Matthew Offord Portrait

Matthew Offord

Conservative - Hendon

Environmental Audit Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Environmental Audit Committee
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Environmental Audit Committee
3rd Dec 2012 - 30th Mar 2015
Able Marine Energy Park Development Consent Order 2014
11th Jun 2014 - 30th Oct 2014


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 6th July 2022
14:00
Division Votes
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 269 Conservative No votes vs 1 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 191 Noes - 271
Speeches
Thursday 30th June 2022
Iran’s Nuclear Programme
I feel the need to correct my right hon. Friend on that point. It was not just Iranian politicians and …
Written Answers
Monday 4th July 2022
AUKUS
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 22nd January 2014
Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) Bill 2013-14
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
Tweets
Thursday 30th June 2022
16:47
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 3rd May 2022
4. Visits outside the UK
Name of donor: Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA)
Address of donor: 60 Ibrahimpasha Dadashev, Baku, Azerbaijan
Estimate of …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 30th January 2018
Kew Gardens (Leases) (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
A Bill to Provide that the Secretary of State’s powers in relation to the management of the Royal Botanic Gardens, …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Matthew Offord has voted in 407 divisions, and 19 times against the majority of their Party.

22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 29 Conservative Aye votes vs 318 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 300 Noes - 318
22 Mar 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 319 Noes - 297
22 Mar 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 253
9 Feb 2021 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 318 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 318 Noes - 303
2 Sep 2020 - Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 41 Conservative No votes vs 47 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 55 Noes - 52
1 Jul 2020 - Finance Bill - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative Aye votes vs 316 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 254 Noes - 317
30 Jun 2020 - Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Conservative Aye votes vs 331 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 255 Noes - 332
17 Jun 2020 - Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 23 Conservative Aye votes vs 283 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 31 Noes - 400
20 May 2020 - Liaison (Membership) - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 16 Conservative Aye votes vs 316 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 262 Noes - 323
10 Mar 2020 - Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 36 Conservative Aye votes vs 301 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 282 Noes - 306
27 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 31 Conservative No votes vs 320 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 320 Noes - 256
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
28 Apr 2021 - Fire Safety Bill - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 32 Conservative No votes vs 321 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
20 Oct 2021 - Environment Bill - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Conservative No votes vs 265 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 268 Noes - 204
3 Nov 2021 - Committee on Standards - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 13 Conservative No votes vs 247 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 250 Noes - 232
3 Nov 2021 - Committee on Standards - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 6 Conservative No votes vs 242 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 248 Noes - 221
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority - in line with the party majority and against the House
One of 60 Conservative No votes vs 258 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
22 Jun 2022 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Matthew Offord voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 61 Conservative No votes vs 106 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 215 Noes - 70
View All Matthew Offord Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
(22 debate interactions)
Mark Spencer (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(10 debate interactions)
Robert Jenrick (Conservative)
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Leader of the House
(17 debate contributions)
Home Office
(6 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Matthew Offord's debates

Hendon 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 Hendon signature proportion
Petitions with most Hendon signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Mark Allen, aged 18, drowned after jumping into a freezing reservoir on a hot day in June 2018.

In May 2019 we watched whilst 3 throwlines were installed where he died.

Mark could have possibly been saved if they were in place beforehand.


Latest EDMs signed by Matthew Offord

Matthew Offord has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Matthew Offord, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Matthew Offord

Wednesday 2nd February 2022

Matthew Offord has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Matthew Offord


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 prohibit the use on dogs of any electronic collar designed to administer an electric shock; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 22nd January 2014

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision about the inclusion at local authority meetings of observances that are, and about powers of local authorities in relation to events that to any extent are, religious or related to a religious or philosophical belief.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 19th June 2013

1215 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
41 Other Department Questions
27th Jun 2022
To ask the President of COP26, if he will hold discussions with his international counterparts on the potential merits of prioritising discussion of food sustainability at COP27.

To keep 1.5C within reach, we are engaging internationally to accelerate action on reducing agricultural carbon emissions while meeting the world’s growing need for food. At COP26 we held the Policy Dialogue on Accelerating Transition to Sustainable Agriculture bringing together 34 countries to catalyse efforts to deliver the global transformation in agriculture and land use by sharing their experiences and opportunities to deliver transformation through public policies and innovation. Following these discussions, we launched the Policy Action Agenda for Transition to Sustainable Food and Agriculture, endorsed by 16 countries, to set pathways and actions that countries can take to repurpose public policies and support to food and agriculture.

At COP27, it will be for Egypt to determine their agenda. In the lead up to this transition, we continue to work closely with Egypt as the incoming Presidency and meet regularly to discuss our priority work areas, this includes delivering on the commitments made in Glasgow and how they can be built upon for COP27.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people within one year of the statutory retirement age who live in in private rented accommodation.

The most recent year of the English Housing Survey showed that there were 485,000 households with a household reference person* (HRP) aged 55-64 - the private rented sector housed 11% of households with a HRP in that age group. The private rented sector housed a further 382,000 households with a HRP aged 65 or older, accounting for 6% of households in that age group.

There is no current data on the number of people within one year of the statutory retirement age who live in the private rented sector.

*A HRP or household reference person is the person in whose name the accommodation is rented. If the property is rented jointly, it is the person in the household with the highest income.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group published in July 2019 will be implemented.

The Government remains committed to creating a fair and just housing system that works for everyone.

This commitment includes raising professionalism and standards amongst property agents (letting, estate and managing agents), protecting consumers, and defending the reputation of good agents from the actions of rogue operatives. We welcome the ongoing work being undertaken by the industry itself to raise professionalism and standards across the sector, including on potential codes of practice for property agents, and continue to engage with industry on this.

The Government is considering the recommendations in the final report on the regulation of property agents from Lord Best’s working group.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when the Redress Reform Working Group will be re-established.

The Redress Reform Working Group was established and began work in the summer of 2019. The group continues to meet independently and provides updates to the department.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that no part of the UK is left behind as part of the levelling up agenda.

The Levelling Up White Paper provides a clear plan to level up every corner of the UK, underpinned by 12 ambitious “missions” over 10 years and tracked by an annual report that will monitor levelling up progress and ensure the government is held to account. It will address regional disparities across the UK, put more money in the pockets of those who need it most, and transform the UK economy by generating higher paid jobs and new investment.

The Government is taking a data-driven approach to assessing geographic areas, ensuring that we are focusing our efforts on the places that need the most support and empowering local leaders and communities to seize their own destiny. Each place and its requirements are unique, and therefore the support it receives must reflect this.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the levelling up agenda policy contains different strands to focus upon different age groups.

Levelling Up is about a fundamental systems change to allow local places to overcome their own challenges, including those faced by people of different ages. As such, the Levelling Up White Paper includes specific policy initiatives to spread opportunities for people in all stages of their life. This includes creating 55 Education Investment Areas in England; supporting families by investing £300 million to build the network of Family Hubs and transform Start for Life services for parents, babies, carers and children; and setting up the Older People’s Taskforce to make sure that older people can live in homes which suit their needs.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate his Department has made of the number of new homes constructed by the Mayor of London from the £3.15 billion grant to London’s Affordable Homes Programme announced following the Autumn Statement in November 2016.

The Government has agreed a major package of funding for London through the Affordable Homes Programme with the Greater London Authority.

The Greater London Authority publish statistics every quarter to show how they are delivering new homes through the London Affordable Homes Programme. The latest figures can be found at:

https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/housing-and-land/increasing-housing-supply/affordable-housing-statistics.

Since 2010, we have delivered over 574,100 new affordable homes, including over 403,400 affordable homes for rent, of which over 154,600 homes for social rent. Over one fifth of overall delivery was in London (over 119,100), with over 81,500 for rent.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will publish guidance to require planning applications to consider the carbon footprint of a development.

The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that the planning system should support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate and we will make sure that the reformed planning system further supports our efforts to combat climate change and help bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The Government recognises that the carbon emitted during the construction of homes and buildings, or embodied carbon, can account for a significant proportion of the total carbon emissions over the lifetime of a building. We encourage developers to consider embodied carbon, while also recognising that improvements in the consistency of whole life carbon assessments are required, supported by robust carbon data, and underpinned by widely adopted product standards. In the Net Zero Strategy the Government committed improving reporting on embodied carbon and has recently published a call for evidence exploring how to grow the market for low emissions products.

Alongside this, the Government sets minimum energy efficiency standards for buildings through the Building Regulations. From 2025, the Future Homes Standard will ensure that new homes produce at least 75% fewer CO2 emissions than those built to the 2013 standards and the Future Buildings Standard will ensure highly efficient new non-domestic buildings. To work towards this, in December 2021 we introduced an uplift in energy efficiency standards, which will come into force in June 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the Government's upcoming Levelling Up White Paper will include an assessment of the (a) role of and (b) support required by local authorities to deliver on its objectives.

Core Spending Power for local government is expected to rise from £50.4 billion in 2021-22 to up to £53.9 billion in 2022-23. The forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper will set out our plans for strengthening accountable local leadership. This is alongside recent investments including the Levelling Up Fund, UK Community Renewal Fund and Towns Fund where Government is working closely with councils right across the United Kingdom.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of households in England that are affected by at least category one hazard as defined by the Building Research Establishment.
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what effect the UK leaving the EU has had on the residential housing market.

HMRC publishes monthly data on UK Residential Property transactions and their latest seasonally adjusted data is available up to August 2021.

This data shows that in the 19 months since the UK left the EU there have been 1,996,090 transactions and this compares with 1,871,840 transactions in the 19 month period prior to leaving the EU.

The volume of property transactions is influenced by a large range of factors and differences should not be attributed to any single factor. For example, the figures for the period after leaving the EU will include the impact of Covid restrictions and temporary changes to Stamp Duty rates.

13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

From 2025, DLUHC will introduce the Future Homes Standard which will ensure that new homes produce lower emissions, and the Future Buildings Standard will ensure highly efficient non-domestic buildings. On 15 December, the Department published the government response to the Future Buildings Standard consultation and implemented an interim uplift to the Building Regulations. From next summer, when the new regulations come into force, new homes will be expected to produce around 30% fewer carbon emissions and new non-domestic buildings will be expected to produce 27% fewer carbon emissions.

In July 2021, we updated the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), placing a stronger emphasis on delivering sustainable development and a proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change. The NPPF highlights that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development through economic, social and environmental objectives which include protecting our natural environment and moving to a low carbon economy.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of the Government adopting a definition of Islamophobia.

This Government remains committed to stamping out anti-Muslim hatred and all forms of religious prejudice. It is unacceptable for anyone to feel unsafe while practicing their religion and we continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Muslim hatred.

The adoption of a definition of Islamophobia by the Government remains under consideration.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent steps he has taken to support rough sleepers in the Hendon constituency during winter 2021-22.

The Government is committed to ending rough sleeping within this Parliament, and we are spending over £800 million this year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

In total Barnet has been allocated at least £15.55 million in grant funding in 2021/22 to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, which is significant investment to reduce the number of people rough sleeping in the area, including in Hendon. Through the Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI4) they received £1.12 million which will provide vital frontline services. Barnet received £7.49 million through the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme to deliver 55 longer term homes to those who are rough sleeping, or who have a history of sleeping rough.

Barnet received £6.85 million through the Homelessness Prevention Grant including funding to help vulnerable households with rent arrears to reduce the risk of them being evicted and becoming homeless. Barnett were also granted £95,388 through the Homelessness Transformation Fund to provide 16 beds for rough sleepers this winter.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what effect the Levelling Up Fund will have on the implementation of the Government's skills agenda in Hendon constituency.

The Levelling Up Fund focuses on infrastructure projects that will improve everyday life across the UK. As set out in the prospectus published on Gov.uk, the Fund will be delivered as part of a complimentary package of UK-wide interventions, which include funds related to the skills agenda such as UK Community Renewal Fund and UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent steps he has taken to support communities in the Hendon constituency to protect their local assets.

In July the Department launched a 4-year UK wide £150 million Community Ownership Fund to support community groups bring important local assets at risk of loss into community ownership. In November we announced 21 projects which the Fund will support. My Department is in the process of updating the bidding prospectus and guidance notes for the next round of the Fund which will take place next year.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing assistance to Dorset local planning authority in to consider the merits of erecting a statue of Mary Anning proposed by the Mary Anning Rocks campaign in Lyme Regis.

Local planning authorities have a statutory target of 8 weeks to determine planning applications for minor development, and it is for them to ensure they have the resources in place to ensure this target is met. In this case, given the importance of this proposal to the community, I would expect a decision on this application to be prioritised by Dorset Council.

17th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the progress made on tackling deforestation at COP26.

At COP26, more than 140 world leaders whose countries contain over 90% of the world’s forests endorsed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. This powerful coalition of governments, businesses, Indigenous Peoples and civil society committed to a step-change in global action on forests. The political commitment is backed by almost £14 billion ($19.2 billion) in public and private funding, including £1.5 billion from the UK, which will support action in developing countries, including restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires and advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, for what reason Shell were not invited to COP26.

As COP26 Presidency, we are working to encourage the innovation and commitment of everyone – people, business, countries, cities and regions – as we move the global economy to net zero emissions. This includes a wide range of energy companies.

The COP26 Presidency is working most closely with organisations that have strong climate credentials – that means companies which have committed to achieving net zero by 2050, have published a 5-10 year plan of action on how they will do this, and committed to Science Based Targets or joined the UN-backed Race to Zero.

Every country is responsible for choosing its own delegates and the UNFCCC was responsible for all accreditation to COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the actions that (a) China and (b) India will take to reduce the amount of coal burned in those countries as a result of COP26.

At COP26, all parties agreed to phase down the use of coal. The Glasgow Climate Pact secured its specific mention for the first time ever. In addition, China and India have both made commitments to act on climate change, and have endorsed the Glasgow Breakthrough Agenda. At COP26, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Johnson jointly launched the Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid, with over 80 signatories. India also announced a new commitment to have 50% electricity capacity from renewable sources by 2030, and China has committed to peak their carbon emissions before 2030. On coal power, both China and India committed to end overseas coal financing in the run-up to COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the actions agreed at COP26 on the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 celsius.

Our key aim was to keep alive the possibility of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C, and we have delivered. But this is based on commitments made and relies on concerted and dedicated delivery by all countries.

The UK Presidency has also given significantly more focus to championing real world sectoral action than ever before and as a result has garnered significant commitments across high emitting sectors of coal, nature and land use, road transport, and methane, critical to achieving a 1.5 degree pathway.

Pledges, initiatives and funding announced in Glasgow have contributed to reducing the significant gap to achieving 1.5. The Glasgow Climate Pact requests Parties to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their nationally determined contributions as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement temperature goal by the end of 2022, taking into account different national circumstances.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the main outcomes of COP26.

Our key aims for COP26 were to keep alive the possibility of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C (mitigation); help the world to adapt to protect communities and natural habitats (adaptation); to accelerate the delivery of resources needed to fund the transition (finance); to complete the Paris rulebook, and to work together to deliver a safe and inclusive COP (collaboration).

We have delivered against those goals. Over 90% of world GDP is now covered by net zero commitments and 153 countries put forward new 2030 emissions targets. COP26 boosted efforts to deal with climate impacts and 80 countries are now covered by either Adaptation Communications or National Adaptation Plans. COP26 mobilised billions towards delivering the $100 billion climate finance goal and will reach it by 2023 at the latest. Through the Glasgow Climate Pact we have finalised the Paris Rulebook, and secured amongst other things a route to ambition raising on NDCs, increased funding for adaptation, and progress on action to manage loss and damage. The goal of limiting temperature rises by the end of the century to 1.5°C is still within reach. But this is based on commitments made and relies on concerted and dedicated delivery by all countries.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, whether he has had recent discussions with the Church of England on the number of asylum seekers who have converted to Christianity in the last year.

Specific discussion on that issue has not taken place. Data are not kept on the nationality or migration status of those who seek Baptism. Baptism is a sacrament ordained by God and must always be open to anyone regardless of race, nationality or status, so long as they meet the requirements set out in Canon law.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when his Department estimates that all applications to the Building Safety Fund will be decided.

We are working to progress outstanding registrations to the Building Safety Fund quickly and diligently. It is important to remember that we are reliant on building owners and managing agents providing the necessary information for us to assess their registrations to the fund. We continue to encourage many of these building owners and agents who are yet to provide the information to do so urgently.

1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate his Department has made of the average amount people in Hendon constituency will pay for Band D Council Tax in the 2022-23 financial year.

Council tax levels are set by local authorities, although the Secretary of State determines referendum principles to ensure that residents can have the final say over excessive increases. The provisional local government finance settlement will set out full details of the proposed referendum principles for 2022-23. The settlement and referendum principles will be subject to agreement by Parliament in the usual way.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
29th Oct 2021
To ask the President of COP26, if he will invite representatives of Royal Dutch Shell to COP26.

The UK Presidency did not invite Shell under the UK Delegation. As COP26 Presidency, we are working to encourage the innovation and commitment of everyone – people, business, countries, cities and regions – as we move the global economy to net zero emissions. This includes a wide range of energy companies.

The COP26 Presidency is working most closely with organisations that have strong climate credentials – that means companies who have committed to achieving net zero by 2050, have published a 5-10 year plan of action on how they will do this, and committed to Science Based Targets or joined the UN-backed Race to Zero.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent estimate his Department has made of the Social Care Support Grant allocation that will need to be made to local authorities in England to pay towards social care in each of the next three financial years.

Government recently announced an investment of £5.4 billion across three years to deliver funding and system reform to adult social care. This will end the risk of unpredictable care costs through charging reform and enable local authorities to move towards paying providers a fair rate for care. It also includes at least £500 million of funding to support the adult social care workforce to professionalise, develop, and access mental health and wellbeing resources.

This is in addition to the support provided through the social care precept and other government grants including the Social Care Grant. Following the conclusion of the 2021 Spending Review, we will consult on the proposed allocation of the Social Care Grant to local authorities in England, through the Local Government Finance Settlement.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, if the Commissioners will make representations to Church leaders on allowing people to marry in any church of their choosing.

Since 2008 a couple can marry in a Church of England church of any parish where either of them resides or is on the church electoral roll, or any parish where either was baptised, prepared for confirmation, or had formerly lived or worshipped. They also qualify if the parents of either of them have lived in the parish of that church, or have worshipped there, or the parents or grandparents of either of them were married there.

Being married in a church not only reflects the faith commitment of the couple but their connection to the communities to which they are linked, whether through present circumstances or family histories. This policy of ‘qualifying connections’ allows couples great flexibility in choosing their wedding venues while also maintaining those important community links.

There are many positive effects of attending a church in order to get married there and the website yourchurchwedding.org encourages couples to ‘just ask’ to find out how they can get married in church.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Communities and Communities, what estimate his Department has made of the average Band D Council Tax bill in England for the 2022-23 financial year.

Council tax decisions are taken by local authorities. The Secretary of State maintains a referendum threshold each year so that voters can have the final say on any excessive increases. The Secretary of State will set out his proposed referendum principles for 2022-23 in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
7th Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what mechanisms are in place to audit information provided to his Department by (a) regulatory bodies and (b) non-departmental public bodies.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 23158 on 6 July 2021.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps his Department has taken to raise international ambition for onshore wind ahead of COP26.

Accelerating the global energy transition from coal to clean power is a top priority of the UK COP26 Presidency. We are working with countries to expand the use of clean, renewable energy sources such as onshore and offshore wind. We launched the Energy Transition Council to bring together the political, financial and technical leaders of the global power sector to ensure that clean power is the most attractive option for new power generation for all countries. At the G7, members committed to achieving overwhelmingly decarbonised power systems in the 2030s. Wind generation will play an important role in delivering this in the UK, and internationally we are working closely with partners including the Global Wind Energy Council.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the President of COP26, how he plans to use the Presidency of COP26 as a global platform to help ensure that the humanitarian effects of climate change are considered when developing and financing responses to the covid-19 pandemic.

At COP26, adaptation and resilience will be a priority. We are calling on countries to agree and put in place delivery mechanisms for adaptation and loss and damage. As COP President Designate, I have engaged personally with over 50 countries. With donors, we have been clear that we must deliver for those that are at the front line of climate change and collectively honour the $100 billion commitment.

The UK Prime Minister launched an Adaptation Action Coalition (AAC) last month to mobilise action on adaptation and galvanize momentum ahead of COP26 and beyond and we want to encourage all parties to join. In partnership with the existing UNCAS Coalition, this will build on the Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience to transform political commitments into tangible action on the ground.

We aim to enable action to avert, minimise and address loss and damage through wider resilience building and a specific focus on preparedness and response to natural disasters. This includes: expanding early action financing, improving early warning systems and the capacity to act on the risks they identify, and increasing insurance and social protection coverage, including through the Risk Informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) and other disaster risk reduction initiatives such as InsuResilience.

We are additionally continuing to support the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR), which is an LDC-led, LDC-owned initiative to put in place the long term, locally responsive action that is needed to deliver a climate-resilient future.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what recent steps he has taken to engage with countries and communities most at risk of the effect of climate change in the run up to COP26.

At COP26, adaptation and resilience will be a priority. We are calling on countries to agree and put in place delivery mechanisms for adaptation and loss and damage. As COP President Designate, I have engaged personally with over 50 countries. With donors, we have been clear that we must deliver for those that are at the front line of climate change and collectively honour the $100 billion commitment.

The UK Prime Minister launched an Adaptation Action Coalition (AAC) last month to mobilise action on adaptation and galvanize momentum ahead of COP26 and beyond and we want to encourage all parties to join. In partnership with the existing UNCAS Coalition, this will build on the Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience to transform political commitments into tangible action on the ground.

We aim to enable action to avert, minimise and address loss and damage through wider resilience building and a specific focus on preparedness and response to natural disasters. This includes: expanding early action financing, improving early warning systems and the capacity to act on the risks they identify, and increasing insurance and social protection coverage, including through the Risk Informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) and other disaster risk reduction initiatives such as InsuResilience.

We are additionally continuing to support the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR), which is an LDC-led, LDC-owned initiative to put in place the long term, locally responsive action that is needed to deliver a climate-resilient future.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that communities at highest risk are prioritised for support with climate adaptation programmes during COP26.

At COP26, adaptation and resilience will be a priority. We are calling on countries to agree and put in place delivery mechanisms for adaptation and loss and damage. As COP President Designate, I have engaged personally with over 50 countries. With donors, we have been clear that we must deliver for those that are at the front line of climate change and collectively honour the $100 billion commitment.

The UK Prime Minister launched an Adaptation Action Coalition (AAC) last month to mobilise action on adaptation and galvanize momentum ahead of COP26 and beyond and we want to encourage all parties to join. In partnership with the existing UNCAS Coalition, this will build on the Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience to transform political commitments into tangible action on the ground.

We aim to enable action to avert, minimise and address loss and damage through wider resilience building and a specific focus on preparedness and response to natural disasters. This includes: expanding early action financing, improving early warning systems and the capacity to act on the risks they identify, and increasing insurance and social protection coverage, including through the Risk Informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) and other disaster risk reduction initiatives such as InsuResilience.

We are additionally continuing to support the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR), which is an LDC-led, LDC-owned initiative to put in place the long term, locally responsive action that is needed to deliver a climate-resilient future.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking as COP President to focus UK climate adaptation on flooding and coastal defences as part of the COP26 adaptation and resilience agenda.

In July 2020, the government published a Long-Term Policy Statement which sets out our ambition to make the UK more resilient to future flood and coastal erosion risk. The Policy Statement includes five policies and over 40 supporting actions which will accelerate progress to better protect and better prepare the country against flooding and coastal erosion.

The government is investing a record £5.2 billion to build 2,000 new flood defences over the next 6 years which will better protect 336,000 properties from flooding and coastal erosion. Long-term investment decisions should follow an adaptive approach which takes account of climate and demographic change over time to enable decision makers to identify the best combination of resilience actions and the right time to act and invest.

We are also investing an additional £200 million to further explore actions that will improve the resilience of communities at risk of flooding and coastal change.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the President of COP26, how many departmental staff will be attending COP26 in an official capacity with their expenses covered.

Numbers on departmental staff attending COP26 are to be determined in due course.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the McKinsey consultancy report on Civil Service Modernisation and Reform will be completed.

Mckinsey were contracted by the Cabinet Office to support the development of a programme of government reform, considering a range of evidence on past reforms in the UK, private sector and international comparators, and input from across government. This work, which runs until the end of September 2020, contributes to development of wider plans for Civil Service reform, further details of which we will set out in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department plans to publish the results of the McKinsey consultancy report on Civil Service Modernisation and Reform.

Mckinsey were contracted by the Cabinet Office to support the development of a programme of government reform, considering a range of evidence on past reforms in the UK, private sector and international comparators, and input from across government. This work, which runs until the end of September 2020, contributes to development of wider plans for Civil Service reform, further details of which we will set out in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information was assessed as part of the McKinsey consultancy report on Civil Service Modernisation and Reform.

Mckinsey were contracted by the Cabinet Office to support the development of a programme of government reform, considering a range of evidence on past reforms in the UK, private sector and international comparators, and input from across government. This work, which runs until the end of September 2020, contributes to development of wider plans for Civil Service reform, further details of which we will set out in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will amend the Government's guidance to the Electoral Commission to ensure the Commission's recommendations on the Boundary Review are based on the number of people in the total population rather than those only on the electoral register.

Boundary reviews have always been based on the number of registered electors. The Government considers that using the definitive registered electorate, and holding regular reviews, is the clearest and most effective method of keeping constituency sizes up to date.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what assessment she has made of trends in the level of prosecutions of offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in each of the last five years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has had considerable success in increasing prosecutions of modern slavery cases involving the exploitation of vulnerable people. In addition to the number of offences charged by way of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, CPS records identify the number of defendants prosecuted for offences related to modern slavery, including conspiracy to commit Modern Slavery Act offences, which is charged under s1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 . The number of defendants who have been prosecuted for modern slavery offences increased from 284 in 2017-18 to 322 in 2020-21, an increase of 13.4%. The increase has been achieved despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps he is taking to increase public understanding of the law during the covid-19 outbreak.

Public understanding of the law is even more essential during this unique time when individuals are facing unprecedented challenges. Public legal education is vital to help people to understand the law, their rights, and their responsibilities, and I am proud to work closely with the legal and third sector as part of my Public Legal Education Committee to support and promote this work.

The Attorney General’s Office has also recently supported Justice Week this year, delivered digitally at the start of March. It is a testament to the sector’s commitment to supporting the public in times of crisis that pro bono support and public legal education across the country has continued in spite of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what Departmental oversight is exercised over the decisions of the CPS Complex Casework Units.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Complex Casework Units (CCUs) undertake some of the most complex and serious casework handled by the CPS. A recent report published by Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCSPI) found that CCUs are staffed by highly dedicated, skilled and professional teams who deliver high quality casework, often in demanding circumstances.

