the support they need

I am committed to delivering the government’s aim to address the challenges faced by disabled people so that we continue to build back better, and fairer, for disabled people.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support disabled people into the workforce.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people and people with health conditions to start, stay and succeed in employment. These include the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, the Work and Health Programme, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advisers in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services.

Last year we published three major documents: Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper; the response to the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation on minimising the risk of ill-health related job loss; and the National Disability Strategy. These together form our holistic approach and vision for supporting disabled people and people with health conditions to live independent lives.

2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the progress of the work of Armed Forces Champions in job centres.

DWP’s network of 50 Armed Forces Champions and 11 Group Leads provide vital support to veterans and other members of the armed forces community, including providing additional help to get veterans in to work. Since the new model was introduced in April 2021 it has been well received by stakeholders.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Plan For Jobs in supporting people into work.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 114984.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the progress of the Kickstart Scheme.

As of the 31st January 2022, over 130,000 Kickstart jobs have been started by young people and over 235,000 jobs have been made available for young people to apply to through the scheme.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart scheme throughout and after its implementation and will continue to evaluate the longer-term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month jobs.

Jobs made available and starts quoted here include some unfunded Kickstart jobs.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system, which has been developed quickly.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps work coaches are taking to get people who have been out of work for an extended period back into work.

DWP offers significant support to unemployed people across Great Britain to access employment opportunities through our network of Jobcentres. Our Work Coaches engage with claimants on the basis of their individual need to provide support on finding a job, help with retraining or skills advice, job applications and access to the new vacancies, as well as signposting to our Jobhelp website.

Through our Plan for Jobs, the Department is providing broad ranging support for all jobseekers. Currently, support includes the Kickstart scheme, Sector Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAP), Job Entry Targeted Support and Restart. The Restart Scheme supports individuals who have been unemployed for at least 9 months and through regular, personalised support, providers work with participants to identify the best way to support them into sustained employment.

In addition, the Work and Heath Programme, and Intensive Personalised Employment Support, is available to support to support disabled people and people with long term health conditions, to enter and stay in work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has had discussions with people who are (a) receiving personal independence payments and (b) over the age of 65 on the provision of mobility vehicles.

Our Health and Disability Green Paper Shaping Future Support included a section on disabled people’s mobility needs, inviting people to share their views on whether the Department met their mobility needs. 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 currently reviewing over 4,500 responses from individuals, charities and other organisations who took part in the consultation, and will respond with a White Paper next year.

12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what formula her Department used to determine the funding given to each local authority from the Household Support Fund.

The government has allocated the Household Support Fund according to the population of each local authority, weighted by a function of the English Index of Multiple Deprivation. Taking account of deprivation, as well as population, reflects the fact that the scheme is aimed at vulnerable families and individuals who may struggle to afford the cost of essentials over the Winter.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have enrolled on the Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) programme in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland, broken down by region, since its inception; and how many of those people have gained employment as a result of that programme.

Up to the end of April 2021 there have been 94,560 starts on the Job Entry: Targeted Support (JETS) scheme in England and Wales (launched 5 October 2020) and 3,795 starts on JETS Scotland (launched 25 January 2021).

By region:

JETS England & Wales

Total Starts

Central

9,790

North East

26,615

North West

8,470

Southern

12,925

Home Counties

8,630

Greater Manchester

6,160

Central London

5,415

West London

2,610

South London

2,305

Local London

6,315

Wales

5,325

Total England & Wales

94,560

JETS Scotland

3,795

Total

98,360

So far there have been 12,665 job outcomes in England and Wales, and 160 job outcomes for JETS Scotland (a job outcome is defined as when an individual achieves £1000 cumulative earnings within eight months of starting).

By region:

JETS England & Wales

Total employment Outcomes

Central

1,160

North East

3,600

North West

1,430

Southern

1,760

Home Counties

1,090

Greater Manchester

915

Central London

570

West London

360

South London

325

Local London

680

Wales

770

Total England & Wales

12,665

JETS Scotland

160

Total

12,825

It should be noted that JETS provides support for up to six months and many people who have started on the scheme will not yet have had time to achieve a job outcome.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart scheme jobs have been (a) made available for young people to apply to and (b) started, (i) nationally, (ii) by region and (iii) by sector.

As of the 6th May 2021, over 108,000 jobs have been made available for young people to apply for through the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Kickstart Scheme. This includes over 20,000 jobs started by young people.

There have been over 200,000 jobs approved by the scheme.

We are unable at present to provide data on the number of approved jobs by region, as at that stage in the process we do not hold information about the exact location of a job, only the head office of the employer. We do hold regional information on jobs made available for young people to apply for and for placements started, which is provided below.

The tables below show these figures split by location and sector, the data presented has been rounded according to DWP statistical rounding convention. Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Location

Jobs Advertised

Total Jobs Started

East Midlands

7,270

1,120

East of England

8,240

1,320

London

22,740

4,500

North East

4,560

960

North West

13,560

2,840

Scotland

7,540

1,770

South East

12,320

2,350

South West

7,670

1,440

Wales

6,020

1,000

West Midlands

10,030

1,850

Yorkshire and The Humber

8,310

1,580

Figures may not add up to provided totals due to rounding. 1,000 non-grant funded jobs are included in Jobs Advertised but not included under Jobs Started. Total jobs started includes those which have been completed or ended early.

Sector

Jobs Advertised

Total Jobs Started

Administration

27,950

5,370

Animal Care

480

160

Beauty & Wellbeing

740

150

Business & Finance

4,040

750

Computing, Technology & Digital

8,490

2,110

Construction & Trades

3,600

700

Creative & Media

8,420

2,180

Delivery & Storage

3,320

670

Emergency & Uniform Services

230

10

Engineering & Maintenance

3,900

470

Environment & Land

2,140

360

Government Services

290

30

Healthcare

4,360

570

Home Services

800

80

Hospitality & Food

7,530

1,030

Law & Legal

260

90

Managerial

830

120

Manufacturing

2,650

600

Retail & Sales

17,120

3,680

Science & Research

450

80

Social Care

2,880

270

Sports & Leisure

2,350

410

Teaching & Education

4,720

760

Transport

400

40

Travel & Tourism

310

40

Figures may not add up to provided totals due to rounding. 1,000 non-grant funded jobs are included in Jobs Advertised but not included under Jobs Started. Total jobs started includes those which have been completed or ended early.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart scheme jobs have been approved nationally to date.

As of the 6th May 2021, there are over 200,000 jobs approved on the Kickstart Scheme.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what types of businesses will be able to access equity from pension funds under the new pension reforms; and what steps she plans to take to reach a decision on how much of a pension fund can be released for investment in businesses.

The government are committed to ensuring both that pension funds have the opportunities to invest in UK businesses as we build back better, and that this process is made easier and simpler. We believe this will benefit both individual pension scheme members and the wider UK economy.

Private equity and venture capital, including releasing equity to new and innovative British businesses, already can and does form part of a pension scheme’s investment strategy. Trustees are currently free to make these types of investments if they believe the balance of risk and return to be in the best interest of members.

Over the past 6 months, DWP has made real efforts to respond to trustees and make this process simpler and easier: DWP has published two consultations relating to this issue. Improving outcomes for members of defined contribution pension schemes: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-outcomes-for-members-of-defined-contribution-pension-schemes and, Incorporating performance fees within the charge cap: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/incorporating-performance-fees-within-the-charge-cap

The proposals included allowing schemes to smooth the incurrence of performance fees over multiple years to allow schemes greater flexibility to innovate their investment strategy whilst maintaining the important member protection that is the charge cap. We intend to bring forward regulations which seek to make investment in a wider range of assets easier for defined contribution schemes.

Through the consultation we also gathered evidence on the specific question of steps the Government can take to better enable these types of investments. The consultation closed on April 16th and we will publish a response in June.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to undertake a consultation on how pension rules will be reformed to allow funds to be used to make equity offerings for businesses.

The government are committed to ensuring both that pension funds have the opportunities to invest in UK businesses as we build back better, and that this process is made easier and simpler. We believe this will benefit both individual pension scheme members and the wider UK economy.

Private equity and venture capital, including releasing equity to new and innovative British businesses, already can and does form part of a pension scheme’s investment strategy. Trustees are currently free to make these types of investments if they believe the balance of risk and return to be in the best interest of members.

Over the past 6 months, DWP has made real efforts to respond to trustees and make this process simpler and easier: DWP has published two consultations relating to this issue. Improving outcomes for members of defined contribution pension schemes: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-outcomes-for-members-of-defined-contribution-pension-schemes and, Incorporating performance fees within the charge cap: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/incorporating-performance-fees-within-the-charge-cap

The proposals included allowing schemes to smooth the incurrence of performance fees over multiple years to allow schemes greater flexibility to innovate their investment strategy whilst maintaining the important member protection that is the charge cap. We intend to bring forward regulations which seek to make investment in a wider range of assets easier for defined contribution schemes.

