Rachael Maskell Portrait

Rachael Maskell

Labour (Co-op) - York Central

Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

(since April 2020)
Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights
7th Jan 2020 - 6th Apr 2020
Shadow Minister (Transport)
3rd Jul 2017 - 7th Jan 2020
Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee)
31st Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee)
28th Oct 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Jun 2016 - 1st Feb 2017
Shadow Minister (Defence)
18th Sep 2015 - 27th Jun 2016
Health and Social Care Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 26th Oct 2015


Department Event
Thursday 1st July 2021
09:30
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
1 Jul 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 20th July 2021
10:00
Division Votes
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Investing in Children and Young People
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 193 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 224 Noes - 0
Speeches
Monday 21st June 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

Will the Secretary of State ensure that, instead of experiencing disruption to a third academic year, universities are able to …

Written Answers
Tuesday 22nd June 2021
Armed Forces: Coronavirus
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the quarantine arrangements are for armed forces personnel returning to the …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 30th October 2019
York City Knights Rugby League Club
That this House congratulates York City Knights Rugby League Club on achieving third place in the Championship League table in …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: GMB
Address of donor: Grove Hall, 60 College Grove Road, Wakefield WF1 3RN
Amount of donation or …
EDM signed
Tuesday 22nd June 2021
GKN Automotive alternative plan
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of …
Supported Legislation
Automatic Electoral Registration (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Rachael Maskell has voted in 257 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

17 Jun 2020 - Health and Personal Social Services - View Vote Context
Rachael Maskell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Labour No votes vs 135 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 253 Noes - 136
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Rachael Maskell voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Labour No votes vs 189 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
View All Rachael Maskell 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
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(30 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(22 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(17 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(39 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(24 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(24 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Rachael Maskell's debates

York Central Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest York Central signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

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.

Schools should move to online learning from 9 December so that all students and school staff have a chance to isolate for two weeks and then can safely meet older relatives.

The Government should cancel GCSEs and A Levels in 2021 due to the disruption of Covid-19. By the time students go back to normal learning, 6 months will have passed since schools were closed to most pupils. This has already had a huge impact on the studying of so many.

Close down schools and colleges due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. We are seeing cases of students and teachers catching the virus since schools have reopened.

The threat of covid19 is real. Children can’t be expected to maintain sufficient social distancing to keep this virus from spreading. They are social creatures. Allowing them back to school could cause a new spike in cases. They could bring it back home, even if they are a-symptomatic.

12 kids in the UK are diagnosed with cancer daily. 1 in 5 will die within 5 years, often of the deadliest types like DIPG (brainstem cancer) - fatal on diagnosis & other cancers on relapse. Yet there has been little, or no, funding for research into these cancers and little, or no, progress.

All students should be reimbursed of this years tuition fees as universities are now online only due to COVID-19, with only powerpoints online for learning materials which is not worthy of up to £9,250. Furthermore, all assessments are being reconsidered to ‘make do’ and build up credits.

As students are unable to access facilities or continue with their eduction at their university setting in the following semester, we would like to request that the government considers refunding tuition payments for Semester 3.

The quality of online lectures is not equal to face-to-face lectures. Students should not have to pay full tuition fees for online lectures, without experiencing university life. The Government should require UK universities to partially refund tuition fees while online teaching is implemented.

Students across the UK have returned to University to be told our learning will be predominantly online for the foreseeable future. The Government should therefore lower our tuition fees and we should receive a partial refund for the effects this will have on our learning and university experience.

The University and College Union has repeatedly called on its members to strike. However, strikes are ineffective if students, not employees are the main source of revenue. For this to change, government needs to step in and require universities to reimburse tuition fees lost due to strike action.

Weddings take months and even years of intricate planning. Myself and many others believe the maximum number of guests authorised at wedding ceremonies should be increased. The number of guests permitted at weddings should be calculated according to venue capacity.

Extend funding to nightclubs, dance music events and festivals as part of the £1.57bn support package announced by the government for Britain's arts and culture sector to survive the hit from the pandemic. #LetUSDance

A significant number of students will sit their final 2021 examinations. The outcome of which undoubtedly will be their passport, for many of their future life chances and successes. In order for this to be done fairly, it is imperative that the amount of content they are tested on is reduced.

We want the Education Secretary and the Government to step in and review the exam board’s decision on how GCSE and A-Level grades will be calculated and awarded due to the current coronavirus crisis. We want a better solution than just using our previous data to be the basis of our grade.

In light of the recent outbreak and lock down, those on maternity leave should be given 3 extra months paid leave, at least. This time is for bonding and social engaging with other parents and babies through baby groups which are vital for development and now everything has been cancelled.