CCUs are overseen through a structure of experienced legal managers including Unit Heads, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutors and Chief Crown Prosecutors. The Report identified evidence of effective and regular meetings and conversations between lawyers and managers about casework. They also identified evidence of national oversight with the referral of relevant cases being made to Headquarters for consideration.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the CPS has adequate resources to tackle hate crime on social media.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is committed to robustly prosecuting online hate crime cases, including offline offences with online elements. The CPS works closely with partners across Government under the hate crime action plan.

On 12 August 2019, the Prime Minister announced an investment of an additional £85 million for the CPS. The work carried out by the CPS is changing, and this new funding will provide the increased capacity to enable the CPS to respond effectively to challenging trends, such as an increase in online crime and the volume of digital evidence.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
17th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, whether the provisions in the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill will enable the UK to determine the circumstances in which lower courts will have regard to rulings of the European Court of Justice in relation to retained EU case law.

Section 26 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 provides a power for Ministers to make regulations to determine which Courts may depart from judgments handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Union before the end of the implementation period and in what circumstances. This will ensure UK courts are not inappropriately bound by retained EU case law after the UK has left the EU.

13th Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the average life expectancy in each region of England.

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

A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Question of 13 June is attached.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress he has made on relocating civil service jobs across the UK.

By the end of 2021, more than 2,000 Civil Service jobs had already been relocated from Greater London under the Places for Growth programme.

Places for Growth is contributing towards the Declaration on Government Reform and Levelling Up agenda by significantly increasing the geographic spread of Civil Servants across the UK, increasing opportunities for people from a wider range of places. As the Levelling Up White Paper set out, departments have committed to moving more than 15,000 Civil Service roles out of Greater London by 2025, and 22,000 by 2030.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to promote measures to ensure the reliability of public services in protecting them from the risk of hostile cyber threats.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 February to Question PQ 121977 and PQ 121979.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to promote ways to strengthen the UK’s cyber resilience.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 February to Question PQ 121977 and PQ 121979.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Wales Office to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Northern Ireland Office to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Ministry of Justice to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Ministry of Defence to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Home Office to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with HM Treasury to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Transport to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for International Trade to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Education to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking with the Office of the Attorney General to ensure supply chain resilience for that Department.

The resilience of our Supply Chains is a key priority for the Government. We have already put in place a raft of measures to deal with the extraordinary set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

These include:

  • increasing HGV testing capacity by 90% to help get new drivers into the sector quickly;

  • extending cabotage rights;

  • making available bootcamp places to train up to 5,000 HGV drivers, and

  • making available temporary visas for poultry workers and butchers.

In October, the Prime Minister appointed Sir Dave Lewis to advise HM Government on supply chains and to identify both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes. He has spoken with over 100 businesses from across 14 sectors since his appointment. In order that we can continue to monitor supply chain risks and coordinate work across government, we have also established a new Supply Chains Unit within the Cabinet Office.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Ministry of Justice.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Northern Ireland Office.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Treasury.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Department for Health and Social Care.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Department for Work and Pensions.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Department for Transport.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Department for International Trade.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Department for Education.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Attorney General’s Office.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Ministry of Defence.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero through procurement in the Home Office.

This year, the Government has put in place a new procurement policy which underlines the UK’s global leadership in tackling climate change.

Prospective suppliers bidding for contracts above £5million a year must now have committed to the government’s target of net zero by 2050 and have published a carbon reduction plan. Firms which fail to do so may be deselected from the procurement.

This policy supports the Government’s plan to build back greener, by ensuring that potential government suppliers publish plans to reduce carbon emissions across their operations in order to bid for major government contracts.

In addition, ‘Fighting Climate Change’ is one of the priority themes of the government’s Social Value Model, launched earlier this year. This enables departments to take environmental considerations, such as a reduction in carbon emissions, into account in the award of government contracts, where relevant.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that other Government departments use data to inform policy decisions.

The Government Analysis Function, led by the National Statistician, is developing the Government Analysis Functional Standard. This sets expectations of analysis as a collaborative activity, with analysts working in partnership with policy makers and wider professions to support well informed decision making and the development and delivery of policy.

Through its functions and professions, the Civil Service is improving its ability to advise ministers using data through a number of work streams including developing the Government Analysis Functional Standard and ensuring policy professionals use data at all stages of decision making.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that people who do not use online resources are able to access Government services easily.

Government has committed to ensuring that assistance is always available for those who need it. Departments are required by the Service Standard to provide support via alternative channels for their services, where it is required, and the Central Digital and Data Office assures this via a service assessment process.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the headcount of the Civil Service was in each of the last five years.

Headline Civil Service employment figures, on both a headcount and full-time equivalent basis, are published as part of Public Sector Employment Statistics by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) each quarter. The latest dataset, containing the Civil Service headcount time series back to 1999, is available from the ONS website at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/publicsectorpersonnel/datasets/publicsectoremploymentreferencetable

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what mechanisms are in place to ensure that non-departmental public bodies performance reporting arrangements are accurate.

The Cabinet Office does not capture non-departmental public body performance reporting centrally, this is the responsibility of the public body’s sponsoring department.

A non-departmental public body is required to submit to their sponsoring department, on an annual basis, an annual report and audited accounts prepared in accordance with the relevant statutes and guidelines. The annual report and accounts provide the sponsoring department with the financial and non-financial performance of the non-departmental public body. In addition, they will state if the non-departmental public body has met key performance indicators as set out in their business and corporate plans. The report and accounts are laid in Parliament and, where commercially possible, made available on the non-departmental public body’s website

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons individual honours were forfeited in each of the last five years.

The names of those who have had honours revoked are usually published in the London Gazette and can be found at: https://www.thegazette.co.uk. Any exceptions to this reflect broader duty of care considerations.

The reasoning behind individual forfeiture decisions is not published and we do not comment on individual cases. Honours are forfeited where there is clear evidence of action or inaction that is not in keeping with the values of the honours system, that could bring it into disrepute.

We have increased transparency in the forfeiture system, including making more information about the process available publicly, increasing engagement with complainants and appointing independent members to the Committee.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many individual honours were forfeited in each of the last five years.

The names of those who have had honours revoked are usually published in the London Gazette and can be found at: https://www.thegazette.co.uk. Any exceptions to this reflect broader duty of care considerations.

The reasoning behind individual forfeiture decisions is not published and we do not comment on individual cases. Honours are forfeited where there is clear evidence of action or inaction that is not in keeping with the values of the honours system, that could bring it into disrepute.

We have increased transparency in the forfeiture system, including making more information about the process available publicly, increasing engagement with complainants and appointing independent members to the Committee.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the implications of delaying municipal and local elections in May 2021.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community, including electoral suppliers, and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review. The House will be kept updated.

The Government has also engaged with the Parliamentary Parties Panel to ensure that views from political parties are taken on board.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making the London Mayoral and Greater London Authority elections a postal ballot only in response to the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Government is of the view that it would not be appropriate to impose an all-postal vote for the local and mayoral elections in England, and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales, in May 2021. All-postal voting increases fraud risks, and removes choice from voters who wish to cast their vote in person.

Postal voting on demand already allows any registered elector to vote by post.

The Government is working with the electoral administrators and Public Health England to identify and resolve challenges involved in delivering the May 2021 elections, including ensuring polling stations are safe and covid-secure places to vote. People will be able participate in the polls safely, and in a way of their choice, whether by post, proxy or in-person.

This work is outlined in my recent letter to Electoral Returning Officers, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-from-chloe-smith-mp-to-returning-officers.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to revoke the (a) Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 (as amended by the Health Protection Act 2008), (b) Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008 and (c) Public Health Act (Northern Ireland) 1967; and what legislative plans he has to ensure conformity in the tackling of pandemics.

I apologise for the delay in answering this question. The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 (as amended by the Health Protection Act 2008), (b) Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008 and (c) Public Health Act (Northern Ireland) 1967 enable the UK Government and devolved administrations to take a flexible approach according to the data in different parts of the UK. Public health is devolved and different underpinning legislation is required to enable interventions in different parts of the UK - even where those interventions may be similar. We will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations on the substance of our response.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that orchestrated campaigns and pressure groups are not able to (a) inundate and (b) influence the findings of government consultations.

Effective consultation exercises can contribute to better policy making, to improved delivery of public services and to Government accountability.

There is a risk that orchestrated campaigns or pressure groups could unduly influence policy making and departments ought to be aware of this when analysing consultation responses. The Cabinet Office is responsible for the Government Consultation Principles, which provide departments with guidance on conducting consultations. Analysing consultation responses is primarily a qualitative rather than a quantitative exercise, and departments will consider a range of factors in reaching policy decisions following a consultation exercise.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress he has made in negotiations with the EU.

Last week the UK and EU engaged in a full and constructive negotiating round, via videoconference. A Written Ministerial Statement (HCWS209) made on Tuesday 28 April 2020 provides full details.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will amend the Government's guidance to the Electoral Commission to ensure the Commission's recommendations on the 2018 Boundary Review are based on the number of people on the electoral register rather than in the total population.

Given the independent nature of the Boundary Commissions, the Government has not issued guidance to either the Electoral Commission or to the Boundary Commissions in respect of the conduct of boundary reviews.

Boundary reviews have always been based on the number of registered electors. The 2018 Boundary Review was conducted by the four independent Boundary Commissions in accordance with the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 which provides for boundary reviews and their recommendations to be based on the number of registered electors.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the murder rate in the Merseyside Police region.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what additional activities the Government envisage Members of Parliament will undertake as a result of the abolition of British Members of the European Parliament.

The United Kingdom has left the European Union. At the end of this year we will have recovered our economic and political independence. This means that there will be no alignment with EU law and no jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

We will have control of our own trade; we will control our own migration policy through an Australian style points-based system; our own laws and courts will be supreme within the UK; we will regain control of UK fishing waters; our farmers will be free from the bureaucratic CAP; and we will have the power to set our taxes. These matters will be debated and decided by the people’s representatives in Parliament and the devolved administrations.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he plans to take to enable MPs to scrutinise decisions made by the European (a) Parliament and (b) Commission.

The Government is committed to facilitating the scrutiny of EU decisions through the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee and the Lords EU Committee during the transition period.

In addition, section 13A of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (inserted by section 29 of the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020) provides that if the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee or the Lords EU Committee publishes a report which states that EU legislation, including Council Decisions, made during the transition period raises a matter of vital national interest, a Minister must make arrangements for a debate in the relevant House within 14 sitting days.

By the end of the year, we will be a fully independent and sovereign country: this means that there will be no alignment with EU law and no jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to bring forward proposals for a UK-wide boundary review of parliamentary constituencies.

The Conservative Government committed, in its 2019 Manifesto, to delivering updated and equal UK Parliamentary boundaries with the essential aim of making sure that every vote counts the same - a cornerstone of democracy.

In the written statement of 24 March, ‘Update: Strengthening Democracy’ (HCWS183), the Government set out its policy position in relation to the boundaries of UK Parliamentary constituencies. The statement noted that legislation currently provides that, on implementation of the 2018 Boundary Review recommendations, the number of constituencies in the UK shall be 600, and that the Government is instead minded to make provision for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650. This is a change in policy from the position previously legislated for under the Coalition Government. Since that policy was established in the Coalition Agreement, the United Kingdom has left the European Union. The UK Parliament will have a greater workload now we are taking back control, abolishing MEPs and regaining our political and economic independence. It is therefore sensible for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650.

The written statement explained that, when Parliamentary time allows, the Government is minded to bring forward primary legislation to set the framework for future boundary reviews, including the next review due to begin in early 2021.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the basis was for there being 650 parliamentary constituencies.

The Conservative Government committed, in its 2019 Manifesto, to delivering updated and equal UK Parliamentary boundaries with the essential aim of making sure that every vote counts the same - a cornerstone of democracy.

In the written statement of 24 March, ‘Update: Strengthening Democracy’ (HCWS183), the Government set out its policy position in relation to the boundaries of UK Parliamentary constituencies. The statement noted that legislation currently provides that, on implementation of the 2018 Boundary Review recommendations, the number of constituencies in the UK shall be 600, and that the Government is instead minded to make provision for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650. This is a change in policy from the position previously legislated for under the Coalition Government. Since that policy was established in the Coalition Agreement, the United Kingdom has left the European Union. The UK Parliament will have a greater workload now we are taking back control, abolishing MEPs and regaining our political and economic independence. It is therefore sensible for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650.

The written statement explained that, when Parliamentary time allows, the Government is minded to bring forward primary legislation to set the framework for future boundary reviews, including the next review due to begin in early 2021.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to amend the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

The Queen’s Speech set out that “work will be taken forward to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.” The Act led to parliamentary paralysis at a critical time for the country and repealing the Act will make sure this doesn’t happen again. Further announcements will be made in due course.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to ensure a Sikh ethnic tick box in the forthcoming Census Order.

The draft Census (England and Wales) Order 2020 was laid in Parliament on 2 March. It sets the date of the Census and the topics on which census questions are to be asked.

Once made, the Order will be followed by Census Regulations for England and for Wales. The Regulations for England will be laid before Parliament. The Regulations for Wales are the responsibility of Welsh Ministers and will be laid before the National Assembly for Wales. The Regulations to be made by the Welsh Ministers will contain the final wording of the questions on Welsh language skills and ethnic group to be asked in the Wales census.

As part of the Census Data Collection and Transformation Programme, the ONS is exploring how to produce census-type statistics more frequently than the decennial census, using other sources of data. The ONS will make a recommendation to the Government in 2023 on the future of the census.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a requirement for voter identification at polling stations.

The Government will bring forward legislation requiring electors to show an approved form of photographic ID before casting their vote in a polling station in a UK parliamentary election in Great Britain and local election in England. Any voter who does not have an approved form of ID will be able to apply, free of charge, for a local electoral identity document.

These measures are part of a wider initiative to improve trust in the integrity of the electoral process, maintain public confidence and support equality and inclusivity in our electoral system.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the level of personal debt in the agricultural industry.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the development of the North Sea gas field, Jackdaw, with his Department’s Energy Security Strategy.

The North Sea Transition Authority plans to launch another licensing round in the autumn, taking into account the forthcoming climate compatibility checkpoint and the need for energy security.

Development proposals for oil fields under existing licences are a matter for the regulators - the North Sea Transition Authority and the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED). OPRED’s decision for Jackdaw will be made in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made on the £400m partnership between his Department and the Breakthrough Energy Catalyst that was announced in October 2021.

Since my rt. hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced the partnership with Breakthrough Energy Catalyst (BEC), progress has been made in formalising the relationship and driving value by sharing information on funding opportunities and signposting project opportunities. The Government has launched a number of funding and market development programmes in the four technology areas covered by the partnership. BEC has launched a UK request for proposals for emerging climate technology projects and is now undertaking its first round of evaluations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the upcoming Contract for Difference Auction Round 4 on energy bills.

The Government is committed to minimising energy costs for businesses and consumers. Contracts for Difference offer value-for-money to consumers and continue to deliver low prices. For example, between the first allocation round in 2015 and the last round in 2019, the price per unit (MWh) of offshore wind fell by around 65%.

Competitive auctions are proven to be effective in helping to keep costs down and this year’s auction has been designed to keep the allocation process highly competitive. The impact will be dependent on the outcome of the competitive auction process; it is expected that this year’s round will have a small impact on household bills.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Department is taking to increase the development of renewable energy.

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme is the Government’s flagship scheme for supporting renewable generation in Great Britain. The latest round is the largest yet, and aims to secure more capacity than all previous rounds combined, supporting technologies including offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, tidal and floating offshore wind. In February, the Government announced that the next CfD round will be held in March 2023, and future rounds will run annually.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much and what proportion of funds obtained fraudulently through covid-19 loan schemes have since been (a) returned to or (b) reclaimed by his Department.

As of 30th April 2022 a total of £4,022,685 of funds, obtained fraudulently through covid-19 loan schemes, has been recovered by the National Investigation Service. Of the funds recovered, £3,010,831 was returned to lenders and the remaining £1,011,854 has been or is in the process of being returned to the Government.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the number of companies that claimed loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme without ever publishing company results before the pandemic.

The Department does not hold this data. In order to be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, a business had to have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the pandemic.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people have been disqualified as company directors because of misuse of covid-19 loans scheme.

The Insolvency Service has secured 159 disqualifications of company directors as a result of COVID-19 financial support scheme abuse. This includes abuse of the Bounce Back Loan (BBL) Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

The Insolvency Service publishes official statistics of its enforcement outcomes, which provide a breakdown of figures in relation to COVID-19 financial support scheme abuse. This is available here.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department plans to take ensure to that people who reside in non-family households are not penalised if they move to other properties within the period when the energy bills rebate is recharged.

The Government understands there will be cases where changes in people’s circumstances mean they may not directly be the recipient of the reduction, but still see increases in future bills, or vice versa.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme, as announced by my rt. hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3 February, is currently the subject of a government consultation issued on 11 April.

The implementation of the policy will be reviewed following the conclusion of the consultation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his his Department has taken to support scientific research consortia as a future funding model for domestic R&D.

Support for research consortia is a well-established aspect of the UK Government’s approach to funding R&D. Between 2015 – 2021, UK Research and Innovation provided over 16,500 research and innovation grants, over 65% of which were collaborative awards.[1] [2]

SR21 sets out the government’s plan to cement the UK as a global science and technology superpower, with public spending on R&D rising to £20bn in 2024/25, an increase of around a quarter in real terms over the SR period.

As the custodian of the R&D system, BEIS has been allocated £39.8bn for R&D over the SR period, the largest ever budget committed to BEIS for R&D. This investment will continue to support both individual researchers and groups of researchers working in consortia to solve the biggest challenges facing society.

It will also encourage private sector investments and give the market players the confidence that they are backing national priorities – so that the public and private sector can come together to deliver breakthroughs, like the Covid-19 vaccine, that can transform our lives and economic prospects.

[1] https://www.ukri.org/publications/competitive-funding-decisions-data-2015-to-2020/

[2] https://www.ukri.org/publications/competitive-funding-decisions-data-2020-to-2021

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to develop the UK R&D Roadmap into the forthcoming R&D Plan.

Published in July 2020, the R&D Roadmap set out the Government’s vision and ambition for the next chapter for UK research and development.

BEIS is focusing on implementation and delivery of the Roadmap and of subsequent strategies, such as the Innovation and People and Culture Strategies. The objectives of the Roadmap are also being driven through the independently led Reviews of Research Bureaucracy and the Research, Development and Innovation Organisational Landscape.

The Department recently received its largest ever R&D budget at SR21 – £39.8bn over the SR period. We have now set out how funding will be allocated across our partner organisations over the next three years.

We have also announced the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), for which the Government has committed £800 million to by 2025/2026 to fund high-risk high-reward research.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment has been made of how the model of collaborative funding for covid-19 research at pace can be used to fund other research areas.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Hon. Member for Strangford on 15 February 2022 to Question UIN 119577.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps his Department has taken to support research into cancer immune therapies.

Medical Research Council, as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funds research relevant to cancer immune therapies as part of its wider cancer portfolio. Development of cancer vaccines and immune therapies, including immune-oncology work into Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T) approaches and immunotherapies, is funded through MRC’s research boards, panels and Unit and Institutes.

For example, research into cancer immune therapies have been supported through MRC’s Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme such as research taking place at Great Ormond Street Hospital which is aiming to use novel base editing techniques to develop new CAR-T approaches to treat Leukemia in Children. In addition, research at Queen Mary, University of London is looking at Tumour-targeting oncolytic viruses, a new class of therapeutic that has shown immense promise in clinical trials for a number of different cancers and provide a promising platform for development of curative therapies for pancreatic cancer.

MRC has also supported research through its Units including research at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit which is focusing on new drugs including immune-oncology drugs, and artificial intelligence technologies to improve cancer treatments. There is also research at the MRC Toxicology Unit looking at using new technologies to better understand the immune system and to investigate how and why toxicity develops. This knowledge will help to design interventions that make immune therapies safer and more widely available.

MRC always welcomes high quality applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are judged in open competition with other demands on funding. Awards are made according to their scientific quality and importance to human health.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress has been made on the ratification of the UK’s association with the EU’s Horizon Europe programme.

The UK stands ready to formalise our association to EU programmes at the earliest opportunity. The UK raised the ongoing delays at the EU-UK Specialised Committee on Participation in Union Programmes in December. In this meeting the EU confirmed that they were unwilling to move on UK association due to broader political issues. The minutes from this meeting can be found on gov.uk. We continue to push the EU to formalise our association to Horizon Europe as soon as possible.

We recognise that the EU’s delays to the UK’s association have led to uncertainty for researchers, businesses and innovators based in the UK. In order to provide reassurance, the Government guaranteed funding for the first wave of eligible successful applicants to Horizon Europe. On 15 March, the Government announced an extension of the guarantee to a second wave of eligible, successful applicants to ensure that important international collaborations can continue and to provide reassurance for future collaborations.

This guarantee protects researchers whether we associate to Horizon Europe, or not. The Government’s position remains to associate and we will continue to do everything we can, but the UK cannot wait indefinitely. If the UK is unable to associate to Horizon Europe soon, and in time to make full use of the opportunities it offers, we are committed to introducing a comprehensive alternative programme of international science, research and innovation collaborations. These will focus on both immediate stability for the sector, with short-term mitigations including the guarantee of funding for successful Horizon applicants, and a bold and ambitious longer-term offer that delivers many of the benefits of Horizon association, and additional benefits, through wider global participation, and even stronger industry and SME engagement.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing voluntary climate and nature reporting frameworks for small businesses.

To support the UK’s transition to net zero, the Government considers it important to ensure that companies with a material economic or environmental impact or exposure assess, disclose and ultimately take actions against climate-related risks and opportunities. In light of this, from 6 April 2022, over 1,300 of the largest UK-registered companies and financial institutions will have to disclose climate-related financial information on a mandatory basis – in line with recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures.

The Government’s longer-term ambition is for this to lead to the development of best practice, to support smaller companies to disclose should they wish to.

The Government continues to encourage small businesses to join the Race to Zero and make a net zero commitment, with over 2,800 doing so to date.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing conditions so that retrofitting the existing building stock contributes to the Department’s levelling up agenda.

The Government is committing a further £3.9 billion for retrofitting buildings with energy-efficiency measures over the next three years. This takes total commitment to decarbonising buildings to £6.6 billion in this Parliament. In the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Government sets out how decarbonising buildings can support growth and levelling up. This work is predicted to support 175,000 green skilled jobs by 2030 and 240,000 by 2035. This will result in £6 billion additional gross value added by 2030, with a focus on the areas that most need investment.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of promoting initiatives to increase opportunities for tidal power projects in the UK.

The Government announced in November that the fourth Contracts for Difference allocation round will feature a £20m annual ringfenced budget for tidal stream energy. This builds on a long and continuing history of government support for the tidal power sector and opens up possibilities for Britain’s marine energy sector to play a key role in strengthening energy security and reducing our dependency on fossil fuels.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what initiatives his Department is promoting to encourage investment in green (a) industries, (b) growth and (c) jobs.

Both public and private investment will be crucial to delivering Net Zero. The policies and spending set out in the Net Zero Strategy mean that since the Ten Point Plan, the Government has mobilised £26 billion of government capital investment for the green industrial revolution. Along with regulations, this will support up to 440,000 jobs by 2030, and leverage up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030. For example, the UK Infrastructure Bank will provide targeted support to UK infrastructure projects including in support of net zero, with £12 billion of equity and debt capital and an ability to deploy £10 billion of government guarantees.

The Offshore Wind sector provides a good example of how the government is leveraging private investment, delivering growth and jobs. Announced as part of the Ten Point Plan, the UK’s offshore wind manufacturing industry has already seen almost £1.5 billion of investment unlocked by the £160 million Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support initiative, which aims to further develop the UK’s offshore wind capabilities. This could support up to 3,600 jobs supported across the Humber region.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the cost of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The Government’s landmark Net Zero Strategy, published on October 19, will drive forward our ambition to reach net zero and level up the UK by supporting up to 190,000 jobs in the middle of the 2020s and up to 440,000 jobs in 2030. Affordability is a key pillar of the Government's Net Zero Strategy, and we are working with businesses to deliver deep cost reductions in low-carbon technologies.  For example, we are delivering a Government programme of innovation to enable decarbonisation backed by funding of at least £1.5bn during next spending review period, which will help reduce energy costs for consumers.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he was first made aware of the concerns about the pricing of wholesale gas.

BEIS and Ofgem monitor a range of wholesale market metrics and frequently engage with both domestic and international stakeholders to share market information.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the level of private finance which will be unlocked as a result of the net zero strategy.

The Net Zero Strategy outlines measures to transition to a green and sustainable future, helping businesses and consumers to move to clean power, supporting hundreds of thousands of well-paid jobs and leveraging up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030.

The UK is a world leading financial hub, with access to global capital pools, outstanding professional services, and a robust legal and regulatory framework. As such, the UK financial services industry is poised to enable private capital to flow into our net zero investment needs. For example, targeted public intervention via the British Business Bank (BBB), UK Export Finance and the UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) will pull through investment from the private sector.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the reasons for the increase in wholesale gas supplies.

As set out by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 20 September, higher wholesale gas prices have been seen internationally in 2021. A number of factors have contributed to this increase. This increase in global gas prices is reflected in the British wholesale gas market.

There has been an increase in global gas demand as a result of economies rebounding following the removal of measures put in place to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Combined with low levels of European gas in storage following a cold winter in Europe, this has led to a much tighter gas market with less spare capacity. In addition, high demand in Asia for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), which is transported globally by ship, and weather events in the US, have meant less LNG than expected has reached Europe.

Gas production has also been reduced, with several planned and unplanned outages, such as in Norway and the US. Other factors include essential maintenance, including projects rescheduled from 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people in paid employment as at 15 September 2021.

For the three months to July 2021, the number of employees was estimated at 27.9 million, with 32.4 million in employment (including self-employed).

Early estimates from HMRC real time payroll data for August showed that the number of payroll employees was 29.1 million, returning to pre-pandemic level.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people in employment who are members of a recognised trade union.

The Trade Union Membership 2020 Statistical Bulletin, published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 27th May 2021, reports that the number of employees in the UK who are members of a recognised trade union is 6.6 million.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what mechanisms are in place to audit information provided to his Department by (a) regulatory bodies and (b) non-departmental public bodies.

The relationship between an Arm’s-Length Body (ALB) and the Department should be established through a Framework Document. Managing Public Money sets out that:

“3.8.2 The framework document (or equivalent) agreed between an ALB and its sponsor always provides for the sponsor department to exercise meaningful oversight of the ALB’s strategy and performance, pay arrangements and/or major financial transactions, e.g. by monthly returns, standard delegations and exception reporting. The sponsor department’s accounts consolidate those of its ALBs so its accounting officer must be satisfied that the consolidated accounts are accurate and not misleading.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/managing-public-money.

A non-departmental public body is required to submit to their sponsoring department, on an annual basis, an annual report and audited accounts prepared in accordance with the relevant statutes and guidelines. The annual report and accounts provide the sponsoring department with the financial and non-financial performance of the non-departmental public body. In addition, they will state if the non-departmental public body has met key performance indicators as set out in their business and corporate plans. The report and accounts are laid in Parliament and, where commercially possible, made available on the non-departmental public body’s website.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of setting a target for onshore wind ahead of COP26.