Through the consultation we also gathered evidence on the specific question of steps the Government can take to better enable these types of investments. The consultation closed on April 16th and we will publish a response in June.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Jan 2021
What support her Department is providing to help people find new jobs during the covid-19 lockdown.

My Department has taken significant steps to ensure jobseekers continue to get the help they need throughout the pandemic. As well as recruiting thousands of new Work Coaches, our employment support programmes, including Job Finding Support and SWAPs offer both online and - when necessary and appropriate - face-to-face support in line with the latest guidance.

In addition, as part of the DWP Estates Expansion and Renewal Programme my Hon.Friend will already be aware that we have secured new premises for a JobCentre Plus in Stockton.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle rates of skin cancer.

The Government takes the prevention of cancers, including skin cancers, very seriously.

The UK Health Security Agency has published guidance to the public on how to stay safe in hot weather including the importance protecting yourself from the sun. This guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/beat-the-heat-hot-weather-advice/beat-the-heat-staying-safe-in-hot-weather

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Government plans to introduce the cap on care costs.

As announced in the Autumn Statement 2022, we listened to the concerns of local Government and took the difficult decision to delay the planned adult social care charging reforms.

To ensure that these highly ambitious reforms are successful and to avoid destabilising the system, it is vital that we work with the sector to ensure that local authorities have the capacity and readiness to deliver reform successfully.

We are committed to working with local authorities to build preparedness, and the Government has made available up to £8.1 billion to put the adult social care system on a stronger financial footing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle shortages of Letrozole.

A team within the Department deals specifically with medicine supply problems arising both in the community and in hospitals. It has well-established procedures to deal with medicine shortages, whatever the cause, and works closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the pharmaceutical industry, NHS England and others operating in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when shortages do arise.

The team is aware of recent supply constraints affecting letrozole, however, other suppliers remain in stock and can support the gap in the market. Therefore, pharmacies should be able to obtain letrozole via their usual wholesaler routes. In addition, there are currently no supply constraints with the branded medicine of letrozole 2.5mg tablets, Femara.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is reduce the prevalence of smoking.

Smoking rates in England have been consistently falling and are currently at 12.7%, according to 2022 data from the Office for National Statistics.

On 4 October 2023, the Prime Minister unveiled plans to introduce a new law to stop children who turn 14 years old this year or younger from ever legally being sold cigarettes, in a bid to create the first ‘smokefree generation’. This announcement was accompanied with additional funding, including £70 million extra per year to fund local stop smoking services and £5 million this year and then £15 million per year thereafter to fund national stop smoking marketing campaigns.

This is in addition to a range of other measures which we announced in April 2023, including a new national swap to stop scheme to provide vapes to one million smokers to help them to quit, and an evidence-based financial incentives scheme to help all pregnant smokers to quit.

We are confident that the new measures announced by the Prime Minister, in addition to the actions we are already taking, will set us on course to both achieve our bold ambition to be smokefree by 2030 and create the first smokefree generation.

17th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Government's figures on covid-19 cases in the UK, whether that figure includes results from all types of covid-19 testing kits.

The ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK’ dashboard provides a summary of key information about the pandemic. This includes levels of infections, the impact on health in the United Kingdom and on measures taken to respond. The UK Health Security Agency also publishes the National Influenza and COVID-19 Report which includes the number of episodes of infection and test positivity over time.

Case numbers include results from Pillar 1 (polymerase chain reaction) testing, which represents tests undertaken for healthcare purposes and in public health laboratories. They also include results from people who have reported a positive lateral flow test from the National Health Service on GOV.UK. Lateral flow tests that are privately purchased cannot currently be registered on GOV.UK

Changes to testing policies over time affect surveillance data. Fewer tests being performed, and tests limited to certain settings, would need to be considered when interpreting surveillance data. Nonetheless, surveillance metrics based on current testing continue to provide useful indicators of recent trends and disease acuity.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the levels of (a) overweight and (b) obesity among men.

We have introduced regulations on out-of-home calorie labelling for food sold in large businesses, including restaurants, cafes and takeaways, and regulations restricting the placement of less healthy products in key selling locations in store and online. We are also working with industry to make further progress on reformulation and to ensure it is easier for people to make healthier choices.

The weight loss drug Semaglutide (Wegovy) was launched in the United Kingdom on 4 September and will be made available on the National Health Service in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommendations to ensure cost effective use. A two-year pilot backed by up to £40 million is being developed to explore ways to make these drugs accessible to patients living with obesity outside of hospital settings.

11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to take steps to ensure that the labelling of alcohol products includes calorie information.

In ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’, published in 2020, we committed to consult on whether to introduce calorie labelling on prepacked alcohol and alcohol sold in on-trade businesses such as pubs and restaurants.

11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure the adequacy of the (a) quality and (b) nutritional content of food in hospitals.

We know the importance of quality, nutritious hospital food to aid a patient’s recovery. All National Health Service trusts should ensure should healthy, nutritious food is on offer for patients and staff.

Following the publication of the Independent Review on Hospital Food in October 2020, NHS England are leading a three-year plan ‘Great Food, Good Health’ to implement the recommendations from the Review with the aim to improve hospital food.

In November 2022, NHS England published updated NHS Food and Drink Standards. These include eight mandatory standards that trusts are expected to implement, including a requirement to have a designated board director responsible for food (nutrition and safety). NHS England are considering the best way to measure the effectiveness of improvements as a result of those standards.

11th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure the safety of babies in neonatal units in the context of the Lucy Letby case.

Most families have a positive experience of neonatal care thanks to the dedication and expertise of National Health Service clinical teams. The neonatal mortality rate for England (for births at 24 weeks gestation and over), has fallen by 30.4% since 2010 to 1.37 per 1,000 live births in 2021, the year for which the most recent data is held. There would have been 355 more neonatal deaths in 2021 if the neonatal mortality rate had been the same as in 2010.

This autumn, the new Patient Safety Incident Response Framework will be implemented across the NHS, representing a significant shift in the way we respond to patient safety incidents, with a sharper focus on data and understanding how incidents happen, engaging with families and taking effective steps to improve and deliver safer care for patients.

The NHS is taking decisive steps to strengthen patient safety monitoring, and the national roll-out of medical examiners has created additional safeguards since 2021, ensuring independent scrutiny of all deaths not investigated by a coroner, and improving data quality.

The maternity and neonatal delivery plan, published this year, sets out what the NHS will do over the next three years to improve care to make it safer, more personalised and more equitable. Since 2021, NHS England has invested an additional £165 million per year to improve maternity and neonatal care.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is doing to tackle shortages of GPs.

We remain committed to growing the general practitioner (GP) workforce and number of doctors in general practice, and the Government is determined to deliver this as soon as possible. There were over 2,000 more full time equivalent doctors working in general practice in June 2023 compared to June 2019.

We are working with NHS England to increase the GP workforce in England. This includes measures to boost recruitment, address the reasons why doctors leave the profession, and encourage them to return to practice.

NHS England has made retention schemes available to boost the GP workforce. To boost recruitment, we have increased the number of GP training places. Last year, we saw the highest ever number of doctors accepting a place on GP training - 4,032 trainees in 2022, compared to 2,671 in 2014.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help tackle changes in rates of type 2 diabetes.

The National Health Service has set up T2Day: Type 2 Diabetes in the Young, a programme of intensive and targeted care for people aged 18 to 39 years, which offers tailored health checks and support with diabetes management. This will support those individuals to lead healthier lives and, in some cases, put their type 2 diabetes into remission.

In addition, the existing NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme supports those identified at high risk of type 2 diabetes to reduce their risk. Latest figures in February 2023 show a 20% reduction in risk for those who are referred to the programme compared to those who are not.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to work with dental practices to help ensure an adequate supply of NHS appointments.

In July 2022, we announced a package of dental system improvements having fully engaged with the profession and patient representatives. These initial changes were aimed at improving information for patients; improving incentives in the contract to deliver more complex care; and enabling the National Health Service to better work with the sector to ensure that dental care is delivered. The first of these changes came into force in late 2022.

The latest NHS Dental Statistics for England show that NHS dental activity as measured by Courses of Treatments delivered increased by 23% between 2021/22 and 2022/23.

We have also announced significant reforms as part of our NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan, including a 40% increase in dentistry training places, and are consulting on proposals to enable dental therapists and hygienists to deliver more treatments.

But we acknowledge more needs to be done and we are working on our dental plan, which will be published shortly and will include further measures to improve access.

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to take steps to extend NHS non-consolidated payments to NHS staff bank members.

Many National Health Service bank staff who are directly employed on the Agenda for Change contract, for example, on permanent or fixed-term contracts, and who undertake additional shifts through an NHS bank, will already be eligible for the non-consolidated payments agreed with the NHS Staff Council. Some will be employed exclusively on locally managed contracts, for example Bank contracts, and thus it will be for individual employers to determine the pay and conditions for those members of staff.

20th Jun 2023
IVF
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support couples access IVF treatment.

