Navendu Mishra Portrait

Navendu Mishra

Labour - Stockport

Opposition Whip (Commons)

(since January 2022)

There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 29th June 2022
Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 147 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 175 Noes - 271
Speeches
Wednesday 8th June 2022
Historical Discrimination in Boxing
I welcome the Minister’s comments regarding inclusion, particularly in boxing. He and I discussed the ongoing racism scandal in cricket …
Written Answers
Monday 4th July 2022
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council: Energy
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 21 June 2022 …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Stockport County Football Club
That this House congratulates Stockport County Football Club on their promotion back to the Football League after an 11-year absence; …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 17th January 2022
8. Miscellaneous
On 13 December 2021, Unite the Union provided the printing and franking of my Christmas cards at a cost of …
EDM signed
Thursday 24th March 2022
P&O Ferries and DP World
That this House condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of P&O Ferries to fire 800 staff without notice …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
National Minimum Wage Bill 2019-21
A Bill to make provision about the national minimum wage; and for connected purposes.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Navendu Mishra has voted in 470 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Navendu Mishra 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
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(16 debate interactions)
Nigel Adams (Conservative)
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
(10 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(20 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(17 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Navendu Mishra's debates

Stockport Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

We would like the Government to ban all animal testing UK, including for the development of cosmetics, household products and medicines. Alternatives need to be actively funded. Many products that are tested on animals end up not being suitable for humans. Animal testing is outmoded and should end.

The Government must recognise the urgent need to use animal-free science and publish a clear and ambitious action plan with timetables and milestones to drive the phase-out of animal experiments. As well as preventing animal suffering, this will benefit public health and business.

Being the first to close and still no clue as to when we can open, this seasonal industry is losing its summer profits that allows them to get through the first quarter of next year.

Even if we are allowed to open in December, 1 months profit won't be enough to keep us open in 2021. We need help

The UK hospitality industry. Responsible for around 3m jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation. Yet, unlike the Arts or Sports, we do not have a dedicated Minister.

We are asking that a Minister for Hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments.

During the pandemic government workers have delivered vital public services and kept our country safe and secure. After ten years in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship. The Government must start to restore the real value of their pay with a 10% increase in 2020.

The government is helping private firms to protect jobs by paying up to 80% of staff wages through this crisis. If it can do this why can it not help key workers who will be putting themselves/their families at risk and working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.


Latest EDMs signed by Navendu Mishra

17th May 2022
Navendu Mishra signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Tuesday 17th May 2022

Stockport County Football Club

Tabled by: Navendu Mishra (Labour - Stockport)
That this House congratulates Stockport County Football Club on their promotion back to the Football League after an 11-year absence; pays tribute to manager Dave Challinor and his players for their role in helping the club win the National League title; recognises the efforts of all staff at the club …
11 signatures
(Most recent: 25 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 8
Conservative: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
23rd March 2022
Navendu Mishra signed this EDM on Thursday 24th March 2022

P&O Ferries and DP World

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

Commons initiatives

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

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


1 Urgent Question tabled by Navendu Mishra

Tuesday 9th November 2021

1 Adjournment Debate led by Navendu Mishra

Thursday 2nd July 2020

Navendu Mishra has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


563 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
22 Other Department Questions
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 21 June 2022 to Question 17152 on Energy: Costs, how much and what proportion of the additional £3.7 billion made available in the Local Government Finance Settlement 2022-23 was allocated to Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.

The Local Government Finance Settlement for 2022/23 makes available an additional £3.7 billion to councils, including funding for adult social care reform.


Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council's Core Spending Power grew from £240.0 million in 2021/22 to £260.3 million in 2022/23, a change of up to £20.3 million.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what additional support his Department has made available to (a) Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and (b) local authorities in Greater Manchester to help with the increased cost of energy.

The Local Government Finance Settlement 2022/23 makes available an additional £3.7 billion to councils in England


Full details of all local authorities’ settlement allocations are published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/final-local-government-finance-settlement-england-2022-to-2023 .

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
13th Jun 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission has made a comparative assessment of the cost of booking rail tickets for MPs and their staff from (a) rail operators and (b) booking agents.

The Parliamentary Travel Office (PTO) books train tickets through Evolvi. Rail tickets sold in the UK are regulated and the cost of booking tickets is the same irrespective of where the ticket is purchased. Parliament, however, receives commission from individual rail operators, where partnership agreements are in place – which effectively makes the overall cost to Parliament of booking rail tickets cheaper than purchasing elsewhere.

7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if his Department will take steps to ensure that there are more available affordable rental properties in response to the recently published survey by Propertymark which found that the number of available rentals had halved.

The Private Rented Sector remains an important part of the housing market, with 4.4 million households currently in the Private Rented Sector.

We are investing £11.5 billion in the 2021-26 Affordable Homes Programme, which will build up to 180,000 affordable homes, should economic conditions allow.  Around half of these will be for sub-market rent, and half for affordable home ownership. We also strongly support expansion of the Build to Rent (BtR) market. BtR boosts housing supply, diversifies the private rental sector and increases quality and choice for renters in cities and towns across England.  We have revised the National Planning Policy Framework and issued a new chapter of planning guidance to support the delivery of more BtR homes, including affordable rental homes.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether a single person household will retain the single occupancy charge in respect of council tax in the event that they provide accommodation to a Ukrainian family.

I refer the Honourable Member to my answer to Question UIN 999 on 16 May 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what additional steps he plans to take to support local authorities in reducing the number of families living in temporary accommodation.

This Government is committed to reducing the need for temporary accommodation by preventing homelessness before it occurs. That is why we are spending £2 billion over the next three years to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

For 2022/2023, local authorities have been allocated £316 million through the Homelessness Prevention Grant. This funding was provided to local authorities in April and will allow local authorities to offer financial support for people and families to find a new home, to work with landlords to prevent evictions, or to provide temporary accommodation to ensure families have a roof over their head. It includes £5.8 million funding to cover the cost of extending priority need to those who are made homeless as a result of being a victim of domestic abuse, following the landmark Domestic Abuse Act 2021. The funding continues to support local authorities to fully enforce the Homelessness Reduction Act so that more people get help sooner to prevent homelessness.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department will reassess the limit on the Help to Buy scheme to reflect current property valuations.

In 2021 the new Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme introduced regional property price caps which set the maximum purchase price in each region. They are all set at 1.5 times the forecast regional average first-time buyer price, in line with the Office of Budget Responsibility’s house price inflation forecast for 2021/22, up to a maximum of £600,000 in London.

The caps were designed to support the purchase of properties that are more consistent with the wider first-time buyer market. This in turn helps optimise the resources available to enable purchasers to achieve the dream of home ownership. The Government has reviewed the caps and continue to be satisfied they allow good availability of first-time buyer type properties in each region. For customers who are not able to utilise the Help to Buy scheme, the Government has a range of other housing products. For more information see: https://www.ownyourhome.gov.uk/

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate he has made of the number of children living in temporary accommodation in (a) Stockport constituency, (b) the North West and (c) England.

As part of the Homelessness Case Level Collection data (H-CLIC), local authorities are required to collect details of the number of children living in temporary accommodation, this data is published here https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/homelessness-statistics.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether the Private Parking Code of Practice makes provision for freezing Penalty Charge Notices at the discounted rate throughout the duration of an appeal.

Section 8.3 of the Code of Practice sets out the process for appealing private parking charges. Parking operators must provide a process to appeal against a notice of parking charge and, where the parking operator rejects an appeal, they must provide the option to either pay the parking charge or appeal the decision to the Appeals Service.

The Code was laid before Parliament on 7 February 2022 and is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/private-parking-code-of-practice.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department has taken to help (a) local authorities and (b) housing associations to respond to demand for social housing following the issue of section 21 notices to private tenants.

Local councils are best placed to determine how best to manage the demand for social housing - they are responsible for allocating housing through local schemes. These are governed by a framework of rules set by central government which ensure social housing is prioritised for those in housing need.

We are committed to investing in social housing. Our new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme will provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow. This builds upon the success of our £9 billion Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme, running to 2023, which will deliver approximately 250,000 new affordable homes.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment his Department has made of the level of demand for housebuilding in (a) Stockport constituency and (b) Greater Manchester.

It is for local authorities to calculate their local housing need figure based on the standard method we have set out in guidance. In 2018, we introduced a standard method for assessing local housing need to make the process of identifying the number of homes needed in an area simple, quick and transparent. This comprises a baseline of household projections which are adjusted to take account of affordability, capped to make the increase realistic for areas - and, in December 2020, we added a 35% uplift for the 20 most populated urban areas to ensure that the standard method was consistent with the aim to deliver 300,000 homes a year. This included Manchester, but did not include Stockport


The standard method is used by councils as a guide when they develop their local plans. Councils decide their own housing requirement once they have considered their ability to meet their own needs in their area. This includes taking local circumstances and constraints, including Green Belt, into account, and working with neighbouring authorities if it would be more appropriate for needs to be met elsewhere. This recognises that not everywhere will be able to meet their housing need in full. Each plan is subject to a public examination in front of an independent Inspector, who plays an important role in examining plans impartially to ensure that they are legally compliant and sound.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the impact of residential development on the (a) rental prices of residential properties in (i) Greater Manchester and (ii) Stockport, (b) ability of local residents to continue to rent in those areas and (c) local housing allowance rates.

The Department has not made a specific assessment of the potential impact of residential development on rental prices in Greater Manchester and Stockport. In the long run we need to build more homes to tackle affordability. This is why we are bringing forward an ambitious near £20 billion investment to underpin the Government's long-term housing strategy.

In April 2020 we increased Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates to the 30th percentile of local rents, costing nearly £1 billion and providing 1.5 million claimants with around £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. For some people this increase may have been more, for example in the Central Greater Manchester Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA) the 3 bedroom LHA rate increased by over £1500 per year and in Southern Greater Manchester BRMA, which covers Stockport, the increase was over £870 per year. LHA rates have been maintained at their increased levels in 2021/22 and will remain at those levels for 2022/23.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring homebuilders to install solar panels on all newly built homes.

Solar panels are a key part of our strategy to get to net zero via a decarbonised electricity grid. We must therefore take the opportunity, where appropriate, to install them.

However, many homes may not be suitable for solar panels - perhaps because of shading, the orientation of the building, the shape/size of the roof or visual amenity.

Our approach to drive decarbonisation in buildings will see a tightening of energy efficiency standards with an uplift to Part L (conservation of fuel and power) of the Building Regulations recently introduced in December 2021. The uplift comes into force in June 2022 and will deliver a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions for new homes compared to those built to the previous standards. It will pave the way for the Future Homes Standard in 2025, ensuring that new homes produce at least 75% lower CO2 emissions.

Our approach remains technology-neutral and allows developers to retain the flexibility they need to use the materials and technologies that suit the circumstances of a site and their business to achieve these targets. This includes the use of solar panels where appropriate. The development of the 2021 energy efficiency targets included consideration of solar panels and thus many new buildings, where appropriate, will use this technology to meet the new standard.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the impact of ending Section 21 eviction notices on social housing registered providers in (a) Stockport, (b) Greater Manchester, (c) the Northwest and (d) England.

The Government is committed to bringing in a Better Deal for Renters to deliver a fairer and more effective rental market that works for both tenants and landlords, which includes taking steps to end Section 21 evictions.

The impact on areas across England of abolishing section 21 is being carefully considered. In addition to the consultation we ran in 2019, we are engaging extensively with stakeholders, including discussions with the National Housing Federation and a roundtable discussion with private registered providers of social housing from across England, to consider these impacts. We will publish a White Paper with further details on these reforms in 2022.

6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has plans to tackle health inequalities as a result of inadequate housing in (a) Stockport, (b) Greater Manchester, (c) the Northwest and (d) England.

The Government is committed to ensuring everyone has a safe and healthy home. Since 2010, Government has invested over £4 billion into the Disabled Facilities Grant which is a capital grant administered by local authorities in England to help meet the cost of home adaptations for eligible people to live safely and independently at home.

Going further, we are currently reviewing the Decent Homes Standard, which applies to Social Housing, to consider whether it needs updating to deliver what is needed for safety and decency today along with overhauling the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), the tool used to assess hazardous conditions in rented homes, making it more accessible to tenants and landlords.

17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what progress his Department has made in implementing the parking code of practice.

As part of the process to implement the parking Code of Practice, the Government recently published its 'Private parking charges, discount rates, debt collection fees and appeals charter: further technical consultation'.

The consultation contained proposals to bring private parking charges into closer alignment with Local Authority Penalty Charge Notices, along with a number of other measures to improve the private parking sector.

The consultation closed on 27 August and the Department is finalising its analysis of the responses. Our intention is to publish the consultation response together with the new Code of Practice as soon as possible so that motorists can benefit and industry has time to adapt itself to the new requirements.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will bring forward legislation that will prohibit freeholders from charging excessive ground rents and high service charges for leaseholders.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market. This includes a restriction of ground rents for newly created leases for both houses and flats to a peppercorn (zero financial value), through the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rents) Bill currently in Parliament and a ban on the unjustified use of leasehold for new houses as soon as Parliamentary time allows


In addition, the Government asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate potential mis-selling of homes and unfair terms in the leasehold sector.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to protect leaseholders from unfair and exploitative leasehold contracts.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market. This includes a restriction of ground rents for newly created leases for both houses and flats to a peppercorn (zero financial value), through the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rents) Bill currently in Parliament and a ban on the unjustified use of leasehold for new houses as soon as Parliamentary time allows


In addition, the Government asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate potential mis-selling of homes and unfair terms in the leasehold sector.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the impact on neighbouring properties of temporary arrangements to allow pubs, restaurants and other venues to have tents, canopies and marquees for longer than the 28 days previously allowed without planning permission.

The Permitted development right has supported the recovery of the hospitality industry by allowing venues to create additional covered space in outside areas.

We are currently consulting on the future of some of the time-limited permitted development rights introduced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the right which allows the provision of moveable structures within the curtilage of a pub, café, restaurant, or historic visitor attraction.

We will consider the responses to the consultation in respect of this right and further announcement will be made. The consultation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/supporting-defence-infrastructure-and-the-future-of-time-limited-permitted-development-rights/supporting-defence-infrastructure-and-the-future-of-time-limited-permitted-development-rights

5th Jul 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what steps the Commission plans to take to help improve the transparency of the funding of All-Party Parliamentary Groups.

The Commission is aware that the Committee on Standards is currently undertaking a wide-ranging inquiry into the rules relating to All-Party Parliamentary Groups. The Committee has announced that its inquiry will cover the "transparency and appropriateness of funding of APPG activities and secretarial support". The inquiry will also cover other subjects including financial governance and controls, use of passes, the role of external secretariats and the risk of APPGs being used for access by lobbyists, other organisations or foreign governments, and who should be accountable for ensuring that APPGs comply with the rules.

The Committee has taken written evidence in this inquiry, which is available on its website, and plans to announce a series of oral evidence session after the summer recess and making a report to the House as soon as possible. The Commission looks forward to receiving the Committee’s recommendations on this important matter.

30th Sep 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the House of Commons' Travel Office books tickets solely through the Trainline; and what comparative assessment the Commission has made of the cost of booking rail tickets through (a) Trainline and (b) directly from rail operators.

The Parliamentary Travel Office (PTO) books train tickets through Trainline.

Rail tickets sold in the UK are regulated and the cost of booking tickets is the same irrespective of where the ticket is purchased.

Parliament, however, receives the 3% commission paid to the PTO service provider by Trainline – which effectively makes the tickets cheaper than purchasing elsewhere.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the union density is in his Department.

Cabinet Office staff are able to join a Trade Union if they choose. This is done directly with the Trade Union and not shared with us. We are, therefore, unable to provide the information requested.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) Government departments, (b) executive agencies and (b) arm's-length bodies handle Freedom of Information requests on an applicant-blind basis.

The information regarding the Clearing house advice has been provided to the requester in line with the Tribunal’s judgement. Details regarding the clearing house advisory functions are published on GOV.uk.

As this case has only just concluded we are not yet in a position to confirm the cost.

Cabinet Office handles all FOI requests on an applicant blind basis and works with other departments to make sure the rights and obligations embodied in the FOIA are understood fully.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the total cost to the public purse was of contesting the informational tribunal appeal brought Open Democracy on the operation of the Clearing House in relation to freedom of information requests.

The information regarding the Clearing house advice has been provided to the requester in line with the Tribunal’s judgement. Details regarding the clearing house advisory functions are published on GOV.uk.

As this case has only just concluded we are not yet in a position to confirm the cost.

Cabinet Office handles all FOI requests on an applicant blind basis and works with other departments to make sure the rights and obligations embodied in the FOIA are understood fully.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the judgment of 19 May 2021 of the First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) Information Rights, appeal reference EA/2020/0240, what steps his Department is taking to amend guidance on the handling of Freedom of Information requests following that judgment.

The information regarding the Clearing house advice has been provided to the requester in line with the Tribunal’s judgement. Details regarding the clearing house advisory functions are published on GOV.uk.

As this case has only just concluded we are not yet in a position to confirm the cost.

Cabinet Office handles all FOI requests on an applicant blind basis and works with other departments to make sure the rights and obligations embodied in the FOIA are understood fully.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to (a) ensure and (b) oversee compliance in respect of the award by contracting authorities of commercial contracts to businesses that supply public bodies and that have been deemed to be at risk under the terms of procurement.

The overarching principle in all public procurement is to secure the best value for money for the taxpayer. While individual departments are responsible for their own commercial decisions, including the award and monitoring of contracts, there are rigorous due diligence processes in place.

The Cabinet Office continuously reviews the performance of strategic suppliers and works closely with those suppliers and their customer Departments to improve performance, ensure value for money and deliver policy objectives while reducing risk across outsourced public services.

At the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, we issued guidance (PPN 02/20) on 'supplier relief' measures ensuring service continuity during the pandemic. Further guidance, published in June, updated PPN 02/20 and set out how contracting authorities should put in place transition plans with their suppliers to exit any contractual relief and transition to a new, sustainable, operating model taking into account strategic and reprioritisation needs.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason information on the number of businesses supplying public bodies that have been deemed to be at risk under the terms of procurement is not held centrally.

As has been the case under successive administrations, contracting Authorities are responsible for their own commercial contracts.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses supplying public bodies that have been deemed to be at risk under the terms of Procurement Policy Note 02/20.

This information is not held centrally.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Nov 2020
What discussions he has had with private companies providing services across Government on the (a) employment practices and (b) safety of staff during the covid-19 outbreak.

Suppliers have played a vital role in supporting the Government’s Covid-19 efforts in addition to delivering their existing public sector contracts.

All suppliers must adhere to Health and Safety legislation, as well as relevant departmental policy when staff are working at Government sites.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of households that have a pre-payment (a) gas and (b) electricity meter in (i) Stockport constituency, (ii) the Borough of Stockport, (iii) Greater Manchester, (iv) the North West and (v) England.

Regional data on electricity customers on prepayment tariffs are published as part of the Quarterly Energy Prices statistical series here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/quarterly-energy-prices#2022.

Energy data is not collated at a constituency level.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional steps he is taking to help (a) local councils and (b) housing associations with improvement works to insulation on aging housing to help tackle the rising cost of energy.

The Local Authority Delivery scheme and the first phase of the Home Upgrade Grant have allocated over £1billion in funding to local authorities across England since 2020 to install energy efficiency measures, including insulation, to low-income households on and off the gas grid. Over £850 million additional funding is available to the Home Upgrade Grant over the next 3 years.

The £3.8 billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is being delivered over a 10-year period to improve the energy performance of social rented homes.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will increase the Warm Homes Discount to reflect the increase in the energy price cap and household energy bills.

The Government has committed to expanding the Warm Home Discount spending envelope from the current £350 million to £475 million per year, rising with inflation. This means around 3 million households would receive rebates on their energy bills every winter, representing an increase of a third compared to the current scheme.

The Government consulted last summer on reforms to the scheme, which included a proposal to increase the rebate amount from the current £140 to £150. This increase balances providing meaningful support to as many households as possible while minimising the impact on consumers’ bills.

The Government has announced a new package of support to help households with their energy bills, including a £200 discount on household energy bills this autumn for domestic electricity customers in Great Britain; a £150 non-repayable rebate in Council Tax bills for all households in Council Tax Bands A-D in England; and an additional £144 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households not eligible for the Council Tax rebate. In addition, support will continue to be offered through established support schemes, such as the Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel Payment, which help vulnerable households with their winter energy costs.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that companies may not make decisions and announcements on mass redundancy without proper consultation with the workforce or trade unions.

The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 already requires employers proposing to make 20 or more employees redundant from one establishment in a 90-day period to consult employees or their representatives:

  • at least 45 days before the first dismissal takes effect where 100 or more redundancies are proposed.
  • at least 30 days before the first dismissal takes effect where 20 or more redundancies are proposed.

The consultation must cover ways to avoid redundancies, reducing the numbers of redundancies, or mitigating their impact. Within the same timescales, the employer must notify the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of the proposed collective redundancies. Failure to submit a notification without good cause is a criminal offence and can result in an unlimited fine. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service provides advice on best practice when managing large scale redundancies.

Employees and/or employee representatives may make a claim to an employment tribunal if they consider the employer has not complied with the consultation requirements for collective redundancies. If the tribunal agrees it may make a protective award of up to 90 days’ remuneration per employee.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to implement the recommendations of the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.

We have made significant progress in implementing the recommendations of the Taylor Review, including:

- closing the loophole which saw agency workers employed on cheaper rates than permanent workers;

- quadrupling the maximum fine for employers who treat their workers badly; and

- giving all workers the right to receive a statement of their rights from day one.

The Government is committed to building on this record to deliver a high skilled, high productivity, high wage economy that delivers on our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to work and grow a business.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 10 February 2022 to Question 119883, on Post Offices: Stockport, whether an estimate has been made of the number of Crown Post Offices in Stockport.

The Post Office network is largely franchised and made up of small businesses – almost 99% of the total network operates successfully on a franchise or agency basis. The constituency of Stockport currently has nine post office branches and one Crown Post Office.

In terms of quality of service and access arrangements a recent report by Citizen's Advice indicates that franchised branches are performing in line with or better than traditional branches. ​​​​
Previous question

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of Post Office branch closures in Stockport.

The Post Office network meets and exceeds Government-set access criteria which require, for instance, that 95% of the urban population is within one mile of the nearest post office. In order to help maintain services to each community, the Post Office uses solutions such as mobile or other types of outreach services where necessary. The constituency of Stockport currently has nine post office branches. I am not aware of any recent closures within the Stockport constituency.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will implement a single accreditation and enforcement scheme, similar to the Gas Safe Register, for use by the public when installing low carbon technologies in their homes.

The Government oversees authorisation of a number of competent person schemes, including the Gas Safe Register. This includes schemes covering installers of low carbon technologies, each with relevant accreditation bodies ensuring compliance with Building Regulations.

Due to the different specialisms and skills required for competent installers of different technologies there are currently no plans to introduce a single accreditation scheme operator.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what data his Department holds on the number of accredited companies in place to undertake building insulation work in (a) the UK, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) Stockport constituency.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) endorses and uses the TrustMark registration scheme for installers. Registration provides a high level of assurance, certainty and protection to homeowners looking to have work done in and around their homes.

Information on the number of registered companies and details of them can be found on the TrustMark website, including searching by geographical area: https://www.trustmark.org.uk/homeowners/find-a-tradesperson/advance-search?fromSearch=true.

For example, a search for all insulation measures by trade description shows there are 863 registered companies covering different building insulation work in the UK, and 201 in the North West.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to take steps to help protect jobs in the Royal Mail.

Operational matters, including decisions on staffing levels and workforce structure, are the direct responsibility of Royal Mail’s management. The Government is not involved in the operational decisions of Royal Mail, a private company.

Collective redundancy legislation requires employers proposing to make 20 or more employees redundant from one establishment in a 90-day period to consult employees or their representatives. This must include consultation on ways to avoid redundancies, reducing the numbers of redundancies, or mitigating their impact.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support retail jobs in the context of the increasing automation of services by retailers.

Our Plan for Growth acknowledges skills as a pillar for growth. This department is working in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE) to ensure we deliver against the skills pillar of the Plan for Growth through successful implementation on key policies from within the Skills for Jobs white paper, including promoting the adult skills offer to help upskill and reskill the existing workforce. This White Paper is focused on giving people the skills they need, in a way that suits them, so they can get great jobs in sectors the economy needs and boost this country’s productivity.

The retail sector has been undergoing a period of transition for some time, including many retailers investing in technology and innovation and adapting their business models to meet different consumer demands. We recognise the challenges this brings and are working with the sector, including through the industry-led Retail Sector Council, to address these challenges. The Council has identified skills and employment as two of their priority areas of work as part of this and government continues to work closely with the Council to consider the future needs of the sector.

Additionally, the government’s new ‘Help to Grow: Digital’ scheme will help up to 100,000 UK SMEs over three years to adopt digital technologies that are proven to increase firm-level productivity by learning new skills, reaching new customers and boosting profits.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what financial support is available for homeowners seeking to carry out energy-saving renovations.

There are a number of schemes in place to make energy efficiency improvements to homes. These include the Home Upgrade Grant, the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, the Sustainable Warmth Competition, and the Energy Company Obligation.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of regulating the locksmith industry to protect people from rogue locksmiths operating in the UK.

Locksmiths are subject to the stringent consumer protection laws already in place against unfair trading practices in the same way as any other trader/business which has dealings with consumers.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) sets out the standards consumers can expect when traders, including locksmiths, supply services, and the remedies if these rights are breached. Similarly, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) protect consumers from being misled about the products or services they buy. The CPRs also outlaw behaviour which falls short of the requirements of professional diligence. The Regulations carry criminal penalties and are enforced by Trading Standards Officers.

Consumers are encouraged to use service providers that operate under a regulated trusted trader scheme. For example, the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA), has a robust licensing scheme in place to ensure approved locksmiths are appropriately vetted, inspected and qualified. This scheme is approved by the Police Crime Prevention Initiative’s ‘Secured by Design’, which sets the industry gold standard for security products and interventions to design out crime.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Sep 2021
What steps he is taking to support high street businesses.

Our comprehensive economic response for business is worth over £352bn, including grants, the furlough scheme and tax deferrals. We recently published the Build Back Better High Streets Strategy, which sets out Government’s long-term plan to support the regeneration of high streets across the UK.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will consult with groups representing blind and partially-sighted people on the potential merits of reforming the safety information wording contained in household appliance instructions, previously governed by EU law, to make that information more inclusive.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards recently ran an open Call for Evidence, seeking views and evidence from a wide range of stakeholders about a review of the product safety framework in the UK. One of the core themes of the Call for Evidence was diversity and inclusion, which asked whether the current framework adequately protects all people in society, including vulnerable groups and those with particular needs. The Call for Evidence closed on 17 June and officials are currently analysing responses. The Office for Product Safety and Standards will continue to work with stakeholder groups over the course of the review, including engaging with specific groups as policy proposals are developed.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people volunteered to participate in Novavax trials.

Since the end of September 2020, Novavax recruited more than 15,000 participants aged 18 to 84 years old for the UK COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) volunteer registry.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Oxford/AstraZenica vaccines were exported from the UK to Australia in late February and early March 2021.

The details of any commercial vaccine supply agreements between national governments and AstraZeneca are a matter for those two parties.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March 2021 to Question 164672, on Re-employment, how many (a) employer and (b) employee groups Acas spoke to, by business sector.

Input was received from a balanced range of participants from 15 organisations, covering employer and employee groups and other professional bodies. Individually and collectively these covered a very wide range of business sectors.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March 2021 to Question 164672, on Re-employment, if he will list the (a) employer bodies, (b) trade unions and (c) professional bodies with advisory contact with employers, such as employment lawyers, accountants, and payroll services, that were consulted in the Acas investigation into fire and rehire practices.

Acas spoke to a wide range of groups from across the business sector, both employer and employee groups, on the prevalence and use of fire and rehire practices.

