Matt Western Portrait

Matt Western

Labour - Warwick and Leamington

Shadow Minister (Education)

(since March 2021)
Opposition Whip (Commons)
12th Feb 2020 - 14th May 2021
International Trade Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 28th Sep 2020
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee
5th Feb 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee
5th Feb 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
International Trade Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019


Department Event
Monday 23rd May 2022
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
23 May 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Monday 4th July 2022
09:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
4 Jul 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Achieving Economic Growth
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 176 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 229 Noes - 312
Speeches
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Achieving Economic Growth
My hon. Friend is making some powerful points about the fall in growth. I am sure she will be as …
Written Answers
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Electric Vehicles: Charging Points
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of (a) the costs of compliance …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 6th June 2019
LOCAL BUS DRIVERS' HOURS
That this House notes that bus drivers work nearly six hours more but are paid 20 per cent less per …
Bills
Friday 6th May 2022
Quarries (Planning) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to introduce a presumption in planning decision-making against approving quarry development in close proximity to settlements; to require …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: Mr Maurice Millward
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in …
EDM signed
Thursday 24th March 2022
P&O Ferries and DP World
That this House condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of P&O Ferries to fire 800 staff without notice …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 13th June 2018
Packaging (Extended Producer Responsibility) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Matt Western has voted in 496 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Matt Western 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
Michelle Donelan (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
(78 debate interactions)
Emma Hardy (Labour)
(49 debate interactions)
Toby Perkins (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Education)
(44 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(434 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(76 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(58 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(49 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Matt Western's debates

Warwick and Leamington 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 Warwick and Leamington signature proportion
Petitions with most Warwick and Leamington signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

I would like the UK Government to make it law that nightclubs must search guests on arrival to prevent harmful weapons and other items entering the establishment. This could be a pat down search or metal detector, but must involve measures being put in place to ensure the safety of the public.

Call on the government to consider holding debates in Parliament between MPs and university students to raise/discuss issues that affect them. It will allow students to voice their opinions and concerns about tuition fees of £9250 a year which are too high, particularly as grants have been removed

We ask Parliament to repeal the High Speed Rail Bills, 2016 and 2019, as MPs voted on misleading environmental, financial and timetable information provided by the Dept of Transport and HS2 Ltd. It fails to address the conditions of the Paris Accord and costs have risen from £56bn to over £100bn.


Latest EDMs signed by Matt Western

23rd March 2022
Matt Western signed this EDM on Thursday 24th March 2022

P&O Ferries and DP World

Tabled by: Karl Turner (Labour - Kingston upon Hull East)
That this House condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of P&O Ferries to fire 800 staff without notice or consultation with their trade unions, the RMT and Nautilus; demands the immediate reinstatement of the sacked workers; condemns their replacement with agency workers earning as little as £1.80 per …
125 signatures
(Most recent: 27 Apr 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 94
Scottish National Party: 12
Liberal Democrat: 7
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Alba Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
23rd September 2021
Matt Western signed this EDM on Monday 25th October 2021

Campaign to secure the future of the Covid Memorial Wall

Tabled by: Afzal Khan (Labour - Manchester, Gorton)
That this House welcomes the creation of the Covid Memorial Wall on Albert Embankment by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice; notes that this memorial now includes over 150,000 hand-painted hearts to symbolise all those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic; praises the work of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 97
Scottish National Party: 16
Liberal Democrat: 10
Democratic Unionist Party: 5
Conservative: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
View All Matt Western's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Matt Western, 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 Western has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Matt Western

Tuesday 13th July 2021
Monday 9th March 2020

2 Bills introduced by Matt Western


A Bill to introduce a presumption in planning decision-making against approving quarry development in close proximity to settlements; to require the risks of proposed quarrying sites to health and the environment, including through silica dust, to be assessed as part of the planning process; to make provision about the use of quarries for waste disposal; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 2022

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to limit bus drivers on local routes to driving for no more than 56 hours in any one week and 90 hours in any two consecutive weeks; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 13th February 2019
(Read Debate)

330 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
12 Other Department Questions
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in the Guardian newspaper related to levelling up.

There has been no spend in these publications in relation to levelling up. The full campaign expenditure will be published in due course, as part of the departments routine transparency commitments.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in The Telegraph newspaper related to levelling up.

There has been no spend in these publications in relation to levelling up. The full campaign expenditure will be published in due course, as part of the departments routine transparency commitments.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in The Times newspaper related to levelling up.

There has been no spend in these publications in relation to levelling up. The full campaign expenditure will be published in due course, as part of the departments routine transparency commitments.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in the Evening Standard newspaper related to levelling up.

There has been no spend in these publications in relation to levelling up. The full campaign expenditure will be published in due course, as part of the departments routine transparency commitments.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements on commercial radio related to levelling up.

The Levelling Up campaign has just ended. We will be publishing its expenditure as part of routine transparency commitments in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many households in (a) Warwickshire and (b) Warwick and Leamington constituency have been paired with a Ukrainian national as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

I refer the Hon Member to the data published at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/ukraine-family-scheme-application-data. Further data will be published in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many people in (a) Warwickshire and (b) Warwick and Leamington constituency have recorded their interest in becoming a sponsor as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

A breakdown of visas issued for Homes for Ukraine, by local authority has been published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-for-ukraine-sponsorship-scheme-numbers-of-visa-applications.

Data on sponsors by local authority is not yet available.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what guidance he is giving to local authorities on the distribution to student households of funding from the £144 million made available as discretionary funding to help households with rising energy bills.

My Department will provide guidance shortly to billing authorities on administering the council tax rebate scheme and the associated discretionary fund. Allocations from the discretionary fund will allow councils to support people that may need help with their energy bills but who are not eligible for the main scheme.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has to (a) initiate a consultation on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and (b) publish a timetable for the commencement of that Fund.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund pre-launch guidance document published on 2nd February 2022 provides further information on the overall focus of the fund, geographies over which the fund will operate and a summary of its investment priorities. This information will enable places to start planning and preparing for the full launch later in spring 2022, where the UK government will publish a full prospectus for places to be fully equipped to write an investment plan.

The Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s ambitious Levelling Up agenda and a significant component of its support for places across the UK. It provides £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment by March 2025, with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation from the Fund via a funding formula rather than a competition. This recognises that even the most affluent parts of the UK contain pockets of deprivation and need support.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent estimate he has made of the number of student accommodation settings containing flammable cladding.

Data on the remediation progress of high-rise student accommodation buildings in England identified with ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet Building Regulations is published in the Building Safety Programme data release. The latest data is available here.

The Department’s External Wall Systems data collection concerns residential buildings 18 metres and over, including student accommodation. The collection is ongoing, and we are working to improve the quality of data before publishing further summary information in due course.

We have begun a pilot data collection project for 11-18m residential buildings to identify those with unsafe cladding. We will publish further details in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much the Government spent on Disabled Facilities Grants each year from 2010-2021; and whether he has made an estimate of how much funding has been provided for changes that have been reversed by subsequent home owners.

Government funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) each year from 2010 to 2021 can be found at the table below. Government does not collect data on DFG funding provided for adaptations that have been reversed by subsequent homeowners.

DLUHC Funded

DHSC Funded

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

£169m

£200m

£220m

£200m

£185m

£220m

£394m

£473m*

£523m**

£505m

£573m***

£573m

*£431m annual grant plus an additional £42m announced in Autumn Budget 2017

**£468m annual grant plus an additional £55m announced in Budget 2018

***£505m annual grant plus an additional £68m paid to LAs in December 2020

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Attorney General, how many prosecutions there have been for offences relating to hare coursing by police force in the latest period for which data is available.

Offences of hare coursing may be prosecuted using offences created by the Game Act 1831, the Night Poaching Act 1828 and the Hunting Act 2004.

The CPS does not maintain a central record of the number of prosecutions for offences of hare coursing. This information could only be obtained by examining CPS case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what discussions he has had with the CPS on the capacity to deal with the increase in domestic violence cases during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is working closely with colleagues across the Criminal Justice System to ensure that these offences continue to be brought to justice. Cases are still being referred to the CPS for charging decisions, trials are being listed and domestic abuse cases are treated as a high priority.

The CPS has worked with police colleagues to introduce an Interim Charging Protocol to ensure that the most serious cases are prioritised effectively and put before the courts at the earliest opportunity. The CPS is committed to working closely with CJS partners and the third sector to make sure victims and witnesses remain at the heart of the process.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in The Guardian newspaper related to tackling covid-19.

The Government developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public. As part of this, we utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with any media planning approach, titles were selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level. All of these titles have been selected independently by our media planning and buying agency, OmniGOV.

The spend breakdown requested is not held by the Cabinet Office as this information will be held by OmniGov. The Cabinet Office also publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in The Telegraph newspaper related to tackling covid-19.

The Government developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public. As part of this, we utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with any media planning approach, titles were selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level. All of these titles have been selected independently by our media planning and buying agency, OmniGOV.

The spend breakdown requested is not held by the Cabinet Office as this information will be held by OmniGov. The Cabinet Office also publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in The Times newspaper related to tackling covid-19.

The Government developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public. As part of this, we utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with any media planning approach, titles were selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level. All of these titles have been selected independently by our media planning and buying agency, OmniGOV.

The spend breakdown requested is not held by the Cabinet Office as this information will be held by OmniGov. The Cabinet Office also publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in the Evening Standard newspaper related to tackling covid-19.

The Government developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public. As part of this, we utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with any media planning approach, titles were selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level. All of these titles have been selected independently by our media planning and buying agency, OmniGOV.

The spend breakdown requested is not held by the Cabinet Office as this information will be held by OmniGov. The Cabinet Office also publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements on commercial radio related to tackling covid-19.

The Government developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public. As part of this, we utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with any media planning approach, titles were selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level. All of these titles have been selected independently by our media planning and buying agency, OmniGOV.

The spend breakdown requested is not held by the Cabinet Office as this information will be held by OmniGov. The Cabinet Office also publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in the Guardian newspaper related to the UK's exit from the European Union in each of the last five years.

The Government developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public. As part of this, we utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with any media planning approach, titles were selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level. All of these titles have been selected independently by our media planning and buying agency, OmniGOV.

The spend breakdown requested is not held by the Cabinet Office as this information will be held by OmniGov. The Cabinet Office also publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in The Telegraph newspaper related to the UK's exit from the European Union in each of the last five years.

The Government developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public. As part of this, we utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with any media planning approach, titles were selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level. All of these titles have been selected independently by our media planning and buying agency, OmniGOV.

The spend breakdown requested is not held by the Cabinet Office as this information will be held by OmniGov. The Cabinet Office also publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in the Times newspaper related to the UK's exit from the European Union in each of the last five years.

The Government developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public. As part of this, we utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with any media planning approach, titles were selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level. All of these titles have been selected independently by our media planning and buying agency, OmniGOV.

The spend breakdown requested is not held by the Cabinet Office as this information will be held by OmniGov. The Cabinet Office also publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in the Evening Standard newspaper related to the UK's exit from the European Union in each of the last five years.

The Government developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public. As part of this, we utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with any media planning approach, titles were selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level. All of these titles have been selected independently by our media planning and buying agency, OmniGOV.

The spend breakdown requested is not held by the Cabinet Office as this information will be held by OmniGov. The Cabinet Office also publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements on commercial radio stations related to the UK's exit from the European Union in each of the last five years.

The Government developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public. As part of this, we utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with any media planning approach, titles were selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level. All of these titles have been selected independently by our media planning and buying agency, OmniGOV.

The spend breakdown requested is not held by the Cabinet Office as this information will be held by OmniGov. The Cabinet Office also publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much has been spent from the public purse on advertisements in local newspapers related to the UK's exit from the European Union in each of the last five years.

The Government developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public. As part of this, we utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with any media planning approach, titles were selected on their ability to engage with audiences at a national, regional and local level. All of these titles have been selected independently by our media planning and buying agency, OmniGOV.

The spend breakdown requested is not held by the Cabinet Office as this information will be held by OmniGov. The Cabinet Office also publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many recommendations for life peerage appointments made by the House of Lords Appointment Committee have not been followed since 2010.

The House of Lords Appointments Commission (HoLAC) was established in 2000 as an independent body. HoLAC is responsible for the vetting for propriety of all life peerages to the cross-bench and political benches of the House. HoLAC seeks advice from the appropriate vetting agencies and then will either advise the Prime Minister that it has no concerns about the appointment, or will draw its concerns to the Prime Minister’s attention. These vetting procedures and the advice to the Prime Minister are confidential.

Where HOLAC does not support a nomination, and a Prime Minister has exercised their right to recommend it anyway, this information is communicated in general terms to the relevant select committee (PACAC) whilst also protecting the identity of the nominee in question.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to provide guidance on how local election counts can be made covid-secure, with particular reference to ensuring those who are observers attending the election counts can maintain social distancing while ensuring (a) scrutiny of the process and (b) the safety of officials and observers.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 147911 on 9 February 2021.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help protect (a) automotive and (b) other businesses based in the UK from cyber-attacks.

The Department works closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on cyber risks to all business sectors, including the automotive sector. The NCSC regularly publishes threat updates and a wide range of actionable guidance and tools for businesses on its website; their most recent being guidance for UK organisations in respect of cyber threats and the current situation in Ukraine. The NCSC, along with my department, works closely with trade bodies and industry partnerships as a trusted route to providing best practice and practical advice to businesses. In December 2021 the Government published its National Cyber Strategy, which contains more information on the breadth of cyber security actions being taken by Government. The annual Cyber Security Breaches Survey also sets out details of the cyber threat to businesses and what firms are doing in response.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the risk of cyber attacks to (a) automotive and (b) other businesses based in the UK.

The Department works closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on cyber risks to all business sectors, including the automotive sector. The NCSC regularly publishes threat updates and a wide range of actionable guidance and tools for businesses on its website; their most recent being guidance for UK organisations in respect of cyber threats and the current situation in Ukraine. The NCSC, along with my department, works closely with trade bodies and industry partnerships as a trusted route to providing best practice and practical advice to businesses. In December 2021 the Government published its National Cyber Strategy, which contains more information on the breadth of cyber security actions being taken by Government. The annual Cyber Security Breaches Survey also sets out details of the cyber threat to businesses and what firms are doing in response.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made on the impact of the Research Excellence Framework on academic freedom.

Research England, working with the HE Education Funding Bodies in the Devolved Nations, is conducting an extensive evaluation of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, including a recent call for feedback from Higher Education Providers and individuals involved in the research system. This evidence with inform the design of the next national research evaluation.

A key principle of the current Research Excellence Framework (REF) is that all types of research and all forms of research output across all disciplines is assessed on a fair and equal basis. The REF aims to assess all types of research without distorting the activity that it measures, or encouraging or discouraging any particular type of research activity, other than providing a general stimulus to enhancing the overall achievements of the UK research base.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to reduce excess winter deaths in Warwickshire.

The Government is committed to helping low income and vulnerable households to sufficiently heat their homes, recognising the impact cold homes can have on people’s health.

Energy efficiency is the best long-term solution to tackling fuel poverty. The Government is driving energy efficiency improvements through a number of schemes, including the Energy Company Obligation and the Home Upgrade Grant. Since the Energy Company Obligation Scheme began in 2013, Warwickshire has received 21,746 energy efficiency measures (Headline Energy Efficiency Statistics, Table 3.4).[1]

Additional support is available to eligible households through the Warm Home Discount, the Cold Weather Payment and the Winter Fuel Payment. The Household Support Fund is also providing £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials this winter.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/household-energy-efficiency-statistics-headline-release-december-2021

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the average cost to install a heat source pump to replace an existing gas boiler in a standard three bedroom semi-detached home.

Based on the best available evidence, the Government estimates the current total cost of installing an air source heat pump to replace a gas boiler in an average three-bedroom semi-detached house to be around £10,500. However, as the market develops, heat pump installation costs are expected to fall. In the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Government set an ambition to reduce the upfront costs of installing a heat pump by 25-50% by 2025.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will delay the deadline for businesses to switch to UK conformity assessments for pyrotechnics by at least one year.

We are working closely with the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ensure that a UK approved body for pyrotechnics is accredited as soon as possible.

We are also aware that pyrotechnics bodies are currently engaging with UKAS and are in the process of getting accredited.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support trade in services with EU countries.

The Government is committed to supporting UK businesses to adjust to our new relationship with the European Union. We continue to signpost businesses and trade associations to information on how to best adapt to the changes through a variety of means.

We have published GOV.UK guidance to support businesses providing services to the EU, EEA and Switzerland. This includes enhanced guidance on Member States’ immigration systems providing UK business travellers with a better understanding of visa and work permit requirements (www.gov.uk/government/collections/travelling-to-the-eu-switzerland-norway-iceland-or-liechtenstein-for-work) and a tool which UK businesses can use to check for relevant reservations as they sell services to customers in EU member states (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-eu-trade-and-cooperation-agreement-reservations).

We will continue to work closely with businesses, including with the Professional Business Services sector, to gather insights and to ensure the Government continues to provide businesses with the support they need in our new trading relationship with the EU.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on ensuring that employers are aware that (a) international postgraduate students and (b) other international students studying remotely will still be eligible for a post-study work visa if their degree does not finish during the 2020-21 academic year.

BEIS is working closely with the Home Office and the Department for Education on visas, including the new Graduate route to attract and retain talent. Students will normally be expected to undertake their studies in the UK to be eligible for the Graduate route. However, if students are required to either continue their current studies or commence a new course by distance or blended learning due to Covid-19, they will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route on a concessionary basis if they spent some time studying outside the UK, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.

The Government have published guidance which covers these temporary concessions for students and student sponsors, and an introductory guide for employers that provides an overview of the new immigration system and the steps employers can take to prepare.

Successful applicants on the Graduate route, scheduled to be launched in summer 2021, will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years. Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households have applied for a free heat pump as part of the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project; and how many of those heat pumps have been installed to date.

As part of the Department’s £505 million Energy Innovation Programme, the £14.6 million Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project will showcase the feasibility of installing heat pumps in a range of homes across the UK.

The Project has attracted over 4,500 expressions of interest since the three regional delivery partners were announced in Summer 2020. Installations have only recently begun – following delays caused by coronavirus – but as of Thursday 19 November 2020, 19 installations had been completed.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the biggest factor has been in households not installing a heat pump under the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project.

As part of the Department’s £505 million Energy Innovation Programme, the £14.6 million Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project will showcase the feasibility of installing heat pumps in a range of homes across the UK. Installations have only recently begun – following delays caused by coronavirus – so it is too early to draw definitive conclusions.

As part of the project we will assess the reasons given by households for not progressing from survey to installation. We are also exploring where innovation can overcome any challenges through the Demonstration Project.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the estimated cost is of the energy efficiency retrofit requirements for households wishing to install a heat pump under the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project.

As part of the Department’s £505 million Energy Innovation Programme, the £14.6 million Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project will showcase the feasibility of installing heat pumps in a range of homes across the UK. Installations have only recently begun – following delays caused by coronavirus – so it is too early to provide robust evidence on the cost of the energy efficiency retrofit requirements for households participating in the Project.

Under the Project, if any building upgrade measures are required then they are capped at £5,000 per property, except in exceptional circumstances, and this has not been a major impediment to homes participating in the Project to date. However, it is acknowledged that some homes with high heat demand and poor insulation, may require significant investment in energy efficiency measures to make them suitable for a heat pump. We are exploring where innovation can overcome this challenge through the Demonstration Project.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many heat pumps have been installed in off gas grid homes under the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project.

As part of the Department’s £505 million Energy Innovation Programme, the £14.6 million Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project will showcase the feasibility of installing heat pumps in a range of homes across the UK, but will focus largely on homes connected to the gas network.

The Project has a target that at least 85 per cent of heat pumps installed under this project will be in homes that currently use gas as their primary heating fuel. Installations have only recently begun – following delays caused by coronavirus – but as of Thursday 19 November 2020, 19 installations had been completed, all of which were in homes that previously used gas as their primary heating fuel.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of types of homes least suitable to having a heat pump installed as part of the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project.

As part of the Department’s £505 million Energy Innovation Programme, the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project will showcase the feasibility of installing heat pumps in a range of homes across the UK. Installations have only recently begun – following delays caused by coronavirus – so it is too early to draw definitive conclusions, however, early evidence indicates that a large proportion of homes are suitable for heat pumps.

We acknowledge that some housing archetypes may pose specific challenges to the deployment of heat pumps. For example, some terraced houses and flats may have limited space for an air-source heat pump outdoor unit. While homes with high heat demand and poor insulation, may require significant investment in energy efficiency measures to make them suitable. We are exploring where innovation can overcome some of these challenges through the Demonstration Project.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with manufacturers on energy costs for businesses.

The Government is committed to minimising energy costs for businesses to ensure our economy remains strong and competitive. Details of meetings held by Ministers in the Department are recorded in our transparency data, which is published at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of households within £100 of being classed as fuel poor.

The number of households currently classed as fuel poor for whom a reduction of £100 in their modelled fuel costs would remove them from being classed as fuel poor, in the latest available year, was 703,000.

The number of households currently not classed as fuel poor for whom an increase of £100 in their modelled fuel costs would classify them as fuel poor, in the latest available year, was 919,000.

These figures are based on the 2018 fuel poverty dataset that is derived based on the English Housing Survey.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the number of UK households that use (a) oil and (b) LPG for their heating and hot water requirements.

There are 1.9m households in the UK using oil and LPG as their main heating fuel and hot water requirements. We estimate that 1.7m use Oil and 220k use LPG.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the number of UK non-domestic properties that use (a) oil and (b) LPG for their space heating and hot water requirements.

The Department estimates that approximately 5%, by floor area, of the 1.8m non-domestic properties in England and Wales use oil or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) for space heating and hot water (4% oil, 1% LPG). This is based on the Business Energy Efficiency Survey (published 2016) which covers England and Wales. We do not have sufficient data to make this assessment for non-domestic properties in Scotland and Northern Ireland where heat policy is mostly devolved. The Department is continuing to build its evidence base for non-domestic buildings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the average cost for homes off the gas grid to move from EPC band (a) E, (b) F and (c) G to band C; and if he will make a statement.

The most complete modelling of these costs we have is for households who were on low-incomes in 2018. This is based on the English Housing Survey. Due to small samples, the estimate for band F and G have been combined.

The modelled costs of improving the average home which is off the gas grid to band C are:

From band E

£12,300

From band F & G

£18,900

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the potential per property cost for installation of (a) loft insulation, (b) cavity wall insulation, (c) solid wall insulation and (d) double glazing for non-insulated properties.

An assessment of typical costs for these measures in different property architypes can be found in our 2017 publication, ‘Domestic cost assumptions – what does it cost to retrofit homes?’:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/domestic-cost-assumptions-what-does-it-cost-to-retrofit-homes.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the the average cost per KwH of energy used by his Department generated from (a) natural gas, (b) oil, (c) LPG, (d) electric direct heat and (e) air source heat pump.

The average costs per kWh for the Department have been taken from 2019/20 invoices for our headquarters building at 1 Victoria Street, London and are shown in the table below.

The Department does not use LPG and does not currently have an air source heat pump at 1 Victoria Street.

Natural gas

Oil

Electric direct heat

£/kWh fuel

£0.04/kWh

£0.06/kWh

£0.13/kWh

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of off-gas grid households affected by fuel poverty.

The number of fuel poor households not connected to the gas grid in England, in the latest available year (2018), was 495,000, as seen in table 10 of the Fuel Poverty statistics detailed tables (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fuel-poverty-detailed-tables-2020).

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to limit repairs being carried out to existing oil boilers.

In the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy the government committed to phasing out the installation of high carbon fossil fuel heating systems in buildings off the gas grid during the 2020s. As we develop policy to deliver this commitment we are engaging with industry to consider how we can best ensure that oil boilers are replaced with low carbon heating systems, rather than being repaired endlessly, so that we can meet our net zero obligations. We are considering the extent to which Building Regulations can help drive this change and we will consult on proposals for decarbonising off gas grid buildings in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his officials have had with industry representatives on limiting repairs being carried out to existing oil boilers.

In the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy the government committed to phasing out the installation of high carbon fossil fuel heating systems in buildings off the gas grid during the 2020s. As we develop policy to deliver this commitment we are engaging with industry to consider how we can best ensure that oil boilers are replaced with low carbon heating systems, rather than being repaired endlessly, so that we can meet our net zero obligations. We are considering the extent to which Building Regulations can help drive this change and we will consult on proposals for decarbonising off gas grid buildings in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to use future Building Regulations to prevent end-of-life oil boilers being replaced by condensing oil boilers.

In the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy the government committed to phasing out the installation of high carbon fossil fuel heating systems in buildings off the gas grid during the 2020s. As we develop policy to deliver this commitment we are engaging with industry to consider how we can best ensure that oil boilers are replaced with low carbon heating systems, rather than being repaired endlessly, so that we can meet our net zero obligations. We are considering the extent to which Building Regulations can help drive this change and we will consult on proposals for decarbonising off gas grid buildings in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) oil and (b) LPG Aga appliances that are fitted in UK homes.

There are 1.9m households in the UK using oil and LPG as their main heating fuel and hot water requirements. We estimate that 1.7m use Oil and 220k use LPG.

The Department does not have information on the number of (a) oil and (b) LPG Aga appliances that are fitted in UK homes.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to review the date for the reopening of (a) massage therapist, (b) reflexology and (c) other therapeutic services as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We’ve now provided other close contact services like massage therapists, reflexologists and other therapeutic services in England except Leicester with the certainty they need to reopen from Monday 13 July, subject to them following the COVID-secure guidelines.

We need to be confident services are able to reopen in a COVID-secure way for the staff and customers. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and our guidance has been developed with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to tackle late payments to small businesses.

Legislation already exists under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998, which sets out that payment terms between two businesses should not exceed 60 days, unless they are fair to both parties. Additionally, suppliers can claim statutory interest, and debt recovery costs, on invoices not paid within the agreed period or (if no period is agreed) within 30 days. It also establishes maximum 30-day payment terms for transactions with public authorities.

The Government is completely focussed on fulfilling our manifesto commitment to clamp down on late payment and strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) to support small businesses who are least able to cover financial shortfalls and find temporary finance more difficult and more expensive to obtain.

The Government has transferred the administration of the Code to the Office of the SBC in March to unify prompt payment measures under one umbrella and we continue to consult on extending its powers. We have also taken a tough compliance approach to large companies who do not comply with the Payment Practices Reporting Duty and will use enforcement powers to prosecute those who do not comply where obliged.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people receive refunds from venues for weddings that have been cancelled as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Under consumer law, consumers may be entitled to a refund within 14 days, depending on the nature of the contract in place. Where payments were made using a credit card, redress can be sought from the credit card company. Some businesses are also offering consumers alternative arrangements, which individuals are able to choose should they wish. The Government is engaging continually with business and consumer advocacy bodies to assess the impact of cancellations made in the light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the economic viability of the use of hydrogen-ready boilers in domestic heating.

Burning natural gas for heating accounts for a significant proportion of household carbon emissions. There is currently no clear consensus on the best approach to decarbonising heat at scale, and our December 2018 report on Clean Growth: Transforming Heating set out that using hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas, including for domestic heating, may play an important role.

