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 20th October 2021
14:00
Environmental Audit Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Sustainability of the built environment
20 Oct 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.15pm: Oral evidence
Dr Jannik Giesekam - Chancellor's Fellow (Lecturer), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Strathclyde
Peter Conboy - Development Director at igloo Regeneration Ltd
Dr Alice Moncaster - Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering and Innovation at The Open University
At 3.15pm: Oral evidence
Robert Lambe FCIOB - Managing Director at Melius Homes Limited
Dr Alice Owen - Associate Professor in Business, Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement at University of Leeds
Caterina Brandmayr - Head of climate policy at Green Alliance
View calendar
Select Committee Meeting
Thursday 21st October 2021
09:25
Environmental Audit Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Mapping the path to net zero
21 Oct 2021, 9:25 a.m.
At 9.30am: Oral evidence
Alan Simpson - Independent climate adviser at n/a
Karen Sanderson - Director, Public Financial Management at Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
View calendar
Division Votes
Wednesday 22nd September 2021
Compensation (London Capital & Finance plc and Fraud Compensation Fund) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 286 Conservative No votes vs 0 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 52 Noes - 292
Speeches
Monday 20th September 2021
UK Gas Market

The rise in the wholesale price of gas began back in January, with it rising by 250% since then. Why …

Written Answers
Friday 1st October 2021
NHS: Equality
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are employed in the NHS as …
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 …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 2nd March 2020
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: United & Cecil Club
Address of donor: c/o Nathan Steinberg, Kreston Reeves, 3rd Floor, 24 Chiswell Street, …
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 288 divisions, and 13 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
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)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(15 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(4 debate interactions)
Gavin Williamson (Conservative)
(3 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Leader of the House
(9 debate contributions)
Home Office
(3 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 most Hendon signatures
Matthew Offord has not participated in any petition debates

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.


Matthew Offord has not been granted any Urgent Questions

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

714 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
14 Other Department Questions
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, 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)
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.

17th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, whether the UK will remain a party to the European Convention on Human Rights after the UK leaves the EU.

The UK will remain party to the ECHR after it has left the EU. The UK has strong human rights protections within a comprehensive and well-established constitutional and legal system and the decision to leave the EU does not change this.

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)
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)
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
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 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 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

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, 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.

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, 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.

The UK remains committed to meeting its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement and we have a manifesto commitment to protect and restore our natural environment after leaving the EU. Our landmark Environment Bill will help us achieve this. In the Resources and Waste Strategy published in 2018, we challenged ourselves to achieve a 65% municipal recycling rate target and to send 10% or less municipal waste to landfill by 2035. Work is underway to achieve these targets, which will help move towards a circular economy, keeping resources in use as long as possible, so we extract maximum value from them.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the amount of chemical safety information the UK will lose access to when it can no longer access the REACH database after the end of the transition period.

The preparations we made for the possibility of a no deal exit mean that we are well placed to be ready with our own independent regulatory regime for 1 January 2021. At the end of the Transition Period the UK will have its own independent chemicals regulatory framework, UK REACH. We will bring REACH in to UK law and put in place the systems and capacity to ensure the effective management and control of chemicals which safeguard human health and the environment and can respond to emerging risks.

UK REACH will retain the principles and fundamental approach of the EU REACH system, with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment, as well as enhancing innovation and competitiveness. UK REACH maintains the core principle of EU REACH of “no data no market” to provide assurance that businesses understand the risks of chemicals they are using, and how to manage those risks, and to give UK regulators the information they need to manage risks to the environment and to UK consumers.

We will aim to keep the transition to UK REACH as simple and straightforward as possible. We are considering a range of measures to minimise the burdens and costs for businesses.

This includes the grace period provisions we have out in place to enable industry to comply with UK REACH through a phased transitional period. Defra's estimates of the costs to industry broadly align with those identified by industry, and we continue to explore a range of further steps to minimise the burdens on businesses. As part of that process we have been undertaking a focused evidence-gathering exercise to better understand costs and practical options to reduce burdens on industry. This has involved a number of key stakeholders including businesses of different sizes across the supply chain, trade associations and NGOs.

We are also looking to reduce the cost to business, through the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU for a Free Trade Agreement. In February, the Government published our approach to negotiating our future relationship with the EU. That includes a proposal for a chemicals annex as part of the EU Free Trade Agreement, to facilitate trade and encourage high levels of protection for the environment and human health. To support businesses to meet the separate regulatory requirements of the UK and EU markets, we aim to agree data and information sharing mechanisms with the EU, in line with the relevant provisions set out in UK and EU regulation and existing third-country mechanisms. On 19 May the Government published its draft Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) with the EU text. Negotiations are ongoing and progress will be kept under review.

The Government published “EU Exit: Long-term economic impacts” in November 2018. This paper provides estimates of the economic impact of a range of future trading relationships with the EU. Our commitment to having control of our own laws and on not remaining within the jurisdiction of the European Courts of Justice (ECJ), means that we are not seeking associate membership of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and participation in EU REACH.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the financial effect on UK businesses of (a) replicating chemical safety dossiers that exist in the REACH database and (b) being required to register with two systems.

The preparations we made for the possibility of a no deal exit mean that we are well placed to be ready with our own independent regulatory regime for 1 January 2021. At the end of the Transition Period the UK will have its own independent chemicals regulatory framework, UK REACH. We will bring REACH in to UK law and put in place the systems and capacity to ensure the effective management and control of chemicals which safeguard human health and the environment and can respond to emerging risks.

UK REACH will retain the principles and fundamental approach of the EU REACH system, with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment, as well as enhancing innovation and competitiveness. UK REACH maintains the core principle of EU REACH of “no data no market” to provide assurance that businesses understand the risks of chemicals they are using, and how to manage those risks, and to give UK regulators the information they need to manage risks to the environment and to UK consumers.

We will aim to keep the transition to UK REACH as simple and straightforward as possible. We are considering a range of measures to minimise the burdens and costs for businesses.

This includes the grace period provisions we have out in place to enable industry to comply with UK REACH through a phased transitional period. Defra's estimates of the costs to industry broadly align with those identified by industry, and we continue to explore a range of further steps to minimise the burdens on businesses. As part of that process we have been undertaking a focused evidence-gathering exercise to better understand costs and practical options to reduce burdens on industry. This has involved a number of key stakeholders including businesses of different sizes across the supply chain, trade associations and NGOs.

We are also looking to reduce the cost to business, through the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU for a Free Trade Agreement. In February, the Government published our approach to negotiating our future relationship with the EU. That includes a proposal for a chemicals annex as part of the EU Free Trade Agreement, to facilitate trade and encourage high levels of protection for the environment and human health. To support businesses to meet the separate regulatory requirements of the UK and EU markets, we aim to agree data and information sharing mechanisms with the EU, in line with the relevant provisions set out in UK and EU regulation and existing third-country mechanisms. On 19 May the Government published its draft Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) with the EU text. Negotiations are ongoing and progress will be kept under review.

The Government published “EU Exit: Long-term economic impacts” in November 2018. This paper provides estimates of the economic impact of a range of future trading relationships with the EU. Our commitment to having control of our own laws and on not remaining within the jurisdiction of the European Courts of Justice (ECJ), means that we are not seeking associate membership of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and participation in EU REACH.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of chemicals that will require lower levels of safety information in a UK only chemical regulation system.

The preparations we made for the possibility of a no deal exit mean that we are well placed to be ready with our own independent regulatory regime for 1 January 2021. At the end of the Transition Period the UK will have its own independent chemicals regulatory framework, UK REACH. We will bring REACH in to UK law and put in place the systems and capacity to ensure the effective management and control of chemicals which safeguard human health and the environment and can respond to emerging risks.

UK REACH will retain the principles and fundamental approach of the EU REACH system, with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment, as well as enhancing innovation and competitiveness. UK REACH maintains the core principle of EU REACH of “no data no market” to provide assurance that businesses understand the risks of chemicals they are using, and how to manage those risks, and to give UK regulators the information they need to manage risks to the environment and to UK consumers.

We will aim to keep the transition to UK REACH as simple and straightforward as possible. We are considering a range of measures to minimise the burdens and costs for businesses.

This includes the grace period provisions we have out in place to enable industry to comply with UK REACH through a phased transitional period. Defra's estimates of the costs to industry broadly align with those identified by industry, and we continue to explore a range of further steps to minimise the burdens on businesses. As part of that process we have been undertaking a focused evidence-gathering exercise to better understand costs and practical options to reduce burdens on industry. This has involved a number of key stakeholders including businesses of different sizes across the supply chain, trade associations and NGOs.

We are also looking to reduce the cost to business, through the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU for a Free Trade Agreement. In February, the Government published our approach to negotiating our future relationship with the EU. That includes a proposal for a chemicals annex as part of the EU Free Trade Agreement, to facilitate trade and encourage high levels of protection for the environment and human health. To support businesses to meet the separate regulatory requirements of the UK and EU markets, we aim to agree data and information sharing mechanisms with the EU, in line with the relevant provisions set out in UK and EU regulation and existing third-country mechanisms. On 19 May the Government published its draft Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) with the EU text. Negotiations are ongoing and progress will be kept under review.

The Government published “EU Exit: Long-term economic impacts” in November 2018. This paper provides estimates of the economic impact of a range of future trading relationships with the EU. Our commitment to having control of our own laws and on not remaining within the jurisdiction of the European Courts of Justice (ECJ), means that we are not seeking associate membership of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and participation in EU REACH.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the number of chemicals that will need to be regulated in (a) a UK only market and (b) the EU REACH regulations.

The preparations we made for the possibility of a no deal exit mean that we are well placed to be ready with our own independent regulatory regime for 1 January 2021. At the end of the Transition Period the UK will have its own independent chemicals regulatory framework, UK REACH. We will bring REACH in to UK law and put in place the systems and capacity to ensure the effective management and control of chemicals which safeguard human health and the environment and can respond to emerging risks.

UK REACH will retain the principles and fundamental approach of the EU REACH system, with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment, as well as enhancing innovation and competitiveness. UK REACH maintains the core principle of EU REACH of “no data no market” to provide assurance that businesses understand the risks of chemicals they are using, and how to manage those risks, and to give UK regulators the information they need to manage risks to the environment and to UK consumers.

We will aim to keep the transition to UK REACH as simple and straightforward as possible. We are considering a range of measures to minimise the burdens and costs for businesses.

This includes the grace period provisions we have out in place to enable industry to comply with UK REACH through a phased transitional period. Defra's estimates of the costs to industry broadly align with those identified by industry, and we continue to explore a range of further steps to minimise the burdens on businesses. As part of that process we have been undertaking a focused evidence-gathering exercise to better understand costs and practical options to reduce burdens on industry. This has involved a number of key stakeholders including businesses of different sizes across the supply chain, trade associations and NGOs.

We are also looking to reduce the cost to business, through the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU for a Free Trade Agreement. In February, the Government published our approach to negotiating our future relationship with the EU. That includes a proposal for a chemicals annex as part of the EU Free Trade Agreement, to facilitate trade and encourage high levels of protection for the environment and human health. To support businesses to meet the separate regulatory requirements of the UK and EU markets, we aim to agree data and information sharing mechanisms with the EU, in line with the relevant provisions set out in UK and EU regulation and existing third-country mechanisms. On 19 May the Government published its draft Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) with the EU text. Negotiations are ongoing and progress will be kept under review.

The Government published “EU Exit: Long-term economic impacts” in November 2018. This paper provides estimates of the economic impact of a range of future trading relationships with the EU. Our commitment to having control of our own laws and on not remaining within the jurisdiction of the European Courts of Justice (ECJ), means that we are not seeking associate membership of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and participation in EU REACH.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the impact assessment on seeking associate membership of the European Chemicals Agency.

The preparations we made for the possibility of a no deal exit mean that we are well placed to be ready with our own independent regulatory regime for 1 January 2021. At the end of the Transition Period the UK will have its own independent chemicals regulatory framework, UK REACH. We will bring REACH in to UK law and put in place the systems and capacity to ensure the effective management and control of chemicals which safeguard human health and the environment and can respond to emerging risks.

UK REACH will retain the principles and fundamental approach of the EU REACH system, with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment, as well as enhancing innovation and competitiveness. UK REACH maintains the core principle of EU REACH of “no data no market” to provide assurance that businesses understand the risks of chemicals they are using, and how to manage those risks, and to give UK regulators the information they need to manage risks to the environment and to UK consumers.

We will aim to keep the transition to UK REACH as simple and straightforward as possible. We are considering a range of measures to minimise the burdens and costs for businesses.

This includes the grace period provisions we have out in place to enable industry to comply with UK REACH through a phased transitional period. Defra's estimates of the costs to industry broadly align with those identified by industry, and we continue to explore a range of further steps to minimise the burdens on businesses. As part of that process we have been undertaking a focused evidence-gathering exercise to better understand costs and practical options to reduce burdens on industry. This has involved a number of key stakeholders including businesses of different sizes across the supply chain, trade associations and NGOs.

We are also looking to reduce the cost to business, through the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU for a Free Trade Agreement. In February, the Government published our approach to negotiating our future relationship with the EU. That includes a proposal for a chemicals annex as part of the EU Free Trade Agreement, to facilitate trade and encourage high levels of protection for the environment and human health. To support businesses to meet the separate regulatory requirements of the UK and EU markets, we aim to agree data and information sharing mechanisms with the EU, in line with the relevant provisions set out in UK and EU regulation and existing third-country mechanisms. On 19 May the Government published its draft Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) with the EU text. Negotiations are ongoing and progress will be kept under review.

The Government published “EU Exit: Long-term economic impacts” in November 2018. This paper provides estimates of the economic impact of a range of future trading relationships with the EU. Our commitment to having control of our own laws and on not remaining within the jurisdiction of the European Courts of Justice (ECJ), means that we are not seeking associate membership of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and participation in EU REACH.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the amount and proportion of litter on beaches originating from tobacco products.

Figures from the Great British Beach Clean 2019 report that cigarette stubs were the second most frequently-found type of litter item on UK beaches, with an average of 42.6 stubs found per 100 metres. UK Government scientists are currently carrying out chemical and toxicological experiments to evaluate the potential harm caused to the marine environment by cigarette stubs. This work will be published by 2022.

The Government has made no specific recent assessment of the UK tobacco industry's contribution to tackling smoking-related litter. I refer honourable members to the answer I gave on 23 March to PQ 29305: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-03-13/29305/.

The Government would like to see the tobacco industry delivering on the commitment given by the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association to tackle the litter created by its products and their users. The Government supports ongoing efforts by Keep Britain Tidy (KBT). KBT works in partnership with the tobacco industry to devise a voluntary scheme through which the industry can contribute to the clean-up of cigarette related litter.

Clause 48 in Section 3 of the Environment Bill also grants powers to introduce extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes. In the Resources and Waste Strategy, we committed to looking into and consulting on EPR for five new waste-streams by 2025, and consulting on two of these by 2022. Waste tobacco filters were not included in this list of priorities but progress on the industry's voluntary approach to litter reduction will be monitored.