Acas guaranteed the anonymity of their participants in order to maintain the confidentiality that is necessary to enable frank and open conversations on these matters.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March 2021 to Question 164672, on Re-employment, what the terms of reference for the Acas investigation into fire and rehire practices were.

Due to the limited evidence available on the use of fire and rehire practices among employers, BEIS officials engaged Acas to hold independent and impartial conversations with stakeholders to gather evidence.

Acas spoke to a wide range of groups from across the business sector, both employer and employee groups. Acas guaranteed the anonymity of their participants to maintain the confidentiality needed to enable frank and open conversations on these matters.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans there are to process applications and payments of Small Business Grants delayed where decisions from the Valuation Office Agency were still outstanding at 30 October 2020.

The Government has put forward an unprecedented package of support for businesses to help with ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This included the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF), the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF) and the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF).

We asked Local Authorities to close the SBGF, RHLGF and LADGF schemes by 28 August 2020, and to ensure that, where any payments were still in process, they were completed by 30 September. The only exceptions were those relating to a VOA / Ombudsman query in which case payments could be made until 30 October. The schemes are now closed.

Local Authorities have also been provided with further funding via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). The ARG is a discretionary scheme which is formula based. Eligibility for the ARG is set locally, and guidance makes clear that Local Authorities may use this funding for grants or for other related business support as they see fit.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the outcome was of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s investigation into fire and rehire.

The Department engaged Acas to gather evidence of how fire and rehire is being used.

Acas engaged with a range of groups, including employer bodies and trade unions, as well as professional bodies with advisory contact with employers, such as employment lawyers, accountants, and payroll services.

Officials are currently considering these findings, and the Government will respond in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support the Government is providing for workplace learning; and what recent estimate he has made of the number of people in receipt of that support.

There are a number of specific schemes through which the Government is providing support for workplace learning, including the following:

The Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) Kickstart Scheme Programme: This provides fully funded six-month job placements for 16–24-year-olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers participating in the scheme are required to ensure that a young person receives training and support that will enable the young people to become more employable. Before their application is accepted, any employer has to demonstrate how their job placement will help the young person develop their skills and long term employability. Over 2,000 young jobseekers have started in Kickstart jobs with more starting every week.

DWP’s Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAPs): In the ‘Plan for Jobs’, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an extra 32,000 SWAP participant starts in 2020/21, providing £17m for the Department for Education (DfE) to triple the number of associated vocational training placements. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions also pledged to increase further the number of people taking part in 2021/22. SWAPs offer unemployed benefit claimants in England and Scotland a short period of training, work experience and a guaranteed interview for a live job vacancy to help them move into work. Data up to 6th December 2020 shows that there have been a total of 44,130 starts to a Sector-based work academy programme.

Apprenticeships: These are jobs, created by employers, which offer high-quality on and off-the-job training. Employers can choose between nearly 600 apprenticeship standards that have been designed by employers to deliver the skills they need. To help employers offer new apprenticeships, as part of government’s Plan for Jobs, they are now able to claim up to £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire until 31 March 2021. DfE are also working on the largest-ever expansion of traineeships and have introduced £1000 incentive payments for employers who offer traineeship work placements to support this.

Industry placements & T levels: Industry placements with an employer are also a key element of T levels which were introduced last September. T Levels offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement.

Additional Measures: In addition, the Government is investing £2.5bn (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations) in the National Skills Fund. This is a significant investment and has the potential to deliver new opportunities to generations of adults who may have been previously left behind. This includes funding for the recently launched Skills Bootcamps, which are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. Skills Bootcamps have the potential to transform the skills landscape for adults and employers. The latest figures for apprenticeships and traineeships starts can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships/2020-21.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government has taken to ensure (a) that any covid-19 vaccines are sold not for profit and (b) equitable access to those vaccines throughout the world.

The UK’s bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for Covid-19 vaccines include funding for research and development, investment in manufacturing and vaccine trials. This investment supports the global scale up of vaccine production and therefore the quantity of vaccines available for low and middle-income countries. The UK is a strong supporter of the multilateral Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) initiative as a means to both get vaccines for the UK population and ensure equitable global access. The UK announced that it will contribute up to £500 million for the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment, which will give lower and middle-income countries equitable access to vaccines that are developed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to funding from the public purse to support the development of the covid-19 vaccine by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, if the Government will publish the terms of the agreement between the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.

We are not able to disclose details of this agreement because of the commercially confidential nature of the contracts between the Government and vaccine manufacturers while commercial negotiations are ongoing.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether AstraZeneca has unilateral power to declare an end to their pandemic no profit pricing commitment.

The timings or nature of any commitments regarding vaccine pricing are for the parties involved.

The World Health Organisation declared a coronavirus pandemic on 11 March 2020 and we would expect it in due course to declare a move to a post-pandemic period as it has done previously for the H1N1 pandemic in 2010.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what risk assessment his Department has carried out on their bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for covid-19 vaccine candidates.

The UK’s bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for Covid-19 vaccines include funding for research and development, investment in manufacturing and vaccine trials. This investment supports the global scale up of vaccine production and therefore the quantity of vaccines available for healthcare workers and vulnerable groups globally. The UK is a strong supporter of the multilateral Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) initiative as a means to both get vaccines for the UK population and ensure equitable global access. The UK announced that it will contribute up to £500 million for the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment, which will give lower and middle-income countries equitable access to vaccines that are developed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the outcome was of the meeting between officials of his Department and representatives of the Pump It Up campaign on 15 September 2020.

BEIS Ministers and officials have regular meetings with industry as part of the process of policy development and delivery. This meeting enabled a discussion of the market for large heat pump projects in the context of the announcements made in the Budget and Summer Economic Update and the development of future policies to meet our commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out future actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support job creation in green manufacturing industries in the North West.

The North West has excellent natural resources including offshore wind, tidal, geothermal and unconventional oil and gas. The area boasts an established energy sector supporting over 32,200 jobs and a £3.1 billion economic contribution. It is also the largest manufacturing region in the UK. The North West is therefore well placed to make a significant contribution to a green recovery and the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy, creating new sources of competitive advantage in green manufacturing.

In July, the Government announced £40 million of funding to unlock thousands of green jobs, including in Cheshire and Lancashire, by developing the next generation of nuclear energy technology. The Government has also funded the North West Energy Hub to support the huge opportunities for the region in renewable energy and its manufacturing supply chains.

On 6th October, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out new plans to Build Back Greener by making the UK the world leader in clean wind energy – creating jobs, slashing carbon emissions, and boosting exports. £160 million will be made available to upgrade ports and infrastructure across the North of England to hugely increase our offshore wind capacity. This will enable the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories, and supply chains, thereby manufacturing the next generation of offshore wind turbines and delivering clean energy to the UK.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to (a) support the roll-out of large scale non-residential heat pump projects and (b) meet representatives of the Pump it Up campaign.

A new allocation of Tariff Guarantees has recently opened on the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), supporting larger projects, including ground source heat pumps >100kWth. The Non Domestic RHI will close to new applicants on the 31st of March 2021 and we propose to launch the new Clean Heat Grant scheme,?providing targeted support?to consumers and small businesses?for heat pumps?and some limited biomass,?in?April 2022,?following the end of the?domestic?RHI?scheme. This is backed by £100?million?of Exchequer funding as announced in the 2020 Budget and will be open for two years.

At the Budget, we also announced future support for large heat pump installations in heat networks through the Green Heat Network Scheme. BEIS will consult on this scheme later in the year. Additionally, our Industrial Energy Transformation Fund will be open to large heat pumps providing process heat.

In the Summer Economic Update, we announced £1 billion funding over the next year, to help public sector buildings through the installation of energy efficiency and low carbon heat measures.

BEIS officials met with representatives of the Pump It Up campaign on 15th September.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to announce the Government’s strategy for achieving a low carbon economy in accordance with its 2050 net zero target; and what steps the Government plans to take to (a) deliver a cleaner, healthier environment, (b) create high skilled green jobs and (c) build a more resilient economy.

We are continuing to develop our net zero strategy. We have recently published the first stage of our Transport Decarbonisation plan and have announced a £2 billion package for cycling and walking. This will be supported by further decarbonisation plans this year covering key sectors, including Heat and Buildings, Trees, and Energy. We will build on our ambitious plans announced at the Budget – for example £1bn to deploy electric vehicle infrastructure, and £800m to deliver carbon capture and storage in the UK – to help to slash our emissions and deliver growth across the country.

As we recover from COVID-19, the Government intends to deliver a UK economy which is stronger, cleaner, more sustainable and more resilient.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that employees will not treated unfairly for raising concerns about safety in their workplace during the covid-19 outbreak.

This guidance forms part of employers’ normal health and safety practice.

Employers should consult with unions and employees when carrying out their risk assessment to make sure their concerns can be taken into account. If an employee continues to have concerns, they can raise them with any union safety representatives, or ultimately with the organisation responsibility for enforcement in their workplace, either the Health and Safety Executive or the local authority.

Where the HSE identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they will consider taking a range of enforcement actions.

The Government would encourage employers to engage constructively with employees and their representatives and try to find solutions that are agreeable to all.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to support (a) pubs, (b) licensed premises and (c) brewing industries after the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is working with the hospitality sector to develop guidance on safe ways for pubs, licensed premises and breweries to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so. Meanwhile, there is a significant package of financial support currently available to businesses in the hospitality sector to help the difficulties caused by Covid-19, including:

  • Grants under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHGLF), the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund for eligible businesses;
  • Government-backed loans through schemes such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS);
  • Access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to furlough workers, which will continue in its current form until 31 July and then in a more flexible form from August until 31 October;
  • A business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for the 2020 to 2021 tax year; and
  • The option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June until 31 March 2021.

We continue to keep our support measures under review and to engage with the sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of households affected by sub-standard or faulty cavity wall insulation paid for by Government schemes; and what support the Government will provide to those households who have been awarded compensation from those companies who have subsequently fallen into liquidation.

The Government has not made a direct estimate of the number of households affected by sub-standards cavity wall insulation (CWI). We do know that the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) has issued approximately 6.2 million CWI guarantees covering defects in materials and workmanship. CIGA is the largest guarantee provider for CWI, and of this 6.2 million, only 0.4% of installations have resulted in concerns being raised.

The Government recognises that faulty work has been carried out under previous energy efficiency schemes and commissioned the independent Each Home Counts review in 2015. The introduction of Trustmark in 2018 as a Government endorsed quality scheme implemented key recommendations of the review on consumer protection and standards.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which has been the main domestic energy efficiency scheme in GB since 2013, has high standards for domestic energy efficiency and since January this year it includes a requirement for all installers to be TrustMark registered.

All ECO CWI installations are required to have a 25-year guarantee which aims to protect consumers where the installer has fallen into liquidation. CIGA also offer consumers an Alternative Dispute Resolution process which is facilitated by an independent arbitrator.

The Department has published consumer guidance for householders who suspect they have received faulty cavity wall insulation. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cavity-wall-insulation-cwi-consumer-guide-to-issues-arising-from-installations.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made of the level of racism in cricket in England.

The Government is clear that racism has no place in cricket, sport, or wider society. The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket issued a call for evidence following the Azeem Rafiq incident at Yorkshire County Cricket Club last year. This received over 4000 responses which indicates that the level of racism in cricket is currently far too high.

The Commission also opened a second call for evidence in March 2022 to seek more detailed views on a number of areas and is currently reviewing the evidence to form an independent report with suggested recommendations to tackle racism and discrimination in cricket.

We welcome the steps taken so far by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) but expect to see clear and sustained evidence of cultural change across the sport resulting from these actions. A recent update indicates tangible progress on a number of commitments; including the county cricket network having achieved significant progress to increase Board diversity in line with the targets of 30% female representation and locally representative ethnicity.

It has been made clear to the ECB, who have responded positively and constructively, that public funding is explicitly linked to the development and implementation of robust diversity and inclusion policies and plans.

The Government and our arm’s length bodies will continue to liaise with the cricket authorities on tackling racism and hold them to account on this.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of tourism from India on the economy of (a) Greater Manchester and (b) United Kingdom in each of the last five years.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the expenditure of visitors to the UK from India was steadily increasing. In 2019, the total expenditure of visitors from India was £752.46 million and the average spend per visit was £1,088 - in Greater Manchester the total expenditure was £51.96 million and the average spend was £1,299 per visit. In 2019, there were 692,660 visits from India to the UK; 39,990 of these were to Greater Manchester.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a 53% reduction in seat capacity from India to the UK in 2020 and in 2021 was 54% behind pre-COVID levels.

The Government is committed to assisting and accelerating the tourism sector’s recovery from COVID-19 which is why we published the Tourism Recovery Plan (TRP) in June 2021.

The TRP sets out ambitious and stretching targets to recover inbound visitor numbers and spend to 2019 levels by the end of 2023 and recover domestic overnight trip volume and spend by the end of 2022 - at least a year faster than independent forecasts predict.

We are now showing the rest of the world that the UK is open, and ready to welcome visitors from around the world for a blockbuster year of events which began with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last weekend. India has been one of VisitBritain’s key campaign markets for the upcoming Birmingham Commonwealth Games taking place this summer. As well as the Commonwealth Games, we will also be showcasing the breadth of the UK’s culture, creativity and innovation through Unboxed, ‘Creativity in the UK’.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government has plans to return (a) the Benin Bronzes and (b) other historically and culturally significant artifacts to Nigeria.

Museums and galleries in the UK operate independently of the government. Decisions relating to their collections are a matter for the trustees of each museum.

Some national museums are prevented by law from deaccessioning objects in their collections unless, broadly, they are duplicates or unfit for retention. The two exceptions to this are when the objects are human remains that are less than 1000 years old, and objects that were spoliated during the Nazi-era. The Government has no plans to change the law.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support the roll out of full fibre to the premises ultrafast broadband in Stockport.

At present, 93% of premises can access ultrafast broadband (>100Mbps) in the constituency of Stockport, which compares favourably with the UK average of 69.03% (Thinkbroadband).

As announced in our latest Project Gigabit delivery update, the Government is assessing further Regional Supplier procurements for areas such as Stockport, where very extensive commercial delivery continues. We will provide further information for Greater Manchester and Merseyside (Lot 36) in future quarterly updates.

We also continue to subsidise telecoms providers to deliver connections to the hardest-to-reach areas through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. A total of 48 vouchers have been used to support gigabit connections in the Stockport constituency so far, worth £123,083.

Additionally, there is an ongoing partnership between Virgin Media Business and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to deliver a project under the Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme. The project is partly funded by the UK Government and will underpin a wide range of digital transformation and smart city projects aimed at improving the lives of those who live in Greater Manchester.

In its first year alone, the Greater Manchester LFFN project, which is the largest within the programme, has delivered £11.8 million of economic benefit to the region through the programme’s commitment to local employment.

The ongoing delivery through this project will deliver full-fibre connectivity to 1,500 public sites across the city region. Stockport is at the forefront of this project, with 134 of the 138 public sector sites covered by the project within the town having received a full-fibre connection.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she plans to publish the outcome of the consultation on changes to the Electronic Communications Code.

The response to the consultation on changes to the Electronic Communications Code was published today.

The proposed reforms set out in the response have today been brought forward in the Product Security and Telecommunication Infrastructure Bill, which was introduced in the House of Commons earlier.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department plans to take to tackle racism and discrimination in cricket following the report into allegations of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Racism has no place in cricket, sport, or society at large. The government welcomes the firm action taken so far by the England Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in stripping Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) of its ability to host international matches and commissioning a full review of the governance structures in place at the YCCC. We urge the ECB to continue to look at this with the utmost scrutiny and take further action where needed to stamp out racism in the game.

The government has already made clear its commitment to tackling racism and all forms of discrimination in sport, as set out in the sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’.

We continue to work closely with our arm’s length bodies, national governing bodies of sport and sector partners to tackle racism and discrimination in sport. Sport England, UK Sport and the other home nations’ sports councils recently published the results of a detailed, independent review into tackling racism and racial inequality in sport. Each Council is working at pace to develop their own specific action plans to further deliver on diversity and inclusion commitments and address the recommendations from the review.

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, with reference to the Answer of 15 October 2020 to Question HL8910 on Public Libraries: Coronavirus, what the outcome was of the joint letter with the Local Government Association to local authorities in England requesting detail of restoration of their library services.

The joint letter was issued on 16 July 2020 and followed physical library buildings being permitted to reopen at that time. The purpose of the letter was to remind local authorities in England of the Secretary of State’s statutory duty under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 and asked them to share their plans for the restoration of their library service from July 2020 onwards to assist this function. Of the 150 local authorities in England, 149 responded to this request, including a detailed reply from Stockport.

Since that time further restrictions and lockdowns were introduced which restricted the services libraries were able to deliver and included physical library locations having to close during the lockdown earlier this year. DCMS worked closely with library sector stakeholders to identify and achieve important exceptions to restrictions on physical services and although library locations were closed they were enabled to provide limited specific services including order and collect services or providing access to public PCs for essential services and home library services. Whether services were provided was for each local authority to determine after appropriate risk assessments around safety of both users and people working in libraries.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish an assessment of the effectiveness of the Digital Lifeline project in respect of (a) older people and (b) people with a learning disability.

During the pandemic, the ability to connect online has supported many people to maintain vital social connections. However some people, including those with learning disabilities, have faced digital inclusion barriers such as access to mobile technology and the internet, or a lack of digital skills and confidence.

The Digital Lifeline fund is aimed at supporting those with learning disabilities. The £2.5 million fund is providing tablets, data and free digital support to over 5,000 people with learning disabilities who would otherwise find it difficult to get online. The fund is enabling people to connect with friends, family and essential services. We are aiming to publish a full evaluation of the Digital Lifeline fund towards the end of the year.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of the EU Pet Travel Regulations on levels of tourism to (a) the UK and (b) Northern Ireland.

The Government is engaging with stakeholders in the tourism sector to hear their priorities for the UK’s future relationship with the EU, and continues to assess issues raised by stakeholders.

The UK has been formally listed as a Part 2 third country for the purposes of the EU Pet Travel Regulations, which means that new rules now apply to pet movements from Great Britain to the EU and Northern Ireland. These rules are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU rules also apply to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. There have been no changes to the current pet travel health requirements for entry into Great Britain and we will continue to accept EU pet passports.

We will continue to press the European Commission in relation to securing Part 1 listed status, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for pet owners and assistance dog users travelling to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are clear that we meet all the animal health requirements for this, and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

The Government is engaging with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to explore means to streamline pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland recognising the high standards of animal health that we share. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has also written to the European Vice-President seeking to ensure that an agreement can be made to address the barriers imposed on pet travel between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department takes to work with the Department for Education to promote cricket in state-funded schools.

My department works closely with the Department for Education on school sport provision. Schools are free to organise and deliver a flexible, diverse and challenging Physical Education curriculum that suits the needs of all their pupils, which can include cricket. Both departments regularly engage with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The ECB is actively engaged with 5,500 state schools, working with a quarter of all primary schools and 15,000 teachers. The ECB engages over half a million school children every year, including work through their charity partner Chance to Shine.

The ECB were represented at a school sport roundtable in March, jointly hosted by the Secretary of State for Education and the Culture Secretary. This roundtable launched our ongoing work to bring together a sports sector offer to support schools through an active summer recovery term, and on into the summer holidays, in order to get children and young people active again.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to diversify participation in cricket and to promote the sport among underrepresented groups.

The Government is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in sport and physical activity, including cricket. Our strategy ‘Sporting Future’ sets out a clear ambition to increase levels of physical activity amongst under-represented groups, working closely with national bodies to achieve this. Sport England’s recently launched new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforces their commitment to increasing diversifying participation in grassroots sport and physical activity.

Sport England funding has directly contributed to a number of cricket participation projects with an equality, diversity and inclusion focus run by the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). This includes a recent £2 million investment into the South Asian Action Plan, focused on opening up access to cricket, and the development of a new disability strategy, delivered by the ECB.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what proportion of residential properties can access fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband in (a) Stockport, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) England.

The UK’s independent regulator - Ofcom - does not routinely report data on the proportion of properties with access to Fibre to the Cabinet broadband technology and instead focuses on broadband performance by speed through their regular Connected Nations reports.

Fibre to the Cabinet broadband technology can normally deliver superfast download speeds of at least 30Mbps. According to Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2020 report, Stockport currently has 99% superfast coverage, compared to 96% in England as a whole. Greater Manchester comprises a number of local authorities. Superfast coverage in these local authority areas varies from 96% to 99%.

Further information is available from the Connected Nations section of the Ofcom website including figures on access to ultrafast and gigabit broadband speeds.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Listed Place of Worship Grant beyond March 2021.

The Government is fully committed to supporting listed places of worship and has committed to the present level of funding until March 2021. An extension to the scheme is on hold until the completion of the Spending Review, which has been delayed from July to later this year to ensure that HM Treasury and departments can remain focused on responding to the immediate public health and economic emergency.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when primary schools will be informed of the (a) outcome of their application to and (b) funding allocation from the PE and Sport Premium Fund.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced on 25 June that the £320 million PE and sport premium will continue for the 2022/23 academic year.

The PE and sport premium is paid to all eligible schools and there is no application process. Funding allocations for individual schools will be published in September.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the Adult Education Budget business case processes.

In the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years the department lowered the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) grant funded Adult Education Budget (AEB) reconciliation threshold from 97% to 68% and 90% respectively. We also introduced an associated business case process to support ESFA grant funded providers whose curriculum plans were affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Where approved, these business cases thereby enabled ESFA grant funded providers to cover their essential costs of delivery, where factors outside their control disrupted their recruitment plans.

The department recognises the challenges providers have faced because of the pandemic. But we also know that many providers have been able to continue to deliver successfully and have adapted the way that they teach. For the current academic year (2021/22) we plan to maintain the ESFA AEB reconciliation threshold at 97%.

Separate arrangements apply for devolved AEB which are the responsibility of the relevant Mayoral Combined Authority or Greater London Authority. This includes Stockport which is in a devolved area (Greater Manchester Combined Authority).

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will take steps to close potential pay differentials between school teachers and further education lecturers.

It is for further education (FE) providers to set the terms and conditions of their staff and the department plays no role in setting FE teachers’ pay. The department has made available an extra £1.6 billion for 16-19 education in the 2024/25 financial year, compared with the 2021/22 financial year, in the latest Spending Review. This is in addition to the £291 million for 16-19 education in the 2021/22 financial year, and the £400 million that the department provided in the 2020/21 financial year.

The department will also be investing nearly £52 million in the Further Education Workforce in the 2022/23 financial year, to continue to support the FE sector with the recruitment, retention, and development of teachers. This includes tax-free bursaries worth up to £26,000 each, which are available to support FE teacher training in priority subject areas for the 2022/23 academic year.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will offer an income guarantee for colleges where student numbers were impacted by the grade inflation in last summer’s exams which led to young people staying in school sixth forms.

The Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 has made available an extra £1.6 billion for 16-19 education in the 2024/25 financial year, compared with the 2021/22 financial year. As part of this, significant increases were made to funding rates for the 2022/23 academic year, including:

  • Increasing the 16-19 national funding rate for students aged 16 and 17, and students aged 18 and over, with high needs in band 5, from £4,188 to £4,542, with other funding rates also receiving an increase.
  • Increasing the high value courses premium from £400 to £600.
  • Increasing programme cost weightings in five subject areas considered to be under-weighted.
  • Increasing the disadvantage funding rate for students who have low prior attainment.

Funding for the 2022/23 academic year is based on student numbers in 2021/22. Provisional data suggests that further education colleges, not including sixth form colleges, had in aggregate a fall of just over 1% in their 16-19 students in the 2021/22 academic year, compared with the previous year, which has had an impact on funding. However, the higher funding rates mean that despite this slight fall in student numbers, colleges will see a significant increase in funding in the 2022/23 academic year. The department expects to see only a small proportion of colleges with a reduction in funding for 16-19 students in the 2022/23 academic year, compared with the 2021/22 academic year, when allocations are published.

The department recognises that colleges are facing financial pressures from increased costs, including the extra hours for 16-19 students, which will be delivered from the 2022/23 academic year onwards. Each year, the department looks to put in place exceptional in-year growth funding, subject to affordability. This is to help providers seeing a significant increase in students. The department will be looking carefully at what can be put in place to help colleges in the 2022/23 academic year.

Where colleges are at risk of running out of funding, emergency funding is considered on a case-by-case basis. It is based on a thorough assessment of each college's circumstances and on the minimum funding needed to minimise disruption to learners.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what resources his Department is providing Stockport Council to support their delivery of SEND provision in local authority-maintained schools.

The department is committed to ensuring that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in all areas receive the support they need to realise their potential.

Following an area SEND inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission in 2018, Stockport was required to produce a Written Statement of Action (WSOA) to address five areas of significant weakness. Since then, the department has provided regular support and challenge to bring about improvements including through its expert SEND and NHS England advisors. Stockport is also one of the 55 local areas which have been invited to join the government’s £85 million Delivering Better Value programme to support local areas to achieve maximum value for money in delivering SEND provision, whilst maintaining and improving the outcomes they achieve. Further information on this programme can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/delivering-better-outcomes-for-citizens-practical-steps-for-unlocking-public-value.

High needs funding, specifically for supporting children with more complex SEND, will increase by £1 billion in the 2022/23 financial year, bringing the overall total funding to £9.1 billion. SEND provision is funded through a combination of mainstream schools’ core funding and the high needs funding, both allocated to local authorities through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). Authorities have discretion in how this funding is allocated, subject to regulations and conditions of the grant. In the 2022/23 financial year, mainstream schools in Stockport are attracting £210.5 million and the local authority is receiving £42.8 million for high needs, with the latter representing a 12.7% per head increase compared to the authority’s 2021/22 financial year high needs funding allocation.

The department is also investing £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025 to deliver new places and improve existing provision for pupils with SEND or who require alternative provision. This funding represents a significant, transformational investment in new high needs provision and will help deliver tens of thousands of new places.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ask local authorities to show flexibility with regard to the clearance of uncleared adults within homes with in-place fostered children, to enable foster families to accommodate Ukrainian families including adults.

The decision to become a host family should involve everyone living in the household including children, whose views, wishes and feeling should be taken into account. There will be additional considerations when the household includes children in foster care.

Foster carers are required to give written notice to their fostering provider when there is a change in the composition of the household. We would expect foster carers to contact their fostering service provider and the local authority/authorities for any children already living in their care when considering applying to the Homes for Ukraine Scheme (where the local authority is not their fostering service provider).

If a foster carer has capacity to take additional children, we encourage fostering agencies to explore with them what support the foster carer can provide, including to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children already in the country and those who continue to arrive.

Local authorities are responsible for safeguarding all children that they look after according to existing guidance and the statutory framework. The department expects them to work together with fostering agencies where there is a change to the fostering household composition to ensure that children that they look after are safeguarded.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether local authority fosters carers will be eligible to host Ukrainian (a) groups and (b) individuals under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Any household can come forward to the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme. The decision to become a host family should involve everyone living in the household, including children, whose views, wishes and feeling should be taken into account. There will be additional considerations when the household includes children in foster care.

Foster carers are required to give written notice to their fostering provider when there is a change in the composition of the household. The department would expect foster carers to contact their fostering service provider and the local authority/authorities for any children already living in their care when considering applying to the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme (where the local authority is not their fostering service provider).

If a foster carer has capacity to take additional children, the department encourages them to approach their local authority about what support they can provide, including to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children already in the country and those who continue to arrive.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support schools facing rising energy costs.

The department recognises that schools face inflationary pressures, and we continue to monitor the impact of rising energy costs on schools. Cost increases should be seen in the wider context of funding and support for schools. I refer the hon. Member for Stockport to the answer I gave on 25 February 2022 to Question 125076.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of air purifiers in schools in Stockport.

During the autumn term, the department provided CO2 monitors to all state-funded education providers, including early years, schools, and further education providers, backed by £25 million in government funding. The department has now delivered on our public commitment with over 353,000 monitors delivered in the autumn term. This includes 1,534 CO2 monitors which were delivered to schools in Stockport.