Renewable technologies will make a critical contribution to meeting our 2050 net zero commitment, alongside firm low carbon power such as nuclear and gas or biomass generation with carbon capture, usage and storage, and a significant increase in flexibility.

As outlined in the recent Energy White Paper, there is no single optimal mix of technologies to decarbonise electricity generation. Targets can be useful in giving certainty to sectors with long investment horizons, however we do not believe that government should prescribe the proportion of generation that will come from all specific technologies; rather the role of government will be to enable the market to deliver the levels of deployment required whilst minimising emissions at a low overall system cost.

Whilst the Government has not set specific 2030 targets for onshore wind, we recognise that achieving our 2050 net zero target will require increased deployment across a range of renewable technologies, including sustained growth of onshore wind. This is why we announced on 2 March 2020 that onshore wind and other established renewable technologies such as solar PV will be able to compete in the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) allocation round. The round will open in December 2021 and aim to deliver up to double the renewable capacity of last year’s successful round.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, (a) how many and (b) which countries are being assisted by the UK to procure covid-19 vaccines.

The UK is proud to have joined COVAX, an international initiative to support the discovery, manufacture, and fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the world.

COVAX is an international alliance co-led by the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and World Health Organization (WHO), with participation from over 180 countries.

The UK is one of the largest bilateral donors to the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC), which will give lower and middle-income countries equitable access to vaccines that are developed. The UK has committed £548 million to the COVAX AMC.

COVAX has so far shipped over 29 million COVID-19 vaccines to 46 countries.

Full details of UK’s GAVI commitments can be found here at https://www.gavi.org/investing-gavi/funding/donor-profiles/united-kingdom.

Full details of COVAX’s rollout can be found here at https://www.gavi.org/covax-vaccine-roll-out.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on post offices of the decision to award the commercial contract for accepting welfare payments to other parts of the financial sector.

The contract for the Post Office card account or its successor scheme is a commercial matter for the Department for Work and Pensions.

Post Office Ltd. is committed to remaining the main channel to ensure individuals and businesses can conveniently access and deposit cash. The Post Office is working with HM Treasury, financial services regulators and the financial industry to make sure that the most vulnerable who still rely on cash, can continue to access basic banking services conveniently and for free.

The sustainability and future success of the post office network remain of the utmost importance to the Government. The £227 million funding the Government has committed through the 2019 Spending Review provides Post Office Ltd with funds to support post offices across the UK and invest in the future of the business.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on employers insisting that employees receive a covid-19 vaccination to (a) remain employed and (b) receive employment.

Scientists are united that the vaccine offers the best form of protection against the virus but it is not compulsory - the UK operates a system of informed consent for vaccinations. Demand has been extremely high with more than 13 million people having been vaccinated by 10 February.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many departmental staff will be attending COP26 in an official capacity with their expenses covered.

The number of departmental staff that will be attending COP26 in an official capacity has yet to be confirmed.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses were declared insolvent in each of the last twelve months for which figures are available.

The Insolvency Service publishes insolvency statistics each month on GOV.UK:

Registered Company insolvencies in the UK

1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020

England and Wales

Scotland

Northern Ireland

Jan 20

1,514

72

22

Feb 20

1,348

85

33

Mar 20

1,234

76

30

Apr 20

1,201

45

3

May 20

946

34

5

Jun 20

740

46

9

Jul 20

966

52

10

Aug 20

789

43

4

Sep 20

927

43

11

Oct 20

862

44

8

Nov 20

891

46

8

Dec 20

1228

57

9

The statistics for individual months have not been adjusted to account for seasonality in the data. The Insolvency Service separately publishes quarterly statistics that present seasonally-adjusted data and rates of insolvency per 10,000 active companies that allow for a like-for-like comparison over time. These statistics can also be found on GOV.UK.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what UK mechanism will replace the EU Enforcement Database on 1 January 2021.

From 1st January 2021 rights holders will be able to request customs intervention in the UK via the new Application for Action form on the HMRC portal. Customs authorities in the UK will also be able to access information about IP rights in force in the UK via the existing online services provided by the UK IPO.

UK businesses who have IP rights in the EU will continue to be able to use the IP Enforcement Portal to assist in the protection of those rights after 1st January 2021.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what mechanism will replace the Rapid Alert System for dangerous goods on 1 January 2021.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) launched the UK’s own Product Safety Database in November 2019. It allows national and local authorities to notify unsafe products and to access and exchange data securely and effectively to ensure swift and appropriate action can be taken to protect consumers. In addition, OPSS publishes alerts on Gov.uk about unsafe consumer products.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the veracity of the reported £670,000 of expenditure on public relations consultants by the Vaccine Task Force.

Specialist communications support was contracted by the Vaccines Taskforce for a time-limited period, in line with existing public sector recruitment practices and frameworks.

Details of commercial arrangements with all firms and contract labour used by the Vaccines Taskforce will be published in line with the usual transparency arrangements.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to establish a banking agency to finance green investments as part of the Industrial Strategy.

Within the decade, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister is determined for the UK to be at the forefront of the green industrial revolution as we accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050. That is why, this year alone, the government has set out billions in support for our low-carbon economy. As set out in the 2019 Green Finance Strategy, this needs to be combined with a focus on mobilising and accelerating flows of private finance into key clean growth sectors to provide good value for taxpayers, such as through providing long-term certainty and using public funds to leverage private capital.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the outcomes were of the bilateral discussions between UK, German and Dutch Government officials on the Shell proposal to decommission Brent rigs Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta; and whether a record of those meetings will be published.

The meetings with officials from Germany and the Netherlands took place earlier in the year, following the OSPAR Special Consultative Meeting. The meetings were constructive and focussed on possible ways forward to address their concerns. As these meetings were informal, there was no intention to record or publish the discussions.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what response his Department has made to the expert reports commissioned by the (a) German Government and (b) Dutch government on the Shell proposal to decommission Brent rigs Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta tabled at the Special Consultative Meeting of the OSPAR Commission in October 2019; and when he plans to publish that response.

The content of the reports provided by Germany and the Netherlands were supplementary to their objections to the derogation consultation for Brent and were therefore part of the discussion at the OSPAR Special consultative meeting in October 2019. A record of that meeting was published by the chair of OSPAR in early November 2019.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to make a formal decision on the decommissioning plans for (a) Brent Alpha, (b) the other Brent platforms and (c) any other similar applications which the UK government may have received seeking derogation from resolution OSPAR 98/3.

In regard to the proposal to leave in-situ the footings of the Brent Alpha steel jacket, we expect to be in a position to make a decision within the next few months.

The decision on the Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta concrete gravity-based installations is currently being considered, and we are keeping the OSPAR Contracting Parties informed of our progress. We have no detailed timetable and a formal decision is expected to be made in due course.

We are currently considering two Decommissioning programmes where a derogation is likely to be sought.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the proposed permit conditions relating to the Shell application to decommission Brent oil rigs Bravo, Charlie and Delta in respect of technology development for the management of the structures (a) will consider only in-situ remediation as an option or (b) there will be requirement to invest in technology development for the removal of those contents to shore.

Conditions to be included in the derogation permit for Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta concrete gravity-based installations are being considered alongside the final decision. We expect to include conditions that would require ongoing analysis and development of technology, consideration of how to remediate the contents of the structure in situ and a management plan for any infrastructure left in situ in perpetuity, which will involve periodic monitoring as well as environmental surveys.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to make a decision on the (a) removal of the Brent concrete gravity-based installations and (b) derogation for leaving the footings of the Brent Alpha steel jacket east of Shetland.

The decision on the Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta concrete gravity-based installations is currently being considered, and we are keeping the OSPAR Contracting Parties informed of our progress. We have no detailed timetable and a formal decision is expected to be made in due course.

In regard to the decision to leave in-situ the footings of the Brent Alpha steel jacket, we expect to be in a position to make a decision within the next 2 months.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it remains the Government's policy to comply with the (a) London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972 and (b) 1996 London Protocol to that Convention following the decision to leave in-situ the (i) steel jackets and (ii) concrete bases underneath decommissioned (A) Bravo, (B) Charlie and (C) Delta east of Shetland Brent oilfield platforms.

Any approval of the derogation permit to leave in-situ the footings of the Brent Alpha steel jacket and the concrete gravity based installations Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta will be consistent with all our International obligations.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending eligibility for the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant Fund to include all businesses in that sector, irrespective of the premises from which those businesses operate.

Businesses are eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund if they are based in England with a property that has a rateable value of up to £51,000 and is wholly or mainly being used for the purposes of retail, hospitality and/or leisure. The Government is also providing an unprecedented package of wider support available to businesses in these sectors.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many social enterprises have received a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan to date.

The British Business Bank does not provide a breakdown on the issuance of loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to social enterprises. As of 29 April, in total over £4.1 billion worth of loans have been issued under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to over 25,262 businesses.

We are working with the British Business Bank, HM Treasury and the lenders on providing transparent and regular data publication going forward.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the covid-19 pandemic, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of taking additional steps to support businesses that employ vulnerable people.

The Government has introduced important social distancing measures for all types of businesses to consider in order to minimise the risk of transmission in the workplace. The Government has been clear that it is vital that all employers follow this guidance, which is clinically led and based on expert advice.

The Government has stated that vulnerable people who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) need to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. Additionally, the government guidance sets out that members of staff who are vulnerable or extremely vulnerable, as well as individuals whom they live with, should be supported by their employers as they follow the required social distancing and shielding measures.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a national office for carbon removal.

There is no doubt that climate change is one of the greatest global challenges we face, and that action is urgently needed in the UK and across the world. The UK already has a world-leading framework for emissions reduction.

The Climate Change Act 2008 was the first of its kind in the world and made the UK the first country to introduce a legally binding, long-term emissions reduction target. The Act introduced our innovative framework of carbon budgets to ensure continued progress towards that target, capping emissions in successive five-year blocks. It also established the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) which independently provides expert advice to the Government on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

In June 2019, the UK became the first major economy to legislate for net zero - a 100% emissions reduction target by 2050 (relative to 1990 levels). The Prime Minister chairs a new Cabinet Committee on Climate Change to oversee this effort and drive forward action across the whole of government.

Through this strong legal framework and ambitious policy action, we have shown that cutting emissions and growing the economy can go hand-in-hand – reducing our emissions by over 40% since 1990 while growing the economy by three quarters. Our carbon budgeting, supported by independent expertise from the CCC, is widely accepted as global best-practice and provides the right framework for the UK to deliver our commitment to net zero.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his timetable is for deciding whether to give Shell permission for its proposed plans for the (a) steel jackets and (b) concrete bases underneath decommissioned Brent oilfield platforms (i) Bravo, (ii) Charlie and (iii) Delta east of Shetland.

As part of the Brent decommissioning proposal, Shell propose to leave in-situ the footings of the Brent Alpha steel jacket and the concrete gravity based installations Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta.

A formal decision is expected to be made in due course.

Any approval of the derogation permit to leave in-situ the footings of the Brent Alpha steel jacket and the concrete gravity based installations Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta will include permit conditions to continue to develop technology for the management of the structures (including in-situ remediation for the contents of the structures). Shell and the Brent field licensees will remain responsible and liable in perpetuity for any structures left in-situ.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what Environmental Impact Assessment his Department has made of Shell's proposed plans for the (a) steel jackets and (b) concrete bases underneath decommissioned Brent oilfield platforms (i) Bravo, (ii) Charlie and (iii) Delta east of Shetland.

BEIS officials at the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) who are responsible for ensuring that all decommissioning in the UK Continental Shelf is carried out in line with current UK regulations and international obligations have considered the Brent decommissioning proposals and reviewed the associated environmental impact assessment including supporting technical documents. The review also took account of the technical, safety, societal and economic aspects and determined that the environmental impact assessment presented by Shell demonstrates that the decommissioning proposals would not have a significant adverse effect on human health, the environment or other users of the sea, and that leaving the footings of the Brent Alpha steel jacket and the concrete gravity based installations Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta including the cell contents in-situ is the best management solution.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on Shell's proposed plans for the (a) steel jackets and (b) concrete bases underneath decommissioned Brent oilfield platforms (i) Bravo, (ii) Charlie and (iii) Delta east of Shetland.

Officials from Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) have met with the OSPAR Contracting Parties to discuss issues around the Brent decommissioning derogation application over the last 6 months.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) estimate and (b) assessment his department has made of the (i) amount and (ii) composition of materials in the (A) steel jackets and (B) concrete bases underneath decommissioned Brent oilfield platforms (1) Bravo, (2) Charlie and (3) Delta east of Shetland.

The Brent decommissioning proposal conservatively estimates that the cells contained within the concrete gravity based installation contain approximately 640,000 cubic metres (m3) of hydrocarbon contaminated seawater and 40,000 m3 of hydrocarbon contaminated sediments with a total estimated hydrocarbon load of approximately 16,000 tonnes. BEIS officials have reviewed the associated environmental impact assessment including supporting technical documents and have determined that the environmental impact assessment presented by Shell demonstrates that the decommissioning proposals would not have a significant adverse effect on human health, the environment or other users of the sea, and that leaving the cell contents in-situ is the best management solution. The Brent Alpha steel jacket has no materials remaining within it.

Any approval of the derogation permit to leave in-situ the footings of the Brent Alpha steel jacket and the concrete gravity based installations Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta will include permit conditions to continue to develop technology for the management of the structures (including in-situ remediation for the contents of the structures). Shell and the Brent field licensees will remain responsible and liable in perpetuity for any structures left in-situ.

In addition, drill cuttings piles are present on the seabed at all of the Brent installations and on top of cells of the concrete gravity based installations and BEIS officials have determined that the best management option is to leave the cuttings piles to degrade in-situ.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department made of the adequacy of funding for decommissioning of redundant offshore oil drilling platform bases in line with the Energy Act 2008.

BEIS officials in the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) continually consider the adequacy of companies to fund decommissioning and where any risk is identified my officials undertake work to mitigate these risks and where necessary have taken security in the form of letters of credit and entered into Decommissioning security agreements with companies.

Liability for decommissioning is joint and several and all companies who have had a beneficial interest in a licence both past and present are liable.

BEIS officials in OPRED also have a detailed understanding of the Decommissioning security that is in place in the form of commercial Decommissioning security agreements for all fields in the UKCS.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to help ensure there are adequate funding arrangements for the decommissioning of redundant offshore oil drilling platform bases constructed before the introduction of the Energy Act 2008.

BEIS officials in the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) continually consider the adequacy of companies to fund decommissioning and where any risk is identified my officials undertake work to mitigate these risks and where necessary have taken security in the form of letters of credit and entered into Decommissioning security agreements with companies.

Liability for decommissioning is joint and several and all companies who have had a beneficial interest in a licence both past and present are liable.

BEIS officials in OPRED also have a detailed understanding of the Decommissioning security that is in place in the form of commercial Decommissioning security agreements for all fields in the UKCS.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it is the Government's policy that construction and retail works are not essential workers for the purposes of the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to supporting people’s jobs and incomes, and we are working with businesses and unions to achieve this.

Retail workers fall within two distinct categories, those who work in non-essential retail such as clothing and electronic stores, and those who work in essential retail such as food, fuel, pharmacy, and post offices. On Monday 23rd March, the Prime Minister announced further measures to reduce social contact and expanded the list of business closures to include non-essential retail. Retail workers who work in the sale of food are considered key workers.

Construction workers play a crucial role in supporting our public services, maintaining the nation’s infrastructure, and providing safe, decent homes for people to live in. Where construction sector workers cannot work from home, they should still go to work unless they are vulnerable.

However, the Government is clear that construction activity should only continue where it can take place in line with the guidance provided by Public Health England. Through the Construction Leadership Council, the construction industry has issued Site Operating Procedures to set out how this can be done.

The Government has published a list of critical sectors which includes those deemed to be key workers, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure retailers do not unnecessarily raise prices of (a) hand sanitiser, (b) hand soap, (c) disposable masks, (d) antibacterial wipes and (e) other anti-bacterial products.

On 5 March, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a public statement to reassure UK businesses and consumers that it is monitoring retail practices during the Coronavirus outbreak. The CMA will take direct enforcement action, or advise the Government to take additional measures, if required.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many exploratory deep sea mining licences the Government has issued.

In 2012 and 2013, the Government sponsored two 15-year exploration contracts for UK Seabed Resources Ltd, a subsidiary of the US corporation Lockheed Martin.

The Government is developing the International Seabed Authority’s deep sea mining code, so future mining is conducted in a safe and environmentally sensitive way.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for which oceans have exploratory deep sea mining licences been issued.

To date, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has issued 29 exploration contracts to entities from 20 countries. The contractors include state-owned enterprises, as well as commercial organisations with a state sponsor.

The two UK exploration licence areas issued by the ISA are in the Clarion-Clipperton fracture zone in the Pacific Ocean.

The Government is developing the ISA’s deep sea mining code, so future mining is conducted in a safe and environmentally sensitive way.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department will match the £2,860 in funding per household in social housing to improve energy efficiency for people on low-incomes who own their own homes.

Improving home energy efficiency is the most sustainable way to tackle fuel poverty and an important step towards achieving Net Zero. The Energy Company Obligation scheme is currently set at £640 million per year and provides support to upgrade the homes of low income and vulnerable families.

In addition to this existing energy efficiency support, the Conservative Manifesto made new spending commitments for social housing and for Home Upgrade Grants. Further details on these policies will be announced in due course.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of people over the age of 60 who are unable to access online services.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Ofcom's Media Literacy Tracker Computer-assisted telephone Interviewing survey found that of the 3,143 respondents, 26% of the 75+ did not have internet access at home and 8% of those 65-74 also did not have access.

It is research like this that is behind the government's focus on building a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone. DCMS is responsible for coordinating HMG digital inclusion policy, and aims to ensure that as many people as possible, no matter their age, have internet access and a base level of digital skills.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to take steps to reform public service broadcasting.

The Government is determined to ensure that our public service broadcasters (PSBs) can maintain their position as the beating heart of the UK’s hugely successful creative economy.

On 28 April 2022 the government published its broadcasting White Paper – Up Next – which sets out our vision for the sector. Rapid changes in technology, viewing habits and the entrance of global players have introduced new challenges for British broadcasters. Against that backdrop of rapid change, we need to take action to support British broadcasters in meeting the most pressing of those challenges, to protect our mixed ecology, and ensure our PSBs remain at the heart of our plans.

The White Paper details how we will reform decades-old broadcasting laws to boost our PSBs, including by delivering a new public service remit for television and making sure public service content is always carried and easy to find for UK audiences on connected devices and major online platforms. This will support the sustainability of the PSB system, and ensure PSBs continue to provide audiences across the UK with universally available, high quality programming.

We will take forward these measures via a Media Bill when parliamentary time allows.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to (a) reform the Information Commissioner’s Office and (b) create new data protection standards.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales announced in the Queen’s Speech that a data reform bill will be introduced in this parliamentary session.

DCMS consulted on a range of proposals on how to improve the UK’s data protection framework including reforms to the Information Commissioner’s Office. The consultation response will set out further details and will be published shortly.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of forthcoming salary rises at the BBC on the wider television industry.

As the BBC is independent from the government it is responsible for deciding the amount it pays staff, and for demonstrating to the public that it is delivering value for money.

The creative industries in the UK are thriving and there remains a highly competitive market for talent.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to amend the Public Records Act so that the statute includes information held, transmitted or recorded through electronic communications.

There are currently no plans to amend the Public Records Act regarding information held, transmitted or recorded through electronic communications. Section 10 (1) of the Act already encompasses not only written records but ‘records conveying information by any other means whatsoever’ including information held and recorded through electronic communications.

Guidance is also provided in Section 46 Code of Practice on the Management of Records issued by me as the Secretary of State for DCMS under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). The Code was updated and published in July 2021 (as outlined in the Written Statement of 15 July 2021, HCWS185). It provides principle-based guidance for relevant public authorities on contemporary information management practice in the modern digital working environment.

There also exists a variety of supporting guidance at both departmental and cross government level that provides advice for ministers, private offices and civil servants on their record keeping responsibilities. This guidance is kept under review and updated in response to changes in technology and ways of working.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment her Department has made of the level of public support for the television licence fee.

The licence fee funding model was last considered as part of Charter Review 2015-16. The BBC Charter Review consultation received over 192,000 responses and found the majority of respondents did not want to see a change in the way that the BBC is funded: 60% thought the current licence fee model did not need to be changed.

As a result, the government has committed to maintain the current licence fee funding model for the duration of this eleven year Charter period, until 2027.

However, as the Secretary of State has said, due to the changing landscape of the broadcasting sector and viewing trends, it is time to begin asking serious questions about the long-term funding model of the BBC. The Government will therefore undertake a review of the overall licence fee model and those discussions will begin shortly.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate her Department has made of the number of households in the UK that regularly use video on demand to access entertainment.

Ofcom’s Media Nations: UK 2021 report estimates that 74% of UK households use a broadcaster video-on-demand service such as BBC iPlayer or All 4, and 75% of UK households use a subscription video-on-demand service, like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

The Government launched a consultation in August 2021 to level the playing field between traditional broadcasters and video-on-demand streaming services, to provide a fair competitive framework and ensure UK viewers receive equivalent standards. We are now considering the response to the consultation and will publish next steps in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to help achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Our plan for Net Zero will generate thousands of well-paid jobs here in the UK, help us develop thriving, world-leading green industries, strengthen our energy security, and improve our health and well-being. Acting now will put us at the forefront of the large, expanding global Green Technology and Sustainability markets. This will ensure that the UK is driving the technology of the future forward and will allow us to capitalise on export opportunities.

This is why the government's approach will be tech-led using the best of British technology and innovation – just as we did in the last industrial revolution – to help make homes and buildings warmer, the air cleaner and our journeys greener, all while creating thousands of jobs in new future-proof industries.

Our Net Zero Strategy sets out a plan to:

  • Level up our country by supporting up to 190,000 green jobs in 2025 and up to 440,000 jobs across net zero sectors in 2030

  • Build a secure, home-grown energy sector which ends our dependency on volatile foreign gas prices, which will help protect consumers and businesses.

  • Leverage new private investments of up to £90 billion by 2030 levelling-up our former industrial heartlands.

  • The policies and spending brought forward in the Net Zero Strategy mean that since the Ten Point Plan, we have mobilised £26 billion of government capital investment for the green industrial revolution. More than £5.8 billion of foreign investment in green projects has also been secured since the launch of the Ten Point Plan, along with at least 56,000 jobs in the UK’s clean industries.

  • Take a credible and conservative approach to cutting our climate emissions, putting us on track to meet our carbon reduction targets, including our Nationally Determined Contribution (68% reduction by 2030) and Carbon Budget 6 (78% 2035) - building on our successes since 2010.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of reforming the Electronic Communications Code to increase access to properties to build and maintain broadband infrastructure.

The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021, introduced changes to the Electronic Communications Code (‘the Code’) which will make it easier for telecoms operators to gain access to properties, such as blocks of flats, for the purpose of installing digital connections. A consultation on the implementing regulations closed in August. The consultation response will be published in due course, with regulations laid as soon as parliamentary time allows.

A public consultation on whether further changes to the Electronic Communications Code (‘the Code’) are needed to support digital deployment was carried out between January and March this year. Replies to that consultation are currently being considered and the government’s response will be published in due course.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of using some of the £5 billion allocated to Project Gigabit to create broadband vouchers that will enable network builders to upgrade the non-commercial parts of an exchange area at the same time as they are deploying full fibre to the commercial parts.

The government is investing £5 billion through Project Gigabit so that communities which will not gain gigabit connectivity through commercial roll-out are not left behind. Commercial delivery is going further and faster following announcements by suppliers this year and will reach most UK homes and businesses while Project Gigabit is targeted at the remainder.


As part of Project Gigabit, the government is investing up to £210 million into the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS). The eligibility criteria for vouchers was changed in April 2021 when we moved from the previous scheme to the new Project Gigabit criteria which are focused on ensuring we only provide public subsidy in areas which are least likely to get commercial coverage. We will conduct a performance review every six months to monitor the performance and effectiveness of the vouchers scheme, including the eligibility criteria.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of mandating full fibre broadband in newbuild properties.

It is a priority for this Government to ensure that new homes are built with fast, reliable and resilient broadband. Following a public consultation supported by evidence, my department set out a policy in 2020 to mandate that new homes get the connectivity they need. We will shortly launch a statutory technical consultation on legislative proposals to amend the Building Regulations 2010 in England, ensuring that new build homes are developed with both gigabit-ready infrastructure and gigabit-capable connections. Following this final consultation stage, we will lay regulations as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of privatising BBC Worldwide.

BBC Worldwide, formerly a BBC commercial subsidiary, was merged with BBC Studios in April 2018 and no longer exists. The new BBC Studios is already a commercial subsidiary of the BBC and therefore receives no public funding. Dividends made by BBC Studios are returned to the BBC’s public service arm, supplementing the BBC’s licence fee income.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring publicly funded broadcasters to provide all entertainment content on free to access digital platforms 10 years after first transmission.

The government is supportive of a modern system of public service broadcasting (PSB) that remains relevant and can continue to meet the needs of UK audiences in the future.

Ensuring that content is universally available on a free-to-air basis is a core tenet of PSB, and the government is committed to ensuring this remains the case. This means that PSB content should be delivered via technologies that are commonly available, familiar to audiences, and offer a high-quality viewing experience.

As independent organisations, the UK’s two publicly funded broadcasters – the BBC and S4C – are responsible for negotiating the length of time for which entertainment content is available on their platforms with producers and other rights holders. At present, the BBC allows access to most of its programmes for at least one year on the BBC iPlayer and S4C allows access to its programmes for up to 150 days on Clic.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the depth that HMT Empire Windrush lies at.

The Government has adopted as best practice the Rules set out in the Annex to the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. The Rules indicate that the protection of underwater cultural heritage through in situ preservation should be considered as the first option. Consequently, no estimate has been made of the cost of recovering the anchor of HMT Empire Windrush (the wreck of which is understood to lie at a depth of c. 8,500 ft, 23 nautical miles off the coast of Algeria).

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an estimate of the cost of raising the anchor of HMT Empire Windrush.

The Government has adopted as best practice the Rules set out in the Annex to the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. The Rules indicate that the protection of underwater cultural heritage through in situ preservation should be considered as the first option. Consequently, no estimate has been made of the cost of recovering the anchor of HMT Empire Windrush (the wreck of which is understood to lie at a depth of c. 8,500 ft, 23 nautical miles off the coast of Algeria).

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how his Department enforces the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 in foreign and international waters.

The powers conferred by the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 relate to wreck sites located in UK territorial waters. They do not extend to those located in the territorial waters of other nations or in international waters.