The Women’s Health Strategy was published on 20 July 2022 and contained a number of important changes and future ambitions to improve the variations in access to National Health Service funded fertility services.

We will improve access to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) by removing the additional financial burden on female same-sex couples accessing treatment. We will be working with NHS England to assess fertility provision across integrated care boards, which have responsibility for commissioning fertility services, with a view to removing non-clinical access criteria. We will also work with stakeholders to improve information provision on fertility and fertility treatments, including on the NHS website, and introduce greater transparency of the local provision of IVF.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the sale of vapes to school children.

Given the recent increase in children vaping, the Government launched a call for evidence to identify opportunities to reduce the number of children accessing and using vaping products. The call for evidence has now closed and we are currently analysing the responses. Following this, the Government will consider a range of options based on the evidence provided, including potential changes to vaping policy and regulation.

In April 2023, the Government announced £3 million of funding for a new national illicit vaping enforcement unit to tackle illicit and underage vape sales across the country.

The Prime Minister also recently announced several measures to address youth vaping, including closing a loophole that allows industry from giving out free samples to people of any age. The Government will also write to police forces to ensure dedicated school liaison officers across the country are aware of the Government's work on vaping and can make use of new resources to raise awareness of harms and the law, as well as supporting enforcement of school bans.

20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle incidents of sexual assault against NHS staff.

There is no place for sexual misconduct, violence, abuse, or harassment in the National Health Service. NHS leaders have a statutory duty of care to look after their patients and staff. They must provide an environment for every person using or working in their services to be sexually safe.

Tackling sexual harassment and assault of NHS staff is one of NHS England’s top priorities and they are working with NHS organisations to ensure this is prioritised at every level. They have established a Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence programme to build on existing safeguarding processes. As a part of the new programme, they are carrying out a review of policies, support and training relating to staff who experience domestic abuse and sexual violence. This will create a ‘gold standard’ that will be available to integrated care boards, trusts and royal colleges.

20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) update and (b) improve NHS IT systems.

We have set out our plans in ‘A Plan for Digital Health and Care’ June 2022 to update and improve technology efficiency and efficacy in the NHS. Further detail is also set out in the Data Saves Lives strategy, and in the annual business plans for both the Department and NHS England.

We are investing approximately £2 billion centrally each year between 2022/23 and 2024/25 to digitise the frontline of the NHS and improve services for patients and staff. Local NHS trusts and other providers top up those central investments locally. Allocations are made across a range of priority areas, including improving patient's abilities to access their own records, appointments, and information, such as through the NHS App, and in the core digital infrastructure of providers of all types through our GP IT and Frontline Digitisation programmes. The latter has provided circa £440 million to over 150 trusts in 2022/23 to support them to digitise, ensuring 90% of trusts have electronic health records by December 2023, rising to 95% by March 2025. We are also investing to ensure 80% of Care Quality Commission registered adult social care providers have a digital social care record by March 2024.

NHS IT capability in England is being measured and tracked through an annual digital maturity assessment designed to support trusts to understand their digital and data maturity and develop plans to meet our digitisation standards.

20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure an adequate number of dental appointments is available for NHS patients.

In July 2022, we announced a package of improvements to the National Health Service dental system, detailed in ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlined the steps we are taking to meet oral health need and increase access to dental care. The changes we have implemented include a contractual requirement for NHS dentists to keep their NHS.UK profiles up to date to make it easier for patients to seek treatment, improvements to ensure dentists are renumerated fairly for more complex work and greater flexibility to reallocate resources and to utilise dentists with greater capacity to deliver NHS treatment, while enabling full use of the dental team.

NHS England have published additional guidance for dentists and commissioners as part of this package. Patients who are struggling to find a local dentist can contact NHS England’s Customer Contact Centre for assistance or contact NHS 111 if seeking urgent care.

NHS England, regional teams and integrated care boards across England are also working together to ensure that patients continue to have access to NHS dental care. We know that we need to do more, and we are working with NHS England and stakeholders to consider additional reforms of the NHS dental system coming shortly this year.

We are also committed to publishing a long-term NHS workforce plan that will set out the actions and reforms that are required to reduce supply gaps and improve retention, including in dentistry.

12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps with Cabinet colleagues to help ensure that the advertised nicotine contents in disposable vapes are accurate.

Businesses supplying disposable vapes on the United Kingdom market must ensure their products comply with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and this includes the requirement of the labelling on the packaging of the indication of the nicotine content of the product and the delivery per dose. Local trading standards have enforcement powers to remove non-compliant products.

2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for York Central on 21 April 2023 to Question 180922.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help tackle obesity rates.

In addition to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 20 March 2023 to Question 166392, the weight loss drug Semaglutide (Wegovy) will be available on the National Health Service within three months of its launch in the United Kingdom with eligibility in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommendations. This drug needs to be provided within a specialist weight management service which are usually hospital based. A two-year pilot backed by up to £40 million is being developed to explore ways to make these drugs accessible to patients living with obesity outside of hospital settings.

2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnoses.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Rt hon. Member for Leeds Central on 5 April 2023 to Question 175511.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure waiting times for cancer treatment are reduced.

To support elective recovery and reduce waiting times, including for cancer treatment, the Government has worked with NHS England to publish the delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlogs in elective care in February 2022. To deliver this plan, the Government plans to spend more than £8 billion from 2022/23 to 2024/25 to help drive up and protect elective activity, including cancer diagnosis and treatment activity.

This will further be supported by the additional £3.3 billion of funding in each of the next two years announced at the Autumn Statement to support the National Health Service, enabling rapid action to improve emergency, elective and primary care performance towards pre-pandemic levels. NHS England continues to actively support those trusts requiring the greatest help to cut cancer waiting lists and the Department is working with NHS England to make further improvements.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure the provision by the NHS of safe and free earwax removal services.

In line with recommendations provided by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), ear wax removal services are provided on the National Health Service for patients with a clinical need for ear wax removal. Integrated care boards are responsible for the arrangement of ear wax removal services for their respective populations.

15th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve support for couples who experience baby loss.

The Government funded the Stillbirths and Neonatal Death charity (SANDs) to work with other baby loss charities and Royal Colleges to produce and support the rollout of a National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP). The pathway covers a range of circumstances surrounding baby loss, including miscarriage, stillbirth, termination of pregnancy for medical reasons, neonatal death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

As of 1 January 2023, 108 NHS England trusts (84%) have committed to adopting the nine NBCP standards. 21 trusts are yet to do so, and NBCP England continue to push for their inclusion.

A key commitment in the Single Delivery Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Services is investment to ensure the availability of bereavement services seven days a week by the end of 2023/24 for women and families who sadly experience loss.

The Pregnancy Loss Review was launched in 2018 to consider questions on registering and certifying pregnancy loss that occurs before 24 weeks’ gestation and the quality of National Health Service care for women experiencing such losses. The Review is being led by two independent experts. This was paused in 2019 and 2020 but has now recommenced with a view to publishing a report by the end of the year.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
19th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support people with obsessive compulsive disorder.

It is for local integrated care boards to commission services to meet the needs of their local population. We expect services for people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) to be commissioned in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence's clinical guideline on ‘Obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder: treatment’. The guidance includes advice on recognising, assessing, diagnosing and treating OCD. It also aims to improve the diagnosis and treatment of OCD. People with OCD may also be referred to NHS Talking Therapies services or a specialist mental health service for treatment.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to help tackle childhood obesity.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish on 20 January 2023 to Question 119899.

28th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to improve mental health services.

We continue to make progress on delivering the mental health aims of the NHS Long Term Plan, which commits to investing at least £2.3 billion of additional funding a year by 2023/24 to expand and transform mental health services in England so that two million more people will be able to get the mental health support they need.

On 23 January we set out details on how £150 million of capital investment, first announced at the 2021 Spending Review, will be used to build mental health urgent and emergency care infrastructure over the three years to 2024/25. This includes funding for up to 90 new specialised mental health ambulances over the next two years and will also support over 150 wider capital schemes including to provide and improve crisis cafes, crisis houses, mental health urgent care centres, health-based places of safety and broader improvements to crisis lines and emergency departments. This will support care be provided in more appropriate spaces for those in need, and will help reduce pressure on wider parts of the system including accident and emergency.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
21st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 14 November 2022 to Question 80961 on Nutrition, whether he has made an estimate of the levels of consumption by children of products containing over 50 per cent of fruit, nuts and seeds.

No specific assessment has been made.

7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons the regulations on products high in fat, salt and sugar came into force before the publication of a consultation on which products would be in scope of those regulations; and whether his Department plans to publish a consultation.

Our intention is only to apply the restrictions of foods high in fat, salt or sugar in stores and online to those categories of food and drink which contribute substantially to children's sugar and calorie intakes and are therefore of most concern to childhood obesity. To determine if a product is in scope of the Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021, the product must firstly fall in one of 13 categories of food and drink listed in the regulations. Products such as sweet biscuits in category seven or confectionary in category four meet the first criteria. The approach taken regarding these specific products is aligned with the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ sugar and calorie reduction and reformulation programmes.