Air cleaning units were allocated to settings based on need, using the eligibility criteria the department set out in guidance, which is available at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12cU_I5q0v1_my97yPMpb87RsSL5d5lpj. As of 24 January 2022, 1,265 settings that applied for department-funded air cleaning units were eligible for air cleaning units, including 3 education providers in Stockport.

The department is currently finalising the total number of units allocated to education providers, this will depend on the needs identified by eligible education providers, including the number of people using the room(s).

The total number of eligible education providers mirrors published summary findings from the department’s survey of the use of CO2 monitors, which show that only 3% of settings using carbon dioxide monitors reported sustained high carbon dioxide readings that couldn’t otherwise be addressed. This is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/co2-monitor-survey-and-applications-for-air-cleaning-units.

The total number of air cleaning units that education providers have applied for was just over 8,000. Up to an additional 1,000 units have now been ordered, bringing the total number of units available up to 9,000, allowing all eligible applications to be fulfilled.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of CO2 monitors in schools in Stockport.

During the autumn term, the department provided CO2 monitors to all state-funded education providers, including early years, schools, and further education providers, backed by £25 million in government funding. The department has now delivered on our public commitment with over 353,000 monitors delivered in the autumn term. This includes 1,534 CO2 monitors which were delivered to schools in Stockport.

Air cleaning units were allocated to settings based on need, using the eligibility criteria the department set out in guidance, which is available at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12cU_I5q0v1_my97yPMpb87RsSL5d5lpj. As of 24 January 2022, 1,265 settings that applied for department-funded air cleaning units were eligible for air cleaning units, including 3 education providers in Stockport.

The department is currently finalising the total number of units allocated to education providers, this will depend on the needs identified by eligible education providers, including the number of people using the room(s).

The total number of eligible education providers mirrors published summary findings from the department’s survey of the use of CO2 monitors, which show that only 3% of settings using carbon dioxide monitors reported sustained high carbon dioxide readings that couldn’t otherwise be addressed. This is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/co2-monitor-survey-and-applications-for-air-cleaning-units.

The total number of air cleaning units that education providers have applied for was just over 8,000. Up to an additional 1,000 units have now been ordered, bringing the total number of units available up to 9,000, allowing all eligible applications to be fulfilled.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether there are measures in place to ensure that the executive board of Ofsted is representative of the demographics of the teaching profession and its pupils in England.

Ofsted has a non-executive board, which is separate from Ofsted’s executive team. The board is responsible for setting the strategic priorities, targets, and objectives for Ofsted and overseeing its corporate governance.

Appointments to the board are made by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and are conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/governance-code-for-public-appointments.

Ofsted’s remit is extensive, covering early years, schools, further education and skills, and social care. When appointing to the Ofsted board, the department ensures that board members have knowledge and understanding of these remits, as well as experience of ensuring good governance.

The department is committed to ensuring diversity and inclusion. When running recruitment campaigns, the department strongly encourages applications from a diverse range of applicants to secure a diverse and representative board.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether clinically vulnerable students are able to request remote learning in higher education during high infection rates of covid-19.

The government’s priority remains to keep students and staff as safe as possible and minimise disruption to university life. We continue to work with the higher education sector to deliver this, ensuring students are able to receive a full, enriching and enjoyable experience.

The shielding programme has ended and adults previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) should follow the same guidance as everyone else on staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae. It is important that everyone adheres to this guidance, but people previously considered CEV may wish to consider taking extra precautions. There is guidance for people previously considered CEV, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19. In some circumstances, people may have received personal advice from their specialist or clinician on additional precautions to take and they should continue to follow that advice.

All employers are required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and higher education providers should be able to explain what measures they have put in place to keep staff and students safe on campus. We would expect them to discuss any concerns that people previously considered CEV may have, including any request to change the way in which their teaching and learning is delivered.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support is available to protect clinically vulnerable students from covid-19 in higher education.

The government’s priority remains to keep students and staff as safe as possible and minimise disruption to university life. We continue to work with the higher education sector to deliver this, ensuring students are able to receive a full, enriching and enjoyable experience.

The shielding programme has ended and adults previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) should follow the same guidance as everyone else on staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae. It is important that everyone adheres to this guidance, but people previously considered CEV may wish to consider taking extra precautions. There is guidance for people previously considered CEV, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19. In some circumstances, people may have received personal advice from their specialist or clinician on additional precautions to take and they should continue to follow that advice.

All employers are required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and higher education providers should be able to explain what measures they have put in place to keep staff and students safe on campus. We would expect them to discuss any concerns that people previously considered CEV may have, including any request to change the way in which their teaching and learning is delivered.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has provided additional funding to schools to help implement covid-19-safe environments.

The measures in place in education settings to tackle COVID-19 are based on the latest scientific advice and strike a balance between managing transmission risk and reducing disruption to children and young people’s education.

The priority is for education and childcare settings to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils and students. The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, and mental and physical health. To manage COVID-19 transmission, nurseries, schools and colleges should continue to ensure good hygiene for everyone, maintain appropriate cleaning regimes, keep occupied spaces well ventilated and follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation, face coverings and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.

In order to support schools with these measures, CO2 monitors have been provided to all state-funded schools starting from September, so staff can quickly identify where ventilation needs to be improved. The department has also made over £100 million of funding available to secondary schools, colleges and specialist settings to support them with the workforce costs associated with delivering on-site testing, and continue to do so, in line with departmental testing policy.

More generally, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has ensured that all schools continued to receive their core funding as normal, regardless of any periods of reduced attendance. This year, mainstream school funding is increasing by 3.5% overall, and all schools are receiving at least a 2% increase to pupil-led per pupil funding.

As a result of the recent Spending Review, the department will be investing a further £4.7 billion by financial year 2024-25 for the core schools budget in England, over and above the Spending Review 2019 settlement for schools in 2022-23.

This investment includes a further £1.6 billion in financial year 2022-23, on top of year on year increases already announced. This additional funding will help the school sector respond to the pressures we know they are facing. The department will make announcements on the distribution of this additional funding shortly.

School leaders have the flexibility to make their own decisions on how to prioritise their spending to invest in a range of resources that will best support their staff and pupils.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that school meals are not affected by food shortages and supply chain issues.

There is no evidence to suggest there are widespread supply issues for schools. Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and have flexibility under the school food standards to substitute food products if particular ingredients or meals are not readily available. School food contracts are set and held at school, academy trust, or council level. Schools can, therefore, enter into individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty.

The flexibility in the school food standards exists to ensure that menus can be modified for variety, and dietary choices or restrictions can be catered for more easily. Where items or menus are unavailable, we expect caterers to communicate this with schools. It does not mean that pupils are going without meals.

The department routinely considers contingency arrangements and expects schools and catering companies supplying them to do the same.

The Department for Education holds regular meetings with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs as well as food industry representatives covering a variety of issues. In the event of any disruption to supply, we will work with councils and the sector to ensure warm, nutritious meals can continue to be provided.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with relevant stakeholders on the impact of food shortages and supply chain issues on suppliers of school meals.

There is no evidence to suggest there are widespread supply issues for schools. Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and have flexibility under the school food standards to substitute food products if particular ingredients or meals are not readily available. School food contracts are set and held at school, academy trust, or council level. Schools can, therefore, enter into individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty.

The flexibility in the school food standards exists to ensure that menus can be modified for variety, and dietary choices or restrictions can be catered for more easily. Where items or menus are unavailable, we expect caterers to communicate this with schools. It does not mean that pupils are going without meals.

The department routinely considers contingency arrangements and expects schools and catering companies supplying them to do the same.

The Department for Education holds regular meetings with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs as well as food industry representatives covering a variety of issues. In the event of any disruption to supply, we will work with councils and the sector to ensure warm, nutritious meals can continue to be provided.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the financial allocation from the catch-up premium to schools in Stockport was during the academic year 2020-21.

Allocations for the 2020/21 academic year for the COVID-19 catch up premium for Stockport and all other local authorities in England are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium-provisional-allocations.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the financial allocation from the National Tutoring Programme to schools in Stockport constituency was in the academic year 2020-21.

The department does not hold data broken down by constituency.

In June 2020, £350 million was allocated to the National Tutoring Programme as part of the £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package. In November 2020, it was confirmed that this would fund the programme for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 academic years.

The department awarded the Education Endowment Foundation funding of up to £80 million to deliver the Tuition Partners pillar of the programme. Teach First were given up to £8.5 million to deliver the Academic Mentors pillar of the programme last academic year (2020/21).

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the findings of the National Student Survey that 42 per cent of students felt enough was being done to help them, what steps he is taking to tackle mental health challenges in colleges and universities.

The past year and a half has been an incredibly difficult time for our students and I recognise that many students are facing additional mental health challenges due to the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Higher education (HE) providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government and have a responsibility to support students with mental health conditions. They are not only experts in their student population but also best placed to identify the needs of their particular student body.

While it is for HE providers to determine what welfare and counselling services they need to provide to their students to offer that support, the government is proactive in promoting good practice in this area. I have engaged with universities on this issue and have written to Vice Chancellors on numerous occasions, outlining that student welfare should remain a priority. I have also convened a working group of representatives from the higher education and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to provide Student Space, which has been funded by up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform providing a range of valuable resources dedicated to students. I am delighted to confirm that the OfS will continue to provide funding to Student Space into the start of the next academic year, which will mean that students can continue to receive this expert advice and support.

Furthermore, we asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/22 through reforms to the Strategic Priorities Grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard to reach students.

My hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, and I have convened a Mental Health in Education Action Group to drive action to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities. The group has focused on supporting mental wellbeing as children and young people return to education settings and to provide enhanced support for transitions between education settings in this new academic year. Our Youth Mental Health Ambassador, Dr Alex George, who has been appointed to advise the government and raise the profile of mental health education and wellbeing in schools, colleges, and universities, is a member of the group.

As part of our Mental Health Recovery Action Plan, the government has provided an additional £13 million to ensure young adults aged 18 to 25, including university students, are supported with tailored mental health services, helping bridge the gap between children’s and adult services. This will support a cohort which has historically faced a ‘cliff-edge’ in support and is being especially impacted by COVID-19 with a rising prevalence of mental health problems and changes to the economy and labour market.

My department is continuing to work with our counterparts in the Department for Health and Social Care, as well as with stakeholders in the HE sector through the Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce Subgroup, and the Mental Health in Education Action Group to ensure that the wellbeing of our students remains a priority.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the National Audit Office's report of 2 July 2021, School funding in England, and the finding that between 2017-18 and 2020-21 the average per-pupil funding in the most deprived fifth of schools fell in real terms by 1.2 per cent, while per-pupil funding in the least deprived fifth increased by 2.9 per cent, whether his Department has plans to increase the funding of education in disadvantaged areas.

In the 2021/22 financial year, the National Funding Formula (NFF) is providing a total of £6.4 billion (17%) targeted at schools with higher numbers of pupils with additional needs, including deprivation. A further £2.5 billion of pupil premium funding, which has a specific focus on raising the attainment of deprived pupils, is provided on top of that.

In setting the NFF, the Department was careful to consider funding for deprivation, both the deprivation funding channelled through the NFF, and the funding provided through the pupil premium. It is right that schools with more pupils with additional needs, such as those indicated by measures of deprivation, low prior attainment, or English as an additional language, should receive extra funding to help ensure that schools are supported to meet the needs of all their pupils. For example, a primary school pupil who is eligible for free school meals will attract a total of £2,380 for their school, through the NFF and pupil premium combined; and a secondary pupil £2,255.

Further information about the NFF and allocations for the 2021/22 financial year can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-funding-formula-tables-for-schools-and-high-needs-2021-to-2022. The NFF for the 2022/23 financial year will be published shortly.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on the (a) development and (b) education of children with disabilities; and what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that children who have fallen behind are able to catch up.

Supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families is a priority for this government, and their educational, physical and mental wellbeing remains central to our cross-government response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that children and young people with SEND are disproportionately affected by being out of education, including missing out on important social interaction with their peers. That is why we kept schools open for vulnerable children, including those with an education, health and care plan, during periods of national lockdown.

We have made available £1.7 billion in funding to support education recovery. In June 2020, we announced a £1 billion recovery package, including a National Tutoring Programme and a Catch-up Premium for this academic year. In February 2021, we committed to further funding of £700 million to fund summer schools, expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years settings, schools and providers of 16-19 education.

Both special schools and alternative provision (AP) will be able to access funding to provide summer schools and the National Tutoring Programme. We also recognise the additional costs associated with offering provision to pupils in specialist settings. Eligible pupils in special schools, special units in mainstream primary and secondary schools and AP settings will attract a higher rate of funding for summer schools. We have also consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts both in the 2020 Catch-up Premium and in the 2021 Recovery Premium funding.

In addition to summer schools, a broader programme of summer enrichment activities, including the Holiday Activities and Food programme, will be running to support children and young people and their families.

We are committed to ensuring that the National Tutoring Programme is as inclusive as possible. When selecting Tuition Partners for this academic year, departmental officials worked with the Education Endowment Foundation to ensure that tuition providers had the relevant experience working with children who have SEND in both mainstream and specialist settings. We have 26 providers that are able to support students with SEND, and 17 of these also able to support students in special school settings.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make learning about the climate emergency and ecological crisis a compulsory part of teaching training courses.

The Department know the biggest in-school influence on pupil outcomes is the quality of teaching. We are clear that high quality teaching is the surest way to raise standards overall and to close disadvantage gaps. This is more important than ever as we focus on recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The new ITT Core Content Framework is an ambitious core of mandatory content that must be included in the training curriculum by all ITT providers of courses that lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) from September 2020. The Framework is designed to cover the content required by trainee teachers irrespective of subject or phase. The Department expects providers and their partnerships to use the revised ITT Core Content Framework to craft a coherent and well-sequenced curriculum. Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-itt-core-content-framework.

QTS will continue to be awarded at the end of ITT against the Teachers' Standards. The new ITT Core Content framework does not replace the Teachers’ Standards and should not be used as an assessment framework. The Teachers’ Standards are available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teachers-standards.

Courses must be designed so that teacher trainees can demonstrate that they meet all of the Teachers' Standards at the appropriate level, including Standard 3 ‘having a secure knowledge of the relevant subject(s) and curriculum areas’.



1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to help ensure that (a) Pupil Referral Units and (b) alternative provision continues to be available to pupils who are (i) excluded from school, (ii) are at risk of exclusion and (iii) have medical needs and are unable to attend school during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working closely with our alternative provision (AP) stakeholder group to monitor the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on local authority referrals. AP settings and those local authorities and schools that use their services should continue to work closely together, to assess need and demand and to make sure local capacity is maintained where both places and expertise continue to be needed.

We have prioritised vulnerable children and children of critical workers throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. AP has remained open for these children and young people, which means many of these settings have continued to offer face-to-face provision for the majority of their pupils. Settings should provide robust remote education for those who are not attending, including those with medical needs and we have made laptops and tablets available for the most disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access.

Over the course of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have taken a number of steps to support Pupil Referral Units and AP to remain open and support vulnerable children and young people, in addition to the extra support we have provided to all schools. This includes the £7.1 million AP transition fund announced in June 2020 to support year 11 pupils in AP to make a successful transition to post-16 education and training. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/alternative-provision-year-11-transition-funding. This is in addition to support through the workforce fund, higher rates of funding for catch-up funding in financial year 2020-21 and most recently, increased levels of funding for mass-testing. It is crucial that AP operates as safely as possible with easy access to mass asymptomatic testing for staff and those attending for face-to-face education.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the level of local authority referrals to (a) Pupil Referral Units and (b) alternative provision.

We are working closely with our alternative provision (AP) stakeholder group to monitor the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on local authority referrals. AP settings and those local authorities and schools that use their services should continue to work closely together, to assess need and demand and to make sure local capacity is maintained where both places and expertise continue to be needed.

We have prioritised vulnerable children and children of critical workers throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. AP has remained open for these children and young people, which means many of these settings have continued to offer face-to-face provision for the majority of their pupils. Settings should provide robust remote education for those who are not attending, including those with medical needs and we have made laptops and tablets available for the most disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access.

Over the course of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have taken a number of steps to support Pupil Referral Units and AP to remain open and support vulnerable children and young people, in addition to the extra support we have provided to all schools. This includes the £7.1 million AP transition fund announced in June 2020 to support year 11 pupils in AP to make a successful transition to post-16 education and training. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/alternative-provision-year-11-transition-funding. This is in addition to support through the workforce fund, higher rates of funding for catch-up funding in financial year 2020-21 and most recently, increased levels of funding for mass-testing. It is crucial that AP operates as safely as possible with easy access to mass asymptomatic testing for staff and those attending for face-to-face education.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing additional funds to schools that are incurring increased costs as a result of covering staff absence due to self-isolating as those absences are not included in staff absence insurance policies.

Last term, the Department announced a new COVID-19 workforce fund for schools facing significant staff absences and financial pressures to help them with the costs of staff cover. It funded the costs of teacher absences over a threshold in eligible schools for the period from 1 November until the end of the autumn 2020 term. Guidance on the fund was published on GOV.UK. Further information on COVID-19 workforce funding can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-workforce-fund-for-schools.

Currently, schools remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only. All other pupils should receive remote education. The Department therefore expects that many schools will currently be providing onsite education for fewer pupils, giving them greater flexibility in how they deploy their staff and manage any staff absences due to COVID-19. The Department has provided schools with guidance to support their workforce planning here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952443/210114_School_national_restrictions_guidance_FINAL_14012021.pdf.

As set out in the guidance, schools can continue to engage supply teachers and other supply staff during this period.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, and will continue to do so for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of closure or reduced operation. Following the 2019 Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020-21 financial year, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20. On average, schools are attracting 4.2% more per pupil in 2020-21 than in 2019-20.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary aged pupils in Stockport were absent from school due to covid-19 in the Autumn term 2020.

The Department collects daily attendance data from schools via the educational setting status form, which was set up to help the Government monitor the impact of COVID-19 on schools and colleges.

Data on reasons for pupil absence was collected from 12 October. The Department has published the number and proportion of pupils in attendance and the number and proportion of pupils absent for COVID-19 related reasons in primary schools in Stockport on each Thursday between 10 September and 17 December where available.

Data is given for Wednesday 16 December instead of Thursday 17 December due to a decrease in response rates on Thursday 17 December which makes estimates for this date less reliable. Data is not given for Thursday 22 and 29 October as this data is affected by half term. Data for Thursday 22 and 29 October and 17 December are published and available in the underlying data.

Local authority level figures are based on responding schools only. Response rates for primary schools in Stockport varied between 72% and 81% for the period of data provided.

The following absence reasons as reported daily by schools are included in our estimates for total pupils unable to attend school because of COVID-19: confirmed cases of COVID-19, suspected cases of COVID-19, self-isolation due to contact with a case inside or outside the school and pupils in schools closed for COVID-19 related reasons. This data is as reported directly by schools via the Department for Education’s daily education settings survey. It is not the primary source of data on infection, incidence, and COVID-19 cases overall.

Total pupils unable to attend school because of COVID-19 is reported as a range to account for possible double counting.

The information regarding attendance statistics can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/9b3646d7-4b40-4cea-a826-a389dd0c7ded.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the assessment of technical and vocational qualifications in Summer 2021 that (a) include and (b) do not include practical assessment.

We are proposing that written exams for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) that are being taken instead of, or alongside, GCSEs, AS and A levels do not go ahead. We are proposing they are awarded through alternative arrangements similar to GCSEs and A levels. We are seeking views through the joint consultation with Ofqual, that was launched on 15 January, on the detail of these arrangements and the qualifications in scope of this approach. Further information on the approach to awarding qualifications can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/953003/6743-2_2021_VTQ_alternative_arrangements_consultation_15JAN21.pdf.

For VTQs that require a practical assessment to demonstrate occupational competency or to gain a licence to practise, for example some qualifications in areas such as automotive or electrical installation, we believe these assessments should continue to take place in schools or colleges or other further education settings when possible, subject to public health guidance. We do not consider there to be alternative arrangements that can assess the learner’s practical competence and it is important learners can progress to the next stage of their lives, which will often be to employment or apprenticeships. The consultation seeks views on this position.

Unfortunately, there will be some practical assessments that have to be delayed where it is not possible to deliver the assessment safely, or where students have not received enough learning to reach occupational competence and so are not ready to take the practical assessment.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an estimate of the number of parents registering to home school their children.

Parents are not under a duty to register if they are home educating their children and therefore there is not a robust basis on which the Department can reliably collect statistics on home education.

With regard to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department is working closely with local authorities to encourage a return to full attendance in school and is monitoring the situation. Initial conversations with local authorities indicate that the majority have noticed an increase in enquiries from parents about home education. Where parents are anxious about the safety of their children returning to school, local authorities and school leaders are reinforcing that it is in the best interests of pupils to return to school.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome have (a) been excluded from school and (b) received additional support whilst in school in each of the last three years.

The information requested is not held centrally.

Statistics on exclusions are available in the National Statistics release ‘Permanent and fixed period exclusions in England’ here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england.

Statistics on the number of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), including SEN support and Education, Health and Care plans are available in the National Statistics release ‘Special educational needs in England’ here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england.

Both publications include statistics by type of SEN, but Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome is not one of the categories specified.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure grant maintained nurseries remain an integral part of early years provision.

Maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. On 24 August, the government announced that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities, to enable them to continue protecting the funding of maintained nursery schools during the summer term in 2021. This provides maintained nursery schools with certainty about funding for the 2020-21 academic year.

In addition, support has been provided for the whole early years sector during the COVID-19 outbreak, designed to help providers to remain sustainable. We have continued to fund local authorities for childcare this autumn term at the same levels as seen prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of whether fewer children are attending. If providers are open but caring for fewer children as a result of low demand, either from parents or due to public health reasons, they can continue to be funded for the autumn term at broadly the levels that they would have expected to see had there been no COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, along with other businesses, early years providers have also been able to access a comprehensive package of business support.

What happens to the funding of maintained nursery schools after the 2020-21 academic year will be determined by the next Comprehensive Spending Review in the context of our priorities across early years as a whole.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of maintained nursery schools and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether additional Government funding will be made available to schools to cover the costs those schools have incurred in responding to the covid-19 crisis.

We are providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources.

Schools are eligible to claim for: increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who are not in school, where schools are not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure.

21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he will respond to the correspondence of 24 January from the hon. Member for Stockport.

I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Gentleman, his reply will be with him shortly. As we have had to go to a second government department for a full answer it has taken a little longer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) steps the Government has taken and (b) resources have been committed to support jobs and businesses in Greater Manchester following the introduction of a clean air charge zone.

We have provided a substantial sum of £132 million from the Clean Air Fund to Greater Manchester authorities to help businesses and individuals upgrade to compliant vehicles. This is on top of providing £36 million to enable the implementation of the Clean Air Zone.

The HGV support scheme has recently opened for applications. Schemes for other vehicle types affected are due to launch later in the year. It is for Greater Manchester authorities to administer and distribute the funds according to the agreed business plan.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) mitigate the impact of increasing costs of food for consumers and (b) ensure that suppliers of food are adequately supplied.

Consumer food prices depend on a range of factors including food import prices, domestic agricultural prices, domestic labour and manufacturing costs, and Sterling exchange rates, all of which fluctuate over time. Some of these factors are influenced by our trading arrangements with other countries.    Most food sectors businesses (retail etc) are accustomed to fluctuations in supply chain costs so they do not necessarily translate into consumer price rises. Food prices are set individually by businesses and it is not for the UK Government to set retail food prices nor to comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by companies.

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. It is well equipped to deal with situations with the potential to cause disruption. Our high degree of food security is built supply from diverse sources; strong domestic production as well as imports through stable trade routes. UK consumers have access through international trade to food products that cannot be produced here, or at least not on a year-round basis. This supplements domestic production, and also ensures that any disruption from risks such as adverse weather or disease does not affect the UK's overall security of supply.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the impact of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone on jobs in (a) Stockport and (b) across Greater Manchester.

It is for local authorities to develop local plans that will achieve statutory NO 2 limit values within the shortest possible time. Research from 2012 indicated that the burden associated with a range of pollutants, including NO2, had a total cost of up to £2.7bn nationally through its impact on productivity. High levels of air pollution will continue to have a significant impact on productivity, alongside its significant impact on public health.

Work on developing the underpinning evidence for the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) has been undertaken by Greater Manchester authorities including an assessment of the effects and impacts on local residents and businesses. This takes account of employment factors. The latest publicly available analysis published by Greater Manchester authorities is available at: https://cleanairgm.com/technical-documents. Greater Manchester have identified in their analysis that there were 224 points predicted to remain in exceedance of NO2 levels in 2021 without further action, with a maximum predicted in 2022 of 53 µg/m3 NO2. The Government has provided Greater Manchester authorities with £168 million funding to support delivery of the CAZ.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether additional funding will be made available to areas affected by (a) Storm Barra and (b) Storm Arwen.

Local authorities concerned about the emergency costs of Storm Arwen or Storm Barra should contact the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to discuss.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was responsible for power being restored, which has now been done.

Following Storm Arwen, the Environment Agency (EA) inspected its assets and found significant damage to an access ramp for the Low Ford Tree Catcher in Morpeth, Northumberland. The asset is one of several that reduce the risk of flooding to almost 1000 homes in Morpeth, Northumberland. The damage was so severe that the EA could no longer safely use the ramp and has temporarily suspended routine works on the site. Temporary repairs (using sheet piling and back filling with inert material) and a rescue of native white clawed crayfish, known to be present in the river and of significant conservation importance, are now being arranged for week commencing 13 December 2021. The EA will plan a long-term permanent repair scheme for the next financial year.

As well as damage to flood assets, numerous fallen trees are also causing issues across the North East. The EA is currently assessing the impacts of these fallen trees to local flood risk, flood assets and telemetry sites. Many of these trees are significant in size and it is estimated that the average cost of safe removal is around £2000 per site.

We are also aware of potentially significant impacts to Forestry Commission and private forestry sites. We will continue to monitor the situation and engage with effected land managers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on trade with the EU of the proposal to authorise the use of gene-editing technologies in agriculture and food and drink manufacturing in England.

Defra’s recent genetic technologies consultation sought information on the implications of not regulating organisms produced by genetic editing and other genetic technologies as GMOs if they could have been produced through traditional breeding methods which included impacts on trade.

The consultation ended on 17 March and we are currently analysing the responses. A full Government response will be published within three months.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of potentially introducing gene editing into the UK's food and agriculture supply chain on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

More than 70 genetically modified (GM) products are authorised for use as food and feed in the UK. Most GM products are used for animal feed. All these products have been authorised after a rigorous risk assessment. There are very few GM food products on the UK market, some as imports. Where GM ingredients have been added to food, existing legislation requires labelling to indicate this.

In addition to possible human health and environmental impacts, Defra’s recent genetic technologies consultation sought views on non-safety issues arising if organisms produced by genetic editing or other genetic technologies, which could have been produced naturally or through traditional breeding methods, were not regulated as GMOs. The consultation ended on 17 March and we are currently analysing the responses. A full Government response will be published within three months.

Owing to the application of Union law to Northern Ireland by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, gene edited organisms will in Northern Ireland continue to be considered as GMOs and regulated as such.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on employment of the proposal to authorise the use of gene-editing technologies in agriculture and food and drink manufacturing in England.

More than 70 genetically modified (GM) products are authorised for use as food and feed in the UK. Most GM products are used for animal feed. All these products have been authorised after a rigorous risk assessment. There are very few GM food products on the UK market, some as imports. Where GM ingredients have been added to food, existing legislation requires labelling to indicate this.

In addition to possible human health and environmental impacts, Defra’s recent genetic technologies consultation sought views on non-safety issues arising if organisms produced by genetic editing or other genetic technologies, which could have been produced naturally or through traditional breeding methods, were not regulated as GMOs. The consultation ended on 17 March and we are currently analysing the responses. A full Government response will be published within three months.