Latest EDMs signed by Rachael Maskell

22nd June 2021
Rachael Maskell signed this EDM on Tuesday 22nd June 2021

GKN Automotive alternative plan

Tabled by: Jack Dromey (Labour - Birmingham, Erdington)
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of over 500 highly skilled jobs and work transferred to continental Europe; notes that GKN’s origins trace back to the industrial revolution, with over 260 years of history that include making …
50 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jun 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 48
Independent: 2
26th May 2021
Rachael Maskell signed this EDM on Thursday 27th May 2021

Apology for Forced Adoption

Tabled by: Harriet Harman (Labour - Camberwell and Peckham)
That this House recognises the great injustice, suffering and lifetime of pain caused to mothers and their children separated by forced adoption in the UK in the three decades after the Second World War, when young unmarried mothers were coerced into handing over their new-born children, and apologises for it; …
62 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Jun 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 35
Scottish National Party: 11
Liberal Democrat: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Conservative: 1
Alba Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Rachael Maskell's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Rachael Maskell, 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.


Rachael Maskell has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Rachael Maskell has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Rachael Maskell has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


1194 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
12 Other Department Questions
9th Jun 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he will take to involve all the regions of the UK in the COP26 summit.

We are committed to ensuring an inclusive, whole of society COP26, representative of all of the UK. This will be a key objective as we select organisations to be represented in the Green Zone and on the UK Pavilion. Through our domestic ‘Together for our Planet’ campaign we are building awareness and understanding of COP26 across the UK, giving people the chance to get involved in the run-up to the Summit. For example, we recently ran our Creative Earth art competition inviting young people from around the UK to design artwork setting out their vision for the planet, and the winners will be showcased at COP26 in November. We have also encouraged stakeholders who would like to be involved in events or showcasing in UKG managed spaces at COP26 to submit bids through an Expression of Interest process, and we have received proposals from stakeholders from across the UK.

We are working with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to ensure an inclusive and ambitious summit for the whole of the UK. All parts of the UK will have important roles to play in ensuring the summit’s success. I have invited climate change Ministers from the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to participate in a regular devolved administrations Group to ensure effective engagement and collaboration on COP26 in support of the delivery of an inclusive and welcoming COP26. The third meeting was held last week.

I also chair the COP26 UK Mayors and Regions Advisory Council with mayors and local leaders from across the UK. The most recent meeting was on 15 March. Additionally, we work closely with several Non-State Actor organisations such as UK100 to further engage with local leaders.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
17th May 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what steps he is taking to help ensure there are opportunities for civil society to engage with the COP26.

Civil society, with their links to on-the-ground communities and practitioners, are key partners to achieve the goals we have set for COP26. We want to work with civil society to amplify and learn from the voices of those most affected by climate change, to inspire increased climate ambition and to deliver a truly all-of-society and inclusive COP.

This is why I have set up an International COP26 Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council so that we can hear and act on the expertise of civil society groups. I have also committed to, and have been meeting young people and civil society in every country that I visit in the run up to November. Finally, I have a dedicated civil society engagement team in the COP26 Unit to ensure civil society voices are heard at COP26. My officials run regular calls with a large network of civil society organisations to share updates on our planning for COP26.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Apr 2021
Pay
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans she has to bring forward legislative proposals to require employers to display the salary range when advertising employment opportunities.

Supporting employers through robust insights and evidence is at the heart of our commitment to gender equality in the workplace. As the Behavioural Insights Team guidance sets out, if employers clearly communicate the salary range on offer for a role it encourages better informed salary negotiations. There is no formal policy on how employers should communicate salary ranges for job offers but it is clear that transparency and better designed processes contribute to better workplace outcomes.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the report of the Behavioural Insights Team, Reducing the gender pay gap and improving gender equality in organisations: Evidence-based actions for employers, whether it is Government policy to encourage employers to clearly communicate the salary range on offer for a role to encourage women to negotiate their salary as an effective action to close the gender pay gap.

Supporting employers through robust insights and evidence is at the heart of our commitment to gender equality in the workplace. As the Behavioural Insights Team guidance sets out, if employers clearly communicate the salary range on offer for a role it encourages better informed salary negotiations. There is no formal policy on how employers should communicate salary ranges for job offers but it is clear that transparency and better designed processes contribute to better workplace outcomes.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress has been made on the review of the Clergy Discipline Measure.

The review group at Lambeth Palace is working to bring forward proposals to the General Synod for the replacement of the Clergy Discipline Measure. Sadly, because of the pandemic, the public consultations that were planned to take place at the end of 2020 have only just happened. A wide range of individuals and groups have responded to the interim proposals that the Working Group has put forward. The review group are now collating those responses and intend to formulate their proposals into a new piece of legislation. This new Measure will include an early triaging process, an alternative route for mediation, and ensure that adequate resources are made available to make the administration of discipline more efficient and transparent for all involved.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what support is being made available to cathedrals to tackle the financial challenges they are facing as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Church of England's 42 cathedrals contribute over £220million to the national economy and have, on average 10 million visitors in a typical year. The closure of churches and cathedrals due to Covid-19 has severely reduced both their ability to support the local and national economy. Estimates suggest that cathedrals are facing anticipated losses due to the pandemic of around £28million in 2020 and a projected further £15million in 2021.