BEIS is?currently?investing over £100m in hydrogen innovation. This includes Hy4Heat, a programme which aims to assess the safety and technical feasibility of hydrogen for heating in homes. This includes working with industry to develop prototype hydrogen appliances including hydrogen ready boilers and will evaluate their likely costs and performance upon completion of the programme in March 2021.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of the domestic heating industry on the future role of hydrogen as a heating fuel.

Replacing natural gas in the gas grid with hydrogen may be an option which could contribute to decarbonising heat, along with other options including heat networks, electric heat pumps and biogas. The Government’s December 2018 report on Clean Growth: Transforming Heating concluded that there is currently no clear consensus on the best approach to decarbonising heat at scale and that further work is required on the hydrogen option to prove the safety and feasibility case and to better understand the costs and benefits.

The Department is working with the gas and heating industries, including representatives of the domestic heating sector, to ensure that all the R&D, testing and trialling work required to achieve this has been identified.

The Government is also spending up to £121m on hydrogen innovation, including £25m on the Hy4Heat programme which is investigating whether it is technically possible to replace methane with hydrogen in residential and commercial buildings and gas appliances.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Mar 2021
What steps he is taking to tackle the digital divide.

To tackle the digital divide and support connectivity we have worked with providers on social tariffs meaning low cost landline and broadband services for those on means-tested benefits.

DCMS has also launched the Digital Lifeline fund to provide devices, data and support to 5000 adults with learning disabilities. In addition, to boost skills, we have made digital qualifications to level 1 for adults free of charge.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether companies in the (a) events and exhibitions sectors and (b) sports stadia are eligible to access the Job Support Scheme for their employees due to restrictions on those sectors reopening during the covid-19 outbreak; and when his Department plans to publish further sector-specific guidance for the application of the Job Support Scheme to those sectors.

On 9 October the Chancellor announced a further expansion to the package of financial support available to businesses across the UK. This includes an expansion of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) to cover 61.67% of wages for open businesses, an increase to self-employed grants, additional business grants, and an extension of the VAT reduction to 5%. This is an addition to the measures outlined on 24 September, which is intended to cover businesses closed by national and local restrictions. Individual businesses will need to evaluate the applicability of these schemes based on their own financial circumstance.

The Treasury has published a JSS policy paper (which can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-job-support-scheme/the-job-support-scheme) , giving further details on eligibility criteria, conditions and timescales for making claims under the JSS Open and the JSS Closed. Further guidance will be published shortly.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to support the heritage and tourism sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

We will continue to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the heritage and tourism sectors through this crisis.

Businesses and workers in these sectors can access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package, including the recently extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Bounce Back Loans scheme.

Through VisitEngland, we announced a £1.3 million scheme to provide financial support to Destination Management Organisations at risk of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and Historic England (HE) have made emergency funding available for the heritage sector. The NLHF’s £50 million Heritage Emergency Fund and HE’s £2 million Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund extend a safety net to a wide variety of heritage organisations struggling with financial losses and cash flow issues.

My Department’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce - which contains specific Heritage and Visitor Economy Working Groups - is developing guidance to help these sectors to safely reopen.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to support the performing arts sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has already announced an unprecedented package of measures in place to provide immediate and vital support to the cultural sector during this pandemic. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self Employment Support Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, business rates relief and cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

In order to further support the sustainability of the sector, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

£90 million is being made available to National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) and Creative People and Places (CPPs) lead organisations. £50 million will be made available to organisations that are not in receipt of regular funding from the Arts Council in order to maintain their survival through this crisis. Finally £20 million of financial support is being made available to individuals, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. DCMS and ACE are continuing to work closely to consider the additional measures that are needed to ensure the long-term recovery and growth of the cultural sector.

The Secretary of State, myself and officials continue to consult the Art sector extensively to ensure we fully understand the financial impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector.

DCMS is engaging with other departments to support the economic response, by ensuring that the needs of its sectors, and those who work in them, are understood.

DCMS will continue to work with this valuable sector to understand the difficulties it faces and help it access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the appointment of Rachel Houchen as a non-executive director of the Office for Students (OfS), if will make an assessment of the political impartiality of the OfS.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, appoints non-executive directors to the Board of the Office for Students in accordance with Schedule 1 of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 and the Governance Code for Public Appointments, which can be found here: https://publicappointmentscommissioner.independent.gov.uk/regulating-appointments/governance-code/.

Rachel Houchen is not a member of any political party but, in any event, under section 9.2 of the Governance Code, political activity is not a bar to an appointment on the board of an arms-length body.

Rachel Houchen was appointed following a fair and open competition, in line with the Governance Code for Public Appointments.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when applications to the National Scholarship Scheme to open.

We are currently considering options for the design of the scholarship, which will determine the date for rolling out the scheme.

As part of the higher education reform consultation, we welcome views on how the eligibility for a national scholarship scheme should be set to support students and address ongoing financial barriers that can restrict high achieving, disadvantaged students from achieving their full academic potential whilst studying in higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much his Department has spent on phone bills each of the last 5 years.

The table below details the department’s spend, by telephony type, on bills over the last five years for the period 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2022. The table highlights the breakdown on a financial year (April – March) basis.

Financial Year/Service

2017-2018

2018-2019

2019-2020

2020-2021

2021-2022

Mobile Telephony

£651,220.09

£492,834.91

£240,573.06

£374,504.50

£280,877.58

Fixed Line Telephony

£661,250.81

£491,787.50

£619,918.22

£219,930.80

£65,537.20

Soft Phone Telephony

N/A

N/A

£1,022.04

£66,229.95

£152,634.64

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Office for Students on setting the salary of non-executive directors.

Under Schedule 1, Section 4(2) of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, it is for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education to set the terms and conditions of a person’s appointment as a member of the Office for Students (OfS). Under Schedule 1, section 6(1), the OfS must pay to members of the OfS such remuneration as the Secretary of State may determine.

As outlined in the Governance Code for Public Appointments, there is a requirement for ministers to agree the remuneration of appointees of the boards of public bodies prior to a competition opening. The remuneration of £9,180 per annum for non-executive directors of the OfS board was approved by ministers when the OfS was established, and is approved each time a new competition is launched.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact of the rise in inflation on the purchasing power of the average size maintenance loan.

We are freezing maximum tuition fees for the 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. By 2024/25, maximum fees will have been frozen for seven years.

Students from the lowest-income households have access to the largest ever amounts of support for their living costs in cash terms. Maximum grants and loans for living costs were increased by 3.1% this academic year, and we have announced that they will increase by a further 2.3% next year.

Many providers have hardship funds that students can apply to for assistance should individuals’ finances be affected in academic year 2021/22. The government is also making available discretionary funding of £144 million to be provided to support vulnerable people and individuals on low incomes.

Grant funding to the Office for Students (OfS) for the 2021/22 financial year included an allocation of £5 million to higher education providers in England in order to provide additional support for student hardship.

In our guidance to the OfS on funding for the 2021/22 financial year we made clear that the OfS should protect the £256 million allocation for the student premiums to support disadvantaged students and those that need additional help. The 2022/23 financial year guidance to the OfS confirms universities will continue to be able to support students in hardship through the student premium. Ministers’ Strategic Priorities Grant guidance letter to the OfS asks that the OfS looks to protect the student premium in cash terms for financial year 2022/23.

Advice is available from providers and from other sources online to help students manage their money while they are attending their courses.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to use the provisions in the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 to reveal the beneficial owners of purpose-built student accommodation.

The Register of Overseas Entities forms part of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022, which received Royal Assent on 15 March 2022. Once the register opens for registrations, new acquisitions by overseas entities, including of purpose-built student accommodation, will have to be registered across the UK.

Overseas companies already owning land in England and Wales, and Scotland, will be required to register their beneficial owners within six months. This will already include the beneficial owners of purpose-built student accommodation, if applicable. Any overseas entity disposing of its property holdings between 28 February 2022 and the end of the transition period will be required to provide information to Companies House about the beneficial owners of the entity at the time of disposal. This includes where the disposal relates to any student accommodation.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the membership of the higher education financial sustainability group is.

The membership of the higher education Financial Sustainability Oversight Group is:

Department for Education:

  • Deputy Director of Higher Education Reform (Chair).
  • Deputy Director of Higher Education and Further Education Finance Business Partnering.
  • Deputy Director for Further Education Quality, College Improvement and Sponsorship.
  • Head of Higher Education Restructuring Regime and Financial Sustainability.
  • Higher Education Finance Business Partner.
  • Senior Economist.

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy:

  • Deputy Director, Impact and Research.
  • Head of Policy for University Research and Knowledge Exchange.
  • Lead Policy Analyst for UK Research & Innovation Institutions and System.
  • Research Officer for UK Research & Institutions and System.

The Office for Students:

  • Director of Resources, Finance and Transformation.
  • Head of Sector Level Finance Data and Analysis.
  • Head of Student Protection.

UK Research and Innovation:

  • Head of Sustainability, Research England.

Additional members whose skills, knowledge, and experience are required are invited to attend all or part of a meeting, as and when appropriate.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with how many Vice Chancellors he had had discussions on the provision of online teaching as of February 2020.

Since his appointment in 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has regularly engaged with university Vice-Chancellors, higher education (HE) representative and mission groups, leading academics, and others who are active in the sector.

These conversations have covered a wide range of HE sector issues. Although it is not possible to precisely quantify those discussions which have covered online teaching, the Secretary of State has made very clear his view that students must be able to expect high-quality teaching. This includes face-to-face teaching. I have been speaking with a number of university Vice-Chancellors to ensure they are offering students the amount of in-person teaching they should expect.

The government has removed all restrictions on in-person teaching. This means providers are able to offer the full face-to-face teaching experience that they were offering before the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual learning is a fantastic innovation that can be used to complement and enhance a student’s learning experience, not detract from it. It should not be used as a cost-cutting exercise.

The Office for Students (OfS) has recently launched a review of blended learning. The review will examine blended methods of course delivery and consider which approaches represent high-quality teaching and learning, as well as which approaches fall short of the OfS' regulatory requirements.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with hon. Members who wrote to the University of Nottingham on the withdrawal of the honorary doctorate of Tony Sewell.

I am deeply disappointed by the University of Nottingham’s decision to withdraw the honorary doctorate it had previously intended to offer to Tony Sewell. Dr Sewell has a distinguished history of public service, including his work at Generating Genius and on the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, and is entirely worthy of recognition. There can be no doubt that the University of Nottingham’s decision contributes to the chilling effect on freedom of speech on campus, as well as sending an implicit message to any students and staff at the university who hold views similar to Dr Sewell that the University is not a welcoming place for them.

As universities are independent and autonomous organisations, you should be aware that this matter is ultimately a decision for the University of Nottingham.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department employs staff on zero-hours contracts as at 15 March 2022.

The department does not have any employees on zero hours contracts.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure that higher education providers have a good understanding of (a) the reasons for which the Office for Students collects the data it does and (b) how it uses that data.

The department has set out expectations in relation to the Office for Students (OfS) and reducing the data burden on higher education (HE) providers. This has been done in an announcement in September 2020, and in subsequent guidance letters to the OfS.

The OfS provides a clear description for the uses of each data collection. This information is communicated regularly to providers through consultations as well as being displayed on the OfS website. Alongside the data collections, the OfS provides high-level descriptions on how it intends to use each data item. The OfS intends to review these descriptions as it reviews the contents of records to ensure that they are clear.

The OfS provides detailed descriptions of all its data outputs and uses. This allows providers to understand exactly how it has used its data to inform regulatory metrics, publications, and funding.

The OfS engages regularly with providers on data burden. Most recently, this was done through the data futures consultation and roundtable.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what threshold would have to be reached in order to trigger an intervention by his Department in the event of a higher education provider exiting the market.

The higher education (HE) financial sustainability oversight group is a group formed of government officials and officials from non-departmental public bodies. Its purpose is to oversee the overall climate for HE provider financial sustainability and to identify emerging key risks and issues for the English HE sector as a whole.

The group is chaired by the Senior Civil Servant who is responsible for HE financial sustainability. There is an established escalation process in place to keep ministers sighted on shared information, risks, and issues.

There is no set threshold that would automatically trigger an intervention with individual HE providers. The Office for Students (OfS) collects financial data from HE providers. The OfS analyses the data to ensure it has an up to date understanding of the sustainability of the sector. Where the OfS identifies concerns about the financial viability of an HE provider, it will implement enhanced monitoring of that provider.

In exceptional circumstances, the department has introduced time-limited, emergency funding schemes, such as the higher education restructuring regime established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it should be noted that the department would generally not financially intervene to save failing HE providers, as they are autonomous institutions responsible for their own business models.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what role the higher education financial sustainability oversight group has; and whether he chairs that group as at 14 March 2022.

The higher education (HE) financial sustainability oversight group is a group formed of government officials and officials from non-departmental public bodies. Its purpose is to oversee the overall climate for HE provider financial sustainability and to identify emerging key risks and issues for the English HE sector as a whole.

The group is chaired by the Senior Civil Servant who is responsible for HE financial sustainability. There is an established escalation process in place to keep ministers sighted on shared information, risks, and issues.

There is no set threshold that would automatically trigger an intervention with individual HE providers. The Office for Students (OfS) collects financial data from HE providers. The OfS analyses the data to ensure it has an up to date understanding of the sustainability of the sector. Where the OfS identifies concerns about the financial viability of an HE provider, it will implement enhanced monitoring of that provider.

In exceptional circumstances, the department has introduced time-limited, emergency funding schemes, such as the higher education restructuring regime established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it should be noted that the department would generally not financially intervene to save failing HE providers, as they are autonomous institutions responsible for their own business models.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with universities on Ukrainian refugee students completing the academic courses they were taking in Ukraine.

Alongside our allies, we are united in support for Ukraine. The department has been working closely with the education sector and across government more widely to ensure that Ukrainian students are supported during this difficult time. The government is considering how best to support these students to continue their education.

Last week, the department convened the Higher Education (HE) Taskforce, bringing together representatives from across the sector to discuss how we can work together to facilitate the progression of Ukrainian students within HE, both by supporting Ukrainian HE and by supporting students who come to the UK to access opportunities here.

Whilst HE providers are autonomous and independent from government, we are encouraging them to be as flexible as possible for all students impacted by the situation in Ukraine and, where they are facing challenges, ensure support is given where it is most needed.

The government will look to support Ukrainian students as they reassess their options in the UK.

The department will continue to work closely with key representatives to explore how the HE sector can collectively support Ukrainian students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact of the phasing out of RPI in 2030 on the reforms to the student loan system.

The Office for National Statistics is reforming the Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation in February 2030, bringing the methods and data of the Consumer Prices Index Including Owner Occupiers' Housing Costs (CPIH) into RPI. From that point the historic wedge between RPI and CPIH will fall to zero.

We have used RPI as the inflation measure in our reformed student loan plan type, which will apply to new borrowers entering higher education from September 2023 onwards, to ensure consistency with existing student loan plan types, all of which include links to RPI. Annual RPI inflation has historically been around 1 percentage point higher than CPIH.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he will respond to the recommendations in the Post-18 Education Review on reforming (a) maintenance loans and (b) grants.

We have considered all of the panel’s recommendations carefully, including their recommendations on maintenance support. The switch from maintenance grants to loans in 2016 has not stopped people going into higher education. In 2021, we had record rates of English 18 year-olds accepted to full-time university, up 1.1 percentage points from the previous year to 39.0%, the highest on record.

In 2021, we also had record rates of disadvantaged 18 year-olds accepted to full-time university, up 0.6 percentage points from the previous year to 24.6%.

Students from the lowest-income households have access to the largest ever amounts of support for their living costs in cash terms. Maximum grants and loans for living costs were increased by 3.1% this academic year, and we have announced that they will increase by a further 2.3% next year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure that no public money in the form of student loans issued by Student Finance England has been accessed, either directly or indirectly through a third party, by people listed on the UK’s sanctions list.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) performs daily checks to assess for impacted customers against the sanctions list provided by the Office of Financial Sanctions Compliance (OFSI). SLC also works with payment service providers, including Government Banking, who are responsible for SWIFT repayments, to provide assurance that all OFSI sanction guidelines are met.

In the event of an impacted customer being identified, SLC would attach a ‘flag’ to the individual in question. This would both prevent movement of funds and trigger close monitoring of the account for the sanctioned period.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he had with the Council for At-Risk Academics on the security of academics in (a) Ukraine and (b) Russia.

We have regular contact with the Council for at Risk Academics and are aware of the excellent work they do in extracting academics from dangerous situations all over the world.

Alongside our allies, we are united in support for Ukraine and will always defend the Ukrainian people’s right to choose their own destiny. We are deeply empathetic to the plight of Ukrainian academics who will have their work disrupted. We are working at pace to stand up a package of support for Ukrainian researchers at risk.

We have also made it clear that we continue to welcome Russian academics to the UK and we are proud of the long history we have in defending values such as freedom of speech and freedom of publication.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ascertain the legal owners of the properties managed by Allied Student Accommodation Limited.

The government plays no role in the provision of student residential accommodation. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how his Department defines value for money in relation to the provision of higher education teaching and research.

The government is committed to ensuring that students and the taxpayer see returns on their investments. We are tackling low-quality provision that results in unsatisfactory outcomes for students, as well as ensuring the sustainability of our world-class higher education (HE) system.

The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 sets out the Office for Students' (OfS) duty to promote value for money in the provision of HE. Accordingly, the department is working with the OfS to introduce a more rigorous and effective quality regime. This includes, for the first time, setting stringent minimum numerical thresholds for student outcomes, on which the OfS is currently consulting, and measures to ensure providers deliver a high-quality academic experience.

In addition, as part of the department’s HE reform agenda, the government is consulting openly on policies that will help to ensure every student can have confidence they are on a high-quality course that will lead to good outcomes, as well as securing a fairer detail for the taxpayer. This includes proposals on student number controls, which are set out in detail in the consultation document, which is accessible here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/higher-education-reform/higher-education-he-reform/supporting_documents/HE_reform_commandpaperprint_version.pdf.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for overseeing HE research. BEIS funding supports a diversity of internationally competitive and highly cited worldwide university research. This research delivers benefits to the economy and society, both nationally and internationally. It also supports a vibrant, collaborative, and open research culture, as well as the development of a skilled research workforce.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the higher education sector is not used as a mechanism by which Russian oligarchs with links to President Putin can legitimise their wealth.

As set out in legislation, universities must follow the same rules regulating the flow of foreign money and sanctions as other businesses. Universities will be bound by new rules restricting Russian investment in line with other British businesses. The department expects universities to complete due diligence processes to consider reputational, ethical, and security risks.

Any higher education provider seeking to enrol students of any nationality should be aware of the prohibitions of making funds or economic resources, either directly or indirectly, available for the benefit of anyone subject to financial sanctions. This is in addition to any services provided while completing an education programme run by the higher education provider.

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation continues to engage with stakeholders during this period and is monitoring the situation closely.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of students that will participate in the National Scholarship Scheme per academic year.

We are considering options for the design of the National Scholarship.

As part of our consultation on Higher Education Reform, we are actively seeking views on how eligibility should be determined. This could include targeting students using a range of criteria, such as household income and level 3 attainment.

Our intention is that the scholarship will support high-achieving, disadvantaged students, by addressing some of the financial barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what will the eligibility criteria for the National Scholarship Scheme be.

We are considering options for the design of the National Scholarship.

As part of our consultation on Higher Education Reform, we are actively seeking views on how eligibility should be determined. This could include targeting students using a range of criteria, such as household income and level 3 attainment.

Our intention is that the scholarship will support high-achieving, disadvantaged students, by addressing some of the financial barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the administration of the National Scholarship Scheme will be managed by his Department or an external contractor.

We are considering options for the design of the National Scholarship.

As part of our consultation on Higher Education Reform, we are actively seeking views on how eligibility should be determined. This could include targeting students using a range of criteria, such as household income and level 3 attainment.

Our intention is that the scholarship will support high-achieving, disadvantaged students, by addressing some of the financial barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of a redistribution of student numbers between providers as a result of higher A-Level grades awarded in 2020 and 2021 on (a) students’ experiences and (b) providers’ finances.

The department has monitored data on student numbers at each provider as the admissions cycle concluded. This analysis was undertaken in calendar years 2020 and 2021 and helped to establish which providers were oversubscribed.

Along with conversations with the sector, this informed the department’s decision to put in place a package of support in calendar years 2020 and 2021, which included providing up to £10 million in additional grant funding to universities through the Office for Students (OfS), to help them to increase capacity in medical, dentistry, nursing, and high-cost science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects. The full package of support for calendar years 2020 and 2021 is set out in the ‘Regulating the financial sustainability of higher education providers in England’ report, available here: https://www.nao.org.uk/report/regulating-the-financial-sustainability-of-higher-education-providers-in-england/ in the “key facts” section under “key themes”.

The department is in regular touch with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, as well as the OfS to understand trends in student concerns. We receive the latest information and data about student complaints, which allows early warning of any significant change in the pattern of complaints.

The OfS is responsible for monitoring the financial health of the higher education sector in England, engaging more closely with those it considers at risk. In December 2021, the OfS reported that despite the many operational and financial challenges arising from the pandemic, the overall financial position of universities, colleges and other registered providers has remained sound over the course of the last year, with generally reasonable financial resilience.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Office for Students has an integrated model to assess the potential impact of ongoing, multiple and systemic risks to the financial sustainability of higher education providers.

The department is encouraged by the National Audit Office’s conclusion that the Office for Students (OfS) makes good use of the financial data it collects, analysing it in a systematic and structured way to identify higher education (HE) providers for closer scrutiny.

The OfS has announced that they are planning to enhance data collection through the development of an integrated model. The model will bring together and assess the impacts of ongoing, multiple, and systemic risks to financial sustainability, and carry out sensitivity analysis or test scenarios. The department is confident that this will subsequently help inform the OfS’ assessment of risk in individual providers.

Department officials also meet regularly with the OfS to maintain an up to date understanding of their work.

The department will observe the development of the integrated model through various engagements. It will specifically do so through the HE financial sustainability oversight group. The group is a cross government, departmental and non-departmental public body group whose purpose is to carry out collective oversight of the financial sustainability of the HE sector in England.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure that the Office for Students has a full set of key performance indicators against which its performance can be measured.

The Office for Students (OfS) sets out on its website its 26 key performance measures (KPMs), available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/about/measures-of-our-success/. These are the main tools for the OfS to understand whether they are delivering the right outcomes for students.

The OfS plans to review its KPMs once it has finalised its new strategy for calendar years 2022 to 2025, which it is launching on Wednesday 23 March 2022. Department officials will continue to work closely with the OfS to review and jointly agree these KPMs to ensure that they reflect new challenges and priorities.

KPMs are just one part of how the department oversees the performance of the OfS. Ministers also issue statutory guidance to the OfS under section 2(3) of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, and that guidance is published on the OfS website.

Senior officials also meet quarterly with the OfS chair and chief executive to formally review the OfS’s performance against the department’s strategic aims and priorities. I meet with the OfS chair and chief executive monthly to discuss priorities and challenges to achieving these.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what role the Longitudinal Education Outcomes data has in the formulation of policy at his Department.

The longitudinal education outcomes (LEO) data is a valuable data resource that has been developed by joining data from across government to help the government understand routes through the education system and into employment. It sits alongside other important government data to improve the information available to prospective students to help them make informed choices that consider a range of factors, including future employment and earnings.

The Office for Students uses course continuation and completion rates and progression to managerial or professional employment, or further study, when assessing compliance with registration conditions on quality, and may also make use of LEO data to understand where graduates are achieving above average earnings.

The department is making LEO data available to UK Statistics Authority accredited researchers through the Office for National Statistics’ Secure Research Service. This will enable more high-quality research into this powerful dataset, which will be shared with the department and the wider public. These findings will further inform policy development in the department and in educational settings across the country.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Participation of Local Areas metric for improving access and participation in higher education.

The Participation of Local Areas (POLAR) classification groups small areas across the United Kingdom into quintiles based on the proportion of young people who participate in higher education (HE). The most disadvantaged classification group, quintile one, has the lowest rate of participation in HE and quintile five has the highest rate.

POLAR is a measure of educational disadvantage and has value in identifying areas of low participation in HE. The Office for Students (OfS) encourages providers to use POLAR in their access and participation activities more broadly to assess inequalities and to set their own targets.

Where providers have clear evidence that POLAR does not reliably reflect disadvantage in their specific location or context, they may use an alternative measure of disadvantage. Additionally, the OfS have developed the association between characteristics of students’ dataset and analysis, which providers can use to identify and target disadvantaged and underrepresented groups within HE.

Information on POLAR is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/young-participation-by-area/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to regulate alternative higher education providers.

All registered higher education providers in England are regulated by the Office for Students (OfS) under powers in the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA). Alternative providers were formerly regulated by the department until the introduction of the OfS register under the HERA. All English higher education providers are now required to be registered by the OfS if they want their students to be able to access tuition fee and maintenance loans. The term ‘alternative higher education providers’ is therefore no longer in use.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the energy price cap rise on the finances of student households.

Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own agreements over rent and bills. The government plays no direct role in the provision of student residential accommodation whether the accommodation is managed by universities or private sector organisations.

Maximum grants and loans for living costs were increased by 3.1% this academic year, and we have announced that they will increase by a further 2.3% next year.

Increases are based on the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts of inflation in the first quarter of the calendar year after the start of the relevant academic year using the RPIX inflation index (Retail Prices Index, less Mortgage Interest Payments).

Our grant funding to the Office for Students (OfS) for the current financial year includes an allocation of £5 million to higher education (HE) providers in England in order to provide additional support for student hardship. In our guidance to the OfS on funding for the 2021/22 financial year, we made clear that the OfS should protect the £256 million allocation for the student premiums to support disadvantaged students and those that need additional help.

Many providers have hardship funds that students can apply to for assistance should individuals’ finances be affected in the academic year 2021/22. The government is also making available discretionary funding of £144 million to be provided to support vulnerable people and individuals on low incomes. Advice is available from HE providers and from other sources online to help students manage their money while they are attending their courses.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support student households in response to the rise of the energy price cap.

Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own agreements over rent and bills. The government plays no direct role in the provision of student residential accommodation whether the accommodation is managed by universities or private sector organisations.

Maximum grants and loans for living costs were increased by 3.1% this academic year, and we have announced that they will increase by a further 2.3% next year.

Increases are based on the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts of inflation in the first quarter of the calendar year after the start of the relevant academic year using the RPIX inflation index (Retail Prices Index, less Mortgage Interest Payments).

Our grant funding to the Office for Students (OfS) for the current financial year includes an allocation of £5 million to higher education (HE) providers in England in order to provide additional support for student hardship. In our guidance to the OfS on funding for the 2021/22 financial year, we made clear that the OfS should protect the £256 million allocation for the student premiums to support disadvantaged students and those that need additional help.

Many providers have hardship funds that students can apply to for assistance should individuals’ finances be affected in the academic year 2021/22. The government is also making available discretionary funding of £144 million to be provided to support vulnerable people and individuals on low incomes. Advice is available from HE providers and from other sources online to help students manage their money while they are attending their courses.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of civil servants working in his Department's offices at Sanctuary Buildings have returned to work in-person.

Following the easing of Plan B restrictions, all Department for Education offices have fully re-opened.

The department has now fully returned to normal ways of working, making use of modern flexible technology. We have adopted hybrid working as a permanent model, with staff expected to work from Sanctuary Buildings (and all other Department for Education sites), or other face to face work settings for between 40 – 60% of their week. This equates on average to two to three days each week for full time staff.