The Nutrient Profiling Model 2004/05 and associated 2011 technical guidance is applied to determine if a product is subject to the restrictions. This takes into account the proportion of beneficial nutrients, including fruit, nuts and seeds and nutrients of concern, such as saturated fat, sugar, salt and calories. If a food product scores four or more or a drink product scores one or more, the product is considered less healthy and in scope of the restrictions. The Government consulted on the product categories in scope of the Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 between 12 January 2019 and 6 April 2019. The Government’s response to the consultation was published on 28 December 2020.

7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason products containing over 50 per cent of fruit, nuts and seeds are within scope of the regulations on products high in fat, salt and sugar under category seven on sweet biscuits but out of scope under category four on confectionery.

Our intention is only to apply the restrictions of foods high in fat, salt or sugar in stores and online to those categories of food and drink which contribute substantially to children's sugar and calorie intakes and are therefore of most concern to childhood obesity. To determine if a product is in scope of the Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021, the product must firstly fall in one of 13 categories of food and drink listed in the regulations. Products such as sweet biscuits in category seven or confectionary in category four meet the first criteria. The approach taken regarding these specific products is aligned with the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ sugar and calorie reduction and reformulation programmes.

The Nutrient Profiling Model 2004/05 and associated 2011 technical guidance is applied to determine if a product is subject to the restrictions. This takes into account the proportion of beneficial nutrients, including fruit, nuts and seeds and nutrients of concern, such as saturated fat, sugar, salt and calories. If a food product scores four or more or a drink product scores one or more, the product is considered less healthy and in scope of the restrictions. The Government consulted on the product categories in scope of the Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 between 12 January 2019 and 6 April 2019. The Government’s response to the consultation was published on 28 December 2020.

26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government has made an assessment of the impact of delaying the procurement of covid-19 treatment Evusheld on people who are immunocompromised; and if he will review the decision not to procure Evusheld for use in treatment of vulnerable people during winter 2022-23.

Based on the evidence and after careful analysis and consideration, the UK Government has decided not to procure Evusheld for prevention through emergency routes at this time. However, the UK Government has referred Evusheld to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for evaluation, which provides evidence-based, rigorous evaluation of the clinical and cost effectiveness of medicines for use in the NHS. This is a decision based on independent clinical advice by RAPID C-19 (a multi-agency group) and a UK National Expert Policy Working Group and reflecting the epidemiological context and wider policies in our pandemic response and recovery. RAPID C-19 considered that there remained uncertainty that Evusheld would prevent symptomatic COVID-19 caused by current Omicron variants in the vulnerable population who would potentially be eligible. There are no current plans for any further review of the decision. RAPID C-19 will continue to keep Evusheld (and other COVID-19 treatments) under active review.

16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the provision of mental health support available for veterans.

NHS England has several bespoke services and initiatives to meet the needs of the armed forces community. This includes Op COURAGE and the Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, which provides a mental health care pathway for veterans. Veterans benefit from personalised care plans and access to support and treatment. There have been over 20,000 referrals to Op COURAGE and in 2021, we committed an additional £2.7 million to further expand the service over the next three years. In addition, the Veterans Strategy Action Plan was published in January 2022, which aims to improve veterans’ health and wellbeing.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the efforts to (a) improve cancer services across the NHS and (b) find a lasting cure for cancer.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to improve cancer services to increase the proportion of cancers diagnosed at Stage 1 and 2 to 75% by 2028. This aims to ensure that an additional 55,000 people each year will survive cancer for at least five years after their diagnosis. We are currently analysing the responses submitted through the call for evidence to develop the 10 Year Cancer Plan, which will be published later this year. The Plan will provide further detail on how we will improve cancer services.

The Department invests in health research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). In 2020/21, the NIHR’s expenditure on cancer research was £73.5 million. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including treatments for cancer, and encourages researchers to submit high-quality research proposals in this area.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Ukrainians arriving in the UK are able to access healthcare services.

The Government has waived the Immigration Health Surcharge for those arriving in the United Kingdom on the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme and the Ukrainian Family Visa Scheme to ensure all Ukrainian nationals have free access to healthcare. The Department is working with NHS England and NHS Improvement and other Government Departments to ensure that Ukrainian nationals are signposted to registering with general practitioners.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support patients with rare diseases.

The 2021 UK Rare Diseases Framework set out four priorities for improving the lives of people living with rare diseases: helping patients receive a faster final diagnosis; increasing awareness of rare diseases among healthcare professionals; better coordination of care; and improving access to specialist care, treatments and drugs. Each United Kingdom nation has committed to publishing an action plan by the end of 2022, outlining how the Framework will be implemented. England’s Rare Diseases Action Plan was published on 28 February 2022. The Plan was developed with partners across the health system and the rare disease community, setting out 16 actions for the four priorities. A second annual Action Plan will be published in 2023 to report on progress and proposing updated and new actions.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of fluoridation on children’s oral health.

The Department recently published ‘Water fluoridation: health monitoring report for England 2022’ which assessed the impact of water fluoridation on children’s oral health. The report found that in areas with a fluoridation scheme in place, five year olds were less likely to experience tooth decay and children and young people were less likely to be admitted to hospital to have decayed teeth removed than in areas without a scheme. These effects were seen at all levels of deprivation with children and young people in the most deprived areas benefitting the most. In the most deprived 20% of areas, the risk of experiencing tooth decay was found to be 25% lower in areas with a fluoridation scheme than in areas without.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on recruiting 50,000 nurses.

The latest available date shows that in January 2022, there are approximately 29,100 more nurses compared to September 2019. A programme has been established to improve retention and support return to practice, invest in and diversify the training pipeline and ethically recruit internationally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to maximise NHS capacity.

The National Health Service is expanding the use of virtual wards to safely care for patients at home and the use of independent sector capacity. Patient discharges are being maximised, including the provision of updated hospital discharge guidance for local areas.

The ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’ is investing £8 billion in the recovery of elective services over the next three years. We are allocating £2.3 billion to increase the number of community diagnostic centres to 160 by March 2025 and £1.5 billion to support elective recovery, including the ongoing deployment of surgical hubs. This will deliver the equivalent of approximately nine million more checks, scans and procedures and 30% more elective activity by 2024/25.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to expand the delivery of personalised healthcare.

The Department has committed to increasing personalisation and patient choice, with the aim of four million people benefiting from personalised care by March 2024. The My Planned Care platform has been launched to provide personalised information on waiting times by specialty and region. We are also ensuring patients are consistently offered choice on their own care at the point of referral and to patients with the longest waiting times through a national hub model. Perioperative care co-ordination teams have been established to develop personalised plans.

In 2019, the Personalised Care Group published the action plan ‘Universal Personalised Care: Implementing the Comprehensive Model’, which brings together six components: personal health budgets; personalised care and support; enabling choice; social prescribing and community-based support; supported self-management; and shared decision making.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle the backlog in elective care following the covid-19 outbreak.

In February 2022, the National Health Service published ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’ which sets out how the NHS will recover and expand elective services over the next three years. We are investing more than £8 billion for elective care from 2022 to 2025, in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund made available to systems in 2021 to increase elective activity and tackle long waiting lists. This funding aims to deliver the equivalent of approximately nine million more checks, scans and procedures and by 2024/25, deliver 30% more elective activity compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The 2021 Spending Review announced a further £5.9 billion to support the recovery of elective services, diagnostics and technology. This includes £2.3 billion to establish 160 community diagnostic centres by 2025 to provide additional capacity for clinical tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound and computerised tomography scans.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that health and care services are well integrated.

The integration white paper, published on 9 February 2022, sets out our policy on integrating health care and social care, complementing the measures in the Health and Social Care Bill and the adult social care reform white paper.

The white paper describes a shared outcomes framework and single accountable person for these outcomes. This will support local organisations to collaborate to prioritise and integrate services. We expect organisations will identify a single accountable person by spring 2023. The white paper also identifies that specific policies, such as those related to workforce, digital and data, financial pooling and alignment and oversight and leadership can enable greater integration.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the cost of hormone replacement therapy for women.

We remain committed to reducing the cost of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions for those women who are not already exempt from prescription charges.

We will achieve this through an annual prescription prepayment certificate for HRT, which is due to be implemented from April 2023. This certificate will allow individuals to access the annual licensed HRT treatments they require for the cost of two single prescription items at £18.70.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to provide medical support to Ukraine.

The Government has donated more than 5.2 million medical items to Ukraine, including 380,000 packs of vital medicines, 220,000 wound packs and intensive care equipment.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits for business costs of temporarily suspending regulations on products high in fat, salt and sugar.

The impact assessments for restricting promotions and further advertising restrictions for products high in fat, salt or sugar show a positive net present value for each policy, showing that the health benefits outweigh the costs to business and the Government. Any pause to the regulations would delay the health benefits we expect these policies to deliver.