Cathedrals are eligible and are being encouraged to apply for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, and the Government's £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund.

The Church Commissioners have made money available to cathedrals in response to the pandemic, including through the £10 million cathedral sustainability fund, of which £1million is to support cathedrals wage bills, £1million to support Lay Clerks and cathedral music, £1million to support specialist heritage trades and a further £5 million on other projects to make cathedrals more sustainable. The Church Commissioners are currently consulting all cathedrals about their current circumstances and potential future financial and non-financial support needs.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on a trade agreement with the EU.

We want to reach an agreement and we believe there is still time. We will continue to work hard to achieve it.

The eighth round of negotiations began on 8 September and we hope to make quick progress on an agreement based on our reasonable proposal for a standard free trade agreement, like the one the EU has agreed with Canada and so many others.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much his Department spent on scoping a potential move of the House of Lords to York.

The Prime Minister wrote to the CEOs of the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority requesting that the strategic review of the Restoration and Renewal Programme give consideration to decant locations outside of London, including York. The Government looks forward to the findings of the strategic review. It will be Parliament that will take the final decision on how to proceed.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of whether non-covid deaths in care homes at the peak of the outbreak were accurately recorded.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of (a) trends in the level of non-covid-19 deaths during the peak of the outbreak and (b) the level of those deaths which resulted directly from that outbreak.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
19th May 2020
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what the Commissioners' timetable is for enabling churches to reopen safely for funeral services after the covid-19 lockdown.

The Church Commissioners do not have responsibility for setting a timetable for the reopening of church buildings for funeral services. Current guidance from the House of Bishops is not to conduct funeral services in church buildings because of widely expressed concerns about parishes having capacity to conduct such funerals safely, including being able to clean churches thoroughly between services to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. This is guidance, not instruction.

We are acutely aware of the anguish of those not able to have or attend a funeral in their parish church in the current circumstances. Where it is requested a priest will be present to conduct a funeral service, either at a crematorium or at the churchyard. The House of Bishops meets regularly to review its guidance which will be updated in line with changing circumstances, and published on the Church of England website.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to appoint the chair of the proposed public inquiry into the covid-19 outbreak; and what consultation process he plans to hold prior to appointing that role.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by data and scientific advice and have acted quickly and decisively to save lives and livelihoods.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed to this House that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Throughout the pandemic, senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he plans to take to ensure that representatives of local (a) authorities and (b) resilience forums are consulted on the scope of the proposed public inquiry into the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by data and scientific advice and have acted quickly and decisively to save lives and livelihoods.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed to this House that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Throughout the pandemic, senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he plans to take to ensure that NHS staff are consulted on the scope of the proposed public inquiry into the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by data and scientific advice and have acted quickly and decisively to save lives and livelihoods.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed to this House that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Throughout the pandemic, senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he plans to take to ensure that hon. Members are consulted on the scope of proposed public inquiry into the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by data and scientific advice and have acted quickly and decisively to save lives and livelihoods.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed to this House that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Throughout the pandemic, senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how he plans to engage with families that have been bereaved as a result of the covid-19 outbreak to ensure that they can contribute to the scope of the proposed inquiry into that outbreak.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been guided by data and scientific advice and have acted quickly and decisively to save lives and livelihoods.

Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our sympathies are with everyone who has lost loved ones.

On 12 May, the Prime Minister confirmed to this House that a public inquiry into COVID-19 would be established on a statutory basis, with full formal powers, and that it will begin its work in spring 2022.

Further details, including terms of reference, will be set out in due course.

Throughout the pandemic, senior ministers, including the Prime Minister, have met and will continue to meet with bereaved families.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
21st May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons more than 30 people are allowed to attend a worship service while weddings are restricted to 30 people during stage three of the covid-19 roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of lifting that limit in line with worship service restrictions.

The Events Research Programme aims to examine the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from attendance at events and explore ways to enable people to attend a range of events safely. To achieve this, the programme will explore how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions (actions that people can take to mitigate the spread of coronavirus) can inform decisions on safely lifting restrictions at events from Step 4. The initial research pilots have already started and are taking place throughout May.

At Step 4, which will be no earlier than 21 June, the Government aims to remove all limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme and the Social Distancing Review. Further guidance will be issued ahead of Step 4.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
14th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, (a) what assessment he has made of adequacy of communication on the need for students to complete Census forms for both their home and term-time address, and ((b) whether fines will be administered to students who have not completed both versions of the Census.

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

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason Census 2021 did not include gender identity on the forms required to be completed by students at their term-time address.

Students should complete the household or individual census questionnaires depending on whether or not they have a different address at term time. Both questionnaires contain the voluntary question on gender identity.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many cases of voter fraud have been identified in (a) York, (b) Yorkshire, (c) England and (d) UK in each of the last 10 years.

The Electoral Commission works with police forces to collect data on the number of allegations and cases of electoral fraud and publishes the data on its website.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he plans to develop a Government conference centre on York Central development site.