There will be a mix of working patterns across the department depending on the job role and business need which means attendance at the office or other face to face work setting may be different each week.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to relax the Office for Students’ registration requirements.

The Office for Students (OfS) as the independent regulator of higher education in England sets conditions of registration for entry onto its register. All English higher education providers are required to be registered by the OfS if they want their students to be able to access tuition fees and maintenance loans.

As outlined in the recent consultation on its strategy for 2022 to 2025, the OfS is exploring ways to support new entrants to the sector by reviewing its approach to granting registration and degree awarding powers. This will include looking at the resources available to prospective providers and considering whether new categories of registration would be helpful, without lowering the world leading quality and standards of English higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has issued any non-disclosure agreements to third-party contractors since February 2020.

The department has not issued any non-disclosure agreements to contractors recruited as contingent labour workers.

The contract for a ‘third-party contractor’ sits between the worker and the supplier, Public Sector Resourcing, not with the Department for Education.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the timescale of student maintenance payments on the financial security of students.

Loans for living costs are paid to students in three equal instalments at the start of each term to help students manage their money throughout the academic year. A student finance calculator is available to help individual students estimate the amount of support they will be entitled to for an academic year. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-calculator. Further advice is available from providers and other sources online to help students manage their money while they are attending their courses.

Maximum loans have been increased by 3.1% for the current academic year, 2021/22, with a further 2.3% increase announced for the 2022/23 academic year.

Many providers have hardship funds that students can apply to for assistance should they get into financial difficulty. Our grant funding to the Office for Students for the current financial year includes an allocation of £5 million to higher education providers in England in order to provide additional support for student hardship. This is to mitigate hardship due to the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market which particularly affect, for example, students relying on work to fund their studies.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what energy supplier supplies gas and electricity to his Department's offices at Sanctuary Buildings.

In the 2020-21 financial year the department spent approximately £1.83 million on energy bills. This is less than 1% of the department’s budget.

The Government Property Agency procures energy through the Crown Commercial Services energy frameworks. Electricity is supplied to Sanctuary Buildings by EDF and gas is supplied by Corona Energy.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of his Department's budget is spent on energy bills.

In the 2020-21 financial year the department spent approximately £1.83 million on energy bills. This is less than 1% of the department’s budget.

The Government Property Agency procures energy through the Crown Commercial Services energy frameworks. Electricity is supplied to Sanctuary Buildings by EDF and gas is supplied by Corona Energy.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what role he will have in the decisions of the Office for Students to fine institutions if they fall below the threshold for continuation, progression or employment rate published in the new Office for Student's consultation on student outcomes.

The government is clear that the Office for Students (OfS) should not hesitate to use its regulatory powers where it decides that a breach of the proposed student outcomes quality registration condition has occurred. All students, regardless of their background, have the right to a high-quality education.

Any decision to impose a monetary penalty is entirely a matter for the OfS, which was established under the Higher Education and Research Act (HERA) 2017 as the independent regulator of higher education in England.

HERA requires the OfS to be cognisant of the need to act proportionately and to promote equality of opportunity. As set out in its consultation document of 20 January 2022, the OfS’ proposal will consider wider factors affecting a provider’s performance, including student characteristics where appropriate, before making a final decision to take regulatory action in relation to student outcomes.

The power for the OfS to impose monetary penalties is set out in section 15 and Schedule 3 of HERA and in associated regulations, available here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/1026/made/data.pdf.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what role he had in the appointment of the interim chief executive of the Office for Students.

The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 gives the Secretary of State for Education the power to appoint the Chief Executive of the Office for Students.

The interim appointment of Susan Lapworth as the Chief Executive was made under these powers. We will be opening the competition to recruit a permanent Chief Executive shortly.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many graduates gained employment in the early years sector in the last 12 months for which data is available.

The exact information requested is not available, however, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes data on the outcomes of graduates 15 months after qualifying from higher education in the graduate outcomes survey, further information about the survey is available here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/graduates. From this, the department estimates that approximately 1% of UK domiciled first-degree graduates from English higher education providers in 2018/19 progressed to employment in the early years sector[1] in the UK 15 months after qualifying. According to separate statistics published by HESA, there were a total of 295,825 UK domiciled first-degree qualifiers from English higher education providers in that year. These are available here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-26.

The department also knows that the majority of the early years workforce are not graduates. The survey of childcare and early years providers 2021 estimated that around 32% of early years staff in schools were qualified to degree level in 2021, relative to 11% in private and voluntary group-based providers, the survey can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1039675/Main_summary_survey_of_childcare_and_early_years_providers_2021.pdf. No substantial changes have taken place in the distributions of staff qualification levels in this sector over recent years.

[1] Identified using relevant Standard Occupational Classification codes 2315 Nursery education teaching professionals, 2324 Early education and childcare services managers, 3222 Child and early years officers, 3232 Early education and childcare practitioners, 6111 Early education and childcare assistants, 6114 Childminders, 6116 Nannies and au pairs and 6117 Playworkers: https://www.ons.gov.uk/methodology/classificationsandstandards/standardoccupationalclassificationsoc/soc2020.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Capita published an exit plan within two months of the Turing Scheme service contract award date.

Capita has already produced a draft exit plan in accordance with the contract. Exit plans are defined between the parties of the contract and not published in the public domain.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of high numbers of student complaints on the financial viability of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) is an independent organisation that is funded by subscriptions from higher education providers, who are members of the scheme.

The level of subscriptions is set by the OIA board each year and are largely based on student numbers, but also include an element related to the previous case receipts of providers. In 2021, the OIA received 2,763 complaints, which was a 6% increase on 2020 figures.

A statement of the OIA’s financial activities can be found in its annual report published on its website: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/media/2633/operating-report-2021.pdf.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made on the potential impact of zero-hours contracts on academic freedom of teaching staff.

Higher education providers are independent and responsible for their own decisions about the terms and conditions of employment they offer. It is essential that they consider the impact of short term and casual contracts on staff, students and the overall sustainability of teaching and research in this country.

Recently published figures on the number of academic staff on zero hours contracts is 3,650 staff among a total academic workforce of 224,530, which equates to 1.6%.

The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, currently at report stage in the House of Commons, provides a route to redress where an individual may not have clear contractual protections in place in respect of freedom of speech and academic freedom. Rather than having to rely on contractual protections in an employment tribunal, an academic member of staff will now have access to the Office for Students complaints scheme, as well as the right to bring a claim in the courts via the new statutory tort.

The bill is clear that the job security of staff should not be undermined by the expression of lawful speech, including where they may question and test received wisdom, and put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish any internal guidance available on the use of non-disclosure agreements at his Department.

The department follows the Civil Service policy which states that non-disclosure clauses should only be used when necessary and should not be included in settlement agreements as a matter of course. Non-disclosure agreements should not seek to stifle or discourage staff from raising concerns about wrongdoing or poor practice in the department or to prevent the proper disclosure of matters of public interest, and do not affect the protection provided to employees under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The department does not use non-disclosure agreements with its employees.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to reduce the liability of his Department for the Universities Superannuation Scheme after guaranteeing the pensions of four members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme who were transferred to the Office for Students in 2017.

The agreement in 2017 for the department to act as guarantor for the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) followed formal advice from the Government Actuary’s Department, including risk considerations. The government takes legal advice in reaching its decisions where appropriate.

The department’s liability in acting as guarantor for the USS was originally valued at £5 million, as recorded in the remote contingent liabilities section of the department’s 2017/18 annual report and accounts. The liability valuation has remained at £5 million for all subsequent years, as shown in the department’s annual reports and accounts: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dfe-annual-reports.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department sought legal advice when it agreed to guarantee the pensions of four members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme who were transferred to the Office for Students in 2017.

The agreement in 2017 for the department to act as guarantor for the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) followed formal advice from the Government Actuary’s Department, including risk considerations. The government takes legal advice in reaching its decisions where appropriate.

The department’s liability in acting as guarantor for the USS was originally valued at £5 million, as recorded in the remote contingent liabilities section of the department’s 2017/18 annual report and accounts. The liability valuation has remained at £5 million for all subsequent years, as shown in the department’s annual reports and accounts: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dfe-annual-reports.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives of Ofsted on the viability of inspections during a period of acute staff and pupil absence.

The department engages regularly with Ofsted on a range of matters, including inspection arrangements in the changing context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ofsted inspection continues to play an important role in providing independent assurance as providers respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is right though that these arrangements are kept under review, and adjustments made where appropriate.

At the start of this term Ofsted temporarily halted use of part time inspectors who are also front-line leaders. Since 31 January Ofsted has been inviting those who are able to inspect again to do so. Ofsted’s deferral policy has provided reassurance to schools, colleges and early years providers that have been significantly impacted by staff absence in recent weeks. That policy remains in place and Ofsted will continue to remind providers about it for the remainder of this half term.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of absences of (a) staff and (b) pupils in English schools in (i) October 2021, (ii) November 2021, (iii) December 2021 and (iv) January 2022.

The daily Education Setting survey asks schools and colleges to report data such as on-site attendance and COVID-19 absence.

The most recent published data for staff and pupil absences at national level is 20 January 2022 and can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much weight will be given to Capita’s recommendation to reduce costs in their Continuous Improvement Plans against their recommendations to improve quality in the Turing Scheme service contract.

The first year of the Turing Scheme is currently being delivered by the British Council and Ecorys under contractual arrangements that expire on 31 March 2022. A competitive procurement exercise was necessary to appoint a delivery partner for the remainder of the first year and for the second year of the programme. Capita has been appointed as the supplier to administer the completion of the first year of the Turing Scheme from April 2022 and the second year of the scheme until December 2023.

Bids for the Turing Scheme contract were evaluated on the answers to questions relating to quality and social value, compliance with a range of financial and corporate information tests, and cost. Bids were reviewed by a panel with knowledge relevant to the services required. Scores were moderated and weighted in line with the published evaluation model. The outcome of the panel review was taken to the Turing Scheme Procurement Board, and they approved the recommended outcome. Capita received the highest overall score and provided the best plan to continue opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

The costs for delivery of the contract have been agreed between Capita and the department. The use of continuous improvement is for the purpose of looking at how services can be improved without undermining Capita’s performance of the contract. It is common practice to consider how service improvements can improve service delivery efficiencies and where there are cost benefits of doing so, value for money will always be evaluated.

The department is currently working closely with the British Council, Ecorys and Capita to transfer all existing Turing Scheme projects granted funding and minimise any potential impact to the delivery of the first year of the programme. Until 1 April 2022, the British Council and Ecorys will continue to administer the scheme and will provide ongoing support for activities.

Beneficiaries will be contacted directly about next steps regarding ongoing support of their activities and should continue to communicate through the sector-specific helpdesk service if guidance or assistance is required.

We are confident that Capita have the capacity and skills to deliver the Turing Scheme. They have more than 35 years’ experience of supporting more than 180 local authorities and 21,000 schools, as well as being one of the largest IT providers to the UK education system. They will combine their capabilities in digital grants management, education, and complex programme management to deliver opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

In addition to preparations to transfer delivery of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department is in continuous contact with Capita to plan for and receive updates on preparations for a successful launch of bids for the second year. I also personally met with Capita on Thursday 27 January, and they have assured me they are well prepared to administer the programme.

For the evaluation of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department appointed IFF Research as its evaluation partner on 18 November 2021. Information regarding the appointment is available on the contracts finder service on GOV.UK at: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/e4fc6e5f-13d3-4d01-a815-27a18ebe6a88.

In response to the buyer’s research board, the evaluation process and the data which will be required to support it has been approved by the research board and by the data protection team. The individual members of the research board are subject to data protection legislation and as such individual names cannot be released.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress has been made on appointing an independent third-party contractor to evaluate the Turing Scheme and projects.

The first year of the Turing Scheme is currently being delivered by the British Council and Ecorys under contractual arrangements that expire on 31 March 2022. A competitive procurement exercise was necessary to appoint a delivery partner for the remainder of the first year and for the second year of the programme. Capita has been appointed as the supplier to administer the completion of the first year of the Turing Scheme from April 2022 and the second year of the scheme until December 2023.

Bids for the Turing Scheme contract were evaluated on the answers to questions relating to quality and social value, compliance with a range of financial and corporate information tests, and cost. Bids were reviewed by a panel with knowledge relevant to the services required. Scores were moderated and weighted in line with the published evaluation model. The outcome of the panel review was taken to the Turing Scheme Procurement Board, and they approved the recommended outcome. Capita received the highest overall score and provided the best plan to continue opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

The costs for delivery of the contract have been agreed between Capita and the department. The use of continuous improvement is for the purpose of looking at how services can be improved without undermining Capita’s performance of the contract. It is common practice to consider how service improvements can improve service delivery efficiencies and where there are cost benefits of doing so, value for money will always be evaluated.

The department is currently working closely with the British Council, Ecorys and Capita to transfer all existing Turing Scheme projects granted funding and minimise any potential impact to the delivery of the first year of the programme. Until 1 April 2022, the British Council and Ecorys will continue to administer the scheme and will provide ongoing support for activities.

Beneficiaries will be contacted directly about next steps regarding ongoing support of their activities and should continue to communicate through the sector-specific helpdesk service if guidance or assistance is required.

We are confident that Capita have the capacity and skills to deliver the Turing Scheme. They have more than 35 years’ experience of supporting more than 180 local authorities and 21,000 schools, as well as being one of the largest IT providers to the UK education system. They will combine their capabilities in digital grants management, education, and complex programme management to deliver opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

In addition to preparations to transfer delivery of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department is in continuous contact with Capita to plan for and receive updates on preparations for a successful launch of bids for the second year. I also personally met with Capita on Thursday 27 January, and they have assured me they are well prepared to administer the programme.

For the evaluation of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department appointed IFF Research as its evaluation partner on 18 November 2021. Information regarding the appointment is available on the contracts finder service on GOV.UK at: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/e4fc6e5f-13d3-4d01-a815-27a18ebe6a88.

In response to the buyer’s research board, the evaluation process and the data which will be required to support it has been approved by the research board and by the data protection team. The individual members of the research board are subject to data protection legislation and as such individual names cannot be released.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the will publish the members of the Buyer’s Research Board responsible for scrutinising the evaluative data provided by Capita on the Turing Scheme.

The first year of the Turing Scheme is currently being delivered by the British Council and Ecorys under contractual arrangements that expire on 31 March 2022. A competitive procurement exercise was necessary to appoint a delivery partner for the remainder of the first year and for the second year of the programme. Capita has been appointed as the supplier to administer the completion of the first year of the Turing Scheme from April 2022 and the second year of the scheme until December 2023.

Bids for the Turing Scheme contract were evaluated on the answers to questions relating to quality and social value, compliance with a range of financial and corporate information tests, and cost. Bids were reviewed by a panel with knowledge relevant to the services required. Scores were moderated and weighted in line with the published evaluation model. The outcome of the panel review was taken to the Turing Scheme Procurement Board, and they approved the recommended outcome. Capita received the highest overall score and provided the best plan to continue opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

The costs for delivery of the contract have been agreed between Capita and the department. The use of continuous improvement is for the purpose of looking at how services can be improved without undermining Capita’s performance of the contract. It is common practice to consider how service improvements can improve service delivery efficiencies and where there are cost benefits of doing so, value for money will always be evaluated.

The department is currently working closely with the British Council, Ecorys and Capita to transfer all existing Turing Scheme projects granted funding and minimise any potential impact to the delivery of the first year of the programme. Until 1 April 2022, the British Council and Ecorys will continue to administer the scheme and will provide ongoing support for activities.

Beneficiaries will be contacted directly about next steps regarding ongoing support of their activities and should continue to communicate through the sector-specific helpdesk service if guidance or assistance is required.

We are confident that Capita have the capacity and skills to deliver the Turing Scheme. They have more than 35 years’ experience of supporting more than 180 local authorities and 21,000 schools, as well as being one of the largest IT providers to the UK education system. They will combine their capabilities in digital grants management, education, and complex programme management to deliver opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

In addition to preparations to transfer delivery of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department is in continuous contact with Capita to plan for and receive updates on preparations for a successful launch of bids for the second year. I also personally met with Capita on Thursday 27 January, and they have assured me they are well prepared to administer the programme.

For the evaluation of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department appointed IFF Research as its evaluation partner on 18 November 2021. Information regarding the appointment is available on the contracts finder service on GOV.UK at: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/e4fc6e5f-13d3-4d01-a815-27a18ebe6a88.

In response to the buyer’s research board, the evaluation process and the data which will be required to support it has been approved by the research board and by the data protection team. The individual members of the research board are subject to data protection legislation and as such individual names cannot be released.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent update he has received on the preparedness of Capita to accept bids for the Turing Scheme from February 2022.

The first year of the Turing Scheme is currently being delivered by the British Council and Ecorys under contractual arrangements that expire on 31 March 2022. A competitive procurement exercise was necessary to appoint a delivery partner for the remainder of the first year and for the second year of the programme. Capita has been appointed as the supplier to administer the completion of the first year of the Turing Scheme from April 2022 and the second year of the scheme until December 2023.

Bids for the Turing Scheme contract were evaluated on the answers to questions relating to quality and social value, compliance with a range of financial and corporate information tests, and cost. Bids were reviewed by a panel with knowledge relevant to the services required. Scores were moderated and weighted in line with the published evaluation model. The outcome of the panel review was taken to the Turing Scheme Procurement Board, and they approved the recommended outcome. Capita received the highest overall score and provided the best plan to continue opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

The costs for delivery of the contract have been agreed between Capita and the department. The use of continuous improvement is for the purpose of looking at how services can be improved without undermining Capita’s performance of the contract. It is common practice to consider how service improvements can improve service delivery efficiencies and where there are cost benefits of doing so, value for money will always be evaluated.

The department is currently working closely with the British Council, Ecorys and Capita to transfer all existing Turing Scheme projects granted funding and minimise any potential impact to the delivery of the first year of the programme. Until 1 April 2022, the British Council and Ecorys will continue to administer the scheme and will provide ongoing support for activities.

Beneficiaries will be contacted directly about next steps regarding ongoing support of their activities and should continue to communicate through the sector-specific helpdesk service if guidance or assistance is required.

We are confident that Capita have the capacity and skills to deliver the Turing Scheme. They have more than 35 years’ experience of supporting more than 180 local authorities and 21,000 schools, as well as being one of the largest IT providers to the UK education system. They will combine their capabilities in digital grants management, education, and complex programme management to deliver opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

In addition to preparations to transfer delivery of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department is in continuous contact with Capita to plan for and receive updates on preparations for a successful launch of bids for the second year. I also personally met with Capita on Thursday 27 January, and they have assured me they are well prepared to administer the programme.

For the evaluation of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department appointed IFF Research as its evaluation partner on 18 November 2021. Information regarding the appointment is available on the contracts finder service on GOV.UK at: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/e4fc6e5f-13d3-4d01-a815-27a18ebe6a88.

In response to the buyer’s research board, the evaluation process and the data which will be required to support it has been approved by the research board and by the data protection team. The individual members of the research board are subject to data protection legislation and as such individual names cannot be released.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential disruption to student mobilities as a result of Capita taking over the delivery of the Turing Scheme mid-way through the academic year 2021-22 starting in April 2022.

The first year of the Turing Scheme is currently being delivered by the British Council and Ecorys under contractual arrangements that expire on 31 March 2022. A competitive procurement exercise was necessary to appoint a delivery partner for the remainder of the first year and for the second year of the programme. Capita has been appointed as the supplier to administer the completion of the first year of the Turing Scheme from April 2022 and the second year of the scheme until December 2023.

Bids for the Turing Scheme contract were evaluated on the answers to questions relating to quality and social value, compliance with a range of financial and corporate information tests, and cost. Bids were reviewed by a panel with knowledge relevant to the services required. Scores were moderated and weighted in line with the published evaluation model. The outcome of the panel review was taken to the Turing Scheme Procurement Board, and they approved the recommended outcome. Capita received the highest overall score and provided the best plan to continue opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

The costs for delivery of the contract have been agreed between Capita and the department. The use of continuous improvement is for the purpose of looking at how services can be improved without undermining Capita’s performance of the contract. It is common practice to consider how service improvements can improve service delivery efficiencies and where there are cost benefits of doing so, value for money will always be evaluated.

The department is currently working closely with the British Council, Ecorys and Capita to transfer all existing Turing Scheme projects granted funding and minimise any potential impact to the delivery of the first year of the programme. Until 1 April 2022, the British Council and Ecorys will continue to administer the scheme and will provide ongoing support for activities.

Beneficiaries will be contacted directly about next steps regarding ongoing support of their activities and should continue to communicate through the sector-specific helpdesk service if guidance or assistance is required.

We are confident that Capita have the capacity and skills to deliver the Turing Scheme. They have more than 35 years’ experience of supporting more than 180 local authorities and 21,000 schools, as well as being one of the largest IT providers to the UK education system. They will combine their capabilities in digital grants management, education, and complex programme management to deliver opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

In addition to preparations to transfer delivery of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department is in continuous contact with Capita to plan for and receive updates on preparations for a successful launch of bids for the second year. I also personally met with Capita on Thursday 27 January, and they have assured me they are well prepared to administer the programme.

For the evaluation of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department appointed IFF Research as its evaluation partner on 18 November 2021. Information regarding the appointment is available on the contracts finder service on GOV.UK at: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/e4fc6e5f-13d3-4d01-a815-27a18ebe6a88.

In response to the buyer’s research board, the evaluation process and the data which will be required to support it has been approved by the research board and by the data protection team. The individual members of the research board are subject to data protection legislation and as such individual names cannot be released.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason Capita have been appointed to deliver the remainder of the Turing Scheme programme for the academic year 2021-22 starting in April 2022 rather than delivering that programme from the start of the academic year 2022-23.

The first year of the Turing Scheme is currently being delivered by the British Council and Ecorys under contractual arrangements that expire on 31 March 2022. A competitive procurement exercise was necessary to appoint a delivery partner for the remainder of the first year and for the second year of the programme. Capita has been appointed as the supplier to administer the completion of the first year of the Turing Scheme from April 2022 and the second year of the scheme until December 2023.

Bids for the Turing Scheme contract were evaluated on the answers to questions relating to quality and social value, compliance with a range of financial and corporate information tests, and cost. Bids were reviewed by a panel with knowledge relevant to the services required. Scores were moderated and weighted in line with the published evaluation model. The outcome of the panel review was taken to the Turing Scheme Procurement Board, and they approved the recommended outcome. Capita received the highest overall score and provided the best plan to continue opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

The costs for delivery of the contract have been agreed between Capita and the department. The use of continuous improvement is for the purpose of looking at how services can be improved without undermining Capita’s performance of the contract. It is common practice to consider how service improvements can improve service delivery efficiencies and where there are cost benefits of doing so, value for money will always be evaluated.

The department is currently working closely with the British Council, Ecorys and Capita to transfer all existing Turing Scheme projects granted funding and minimise any potential impact to the delivery of the first year of the programme. Until 1 April 2022, the British Council and Ecorys will continue to administer the scheme and will provide ongoing support for activities.

Beneficiaries will be contacted directly about next steps regarding ongoing support of their activities and should continue to communicate through the sector-specific helpdesk service if guidance or assistance is required.

We are confident that Capita have the capacity and skills to deliver the Turing Scheme. They have more than 35 years’ experience of supporting more than 180 local authorities and 21,000 schools, as well as being one of the largest IT providers to the UK education system. They will combine their capabilities in digital grants management, education, and complex programme management to deliver opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

In addition to preparations to transfer delivery of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department is in continuous contact with Capita to plan for and receive updates on preparations for a successful launch of bids for the second year. I also personally met with Capita on Thursday 27 January, and they have assured me they are well prepared to administer the programme.

For the evaluation of the first year of the Turing Scheme, the department appointed IFF Research as its evaluation partner on 18 November 2021. Information regarding the appointment is available on the contracts finder service on GOV.UK at: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/e4fc6e5f-13d3-4d01-a815-27a18ebe6a88.

In response to the buyer’s research board, the evaluation process and the data which will be required to support it has been approved by the research board and by the data protection team. The individual members of the research board are subject to data protection legislation and as such individual names cannot be released.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what conditions need to be met before further rounds of accreditation for providers of teacher training are opened.

The department announced in December 2021 that it is running two accreditation rounds. Round one began on 1 December 2021 and ends on 7 February 2022. The second round begins on 19 April 2022 and ends on 27 June 2022. Our priority is to ensure that there are sufficient, high-quality initial teacher training places to meet demand across the country. With this in mind, officials will consider if a further accreditation round(s) is necessary following the outcomes of the two application rounds. Further details will be published if required.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the percentage increase is of funding from his Department to the Office for Students in the financial year 2021-22 compared to 2020-21.

The total Strategic Priorities Grant available to the Office for Students for distribution was £1,433 million in financial year 2021-22, an £11 million (0.8%) increase compared to the previous year. This excludes funding that is distributed by Research England, and one-off capital and non-capital grants for COVID-19.

For the last academic year, the Department for Education also provided an additional £85 million to the Office for Students to distribute to higher education providers for supporting students in hardship.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the prevalence of the use of non-disclosure agreements in his Department.

The Department for Education does not use non-disclosure agreements with its employees.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many non-disclosure agreements have been issued by his Department since February 2020.

The department has entered into no non-disclosure agreements since February 2020. The department does not use non-disclosure agreements with its employees.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what meetings he has had with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education ahead of the publication of the Office for Students' consultation on the new student outcomes approach.

The department meets regularly with the Office for Students (OfS) and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

The OfS published consultations on improving the quality of higher education (HE) in England on 20 January. These set out the numerical thresholds which will underpin minimum acceptable student outcomes and how high quality provision will be recognised through the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Our HE sector is world class but there are too many pockets of poor quality that let students down, particularly those from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds.

In line with the government’s manifesto commitment and building upon our announcement last year to refocus universities’ access and participation plans on real social mobility, we are taking serious steps, with the OfS, to drive up the quality of HE across the sector and to tackle the unacceptable pockets of poor quality provision which do not offer value for money for the taxpayer or our students.

Universities and colleges not meeting these minimum expectations will face investigation and consideration of whether they are in breach of their registration conditions, which could lead to sanctions, including fines and reduced access to student finance. These minimum levels are just one factor the OfS will consider. As is currently the case, and as described in the consultation document, the OfS will continue to consider a provider’s wider context, including its student characteristics, before making any final decisions on compliance with registration conditions.

This government believes that every student, regardless of background, deserves quality and transparency from their university or provider about their course. These measures are about tackling low quality, and, through the TEF, rewarding high quality, and ensuring transparency which, overall, will maintain confidence in the HE sector.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what meetings he has had with the Office for Students ahead of the publication of their consultation on the new student outcomes approach.

The department meets regularly with the Office for Students (OfS) and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

The OfS published consultations on improving the quality of higher education (HE) in England on 20 January. These set out the numerical thresholds which will underpin minimum acceptable student outcomes and how high quality provision will be recognised through the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Our HE sector is world class but there are too many pockets of poor quality that let students down, particularly those from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds.

In line with the government’s manifesto commitment and building upon our announcement last year to refocus universities’ access and participation plans on real social mobility, we are taking serious steps, with the OfS, to drive up the quality of HE across the sector and to tackle the unacceptable pockets of poor quality provision which do not offer value for money for the taxpayer or our students.

Universities and colleges not meeting these minimum expectations will face investigation and consideration of whether they are in breach of their registration conditions, which could lead to sanctions, including fines and reduced access to student finance. These minimum levels are just one factor the OfS will consider. As is currently the case, and as described in the consultation document, the OfS will continue to consider a provider’s wider context, including its student characteristics, before making any final decisions on compliance with registration conditions.