Currently, 54 wreck sites located in UK territorial waters adjacent to England, and 1 wreck site located in UK territorial waters adjacent to Northern Ireland, are protected under the terms of section 1 of the 1973 Act (‘protection of sites of historic wrecks’).

Responsibility for the operation of section 1 of the 1973 Act in Scotland and Wales is a devolved matter. The number of wreck sites currently protected under the terms of section 1 of the 1973 Act in UK territorial waters adjacent to Scotland and Wales is understood to be 0 and 6, respectively.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many maritime wrecks in overseas waters of (a) historic, (b) archaeological and (c) artistic importance have been designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973.

The powers conferred by the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 relate to wreck sites located in UK territorial waters. They do not extend to those located in the territorial waters of other nations or in international waters.

Currently, 54 wreck sites located in UK territorial waters adjacent to England, and 1 wreck site located in UK territorial waters adjacent to Northern Ireland, are protected under the terms of section 1 of the 1973 Act (‘protection of sites of historic wrecks’).

Responsibility for the operation of section 1 of the 1973 Act in Scotland and Wales is a devolved matter. The number of wreck sites currently protected under the terms of section 1 of the 1973 Act in UK territorial waters adjacent to Scotland and Wales is understood to be 0 and 6, respectively.

21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many wrecks in UK territorial waters have been designated as of (a) historical, (b) archaeological and (c) artistic importance under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973.

The powers conferred by the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 relate to wreck sites located in UK territorial waters. They do not extend to those located in the territorial waters of other nations or in international waters.

Currently, 54 wreck sites located in UK territorial waters adjacent to England, and 1 wreck site located in UK territorial waters adjacent to Northern Ireland, are protected under the terms of section 1 of the 1973 Act (‘protection of sites of historic wrecks’).

Responsibility for the operation of section 1 of the 1973 Act in Scotland and Wales is a devolved matter. The number of wreck sites currently protected under the terms of section 1 of the 1973 Act in UK territorial waters adjacent to Scotland and Wales is understood to be 0 and 6, respectively.

20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the inbound tourism industry as part of the UK's economic recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is taking a number of steps to support inbound tourism’s recovery from the pandemic. In total, at least £25 billion has been provided to the leisure, tourism and hospitality sector so far over the course of the pandemic - saving jobs and businesses across the UK.

The Tourism Recovery plan sets out the Government’s aim to recover domestic overnight trip volume and spend to 2019 levels by the end of 2022, and inbound visitor numbers and spend by the end of 2023 – both at least a year faster than independent forecasts predict. We will work with VisitBritain to welcome back international visitors as soon as it is safe to do so.

We are regularly engaging with travel industry bodies - such as UKInbound and the European Tour Operators Association - to monitor the pandemic’s impact and to further support the sector’s recovery.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the (a) inbound tourism and (B) the tourism economy in the UK.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on inbound tourism and the wider tourism industry. From last March, inbound flight arrivals were down 90% for over a year compared to 2019 levels, hotel occupancy far lower than normal, and the sector was closed for at least six of the last 12 months - more so in some parts of the country subject to local lockdowns last autumn.

We also know that tourism has been the sector most reliant on the government’s unprecedented package of support measures. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was crucial in saving tourism jobs, which at its peak supported 87% of hospitality and leisure businesses. In total, at least £25 billion has been provided to the leisure, tourism and hospitality sector so far over the course of the pandemic.

In June, we published the Tourism Recovery Plan to help the sector recover back to pre-pandemic levels and build back better for the future. The plan aims to recover domestic tourism to pre pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023; both at least a year faster than independent forecasts predict.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what mechanisms are in place to audit information provided to his Department by (a) regulatory bodies and (b) non-departmental public bodies.

All DCMS sponsored bodies are required to prepare their annual reports and accounts in accordance with their governing and other relevant legislation and the accounts directions given by this department and HMT PES papers as long as it does not supersede or affect compliance with their governing legislation.The ALB annual reports are audited and published on their own websites and on gov.uk. Similar to other government departments DCMS produces consolidated group accounts annually which includes all ALBs within its accounting boundary which are audited by the NAO. The most recent set of audited DCMS consolidated group accounts for 19-20 were published on gov.uk in December 2020. The DCMS Group audit for 20-21 is currently in progress and we expect to lay the accounts in parliament later in the year.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when the extension of School Games Organiser contracts is planned to be announced.

Physical education (PE) and school sport plays an important role in supporting children and young people to be physically active, particularly during the current COVID-19 restrictions. The Department is working with the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care on how to support better PE, sport and physical activity provision for all children and young people. This is part of our continuing work to deliver our joint school sport and activity action plan, published in 2019.

I can confirm that the School Games Organisers are now fully funded for the 2021/22 financial year. Funding beyond that point will be subject to future Government Spending Review decisions.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent communication officials in his Department have had with the Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook.

Since the beginning of this year, DCMS officials have communicated with Nick Clegg, Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook, in advance of his meetings with the DCMS Secretary of State on 12 January 2021 and 25 February 2021. Additionally, officials were in contact to set up a meeting with the DCMS Director General for Digital and Media in April 2021.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle racism on social media platforms.

We are clear that the online racist abuse is unacceptable. We must do all we can to tackle it. We are taking steps through the online harms regulatory framework to ensure that online abuse is addressed. Under a new legal duty of care, companies will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content, including illegal online abuse. All companies will need to take swift and effective action against such content.

Companies providing high-risk, high-reach services will also need to undertake regular risk assessments to identify legal but harmful material on their services. These companies will need to set clear terms and conditions which explicitly state what categories of legal but harmful material they accept (and do not accept) on their service. Companies will need to enforce these terms and conditions consistently and transparently and could face enforcement action if they do not. The Online Safety Bill, which will give effect to the regulatory framework, will be ready this year.

16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of the BBC's publication of salaries paid to presenters this year.

  • The BBC is operationally and editorially independent of Government, and therefore talent pay is a matter for the BBC.

  • However, we expect to see the BBC using its substantial licence fee income in an appropriate way to ensure it delivers value for money for UK audiences.

  • The public deserves to know how their licence fee is being spent, which is why in the Royal Charter the government required the BBC to publish the salary details of all BBC staff and talent paid over £150,000. This was published for the first time as part of the BBC 2016/17 annual report.

10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his consent is required under the Public Statues Act (Metropolis) 1854 before the removal of sculptures erected in London.

There is no requirement under the terms of the Public Statues (Metropolis) Act 1854 to obtain the consent of the Secretary of State before the removal of sculptures erected in London.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to increase access to finance for (a) social enterprises and (b) co-operatives during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises the vital work social enterprises and co-operatives are doing to support communities and ease demands on public services in light of Covid-19. In recognising this, we have put in place a number of emergency measures to support these organisations during this time.

The government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been made available to social enterprises and co-operatives. This scheme will provide lenders with a government-backed guarantee of 80% on each loan, ensuring eligible social enterprises and co-operatives gain access to crucial finance with no upfront costs and lower initial repayments. Big Society Capital has established and capitalised a Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund which aims to improve access to CBILS for social enterprises. The initiative has been enabled by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) accelerating the release of previously committed dormant bank accounts money.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is also available to social enterprises and co-operatives. This scheme allows employers to claim for a cash grant of up to 80% of a furloughed employee's wages. Many organisations are already accessing this support measure.

Additionally, the government announced a £750 million support package earlier this month for charities. A number of social enterprises that are delivering vital work during the coronavirus outbreak will be eligible to apply for this support package.

Over the coming weeks and months, the government will monitor and evaluate the support that has been provided to social enterprises and co-operatives, and it continues to consider what else can be done. This includes examining further initiatives around access to finance for social enterprises and cooperatives.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Government's business support package for social enterprises.

The government recognises the vital work social enterprises and co-operatives are doing to support communities and ease demands on public services in light of Covid-19. In recognising this, we have put in place a number of emergency measures to support these organisations during this time.

The government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been made available to social enterprises and co-operatives. This scheme will provide lenders with a government-backed guarantee of 80% on each loan, ensuring eligible social enterprises and co-operatives gain access to crucial finance with no upfront costs and lower initial repayments. Big Society Capital has established and capitalised a Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund which aims to improve access to CBILS for social enterprises. The initiative has been enabled by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) accelerating the release of previously committed dormant bank accounts money.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is also available to social enterprises and co-operatives. This scheme allows employers to claim for a cash grant of up to 80% of a furloughed employee's wages. Many organisations are already accessing this support measure.

Additionally, the government announced a £750 million support package earlier this month for charities. A number of social enterprises that are delivering vital work during the coronavirus outbreak will be eligible to apply for this support package.

Over the coming weeks and months, the government will monitor and evaluate the support that has been provided to social enterprises and co-operatives, and it continues to consider what else can be done. This includes examining further initiatives around access to finance for social enterprises and cooperatives.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department has taken to support social enterprises during the covid-19 pandemic.

The government recognises the vital work social enterprises and co-operatives are doing to support communities and ease demands on public services in light of Covid-19. In recognising this, we have put in place a number of emergency measures to support these organisations during this time.

The government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been made available to social enterprises and co-operatives. This scheme will provide lenders with a government-backed guarantee of 80% on each loan, ensuring eligible social enterprises and co-operatives gain access to crucial finance with no upfront costs and lower initial repayments. Big Society Capital has established and capitalised a Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund which aims to improve access to CBILS for social enterprises. The initiative has been enabled by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) accelerating the release of previously committed dormant bank accounts money.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is also available to social enterprises and co-operatives. This scheme allows employers to claim for a cash grant of up to 80% of a furloughed employee's wages. Many organisations are already accessing this support measure.

Additionally, the government announced a £750 million support package earlier this month for charities. A number of social enterprises that are delivering vital work during the coronavirus outbreak will be eligible to apply for this support package.

Over the coming weeks and months, the government will monitor and evaluate the support that has been provided to social enterprises and co-operatives, and it continues to consider what else can be done. This includes examining further initiatives around access to finance for social enterprises and cooperatives.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of the social enterprise sector on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on their businesses.

Ministers and officials are engaging constantly with representatives across the social enterprise sector to ensure a complete understanding of the unique challenges being faced by social enterprises as a result of Covid-19. We have been using, and continue to use, these ongoing insights and data to shape government support for social enterprises during this time of financial difficulty. By engaging with key membership bodies, such as Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), we will be monitoring the effectiveness of support measures in the coming weeks and months.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of national museums charging for specific exhibitions.

It is government policy to maintain free entry to the permanent collections of the national museums. However, DCMS-sponsored museums are entitled to charge for temporary specific exhibitions. Such exhibitions, in addition to helping generate income, are a vital part of the museums’ visitor offer. At any one time, the public will be able to enjoy a range of free and paid-for exhibitions.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to ensure the accuracy of content loader information on social media.

We published the Online Harms White Paper in April last year, setting out plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

Our proposals would establish a new statutory duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. The duty of care will ensure companies have appropriate systems and processes in place to deal with harmful content on their services to keep their users safe

10th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the equity of the number of examinations mandated for individual GCSE syllabuses.

This is a matter for the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and I have asked its Chief Regulator, Jo Saxton, to write directly to the Honourable Member. A copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Ofsted is on target to complete its scheduled inspections for the 2021-22 academic year.

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to the hon. Member directly and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason only children in primary schools in the state sector will receive the Platinum Jubilee children's book.

As the commemorative book is funded from the department’s budget, it is appropriate that it should be given to children in state funded education.

The decision was made to set the readability at a level suitable for upper key stage 2, as it would be extremely difficult to produce a book of this type which would be suitable for early years, primary, and secondary school audiences. A book targeted at all primary aged children will allow the older children to read the book independently, while also encouraging reading by parents or guardians to the younger children.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of average starting salaries for university graduates by ethnicity in 2022.

The department publishes graduate labour market statistics annually, which report median salaries for young graduates – those aged between 21 and 30 – by ethnicity. The 2022 figures will be available in spring 2023. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/graduate-labour-market-quarterly-statistics.

In 2020, the latest year for which data are available, young Asian or Asian British graduates had the highest median salaries, £28,000. The median salary difference between the young Asian or Asian British graduates and the lowest earning ethnic group, ‘Other ethnicity graduates’, was £1,000.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish guidance for universities on refunding students whose face-to-face teaching contact was reduced during the covid-19 restrictions.

The unprecedented and unique nature of the COVID-19 outbreak necessitated changes to the way higher education (HE) providers delivered their teaching.

HE providers have delivered new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Some providers continue to use some of these approaches alongside in-person provision. However, online learning should only be offered to enhance the student experience, not to detract from it, and it should not be used as a cost-cutting measure.

In line with all other settings, HE providers should continue to conduct risk assessments for their particular circumstances. Risk assessments should take account of the approach to managing COVID-19 in wider society, particularly now that all restrictions have been removed and the vaccine programme continues to be rolled out. Risk assessments should never be used to prevent providers delivering a full programme of face-to-face teaching and learning.

HE providers are independent and autonomous bodies which are responsible for the management of their own affairs. If students have concerns about the delivery of their university courses, they should first raise them with their provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for HE to consider their complaint.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has published for headteachers to decide which systematic synthetic phonics programmes are appropriate for their school.

The department is continuing to deliver year on year, real terms per pupil increases, investing a further £4.7 billion by the 2024-25 financial year for the core schools budget, over and above the Spending Review 2019 settlement for schools in the 2022-23 financial year. Since 2010, the government has prioritised the effective teaching of phonics by placing it at the heart of the curriculum and providing £23.7 million of matched funding for resources and training for 14,000 schools between 2011 and 2013. In 2018, we launched a £26.3 million English hubs programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading. We have since invested a further £17 million in this school-to-school improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics (SSP), early language, and reading for pleasure.

For the academic year 2021/22, the department has launched the Accelerator Fund, which is providing funding to scale up existing effective programmes in schools to support education recovery. As part of the Accelerator Fund, £5 million has been allocated to the English hubs programme to allow hubs to fund eligible schools to purchase complete SSP programmes from the department’s validated list, including their associated training and resources.

Monitoring and assessment is key to effective teaching of early reading, particularly for pupils with reading difficulties. The department’s validation of SSP programmes is a mechanism to support schools to be able to select a high-quality SSP programme. Programmes featured on the validated list have been assessed by an independent panel and are judged to have a sufficiently robust system for the effective monitoring and assessment of pupil progress, and for ensuring all children keep up.

The department mandates a national screening test at the end of year one. This is the phonics screening check which was introduced in 2012 to check how may children are on track with decoding.

Schools can use their phonics screening check data to measure the impact of their chosen SSP programme.

In July 2021, the department published ‘The reading framework: teaching the foundations of literacy’. This is non-statutory guidance for teachers and school leaders, aimed at improving the teaching of the foundations of reading in primary schools by defining best practice. It aims to support schools to meet existing expectations on early reading, as set out in the national curriculum, the early years foundation stage statutory framework and the Ofsted education inspection framework. The reading framework articulates how SSP is an essential element of the teaching of reading and includes guidance for choosing a phonics programme.

The department published an update to its list of high-quality phonics programmes on 16 December 2021. Programmes on this list meet all the department’s criteria for an effective SSP. Schools and headteachers are encouraged to consider the full range of validated SSP programmes before deciding what will best support their children’s rapid progress in reading.

English hubs can offer impartial support with choosing an SSP programme to eligible schools.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how his Department plans to quantify the results of the systematic synthetic phonics programmes.

The department is continuing to deliver year on year, real terms per pupil increases, investing a further £4.7 billion by the 2024-25 financial year for the core schools budget, over and above the Spending Review 2019 settlement for schools in the 2022-23 financial year. Since 2010, the government has prioritised the effective teaching of phonics by placing it at the heart of the curriculum and providing £23.7 million of matched funding for resources and training for 14,000 schools between 2011 and 2013. In 2018, we launched a £26.3 million English hubs programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading. We have since invested a further £17 million in this school-to-school improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics (SSP), early language, and reading for pleasure.

For the academic year 2021/22, the department has launched the Accelerator Fund, which is providing funding to scale up existing effective programmes in schools to support education recovery. As part of the Accelerator Fund, £5 million has been allocated to the English hubs programme to allow hubs to fund eligible schools to purchase complete SSP programmes from the department’s validated list, including their associated training and resources.

Monitoring and assessment is key to effective teaching of early reading, particularly for pupils with reading difficulties. The department’s validation of SSP programmes is a mechanism to support schools to be able to select a high-quality SSP programme. Programmes featured on the validated list have been assessed by an independent panel and are judged to have a sufficiently robust system for the effective monitoring and assessment of pupil progress, and for ensuring all children keep up.

The department mandates a national screening test at the end of year one. This is the phonics screening check which was introduced in 2012 to check how may children are on track with decoding.

Schools can use their phonics screening check data to measure the impact of their chosen SSP programme.

In July 2021, the department published ‘The reading framework: teaching the foundations of literacy’. This is non-statutory guidance for teachers and school leaders, aimed at improving the teaching of the foundations of reading in primary schools by defining best practice. It aims to support schools to meet existing expectations on early reading, as set out in the national curriculum, the early years foundation stage statutory framework and the Ofsted education inspection framework. The reading framework articulates how SSP is an essential element of the teaching of reading and includes guidance for choosing a phonics programme.

The department published an update to its list of high-quality phonics programmes on 16 December 2021. Programmes on this list meet all the department’s criteria for an effective SSP. Schools and headteachers are encouraged to consider the full range of validated SSP programmes before deciding what will best support their children’s rapid progress in reading.

English hubs can offer impartial support with choosing an SSP programme to eligible schools.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much additional financial resource his Department allocated to the teaching of the systematic synthetic phonics programmes in England.

The department is continuing to deliver year on year, real terms per pupil increases, investing a further £4.7 billion by the 2024-25 financial year for the core schools budget, over and above the Spending Review 2019 settlement for schools in the 2022-23 financial year. Since 2010, the government has prioritised the effective teaching of phonics by placing it at the heart of the curriculum and providing £23.7 million of matched funding for resources and training for 14,000 schools between 2011 and 2013. In 2018, we launched a £26.3 million English hubs programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading. We have since invested a further £17 million in this school-to-school improvement programme, which focusses on systematic synthetic phonics (SSP), early language, and reading for pleasure.

For the academic year 2021/22, the department has launched the Accelerator Fund, which is providing funding to scale up existing effective programmes in schools to support education recovery. As part of the Accelerator Fund, £5 million has been allocated to the English hubs programme to allow hubs to fund eligible schools to purchase complete SSP programmes from the department’s validated list, including their associated training and resources.

Monitoring and assessment is key to effective teaching of early reading, particularly for pupils with reading difficulties. The department’s validation of SSP programmes is a mechanism to support schools to be able to select a high-quality SSP programme. Programmes featured on the validated list have been assessed by an independent panel and are judged to have a sufficiently robust system for the effective monitoring and assessment of pupil progress, and for ensuring all children keep up.

The department mandates a national screening test at the end of year one. This is the phonics screening check which was introduced in 2012 to check how may children are on track with decoding.

Schools can use their phonics screening check data to measure the impact of their chosen SSP programme.

In July 2021, the department published ‘The reading framework: teaching the foundations of literacy’. This is non-statutory guidance for teachers and school leaders, aimed at improving the teaching of the foundations of reading in primary schools by defining best practice. It aims to support schools to meet existing expectations on early reading, as set out in the national curriculum, the early years foundation stage statutory framework and the Ofsted education inspection framework. The reading framework articulates how SSP is an essential element of the teaching of reading and includes guidance for choosing a phonics programme.

The department published an update to its list of high-quality phonics programmes on 16 December 2021. Programmes on this list meet all the department’s criteria for an effective SSP. Schools and headteachers are encouraged to consider the full range of validated SSP programmes before deciding what will best support their children’s rapid progress in reading.

English hubs can offer impartial support with choosing an SSP programme to eligible schools.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a range of measures at COP26 to put climate change and sustainability at the heart of education. These included a draft sustainability and climate change strategy for the education and children’s services systems, a new national education nature park and climate leaders award.

The Department for Education’s vision is for the UK education sector to be a world leader in sustainability and climate change by 2030, as set out in the department’s draft sustainability and climate change strategy. The education estate is a key action area within the strategy. We will support the sector in reducing carbon emissions, adapting and mitigating to the worst impacts of climate change, and increasing biodiversity. We will contribute to carbon reduction through delivering new school buildings, improving the existing school estate and engaging users in the process of managing buildings for the greatest impact.

By 2023 all new school buildings delivered by the Department for Education (not already contracted) will be net zero in operation. We will also continue to develop and test the GenZero prototype for the future new build of schools, designed to be ultra-low in construction carbon and net zero in operation.

The Department for Education estates’ ambition is to embed sustainability in our business process and achieve our net zero target across all activities by 2050 in line with the Government Property Agency and the UK government commitment.

We are committed to playing our part to support the labour market transition to net zero. In November last year, we established (jointly with The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) the Green Jobs Taskforce, which has helped to build the evidence on skills and workforce needs in key green sectors.

That has informed our contribution to the Net Zero Strategy which was published on 19 October. Building on the Skills for Jobs White Paper, the Net Zero Strategy sets out how our skills reforms will strengthen links between employers and providers, support workers in high carbon sectors with the transition, and help to build a pipeline of future talent.

Our plan for net zero will generate thousands of well-paid jobs here in the UK, help us develop thriving, world-leading green industries, strengthen our energy security, and improve our health and wellbeing. Acting now will put us at the forefront of large, expanding global markets and allow us to capitalise on export opportunities.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much his Department is currently spending on television advertising on E4.

The estimated amount spent on advertising on E4 by the department in financial year 2021/22 to date, is approximately £450,000.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will maintain the current uplift in the apprenticeship incentive payment until September 2022.

The Spending Review has delivered the first increase to employer-led apprenticeships funding since the 2019/20 financial year, with funding for apprenticeships in England growing to £2.7 billion by the 2024/25 financial year.

On 4 October 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £500 million expansion of the Plan for Jobs. This included a further extension of the apprenticeship incentive payment to support employers of all sizes to offer apprenticeships.

Employers will be able to claim a £3,000 payment for any apprentice that has an employment start date between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022. They will be able to claim for their payment from January 2022. The extended payment makes it a great time for employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities and take advantage of existing flexibilities to train apprentices in a way that suits their needs.

We do not plan to further extend the incentives beyond 31 January 2022 but will continue to support employers with the cost of apprenticeship training. The government will pay 95% of apprentice training costs for employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy, alongside offering the newly improved apprenticeship levy transfers system to help smaller employers fund their apprenticeship training.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the financial sustainability of the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is a private pension scheme. Higher education providers that offer the USS are responsible for the pension provision offered to their staff. Like other defined benefit schemes, the USS is regulated by The Pensions Regulator.

The Pensions Regulator is currently working with the USS, Universities UK and a range of other stakeholders as they work to find a long-term solution to the funding challenges faced by the USS.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensue that Muslims can access student finance.

The government understands the concerns held by some Muslim students and their families about student finance. The department have 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.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of enabling people who hold Leave to Remain visa status to apply for student finance.

The public funds available for student support are targeted on those persons with a lawful and substantial residential connection to the UK.

Student finance is generally available to those who have no restrictions on their ability to live and work in the UK, so that they are likely to be able stay in the UK to complete their education and contribute to the UK economy afterwards.

In 2016, the regulations governing student support were amended to introduce a new eligibility category for those who do not have settled status but who have resided in the UK for an extended period. The amendment extended access to support to students who have spent half their life or at least 20 years in the UK preceding the first day of the first academic year of their course, or 7 years for those under 18 years old. Like most other students, they must be ordinarily resident in England and have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) for the 3 years preceding the first day of the first academic year of their course to qualify for support.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provides to pupils who have a parent or guardian serving a custodial sentence.

Statutory guidance on 'Working together to safeguard children' is clear that anyone who has concerns about a child’s welfare should make a referral to local authority children’s social care. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2.

The local authority and its social workers have specific roles and responsibilities to lead statutory assessments. Every assessment should reflect children’s needs within their family and community context, including taking account of a parent being in prison. These children’s circumstances vary considerably and therefore local agencies are best placed to determine what support is needed – whether early help, statutory social care services, or support for other needs such as mental health.

We recognise the impact that a parent going to prison can have on a child’s learning, behaviour, mental health and wellbeing. Support should be based on the needs of individual children, not solely the characteristic of having a parent in prison and, as such, our approach is focussed on equipping schools to respond to these needs.

Statutory guidance for schools, 'Keeping children safe in education', is clear that staff should consider the additional needs of children with a family member in prison or who are affected by parental offending. The guidance highlights the risk of poor outcomes including poverty, stigma, isolation and poor mental health, and can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2. It signposts staff to the National information centre on children of offenders website, which provides specialist advice and resources to support professionals working with offenders’ children and their families, to help mitigate negative consequences for those children. This can be accessed here: https://www.nicco.org.uk/.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provides for the children of parents and guardians who enter the prison system.

Statutory guidance on 'Working together to safeguard children' is clear that anyone who has concerns about a child’s welfare should make a referral to local authority children’s social care. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2.

The local authority and its social workers have specific roles and responsibilities to lead statutory assessments. Every assessment should reflect children’s needs within their family and community context, including taking account of a parent being in prison. These children’s circumstances vary considerably and therefore local agencies are best placed to determine what support is needed – whether early help, statutory social care services, or support for other needs such as mental health.

We recognise the impact that a parent going to prison can have on a child’s learning, behaviour, mental health and wellbeing. Support should be based on the needs of individual children, not solely the characteristic of having a parent in prison and, as such, our approach is focussed on equipping schools to respond to these needs.

Statutory guidance for schools, 'Keeping children safe in education', is clear that staff should consider the additional needs of children with a family member in prison or who are affected by parental offending. The guidance highlights the risk of poor outcomes including poverty, stigma, isolation and poor mental health, and can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2. It signposts staff to the National information centre on children of offenders website, which provides specialist advice and resources to support professionals working with offenders’ children and their families, to help mitigate negative consequences for those children. This can be accessed here: https://www.nicco.org.uk/.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a fund for parents and guardians of home-schooled children to receive remuneration for the costs of (a) GCSE and (b) A level examination fees.

The department recognises the choice of parents and guardians to home educate their children. For most children, particularly the most vulnerable, we are clear that school is the best place for their education. Our guidance on elective home education highlights that parents/carers who home educate will need to assume full financial responsibility for their child’s education. This includes paying for the cost of entering their child for examinations. Some local authorities may provide financial or other assistance to home-educating families for public examinations, but this is discretionary.

In 2021, in light of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, GCSE grades were determined by teachers (Teacher Assessed Grades). To support centres with the additional requirements of assessing private candidates in 2021, the department provided an exceptional grant to centres of £200 per private candidate entry. This funding aimed to avoid these additional costs being passed on to private candidates, so that they could access qualifications at a similar cost to a normal exam year.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the cost of applications for private candidates taking GCSEs.

The department does not routinely collect information relating to the cost to private candidates of sitting GCSE examinations at a school, college or other examination centre.