Owing to the application of Union law to Northern Ireland by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, gene edited organisms will in Northern Ireland continue to be considered as GMOs and regulated as such.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to introduce genetically modified foods into the UK.

More than 70 genetically modified (GM) products are authorised for use as food and feed in the UK. Most GM products are used for animal feed. All these products have been authorised after a rigorous risk assessment. There are very few GM food products on the UK market, some as imports. Where GM ingredients have been added to food, existing legislation requires labelling to indicate this.

In addition to possible human health and environmental impacts, Defra’s recent genetic technologies consultation sought views on non-safety issues arising if organisms produced by genetic editing or other genetic technologies, which could have been produced naturally or through traditional breeding methods, were not regulated as GMOs. The consultation ended on 17 March and we are currently analysing the responses. A full Government response will be published within three months.

Owing to the application of Union law to Northern Ireland by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, gene edited organisms will in Northern Ireland continue to be considered as GMOs and regulated as such.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many and what proportion of consignments of animal and plant products are rejected at the EU Border Control Post.

We are aware of 17 consignments that were rejected at EU Border Control Posts between January and March 2021. There may be more not known to Defra or the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). In the same period APHA issued 40,300 certificates for exports to the EU, although some of these may be for consignments not yet exported.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) assess and (b) rollout the use of additives to make ordinary plastic biodegradable.

In 2015, a Government report concluded that existing biodegradable standards are only applicable to very specific conditions such as industrial composters. We are concerned that, in the absence of robust standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the marketplace, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal.

Furthermore, in line with the advice received from the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee and as set out in the Resources and Waste Strategy, the Government’s focus is on encouraging increased reuse and recycling of products and materials, to extract maximum value from them, in line with our ambition to transition to a circular economy. This being said, the Government recognises that innovation into biodegradable plastics could help reduce the environmental impacts of plastics if they are disposed of in the right way. However, this is often not the case. If mistakenly recycled with other plastics, they have the potential to damage the quality of the new products made from the recycled plastic. Furthermore, concerns persist that plastics which are claimed to be biodegradable, if littered or otherwise released into the environment in an uncontrolled way, may not degrade quickly or at all, and they can only be composted if they meet relevant standards and are treated in line with those standards.

As a consequence of these concerns, the Government published a call for evidence in 2019 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 is now closed 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)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking in response to the rejection of veterinary inspection documentation for exports of animal by-products to the EU.

I can confirm that there are procedures and steps already in place to assist traders where their consignment has been rejected by a European Border Control Post. This includes providing assistance with trying to resolve any paperwork issues or permitting consignments to be returned to GB as easily as possible and we continue to support industry bodies with guidance. In particular, we have worked closely with the authorities in the Netherlands, France and Belgium to facilitate imports.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the list of businesses in England, Scotland and Wales approved to export Animal By-Products to the EU, how many businesses have been excluded from that list that have approval numbers issued; and for what reasons that list was not published until 8 January 2021.

Publication on GOV.UK of the lists of GB Third Country Approved Establishments, on the EU’s TRACES customs system, is a temporary fix. The expectation remains that details will be published by the European Commission. Defra will continue to publish updates on GOV.UK until then.

All qualifying premises known to Defra are included. We published at the earliest opportunity after we learned that the European Commission had not published details.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to monitor the number of rejections of veterinary inspection documents for exports of animal by-products to the EU.

Traders can notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency by telephone if their consignments are rejected at a European Union (EU) Border Control Post (BCP). Having done so, they can discuss the possible steps that can be taken to enable the product to clear the BCP or be returned to Great Britain (GB).

We are holding regular engagement with the European Commission and EU Member States to learn why some GB consignments are delayed or rejected at EU BCPs. We are then communicating this back to GB traders and certifying officers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason his Department has not adopted sediment quality guidelines to provide an assessment of levels beyond which heavy metal contamination may pose a risk to aquatic biota and human health.

The Environment Agency assesses the risk from heavy metals in freshwater, estuaries and coasts on the basis of Environmental Quality Standards (EQS). These are mostly based on water concentrations and for some substances they are based on the fraction of the metal known to be the most toxic to aquatic life. The EQS for mercury, for example, is based on concentrations of the metal in the tissues of aquatic animals. This allows direct assessment of the amount accumulating in the food chain which may present a risk to biota and higher predators that eat them, which is also protective of human health.

The Secretary of State has the powers to update EQSs in future in light of new scientific knowledge and so, whilst we have not adopted sediment quality guidelines for heavy metals in the freshwater environment at this stage, Defra will keep this under review.

In the marine environment, sediment assessment levels are in place for a range of contaminants, including heavy metals, that are used to enable risk assessments of the potential impacts to marine life such as fish and seabed organisms. Sediment action levels exist to inform the management of the sediment such as the disposal of dredged sediment to sea.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department is making of sediment-bound concentrations of key heavy metals and metalloids within the modern river network.

Sediment-bound concentrations of metals and metalloids are assessed through the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines Programme where there is a site- or catchment-specific need to do so. The Government does not routinely monitor for sediment-bound concentrations of metals and metalloids within the wider river network. However, the Environment Agency regularly measures levels of metals - including lead, nickel and cadmium - in freshwater as part of its water quality monitoring regime.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to remove microplastic contamination from the (a) Mersey and (b) UK river network.

The Environment Agency (EA) regulates a number of activities which have the potential to cause plastic waste pollution in the River Mersey. The EA is responsible for the regulation of permitted and exempt plastics recycling plants, which includes reviewing inspection and compliance checks to ensure plastics recyclers are complying with their environmental permits. In 2018 the EA visited all facilities which treated or reprocessed plastic waste and checked they were not losing plastic fragments into surface water draining into the Mersey.

The EA also works nationally to reduce waste crime which helps to minimise and prevent loss of plastic waste into the environment from businesses by keeping it in the waste management system. The EA has worked with the energy sector to reduce plastic media from the cooling treatment processes. It has also worked with water companies to prevent plastic bio-bead loss from the wastewater processes. The EA is working with businesses and leading academics to investigate the types and quantities of plastics, including micro-plastics, entering the environment. This research will feed into plans to tackle this type of pollution at source.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to tackle phosphate pollution in the (a) Mersey and (b) UK river network.

The Government has set standards for phosphorus (P) in rivers, including the River Mersey, applied through the river basin management plans produced by the Environment Agency and its counterparts in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Since the mid-1990s, considerable progress has been made in reducing phosphorus in rivers. However, the standards are stringent and further measures are still needed. Phosphorus loadings to rivers from waste water treatment works in England have reduced by 67% since 1995 through investment in phosphorus reduction technology at treatment works and further reductions are planned up to 2027.

For agriculture, Farming Rules for Water and Catchment Sensitive Farming are helping. Defra is also commencing a 7-year transition from EU-based rules to a system in which farmers are paid to improve the environment through a new Environmental Land Management scheme, which includes nutrient management.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether measuring plastic levels in waterways is a priority of his Department.

Addressing plastic pollution in our waterways is a priority for Defra. In order to measure plastic levels accurately, it is important to use consistent sampling, collection and assessment methodologies for measuring plastics in various environmental media (sediments, water column or biota). Defra is working with the Environment Agency, academia and water companies, to develop such methodologies to enable future monitoring of plastics in wastewater, sludge and the water environment.

Defra is also working with the relevant committees at the British Standards Institute (BSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to progress the development of agreed standards for sampling and analytical methodologies for plastics in the aquatic environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many breaches of compliance his Department has identified of plastic recyclers not complying with their environmental permits in the latest period for which data is available.

In 2018 the number of breaches for operators of waste treatment activities accepting plastic wastes was 260.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many instances of plastic pollution the Environment Agency identified in the last two years; and what assessment that agency made of whether such pollution posed a significant risk to the public.

The Environment Agency (EA) doesn’t currently collect data on instances of plastic pollution. The Environment Agency has a 7-point plan to reduce plastics in the environment and is working with stakeholders to reduce avoidable plastic waste and encourage a circular economy where possible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) financial and (b) other support the Government is providing to areas with disproportionate environmental contaminants as a legacy of historical industrialisation and urbanisation.

The 2015 Spending Review awarded the Environment Agency approximately £0.5m per year of Contaminated Land Capital Funding to support investigations of potential Special Sites on behalf of local authorities and remediation of orphan Special Sites and we are considering where capital investment would best support remediation in the future.

HMRC also provides Land Remediation Relief which provides a deduction of 100% from corporation tax, plus a deduction of 50%, for qualifying expenditure incurred by companies cleaning up contaminated land acquired from a third party.

The majority of land affected by contamination in England (approx 90%) is investigated and cleaned up by the private sector through the planning regime.

Defra, the Environment Agency, and the Coal Authority are also working in partnership to tackle pollution of the water environment in areas with a legacy of historical metal mining through the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines programme.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to remedy metal contamination of bed sediments in the Upper Mersey catchment that result from industry and urban development.

There are currently no plans in place to remediate existing metal contamination of bed sediments in the Upper Mersey Catchment. The Environment Agency (EA) does however have powers to limit pollution from heavy metals and uses these powers to prevent heavy metal pollution from entering the catchment.

In the wider water environment, Defra is working with the EA and the Coal Authority to tackle legacy impacts of industry through the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines (WAMM) programme. The WAMM programme targets pollution of the water environment in areas with a legacy of historical metal mining through the development and operation of mine water treatment schemes, which deliver benefits for the local environment, people and the economy. The current schemes successfully treat 7.4 billion litres of mine water each year and prevent 800 tonnes of metals from entering and polluting rivers.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Environment Agency's visits in 2018 to all facilities which treated or reprocessed plastic waste to check they were not losing plastic fragments into surface water, how many and what proportion of such facilities were identified as losing plastic fragments into surface water.

The Environment Agency (EA) regulates a number of activities which have the potential to cause plastic waste pollution in the River Mersey. The EA is responsible for the regulation of permitted and exempt plastics recycling plants, which includes inspection and compliance checks to ensure plastics recyclers are complying with their environmental permits.

In 2018 the EA visited facilities which treated or reprocessed plastic waste and checked they were not losing plastic fragments into surface water draining into the Mersey. The EA undertook an investigation on the River Tame to identify if there were any permitted activities based on the Tame catchment with the potential to discharge micro-plastics into the watercourse.

The EA identified and inspected three sites. One of these sites was identified as having the potential to discharge plastic waste into the Tame. The EA worked with the operator to prevent waste escaping from the site and potentially causing pollution to the watercourse and the operator subsequently moved to a different area.

The EA also works nationally to reduce waste crime which helps to minimise and prevent loss of plastic waste into the environment from businesses by keeping it in the waste management system. The EA has worked with the energy sector to reduce the loss of plastic media from their cooling treatment processes. The EA has also worked with water companies to prevent plastic bio-bead loss from the wastewater processes. The EA is working with businesses and leading academics to investigate the types and quantities of plastics, including micro-plastics, entering the environment. This research will feed into plans to tackle this type of pollution at source.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his Department's budget is for tackling river pollution; and on what his Department plans to spend that budget.

A number of funded programmes across Defra deliver multiple environmental benefits. For example, from the start of 2014/15 to the end of 2021/22, we will have spent around £3bn on agri-environment schemes under the Rural Development Programme for England. These schemes help farmers deliver multiple and joint benefits for water, air, biodiversity, flood prevention and more. While some of this is directly targeted at water quality, the wider spend has broader, cross cutting benefits some of which will help to improve water quality, which cannot be simply disaggregated. There, is therefore, no single budgetary figure that can capture all the work done across the Department to tackle river and water pollution.

Of programmes specifically aimed at water management the Water Environment Improvement Fund, with a resources budget of £6.5 million and a capital fund of £10 million in 2020/21, supports local catchment schemes tackling river and other water pollution. A resource budget of £2.86 million and capital budget of £4 million is available for the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines scheme, which funds measures to prevent water from disused mines, polluted with harmful metals such as lead and zinc, entering surface and groundwater.

Tackling river and other water pollution is supported by considerable water company investment in environmental improvements, under their statutory obligations. In the Price Review period 2020-25, investment has been scaled up to £4.6 billion.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce pollution levels in rivers.

River pollution comes from a number of sources and requires a concerted efforts on many fronts which are coordinated through statutory River Basin Management Plans. We are tackling pollution from poor farming practice with regulation, financial incentives and educational schemes for farmers. In addition to government investment in many local improvement schemes, water company investment is being scaled up to £4.6 billion, the highest yet, in the next 5 year period. A new task force comprising government and water companies will help address the problem of sewage discharge from storm overflows and our new chemicals strategy will build on an already robust statutory regime to ensure chemicals are managed and handled safely. The Environment Agency is now in the process of developing the River Basin Management Plans that will run from 2021-2027.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding the CDC Group has invested in Wonderchef to date.

CDC's investment into Wonderchef is supporting economic activity for thousands of women who participate in its direct-to-home sales network. Since CDC's investment was made in 2018, the company has also created around 350 direct jobs, with the number of female employees more than doubling in that time. In addition, the company has increased local sourcing of its products helping deliver impact through its supply chain.

This investment was made through a private equity fund managed by Amicus Capital Partners. CDC's partnership model with Fund managers helps it achieve impact at scale by supporting hundreds of SMEs across South Asia and Africa. In addition to backing local teams of investors, and equipping them with strong Environmental, Social and Governance practices, the model helps support the development of self-sustaining local finance markets.

CDC publishes the amounts it invests directly into businesses and investment funds on its website www.cdcgroup.com. Individual investment amounts made by its partners are not disclosed as this information is commercially sensitive.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the compatibility of CDC Group investments in luxury brands and hotel chains with its mission statement to make a lasting difference to people’s lives in some of the world’s poorest places.

All of CDC's investments undergo a comprehensive and systematic assessment of their expected development impact using internationally recognised best practice methods. A team of over 60 development specialists work to ensure that each investment brings about a positive economic, social and environmental change in support of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

CDC invests to support the growth of companies that create employment and help transform economies, through the goods and services they produce and sell and the local taxes they generate. In 2019, CDC invested in businesses in Africa and South Asia that employed 875,790; generated 57 terawatt hours of electricity; and its agricultural investments sourced from 1.84 million farmers.

Africa needs increased economic infrastructure to unlock its full economic potential and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. CDC's primary aim when investing into the hotel sector is to create more and better jobs in countries that desperately need them. In addition, these investments support both local and national economic growth. For example, by purchasing goods and services from local suppliers, and by improving economic infrastructure.

Information about CDC's approach to assessing and monitoring the development impact of its investments is available on its website.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding the CDC Group has invested in ONOMO Hotels to date.

CDC has made investment commitments to ONOMO Hotels of £41 million.

CDC's investment in ONOMO is creating jobs and stability in some of the world's most challenged countries including: Mali, Togo, Guinea, Cameroon and Cote D'Ivoire. Since the investment the company has created around 250 new permanent jobs.

CDC's investment also benefits the local economy. For example, as ONOMO now has the capital to expand it was able to employ around 750 construction workers as it added to its sites in 2019. In addition, it purchases around £11 million's worth of locally sourced goods each year - helping create demand for local suppliers.

As with every CDC investment, it has been made with high Environmental, Social and Governance Standards in mind. CDC is working with the company to reduce energy and water use and ensure its new hotels are built using green design and construction.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what investments the CDC Group has made since 2010.

CDC invests to achieve two key objectives: To support the business growth that lifts people out of poverty, and to make a financial return, which CDC then reinvests to improve the lives of people in Africa and South Asia. CDC have only made new commitments in Africa and South Asia since 2012. At the end of 2019, CDC had invested in 1,228 businesses - 690 in Africa and 377 in South Asia. In 2019, CDC made £1.66 billion of new commitments and increased its portfolio to £4.7 billion.

CDC publishes a full list of its new investment commitments each year in its Annual Reviews (2010 - present) which can be accessed online at www.cdcgroup.com/en/.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Answer of 8 March 2022 to Question 131344, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of a free trade agreement with India on (a) jobs and (b) investment in Stockport.

On 13th January, the United Kingdom launched free trade negotiations with India. A United Kingdom-India trade deal is projected to unlock opportunities in every corner of the United Kingdom, and could boost the economy in the North West of England by up to £304 million.

The North West of England exported over £350 million of goods to India in 2021. There are companies from Stockport, like Edina UK Limited, who specialise in clean and sustainable energy that benefit from trade with India already, and we are seeking a trade deal that will open up further opportunities for a range of businesses in Stockport and beyond.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to Answer of 8 March to Question 131344, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of a Free Trade Agreement with India on jobs and investment in Stockport.

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

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2022 to Question 119886 on Trade Agreements: Greater Manchester, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the Free Trade Agreement with India on (a) Stockport and (b) Greater Manchester.

A trade deal between the United Kingdom and India could boost the economy of communities across the north west of England by up to £304 million, compared to 2019. It could cut red tape and improve market access for the more than 1,000 businesses in this corner of the country that exported over £310 million worth of goods to India in 2019.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on how people in (a) Stockport and (b) Greater Manchester can benefit from trade agreements signed by the Government.

Trade is a driving force behind job creation and higher living standards for people and communities across the United Kingdom, including in Stockport and Greater Manchester. My Department has agreed trade deals with 70 countries plus the EU, covering trade worth £772 billion in 2020, delivering benefits for communities across the country. For example, the trade deal with Australia could boost the economy of the north west of England by around £190 million (in 2019 terms).

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government has issued arms exports licences for equipment or technology to Morocco for use in Western Sahara.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK. These reports contain detailed information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data

The most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April – 30th June 2020. However, to determine whether licences granted were for use in the Western Sahara would require searches on each individual application, which could only be completed at disproportionate costs.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
3rd Sep 2020
What recent discussions she has had with the UK's trade partners on protecting International Labour Organisation standards in future trade agreements.

While the details?of?free trade agreements?are?reserved?for formal negotiations,?HM Government has been clear that?increased trade does not have to come at the expense of?our high?labour standards.?The United Kingdom?is an active member of the International Labour Organisation and we?will?continue to uphold our world-leading standards and?international?commitments.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to help ensure step-free access at Davenport station.

Davenport station will receive Access for All funding as part of a 23 station package of works across Greater Manchester with a £1m contribution towards minor accessibility improvements. This work is anticipated to be completed by July 2023.

I am committed to improving access at all stations and have recently launched the next round of nominations for the Access for All programme. I welcome nominations for any station in Great Britain currently without step-free access.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what funding his Department provides for small businesses on employer-led schemes that encourage staff to cycle or walk to work.

Last year the Department commissioned Business in the Community to produce best practice guidance for employers on how to enable more of their staff to cycle or walk to work. This is available at https://www.bitc.org.uk/toolkit/active-travel-getting-people-back-to-work-safely/.

In 2019 the Department also revised the guidance on the Cycle to Work scheme to make it simpler for employers to offer a salary sacrifice arrangement to their employees to hire cycles and cycle safety equipment or to hire a cycle to them under an employer loan scheme.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of opening a direct flight between Manchester Airport and (a) Mumbai and (b) New Delhi on (i) jobs, (ii) investment, (iii) tourism and (iv) higher education.

DfT officials hold regular discussions with airlines, airports and international partners, including India, to facilitate global connectivity. Routes operated, and the flights on those routes, between the UK and India are a commercial decision made freely by airlines not by the Government. As this is a commercial decision, the DfT has not undertaken any assessment on the impact of a direct service.

Services between the UK and India currently operate under the terms of the UK-India Air Services Agreement (ASA) that has no restrictions on routes between New Delhi and Mumbai and Manchester airport.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions his Department has had with (a) airlines and (b) travel agents to ensure that customers are fully and promptly refunded for cancelled flights.

The Aviation Minister and Department for Transport officials regularly hold discussions with representatives from the travel industry, including airlines and travel agents that includes consumer protections and policy reform.

In addition, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have written to airlines and airports during the recent disruptions, setting out expectations around legal obligations to passengers, including informing consumers of their rights for cancelled and delayed flights.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 28 March 2022 to Question 143828, on Manchester Airport: India, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of using the Air Route Development Fund to establish direct connectivity between Manchester airport and (a) New Delhi and (b) Mumbai.

Airports and airlines operate in a competitive market, and it is for airlines to determine the routes they operate based on their own assessment of whether routes are commercially viable.

A government-funded Air Route Development Fund does not exist, and there are no plans to develop such a fund to support international connectivity.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has had discussions with (a) Manchester Airport, (b) airlines and (c) other stakeholders on establishing a direct airlink between Manchester and (a) Mumbai and (b) New Delhi.

DfT officials hold regular discussions with airlines, airports and international partners, including India, to facilitate global connectivity. Routes operated, and the flights on those routes, between the UK and India are a commercial decision made freely by airlines not by the Government.

The Indian authorities have recently announced the lifting of their ‘air bubble’ restrictions from 27th March. This had limited the number of services permitted to operate between the UK and India. Services between the UK and India will resume under the terms of the UK-India Air Services Agreement (ASA) that has no restrictions on routes between New Delhi and Mumbai and Manchester airport.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to instruct the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to expedite the processing of driving licenses in instances where the applicant has a medical or physical need for a car.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. The DVLA is working hard to process paper applications as quickly as possible for all drivers, including those with health conditions. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham.

The DVLA recognises the impact on drivers who have to renew their licence more regularly due to a medical condition and is working hard to improve the process. Drivers with diabetes, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, a visual impairment, a sleep condition or a heart condition can renew their licence online.

The DVLA has recently introduced a simplified licence renewal process for drivers with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis and is piloting this for some mental health conditions. This renewal process has significantly reduced the need for the DVLA to seek further information from medical professionals and enabled more licensing decisions to be made based on the information provided by the driver. The DVLA is looking at adding more medical conditions to this process.

The length of time taken to deal with an application depends on the medical condition(s) involved and whether further information is required from medical professionals. The majority of those renewing their licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing they can meet the criteria outlined here.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to change (a) traffic regulation orders or (a) pavement parking prohibition NM13303 in response to its 2020 consultation, Pavement parking: options for change.

Ministers are carefully considering the consultation findings and are actively considering the options for addressing pavement parking. We will publish the formal consultation response and announce next steps as soon as possible.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of the zero emission buses announced by the Prime Minister in February 2020 have been delivered (a) nationally and (b) in Greater Manchester.

As set out in the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 £355 million of new funding has been made available for zero emission buses. £150 million of this funding has been made available for 2021-22 with the remaining funding available over the Spending Review period.

In addition, up to 900 zero emission buses and associated infrastructure will be supported through existing funding made available since February 2020 from the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme, the All Electric Bus Town or City scheme and the Ultra Low Emission Bus scheme.

My Department’s has estimated that of these over 50 are already on the road. For example, 32 electric buses and charging infrastructure have been introduced in Greater Manchester as a result of funding provided through the Ultra Low Emission Bus scheme since February 2020.

In addition, Transport for Greater Manchester is developing a business case under the standard process of the ZEBRA scheme to introduce electric buses in Stockport. In total, 17 local transport authorities are working to produce business cases under the standard process of the scheme. The Department will award funding to successful business cases in Spring 2022.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is planning to take in response to safety concerns relating to smart motorways.

Since assuming office, the Secretary of State’s focus has been to ensure that Smart Motorways are safer than conventional motorways, committing an additional £500 million in infrastructure, technology and communications to make these roads safer.

We welcome the Transport Select Committee’s (TSC) report Rollout and safety of smart motorways, published on 2 November 2021, and its scrutiny. The Department will now consider its recommendations in detail, providing a formal response in due course. This is a serious piece of work which we will engage with closely in the months ahead. We are pleased that the TSC recognises that reinstating the hard shoulder on all all-lane running motorways could put more drivers and passengers at risk of death and serious injury and that we are right to focus on upgrading their safety.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the number of licences that have been issued for e-scooters; and how many e-scooters are being used in the designated pilot areas as of 15 November 2021.

The Department is running trials of rental e-scooters to assess their safety and wider impacts, and there are currently 12 e-scooter rental service providers that have been approved to take part in the trials. Data currently held by the Department indicates that there were 23,635 e-scooters available to rent across all trial areas in September.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the delays at the DVLA on disabled people who are required to renew licences every three years.

A short period driving licence is issued when a driver has a health condition that is progressive in nature or needs to be monitored. The duration of the licence depends on the medical condition and can be between one and ten years.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) recognises the impact on drivers who have to renew their licence more regularly and is working hard to improve their experience. Drivers with diabetes, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, a visual impairment, a sleep condition or a heart condition can now renew online. Simplified renewal processes have been introduced for drivers with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis and this is also being piloted for some mental health conditions. The DVLA is working on adding to the number of medical conditions that can safely be assessed in this way.

The DVLA is working as quickly as possible to process paper applications. To improve the length of time taken to process medical licensing applications, the DVLA has recruited more staff and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham to help reduce waiting times while providing future resilience and business continuity.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the impact of three-yearly driving licence renewals on disabled people.

A short period driving licence is issued when a driver has a health condition that is progressive in nature or needs to be monitored. The duration of the licence depends on the medical condition and can be between one and ten years.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) recognises the impact on drivers who have to renew their licence more regularly and is working hard to improve their experience. Drivers with diabetes, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, a visual impairment, a sleep condition or a heart condition can now renew online. Simplified renewal processes have been introduced for drivers with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis and this is also being piloted for some mental health conditions. The DVLA is working on adding to the number of medical conditions that can safely be assessed in this way.

The DVLA is working as quickly as possible to process paper applications. To improve the length of time taken to process medical licensing applications, the DVLA has recruited more staff and has secured extra office space in Swansea and Birmingham to help reduce waiting times while providing future resilience and business continuity.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many electric vehicle chargepoints have been delivered via the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme in Stockport constituency as at 18 October 2021; and whether funding is in place to deliver further chargepoints in 2022.

Stockport has not yet applied for funding under the On Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme.

The Government wants to ensure that drivers can benefit from the transition to zero emission vehicles. The On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) is available to all UK local authorities to apply to and provide public chargepoints for their residents without access to private parking. £20 million is available in 2021-22. At Spending Review 2020 the Government committed £1.3bn for charging infrastructure to 2024/5, and a further £620m has recently been announced to support chargepoints and targeted vehicle grants. This funding includes the Local EV Infrastructure Fund, which will be available to English local authorities in 2022/3. This fund will facilitate the roll-out of larger scale charging infrastructure projects across the country.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the proposed Great British Railways will take steps to reduce the cost of train fairs.

New national rail flexible season tickets have been announced as part of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, reflecting modern working patterns and saving many passengers hundreds of pounds. Flexible season tickets are available now to passengers on advance sale and will become valid for travel on 28 June. Great British Railways will use its leadership to simplify the current mass of complicated fares and tickets. Passengers will have simpler digital ticketing, be able to purchase tickets through a single industry website and app. There will be greater convenience for passengers through contactless travel in urban areas using contactless bankcards and smartphones.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to install tactile surface markings at train stations across the UK.

I have asked Network Rail to work up a plan to add tactile warning strips to the edges of all mainline station platforms across England, Scotland and Wales, and I will make a further announcement in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has plans to allocate funding to Network Rail to expedite the installation of tactile surface markings at stations (a) in Stockport, (b) in Greater Manchester and (c) across the UK.

I have asked Network Rail to work up a plan to add tactile warning strips to the edges of all mainline station platforms across England, Scotland and Wales, and I will make a further announcement in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations his Department has made to airlines to help ensure British citizens are able to return to the UK during international Covid-19 restrictions and limited international flights.

Ministers and officials have engaged extensively with the aviation and travel industries throughout the pandemic. We remain committed to an open engagement with the sector and continue to work with industry partners to share information with the aim of ensuring a safe return of international travel and that commercial routes continue to remain open to enable British citizens to return to the UK.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of people who were not notified that their vehicle excise duty was due for payment in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much revenue is generated by late or non-payment of that duty.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) issues more than three million vehicle excise duty reminders each month. Non-delivery of a reminder may happen in certain circumstances such as, the vehicle keeper having moved house and not advised the DVLA of the new address or it may have been lost in the post. No figures are available, but complaints about non-delivery of vehicle excise duty reminders are rare.