This government believes that every student, regardless of background, deserves quality and transparency from their university or provider about their course. These measures are about tackling low quality, and, through the TEF, rewarding high quality, and ensuring transparency which, overall, will maintain confidence in the HE sector.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the financial viability of the Office for Students.

The department regularly assesses the Office for Students’ funding to ensure that it is able to effectively resource and deliver strategic priorities across the higher education sector. The Office for Students is also required to publish its audited annual report and accounts which includes its financial statements.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the rising number of meningitis-B cases amongst the student population.

It has been a priority of this government to keep students in Higher Education as safe as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak and we have worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care during this time. This continues as students return to the full programme of face-to-face teaching and learning that they received before the COVID-19 outbreak.

The government is aware of the risks of communicable diseases in settings such as Higher Education, where large numbers of people mix closely in confined environments. The United Kingdom Health Security Agency has published a toolkit for Higher Education providers on vaccine preventable infectious diseases: https://khub.net/documents/135939561/174090192/MMR+MenACWY+and+coronovirus+vaccine+comms+toolkit+for+universities.pdf/6ec4e100-242b-4f5c-f1ea-bf88cace1ecb.

This toolkit includes advice and links to free resources for providers to use with their students in order to protect their health and wellbeing, and it encourages students to be vaccinated against a range of infectious diseases, including meningitis, measles, mumps and COVID-19.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of rising numbers of meningitis-B cases amongst the student population.

It has been a priority of this government to keep students in Higher Education as safe as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak and we have worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care during this time. This continues as students return to the full programme of face-to-face teaching and learning that they received before the COVID-19 outbreak.

The government is aware of the risks of communicable diseases in settings such as Higher Education, where large numbers of people mix closely in confined environments. The United Kingdom Health Security Agency has published a toolkit for Higher Education providers on vaccine preventable infectious diseases: https://khub.net/documents/135939561/174090192/MMR+MenACWY+and+coronovirus+vaccine+comms+toolkit+for+universities.pdf/6ec4e100-242b-4f5c-f1ea-bf88cace1ecb.

This toolkit includes advice and links to free resources for providers to use with their students in order to protect their health and wellbeing, and it encourages students to be vaccinated against a range of infectious diseases, including meningitis, measles, mumps and COVID-19.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of socio-economic background on the employment rate of recent undergraduate graduates.

The Office for Students (OfS) publishes statistics across different aspects of the student lifecycle to help inform regulatory processes. The OfS Access and Participation dashboard shows how students from disadvantaged backgrounds perform across the following indicators:

  • Continuation: the percentage of first year students who continue their studies after 12 months (full-time students) or 24 months (part-time students).
  • Attainment: the percentage of students who graduated with first or upper second-class degrees.
  • Progression: the percentage of students progressing to highly skilled employment or higher-level study.

Measures of disadvantage include Index of Multiple Deprivation and Participation of Local Areas, which are based on the neighbourhood that students lived in before starting their course. More information about these terms, as well as a user guide for the dashboard can be found here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-participation-data-dashboard/dashboard-user-guide/key-terms/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of socio-economic background on the graduation rate of undergraduate students.

The Office for Students (OfS) publishes statistics across different aspects of the student lifecycle to help inform regulatory processes. The OfS Access and Participation dashboard shows how students from disadvantaged backgrounds perform across the following indicators:

  • Continuation: the percentage of first year students who continue their studies after 12 months (full-time students) or 24 months (part-time students).
  • Attainment: the percentage of students who graduated with first or upper second-class degrees.
  • Progression: the percentage of students progressing to highly skilled employment or higher-level study.

Measures of disadvantage include Index of Multiple Deprivation and Participation of Local Areas, which are based on the neighbourhood that students lived in before starting their course. More information about these terms, as well as a user guide for the dashboard can be found here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-participation-data-dashboard/dashboard-user-guide/key-terms/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of socio-economic background on the drop-out rate of first-year undergraduate students.

The Office for Students (OfS) publishes statistics across different aspects of the student lifecycle to help inform regulatory processes. The OfS Access and Participation dashboard shows how students from disadvantaged backgrounds perform across the following indicators:

  • Continuation: the percentage of first year students who continue their studies after 12 months (full-time students) or 24 months (part-time students).
  • Attainment: the percentage of students who graduated with first or upper second-class degrees.
  • Progression: the percentage of students progressing to highly skilled employment or higher-level study.

Measures of disadvantage include Index of Multiple Deprivation and Participation of Local Areas, which are based on the neighbourhood that students lived in before starting their course. More information about these terms, as well as a user guide for the dashboard can be found here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-participation-data-dashboard/dashboard-user-guide/key-terms/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what contingency plans he has in place in the event that a higher education provider should financially fail.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the independent regulator of higher education in England. The OfS monitors the financial viability and sustainability of providers registered with them and their primary contingency against the impact on students in the event that a higher education provider should financially fail is the Student Protection Plan which must be agreed with OfS by each provider.

From 1 April 2021 the OfS introduced a new registration condition (Condition C4) that requires compliance with student protection directions issued by the OfS where the OfS reasonably considers that there is a material risk the provider will exit the English higher education market or cease trading or delivering higher education.

In the event of institutional financial failure leading to market exit, the department would assist the OfS in collaborating cross-government action on the wider consequences, to mitigate the impacts on those employed directly and indirectly by the provider, the local economy, research, innovation and knowledge exchange.

The OfS report dated December 2021 shows that despite the many operational and financial challenges arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, the overall financial position of universities, colleges and other providers registered with the OfS across the higher education sector has remained sound over the course of the last year, with generally reasonable financial resilience.

Providers were able to manage COVID-19 impacts better than originally expected, with student numbers holding up, and through careful management of cash and costs. Government support measures have served to help universities navigate those challenges.

Department for Education officials work closely with the OfS who continuously monitor provider financial sustainability, engaging more closely with those where it considers there to be increased financial risk. It is important to note that universities are autonomous businesses and continue to remain responsible for the decisions they make in regard to their business model and sustainability.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the financial value of the two bids submitted to his Department for the Turing Scheme.

On 11 January 2022, in response to PQ 94480, the department confirmed that the value of the successful bid was £6,271,155. The value of the unsuccessful bid will not be published as this information is commercially sensitive.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to increase the value of the Strategic Priorities Grant.

​The Strategic Priorities Grant is funding supplied by the government on an annual basis to support higher education providers’ ongoing teaching and other related activities. In the 2021/22 financial year the Strategic Priorities Grant was worth £1.4 billion and we asked the Office for Students (OfS), which administers the grant, to prioritise funding towards high-cost, high-value subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and/or specific labour market needs. As a result, the total funding for high-cost subjects, such as medicine, engineering and other high-cost subjects, is 12% (£81 million) higher in 2021/22 compared to 2020/21. We also increased funding for specialist providers by £10 million.

The department is working to finalise funding for the Strategic Priorities Grant for the 2022/23 financial year and we will issue guidance to the OfS in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the financial viability of Higher Education providers.

The Office for Students (OfS) are responsible for monitoring provider financial viability of the higher education sector in England.

I and my officials work closely with the OfS and various parties including a variety of universities across the sector, mission groups and other government departments to understand the ongoing impacts and changing landscape of financial sustainability in the sector.

The OfS report dated December 2021 shows that despite the many operational and financial challenges arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, the overall financial position of universities, colleges and other providers registered with the OfS across the higher education sector has remained sound over the course of the last year, with generally reasonable financial resilience.

Providers were able to manage COVID-19 impacts better than originally expected, with student numbers holding up, and through careful management of cash and costs. Government support measures have served to help universities navigate those challenges.

The OfS continuously monitors provider financial sustainability, engaging more closely with those where it considers there to be increased financial risk.

Universities are autonomous businesses and continue to remain responsible for the decisions they make regarding their business model and sustainability.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the £15,000 tax-free bursary on the number of new modern foreign language teachers.

The bursaries the department offers for initial teacher training (ITT) are intended to incentivise applications to ITT courses. The department reviews the bursaries on offer each year to take account of several factors, including historic recruitment, forecast economic conditions and teacher supply need in each subject. This provides flexibility to respond to the need to attract new teachers, and means the department is spending money where it is needed most.

To support the recruitment of modern-foreign language (MFL) teachers, the department has increased the languages bursary to £15,000 for the 2022/23 academic year. This is to incentivise candidates to train to teach MFL as the department recognises that recruiting languages trainees will remain challenging. The department will review the need for financial incentives across all subjects before announcing the bursaries for the 2023/24 academic year.

All MFL trainee teachers on tuition fee-funded ITT routes are also able to apply for a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional student finance is also available depending on individual circumstances, such as the Childcare Grant.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the validity of the scientific guidance on the risks of transmission of covid-19 during face-to-face teaching.

The department regularly considers advice from a number of different sources, including the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), to ensure our policies are guided by the most up to date scientific evidence. The current COVID-19 operational guidance for schools balances the government’s priority to deliver high quality face-to-face education to all pupils with the need to retain measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, mental and physical health.

The department has published its own evidence summaries at three points during the COVID-19 outbreak, bringing together high quality evidence from government commissioned research as well as research published in academic journals. The evidence summary can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evidence-summary-covid-19-children-young-people-and-education-settings.

Public Health England (now the UKHSA) previously published a rapid review of available evidence relevant to interventions to reduce transmission in schools, which remains relevant, although precedes the full rollout of vaccinations since April 2021 until now: https://ukhsa.koha-ptfs.co.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-retrieve-file.pl?id=9adedb17d5622f9cd7e42febcadb19ad.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with third-party organisations in setting up the Overseas Teachers acclimatisation service in 2022.

The overseas teacher acclimatisation service is piloting support for newly recruited overseas trained teachers in priority subjects.

Officials from the department discussed proposals for an overseas teacher acclimatisation service with external organisations, including holding a formal market engagement day in July 2021. The procurement opportunity and formal market engagement event were listed on Contracts Finder on GOV.UK. Based on this market insight, services were procured from an existing framework. Eligible framework suppliers, and the wider market engaged, were notified of this decision ahead of running the procurement process in autumn 2021.

The contract was published on Contracts Finder and is available here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/2541b800-1e4c-45c8-a953-c050f45c9787

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans are in place to charge Higher Education providers for access to the reserved stream of covid-19 testing kits intended for education providers.

There are no plans to charge higher education providers to access government supplied LFD test kits. These LFD test kits continue to be provided free of charge via the government’s higher education asymptomatic testing programme, and providers should continue to order tests for their staff and students via their usual route, in line with public health advice.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to introduce Sharia-compliant alternative student finance.

​​​The government has been carefully considering an alternative student finance product, alongside wider reforms to the higher education system, and an update will be provided alongside the conclusion to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding. The interim conclusion of the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding was published on 21 January 2021, and we will conclude the Review in full at a future date.​

The government undertook an assessment of the impact of interest-bearing loans on Muslim students in the impact assessment for the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, which was published in December 2017, and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-and-research-act-impact-assessments.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of potential impact on Muslim students' participation in higher education of the absence of Sharia-compliant student finance.

​​​The government has been carefully considering an alternative student finance product, alongside wider reforms to the higher education system, and an update will be provided alongside the conclusion to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding. The interim conclusion of the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding was published on 21 January 2021, and we will conclude the Review in full at a future date.​

The government undertook an assessment of the impact of interest-bearing loans on Muslim students in the impact assessment for the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, which was published in December 2017, and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-and-research-act-impact-assessments.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 7 January 2022 to Question 93857 on Students: Loans, what percentage of the 136 loans given out fraudulently are of the total number of loans provided by Student Finance England in the 2020-21 financial year.

The financial value of the 136 cases of full or partial loss to fraud relating to Student Finance England loans in the 2020-21 financial year is £963,806. The percentage of the 136 loans given out fraudulently out of the total number of loans provided by Student Finance England in the 2020-21 financial year is around 0.01%.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 7 January 2022 to Question 93857 on Students: Loans, what the financial value is of the 136 cases of full or partial loss to fraud relating to Student Finance England loans.

The financial value of the 136 cases of full or partial loss to fraud relating to Student Finance England loans in the 2020-21 financial year is £963,806. The percentage of the 136 loans given out fraudulently out of the total number of loans provided by Student Finance England in the 2020-21 financial year is around 0.01%.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the contribution of history graduates to the UK economy.

The government values high-quality provision in a range of subjects, including in the creative arts and humanities, that lead to positive outcomes critical for both our economy and society.

A variety of data is published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the department on the contributions graduates make to the UK economy disaggregated by their subject of study.

HESA publishes details of graduates’ employment and further study, industry, occupation, and salary fifteen months after leaving higher education in the ‘Higher Education Graduate Outcomes’ survey. Latest statistics refer to graduates who left their courses in 2018/19 and are available here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/graduates.

Graduate employment and further study by subject area is available here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/sb260/figure-10.

Industry of employment is available to view here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/sb260/figure-11.

Occupation of employment is available to view here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/sb260/figure-12.

Salary is available to view here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/graduates/table-25.

The department publishes employment and earnings statistics one, three, five and ten years after graduation in ‘Graduate Outcomes’. Latest statistics refer to the financial year 2018/19 and are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/graduate-outcomes-leo/2018-19.

Subject information is included in Tables 6 and 18, available to view here: https://content.explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/api/releases/e9c9770d-3c30-4708-8cd9-6e123966f070/files/ce665e1c-4f8a-447d-e169-08d8ee096a35 and here: https://content.explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/api/releases/e9c9770d-3c30-4708-8cd9-6e123966f070/files/52c26406-04c3-4ea9-e16e-08d8ee096a35.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the contribution of arts and humanities degrees to the UK economy.

The government values high-quality provision in a range of subjects, including in the creative arts and humanities, that lead to positive outcomes critical for both our economy and society.

A variety of data is published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the department on the contributions graduates make to the UK economy disaggregated by their subject of study.

HESA publishes details of graduates’ employment and further study, industry, occupation, and salary fifteen months after leaving higher education in the ‘Higher Education Graduate Outcomes’ survey. Latest statistics refer to graduates who left their courses in 2018/19 and are available here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/graduates.

Graduate employment and further study by subject area is available here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/sb260/figure-10.

Industry of employment is available to view here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/sb260/figure-11.

Occupation of employment is available to view here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/sb260/figure-12.

Salary is available to view here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/graduates/table-25.

The department publishes employment and earnings statistics one, three, five and ten years after graduation in ‘Graduate Outcomes’. Latest statistics refer to the financial year 2018/19 and are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/graduate-outcomes-leo/2018-19.

Subject information is included in Tables 6 and 18, available to view here: https://content.explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/api/releases/e9c9770d-3c30-4708-8cd9-6e123966f070/files/ce665e1c-4f8a-447d-e169-08d8ee096a35 and here: https://content.explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/api/releases/e9c9770d-3c30-4708-8cd9-6e123966f070/files/52c26406-04c3-4ea9-e16e-08d8ee096a35.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) number of students participating in Turing scheme and (b) subjects studied by those students; and what comparative assessment he has made of the number of students participating in the (i) Turing scheme at December 2021 and (ii) Erasmus scheme in the academic year 2015-16.

The Turing Scheme has made funding available for more than 41,000 students from schools, colleges and universities to go on study and work placements in over 150 destinations across the world this academic year. The government has also confirmed funding for the continuation of the Turing Scheme for the next 3 years, including £110 million for the 2022/23 academic year.

A competitive procurement exercise was conducted to appoint a delivery partner for the Turing Scheme from 1 April 2022. Two compliant bids were received for the contract to run the Turing Scheme. Following a robust procurement process, Capita’s bid was considered to be the highest in quality. The value of Capita’s bid was £6,271,155, which was the lowest bid in monetary value in this procurement.

As with all contracts, we will actively manage it at an operational and strategic level and should concerns arise, our contracts contain provisions and remedies to deal with them swiftly and effectively.

UK education providers who have successfully applied for funding may use the Turing Scheme funding to support mobilities for any of their students, regardless of study subject.

Statistics on actual participation in the scheme will be available after the end of the first year of the programme. The COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant effect on mobilities with some institutions choosing to delay their students’ placements. Statistics on participation in ERASMUS+ are published by the European Union: https://erasmus-plus.ec.europa.eu/resources-and-tools/statistics-and-factsheets.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what mechanisms his Department has in place to ensure that Capita is held accountable in respect of its spending on the Turing scheme.

The Turing Scheme has made funding available for more than 41,000 students from schools, colleges and universities to go on study and work placements in over 150 destinations across the world this academic year. The government has also confirmed funding for the continuation of the Turing Scheme for the next 3 years, including £110 million for the 2022/23 academic year.

A competitive procurement exercise was conducted to appoint a delivery partner for the Turing Scheme from 1 April 2022. Two compliant bids were received for the contract to run the Turing Scheme. Following a robust procurement process, Capita’s bid was considered to be the highest in quality. The value of Capita’s bid was £6,271,155, which was the lowest bid in monetary value in this procurement.

As with all contracts, we will actively manage it at an operational and strategic level and should concerns arise, our contracts contain provisions and remedies to deal with them swiftly and effectively.

UK education providers who have successfully applied for funding may use the Turing Scheme funding to support mobilities for any of their students, regardless of study subject.

Statistics on actual participation in the scheme will be available after the end of the first year of the programme. The COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant effect on mobilities with some institutions choosing to delay their students’ placements. Statistics on participation in ERASMUS+ are published by the European Union: https://erasmus-plus.ec.europa.eu/resources-and-tools/statistics-and-factsheets.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many bids were tabled for the contract to run the Turing Scheme; and what the monetary value of the lowest bid tabled was.

The Turing Scheme has made funding available for more than 41,000 students from schools, colleges and universities to go on study and work placements in over 150 destinations across the world this academic year. The government has also confirmed funding for the continuation of the Turing Scheme for the next 3 years, including £110 million for the 2022/23 academic year.

A competitive procurement exercise was conducted to appoint a delivery partner for the Turing Scheme from 1 April 2022. Two compliant bids were received for the contract to run the Turing Scheme. Following a robust procurement process, Capita’s bid was considered to be the highest in quality. The value of Capita’s bid was £6,271,155, which was the lowest bid in monetary value in this procurement.

As with all contracts, we will actively manage it at an operational and strategic level and should concerns arise, our contracts contain provisions and remedies to deal with them swiftly and effectively.

UK education providers who have successfully applied for funding may use the Turing Scheme funding to support mobilities for any of their students, regardless of study subject.

Statistics on actual participation in the scheme will be available after the end of the first year of the programme. The COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant effect on mobilities with some institutions choosing to delay their students’ placements. Statistics on participation in ERASMUS+ are published by the European Union: https://erasmus-plus.ec.europa.eu/resources-and-tools/statistics-and-factsheets.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the value of the bid put in by Capita to obtain the contract to run the Turing Scheme was.

The Turing Scheme has made funding available for more than 41,000 students from schools, colleges and universities to go on study and work placements in over 150 destinations across the world this academic year. The government has also confirmed funding for the continuation of the Turing Scheme for the next 3 years, including £110 million for the 2022/23 academic year.

A competitive procurement exercise was conducted to appoint a delivery partner for the Turing Scheme from 1 April 2022. Two compliant bids were received for the contract to run the Turing Scheme. Following a robust procurement process, Capita’s bid was considered to be the highest in quality. The value of Capita’s bid was £6,271,155, which was the lowest bid in monetary value in this procurement.

As with all contracts, we will actively manage it at an operational and strategic level and should concerns arise, our contracts contain provisions and remedies to deal with them swiftly and effectively.

UK education providers who have successfully applied for funding may use the Turing Scheme funding to support mobilities for any of their students, regardless of study subject.

Statistics on actual participation in the scheme will be available after the end of the first year of the programme. The COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant effect on mobilities with some institutions choosing to delay their students’ placements. Statistics on participation in ERASMUS+ are published by the European Union: https://erasmus-plus.ec.europa.eu/resources-and-tools/statistics-and-factsheets.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the take-up of degree apprenticeships against his Department's initial targets for take-up.

Apprenticeships at levels 6 and 7, including degree apprenticeships, are an important and growing part of our education and skills system and we are encouraged by the take-up so far. We have seen year on year growth since their inception, and in the last academic year there were 58,760 starts on apprenticeships at levels 6 and 7, that is 74.4% growth in 2020/21 compared to 2018/19.

Our apprenticeship reforms have put employers firmly in the driving seat and a market led approach ensures that apprenticeships are responsive to business needs both in terms of the content of the apprenticeship and availability. Employers take the decisions about who they recruit as an apprentice, and which type and level of apprenticeship they offer.

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. As these are jobs with training, they directly address skills shortages for employers. They are available in a wide range of sectors such as aerospace, automotive, digital, engineering, financial, health, leadership, legal, manufacturing, nuclear and protective services.

Higher and degree apprenticeships support productivity, social mobility and widening participation in higher education and employment. So, whilst we have seen positive growth of degree apprenticeships, we would like to see even more.

We continue to encourage more employers to consider using these apprenticeships to meet the skills needs of their industries. Education providers, including universities, have a vital role to play in working with employers to offer these apprenticeships wherever there is employer demand.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the levels of demand for modular provision within higher education.

Many learners need to access courses in a more flexible way, to fit study around work, family and personal commitments, and to retrain as both their circumstances and the economy change. There is research available which makes a case for modular provision. A joint Universities UK (UUK)-CBI study using research with learners, as well as reviewing the flexible learning opportunities offered by higher education (HE) providers, concluded that there was a strong case for modular or credit based system for undergraduate provision in the longer-term.

The introduction of a Lifelong Loan Entitlement was also a key recommendation from the ‘Post-18 Review of Education and Funding: Independent Panel’ report (the Augar report) and endorsed in a House of Lords report which recommended ‘funding for modules or credit where a full degree is not required’, stating that proposals ‘should facilitate transfer between different institutions’.

As such, the government sees the case for change, and has set out our ambition to make progress through the Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

As part of the pathway to the Lifelong Loan Entitlement, the Higher Education Short Course trial will test part-time, short course provision at levels 4-6, delivered flexibly to offer the learner choice around how they choose to study. We will use the trial to test learner and provider demand and behaviours as we learn lessons from this ahead of the full rollout of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement.

A survey by UUK found around 24% of the population had considered part-time HE in the last 10 years but had not enrolled. The current system is not meeting these needs and, as a result, fewer entrants at levels 4 and 5 fund their tuition fees with student loans than entrants at level 6.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of provisions in the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill on the protection by higher education providers of academics' freedom of speech.

This Bill includes a range of measures aimed at strengthening existing legislation on freedom of speech and academic freedom for academic staff in higher education in England.

The Bill is also clear that the job security of university staff should not be undermined by the expression of lawful speech, including where they may question and test received wisdom, and put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions.

The Bill does not amend existing employment law. However, it does provide a route to redress where an individual may not have clear contractual protections in place in respect of freedom of speech and academic freedom. Rather than having to rely on contractual protections in an employment tribunal, an academic member of staff will now have access to the Office for Students (OfS) complaints scheme, as well as the right to bring a claim in the courts via the new statutory tort.

The new complaints scheme will be overseen by a Director of Free Speech and Academic Freedom, who will also be responsible for overseeing the performance of all the OfS’s new functions. This includes promoting the importance of freedom of speech within the law and academic freedom for academic staff, as well as the monitoring and enforcement of freedom of speech registration conditions and the new duties on students’ unions of Approved (fee cap) providers.

The OfS will also issue guidance for providers and students’ unions to as they develop the new regulatory framework and complaints scheme, thereby helping them to comply with their duties.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of an introduction of minimum entry requirements of GCSE English and Maths (Level 4) for students seeking to study in Higher Education.

We are considering the recommendations made by the Augar report regarding minimum entry requirements and we plan to set out a full response to the review of post-18 education and funding in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made the number of fraudulent loans given out by the Student Loans Company.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) provide quarterly fraud reporting figures to the department, which are then reported to the Cabinet Office as part of the GOV-13 Counter Fraud Functional Standard. In the 2020/21 financial year SLC identified 136 cases of a full or partial loss to fraud relating to a loan in the same year, paid through Student Finance England.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the impact on BAME students of the current student loan repayment conditions.

The student loan system in England removes financial barriers for those hoping to study higher education while sharing its costs between learners and the general taxpayer. The loans offer unique protections to borrowers. During and after study, interest rates are capped so that they do not exceed the prevailing market rate for comparable personal loans. After finishing study, monthly repayments are only required when a borrower is earning over the repayment threshold, currently £27,295 per year, or its weekly or monthly equivalent for Plan 2 (post-2012) loans and do not change based on rates or the amount borrowed. Any outstanding debt is written off after the loan term ends at no detriment to the borrower.

As student loan repayments are income contingent, the impact of the repayment threshold and repayment conditions on students with particular protected characteristics depends on the earnings of those borrowers in each year over the loan term. The department publishes annual data on graduate employment and earnings by years after graduation, including by ethnicity, through the Graduate Outcomes publication which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/graduate-outcomes-leo/2018-19.

Regular assessments of the student finance system, including forecasts of future loan outlay, repayments and the size of the loan book, are made and published annually. The most recent publication can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/student-loan-forecasts-england-2020-to-2021. This publication notes that the Resource Accounting and Budget (RAB) charge the proportion of loan outlay that is expected to not be repaid when future repayments are valued in present terms, was estimated to be 53% for loans issued to full-time undergraduates in the 2020-21 financial year. The interest rate adds to the total amount of repayments received, and for the 2020-21 loans, the department estimates that repayments due to interest reduces the RAB charge by 4 percentage points.

Potential reforms to student loan terms, with the goal of decreasing the public subsidy on student loans while preserving the income-contingent nature of the current system, were modelled as part of the work done by the independent panel which reported to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding. We are carefully considering a range of options to ensure that student finance continues to deliver value for money for both students and the taxpayer as we continue to consider the recommendations made by the independent panel. The interim conclusion was published on 21 January 2021, and we plan to set out a conclusion to the review in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the impact on BAME students of any changes to the student loan repayment threshold.

The student loan system in England removes financial barriers for those hoping to study higher education while sharing its costs between learners and the general taxpayer. The loans offer unique protections to borrowers. During and after study, interest rates are capped so that they do not exceed the prevailing market rate for comparable personal loans. After finishing study, monthly repayments are only required when a borrower is earning over the repayment threshold, currently £27,295 per year, or its weekly or monthly equivalent for Plan 2 (post-2012) loans and do not change based on rates or the amount borrowed. Any outstanding debt is written off after the loan term ends at no detriment to the borrower.

As student loan repayments are income contingent, the impact of the repayment threshold and repayment conditions on students with particular protected characteristics depends on the earnings of those borrowers in each year over the loan term. The department publishes annual data on graduate employment and earnings by years after graduation, including by ethnicity, through the Graduate Outcomes publication which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/graduate-outcomes-leo/2018-19.

Regular assessments of the student finance system, including forecasts of future loan outlay, repayments and the size of the loan book, are made and published annually. The most recent publication can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/student-loan-forecasts-england-2020-to-2021. This publication notes that the Resource Accounting and Budget (RAB) charge the proportion of loan outlay that is expected to not be repaid when future repayments are valued in present terms, was estimated to be 53% for loans issued to full-time undergraduates in the 2020-21 financial year. The interest rate adds to the total amount of repayments received, and for the 2020-21 loans, the department estimates that repayments due to interest reduces the RAB charge by 4 percentage points.