Tobacco packaging is covered by the current producer responsibility regulations, which require companies to recycle a proportion of the packaging waste they place on the market. Producers of tobacco packaging will also be subject to the forthcoming EPR scheme for packaging which will cover the full net costs of managing packaging at its end of life. In our consultation we proposed that producer fees should cover the full cost to local authorities of dealing with littered and fly-tipped packaging waste.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of smoking related litter on (a) bird life, (b) marine life and (c) other aspects of the natural environment.

Figures from the Great British Beach Clean 2019 report that cigarette stubs were the second most frequently-found type of litter item on UK beaches, with an average of 42.6 stubs found per 100 metres. UK Government scientists are currently carrying out chemical and toxicological experiments to evaluate the potential harm caused to the marine environment by cigarette stubs. This work will be published by 2022.

The Government has made no specific recent assessment of the UK tobacco industry's contribution to tackling smoking-related litter. I refer honourable members to the answer I gave on 23 March to PQ 29305: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-03-13/29305/.

The Government would like to see the tobacco industry delivering on the commitment given by the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association to tackle the litter created by its products and their users. The Government supports ongoing efforts by Keep Britain Tidy (KBT). KBT works in partnership with the tobacco industry to devise a voluntary scheme through which the industry can contribute to the clean-up of cigarette related litter.

Clause 48 in Section 3 of the Environment Bill also grants powers to introduce extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes. In the Resources and Waste Strategy, we committed to looking into and consulting on EPR for five new waste-streams by 2025, and consulting on two of these by 2022. Waste tobacco filters were not included in this list of priorities but progress on the industry's voluntary approach to litter reduction will be monitored.

Tobacco packaging is covered by the current producer responsibility regulations, which require companies to recycle a proportion of the packaging waste they place on the market. Producers of tobacco packaging will also be subject to the forthcoming EPR scheme for packaging which will cover the full net costs of managing packaging at its end of life. In our consultation we proposed that producer fees should cover the full cost to local authorities of dealing with littered and fly-tipped packaging waste.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a scheme to tackle smoking-related litter by securing a contribution from the UK tobacco industry to pay for the initiative.

Figures from the Great British Beach Clean 2019 report that cigarette stubs were the second most frequently-found type of litter item on UK beaches, with an average of 42.6 stubs found per 100 metres. UK Government scientists are currently carrying out chemical and toxicological experiments to evaluate the potential harm caused to the marine environment by cigarette stubs. This work will be published by 2022.

The Government has made no specific recent assessment of the UK tobacco industry's contribution to tackling smoking-related litter. I refer honourable members to the answer I gave on 23 March to PQ 29305: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-03-13/29305/.

The Government would like to see the tobacco industry delivering on the commitment given by the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association to tackle the litter created by its products and their users. The Government supports ongoing efforts by Keep Britain Tidy (KBT). KBT works in partnership with the tobacco industry to devise a voluntary scheme through which the industry can contribute to the clean-up of cigarette related litter.

Clause 48 in Section 3 of the Environment Bill also grants powers to introduce extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes. In the Resources and Waste Strategy, we committed to looking into and consulting on EPR for five new waste-streams by 2025, and consulting on two of these by 2022. Waste tobacco filters were not included in this list of priorities but progress on the industry's voluntary approach to litter reduction will be monitored.

Tobacco packaging is covered by the current producer responsibility regulations, which require companies to recycle a proportion of the packaging waste they place on the market. Producers of tobacco packaging will also be subject to the forthcoming EPR scheme for packaging which will cover the full net costs of managing packaging at its end of life. In our consultation we proposed that producer fees should cover the full cost to local authorities of dealing with littered and fly-tipped packaging waste.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of harmful algae blooms in (a) English territorial waters, (b) territorial waters under the responsibility of the devolved Administrations in the UK and (c) territorial waters in the Overseas Territories in each of the last five years.

The Environment Agency (EA) routinely examine remote sensing images to understand where large plankton blooms are occurring, and they screen these images for blooms that are potentially harmful. This data informs bathing water quality assessments and helps further our understanding of harmful algal blooms.

On the ground, monitoring of harmful algal blooms in the territorial waters of England and the Devolved Administrations ensures that harvested shellfish is safe for human consumption. Monitoring is undertaken at a frequency defined by the risk for the area and reported up to weekly for any one site.

Since monitoring harmful algal blooms is to ensure shellfish safety and protect human health, we do not make a routine assessment of the number of blooms in the territorial waters of England and the Devolved Administrations. Environmental matters are a devolved responsibility in the Overseas Territories and as such my department does not undertake estimates of harmful algal blooms in their territorial waters.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will introduce a moratorium on wildlife trade entering the UK.

Although we have no plans at this time to introduce a moratorium on wildlife trade coming into the UK, there are strong rules in place in the UK to ensure any such trade is sustainable, safe, disease and pest free, and legal. We will remain at the forefront of ensuring these remain sufficient, including through international fora such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the World Organisation for Animal Health, the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization. The international trade in wildlife is a complex matter, touching on environmental, social and economic aspects.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has held with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the decision to leave in-situ the (a) steel jackets and (b) concrete bases underneath decommissioned Brent oilfield platforms (i) Bravo, (ii) Charlie and (iii) Delta east of Shetland.

The Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED), part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), consults with a number of other Government departments and agencies including Defra regarding proposals for decommissioning offshore platforms.

Defra officials have had extensive discussions with OPRED and have examined the decommissioning proposals for the platforms in the Brent field, and were content that the decommissioning proposals offered the best, most practicable option for protecting the marine environment.

In these discussions with OPRED, Defra officials have been assured that any approval to leave in situ the footings of the Brent Alpha steel jacket and the concrete gravity based installations for Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta will be consistent with our international obligations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions officials in his Department held with their counterparts in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the decision not to comply with the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972 and the 1996 London Protocol to that Convention in relation to the (a) steel jackets and (b) concrete bases remaining in-situ underneath decommissioned Brent oilfield platforms (i) Bravo, (ii) Charlie and (iii) Delta east of Shetland.

The Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED), part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), consults with a number of other Government departments and agencies including Defra regarding proposals for decommissioning offshore platforms.

Defra officials have had extensive discussions with OPRED and have examined the decommissioning proposals for the platforms in the Brent field, and were content that the decommissioning proposals offered the best, most practicable option for protecting the marine environment.

In these discussions with OPRED, Defra officials have been assured that any approval to leave in situ the footings of the Brent Alpha steel jacket and the concrete gravity based installations for Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta will be consistent with our international obligations.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his policy is on adherence by his Department to the (a) London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972 and (b) London Protocol to that convention adopted in 1996.

The London Convention was adopted in 1972 and banned the dumping of specified wastes at sea, marking a significant step towards protecting the marine environment from human activities. The London Protocol, adopted in 1996, built on and modernised the principles developed under the London Convention. The London Protocol is a full treaty that supersedes the London Convention 1972.

The UK is a Contracting Party to the London Protocol and has ratified the treaty. The UK complies with its international obligations under the London Protocol and it is implemented in the UK via the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing guidance to require water companies to add sand traps to waste water treatment facilities.

Waste water treatment in the UK is largely determined by the requirements of the Urban Waste Water Treatment (England and Wales) Regulations 1994. The Regulations have the objective of protecting the environment from the adverse effects of waste water by setting minimum treatment levels supplemented by additional requirements to protect more sensitive receiving waters. The Regulations set the treatment standards to be achieved but do not prescribe the technology to be used to meet these standards. The use of sand traps to meet these standards is therefore a matter for water companies.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the (a) volume and (b) composition of plastic waste in UK territorial waters.

Marine plastic litter can move with ocean currents, which makes it difficult to calculate how much is situated in UK territorial waters at any given point in time.

Seafloor litter data is collected for the North Sea, English Channel, Celtic Sea and Irish Sea and this area includes, but is not limited to, UK territorial waters. Over 25 years (1992-2017) on average 324 litter items were recorded per km2 of seafloor. Between 2016 and 2018 more than 81% of the litter items recorded were plastic. Common items recorded were bags, plastic sheets and fishing debris.

We collaborate closely with neighbouring countries through the OSPAR Convention to reduce the flow of waste into the North-east Atlantic. We are delivering on our commitments in the OSPAR Marine Litter Regional Action Plan, which contains 55 collective and national actions to address both land- and sea-based sources of marine litter.

The Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December 2018, sets out our plans to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, working towards our 25 Year Environment Plan target to reduce all types of marine plastic pollution.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to help ensure a continuing supply of food and essential supplies to vulnerable people in local communities.

The Government has been working to support those who would otherwise struggle to get sufficient, healthy food due to COVID-19. Our analysis identified three key groups: 1) people who have money but are struggling to access food – principally because of the lockdown; 2) people who are struggling to afford food due to COVID-19; and 3) people who are both struggling to afford and access food.

In partnership with industry, the Government started to deliver shielding packages in late March, to those that are clinically extremely vulnerable and have requested this support. These packages consist of essential supplies and food. Supermarkets are also prioritising online delivery slots for those that are most in need and have expanded their capacity for home deliveries.

We have also been working quickly to support people who do not fall into the category of being clinically extremely vulnerable, but still need help getting essential food supplies. This includes those who are elderly, disabled or have health conditions that make it difficult for them to get the food they need. We have been working with retailers to ensure that these individuals are prioritised for supermarket delivery and click and collect slots, and we are helping connect those in need with local volunteers to deliver food from shops and with other food businesses offering food delivery.

We have also been working closely with food banks and food aid charities, to help ensure that those who are financially vulnerable have access to essential supplies.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his policy is on the UKs continued participation in the OSPAR Convention.

The UK Government will continue to support the valuable work of the OSPAR Convention and to play a leading role in its programmes for protecting the North East Atlantic Ocean. As we leave the EU it will provide an important opportunity for us to collaborate and coordinate our work on protecting the marine environment with those countries that neighbour our seas.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make representations to his international counterparts on establishing the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020 as an online conference.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has taken the decision to postpone its World Conservation Congress to January 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There are no plans for it to be held online.

The UK supports IUCN in its planning and preparation for the Congress and will continue to work alongside the organisation to ensure the success of the event.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on levels of biodiversity of the exploration and exploitation of seabed minerals by methods used in deep sea mining.

Defra is investigating the risks and environmental effects of deep sea mining through a cross-Government working group including the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The working group is supported by input from the National Oceanography Centre, Natural History Museum and British Geological Survey who are involved in a number of ongoing academic projects considering the impacts of deep sea mining. In addition, FCO and Defra commissioned a workshop in 2019 which brought together UK universities, industry and consultancies involved in the assessment of deep sea mining activities, to share information, progress and research findings. The outputs of these discussions are being used to inform the UK’s input into the development of regulations, standards and guidelines at the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

The UK implements a precautionary principle to deep sea mining and has agreed not to sponsor or support the issuing of any exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep sea ecosystems and strong and enforceable environmental standards have been developed by the ISA and are in place.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support circular economy approaches to reduce the demand of raw primary materials.

The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy published in December 2018, sets out how we will reduce the demand for primary raw materials by moving from a make, take and throw society towards a more circular economy. It adopts a holistic approach covering the full product lifecycle from production, to consumption, to end of life.

To keep products in circulation for longer we are taking steps through the Environment Bill, seeking powers to: require products to be designed to be durable, repairable, and recyclable; require provision of information as to products in that respect; and use extended producer responsibility schemes in a way that incentivises more resource efficient design.

The Environment Bill also includes powers to enable us to deliver on other commitments in the Strategy which will improve the quantity and quality of the materials we recycle. These include commitments on extended producer responsibility; implementation of a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers; and introduction of consistent recycling collections across the country. Government is also taking steps to directly reduce demand for primary materials through a new tax on plastic packaging - from April 2022, manufacturers and importers will be charged £200 per tonne on packaging made of less than 30% recycled content.

To make further progress with taking action up the waste hierarchy, we are developing proposals, on which we will consult, for a new Waste Prevention Programme for England, aimed at supporting reuse, repair, and remanufacture.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department takes to ensure that people who spread sludge monitor potential toxic elements contained in the product.

The use of sewage sludge on agricultural soils is regulated under the Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations (SUiAR). These regulations and their supporting Code of Practice include maximum permissible concentrations of potentially toxic elements in soil after application of sewage sludge and maximum annual rates of application. Information on these regulations and the Code of Practice for sewage sludge in agriculture can be found on the GOV.UK website at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/sewage-sludge-in-agriculture-code-of-practice.

Compliance checking against the SUiAR is undertaken by the Environment Agency (EA). On 17 March the EA published its Sludge Strategy to facilitate the safe and sustainable use of sludge on land. This strategy sets out the purpose, principles and priorities for delivering change to the regulation of sludge. Defra and the EA are working together to update the current legislation and provide industry and the public with the confidence that sludge is being managed correctly and safely.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the closest distance is that sludge can be spread near residential properties.

There are no prescribed limits for spreading near residential areas, but it is the responsibility of local authorities to deal with any odour or nuisance issues. The Environment Agency will step in where there is a pollution risk.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of Flora and Fauna International’s report entitled The Risks and Impacts of Deep Seabed Mining to Marine Ecosystems, published 12 March 2020.

The UK is implementing a precautionary principle to deep sea mining and has agreed not to sponsor or support the issuing of any exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep sea ecosystems and strong and enforceable environmental standards are in place. We will consider the report and its findings as we continue to negotiate the deep sea mining regulations and the environmental standards and guidance currently being developed by the International Seabed Authority.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that local authorities' maps are updated to identify unrecorded footpaths.

Local highway authorities are responsible for recording public rights of way. We are planning to reform the process for recording rights of way to make it quicker and simpler to do so, enabling the maps to be updated more easily.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has made an assessment of the potential (a) merits of the EU proposal to introduce a producer responsibility scheme for the tobacco industry on litter and (b) effect on environmental protection of not introducing that scheme in the UK.

The Government has made no specific recent assessment of the UK tobacco industry’s contribution to tackling smoking-related litter. We would like to see the tobacco industry delivering on the commitment given by the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association to tackle the litter created by its products and their users, but this must be achieved without breaching the UK’s international obligations.

Tobacco packaging is covered by the current Producer Responsibility Regulations, which require companies to recycle a proportion of the packaging waste they place on the market. Our forthcoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for packaging, including relevant tobacco packaging, will require producers to cover the full net costs of managing packaging at its end of life, including litter. This will be introduced in 2023.

In the Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS), we committed to looking into and consulting on EPR for five new waste-streams by 2025, and consulting on two of these by 2022. We have currently identified our five priority waste-streams as: textiles, fishing gear, certain products in construction and demolition, bulky waste and vehicle tyres. This list is not fixed and does not exclude the potential to review and consult on EPR for other waste streams if these are identified as being of equal or higher priority.

The EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive includes measures to implement an EPR scheme for tobacco products with filters, and filters marketed for use in combination with tobacco products, which should cover the costs of awareness raising, data gathering and litter clean-up of these products.

Now that the UK has left the EU, the Government will use this opportunity to refresh and renew our environmental policy. In the RWS, we committed to meeting or exceeding the ambition of the EU Directive, and we will do this in a way that works best for the UK’s aspirations in this policy area.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the contribution of the tobacco industry in tackling litter from its products.