There are a number of ways to license a vehicle, including online or by telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week or at one of around 4,000 Post Office branches across the UK. Customers can also check when their vehicle excise duty is due using the DVLA’s online Vehicle Enquiry Service.

The registered keeper is responsible for ensuring that their vehicle is properly licensed or subject to a Statutory Off Road Notification.

Enforcement activities against unlicensed vehicles accounted for around £88 million in fines and penalties during 2019/20.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) oversight of and (b) involvement in the rail industry’s Ticketing and Settlement Agreement the Government has.

The Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (TSA) is an agreement between train operators providing passenger services in Great Britain. The Secretary of State exercises various roles under the TSA while not being a party to it. If operators agree between themselves to propose changes, the Secretary of State’s approval is required for changes to take effect.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what exploration his Department has undertaken to commence the HS3 rail project between Manchester and Leeds.

The Department is considering the Leeds to Manchester corridor as part of the Integrated Rail Plan, which is due to be published in December. The Integrated Rail Plan is investigating how best to integrate HS2 Phase 2b with wider transport plans in the North and Midlands and how to deliver benefits from investments more quickly.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to address the backlog of driving test applications.

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.

The DVSA has now made over 375,000 slots available to the end of January 2021. From 19 October, driving examiners will be increasing the number of tests they conduct from five to six per day; this should help reduce waiting times.

The DVSA’s Deployment team has now returned to its usual way of working by adding new test slots to the booking system at the start of every week.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will discuss with the Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency the reopening of waiting rooms for driving instructors during driving tests.

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’s priority is to restore its testing services with new protective measures and procedures in place to keep people safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes restricting access and movement around driving test centres and closing waiting rooms to driving instructors and candidates. Some waiting rooms are being used as temporary offices to accommodate driving examiners to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to. This is not a step the DVSA has taken lightly but is an important part of helping keep everyone safe as we fight the virus.

The DVSA is working closely with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to identify actions it could take that would allow some waiting areas to be opened up while balancing the need to keep everyone COVID safe.

The DVSA understands this can be difficult for driving instructors and trainers waiting at test centres that are not near to alternative facilities, which is why the DVSA is keeping the situation under review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons the Government pays a commission to Trainline for tickets booked through that service during the covid-19 outbreak; and what the cost to the taxpayers purse of that commission since emergency measures were implemented during the outbreak is.

Trainline, like all Third Party Retailers, operates under a long term license issued by the Rail Delivery Group on behalf of the rail industry. This is part of the industry’s Ticketing and Settlement Agreement. The Department has no role in determining commission rates. During the Covid crisis we have directed operators to encourage passengers to purchase online ahead of travel and online retailers, like Trainline, are one way passengers can buy their tickets online.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether rail operators outside London are required to (a) apply and (b) collect full rent from retail tenants.

In accordance with Franchise Agreements, as varied by the Emergency Measures Agreements, franchisees have responsibility to be Good and Efficient Operators.

This involves collecting rental income from tenants under pre-existing contracts wherever feasible.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether Support for Mortgage Interest payments are in line with the increase in interest rates made by mortgage providers.

Support for Mortgage Interest is calculated using a standard interest rate which is set at a level equal to the Bank of England's published monthly average mortgage interest rate. The rate is currently 2.09%, changes to that rate will occur when the Bank of England’s average mortgage rate changes by at least 0.5%. In this way, help provided increases when mortgage interest rates rise.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the three-week period, including over the Easter period, to claim the Household Support Grant.

The Household Support Fund, which has been extended from 1 April to 30 September, provides funding for Upper Tier Local Authorities in England to deliver support for people who are struggling to afford household essentials such as energy and water bills, food, and other necessities.

It is for Local Authorities to determine how to use this funding, within the parameters of the scheme, based on their assessment of local need. Local Authorities have been working quickly to get their schemes up and running.

The Household Support Fund extension is just one part of a wider package worth £22 billion that we are providing in 2022-23 to help ease cost of living pressures.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support (a) long-term unemployed and (b) over-50s unemployed people into work.

For those who are long-term unemployed, the Restart Scheme, which went live in July 2021, is providing support to Universal Credit Intensive Work Search Regime claimants and Income Based Jobseekers Allowance claimants. Claimants are considered for the Restart Scheme after claiming for 9 months.

The Restart Scheme is being delivered across England and Wales using 12 Contract Package Areas with providers working with employers, local government, and other partners to deliver tailored support for individuals, breaking down employment barriers that could be holding claimants back from finding work.

The Government also recognises the challenges faced by people aged 50 and over.Therefore, as part of the £500m Plan for Jobs expansion we are funding a new enhanced support package for workers over the age of 50 to help them to stay in or return to work. This offer will ensure that older job seekers receive more intensive, tailored support as part of their Universal Credit claim and will give Work Coaches more time to spend with older job seekers who have recently become unemployed.

The 50PLUS Champions network also provides dedicated support to Work Coaches to enable them to effectively direct suitable support to claimants who are aged 50 and over.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much and what proportion of local housing allowance was paid to private landlords in (a) England, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) Stockport in each of the last three years.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of recognising long covid as (a) an occupational disease and (b) a disability under the Equality Act 2010.

The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC), who advise the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions regarding Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB), are investigating whether long-COVID can be prescribed as an occupational disease for the purposes of IIDB.

The Equality Act 2010 ensures that any person with a condition, including progressive and life-threatening conditions that meet the definition of a disability (i.e. a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-today activities”) is protected. The Act defines “long-term” as having lasted, or likely to last for at least 12 months, or likely to last for the rest of the life of the person. “Substantial” is defined as more than minor or trivial.

For the purposes of the Act, an impairment is the effect of any physical or mental condition that results in loss of function or in abnormality. The Act makes clear that it is not necessary for the cause of the impairment to be established, nor does the impairment have to be the result of an illness. A disability can therefore arise from a wide range of impairments. This means that any person that falls within this definition will already be protected as having a disability.

Therefore, the existing definition of disability in the Act is capable of encompassing some of the emerging effects of long Covid but every case will be different and should be considered on its merits.

As a general approach the government avoids listing specific conditions as disabilities in the Act because the Act’s approach ensures that qualifying cases are already covered. Long Covid is still a new condition which means that it is too early to understand it fully. The government will of course be keeping the issue under review, in the light of medical and other developments.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to help people made redundant during the Covid-19 outbreak return to work.

The Department for Work and Pensions stands ready to support anyone affected by redundancy, with our Rapid Response Service (RRS) offer. This is a service designed to give support and advice to employers and their employees when faced with redundancy.

This service is co-ordinated nationally by the National Employer and Partnership Team (NEPT) and is managed by Jobcentre Plus. Delivery partners include The National Careers Service, local training providers, Money Advice Service and the skills bodies in England. These services are offered by equivalents in the devolved administrations. In Scotland this is delivered by PACE on behalf of the Scottish Government and in Wales by REACT. Redundancy support in Northern

Ireland is devolved with separate funding and delivery arrangements.

The RRS offer has been developed so it can be delivered in a variety of formats including digital and face to face depending on employers and employees requirements.

The range of support available from JCP and partners may include:

  • Connecting people to jobs in the labour market.
  • Help with job search including CV writing, interview skills, where to find jobs and how to apply for them.
  • Help to identify transferable skills and skills gaps (linked to the local labour market)
  • What benefits they may be entitled to and how to claim.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to provide alternative job opportunities to all of the 12,000 work coaches that are being re-interviewed.

DWP recognises the important contribution colleagues on fixed-term contracts have made over the pandemic period.

We expect to be able to offer permanency to the majority of our fixed-term Executive Officer colleagues. The current exercise will also include, where possible, the ability to offer colleagues other Executive Officer roles, not just Work Coaches, within the Department. Detailed planning work is currently underway to determine numbers and roles.

Where fixed-term EO colleagues cannot be offered permanency with DWP, we will continue to provide support in applying for roles in the Civil Service and externally throughout the remainder of colleagues' fixed term contract.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what procedures are in place to ensure people with uncontrolled epilepsy are assessed accurately when making a personal independence payment claim.

All Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Health Professionals (HPs) complete training on neurological conditions, including epilepsy. HPs maintain knowledge through Continuing Professional Development Activity.

All claimants, including claimants with epilepsy are assessed in accordance with the DWP PIP Assessment Guide.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what procedures are in place to ensure people with hidden disabilities are assessed accurately in telephone assessments when making (a) a personal independence payment and (b) universal credit claim.

All Healthcare Professionals (HPs) have extensive and rigorous training in undertaking assessments.

Each referral is initially reviewed by a HP, if there is sufficient supporting evidence to provide paper based advice to the department, the HP will assess the claimant on this evidence alone. If they cannot, the claimant will be invited to attend a telephone, video or face to face assessment.

All claimants, including those with hidden disabilities, are assessed in accordance with the PIP Assessment Guide for Providers or Work Capability Assessment Handbook.

We have continuously improved our processes and guidance to minimise the number of customers for whom a telephone or video assessment is not suitable. In such instances, these claimants will be prioritised for a face to face assessment.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to have discussions with (a) campaigning groups and (b) the APPG on State Pension Inequality for Women on the recent findings of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's report entitled Women's State Pension Age: our findings on the Department for Work and Pensions' communication of changes.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has not completed his investigation. This a multi staged process and the report published on 20 July 2021 concluded stage-one of the three-stage investigation.

It would not be appropriate to comment on the PHSO’s report whilst the investigation is ongoing; and section 7(2) of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 states that Ombudsman investigations “shall be conducted in private”.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in her Department were employed in child maintenance in (a) 2011, (b) 2016 and (c) 2021.

Due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policies, we do not have the staffing numbers for 2011 so we have attached the earliest figures we have. The numbers are shown as Full Time Equivalent (FTE) and Headcount (HC).

There are some caveats around these numbers as in 2016 and earlier there were corporate functions (such as HR and finance) included within Child Maintenance Group and these were later subsumed within DWP and there were also some changes to the HR system and how staffing levels were calculated.

It is worth noting that the 2021 staffing figures also reflects that we had in the interim closed down our two older schemes (CSCS and CSA) therefore significantly reducing our caseload.

Child Maintenance Group

Aug-12 Mar-13 Mar-16 Mar-21 Oct-21

FTE 7618.83 7400.65 7433.29 3971.66 3626.66

HC 8708 8503 8738 4791 4368

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the impact on disabled people of (a) income-related employment support allowance, (b) universal credit and (c) other means-tested benefits, which are based on joint-income.

No assessment has been made.

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit are means-tested welfare support. It is longstanding policy that income-related benefits treat all couples as a single household unit when assessing benefit entitlement. Where claimants have income available to meet their household's everyday living costs, such as through a partner's earnings or savings, their entitlement to benefit is adjusted accordingly.

These benefits are not paid to claimants who have sufficient income available from other sources to support themselves. The general principle is that income, other than earnings, which is provided to meet everyday living costs, is fully taken into account in the calculation. The Government understands disabled people may face additional cost, which is why income provided to meet additional costs through benefits such as Personal Independence Payments and Disability Living Allowance are not taken into account when determining entitlement to benefits.

The Department has brought forward a Green Paper on health and disability support, focusing on the welfare system. The Green Paper will explore how the welfare system can better meet the needs of disabled people and people with health conditions now and in the future, to build a system that enables people to live independently and move into work where possible.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will consult with groups representing disabled people on the implementation of Government reforms to improve the experience of disabled people of the assessment process for disability benefits.

It is vital that the voices of disabled people are at the centre of health and disability policy development. Over the past 18 months I have personally led a series of events in which I have heard from disabled people and their representatives about their lived experiences with the benefits system, including the assessment process. The forthcoming Health and Disability Green Paper will reflect themes coming out of those conversations and ask for views on how best to address them. We will continue our direct engagement with disabled people and groups representing them, up to and following the publication of the Health and Disability Green Paper.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what incentives are in place for people in receipt of pension credit to continue saving when they reach the savings threshold of £10,000 and their entitlement reduces.

Unlike working age income-related benefits, Pension Credit has no capital limit beyond which entitlement to the benefit ceases.

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit intended to provide a ‘top-up’ for pensioners on a low income. As with all income-related benefits, due regard is given to all of a person’s financial resources when calculating an award. This ensures that taxpayer support is directed to those pensioners who are less well-off and need it most.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much has been paid to Child Maintenance Group customers in compensation for distress in (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many requests for Alternative Payment Arrangements were refused in (a) England, (b) the Northwest and (c) Stockport in (i) 2018-19, (ii) 2019-20 and (iii) 2020-21.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Alternative Payment Arrangements were requested by claimants in (a) England, (b) the Northwest and (c) Stockport in (i) 2018-19, (ii) 2019-20 and (iii) 2020-21.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance is in place to ensure businesses and organisations make online resources and content accessible to deaf people.

Online access to businesses and organisations for Deaf and hearing impaired people is covered by the Equality Act 2010 which requires that service providers make reasonable adjustments to ensure that their information is available in accessible formats. Guidance relating to EA2010 is widely available and can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-guidance.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will (a) increase the rate of maternity allowance or (b) exclude maternity allowance as unearned income when claiming universal credit.

The Government has no plans to review the rate of Maternity Allowance. Maternity Allowance is intended to enable eligible pregnant women and new mothers, who cannot get Statutory Maternity Pay, such as the low paid and the self-employed to prepare for, and recover from birth and to bond with their child. We believe that the rate of Maternity Allowance available allows most mothers to do this.

There are no plans to change the way that Maternity Allowance is treated in Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a means tested system of support, and where an individual claims Universal Credit, their award is adjusted to take account of any other financial support that the claimant is already receiving – including earnings, other income and benefits. Maternity Allowance is a benefit paid by the State which is unearned income. Unearned income that is available to help meet daily living costs is taken fully into account in determining the amount of Universal Credit that an individual is entitled to. As such, in determining the entitlement to Universal Credit, Maternity Allowance is deducted pound for pound from the total value of the award. This principle applies to other benefits.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential effect of maternity allowance deductions from universal credit on the (a) standard of living and (b) decision to return to work earlier of claimants affected by that deduction.

There are no plans to change the way that Maternity Allowance is treated in Universal Credit, the impact of which has already been considered.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the level of incorrect payments made by her Department.

The Department takes every care to prevent incorrect payments being made and to ensure that benefits are paid to the correct recipient; we are focused on paying people their correct entitlement from the outset of a claim.

The Department has a clear strategy for tackling fraud, error and debt in the benefits system, which increasingly focuses on the prevention of fraud and error.

Various mechanisms help ensure that monies are paid to the right people. These include the verification of claimants’ information, clear customer communications to ensure benefit claimants provide full and correct claim details and a robust quality checking regime. This Quality Assurance approach includes pre-payment checks on a selection of claims. Outcomes from these and other checks inform on-going training and help prevent the repetition of errors.

The Department continues to make use of its digital capability, including the use of real time information and other data, which helps identify any potential discrepancies in claims.

The Department’s latest estimates of Fraud and Error in the Benefits system were published on 14th May 2020 and show that estimated losses from official error in 2019/20 accounted for 0.4% of total benefit expenditure.

These statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fraud-and-error-in-the-benefit-system-financial-year-2019-to-2020-estimates

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department takes to ensure benefits are paid to the correct recipients.

The Department takes every care to prevent incorrect payments being made and to ensure that benefits are paid to the correct recipient; we are focused on paying people their correct entitlement from the outset of a claim.

The Department has a clear strategy for tackling fraud, error and debt in the benefits system, which increasingly focuses on the prevention of fraud and error.

Various mechanisms help ensure that monies are paid to the right people. These include the verification of claimants’ information, clear customer communications to ensure benefit claimants provide full and correct claim details and a robust quality checking regime. This Quality Assurance approach includes pre-payment checks on a selection of claims. Outcomes from these and other checks inform on-going training and help prevent the repetition of errors.

The Department continues to make use of its digital capability, including the use of real time information and other data, which helps identify any potential discrepancies in claims.

The Department’s latest estimates of Fraud and Error in the Benefits system were published on 14th May 2020 and show that estimated losses from official error in 2019/20 accounted for 0.4% of total benefit expenditure.

These statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fraud-and-error-in-the-benefit-system-financial-year-2019-to-2020-estimates

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what mechanisms are in place to prevent incorrect payments being made.

The Department takes every care to prevent incorrect payments being made and to ensure that benefits are paid to the correct recipient; we are focused on paying people their correct entitlement from the outset of a claim.

The Department has a clear strategy for tackling fraud, error and debt in the benefits system, which increasingly focuses on the prevention of fraud and error.

Various mechanisms help ensure that monies are paid to the right people. These include the verification of claimants’ information, clear customer communications to ensure benefit claimants provide full and correct claim details and a robust quality checking regime. This Quality Assurance approach includes pre-payment checks on a selection of claims. Outcomes from these and other checks inform on-going training and help prevent the repetition of errors.

The Department continues to make use of its digital capability, including the use of real time information and other data, which helps identify any potential discrepancies in claims.

The Department’s latest estimates of Fraud and Error in the Benefits system were published on 14th May 2020 and show that estimated losses from official error in 2019/20 accounted for 0.4% of total benefit expenditure.

These statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fraud-and-error-in-the-benefit-system-financial-year-2019-to-2020-estimates

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional financial support is available for low-paid women who are in receipt of maternity allowance and universal credit.

There is information on Gov.UK “Financial help if you have children” about the range of assistance available, including but not limited to, Maternity Allowance.

https://www.gov.uk/browse/childcare-parenting/financial-help-children

This includes the Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500 to provide help with the costs associated with the expenses of a baby (or babies in the event of a multiple birth) expected, born, adopted, or the subject of a parental or residence order or other similar arrangements if there are no other children under the age of 16 in the claimant’s family in most cases. The grant is available to people on Universal Credit.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what amount has been paid to claimants for compensation for distress in (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21.

The Department makes consolatory payments, to acknowledge the non-financial impact of Department maladministration. Data is not differentiated by type. For example, payments can be made for: gross inconvenience, hardship, severe distress or gross embarrassment. The total number of consolatory payments, for maladministration, made to benefit claimants

are published in the Department’s Annual Report and Accounts. The information here shows only consolatory payments for maladministration. It also excludes payments to Child Maintenance Group customers as these are not benefit claimants.

Equivalent data for 2020/21 will be finalised at the end of the current reporting year.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2021 to Question 160841, what changes her Department is making as part of the overall improvement plan that will support increased compliance of child maintenance payments.

Child Maintenance Service are undertaking a range of changes as part of an overall improvement programme. This includes automation of simpler tasks and an improved digital offer, that will enable caseworkers to focus on more complex areas of work, supporting service improvements and increased compliance.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he plans to review the rate of statutory maternity pay with regard to the Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances Bill.

The Government has no plans to review the rate of Statutory Maternity Pay.

Statutory Maternity Pay is intended to enable employed pregnant women and new mothers to prepare for, and recover from, birth and to bond with their child.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the suspension of assessments for industrial injuries disablement benefits (IIDB) during the covid-19 outbreak on a claimant’s ability to receive compensation under the Pneumoconiosis (Works Compensation) Act 1979; and if she will take steps to backdate IIDB claims.

Due to COVID-19, since March face-to-face assessments for all disability benefits, including the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) have been suspended. For successful applications to IIDB, award payments will be backdated to the date of application to ensure claimants will not lose out on payments they are entitled to. Reassessment case awards have been extended to ensure that payments continue unhindered on those cases. Any deteriorations which would have meant an increase in award, will be backdated once face-to-face assessments recommence, to ensure no one is left out of pocket.

Eligibility to the Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 (‘1979 Act’) is dependent on an individual having an IIDB assessment and their age at the time of this assessment.

We have continued to process IIDB claims and lump sum payments for those individuals with terminal illnesses, and those for Fast Track prescribed diseases. These claims have continued to be assessed as usual without the need for a face to face assessment. Individuals can also then claim under the ‘1979 Act’ if eligible. The IIDB Quarterly Statistics show that 1,560 sufferers and 160 dependents received payments totalling £27,233,989 between March and December 2020 under the ‘1979 Act’. The data can be found here under table 3.1: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/industrial-injuries-disablement-benefit-quarterly-statistics-data-to-june-2020

We have now begun some paper based assessments for certain prescribed diseases. This allows a decision on such claims and will enable claimants to determine their eligibility to the ‘1979 Act’.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Office for National Statistics report, Coronavirus and the Social Impacts on Disabled People in Great Britain: September 2020, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies that as many disabled people reported being worried about the covid-19 outbreak as reported in April 2020.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources. The Department has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organizations’ and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the pandemic and to identify the support needed.

DWP offers financial support for people who are affected by the pandemic, or who need employment-related support in general through Universal Credit, New Style ESA or Pension Credit, all of which can be applied for online. Employer led support is available through Statutory Sick Pay. In addition, people with a condition arising from exposure to the Covid-19 virus are able to access PIP in the same way as other people with long-term health conditions or disabilities.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people to stay in and enter work. These include the Work and Health Programme, one-to-one support and training through the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, Access to Work, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advice in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have provided specialist employment support remotely and made programmes easier to access.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to (a) improve the compliance rate of child maintenance payments and (b) ensure receiving parents do not fall into poverty due to missed or uncollected child maintenance payments.

The Child Maintenance Service remains committed to ensuring that receiving parents get the money they are owed in maintenance payments, and this has been the case throughout the pandemic. The most recent quarterly statistics show that, in the quarter ending September 2020, 72 per cent of all paying parents paid some of their child maintenance through the Collect & Pay service.

Where compliance is not achieved we may deduct maintenance (and/or any arrears) direct from a paying parent’s. This is one of the Service’s most effective enforcement powers accounting for over half of the maintenance collected under Collect and Pay.

The Service also has tough enforcement powers including deducting as a regular or lump sum deduction from bank accounts, whether they are solely or jointly held as part of a business. Alongside these powers are a range of civil enforcement actions that can be taken through the courts once a liability order has been obtained. These actions include referral to an enforcement agency, committal to prison, and/or disqualification of holding or obtaining a passport or driving licence.

Child maintenance is not taken into account if a parent is also receiving income-related benefits, so can make a real difference to receiving parents and their children. We estimate that there are 120,000 fewer children in low-income households (measured on absolute low income after housing costs) as a result of child maintenance payments.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of Discretionary Housing Payments were successful in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport in the latest period for which figures are available.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications have been received for Discretionary Housing Payments in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport in the latest period for which figures are available.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to redeploy staff to child maintenance and enforcement to improve the service's compliance rate.

There are no current plans to redeploy any department colleagues to the Child Maintenance Service.

However, the Child Maintenance Service are undertaking a range of changes as part of an overall improvement programme that will continue to support increased compliance.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons she has not had discussions with the Governments of (a) Canada and (b) Australia on up-rating UK state pensions overseas.

The policy on up-rating UK State Pensions overseas is longstanding and has been supported by successive Governments for over 70 years. Annual index-linked increases are paid to UK State Pension recipients where there is a legal requirement to do so, for example where recipients are living in countries where there is a reciprocal agreement that provides for up-rating.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Office for National Statistics report, Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain: September 2020, what steps her Department has taken to support disabled people during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources. The Department has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organizations’ and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the pandemic and to identify the support needed.

DWP offers financial support for people who are affected by the pandemic, or who need employment-related support in general through Universal Credit, New Style ESA or Pension Credit, all of which can be applied for online. Employer led support is available through Statutory Sick Pay. In addition, people with a condition arising from exposure to the Covid-19 virus are able to access PIP in the same way as other people with long-term health conditions or disabilities.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people to stay in and enter work. These include the Work and Health Programme, one-to-one support and training through the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, Access to Work, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advice in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have provided specialist employment support remotely and made programmes easier to access.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will undertake to change the timing of Maximus' Customer Satisfaction Survey for claimants undergoing Work Capability Assessments to after they have completed the process.

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave to his previous question 142087, that there are currently no plans to change the timing of the customer satisfaction survey.

Maximus’ Customer Satisfaction Survey is focused on the assessment service provided by Maximus. The survey is to help identify how the service can be improved whilst helping to understand the experience of those undergoing an assessment. The survey has no connection with the claims process or the outcome of a customer’s benefit claim.

The department also undertakes its own survey which is designed to monitor customer satisfaction with the services offered by the department and to enable customer views to inform improvements to the delivery of benefits and services.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will change the timing of Maximus' customer satisfaction survey for claimants undergoing assessments for work capability assessments.

Assessment providers are monitored and managed against a range of measures, including customer satisfaction. It is essential we receive ongoing feedback from customers and we invite a random sample of customers to provide feedback on the service they receive each month.

There are currently no plans to change the timing of the customer satisfaction survey.

22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an estimate of the number of claimants for universal credit who have been affected by digital exclusion including the closure of libraries, day centres and other public sources of digital support during the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Universal Credit is designed to be a ‘digital-first’ service, ensuring we make best use of technology to deliver a modern and effective working-age welfare system, allowing our staff to concentrate on those people who require additional support.

Although the Department offers comprehensive support for claimants to use our digital service, there will be occasions when people are unable to make their claim online, so telephone applications can be accepted. In these instances, information normally available through a claimant’s online account will be communicated in an alternative format, which is best suited to an individual’s circumstances. Throughout the pandemic, Jobcentre Plus offices have remained open to support the most vulnerable claimants.

Help to Claim, delivered through Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland, was already a multi-channel offer prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, capable of supporting people through the entire Universal Credit claim process by telephone and web chat, up to receiving their first full correct payment on time.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what total amount of debt is being permanently written off in response to the Government's recent review of Child Support Agency historical cases.

Information on historical debt which has been written off by the Child Support Agency is published on gov.uk and includes available data to the end of September 2020:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-june-2020-experimental/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-june-2020-experimental

Paragraph 6 refers entitled. ‘CSA debt written off’

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, since the start of the covid-19 outbreak, what Government support has been provided to people claiming universal credit who have a mortgage and are not eligible for receipt of housing allowance to help with repayments.

Homeowners experiencing financial difficulties meeting mortgage repayments because of Covid-19, can apply for a mortgage holiday for up to six months and have until 31st March 2021 to do so. The moratorium on lender repossession has been extended until 1 April.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will publicise the option for fortnightly payment of universal credit.

There is no option for fortnightly payments in Universal Credit (UC).

Alternative Payment Arrangements (APA) are available to support claimants who cannot manage their single monthly payment where there is a risk of financial harm to the claimant and/or their family. These include more frequent payments. UC staff will always consider an APA where a need has been identified either by a work coach, case manager, or triggered by information received from the claimant, their representative or their landlord.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total amount of debt being permanently written off is following the Government's recent review of Child Support Agency historic cases.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) has ceased collection of historical debt on 577,900 cases. This comprised of 410,400 cases which were held on CSA systems and 167,500 cases which were held on Child Maintenance Service (CMS) systems.

These cases had system records showing a total debt value of £1,926.6 million. £1,483.2 million from cases held on CSA systems and £443.4 million from cases held on CMS systems.

This information is available in the public domain at

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-september-2020-experimental

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what reasonable adjustments have been put in place by her Department and its contractors when undertaking telephone assessments for disabled persons.

The department and our assessment providers are committed to providing a quality, sensitive and respectful service to everyone. Individuals are encouraged to alert their assessment provider of any additional requirements they may have and providers will endeavour to meet any such reasonable requests.

Individuals can access additional support throughout the assessment process, for example help filling in the questionnaire. Companions are able to join the telephony assessment, as they would have done for the face to face assessment. This is confirmed to the individual in the initial invitation to assessment letter for all telephone assessments. If choosing to request a companion, they will be added to the call by the Health Professional at the start of the assessment.

To further enhance the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) telephony service, PIP providers have implemented a video relay service for claimants with British Sign Language requirements, to enable deaf claimants to participate in an assessment; we are exploring whether this solution could support the Work Capability Assessment process.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints her Department has received from claimants in respect of breaches of the Equality Act 2010 during the processing of (a) personal independence payment and (b) limited capability for work and work related activities applications.