Potential reforms to student loan terms, with the goal of decreasing the public subsidy on student loans while preserving the income-contingent nature of the current system, were modelled as part of the work done by the independent panel which reported to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding. We are carefully considering a range of options to ensure that student finance continues to deliver value for money for both students and the taxpayer as we continue to consider the recommendations made by the independent panel. The interim conclusion was published on 21 January 2021, and we plan to set out a conclusion to the review in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the sustainability of the student loan system and its effect on the public finances under the current repayment thresholds.

The student loan system in England removes financial barriers for those hoping to study higher education while sharing its costs between learners and the general taxpayer. The loans offer unique protections to borrowers. During and after study, interest rates are capped so that they do not exceed the prevailing market rate for comparable personal loans. After finishing study, monthly repayments are only required when a borrower is earning over the repayment threshold, currently £27,295 per year, or its weekly or monthly equivalent for Plan 2 (post-2012) loans and do not change based on rates or the amount borrowed. Any outstanding debt is written off after the loan term ends at no detriment to the borrower.

As student loan repayments are income contingent, the impact of the repayment threshold and repayment conditions on students with particular protected characteristics depends on the earnings of those borrowers in each year over the loan term. The department publishes annual data on graduate employment and earnings by years after graduation, including by ethnicity, through the Graduate Outcomes publication which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/graduate-outcomes-leo/2018-19.

Regular assessments of the student finance system, including forecasts of future loan outlay, repayments and the size of the loan book, are made and published annually. The most recent publication can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/student-loan-forecasts-england-2020-to-2021. This publication notes that the Resource Accounting and Budget (RAB) charge the proportion of loan outlay that is expected to not be repaid when future repayments are valued in present terms, was estimated to be 53% for loans issued to full-time undergraduates in the 2020-21 financial year. The interest rate adds to the total amount of repayments received, and for the 2020-21 loans, the department estimates that repayments due to interest reduces the RAB charge by 4 percentage points.

Potential reforms to student loan terms, with the goal of decreasing the public subsidy on student loans while preserving the income-contingent nature of the current system, were modelled as part of the work done by the independent panel which reported to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding. We are carefully considering a range of options to ensure that student finance continues to deliver value for money for both students and the taxpayer as we continue to consider the recommendations made by the independent panel. The interim conclusion was published on 21 January 2021, and we plan to set out a conclusion to the review in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made through financial modelling of the effect of different interest rates on (a) the size of future debt, (b) students’ ability to repay and (c) the size of the total loan debt arising from student loans.

The student loan system in England removes financial barriers for those hoping to study higher education while sharing its costs between learners and the general taxpayer. The loans offer unique protections to borrowers. During and after study, interest rates are capped so that they do not exceed the prevailing market rate for comparable personal loans. After finishing study, monthly repayments are only required when a borrower is earning over the repayment threshold, currently £27,295 per year, or its weekly or monthly equivalent for Plan 2 (post-2012) loans and do not change based on rates or the amount borrowed. Any outstanding debt is written off after the loan term ends at no detriment to the borrower.

As student loan repayments are income contingent, the impact of the repayment threshold and repayment conditions on students with particular protected characteristics depends on the earnings of those borrowers in each year over the loan term. The department publishes annual data on graduate employment and earnings by years after graduation, including by ethnicity, through the Graduate Outcomes publication which can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/graduate-outcomes-leo/2018-19.

Regular assessments of the student finance system, including forecasts of future loan outlay, repayments and the size of the loan book, are made and published annually. The most recent publication can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/student-loan-forecasts-england-2020-to-2021. This publication notes that the Resource Accounting and Budget (RAB) charge the proportion of loan outlay that is expected to not be repaid when future repayments are valued in present terms, was estimated to be 53% for loans issued to full-time undergraduates in the 2020-21 financial year. The interest rate adds to the total amount of repayments received, and for the 2020-21 loans, the department estimates that repayments due to interest reduces the RAB charge by 4 percentage points.

Potential reforms to student loan terms, with the goal of decreasing the public subsidy on student loans while preserving the income-contingent nature of the current system, were modelled as part of the work done by the independent panel which reported to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding. We are carefully considering a range of options to ensure that student finance continues to deliver value for money for both students and the taxpayer as we continue to consider the recommendations made by the independent panel. The interim conclusion was published on 21 January 2021, and we plan to set out a conclusion to the review in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the reduction in funding to UniConnect for 2021-22 on access to higher education.

The Uni Connect programme, operated by the Office for Students (OfS), is a 4 year investment programme established to support the creation of a strong and versatile network of local partnerships with cross-England coverage and aims to provide sustained outreach to young people in schools and colleges in areas with low or unexplained gaps in higher education (HE) participation.

The programme’s annual funding allocation is made within the available Strategic Priorities Grant, and as such is subject to annual review and decision making, with due regard for general duties, the Public Sector Equality Duty, and statutory guidance.

The former Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend for South Staffordshire, wrote to the OfS on 19 January 2021, providing guidance under section 2(3) of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. This set out the funding allocation for the 2021-22 financial year and the government’s priorities to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting HE provision which aligns with national priorities, including targeting funds to support students and prioritise the most disadvantaged learners.

This guidance detailed that the OfS should reduce its allocation to Uni Connect from £60 million to £40 million, allowing it to continue to deliver and maintain its core infrastructure, with savings reallocated to fund support for student mental health and student hardship.

The OfS consulted with the sector on recurrent funding in March 2021 and sought views on reductions to the fundings levels of the Uni Connect programme. The outcomes of this consultation were published in July 2021 and are available to view here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/recurrent-funding-for-2021-22-outcomes-of-consultation/. The OfS’s consultation response concluded that the Uni Connect partnerships could continue to meet the OfS’s goals through a combination of increased efficiency and a focus on the most effective interventions and that they did not anticipate a reduction in the number of targeted learners.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data his Department has collated on the number of cases of covid-19 recorded across campuses in England and Wales.

Numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases for those reporting ‘attending university’ in the contact tracing process are published weekly by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), this information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports-2021-to-2022-season.

The most recent release (6 January) covers the period from 23 October 2020 to 2 January 2022. UKHSA note that “If a case reports being in education, this does not specify that they attended the setting in person during the time that they were exposed/infectious (for example they may have been remote learning). In addition, cases that did attend in person may have been exposed in other settings, such as their household or while doing other activities. This data cannot be used to directly infer that these cases acquired their infection, or that they exposed others, in the education setting.”

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for higher education providers to widen access programmes in the context of an increase in providers registered with the Office for Students.

All higher education providers wishing to charge tuition fees above the basic fee level (£6,000+), and to be eligible for funding from the Strategic Priorities Grant, must agree an access and participation plan with the Office for Students (OfS) in accordance with the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. These plans need to set out their targets and planned expenditure to improve access and participation based on their priorities, and the gaps they need to address for their own institution.

To support students most at risk of dropping out, the government provides additional formula-based funding for providers through the student premium (part of the Strategic Priorities Grant). As of July 2021, the OfS has allocated student premium funding totalling £273m to providers for the 2021/22 academic year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment has he made of trends in the level of skills shortages in sectors of strategic importance across the UK economy.

We know that a lack of access to skills is one among a number of possible barriers preventing employers from being able to access the workforce they need, alongside others such as pay, progression opportunities or working conditions.

Where there is a genuine skills shortage affecting a key sector, the Department for Education will work with partners in industry and across government to take action. For example, we are delivering training to become an HGV Driver to 11,000 people via new Skills Bootcamps, as part of a wider package which also includes increasing testing capacity to help more people get out onto the road more quickly.

To help inform government and industry action, we gather data through different sources, including the Employer Skills Survey. The most recent version of this survey highlighted skills shortages in construction and manufacturing, where 36% of vacancies were proving hard to fill because of applicants lacking the appropriate skills, qualifications or experience (compared to an average of 24%). We are helping employers to address these shortages through our programme of skills reforms, which is leading to a growing number of new apprenticeship starts, the creation of new Skills Bootcamps up and down the country, and the introduction of new T Levels to help more young people get the technical skills they need to thrive in the world of work.

We are also drawing on analysis undertaken by groups and organisations including Construction Industry Training Board, Engineering Construction Industry Training Board and the Green Jobs Taskforce, which point, for example, to the need for 35,000 heat pump installers to be trained by 2028. We are working with industry to address these gaps through the Construction Skills Delivery Group and, in 2022, a new cross-cutting delivery group on green jobs.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the proportion of students who left school in summer 2021, aged 18, who did not go onto further and higher education.

The sustained destinations of students who completed 16-18 study in summer 2021 are not yet available. The latest available data is for those students who completed 16-18 study in summer 2019. To be counted as having a sustained destination, the student must have had six contiguous months of activity in their destination year. The main destinations for this cohort are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/477e260e-ac3a-40d5-a7a9-b1e7a596c2c8.

Of the 55.2% of students that did not sustain a further or higher education destination: 2.6% were in other education, 24.9% in employment, 8.4% in apprenticeships, 13.8% did not sustain a destination, and activity was not captured for the remaining 5.5%.

In addition to destination measures, the participation in education and training and employment publication may also be of interest: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/participation-in-education-and-training-and-employment.

This release provides official measures of participation and not in education, employment or training (NEET) for 16-18 year olds. The estimates relate to a snapshot of activities at the end of the calendar year, and proportions are given as that of the population. Estimates for end 2021 will be published in June 2022.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent comparative assessment he has made of the levels of demand among 18 to 25 year olds for (a) apprenticeships and (b) traditional further and higher education full time provision.

Apprenticeships provide young people with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start an exciting career in a wide range of industries, everything from artificial intelligence, archaeology, data science, business management and banking. There are currently over 640 employer-designed apprenticeship standards available at all levels, ensuring a wide variety of options for young people.

Prospective apprentices can search for employer advertised apprenticeship opportunities through the ‘find an apprenticeship’ (FAA) service on gov.uk and create an account to manage their applications and be alerted about new apprenticeships. Employers can advertise their apprenticeship vacancies through various other commercial services, or their own in-house channels, instead of, or in addition to FAA.

Latest published figures show over 15,000 vacancies on FAA available for prospective apprentices of all ages to apply for. Although we do not routinely publish data on apprenticeship demand through FAA, figures from the 12 months to 15 July 2021 show a ratio of roughly three applicants under 25 to one vacancy.

We are supporting employers to offer more apprenticeships to young people through encouraging more flexible training models such as front-loaded training, accelerated apprenticeships, and flexi-job apprenticeships. In addition, we continue to encourage more young people to consider apprenticeships through our Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge programme which reached over 600,000 students across England in the last academic year.

We recognise the need for skills from employers and learners, and in January 2021 we published the Skills for Jobs White Paper. This is focused on giving people the skills they need, in a way that suits them, so they can get great jobs in sectors the economy needs and boost this country’s productivity.

The White Paper supports delivery of my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister’s, Lifetime Skills Guarantee which is aimed at giving people the opportunity to upskill and reskill at different points in their life. This includes funding people for their first advanced level (A level equivalent) course through Free Courses for Jobs, short, flexible ways to train through employer-led Skills Bootcamps, and a Lifelong Loan Entitlement to be introduced from 2025.

It is also focused on putting employers at the heart of the skills system so education and training meets their needs and local areas planning what skills they need through Local Skills Improvement Plans.

Together with other key reforms, such as the introduction of T Levels as a high-quality alternative to A levels, employer led apprenticeships and boosting level 4 and 5 technical provision, we are ensuring that there are a wide range of opportunities available for people of all ages to get the skills they need and meet demand.

In respect of higher education (HE), 2021 has been a record year for UK students in HE admissions, not just in terms of the number of applications, but also in terms of those who have been accepted onto university courses. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service publishes data on the number of applicants and acceptances by age to full-time undergraduate higher education. Figures for the 2021 application cycle show the number of UK domiciled 18 to 24 year old applicants was 505,880, and the number of UK domiciled 18 to 24 year old acceptances was 423,270.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made on the take-up of degree apprenticeships since their introduction.

Apprenticeships at levels 6 and 7, including degree apprenticeships, are an important and growing part of our education and skills system and we are encouraged by the take-up so far. We have seen year on year growth since their inception, and in the last academic year there were 58,760 starts on apprenticeships at levels 6-7, 74.4% growth in 2020/21 compared to 2018/19.

There are now over 150 industry-designed apprenticeship standards available at levels 6 and 7, of which over 100 of these include a degree. As these are jobs with training, they directly address skills shortages for employers. They are available in a wide range of sectors such as Aerospace, Automotive, Digital, Engineering, Financial, Health, Leadership, Legal, Manufacturing, Nuclear and Protective Services.

Whilst we have seen positive growth of degree apprenticeships, we would like to see even more. Higher and degree apprenticeships support productivity, social mobility and widening participation in higher education and employment.

We continue to encourage more employers to consider using these apprenticeships to meet the skills needs of their industries. Education providers, including universities, have a vital role to play in working with employers to offer these apprenticeships wherever there is employer demand.

The attached file contains the number of apprenticeships starts at level 6 and 7, along with a further breakdown of those apprenticeships with a mandatory degree component since the first starts were recorded in the 2014/15 academic year.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the purchasing power of the maximum amount of undergraduate maintenance loan.

The government is committed to a sustainable funding model for higher education (HE) that supports high-quality provision, meets the skills needs of the country and maintains the world-class reputation of our HE sector, while sharing its costs fairly between graduates and the general taxpayer.

Tuition fee levels must ensure that universities continue to be properly funded, while representing value for money for students and taxpayers, not all of whom will have wanted to go to university. Maximum tuition fees for standard full-time courses will remain at £9,250 for the 2022/23 academic year. This will be the fifth year in succession that maximum fees have been frozen, providing better value for students and keeping the cost of HE under control.

Since 2012, total income for universities in England has increased by around £7.4 billion in real terms. Income from tuition fees is augmented by the Strategic Priorities Grant, which is paid directly to providers, and totals £1.4 billion in academic year 2021/22. On 19 January 2021, the former Secretary of State for Education wrote to the Office for Students (OfS), setting out his priorities for reform of the Strategic Priorities Grant for the 21/22 academic year. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding, towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost STEM subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs. As a result, the total funding for high-cost subjects, such as medicine, engineering and other high-cost subjects, is 12% (£81 million) higher in the 2021/22 academic year compared to 2020/21.

Students from the lowest income families have access to the largest ever amounts of living costs support in cash terms. Maximum grants and loans for living costs, which are a contribution towards a student’s living costs while attending a university, have been increased by 3.1% for the current 2021/22 academic year, with a further 2.3% increase announced for 2022/23. Annual increases in maintenance support from government are based on inflation forecasts for the first quarter of the calendar year after the start of the academic year (using the All Items Retail Prices Index less mortgage interest payments (RPI-X) measure) provided by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of rising inflation on the funding of the higher education system since student fees were capped at £9250.

The government is committed to a sustainable funding model for higher education (HE) that supports high-quality provision, meets the skills needs of the country and maintains the world-class reputation of our HE sector, while sharing its costs fairly between graduates and the general taxpayer.

Tuition fee levels must ensure that universities continue to be properly funded, while representing value for money for students and taxpayers, not all of whom will have wanted to go to university. Maximum tuition fees for standard full-time courses will remain at £9,250 for the 2022/23 academic year. This will be the fifth year in succession that maximum fees have been frozen, providing better value for students and keeping the cost of HE under control.

Since 2012, total income for universities in England has increased by around £7.4 billion in real terms. Income from tuition fees is augmented by the Strategic Priorities Grant, which is paid directly to providers, and totals £1.4 billion in academic year 2021/22. On 19 January 2021, the former Secretary of State for Education wrote to the Office for Students (OfS), setting out his priorities for reform of the Strategic Priorities Grant for the 21/22 academic year. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding, towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost STEM subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs. As a result, the total funding for high-cost subjects, such as medicine, engineering and other high-cost subjects, is 12% (£81 million) higher in the 2021/22 academic year compared to 2020/21.

Students from the lowest income families have access to the largest ever amounts of living costs support in cash terms. Maximum grants and loans for living costs, which are a contribution towards a student’s living costs while attending a university, have been increased by 3.1% for the current 2021/22 academic year, with a further 2.3% increase announced for 2022/23. Annual increases in maintenance support from government are based on inflation forecasts for the first quarter of the calendar year after the start of the academic year (using the All Items Retail Prices Index less mortgage interest payments (RPI-X) measure) provided by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the funding of the higher education system is protected against increasing inflation.

The government is committed to a sustainable funding model for higher education (HE) that supports high-quality provision, meets the skills needs of the country and maintains the world-class reputation of our HE sector, while sharing its costs fairly between graduates and the general taxpayer.

Tuition fee levels must ensure that universities continue to be properly funded, while representing value for money for students and taxpayers, not all of whom will have wanted to go to university. Maximum tuition fees for standard full-time courses will remain at £9,250 for the 2022/23 academic year. This will be the fifth year in succession that maximum fees have been frozen, providing better value for students and keeping the cost of HE under control.

Since 2012, total income for universities in England has increased by around £7.4 billion in real terms. Income from tuition fees is augmented by the Strategic Priorities Grant, which is paid directly to providers, and totals £1.4 billion in academic year 2021/22. On 19 January 2021, the former Secretary of State for Education wrote to the Office for Students (OfS), setting out his priorities for reform of the Strategic Priorities Grant for the 21/22 academic year. These reforms include the reallocation of high-cost subject funding, towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost STEM subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs. As a result, the total funding for high-cost subjects, such as medicine, engineering and other high-cost subjects, is 12% (£81 million) higher in the 2021/22 academic year compared to 2020/21.

Students from the lowest income families have access to the largest ever amounts of living costs support in cash terms. Maximum grants and loans for living costs, which are a contribution towards a student’s living costs while attending a university, have been increased by 3.1% for the current 2021/22 academic year, with a further 2.3% increase announced for 2022/23. Annual increases in maintenance support from government are based on inflation forecasts for the first quarter of the calendar year after the start of the academic year (using the All Items Retail Prices Index less mortgage interest payments (RPI-X) measure) provided by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the proportion of higher education students who transfer between higher education institutions in any given year; and what assessment he has made of the socio-economic backgrounds of those students.

The Office for Students published experimental statistics on student transfers on 30 November 2021, available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/student-transfers/.

The statistics show that 2.9% of students who entered the first year of a full-time first degree in England in the 2018/19 academic year had transferred to a different provider one year after entry.

The statistics are disaggregated by student characteristics, including two measures of disadvantage. These show that:

  • 3.4% of students from Participation of Local Areas (POLAR4) [1] quintile 1 (lowest higher education participation) backgrounds had transferred to a different provider one year after entry, compared to 3.0% for those from quintile 5 (highest higher education participation).
  • 3.8% of students from Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)[2] quintile 1 (most deprived) backgrounds had transferred to a different provider one year after entry, compared to 2.5% for those from quintile 5 (least deprived).

[1] POLAR4 is a measure of how likely young people are to participate in higher education.

[2] IMD measures relative deprivation in small areas through factors such as income, employment, education and health.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the mass movement of students at the end of the Christmas term on the spread of covid-19.

The safety of students, staff and wider communities is the government’s priority.

As outlined in our guidance to the sector, students were advised to take a test before they travelled home for the Christmas break: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses. We advised students to continue to test at home and to test before they travel back to their term time accommodation in January, using test kits issued by their university before the Christmas break, ordered online, or collected from their local pharmacy.

For those who are returning from abroad, the government has set out specific measures for people entering England with a test 2 days beforehand for those who are not considered fully vaccinated as well as testing on arrival for all. This includes measures for those who are not considered fully vaccinated, which would require quarantining at their place of residence for 10 days.

It has been impressive to see so many students playing their part by getting vaccinated. We strongly encourage all students to get both doses of the vaccine and the booster jab as soon as possible, unless they are medically exempt, to protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19.

All higher education (HE) providers have plans for managing and controlling outbreaks. These have been agreed with local directors of public health and continue to be reviewed and updated based on emerging lessons and local situations. We expect HE providers to continue to prioritise the health and safety of their staff, students, and local community by putting in place measures that apply to their individual circumstances.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that the mass movement of students at the end of the Christmas term does not contribute to the spread of covid-19 in the context of the Omicron variant.

The safety of students, staff and wider communities is the government’s priority.

As outlined in our guidance to the sector, students were advised to take a test before they travelled home for the Christmas break: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses. We advised students to continue to test at home and to test before they travel back to their term time accommodation in January, using test kits issued by their university before the Christmas break, ordered online, or collected from their local pharmacy.

For those who are returning from abroad, the government has set out specific measures for people entering England with a test 2 days beforehand for those who are not considered fully vaccinated as well as testing on arrival for all. This includes measures for those who are not considered fully vaccinated, which would require quarantining at their place of residence for 10 days.

It has been impressive to see so many students playing their part by getting vaccinated. We strongly encourage all students to get both doses of the vaccine and the booster jab as soon as possible, unless they are medically exempt, to protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID-19.

All higher education (HE) providers have plans for managing and controlling outbreaks. These have been agreed with local directors of public health and continue to be reviewed and updated based on emerging lessons and local situations. We expect HE providers to continue to prioritise the health and safety of their staff, students, and local community by putting in place measures that apply to their individual circumstances.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the number of trainee teachers is protected in the event that numerous teacher training providers fail the re-accreditation process launched by the Initial Teacher Training Market Review.

The department wants all high-quality providers to continue to deliver initial teacher training leading to qualified teacher status. We will be proceeding carefully to maintain enough training places in all parts of the country to continue meeting teacher supply needs and will monitor this throughout the accreditation process.

We reserve the right to run additional accreditation rounds if this is needed.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's Initial teacher training (ITT) market review, published on 5 July 2021, how many providers responding to that consultation did not support the proposed reforms.

The majority of the 823 respondents did not express universal opposition to, or universal support for the proposals, but indicated positive views towards some of the recommendations, while raising points about the potential impact of others.

The government response to the consultation is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/initial-teacher-training-itt-market-review. The response includes detailed analysis of the consultation responses. This analysis describes the main themes found across the responses to each question of the consultation and sets out how the feedback informed the government’s response to the recommendations from the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) market review.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage the recruitment of more teachers in Design and Technology.

The 2020/21 academic year saw an increase of more than 5,000 in the full time equivalent of teachers in state-funded secondary schools in England. This equates to a 2.5% growth on the year before, the largest observed in the last 10 years, and has resulted in the largest qualified teacher workforce since 2015/16.

Added to this, one of the department’s top priorities is to ensure that we continue to attract and retain high-quality teachers across all subjects. In October this year our new digital service, Apply for Teacher Training, was also rolled out. This is a key milestone in the delivery of a more streamlined, user-friendly application route for candidates across the country and the world.

To combat shortages of design and technology teachers, the department is offering a £15,000 tax-free bursary for design & technology trainee teachers in 2022/23 academic year. All design and technology trainees on tuition fee-funded initial teacher training routes are also able to apply for a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional student finance is also available depending on individual circumstances, such as the Childcare Grant.

The department has also now launched our early career framework (ECF) reforms, as part of the department’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy. These reforms provide a funded entitlement for all early career teachers in England to access high quality professional development at the start of their career.

To support international recruitment across all subjects including design and technology, the department are also piloting a new Support Overseas Teachers acclimatisation service in 2022. This is designed to provide newly recruited overseas trained teachers moving to England with pre-arrival training and support during the first term, to ensure they make a successful transition to teaching in England, with the intention of improving retention.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the shortage of teachers in Design and Technology on the availability of that subject in all schools and at all ages.

The 2020/21 academic year saw an increase of more than 5,000 in the full time equivalent of teachers in state-funded secondary schools in England. This equates to a 2.5% growth on the year before, the largest observed in the last 10 years, and has resulted in the largest qualified teacher workforce since 2015/16.

Added to this, one of the department’s top priorities is to ensure that we continue to attract and retain high-quality teachers across all subjects. In October this year our new digital service, Apply for Teacher Training, was also rolled out. This is a key milestone in the delivery of a more streamlined, user-friendly application route for candidates across the country and the world.

To combat shortages of design and technology teachers, the department is offering a £15,000 tax-free bursary for design & technology trainee teachers in 2022/23 academic year. All design and technology trainees on tuition fee-funded initial teacher training routes are also able to apply for a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional student finance is also available depending on individual circumstances, such as the Childcare Grant.

The department has also now launched our early career framework (ECF) reforms, as part of the department’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy. These reforms provide a funded entitlement for all early career teachers in England to access high quality professional development at the start of their career.

To support international recruitment across all subjects including design and technology, the department are also piloting a new Support Overseas Teachers acclimatisation service in 2022. This is designed to provide newly recruited overseas trained teachers moving to England with pre-arrival training and support during the first term, to ensure they make a successful transition to teaching in England, with the intention of improving retention.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage the recruitment of more teachers in modern foreign language subjects.

The 2020/21 academic year saw an increase of more than 5,000 in the full-time equivalent of teachers in state-funded secondary schools in England. This equates to a 2.5% growth on the year before, the largest observed in the last 10 years, and has resulted in the largest qualified teacher workforce since the 2015/16 academic year.

Added to this, one of the department’s top priorities is to ensure that we continue to attract and retain high-quality teachers across all subjects. In October this year, our new digital service, Apply for teacher training, was rolled out. This is a key milestone in the delivery of a more streamlined, user-friendly application route for candidates across the country and the world.

In order to combat shortages in modern foreign languages teachers, the department has increased the languages bursary to £15,000 for the 2022/23 academic year to incentivise candidates to train in modern foreign languages. All modern foreign language trainee teachers on tuition fee-funded Initial Teacher Training routes are also able to apply for a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional student finance is also available depending on individual circumstances, such as the Childcare Grant.

The department has also now launched its early career framework reforms, as part of the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy. These reforms provide a funded entitlement for all early career teachers in England to access high quality professional development at the start of their career.

To support international recruitment across all subjects including modern foreign languages, the department is also piloting a new Support Overseas Teachers acclimatisation service in 2022. It is designed to provide newly recruited overseas trained teachers moving to England with pre-arrival training and support during the first term, to ensure they make a successful transition to teaching in England, with the intention of improving retention.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the shortage of teachers in modern foreign languages on the availability of modern foreign languages at schools.

The 2020/21 academic year saw an increase of more than 5,000 in the full-time equivalent of teachers in state-funded secondary schools in England. This equates to a 2.5% growth on the year before, the largest observed in the last 10 years, and has resulted in the largest qualified teacher workforce since the 2015/16 academic year.

Added to this, one of the department’s top priorities is to ensure that we continue to attract and retain high-quality teachers across all subjects. In October this year, our new digital service, Apply for teacher training, was rolled out. This is a key milestone in the delivery of a more streamlined, user-friendly application route for candidates across the country and the world.

In order to combat shortages in modern foreign languages teachers, the department has increased the languages bursary to £15,000 for the 2022/23 academic year to incentivise candidates to train in modern foreign languages. All modern foreign language trainee teachers on tuition fee-funded Initial Teacher Training routes are also able to apply for a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional student finance is also available depending on individual circumstances, such as the Childcare Grant.

The department has also now launched its early career framework reforms, as part of the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy. These reforms provide a funded entitlement for all early career teachers in England to access high quality professional development at the start of their career.