The Government has made no specific recent assessment of the UK tobacco industry’s contribution to tackling smoking-related litter. We would like to see the tobacco industry delivering on the commitment given by the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association to tackle the litter created by its products and their users, but this must be achieved without breaching the UK’s international obligations.

Tobacco packaging is covered by the current Producer Responsibility Regulations, which require companies to recycle a proportion of the packaging waste they place on the market. Our forthcoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for packaging, including relevant tobacco packaging, will require producers to cover the full net costs of managing packaging at its end of life, including litter. This will be introduced in 2023.

In the Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS), we committed to looking into and consulting on EPR for five new waste-streams by 2025, and consulting on two of these by 2022. We have currently identified our five priority waste-streams as: textiles, fishing gear, certain products in construction and demolition, bulky waste and vehicle tyres. This list is not fixed and does not exclude the potential to review and consult on EPR for other waste streams if these are identified as being of equal or higher priority.

The EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive includes measures to implement an EPR scheme for tobacco products with filters, and filters marketed for use in combination with tobacco products, which should cover the costs of awareness raising, data gathering and litter clean-up of these products.

Now that the UK has left the EU, the Government will use this opportunity to refresh and renew our environmental policy. In the RWS, we committed to meeting or exceeding the ambition of the EU Directive, and we will do this in a way that works best for the UK’s aspirations in this policy area.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to prevent micro plastics from entering the sea.

Microplastics, pieces of plastic smaller than 5mm, can fragment from larger items or be intentionally produced. Our aim is to prevent plastic pollution at its source and develop a circular economy approach to plastic.

In 2018, we launched one of the world’s toughest bans on the sale and manufacture of microbeads in rinse-off personal care products, helping to prevent billions of tiny plastic pieces from entering the ocean every year.

Pre-production plastic pellets are a major source of microplastics. Current estimates put the number of pellets lost during the production of plastic in the UK between 5 billion and 53 billion. We have been engaging with industry to encourage businesses to do more, including signing up to Operation Clean Sweep, to prevent plastic pellet loss.

To address evidence gaps from other sources of microplastics we have commissioned:

  1. A study from the University of Plymouth to investigate the sources and pathways of microplastics from tyres and textiles into the marine environment.
  2. A Rapid Evidence Assessment by Defra on “Analysis, Prevalence and Impact of Microplastics in Freshwater and Estuarine Environment”.

These reports will be published this year and the evidence will help us continue to develop policies to tackle the problem.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress his Department has made on the development of a national chemicals strategy.

Work on the Chemicals Strategy (CS) started in the summer of 2019. A broad programme of stakeholder engagement is underway to help shape the vision and scope of the CS. To date, we have engaged with interested stakeholders from industry representatives to academia to voluntary organisations.

We will publish a Call for Evidence in the spring to seek views on the safe and effective management of chemicals. This will be published on Defra’s website. It will help inform the development of a draft CS for consultation.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will hold discussions with his international counterparts on classifying per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances as a group of chemicals in the Stockholm Convention.

There is a growing global awareness of the adverse effects on human health and the environment of polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS); the widespread occurrence of it in products and the environment make it a complex challenge.

The UK is a signatory to the Stockholm Convention which bans and/or restricts the production, use and emissions of substances listed as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). We will continue to engage with the Stockholm process on the management PFAS as a group of chemicals.

The UK participated in recent discussions on PFAS at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), where we offered our scientific expertise to support work on new PFAS assessments and life cycle approaches. We will continue to work with partners around the world to develop our approach domestically and internationally.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he bring forward legislative proposals to tighten the regulations on the (a) control and (b) use of highly persistent chemicals.

The production, use, and disposal of Persistent Organic Pollutant (POPs) chemicals is managed in order to protect human health and the environment. Substances that fulfil the criteria for a POP are banned or restricted under the international Stockholm Convention and we regulate to enforce those restrictions.

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan has specific targets to reduce emissions of POPs to the environment and we produce a triannual National Implementation Plan. It sets out our ambitions for the next three years and reports on previous actions and targets.

We will also consider whether further action is needed to reduce the impact of these chemicals in the forthcoming Chemicals Strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of monitoring levels of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances in the sea as part of the Marine Strategy.

The Environment Agency and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science will carry out field studies in 2020 to estimate levels of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances in sediments in selected English estuaries and coastal waters. The results will be used to inform assessments of the risks posed by these chemicals to humans and sea life as part of the UK Marine Strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2020
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 per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances in consumer products.

Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) constitute a group of thousands of chemicals that are widely used in consumer and industrial products. There are existing restrictions on the use of certain PFAS under the Stockholm Convention, to which the UK is a signatory, and under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.

My department is working with regulators to improve the understanding of the emissions and risks of PFAS in the UK and how we manage these chemicals will be considered in our forthcoming Chemicals Strategy.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 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 a limit on the number of each shark species caught in UK territorial waters.

The UK strongly supports the need to ensure scientifically robust catch limits are in place for all shark species exploited commercially within and outside of UK territorial waters.

The Common Fisheries Policy, which we will continue to follow during the transition period, already provides a framework for the protection and management of sharks within UK waters. Beyond this, the UK will continue to use the most recent scientific advice when setting Total Allowable Catches and Quotas. Landing prohibitions remain in place for angel shark, basking shark, white shark, spurdog and porbeagle shark.

Owing to the often highly migratory nature of elasmobranchs, as they move across national and international boundaries regularly, it is important that management is implemented throughout the range of the species rather than in isolation. Therefore, the UK continues to press for the establishment of scientifically justified catch limits for commercially exploited sharks within international Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a geographical indication scheme for UK food and drink after the transition period.

At the end of the transition period, we will launch UK Geographical Indication (GI) schemes, as part of our strategy to protect regional and traditional foods. Collectively, GI products like Scotch Whisky, Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and Welsh Lamb represent 25% of the UK’s food and drink export value and are highly valued by the communities that produce them. We are committed to celebrating the success of these products and ensuring they are fully protected from imitation and evocation in the UK from 1 January 2021.

The new UK GI framework will fully comply with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. As we establish new trade relationships around the world, we will seek to promote GI products as exemplars of quality British food and drink through campaigns like Food is Great.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what powers the London Borough of Barnet has to search and seize vehicles suspected of fly-tipping.

Tackling fly-tipping is a Government priority. It blights local communities and the environment wherever it occurs. As such, we have given waste collection authorities such as the London Borough of Barnet the power to enable them to search and or seize vehicles that they suspect have been involved, are involved or are about to be involved in fly-tipping and other waste crimes.

In accordance with the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, an authorised enforcement officer from a waste collection authority may search and seize any vehicle (and its contents) that the enforcement officer reasonably believes:

  • has been used to commit certain waste crimes, including fly-tipping (which is an offence under section 33(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990) where proceedings for that offence have not yet been brought against any person; or
  • is being used or is about to be used to fly-tip (or to commit certain other waste crimes).

In addition, under section 6 of the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989, a magistrate may issue a warrant to the police to seize a vehicle if there are grounds for believing that an offence under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 has been committed.

In the event a vehicle is seized as above, it must be dealt with in accordance with the Control of Waste (Dealing with Seized Property) England and Wales) Regulations 2015.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding has been allocated from the public purse to Barnet Council under the air quality grant programme in each of the last three years.

Barnet Council has not been awarded funding from Defra’s Air Quality Grant Programme in the last three years.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to eradicate domestic food waste.

Waste is a devolved matter. Data recently published by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the Government’s delivery body on food waste, shows household food waste reduced in the UK by over 1.4 million tonnes between 2007 and 2018. That’s a fall of almost 18%. However, there is more to do.

The Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS), published in December 2018, outlined our continued support for WRAP’s citizen food waste strategy to reduce food waste in our homes, for example through the Love Food Hate Waste Campaign. In addition, a Citizen Food Waste Behaviour Change Grant was launched on 30 January 2020 to identify new behaviour change interventions that can be tailored to food waste prevention. Ben Elliot, our Food Surplus and Waste Champion also recently announced the first ever ‘Food Waste Action Week’ from Monday 11 May and called on households and businesses across the country to join forces to reduce food waste.

We also want households to be able to separate their food waste from residual waste, which will prevent it going to landfill. Following support for separate weekly food waste collections at public consultation, the Environment Bill proposes legislation that will require all collectors of waste to collect a core set of materials from households, businesses and other organisations such as schools from 2023.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much money from the public purse her Department has spent on improving air quality in each of the last five years.

The Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) is a cross-departmental team between Defra and the Department for Transport (DfT). It was set up in financial year (FY) 2016/17 and is responsible for the delivery of the UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations.

The table below shows Defra’s spend for FY 2015/16 and JAQU’s total spend each year since FY 2016/17. Figures for FY 2014/15 are not available.

Financial Year

Defra Funding (£m)

DfT Funding (£m)

Total (£m)

2015/16

3.2

-*

3.2

2016/17

11.9

1.0

12.9

2017/18

19.9

22.4

42.3

2018/19

51.6

109.2

160.8

*No DfT funding for FY 2015/16

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of artificial lighting on biodiversity loss.

Defra has published or contributed to a range of assessments of the impact of artificial light on insects and wider biodiversity, as well as global and national assessments of the drivers of biodiversity loss more generally.

Following publication of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s report, ‘Artificial light in the environment’ in 2009, Defra has supported assessments of impacts of artificial light on insects and on other organisms such as bats. These are published on our science website. Defra has also funded or co-funded national and international assessments of drivers of change on insects and wider biodiversity such as the global IPBES Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production, which notes effects of light on nocturnal insects may be growing and identifies the need for further study.

There have been a number of externally funded studies which have highlighted potential impacts of artificial light pollution on insects, which Defra keeps under review, for example, with our academic partners on the National Pollinator Strategy for England.

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out how the possible ecological impacts of artificial light should be considered in the planning system. It makes clear that policies and decisions should limit the impact of light pollution on local amenity, dark landscapes and nature conservation, including where there may be impacts on wildlife and ecosystems. Defra has inputted to associated guidance, published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which also draws on evidence from various assessments, including the Royal Commission report.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to increase salmon stocks throughout England.

To increase salmon stocks throughout England, the Environment Agency (EA) recently published a new programme of action in the England and Wales North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) Implementation Plan 2019-2024.

In 2018, 10,328 salmon were caught by net fisheries in England. In 2019 the EA made a number of changes to reduce the exploitation of salmon by closing all major salmon net fisheries around the English coast and introducing mandatory catch and release by anglers on rivers where salmon populations are most at risk. In 2019, no salmon were reported taken by the remaining net fisheries.

The EA have been working with a number of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) to minimise unintentional by-catch by inshore sea fisheries (within six nautical miles). By-catch is when salmon are unintentionally caught by nets aiming to catch other species. New byelaws have been introduced by the Devon and Severn IFCA and Cornwall IFCA that significantly increase in the level of protection for migratory fish.

To safeguard sufficient river flows for salmon, the EA’s Restoring Sustainable Abstraction programme has changed 81 unsustainable abstraction licences on England’s 42 principal salmon rivers preventing damage, or the risk of damage. The remaining 14 licences will be modified by 2020.

The EA has also improved water quality to maximise salmon spawning success and the Water Companies’ National Environment Programme 2016-2021 is scheduled to deliver 42 improvements, 160 investigations, 15 catchment schemes and 10 water resource schemes on England’s 42 principal salmon rivers.

To restore salmon habitat and address barriers to migration, in 2018 on England’s 42 principal salmon rivers 9 weirs/barriers were removed and 8 fish passage easements were delivered, improving access for salmon to 152km of river on the Rivers Ribble, Crake, Kent, Wear, Severn, Tamar, Camel, Fowey, Taw, and Monks Brook (Lower Itchen). Over the last 5 years (2014-18) 57 barriers have been removed or altered, which has improved access to 2,398km of river catchment.

The England and Wales NASCO Implementation Plan 2019-2024 can be found at http://www.nasco.int/pdf/implementation_plans/Cycle3/IP(19)13rev_IP_EU-UK%20(England%20and%20Wales).pdf

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will bring forward legislative proposals on clean air.

The upcoming Environment Bill will contain provisions to tackle poor air quality, which is the greatest environmental risk to health.

The Air Quality chapter in the Environment Bill will ensure that local authorities have a clear framework for tackling air pollution, and simple to use powers to address air quality in their areas. It will also provide Government with new powers to enforce environmental standards for vehicles, and will commit to setting an ambitious, long-term air quality target.

The Environment Bill fell at the dissolution of the last Parliament, but the Conservative Party manifesto committed to reintroducing the Bill and we are expecting to see its reintroduction to Parliament shortly. Exact timings of the Bill’s introduction will be confirmed soon.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will set out the steps necessary to plant 30 million trees a year.

The Government set out its ambition to increase tree planting to 75,000 acres each year across the UK by the end of this Parliament. To support this, we announced a Nature for Climate Fund, part of which will kick-start a step-change in tree planting in England. Forestry is a devolved matter and we will work with the devolved administrations to increase planting across the UK.

We will expand on woodland creation initiatives like the Northern Forest and Northumberland Forest, and plant more trees in urban areas. We will support afforestation on private land, continuing our woodland creation grants, which offer a viable, long-term source of income for landowners who deliver environmental benefits by planting and maintaining trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2020 to Question 54900 on Israel: Palestinians, which other suppliers submitted proposals for that project at the design phase.

No other suppliers submitted proposals for our people to people programme. DFID has a range of procurement options available when developing programmes. One of these is to award an Accountable Grant to a not-for-profit organisation, which is a non-competitive process. While many organisations are clearly performing excellent work in different fields of people to people work, Search for Common Ground (SFCG) approached DFID and proposed a comprehensive programme based on international best-practice. Based on our research, we judged that the SFCG proposal was the best fit for the outcomes that we wished to pursue, and therefore awarded SFCG an accountable grant to take the project forward.

Having SFCG as the sole implementer also offered a cost-effective approach to managing the unique risks associated with the delivery of the people to people programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. SFCG delivered some activities directly and worked through partners in areas requiring specialist expertise.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 30 April 2020 to Question 38897 on Israel: Palestinians, what criteria her Department used to determine the implementing partner for that programme; and what mechanisms she has put in place to ensure open and competitive funding bids.

Our people to people programme aimed to build understanding between Israelis and Palestinians, helping build support for a peaceful, negotiated resolution.

During the design phase of the programme, Search for Common Ground (SFCG) approached DFID with a proposal for a comprehensive programme. While many organisations are performing excellent work in different fields, it was judged more effective to fund one partner to focus on a few specific thematic areas rather than funding several grants in a broad range of sectors through a wide call for bids. With this focused approach we were able to add to the research on what works in people to people programming.

SFCG delivered some activities directly and worked through partners in areas requiring specialist expertise. A Committee consisting of SFCG, DFID and FCO officials agreed a robust set of criteria for SFCG’s assessment of potential downstream partners and approved the final selection.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 21 April 2020 to Question 34965 on Israel: Palestinians, which organisations (a) distributed funds and (b) have received UK funds from the People to People programme.

Our three-year People to People programme aimed to bring together Israelis and Palestinians to cooperate on issues which can have a positive impact on both communities, helping to build understanding between people on both sides of the conflict in support of a peaceful, negotiated resolution.

Our programme was implemented by Search for Common Ground, who delivered some activities directly and worked through partners in areas requiring specialist expertise. These partners were: the Jerusalem Intercultural Centre, the Musalaha network, and the Al-Quds Public Health School.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department is providing to UK-based charities and small businesses to help those organisations tackle the covid-19 outbreak in the developing world.

DFID will deliver a comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries, through programming to support the global health and economic response, funding for further vaccine development, preparation for the recovery phase and leadership within the international community.

We have agreed that part of this funding will go to NGOs, including UK charities that are using British expertise and experience to deal with COVID-19, the majority of which will be allocated through the Rapid Response Facility. We have also committed funding to the International Committee of the Red Cross and British Red Cross to reach populations in some of the hardest to reach areas, including those affected by conflict. We are reviewing our portfolio to identify existing programmes that can support the response immediately and others that can be adapted or scaled up, such as our support to health systems and humanitarian crises.

We will continue engaging with UK charities and private sector partners, including Small Medium Enterprises, to address the challenges posed to their organisations and DFID-funded projects by COVID-19.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help to build resilience amongst domestic health services and systems in developing countries during the covid-19 outbreak.

Strong and resilient national health systems are vital to global health security and helping to protect the world from infectious diseases, including COVID-19. The UK has, so far, pledged £744 million of UK aid to help end the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible. This includes a package of £200 million to support UK charities and international organisations to help reduce mass infections in developing countries, which often lack the healthcare systems to track and prevent the virus from spreading.

Through our multilateral partnerships with organisations like the WHO and the World Bank, and our regional and national programmes, the UK supports developing countries to make their domestic health systems stronger and more resilient. In turn this enables them to prevent, detect and respond to health threats, such as COVID-19. For example, DFIDs’ Tackling Deadly Diseases in Africa Programme includes capacity building for health security and preparedness for health emergencies, including disease surveillance.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support the Overseas Territories to deal with the covid-19 pandemic.

A range of government departments, led by DFID and the FCO, are supporting Overseas Territories to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. Support includes essential medical supply, public health advice, security and access support, and financial aid to mitigate the economic impacts in the most vulnerable territories.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the Answer of 18 July 2017 to Question 3942 on Israel: Palestinians, what initiatives have the £3 million been allocated to help Israelis and Palestinians to work together.

Our People to People programme aimed to bring together Israelis and Palestinians to cooperate on issues that can have a positive impact on both communities, helping to build understanding between people on both sides of the conflict in support of a peaceful, negotiated resolution.

Our £3 million three-year (2017-2020) programme facilitated interaction between youth leaders, religious communities and within the health sector. It:

  • helped tackle a neglected tropical disease (Leishmaniasis) through cooperation between health academics and senior health workers for the wellbeing of both populations.
  • facilitated discussion and activity between young people on reducing interreligious tensions around holy sites.
  • brought together young leaders from different professional, political and religious backgrounds to identify future areas for co-operation.
James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the answer of 18 March 2020 to Question 27998, what criteria is used by UK officials to assess UNRWA’s effectiveness in allocating resources on the basis of need.

UK officials are in regular contact with the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNWRA) to ensure high quality aid delivery. This includes attendance at all of UNRWA’s formal meetings, such as the sub and advisory commission meetings and budgetary briefings. UNWRA has provided substantial briefings on its budgeting and funding situation, which UK officials assess alongside the United Nations Board of Auditors report, which provides an external assessment of UNRWA’s performance on financial matters.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will publish the (a) outcomes and (b) recommendations of the planned EU review of Palestinian textbooks.

The UK government is deeply concerned about allegations of incitement in Palestinian Authority’s school textbooks; and secured an independent EU-funded review of the textbooks which is underway. We expect interim findings to be due by June 2020 and full findings later in the year. We continue to encourage the EU to publish the report.

The International Development Secretary reiterated our concerns in a call to the Palestinian Authority’s Education Minister just last month.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make representations to UNWRA on ensuring that it allocates resources on the basis of need.

The UK recognises the United Nations Relief Works and Agency’s (UNWRA) unique mandate from the UN General Assembly, to support Palestinian refugees until a lasting political settlement is reached, which determines their final status. The UK is committed to funding UNRWA to meet humanitarian need and promote regional security. Officials are in regular contact with UNRWA to ensure high quality aid delivery and judge that UNRWA is effective in allocating resources on the basis of need.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she has made an assessment of the implications for her policies of the September 2019 report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education on the content of school textbooks published by the Palestinian Authority; and if she will make a statement.

The UK government is deeply concerned about the allegations of incitement in Palestinian Authority’s school textbooks in the report published by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education in September 2019.

At the UK’s insistence, the EU agreed to fund an independent review of the textbooks which is underway. We expect interim findings to be due in Spring 2020 and full findings later in the year. The International Development Secretary reiterated our concerns in a call to the Palestinian Authority’s Education Minister just last month.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, when it is planned to publish the findings of the review established by her Department, the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research and other international partners of the books included in the Palestinian Authority’s school curriculum.

The UK government is deeply concerned about allegations of incitement in Palestinian Authority’s school textbooks. The UK secured EU agreement to commission the Georg Eckert Institute to conduct an independent review of the textbooks, which is underway. We expect interim findings by June 2020 and full findings later in the year.

We continue to encourage the EU to publish the findings. The International Development Secretary reiterated our concerns in a call to the Palestinian Authority’s Education Minister just last month.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps are being taken by her Department to reduce the amount of single use plastics in developing countries.

DFID is funding a number of interventions to tackle plastic waste and single use plastics in developing countries.

To support the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance launched in London in April 2018, DFID is providing expertise to developing countries that signed up to meet the ambitions of the Alliance. This includes working towards eliminating single use plastics.

In addition, DFID is funding projects to increase recycling of plastic and improve waste management in Uganda, Ghana and Vanuatu. DFID is also funding innovative research and supports UK charities working on plastic recycling and waste management though the Small Charities Challenge Fund and UK Aid Match. This includes funding work through Tearfund and Waste Aid, in Haiti, Pakistan, Cameroon, The Gambia and Kenya which is focused on reducing waste and pollution.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will increase the level of Official Development Assistance allocated to Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s work is critical to the delivery of the UK’s objective to end preventable deaths, having helped save 13 million lives since its inception in 2000. The UK remains deeply committed to supporting this vital work, including through the provision of significant funding to Gavi and hosting the Gavi replenishment at the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 in June.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Official Development Assistance her Department has allocated to Nutrition for Growth.

The UK has been a global leader on nutrition since hosting the first ever Nutrition for Growth (N4G) Summit in 2013. We are making progress against our 2013 N4G commitments as follows:

  • DFID has already exceeded its commitment to invest £2.13 billion from 2013 to 2020 in nutrition sensitive programmes – to date we have spent £2.7 billion on this type of programme;
  • We have also unlocked the full amount of nutrition matched funding committed in 2013 – this has leveraged £560 million more for nutrition from other donors; and
  • We are working to ensure we reach the target to invest £575 million on direct nutrition services by the end of this year.

DFID officials are working closely with the Government of Japan to prepare for the 2020 Nutrition for Growth Summit. This will be an important opportunity to secure new commitments to nutrition, to set the world on a better track to achieve the Global Goals and to help achieve our ambition of ending preventable deaths by 2030. We are considering what commitment the UK Government will make at the Summit.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will use the UK's role as host of the Gavi Replenishment Conference to help ensure that the global vaccine agenda prioritises deprived and marginalised children.

The UK is delighted to be hosting the Gavi replenishment at the Global Vaccine Summit in June 2020. Gavi has immunised over 760 million children, saving 13 million lives from preventable diseases. The UK is proud to have played a significant role in delivering these extraordinary results.

Children born to the poorest families, with the lowest levels of education, and living in the hardest to reach areas are the least likely to get vaccinations. Our priority as hosts of the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 will be to help Gavi secure the funding it needs to further deliver its life-saving work. As part of our influencing efforts, the UK will press for new strategies to address the poverty barriers and identify those children who miss out on life-saving vaccines. This includes promoting equitable coverage of immunisation to leave no-one behind and ensure vaccines are available for the most vulnerable. Leaving no child behind is integral to delivering on our manifesto commitment to ending preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children in developing countries by 2030.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what estimate she has made of the accumulated investment results achieved by each Trade Envoy.

The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy Programme supports British businesses overseas and attracts investment into the UK. The programme works in collaboration with other trade promotion activities and it focuses on emerging and high growth markets where additional senior interactions can be valuable, or larger economies where multiple interactions at different levels are effective.

There is no verifiable way to quantify the investment results achieved by each Trade Envoy given they work in collaboration with our other activities to promote investment into the UK. The Department for International Trade’s most recent published foreign direct investment results can be found in the annual report:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/department-for-international-trade-annual-report-and-accounts-2019-to-2020

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the cost to the public purse has been of each Trade Envoy since their appointment, to date.

Trade Envoys are unpaid. Total expenditure for the trade envoy programme since its launch in November 2012 has been £987,153.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on trade priorities for the UK’s G7 presidency.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade has discussed with Cabinet colleagues global trade priorities for our G7 Presidency, including climate, health and digital trade, including with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to ensure common priorities in the UK's G7 Ministerial tracks.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of electrical vehicle charging points that have been installed in the London Borough of Barnet as at 14 September 2021.

Data on public electric vehicle charging devices and private, grant-funded charging devices in the London Borough of Barnet are presented in the table. Figures are from 1 July 2021.

Number of Charging Devices

Total Public Devices

197

Private Domestic Charging Devices1

1,907

Workplace Charging Device Sockets1

29

  1. Data on both private charging domestic and workplace devices comes from three Office for Zero Emission Vehicle (OZEV) grant schemes: the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) for businesses; the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) and its predecessor, the Domestic Recharge Scheme (DRS) for private domestic charging devices.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of the cost of imports via shipping containers.

My Department is closely monitoring the sector, with Other Government Departments. Shipping costs during 2021 have risen to a global high level in international freight markets as a result of unprecedented levels of demand driven by changed consumer behaviour during the pandemic.

Historical trends in the shipping sector shows pricing responds to supply and demand. Although industry estimates that high levels of demand and pricing are likely to continue throughout 2021, it is expected that pricing levels should similarly re-adjust when the current demand drivers change.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on the application to install step-free access at Mill Hill Broadway station in Hendon constituency.

We are committed to improving rail access for all disabled passengers, as set out in the recent rail reform White Paper.

Mill Hill Broadway is already part of the Access for All programme and the project is currently in development with work due to complete by 2024 at the latest.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the introduction of E10 on petrol retailers.

The introduction of E10 petrol is the product of extensive consultation, including with petrol retailers. The public consultation process started in July 2018 with a call for evidence on whether and how best to introduce E10 petrol, which considered the impacts of different options to introduce E10.

Based on the consultation process, the government chose the least burdensome option, one which requires no additional infrastructure at the forecourt, to minimise costs to retailers and ultimately consumers. This approach was supported by fuel retailer trade associations in responding to the consultation.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether HMT Empire Windrush has been designated as a war grave.

While the term ‘war grave’ is used in common parlance, there is no legal definition that applies at sea (or on land). Therefore, the wreck of the HMT Empire Windrush cannot be designated in this manner.

The wreck is not designated under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986, the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, nor the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

This does not detract from the ship continuing to act as an extraordinary and enduring symbol of the contribution of the Windrush generation to the United Kingdom.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, 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 and the department should be set out in a framework document.

Managing Public Money explains 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, eg 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.

The accounts of a non-departmental public body are usually consolidated with those of their sponsoring department. In the case of regulatory bodies, the annual report and accounts serve the same purpose and are laid before Parliament, but may not be consolidated depending on the classification of the body.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if will assess the potential merits of updating the Highway Code to allow vehicles to turn left on red traffic signals.

The Department has no plans to review legislation to allow this. There are serious safety issues raised by the practice as it would compromise the safe use of dedicated pedestrian facilities. Any reduction in vehicle delays would be minimal as most traffic signals in the UK are already designed to be traffic responsive, unlike those fixed-time signals used in other countries.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what is the timeframe is for the introduction of the policies set out in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, published by his Department on 20 May 2021.

The Government is committed to delivering passenger benefits as quickly as possible, including the introduction of new flexible season tickets, auditing accessibility of stations, a 30-year strategy for the rail industry, and replacing franchising.

This is the biggest change to the railways in three decades and transformation on this scale will not happen overnight. Government is setting up a Rail Transformation Programme within the Department for Transport and working with the rail sector to ensure a common understanding of our vision for the railway, working collectively with the sector to design how this major project will be delivered. The Government will make further announcements on next steps in relation to implementation in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Access for All Programme, what is the timeframe for the commencement of work to install step-free access at Mill Hill Broadway railway station.

In addition to the measures set out in the recent rail reform White Paper, I will be bidding for further rounds of funding for Access for All schemes in the forthcoming Spending Review.

Mill Hill Broadway is currently in development with work due to complete by 2024 at the latest.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve access at railway stations for disabled people.

In addition to the measures set out in the recent rail reform White Paper, I will be bidding for further rounds of funding for Access for All schemes in the forthcoming Spending Review.

Mill Hill Broadway is currently in development with work due to complete by 2024 at the latest.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department has made on introducing flexible rail season tickets.

As announced on 20 May alongside the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, the Government is introducing new flexible season tickets across England this year, with the new tickets going on-sale on 21 June, and becoming available for use on 28 June. Tickets will go on sale a week in advance to provide passengers enough time to consider the best option for them before planning travel. A new season ticket calculator will be available for passengers to check the best value option for their travel plan.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to promote the use of E10 fuel in vehicles.

On 25th February, we published the Government response to the consultation paper “Introducing E10 petrol”. The Government response was accompanied by a full impact assessment and confirmed our intention to introduce E10 petrol in September. In advance of the introduction, we launched a public information campaign on 7th June. The campaign will make drivers aware of the changes we are making and how E10 will play a part in helping reduce carbon emissions.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of increasing the use of E10 fuel in vehicles.

On 25th February, we published the Government response to the consultation paper “Introducing E10 petrol”. The Government response was accompanied by a full impact assessment and confirmed our intention to introduce E10 petrol in September. In advance of the introduction, we launched a public information campaign on 7th June. The campaign will make drivers aware of the changes we are making and how E10 will play a part in helping reduce carbon emissions.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to (a) improve bus services and (b) help ensure that off-peak services are not empty in England.

On 15 March, we launched England’s long-term National Bus Strategy, setting out a bold vision for bus services across the country, and backed by £3 billion of transformational funding over the current Parliament. The Strategy’s central aim is to get more people travelling by bus by making services more frequent, more reliable, easier to understand and use, better co-ordinated and cheaper.

Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs), which we expect Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) to produce by the end of October, will need to set out ambitious visions for travel by bus, meeting the goals and expectations in the strategy. BSIPs will influence the share of the £3 billion funding that each authority receives, and LTAs are expected to set out how they will grow bus use, as part of these plans.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to install additional charging points to help increase the uptake of electric vehicles.

We are working hard with industry to grow a UK-wide, reliable and easy to use electric vehicle recharging network infrastructure to make recharging an electric vehicle is as easy as refuelling a petrol and diesel car and to give more drivers the confidence to make the switch to plug-in zero emission vehicles. We are investing £1.3 billion in accelerating the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next four years. This will target support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car. Our grant schemes and the £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will see thousands more electric vehicle charge-points installed across the UK.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the HS2 project supports and promotes biodiversity along the whole of the route.

HS2 is committed to being the most environmentally responsible major infrastructure project in UK history, and to deliver ‘no net loss’ to biodiversity across all of its phases. It was the first major infrastructure project to make such a commitment.

However, in June 2021 the Government stated its further aim to deliver a ‘net gain’ to biodiversity for the Phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester) section. This goes further than no net loss and sets a new standard for HS2’s environmental commitments on future phases.

The HS2 Green Corridor initiative, brings together the core mitigation and compensation measures planned for Phase One (London to West Midlands) and Phase 2a (West Midlands to Crewe) with dedicated funds including the £45m Community and Environment Fund, £7m Woodland Fund and the £2 million Phase 2a biodiversity fund, in order to amplify positive environmental impacts.

HS2’s commitments will protect the natural environment, and leave behind richer, more diverse and better-connected landscapes and wildlife habitats, to deliver on the Government’s pledge for a positive future for nature.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve integration between bus and train timetables at transport interchanges and connections.

The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail and the National Bus Strategy set out that bus and rail services should be better integrated with each other. Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs), which we expect local transport authorities to produce by the end of October, will need to set out ambitious visions for travel by bus, meeting the goals and expectations in the National Bus Strategy. BSIPs will influence the share of the £3bn transformation funding that each authority receives, and we will expect to see proposals for modal integration as part of each plan, including how bus and rail operators can increasingly align their services, timetables and network planning.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve the condition of roads in Hendon constituency.

Transport in London, including roads maintenance, is devolved. The responsibility is shared between TfL, Highways England and London boroughs.

TfL are responsible for managing the Transport for London Road Network and Highways England are responsible for the national motorway network. London boroughs are responsible for the remaining roads within their boundaries not managed by either TfL or Highways England.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what is the timeframe for the running the e-scooter trials.

There are currently 32 trials underway which will run across the year, with final trial schemes due to conclude by 31 March 2022. This is an extension to the original deadline of 30 November 2021. It takes into account the slower start to trials as a result of the pandemic and will allow us more time to gather evidence as lockdown eases. The Department has in place a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation programme for the trials. A final report will be published in spring 2022.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what research his Department has undertaken on the impact of surface water on road safety during wet conditions.

The Government has not commissioned research on the impact of surface water on road safety. However, guidance in the Highway Code, Wet Weather (Rule 227), is based on evidence on wet weather and typical stopping distances.

The Highway Code, Wet Weather (Rule 227):

In wet weather, stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads (see ‘Typical stopping distances). This is because your tyres have less grip on the road. In wet weather:

  • you should keep well back from the vehicle in front. This will increase your ability to see and plan ahead
  • if the steering becomes unresponsive, it probably means that water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road. Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually
  • the rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen
  • be aware of the dangers of spilt diesel that will make the surface very slippery (see Annex 6: Vehicle maintenance, safety and security)
  • take extra care around pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders.
Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to improve the local environment for cycling and walking in the London Borough of Barnet.

In June, the Government announced a further £1.08bn funding and financing package for Transport for London (TfL). This includes at least £100 million to continue the delivery of healthy streets and active travel programmes in Greater London. Decisions on the allocation of this funding across Greater London are for the Mayor of London.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what actions are being promoted by the British Transport Police to tackle anti-semitism on public transport.

BTP’s anti-hate crime campaign, #WeStandTogether, has been in place since 2016 and aims to educate, raise aware of hate crime and increase confidence and encourage victims of hate and intolerance to report all forms of hate, including antisemitism. BTP also works in partnership with the Community Security Trust (CST) on this campaign and signposts victims of antisemitism to them as an alternative third-party hate crime reporting organisation.

BTP carry out regular ‘Hate Crime Days of Action’ across the railway network, which involves an enhanced presence at stations and on the network, with a focus on raising awareness of hate and intolerance and encouraging the reporting of hate.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the next round of Access for All bidding will commence.

I shall be bidding for further rounds of funding for Access for All schemes in the forthcoming Spending Review.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how long he plans to provide emergency funding to Transport for London.

The Government and Mayor of London have agreed to extend the current Transport for London funding deal, which was due to run out on 31st March 2021. The extended deal will continue to support the capital and the transport network until 18 May 2021, when a new funding deal will be put in place.

The Government is committed to supporting London and the transport network on which it depends, and will commence discussions for a further funding deal as soon as the Mayoral Elections are concluded.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the DVLA's policy is on advising people whether they can participate in driving theory tests.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is responsible for the conduct of theory driving tests.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the national lockdown in England, the DVSA has once again had to suspend all routine theory and practical driving tests.

Government guidance is very clear people should be staying at home to save lives and protect the NHS unless their trip is essential. A journey solely for driver learning or testing purposes is not considered essential. It is also contrary to the ‘stay at home’ message and would increase movement of both people and vehicles.

The DVSA is working with its theory test contract provider, Pearson VUE, to respond to requests for theory tests in England from organisations such as Ambulance Authorities on behalf of frontline mobile emergency workers who require a driving licence to carry out duties in their employment role.

The DVSA has been working closely with Pearson VUE, to explore ways in which it can expand theory testing capacity and reduce waiting times for theory tests once testing can resume.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of differing blood alcohol limits in the UK on levels of road safety.

The Government is committed to tackling drivers under the influence of alcohol and ensuring that all such drivers are caught and punished. We have a combined approach of tough penalties and rigorous enforcement along with our highly respected and effective THINK! Campaigns. This reinforces the social unacceptability of drink driving and reminds people of the serious consequences that drinking and driving can have on themselves and others.

The Government has no plans to lower the drink drive limit in England and Wales. We believe that our current measures as outlined above are a more effective deterrent than changing the drink driving limit.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many departmental staff will be attending COP26 in an official capacity with their expenses covered.

The number of Department for Transport staff that will be attending COP26 in an official capacity has not yet been confirmed. Expenses will be paid in line with the Department's guidance.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a new funding model for Transport for London.

In October 2020, the Government agreed an extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL worth up to £1.7bn, in addition to the earlier May 2020 deal worth up to £1.6bn, to ensure the continuation of public transport services in London during the pandemic; this deal runs until 31 March 2021. The deal is fair to national taxpayers and it takes steps to put TfL on a sustainable footing. As part of the deal, TfL was required to produce a plan for financial sustainability, with a target date for 2023. Having received this plan, the Government will now consider and discuss with the Mayor and TfL how a trajectory to financial sustainability can be achieved.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of her Department’s policies on improving equality of opportunity.

We made a Manifesto commitment to improve the quality of evidence within Government about the types of barriers people face.

To deliver that promise, in December, The Secretary of State for Women and Equalities launched the Government’s equality data programme. That programme will consider socio-economic background and geography alongside factors such as sex, ethnicity and sexual orientation to enable us to understand where individuals are being held back across the UK.

The project aims to publish its first outputs in Summer 2021. The evidence from this inquiry will support the development of policy across Government to make the UK a fairer place to live and do business.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what steps the Government has taken to reduce social exclusion among the children of England.

A world-class education system that works for everyone is the surest way to spread opportunity across the country. That is why we are investing over £7 billion more in our schools by 2022-23 than in 2019-20, plus additional funding to cover pension costs. This means schools around the country can continue to raise standards to give all children the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Schools continue to receive additional funding through the pupil premium – worth around £2.4 billion annually – to help them support their disadvantaged pupils.

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

This Government has also delivered an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and businesses and, for those in most need, injecting billions into the welfare system. The new Covid Winter Grant Scheme builds on that support with an additional £170 million for local authorities in England, to support families with children and other vulnerable people with the cost of food and essential utilities this winter. Our long-term ambition is to level up across the country and continue to tackle child poverty through our reformed welfare system encouraging parents to move into and progress in work wherever possible.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people waiting for a practical driving test in the UK.

In March 2020, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) suspended most of its services in line with Government guidance, whilst maintaining access for critical workers to support the national emergency response.

The DVSA is restoring its testing services with new procedures in place to keep people safe and help stop the spread of coronavirus.

As the DVSA has been unable to provide its normal level of service for the past six months, demand for practical driving tests are higher than usual.

As of 6 October 2020, 344,806 candidates in the UK have a practical car test booked and are waiting to sit the test.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of average time it takes to obtain a practical driving test in the UK.

In March 2020, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) suspended most of its services in line with Government guidance, whilst maintaining access for critical workers to support the national emergency response.

The DVSA is restoring its testing services with new procedures in place to keep people safe and help stop the spread of coronavirus.

As the DVSA has been unable to provide its normal level of service for the past six months, demand for practical driving tests are higher than usual.

Currently, the average waiting time for a practical driving test in the UK is:

  • Car – 10 weeks
  • Vocational – 7 weeks
  • Motorcycle – 7 weeks

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has in place to stop skippers turning off their automatic identification system to prevent location identification.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) already has measures in place to ensure that shipmasters, skippers and navigational watchkeepers of fishing vessels and commercial vessels mandated to carry automatic identification system (AIS) keep their systems operational and in proper use at all times.

These measures include the use of fixed wing surveillance aircraft and fixed radar installations at certain locations along the coast.

The MCA recently updated gov.uk weblinks to remind skippers of relevant fishing vessels that they must fit AIS which meet the international performance standards and that it is an offence to switch off AIS unless there are compelling grounds to justify that safety and security of the vessel would be affected.

The MCA will either warn or prosecute and fine those who they discover are failing to properly use the AIS at sea.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timeframe is for covid-19 levels in countries to be reviewed to allow air bridges to the UK.

The Health Regulations relating to the self-isolation requirements remain under constant review, and are updated as required. The country exemption review takes place each week.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to allow sleeper carriages to travel through the Channel Tunnel.

The binational Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) is responsible for the safety rules and approvals of all vehicles within the Channel Tunnel Fixed Link, including compliance with specific safety regulations to address the risks associated with operating through the Channel Tunnel. These safety regulations do not specifically relate to sleeper services but nor would they prevent any rail sleeper service beginning international operations. The Department stands ready to engage with any operators of potential new international rail services, such as sleeper services, where they have a proposition they wish to explore.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish guidance on the resumption of driving lessons as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Driver and rider instruction can restart in England from Saturday 4 July 2020.

Car driving tests will restart in England on Wednesday 22 July 2020, which will give learner drivers time to have refresher lessons and practice before taking their test.

The DVSA would encourage all driving instructors to keep up to date with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) website for further advice and information.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that private plane operators complete due diligence checks to ensure their passengers comply with the Coronavirus Act 2020.

The safety of staff and passengers is a priority, and measures are already in place to protect people’s health and safety when travelling by air. All airports are encouraged to follow Public Health England guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19. PHE has also provided specific guidance on health and safety for flight crews. The advice for travellers is the same as for the rest of the UK population. The Government’s “stay at home” posters are on display at all UK airports and many airports have the messaging on digital screens as well. Airports and airlines have also been provided with PHE leaflets to give to passengers outlining the symptoms of COVID-19, current guidance, and general public health advice.

24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requisitioning control of transport services in London during the covid-19 outbreak.

Transport in London is devolved. The Government has issued guidance and we are working closely with TfL on their response to the Covid-19 crisis, which is focused on targeted operational interventions on the tube network and supporting rail network. Data on passenger numbers shows a significant reduction, with tube travel down 96% compared to last year (as of 26 April).

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to extend the scope of existing legislation on driving prohibitions to include principal occupants in autonomous vehicles.

The Government recognises that self-driving (sometimes referred to as autonomous) vehicles will challenge existing driving legislation, which was not designed with them in mind.

This is why the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles has asked the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission (the Law Commissions) to conduct a three-year review of driving legislation to prepare for the introduction of self-driving vehicles on UK roads, which includes extensive public consultation.

The Government is considering what legislative changes will be required to ensure the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles, informed by the Law Commissions’ project, which is due to complete in 2021.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an alcohol limit for airline passengers.

It is vital that passengers drink responsibly and are aware of the penalties of being drunk on an aircraft. The Government supports the industry’s approach to this issue, including the UK Aviation Industry Code of Practice on Disruptive Passengers, and initiatives such as the ‘One Too Many’ awareness campaign and the introduction of tamper-proof bags for duty free alcohol sales. The Government continues to work in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority, airports and airlines to consider further measures needed to tackle this problem.

13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) potential merits and (b) implications for his policies of Oslo's Vision Zero programme and its effect on road traffic fatalities.

The Department has not made an assessment.

The Department has adopted the Safe System approach to road safety that features elements of a Vision Zero approach. This is reflected in our 2019 Road Safety Statement, which focuses through its actions on three of the five pillars of the Safe System approach: safer people, safer vehicles and safer roads.

The effect of this approach should be to raise standards and improve coordination, so that avoidable road deaths and injuries are reduced to an absolute minimum.

The road safety statement can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/road-safety-statement-2019-a-lifetime-of-road-safety

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the effect of street lighting on trends in the level of road traffic accidents.

It is for each highway authority responsible for street lighting in their area to decide the level of service they wish their street lighting network to deliver. No assessment has been made by the Department for Transport on the effects of street lighting with regard to the trend in road traffic accidents. Statistics on personal injury road accidents reported to the police, published by the Department for Transport, show that of the reported accidents in darkness in Great Britain in 2018, 72% occurred with lights lit, compared with 18% where there was no lighting provision, 3% with lights unlit and 7% with lighting unknow. It is important that highway authorities consider safety, cost and environmental savings before determining their lighting provision.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to replace EU Regulation EC 261 on the compensation for airline passengers when the UK leaves the EU.

After the UK leaves the EU, air passengers on flights departing the UK will have the same passenger rights that apply today. EU passenger rights legislation will be retained in domestic law by the Withdrawal Act.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Roads Policing Review will be published.

In the Road Safety Statement 2019 we announced that the Department would lead a review of roads policing and wider traffic law enforcement. As part of this review we will be commissioning an inspection of roads policing and publishing a Call for Evidence to run alongside that inspection.

Following consideration of the Call for Evidence, planned to launch early next year, we would expect to publish any findings and recommendations as quickly as possible and expect that to be in 2021.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people will have their universal credit reduced as a result of the planned removal of the £20 uplift to the standard allowance in Hendon constituency.

The available information on the number of people with Universal Credit in payment, by geography, is published and can be found at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employed people are receiving universal credit in Hendon constituency.

The latest available statistics on the number of people who are on Universal Credit and are in employment, by parliamentary constituency, are published and can be found at:

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

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what mechanisms are in place to audit information provided to her Department by (a) regulatory bodies and (b) non-departmental public bodies.

The Department oversees the governance, performance, strategy and financial arrangements of Arm’s-Length Bodies (ALBs) via several mechanisms, which are applicable to both regulatory bodies and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs).

The relationship between an ALB and the Department is established through a framework document, in line with the Managing Public Money guidance - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/managing-public-money: “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”.

A NDPB is required 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 information about the financial and non-financial performance of the NDPB. In addition, they will state if the NDPB 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 NDPB’s website.

In addition to these processes, the Department runs an Annual Assurance Assessment, holds Quarterly Accountability Reviews with the bodies and attends the bodies’ Audit and Risk Committees.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of recognising long covid as a disability.

Given Long COVID is an emerging condition, the Government cannot comment whether consideration should be given to its addition to the list of conditions classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2020. An individual is defined as disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a “substantial” and “long-term” negative effect on their ability to carry out normal daily activities. The Act defines “long-term” as where an impairment has lasted, or is likely to last for at least 12 months, or where the impairment is likely to last for the rest of a person’s life. “Substantial” on the other hand is defined as an impairment that is more than minor or trivial.

COVID-19 is a new disease and therefore it is not yet clear what the physical, psychological and rehabilitation needs will be for those experiencing long-term effects of the virus. The Government is funding ambitious and comprehensive research into the long-term physical and mental health effects of COVID-19 to better understand how to help and support those affected, with the most recent research call published on 25 March 2021 by the National Institute of Health Research/UK Research Institute.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the value of the contract awarded to accept welfare payments to Post Office accounts is (a) in total and (b) per individual transaction.

The value of the seven-year Post Office Card Account contract is £250.9 million.

The payment model for the Post Office card account is based on the number of customers who have live accounts. The payment model does not include a cost per transaction.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to maintain the £20 universal credit uplift in universal credit beyond March 2021.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has held with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on retaining the additional uplift of £20 to universal credit recipients beyond March 2021.

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in Hendon received a Universal Credit payment (a) at the most recent assessment and (b) in each of the twelve months prior to that date.

The latest available monthly statistics on the number of households on Universal Credit by payment indicator and Westminster Parliamentary Constituency is published and can be found at:

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

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have an auto-enrolment pension in Hendon constituency.

Since 2012, in the Hendon constituency, 14,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension and 3,260 employers have declared compliance with their automatic enrolment duties.

This data is updated by The Pensions Regulator each month and published on its website which can be accessed via the following weblink:

https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/research-and-analysis/data-requests

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of women who reached state pension age on 6 April 2016, received a Married Woman’s Pension Rate based on their husband’s National Insurance contributions but subsequently divorced and failed to receive an uplift to a full basic state pension.

There are no women who meet the criteria.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional financial support his Department provides to vulnerable people that claim universal credit.

Millions of people who move onto Universal Credit from legacy benefits are better off, including around a million disabled households who will gain on average around £100 per month.

The Department takes seriously the need to support vulnerable claimants, and wants the application process for Universal Credit to be as quick and easy as possible, ensuring that claimants receive money at the earliest opportunity.

Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have supported over 180,000 individuals through the ‘Help to Claim’ provision since April 2019, offering tailored and practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. ‘Help to Claim’ is available online, on the phone and face-to-face in multiple locations including Jobcentres and Citizen’s Advice Bureaux.

We have listened to feedback on how we can improve Universal Credit to support our claimants and acted quickly, making improvements such as extending advances, removing waiting days, and introducing housing benefit run on. These changes are giving support to those who need it most, whilst at the same time helping people get into work faster.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional financial support her Department provides to vulnerable people who receive universal credit.

Millions of people who move onto Universal Credit from legacy benefits are better off, including around a million disabled households who will gain on average around £100 per month.

The Department takes seriously the need to support vulnerable claimants, and wants the application process for Universal Credit to be as quick and easy as possible, ensuring that claimants receive money at the earliest opportunity.

Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have supported over 180,000 individuals through the ‘Help to Claim’ provision since April 2019, offering tailored and practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. ‘Help to Claim’ is available online, on the phone and face-to-face in multiple locations including Jobcentres and Citizen’s Advice Bureaux.

We have listened to feedback on how we can improve Universal Credit to support our claimants and acted quickly, making improvements such as extending advances, removing waiting days, and introducing housing benefit run on. These changes are giving support to those who need it most, whilst at the same time helping people get into work faster

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional financial support her Department provides to vulnerable people who claim universal credit.

Millions of people who move onto Universal Credit from legacy benefits are better off, including around a million disabled households who will gain on average around £100 per month.

The Department takes seriously the need to support vulnerable claimants, and wants the application process for Universal Credit to be as quick and easy as possible, ensuring that claimants receive money at the earliest opportunity.

Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have supported over 180,000 individuals through the ‘Help to Claim’ provision since April 2019, offering tailored and practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. ‘Help to Claim’ is available online, on the phone and face-to-face in multiple locations including Jobcentres and Citizen’s Advice Bureaux.

We have listened to feedback on how we can improve Universal Credit to support our claimants and acted quickly, making improvements such as extending advances, removing waiting days, and introducing housing benefit run on. These changes are giving support to those who need it most, whilst at the same time helping people get into work faster

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will introduce a national strategy on tackling barriers faced by disabled people.

I can confirm that the Government will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People in 2020. Our strategy will be ambitious, supporting disabled people in all aspects and phases of their lives and focusing on removing barriers and creating opportunity.

20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to provide financial support to the social care sector ahead of the availability of additional funding raised by increasing National Insurance contributions.

Over the next three years we will invest £5.4 billion in adult social care reform. During the pandemic, we have made available over £2 billion for adult social care and a further £6 billion to local authorities to address COVID-19 pressures. We also provided councils with access to over £1 billion for social care in 2021-22 to support them to maintain care services and meet demand.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are employed in the NHS as diversity managers or coordinators.

This information is not held centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what efficiencies have been identified in the NHS in the last 12 months; and what relationship will there be between those efficiencies and the new Health and Social Care Levy.

The National Health Service has continued to implement programmes to improve efficiency, including surgical hubs which streamline processes to provide more operations per day; transformation of patient pathways; patient-initiated follow-ups which provide patients flexibility to arrange follow-ups as needed and avoiding unnecessary appointments; virtual appointments; and advice and guidance which enable clinicians to advise each other more quickly on test results and referral options. The Elective Recovery Accelerator programmes will also address NHS adoption of productivity improvements. These programmes will be supported by the new Health and Social Care Levy.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate the Department has made of the number of patients paying for a consultation with a GP after being unable to obtain a consultation through the NHS.

The data requested is not collected centrally.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the cost of private hospital services that were purchased in bulk during the covid-19 outbreak that were not used over the last 18 months.

The information requested is not held centrally. Contracts for the bulk purchasing of hospital facilities on a cost recovery basis do not record unused capacity. The bulk purchasing of private hospital services ended on 31 March 2021.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of taking steps to increase the number of Eye Clinic Liaison Officers working within the NHS.

The Government appreciates the impact that sight loss can have on a person’s life and the important role that Eye Clinic Liaison Officers can play in supporting patients newly diagnosed with sight loss, including signposting patients to appropriate support and rehabilitation services.

Eye clinics and their staff, including Eye Clinic Liaison Officers, are commissioned, and funded by individual Clinical Commissioning Groups on the basis of local assessments of need, details of which are not routinely collected centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the Department plans to publish a social care plan.

The Government is committed to reforming the adult social care system and will bring forward proposals in 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if will make an assessment of the potential merits of maintaining the requirement for face coverings to be worn on public transport beyond 19 July 2021.

The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings on 19 July in line with step four of the roadmap. However, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Government expects and recommends the wearing of face coverings when coming into contact with people in enclosed and crowded spaces, such as public transport. This will reduce the risk of individuals and others around them transmitting COVID 19.

The Government’s guidance on face coverings will be published in due course. This guidance will enable people to make informed decisions about how to manage the risk to themselves and others.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mechanisms are in place to audit information provided to his Department by (a) regulatory bodies and (b) non-departmental public bodies.

The Department’s relationships with its arm’s length bodies and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) are established through a Framework Document. The Department follows the Government’s best practice on auditing its arm’s length bodies and NDPBs through risk assessment, governance arrangements and formal accountability mechanisms. NDPBs are required to produce their Annual Report and Accounts which contain published information about their financial and non-financial performance.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people waiting for cancer treatment in (a) England, (b) London and (c) the Royal Free London NHS Trust area.

The Department has not made a formal estimate as the data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) steps he is taking and (b) plans he has to ensure that people not registered with a GP are able to access covid-19 vaccines.

We introduced the Enhanced Service Specification: COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21 which enables general practitioner (GP) practices to vaccinate unregistered patients within their eligible priority cohort.

For individuals not registered with a GP, the National Health Service and local partners will ensure they are offered appropriate support to receive the vaccine and avoid inequalities in access. This includes making the vaccination available from a range of settings. We are also working with community leaders and partners on initiatives to encourage people to register with a GP and with councils to ensure targeted support is included in local area vaccination plans for unregistered patients.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has been made of the adequacy of the services provided to young people using mental health services at the Beacon Centre at Edgware Community Hospital.

Following a quality review by Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, in October 2020 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced inspection of its Beacon Centre. As a result of this inspection, the CQC’s overall rating of the Beacon Centre changed from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’. The CQC’s report is available at the following link:

https://www.cqc.org.uk/provider/RRP/report

The Trust’s improvement plan, already in place prior to the CQC’s visit, has since been strengthened following the recommendations made in their report. The unit has remained in internal mandated support by the Trust since July 2020. In May 2021, the CQC undertook a further unannounced visit to the unit in to assess progress made against its recommendations and the CQC intends to publish their report in mid-July.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate her Department has made of the proportion of people in community substance misuse treatment who have or continue to experience mental illnesses.

Public Health England’s latest annual report on alcohol and drug misuse treatment in England found that in 2019 to 2020, 59% or 77,815 of adults starting substance misuse treatment in England said they had a mental health treatment need.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people employed directly by the NHS on zero hours contracts as at 13 April 2021.

This information is not collected centrally.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Questions 126847 and 132867 tabled by the hon. Member for Hendon in December 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Questions 126847 and 132867.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing greater transparency requirements into the employment evaluation of staff of the central NHS.

We have interpreted the hon. Member’s this question to refer to pay and employment criteria in the Hospital and Community Health Services sector of the National Health Service, for non-medical staff employed on the national collectively agreed Agenda for Change contract.

The Job Evaluation Scheme (JES) which underpins pay in the Agenda for Change contract is a system that has been developed through collaboration between NHS leaders, NHS trade unions, and independent job evaluation experts. The JES is a structured method of comparing job demands and seeks to ensure staff receive equal pay for work of equal value.

We are not aware of any intention to assess greater transparency in this process. The job evaluation handbook is published by NHS Employers at the following link:

https://www.nhsemployers.org/job-evaluation-handbook.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the sixteen criteria each position of employment in the central health service is judged upon.

We have interpreted the hon. Member’s question to refer to pay and employment criteria in the Hospital and Community Health services sector of the National Health Service, for non-medical staff employed on the national collectively agreed Agenda for Change contract.

The Agenda for Change pay bands are underpinned by a Job Evaluation Scheme (JES), developed through collaboration between NHS leaders, trade unions and independent job evaluation experts. The JES is a structured method of comparing job demands and seeks to ensure staff receive equal pay for work of equal value.

The sixteen criteria underpinning the JES are as follows:

- communications and relationship skills;

- knowledge, training and experience;

- analytical and judgemental skills;

- planning and organisational skills;

- physical skills;

- responsibilities for patient/client care;

- responsibilities for human resources;

- responsibilities for information resources;

- responsibilities for research and development;

- freedom to act;

- physical effort;

- mental effort;

- emotional effort; and

- working conditions.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of changing restrictions to allow the use of the LifeVac choking-prevention device in (a) school and nursery settings and (b) other environments.

The regulatory approach adopted by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in regards to LifeVac and other airway clearance device products placed on the United Kingdom market seeks to balance the need to support innovative products to be introduced whilst recognising that for such products it is extremely difficult to generate extensive pre-market clinical data to demonstrate performance and safety.

The use of suction devices does not currently fit within the current basic life support protocols in the UK and therefore the MHRA has agreed with these manufacturers that they will take all reasonable steps to ensure that their product should only be used in certain situations.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to monitor the effectiveness of existing covid-19 vaccines against new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Public Health England has published early estimates of vaccine effectiveness which includes the United Kingdom variant of concern which is available at the following link:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.01.21252652v1

The 2021 Budget included £28 million to increase the United Kingdom’s capacity for vaccine testing, support for clinical trials and improve the UK’s ability to rapidly acquire samples of new variants of COVID-19. In addition, £22 million has been allocated to a world-leading study to test the effectiveness of combinations of different vaccines and fund the world’s first study assessing the effectiveness of a third dose of vaccine to improve the response against current and future variants of COVID-19. A further £5 million investment in clinical-scale mRNA manufacturing has been provided to create a ‘library’ of vaccines to work against COVID-19 variants for possible rapid response deployment.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of vaccine passports.

The Government will review whether COVID-19 status certification could play a role in reopening the economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. This will include assessing to what extent certification would be effective in reducing risk and the potential uses to enable access to settings or a relaxation of COVID-19 secure mitigations. The Government will also consider the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of this approach and what limits, if any, should be placed on organisations using certification. It will draw on external advice to develop recommendations that take into account any social and economic impacts, and implications for disproportionately impacted groups and individuals’ privacy and security. The review will also include consideration of potential solutions for people to access their COVID-19 vaccination status.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to monitor the effectiveness of different covid-19 vaccines in different age groups.

Public Health England is leading on the surveillance of the COVID-19 vaccine programme and has developed a surveillance strategy to monitor the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against mortality, hospitalisations, confirmed infections, markers of infectiousness and the impact on transmission.

Whilst phase three clinical trials provided evidence of vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease, further evidence is needed on how effectiveness varies by subgroup, including by age. This will be done using advanced surveillance techniques once the earliest eligible cohorts have been offered a full course of vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to implement a long term study of immune responses in people vaccinated against covid-19.

Public Heath England’s surveillance strategy will monitor how effective the vaccine is at protecting against a range of outcomes, including infection, symptomatic disease, hospitalisations, mortality, and onward transmission. The surveillance strategy is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccine-surveillance-strategy

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation are jointly funding the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium to address key questions around the immune system’s response to COVID-19. The NIHR’s Health Protection Research Unit in Respiratory Infections is also looking at the size and longevity of the immune response.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of care home (a) residents and (b) staff have (i) been offered and (ii) refused a covid-19 vaccine.

We are working with the vaccination programme in NHS England to monitor progress. NHS England now publishes weekly data on the vaccination of residents and staff in older adult care homes which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Data on the number of refusals is not collected.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the increased prescription of anti-psychotic drugs to people with dementia during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor the monthly data published by NHS Digital on the prescribing of antipsychotic medication for people diagnosed with dementia. NHS England and NHS Improvement have regular conversations with regional clinical network leads and local services to understand the patterns in prescribing and potential reasons for any trends.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have also disseminated good practices and resources to support the management of COVID-19 for people with dementia through the NHS Futures Collaboration Platform, fortnightly forums and webinars with Dementia Clinical Networks across England. This includes resources to support non-pharmacological approaches to manage behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia including adhering to public health advice for social distancing.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will set out a timetable for the re-introduction of close contact care home visits in England.

In the face of a new variant of the virus we have acted to protect those most at risk in care homes and while advising how visits can go ahead safely in some form. As set out in updated visiting guidance, visits to care homes can continue to take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not currently advised. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, visits in exceptional circumstances including end of life should always be supported and enabled.