In 2021, in light of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, GCSE grades were determined by teachers via Teacher Assessed Grades. The department is therefore providing an exceptional grant to centres of £200 per private candidate entry to support centres with the particular additional requirements of assessing private candidates in 2021. This is to avoid the cost being passed on to candidates who have not been taught alongside a wider cohort, so that private candidates could access qualifications at a similar cost to a normal exam year.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will restrict university tuition fees so that universities cannot charge full fees for only teaching lessons online.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees, within maximum fee limits set by Regulations. Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the higher education provider and student.

The government has now lifted the restrictions on in-person teaching and therefore universities should not be limiting face-to-face learning based on COVID-19 restrictions. We expect all universities to continue to deliver excellent learning, in line with guidance from the Office for Students (OfS), to provide students with a full experience. The OfS will be monitoring to ensure this is the case, and universities should be open about what students can expect.

If students have concerns, they should first raise them with their higher education provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint. More information on this process is available on the OIA website at: www.oiahe.org.uk/students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will introduce a statutory baseline for the number of hours higher education providers must provide face-to-face tuition in an academic year.

We do not intend to introduce a statutory baseline of contact hours.

English higher education (HE) providers are autonomous institutions, which means that they have the freedom to determine the way their courses are taught, supervised, and assessed. It is a matter for individual providers to ensure that all students have the support they need to succeed and benefit from their HE experience.

However, all registered providers must continue to meet the Office for Students (OfS) registration conditions in relation to the quality of HE. These registration conditions make clear the need to ensure that courses are high-quality, and that students are properly supported to achieve good outcomes.

The government has now lifted the restrictions on in-person teaching and providers are therefore able to shape their courses without restrictions on face-to-face learning. HE providers should therefore not be planning to restrict teaching based on COVID-19 restrictions. We expect all universities to continue to deliver excellent learning, in line with guidance from the OfS, and that they should provide students with a full experience.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of children who are being home-schooled in England.

The department does not collect data on children who are home educated. We are aware of the rising number of home-educated children.

The department supports the right of parents to educate their children at home. Most do so with the best education of their child at the centre of their decision. The rising numbers of home educated children cannot be overlooked. For some parents, the child’s education is not the primary reason behind the decision to home educate, which can mean that some children are not being provided with a suitable education.

The government remains committed to a form of registration system for children not in school. Further details on this will be in the government response to the ‘Children Not in School’ consultation, which the department will publish in coming months.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has been made of the vacancy rate of Qualified Teachers of the Deaf in England.

Information on the number of qualified teachers of the deaf is not collected centrally.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), including hearing impairments, receive the support they need to achieve in their early years, at school and college. High needs funding, which is specifically for supporting children with more complex SEND, will be increasing by £780 million in the financial year 2022-23. This comes on top of the over £1.5 billion increase over the previous two years and will bring the overall total of funding for high needs to £8.9 billion. Within that total, the provisional allocation to the London Borough of Barnet is £65.3 million, an 8% per head increase on the £60.5 million of high needs funding that council is receiving this financial year. Decisions about how that funding is used, including for the employment of specialist teachers for deaf children, are made by local authorities.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of Qualified Teachers of the Deaf in England.

Information on the number of qualified teachers of the deaf is not collected centrally.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), including hearing impairments, receive the support they need to achieve in their early years, at school and college. High needs funding, which is specifically for supporting children with more complex SEND, will be increasing by £780 million in the financial year 2022-23. This comes on top of the over £1.5 billion increase over the previous two years and will bring the overall total of funding for high needs to £8.9 billion. Within that total, the provisional allocation to the London Borough of Barnet is £65.3 million, an 8% per head increase on the £60.5 million of high needs funding that council is receiving this financial year. Decisions about how that funding is used, including for the employment of specialist teachers for deaf children, are made by local authorities.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the provision of Qualified Teachers of the Deaf in the London Borough of Barnet.

Information on the number of qualified teachers of the deaf is not collected centrally.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), including hearing impairments, receive the support they need to achieve in their early years, at school and college. High needs funding, which is specifically for supporting children with more complex SEND, will be increasing by £780 million in the financial year 2022-23. This comes on top of the over £1.5 billion increase over the previous two years and will bring the overall total of funding for high needs to £8.9 billion. Within that total, the provisional allocation to the London Borough of Barnet is £65.3 million, an 8% per head increase on the £60.5 million of high needs funding that council is receiving this financial year. Decisions about how that funding is used, including for the employment of specialist teachers for deaf children, are made by local authorities.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what mechanisms are in place to audit information provided to his Department by (a) regulatory bodies and (b) non-departmental public bodies.

The Department sets out its relationship with each of its arm’s length bodies (ALBs) through a Framework Document. Managing Public Money sets out that: “3.8.2 The framework document (or equivalent) agreed between an ALB and its sponsor always provides for the sponsor department to exercise meaningful oversight of the ALB’s strategy and performance, pay arrangements and/or major financial transactions, e.g. by monthly returns, standard delegations and exception reporting. The sponsor department’s accounts consolidate those of its ALBs so its accounting officer must be satisfied that the consolidated accounts are accurate and not misleading”. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/managing-public-money.

A non-departmental public body is required on an annual basis to submit to their sponsoring department an annual report and audited accounts, prepared in accordance with the relevant statutes and guidelines. The annual report and accounts provide the sponsoring department with the financial and non-financial performance of the non-departmental public body. In addition, they will state if the non-departmental public body has met key performance indicators as set out in their business and corporate plans. The accounts for each non-departmental public body is consolidated into the sponsoring Department’s annual report and accounts.

The Department has a two-pronged approach to assure information from departmental group bodies are included in the Department’s consolidated annual report and accounts. We review information against our own expectations of performance as well as external audits completed by the National Audit Office or other competent auditors. Regulatory bodies which are non-ministerial departments are not included in the Department’s consolidated accounts and are not included in this process.

In addition, the Department’s audit and risk committee works with audit and risk committees of other departmental bodies, including regulatory bodies, to provide oversight of risk, assurance and the annual report and accounts.

9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has published for teachers on the use of social media.

Part two of the Teachers’ Standards, published in 2011, defines the behaviour and attitudes which set the required standard for personal and professional conduct throughout a teacher’s career.

The Standards are clear that teachers uphold public trust in the profession and should maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school. This includes showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others; not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect; and showing tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

The Teaching Regulation Agency uses the conduct elements of the Teachers’ Standards as a reference point when considering whether a teacher’s conduct has fallen significantly short of the standard of behaviour expected of a teacher.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the PE and sport premium for 2021-22 academic year are planned to be announced.

The Department is aware of the importance of giving schools as much notice as possible of future funding. We will confirm arrangements for the Primary physical education and sport premium for the 2021/22 academic year as soon as possible.

25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the appeal mechanism will be for pupils to appeal grades awarded by their teachers in A Level and GCSE examinations.

If a pupil judges that their grade does not reflect their performance, or their grade has not been properly determined, they will have a clear route to appeal.

If a pupil considers their grade to be wrong, they will be able to ask their centre to check for errors and make sure they have followed their own process correctly. If the centre finds an error, they can submit a revised grade to the exam board with a supporting explanation for approval.

Otherwise, the centre is able to submit an appeal to the exam board on the pupil’s behalf. The exam board should review both the process the centre has followed and the evidence on which a pupil’s grade was determined to confirm whether the grade submitted by the centre was a reasonable exercise of academic judgement. If an exam board finds the evidence cannot support the grade, they should determine the alternative grade and inform the centre.

An exam board will only revise a pupil’s grade at appeal where it finds the evidence cannot reasonably support that grade, rather than as a result of differences of opinion. Pupils should be aware that their grade can go up or down on appeal.

There may be some pupils taking Vocational and Technical Qualifications or other general qualifications who are unhappy with the results that they receive through the alternative arrangements. These pupils will have a right of appeal on the same basis as those set out for GCSEs, AS and A levels, but the exact nature of the processes may differ to recognise the different nature of the qualifications.

If a candidate remains unhappy with their grade following a Board appeal, they will have two additional options. First, the case can be referred to Ofqual’s Exams Procedure Review Service (EPRS). The exam board’s decision on the grade following appeal will stand unless the EPRS finds that the exam board has made a procedural error. Second, it is the Government’s policy that there needs to be a full series of GCSE, AS and A level examinations held in the autumn and Ofqual will carry out a consultation on the arrangements for this. Having an Autumn exam series will provide an opportunity for pupils to try and improve their grade through traditional exams if they are not content with their teacher assessed grade in this unusual year.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on establishing pilot schemes for teacher sabbaticals.

The Department has a longstanding programme of work in place through the Recruitment and Retention Strategy to ensure that teaching remains an attractive profession, where people feel supported to stay and develop their careers. This includes encouraging schools to develop a supportive culture for staff and to work flexibly.

As part of this, the Department explored a pilot on sabbaticals during the 2018-19 academic year. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, it has been vital that we prioritise the immediate support teachers need at this time, such as work to support staff mental health through the Education Support charity and our Wellbeing for Education Return initiative.

We are also maintaining a focus on innovative approaches, including establishing eight Flexible Working Ambassador Schools to champion flexible working practices from Spring 2021. These schools will share their experiences, resources and expertise to create change in their local networks. We will continue to work with the teaching sector to review approaches such as sabbaticals.

20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many Departmental staff will be attending COP26 in an official capacity with their expenses covered.

Numbers on departmental staff attending COP26 are still to be determined.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what scientific advice his Department has received from SAGE on the comparative level of risk and benefit to children of being in school during the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK’s Chief Medical Officers have been clear that school attendance is very important for children and young people. Children and young people are at low risk from COVID-19, but being out of school causes significant long-term harm to learning, life chances and mental and physical health.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department has made decisions informed by data, analysis and advice from a number of different sources, including the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), Public Health England, the Office for National Statistics and the Joint Biosecurity Centre, to ensure our policies are guided by the most up to date scientific evidence.

More recently, SAGE endorsed a paper co-authored by the Children’s Task and Finish Working Group and the Department on the benefits of remaining in education. This paper outlined key evidence and considerations associated with the closure of schools.

The scientific evidence papers from SAGE meetings are published in tranches and are available by following the link below: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the closure of schools in spring 2020 on children’s attainment.

Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on attainment and progress is a key research priority for the Government, and we have commissioned an independent research and assessment agency to consider catch up needs and monitor progress over the course of the 2020/21 academic year.

The ongoing research is based on a large sample of pupils from Years 1 to 11, and will allow the Department to understand how best to support the sector and which particular groups of pupils have been most affected by time out of school. This research is based on assessments that schools are already choosing to use this academic year, so it adds no additional burden on schools and does not require pupils to sit any additional assessments.

To address the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department has launched a £650 million universal catch-up premium, and a £350 million National Tutoring Programme (NTP) for disadvantaged pupils: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/catch-up-premium-coronavirus-covid-19. The NTP went live on 2 November 2020 and schools are now able to access tuition to support disadvantaged pupils that need the most help to catch up.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what safety measures are in place within schools and other educational settings to reduce the risk of covid-19 transmission and keep teachers, parents and children safe.

It continues to be our aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low and there are negative health impacts from being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be.

Headteachers, teachers, and staff of schools and other education settings have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open, keep settings safe, and provide education. The Department published guidance to support schools to welcome back all children from the start of the autumn term. The full guidance can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise the risk of transmission. The measures set out in the Department’s guidance have been endorsed by Public Health England. These measures include regular handwashing, promoting good respiratory hygiene, keeping groups separate, maintaining distance, and minimising contact between individuals. This can be achieved through keeping groups separate (in ‘bubbles’) and through maintaining the distance between individuals. Schools must comply with health and safety law, and should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in this guidance.

The Department has received data, analysis, and advice from a number of different sources including the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), Public Health England, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to ensure our policies are guided by the most up to date scientific evidence.

Recently, the ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey published results between 2 September (the start of the school year) and 16 October 2020 that showed no evidence of differences in the positivity rate between primary and secondary school teachers, other key workers, and members of other professions. This evidence was endorsed by SAGE. More information is available here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/6november2020#age-analysis-of-the-number-of-people-in-england-who-had-covid-19.

On 26 November, the ONS published additional analysis on the number of school workers, key workers, and members of other professions in England who had COVID-19. This analysis also shows no clear evidence as to whether there is a difference in the level of individuals who would test positive for COVID-19 between teachers and other key workers. More information is available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/news/statementsandletters/onsstatementaddressingquestionsaroundtheanalysisofthenumberofschoolworkerskeyworkersandotherprofessionsinenglandwhohadcovid19.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on pilots of mass testing in schools for covid-19.

The Government’s mass testing approach in schools and colleges aims to support schools and colleges to keep all students and pupils in education unless they are COVID positive. From January, all schools, starting with secondary schools and colleges and including special schools and alternative provision, will be eligible to offer weekly tests to their workforce to identify asymptomatic cases and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Both teachers and pupils will also be eligible for daily tests if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case. This will mean that they can stay in school rather than self-isolating.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what advice his Department has received on the risks to teachers of covid-19.

It continues to be our aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time. Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low and there are negative health impacts from being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be.

Headteachers, teachers, and staff of schools and other education settings have been doing an extraordinary job to remain open, keep settings safe, and provide education. The Department published guidance to support schools to welcome back all children from the start of the autumn term. The full guidance can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise the risk of transmission. The measures set out in the Department’s guidance have been endorsed by Public Health England. These measures include regular handwashing, promoting good respiratory hygiene, keeping groups separate, maintaining distance, and minimising contact between individuals. This can be achieved through keeping groups separate (in ‘bubbles’) and through maintaining the distance between individuals. Schools must comply with health and safety law, and should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in this guidance.

The Department has received data, analysis, and advice from a number of different sources including the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), Public Health England, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to ensure our policies are guided by the most up to date scientific evidence.

Recently, the ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey published results between 2 September (the start of the school year) and 16 October 2020 that showed no evidence of differences in the positivity rate between primary and secondary school teachers, other key workers, and members of other professions. This evidence was endorsed by SAGE. More information is available here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/6november2020#age-analysis-of-the-number-of-people-in-england-who-had-covid-19.

On 26 November, the ONS published additional analysis on the number of school workers, key workers, and members of other professions in England who had COVID-19. This analysis also shows no clear evidence as to whether there is a difference in the level of individuals who would test positive for COVID-19 between teachers and other key workers. More information is available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/news/statementsandletters/onsstatementaddressingquestionsaroundtheanalysisofthenumberofschoolworkerskeyworkersandotherprofessionsinenglandwhohadcovid19.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is his Department's policy that examinations should take place at the end of academic year 2020-21 in schools.

The Department is clear that exams will take place in summer 2021. Exams are the best way of judging students’ performance. By sitting exams, students have a fair chance to show their knowledge and understanding of a subject.

We recognise that there will be challenges for students being assessed in summer 2021 and we are preparing for all eventualities. We have announced a wide range of contingency measures for pupils who are ill or have to self-isolate, including spacing out exam papers and introducing contingency papers.

There is broad consensus backing the decision to hold exams because they are a critical part of the education system, giving students the foundations that they need to move on to the next stage of their life.

8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is his Department's policy that additional consideration should be given for pupils taking examinations at the end of academic year 2020-21.

Students sitting exams and other assessments in 2021 will benefit from a package of exceptional measures to make them as fair as possible and manage the disruption caused by COVID-19. In recognition of the challenges this cohort faced, and is facing, grades will replicate as far as possible the overall profile of grades from 2020, making them more generous for students than in a normal year. Students will also be given advance notice of some topic areas or exam support materials, such as formula sheets, and steps will be taken to ensure every student has the chance to receive a grade, even if they miss a paper due to self-isolation or illness.

These measures recognise that, whilst teachers have gone above and beyond to support their pupils during a difficult period, some young people have had their teaching disrupted more than others and will need extra support to catch up on the curriculum and achieve their potential in exams.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the timeframe is for the completion of his Department's review of Looked after Children.

The Care Review is a fundamental part of the government’s manifesto. The urgent local and national response to COVID-19 has delayed launching the Care Review but we are making preparations to launch as soon as possible and will set out further details at that point. The review will be bold, broad and independently led, taking a fundamental look across children’s social care, with the aim of better supporting, protecting and improving the outcomes of vulnerable children and young people.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the judgment on Trans toolkit for schools and Oxfordshire County Council.

The Department is aware of the issue referred to and will continue to work closely with colleagues across Government to consider ongoing developments in this case.

Schools should assess resources they use to ensure they are appropriate for the age and maturity of their pupils and sensitive to their needs, where relevant. The toolkit in question has not been produced or endorsed by the Department for Education. We would advise that schools work with parents, pupils and public services to decide what is best for individual children – and what is best for others in the school.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) primary and (b) secondary school head teachers in the state-funded sector identify as non-white.

Information on the number of ethnic minority headteachers in state funded primary and secondary schools in England as of November 2019 is available here:

https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/42308de0-93ca-405d-854b-8a23c70b6c64.

Please note: Ethnic Minority includes all ethnic groups apart from White British.

4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether schoolchildren will be required to wear face masks on school transport and buses during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 4 June, the Government announced that, as of Monday 15 June, face coverings should be used on public transport. This does not mean surgical masks, which we must keep for clinical settings. It means the kind of face covering you can easily make at home. There will be exceptions to the rule for some children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties.

We do not require children to wear face coverings on school transport, but they can wear one if they wish. School transport is provided specifically for the purpose of ensuring that children can attend school. It is limited to children travelling to school, and their travel assistants where necessary. Children do not travel on school transport at the same time as members of the public. The transport is arranged by local authorities for a planned number of children which means demand for services can be managed in a way which is not possible on public transport. This will allow children to maintain a 2 metre distance from other children not in their household, wherever possible. Additionally, school transport often carries the same children on a regular basis, which helps to reduce any risk of transmission.

Children should follow the Department for Transport’s guidance on wearing face coverings when travelling on public transport. The guidance is available here: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support the families of pupils on free school meals in the Hendon constituency during the school summer holidays in 2020.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave on 23 June 2020 to Question 54195.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what scientific research his Department has commissioned to help assess the potential merits of providing (a) teachers and (b) other school staff with personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has worked closely with Public Health England (PHE) and stakeholders on our approach and guidance throughout the Department’s COVID-19 response. In particular, the Department worked with PHE to devise a hierarchy of controls for all education settings which, when implemented, will create an inherently safer system where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. These include measures such as ensuring that anyone with symptoms does not attend their education settings, cleaning hands regularly, good respiratory hygiene, regular cleaning of touched surfaces, minimising contact and mixing and, where needed, use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Our guidance sets out clearly the limited circumstances in which PPE is required in educational settings, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an estimate of the potential increase in demand for school places within the maintained sector as a result of parents withdrawing their children from independent schools in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is not in a position at this stage to estimate whether there will be an increase in demand for school places within the maintained sector as a result of parents withdrawing their children from independent schools in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review, and we will consider the impact of pupils moving between the independent and state sectors once the position is clearer.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will undertake a review of looked after children which includes the views of children in the care system.

I refer the hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement of 12 February, made by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education. The Written Ministerial Statement is available at the following link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-02-12/HCWS110/.

We will ensure the review reflects the experiences of those who have needed a social worker and been in care, putting children, young people and their families at its centre. We are continuing to develop the scope of the review and are committed to undertaking it at the earliest opportunity. We are considering the next steps on the review in light of the ongoing urgent response to COVID-19.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support is provided for looked after children after their 18th birthday.

Young people who have been ‘looked after’ are entitled to continuing support from their local authority (LA) when they leave care. The LA must appoint a Personal Advisor to help care leavers plan for their futures, access the support they need from mainstream services and provide practical and emotional support. Personal Advisor support is now available for all care leavers to age 25 (support previously ended at age 21 for most care leavers).

LAs also have a duty to consult on and publish their ‘local offers’ for care leavers. This sets out care leavers’ legal entitlements, as well as any further discretionary support that the LA provides. They also have a duty to provide a £2,000 bursary to care leavers who attend university. LAs are required to provide financial support to help care leavers engage in education; employment and training; and a leaving care grant (£2,000) to help the young person furnish their first home.

Since 2014, LAs have been under a duty to provide financial support to enable young people in foster care to remain living with their former foster family to age 21 in a Staying Put arrangement. The department has announced funding of over £33 million in 2020-21 to support implementation, an increase of approximately £10 million (40%) on 2019-20. A National Care Leaving Advisor was appointed in 2018 to support LAs to improve their leaving care services.

In October 2019, we announced the establishment of a cross-government ministerial board to drive better outcomes for care leavers and we have an on-going programme of work with other departments to identify changes to their policies that will impact positively on care leavers’ lives.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will issue guidance to schools on the setting of homework by teachers after the schools shut on Friday 20 March 2020.

We recognise that many schools have already shared resources for children who are at home.

The Department is working with the BBC and other partners to provide advice and support directly to parents, including online resources they can access for their children at home.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will issue guidance to schools on the use of school homework apps to enable pupils to study during the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that many schools have already shared resources for children who are at home.

The Department is working with the BBC and other partners to provide advice and support directly to parents, including online resources they can access for their children at home.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his Department's policy to provide statutory guidance to governing bodies on school uniforms.

No school uniform should be so expensive as to leave pupils or their families feeling unable to apply to a school of their choice. The Government is pleased to support the Private Members' Bill to ‘Make provision for guidance about the cost aspects of school uniform policies’, which was introduced to Parliament on 5 February, in order to make guidance on the cost considerations for school uniform statutory at the earliest opportunity. This reflects the Government’s commitment to ensuring that school uniform costs are reasonable.

In 2015, the Department commissioned a survey on the cost of school uniform, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-school-uniform-2015.

3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the average cost to parents of school uniforms.

No school uniform should be so expensive as to leave pupils or their families feeling unable to apply to a school of their choice. The Government is pleased to support the Private Members' Bill to ‘Make provision for guidance about the cost aspects of school uniform policies’, which was introduced to Parliament on 5 February, in order to make guidance on the cost considerations for school uniform statutory at the earliest opportunity. This reflects the Government’s commitment to ensuring that school uniform costs are reasonable.

In 2015, the Department commissioned a survey on the cost of school uniform, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-school-uniform-2015.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has issued to students on claiming a refund on their tuition fees in the event of cancelled lectures during industrial action.

We expect higher education providers to consider their obligations under consumer law and students’ consumer rights carefully, including during industrial action. This includes ensuring that a range of appropriate remedies and mitigations are available, which may include financial compensation, to prevent and minimise the effects of any strike action upon their students.

The Office for Students, the regulator for higher education in England, has issued guidance for students affected by industrial action. It encourages students to discuss with their university or college whether it is possible to make up for any lost teaching, and whether any other loss of services and support can be rearranged so as to minimise the disruption that students have experienced. Where lost teaching has had an impact on assessments or other work that has had to be submitted, students may be able to submit a claim for this to be taken into account as part of the university’s mitigating or extenuating circumstances process.

If the issue is not satisfactorily resolved, students can complain through the university’s complaints process; if they are unhappy with the outcome, students have the right to make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). The OIA has also published guidance on its website about its approach to complaints by students affected by the industrial action.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he takes to ensure the accuracy of information in Key Stage 3 history textbooks.

?It is for education publishers to ensure that their textbooks are accurate, and for schools to determine the textbooks and other curriculum resources they wish to buy and how to use them in classrooms.

The Department is currently piloting an approach to curriculum resources through the Curriculum Fund. The aim is to establish how high-quality, complete curriculum programmes in history, geography and science can support teaching in these subjects, reducing teacher workload and improving pupil outcomes. The early findings from independent research on the pilots published on 11 October 2019 are promising, and can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-curriculum-programme-pilot-early-findings.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating funding for the transport costs of children aged (a) 16, (b) 17 and (c) 18 in (i) special education, (ii) further education and (iii) educational day release for apprenticeships.

The statutory responsibility for transport to education and training for 16 to 19-year-olds rests with local authorities, enabling them to make decisions and arrangements which best match local needs and circumstances.

Following the introduction of Raising the Participation Age legislation in 2013, the government investigated the feasibility of mandating local authorities to provide subsidised or free transport for young people post-16. Following this assessment, the department found that this approach would be both prohibitively expensive and would offer poor value for money.

The current arrangements, whereby support is provided by local authorities, transport providers, schools and colleges, alongside the 16-19 Bursary Fund, are the most cost effective solutions, and they enable local government and other organisations to tailor support in the most appropriate way according to local circumstances and needs.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to review the care system.

We are committed to undertaking a review at the earliest opportunity.The review aims to better support, protect and improve the outcomes of vulnerable children and young people. This was confirmed in a written statement made on 12 February 2020, which is available at the following link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statements/?page=1&max=20&questiontype=AllQuestions&house=commons%2Clords&uin=HCWS110.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of relationship and sex education at the north west London early adopter site.

The Department is working closely with over 1600 schools across the country who are acting, on a voluntary basis, as early adopters of relationships education; relationships and sex education (RSE); and health education. As early adopters, these schools have indicated their intention to start teaching the new requirements: relationships education (for primary aged pupils), RSE (for secondary aged pupils) and health education (all pupils in state-funded schools), during the academic year 2019/20, ahead of the subjects being compulsory from September 2020.

The Department has been working closely with these early adopter schools to develop a programme of support. Recently four national conferences took place (including for 229 early adopter schools based in the North West London and South Central Region), to help early adopters plan for delivery of the new subjects, and to enable the Department to learn about their current practices and assess support needs. Following feedback from the conferences, consideration is being given to what further regional support may be required.

This engagement with early adopter schools is helping the Department develop its programme of support for the new subjects, which will be available to all teachers from spring 2020. The programme will focus on tools that improve schools’ practice and will offer opportunities for teachers to improve subject knowledge, build confidence and share best practice. This support will be accessed through a new online service and will include an implementation guide, which will accompany the statutory guidance, case studies from early adopter schools, and innovative materials to support staff training. We will continue to test this package with early adopter schools.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of mental health assessments for looked after children.

Healthcare and social care are devolved matters.

The Department jointly commissioned with Department for Health and Social Care an Expert Working Group to look at how the mental health needs of looked-after children, previously looked-after children and care leavers in England could be better met. In November 2017, the group made a set of recommendations including on improving assessment of the mental health needs of looked-after children.

The Department is taking forward a number of these recommendations through our £1 million mental health assessment pilot programme, which is testing improved approaches to the mental health and wellbeing element of the health assessment on entry to care.

The Department has appointed SQW Limited to carry out an evaluation of the pilot and fieldwork is currently underway. This will help inform our assessment of the changes needed to the mental health assessments of looked-after children.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the promotion of the Youth Endowment Fund to (a) schools and (b) providers of alternative education that are eligible to apply to that fund.

The Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) is a £200 million investment targeted at developing early intervention projects over 10 years to prevent young people from becoming involved in crime and serious violence, including reoffending. The fund is working with local communities to guarantee support reaches those at greatest risk. This could include issues such as children who may not be engaged with education. Through the first grant round in 2019, the YEF identified 23 successful applicants. These projects range from intensive family therapy to school mentoring programmes. The YEF will advertise future funding rounds, as well as offer regional and national events for prospective applicants when funding rounds open. The department will work with the Home Office to ensure that appropriate future rounds are publicised to all eligible bidders. More information on future rounds as well as how to apply for grants can be found on the YEF website: https://youthendowmentfund.org.uk/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government response to the Consultation on a new legal duty to support a multi-agency approach to preventing and tackling serious violence, published in June 2019, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that the education workforce understands their proposed new statutory duties.