The Government Property Agency recently studied the feasibility of locating a Government Conference Centre in York to provide an appropriate venue in the North of England to host international summits and conferences for the G7, G20 and Nato. An update will be provided in due course.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the extent to which people seeking support to complete Census 2021 experienced technical and communication problems in accessing that support.

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

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken to establish the Civil Society Forum since the end of the transition period.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for a Civil Society Forum - composed of a balanced representation of UK and EU business and civil society groups - to discuss the implementation of the trade, transport and fisheries part of the Agreement.

We expect to agree with the EU at the Partnership Council the operational guidelines for the conduct of this Forum, and work with the EU to facilitate its first meeting this year.

We will of course continue to engage with business and civil society in the usual way, including on issues relating to TCA implementation.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
11th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people have taken their own life in each month of the last five years.

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

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reasons the information provided on the number of his Department's jobs that will be moved to York was different in the Answer of 15 April 2021 to Question 179241 and his oral contribution of 25 March 2021, Official Report, column 1038.

As outlined in both the answer to PQ 179241 on 15 April and in the oral contribution of 25 March, Cabinet Office Ministers have consistently informed the House of the Government’s commitment to relocating roles to regions and nations of the UK. More detailed plans for growth in York will be set out in due course.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether people who have requested but not received paper Census 2021 forms will be subject to a fine.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason there has been a delay in distributing paper census forms.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many Cabinet Office jobs he plans to relocate to York; and by when those jobs will be so relocated.

Places for Growth was established to contribute towards the government’s levelling up aims and commits to relocating 22,000 civil service roles from central London to the regions and nations of the UK by the end of the decade.

The Government wants to increase senior policy and decision making roles in all regions and nations of the UK and therefore all UK Civil Service roles are in scope to relocate. Thorough workforce and location analysis will inform departments decisions, helping them to select places that have the skills and capacity to meet their needs and flourish in their chosen locations.

Plans for growth in York will be announced by the Cabinet Office in due course.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what framework the Government uses to determine which civil service jobs are relocated to which locations.

Places for Growth was established to contribute towards the government’s levelling up aims and commits to relocating 22,000 civil service roles from central London to the regions and nations of the UK by the end of the decade.

The Government wants to increase senior policy and decision making roles in all regions and nations of the UK and therefore all UK Civil Service roles are in scope to relocate. Thorough workforce and location analysis will inform departments decisions, helping them to select places that have the skills and capacity to meet their needs and flourish in their chosen locations.

Plans for growth in York will be announced by the Cabinet Office in due course.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will set up a helpline for MPs to seek guidance on constituency queries related to the reopening of the economy.

The Government’s recently published ‘Covid-19 Response - Spring 2021’ sets out the sequencing and indicative timing for easing restrictions in the coming months. Guidance for businesses as we progress through the roadmap can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will publish further COVID-Secure guidance as the economy reopens.

In addition, throughout the pandemic, I have hosted regular calls for Honourable Members to provide updates and respond to queries on the Government’s response to the pandemic. My colleagues in other departments also host regular calls for Members which provide opportunities to raise constituency concerns.

These calls are in addition to the regular statements, debates and correspondence channels that are available to Members. We will continue to keep all engagement under review.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) people and (b) people who are (i) women, (ii) disabled, (iii) BAME, (iv) under 25 years old, (v) who are over 55, (vi) who are over 60, (vii) who are over 65 years old have been made redundant in each month in 2020.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the suitability of York as a location for a Government hub as part of the Government's levelling up agenda.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ73093 on 21 July 2020. Further details will be announced in due course.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what (a) Government departments and (b) other public bodies his Department has considered for reloaction to York while assessing the potential merits of creating a Government hub in that city as part of the Government's levelling up agenda.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ73093 on 21 July 2020. Further details will be announced in due course.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish (a) the (i) number and (ii) type of underlying health conditions among and (b) the socio-economic status of people who have died from covid-19.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
20th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it his policy to extend payments for transmitting public service broadcasts to community broadcasters at the same level as commercial broadcasters.

The Government is strongly supportive of the community radio sector and recognises the great value that it offers to communities across the UK.

In response to COVID-19, the Government has developed a national campaign to provide information, guidance and reassurance to the public.

The campaign utilises a wide range of channels to maximise reach and engagement and to ensure our messaging reaches as many people as possible. This includes the use of paid-for advertising on community radio. We currently work with over 35 community radio stations on a weekly basis.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
19th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to publish the framework for the future relationship with the EU.

On 19 May the Government published our draft legal texts, which have previously been shared with the EU negotiating team.

These twelve documents cover the full set of negotiating texts, including a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement as well as side agreements.

We have decided to publish these now as a constructive contribution to the negotiations to ensure they are available to all and to enable the Commission to share the texts with the Member States, in case helpful.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
13th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the outstanding issues to be tackled in negotiations for a future UK-EU trade deal.

The UK and EU have engaged in three full and constructive negotiating rounds. Discussions covered all workstreams including trade in goods and services.

Discussions also showed that a standard Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement could be agreed without major difficulties in the time available.

A Written Ministerial Statement (HCWS245) made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 May updated the progress of negotiations.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, on what date (a) weddings and (b) civil partnerships with (i) a small number of guests and (ii) social distancing measures can resume.

A Plan To Rebuild, the Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, is published on gov.uk and includes details on plans for weddings.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
11th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the evidence base on which the Prime Minister made his statement to (a) the media on 10 May 2020 and (b) the House of Commons on 11 May 2020.

Scientific advice and analysis have underpinned the Government's policy making in the development of current social distancing measures and our recently published strategy. A wide range of advice and analysis was considered to inform the most recent review of measures announced by the Prime Minister in May.

In previous emergencies, such as the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, papers were published only at the end of the emergency. By contrast, in recognition of the importance of transparency in these unprecedented times, SAGE has been publishing statements and accompanying evidence to demonstrate how the scientific understanding of COVID-19 has continued to evolve as new data emerges, and how SAGE’s advice has adapted to findings that reflect a changing situation. The documents are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response. This list will be updated as SAGE releases further papers.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
6th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what equalities impact assessment the Government has made of the effect of (a) each financial package and (b) its approach to managing the public health risk in its response to the covid-19 outbreak.

It is vital that our response to COVID-19 takes account of the different needs of people depending on their circumstances. The government has fulfilled its requirements stemming from the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) for all elements of its response to COVID-19.

The Government pays due regard to the equality impacts of its policy decisions, in line with legal requirements. There are internal procedural requirements and support in place for ensuring that such considerations inform decisions taken by Ministers.

The Government also fulfilled its requirements in relation to the Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations which were brought into force 23 March 2020, as well as for subsequent changes to the policy.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that the daily Government briefing on the covid-19 outbreak has live British Sign Language interpretation.

It is vital that key information is accessible to all. Since the daily press briefings began, British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation has been available on the national broadcaster. The BBC provides BSL interpretation at the daily No10 press conference via its News channel, Youtube channel and iPlayer. This is available free to air.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people in (a) York Central constituency, (b) the City of York and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber were employed on a zero-hours contract in (a) 2010-11 and (b) each subsequent year; and what steps his Department are taking to reduce that number.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what proportion of the workforce in (a) York Central constituency and (b) City of York local authority area were employed on zero hours contracts in (a) 2015 and (b) each subsequent year.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people under 24 years of age that are in (a) training, (b) employment and (c) education in (i) York Central constituency, (ii) York Unitary Authority and (iii) England.

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

The data contained in the previous answer has been identified as incorrect. I have asked the UK Statistics Authority to provide an updated response.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate his Department has made of the average weekly gross earnings of (a) men, (b) women and (c) people working full-time in York in each year since 2015.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the pay gap has been for each ethnic minority community recorded in each of the last 20 years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Cabinet Office, what the pay gap for disabled people has been in each of the last 20 years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people (a) aged under 16, (b) aged under 18, (c) aged under 21, (d) aged under 25 and (e) who are apprentices are employed on zero-hour contracts.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many women are employed on zero-hour contracts.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people are employed on zero-hour contracts.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the gender pay gap has been in each of the last 20 years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish legislative proposals on fire and rehire.

This Government has been clear that we expect employers to treat their employees fairly and in the spirit of partnership. Using threats about firing and rehiring as a negotiation tactic is unacceptable. We expect employers and employees to negotiate new terms and conditions and there are laws around how this must be done, and legal protections in place when firms are considering redundancies.

We asked Acas to conduct an evidence-gathering exercise to improve our evidence base. We welcome Acas’ report on this work which was published on 8 June.

It finds general agreement that fire and rehire should only be used in limited circumstances – such as to prevent job losses when other options have been exhausted. At times, negotiations will sometimes fail and employers may need to make difficult decisions, in order to avoid redundancies and to ensure their business can survive and succeed. We have therefore asked Acas to produce clearer and more comprehensive guidance to help employers explore all the options before considering ‘fire and rehire’.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on ending precarious work.

The Government is committed to bringing forward an Employment Bill when the time is right, to protect and enhance worker’s rights as we build back better from the pandemic. In the meantime, we will continue to take necessary action to support businesses and protect jobs.

We have already made good progress in bringing forward legislation to protect workers’ rights including:

  • Closing a loophole which sees agency workers employed on cheaper rates than permanent workers.
  • Quadrupling the maximum fine for employers who treat their workers badly.
  • Giving all workers the right to receive a statement of their rights from day one.
Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to require landlords that have received covid-19 business support grants from the Government to support their tenants in the event that a tenant business goes into administration because it can no longer afford its lease due to financial difficulties resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to continuing to provide financial support via Local Authorities for businesses that are required to close, or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

Both non-rate paying and rate paying businesses have been invited to apply for Covid business grants individually. The different elements of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) and the mandatory grant schemes are designed so that both rate paying and non-rate paying businesses have access to grants. The ARG is a discretionary grant scheme and Local Authorities will decide whether to pay the business ratepayer or the occupying business (or both).