To support international recruitment across all subjects including modern foreign languages, the department is also piloting a new Support Overseas Teachers acclimatisation service in 2022. It is designed to provide newly recruited overseas trained teachers moving to England with pre-arrival training and support during the first term, to ensure they make a successful transition to teaching in England, with the intention of improving retention.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to ensure that the guidance accompanying the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

The Office for Students (OfS) will publish guidance to support the new regulatory framework and complaints scheme, following completion of the Bill’s passage. I anticipate that they will consult widely, including with sector representatives and student bodies, as appropriate in due course.

Guidance for higher education providers in England and students’ unions of Approved (fee cap) providers in England on the strengthened and additional duties imposed by the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will be published by the OfS.

The OfS is accountable to the Department for Education and to Parliament. They can also be asked to appear in front of the Education Select Committee.

The Department for Education published an Impact Assessment on 12 May 2021. This sets out the expected costs and benefits of the Bill, including the office of the Director for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom. This is publicly available here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2862/publications.

Data on the number of events cancelled on higher education campuses since the introduction of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill to Parliament is not available. According to Prevent monitoring data, 0.24% of events were cancelled during academic year 2018/19, not necessarily due to freedom of speech concerns. This Bill is not only about event cancellations – it will underpin a culture change across campuses where students, staff and visiting speakers feel able to express lawful views without fear of negative repercussions.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to publish the guidance accompanying the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill.

The Office for Students (OfS) will publish guidance to support the new regulatory framework and complaints scheme, following completion of the Bill’s passage. I anticipate that they will consult widely, including with sector representatives and student bodies, as appropriate in due course.

Guidance for higher education providers in England and students’ unions of Approved (fee cap) providers in England on the strengthened and additional duties imposed by the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will be published by the OfS.

The OfS is accountable to the Department for Education and to Parliament. They can also be asked to appear in front of the Education Select Committee.

The Department for Education published an Impact Assessment on 12 May 2021. This sets out the expected costs and benefits of the Bill, including the office of the Director for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom. This is publicly available here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2862/publications.

Data on the number of events cancelled on higher education campuses since the introduction of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill to Parliament is not available. According to Prevent monitoring data, 0.24% of events were cancelled during academic year 2018/19, not necessarily due to freedom of speech concerns. This Bill is not only about event cancellations – it will underpin a culture change across campuses where students, staff and visiting speakers feel able to express lawful views without fear of negative repercussions.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has collected data on the number of events cancelled on higher education campuses since the introduction of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill to Parliament.

The Office for Students (OfS) will publish guidance to support the new regulatory framework and complaints scheme, following completion of the Bill’s passage. I anticipate that they will consult widely, including with sector representatives and student bodies, as appropriate in due course.

Guidance for higher education providers in England and students’ unions of Approved (fee cap) providers in England on the strengthened and additional duties imposed by the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will be published by the OfS.

The OfS is accountable to the Department for Education and to Parliament. They can also be asked to appear in front of the Education Select Committee.

The Department for Education published an Impact Assessment on 12 May 2021. This sets out the expected costs and benefits of the Bill, including the office of the Director for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom. This is publicly available here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2862/publications.

Data on the number of events cancelled on higher education campuses since the introduction of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill to Parliament is not available. According to Prevent monitoring data, 0.24% of events were cancelled during academic year 2018/19, not necessarily due to freedom of speech concerns. This Bill is not only about event cancellations – it will underpin a culture change across campuses where students, staff and visiting speakers feel able to express lawful views without fear of negative repercussions.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the total cost of the delivery of the functions of the office of the Director of Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom proposed in the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill 2021.

The Office for Students (OfS) will publish guidance to support the new regulatory framework and complaints scheme, following completion of the Bill’s passage. I anticipate that they will consult widely, including with sector representatives and student bodies, as appropriate in due course.

Guidance for higher education providers in England and students’ unions of Approved (fee cap) providers in England on the strengthened and additional duties imposed by the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will be published by the OfS.

The OfS is accountable to the Department for Education and to Parliament. They can also be asked to appear in front of the Education Select Committee.

The Department for Education published an Impact Assessment on 12 May 2021. This sets out the expected costs and benefits of the Bill, including the office of the Director for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom. This is publicly available here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2862/publications.

Data on the number of events cancelled on higher education campuses since the introduction of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill to Parliament is not available. According to Prevent monitoring data, 0.24% of events were cancelled during academic year 2018/19, not necessarily due to freedom of speech concerns. This Bill is not only about event cancellations – it will underpin a culture change across campuses where students, staff and visiting speakers feel able to express lawful views without fear of negative repercussions.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will consult (a) Universities UK, (b) the University and College and Union, (c) National Union of Students and (d) other relevant stakeholders when preparing the guidance to support the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill.

The Office for Students (OfS) will publish guidance to support the new regulatory framework and complaints scheme, following completion of the Bill’s passage. I anticipate that they will consult widely, including with sector representatives and student bodies, as appropriate in due course.

Guidance for higher education providers in England and students’ unions of Approved (fee cap) providers in England on the strengthened and additional duties imposed by the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill will be published by the OfS.

The OfS is accountable to the Department for Education and to Parliament. They can also be asked to appear in front of the Education Select Committee.

The Department for Education published an Impact Assessment on 12 May 2021. This sets out the expected costs and benefits of the Bill, including the office of the Director for Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom. This is publicly available here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2862/publications.

Data on the number of events cancelled on higher education campuses since the introduction of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill to Parliament is not available. According to Prevent monitoring data, 0.24% of events were cancelled during academic year 2018/19, not necessarily due to freedom of speech concerns. This Bill is not only about event cancellations – it will underpin a culture change across campuses where students, staff and visiting speakers feel able to express lawful views without fear of negative repercussions.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that teacher training providers will be given clear explanations as to why their re-accreditation application was rejected.

We are holding two application rounds in 2022 for organisations seeking accreditation to deliver initial teacher training (ITT) from the 2024/25 academic year. Following assessment, moderation and, where necessary, due diligence checks of all applications submitted in the first round, applicants will be informed in writing of the outcome of their accreditation application. This will include some feedback about the application. If unsuccessful, feedback will outline how the applicant has not met the required standard for accreditation. If an organisation is unsuccessful in the first round, they can reapply in the second, or alternatively decide to join a partnership with a successful provider. We reserve the right to run additional accreditation rounds if this is needed.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to teacher training providers on the criteria they must fulfil as part of the reaccreditation process to provide an evidence-based curriculum.

The government response to the review accepted the recommendation that all initial teacher training (ITT) courses that lead to qualified teacher status should be centred on an evidence-based trainee curriculum, delivering as a minimum all aspects of the core content framework. However, it is the responsibility of providers to determine the shape of their training curriculum to suit their local circumstances and the needs of their trainees, such as subject-specific knowledge.

The response sets out new quality requirements, including a section focused on curriculum, which will become part of the ITT criteria from academic year 2024/25.

Alongside the response, the government has also published documentation for current providers wishing to apply for reaccreditation and new organisations wishing to become accredited ITT providers from the academic year 2024/25, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-itt-market-review/initial-teacher-training-itt-market-review-overview. This consists of updated ITT criteria 2024/25, ‘How to Apply’ guidance, an Expression of Interest form, assessment questions and marking criteria, and FAQs.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, by how many percentage points undergraduate and postgraduate loans for maintenance increased in the 2020-21 academic year compared to the 2019-20 academic year.

Maximum grants and loans for living and other costs for undergraduate students and maximum postgraduate disabled students’ allowances were increased for the 2020/21 academic year by the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast of inflation (RPI-X) for the first quarter of the 2021 calendar year, which was 2.9%.

The same increase was applied to maximum postgraduate master’s degree loans and postgraduate doctoral degree loans for students starting courses in the 2020/21 academic year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what measures he is putting in place to facilitate the return of international student in January 2021 in response to increasing covid-19 related travel restrictions.

Visa concessions for those on student (or Tier 4) visas allow for the provision of online learning for students outside the UK until 6 April 2022. These visa concessions have been implemented so that students have a greater degree of flexibility on when they travel into the UK, if required.

Students should look to travel to the UK in keeping with their course requirements and should speak to their education provider to understand these. Individual higher education providers make the decision about face-to-face learning in relation to students’ learning needs.

The government is working closely with the higher education sector to ensure that providers are prepared to support students who may wish to stay in their university accommodation over the holidays due to possible travel disruption as well as international students returning in January.

In addition, the government has liaised with the higher education sector throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure they have been provided with the latest travel guidance that affects their international student population.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the UK higher education sector has gone above and beyond to ensure that international students’ physical and mental health are prioritised. The government will continue to work alongside the higher education sector to ensure international students are supported throughout their time in higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that universities are offering home tuition fees to applicants who are UK nationals living in the EEA or Switzerland.

UK nationals and their family members living in the European Economic Area or Switzerland at the end of the transition period, who wish to study in England, will continue to be eligible for home fee status for courses starting before 1 January 2028.

This provision is set out in the Education (Fees and Awards) (England) Regulations which higher education providers are required to follow when assessing a student’s eligibility for home fee status.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on retrospectively changing the terms of student loans for UK graduates.

The government is currently considering its response to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding carefully. We are committed to driving up quality of standards and educational excellence and ensuring a sustainable and flexible student finance system. We will provide an update on our position as we conclude the post-18 review and are planning to consult in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health on fully vaccinating all university students ahead of the 2021-22 academic year.

As the COVID-19 vaccination has been extended to all adults and young people over the age of 16, we urge students to be vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

Students can access the vaccine via local sites run by GPs or community pharmacies, at larger vaccination centres and in some hospitals. Local areas may also decide to work with partners to set up “pop up” temporary clinics at locations convenient for students to access, for example, on university campuses.

We are pleased that universities are encouraging their students to take up the vaccine and recommend that students consult the COVID-19 vaccination Frequently Asked Questions published by NHS England that is available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/covid-19-vaccination-faqs-students-in-higher-education-institutions/.

Vaccination is not a requirement to study at university, but it is important in helping keep staff and students safe, and we are working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to students in higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the cost of quarantine for international students returning from covid-19 red countries.

I speak regularly with my counterparts across government about how various COVID-19 policies may affect students with a view to minimising burdens for students while maintaining public health, and I have remained in close contact with Department for Health and Social Care ministers responsible for the Managed Quarantine Service.

Hotel quarantine is in place to prevent the spread of potentially harmful COVID-19 variants in the UK, and there is a need to have strict rules in place to prevent the vaccine effort from being undermined.

The costs of quarantine are borne by the traveller – these costs are the same for any individual arriving in the UK from, or via a red list country.

However, we have worked closely with the sector and colleagues across government to ensure that UK residents, including international students due to their visa status, that are facing significant financial hardship will have the opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking their managed quarantine hotel room. Travellers who access hardship will be referred to a government debt collection agency (“Qualco”), who will perform an independent financial assessment and determine an appropriate payment plan.

Any student who is experiencing financial hardship can speak with their provider about support. We have made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to higher education providers in the 2020/21 academic year. This is in addition to the £256 million of government funded student premium funding already available to higher education providers to draw on for this academic year, 2020/21, and this support can include help for students, including international students and postgraduates. International students can be confident in expressing these concerns to their provider without any impact on their immigration status.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the evidence underpinning his Department’s guidance to local authorities to postpone Grammar School entry tests until November for 2021-22 entry.

It is unlikely that children will have performed at the best of their ability at the beginning of September this year and were likely to benefit from as much time back in education as possible before being assessed. Several studies have shown that disadvantaged children have been disproportionately affected by the period of school closure.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that children in higher income families spent more time on home education than those from poorer families and also had greater access to home teaching resources. The Education Endowment Foundation median estimate is that the attainment gap between children from economically deprived households and their peers could widen by 36% as a result of school closures. See here: https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/14848 and here: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/EEF_(2020)_-_Impact_of_School_Closures_on_the_Attainment_Gap.pdf.

Our guidance is that, in these circumstances, it would be reasonable for tests to be moved back into late October, or to November if local admission co-ordination processes allow, but the decision rests with admission authorities.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of secondary schools in England have school based counselling services in place.

I refer the hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington to the answer I gave on 8 October 2020 to 98985.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of test and trace systems to support schools to remain open to all pupils during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are continuing to improve the testing system, including by ensuring teaching staff can get priority access when they have symptoms. The Government is scaling up testing capacity even further to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

In order to protect schools, it is important head teachers continue to have access to timely support and advice. There is a new dedicated advice line to help schools to implement the most appropriate public health measures once a case is confirmed. A team of advisers will inform schools what action is needed in response to a positive case based on the latest public health advice, and work through a risk assessment.

It is vital that children and school staff only get a test if they develop COVID-19 symptoms, with the exception of those who have specifically been asked to do so by a clinician. The NHS Test and Trace system must stay focused on testing those with true symptoms of the virus.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an (a) assessment of the potential merits of and (b) estimate of the capital investment requirements for installing or improving ventilation systems in school buildings to reduce potential transmission of covid-19 during cold weather.

The Department has made no such assessment.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has advised that ventilation is in some circumstances an important factor in mitigating against the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The Department has therefore been working closely with a range of partners, including other government departments, school workforce unions, the Health and Safety Executive and the Chartered Institute of Building Services, as well as SAGE, to develop ventilation guidance for schools during the outbreak.

The guidance is expected to be published in the autumn term and will highlight the importance of balancing well ventilated spaces with comfortable environments. This can be achieved through a variety of measures including natural ventilation.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) availability and (b) cost of childcare.

Since April 2020, we have been collecting weekly data from all English local authorities to monitor the availability of early years childcare. We collect and publish information on the number of open and closed early years providers as well as the number of children attending. This information contributes to our regular publication, ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak', which is available here:
https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Term-time attendance at early years settings has been increasing since September. On a typical day in the autumn term, we estimate attendance to be around 887,000 children, due to different and part-time patterns of childcare during the week. We estimate that 753,000 children attended early years settings on 8 October, which is approximately 85% of the usual daily level, and an increase of almost 340,000 from at the end of the summer term.

We are working hard to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on all parts of our society, including individuals and business. Data from a poll of 1000 parents of 0-4 year old children in May 2020 showed that weekly childcare costs at the time were most commonly the same as or less than before COVID-19 for children in key worker families or where the child is vulnerable. We continue to monitor the situation and have urged all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, given the great uncertainty they have faced too. More details on the poll is available here:
https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/parents-0-4-year-olds-and-childcare-1st-june-2020.

We are aware that some parents may have experienced a change in working hours or income as direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is why we made temporary changes to ensure parents who would normally have been eligible for, and accessing, the Tax Free Childcare and 30 hours free entitlement remain eligible and can continue to access their childcare.

This includes parents and carers who will not meet the minimum income threshold (16 hours per week at National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage) due to lower earnings as a direct result of COVID-19, who will be treated as meeting that test during the COVID-19 outbreak. This will continue to apply to parents and carers who need to apply for, or reconfirm, their 30 hours and Tax-Free Childcare place until 31 October.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Solihull approach in improving children and adolescents’ wellbeing and mental health; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing training for people working in education on that approach.

We are aware of the work that is happening in Solihull to bring about improvements in children and adolescents’ wellbeing and mental health.

The Department for Education has established a joint programme with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England to oversee the delivery of the proposals set out in our Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services green paper. This includes the provision of mental health support teams (MHSTs) linked to groups of schools and colleges and the commitment to provide training for senior mental health leads in all state-funded schools and colleges in England.

Different areas are necessarily taking different approaches to implementation based on their own circumstances. The evaluation of the programme will inform further roll-out and how areas can learn from each other. 59 MHSTs are already established in 25 areas across the country with an additional 123 teams being set up in 57 areas this year, including two teams in Birmingham and Solihull. This will mean that the approach in that area will be able to feed into wider practice.

We have already made available a range of training for education staff on supporting pupils and on joint working. This includes our Link Programme training for all schools and colleges to help frontline health and education professionals work together effectively, and a range of specific training to support an effective response to the issues faced by children and young people as a result of COVID-19. Expert webinars in July reached thousands of education and local service staff.

Feedback suggests that in order to be effective, training and support needs to be flexible and reflect local circumstances. With this in mind, we have worked with DHSC, Health Education England, Public Health England and key voluntary sector organisations, to launch Wellbeing for Education Return. This project, backed by £8 million, is training local experts to provide additional advice and resources for schools and colleges to help support pupil, student, parent and carer, and staff wellbeing, resilience and recovery in light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown. The project includes flexibility to allow local authorities?to adapt training, resources and follow-up support to suit their local contexts and will build on existing local approaches to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will enable maintained nursery schools to access the School funding: exceptional costs associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) programme.

The government recognises that maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas.

All nurseries, including maintained nursery schools, are benefiting from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the COVID-19 outbreak. On 20 July, we set out our plans for funding local authorities and providers in the autumn term which is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Unlike most state-funded schools, maintained nursery schools typically rely on private income for a significant proportion of their total income. Therefore, they cannot claim for specific costs incurred due to COVID-19, but they can access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as set out in the published guidance available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Maintained nursery schools can also access free school meals vouchers via Edenred.

We are continuing to work with the early years sector to assess the support required to cope with the impact of COVID-19.

We remain committed to funding for maintained nursery schools in the longer term, with appropriate protections in place to accompany any reforms of that funding. Future funding will be considered as part of the next spending review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what Government funding has been allocated to Oak National Academy to provide online learning resources and digital lessons; and for what period of time that funding has been so allocated.

The Department has made £4.84 million available for the Oak National Academy for the summer term of this academic year and for the 2020-21 academic year to provide video lessons for Reception up to year 11.

The purpose of this funding is to enable Oak to provide support to schools in developing the ability to switch from classroom teaching to remote provision immediately in case of local lockdowns or self-isolation. This is time-limited funding which is being made available to Oak National Academy as an emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak and recovery period.

We have also published an updated list of high quality online educational resources, which have been assessed with the support of some of the country’s leading educational subject experts to help pupils to learn at home while they may not be able to attend their normal setting. The list includes resources in six priority areas including maths, English, science, PE, mental wellbeing and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), from early years to key stage 5, and which are currently available for free.

Resources published can be found using the link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his oral contribution of 9 June 2020, Official Report, column 180, when the 230,000 laptops for school pupils were ordered by his Department; and what schedule for delivery has been agreed with the supplier.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets. This order was placed on 19 April.

The Department is providing these devices in the shortest possible timeframe. Over 100,000 devices have been delivered to local authorities and academy trusts and thousands of devices continue to be delivered each day. Laptops and tablets will continue to be delivered throughout June.

Computacenter is a supplier on a government framework. Computacenter has been contracted to provide laptops and tablets in order to meet the requirement for disadvantaged and vulnerable children across England to receive devices to support remote education and access to social care services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Further details of the contract are publicly available: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/e9047eeb-be82-4506-8a97-448ff0d73cfe.

As with all Government contracts, due diligence checks have been undertaken to assess the suitability of the supplier.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his oral contribution of 9 June 2020, Official Report, column 180, what the role of Computacentre is in distributing laptops to school pupils; on what basis that company was selected for that service; how much that company is being paid for that programme; and what checks his Department has conducted on that company's payment of tax in the UK.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets. This order was placed on 19 April.

The Department is providing these devices in the shortest possible timeframe. Over 100,000 devices have been delivered to local authorities and academy trusts and thousands of devices continue to be delivered each day. Laptops and tablets will continue to be delivered throughout June.

Computacenter is a supplier on a government framework. Computacenter has been contracted to provide laptops and tablets in order to meet the requirement for disadvantaged and vulnerable children across England to receive devices to support remote education and access to social care services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Further details of the contract are publicly available: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/e9047eeb-be82-4506-8a97-448ff0d73cfe.

As with all Government contracts, due diligence checks have been undertaken to assess the suitability of the supplier.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of bee bricks installed in new buildings on supporting bee populations.

While no formal assessment of the effectiveness of bee bricks has been undertaken, the Government works with public, private and voluntary sector partners to develop advice for everyone wishing to provide and manage nesting and feeding resources for bees and other insects, whether in gardens, the wider countryside or new buildings.

This advice is based on clear evidence that by increasing habitat for insects, including bees, we support long-term population increases in those insects.

Defra and Natural England are also working with other partners and stakeholders to develop a Green Infrastructure Framework. This will provide guidance as to what good green infrastructure looks like and help local authorities, developers and communities to improve provision in their area, including introducing nature friendly features into new developments.

In addition, all public bodies, including local authorities, have a legal duty under the 2006 Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act to have regard to conserving biodiversity when exercising their functions, a duty which the Environment Act 2021 strengthens. Some local authorities may choose to introduce a planning requirement that requires suitable new buildings to include bee bricks, or they may focus on other measures, such as creating pollinator friendly wildflower habitats.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on maintaining British food standards in the trade deal with Australia.

I have had regular discussions with the Secretary of State at the Department for International Trade and, indeed, other Cabinet colleagues on the issue of food standards in the context of our negotiations with Australia.

The UK is rightly proud of our world-leading food, environment and animal welfare standards. We have a number of tools available in FTAs to maintain these standards. All imports of agri-food products will still have to comply with the UK’s food safety and biosecurity requirements.

The commitment to non-regression means that neither country can lower their animal welfare standards to undercut the other.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
What steps he is taking to support farmers producing food for the domestic market.

From this year we will be offering new productivity support. Farmers will be able to apply for grants to help them invest in equipment and technology and boost their productivity under the Farming Investment Fund.

The Farm Resilience scheme will provide help for the first three years of the agricultural transition period to manage their businesses through the transition. It will ensure experts are on hand to provide any advice and support needed.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the effect of proposed planning reforms on rural communities.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on a range of matters affecting rural communities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of Government support for the dairy industry during the covid-19 lockdown.

The Government has continued to engage closely with representatives from all parts of the dairy supply chain throughout this difficult period to assess the challenges facing the industry and to ensure that appropriate financial support is provided. The vast majority of Britain’s dairy farmers continue to supply their contracts at or around the usual price. Approximately 5% of total milk production, however, goes to the service trade. A small proportion of farmers supplying milk to processors that sell into the food service sector have seen a reduction in demand with the closure of food service. A small proportion of suppliers have therefore seen a reduction in demand. We have provided a range of support to help these affected farmers.

At the outset of the pandemic, the Government announced a number of emergency measures to support farmers, processors and retailers. These include designating the food sector as critical to the response, with people working in the production, processing, sale, distribution or delivery of food categorised as key workers, and granting derogations on drivers’ hours limitations.

In addition, to support milk producers, the Government announced on 17 April a temporary easing of some elements of competition law to make it easier for the dairy industry to come together to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency and to ensure that as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products. This Statutory Instrument was laid on 1 May and applies retrospectively from 1 April.

On 6 May we announced a new scheme specifically to provide support to eligible dairy farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May because of coronavirus disruptions. This will provide farmers with funding of up to £10,000 each to cover 70% of their lost income during the qualifying period, enabling them to continue to operate and to sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

Defra and the devolved administrations are also jointly contributing towards financing the new £1 million campaign by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and Dairy UK to drive an increase in the consumption of milk. Running over 12 weeks, the campaign is highlighting the role that milk plays in supporting moments of personal connection during times of crisis.

Our Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme is available to farmers, milk buyers and processors. Responding to industry feedback on this scheme, Defra held urgent discussions with the major banks to ensure they understand that farmers, milk buyers and milk processors are eligible. In addition, the new Bounce Back Loan scheme, which applies to businesses operating in agriculture, ensures that the smallest businesses can access loans up to £50,000. To give lenders the confidence they need, we have provided them with a 100% guarantee on each loan and will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees.

Public intervention for skimmed milk powder (SMP) and butter continues to be available in the UK. Alongside this we have also ensured the availability to UK dairy processors of private storage aid for cheese, butter and SMP. These measures will help to underpin prices, providing a floor in the market by reducing the volume of product coming on to the market.

We will continue to engage with the dairy industry throughout this period of disruption to monitor the impact of the range of financial and other measures we have implemented, ensuring that the sector continues to have the support that it needs.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which local authorities have been awarded an air quality grant for 2019 to 2020; and how much each local authority has been awarded.

The Air Quality Grant Scheme is competitive and a total value of £2 million is available to award to successful English local authorities. The 2019 grant awards are currently under evaluation and decisions will be finalised in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the current level of UK aid spending on gender equality within humanitarian and development programming will be protected when her Department is merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The UK is committed to spending 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on development, which is enshrined in law. This means the aid budget increases when the UK economy grows and decreases if the economy shrinks. The economy is expected to shrink this year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and all government departments are working through how their plans need to change in the light of this. No decision has been taken, but we are considering the full range of our work. Given the expected fall in GNI this year, aid spending is under review across all departments. Any decisions on spending aid will be taken by the ministerial team in the new department, overseen by the Foreign Secretary and drawing on the expertise of Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office staff.

The UK International Development (Gender Equality) Act makes consideration of gender equality in all UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) a legal requirement. Advancing gender equality and women’s rights will remain a priority for this government.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what proportion of UK aid will support the world’s least developed countries after her Department merges with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The UK meets the UN Sustainable Development Goal target of spending 0.15% to 0.20% of Gross National Income (GNI) on Official Development Assistance (ODA) in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). In 2018 (the latest year for which we have published National Statistics), LDCs received approximately £4.7 billion (32%) of UK ODA. This is equivalent to 0.22% of the UK’s GNI. The current Spending Period ends in March 2021, and therefore no budgets are allocated to any department beyond this year.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with her counterparts overseas on raising financial support for developing nations to tackle the covid-19 pandemic.

The Coronavirus outbreak is the biggest global crisis in a generation. This calls for decisive and co-ordinated action to respond to the global health, economic and humanitarian implications, especially to support the poorest and most vulnerable.

The UK is playing a leading role in galvanising international action and unlocking timely financial support – both direct UK support and through the UN and the wider multilateral system. The UK is also using its voice and influence in key international forums such as the G7 and G20 - for example, helping secure agreement in the G20 to suspend all debt repayments for the poorest and most vulnerable countries until the end of 2020. The Secretary of State and I also work closely with our counterparts in other major donor countries including the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Australia to encourage funds to be made available as quickly as possible to where the risks and needs are greatest.

The UK is bringing others with us to raise much-needed financial support. For example, at the UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit on 4 June world leaders, foundations, the private sector and civil society pledged $8.8 billion to help Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to address the short and long-term challenges posed by the pandemic.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that developing countries have access to covid-19 testing.

The UK is at the forefront of global research focussed on the development of potential COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatments, and is providing aid to organisations central to the global response. This includes DFID’s £23 million investment in the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, a global non-profit organisation driving innovation in developing and delivering tests to combat major diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations, including for COVID-19. The UK’s £75 million investment in the World Health Organization is supporting the organisation’s key role in providing technical support to countries to establish COVID-19 testing strategies and capacity.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with the electric vehicle charging industry on its ability to comply with the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021.

Government consulted on the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Point) Regulations in 2019 and received 129 responses. Last August, the Government also published the final draft Regulations and notified the World Trade Organisation of intentions to lay these, offering UK and international trade bodies a further opportunity to provide comments. No responses were received.

Since the Regulations were made in December 2021, BEIS and Office for Product Safety Standards (OPSS) officials have continued to engage extensively with industry, both individually and via trade associations, to support them in compliance. Detailed guidance was published in February, and an updated version including further clarity on issues requested by industry will be published shortly.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department had discussions with the Office for Product Security and Safety prior to drawing up the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021.

The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 were jointly developed by DfT and BEIS policy officials who worked closely with the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) in their development.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of (a) the costs of compliance with and (b) the wider impact of the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 on the electric vehicle charging industry.