The Department takes every complaint incredibly seriously and will investigate any matters raised and respond accordingly as quickly as possible.

The Department does not record complaints information in a way which enables us to answer this question. DWP categorises complaints against specified categories that focus on identifying broadly where service has failed, for example, “DWP staff don’t treat me with respect - You discriminated against me”. It would be under this category Equality Act 2010 breaches would be captured.

As we would have to search through each complaint to obtain specific information about (a) processing of personal independence payment and (b) limited capability for work and work related activities applications would be to interrogate each complaint on a case by case basis to identify whether there had been breaches of the Equality Act 2010, the information requested would therefore could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to resume assessments for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits for (a) asbestosis and (b) diffuse pleural thickening as done for other disability benefits.

Our priority throughout this health emergency continues to be to protect the public and staff, while ensuring people get the benefits they are entitled to quickly and safely. Face-to-face assessments remain suspended while we review what activity we can gradually start reintroducing in line with the latest public health advice. We will confirm next steps as soon as possible.

In the meantime, for claimants with the most serious or terminal conditions, claims continue to be processed and decisions made as normal. We are actively considering how to deal with those cases not currently being processed.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the level of (a) needs of and (b) support required by disabled people during the covid-19 outbreak.

We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources. There will however be a period until the data needed to fully assess the impact becomes available.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is publishing a rolling programme of data and articles relating to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. On the 24th April 2020 ONS also published 'Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain'. The analysis gives insight into the experience of disabled adults, and where there might be issues that arise for some that differ from those of non-disabled people. This showed that, currently, a lower proportion of disabled people than non-disabled people were worried about transport and caring issues as well as aspects of household finances and work.

That is why we are actively working on policies to provide specific employment support for disabled people both in and out of work. This includes initiatives such as Access to Work (ATW), Disability Confident, Work and Health Programme (WHP) and the new Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme (IPES), alongside investment in a programme of trials and tests to identify effective models of health and employment support for people with health conditions or disabilities.

27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will match NHS staff pay awards for 2022 with the rate of inflation.

The Government has committed to increasing National Health Service workers’ pay this year, in addition to 3% last year, when pay was frozen in the public sector.

The Government is looking to the independent Pay Review Bodies (PRBs) for a pay recommendation for the NHS. The PRBs consist of industry experts and make recommendations based on an assessment of evidence from a range of stakeholders, including NHS system partners, trades unions and the Government. The PRBs consider a range of factors including the cost of living and inflation, recruitment and retention, affordability, and value for the taxpayer. The Government will consider these recommendations before responding.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department will take to ensure that there are adequate numbers of NHS staff in (a) Stockport and (b) Greater Manchester.

Local National Health Service trusts are responsible for managing staffing levels and recruiting the appropriate number of health professionals required.

As of February 2022, there were 5,029 full time equivalent (FTE) staff working at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, an increase of 4.1% from February 2021. This includes a 5.8% increase in the number of FTE doctors and a 9% increase in the number of nurses. As of February 2022, there were 186,214 staff working in NHS trusts in the North West, an increase 2.3% from February 2021. This includes a 3.2% increase in the number of FTE doctors and a 4.9% increase in the number of nurses.

We have funded an additional 1,500 undergraduate medical school places for domestic students in England to provide a 25% increase over three years. We are also on schedule to meet the target of employing 50,000 more nurses in the NHS by March 2024.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had discussions with officials in his Department on the potential merits of introducing maximum time limits on medication waiting lists.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) evaluates all new licensed medicines and licence extensions for existing medicines and aims to issue draft guidance on use around the time of licensing, with final guidance within 90 days of licensing wherever possible. The National Health Service is legally required to fund medicines recommended by NICE within 90 days of the publication of its final guidance. Recent initiatives such as the Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway, Project Orbis and the Innovative Medicines Fund will further support the rapid introduction of effective new medicines for the benefit of NHS patients.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve survival rates for children with (a) medulloblastoma and (b) relapsed medulloblastoma.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence’s guidance ‘Suspected cancer: recognition and referral’ provides advice for general practitioners (GPs) on the symptoms of cancer in children, recommending urgent referral within 48 hours for children presenting with a range of potential cancer symptoms including any unexplained lump, bruising or bleeding, neurological symptoms or bone pain. GPs can also refer a patient to non-symptom specific pathways when symptoms are vague. As of February 2022, there were 86 live non-symptom specific pathways in hospitals in England.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 May 2022 to Question 998, on Cancer: Stockport, what the rate of cancer diagnoses in (a) Stockport constituency and (b) the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport was in each of the last five years; and what assessment his Department has made of the forecasted increase in people diagnosed with cancer over the next five years.

The data requested is not held centrally and no assessment has been made.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of childhood cancer outcomes in (a) Stockport and (b) England.

No specific assessment has been made as childhood cancer survival rates are not collected in the format requested. However, the one year age-standardised survival rate for the 1,367 children aged 0 to 14 years old diagnosed with cancer in England in 2019 is 93.4%.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of Tirzepatide as a treatment for type two diabetes.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing evidence-based recommendations for the National Health Service on whether licenced medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. NICE is currently appraising Tirzepatide for the treatment of type 2 diabetes through its technology appraisal programme and expects to publish final guidance in April 2023.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to a Royal College of Nurses survey that found a quarter of nursing shifts have the planned number of registered nurses on duty, what steps his Department is taking to help increase the numbers of nurses on shift.

We are on schedule to deliver an additional 50,000 nurses and ensure the National Health Service has access to a sustainable long-term supply in future. In March 2022, the number of nurses had increased by 30,000 compared to September 2019.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the (a) number of women accessing testosterone through a private prescription and (b) average cost of those private prescriptions.

The Department does not hold information on prescribing in the private sector.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether an assessment has been made of the adequacy of the availability of personal protective equipment for BAME healthcare workers during the (a) first and (b) second wave of the covid-19 outbreak.

Since October 2020, the Department has received feedback on personal protective equipment (PPE) from users through regular customer engagement panels. Staff groups with protected characteristics, including those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, have reported their experiences of the use and availability of PPE. Earlier in the pandemic, some BAME staff reported difficulty with the fit of some items of PPE. The Department has addressed these concerns through appropriate fit testing and by supplying a range of sizes to cater to a diverse range of users.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of access to NHS dentists in (a) Stockport and (b) Greater Manchester.

No specific assessment has been made as National Health Service dental provision is planned by regional commissioning teams.

An additional £50 million for NHS dentistry was provided for the final quarter of 2021/22 to provide urgent care to patients. The North West, including Greater Manchester and Stockport, was allocated £7,310,000. Health Education England has made recommendations in its Advancing Dental Care Review, which aim to tackle recruitment, retention and attracting dentists to areas which are currently less well served. This will improve the distribution of training posts, resulting in more equitable access to dentists and dental care professionals.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to improve pathways for the early detection of liver disease in (a) Stockport, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) England.

In Stockport, the local National Health Service has an established non-alcoholic fatty liver disease programme, with a detection and investigation programme including lifestyle intervention to support behaviour change of those patients who are identified as high risk or harmful drinking patterns. At Salford Royal Hospital, there is a seven-day service to provide interventions for those patients attending from the North West of England, including Stockport and Greater Manchester. These patients are referred to the hospital’s Well Liver Clinic and undergo clinical assessment and liver elastography.

In the Spending Review 2021, £2.3 billion of capital funding has been allocated for investment in diagnostic services, to increase capacity for the diagnosis of liver disease. NHS regions will work with integrated care systems, diagnostic networks and primary care services on the location and configuration of community diagnostic centres, based on the needs of the local population.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the (a) levels of cancer diagnoses and (b) forecasted increases in diagnosis will affect resources apportioned by the Government for treating cancer patients in Stockport Constituency and Borough.

Funding allocated to integrated care boards in England for the provision of services, including in Stockport, is determined by a range of factors. While this does not specifically include the level of cancer diagnoses, the funding formula takes account of local factors such as age, deprivation and unmet health needs, which may have a correlation with cancer rates in that area.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing testosterone routinely within hormone replacement therapy.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) guideline on the diagnosis and management of menopause published in 2015 recommended that testosterone supplementation should be considered for menopausal women with low sexual desire if hormone replacement therapy alone is not effective. Healthcare professionals should take NICE’s guidelines fully into account in the care and treatment of individual patients. NICE is currently updating its guideline on menopause in light of new evidence and recently consulted on the draft scope of the revised guideline.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are on NHS dentist waiting lists in (a) Stockport and (b) Greater Manchester.

The information requested is not held centrally, as appointments for National Health Service treatment are managed locally by dental practices.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the location of NHS dental surgeries compared to the demand for NHS dental services.

Health Education England (HEE) have assessed the distribution of the National Health Service dental workforce and the demand for dental care, based on the annual number of dentists who have undertaken NHS activity by region. Data held at regional level on the oral health needs of the population is also used to assess the adequacy of provision.

HEE are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to align NHS provision against patient need. In its Advancing Dental Care Review Report, HEE has made recommendations to tackle recruitment, retention and attracting dentists to areas which are currently less well served and improve the distribution of training posts.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of charging for covid-19 lateral flow tests on use of those tests.

We expect the overall level of testing in the population to reduce once tests are no longer free. Whilst guidance sets out when we advise the general public to continue testing, individuals should do so based on their own personal risk. The Government has worked with retailers to ensure testing is available at an affordable price.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with organisations representing older people who draw on social care regarding the implications of removing free lateral flow device testing for care home visitors.

The Department regularly meets with stakeholders representing residents, their families, and providers of care and senior sector representatives to discuss issues in adult social care. We will keep the impact of testing policies on individuals receiving care, those who care for them and their loved ones under review.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to consult (a) care home residents and (b) the loved ones of care home residents on the removal of free lateral flow device testing for care home visitors from 1 April 2022.

The Department regularly meets with stakeholders representing residents, their families, and providers of care and senior sector representatives to discuss issues in adult social care. We will keep the impact of testing policies on individuals receiving care, those who care for them and their loved ones under review.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the NHS meets the national targets for dementia diagnosis.

NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to monitor the dementia diagnosis rate on a monthly basis and provide analysis on trends at a regional and sustainability and transformation partnership level to aid targeted recovery efforts. In 2021/22, we allocated £17 million to NHS England and NHS Improvement to address dementia waiting lists and increase the number of diagnoses. This funding was made available to clinical commissioning groups in June 2021. Later this year we will set out our plans for dementia in England, which will include a focus on dementia diagnosis.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 14 March 2022 to Question 119885, on Hyperactivity: Mental Health Services, what steps his Department is taking to support providers of adult mental health services in Stockport to reduce waiting times for adults accessing ADHD assessments and appointments.

We are investing an additional £2.3 billion a year to expand mental health services by 2023/24. The NHS Mental Health Dashboard records spending on mental health, which includes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), expenditure was £57.9 million in 2020/2021 and £61.9 million in 2021/2022. Specific spending on ADHD services is determined locally by Stockport CCG. The CCG is working with Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and has identified an independent provider to support those who have waited the longest for ADHD assessments.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will introduce maximum waiting list times for adults accessing mental health services, such as ADHD services, in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have consulted on the potential to introduce five new waiting time standards. This includes a standard for adults and older adults presenting to community-based mental health services to receive help within four weeks from referral. However, this is not a maximum waiting time. NHS England and NHS Improvement published the outcomes of the consultation on 22 February 2022 and we will work with the National Health Service on the next steps.

Local commissioners and providers in England should have due regard to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guideline: ‘Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: diagnosis and management’ with respect to adult ADHD assessments. While this guideline does not recommend a maximum waiting time for people to receive an ADHD assessment, it recommends that mental health services should form multidisciplinary specialist teams and/or clinics for adults, which should have expertise in the diagnosis and management of ADHD.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will increase mileage allowance for NHS workers under the Agenda for Change contract to assist with the rising cost of fuel.

There have been no specific discussions as this is a matter for the NHS Staff Council. Reimbursement of travel costs are covered by the NHS Terms and Conditions, jointly agreed by employers and the National Health Service trade unions. The Department continues to work with the NHS Staff Council to ensure terms and conditions arrangements are fit for purpose.

The current rate for staff who use their vehicles to make journeys in the performance of their duties is 56 pence per mile, above HM Revenue and Customs’ approved mileage rate of 45 pence per mile. This rate reduces after 3,500 miles to 20 pence per mile. The NHS Terms and Conditions sets out the process for reviewing the rate of reimbursement every six months. This includes reviewing fluctuations in fuel prices.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on health inequalities in Stockport.

The Regional Director of the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) in the North West has published a ‘state of the region’ report, which highlights a range of disparities which have widened during the pandemic. The OHID’s Health Inequalities Monitoring for England Tool, the Wider Impact of COVID-19 on Health Monitoring Tool and a local Joint Strategic Needs Assessment indicate that the pandemic has had an impact on the health of the Stockport population. At least 90,000 people in Stockport have been diagnosed with COVID-19, more than 3,600 people have been admitted to hospital and more than 900 people have died.

Work in the North West region continues to increase vaccination rates and address the longer-term and indirect impacts of COVID-19, such as the effect on mental health and the economy.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timetable is for rolling out the spring covid-19 booster vaccination for over-75s in the borough of Stockport.

The COVID-19 spring booster campaign commenced on 21 March 2022 in England and will continue until early summer. Adults aged 75 years old and over, residents in care homes for older adults and individuals aged 12 years old and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible and will be invited by the National Health Service to book an appointment through the National Booking System. Local NHS teams will also offer vaccinations in care homes. Priority will be given to those eligible whose clinical need is greatest and the longest period of time since their previous dose was administered.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the impact of the removal of the nursing bursary on the recruitment of nurses in Stockport since that bursary ended.

No assessment has been made. As of November 2021, 1,326 nurses are employed at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust - an increase of 127 or 10.6% since November 2020.

The Government has committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses in England by the end of this Parliament. This will be achieved through a combination of improving the domestic training pipelines, international recruitment and focusing on retention of existing staff. We have made available non-repayable training grants to eligible nurses worth at least £5,000 per year.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of patients not being seen within the operational standards of the Cancer Pathway in (a) England, (b) the Northwest and (c) Stockport as at 28 February 2022.

No specific estimate has been made.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will reconsider creating a new independent Redress Agency for people harmed by medicines and medical devices as recommended by the Cumberlege Report.

The Government did not accept the recommendation to establish a redress agency as set out in the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review. It is already possible for the Government and others to provide redress for specific issues where that is considered necessary. Our priority is to improve the future safety of medicines and medical devices, setting high standards for industry to market and manufacture products, with the aim of reducing harm in the future.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the waiting times for ADHD assessment in (a) Stockport and (b) England.

Clinical commissioning groups and National Health Service trusts in Stockport and England should have due regard to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guideline ‘Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: diagnosis and management’. While this guideline does not recommend a maximum waiting time to receive an assessment for ADHD, it aims to improve diagnosis in adults and children and the quality of care and support provided.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with local authorities’ children’s social care service, education services and expert charities to develop packages to support neurodivergent children, including children with ADHD and their families, through the diagnostic process.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of dental appointments that have been postponed due to the covid-19 pandemic in Stockport.

No estimate has been made as appointments for National Health Service dental treatment are managed directly by dental practices.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the number of under-18s taking up regular use of e-cigarettes; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of children taking up those products.

The Government is clear that we only support the use of e-cigarettes as a tool for smokers to quit smoking. We will continue to strongly discourage non-smokers and children from using them.

Regular use of e-cigarettes amongst children remains low, at around 2% of 11 to 15 year olds in 2018. This is as a result of our strong regulatory framework including restrictions on advertising, packaging and labelling, preventing sales to under 18 year olds and limits on tank sizes and nicotine content.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he make an estimate of the number of patients who have opted to pay for medical advice and appointments following the postponement of their appointments on the NHS Cancer Pathway.

We have no plans to do so. There have been over four million urgent referrals and over 960,000 people receiving cancer treatment between March 2020 and November 2021. First and subsequent treatments have been maintained at 94% of usual levels between March 2020 and November 2021.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to align prescription charges in England with that of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

No specific assessment has been made. However, the impact assessment which accompanied the consultation document on aligning the upper age exemption for National Health Service prescription charges with the state pension age examined a range of issues for those on lower incomes. The impact assessment is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/996781/impact-assessment-upper-age-prescription-exemption.pdf

There are no plans to abolish prescription charges in England, as in the devolved administrations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the impact on household finances in England of aligning the state pension age and free prescription age threshold; and if he will make a statement.

No specific assessment has been made. However, the impact assessment which accompanied the consultation document on aligning the upper age exemption for National Health Service prescription charges with the state pension age examined a range of issues for those on lower incomes. The impact assessment is available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/996781/impact-assessment-upper-age-prescription-exemption.pdf

There are no plans to abolish prescription charges in England, as in the devolved administrations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure social care staff receive specific (a) Parkinson’s and (b) dementia training.

It is crucial that the health and care workforce have the necessary skills provide high-quality care for those living with dementia and Parkinson’s.

We announced in the White Paper, that the Government will co-produce a sector-wide Knowledge and Skills Framework building on existing frameworks including the Dementia Training Standards Framework.

Linked to this there will be a Learning and Development offer, providing training places, and qualifications for the workforce, including those supporting individuals with dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of British citizens who have died of dengue fever abroad in the last ten years.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has not made an estimate. Surveillance is carried out for cases who are tested and diagnosed in the United Kingdom. Information is not available on dengue cases or deaths in British nationals who are tested and diagnosed abroad. The UKHSA does not routinely receive data on deaths in the UK or deaths of British nationals abroad caused by dengue.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the forthcoming Women’s Health Strategy will tackle health inequalities, including in maternal health for Black, Asian and ethnic minority women.

Work is ongoing to develop the Women’s Health Strategy, which will tackle health inequalities and address improving outcomes for mothers and babies, including a focus on reducing maternal and neonatal disparities. The Women’s Health Strategy will be published in spring 2022.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make additional funding available for recruitment to tackle the shortfall in staff in the NHS in Greater Manchester.

The 2021 Spending Review confirmed that expenditure on the National Health Service would continue to grow at 3.8% in real terms. The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership has received approximately £4.7 billion in 2021/22 - an increase of approximately £175 million or 3.9% on the previous year.

Between September 2020 and September 2021, the number of doctors in NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups in the North West increased by 791 or 4.8% and the number of nurses increased by 1,673 or 3.7%. We are on schedule to deliver 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament. In 2020, there were 1,500 additional medical school places available - a 25% increase over three years. This expansion will maximise future workforce supply in the NHS, including in Greater Manchester.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish its response to the Women’s Health Strategy consultation, which closed on 13 June 2021.

On 23 December 2021, we published ‘Our Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy for England’ and the results of the call for evidence survey. We will publish the analysis of written submissions in due course and the Women’s Health Strategy in the spring.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make additional funding available for the treatment of eating disorders in young people in response to the data published by NHS Digital, Hospital admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of eating disorders, published on 4 January 2022.

We have no such plans at present. However, we are investing an additional £79 million in 2021/22 to expand children’s mental health services to allow 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services. NHS England and NHS Improvement have also announced a further £40 million in 2021/22 to address the impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health, including eating disorders. This is in addition to at least £53 million a year being invested in children and young people's community eating disorder services to 2023/24 under the NHS Long Term Plan.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of lateral flow tests in (a) Stockport constituency, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) across England.

The UK Health Security Agency has increased the supply of lateral flow device tests and its distribution capability. From 10 January 2022, we expect to deliver approximately seven million tests a day through GOV.UK and 90 million tests a week across the United Kingdom through all delivery channels.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what measures his Department is putting in place to alleviate the backlog of elective treatments in light of their recent pause across Greater Manchester.

The National Health Service in Greater Manchester is prioritising the safety of patients and staff and the treatment of patients who need urgent and emergency care, including cancer treatment. The Christie and Rochdale Infirmary will continue to provide cancer care and surgery. The temporary pause in elective activity aims to prevent further spread of the Omicron variant.

We are providing £2 billion this year and a further £8 billion in the following three years to increase elective activity and tackle backlogs in elective services in England. The NHS will maintain services wherever possible, with cancer and urgent care such as cardiac and vascular surgery and transplantation unaffected. Diagnostic services, including endoscopy, and the majority of out-patient services will continue wherever possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of staff shortages in the NHS in (a) Stockport constituency, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) the North West due to the omicron variant of covid-19.

The information is not held in the format requested as while data for COVID-19 related absences is collected, it does not distinguish whether this is related to the Omicron variant.

However, the following table shows the number of staff absences due to COVID-19 related reasons, including self-isolation, in the week to 2 January 2022 for the acute trusts in Stockport constituency, Greater Manchester and the North West National Health Service region.

Region/NHS trust

COVID-19 absences per Day

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust

215

Greater Manchester:

Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust

590

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

336

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust

215

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

164

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

315

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

1,293

North West

6,426

Source: NHS England and NHS Improvement Urgent and Emergency Care Daily Situation Reports 2021-22 for acute trusts.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason Parkinson's disease and other degenerative conditions are not included on the NHS medical exemption list in respect of prescription charges.

The Department has no plans to extend the list. Our policy on entitlement to help with prescription charges in England is based on the principle that those who can afford to contribute should do so, while those who are likely to have difficulty in paying should be protected.

Extensive arrangements are in already place to help people afford National Health Service prescriptions, including a broad range of exemptions relating to age, income and medical conditions, for which someone with Parkinson’s disease or other degenerative condition may qualify. Approximately 89% of NHS prescription items are dispensed in the community free of charge. To support those who do not qualify for an exemption, the cost of prescriptions can be capped by purchasing a prescription pre-payment certificate, which can be paid for in instalments. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of adding Parkinson's and other degenerative conditions to the list of medical exemptions from prescription charges.

The Department has no plans to extend the list. Our policy on entitlement to help with prescription charges in England is based on the principle that those who can afford to contribute should do so, while those who are likely to have difficulty in paying should be protected.

Extensive arrangements are in already place to help people afford National Health Service prescriptions, including a broad range of exemptions relating to age, income and medical conditions, for which someone with Parkinson’s disease or other degenerative condition may qualify. Approximately 89% of NHS prescription items are dispensed in the community free of charge. To support those who do not qualify for an exemption, the cost of prescriptions can be capped by purchasing a prescription pre-payment certificate, which can be paid for in instalments. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase (a) knowledge of and (b) training on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders for NHS health professionals.

We have commissioned the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to produce a quality standard on the education and awareness of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) as well as improved data collection and prevention.

Each medical school in the England sets its own undergraduate curriculum which must meet the standards set by the General Medical Council (GMC) in its Outcomes for Graduates. The GMC would expect that, in fulfilling these standards, newly qualified doctors are able to identify, treat and manage any care needs, including FASD. The training curricula for postgraduate trainee doctors is set by the relevant Royal College and must meet the standards set by the GMC.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of General Practitioners curricula contain sections on foetal alcohol spectrum disorders alongside e-learning training modules. The curriculum for non-medical healthcare professionals is set by the higher education institutes to meet the standards of healthcare regulators. All curricula emphasise the skills and approaches a health care practitioner must develop to ensure accurate and timely diagnoses and treatment plans for their patients, including those with FASD.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the £95m committed to the Office for Life Sciences for the delivery of the Life Sciences Vision will be allocated to dementia research.

The Office for Life Sciences has been provided with £95 million for priority healthcare projects on cancer, obesity and mental health and access and uptake of cutting-edge innovations in the National Health Service.

While this will not be directly allocated to research in dementia, funding will continue from the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This includes £375 million announced by the NIHR for research into neurodegenerative diseases on 14 November.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the adequacy of funding for social care in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers and officials from the Department meet frequently with HM Treasury regarding the social care system.

Since May 2020, we have made available more than £2.5 billion to support the adult social care sector and prevent the transmission of COVID-19. From March 2020, we have committed over £6 billion to councils through un-ringfenced grants to tackle the impact of COVID-19 on services, including adult social care. These pressures are kept under review and the need for further support will be assessed through the winter.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor on the potential merits of increasing funding for the social care sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers and officials from the Department meet frequently with HM Treasury regarding the social care system.

Since May 2020, we have made available more than £2.5 billion to support the adult social care sector and prevent the transmission of COVID-19. From March 2020, we have committed over £6 billion to councils through un-ringfenced grants to tackle the impact of COVID-19 on services, including adult social care. These pressures are kept under review and the need for further support will be assessed through the winter.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of in person appointments with GPs available for patients in (a) the North west, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) Stockport.

No such estimate has been made as the numbers of general practitioner (GP) appointments are not collected in advance.

However, the most recent data suggests that the number of in person appointments with GPs recorded in these regions in September 2021 was 840,000 or 24% of the total in the North West region, 320,000 or 24% of the total in Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) and 50,000 or 29% of the total in Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Nationally, 25% of appointments with GPs were face-to-face in September 2021.

The number of appointments recorded in practices overall was 2,082,230 or 59.2% of the total in the North West region, 755,792 or 57% of the total in Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership STP and 104,457 or 61.7% of the total in Stockport CCG. Nationally, 60.8% of appointments in practices were face-to-face in September 2021.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy of Government support for GP services, (b) ability of GP services' systems to cope with increased patient demand and (c) wellbeing of the workforce in GP services.

We have recently launched a £250 million Winter Access Fund, to support general practitioner (GPs) and assist patients to see or speak to GPs and their teams. We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the profession to understand how we can continue to help GPs and improve their working environment, in light of the pressures from the pandemic.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the recruitment and integration of staff in GP practices in (a) the Northwest, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) Stockport.

We have not made a formal assessment. As private contractors, general practitioners (GPs) make their own workforce plans and hiring decisions. However, we encourage recruitment of certain roles through the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS). The ARRS currently offers 12 roles and those employed through the Scheme contribute to multi-disciplinary teams.

GP practices also work with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas through Primary Care Networks (PCNs). PCNs build on existing primary care services and enable greater provision of personalised, coordinated and integrated health and social care closer to home.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to set out a timetable for the delivery of dementia moonshot funding.

There is currently no planned date for publication of a strategy to deliver the dementia moonshot.

However, we have committed to invest £375 million in neurodegenerative disease research over the next five years to fund projects into a range of diseases, including dementia. A new dementia strategy, which will set out our plans in England for future years, including on research, will be published in 2022.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the amount of funding required to maintain current standards and thresholds within the social care system over the next three years.

We are providing councils with £1.6 billion of new funding per year from 2022/23 to 2024/25 for social care and other services. We are also assuming councils will have flexibility to increase the adult social care precept by 1% per year. We have also confirmed £5.4 billion for adult social care reform. This includes over £3.6 billion to reform the social care charging system and enable all local authorities to move towards paying providers a fair rate for care and over £1.7 billion to institute major improvements across the social care system in England.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to its commitment of November 2019, what progress his Department has made on increasing GP numbers by 6,000 by 2024-25.

In September 2021, there were 1,841 more full time equivalent doctors in general practice compared to September 2019. We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Health Education England and the profession to increase the general practice workforce in England. This includes measures on recruitment, addressing the reasons why doctors leave the profession and encouraging them to return to practice.

Last year, 3,793 number of doctors started general practitioner (GP) training, exceeding the target of 3,500. We have committed to increasing the number of GP training places to 4,000 a year from 2021, from 2,700 in 2014.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of introducing a lollipop-style covid-19 testing method for children on the (a) accuracy of tests and (b) frequency of testing of children by parents.

The UK Health Security Agency is currently trialling the use of direct LAMP, the most mature saliva test validated and available to deploy, for individuals with special educational needs and disabilities in a small number of restricted pilots. It is also being considered for other appropriate settings. These trials will consider a range of factors around the benefits of the tests and how they are used. The UKHSA will continue to review and evaluate the usability of emerging technologies.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to supply covid-19 booster vaccinations to people who have received the Novavax vaccine.