We recognise how important it is to allow care home residents to meet their loved ones safely. We are looking to enable a wider range of visiting arrangements available when it is safe to do so. We will publish updated guidance as this period of national restrictions ends.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of patients who have received prescriptions for the use of medicinal cannabis to treat their medical conditions.

For licensed medicinal cannabis products prescribed on the National Health Service and dispensed within a community setting in England, the NHS Business Services Authority can confirm that 413 unique patients have been identified. However, for a significant number of such prescription items the patient could not be uniquely identified This was as a result of these items being prescribed on a hospital form and the low capture rate of patient level information from hospital forms dispensed in the community.

For unlicensed cannabis-based products dispensed in the community in England, the NHS Business Services Authority is unable to provide the number of NHS patients. This information is being withheld in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation, due to there being less than five patients and the very high risk of the potential of patients being identified.

No estimate has been made of the overall number of patients that have received licensed or unlicensed cannabis-based medicines. Private prescriptions submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority do not hold information where it can categorically be determined if the patient is unique.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the affordability of drugs, which contain cannabis, for the treatment of epilepsy.

The Department has made no such assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, 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. In line with the Department’s travel and expenses policy, staff attending the conference in an official capacity will be able to reclaim costs incurred.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people who have received the first covid-19 vaccination in the (a) London Borough of Barnet and (b) Hendon constituency.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with voluntary community and social enterprise partners, inclusion health providers and others to develop an accessible model for delivery of the vaccine to people from inclusion health populations. We are considering a number of options and will co-design these with partners.

In the immediate period we are asking partners to support their clients and service users to register with a general practice, where they are not already and if they have health conditions that would make them clinically vulnerable/clinically extremely vulnerable, that this is recorded to ensure they receive the vaccine in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation’s advice on prioritisation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the timeframe to administer the covid-19 vaccine to all consenting persons over the age of 50 in (a) the London Borough of Barnet and (b) the Hendon constituency.

The Government’s top priority is to ensure that everyone in cohorts one to four is offered the opportunity to receive their first dose of vaccination against COVID-19 by 15 February 2021. It will likely take until spring to offer the first dose of vaccination to the priority groups across the United Kingdom.

The Government will consider all relevant data and set out plans for phase two of vaccination once all at-risk groups have been offered their first dose of vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on progress on meeting childhood immunisation targets.

For pre-school vaccinations preliminary data suggests that, whilst there was an initial decrease in the number of vaccinations delivered during the early weeks of the pandemic compared with the same period in 2019, the situation rapidly stabilised and recovered. For school-aged immunisation programmes were impacted due to school closures, though providers offered immunisations through a range of school and community settings. All vaccinations missed will be delivered as soon as possible and no later than August 2021.

The latest verified data for this period will be published in September 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when will the Department publish the Government’s Vaccine Strategy.

The publication of England’s national vaccine strategy has been delayed as a result of our ongoing focus on responding to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. However, the strategy has been kept under review and we are now in the process of refreshing the strategy to reflect the new models for delivery and vaccine development seen in the COVID-19 vaccine development and roll out as well as in the extended National Health Service flu programme. This work is on-going and the strategy will be published in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has the Department made of the potential limitations of creating a covid-19 vaccine passport scheme.

As with other vaccination programmes, vaccine record cards are issued to patients with the relevant details about the vaccine including the date of their vaccination and their vaccine type. This does not constitute an immunity passport and will not be used as a form of identification.

The Government will review whether COVID-19 status certification, could play a role in reopening the economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. This review will include assessing to what extent certification would be effective in reducing risk and the potential uses to enable access to settings or a relaxation of COVID-19 secure mitigations. The Government will also consider the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of this approach and what limits should be placed on organisations using certification. We will continue keep options under review as more evidence emerges.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of promoting the safety and effectiveness of covid-19 vaccines through the scientific industry.

The Department and the Vaccine Taskforce have worked extensively with organisations such as the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and vaccine manufacturers and developers to highlight their work on vaccine safety. This includes the ABPI’s Valuing Vaccines campaign and direct collaboration with manufacturers such as AstraZeneca and Valneva and with Wockhardt to highlight safety of the fill/finish aspects of vaccine manufacture.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance will be published for health care professionals on the safety and effectiveness of the covid-19 vaccine.

Public Health England’s Green Book advises health professionals and immunisation practitioners on the latest developments in the immunisation field. Chapter 14a sets out the guidance for COVID-19 vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the three-month trend in the level of covid-19 infection among over-60s in London.

The Office for National Statistics’ study shows that for those aged 50-69 years old, estimates of infection increased from 0.2% in mid-September to 0.8% in the last week of October before decreasing to 0.6% at the beginning of December.

The Real-Time Assessment of Community Transmission REACT-1 data also shows infection levels in over 60 year olds was 0.2% in September, 0.8% in October, 0.1% in November 0.4% at the beginning of December.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the (a) general and (b) acute London bed occupancy rate was in (i) December 2019 and (ii) November 2020.

This information is not available in the format requested.

Information on critical care bed numbers has been suspended during the response to COVID-19. The latest data available on this collection is for February 2020, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/critical-care-capacity/

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing guidance to NHS Acute (Hospital) Trusts in London to ensure that out-patient appointments are only offered to patients with Freedom Passes when travel restrictions allow.

Access to healthcare is always determined on a clinical basis and is service specific. To limit access to outpatient services only to those with a Freedom Pass will exclude a significant cohort of patients who may not require or meet the needs of getting a Freedom Pass but do have urgent clinical needs, such paediatric or cancer patients.

The Government’s advice during this current lockdown allows the public to travel for hospital, general practitioner and other medical appointments or visits, and so there are no travel restrictions in place in regard to healthcare reasons.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time is for a patient to be diagnosed by a cancer specialist.

Data on pathway timescales for different types of cancer can be found on the National Health Service website at the following link:

https://www.cancerdata.nhs.uk/median_pathways/tool

The Cancer Alliance Data Evidence and Analysis Service has calculated the median pathway length of 15 types of cancer for patients diagnosed in 2013-2018.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to ensure that the packaging of contact lens products displays (a) clear warnings of the risks of acanthamoeba keratitis and (b) advice on how to prevent that infection.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for monitoring the safety of all healthcare products in the United Kingdom.

The MHRA has investigated acanthamoeba keratitis infections associated with water and contact lenses and has reviewed the instructions for use for all contact lenses on the UK market. While some already provide appropriate warnings and preventative advice, others require improvement. We are considering how best to achieve this under the powers being created for the new UK medical devices regulatory regime and as we address recommendations from the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

We have also worked with various stakeholders and patient representatives to provide information to the public on the risks associated with acanthamoeba keratitis infections.

This engagement has resulted in information for contact lens users being provided on the MHRA’s website.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to include the elderly and infirm as high risk groups requiring particular interventions within the Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Workplan.

National statistics show that, since the early 1980s, suicide rates vary with age. Rates peak among the middle-aged (45 to 54 years) and then decrease until the ages of 80 to 84 years, from which they begin to rise. As the 2012 suicide prevention strategy for England makes clear, rates of suicide in men aged over 75 are high. Different risk factors, such as loneliness and physical illness, may be important in this age group.

As set out in the 2019 cross-Government suicide prevention workplan, updates to the workplan will be published alongside future progress reports to the National Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Future updates to the workplan and will consider actions taken across the health sector, and national and local government, to reduce suicide rates in older people.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has issued instructions to medical staff in hospitals and care homes to apply Do Not Resuscitate notices on (a) patients over the age of 45 years and (b) all disabled people regardless of their age suspected of having covid-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have confirmed that there has never been an instruction or directive issued by the National Health Service to put in place blanket do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation decisions for any group of people in hospitals or care homes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has published guidance on whether people in care homes with covid-19 virus should not be admitted to hospitals.

It is our priority to ensure that everyone receives the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

On 18 September 2020, the Government published ‘Adult social care – our COVID-19 winter plan 2020 to 2021’. The guidance sets out the National Health Service policy that clinical decision making should always be personalised and never done on a blanket basis. This includes decisions on admission to hospital and on the use of ambulances.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there have been incidences where his Department has instructed hospital doctors and general practitioners to record the cause of death on death certificates as died with covid-19 or suspected of having covid-19 in cases where tests have not been carried out to confirm the actual cause of those deaths.

Medical practitioners are required, whether in an emergency or non-emergency period, to certify causes of death to the best of their knowledge and belief.

In response to the provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 in relation to death certification, the General Register Office/Home Office and the Office for National Statistics published revised guidance to medical practitioners completing medical certificates cause of death (MCCD) for a period of emergency. This guidance confirms that COVID-19 is an acceptable direct or underlying cause of death for the purposes of completing the MCCD.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of excluding drug and alcohol related support groups from the covid-19 restrictions on a maximum number of six participants in a gathering announced on 9 September 2020.

From 14 September, social gatherings, both indoors and outdoors, must be limited to six people. There are several exemptions including where a household or support bubble is larger than six and for support groups which meet qualifying conditions.

The majority but not all support groups are not subject to the six person social gathering limit if they are in COVID-secure settings or public outdoor spaces, and are organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support to its members or those who attend its meetings. This includes, but is not limited to, providing support:

- to victims of crime (including domestic abuse);

- to those with, or recovering from, addictions (including alcohol, narcotics or other substance addictions) or addictive patterns of behaviour;

- to new and expectant parents;

- to those with, or caring for persons with, any long-term illness, disability or terminal condition or who are vulnerable;

- to those facing issues related to their sexuality or identity including those living as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender; and

- to those who have suffered bereavement.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of male suicides in each of the last three years.

The Government takes male suicides very seriously and is working with partners to address the recent upward trend in male suicide registrations.

In 2018, the number of total suicide registrations in England increased significantly by 570 to 5,021. This increase was driven largely by male suicides. In 2019, the number of male suicide registrations was 5.7% higher than the total in 2018 (3,800 deaths) but this was not a statistically significant increase in the England male suicide rate.

Provisional quarter 1 data for 2020 is consistent with those figures observed in previous years, where the rate has seen an upward trend in quarter one and a potential decrease in quarter 2 provisional suicide registrations, which may be due to COVID-19 related delays in reporting. Men aged 45 to 49 years continue to have the highest suicide rate of all age segments of men.

The annual suicide statistics published by Office for National Statistics reflect suicide registrations not actual suicides (i.e. these relate to dates when the suicide was registered rather than the date of the death itself). In England, all deaths caused by suicide are certified by a coroner following an inquest and cannot be registered until the inquest is completed, which can take months.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what price the NHS will pay AstraZeneca for AZD1222, developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, working with the Oxford Vaccine Group, once the covid-19 pandemic is over.

Commercial confidentiality means that we cannot?release any information on?any agreements between the Government and vaccine manufacturers?while commercial negotiations are ongoing.

The Government has established a Vaccines Taskforce (VTF) to coordinate and make the most of all the work going on across Government, academia and industry to accelerate the development and manufacture of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The VTF is supporting efforts to rapidly develop a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible by providing industry and research institutions with the resources and support they need.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has issued guidance to local authorities on ensuring that social care funding appeals continue during the covid-19 outbreak.

Complaints and escalation procedures remain the same as before the pandemic. Anyone who is unhappy about the way in which a local authority carries out a financial assessment for charging can make representations to the local authority through the complaints procedure which all local authorities are required to have.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has restarted suspended complaints and anticipates reopening for new complaints in the coming weeks. Members of the public will not lose their right of appeal, and complaints regarding the COVID-19 outbreak period will be considered in due course. The Ombudsman is not an emergency service, and members of the public are required by law to first have their complaints investigated by their council or care provider. The Ombudsman has also set up a helpline to give advice and support to concerned members of the public.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date cancer treatment in the NHS will resume at levels seen before the covid-19 outbreak.

On 8 June 2020, the National Cancer Director and the National Clinical Director for Cancer issued a further letter of guidance to National Health Service cancer services on ‘Second phase of NHS response to COVID-19 for cancer services’. The letter notes that the work for local systems and Cancer Alliances to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer should now be well advanced, so that referrals, diagnostics and treatment can be brought back to pre-pandemic levels at the earliest opportunity to minimise potential harm, and to reduce the scale of the post-pandemic surge in demand. The new guidance is based on three key principles: capacity, fairness and confidence. Cancer Alliances should work with their regional teams to provide such services.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are employed as a (a) staff nurse, (b) senior staff nurse, (c) ward manager and (d) senior ward manager in England, by ethnicity.

The Department holds data on the breakdown of staff nurses by ethnicity.

The data in the following table is taken from the Hospital and Community Health Services workforce statistics: ‘Staff with a Job Role of Staff Nurse by Ethnicity’, in National Health Service trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England, as at 29 February 2020, headcount.

Ethnic Category

Headcount

All Ethnic Categories

172,145

Asian or Asian British

26,034

Black or Black British

17,155

Chinese

627

Mixed

2,731

White

106,261

Any Other Ethnic Group

10,725

Discontinued codes

45

Not Stated

6,692

Unknown

1,875

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 May 2020 to Question 37613 on Disease Control, what outcomes of Exercise Cygnus were; and what work his Department (a) stopped and (b) commenced following that exercise.

Learning the lessons from preparedness exercises, as well as other sources of expertise has ensured that the United Kingdom remains well prepared for infectious disease outbreaks. Working across Government and with stakeholders, the lessons identified from Exercise Cygnus have informed our preparedness, such as development of draft legislation support to the response to a future influenza pandemic and, strengthening health sector plans to surge and flex beyond normal operations.

The lessons learned from Exercise Cygnus continue to be considered by the Government and a range of stakeholders, including expert advisory groups and local emergency planners in reviewing response plans.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of diversity and inclusion managers employed in the NHS.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 28 April 2020 to Question 37608.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he held discussions with delegates at the most recent G20 meeting on a proposal for a global covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccine scheme.

The G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting on 19 April was held virtually and attended by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Innovation (Lord Bethell). During its intervention, the United Kingdom emphasised the importance of a coordinated global response to COVID-19, including on the development of vaccines. Due to the virtual nature of the meeting, discussions were not held in the margins.

Ministers in the Department are in regular discussions with their counterparts in other countries on a wide range of issues of issues relating to COVID-19. This includes regular conversations on collaboration on the issues of testing, treatment and vaccinations.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of diversity and inclusion managers employed in the NHS.

The Department does not hold the data requested.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people in care homes who are likely to have contracted covid-19 and died of additional causes, since lockdown restrictions were introduced.

Public Health England (PHE) does not hold data on the total number of people who contracted COVID-19 in care homes. PHE collects data on the number of care homes that have reported an outbreak of suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Since the beginning of March 2020 up to and including the 22 April, the number of care homes that have reported outbreaks of COVID-19 is 4,132.

The Office for National Statistics publishes provisional counts of the number of deaths registered in England and Wales, including deaths involving COVID-19 in care homes. The latest data, up to week ending 10 April, can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending10april2020

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date his Department most recently undertook a rehearsal exercise for a pandemic; what outcomes his Department identified from that exercise; and how many of those outcomes were not reversed and were not implemented.