The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 are estimated to have a net economic benefit of up to £1.1bn (with a central estimate of £500m) by reducing the need for expensive electricity system infrastructure. This is expected to translate into lower energy bills for all consumers and support the uptake of electric vehicles by facilitating their integration into the electricity system at least cost.

An Impact Assessment was published alongside the Regulations that includes a detailed assessment of the costs and benefits that were considered in developing the regulations: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1015290/electric-vehicles-smart-charge-points-regulations-2021-impact-assessment.pdf

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on mitigating the effect of rising energy prices on drivers of electric vehicles.

I have various and ongoing discussions about the Government’s policy for supporting the transition to electric and zero emission driving with my Ministerial colleagues.

The Government will continue to work with the energy sector to identify options to mitigate the impact of high energy prices on consumers, including in respect of the transition to electric vehicles. The Government is considering what reforms are needed to retail market regulation to support progress to net zero through the 2020s. In considering these reforms, we will take account of the lessons of the current market.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the impact of rising energy prices on the cost of charging an electric vehicle.

I have various and ongoing discussions about the Government’s policy for supporting the transition to electric and zero emission driving with my Ministerial colleagues.

The Government will continue to work with the energy sector to identify options to mitigate the impact of high energy prices on consumers, including in respect of the transition to electric vehicles. The Government is considering what reforms are needed to retail market regulation to support progress to net zero through the 2020s. In considering these reforms, we will take account of the lessons of the current market.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many hydrogen depots were built for commercial vehicle use in 2021.

The UK is well placed to lead on hydrogen powered transport, and we have supported the use of hydrogen cars, vans, buses and lorries through our £23m Hydrogen for Transport programme. As of December 2021, there are fourteen publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations across the UK, two of which were opened in 2021 providing hydrogen for road vehicles, serving a fleet of just over 350 hydrogen vehicles (buses, cars, vans, refuse collection trucks) operating on UK roads. Additional refuelling infrastructure will be included as part of our plans to demonstrate at scale hydrogen fuel cell trucks on UK roads.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many public electric vehicle charge points were installed in 2021 compared to 2020.

As of the 01 January 2021, there were 20,775 public electric vehicle charge points installed in the UK, an increase of 4,270 compared with 01 January 2020.

Additionally, the most recently published statistics show that as of the 01 January 2022, there were 28,375 public electric vehicle charge points installed, an increase of 7,600 compared with 01 January 2021.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on road safety of his decision to extend the temporary relaxation of the enforcement of the retained EU drivers’ hours rules.

The temporary relaxation to Drivers’ Hours rules offers flexibility to operators and permits HGV drivers to either increase their daily driving limit from 9 hours to 11 hours up to two times in a week, or to change their weekly rest patterns. Reduced rest periods must be compensated for.

Implementation of the relaxation should be through agreement between employers, employees, and driver representatives. Operators must notify the Department if this relaxation is used.

Driver safety must not be compromised, and employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a zero emissions vehicle mandate for manufactures to produce, import or sell new electric vehicles.

The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, published in November 2020, brought forward the end of sale date of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2030. It also announced that a Green Paper would be published later this year to consider the regulatory options available to deliver these phase out dates and support supply of electric vehicles to the UK market.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to phase out the (a) EV Homecharge Scheme and (b) Workplace Charging Scheme after 2022.

At the Spending Review in November last year the Government allocated £275 million over four years to extend support for charge point installation at homes, workplaces and on-street locations, while reforming these schemes so that they target difficult parts of the market such as leaseholders and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Over the coming years the EVHS will be transformed to target people in rented and leasehold accommodation.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of reducing the rate of VAT for charging electric vehicles on street to the rate for charging them at home.

The Transport Secretary has regular and ongoing discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as well as other Ministerial colleagues, about a wide range of issues regarding supporting the electric vehicle market. Any proposed changes to the VAT system is ultimately a matter for HM Treasury.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with the Department for Education on making school curriculum time available for cycle training and the promotion of cycling and walking to school.

The Government is committed to making Bikeability training available to all schoolchildren by the end of this Parliament, and is providing £2 million of support this financial year for a programme to encourage more children to walk to school. The Government’s statutory guidance to schools on Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) says that pupils should know the importance of building regular exercise into daily and weekly routines and how to achieve this, for example by walking or cycling to school. The Department continues to discuss this and other matters with the Department for Education.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the outcome of the Williams Rail Review.

The Government is committed to transforming our railways and building on Keith Williams’ evidence-based priorities. We want to create a railway that puts passengers first, delivers better value for money and supports the nation’s recovery from Covid-19.

Covid-19 struck when the Williams Rail Review was in its final stages. The priorities that Keith set out remain the right ones; we are working with him now to consider how best to deliver reform in light of these unique challenges.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to protect jobs in the aviation sector which are at risk as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The aviation sector will be able to draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which provides financial support for employees. Employers in the aviation sector can apply for a grant that covers 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether bus operators are required to (a) report accidents and (b) adopt confidential reporting systems under the public service vehicle operator licensing system; and whether he plans to amend that system in relation to bus safety.

It is a legislative duty for the holder of a public service vehicle operator’s licence to report to the Secretary of State as soon as is practicable, any failure or damage of a nature calculated to affect the safety of occupants of the public service vehicle or of persons using the road incurred by a public service vehicle owned by the holder.

There is also a statutory requirement for road traffic incidents on public roads involving injury to be reported to the police. This is not specific to public service vehicles.

The Government has no plans to require public service vehicle operators to adopt a confidential reporting system.

12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many of the new zero carbon buses will (a) be electric and (b) run on hydrogen; and how much funding will be made available for (i) charge points and (ii) hydrogen stations.

The Prime Minster announced £5 billion of new funding to boost bus and cycling links on 10 February, including at least 4,000 new zero emission buses to make greener travel the convenient option, driving forward the UK’s progress on its net zero ambitions. The details of the programmes, including which technologies are eligible and how funding will be distributed, will be announced in due course.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many young people have benefited from the Kickstart programme since that programme was first launched.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer given to PQ 149447 for the most recent data on the Kickstart Scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have been affected by the underpayment of benefits after transitioning from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance in Warwick and Leamington constituency.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Nov 2020
What recent assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of unemployment.

Latest ONS Labour Market data puts the unemployment level in the West Midlands region at 145,000.

Due to the Pandemic, the rate has risen nationally and DWP is working closely across government and with external organisations and local partners to ensure a tailored local response for communities.

We are recruiting additional Work Coaches in our Jobcentres who are supporting new and existing claimants into work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of reducing universal credit and working tax credit by £20 a week in April 2021 on (a) working age and (b) child poverty.

The Government introduced a package of temporary welfare measures worth around £9.3 billion this year to help with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included the £20 weekly increase to the Universal Credit Standard Allowance rates as a temporary measure for the 20/21 tax year.

Future decisions on spending will be made by the Chancellor at the next appropriate fiscal event, and Parliament will be updated accordingly.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what financial support her Department provides for extremely clinically vulnerable people advised by their health care teams to continue shielding during the covid-19 outbreak beyond 1 August 2020 and as a consequence are unable to work.

Where an individual is notified by their doctor or health service to continue to shield in cases of local lockdown and where shielding guidance is reinstated, they will be eligible for ESA or SSP. If an individual is no longer required to shield they may still be entitled to ESA or SSP where they are sick, or self-isolating and meet the eligibility conditions. People can also apply for Universal Credit.

19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of increasing legacy benefits in line with the increase in universal credit during the covid-19 outbreak.

No such assessment has been made. The Government has announced a suite of measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised to benefit those facing the most financial disruption during the pandemic.

We estimate that 2.5 million households receiving Universal Credit will benefit straight away from the increase in the standard allowance rates which was announced on 20 March, and which is additional to the planned annual uprating. New claimants who have either become unemployed, or whose earnings or work hours have decreased because of the outbreak, will benefit too; subject to their eligibility.

We have also made a number of changes to legacy and other working age benefits in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including increasing certain entitlements, such as Local Housing Allowance. Up-to-date information about the employment and benefits support available, including Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay, New style Jobseeker's Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance, can be found here: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/.

It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for UC if they believe that they will be better off.

However, claimants should check their eligibility before applying to Universal Credit as legacy benefits will end when they submit their claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to paragraph 1.99 of the Budget 2020 Red Book, when her Department plans to issue guidance to employers on the operation of the Statutory Sick Pay repayment mechanism.

The Department is working closely with HMRC on the necessary clauses in the Coronavirus Bill and on the underpinning guidance which employers will need.

19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in how many English local authorities the rate of adult obesity has increased between 2012 and 2022.

Data from the Health Survey for England (HSE) shows that obesity prevalence in adults in England has increased from 24.7% in 2012 to 28.0% in 2019, the latest data available.

Data for local authorities is not held in the format requested as this records combined overweight and obese categories. However, the latest data available from the Active Lives Adult Survey shows that the proportion of adults classified as overweight or living with obesity statistically significantly increased between 2015/16 and 2019/20 in 17 of 148 upper tier local authorities. No local authorities had statistically significant decreases.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to reduce adult obesity.

New regulations on calorie labelling for out of home food sold in large businesses, including restaurants, cafes and takeaways came into force on 6 April 2022. Further legislation on restrictions on the promotion and advertising of products high in fat, salt or sugar will come into effect in due course.  Through our reformulation programmes, we are ensuring that the food and drink available to consumers is healthier. The Soft Drinks Industry Levy has reduced sugar in the drinks within its scope by 43.7% since its introduction.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in how many English local authorities the rate of adult obesity has declined between 2012 and 2022.

Data from the Health Survey for England (HSE) shows that obesity prevalence in adults in England has increased from 24.7% in 2012 to 28.0% in 2019, the latest data available.

Data for local authorities is not held in the format requested as this records combined overweight and obese categories. However, the latest data available from the Active Lives Adult Survey shows that the proportion of adults classified as overweight or living with obesity statistically significantly increased between 2015/16 and 2019/20 in 17 of 148 upper tier local authorities. No local authorities had statistically significant decreases.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the rate of adult obesity has declined in England since 2012.

Data from the Health Survey for England (HSE) shows that obesity prevalence in adults in England has increased from 24.7% in 2012 to 28.0% in 2019, the latest data available.

Data for local authorities is not held in the format requested as this records combined overweight and obese categories. However, the latest data available from the Active Lives Adult Survey shows that the proportion of adults classified as overweight or living with obesity statistically significantly increased between 2015/16 and 2019/20 in 17 of 148 upper tier local authorities. No local authorities had statistically significant decreases.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many local authorities have experienced an increase in the rate of childhood obesity between 2012 and 2022.

In England the proportion of children living with obesity has increased since 2012. Data from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) shows that for children aged four to five years old, obesity prevalence between 2011/2012 and 2020/2021, the latest year available, has increased from 9.5% to 14.4% and for children aged 10 to 11 years old, it has increased from 19.2% to 25.5%. Data from the Health Survey for England shows that obesity prevalence in children aged two to 15 years old increased from 13.7% in 2012 to 16.3% in 2019, the latest data available.

Local authority child obesity prevalence is collected via the NCMP. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, insufficient data for 2020/21 was collected to produce statistically robust results. Data from 2019/2020 was published for the majority of local authorities. When comparing the 2019/2020 estimate to 2011/2012 in children aged four to five years old, of 141 upper tier local authorities, 29 had obesity prevalence estimates which were statistically significantly higher and 13 were statistically significantly lower. In children aged 10 to 11 years old, 61 out of 144 local authorities had statistically significantly higher obesity prevalence estimates and 1 had a statistically significantly lower obesity prevalence.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the rate of childhood obesity in England has declined since 2012.

In England the proportion of children living with obesity has increased since 2012. Data from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) shows that for children aged four to five years old, obesity prevalence between 2011/2012 and 2020/2021, the latest year available, has increased from 9.5% to 14.4% and for children aged 10 to 11 years old, it has increased from 19.2% to 25.5%. Data from the Health Survey for England shows that obesity prevalence in children aged two to 15 years old increased from 13.7% in 2012 to 16.3% in 2019, the latest data available.

Local authority child obesity prevalence is collected via the NCMP. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, insufficient data for 2020/21 was collected to produce statistically robust results. Data from 2019/2020 was published for the majority of local authorities. When comparing the 2019/2020 estimate to 2011/2012 in children aged four to five years old, of 141 upper tier local authorities, 29 had obesity prevalence estimates which were statistically significantly higher and 13 were statistically significantly lower. In children aged 10 to 11 years old, 61 out of 144 local authorities had statistically significantly higher obesity prevalence estimates and 1 had a statistically significantly lower obesity prevalence.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to reduce childhood obesity.

New regulations on calorie labelling for out of home food sold in large businesses, including restaurants, cafes and takeaways came into force on 6 April 2022. Further legislation on restrictions on the promotion and advertising of products high in fat, salt or sugar will come into effect in due course.  Through our reformulation programmes, we are ensuring that the food and drink available to consumers is healthier. The Soft Drinks Industry Levy has reduced sugar in the drinks within its scope by 43.7% since its introduction.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether Ukrainian refugees will be eligible for covid-19 vaccinations on arrival to the UK; and what steps he is taking to encourage covid-19 vaccination uptake for this cohort.

COVID-19 vaccinations are offered to every eligible individual living in the United Kingdom free of charge, regardless of immigration status. This includes those who arrived as refugees from Ukraine. We are sharing accessible guides and health publications on COVID-19 vaccinations which have been translated into Ukrainian. Additionally, over £23 million has been provided to sixty councils and voluntary groups in areas of low vaccine uptake in England.

A COVID-19 Migrant Health Guide was also published to provide advice and guidance for healthcare practitioners on the needs of migrant patients during the pandemic, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-migrant-health-guide

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of people over the age of 12 have received a second covid-19 booster vaccination in each local authority.

Data specific to the second COVID-19 booster vaccination or fourth dose is not available in the format requested.

COVID-19 vaccine uptake data for those with at least three doses by Lower Tier Local Authority, including latest vaccination uptake for those aged 12 and over, is published daily on the United Kingdom COVID-19 Dashboard. Data up until 8 February 2022 is available at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have received a second covid-19 booster vaccination in each local authority.

Data specific to the second COVID-19 booster vaccination or fourth dose is not available in the format requested.

COVID-19 vaccine uptake data for those with at least three doses by Lower Tier Local Authority is published daily on the UK COVID-19 Dashboard, data up until 8 February 2022 can be found at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

The United Kingdom Health Security Agency publish vaccine uptake data for those who have been vaccinated with at least three doses in the weekly COVID-19 and flu surveillance report which can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports-2021-to-2022-season

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what private sector bodies are involved in the operation of the higher education covid-19 asymptomatic testing programme.

Over 200 higher education institutions are involved in the UK Health Security Agency’s asymptomatic testing programme, operating within the Standard Operating Procedures. Due to the diversity of organisations on the programme, there is scope within the Standard Operating Procedures for institutions to engage private sector bodies in the delivery of their testing programmes.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the meningitis-B vaccine uptake amongst the student population.

As Meningococcal B disease is rare after the first five years of life, students are not routinely offered this vaccination. Protection against other strains which cause meningitis and septicaemia is provided through the national Men-ACWY programme delivered at ages 13 to 15 years old or in catch-up programmes at ages 19 to 25 years old.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of care homes have been visited to deliver booster doses of covid-19 vaccinations on more than one occasion.

As of 30 December 2021, 5,893 or 39% of care homes, including both older adult and non-older adult care homes, had been visited on more than one occasion. As of 25 December 2021, 25 care homes or 0.16% care homes were yet to be visited. As of 7 January 2022, seven or 0.05% of care homes were yet to be visited. Delays in visiting the remaining care homes were due to outbreaks, therefore visits could not take place until the 28-day isolation period was over.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of care homes were yet to be visited to deliver booster doses of covid-19 vaccinations as of (a) 25 December 2021 and (b) 7 January 2022.

As of 30 December 2021, 5,893 or 39% of care homes, including both older adult and non-older adult care homes, had been visited on more than one occasion. As of 25 December 2021, 25 care homes or 0.16% care homes were yet to be visited. As of 7 January 2022, seven or 0.05% of care homes were yet to be visited. Delays in visiting the remaining care homes were due to outbreaks, therefore visits could not take place until the 28-day isolation period was over.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much and what proportion of the £300 million announced by the Government on 1 December 2021 will be ringfenced for new supported housing; and how many new homes the Government expects that funding to deliver.

In the adult social care reform white paper, we committed to continue to incentivise the supply of supported housing for older and disabled people through the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund with £213 million available over the next three years. This is alongside a new £300 million investment to embed the strategic commitment in all local places to connect housing with health and care, to boost the supply of supported housing and to increase local expenditure on services for those in supported housing.

We will work in partnership with local authorities, housing providers and others to design and establish our new investment. We will share further detail of how the investment will be targeted, as well as details of the impact we expect to deliver, with interested parties as this work develops.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many tests have been conducted at the Rosalind Franklin Laboratory in Royal Leamington Spa since it first opened in July 2021.

As of the 11 November 2021, the Rosalind Franklin Laboratory has conducted 1,926,331 polymerase chain reaction tests.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on the delivery of the school based vaccine in 2021-22.

During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, routine childhood immunisation programmes continued to be delivered in primary care. However, the closure of schools from 23 March 2020 meant that the delivery of all school-aged immunisation programmes, including human papillomavirus (HPV), tetanus, diphtheria and polio booster (Td/IPV) and meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) were interrupted from this date onwards.

Recovery and restoration continues, with National Health Service providers adopting a flexible and transformative delivery model to ensure those eligible receive their vaccine. This includes prioritisation of immunisations based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, digitalising consent processes and utilising a range of alternative community settings to deliver vaccines where appropriate. NHS England has also been working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department of Education to ensure that schools facilitate the continuation of vaccinations.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that all new and prospective parents have access to a high quality health visiting service.

Local authorities are responsible for the commissioning of health visiting services in England. The Spending Review confirmed that the Public Health Grant will be maintained in real terms, enabling local authorities across the country to continue delivering critical frontline services for new and prospective parents. In March 2021, commissioning guidance and a modernised health visiting service model were published to support local decision-making and promote quality practice through high impact evidence.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation plans to complete its review into the inclusion of the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine in the childhood vaccination programme.

In 2010, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation found that offering a universal varicella vaccination programme against chickenpox would not be cost effective and may increase the risk of severe disease and complications in adulthood, both from chickenpox and shingles.

The varicella/zoster subcommittee has kept this under review. In February 2019 the subcommittee commissioned modellers to re-run the economic modelling with new quality-adjusted life year data and discount rates. This work was paused during the pandemic and will recommence in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including the chickenpox vaccination in the childhood vaccination programme.

The decision to offer a chickenpox vaccine to all children in the United Kingdom is under ongoing review by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The JCVI has previously advised that offering a universal varicella or chickenpox vaccination programme would not be cost-effective and is highly likely to increase the risk of severe disease and complications in adulthood, both from chickenpox and shingles.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what contracts his Department has signed with private companies relating to the running of a new high throughput laboratory in Leamington Spa.

The Royal Leamington Spa laboratory will be run by the Department which will hold supply contracts for resourcing, equipment, machinery, facilities and waste management. These contracts will be published on the Governments Contract Finder website.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the South African variant of covid-19 can be identified through processing available at the Milton Keynes Lighthouse Laboratory.

The tests processed at Milton Keynes Lighthouse Laboratory will detect the South African variant as a SARS-CoV-2 RNA Positive result. Once SARS-CoV-2 RNA is positive, these samples are sent away to the Sanger Institute for sequencing to identify whether they are the South African or any other variant.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish weekly data on (a) the number of people vaccinated for covid-19 by (i) constituency and (ii) lower local authority level and (b) the proportion of people vaccinated for covid-19 in each Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority group by (A) constituency and (B) lower local authority level.

NHS England and NHS Improvement publish daily data on the total first and second doses given to date by region. NHS England and NHS Improvement also release a weekly publication of vaccination data including the number of people vaccinated by both constituency and lower local authority level. The weekly publications also include the proportion of people vaccinated for COVID-19 across a range of cohorts and geographies and population estimates are provided for the majority of the data. This data is available at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 104155 on Hospitals: Birmingham, tabled by the hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington on 15 October 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to Question 104155 on 10 December 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the cost was of the construction of the Nightingale Hospital Birmingham; how many patients it has admitted; and what plans he has for its use in the weeks ahead.

Information on the costs of the Nightingale hospital in Birmingham are not available because they are commercially confidential.

As at 8 December 2020, no patients have been admitted to the hospital because the additional capacity has not yet been required. However, the hospital remains on stand-by ready to play whatever role is needed in the months to come. Local clinical leaders are working to determine how this is done whilst considering the needs of all patients requiring National Health Service care.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what scientific evidence underpins the public health decision to limit the number of guests in attendance at humanist wedding ceremonies to six guests, whilst permitting 15 guests at wedding ceremonies of other beliefs and religious denominations.

Humanist wedding ceremonies can take place at this time with 15 people present, as well as for the legal solemnisation of the marriage.

We understand the unique significance that weddings hold in people’s lives but, by their nature they are events that bring families and friends together. For this reason, only up to 15 people can attend a wedding. We will keep this under review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with (a) care providers and (b) local authorities on home carers receiving pay for the time that they spend (i) travelling between clients and (ii) changing into personal protective equipment between visits.

All social care workers must be paid at least the national minimum wage or national living wage for the time that they work. Time spent caring for clients, travelling to appointments, and waiting to start the appointment should be included in the pay calculation. Time spent between appointments donning and doffing personal protective equipment should also be included in the calculation. Further guidance on what counts as working time is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/minimum-wage-different-types-work

We have now made £3.7 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care. The Infection Control Fund, set up in May 2020, is being extended until March 2021, with an extra £546 million for the care sector to take key steps to improve infection prevention and control.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the percentage of NHS staff who have contracted covid-19.

We do not have the information in the format requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the income of medical research charities; and what steps he is taking to address the shortfall in UK medical research funding.

Medical research charities are an integral part of our world-leading life sciences sector. The Department is closely liaising with the Association of Medical Research Charities, as well as individual charities, to understand the impact of the pandemic on this sector and identify how best the Government and charities can work together to ensure that patients continue benefiting from charity-funded research.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to extend whole care home covid-19 testing to elderly residents and social care staff in sheltered accommodation facilities and retirement villages.

Expansion of testing is based on relative priorities and available testing capacity. We are not expanding regular asymptomatic testing to this group at this time.

We initially prioritised testing for care homes that specialise in caring for older people and those living with dementia in line with Public Health England and Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies advice, as they are at higher risk of adverse consequences if they get the disease.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of companies that have signed personal protective equipment contracts with his Department that have subsequently had those orders delayed by the NHS; and if he will make a statement.

The Department does hold the data in the format required. Over 30 billion items of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been ordered by the Department from over 175 United Kingdom-based manufacturers and international partners to provide a continuous supply in the coming months. We have a robust process which ensures that orders are of high quality standard, meet commercial due diligence and checked for risk and fraud. All contracts are monitored by the Department for the delivery and safe receipt of the PPE and any compliance issues are followed up.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of permitting partners from different households to form social bubbles during the covid-19 outbreak; and whether he has received scientific advice on that matter.

Single adult households can form a support bubble with another household. People in relationships who live apart can form a bubble as long as one of the people in a relationship lives in a single adult household and all members of the other household are willing to form an exclusive support bubble.

It is very important that if someone in any of these linked households shows COVID-19 symptoms, or is otherwise self-isolating, they should all stay at home. This is critical to controlling the virus, by avoiding a chain of transmission.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish guidance on the re-opening of optician practices for the provision of routine appointments as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

NHS England and NHS Improvement issued a letter and Standard Operating Procedure to the profession on 17 June setting out that practices are able to resume National Health Service eye care services where practices have the relevant infection protection control and personal protective equipment in place. Decisions on when to reopen for private sight tests and services are a matter for the individual optician. Our understanding is that most high street opticians have now reopened for private and NHS care.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s published guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/primary-care/optical-setting/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department used to select (a) Deloitte to lead work on the procurement of personal protective equipment and (b) Sodexo to lead work on the establishment of covid-19 testing centres.

Deloitte is providing operational support for the procurement process of personal protective equipment (PPE) from existing and new manufacturers who can assist in scaling-up regulatory-approved PPE resources within the United Kingdom. As an existing professional services provider to the public sector, Deloitte’s expertise is being used to supplement in-house resource to deliver significant programmes of work, which currently includes the national response to COVID-19.

Sodexo are one of a number of facility management companies who are supporting the establishment and running of testing centres across the UK. Officials have worked with various industry providers to understand who has the footprint and ability to establish and run services in all geographical areas within short timescales.

Guidance on how contracting authorities should respond to COVID-19 was published on 18 March. Authorities are allowed to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency in exceptional circumstances using regulation 32(2)(c) under the Public Contract Regulations 2015. We have also made it clear that authorities must continue to achieve value for money for taxpayers, use good commercial judgement and publish the details of any awards made, in line with regulations and Government transparency guidelines.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase UK vaccine production capacity.

The Vaccines Taskforce is working with the BioIndustry Association Taskforce to review and increase where possible, existing domestic capability to manufacture vaccines in response to COVID-19. This includes a review of the acceleration and increasing capacity of the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, so that it becomes operational earlier than planned and can manufacture population level doses.

For COVID-19, the type of vaccine manufacturing capacity needed will be determined by the nature of the vaccine that is developed and the technology used to produce the vaccines. The scale of facility needed will depend on how potent the vaccines are, and the productivity of the processes used to produce them. This work is proceeding at pace across different vaccine types, while those vaccines are still under development.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what he is taking to protect front-line NHS staff who are (a) categorised as vulnerable and (b) over 70 years old during the covid-19 outbreak.

Preserving and protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and keeping them well is critical for the National Health Service as we respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Advice from the Government confirmed that the groups of people who should take particular care to minimise their social contact were:

- People over the age of 70 and other adults who would normally be advised to have a flu vaccine (such as those with chronic disease); and

- Pregnant women.

For staff members in this category, the NHS will support staff to stay well and at work. NHS organisations should make adjustments to enable this wherever possible. Adjustments may include working remotely or moving to a lower risk area. Line managers should get support from the locally nominated EPRR (Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response) lead, or for example, Medical/Nursing director or Chief Operating Officer to make this happen. NHS organisations are encouraged to make it clear who the point of contact is in this regard.

Our people are the most important consideration as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In these unprecedented times, our people more than ever will be making every effort to care for patients and the population, and we must equal that with the care we provide to them.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had discussions with the Home Secretary on removing immigration restrictions on non-resident health and care workers to fill NHS vacancies; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has regular discussions with the Secretary of State for the Home Department about the design of the future immigration system and its impact on the National Health Service.

The Government fully recognises the contribution that international health and care professionals make to the NHS, and we remain committed to ensuring that this country still attracts these skills to benefit the whole healthcare system. We have set out plans to introduce a new NHS visa, which will offer an attractive package for NHS staff. The details of this scheme will be announced by the Secretary of State for the Home Department in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that help is available within the community for young people whilst they wait for NHS mental health services.

The Government announced in August 2019 that we are investing £3.3 million in 23 local community projects across England to help prevent mental illness in children and young people aged 25 and under.

The funding will enable more children and young people to access local services to support their mental health, with early intervention for those at risk of mental health problems. The projects have an emphasis on improving access to support outside of NHS services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that mental health support is available for young people waiting for mental health treatments.