People who have received both doses of a vaccine as part of a clinical trial, including Novavax, will be offered a booster vaccination, if eligible in line with the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Doses of the booster vaccine are currently being offered to individuals who received their first vaccination in phase one of the programme in the JCVI’s priority groups one to nine.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support and resources are available to help GP surgeries in Stockport constituency to clear patient backlogs and increasing workloads.

On 14 October we announced a package of measures to support general practice manage increasing workloads, catch up on the backlog of care and improve access. In addition, Greater Manchester and Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group is supporting general practice in Stockport by focussing on increasing workforce capacity to reduce demand on individual general practitioners (GPs). Local commissioners and providers are utilising extra volunteer and paid staff to deliver the COVID-19 and flu vaccination programmes and the urgent treatment centre is relieving urgent demand on GPs. GPs in Stockport are making full use of additional roles, such as physiotherapists and medicine co-ordinators, and providing training for receptionists to signpost patients to the most appropriate member of the practice team.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of deaths of British nationals caused by Dengue fever in each of the last three years.

In 2019, there were 827 Dengue cases in the United Kingdom. The UK Health Security Agency (UKSHA) plans to publish reports of cases in the future. Surveillance of Dengue infections in England, Wales and Northern Ireland comprise laboratory reports from the UKHSA Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory, includes demographic information for patients and their travel history. However, outcome data including deaths are not collected.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many deaths of British nationals are caused by Dengue fever on average each year.

In 2019, there were 827 Dengue cases in the United Kingdom. The UK Health Security Agency (UKSHA) plans to publish reports of cases in the future. Surveillance of Dengue infections in England, Wales and Northern Ireland comprise laboratory reports from the UKHSA Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory, includes demographic information for patients and their travel history. However, outcome data including deaths are not collected.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report by the Care Quality Commission, entitled Safety, equity and engagement in maternity services, published on 21 September 2021, what steps his Department is taking in response to the findings in that report on lessons learned and the recording of incidents involving patients’ safety on maternity wards.

NHS England and NHS Improvement recently invested an additional £95 million in maternity services to support the recruitment of 1,200 more midwives and 100 consultant obstetricians. An equity and equality strategy, funded by a further £6.8 million, has been published to address the causes of inequalities in outcomes and experiences of maternity care. The NHS Resolution Maternity Incentive Scheme is working to improve the recording of incidents through its ten safety actions, by encouraging the use of the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool and improving the quality of reporting to the Maternity Services Data Set.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how long waiting lists are for ADHD diagnosis in Greater Manchester; and how that wait compares with the national average.

The data requested is not held centrally.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of (a) emergency and (b) non-emergency appointments have been cancelled owing to the blood bottle shortage across the UK.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the blood bottle shortage across the UK.

We have secured tens of millions of additional blood tubes, including importing additional supplies from the European Union and the United States, which are now in National Health Service use, and there continues to be stock in place to ensure clinically urgent testing continues. Patient safety is my top priority and we are working closely with NHS England and the devolved administrations to minimise any impact on patient care and return to a normal service as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many dental practices in England stopped providing NHS services in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

This data is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to people who have received the Novavax vaccine with international travel.

Individuals who took part in clinical trials and received a full dose of the Novavax vaccine can now use the NHS COVID Pass to demonstrate their COVID-19 status. However, it is the decision of the Government of the country the person is travelling to to set their inbound travel policy. The Chief Medical Officer has written to his counterparts in the European Union and European Economic Community and discussions are ongoing with other countries, including through the G7, the European Commission and the World Health Organization to shape the approach taken around the world to sharing health status for travel.

The Vaccines Taskforce and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are working with Novavax to help ensure their COVID-19 vaccine is authorised as quickly as possible. The decision to license a vaccine is made by the MHRA.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the increase in the number of children presenting at A&E with infections on A&E waiting times.

The Department continues to monitor data on accident and emergency (A&E) waiting time standards.

The National Health Service plans for a wide range of scenarios ahead of winter and will continue to adapt plans in line with any further advice from Public Health England.

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, if his Department will launch a strategy to tackle the reported rise of children presenting at accident and emergency departments with viral infections outside of winter time.

Children attending accident and emergency departments are usually seen in dedicated facilities by specialist staff trained in children’s medicine. Children are protected by the National Health Service constitution in the same way as adults and should receive care and be admitted or discharged within four hours of arrival at an Emergency Department. The NHS Long Term Plan is a strategy supporting reform of urgent and emergency care services to ensure all patients get the care they need quickly and relieve pressure on A&E departments.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to have discussions with representatives of Novavax on the release of antibody test results to unblinded participants in the Novavax covid-19 vaccine trial.

We have no current plans to do so. Individuals who participate in trials should speak to their trial contact on such matters as the release of test results. The Department will ensure that trial participants are not disadvantaged in terms of any future domestic vaccine certification, if introduced, compared to anyone else who has had their vaccines under the standard National Health Service programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans for the roll-out of the midwifery-led continuity of carer model to be completed and made available in all NHS trusts in England.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have committed to midwifery-led continuity of carer, so that it becomes the default model of care for women using maternity services across England by March 2023.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that NHS backlogs in cancer care are tackled consistently under recovery plans being implemented at a local level; if he will take steps to ensure that there is consistency in the provision of NHS cancer care throughout England; and if he will make a statement.

NHS Planning Guidance 2021/2022 outlines the cancer recovery priorities and the key actions to encourage patients to come forward and ensure capacity is in place to treat them. Local systems, drawing on advice and analysis from their Cancer Alliance, will ensure that there is sufficient diagnostic and treatment capacity in place to meet cancer needs.

Cancer Alliances bring together clinical and managerial leaders from different hospital trusts and other health and social care organisations, to transform the diagnosis, treatment, and care for cancer patients in their local area. These partnerships enable care to be more effectively planned across local cancer pathways, to ensure consistency.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS trusts in England are able to offer a midwifery-led continuity of carer model for women who are pregnant after the death of a baby.

This information is not held centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) advice and (b) support his Department is providing to Novavax covid-19 vaccine trial participants who have been unblinded but do not have access to their antibody test results and are unsure of their level of protection against the covid-19 virus.

Guidance has been provided to support vaccine trial participants who wished to be unblinded at a time when they became eligible for an approved COVID-19 vaccine. This suggests individuals should discuss with the principle investigator at the site in which the participant was recruited who are best placed to advise on the options following unblinding.

In general, participants who only received a placebo would be recommended to receive the deployed COVID-19 vaccine schedule. Those that received a full course of an active vaccine, would be advised that further doses of deployed vaccine were not advisable. Whilst antibody tests were performed in the study, the advice on further vaccination would be based on the record of the participant's previous doses in the trial.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department provides to Novavax covid-19 vaccine trial participants who have been unblinded and received two vaccine doses under that trial over six months ago on whether they should receive an approved covid-19 vaccination.

Guidance has been provided to support vaccine trial participants who wished to be unblinded at a time when they became eligible for an approved COVID-19 vaccine. This suggests individuals should discuss with the principle investigator at the site in which the participant was recruited who are best placed to advise on the options following unblinding.

In general, participants who only received a placebo would be recommended to receive the deployed COVID-19 vaccine schedule. Those that received a full course of an active vaccine, would be advised that further doses of deployed vaccine were not advisable. Whilst antibody tests were performed in the study, the advice on further vaccination would be based on the record of the participant's previous doses in the trial.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of older people who are paying for previously free NHS ancillary services in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport as a result of (i) the size of waiting lists and (ii) reduced services.

We have made no such estimate as the number of people purchasing private care is not collected centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the impact on older people of not being able to access face-to-face appointments with GPs.

General practice is open and has been throughout the pandemic. Appointment numbers have risen to 32.2 million in May 2021 and over half of all appointments were face to face.

We continue to work with NHS England and NHS Improvement and general practice to assess the impact of different types of appointment and to improve access for all patient groups. The Public Sector Equality Duty requires public authorities to have due regard to the impact of their policies on different protected characteristics, one of which is age. NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned an independent evaluation to understand the impact for staff, patients and the wider health and care system of using digital tools in primary care to inform its long-term strategy.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether additional funding has been made available for the treatment of gaming addictions among young adults and children in response to increased addiction in that demographic in the last 12 months.

The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan committed to spending up to £15 million on 15 specialist problem gambling clinics by 2023/24. This funding includes the provision of treatment for gaming disorders through the National Centre for Gaming Disorders, which was set up to provide treatment for problem gamers aged 13 to 25 years old, living in England and Wales. The service sits alongside the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on children's physical and mental wellbeing.

Public Health England’s (PHE) ‘Wider Impacts of COVID-19 on Health’ tool is monitoring the wider impacts of the pandemic on population health and is available at the following link:

https://analytics.phe.gov.uk/apps/covid-19-indirect-effects/

PHE has worked with colleagues across Government, to track impacts on mental health and wellbeing using data and research from a wide range of sources. The ’COVID-19: mental health and wellbeing surveillance’ report, which also looks at the effects on children and young people, is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the correct phraseology is used and promoted when referring to the delta variant of covid-19.

On 31 May 2021, the World Health Organization recommended a new nomenclature system for variants under investigation (VUIs) and variants of concern (VOCs) using the Greek alphabet for non-scientific audiences. Public Health England (PHE) began using this system in all external communications as of 2 June. Not all variants designated VUI or VOC status by PHE have been assigned WHO labels. PHE will continue to incorporate the Greek alphabet labels as they are announced. The Government has adopted the WHO naming conventions in discussing and reporting on work on COVID-19 variants.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of ongoing restrictions on visitors at hospitals on patient care.

We recognise that a compassionate approach to facilitating hospital visits, balanced with the need to manage the risk of infection, is essential when supporting the care of patients. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s visiting guidance is regularly assessed and reviewed for its impact on patient care.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time was for accessing NHS mental health services in March (a) 2021 and (b) 2020.

The data is not held in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Department's report entitled Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020 that was published in October 2014, what recent progress his Department has made to deliver parity of esteem between services for (a) mental and (b) physical illnesses.

Since the ‘Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020’ report we have introduced access and waiting time standards for both Early Intervention in Psychosis and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. Over one million adults already access IAPT services each year and this will be expanded to cover a total of 1.9 million by 2023-24.Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we are expanding and transforming mental health services in England, investing an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023-24. This will see spending for mental health services growing faster than the overall National Health Service budget.

There are now specialist perinatal mental health community services for new and expectant mothers in every part of the country and we are extending this further, with 26 new mental health hubs, offering physical health checks and psychological therapy, by April 2022. We have met our commitment for an additional 70,000 children and young people accessing NHS-funded mental health services and school or college-based mental health support teams. We are committed to further increasing this to 345,000 by 2023-24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of people are not eligible for the proposed vaccination passports due to their participation in the Novavax trial.

Those participating in United Kingdom vaccination trials can request a letter from the trial they are participating in to confirm their vaccination status, which will include vaccine type and dose information. The Government is exploring how vaccine information for those on clinical trials can be linked to the NHS App, as well as to a non-digital solution.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of people in the UK have been delayed from receiving any covid-19 vaccine because they have participated in the Novavax trials.

The information is not held in the format requested

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve access to (a) vital therapies and (b) essential health appointments for children with disabilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of COVID-19 recovery planning we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to look at improving the provision of therapies to disabled children. NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance entitled ‘COVID-19 restoration of community health services for children and young people: second phase of NHS response in the community health restoration’, updated on 31 July 2020. This makes clear that essential community services, including therapies such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, must be prioritised for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25 years old and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or who are going through an assessment for one.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that Government guidance on out-of-home visits which came into force on 4 May 2021 is adhered to by care homes.

We are in regular contact with care homes and providers in order to assess adherence to this guidance and ways in which this can be improved. If a resident or their family have concerns that the care home is not following visiting guidance appropriately then they can raise them with the home in the first instance. If the resident or family are still dissatisfied, the Care Quality Commission will investigate complaints.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether companies contracted to provide covid-19 tests to people returning to the UK have to adhere to a threshold of successful on time (a) deliveries and (b) results in order to keep their contracts with his Department.

Private providers which are listed on GOV.UK have declared and evidenced compliance with the relevant minimum standards for testing services, including the relevant stage of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service accreditation if the provider is processing tests or taking swabs. The minimum standards are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/testing-on-day-2-and-day-8-for-international-arrivals

The Department is continuing to monitor each provider supplying testing for international arrivals, including assessment of their delivery, customer service and reporting services. We are also carefully monitoring issues raised by the public about private test providers, raising every complaint with providers. We are taking rapid action with companies where appropriate. Providers delivering inadequate services receive a five-day warning to demonstrate they have rectified their service and if they are unable to do so, they are removed from the GOV.UK list.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will introduce a cap on the amount private companies can charge people returning to the UK for covid-19 tests and results.

We have no current plans to do so.

Since requirements were introduced for international travel testing, the costs of travel testing have fallen significantly. The Government is committed to working with the travel industry and private testing providers to reduce the cost whilst also ensuring travel is as safe as possible.

NHS Test and Trace tests are available at the market mid-point. A list of providers offering testing bundles for international arrivals is available at GOV.UK, allowing travellers to find tests at an appropriate price. We also offer deferred payment plans and hardship support for people who cannot afford to pay for the cost of managed quarantine and testing. In some circumstances this may be available to those who are not in receipt of income related benefits.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the proportion of care homes without covid-19 outbreaks that are adhering to the Government's guidance on care home visiting and out-of-home visits.

Departmental data show in the week ending 26 April 2021, 82.5% of care homes in England were able to accommodate residents receiving visitors within care homes, compared to 40.3% at the beginning of March 2021. The Care Quality Commission are investigating concerns about visiting where these are raised and offering support to assist care homes in opening up further to allow more visits in and out of care homes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that people who have paid for day two and day eight covid-19 tests upon returning to the UK but have not received them are not held up in quarantine; and whether those people will be compensated for unexplained delays in receiving (a) tests and (b) test results.

Arrivals from amber list countries must take a test on or before day two for variant surveillance and unless they receive a positive result from their day two test, on or after day eight, to improve the efficacy of quarantine. Those travelling from a ‘green list’ country only need to take a test on or before day two. Arrivals should follow quarantine guidelines until they receive negative day two and day eight test results.

The Department is working closely with private providers to ensure tests and results are delivered on time to support individuals to meet legal requirements and end their quarantine period on time. Private providers performance for day two and day eight testing is continually monitored including their ability to provide samples, analysis and report results on time. We take rapid action when providers deliver inadequate services. This includes providers receiving a five-day warning to demonstrate they have rectified their service and if they are unable to do so, they are removed from the appropriate GOV.UK list.

As individuals are contracting a private service the Department does not offer compensation. However, we advise any customers who have had, or are having, a customer service issue with a private test provider, to first report this back to the provider. If the issue cannot be resolved, the consumer should to contact their local trading standards office.

Consumers are able to complain directly with the Department about private providers and we monitor these complaints and address these directly with private providers.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) investigate and (b) suspend the contracts of private companies that are failing to fulfil their obligations to provide PCR covid-19 tests and results on time to people returning to the UK.

The Department is working closely with private providers to ensure tests and results are delivered on time. Private providers performance is continually monitored including their ability to provide samples, analysis and report results on time. The Department takes rapid action when providers deliver inadequate services. This includes providers receiving a five-day warning to demonstrate they have rectified their service and if they do not, they are removed from the appropriate GOV.UK list.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate the Government has made of the number of increased care bills issued by local authorities in England to disabled and mentally ill adults in the last 12 months; and what assessment he has made of the social impact of those additional charges.

The Government has made no such estimate and no assessment has been made.

In charging for care, local authorities must follow the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) 2014 Regulations and have regard to the Care and Support statutory guidance. Where additional support is needed, the local authority can be asked to carry out a financial assessment review to ensure the right level of income is retained to meet needs that are not being met by the local authority.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many cancer related appointments and treatment sessions have been postponed at Stepping Hill hospital as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The data requested on postponed care is not collected centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many cancer related appointments and treatment sessions have been postponed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The data requested on postponed care is not collected centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 March 2019 to Question 166586 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, since the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that local teams should consider a universal offer to adults experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping alongside people in priority group six, how many homeless people in the UK have received a covid-19 vaccine.

Data is not available in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how widely the cancer treatment drug, Phesgo, has been rolled out; and whether Phesgo is being used for treatments at Stepping Hill Hospital.

Phesgo has been funded for eligible patients through the National Health Service since 10 February 2021. There are no restrictions on which providers can prescribe Phesgo. It is therefore for clinicians, in discussion with their patients, to decide on the most appropriate treatment.

Patients with breast cancer at Stepping Hill Hospital are clinically managed by the Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust has agreed to use Phesgo. Patients at the hospital should therefore begin receiving this treatment in the near future.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the delivery of cancer treatment.

From March 2020 to the end of February 2021, over two million people have been urgently referred and over 520,000 people started receiving cancer treatment. First and subsequent cancer treatments have been maintained at 87% of the level in 2019.

The National Health Service priorities and operational planning guidance for 2021/22 sets out plans to accelerate the restoration of elective and cancer care. Local systems, drawing on advice and analysis from their Cancer Alliance, will ensure that there is sufficient diagnostic and treatment capacity in place to meet the needs of cancer to return the number of people waiting for longer than 62 days to the level of February 2020 or to the national average in February 2020 where this is lower and meet the increased level of referrals and treatment required to address the shortfall in number of first treatments by March 2022.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards not undertaken due to the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps his Department is taking to help adult social services and registered care providers tackle that matter in (a) England, (b) the North West and (c) Stockport.

In July 2020 the Care Quality Commission published a report on the ‘Impact of COVID-19 on the use of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’ (DoLS), which recorded a significant decrease in the number of DoLS notifications between March 2020 and May 2020, compared with data from the previous year.

There has been no change to DoLS legislation in light of the pandemic and the Department has issued extensive guidance for health and social care staff on applying the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and DoLS during the pandemic. This guidance reiterates the importance of ensuring people have access to the human rights protections the Mental Capacity Act offers and offers advice on COVID-19 testing, deprivation of liberty, DoLS and best interests decision-making. The Department continues to update this guidance based on feedback from stakeholders, including people with lived experience and partners in local government, health and social care.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 March 2021 to Question 140313, how many contracts have been awarded relating to test and trace since 18 January 2021.

Details of NHS Test and Trace contract awards, including the value, are published on the Government’s Contracts Finder site. We have Memorandums of Understanding with public sector organisations, which set out the working arrangements between the Test and Trace programme and those organisations.

Since 18 January 2021, 266 contracts relating to NHS Test and Trace have been awarded.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 March 2021 to Question 140313, what the value was of each of the 217 contracts awarded to public and private companies.

Details of NHS Test and Trace contract awards, including the value, are published on the Government’s Contracts Finder site. We have Memorandums of Understanding with public sector organisations, which set out the working arrangements between the Test and Trace programme and those organisations.

Since 18 January 2021, 266 contracts relating to NHS Test and Trace have been awarded.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 March 2021 to Question 140313, which (a) public and (b) private organisations have received contracts relating to NHS test and trace.

Details of NHS Test and Trace contract awards, including the value, are published on the Government’s Contracts Finder site. We have Memorandums of Understanding with public sector organisations, which set out the working arrangements between the Test and Trace programme and those organisations.

Since 18 January 2021, 266 contracts relating to NHS Test and Trace have been awarded.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will undertake an assessment of the effect of the planned introduction of Liberty Protection Standards on the training standards and implementation of the existing Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards process.

In July 2020 we set out a target date for implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) of April 2022. We are working towards public consultation which will inform our plans for full implementation.

Until the LPS comes into force, it is vital that all bodies with legal duties under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) continue to operate these important safeguards to ensure the rights of people without relevant mental capacity are protected. The Department is working with national organisations including Health Education England, the Social Care Institute for Excellence and Skills for Care, to ensure that DoLS training continues until the LPS is implemented. In preparation for the implementation of the LPS, organisations should ensure that staff are also up to date with relevant Mental Capacity Act 2005 training.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish an update on the timescale for the introduction of the Liberty Protection Standards.

In July 2020 we set out a target date for implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) of April 2022. We are working towards public consultation which will inform our plans for full implementation.

Until the LPS comes into force, it is vital that all bodies with legal duties under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) continue to operate these important safeguards to ensure the rights of people without relevant mental capacity are protected. The Department is working with national organisations including Health Education England, the Social Care Institute for Excellence and Skills for Care, to ensure that DoLS training continues until the LPS is implemented. In preparation for the implementation of the LPS, organisations should ensure that staff are also up to date with relevant Mental Capacity Act 2005 training.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish further guidance on visiting people in supported living, as set out in the Guidance on care home visiting document updated on 9 March 2021.

On 30 March, we published an update to our visiting guidance for supported living and extra care settings, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supported-living-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-supported-living

The default position in this guidance is that visits should be supported and enabled wherever it is safe to do so and explains how providers can develop a policy for visiting which mitigates risks. For example, lateral flow testing is now available to providers who are currently eligible for staff testing. There are still some national restrictions in place across England which people in supported living, and their family and friends, must follow. Further information can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many appointments have been cancelled at Stepping Hill hospital during the covid-19 outbreak.

The information requested is not available. The collection of data on cancelled operations has been paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to release capacity across the National Health Service to support the response.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS staff based at Stepping Hill Hospital have taken sick leave in the last five years; and how many days were lost to sickness at that hospital.

The information is not collected in the format requested, as sickness absence data is only collected at trust level rather than individual site.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP appointments there have been in Stockport constituency in each of the last five years.

The following table shows the number of appointments in general practice in Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group in each year since 2018. General practitioner appointment data was first collected in 2018. Data by constituency is not available.

2018

1,327,673

2019

1,478,492

2020

1,449,255

2021 (January and February)

255,548

Source: NHS Digital

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many children are on waiting lists to register with an NHS dentist in (a) Stockport, (b) the North West and (c) England; and how many of those children have been on the waiting list for over six months.

No waiting list data is held centrally on adults or children wishing to access National Health Service dental services in Stockport, the North West or England.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. On 29 March we announced that the threshold for full NHS contractual payment would be raised to 60% of normal activity. Nearly 700 urgent dental care centres also remain open across England to ensure that patients are able to access urgent dental treatment. We continue to explore what more can be done to increase capacity including piloting pre-appointment testing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are on the waiting list for an NHS dentist in (a) Stockport, (b) the North West and (c) England.

No waiting list data is held centrally on adults or children wishing to access National Health Service dental services in Stockport, the North West or England.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. On 29 March we announced that the threshold for full NHS contractual payment would be raised to 60% of normal activity. Nearly 700 urgent dental care centres also remain open across England to ensure that patients are able to access urgent dental treatment. We continue to explore what more can be done to increase capacity including piloting pre-appointment testing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the number of NHS dentists taking new patients on the NHS in (a) Stockport, (b) the North West and (c) England.

No waiting list data is held centrally on adults or children wishing to access National Health Service dental services in Stockport, the North West or England.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. On 29 March we announced that the threshold for full NHS contractual payment would be raised to 60% of normal activity. Nearly 700 urgent dental care centres also remain open across England to ensure that patients are able to access urgent dental treatment. We continue to explore what more can be done to increase capacity including piloting pre-appointment testing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of homeless people that have been vaccinated up to 10 March 2021.

The information is not collected in the format requested therefore no specific estimate has been made.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to tackle vaccine hesitancy amongst homeless people.

On 11 March, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that local teams should consider a universal offer to adults experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping alongside those in priority group six. They advised that they should be offered the vaccine without the need for a National Health Service number or general practitioner registration.

Work is being undertaken to update our operational guidance on reaching rough sleepers and homeless people based on the JCVI’s most recent advice. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement to support outreach services and further work is being done to explore the availability of effective on-street models which could be used to support this work.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including inclusion of Myalgic encephalomyelitis in the group 6 specified conditions for covid-19 vaccination; and what estimate he has made of the number of people with that condition who have received a covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has not identified any robust data to indicate that, as a group, persons with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue symdrome (ME/CFS) are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19, therefore those under 50 years old are not prioritised for phase one of the programme.

Prioritisation for Phase two has not yet been decided, but interim advice has been published by the JVCI recommending an age-based approach, which the Government has accepted in principle subject to final advice. The information on estimates of people with ME/CFS who have received a covid-19 vaccination is not held centrally in the format requested.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the (a) quality assurance and (b) cost effectiveness of organisations providing NHS repeat prescription delivery services.

The Department does not monitor or quality assure organisations providing repeat prescription delivery services. While repeat dispensing is an essential service that all pharmacies must provide under National Health Service pharmaceutical services, repeat prescription delivery services are not. All pharmacies providing NHS pharmaceutical services are subject to the same terms of service and adherence and are monitored by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to improve access to medical care for disabled people during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and Improvement published guidance regarding the restoration of NHS services ‘Third phase of NHS response to COVID-19’ on 31 July 2020. On 7 August 2020 they published further guidance ‘Implementing phase 3 of the NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic’. The guidance makes clear that a central part of responding to COVID-19 and restoring services must be to address inequalities in National Health Service provision, including improving access for disabled people. NHS England and NHS Improvement have commissioned a national advisory group of leaders from within and beyond the NHS to advise on how to achieve these aims in the coming months. This group has identified eight urgent actions, two of which are to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19 and to restore NHS services inclusively.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) potential merits of including ME/CFS on the list of neurological conditions in group 6 of the JCVI priority list and (b) consistency of GP decisions on including ME/CFS patients in group 6.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has not identified any robust data to indicate that, as a group, persons with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19, therefore this group is not included as part of the prioritisation for phase one of the programme.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional support he is providing to hospices to allow family members to present at the end of life during the covid-19 outbreak.

In October 2020, NHS England published a new set of visiting guidelines, which aims to ensure that families have more contact with their loved ones towards the end of their lives while also managing infection risks. The new guidelines, ‘Visiting healthcare inpatient settings principles during the Covid-19 pandemic’, advise the NHS and other healthcare organisations, including hospices, on how to facilitate visiting wherever possible. These guidelines are available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0751-visiting-healthcare-inpatient-settings-principles-131020_.pdf

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is providing to care homes to help them prepare and manage lateral flow testing for visitors.

We consulted with the sector in November and December 2020 via regular working group meetings and in December 2020, the Government announced an extra £149 million of funding to support lateral flow testing in care homes, with testing for visitors a key part of this.

Care homes were provided with guidance, a letter for visitors to set out clear expectations, and a video for visitors explaining how to get tested, use personal protective equipment and practice social distancing.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much money in total has been awarded by the Government to companies for NHS Test and Trace contracts.

As of 18 January 2021, NHS Test and Trace has signed 407 contracts worth £7 billion with 217 public and private organisations.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to allocate funding for capital investment at Stepping Hill hospital.

In 2020-21, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust has received £3.61 million for Stepping Hill Hospital, as part of our £450 million investment to upgrade accident and emergency departments and £4.8 million from our £600 million Critical Infrastructure Risk fund to address backlog maintenance at the hospital. This is in addition to £30.6 million allocated for its sustainability and transformation partnership scheme to provide a new Emergency Care Campus. Now that our capital settlement has been confirmed with HM Treasury, we will consider carefully how projects are prioritised within it, whilst further investment will be dependent on the outcome of future Spending Reviews.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the suitability of hospital (a) building and (b) estates for Stepping Hill hospital.

In 2020-21, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust has received £3.61 million for Stepping Hill Hospital, as part of our £450 million investment to upgrade accident and emergency departments and £4.8 million from our £600 million Critical Infrastructure Risk fund to address backlog maintenance at the hospital. This is in addition to £30.6 million allocated for its sustainability and transformation partnership scheme to provide a new Emergency Care Campus. Now that our capital settlement has been confirmed with HM Treasury, we will consider carefully how projects are prioritised within it, whilst further investment will be dependent on the outcome of future Spending Reviews.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to Stockport NHS Foundation Trust to help improve accident and emergency services at Stepping Hill hospital.

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded £30.6 million to fund a new emergency care campus on the hospital site, transforming emergency care in the area. Providing effective care for different patient groups, it will ensure that patients can be seen more quickly by the most appropriate clinical specialists. Developments includes an urgent treatment centre, primary care referral unit and a modern space to provide investigations and treatments that will avoid admission for patients wherever possible.