8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken in response to the Independent Hospital Food Review, published in October 2020, to enable easier access by NHS staff to more nutritious food.

A three-year plan ‘Great Food, Good Health’, led by NHS England and NHS Improvement, is implementing the remaining recommendations from the Hospital Food Review. NHS England and NHS Improvement have established an expert group of clinicians, dieticians and caterers and revised NHS Food and Drink Standards have been developed. The Standards will reflect that there should be an improved consistency of healthy and nutritious, hot and cold food and drink, 24 hours a day in healthcare sites and how this could be provided.

The Health and Care Bill includes a clause which permits the adoption of secondary legislation to implement national standards for food and drink in National Health Service hospitals.

1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to extend the roll out of the HPV vaccine to those aged up to 16 years old.

Girls and women born after 1 September 1991 and boys born after 1 September 2006 are already eligible for the vaccine until the age of 25 years old and can access a ‘catch-up’ vaccination through their general practitioner.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
25th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time is for people seeking a diagnosis of autism; and what steps the Government plans to take to (a) reduce that time and (b) ensure that children can access care for autism.

It is not possible at present to calculate an average waiting time for an autism diagnosis. The current autism diagnosis waiting times data collection and reporting by NHS Digital is experimental and focuses on the percentage of people receiving a first appointment for an autism assessment within a given timeframe. The latest data release in December 2021 suggests that in Quarter 1 2021/22, 12% of reported referrals for suspected autism had a first appointment recorded within the recommended 13 weeks.

To tackle waiting times for an autism diagnosis, we are investing £13 million in 2021/22. Of this, NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided £7 million to local areas to test and implement timely, quality autism diagnosis and post-diagnosis pathways for children and young people.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to change covid-19 restrictions for visitors within hospitals.

Providers are expected to facilitate visits wherever possible and to do so in a way which manages infection risks. Visiting policies are ordinarily at the discretion of National Health Service trusts and other NHS bodies to make an assessment based on the local prevalence of COVID-19 and the specific design of facilities. National guidance encourages providers to actively find ways to ensure visiting can take place. NHS England keeps this guidance under regular review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of what will constitute a meal deal for the purposes of the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations.

Offers commonly referred to as 'meal deals' or "dine in for two", are out of scope of volume price promotion restrictions, where foods are promoted as intending to be consumed together.

The "relevant special offer" definition provided in the Regulations deals with meal deals (which may include items of specified food) which are generally targeted as lunch options for adults to consume on the go that day or "dine in for 2" type offers that are reducing the cost of "complete" meals for multiple people, rather than being stockpiled at home; and they aim to reduce the cost of a single meal.

The Regulations refer to these offers as a "relevant special offer" which means an offer of a discounted price is permitted for multiple items promoted as intended to be consumed together as, or as part of, a single meal by one person or by two or more people together (as, for example, in “meal deal” or “dine in for two” offers). However, all specified food, whether part of a meal deal or not, cannot be placed in restricted locations.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations, when his Department plans to update and publish the nutrient profile model (NPM) technical guidance so that companies can accurately calculate the NPM scores; and whether his Department plans to provide a standardised online calculator for that matter.

The Nutrient Profiling Model (NPM) Technical Guidance can be used by companies to calculate the NPM values of their products accurately. The Department continues to have conversations with stakeholders on the NPM Technical Guidance in advance of the location and volume promotions regulations coming into force in October 2022. We recognise that industry want a tool to assist compliance and are looking into more ways to support businesses and enforcement bodies to calculate NPM scores.

The NPM 2004/5 Technical Guidance is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/216094/dh_123492.pdf

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt regulations, where liability will sit for products on online delivery platforms.

Retailers who are qualifying businesses are responsible for ensuring any contracts in place with an online delivery platform make clear that the law must be followed. They must also ensure that the products they sell are compliant with the location and price promotion restrictions on these types of platforms, where they remain responsible for this food being offered for sale.

Although retailers are responsible for the sale of their products online, online aggregators may also have such a responsibility. This could arise for example, when aggregators advertise, promote or facilitate the sale of products on behalf of a trader. A court will consider each case on its facts when considering if the actions of online delivery platforms and aggregators have led or contributed to a breach of the Regulations.

In areas where both the new online advertising and promotions restrictions may overlap, for example if a company has paid for advertising of an identifiable high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) product displayed in an area restricted under the promotions regulations (such as on a retail home page, check-out page or page not intentionally opened by the consumer), the retailer or aggregator will be liable for the breach of promotions Regulations. It is also possible that the frontline regulator of the advertising restrictions may also find the advertiser liable in breach of advertising Regulations. However, as liability differs between the restrictions, we do not anticipate a scenario where an individual will be sanctioned twice for a single breach.

The promotion Regulations act independently of the existing CAP codes. If a piece of content is in scope of the promotions restrictions and potentially in breach of the UK Advertising Codes and this comes to the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority then it will refer the matter to the relevant enforcement authorities. Compliance with the promotions Regulations takes precedence over the non-statutory UK Advertising Codes.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high far, salt and sugar products regulations, how the online promotion rules will interplay with the (a) new online advertising rules and (b) existing CAP codes.

Retailers who are qualifying businesses are responsible for ensuring any contracts in place with an online delivery platform make clear that the law must be followed. They must also ensure that the products they sell are compliant with the location and price promotion restrictions on these types of platforms, where they remain responsible for this food being offered for sale.

Although retailers are responsible for the sale of their products online, online aggregators may also have such a responsibility. This could arise for example, when aggregators advertise, promote or facilitate the sale of products on behalf of a trader. A court will consider each case on its facts when considering if the actions of online delivery platforms and aggregators have led or contributed to a breach of the Regulations.

In areas where both the new online advertising and promotions restrictions may overlap, for example if a company has paid for advertising of an identifiable high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) product displayed in an area restricted under the promotions regulations (such as on a retail home page, check-out page or page not intentionally opened by the consumer), the retailer or aggregator will be liable for the breach of promotions Regulations. It is also possible that the frontline regulator of the advertising restrictions may also find the advertiser liable in breach of advertising Regulations. However, as liability differs between the restrictions, we do not anticipate a scenario where an individual will be sanctioned twice for a single breach.

The promotion Regulations act independently of the existing CAP codes. If a piece of content is in scope of the promotions restrictions and potentially in breach of the UK Advertising Codes and this comes to the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority then it will refer the matter to the relevant enforcement authorities. Compliance with the promotions Regulations takes precedence over the non-statutory UK Advertising Codes.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, salt and sugar products regulations, what the definition of a customer route through store is; and whether that definition affects the inclusion of end of aisles.

The Regulations describe where qualifying businesses must not place specified food inside a physical store. Businesses in scope of the Regulations with stores that have 185.8 square metres (2,000 square feet) or greater of ‘relevant floor area’ will be in scope of the location promotion restrictions.

The relevant floor area excludes areas used mainly for the preparation or sale of food intended for immediate consumption whether on or off the premises (including, for example, a coffee shop or a canteen). Many seating areas of a café, for example, run by the business or a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store may not count towards the relevant floor space of an area. This will need to be assessed by the enforcement authority when assessing the premises.

A ‘main customer route’ takes its natural meaning as one of the main routes a customer is expected to take when moving around the store, whereby a customer is directed through the store by passages between aisles. The purpose of this definition is to try not to capture island-type displays, as islands typically do not have an 'aisle-end' as no one side displays prominence in the same way that a typical long rectangular aisle does. An aisle end is defined as a display at the end of (but not in) an aisle, where the aisle end is adjacent to a main customer route through the store, or a separate structure (such as an island bin, free-standing unit (for example fridges/freezers), side stack or clip strip) connected or adjacent to, or within 50cm of, such an aisle end.

Businesses in scope of the Regulations must not place specified food in store at any area within 2 metres of a designated queuing area or a queue management system, other than within an aisle. Specified food cannot be placed at the end of an aisle and/or on an island type structure within 2 metres of a checkout facility or a designated queuing area.

A covered external area means a covered area outside and connected to a store’s main shopping area, through which the public passes to enter the main shopping area for example a foyer, lobby or vestibule.

Businesses in scope of the locations restrictions are prohibited from placing specified food within a certain distance of their store entrance or entrances. These restrictions do not apply to an ‘exit only’ exit from where customers cannot or should not enter into the store.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations, what the definition is an aisle for the purpose of in aisle exemption within 2m of a designated queuing area and within 2m of a checkout facility.

The Regulations describe where qualifying businesses must not place specified food inside a physical store. Businesses in scope of the Regulations with stores that have 185.8 square metres (2,000 square feet) or greater of ‘relevant floor area’ will be in scope of the location promotion restrictions.

The relevant floor area excludes areas used mainly for the preparation or sale of food intended for immediate consumption whether on or off the premises (including, for example, a coffee shop or a canteen). Many seating areas of a café, for example, run by the business or a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store may not count towards the relevant floor space of an area. This will need to be assessed by the enforcement authority when assessing the premises.

A ‘main customer route’ takes its natural meaning as one of the main routes a customer is expected to take when moving around the store, whereby a customer is directed through the store by passages between aisles. The purpose of this definition is to try not to capture island-type displays, as islands typically do not have an 'aisle-end' as no one side displays prominence in the same way that a typical long rectangular aisle does. An aisle end is defined as a display at the end of (but not in) an aisle, where the aisle end is adjacent to a main customer route through the store, or a separate structure (such as an island bin, free-standing unit (for example fridges/freezers), side stack or clip strip) connected or adjacent to, or within 50cm of, such an aisle end.

Businesses in scope of the Regulations must not place specified food in store at any area within 2 metres of a designated queuing area or a queue management system, other than within an aisle. Specified food cannot be placed at the end of an aisle and/or on an island type structure within 2 metres of a checkout facility or a designated queuing area.

A covered external area means a covered area outside and connected to a store’s main shopping area, through which the public passes to enter the main shopping area for example a foyer, lobby or vestibule.

Businesses in scope of the locations restrictions are prohibited from placing specified food within a certain distance of their store entrance or entrances. These restrictions do not apply to an ‘exit only’ exit from where customers cannot or should not enter into the store.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations, whether HFSS products are permitted to be displayed where a premise has a dedicated exit.

The Regulations describe where qualifying businesses must not place specified food inside a physical store. Businesses in scope of the Regulations with stores that have 185.8 square metres (2,000 square feet) or greater of ‘relevant floor area’ will be in scope of the location promotion restrictions.

The relevant floor area excludes areas used mainly for the preparation or sale of food intended for immediate consumption whether on or off the premises (including, for example, a coffee shop or a canteen). Many seating areas of a café, for example, run by the business or a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store may not count towards the relevant floor space of an area. This will need to be assessed by the enforcement authority when assessing the premises.

A ‘main customer route’ takes its natural meaning as one of the main routes a customer is expected to take when moving around the store, whereby a customer is directed through the store by passages between aisles. The purpose of this definition is to try not to capture island-type displays, as islands typically do not have an 'aisle-end' as no one side displays prominence in the same way that a typical long rectangular aisle does. An aisle end is defined as a display at the end of (but not in) an aisle, where the aisle end is adjacent to a main customer route through the store, or a separate structure (such as an island bin, free-standing unit (for example fridges/freezers), side stack or clip strip) connected or adjacent to, or within 50cm of, such an aisle end.

Businesses in scope of the Regulations must not place specified food in store at any area within 2 metres of a designated queuing area or a queue management system, other than within an aisle. Specified food cannot be placed at the end of an aisle and/or on an island type structure within 2 metres of a checkout facility or a designated queuing area.

A covered external area means a covered area outside and connected to a store’s main shopping area, through which the public passes to enter the main shopping area for example a foyer, lobby or vestibule.

Businesses in scope of the locations restrictions are prohibited from placing specified food within a certain distance of their store entrance or entrances. These restrictions do not apply to an ‘exit only’ exit from where customers cannot or should not enter into the store.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations, what the definition is of covered external areas in regard to store entrances and the entrance space calculation.

The Regulations describe where qualifying businesses must not place specified food inside a physical store. Businesses in scope of the Regulations with stores that have 185.8 square metres (2,000 square feet) or greater of ‘relevant floor area’ will be in scope of the location promotion restrictions.

The relevant floor area excludes areas used mainly for the preparation or sale of food intended for immediate consumption whether on or off the premises (including, for example, a coffee shop or a canteen). Many seating areas of a café, for example, run by the business or a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store may not count towards the relevant floor space of an area. This will need to be assessed by the enforcement authority when assessing the premises.

A ‘main customer route’ takes its natural meaning as one of the main routes a customer is expected to take when moving around the store, whereby a customer is directed through the store by passages between aisles. The purpose of this definition is to try not to capture island-type displays, as islands typically do not have an 'aisle-end' as no one side displays prominence in the same way that a typical long rectangular aisle does. An aisle end is defined as a display at the end of (but not in) an aisle, where the aisle end is adjacent to a main customer route through the store, or a separate structure (such as an island bin, free-standing unit (for example fridges/freezers), side stack or clip strip) connected or adjacent to, or within 50cm of, such an aisle end.

Businesses in scope of the Regulations must not place specified food in store at any area within 2 metres of a designated queuing area or a queue management system, other than within an aisle. Specified food cannot be placed at the end of an aisle and/or on an island type structure within 2 metres of a checkout facility or a designated queuing area.

A covered external area means a covered area outside and connected to a store’s main shopping area, through which the public passes to enter the main shopping area for example a foyer, lobby or vestibule.

Businesses in scope of the locations restrictions are prohibited from placing specified food within a certain distance of their store entrance or entrances. These restrictions do not apply to an ‘exit only’ exit from where customers cannot or should not enter into the store.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) regulations, whether seating areas are planned to count towards relevant floor space calculations.

The Regulations describe where qualifying businesses must not place specified food inside a physical store. Businesses in scope of the Regulations with stores that have 185.8 square metres (2,000 square feet) or greater of ‘relevant floor area’ will be in scope of the location promotion restrictions.

The relevant floor area excludes areas used mainly for the preparation or sale of food intended for immediate consumption whether on or off the premises (including, for example, a coffee shop or a canteen). Many seating areas of a café, for example, run by the business or a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store may not count towards the relevant floor space of an area. This will need to be assessed by the enforcement authority when assessing the premises.

A ‘main customer route’ takes its natural meaning as one of the main routes a customer is expected to take when moving around the store, whereby a customer is directed through the store by passages between aisles. The purpose of this definition is to try not to capture island-type displays, as islands typically do not have an 'aisle-end' as no one side displays prominence in the same way that a typical long rectangular aisle does. An aisle end is defined as a display at the end of (but not in) an aisle, where the aisle end is adjacent to a main customer route through the store, or a separate structure (such as an island bin, free-standing unit (for example fridges/freezers), side stack or clip strip) connected or adjacent to, or within 50cm of, such an aisle end.

Businesses in scope of the Regulations must not place specified food in store at any area within 2 metres of a designated queuing area or a queue management system, other than within an aisle. Specified food cannot be placed at the end of an aisle and/or on an island type structure within 2 metres of a checkout facility or a designated queuing area.

A covered external area means a covered area outside and connected to a store’s main shopping area, through which the public passes to enter the main shopping area for example a foyer, lobby or vestibule.

Businesses in scope of the locations restrictions are prohibited from placing specified food within a certain distance of their store entrance or entrances. These restrictions do not apply to an ‘exit only’ exit from where customers cannot or should not enter into the store.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt products regulations, how concessions are being determined; and what the definition of primary responsibility of a concession in store is.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, sugar and salt regulations, whether enforcement of those regulations will be led by (a) Trading Standards, (b) Environmental Health Officers or (c) both.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the size of a business for the purpose of new High Fat, Sugar and Salt guidelines refers to number of employees in that business in (a) England, (b) the UK or (c) globally.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, salt and sugar products regulations, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of further clarifying whether non-specified product formats are in or out of scope of the regulations.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, salt and sugar products regulations and the determination of the size of a business, whether the number of employees includes those registered within England, the UK or globally.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, salt and sugar products regulations, whether retailers will have an additional sell-through period for products with on pack promotions past October 2023.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the high fat, salt and sugar products regulations, whether those regulations only apply to businesses registered in England or to all businesses selling food and delivering in England.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to regulations on high fat, salt and sugar products, what the definition of a specialist retailer is.

The Food (Promotion and Placement) (England) Regulations 2021 apply to medium or large businesses (those with 50 or more employees) operating in and selling to England. The number of employees is not restricted to England, it is the total number of employees a business has in its entirety.

Specialist retailers are retailers that only or mainly sell food from a single category in Schedule 1 of the Regulations or a specific type of “less healthy” product. For example, chocolatiers, confectioners, and cake stores are generally considered to be specialist retailers and are therefore exempt from the location restrictions. However, they must comply with volume price promotion restrictions.

Concessions are defined in the Regulations as being an area that is occupied by a business other than the business primarily responsible for managing and operating the store, but only where this concession operates its own payment facilities.

There is a transition period until 2023 which allows retailers to sell existing stock that was produced before October 2022 with volume price promotions (such as ‘X% extra’) on the packaging that they cannot remove. After October 2023, it is not permitted.

The Regulations will be enforced by food authorities – this will be a local authority (for example a county, borough, or district council). The Regulations may be enforced by trading standards and/or environmental health officers depending on local arrangements.

The upcoming guidance, being developed in collaboration with trade associations, businesses and local authorities, will provide further clarification on which products and product formats are in scope of the Regulations to help businesses to plan ahead.

3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much of the funding announced in the Spending Review 2021 will be allocated to training new staff for key cancer professions.