Following on from our Green Paper on transforming children and young people’s mental health, we are:

- incentivising every school or college to identify and train a Senior Lead for Mental Health;

- creating new mental health support teams in and near schools and colleges; and

- piloting a four-week waiting time to allow swifter access to specialist NHS services for those children and young people who need them

Once implemented, the Green Paper has the potential to significantly improve early intervention and prevention, along with expanding the current children and young people’s mental health workforce.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she travelled to Russia on 10 February 2022 on a commercial flight.

The Foreign Secretary did not travel on a commercial flight to Russia, she flew with the RAF.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the financial impact on the British Council of losing the contract to run the Turing Scheme.

Decisions relating to the future operation of the Turing scheme were carefully considered by the Department for Education as part of the tendering process. The financial assessment alongside wider commercial activities are a matter for the British Council which were taken into account as part of their bid.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made in the last two weeks to his counterpart in (a) Croatia and (b) Monaco on securing the return of Jonathan Taylor to the UK.

On 13 November, I made calls to Croatian and Monegasque Foreign Ministers, to seek assurance that they both give full consideration to what protection Mr Taylor should be afforded as a whistle-blower.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure funding from the public purse is not spent on support for fossil fuel projects in the global south.

Fossil fuels account for two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. The science is clear that the world is off track to meet the Paris Agreement temperature goals and we must reduce emissions if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.

Countries need reliable and sustainable supplies of energy if they are to tackle poverty effectively by growing their economies, creating jobs, and delivering essential services, and UK support for energy is increasingly invested in renewables. Since 2011, the UK has provided 33 million people with improved access to clean energy, avoided 31 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and installed 2,000 MW of clean energy capacity.

The UK was the first major economy in the world to make a legally binding net zero commitment. The UK will continue to lead by example through aligning our Official Development Assistance with the Paris Agreement temperature goals, including our support for energy. The UK keeps its balance of support for overseas projects under constant review to ensure alignment with government priorities, including on climate change.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans his Department has to allocate funds from the £40 million package for Chagossians living in the UK to help with financial issues caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

The Chagossian Support Package is discretionary Government funding to address the most pressing needs of the Chagossian community in the UK and overseas by improving access to health and social care and to improved education and employment opportunities. It is not intended to help with the immediate financial issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are other UK Government financial support schemes to provide assistance to businesses and individuals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdown.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the total forecast figure budgeted for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was when that scheme was launched in June 2020.

The original forecast figure for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was £500 million. This estimate was based on the 2018 ONS Annual Business Survey turnover data for the relevant sectors, along with the Spring Budget consumption forecast, and was published in the Plan for Jobs 2020. This can be found under table 1 here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-plan-for-jobs-documents/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

The amount paid under the scheme was £840 million, due to the popularity of the scheme and its effectiveness in meeting the policy objectives of incentivising consumer use of restaurants, and other such establishments, and protecting jobs in hospitality.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the average annual amount spent by his Department is on photographers for the Chancellor; and which budget line and cost category that spending is recorded against.

All photographs are taken by members of the Treasury’s in-house communications team at no additional cost.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the (a) dates and (b) names of organisations and representatives present of any meetings he has held with US healthcare companies since becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of external stakeholders.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at: HMT ministers' meetings, hospitality, gifts and overseas travel - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing (a) a bonus-malus or grant scheme and (b) zero per cent or reduced VAT rate on new electric vehicles to incentivise consumer purchase of those vehicles.

The government already provides ‘Plug-in Grants’ for zero emission cars and ultra-low emission vans, motorcycles and taxis, which provide a discount on the cost of a new vehicle, reducing the price paid by the consumer. At the Spending Review 2020, the Chancellor confirmed £582m to extend these grants to 2022/2023.

With regards to VAT on electric vehicles, VAT makes a significant contribution towards the public finances, raising around £130 billion in 2019/20, and helps fund the Government's priorities including the NHS, schools, and defence. Any loss in tax revenue would have to be balanced by a reduction in public spending, increased borrowing or increased taxation elsewhere.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reducing the rate of VAT for charging electric vehicles on street to the rate for charging electric vehicles at home.

Electricity supplied to homes for all purposes benefits from a reduced rate of 5 per cent of VAT. While all taxes are kept under review, there are no plans to reduce the rate of VAT for charging of electric vehicles when away from home.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the Exchequer was of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August 2020.

By midnight on 31 August, £522 million had been claimed through the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Businesses can make claims until 30 September and HMRC will publish a final costing in October.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the public purse has been of the Cycle to Work scheme in each of the last five years; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of that scheme in each of the next two years.

In May 2020, the cost of the Cycle to Work scheme in 2018/19 was published in the Non-Structural Tax Relief statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/main-tax-expenditures-and-structural-reliefs

In addition to this, the cost of the Cycle to Work scheme (rounded to nearest £5m) for each of the last five years has been estimated as follows:

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

55

50

50

45

50

The cost of the Cycle to Work scheme for the next two years has not been estimated.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of including Directors of micro limited companies in the second payment of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

I refer the Honourable Member to the written answer to Parliamentary Question 54215 given on 9 June 2020: www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-03/54215/

19th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that insurance companies make payments in respect of business interruption policies that cover the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector to understand and influence its response to this unprecedented situation and is encouraging insurers to do all they can to support customers during this difficult period.

The Government is working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis and fully supports the regulator in its role. The FCA rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed. In addition, the FCA has said that, in light of COVID-19, insurers must consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them.

On 1 May the FCA outlined its intention to seek a court declaration, on an agreed and urgent basis, and for a selected number of key issues, to resolve uncertainty for many customers making business interruption claims.

Subsequently on 1 June, the FCA announced the policy wordings that would be tested in the court action and insurers it had invited to participate directly, along with an initial list of policy wordings and insurers that will potentially be impacted by the Court’s decision on the representative sample. The FCA expects to publish a final list of all the relevant insurers and policies that may have impacted wordings in early July, and expects a court hearing to take place in late July.

However, it is important to note that most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers losses from non-property damage. Additionally, while some policies cover losses arising from any disease classed as notifiable by the government, or a denial of access to a building, most of these policies only cover a specific list of notifiable diseases or an incident specifically on the premises of the business. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. The terms of a policy cannot be changed retrospectively.

The Government encourages businesses to seek assistance through the wider support package if they are in financial difficulty. Businesses should explore the full package of support set out by the Chancellor in the Budget, on 17 March, and on 20 March, which includes measures such as business rates holidays, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and wage support.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure businesses who pay business rates via their rent are eligible for coronavirus business support grant funds.

The Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund have been designed to support the smallest businesses, and smaller businesses in some of the sectors which have been hit hardest by measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The two schemes have been tied to the business rates system and rating assessments, which together provide a framework for Local Authorities to make payments as quickly as possible. Businesses in the business rates system are also likely to face particularly high fixed costs, such as fixed rents.

In some shared spaces, individual users have their own rating assessments and may therefore be eligible for the grants schemes. In these cases, Local Authorities are urging landlords and management agents to support them in ensuring that the grants reach the correct ratepayers.

Businesses operating in shared spaces which do not have their own ratings assessment are not eligible for the grants schemes. Extending eligibility to these businesses would not be practicable as it would require Local Authorities to create an entirely new system and to put in place appropriate anti-fraud checks. This would significantly increase Local Authorities’ workloads at a time when they are already working under pressure to support struggling businesses as quickly as possible.

15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in what proportion of cases her Department responds to representations from hon Members within the 20 working day response time target.

The Department works to a target of responding to 95% of Hon. Members’ written correspondence within 20 working days.

Performance has been impacted by a very significant increase in the volume of correspondence received, including the unprecedented amount of correspondence about the situation in Afghanistan, and more recently Ukraine. Ministers and officials have also had to instigate a remote process for drafting and signing correspondence during the period of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Department recognises that it has not been able to meet service standard in some cases, but has implemented an action plan to clear backlogs and drive up performance. The Department has recruited additional resources and expects to return to answering Hon. Members correspondence within the service standard early in the new financial year.

Data about intake and performance in answering Hon. Members’ correspondence are published quarterly with the latest quarter available at: Customer service operations data: Q4 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) . This includes data up to and including the end of quarter 4 - 2021.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the Ukrainian refugee crisis on her Department’s ability to process ordinary immigration applications in a timely manner.

The Home Office is currently prioritising applications made under its Ukraine Schemes, in response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the invasion of Ukraine. As a result, customers with standard applications in study, work, and family routes may experience some delays in the processing of their application.

We have also suspended a number of Paid for Priority and Super Priority services so staff working on these could be reallocated to other work, including our Ukraine Schemes.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to increase the workload capacity of her Department in response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

We are committed to ensuring our operational teams have the resources they need to run an efficient and effective system. We actively monitor workflows to ensure sufficient resources are in place to meet demand, including from pressures relating to Ukraine.

The Home Office is continually making efforts to simplify the application process for Ukrainian refugees and keeps this under regular review.

UKVI has redeployed caseworking staff in the UK to work seven days a week to process Ukraine applications, and has temporarily loaned in staff from other departments like HM Revenue and Customs to help manage demand.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications for settled status from EU students are pending decision.

The Home Office publishes data on the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) in the ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’.

The latest published information on EUSS applications received and applications concluded by nationality to 30 September 2021, can be found in tables EUSS_01 and EUSS_03 available at: EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, September 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Information on EUSS applications which relate specifically to EU nationals studying in the UK is not recorded on our case management system and is therefore not available.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average length of time is for an applicant who has been successful on an immigration appeal to receive their visa.

The requested information cannot be accurately extracted from our internal systems. To provide this information would require a manual trawl of successful appeals and to do so would incur disproportionate cost.

Where an appeal has been allowed in favour of the appellant, and is not subject to onward appeal, we take all reasonable steps to implement the allowed appeal in a timely manner.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has in place to extend the concession that enables universities to sponsor students' visas for distance learning due to expire in April 2022.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government have introduced a number of concessions to support international students and their sponsors. International students are permitted to start a course from overseas through distance learning without a visa. These concessions are kept under regular review.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department plans to extend the time incoming exchange students can stay in the UK from 6 months to one academic year without having to apply for a Student Visa.

Under the new simplified immigration rules which came into effect on 1 December 2020, study for up to six months at an accredited institution is permitted under the visitor route.

The visit route is for a person who wants to come to the UK for a temporary period, usually up to 6 months.

Visitors may also learn about and undertake research as part of a course they are studying overseas.

There are no plans to allow visitors to study for more than six months.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the potential economic and cultural benefits of extending the amount of time exchange students can remain in the UK under the visitor immigration route from six months to one year.

Under the new simplified immigration rules which came into effect on 1 December 2020, study for up to six months at an accredited institution is permitted under the visitor route.

The visit route is for a person who wants to come to the UK for a temporary period, usually up to 6 months.

Visitors may also learn about and undertake research as part of a course they are studying overseas.

There are no plans to allow visitors to study for more than six months.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of the impact of the sixth-month limit on how long incoming exchange students can remain in the UK under the visitor immigration route.

Under the new simplified immigration rules which came into effect on 1 December 2020, study for up to six months at an accredited institution is permitted under the visitor route.

The visit route is for a person who wants to come to the UK for a temporary period, usually up to 6 months.

Visitors may also learn about and undertake research as part of a course they are studying overseas.

There are no plans to allow visitors to study for more than six months.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education regarding plans to extend the time incoming exchange students can stay in the UK from 6 months to one academic year without having to apply for a Student Visa.

Under the new simplified immigration rules which came into effect on 1 December 2020, study for up to six months at an accredited institution is permitted under the visitor route.

The visit route is for a person who wants to come to the UK for a temporary period, usually up to 6 months.

Visitors may also learn about and undertake research as part of a course they are studying overseas.

There are no plans to allow visitors to study for more than six months.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to extend the concession that allows universities to sponsor a student’s visa for distance learning, which is due to expire in April 2022.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government have introduced several concessions to support international students and their sponsors. International students are permitted to start a course from overseas through distance learning without a visa.

These concessions are kept under regular review.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the value for money of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the context of the changes to Government policy that have resulted from that inquiry.

The Government has carefully considered all recommendations made by the Inquiry to date. These recommendations informed the development of the Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy, which was published on 22 January, and will continue to inform its implementation.

In particular, the Government is implementing a number of IICSA’s recommendations as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. This includes including further ‘positions of trust’ to which the existing offences contained within sections 16–19 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 will apply, when certain activities are knowingly carried out on a regular basis within a sport or a religion. We are also placing a requirement for the courts and the police to have regard to a list of countries when they are considering the need for foreign travel prohibitions as part of the civil orders.

The Inquiry’s recommendations also have a reach far beyond central Government, and continue to inform other agencies’ approaches to addressing any institutional child protection gaps, and assisting with the culture change needed to improve the system-wide response to child sexual abuse.

Crucially, the Inquiry’s Truth Project, which has offered nearly 6,000 victims and survivors of child sexual abuse the opportunity to share their experiences, has helped to ensure the voice of victims is at the heart of organisational and societal changes going forwards.

The Inquiry’s final Report is due to be published next year which will include further findings and recommendations, which Government will carefully consider.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the recommendations made to date by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse; and whether she has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to implement those recommendations.

The Government has carefully considered all recommendations made by the Inquiry to date. These recommendations informed the development of the Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy, which was published on 22 January, and will continue to inform its implementation.

In particular, the Government is implementing a number of IICSA’s recommendations as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. This includes including further ‘positions of trust’ to which the existing offences contained within sections 16–19 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 will apply, when certain activities are knowingly carried out on a regular basis within a sport or a religion. We are also placing a requirement for the courts and the police to have regard to a list of countries when they are considering the need for foreign travel prohibitions as part of the civil orders.

The Inquiry’s recommendations also have a reach far beyond central Government, and continue to inform other agencies’ approaches to addressing any institutional child protection gaps, and assisting with the culture change needed to improve the system-wide response to child sexual abuse.

Crucially, the Inquiry’s Truth Project, which has offered nearly 6,000 victims and survivors of child sexual abuse the opportunity to share their experiences, has helped to ensure the voice of victims is at the heart of organisational and societal changes going forwards.

The Inquiry’s final Report is due to be published next year which will include further findings and recommendations, which Government will carefully consider.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of police resources during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has been clear that it will provide police forces with the support they need to continue protecting the public and keeping communities safe through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government is taking steps to mitigate forces’ COVID-19 related financial pressures. It is reimbursing all their additional expenditure on medical-grade personal protective equipment between 27 February and 27 July, and has launched an income loss recovery scheme for Police and Crime Commissioners to claim a proportion of their budgeted income on sales, fees and charges in 2020/21 lost due to the coronavirus.

On 8 October the Government announced an additional £30m for police forces in England and Wales to step up their enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions through the autumn and winter months.

The department continues to work closely with the policing sector to monitor and make decisions on their current and future funding needs.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many vehicles have been stopped by police for producing a hazardous amount of smoke in the last 12 months; and what proportion of those vehicles were confiscated;

The Home Office does not hold this information centrally.

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986?lay down certain requirements that all vehicles have to meet strict emission standards and be constructed and maintained so as not to emit any avoidable?smoke. It also governs the amount of light that must pass through the windows of?a vehicle and therefore how clearly the windows can be seen through.

It is for the police to take enforcement action as they consider appropriate against those in breach of the Regulations.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many vehicles have been stopped by police in the last 12 months for their windscreens or front side windows being tinted beyond legal limits; and what information she holds on the steps taken in relation to those vehicles.

The Home Office does not hold this information centrally.

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986?lay down certain requirements that all vehicles have to meet strict emission standards and be constructed and maintained so as not to emit any avoidable?smoke. It also governs the amount of light that must pass through the windows of?a vehicle and therefore how clearly the windows can be seen through.

It is for the police to take enforcement action as they consider appropriate against those in breach of the Regulations.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to develop a national strategy for tackling violence against retail workers.

The Government published its response to the Call for Evidence on Violence and Abuse Towards Shop Staff on 7 July. In response to its findings, we are already working with retailers, the police and others through the National Retail Crime Steering Group to develop and deliver a programme of work to drive down violence and abuse towards shopworkers.

You can access the report here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/violence-and-abuse-toward-shop-staff-call-for-evidence

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to extend prospective marriage visas free of charge where weddings have been unable to take place as a result of covid-19.

The Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic including extending visas for those affected with temporary stay to 31 May. We continue to monitor the situation closely and take these exceptional circumstances into account.

These are unprecedented times and we may make further temporary adjustments to requirements where necessary and appropriate.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to remove immigration restrictions on non-resident health and care workers to fill NHS vacancies; and if she will make a statement.

The Government is committed to introducing a Health and Care visa which will provide eligible doctors, nurses and other allied health and social care professionals, and their families, with fast-track entry, reduced visa fees and dedicated resource.

In addition, as announced by the Prime Minister on 21 May, all NHS workers and wider health and social care workers, including those coming on the NHS Visa, will be exempted from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Further details, including eligibility, will be published in due course.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy; and if he will make a statement.

I have been working very closely across Government on my Department's contribution to the Integrated Review, including with the Prime Minister and my colleagues in the National Security Council.

Ben Wallace
Secretary of State for Defence
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of homes fitted with central heating microbore pipework.

The department has made no estimate of the number of homes fitted with central heating microbore pipework. However, the English Housing Survey commissioned by the department does provide information about heating systems in homes including the number of homes with central heating. The English Housing Survey reports can be seen at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/english-housing-survey.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
16th Nov 2020
What progress his Department has made on the forthcoming devolution and local recovery White Paper.

We intend to bring forward the English Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper in due course, which will set out Government’s regional economic strategy to move us from recovery into levelling up and our vision for expanding devolution across England.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what criteria his Department used to select the places which receive funding from the Towns Fund.

Ministers considered a range of factors and different methods of identifying and prioritising towns. The metrics selected and their weighting was decided based on an analysis of the policy problem and aims and was calibrated against local intelligence and feedback. Further detail can be found within the National Audit Office Review of the Town Deals selection process.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has commissioned research on the potential effect on health of silica particulates transported in air related to mineral extraction.

The MHCLG has not commissioned any research into the potential effect on health of silica sand particulates transported in air related to mineral extraction. The remit of my Department is related to planning matters.

Our National Planning Policy Framework sets out how mineral planning authorities should approach planning for and dealing with mineral planning developments. It states that in granting planning permission for mineral extraction planning authorities should ensure that any unavoidable dust and particle emissions are controlled, mitigated or removed at source.

It is, therefore, for mineral planning authorities to plan for and determine planning applications for silica sand and assess the impacts of those proposals, including the impacts of any dust emissions. In dealing with mineral proposals, mineral planning authorities would seek the views of appropriate consultees, such as local environmental health authorities, Environment Agency, Public Health England and/or the Health and Safety Executive depending on the particular facts of the case.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Law Commission’s report, Leasehold home ownership: buying your freehold or extending your lease, published in July 2020, what plans he has to implement the recommendations on reforming leasehold home ownership; and when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on reforming leasehold.

The Government asked the Law Commission to review current enfranchisement arrangements to make them easier, faster, fairer and cheaper. The Law Commission report on the enfranchisement process was published in July, alongside reports on commonhold and Right to Manage. They also reported in January on options relating to valuation, including purchasing a freehold and extending the lease of a house or flat. We are considering these in detail and will set out our preferred way forward in due course. We will bring forward legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Christopher Pincher
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) total value of council tax arrears referred to bailiffs by local authorities and (b) value of arrears recovered by bailiffs in the last 12 months.

The Government does not hold data on the value of council tax arrears referred to, or recovered by, bailiffs. Statistics on the total council tax, including arrears, collected by local authorities for the financial years from 2014-15 are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/collection-rates-for-council-tax-and-non-domestic-rates-in-england-2018-to-2019.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to publish the findings of his Department's review of council tax collection methods.

The Government has been working with local government and the debt advice sector to develop updated best practice guidance on the collection of council tax and will publish this guidance in due course.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prosecutions there have been for offences relating to hunting with dogs, by police force area, in the latest period for which data are available.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on prosecutions for offences relating to hunting with dogs, by police force area, in England and Wales, up to December 2020, available in the ‘Principal offence proceedings and outcomes by Home Office offence code’ data tool, which can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987731/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2020.xlsx.

To find the number of prosecutions by police force area for hunting a wild mammal with a dog, under sections 1 and 6 of the Hunting Act 2004:

  • Select ‘hunting a wild mammal with a dog’ in the ‘detailed offence’ filter (or select ‘12113’ in the ‘offence code’ filter).
  • Use the ‘Police Force Area’ filter to select a specific police force area or, within the field list, drag the filter for police force area from the filters area to the rows area for a detailed breakdown of all the police force areas.
  • The number of prosecutions will be found on Row 32

Other offences that relate to hunting with dogs under the Hunting Act 2004 include:

  • Offence code: 12114
    • Detailed Offence: Knowingly permitting land to be entered or used in the course of hunting a wild mammal with dogs
  • Offence code: 12115
    • Detailed offence: Knowingly permitting a dog to be used in the course of hunting a wild mammal
  • Offence code: 12116
    • Detailed offence: Participating in a hare coursing event
  • Offence code: 12117
    • Detailed offence: Attending a hare coursing event
James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress there has been on the implementation of the Lammy Review recommendations.

The Government has provided updates on the implementation of the independent review into the treatment of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the criminal justice system (the Lammy Review).
Where a recommendation could not be implemented in full or exactly as set out in the Review, alternative approaches have been sought to achieve the same aim. As of 16th October 2020, the status of the recommendations is as follows:

Out of the 35 recommendations listed in the Lammy Review:
i. Actions in relation to 16 recommendations have been completed (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 22, 23, 33, 35)

ii. Actions in relation to 17 recommendations are still in progress, of which:
a. 11 recommendations aim to be completed within 6 – 12 months (15, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)

b. 6 recommendations will take longer than 12 months to be completed (1, 9, 10, 31, 32, 34)

iii. Two recommendations (14, 16), specific to a target for judicial appointments and appraisal, are not being taken forward. This was announced in the Government’s response to the Review in December 2017.

The Government’s response identified actions going beyond the Review’s recommendations. Progress on recommendations and additional actions are overseen by a CJS Race and Ethnicity Board which was created in response to the Review.

An Independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities is currently reviewing inequality in the UK, focusing on areas including education, employment, health and the criminal justice system. The Independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities will aim to report to the Prime Minister by the end of the year

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent estimate she has made of the average waiting time for immigration appeals to be heard at tribunal from the time the appeal is lodged, for (a) all tribunals, (b) asylum tribunals, (c) family visit visa tribunals and (d) entry clearance officer tribunals; and what additional resources have been allocated to tackling the backlog of immigration appeals as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The average waiting time from the lodgement of the appeal to first hearing for the period January to March 2020 is a) for all appeals - 17 weeks and b) for asylum appeals - 8 weeks.

Family visit visa and Entry clearance officer appeals no longer exist as separate appeal categories. The other appeal categories are Human Rights appeals and Out of country appeals and their waiting times for the same period are 22 weeks and 34 weeks respectively.

These figures are from internal Management Information extracted from the tribunal’s case management system. They do not form part of the published tribunal statistics published on a quarterly basis and are available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics

HM Courts & Tribunals Service has worked extensively to reduce the outstanding caseload and improve timeliness in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber. This has seen the live caseload in the First-tier Tribunal reduce by more than two-thirds, from 64,800 to 19,533 between July 2016 and March 2020. Our focus is now on maximising our capacity to reduce the growth and volume of our outstanding work.

We will build the number of face to face hearings; our hearing centres were never officially closed even though all hearings were of course suspended.

We are working closely with the judiciary to increase the number of hearings by expanding our capacity for remote audio and video hearings; and ensuring that we can build the number of face to face hearings as soon as it is safe to do so and in line with public health advice and guidance.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the backlog of court cases that has accumulated as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Our courts and tribunals provide a vital public service and it is important that justice is delivered in a timely fashion wherever possible despite the Covid-19 outbreak. Staff, identified as key workers during this pandemic, and the judiciary, working in partnership with everyone who supports the justice system has maintained both a core justice system focussed on the most vital cases, and the safety of all courts and tribunals users in line with public health advice and guidance.

Considerable effort has been made to ensure that as far as possible the justice system continues to function. We put in place temporary changes, designed in partnership with the judiciary, to prioritise cases; rapidly expand our capacity for remote audio and video hearings [numbers] while maintaining access to open justice; and condensed our services in to 159 open court/tribunal buildings, a further 111 staffed courts being used for audio and video hearings and suspended operations in 71 sites, utilising resource and cleaning materials in those sites to bolster open and staffed courts. Jury trials have restarted in seven Crown Court centres since 18 May, including the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey in London, Cardiff, Bristol, Manchester Minshull Street, Reading, Warwick and Winchester.

We have rolled out home working solutions to allow as many of our staff as possible who can, to work from home performing essential functions and thus reduce or eliminate unnecessary backlogs. As at 2 June 2020, we have distributed 5,588 laptops to our staff to facilitate this. We have also commenced rolling out a Windows Virtual Devices Solution to enable other staff to temporarily work securely at home using their own IT equipment.

Our focus is now on maximising our capacity to reduce the growth and volume of our outstanding work. We are working closely with the judiciary to increase the number of hearings by further expanding our capacity for remote audio and video hearings; and ensuring that we can reopen our estate for more face to face hearings as soon as it is safe to do so. These specific measures will be set out in due course. In the meantime, our listing priorities continue to be published on judiciary.uk and details those hearings that must still go ahead.

Our commitment to continuing to deliver justice depends on close engagement and working with justice system partners, and we are grateful to all involved for the way they have embraced new and planned reform solutions to keep the wheels of justice turning.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Apr 2020
What changes his Department plans to make to the operation of probation services during the covid-19 outbreak.

Probation is operating under an exceptional delivery model which prioritises public protection and offender management in the community.

Probation officers continue supervising in person those who pose the highest risk ensuring the monitoring of high-risk offenders remains as tough as it always is.

At the same time, we are supervising lower-risk offenders using more frequent video and telephone calls.

We have set up Homelessness Prevention Taskforces to support offenders who are being temporarily released from prison as part of efforts to keep prisons safe during this period. These teams are working with the police to carry out the relevant risk assessments, including checks on domestic abuse and safeguarding issues.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jun 2021
What assessment the Government has made of the potential benefits for frictionless trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK of a veterinary agreement between the UK and the EU.

The UK is working hard and in good faith to ensure the Protocol operates in a sustainable way that works for the people of Northern Ireland. We have proposed an ambitious veterinary agreement, based on our respective high standards, to reduce checks and controls. We need the EU to meaningfully engage with these proposals to ease burdens in Northern Ireland and provide a sustainable basis for the Protocol.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Nov 2020
What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on support for Welsh businesses affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

I have regular discussions with my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on support for Welsh businesses. Wales is benefitting directly from UK Government support to enable businesses and employees to get through Covid. This support already amounts to over two billion pounds for businesses across Wales.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what steps the Government is taking to support the steel industry in Wales.

We recognise that global economic conditions continue to be challenging for the steel industry and are committed to?supporting a?productive, vibrant and modern steel sector?in the UK. That is why we recently worked to reach an agreement with Celsa which will save hundreds of highly-skilled Welsh jobs.

The Government has put together a far-reaching package of support to help businesses through the coronavirus pandemic. We continue to regularly engage with the steel sector about support mechanisms, especially in dealing with the economic impact of Covid-19.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales