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Written Question
Energy: Meters
Friday 26th January 2024

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero:

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent steps her Department has taken to help increase the take-up of smart meters.

Answered by Amanda Solloway - Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury

The Government is committed to enabling as many households and small businesses to benefit from smart meters as soon as possible. This is why we’ve set energy suppliers ambitious, but realistic minimum installation targets to deliver the rollout.

Energy suppliers are responsible for engaging their customers and encouraging them to upgrade to smart metering. Smart Energy GB, an independent not for profit organisation is responsible for national consumer engagement on the rollout in Great Britain.

Ofgem is responsible for regulating both energy suppliers and Smart Energy GB against their statutory obligations.


Written Question
Boilers: Public Consultation
Friday 26th January 2024

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero:

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what her Department's expected timeline is to publish its response to the Improving boiler standards and efficiency consultation, published on 13 December 2022.

Answered by Amanda Solloway - Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury

The consultation on Improving Boiler Standards and Efficiency launched on 13 December 2022 and closed on 22 March 2023. We have been analysing responses and plan to publish a government response in due course.


Written Question
Energy: Housing
Friday 26th January 2024

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero:

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to case study six of research commissioned by her Department entitled Defining and identifying complex-to-decarbonise homes and retrofit solutions Annex C case studies, published on 3 January 2024, what steps her Department plans to take to help consumers with Victorian 'Eco Home' whole house retrofit work.

Answered by Amanda Solloway - Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury

The Government published the research report ‘Defining and identifying complex-to-decarbonise homes’ alongside the cross-Government review ‘Adapting historic homes for energy efficiency: a review of the barriers’ in January 2024. The review looks at the practical barriers to energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures in historic homes, and sets out the actions the Government is taking to overcome these barriers.

The Government is investing £6.6 billion over this Parliament on clean heat and improving energy efficiency in buildings, reducing our reliance on fossil fuel heating. In addition, £6 billion of new Government funding will be made available from 2025 to 2028.


Written Question
Special Educational Needs: Sign Language
Monday 15th January 2024

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of education health and care plans included funding for courses in British Sign Language in each of the last five years.

Answered by David Johnston - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

The department does not hold the data requested.

The department collects data from local authorities on the number of children and young people with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, but this does not include information on any specific education courses that are included in EHC plans.


Written Question
Sign Language: Training
Monday 15th January 2024

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help improve pre-school communication for deaf children (a) in early years settings and (b) between family members.

Answered by David Johnston - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

The department wants every child to receive a high standard of early education and we are committed to supporting children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), including in early years.

The early years foundation stage statutory framework states that all providers must have arrangements in place to support children with SEND, including deaf children. Maintained schools, maintained nursery schools and all providers who are funded by the local authority to deliver early education places must have regard to the SEND code of practice.

The government is also investing approximately £300 million to enable 75 local authorities to create family hubs, and to improve vital services to give every baby the best start in life, including those with SEND. Staff in family hubs should be knowledgeable about SEND services and be able to connect families to appropriate support and services. SEND information advice and support may be physically located within the hub buildings, and should be in an accessible format, addressing wider accessibility needs. Staff can make referrals to appropriate services within the hub network and make families aware of education, health and care request procedure.

Family hubs provide services for children of all ages (0-19 or 0-25 for families with children who have SEND), with a great start for life offer at their core. Family hubs are a way of joining up locally to improve access to services, the connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and prioritise strengthening the relationships. On 10 January 2024, the government announced that every one of the 75 local authorities in the family hubs and start for life programme have now opened family hubs, creating a welcoming place where families with children aged 0-19, or 25 with SEND, can be connected to a wide range of services for families.

It is important that the government leads by example. The duties in the British sign language (BSL) Act encourage government departments to improve how they communicate with and meet the needs of the deaf community. The department is keen to ensure that every department is aware of, and understands, the legal requirements of the BSL Act. The department is also keen that, from one reporting period to the next, every department can show a steady and significant improvement in their use of BSL.


Written Question
Sign Language: Education
Monday 15th January 2024

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Disability Unit has made a recent assessment of the (a) level of demand for and (b) adequacy of the availability of courses in British Sign Language.

Answered by Mims Davies - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

The Disability Unit in the Cabinet Office has not made any recent assessments of the (a) level of demand for and (b) adequacy of the availability of courses in British Sign Language (BSL) as this is the remit of the Department of Education. However, following the passage of the BSL Act (2022), the Government established a non-statutory BSL Advisory Board who will continue to consider and advise the Government on matters of importance to the d/Deaf community.


Written Question
Fisheries
Friday 8th December 2023

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to support fishing communities.

Answered by Mark Spencer - Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Fisheries are a priority for this Government. Since the fishing sector rightly want stocks to be there for the future, sustainability is critical to the economy and the environment. We are showing our support in a variety of ways.

We secured quota uplifts, amounting to £146 million by 2026, due to leaving the EU.

We have started to develop Fisheries Management Plans which allow more bespoke approaches to managing our stocks, including those that were badly protected by the Common Fisheries Policy. This will help ensure economic, environmental and social sustainability in the long term.

We have opened new sustainable fisheries for spurdog and bluefin tuna, and have responded to requests to improve the management of crawfish.

Additionally, the £100 million UK Seafood Fund is bringing long-term economic benefits to coastal communities.


Written Question
Renewable Energy: Community Development
Tuesday 21st November 2023

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero:

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero during Consideration of Lords message on the Energy Bill [Lords] on 18 October 2023, Official Report, column 352, what his planned timetable is for the consultation on barriers to developing community energy projects.

Answered by Graham Stuart - Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

The Government is working with the Community Energy Contact Group on the content of the annual report and consultation. Until these discussions have concluded, the Government is unable to outline a definitive timeline.


Written Question
Health Services
Friday 17th November 2023

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on (a) establishing and (b) defining the priorities of the Highly Specialised Services Programme Board.

Answered by Andrew Stephenson - Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

We will not define the priorities of the Highly Specialised Services Programme Board. NHS England established the Highly Specialised Services Oversight Group (HSSOG), previously referred to as the Highly Specialised Services Programme Board, in April 2023 to ensure that there is a continued clear focus on highly specialised services and rare diseases.

HSSOG is the operational group responsible for discharging NHS England’s duties, powers and responsibilities in respect of the 80 highly specialised services. HSSOG’s membership is across the United Kingdom and includes representation from integrated care boards.

HSSOG takes its strategic clinical advice and clinical leadership from the Rare Diseases Advisory Group and has a role in implementing the England Rare Diseases Action Plan.


Written Question
Energy: Conservation
Friday 17th November 2023

Asked by: Peter Aldous (Conservative - Waveney)

Question to the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero:

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, when her Department plans to respond to its consultation on minimum energy efficiency standards for the non-domestic private rented sector.

Answered by Graham Stuart - Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

The Government has reviewed the responses to its consultations on minimum energy efficiency standards in the non-domestic private rented sector. The policy design is being reviewed to ensure it remains fair and proportionate for landlords and tenants and to help realise the benefits to businesses of reduced energy bills, more comfortable and healthier workplaces and greater energy security.

The Government is engaging with commercial building owners and representative groups to understand the different pathways to support decarbonisation and give certainty to the energy efficiency supply chain. The response will be published in due course.