The Government has introduced a range of measures to support tenants struggling to pay rent: we introduced legislation that provides a moratorium on forfeitures of commercial leases owing to the non-payment of rent, reducing the ability of landlords to evict tenants if they cannot pay their rent due to Covid-19 restrictions. Government has also restricted landlords’ abilities to seize goods in lieu of unpaid rent by making changes to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery. We are protecting businesses from insolvency introducing, via the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020, restrictions on the service of statutory demands and winding-up petitions.

All these measures are in place until 30 June and we will make an announcement before then on their future. Government published a Code of Practice to help support rent negotiations and on 6 April published additional guidance to help landlords and tenants that have not yet been able to reach agreement about accrued rent arrears and ongoing lease terms.

Both BEIS and UKRI have refused grant payments to companies that cannot get a UK bank account in their own name. The BEIS Grant funding agreement template includes the condition that payments must be into a bank located in the UK.

We do not hold any of the further data requested. Data on Government allocations to, and payments by, Local Authorities, for Government Business Support Grants, is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what data his Department holds on (a) landlords that are the ultimate recipients of covid-19 business support grants and (b) the UK tax status of those landlords.

The Government is committed to continuing to provide financial support via Local Authorities for businesses that are required to close, or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

Both non-rate paying and rate paying businesses have been invited to apply for Covid business grants individually. The different elements of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) and the mandatory grant schemes are designed so that both rate paying and non-rate paying businesses have access to grants. The ARG is a discretionary grant scheme and Local Authorities will decide whether to pay the business ratepayer or the occupying business (or both).

The Government has introduced a range of measures to support tenants struggling to pay rent: we introduced legislation that provides a moratorium on forfeitures of commercial leases owing to the non-payment of rent, reducing the ability of landlords to evict tenants if they cannot pay their rent due to Covid-19 restrictions. Government has also restricted landlords’ abilities to seize goods in lieu of unpaid rent by making changes to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery. We are protecting businesses from insolvency introducing, via the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020, restrictions on the service of statutory demands and winding-up petitions.

All these measures are in place until 30 June and we will make an announcement before then on their future. Government published a Code of Practice to help support rent negotiations and on 6 April published additional guidance to help landlords and tenants that have not yet been able to reach agreement about accrued rent arrears and ongoing lease terms.

Both BEIS and UKRI have refused grant payments to companies that cannot get a UK bank account in their own name. The BEIS Grant funding agreement template includes the condition that payments must be into a bank located in the UK.

We do not hold any of the further data requested. Data on Government allocations to, and payments by, Local Authorities, for Government Business Support Grants, is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the amount of Government grants that are held in off-shore bank accounts by business landlords.

The Government is committed to continuing to provide financial support via Local Authorities for businesses that are required to close, or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

Both non-rate paying and rate paying businesses have been invited to apply for Covid business grants individually. The different elements of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) and the mandatory grant schemes are designed so that both rate paying and non-rate paying businesses have access to grants. The ARG is a discretionary grant scheme and Local Authorities will decide whether to pay the business ratepayer or the occupying business (or both).

The Government has introduced a range of measures to support tenants struggling to pay rent: we introduced legislation that provides a moratorium on forfeitures of commercial leases owing to the non-payment of rent, reducing the ability of landlords to evict tenants if they cannot pay their rent due to Covid-19 restrictions. Government has also restricted landlords’ abilities to seize goods in lieu of unpaid rent by making changes to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery. We are protecting businesses from insolvency introducing, via the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020, restrictions on the service of statutory demands and winding-up petitions.

All these measures are in place until 30 June and we will make an announcement before then on their future. Government published a Code of Practice to help support rent negotiations and on 6 April published additional guidance to help landlords and tenants that have not yet been able to reach agreement about accrued rent arrears and ongoing lease terms.

Both BEIS and UKRI have refused grant payments to companies that cannot get a UK bank account in their own name. The BEIS Grant funding agreement template includes the condition that payments must be into a bank located in the UK.

We do not hold any of the further data requested. Data on Government allocations to, and payments by, Local Authorities, for Government Business Support Grants, is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to end the practice of fire and rehire.

This Government has been clear that we expect employers to treat their employees fairly and in the spirit of partnership. Using threats about firing and rehiring as a negotiation tactic is unacceptable. We expect employers and employees to negotiate new terms and conditions and there are laws around how this must be done, and legal protections in place when firms are considering redundancies.

As we had limited evidence of how firing and rehiring tactics are used, we asked Acas to conduct an evidence-gathering exercise. We welcome Acas’ report on this work which was published on 8 June.