The legal duty aims to ensure key organisations in a local area collaborate in a multi-agency approach to tackle serious violence. The Department for Education is working with the Home Office to ensure that the education sector is a key part of the multi-agency partnership. We will be engaging with schools and colleges, including alternative provision institutions, and aim to publish guidance to help support education providers to understand the level of commitment the duty may place on them.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what is the timeframe is for the implementation the undertakings given by the Government in its response to the Timpson Review of School Exclusion, published in May 2019.

The Government is taking forward an ambitious programme of action on behaviour, exclusion and alternative provision (AP) which will respect head teachers’ powers to use exclusion when they need to, enable schools to support children at risk of exclusion, and ensure that excluded children continue to receive a good education. We will expand AP and improve the quality of the sector so that pupils in AP receive an education on a par with that received by their mainstream peers and receive the support they need in other areas. Further information on the timeframes for this work will be provided in due course.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Mental Health Support Teams Trailblazers in London.

The first Mental Health Support Team (MHST) trailblazer sites were announced in December 2018. The 7 Mental Health Support Team (MHSTs) sites selected in London will deliver 15 MHSTs in this first wave of implementation. They are all expected to have completed their training by the end of 2019 / early 2020 and will be fully operational following this. As a result, it is too early to assess their effectiveness in schools and colleges.

A further 16 MHST sites were announced in London in 2019 (23 MHST sites in total), due to deliver a total of 41 MHSTs between them. Each team is expected to support up to 20 schools and colleges, or a population of around 8,000 children and young people.

The national early evaluation of the trailblazer programme formally commenced on 1 October 2019. The protocol for the first phase of the evaluation is available at https://fundingawards.nihr.ac.uk/award/16/138/31, and findings are expected to be published in Spring/Summer 2021.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to introduce Sharia compliant student loans.

The government remains committed to introducing an Alternative Student Finance product for tuition fee and maintenance loans. Details on implementation will follow the conclusion of the review of post-18 education and funding.

8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to roll out the Music in Secondary School Trust initiative throughout state schools in England.

The Government believes that music is an important subject and that all pupils should receive a high-quality music education. The subject is compulsory in the national curriculum up to age 14 and the Government is providing funding of over £300 million for music education hubs between 2016 and 2020. We recently announced a further year’s funding for music hubs, to help thousands more children learn to play musical instruments, as well as continued support for a range of smaller music and arts programmes, totalling £85 million.

Music education hubs have done excellent work to ensure there is more equitable access to music education. We are aware of the work of the Music in Secondary Schools Trust and thank them for their commitment to music education. My officials and I would welcome a meeting with officials from the Trust to discuss their work further.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he will take to promote (a) diversity of thought and (b) freedom of expression on university campuses.

This government will ensure that our universities are places where free speech can thrive, and will strengthen academic freedoms.

The freedom to express views openly, challenge ideas and engage in robust debate is crucial to the student experience and to democracy. Individuals should never be in a position where they can be stopped from, or are made to feel inhibited in, expressing an opinion perfectly lawfully. Similarly, universities should be places where students are exposed to a range of views, including those which may be controversial, and are encouraged to debate and challenge them.

Free speech is protected in universities by law and is embedded in the Office for Students’ Regulatory Framework. Under the Education (No 2) Act 1986, universities have a specific duty to take reasonably practicable steps to secure freedom of speech within the law for staff, students and visiting speakers. The government worked with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, who published new guidance in February 2019 on freedom of speech in higher education to support higher education providers and students’ unions in delivering their duties.

The government will be looking closely at how well higher education providers are meeting these obligations and will consider whether further action is needed, working with a range of partners.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many prosecutions there have been for the illegal storage of manure waste in nitrate vulnerable zones in each of the last four years.

The Environment Agency (EA) issued 24 warning letters under the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) regulations between November 2019 and June 2022. During this period, the EA issued 1755 improvement actions relating to storage of organic manures. Since November 2019, the EA has separately prosecuted 25 farmers for causing pollution under agricultural regulations. Two of these prosecutions included offences under the NVZ regulations.

The EA takes a proactive advice-led approach to enforcement, working with farmers to bring them into compliance before taking formal enforcement action. The EA has found that most farmers take the opportunity to benefit from inspector advice, meaning formal action is often not required to deliver the desired outcomes. For example, the River Axe Regulatory Project, which aims to drive change on dairy farms, has resulted in an estimated £6-8 million investment in farm infrastructure improvements and an enhancement of 30km of watercourses that discharge to the local Special Area of Conservation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he will next review nitrate vulnerable zones.

The review for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones occurs every four years to account for changes in nitrate concentrations. The next review will take place in 2024.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many contraventions of illegal storage of waste have been identified in nitrate vulnerable zones in each of the last four years.

Both the Environment Agency (Nitrate Regulations) and Rural Payments Agency (Cross Compliance) regulate within Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ).

The Environment Agency (EA) has found 309 instances of non-compliance with NVZ regulations since November 2019 of which 93 were related to organic manure storage record keeping offences and 205 related to storage capacity or infrastructure standards. The current database started in late 2019 and it is not possible to extract older data within a reasonable timeframe for this response.

The Rural Payments Agency have identified 92 contraventions of storage requirements in NVZs over the last four years. Examples of breaches include poultry manure and/or other types of solid manure not being stored in either a vessel, impermeable surface, in a wooded building or in a temporary field heap; and a temporary field heap was not solid enough to be stacked in a freestanding heap and/or was producing free drainage from within the stacked material.

Our focus is to work with and support farmers to meet their obligations. That is why Defra has made additional budget available from 2021 for the EA to recruit an additional 50 inspection officers, increasing their capacity to deliver advice-led enforcement.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of developing a national sustainable protein strategy for the UK.

Alternative proteins are often credited with having higher sustainability credentials compared to traditional proteins of animal origin. The alternative proteins category of foods includes plant-based meat and dairy substitutes, fermented and cultivated meat and seafood and novel food sources (insects, algae and jellyfish) not routinely consumed in the Western diet.

The Government has made no formal assessment of the size of the alternative protein market but recognises that developing this sector could support UK growth. Though no assessment has been made of the potential merits of developing a national alternative protein strategy, the recently published Government Food Strategy sets out the Government’s ambition and priorities for the food system, including for alternative proteins.

On research we are making significant investment to unlock innovation and translate our world leading research into practical, farmer-led solutions that improve productivity, environmental sustainability and resilience, and which move towards net zero emission farming systems.

We have several funding programmes open to industry as well as our own farming and food science research. These funding streams address key areas such as soil systems and land management, regenerative agriculture, sustainable feed and pest management, automation, alternative proteins, and precision farming.

As stated in the Government’s Food Strategy, through funding we will support progress on a wide range of issues, including alternative proteins and progress on gene editing. We will also work with the FSA to develop dedicated guidance materials for approval of new alternative protein products while reviewing our novel food regulations. This will ensure they are transparent for innovators and investors, whilst maintaining world-leading consumer safety standards.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) current size and (b) size within the next five years of the sustainable proteins market.

Alternative proteins are often credited with having higher sustainability credentials compared to traditional proteins of animal origin. The alternative proteins category of foods includes plant-based meat and dairy substitutes, fermented and cultivated meat and seafood and novel food sources (insects, algae and jellyfish) not routinely consumed in the Western diet.

The Government has made no formal assessment of the size of the alternative protein market but recognises that developing this sector could support UK growth. Though no assessment has been made of the potential merits of developing a national alternative protein strategy, the recently published Government Food Strategy sets out the Government’s ambition and priorities for the food system, including for alternative proteins.

On research we are making significant investment to unlock innovation and translate our world leading research into practical, farmer-led solutions that improve productivity, environmental sustainability and resilience, and which move towards net zero emission farming systems.

We have several funding programmes open to industry as well as our own farming and food science research. These funding streams address key areas such as soil systems and land management, regenerative agriculture, sustainable feed and pest management, automation, alternative proteins, and precision farming.

As stated in the Government’s Food Strategy, through funding we will support progress on a wide range of issues, including alternative proteins and progress on gene editing. We will also work with the FSA to develop dedicated guidance materials for approval of new alternative protein products while reviewing our novel food regulations. This will ensure they are transparent for innovators and investors, whilst maintaining world-leading consumer safety standards.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to bring forward legislative proposals to prevent the siting of seabed fishing equipment in any location within 300 metres of a navigational mark.

Fisheries management in the UK is devolved. Defra has no plans to bring forward legislation on locating fishing equipment near navigational marks.

In England, passive gear, such as creels, used out to 12 nautical miles must be marked with labels, or if used between 12 and 200 nautical miles they should have a marker buoy. However, existing guidance available online also recommends that passive gear is marked with buoys from 0-12 nautical miles in English waters. There may also be specific rules regarding the marking of passive gear within 0-6 nautical miles managed at a local level by the relevant Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to standardise the marking of creels across the UK and up to 12 nautical miles by following the guidelines published by Marine Scotland.

Fisheries management in the UK is devolved. Defra has no plans to bring forward legislation on locating fishing equipment near navigational marks.

In England, passive gear, such as creels, used out to 12 nautical miles must be marked with labels, or if used between 12 and 200 nautical miles they should have a marker buoy. However, existing guidance available online also recommends that passive gear is marked with buoys from 0-12 nautical miles in English waters. There may also be specific rules regarding the marking of passive gear within 0-6 nautical miles managed at a local level by the relevant Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the findings of the research by the University of Stirling on the impact of wet wipes disposed through the sewage system on Scottish beaches.

We are committed to tackling the issues caused by wet wipes. The Government recently conducted a call for evidence on commonly littered and problematic plastic items in England and this included potential regulatory options around wet wipes, including a ban on those containing plastic. We continue to analyse the responses and all other UK research carried out on this important issue. We will publish an update in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the levels of pyridine in UK waters.

The Environment Agency (EA) is responsible for improving water quality in England. It monitors rivers and estuaries for a range of substances, including pyridine. Between 2005 and 2022, the EA has detected the presence of pyridine in coastal and estuarine waters of England on 30 occasions from a total of 5023 routine samples analysed. During this period, the EA has also analysed 21635 routine freshwater samples in England (this category includes: Rivers, Canals, Lakes/Ponds/Reservoir, and Land Drains) and detected pyridine in 64 of those samples.

This summary of the data suggests that to date there have been relatively few detections of pyridine in the aquatic environment, and we will continue to monitor it closely.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with UK's Overseas Territories on the effects of sargassum seaweed on the ecological system in the British Virgin Islands.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the statutory adviser to the Government on UK and international nature conservation. The JNCC has been discussing this issue with the Overseas Territories for some time and has delivered training expertise to enable the mapping of sargassum and support work on predicting impacts of sargassum washing up along the shoreline in the British Virgin Islands.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding his Department will allocate to the Overseas Territories to replace the EU's LIFE funding programme.

The UK Government continues to support conservation and biodiversity projects in the Overseas Territories, through initiatives such as the Darwin Plus Programme. Over the last decade, the Darwin Plus programme has contributed over £38 million towards 180 projects in the UK Overseas Territories.

The Government has committed to making available £30 million over the next three years, continuing to support environmental projects in the UK Overseas Territories.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many outbreaks of Avian flu have been identified in each of the last five years in England.

During the 2016/2017 avian influenza outbreak, there were 12 confirmed cases of notifiable Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in England.

In 2018, there were no outbreaks of avian influenza in England.

In 2019, 1 case of notifiable avian influenza was confirmed in England, a case of Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) H5N3.

During the 2020/2021 avian influenza outbreak, between November 2020 and March 2021 there were 21 cases of notifiable avian influenza confirmed in England: 1 case of LPAI H5N2, 1 case of LPAI H5N3, 1 case of HPAI H5N1 and 18 cases of HPAI H5N8.

To date, in the 2021/2022 avian influenza outbreak, between 26 October 2021 and 17 May 2022, 97 cases of notifiable avian influenza have been confirmed in England, all HPAI H5N1.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to take steps to increase the proportion of British apples grown commercially in England and Wales.

We have a proud tradition of apple production in this country and our unique climate has given our apples an enviable reputation for quality. Apple orchards are an iconic feature of our landscape.

While commercial decisions ultimately rest with businesses, an innovative, productive and competitive agricultural sector is one of the Government’s key priorities. With its highly responsive and versatile growers, our horticulture sector has a potential to grow, taking advantage of the demand for top-quality, locally grown fresh fruit. We are working with the sector on a forward-thinking approach, for example looking at increased use of innovation to help maximise crop growth and increase productivity. We have also taken a number of steps to support businesses in the horticulture sector. For example, in November 2021, Defra launched the Farming Investment Fund , which provides grants to farmers and horticultural growers in England so that they can invest in the equipment, technology and infrastructure that will help improve their businesses while enhancing the environment.

As agricultural policy is devolved, the information provided applies to England only.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support food producers with the affordability of fertilisers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to increase research opportunities for the identification and management of zoonotic diseases.

Science-based evidence is at the heart of our policy making in Defra. Zoonotic infections threaten both human and animal health and we have systems in place to detect and manage outbreaks, for both endemic (those that are already found in the UK) and exotic infections. We collaborate closely with the public health agencies, as outlined in our contingency plan on how we would work with other Government agencies and departments to control zoonotic diseases as well as those only affecting livestock. This is being put to use at the moment, through our response to avian influenza outbreaks. These plans rely heavily on the most up-to-date evidence base, whether considering new diagnostic technology, delivery of control measures, surveillance, tracing or prevention with vaccination.

To this end, we have allocated £200 million to the Animal and Plant Health Agency science campus at Weybridge. This substantial investment recognises the essential role of this Government capability, as the first stage of a long-term programme of work to safeguard and enhance facilities. This will enable its world-leading scientists to continue at the forefront of research and policy to protect people, the environment and the economy, by boosting our resilience and strengthening our understanding of health risks to, and from, animals and plants.

In addition, in the latest Spending Review, Defra received an uplift to their capital DEL for evidence R&D to support science programme spend for three years. This includes programmes for endemic and exotic diseases, for new emerging diseases and for zoonotic disease programmes.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with her G7 counterparts on strengthening European security.

The Secretary of State joined his counterparts from the G7 nations on 11 March to hear from the Ukrainian Agriculture Minister and to express their solidarity with Ukraine. They also committed to work closely together to mitigate any impacts on global food security in light of Russia's invasion.

Following the virtual meeting, the G7 agricultural ministers published a joint statement condemning the large-scale aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

Ministers agreed to work together to help ensure that sufficient, safe, affordable, and nutritious food continues to be available and accessible to all people, including the poorest, the most vulnerable, and displaced people in a timely, safe, and organised manner. The G7 called on all countries to keep their markets open and guard against unjustified restrictive measures on their exports.

Defra will continue to work with international partners to help facilitate harvests in Ukraine and ensure the ability of Ukrainian farmers to feed their population, addressing logistical challenges for food exports to contribute to global food security.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his policy is on enabling gene editing in plant breeding.

We are taking a cautious and proportionate stepwise approach, based on science, to enable gene editing in plant breeding. On 20 January 2022 Defra laid a Statutory Instrument to simplify the process for plant research in England using new genetic technologies if the resulting plants could have occurred naturally or been produced through traditional breeding methods. This first step in our approach aims to help to free up plant research to enable scientists to develop the knowledge base and drive innovation in farming. As part of our next step we will consider the appropriate measures needed to enable gene edited plants and plant products to be brought to market.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps Ofwat will take to incentivise water companies to meet the aims of strategic drainage and wastewater management planning in a way that represents best value for money over the long-term for customers, the environment and wider society.

Ofwat, the independent economic regulator, is legally required to act in accordance with the strategic policy statement (SPS). A draft SPS was laid in parliament 2nd February and is due to come into force following a period of 40 sitting days.

Government expects Ofwat to explain how it intends to achieve against the priorities set out in the SPS when making key decisions. For example, in its forthcoming price control review methodology.

Protecting and enhancing our nation's water environment is a priority for this government. It is government's expectation that Ofwat and the water industry will prioritise appropriate action to enhance water quality and deliver a resilient and sustainable water supply. In particular, the Government wants to see water and sewerage companies making progressive reductions in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows.

DWMPs will become statutory through the Environment Act 2021 when the first cycle ends and will help sewerage companies to fully assess wastewater network capacity and develop collaborative solutions.

In delivering against the priorities set out in the Strategic Policy Statement, water companies should significantly increase their use of nature and catchment-based solutions. We expect companies and regulators to work towards delivering these solutions as a matter of preference.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that OfWAT ensures water industry companies collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the implementation and future development of Drainage and Wastewater Management plans to encourage the increased use of catchment-wide, nature-based solutions and sustainable drainage schemes.

Ofwat, the independent economic regulator, is legally required to act in accordance with the strategic policy statement (SPS). A draft SPS was laid in parliament 2nd February and is due to come into force following a period of 40 sitting days.

Government expects Ofwat to explain how it intends to achieve against the priorities set out in the SPS when making key decisions. For example, in its forthcoming price control review methodology.

Protecting and enhancing our nation's water environment is a priority for this government. It is government's expectation that Ofwat and the water industry will prioritise appropriate action to enhance water quality and deliver a resilient and sustainable water supply. In particular, the Government wants to see water and sewerage companies making progressive reductions in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows.

DWMPs will become statutory through the Environment Act 2021 when the first cycle ends and will help sewerage companies to fully assess wastewater network capacity and develop collaborative solutions.

In delivering against the priorities set out in the Strategic Policy Statement, water companies should significantly increase their use of nature and catchment-based solutions. We expect companies and regulators to work towards delivering these solutions as a matter of preference.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to ensure that Ofwat legally enforces the aims of the drainage and wastewater planning process, in the Framework for the production of Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans, including the Government and regulators’ joint guiding principles to water companies.

Ofwat, the independent economic regulator, is legally required to act in accordance with the strategic policy statement (SPS). A draft SPS was laid in parliament 2nd February and is due to come into force following a period of 40 sitting days.

Government expects Ofwat to explain how it intends to achieve against the priorities set out in the SPS when making key decisions. For example, in its forthcoming price control review methodology.

Protecting and enhancing our nation's water environment is a priority for this government. It is government's expectation that Ofwat and the water industry will prioritise appropriate action to enhance water quality and deliver a resilient and sustainable water supply. In particular, the Government wants to see water and sewerage companies making progressive reductions in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows.

DWMPs will become statutory through the Environment Act 2021 when the first cycle ends and will help sewerage companies to fully assess wastewater network capacity and develop collaborative solutions.

In delivering against the priorities set out in the Strategic Policy Statement, water companies should significantly increase their use of nature and catchment-based solutions. We expect companies and regulators to work towards delivering these solutions as a matter of preference.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government's strategic priorities for Ofwat, 2 February 2022, what steps the regulator will need to take to ensure water companies demonstrate how they will significantly reduce the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows, so overflows operate infrequently, and only in cases of unusually heavy rainfall.

Ofwat, the independent economic regulator, is legally required to act in accordance with the strategic policy statement (SPS). A draft SPS was laid in parliament 2nd February and is due to come into force following a period of 40 sitting days.

Government expects Ofwat to explain how it intends to achieve against the priorities set out in the SPS when making key decisions. For example, in its forthcoming price control review methodology.

Protecting and enhancing our nation's water environment is a priority for this government. It is government's expectation that Ofwat and the water industry will prioritise appropriate action to enhance water quality and deliver a resilient and sustainable water supply. In particular, the Government wants to see water and sewerage companies making progressive reductions in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows.

DWMPs will become statutory through the Environment Act 2021 when the first cycle ends and will help sewerage companies to fully assess wastewater network capacity and develop collaborative solutions.

In delivering against the priorities set out in the Strategic Policy Statement, water companies should significantly increase their use of nature and catchment-based solutions. We expect companies and regulators to work towards delivering these solutions as a matter of preference.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government's strategic priorities for Ofwat, 2 February 2022, what steps the regulator will need to take to ensure water companies demonstrate how they are working towards achieving zero serious pollution incidents by 2030.

Ofwat, the independent economic regulator, is legally required to act in accordance with the strategic policy statement (SPS). A draft SPS was laid in parliament 2nd February and is due to come into force following a period of 40 sitting days.

Government expects Ofwat to explain how it intends to achieve against the priorities set out in the SPS when making key decisions. For example, in its forthcoming price control review methodology.

Protecting and enhancing our nation's water environment is a priority for this government. It is government's expectation that Ofwat and the water industry will prioritise appropriate action to enhance water quality and deliver a resilient and sustainable water supply. In particular, the Government wants to see water and sewerage companies making progressive reductions in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows.

DWMPs will become statutory through the Environment Act 2021 when the first cycle ends and will help sewerage companies to fully assess wastewater network capacity and develop collaborative solutions.

In delivering against the priorities set out in the Strategic Policy Statement, water companies should significantly increase their use of nature and catchment-based solutions. We expect companies and regulators to work towards delivering these solutions as a matter of preference.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government's strategic priorities for Ofwat, 2 February 2022, what steps the regulator will need to take to ensure that water companies demonstrate they are improving environmental performance to meet the Environment Agency requirements in the Environmental Performance Assessment.

Ofwat, the independent economic regulator, is legally required to act in accordance with the strategic policy statement (SPS). A draft SPS was laid in parliament 2nd February and is due to come into force following a period of 40 sitting days.

Government expects Ofwat to explain how it intends to achieve against the priorities set out in the SPS when making key decisions. For example, in its forthcoming price control review methodology.

Protecting and enhancing our nation's water environment is a priority for this government. It is government's expectation that Ofwat and the water industry will prioritise appropriate action to enhance water quality and deliver a resilient and sustainable water supply. In particular, the Government wants to see water and sewerage companies making progressive reductions in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows.

DWMPs will become statutory through the Environment Act 2021 when the first cycle ends and will help sewerage companies to fully assess wastewater network capacity and develop collaborative solutions.

In delivering against the priorities set out in the Strategic Policy Statement, water companies should significantly increase their use of nature and catchment-based solutions. We expect companies and regulators to work towards delivering these solutions as a matter of preference.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to identify potential funding opportunities for water companies to maximise co-funding and green finance opportunities in order to operate in partnerships across catchments.

Water companies, as private companies, are best placed to identify co-funding and green finance opportunities to operate in catchment partnerships. However, we have set ourselves a target to raise at least £500 million a year in private finance for nature’s recovery in England by 2027, and more than £1 billion by 2030. Nature and catchment-based solutions in the water sector are expected to make a significant contribution to this target.

We have therefore been working with industry leaders from business, finance, land management and environment sectors to understand how to scale up private finance into ecosystem service markets, including through the Financing UK Nature Recovery Coalition. This includes taking action to ensure that any investment is robust and credible, as well as delivering additionality. We will be setting out more on our plans on financing nature later this year, including through the upcoming Nature Recovery Green Paper and the update to the government’s Green Finance Strategy.

Defra is already working to encourage water companies to maximise co-funding and green finance opportunities, such as through the review of the Water Industry National Environmental Programme. The review, jointly led by Defra, the Environment Agency and Ofwat, aims to further enable water companies to work with interested organisations in a catchment to jointly design and fund schemes to improve the water environment. This includes boosting investment in nature-based solutions wherever possible. Defra also encourages the use of market-based mechanisms, such as nutrient trading, and has fully supported the piloting of these approaches.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of developing a business case for a Silk Stream Flood Alleviation scheme designed to protect houses located in the Silk Stream catchment area.

The Environment Agency is currently working with the Silk Stream project team to help them set out the options appraisal phase of the Silk Stream Flood Alleviation Scheme. This appraisal phase will identify if any options to reduce flood risk to properties are viable. An Outline Business Case will be prepared to take forward any viable options and further partnership funding will be sought.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timeframe is for all water companies in England to (a) acknowledge and (b) implement the recommendations of the Consumer Council for Water’s Affordability Review.

The Consumer Council for Water’s (CCW’s) Affordability Review was well received across the water sector. CCW is co-ordinating and monitoring progress against water companies’ implementation of its recommendations.

Good progress is being made across all recommendations and in particular ten companies are currently trialling twelve innovative pilot schemes to improve awareness of and access to support measures.

CCW plans to publish a “one-year-on” report in Summer 2022 which will evaluate the progress made on all ten recommendations of its Affordability Review.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps can be taken against water companies who (a) refuse or (b) fail to implement the recommendations of the Consumer Council for Water’s Affordability Review.

The Consumer Council for Water’s (CCW’s) Affordability Review was well received across the water sector. CCW is co-ordinating and monitoring progress against water companies’ implementation of its recommendations.

Good progress is being made across all recommendations and in particular ten companies are currently trialling twelve innovative pilot schemes to improve awareness of and access to support measures.

CCW plans to publish a “one-year-on” report in Summer 2022 which will evaluate the progress made on all ten recommendations of its Affordability Review.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the results were of the cost benefit analysis undertaken on the Silk Stream Flood Resilience Innovation project.

Through the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme (FCRIP) the Silk Stream Flood Resilience Innovation Project is expected to receive approximately £6 million between now and March 2027 to investigate and deliver practical innovative actions. This project includes, for example, the testing and trialling the use of thermo-sensors to investigate and identify the surface water ingress in the foul network.

Local Authorities were invited to apply outlining the innovation they proposed for this Programme. We received 79 applications that were subject to a rigorous assessment, including viability and value for money. I am delighted that this project was one of the 25 across England to be successful

The project team are currently working on an Outline Business Case which they expect to present to the Environment Agency by April 2022. This will provide detailed information on the actions, costs and outcomes they expect to achieve. The Projects will be providing further evidence on the cost and benefit of individual and collective actions, to enable future choices. The aim is to demonstrate which actions can work effectively to improve resilience to flooding and coastal erosion supporting future local actions and wider decision-making nationally.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) sanctions will be made and (b) enforcement action will be taken against water companies that fail to plan, invest in, and operate water and wastewater services to secure the needs of current and future customers, in a way which delivers value to customers, the environment and wider society over the long-term.

Water companies have a statutory duty to develop and maintain water service provision which will provide security of supply for customers. Statutory water resources management plans show how companies will meet this duty and manage water supply and demand for at least the next 25 years. The water supply duties, including the preparation and review of water resources management plans, are enforceable under the Water Industry Act 1991 by Ofwat and the Secretary of State.

Additionally, water and sewerage companies are currently in the first cycle of non-statutory planning, known as Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans (DWMPs), and this is expected to be completed by companies in spring 2023. This planning process will help sewerage companies to fully assess wastewater network capacity and develop collaborative solutions.

DWMPs will become statutory through the Environment Act 2021 when the first cycle ends in 2023.

To ensure water and sewerage companies are delivering their plans, Ofwat, the economic regulator for the water industry, will be able to use existing levers to take enforcement action.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding his Department has made available in total for the Silk Stream Flood Resilience Innovation project.