Following the outcome of the Spending Review 2021, spending plans for individual budgets for 2022/23 to 2024/25 inclusive, including for training the cancer workforce, will be subject to a detailed financial planning exercise and finalised in due course.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 vaccine requirements for staff in healthcare environments on levels of staffing in dentistry.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for York Central (Rachael Maskell MP) on 18 January 2022 to Question 100611.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure patients are able to access NHS dentists; and what progress has been made on ensuring a full return to face-to-face GP appointments.

An additional £50 million in funding for National Health Service (NHS) dentistry has been made available for the remainder of the financial year to give more patients access to dental care and help tackle the dental backlog. The available appointments will be targeted first at those most in need of urgent dental treatment, vulnerable groups and children.

The Department continues to work closely with NHS England to maximise the number of patients that can be seen safely in dental practices, with an expectation set for NHS dental practices that they will deliver 85% of their contracted activity in quarter four 2021/22.

General Practices (GPs) have remained open throughout the pandemic, offering face to face appointments. They have been asked to prioritise vaccinations and emergency care until the end of the booster campaign We expect patients to experience the same high quality of care regardless of how they access their GP surgery.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that care home visitations are able to take place (a) in a safe manner and (b) with minimal restrictions to residents or their families in the context of the spread of the omicron covid-19 variant.

We expect care homes to ask visitors to take steps including booking appointments, taking a test on the day of their visit, wearing a mask throughout the visit and washing their hands thoroughly on arrival. This is in addition to having received COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster doses, when invited. Care homes are asked to develop a dynamic risk assessment for how visits are managed, including consideration of infection prevention and control measures and ventilation.

All care home residents are able to nominate an essential care giver, who can visit during a COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, residents can nominate up to three visitors for regular visits inside the care home, including in residents’ rooms, and additional measures have been put in place to protect residents and staff from incursion of infection following visits out of the care home, such as increased testing.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all walk-in covid-19 vaccine centres are adequately supplied with covid-19 vaccine doses; and what steps he is taking to ensure that appointments are not required at those centres.

All sites, including walk in COVID-19 vaccination centres, order their own vaccine supply via the online National Health Service (NHS) Foundry ordering platform in-line with anticipated supply requirements for the week ahead.

Orders are placed against the maximum limitations set by NHS systems and regions to ensure that there is an equitable split of vaccines across each region in England and to avoid oversupply. Where supply is required above maximum limitations, this can be requested and approved. Orders are then approved at a system and regional level before being processed by the national team for distribution.

The national team can also choose to push stock out, but this would only be for a short period, and as an exception in response to a significant change in Government policy, such as the Omicron booster surge currently in place.

We are working across the devolved administrations to ensure the vaccine programme is rolled out as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Vaccine Taskforce (VTF) leads on the supply management function of the COVID-19 vaccine programme. Each devolved Government receives regular supply updates from the VTF and are updated as soon as new schedules are available.

Appointments are not required at walk-in COVID-19 vaccination centres.

7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that delivery of day two covid-19 PCR tests are not affected by the disruption to postal services over the Christmas period.

For day two polymerase chain reaction tests, the UK Health Security Agency worked with delivery partners to ensure that this service was available over the Christmas period. Contingency plans were also in place to cope with any adverse weather conditions. Where tests are purchased from private test providers, the delivery of the service, including appropriate logistics and contingency planning around disruption, is the responsibility of the private provider.

22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to support those with severe trypanophobia accessing the covid-19 vaccine; and what steps he is taking to support exemptions for that group.

COVID-19 vaccinators have received appropriate training to make sure individuals attending a vaccination appointment feel safe. NHS England and NHS Improvement recommend that individuals with a needle phobia contact the vaccination centre prior to attendance, to determine what mitigations they have for such patients and if any special arrangements could be made to help the recipient feel more comfortable.

Individuals can apply for a medical exemption by calling the NHS COVID Pass service on 119. The possible reasons for exemptions are limited, such as severe allergies to all currently available vaccines. Clinical judgement will then be used to determine whether an individual is exempt from vaccination or not.

12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce ambulance waiting times.

National Health Service ambulance trusts are being supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement to reduce ambulance waiting times. This includes through monitoring and support through the National Ambulance Coordination Centre and an extra £55 million to increase staff numbers ahead of the winter, to recruit more 999 call handlers and clinicians to work in control rooms and frontline staffing capacity.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of (a) people with learning disabilities and (b) autistic people detained in inpatient mental health hospitals in England.

In 2021/22, we are investing more than £90 million for community support and to facilitate the discharge of people with a learning disability and autistic people.

The cross-Government Building the Right Support Delivery Board is responsible for progress in reducing the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people in mental health inpatient settings, through oversight of relevant activities and by commissioning specific workstreams. The Board is overseeing development of an Action Plan, which will complement the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to achieve at least a 50% reduction in the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people who are inpatients in mental health hospitals by 2023/24.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) reduce rates of stillbirth and neonatal deaths and (b) address racial inequalities in stillbirths and neonatal deaths; and if his Department will launch an inquiry into the rates of stillbirth and neonatal death among Asian and Asian British babies.

The Department has funded the National Health Service to implement a range of initiatives to reduce stillbirths and neonatal rates, including the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle which standardises five evidence-based elements of care demonstrated to reduce stillbirths and neonatal deaths; reducing smoking in pregnancy; risk assessment, prevention and surveillance of pregnancies at risk of fetal growth restriction; raising awareness of reduced fetal movement; effective fetal monitoring during labour and reducing pre-term birth. There has been a 25% reduction in the stillbirth rate and a 29% reduction in the neonatal mortality rate for babies born after 24 weeks gestation since 2010.

NHS England and NHS Improvement published ‘Equity and Equality: Guidance for Local Maternity Systems’ on 6 September. This guidance asks Local Maternity Systems (LMS) to produce an analysis on health outcomes by 30 November 2021 and an action plan for mothers and babies from minority ethnic and other backgrounds. The guidance is supported by £6.8 million for LMS to implement these plans and targeted and enhanced continuity of carer. LMS are being asked to include four interventions to prevent avoidable deaths of babies in their action plans:

- targeted and enhanced continuity of carer for 75% of women from black, Asian and mixed ethnic groups by 2024 and additional midwifery time to support women from the most deprived areas;

- smoke-free pregnancy pathways for mothers and their partners;

- breastfeeding strategies to improve breastfeeding rates for women living in the most deprived areas; and

- culturally-sensitive genetics services for consanguineous couples.

A confidential enquiry into perinatal deaths of Black/Black British babies is currently being undertaken by the MBRRACE-UK Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme. The Department has no current plans to concurrently establish an inquiry into the rates of stillbirth and neonatal deaths among Asian and Asian British babies.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate international travel for British citizens resident in European countries that are administering only one dose of a two-dose vaccination programme to those who have previously been infected by covid-19.

British citizens resident in European countries will be eligible to use the European Union’s Digital COVID Certificate if they have been vaccinated in that country. Some EU Member States issue a certificate for individuals with one dose of a vaccine and recent recovery from COVID-19. However, at the United Kingdom border, we can only accept a full course of vaccination as meeting the definition of fully vaccinated and therefore exempting a traveller from self-isolation and reduced testing. This is based on the higher levels of health protection offered from a full course of vaccination and advice from public health experts.

26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to introduce PSA blood tests to detect and help prevent prostate cancer in line with action already taken out during chemotherapy sessions.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for men over the age of 50 years old is already available through general practitioner (GP) surgeries as part of the prostate cancer risk management programme. Tests can be arranged through the National Health Service for men aged 50 years old and over who decide to have their PSA levels tested after consultation with their GP.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what research his Department (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on myeloma in 2018-19; at what cost to the public purse; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of research on myeloma in each of the next three financial years.

The Department invests in health research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The following table shows research commissioned by the NIHR into myeloma cancer in 2018-19.

Award title

Total award budget

Improving the monitoring and treatment of multiple myeloma patients by comparing cellular and serological markers of minimal residual disease

£211,519

A research evaluation into myeloma cancer in 2018-19 is not available in the format requested and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. The following table shows estimated costs for research projects into myeloma in 2021/22 and 2022/23.

Year

2021/22

2022/23

Total expenditure

£251,547

£89,254

The estimates for 2023/24 onwards are not currently available as forecast spend is based on payments for contracted project awards. We expect to receive fundable applications within the next two years. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including myeloma. As with other Government funders of health research, the NIHR do not allocate funding for specific disease areas.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's timetable is for the implementation of the dementia moonshot.

The Government is committed to supporting research into dementia and to delivering a moonshot. Later in 2021, we will bring forward a new dementia strategy to set out our plans for dementia research, care, support and awareness in England for future years.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has change the NHS target for dentistry contracts announced on 1 January 2021 during the 2021 England national covid-19 lockdown.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have set a 45% dental activity target. This target is based upon clinical advice and modelling from the office of the Chief Dental Officer and has taken into consideration robust adherence to infection prevention and control guidance and social distancing requirements. Furthermore, data on the percentages of activity dental practices have achieved to date supports the view that the target can be safely attainable.