It finds general agreement that fire and rehire should only be used in limited circumstances – such as to prevent job losses when other options have been exhausted. At times, negotiations will sometimes fail and employers may need to make difficult decisions, in order to avoid redundancies and to ensure their business can survive and succeed. We have therefore asked Acas to produce clearer and more comprehensive guidance to help employers explore all the options before considering ‘fire and rehire’.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to bring forward legislative proposals to end the practice of fire and rehire.

This Government has been clear that we expect employers to treat their employees fairly and in the spirit of partnership. Using threats about firing and rehiring as a negotiation tactic is unacceptable. We expect employers and employees to negotiate new terms and conditions and there are laws around how this must be done, and legal protections in place when firms are considering redundancies.

As we had limited evidence of how firing and rehiring tactics are used, we asked Acas to conduct an evidence-gathering exercise. We welcome Acas’ report on this work which was published on 8 June.

It finds general agreement that fire and rehire should only be used in limited circumstances – such as to prevent job losses when other options have been exhausted. At times, negotiations will sometimes fail and employers may need to make difficult decisions, in order to avoid redundancies and to ensure their business can survive and succeed. We have therefore asked Acas to produce clearer and more comprehensive guidance to help employers explore all the options before considering ‘fire and rehire’.

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, what steps he is taking to ensure that investment in research is linked to economic growth.

The Government is investing £14.9 billion in research and development in 2021/22. This puts UK Government Research & Development (R&D) spending at its highest level in four decades. We are continuing to take forward commitments from last year’s R&D Roadmap, which set out our vision to ensure the UK is the best place in the world for scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs to live and work, while helping to power the UK’s economic and social recovery and level up the UK. The R&D Places Strategy, due to be published later this year, will ensure that R&D benefits the economy and society in nations, regions and local areas across the UK contributing to the Government’s wider levelling-up ambitions.

As announced in the Plan for Growth at Budget 2021, we will also publish a new Innovation Strategy in the Summer. Building on the R&D Roadmap, the strategy will identify how we can enhance innovation even further working closely with business.

Amanda Solloway
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, what tools his Department uses to calculate to effect of investment in research funding on economic growth in the UK.

The Department requires a business case be prepared for funding proposals to assess value for money and subsequently monitors and evaluates programmes to understand their impact including any impact on jobs and productivity where possible.

The Department also commissions studies to assess the impact of research funding. For example, macroeconomic modelling of the 2.4% target by Cambridge Econometrics for BEIS suggested that there would be increases in GDP, employment, and productivity from increased R&D. It is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-and-development-macroeconomic-modelling-of-24-target

Other research conducted shows that public investment in R&D achieves high social rates of return, with £1 of public investment in R&D eventually leveraging around £2 of additional private sector investment.

Reports are available at:

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his plans to abolish the Industrial Strategy Council, what plans he has to ensure the delivery of the employment measures in the Loneliness Strategy that relate to the Industrial Strategy.

The Employer Leadership Group, chaired by the Campaign to End Loneliness and supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, was established in November 2018.

The work of the Employer Leadership Group has now been taken over by the government's Tackling Loneliness Network, with members of the group invited to join the new network. A subgroup of the network, led by the Campaign to End Loneliness, has produced a short report bringing together emerging good practice on how employers can support social connections amongst their staff, drawing on the expertise of Network members and employers.

The report was published in May 2021 and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employers-and-loneliness.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating funding to the charity-led Life Sciences Charity Partnership Fund.

The Government recognise that this is a particularly difficult time for medical research charities, given the impact of COVID-19 on their fundraising activities. We appreciate the globally recognised expertise of these charities, and the substantial contributions they make to our world-leading life sciences sector.

The Government already provides significant funding to charities’ research, for example through Research England’s Quality Related (QR) charity support funding. This year charity QR will amount to £204m, to support charity funded research in universities in England and equivalent support is provided in Scotland through devolved funding arrangements.

The Government has demonstrated its ambitions for research by committing £14.9bn to R&D in 2021/22. This funding will support the life sciences sector within which medical research charities operate alongside other research areas.

BEIS and DHSC regularly discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on charity-funded research with the Association of Medical Research Charities in order to review how we might provide support for medical research charities this financial year.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to address the national shortage of steel preventing construction companies from fully operating.

We are aware of concerns about the supply of steel, which is of critical importance to construction and other sectors. This is a global market issue which we are monitoring closely.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to address the national shortage of building materials affecting construction companies in the UK.

The Government is aware that a range of building materials are in short supply nationally. This is driven by demand and increased global competition to secure supplies.

In light of this, and in view of more local disruptions in the supply of some products, the Construction Leadership Council’s Coronavirus Task Force has established a Product Availability Working Group, comprised of product manufacturers, builders’ merchants and suppliers, contractors of all sizes, and housebuilders. The Task Force continues to monitor the supply and demand of products, and identify those in short supply.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Restart Grant scheme, whether bridal shops, that exclusively provide personal 1-2-1 dress fittings, should be categorised as (a) strand one non-essential retail or (b) strand two personal care.

Bridal Shops are categorised as non-essential retail for the purposes of the Restart Grant Scheme.