Through the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme (FCRIP) the Silk Stream Flood Resilience Innovation Project is expected to receive approximately £6 million between now and March 2027 to investigate and deliver practical innovative actions. This project includes, for example, the testing and trialling the use of thermo-sensors to investigate and identify the surface water ingress in the foul network.

Local Authorities were invited to apply outlining the innovation they proposed for this Programme. We received 79 applications that were subject to a rigorous assessment, including viability and value for money. I am delighted that this project was one of the 25 across England to be successful

The project team are currently working on an Outline Business Case which they expect to present to the Environment Agency by April 2022. This will provide detailed information on the actions, costs and outcomes they expect to achieve. The Projects will be providing further evidence on the cost and benefit of individual and collective actions, to enable future choices. The aim is to demonstrate which actions can work effectively to improve resilience to flooding and coastal erosion supporting future local actions and wider decision-making nationally.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason his Department’s Strategic Priorities for OfWAT require support from the customers of water companies to deliver wider environmental benefits in the course of carrying out their functions.

Water companies are regional monopolies and their investments are ultimately paid for by their customers. Customer engagement allows water companies to ensure their investments reflect customers' needs now and in the future and provides scrutiny of business plans to deliver good value for money.

We set out in our Strategic Policy Statement to Ofwat, the expectation that Ofwat should promote efficient investment, ensuring it is made in a way that secures long-term resilience and protects and enhances the environment, whilst delivering value for money for customers, society and the environment over the long-term. The industry will need to provide intergenerational value and improved services, and Ofwat should also challenge companies to meet the needs of vulnerable customers, including the ‘transiently’ vulnerable.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department will take to ensure that water companies expand data sharing initiatives across the industry and with other utilities.

We expect Ofwat to challenge water companies to expand data sharing initiatives across the industry and with other utilities. In Autumn 2022, Ofwat will undertake an evaluation of the progress made by the industry in the area of open data.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government’s strategic priorities for Ofwat, 2 February 2022, when the review of the Security and Emergency Measures Direction began; and what the timeframe is for its conclusion.

The Security and Emergency Measures review has looked at updating the measures water and sewerage companies are required to take in the interests of national security or to mitigate the effects of a civil emergency. The review commenced in October 2019 but was paused due to Covid pressures on organisational resources. It recommenced in November 2020 and is expected to conclude at the end of February 2022, with the issue of a new direction with updated measures.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking with dog owners to highlight the risks of neospora to cattle.

Neospora is a parasite. Neospora caninum may cause abortions in cattle and paralysis in dogs. It is not considered to be infectious to humans. Clinical disease in dogs is rare and owners may not be aware of infection in their pet.

The Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs was presented to Parliament in December 2017. It makes clear that a dog’s handler has a legal obligation to clean up after it (Welfare of Dogs). Similarly, the statutory guidance within the Countryside Code: Advice for Countryside Visitors, updated 01 April 2021, (Countryside Code) highlights the risk of illness to people and livestock, and sets out that dog handlers must clean up after the dog.

Guidance and advice for cattle owners on preventative measures has been provided by the National Animal Disease Information Service NADIS - National Animal Disease Information Service.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on reducing pet theft.

The Government’s Pet Theft Taskforce was set up by Defra, Ministry of Justice and Home Office Ministers to gather evidence around the concerns about a perceived increase in pet theft during lockdown and to recommend measures to tackle the problem. The Pet Theft Taskforce published its report on 03 September 2021 and made a number of recommendations including the introduction of a new pet abduction offence, which has been added to the Kept Animals Bill. The full report is available at Pet theft taskforce report - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). The three departments are continuing to work together to implement the recommendations from the report and to tackle the issue of pet theft from all angles.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made on implementing future farming schemes.

On 2 December 2021, we published a document called Sustainable Farming Incentive – how the scheme will work in 2022. On 6 January 2022, we published more information on Local Nature Recovery, Landscape Recovery, and the expected outcomes of the three schemes. On the same day, we announced that we have reviewed Countryside Stewardship revenue payment rates. We will be increasing payment rates for the majority of revenue options, to reflect changes in agricultural market rates since payment rates were set in 2013.

These new documents build on the information we published in the Agricultural Transition Plan: June 2021 progress update, and provide the next level of detail necessary for farmers to make the right decisions for themselves and their businesses.

We are also offering a range of interventions to help farmers improve their productivity in a sustainable way, support them as we move through the transition, create a thriving agricultural sector, and reward farmers for actions that benefit the environment.

For example, £10.7 million of funding has been awarded through the Future Farming Resilience Fund, to provide business support to farmers and land managers to help them navigate the changes during the early years of the agricultural transition period. This support will help farmers by providing the information and tools required to plan with confidence on the best way forward for their business. The support will be available, free of charge, from onwards and any farmer or land manager currently in receipt of BPS is eligible to apply.

Defra also launched the new Farming Investment Fund, which will offer funding for equipment, technology, and infrastructure that improves farm productivity and benefits the environment. There is also the Farming Innovation Programme, which encouraged groups of farmers, growers, businesses and researchers to get involved in collaborative research and development.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the Deposit Return Scheme will be introduced in England.

Last year's consultation asked for views on the proposed DRS implementation timetable. We are currently analysing responses to the consultation with a response due to be published early this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure a greater share of the UK-EU catch limits for the UK fleet in 2023.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) gives the UK a greater share of fishing quota, equal to 25% of the value of the average annual EU catch from UK waters. This will be phased in over five years from 2021, meaning the UK share will continue to increase, year on year, until 2026. The Marine Management Organisation has published analysis of the share gains for the UK under the TCA.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help prevent livestock worrying by dogs.

The Government takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications.

New measures to crack down on livestock worrying in England and Wales are being brought in through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021.

The new measures will enhance the enforcement mechanisms available to the police and expand the scope of livestock species and locations covered by the law. Improved powers will enable the police to respond to livestock worrying incidents more effectively – making it easier for them to collect evidence and, in the most serious cases, seize and detain dogs to reduce the risk of further incidents. The scope of livestock species covered by the legislation will be extended to include animals such as llamas, emus, enclosed deer and donkeys. New locations will include roads and paths, as long as the livestock have not strayed into a road.

All reported instances of livestock worrying should be taken seriously, investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences. The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill includes a range of ancillary orders available to the court following conviction, such as control, disqualification and destruction orders. These orders are aimed at targeting and reducing reoffending.

Guidance is available to educate owners about handling their dogs responsibly in the vicinity of livestock, in order to prevent the occurrence of attacks or chasing. Natural England recently published a refreshed version of the Countryside Code, which highlights that it is best practice to keep dogs on a lead around livestock. The Code also makes specific reference to keeping dogs in sight and under control to make sure they stay away from livestock, wildlife, horses and other people unless invited. Moreover, the Code helpfully sets out certain legal requirements, encouraging visitors to always check local signs as there are locations where you must keep your dog on a lead around livestock for all or part of the year.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure an adequate labour supply for farming businesses.

Defra continues to work closely with industry and other Government departments to understand labour supply and demand, including both permanent and seasonal workforce requirements, and to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the food and farming workforce.

The Government has announced that the seasonal worker visa route will be extended to 2024 to allow overseas workers to come to the UK for up to six months to harvest both edible and ornamental crops. 30,000 visas will be available. This will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 if necessary.

While acknowledging the sector’s reliance on foreign workers, the UK is committed to becoming a high-skilled, high-wage economy and the Government has been clear that more must be done to attract UK workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and to invest in increased automation technology.

Defra’s Review of Automation in Horticulture will be published shortly and will inform a range of policy decisions regarding automation and seasonal labour from 2022 onwards.

In addition, food and farming businesses can continue to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.5 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Defra is also working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities within the food and farming sectors among UK workers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the loss of ancient woodland along the route of HS2.

The Government recognises that ancient woodlands are an irreplicable habitat that should be protected. Defra has worked with the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd to ensure that route design and delivery plans minimise any loss of trees as far as possible, and in particular minimise any loss of ancient woodlands and veteran trees.

Ancient Woodland Strategies have been prepared for Phase One and Phase 2a which provide a detailed breakdown of the bespoke compensatory measures being put in place for each woodland affected. A further strategy setting out the impacts on ancient woodland for Phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester) is also being developed.

Measures to compensate for ancient woodland affected by HS2 include: creating new woodland; sensitively moving, or translocating, ancient woodland soils to new sites; and enhancing adjacent parts of ancient woodlands that are not affected by construction. The Government has also committed £7 million to establish the HS2 Woodland Fund, helping landowners within 25 miles of the railway to plant new native woodlands and restore Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites.

HS2 Ltd have recently published an environmental sustainability progress report, which provides an up-to-date assessment of the impacts of HS2 on ancient woodland. This forecasts that 23.7ha of ancient woodland will be lost during construction of Phase One of HS2. This is a reduction of 5.7ha on what was expected in the Phase One Environmental Statement and includes seven woodland sites where there will now be no impacts at all.

The full report can be found here: 25091_HS2_EnvironmentalSustainabilityProgressReport20-21_CS1547_Final_InteractiveWeb.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to safeguard protected landscapes.

Our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are more important than ever for the nation’s health and wellbeing, as well as nature recovery and climate action.

The Government response to the Landscapes Review was published on Saturday 15 January and sets out measures to safeguard protected landscapes. The response is accompanied by a consultation that will run for 12 weeks until Saturday 09 April. For more information please see the official Government response page which also links to the consultation: Landscapes review (National Parks and AONBs): government response - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that every bathing water location on the coast achieves excellent status.

Substantial improvements have been made to bathing water quality: in the early 1990s, just 28% of bathing waters met the highest 'excellent' standards in force at that time. In 2021, using a stricter 'excellent' standard introduced in 2015, 70.7% of bathing waters were classified as 'excellent' and another 24% as 'good'.

Improving water quality is a Government priority, and we know there is more to be done. The Environment Agency is working with partners including local authorities, water companies, farmers and businesses to both improve bathing water quality and prevent deterioration. The landmark Environment Act 2021 sets a duty on water companies to achieve a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from Storm Overflows, which will further support this work.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve coastal water quality.

Restoring water quality is a Government priority. We will shortly be setting new legally binding targets for water under the Environment Act to provide a strong mechanism for driving long-term environmental improvements.

This Government is the first to take action to tackle the historic infrastructure issue of sewage overflows, with new duties through the Environment Act on the water industry to reduce the harm they cause. Water company investment in environmental improvements has been scaled up to £7.1 billion over the period 2020-25. Through the next Price Review (PR24) we are using the strategic policy statement to Ofwat, the economic regulator, to make the environment a top priority.

We have doubled investment in the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme creating a new annual budget of £30 million, which means that 100% of England’s farmers will be able to access advice. The new Environmental Land Management schemes will also play a major role in rewarding farmers for actions that improve water quality. Funding will also be made available for farmers to improve their slurry infrastructure from autumn 2022. We have also made extra budget available to the EA for 50 extra inspectors to be recruited in this financial year to visit farms posing a risk of water pollution.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve river water quality.

Restoring water quality is a Government priority. We will shortly be setting new legally binding targets for water under the Environment Act to provide a strong mechanism for driving long-term environmental improvements.

This Government is the first to take action to tackle the historic infrastructure issue of sewage overflows, with new duties through the Environment Act on the water industry to reduce the harm they cause. Water company investment in environmental improvements has been scaled up to £7.1 billion over the period 2020-25. Through the next Price Review (PR24) we are using the strategic policy statement to Ofwat, the economic regulator, to make the environment a top priority.

We have doubled investment in the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme creating a new annual budget of £30 million, which means that 100% of England’s farmers will be able to access advice. The new Environmental Land Management schemes will also play a major role in rewarding farmers for actions that improve water quality. Funding will also be made available for farmers to improve their slurry infrastructure from autumn 2022. We have also made extra budget available to the EA for 50 extra inspectors to be recruited in this financial year to visit farms posing a risk of water pollution.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) his Department has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on protecting ancient woodland along the route of HS2.

The Government recognises that ancient woodlands are an irreplicable habitat that should be protected. In designing the railway, HS2 Ltd has sought to carefully avoid impacts on ancient woodlands wherever possible. Where effects on ancient woodland cannot be reasonably avoided then HS2 Ltd has committed to provide a range of compensation measures in response to these losses. As part of the compensation strategy, Government and HS2 Ltd. are planting more than 7 million new trees and shrubs, including over 40 native species, as part of Phase One of the HS2 programme.

On top of this, the Government has committed £7 million in establishing the HS2 Woodland Fund, helping landowners within 25 miles of the railway to create and restore woodland. The first £2 million of this fund has already been committed, which we expect will create around 198 hectares of new native woodland and help restore around 144 hectares of ancient woodland sites.

Additionally, the Forestry Commission (FC) has a service level agreement with HS2 under which FC provides expert and technical advice on the scheme’s impact on woodlands, including ancient woodlands. This includes contributing to scheme-wide documents such as HS2’s Environmental Statements (via both informal and formal consultation), technical specifications and site-specific documents such as on a selection of Ecology Site Management Plans (ESMPs) where ancient woodlands are affected.

Natural England (NE) also has a service level agreement with HS2, via which it provides technical advice on ecological and landscape impacts including ancient woodland. NE are consulted on the HS2 Environmental Statements and technical standards and on a selection of ESMPs for ancient woodland sites.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the (a) economic and (b) environmental sustainability of coastal communities.

Coastal communities are crucial to this Government’s levelling-up agenda. Leaving the EU has given the UK fishing industry a welcome boost – we have seen quota uplifts that will amount to £146 million by 2026. This in turn is benefitting wider coastal communities, as is our UK Seafood Fund.

The UK Seafood Fund Infrastructure scheme, totalling at least £65 million, will invest in ports, processing facilities and aquaculture for the seafood industry. This infrastructure is critical for the seafood industry which supports so many of our coastal communities. Additionally, we have announced £24 million for science and innovation, supporting our ambition to see the most sustainable fishing industry and coastal communities in the world.

The Government looks forward to continuing to work closely with fishermen and stakeholders, utilising the recently established Regional Fisheries Groups as a forum to build more collaborative working relationships with the inshore industry to support economic and environmental sustainability in their local coastal communities.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the recycling of alkaline polymers through local authorities.

Alkaline polymers typically have highly specialist applications, and as a result are not a significant part of household waste. As such, they are not currently a priority for local authority recycling.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what proportion of the amount of (a) pork, (b) beef, (c) chicken and (d) lamb consumed in the UK is imported.

In tonnage terms, imported pigmeat accounted for 53% of UK supply in 2020. For beef and veal the equivalent figure was 29%, for poultrymeat 24% and for mutton and lamb 28%. Imports of meat in composite products such as ready meals are not accounted for. UK supply excludes home production that is exported.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government is taking steps to protect the practice of shechita.

The Government is committed to supporting the rights of Jewish communities to eat meat slaughtered by the shechita method. This is secured in our legislation by the derogation from stunning that applies when animals are slaughtered in accordance with religious rites.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of domestic pets being left for rehoming with animal welfare charities in each of the last three years.

Defra does not hold exact data on the number of domestic pets being left for rehoming annually over the last three years. However, the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) annual returns for 2018, 2019 and 2020 show that:

The intake for dogs in 2018 was 72,191;

The intake for cats in 2018 was 90,815;

The intake for dogs in 2019 was 65,080;

The intake for cats in 2019 was 99,738;

The intake for dogs in 2020 was 44,771;

The intake for cats in 2020 was 56,672.

The ADCH figures for 2021 will be available early next year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Our plan for Net Zero will generate thousands of well-paid jobs here in the UK, help us develop thriving, leading-edge green industries, strengthen our energy security, and improve our health and well-being. Acting now will put us at the forefront of large, expanding global markets and allow us to capitalise on export opportunities so that the UK becomes an importer rather than a customer of the technology of the future. This is why the Government's approach will be tech-led using the best of British technology and innovation – just as we did in the last industrial revolution – to help make homes and buildings warmer, the air cleaner and our journeys greener, all while creating thousands of jobs in new future-proof industries.

Our Net Zero Strategy sets out a plan to:

  • Level up our country supporting up to 190,000 green jobs in 2025 and up to 440,000 jobs across net zero sectors in 2030
  • Build a secure, home-grown energy sector which ends our dependency on volatile foreign gas prices, which will help protect consumers and businesses.
  • Leverage new private investments of up to £90 billion by 2030 levelling-up our former industrial heartlands.
  • The policies and spending brought forward in the Net Zero Strategy mean that since the Ten Point Plan, we have mobilised £26 billion of government capital investment for the green industrial revolution. More than £5.8 billion of foreign investment in green projects has also been secured since the launch of the Ten Point Plan, along with at least 56,000 jobs in the UK’s clean industries.
  • Take a credible and conservative approach to cutting our climate emissions, putting us on track to meet our carbon reduction targets, including our Nationally Determined Contribution (68% reduction by 2030) and Carbon Budget 6 (78% 2035) - building on our successes since 2010.

We set out the steps Defra is taking to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 in the Net Zero Strategy. This includes:

  • Boosting the existing £640m Nature for Climate Fund with a further £124m of new money, ensuring total spend of more than £750m by 2025 on peat restoration, woodland creation and management.
  • Trebling woodland creation rates by the end of this Parliament, reflecting England’s contribution to meeting the UK’s overall target of increasing planting rates to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this Parliament and maintain new planting at least at this level from 2025 onwards.
  • Restoring approximately 280,000 hectares of peatlands in England by 2050.
  • Supporting low carbon farming and agricultural innovation, through the Farming Investment Fund and the Farming Innovation Programme, as well as future environmental land management schemes.
  • Investing £75 million on net zero related R&D across natural resources, waste and f-gases, to inform our pathway to 2037.
Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce food waste in the hospitality and catering industries.

We support the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and its work to halve food waste per capita by 2030.

The Hospitality and Food Service Sector Action Plan, supported by the Government and delivered by WRAP, details the actions the sector should take and provides guidance and tools including to Target, Measure and Act on waste; setting a target for reduction, measuring and acting on food waste in their operations. We will also consult on introducing mandatory food waste reporting for food businesses of an appropriate size.

WRAP has also developed a campaign and new online learning programme for the sector called Guardians of Grub. It aims to raise awareness of the issue of food waste, the environmental and financial benefits of taking action and to embed food waste reduction through online learning courses for people working in the sector.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress has been made on (a) defining the metrics for measuring and (b) setting a long-term legally binding target for the condition of (i) land and (ii) sea sites protected under the Environment Act 2021 to help meet the Government's commitment to increase the amount of protected land in the UK to 30 percent by 2030.

In early 2022, we will publish a public consultation on the proposed long-term targets to be set under the Environment Act 2021 framework. This will include a rationale and specify the metric for each of the proposed targets. Alongside the consultation, we intend to publish an evidence pack and Impact Assessment that will provide more detailed information about the evidence approach used to develop the targets. We are required by the Environment Act 2021 to set at least one long term target for biodiversity, and are currently considering several potential options, including related to habitats.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the report by Surfers Against Sewage, 2021 Water Quality Report, published on 25 November 2021, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the findings in that report that there has been an increase of 87.6 per cent in sewage discharge notifications over the last 12 months.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers provided on 1 December 2021 to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam, PQ 82122, and to the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, PQ 82067.

The Government has made tackling sewage overflows a priority and we are the first Government to take concerted action to tackle this historic infrastructure issue.

Earlier this year the Government published a new draft set of strategic priorities for the water industry's financial regulator Ofwat. In this publication Government set out its expectation that water companies must take steps to "significantly reduce the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows."

The Environment Act then placed this direction on a statutory footing, setting a duty for water companies to achieve a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows. Defra intends to set out the level of ambition expected by this in due course.

The Water Industry Act, as amended by the Environment Act, will include a duty on water companies to publish near real time information (within one hour) of the commencement of an overflow, its location and when it ceases, and to monitor the water quality upstream and downstream of a storm overflow or a sewage disposal works. These requirements will be part of the way we measure and evaluate the reduction in harm caused by storm overflows and the Government will bring forward implementing legislation in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the health of people participating in river-based activities, such as swimming, fishing and paddling, is not harmed by polluted water.

Improving water quality is a Government priority and we are taking significant action in this area for people and nature. The Environment Act sets a duty on the Government to publish a storm overflow discharge reduction plan by September 2022. This plan will address reducing the adverse impacts on public health of sewage discharges from storm overflows.

Where rivers are designated as Bathing Waters, the Environment Agency monitors water quality and classifies bathing waters in line with the health protective standards of the Bathing Water Regulations (2013) and publishes an annual classification of Poor, Sufficient, Good or Excellent. It must also exercise its pollution control powers to achieve at least Sufficient status. Currently there is one river with designated Bathing Water Status, the River Wharfe at Ilkley. This was monitored for the first time during the 2021 Bathing Water Season (15th May - 30th September). The classification result will be published in January 2022.

The Environment Agency publishes a profile for each designated Bathing Water on its Swimfo website (https://environment.data.gov.uk/bwq/profiles/), which provides water quality testing results, the annual classification and information on pollution sources affecting each Bathing Water.

The Environment Agency and the UK Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England) have published Swim Healthy guidance on Gov.UK

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/swim-healthy-leaflet).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the financial impact on riverside SMEs of local sewage pollution.

The Government has not made an assessment of the impact on riverside SMEs of local sewage pollution.

However, the Government has been clear that the water industry’s levels of sewage discharges from storm overflows are unacceptable and has made tackling this a priority. We are the first Government to take concerted action to tackle this historic infrastructure issue, including through the Environment Act. The provisions in the Environment Act place a duty on the water industry to achieve a progressive reduction in the adverse impacts caused by storm overflows. These include adverse impacts on public health.

The Government will publish a report before 1 September 2022 on the actions necessary, including the costs and benefits of the elimination of storm overflows. The report will consider a range of benefits, including those to business.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of publishing submissions to his Department's call for evidence on reforms to food labelling for animal welfare.

On 13 September the Government published a call for evidence on the impacts of potential animal welfare labelling. The call for evidence closes on 6 December. Following the conclusion of the call for evidence and a period to analyse responses received, the Government will publish a summary of responses. This will include information about the number of responses received and explain the key themes arising from those responses, without infringing upon expected confidentiality or identifying individuals. This approach is in line with the Government Consultation Principles.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the amount of (a) halal and (b) kosher meats exported from the UK.

The 2018 Food Standards Agency’s survey into slaughter methods in England and Wales indicates that approximately 24% of meat from sheep slaughtered without stunning was exported to the EU. The Food Standards Agency will be undertaking a further survey in early 2022, which will provide the latest slaughter data.

There is no requirement on meat Export Health Certificates (EHCs) to stipulate if an animal was stunned or not.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) effectiveness of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London and (b) environmental and financial benefits that other local authorities could accrue from such a scheme.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone was implemented by the Mayor of London, who is responsible for assessing its impacts and effectiveness.

The Government is working with a number of local authorities to bring local roads to within legal limits for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) pollution, following the actions set out in the 2017 NO2 plan. A number of these local authorities are implementing Clean Air Zones to achieve this aim, with zones launched in Bath and Birmingham and another launching shortly in Portsmouth. The primary goal of such actions is to safeguard public health from the impacts of air pollution.

Where a local authority identifies a Clean Air Zone is needed, it is required to carry out an assessment of the zone's impacts as part of its initial business case development. These authorities will also undertake ongoing monitoring and analysis to assess the zone's impacts on air quality.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the compound annual growth rate of UK commercial timber prices in the last two decades.

Timber price indices published by Forest Research, based on timber sales made by Forestry England, Natural Resources Wales and Forestry and Land Scotland, show that coniferous standing timber has increased in value by 235% in nominal terms and 113% in real terms over the last 20 years. Timber is an internationally traded commodity and prices vary depending on the performance of economies around the world, currency exchange rates and levels of harvesting.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of trends in (a) global and (b) national supplies of commercial timber supplies up to 2050.

Forest Research publish timber availability forecasts for softwood and hardwood in Great Britain over 25 and 50 year time horizons. Forecasts are adjusted over time as new data and improved models become available.

Current forecasts show that softwood availability changes over time increasing from an annual average availability of 17.15 million m3 in the period 2017 – 2021 to 18.4 million m3 in 2027 – 2031 before declining to 11.9 million m3 in 2047 -2051. A revised 25 year forecast will be published in 2022.

The department has not made estimates of global supplies of timber, however, data provided by Forest Research contribute to Forest Sector Outlook Studies produced by the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of trends in the annual supply deficit of commercial timber in the UK in each of the next three decades.

Forest Research publishes Forestry Statistics on Trade in wood products based on Overseas Statistics compiled by HM Revenue & Customs.

In the period 2011 - 2020 the UK has consumed between 43 and 57 million tonnes of wood raw material equivalent (WRME) annually. Consumption is the sum of UK produced wood plus imported wood minus exported wood. UK production accounted for between 10.0 and 11.2 million tonnes WRME annually and imported timber for between 39.6 and 50.3 million tonnes WRME.

Imported timber accounts for around 80% of timber consumed in the UK. Levels of consumption depend on economic activity. It is anticipated that imports will continue to account for the majority of timber consumed in the UK in each of the next three decades. This year, as part of the Nature for Climate Fund, we are supporting 17 projects designed to increase levels of woodland management to both improve habitats and supply timber to market. As described in the England Trees Action Plan we are working with industry to encourage the use of timber, increase supply of timber to the construction market and develop innovative timber products and methods of construction using wood.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the amount of ferric sulphate available in the UK as of 9 November 2021.

There is no shortage of chemicals required for wastewater treatment, and production levels remain normal.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of the availability of ferric sulphate supplies on levels of untreated sewage being discharged into rivers.

There is no shortage of ferric sulphate or any other chemical required for wastewater treatment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many trees his Department has planted since December 2019.

Forestry is a devolved matter and so this answer relates only to government supported tree planting in England.

The latest statistics for new planting supported by central government in England can be found in the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators: Report for 2020-21 on the gov.uk website. These most recent published provisional statistics are shown below:

Year (ending 31 March)

Government supported new planting of trees in England (hectares)

Estimated number of trees

2019-20

1,956

3,281,0001,2

2020-21

1,892

3,860,0001,2,3

2021-22 quarter 1 partial interim report

469

926,000

Source: Forestry Commission.

1. Includes trees in areas counting as woodland, and some tree cover outside woodland.

2. The density of tree planting, in terms of numbers of trees planted per hectare of land, varies between planting schemes

3. Tree numbers are approximate and to the nearest 1,000 trees. Figures may not sum due to rounding

These statistics include new planting supported by Government via the Rural Development Programme for England (Countryside Stewardship and the former English Woodland Creation Grant), the Woodland Carbon Fund, the High Speed 2 Woodland Fund, Forestry England, Natural England, the Environment Agency, the National Forest Company, in the Northern Forest, and by the Community Forests.

Planting rates in 2020/21 were impacted by Covid-19. The England Tree Action Plan published in May 2021 stated our aim to at least treble tree planting rates in England by end of this Parliament.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of making the intentional disturbance of pinnipeds a criminal offence.