The most recent National Level (Tier 1) exercise to test preparedness for a pandemic was Exercise Cygnus. Exercise Cygnus assessed the United Kingdom’s preparedness and response to a pandemic influenza and took place in October 2016.

Exercises at both the national and local level form an essential element of the Government’s pandemic influenza preparedness programme. In addition to National Level (Tier 1) exercises, smaller scale exercises to test response plans for infectious disease outbreaks have been undertaken. The Government also supports organisations at the local level to develop and exercise their pandemic plans.

In February 2020 an exercise was held to rehearse Ministerial-level decision-making for the UK’s pandemic preparedness and response within the context of what was known at that point about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to delay the planned publication of the national guidelines on organ donation on 20th May until the covid-19 personal mobility restrictions have been rescinded.

The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 heralds a new system of consent for organ and tissue donation in England, known as ‘opt-out' or ‘deemed consent’. The new consent arrangements mean that all adults over 18 will be considered potential organ and tissue donors after death, unless they make a decision that they do not want to be a donor, they have nominated a representative to make a decision on their behalf after death, or are in an excluded group.

As announced by the Government on 25 February, subject to approval of affirmative regulations and a draft Code of Practice by Parliament, the intention is that deemed consent becomes legal in England on 20 May. The Government appreciates that transplants can only proceed where the relevant consent requirements have been met, including the deemed consent requirements where they apply, and it is safe for patients to have a transplant. In reality, this means that this is unlikely that transplants will proceed under deemed consent during the current COVID-19 pandemic because people are distanced and communication between relevant parties is more challenging.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has published on the attendance of patients at dental practices during the covid-19 outbreak.

As outlined in the Government’s COVID-19 outbreak guidance all non-urgent dental procedures, surgeries and visits should be postponed. Non-emergency appointments include regular, maintenance visits such as cleanings, routine exams, x-rays, whitening, and treatment of non-painful tooth issues.

On 25 March NHS England sent updated guidance letters to all dental practices outlining this new advice. To ensure accurate information is being provided to the public we are asking that dental practices update their messaging and websites; contact their regional commissioner should practice availability hours alter as a result of staffing levels; and inform the commissioner of these changes and the arrangements for cover. Their regional commissioner will then inform the Directory of Services lead so that NHS 111 is up to date with the correct information. A copy of guidance and this letter can be found at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/issue-3-preparedness-letter-for-primary-dental-care-25-march-2020.pdf

Notification of the measured resumption of dental services was issued by NHS England on 28 May with further guidance to the profession to follow.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the retail cost of (a) baby food, (b) infant formula and (c) infant medication does not rise disproportionately as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department does not set the retail prices for baby food and infant formula.

The costs of branded medicines are controlled by the statutory and voluntary schemes for branded medicines. Under those schemes, any price increase needs to be agreed by the Department.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with the General Optical Council on the (a) attendance and (b) treatment of patients during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department and NHS England and Improvement have had discussions with the General Optical Council (GOC) on COVID-19 issues that affect optometry. As an independent regulator, advice to its registrants on professional responsibilities, is a matter for the GOC. GOC guidance, so far, to its registrants on COVID-19 is available at the following link:

https://www.optical.org/en/news_publications/Publications/joint-statement-and-guidance-on-coronavirus-covid19.cfm

The organisation and provision of National Health Service commissioned optical services during the pandemic is a matter for NHS England and NHS Improvement working with the Department. NHS England and NHS Improvement have now published guidance on the provision of out of hospital optometry services, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/04/C0127-optical-letter-1-april-2020.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions the Department has had with the General Dental Council on the provision of treatments during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 25 March the National Health Service released guidance on the provision of dental treatments.

All routine, non-urgent dental care including orthodontics should be stopped and deferred until advised otherwise.

All practices should establish (independently or by collaboration with others) a remote urgent care service, providing telephone triage for their patients with urgent needs during usual working hours, and whenever possible.

If the patient’s condition cannot be managed by these means, then they will need to be referred to the appropriate part of their Local Urgent Dental Care system.

Further information can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/issue-3-preparedness-letter-for-primary-dental-care-25-march-2020.pdf

Ministers and senior officials hold weekly stakeholder meetings at which the British Dental Association and Chief Dental Officer are present.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the size of the blood stock across the National Blood Transfusion Service.

NHS Blood and Transplant which is accountable to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, is responsible for the provision of a safe, reliable, efficient supply of blood to hospitals in England.

NHS Blood and Transplant aims to retain six days’ supply of blood at any one time. This is in addition to the stock held within hospitals, which is typically five – six days’ stock. As at 23 March, NHS Blood and Transplant had eight days’ supply of blood, including donations being processed.

The situation is being monitored daily and NHS Blood and Transplant is working closely with the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England, hospitals and the United Kingdom blood services.

It is more vital than ever for those blood donors who are well, to keep donating so hospitals have the blood they need to treat very sick and vulnerable patients.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which office within his Department first advised Ministers on the existence of the coronavirus pathogen.

On 31 December 2019, Public Health England identified reports of an outbreak of undiagnosed viral pneumonia in Wuhan City, People's Republic of China and on 2 January 2020, the Department was alerted to these reports.

On 9 January 2020, Ministers were formally notified of the outbreak of undiagnosed viral pneumonia in Wuhan and provided with an update of its progression.

The World Health Organization posted a Disease Outbreak News (DON) item on 12 January which stated that a novel coronavirus was detected in 41 patients with pneumonia in Wuhan City. This DON can be found at the following link:

https://www.who.int/csr/don/12-january-2020-novel-coronavirus-china/en/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department was first alerted to the existence of the coronavirus pathogen.

On 31 December 2019, Public Health England identified reports of an outbreak of undiagnosed viral pneumonia in Wuhan City, People's Republic of China and on 2 January 2020, the Department was alerted to these reports.

On 9 January 2020, Ministers were formally notified of the outbreak of undiagnosed viral pneumonia in Wuhan and provided with an update of its progression.

The World Health Organization posted a Disease Outbreak News (DON) item on 12 January which stated that a novel coronavirus was detected in 41 patients with pneumonia in Wuhan City. This DON can be found at the following link:

https://www.who.int/csr/don/12-january-2020-novel-coronavirus-china/en/

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has been made of the effect of the coronavirus on unborn babies.

Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement contributed to the development of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidance on COVID-19 infection and pregnancy.

The review found that there is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage. There is also no evidence that the virus can pass to the developing baby during pregnancy. It is therefore considered unlikely that if the mother has the COVID-19 virus it will cause abnormalities in the baby.

The guidance is available to view at the following link:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/coronavirus-pregnancy

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the (a) number of GP appointments missed each day and (b) cost to the public purse of those missed appointments; and if he will make a statement.

The information is not held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeframe is for the ending of mixed sex wards in mental health facilities.

Men and women should not share hospital accommodation and we have cut mixed sex accommodation breaches by over 85% since 2010.

The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act recommended that the physical environment of inpatient mental health wards needs to be improved and that the definition of single sex accommodation should be tightened up to ensure a genuinely single sex environment with separate access to any shared daytime space. The NHS Long Term Plan also recognised that capital investment is needed to upgrade the physical environment for inpatient psychiatric care but that this would be subject to the next capital review.

We will publish a White Paper in early 2020 that will set out the Government’s response to the Review’s recommendations and we will bring forward a Mental Health Bill to amend the Act when parliamentary time allows.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the additional treatments and facilities that could be provided in general practice facilities so that patients do not have to attend out-patient hospitals.

The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, committed to an unprecedented investment in primary medical and community services so that £4.5 billion more will be spent in these areas in real terms by 2023/24. As part of this a new five-year general practitioner (GP) contract framework was also signed in January 2019.

The new system of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) launched in 2019 have been designed to ensure care happens in the optimal place for patients. The contract provides them with funding for 20,000 new staff who will help mitigate current workload pressures in primary care as well as supporting delivery of seven new services (five of which will begin during 2020) focussed on areas where there is evidence that primary care activity can improve patient outcomes. These implement different aspects of the Long Term Plan: medication reviews; the care homes service; the anticipatory care service; the National Health Service comprehensive model of personalised care; early cancer diagnosis; cardiovascular disease prevention and diagnosis; and health inequalities. Pilots of the enhanced health in care homes service - which will be delivered by all PCNs - have demonstrated the potential to reduce the number of care home residents requiring an emergency hospital admission.

Investment in primary and community services will support the Long Term Plan’s ambition of transforming out-of-hospital care to a model that is fit for the 21st Century, including avoidance of 30 million hospital appointments which will result in an annual saving of over £1 billion.

PCNs will be able to access an ‘investment and impact fund’ from 2020, which will be worth £75 million, building up to £300 million by 2024. The purpose of the Fund is to help PCNs plan and achieve better performance against metrics in a new network dashboard. As well as incentivising better performance in the new service areas, part of the Fund will be dedicated to the commitment made in the NHS Long Term Plan to making ‘shared savings’. This savings scheme will be tied to the development of community-based services that enable reductions in hospital activity, such as avoidable out-patient visits as part of outpatient redesign, as well as avoidable accident and emergency attendances; avoidable emergency admissions; timely hospital discharge; and prescribing costs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using increased financial resources allocated to the NHS to fund additional treatments and services in general practice facilities.

The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, committed to an unprecedented investment in primary medical and community services so that £4.5 billion more will be spent in these areas in real terms by 2023/24. As part of this a new five-year general practitioner (GP) contract framework was also signed in January 2019.

The new system of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) launched in 2019 have been designed to ensure care happens in the optimal place for patients. The contract provides them with funding for 20,000 new staff who will help mitigate current workload pressures in primary care as well as supporting delivery of seven new services (five of which will begin during 2020) focussed on areas where there is evidence that primary care activity can improve patient outcomes. These implement different aspects of the Long Term Plan: medication reviews; the care homes service; the anticipatory care service; the National Health Service comprehensive model of personalised care; early cancer diagnosis; cardiovascular disease prevention and diagnosis; and health inequalities. Pilots of the enhanced health in care homes service - which will be delivered by all PCNs - have demonstrated the potential to reduce the number of care home residents requiring an emergency hospital admission.

Investment in primary and community services will support the Long Term Plan’s ambition of transforming out-of-hospital care to a model that is fit for the 21st Century, including avoidance of 30 million hospital appointments which will result in an annual saving of over £1 billion.

PCNs will be able to access an ‘investment and impact fund’ from 2020, which will be worth £75 million, building up to £300 million by 2024. The purpose of the Fund is to help PCNs plan and achieve better performance against metrics in a new network dashboard. As well as incentivising better performance in the new service areas, part of the Fund will be dedicated to the commitment made in the NHS Long Term Plan to making ‘shared savings’. This savings scheme will be tied to the development of community-based services that enable reductions in hospital activity, such as avoidable out-patient visits as part of outpatient redesign, as well as avoidable accident and emergency attendances; avoidable emergency admissions; timely hospital discharge; and prescribing costs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will urgently bring forward a White Paper on the future of provision and funding of social care integrated into the NHS in England.

We are determined to find a long-term solution to the challenges in social care to ensure that every person is treated with dignity and offered the security they deserve. We will seek to build cross-party consensus and will outline next steps shortly.

Integration across health and social care enables improved co-operation and joint decision-making between health and social care partners in delivering shared outcomes. The Government is already taking steps to integrate health and social care funding through the Better Care Fund (BCF), the national policy driving forward the integration of health and social care in England.

In 2019, 93% of local areas agreed that joint working had improved as a result of the BCF. The budgets reflect that cooperation: local areas have voluntarily pooled around £2 billion above the minimum required into the BCF last year.

In the recent Spending Round, we confirmed that the BCF and the improved BCF will continue in 2020-21. We are currently reviewing how the BCF can best support the closer integration of health and care and will provide local areas with further details about the BCF beyond 2020 as part of an announcement on the review.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he will take to ensure people with no fixed abode can access non-urgent medical care.

NHS England has issued guidance making clear that lack of identification or proof of address is not grounds for refusing National Health Service primary care treatment, including general practitioner, dental and eye care services. In these circumstances, individuals can use the primary care services’ address or an address of a hostel, where appropriate. Where this guidance is not being followed, cases should be brought to NHS England’s attention, as the commissioner should be able to reinforce the guidance locally. Ultimately, the commissioner can issue a remedial notice and can terminate a contract or practice that still does not abide by its obligations.

To help improve the commissioning of dental services for vulnerable people, including homeless patients, NHS England is developing a Commissioning Standard, which will consider options, such as looking at commissioning ‘time’ rather than treatments (measured through ‘units of dental activity’) to help incentivise high street practices to treat patients expected to need a greater investment of time, including homeless people.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for its policies of the conviction of Paul Rusesabagina in Rwanda on 20 September 2021.

Rwanda has made significant progress on social and economic rights in recent years, and we work in partnership on a range of priorities including girls' education, building back from COVID-19, climate and the Commonwealth. But the UK Government remains concerned about restrictions on civil and political rights. On 21 September I publicly stated that the UK shares the concerns of our international partners about due process in the case of Paul Rusesabagina and his co-accused, and that whilst there must be accountability for violence against civilians, we will always defend the right to a fair trial. We regularly raise specific cases of concern with the Government of Rwanda and the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, and call for due process for all those in detention.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make representations to her Lithuanian counterpart on the proposed construction of the Vilnius National Convention and Conference Centre on Shnipishok cemetery land.

The UK Government understands that the Lithuanian government has indefinitely postponed the renovation of the Soviet-era Vilnius Palace of Concerts and Sports, located in the Šnipiškės Jewish cemetery. We are pleased to note the current and previous Lithuanian governments' efforts to work alongside the Jewish Community of Lithuania and the international Jewish community on the issue of this renovation.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what advice her Department is providing to British nationals in Afghanistan on where they are able to access medical treatments.

FCDO Travel Advice for Afghanistan is regularly updated to keep British nationals informed of developments. There continue to be very limited medical facilities available in Afghanistan and access is likely to be greatly reduced due to the deteriorating situation. Work continues to explore all possible avenues to ensure that any British nationals who remain in Afghanistan are able to leave safely if they wish to do so. We have asked all British nationals in Afghanistan to register their presence with us and we are working to verify all those who have submitted their details.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a UN-led inquiry into the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran following representations by the Prime Minister of Slovenia and UN special rapporteurs seeking the establishment of that inquiry.

The UK has designated Iran as a Human Rights Priority Country, and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor human rights record. This will include using all opportunities during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session. We urge Iran to allow the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran access to the country, so that he can conduct research and investigations into human rights concerns reported there, including the events of 1988.

The British Government opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and takes any allegations of extrajudicial killings seriously. We have always been clear that Iran must uphold its international legal obligations, including conducting thorough and independent investigations into suspected human rights violations, both past and present. We call on President Raisi to set Iran on a different course. That includes committing to improving human rights in Iran.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of seeking a UN inquiry into events surrounding the 1988 massacre in Iran.

The UK has designated Iran as a Human Rights Priority Country, and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor human rights record. This will include using all opportunities during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session. We urge Iran to allow the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran access to the country, so that he can conduct research and investigations into human rights concerns reported there, including the events of 1988.

The British Gover