NHS commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate and the reinstatement of shielding during the national lockdown. There are currently no plans to review or change the unit of dental activity targets for January to March 2021.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure covid-19 vaccine targets will be met.

By 15 February we aim to have offered a first vaccine dose to everyone in the top four priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) as follows:

- all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers;

- everyone over the age of 70 years old;

- all frontline health and social care workers; and

- those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

As of 29 January, over 7 million of the most vulnerable people in the United Kingdom had received their first jab and there are now over 2,700 sites across the UK offering vaccines to those at risk by age and clinical priority. In England, 96% of the population is within 10 miles of a vaccine service and by the end of January, everyone will live within 10 miles of a vaccination service. In a small number of highly rural areas, the vaccination centre will be a mobile unit.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department provides to parents of children told to self-isolate for fourteen days as a result of another person in their class bubble testing positive for covid-19.

Where someone needs to self-isolate because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have been exposed to the virus through close recent contact with someone who has tested positive, NHS Test and Trace helps to make sure that they or, in the case of children, their parents or guardians know how to access local support through their local authority.

The NHS Volunteer Responders programme, developed by NHS England in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service, is also available to help support people in England who need it, including those who are self-isolating. NHS Volunteer Responders carry out simple, one-off non-medical tasks to support people who need help, for instance in accessing essentials.

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the safety of face-to-face GP surgery appointments as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

On 1 August the Government changed the National Health Service incident level from Level 4 (national) to Level 3 (regional) due to the COVID-19 demand on the NHS, after the Chief Medical Officers and the Government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre downgraded the United Kingdom’s overall COVID-19 alert level in June. As a result, on 31 August NHS England and NHS Improvement issued guidance stating that general practitioner (GP) practices must offer face-to-face appointments at surgeries and continue to use remote triage, video, online and telephone consultations where appropriate – whilst also considering those unable to access or engage with digital services.

The Government and the devolved administrations have published clear guidance on appropriate personal protective equipment for health and social care workers, including GPs. This has been written and reviewed by all four UK public health bodies and informed by NHS infection prevention and control experts. The guidance is consistent with World Health Organization guidance for protecting health and social care workers from COVID-19 and should allow the safe recommencement of regular face-to-face GP appointments.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that patients with pancreatic cancer receive treatment as quickly as possible.

Increasing the number of cancers that are diagnosed earlier is a top priority for the National Health Service. The NHS Long Term Plan sets an ambition to diagnose 75% of cancers at stage 1 or 2 by 2028, up from the current rate of just over 50%. To achieve this ambition, we will need to improve the stage of diagnosis for all cancers, including pancreatic cancer.

To deliver on this ambition, NHS England and NHS Improvement are setting up Rapid Diagnostic Centres (RDCs) which bring together diagnostic equipment and expertise to streamline diagnostic services for cancer. RDCs are focusing on cancers that generate non-specific symptoms and are harder to diagnose, such as pancreatic cancer.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to raise awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

In 2017, Public Health England (PHE) ran a Be Clear on Cancer pilot campaign in the East and West Midlands which focussed on a range of abdominal symptoms, such as diarrhoea, bloating and discomfort that can be indicative of several cancers, including pancreatic cancer. Further information on the pilot is available at the following link:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/16-be-clear-on-cancer/Abdominal%20Symptoms%20Regional%20Pilot

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support people (a) with mental health issues and (b) who have not been able to access that support during the covid-19 outbreak.

National Health Service mental health services have remained open for business throughout this time. NHS community, talking therapies and children and young people’s services have deployed innovative digital tools to connect with people and provide ongoing support.

We have previously issued tailored guidance to help people deal with their mental health and wellbeing on GOV.UK and are promoting this through the ‘Every Mind Matters’ website. For those with severe needs or in crisis, NHS mental health providers have established all-age 24 hours a day, seven days a week mental health crisis lines.

As part of wider NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance concerning the restoration of non-COVID-19 services, mental health services have been asked to proactively review all patients on community mental health teams’ caseloads and increase therapeutic activity and supportive interventions to prevent relapse or escalation of mental health needs for people with severe mental illness in the community.

13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP surgeries have offered online video appointments since the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak.

Data provided by NHSX, based on information received from suppliers indicates that 6,369 general practices in England, or 94% of the total, had video consultation capabilities as at 11 May 2020.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether there has been a change in the price of medicines and drugs for the NHS and pharmacists since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The costs of branded medicines are controlled by the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access and the statutory scheme for branded medicines.

For unbranded generic medicines the Department relies on competition to keep prices down. This has led to some of the lowest prices in Europe and allows prices to react to the market. In an international market this ensures that when demand is high and supply is low, prices in the United Kingdom can increase to help secure the availability of medicines for UK patients.

We continuously monitor overall movements in changes in prices of medicines through various methods including data from suppliers using the provisions in the Health Service Products (Provision and Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2018. However, it is too early to assess the full financial impact on the National Health Service and pharmacies in light of COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps he has taken with Cabinet colleagues to help secure international (a) partnerships and (b) other agreements that help tackle illegal immigration to the UK.

We are prioritising international engagement to secure more ambitious partnerships to tackle irregular migration and destroy the business model of organised immigration crime. These include a multi-year operational funding plan with France, a new UK-Italy strategic migration partnership and deepening cooperation with Albania. We have recently announced a new partnership with Bulgaria, as well as negotiations on a new working arrangement between the UK and EU border agency Frontex.

We are also prioritising engagement on migration through multilateral fora, including most recently at the Council of Europe and European Political Community summits.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to help support UK citizens who have family that are leaving Sudan; and whether his Department plans to take steps to support their safe transportation to the UK.

Since 25 April, the UK has supported the departure of 2,450 people, including British nationals and dependants out of Sudan. The UK Government continues to provide limited consular assistance to British nationals still in Sudan. Those who have left by alternative means to neighbouring countries are receiving consular support on a case-by-case basis.  British nationals who require assistance can call us 24/7. Sudanese nationals who have travelled to a third country and wish to join family members in the UK will need to apply for a visa, if they do not already have the right to enter the UK. Further information can be found online at GOV.UK.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to work with her international partners in response to the global cyber threat posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The UK Government remains vigilant to cyber threats, wherever they come from, and is ready to defend against them, working closely with allies to deter, mitigate and attribute malicious cyber activity. We consider all levers of power to protect the UK's security, consistent with our adherence to UK and international law.

The UK has dedicated significant resource to monitor, understand and counter Russia's cyber threats. This intelligence is shared with our allies, so that we are all prepared to defend ourselves from attack.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of financial sanctions imposed by the Government on the Russian regime following the invasion of Ukraine.

We have now sanctioned over 1000 individuals, and over 100 businesses since Putin's invasion of Ukraine. This includes oligarchs worth £117 billion. We have also implemented freezes on 18 of Russia's major banks with global assets worth £940 billion. In conjunction with our partners, we have supported the removal seven banks from SWIFT and frozen over 60% of Russian Central Bank reserves, worth £275 billion.

The full effects of our sanctions will take time to materialise, but these targeted measures are severely restricting Russia's access to finance. They also make it harder for Russia to source imports from around the world, which have fallen by 40% since the invasion, resulting in disruption to Russia's supply chains. Russia is heading for the deepest recession since the collapse of the Soviet Union, deeper than the 2008 global financial crisis.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps she is taking to help support preparations for the rebuilding of Ukraine.

The UK is fully behind Ukraine's vision for rebuilding a sovereign, prosperous, democratic nation that is stronger than before Putin's invasion. The Ukrainian Government has established a National Recovery Council, which will develop its National Recovery Plan, to be announced at the Ukraine Recovery Conference at Lugano, Switzerland, 4-5 July. We are working with the Council to develop our support. We will be guided by Ukraine's priorities in harnessing the best of UK development, business and civil society capabilities in support of its recovery and reconstruction. The UK's total financial support for Ukraine so far stands at some $3.6 billion, including military, humanitarian and fiscal support.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she has taken to help support peace and stability in the Western Balkans.

HMG is working closely with our NATO Allies, including the US and European partners, to support security and stability. In February, the Western Balkans Prime Ministers and Ambassadors were hosted in London for talks on strengthening our economic and security partnerships, including cooperation on resilience and cyber. In April, the Government used its Bosnia and Herzegovina autonomous sanctions regime for the first time, sanctioning Bosnian-Serb politicians Milorad Dodik and Zeljka Cvijanovic for their attempts to undermine the legitimacy and functionality of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Government has announced plans to extend our offer of honest and reliable infrastructure investment to the Western Balkans, and aims to mobilise £80 million of UK-backed investment by 2025. This will reduce dependency on Russian hydrocarbons and accelerate the transition to renewables. The Prime Minister's Special Envoy to the Western Balkans, Sir Stuart Peach, is also engaging extensively across the region, working alongside our US and European partners to reduce the risk of conflict.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Developm