An additional £3.6 million has been awarded to the Trust, to support emergency care in managing the challenges this winter by funding the separation of COVID-19 and non COVID-19 patients, same day emergency care expansion and increased emergency department capacity through equipment upgrades and enhanced diagnostics access improving patient flow.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to modernise hospital estates.

The Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP) will deliver a long-term, rolling five-year programme of investment in health infrastructure, including capital to build new hospitals. The Prime Minister confirmed 40 hospitals will be built by 2030, with funding of £3.7 billion confirmed over the next four years. An open competition will be run to identify eight further new schemes.

The HIP will modernise estates by more than delivering new hospitals; the Government has committed £450 million to upgrade accident and emergency departments, £400 million to eradicate dormitory accommodation from mental health facilities and £600 million to upgrade and refurbish National Health Service hospitals. In addition, local health systems will shortly be receiving confirmation of their capital envelopes for 2021-22 and the settlement from HM Treasury has enabled us to protect the level of capital funding for trusts which enables them to progress priority investments agreed with local health partners.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department is providing to hospitals with high levels of staff absence as result of covid-19 infection.

We are monitoring staff absence due to COVID-19 and we have multiple workforce supply initiatives. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has invited overseas nurses who are in the process of seeking full registration to join its emergency register, allowing 2,000 nurses to practice. Twelve thousand former healthcare professionals are still in touch with NHS England and have been contacted to support the National Health Service. Financial support has been provided to trusts to support rapid, large-scale recruitment, covering healthcare support workers, medical support workers and international recruits.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support digital infrastructure investment in hospitals.

NHSX is continuing to work with providers to improve integrated care systems through the Digital Aspirant programme, to digitise capabilities and ensure that services transform to maximise the opportunities that technology offers. In 2020/21 the Digital Aspirant programme is supporting 23 trusts to continue their digital journey and we are planning to support further trusts over the next few years.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of NHS trusts have covid-19 restrictions in place for birth partners attending maternity appointments and scans as at 1 December 2020.

Data on the number of National Health Service trusts with COVID-19 restrictions in place for birth partners attending maternity appointments and scans is not held centrally.

Restrictions on visitors are subject to local discretion by trusts and other NHS bodies. The Department expects trusts to use the guidance in place to support access for partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women in English maternity services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are assured that 100% of trusts report that they are actively using the guidance as they make local decisions on visiting restrictions, based on a risk assessment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to make the NHS Learning Support Fund available in September 2021 for (a) new students and (b) continuing students who have benefited from that fund in 2020.

The Learning Support Fund will continue to be made available to both new and continuing eligible students for the duration of their course. Further details on eligibility will be published by the NHS Business Service Authority before the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what pathways exist for children in the North West for the diagnosis of Tourettes syndrome.

Commissioning of local services, including for Tourette’s services, is a local matter, over which individual National Health Service commissioners have responsibility. Local commissioners are best placed to understand the needs of local populations and commission services accordingly. NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that early discussions are taking place in both St Helens and Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Groups towards expanding pathways for the diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome for children in the North West.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) information and (b) financial support is being made available to help protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable in Stockport.

National restrictions began in England from 5 November. The Government has published guidance for people, including additional guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people, to help protect them from COVID-19. This applies to those in Stockport and the whole of England. The Government has also written to clinically extremely vulnerable people setting out the guidance and support that is available.

If a clinically extremely vulnerable person cannot work from home, they are advised not to attend work for this period of restrictions and may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit. The Government has also extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until March 2021, and everyone is encouraged to discuss this option with their employer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support people living with cancer in Stockport during the second wave of the covid-19 outbreak.

During this second wave, cancer has been prioritised in the Greater Manchester area, including Stockport, and this has been agreed across all 11 hospital providers, to continue cancer surgery and at designated COVID-19 ‘green-sites’, ensuring the safety of staff and patients to enable procedures to continue to go ahead.

Measures are in place, as in the first wave, to work together with hospitals around the whole of Greater Manchester to share provisions of staff and resources to ensure that patients from Stockport and every other locality in Greater Manchester have access to cancer treatment and important diagnostic procedures.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 restrictions on levels of alcohol consumption.

Public Health England has published an online monitoring tool to track behavioural changes, including alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings on alcohol consumption are that intake across the population as a whole remained about the same during the pandemic. Those aged 18 to 34 were more likely to report consuming less alcohol each week than before and those aged 35 to 54 were more likely to report an increase. There was also an increase in the proportion of ‘high risk’ drinking from April to September. The monitoring tool is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wider-impacts-of-covid-19-on-health-monitoring-tool

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the second wave of covid-19 infections on the (a) recovery of cancer services in (i) Stockport and (ii) Greater Manchester and (b) waiting times for cancer treatment.

We are pleased that September data shows, for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, that general practitioner referrals for first consultant appointment were 135% higher than in April, and similarly, at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, they were nearly 120% higher than in April.

We are all working hard to see the restoration of services continue, including stepping up COVID-19 protected hubs for cancer surgery and diagnostics and, maximising use of independent sector capacity.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of children diagnosed with Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome; and how many of their families have received additional specialist support.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria his Department uses to determine what a reasonable sum is for charges by General Practitioners for non-exempted completion of forms, certificates and letters.

General practitioners (GPs) are free to charge for the completion of certificates, forms and letters that are not listed as being exempt from charges by General Medical Services and Personal Medical Services Regulations.

The Professional Fees Committee of the British Medical Association (BMA) suggests guideline fees for such services to help doctors set their own fees. The BMA also publishes guidance for GPs on factors to consider when setting their own fees; this is available at the following link:

https://www.bma.org.uk/pay-and-contracts/fees/setting-your-own-fees/what-to-consider-when-setting-your-own-fees

However, the amount charged is ultimately a matter for the practice.

Where doctors intend to charge for services to patients, the BMA advises practices to forewarn patients, at the earliest opportunity, of the likely level of fees.

We recognise that there are concerns about some fees GPs charge for letters to certify a patient’s health and the consistency of those charges, and the additional burden this can place on GPs. We are working with GPs and other stakeholders to look at where it is necessary for GPs to provide medical evidence and, where it is, that any charges for that evidence, where applicable, are fair and consistent.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of elective surgeries that have been postponed or cancelled during the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he plans to take to support NHS trusts to resume those procedures.

The data requested is not held centrally.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals of the difficulties experienced by people suffering from post covid-19 side effects.

In June 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance supporting primary care and community health services to meet the immediate and longer-term care needs of patients discharged following an acute episode of COVID-19. This guidance will be kept under regular review.

The National Health Service and wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of COVID-19 infection, including the prevalence, severity and duration of symptoms, and how best to support recovery. The National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation have invested £8.4 million in the Post-HOSPitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID), led by Christopher Brightling at the University of Leicester. The outputs of that research will continue to inform future NHS service design and provision.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of personal protective equipment at the covid-19 walk-in testing site in Tiviot Dale Church, Stockport; and what plans the Government has to help ensure the adequacy of supplies of that equipment during a potential second wave of covid-19 infections.

The Government has worked with private sector partners to establish local test sites in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals for COVID-19 without access to a car as part of the Government’s national testing programme. They are set up in different types of locations, such as car parks, town halls and sports courts, where there is space and local demand for testing.

We have detailed clinical operating procedures, developed in collaboration with clinical experts, for local walk-through testing sites. Layouts at walk-through testing sites have been carefully designed to ensure people can move around them safely and prevent spread of the virus; social distancing will be maintained throughout the testing process; and people attending the sites are asked to wear a face covering.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to seek advice on test and trace from those European partners that have had functioning systems in place since May 2020 instead of working with the private sector.

The NHS Test and Trace service which was launched in England on 28 May, brings together testing, contact tracing and outbreak management into an end-to-end service to combat the spread of COVID-19 transmission. This involves working across local government and local communities, Public Health England, other national bodies and a wide range of partner organisations.

We have developed a test and trace service that is best for the needs of the United Kingdom and for the National Health Service, but we continue to follow guidance from the World Health Organization and we are learning from international best practice. We are working closely with other countries to understand the most effective ways for reaching as many cases and contacts as possible in order to reduce the spread of the virus.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the number of disabled people who are financially affected by charges for doctors letters and statements.

The Department does not hold data on the number of disabled people who are financially affected by charges for doctors’ letters and statements.

The General Medical Services and Personal Medical Services Regulations contain a list of statutory certificates that general practitioner (GP) practices are required to provide without charge. Practices are free to charge for the completion of certificates, forms and letters that are not listed as being exempt. NHS England and NHS Improvement expect practices to charge a reasonable sum, appropriate for the workload involved.

The Government recognises that there are concerns about some fees GPs charge for letters to certify a patient’s health. We are now undertaking a thorough review of levels of bureaucracy in general practice to streamline processes, free up valuable time to care for patients and to ensure consistency and fairness of charges for certification.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide more level three personal protective equipment (PPE) to urgent dental care sites in Greater Manchester so that those sites have adequate PPE required to deliver aerosol generating procedures.

Since Monday 8 June all National Health Service practices were able to start, at their own pace, seeing patients again once they have appropriate social distancing and other safety measures in place. Personal protective equipment (PPE) for dentists is being made available through their business as usual wholesalers. We have also set up new distribution routes for dentistry to ensure continuity of supply for all urgent dental care centres and have placed them on the list of priority areas to receive supplies from Local Resilience Forums. PPE for dental practices will include equipment necessary for aerosol generating procedures.

A risk assessment specifically relating to dentists using FFP2 instead of FFP3 respirators has not been made. Government guidance for dentists states that FFP3 respirators are advised for all aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) to prevent inhalation of aerosols. Some dental work is classed as AGPs. The Health and Safety Executive carried out a rapid review of the evidence of the effectiveness of FFP3, FFP2 and N95 masks earlier this year. The review stated that FFP2 and N95 respirators offer protection against COVID-19 and so may be used if FFP3 respirators are not available. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/face-mask-equivalence-aprons-gowns-eye-protection-coronavirus.htm

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of a potential increase in cancer mortality rates as a result of delays to treatment and surgery arising from the covid-19 outbreak.

No assessment has currently been made. The true impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on cancer mortality rates will become clearer as the results of data collection and analysis are published over time.

In response to COVID-19, 21 Cancer Alliances across England now have arrangements in place for cancer hubs, in order to allow essential and urgent cancer treatment to continue throughout the pandemic period, and we are now working on the restoration and recovery of all cancer services.

As part of the restoration of services, NHS services will continue to identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer, as well as delivering treating patients in cancer hubs, to ensure that referrals, diagnostics and treatment are brought back to pre-pandemic levels.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that nursing homes and care homes receive the oxygen supplies they require.

Where care or nursing home residents are assessed as requiring oxygen by their health care professional, either an oxygen concentrator or oxygen cylinders will be installed by the regional Home Oxygen Service (HOS) provider, who also deliver training on proper use. The HOS provider is then responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the concentrator or replacement of oxygen cylinders as needed. The HOS contracts in England require HOS providers to deliver the equipment within four hours in urgent cases. All the HOS providers have maintained their service levels throughout the COVID-19 pandemic period and supply chains have remained resilient.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to support the Kenyan Government with the global grain shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Countries across East Africa including Kenya are experiencing sharp food price inflation linked to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. A region-wide drought is compounding the impacts of Russia's illegal war. Since January the UK has provided £1 million in humanitarian support to Kenya in response to the drought. We are urgently working with the UN, the G7 and the international community to unlock the export of Ukrainian grain and find practical ways to open up commercial shipping routes.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the UN's World Food Programme eligibility criteria.

The UK works to ensure that all humanitarian assistance reaches the most in need. The humanitarian principle of impartiality guides humanitarian actors to provide aid to those most in need without distinction of nationality, age, race, gender, religious belief, class or political opinions. We continually engage with the World Food Programme (WFP) and other partners through our overseas missions to ensure that those in greatest need are prioritised for UK Aid-funded food assistance.

The FCDO assessment is that WFP has a clear and transparent process for beneficiary targeting and prioritisation. We work closely with our operational partners to ensure they rigorously assess vulnerability and needs at country level. Targeting and prioritisation assessments are made on the basis of the most urgent needs. Eligibility criteria are validated and improved through regular and rigorous consultations with affected communities. Only then is the list of eligibility criteria finalised and applied to activities.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will take steps to ensure that CDC Group’s partnership with DP World leads to the creation and protection of good quality jobs in Africa following the recent dismissal of 800 workers at DP World-owned P&O Ferries.

CDC Group partnered with DP World to modernise and expand ports and logistics across Africa starting with three ports in Dakar, Sokhna and Berbera. Trade enabled through the three initial ports will improve access to vital goods for 35 million people and support 5 million jobs (138,000 created). By 2035, an estimated $51 billion in additional trade is forecast to pass through the ports, equivalent to 3 per cent of Senegal's GDP, 3 per cent of Egypt's GDP and 6 per cent of Somaliland's GDP.

CDC invests in accordance with its Policy on Responsible Investing which is aligned to international best practice and sets out the approach to environment, social and governance (ESG) matters. The Policy on Responsible Investing includes a focus on job quality, including the rights of workers and employees. All investments - including CDC's investment partnership with DP World in Africa - are subject to these standards.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether CDC Group has plans to divest from New Globe Schools, formerly Bridge International Academies.

CDC does not disclose investment plans for individual investments as this is commercially sensitive.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to support the preservation of the Tibetan language across Tibet.

We have serious concerns about the situation in Tibet, including reports of the erosion of Tibetan language and culture. We urge China to respect all fundamental rights across the People's Republic of China, including in Tibet, in line with both its own constitution and the international frameworks to which it is a party. Most recently, on 1 March the Foreign Secretary expressed her concern about the human rights violations occurring in Tibet in an address to the UN Human Rights Council. The UK also joined 43 other countries in supporting a statement at the UN Human Rights Council in June 2021 that expressed deep concern about the human rights situation in Tibet, and called on the Chinese authorities to abide by their human rights obligations.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made representations to the Chinese Government on Chinese boarding schools in Tibet.

We have serious concerns about the situation in Tibet, including reports that Tibetan parents are being coerced into sending their children to residential schools. We continue to urge China to respect all fundamental rights across the People's Republic of China, including in Tibet, in line with both its own constitution and the international frameworks to which it is a party. In June 2021, the UK and 43 other countries joined a statement at the UN Human Rights Council expressing deep concern about the human rights situation in Tibet, and calling on the Chinese authorities to abide by their human rights obligations.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made representations to the Chinese Government to help ensure the preservation of Tibetan language and culture in Chinese-run boarding schools in Tibet.

We have serious concerns about the situation in Tibet, including reports that Tibetan parents are being coerced into sending their children to residential schools. We continue to urge China to respect all fundamental rights across the People's Republic of China, including in Tibet, in line with both its own constitution and the international frameworks to which it is a party. In June 2021, the UK and 43 other countries joined a statement at the UN Human Rights Council expressing deep concern about the human rights situation in Tibet, and calling on the Chinese authorities to abide by their human rights obligations.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 December 2021 to Question 92117 on the British Council, what discussions her Department has held with the British Council on the decision to outsource the delivery of the Turing Scheme; what assessment her Department made of the potential merits of the retention of skills and experience of staff at the British Council when tendering the Turing Scheme contract; and what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the decision to outsource the Turing Scheme on British Council's future revenues and capacity.

FCDO officials meet regularly with British Council counterparts on a range of issues. Decisions relating to the future operation of the Turing scheme were carefully considered by the Department for Education as part of the tendering process and we do not expect the decision to have a major impact on the British Council's over all financial position. The retention of skills and experience of staff alongside wider commercial activities are a matter for the British Council.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help prevent human rights infringements against protestors in Kazakhstan; and what discussions the Government has had with authorities in that country since that unrest began.

The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs is following developments in Kazakhstan closely and is very concerned by the violent clashes witnessed in recent days. Protests should be peaceful and law enforcement responses proportionate and in line with Kazakhstan's international commitments. At the beginning of the protests, President Tokayev signalled his intention to engage with the legitimate demands of peaceful protestors, a fact that we welcomed. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon spoke to the Kazakh Ambassador to the UK on 6 January, and with Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Alimbayev on 7 January. During these meetings, Lord Ahmad was that clear that the right to peaceful protest should be protected, that internet services should be restored, and that the Kazakh authorities should respect their commitments to freedom of speech and expression. Our Ambassador and her team in Nur-Sultan are in contact with the authorities in Kazakhstan and we will continue to engage in the coming days.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what cultural affairs activity it will no longer carry out as a result of the reduction in size of the British Council.

The unprecedented impact of the pandemic required the Government to take tough but necessary decisions on the British Council's global presence and reinforced the need for the Council to do more to adapt to a changing world. We have allocated over £600 million since the pandemic hit to secure the Council's future. Final Spending Review allocations for 2022/2025 will be confirmed after the conclusion of the FCDO business planning process, after which future cultural and other programme activity will be decided. The British Council are in the process of finalising their future operating model, including how professional services will be delivered. Matters relating to workforce planning and talent management are for the British Council to determine.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the effect on the effectiveness of the Government's promotion of global Britain of the British Council removing its in-country presence from all but 25 countries.

The unprecedented impact of the pandemic required the Government to take tough but necessary decisions on the British Council's global presence and reinforced the need for the Council to do more to adapt to a changing world. We have allocated over £600 million since the pandemic hit to secure the Council's future. Final Spending Review allocations for 2022/2025 will be confirmed after the conclusion of the FCDO business planning process, after which future cultural and other programme activity will be decided. The British Council are in the process of finalising their future operating model, including how professional services will be delivered. Matters relating to workforce planning and talent management are for the British Council to determine.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will instruct the British Council to publish its business plan for its restructuring programme; and if she will make a statement.

The unprecedented impact of the pandemic required the Government to take tough but necessary decisions on the British Council's global presence and reinforced the need for the Council to do more to adapt to a changing world. We have allocated over £600 million since the pandemic hit to secure the Council's future. Final Spending Review allocations for 2022/2025 will be confirmed after the conclusion of the FCDO business planning process, after which future cultural and other programme activity will be decided. The British Council are in the process of finalising their future operating model, including how professional services will be delivered. Matters relating to workforce planning and talent management are for the British Council to determine.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the impact of outsourcing the delivery of the Turing Scheme on the retention of skills and experience in the British Council.

The unprecedented impact of the pandemic required the Government to take tough but necessary decisions on the British Council's global presence and reinforced the need for the Council to do more to adapt to a changing world. We have allocated over £600 million since the pandemic hit to secure the Council's future. Final Spending Review allocations for 2022/2025 will be confirmed after the conclusion of the FCDO business planning process, after which future cultural and other programme activity will be decided. The British Council are in the process of finalising their future operating model, including how professional services will be delivered. Matters relating to workforce planning and talent management are for the British Council to determine.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2021 to Question 51746, on what date professional services at the British Council were put out to tender, along with the facilities management roles which are due to transfer to Integral in 2022.

The unprecedented impact of the pandemic required the Government to take tough but necessary decisions on the British Council's global presence and reinforced the need for the Council to do more to adapt to a changing world. We have allocated over £600 million since the pandemic hit to secure the Council's future. Final Spending Review allocations for 2022/2025 will be confirmed after the conclusion of the FCDO business planning process, after which future cultural and other programme activity will be decided. The British Council are in the process of finalising their future operating model, including how professional services will be delivered. Matters relating to workforce planning and talent management are for the British Council to determine.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what further steps she plans to take to help British Council staff trapped in Afghanistan to come to the UK under the ARAP scheme.

The former British Council employees who sought resettlement have already arrived in the UK, together with their dependents. In August the Government also agreed to resettle more than 50 British Council contractors. Many of these too have already arrived in the UK with their families. Travel within and out of Afghanistan remains difficult. We continue to urge the Taliban to allow safe passage, and wherever possible are in touch with those who are still in Afghanistan and eligible to come to the UK so that we can assist them.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 19 February 2021 to Question 155443 on Sultana Khaya, if she will instruct HM Ambassador to raise with the Government of Morocco the alleged invasion of Sultana Khaya’s house and her sexual abuse by Moroccan authorities on 8 and 15 November 2021.

We are aware of reports concerning Sultana Khaya and continue to closely monitor the case. Support for human rights is a priority around the world, and we regularly discuss human rights issues and specific cases with Morocco.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make representations to her Colombian counterpart on the reported armed attack on the house of Colombian social activist Arnobis Zapata in which his 14-year-old son was injured.

UK ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights issues, as well as specific cases of concern, with the Colombian Government. Most recently, the UK's Minister for the Environment, Lord Goldsmith, raised our concerns around violence and threats toward human rights and environmental defenders on a visit to Colombia from 5-8 October.

Colombia is a UK 'Human Rights Priority Country,' and we consistently raise our concerns regarding violence against human rights' defenders and social leaders at the UN Security Council, as we did at meetings in July, and on 14 October. We look to the Colombian Government to further integrate its presence in conflict-affected areas, and strengthen the institutions that can investigate and prosecute the criminal actors responsible. We will continue to raise our concerns with the relevant state actors in Colombia.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make representations to the Moroccan Government on the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights urging that country to respect the Saharawis’ right to consent with regard to the exploitation of their resources.

The UK notes the UN legal view from 2002, which stated that commercial activity in Western Sahara (including the exploration for, and exploitation of natural resources) is not inherently illegal but must be for the benefit of people of Western Sahara.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations her Department has made to the Bangladeshi government following recent violence against the Hindu community.

The UK Government is concerned about the recent violence directed against Hindu Durga Puja celebrations across various districts in Bangladesh. We engage with the Government of Bangladesh on the importance of freedom of religion or belief, which remains a priority for the UK Government. The British High Commissioner to Bangladesh has publicly expressed his condolences to the victims of the violence and the UK's support for those working for religious tolerance and harmony in Bangladesh and around the world.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer to Question 155443, on Sultana Khaya, whether HM Ambassador to Morocco raised the matter with the Moroccan government; and what the response of that government was.

We are aware of reports concerning Sultana Khaya and continue to monitor the case. Support for human rights is a priority around the world, and we regularly discuss human rights issues with Morocco.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total cost is of the UK's involvement in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2021.

The total cost of British military operations in Afghanistan since 2001 (up to and including financial year 2019-20) was £22.7 billion. The UK’s total aid contribution to Afghanistan since 2001 is around £3.5 billion. This financial year, the UK is doubling its aid to Afghanistan to £286 million to respond rapidly to the crisis. This includes £30 million for responding to the needs of Afghan refugees in the region, of which, £10 million has been made available immediately to humanitarian partners, such as the UNHCR, to enable essential supplies such as shelters to be despatched to the Afghan borders as well as setting up sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to provide evacuation for LGBTQ+ people escaping persecution in Afghanistan.

We worked round the clock to airlift over 15000 people out of Afghanistan. We are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK can secure for safe passage. Minister for Human Rights Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to protect LGBTQ+ people from persecution, arrest and potential execution in Afghanistan.

We worked round the clock to airlift over 15000 people out of Afghanistan. We are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK can secure for safe passage. Minister for Human Rights Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people. As the Prime Minister said earlier this week, we will also include Afghans who have contributed to civil society or who face a particular risk from the Taliban, for example because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights or because of their gender, sexuality or religion.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, (a) how much of CDC Group’s £12.1 million commitment to the African Infrastructure Investment Fund III has been disbursed and (b) to what projects.

CDC's 2020 commitment to African Infrastructure Investment Fund III follows an earlier commitment in 2017 and brings CDC's total commitment to the fund to $65.63 million. CDC does not disclose disbursement information for individual investments as this is commercially sensitive.

CDC makes available information on the underlying investments made by funds into which it has invested on its website: https://www.cdcgroup.com/en/our-impact/fund/african-infrastructure-investment-fund-iii/

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, (a) how much of CDC Group’s £40.5 million commitment to the AfricInvest Fund IV has been disbursed and (b) to which projects those funds have been allocated.

CDC does not disclose disbursement information for individual investments as this is commercially sensitive.

CDC makes available information on the underlying investments made by funds into which it has invested on its website: https://www.cdcgroup.com/en/our-impact/fund/africinvest-iv/

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, (a) how much of CDC Group’s £81 million commitment to the Helios Investor IV fund has been disbursed and (b) to which projects those funds have been allocated.

CDC does not disclose disbursement information for individual investments as this is commercially sensitive.

CDC makes available information on the underlying investments made by funds into which it has invested on its website: https://www.cdcgroup.com/en/our-impact/fund/helios-investors-iv/

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations his Department has made to the Turkish Government in response to violence against the People's Democratic Party in that country.

The attack on the office of the People's Democratic Party (HDP) in Izmir, and the death of an HDP employee, was a shocking event. Our Embassy meets regularly with the HDP leadership, as it does with other opposition parties, to discuss their concerns, including the arrests of HDP MPs. We will continue to engage closely with Turkey to encourage the full protection of the fundamental rights and security of all peoples, regardless of their legitimate political affiliations, particularly in the areas of freedom of expression and assembly, press freedom and the treatment of detainees.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support in terms of (a) vaccinations and (b) general medical assistance the Government has provided to Nepal since the outbreak of covid-19 in that country.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the British Embassy in Kathmandu has reprioritised over £40 million of its development budget including: the construction of an oxygen plant in a Kathmandu hospital; technical advice to local government on managing the impact of COVID-19; water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to support around 400,000 people; safe spaces for women in isolation centres; cash and voucher assistance for the most vulnerable; and nutrition support for pregnant and lactating women. In response to the second wave of COVID-19 the UK has also donated 260 ventilators and various pieces of personal protective equipment as well as constructing an oxygen plant in Kathmandu.

With regards to vaccines, the UK is a leading donor to COVAX, having committed £548 million to the scheme. COVAX has delivered 348,000 doses to Nepal so far and another tranche is expected in the coming months. As G7 chair this year the UK has also secured a commitment to donate 1 billion vaccine doses to the developing world by June 2022, including 100 million donated by the UK. The majority of these doses will be donated to COVAX. As shareholders and contributors to both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, the UK has also pushed hard for multilateral organisations to provide finance to countries for vaccine procurement, including Nepal. The World Bank has now made at least $75 million available to the Government of Nepal for that purpose; a further $165 million will soon be proposed to the board of the Asian Development Bank, which the UK will also support.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support the Government has provided to Nepal to (a) help halt the spread of covid-19 and (b) roll out vaccines.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the British Embassy in Kathmandu has helped Nepal respond to COVID-19 by reprioritising over £40 million of its aid budget. This support has included the construction of an oxygen plant in a Kathmandu hospital; technical advice to local government on managing the impact of COVID-19; water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to support around 300,000 people; safe spaces for women in isolation centres; cash and voucher assistance for the most vulnerable; and nutrition support for pregnant and lactating women. On 19 May, Lord Ahmad discussed with Foreign Minister Gyawali how the UK could continue to support Nepal's fight against the second wave of COVID-19. The UK is also a leading donor to COVAX, having committed £548 million to the scheme. COVAX has allocated 2,000,000 vaccine doses to Nepal, of which 348,000 have already been delivered.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what diplomatic steps the Government is taking to ensure that (a) the right to protest and (b) freedom of association is respected in Colombia.

We are clear that we support the right of all Colombians to protest peacefully, and that the right to peaceful assembly and association must be guaranteed. Colombia is a UK 'Human Rights Priority Country,' and we have raised our concerns with the relevant state actors in Colombia since protests began. Most recently, I spoke with acting Foreign Minister Adriana Mejía on 14 May to express our concerns, and welcome Colombia's commitment to transparent investigations into allegations of abuse.

We look to the Colombian authorities to investigate fully any excessive use of force, and take appropriate action against those responsible. Security services must be held accountable for their actions, with all complaints thoroughly investigated. We will continue to work closely with the UN Verification Mission, and the UN Office of the High Representative for Human Rights in Colombia, as well as the wider international community, in support of their efforts to reduce tensions and promote dialogue.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)