Both native grey seals and common seals species are currently protected in the UK under relevant wildlife legislation. Details can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protected-marine-species/seals

The Government recognises that disturbance by members of the public can be detrimental and, on occasion, fatal to seals. Therefore, together with Seal Alliance, we launched a new Government-backed campaign, ‘Give Seals Space’, to help raise awareness of the impact that human disturbance can have on seals and to help reduce it.

Through the Marine Management Organisation, the Government has been supporting ‘Operation Seabird’ which aims to tackle increases in disturbance to marine wildlife, including seals, by providing education and guidance to prevent wildlife disturbances and to prosecute with the support of local police forces where necessary.

We will continue to identify opportunities to raise awareness and support efforts to minimise disturbance of seals. We are also investigating what other actions could be taken to better protect seals, such as developing and distributing clear guidelines to boat operators, those partaking in recreational water sports, and the public.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many hectares of trees have been planted by his Department in each of the last two years.

The latest statistics for new planting supported by central Government in England can be found in the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators: Report for 2020-21 on the gov.uk website. These most recent published provisional statistics are shown below:

Year (ending 31 March)

Government supported new planting of trees in England (hectares)

2019-20

1,956

2020-21

1,892

2021-22 quarter 1 partial interim report

469

Source: Forestry Commission.

These statistics include new planting supported by the Government via the Rural Development Programme for England (Countryside Stewardship and the former English Woodland Creation Grant), the Woodland Carbon Fund, the High Speed 2 Woodland Fund, Forestry England, Natural England, the Environment Agency, the National Forest Company, in the Northern Forest, and by the Community Forests.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timetable is for publishing guidance on the UK’s REACH chemical regulations.

On 1 January 2021 Defra and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published a detailed set of guidance on the gov.uk and HSE websites to give business the information it needs to carry out its new responsibilities under UK REACH.

Defra and HSE continue to regularly update the gov.uk and HSE websites with relevant content. This includes guidance related to updates to the Comply with UK REACH IT service.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what mechanisms are in place to audit the information provided to his Department by (a) regulatory bodies and (b) non-departmental public bodies.

The relationship between Defra and its arm’s-length bodies (ALB) is established through a Framework Document which has been agreed between each ALB and Defra to exercise meaningful oversight of the ALB’s strategy and performance, pay arrangements and/or major financial transactions, e.g. by monthly returns, standard delegations and exception reporting. Defra’s accounts consolidate its ALBs, so Defra’s accounting officer must be satisfied that the consolidated accounts are accurate and not misleading.

Defra’s ALBs are required to submit to Defra, on an annual basis, an annual report and audited accounts prepared in accordance with the relevant statutes and guidelines. The annual report and accounts provide Defra with the financial and non-financial performance of the ALB. In addition, they will state if the ALB has met key performance indicators as set out in their business and corporate plans. The report and accounts of each ALB are independently audited and are laid in Parliament and, where commercially possible, made available on the ALB’s website. The consolidated Defra group accounts are audited by the National Audit Office, laid in Parliament, and published on Defra’s website.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it is his Department's policy that all landowners, including those in the public sector, should remove all growths of ragwort.

Defra’s injurious weeds policy aims to balance a variety of different interests. Injurious weeds, which include common ragwort, form part of our native plant communities, supporting a wide variety of invertebrates and are a major nectar source for many insects.

The ‘Code of Practice on How to Prevent the Spread of Ragwort’ sets out guidance for all landowners, including those in the public sector, on when and how common ragwort should be removed.

The Code does not seek to eradicate common ragwort, but only seeks to control its spread where it poses a high risk of spreading to agricultural land, for example land used for grazing.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of farmers who will leave the industry under the exit scheme of the Land Management System.

Our proposed lump sum exit scheme will provide support for farmers in England who wish to exit the industry.

In 2018, we undertook a survey of around 1,000 farmers as part of our planning for the Agriculture Act. Six per cent of those surveyed said they wanted to leave farming but felt they were not able to do so at that time. Financial reasons were given as the main barrier.

There will be a range of factors which will affect individual farmers’ decisions about whether they wish to take the lump sum and exit farming. The consultation will be used to gather further evidence about likely uptake.

Our consultation can be found here:

https://consult.defra.gov.uk/agricultural-policy/lump-sum-and-delinked-payments-england/. This consultation is open until 11 August 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 155002 on Reservoirs: Brent, on what dates the Priestley Way trash screen that sits on the River Brent and enters the Welsh Harp was cleared by the Environment Agency in the last 12 months.

The Environment Agency (EA) visits and checks the Priestley Way trash screen on a weekly basis to ensure blockages are not increasing flood risk to properties and infrastructure upstream. The EA clears the screen when it deems the accumulation of debris to present an increase in flood risk. The EA does not hold data on specific clearance dates.

The EA acknowledges that the accumulation of debris on site is unsightly however the screen has an important role in preventing debris from entering the larger protected Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) area.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions (a) he has had with Cabinet colleagues and (b) officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in other Government departments on establishing additional public footpaths and byways in England.

We are working to complete the England Coast Path and to support our network of National Trails and intend to create a new National Trail across the North of England. We are ensuring that rights of way are recorded and protected, as well as developing schemes that reward environmental benefits which could fund the creation of new paths, such as footpaths and bridleways, which provide access for cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians where appropriate.

Local authorities are also required to keep a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) to plan improvements to their network, which is usually available on the authority’s website.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the circumstances that led to the stranding of a minke whale in the Thames in May 2021; and what steps he is taking to prevent future similar incidents from occurring.

During the recent stranding of a minke whale in the Thames, Defra officials worked closely with the Government-funded Cetacean Stranding Investigation Programme (CSIP). Unfortunately, due to the extremely poor condition of the whale, it was euthanised on welfare grounds.

CSIP investigates causes of death in stranded cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and carried out a post-mortem on the minke whale. This indicated the female calf was in poor nutritional condition and was likely already in a very poor state of health when she entered the Thames. This is consistent with the whale being only a few months old and having been separated from her mother and/or social group. Follow-up work is ongoing to understand whether there were any significant underlying issues to explain her unusual presence in the Thames.

The UK Government plays a leading role championing the conservation and welfare of all cetaceans both in the UK and internationally. We recently let a 10-year contract for the continuation of the extremely important CSIP to help us improve our understanding of, and ability to tackle, key threats to cetaceans.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of considering the production and consumption of cellular meat as part of the National Food Strategy.

In 2019, the Government asked Henry Dimbleby to carry out an independent review of the food system. Part one of that review was published in July 2020 and contained recommendations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with chapters on trade, health and food insecurity. Part Two of the report will be published in Summer 2021 and will include a root and branch examination of the food system. The findings of the review will inform the Government’s food strategy, to be set out in a Food Strategy White Paper due to be published in the 6 months following the final report.

The Food Strategy White Paper will support the development of a food system that is sustainable, resilient and supports people to live healthy lives. We recognise the importance of innovative approaches and novel technologies in this pursuit, and already have a base for the Food Strategy to build upon through the 2013 Agri-Tech Strategy and Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan which was published on Monday 30th November 2020.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the amount of food that is produced on a non-commercial basis on (a) allotments and (b) private land.

Defra estimates the proportion of fresh fruit and vegetables entering the household which come from free sources, mainly gardens and allotments. In 2018/19 this was 3 percent.

In the same period the percentage of eggs entering the household which were free or home produced was 3.8 percent.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many Combined Sewage Overflow discharges occurred in the last 12 months.

The 2020 storm overflow data submitted by water companies in England is published by the Environment Agency on gov.uk and can be found following the link below:

https://environment.data.gov.uk/dataset/21e15f12-0df8-4bfc-b763-45226c16a8ac

In 2020 there were 12,092 storm overflows with monitoring data, reporting a total spills count for the year of 403,171.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the combined length of time was that Combined Sewage Overflows discharged effluent in the last 12 months.

The 2020 storm overflow data submitted by water companies in England is published by the Environment Agency on gov.uk and can be found following the link below:

https://environment.data.gov.uk/dataset/21e15f12-0df8-4bfc-b763-45226c16a8ac

In 2020 there were 12,092 storm overflows with monitoring data reporting a combined length of time of operation for the year of 3,101,150 hours.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of banning the export of (a) Gramoxone and (b) other paraquat based herbicides.

We take our international obligations for human health and the environment very seriously and continue to monitor action in other countries and learn from their experiences.

The export of paraquat is regulated under the Great Britain Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regulatory regime for the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals. Companies intending to export any of these chemicals from Great Britain must notify the importing country via the exporter’s Designated National Authority. For Great Britain the Designated National Authority is the Health and Safety Executive.

Paraquat additionally requires the explicit consent of the importing country before export can take place. The exchange of information that PIC provides allows the importing countries to make informed decisions on the import of those chemicals and on how to handle and use them safely.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he made on the extent of Sphaerotilus natans in rivers in England.

Sphaerotilus natans is an aquatic periphyton organism associated with polluted water. It forms colonies commonly known as "sewage fungus", but can be associated with different types of organic pollution such as from agriculture or some industrial effluents. The Environment Agency does not have a specific monitoring programme for sewage fungus itself, but it is used as an indicator of pollution when the Environment Agency responds to pollution incidents, and when it carries out wastewater treatment works or storm overflow inspections. If observed the presence of sewage fungus would usually be recorded by monitoring teams when carrying routine ecological and chemical monitoring. The extent of sewage fungus is often used in evidence as an indicator of gross pollution when taking action under the Environment Agency’s enforcement and sanctions policy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department plans to take to extend measures contained in Directive 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.

Having left the EU, we now have the freedom to tackle single-use plastic items in ways that work best for us, including considering alternative approaches to the EU’s Single-Use Plastic Directive to deliver a better overall outcome. Where policy areas are devolved, the devolved administrations are taking their own approach.

This year in England we are increasing our highly successful single-use carrier bag charge to 10p and extending it to all retailers, and in April 2022 a new plastic packaging tax will come into force to incentivise businesses to use 30% recycled plastic instead of new material in plastic packaging. We are also taking powers in the Environment Bill to create extended producer responsibility schemes; introduce deposit return schemes; establish greater consistency in the recycling system; better control the export of plastic waste; and give us the power to set new charges for other single-use plastic items.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the delivery objectives are of the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund.

The Plastics Research and Innovation Fund (PRIF) was a £20 million investment delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) which began in 2018. Its aim was to explore novel ideas and innovations with the potential to make the plastics sector more circular and address the challenge of persistent plastic pollution. The last PRIF funding competition, Designing Sustainable Plastic Solutions, closed on the 16 September 2020.

The PRIF programme consisted of three components: funding for cutting edge interdisciplinary research programmes led by universities; investment in business-led research and development projects through both grants and an innovative investor partnership with Sky Ocean Ventures; and a core programme designed to provide leadership and knowledge exchange activity.

For more information, please visit: https://www.ukcpn.co.uk/news/the-plastics-research-and-innovation-fund/

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to announce whether (a) food and drink cartons and (b) plastic bags and film will be included in the core set of recyclable products collected by local authorities from 2023.

Following support in response to the first consultation on increasing the consistency materials collected for recycling in England, the Environment Bill states that local authorities must make arrangements for a core set of recyclable waste streams to be collected from households. This core set includes: paper and card; plastic; metal; glass; food waste; and garden waste.

We are preparing to publish a second consultation on recycling consistency this spring, which will seek further views on the materials to be included under the definition of each recyclable waste stream, which will include seeking views on the inclusion of food and drink cartons, and plastic films. We will also seek further views on transition timelines for local authorities in the upcoming consultation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department’s policy is on tackling environmental crime at Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are afforded protection through section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Natural England has published guidance on the enforcement of environmental crime, including at SSSIs which is available on GOV.UK.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/389649/enforcement-guidance.pdf

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of local authorities who have drafted and implemented Biodiversity Action Plans.

Whilst local Biodiversity Action Plans can be a useful means of coordinating and communicating action on biodiversity, there is no formal requirement on local authorities to produce one and the Government does not keep records of the number they produce.

In 2020, the Government introduced new measures in the Environment Bill to establish Local Nature Recovery Strategies and provide a framework for the Nature Recovery Network. Local Nature Recovery Strategies are a new system of spatial strategies for nature, covering the whole of England. They are designed as tools to drive more coordinated, practical and focused action to help nature. All public authorities will be required to have regard to relevant strategies as part of a stronger duty on public authorities to conserve and enhance biodiversity.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the chemical composition of the silt on the bed of the Welsh Harp.

The Welsh Harp or Brent reservoir is owned by the Canal and River Trust. As the Environment Agency does not own the asset, it is not responsible for dredging the reservoir or testing the chemical composition of the silt. Riparian landowners are responsible for maintaining the river channel, banks, and associated vegetation in order to control flood risk. This includes the removal of general rubbish.

The Environment Agency is, in partnership with the council, responsible for maintaining two trash screens that lie at the entrance to the Brent Reservoir: the Priestley Way trash screen that sits on the River Brent and the Edgeware auto-trash screen that sits on the River Silkstream. Both of these trash screens are cleared of debris on a weekly basis due to the large amount of debris that comes down the two rivers and collects at these locations.

The Priestley Way trash screen is due some repair and maintenance work. This will include removal of overgrown vegetation, replacement of worn/damaged parts, and removal of current debris. Whilst these repairs need to be completed to keep the asset in good working condition, they do not currently prevent the asset from operating as it should. The Environment Agency hopes to complete this work by the end of February.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the Welsh Harp was last dredged by the Environment Agency.

The Welsh Harp or Brent reservoir is owned by the Canal and River Trust. As the Environment Agency does not own the asset, it is not responsible for dredging the reservoir or testing the chemical composition of the silt. Riparian landowners are responsible for maintaining the river channel, banks, and associated vegetation in order to control flood risk. This includes the removal of general rubbish.

The Environment Agency is, in partnership with the council, responsible for maintaining two trash screens that lie at the entrance to the Brent Reservoir: the Priestley Way trash screen that sits on the River Brent and the Edgeware auto-trash screen that sits on the River Silkstream. Both of these trash screens are cleared of debris on a weekly basis due to the large amount of debris that comes down the two rivers and collects at these locations.

The Priestley Way trash screen is due some repair and maintenance work. This will include removal of overgrown vegetation, replacement of worn/damaged parts, and removal of current debris. Whilst these repairs need to be completed to keep the asset in good working condition, they do not currently prevent the asset from operating as it should. The Environment Agency hopes to complete this work by the end of February.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the scheduled programme is for the Environment Agency to clear the rubbish traps on the rivers Brent and Silkstream where they enter the Welsh Harp reservoir.

The Welsh Harp or Brent reservoir is owned by the Canal and River Trust. As the Environment Agency does not own the asset, it is not responsible for dredging the reservoir or testing the chemical composition of the silt. Riparian landowners are responsible for maintaining the river channel, banks, and associated vegetation in order to control flood risk. This includes the removal of general rubbish.

The Environment Agency is, in partnership with the council, responsible for maintaining two trash screens that lie at the entrance to the Brent Reservoir: the Priestley Way trash screen that sits on the River Brent and the Edgeware auto-trash screen that sits on the River Silkstream. Both of these trash screens are cleared of debris on a weekly basis due to the large amount of debris that comes down the two rivers and collects at these locations.

The Priestley Way trash screen is due some repair and maintenance work. This will include removal of overgrown vegetation, replacement of worn/damaged parts, and removal of current debris. Whilst these repairs need to be completed to keep the asset in good working condition, they do not currently prevent the asset from operating as it should. The Environment Agency hopes to complete this work by the end of February.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of banning the use of SF6 as an insulating material in electrical installations on the energy network.

The Department has a legal requirement to review the F gas Regulation and publish a comprehensive report by no later than 31 December 2022. This will include a review of the availability of technically feasible and cost-effective alternatives and will include an assessment of the use and alternatives to SF6 in electrical installations. The Department is now beginning internal work on the review and intends to engage with stakeholders on this work later this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's timeframe is for the review to remove the use of fluorinated gases.

The UK has a legal requirement to review the Fluorinated Gas (F gas) Regulation and publish a comprehensive report of this review by no later than 31 December 2022. The Department is now beginning internal work on the review and intends to engage with stakeholders on this work later this year. The review will include an assessment of opportunities for faster and further action on phasing down F gases.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many departmental staff will be attending COP26 in an official capacity with their expenses covered.

Numbers on departmental staff attending COP26 are still to be determined.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals on banning the purchase and use of electronic dog collars.

The Government remains committed to banning the use of remote controlled hand-held electronic training collars (e-collars) for dogs and cats in England. We will introduce the necessary legislation to implement the ban as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the timeframe for a response from the EU regarding its application to become a Part 1 listed third country for Pet Passports resubmitted in February 2020.

The EU Commission has now responded to clarify their decision on listing the UK as a third country under Annex II of the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) of the EU voted in favour of giving the United Kingdom Part 2 listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the transition period. This listed status will be formally adopted by the EU in due course.

Part 2 listed status means similar health requirements to travel to the EU as now, but new documentation will be required for pets and assistance dogs.

We are disappointed not to become a Part 1 listed third country. We are clear we meet all the requirements for this and have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity. Our disease risk will also not change after the transition period and so we will continue to press the EU Commission on securing Part 1 listed status.

There will be no changes to the current pet travel health requirements for entry into Great Britain and we will continue to accept EU pet passports. We intend to publish further guidance shortly on what this development means for travellers, on GOV.UK.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's timetable is to publish its response to the July 2019 call for evidence on Standards for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics.

The Government published a call for evidence last year to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on 14 October 2019 and we are currently analysing the responses received. We will publish a Government response shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to ban polyfluoroalkyl substances after the transition period.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Swansea West on 16 November, PQ UIN 113464.

[questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-11-10/113464]

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will introduce a statutory duty to extend the range of residential waste collected by local authorities to include aggregates, rubber and household chemicals.

Householders are already able to deposit aggregates, rubber and some household chemicals at Household Waste Recycling Centres. In accordance with the Controlled Waste Regulations 2012, householders can also arrange for collections with their local authority where they want to dispose of items of waste that exceed 25kg or cannot be contained within a receptacle for household waste provided.

We want to increase recycling of waste and reduce what is sent to landfill or energy recovery. We have legislated in the Environment Bill to require separate collection of six recyclable waste streams from households including glass, metal, plastics, paper and card and food and garden waste. We will consult further on these measures in 2021. In the Resources and Waste Strategy the Government committed to investigate extending the role of Household Waste Recycling Centres as necessary to have in place arrangements for the collection of hazardous household waste by 2025. This would be subject to consultation and assessment of potential for new burdens.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many containers (a) including body parts from mortuaries and (b) of other hazardous waste have been returned to the UK from Sri Lanka in the last three years.

This year 31 containers of waste have arrived back in England. The containers, which were shipped to Sri Lanka in 2017, were found by the Sri Lankan authorities to contain waste described as mattresses and carpets exported for recycling. This is part of a shipment totalling 263 containers all of which are due to be returned to England soon.

Despite media reports suggesting that medical waste was illegally shipped from England to Sri Lanka, the Environment Agency (EA) as the competent authority for waste shipments for England, has not received any indication or evidence from the Sri Lankan authorities to corroborate those reports. Unless or until the EA receive such evidence to the contrary or come across it, it is the view of the EA that these media reports are incorrect and misleading.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing an inquiry to determine how shipping containers containing medical waste were exported from the UK to Sri Lanka between September 2017 and January 2018.

The Environment Agency (EA) as the competent authority for waste shipments for England, is proactively engaging with the authorities in Sri Lanka regarding the 263 containers of waste being returned to England and is leading the investigation on this matter. Despite media reports suggesting that medical waste was illegally shipped from England to Sri Lanka, the EA has not received any indication or evidence from the Sri Lankan authorities to corroborate those reports. Unless or until the EA receive such evidence to the contrary or come across it ourselves, it is the view of the EA that these media reports are incorrect and misleading.

With 31 containers now back on English soil, EA enforcement officers will seek to confirm the types of waste shipped, who exported it and the producer of the waste. Those responsible could face a custodial sentence of up to two years, an unlimited fine, and the recovery of money and assets gained through the course of criminal activity.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of reintroducing compulsory tick treatment for pets at UK borders in response to reports of tick-borne diseases brought to the UK from pets that have recently travelled abroad.

Tick surveillance has shown that tick distribution and abundance is changing throughout the UK for many reasons, including habitat and climate change. Small numbers of localised infestations with non-native tick species have been reported in recent years. For these reasons, Defra strongly encourages pet owners to treat their pets to safeguard their animals against ticks and tick transmitted diseases when travelling abroad. Further advice can be obtained from their local vet, and via the Public Health England leaflet available on GOV.UK.

While Defra has no immediate plans to amend the tick controls for pet animals entering the UK, the end of the Transition Period will open up new opportunities for managing our Pet Travel rules. We remain aware of the concerns around ticks and tick-borne disease, and future policy will be guided by risk assessment. Defra also continues to monitor the disease situation through the Tick Surveillance Scheme.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the merits of reintroducing compulsory tick treatment for pets at UK borders.

Tick surveillance has shown that tick distribution and abundance is changing throughout the UK for many reasons, including habitat and climate change. Small numbers of localised infestations with non-native tick species have been reported in recent years. For these reasons, Defra strongly encourages pet owners to treat their pets to safeguard their animals against ticks and tick transmitted diseases when travelling abroad. Further advice can be obtained from their local vet, and via the Public Health England leaflet available on GOV.UK.

While Defra has no immediate plans to amend the tick controls for pet animals entering the UK, the end of the Transition Period will open up new opportunities for managing our Pet Travel rules. We remain aware of the concerns around ticks and tick-borne disease, and future policy will be guided by risk assessment. Defra also continues to monitor the disease situation through the Tick Surveillance Scheme.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has received an offer from (a) Philip Morris International, (b) Imperial Brands, (c) Japan Tobacco International and (d) British American Tobacco to tackle litter from their products following the ministerial round table held by his Department in September 2020 on that matter; and if he will bring forward legislative proposals to mandate such a scheme.

We believe that the tobacco industry must take responsibility for the litter created by its products. Since the roundtable, we understand that Keep Britain Tidy has been working with the tobacco industry to develop a non-regulatory producer responsibility scheme for smoking related litter.

We are watching this work with interest as it could provide a more rapid means of securing significant investment from the industry to tackle this litter than taking legislative action. We have been clear that any such scheme must be developed in accordance with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the FCTC guidelines and the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control.

If smoking related litter continues to be a significant environmental concern, we will reflect on the steps the Government can take to ensure that the tobacco industry takes more responsibility. Measures in the Environment Bill will allow us to legislate for an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for tobacco products, if such an intervention was considered necessary.

Cigarette and tobacco product packaging will be covered by the reforms to the packaging producer responsibility scheme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what information his Department holds on the number of dilute and disperse landfill sites that were in use for waste disposal before the 1980s in England and Wales.

Dilute and disperse landfill sites were used up to the 1990s before containment engineering was introduced.

The Environment Agency’s (EA) historic landfill dataset is a map and dataset of landfill sites from the 1900s onwards. It uses data collected from local authorities, the former Department of the Environment and the British Geological Society.

Using this dataset, in England and Wales, up to 31 Dec 1979, the total number of landfills recorded is 13,510.

In addition, up to 1990, a search of the database identifies just over 15,000 landfill sites in England and Wales.

The quality of the records vary as they are based on information provided to the EA at the time.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the price paid to beef farmers by wholesalers.

Defra monitors the UK agricultural markets including commodity prices and long-term trends. The beef sector has shown resilience and current prices are above the 5-year average.

We want all farmers to get a fair price for their products and the Government is committed to tackling any unfairness that may exist in the agri-food supply chain. Through the Agriculture Bill we have set out ambitious plans to improve transparency in the supply chain, strengthening the position of those who produce our food.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to reduce residential demand for water in the next 10 years.

We recently consulted on Measures to reduce personal water consumption.

A Government response to this consultation will be published by the end of 2020, which will set out intended steps to improve water efficiency.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to improve the consistency of household recycling collections among boroughs in London.

The Government is committed to introducing consistency in recycling in all boroughs in England including those in London. The Environment Bill seeks to introduce legislation for a core set of materials (glass, metal, plastic, paper and card, food and garden waste) to be collected for recycling from households, businesses and other organisations such as schools. The Environment Bill does not require garden waste to be collected from businesses and non-domestic premises.

A core set of materials will avoid confusion amongst householders with regard to what can be recycled. This in turn will result in more materials being recycled.

The Government has committed to covering the costs of any additional burdens that local authorities face as a result of new statutory duties that require them to implement consistency.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timeframe is for his Department to respond to the public consultation entitled, Consultation on controls on the import and export of hunting trophies, which closed in February 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow on 19 May 2020, PQ UIN 46697, which remains the current situation.

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

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Clause 1 of the Environment Bill, what steps his Department is taking to develop (a) long term resource efficiency and (b) waste reduction targets.

The Government plans to bring forward at least one target in the area of resource efficiency and waste reduction by the Environment Bill's 31 October 2022 deadline.

We want a robust, evidence-led process for setting targets which includes seeking independent expert advice, a role for stakeholders and the public, as well as scrutiny from Parliament. The process for setting targets will broadly include: setting the scope of the targets; developing fully evidenced targets; public consultation on target proposals and drafting target legislation. We will be engaging stakeholders, including on resource efficiency and waste, during our stepped approached to target setting.

The target setting steps will broadly include: setting the scope of the targets; developing fully-evidenced targets; public consultation on target proposals and finally drafting target legislation. We expect to publish a Target Policy Paper over the coming months which will include further details and timing about these steps.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Clause 1 of the Environment Bill, what plans he has to involve stakeholders in the development of (a) resource efficiency and (b) waste reduction targets.

The Government plans to bring forward at least one target in the area of resource efficiency and waste reduction by the Environment Bill's 31 October 2022 deadline.

We want a robust, evidence-led process for setting targets which includes seeking independent expert advice, a role for stakeholders and the public, as well as scrutiny from Parliament. The process for setting targets will broadly include: setting the scope of the targets; developing fully evidenced targets; public consultation on target proposals and drafting target legislation. We will be engaging stakeholders, including on resource efficiency and waste, during our stepped approached to target setting.

The target setting steps will broadly include: setting the scope of the targets; developing fully-evidenced targets; public consultation on target proposals and finally drafting target legislation. We expect to publish a Target Policy Paper over the coming months which will include further details and timing about these steps.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to consult on the Waste Prevention Programme for England.

The Department has carried out a review of the existing Waste Prevention Programme which we plan to publish shortly. Over the past 12 months we have engaged with a range of stakeholders to develop initial proposals for a revised programme, but over the past few months this work has slowed down because of the immediate priorities of the Covid-19 response. We will communicate next steps in due course. In the meantime, the Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December 2018, sets out how we will preserve our stock of material resources by minimising waste, promoting resource efficiency and moving towards a more circular economy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to interpose the Circular Economy Package into law.