The definition of non-essential retail for the purposes of Restart Grants is as follows: a business that is open to the public and is used mainly or wholly for the purposes of retail sale or hire of goods or services, where the primary purpose of products or services provided are not necessary to the health and well-being of the public.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether local authorities are permitted to award Additional Restrictions Grant funding to companies that began trading after 5 January 2021.

Yes, Local Authorities are permitted to do this.

All businesses that are trading and meet other eligibility criteria may apply to receive funding under this scheme. There is no starting date from which businesses must have been trading in order to qualify for Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funding.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to ensure that couriers and delivery drivers are protected from the risk of covid-19 transmission.

We have published guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers and delivery drivers. As couriers and delivery drivers cannot work from home, they should continue attending their workplace. Employees should work in the same team or shift pattern every day, maintain social distancing, limit time to load and unload vehicles, use electronic paperwork where possible and be trained on Covid-19 safety measures.

When attending other peoples’ homes, couriers and delivery drivers should socially distance as much as possible, wear a face mask and sanitise their hands frequently.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that members of the public protect themselves from the risk of covid-19 transmission from couriers and tradespeople calling at their homes.

On 6 January, the Government updated its guidance for the public, couriers and tradespeople, on how to interact with households. During interactions, maintaining social distancing, using face masks (as appropriate), and ventilating areas, is vital to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Couriers and tradespeople are asked to minimise contact with households during deliveries, and to utilise electronic methods of payments where possible. They should also communicate with households prior to arrival, and on arrival, should maintain social distancing and good hygiene practices. Businesses should also establish if anyone is vulnerable in a home before entering. No work should be carried out in a household if anyone is vulnerable or at risk.

Businesses need to ensure they take steps to protect both their customers and workers from the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government plans to expand the State Aid Temporary Framework and financial cap, in line with the EU expansion announced on 28 January 2021, for existing business support measures such as the Local Restrictions Support Grant.

The EU State aid rules and limits no longer apply in the UK, except in respect of aid in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement, for example, Article 10 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Subsidies must instead meet the terms of the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) as well as the other Free Trade Agreements we have reached with the rest of the world and our WTO commitments.

The State aid Temporary Framework provisions set out in previous iterations of local authority grant support guidance should still be applied to these schemes until further guidance on domestic subsidy control related to these schemes is issued.

The Government is currently consulting on its proposed approach for establishing a bespoke UK-wide subsidy control regime. The Government is keeping under close review the impact of subsidy control rules on the ability of businesses to access grants and will publish new guidance as and when circumstances require it.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his timetable is for the development of the new subsidy control regime to replace EU state aid rules; and whether he plans to introduce a formal consultation process on that regime.

On 3rd February 2021, the Government published a consultation on designing a new subsidy control regime for the UK. The consultation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/subsidy-control-designing-a-new-approach-for-the-uk

The consultation will run for 8 weeks, until 31st March 2021, and invites views on the best way to design a bespoke approach to subsidy control that reflects the UK’s strategic interests and particular national circumstances.

Subject to the outcomes of this consultation, the Government will bring forward primary legislation in due course to establish, in domestic law, a system of subsidy control that works for the entirety of the UK. This system will advance both the growth of the UK’s economy and the interests of its citizens, while reflecting our international obligations.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether there is a deadline for businesses to claim support via the Local Restrictions Support Grants (Closed) Addendum announced on 5 January 2021.

The application closure date for the 42-day payment, in respect of the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum applicable from 5th January, is 31st March 2021.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether businesses are eligible to apply for additional Government-backed loans from £2,000 up to the value of £10,000 to increase their borrowing in the event that they have already taken out (a) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme loan, (b) Bounce Back Loan and (c) both such loans in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Businesses with an existing Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) or Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) facility may be eligible to apply for additional Government-backed funds to increase their borrowing, depending on the circumstances of the business.

a) Where a borrower already has a CBILS facility it is possible, depending on the size of their existing loan, to refinance in order to increase their borrowing. Refinancing can be sought with the same or a different accredited lender. It is at the discretion of the lender whether to consider a borrower’s request for refinancing, and a lenders’ refinancing activity is also subject to certain limits.

b) The Government amended the rules for BBLS in November 2020 to allow businesses to apply to ‘top-up’ their existing BBLS facility – from a minimum of £1,000, up to either 25% of the originally self-certified annual turnover or £50,000, whichever is lesser. Businesses which have received State Aid under another Temporary Framework scheme, or who originally self-declared as being a “business in difficulty”, may only be eligible for a lower loan amount. Top-ups are only available from a borrower’s existing BBLS lender.

c) A borrower can only make use of one of BBLS, CBILS, or Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) at one time. However, a business that has, for example, a CBILS facility can apply for a BBLS facility, or vice versa, in order to refinance the original loan in full.

The maximum facility size for any business borrowing under any of the three Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes is subject to affordability limits specific to each business, as determined by the lender.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, prior to announcing the Bounce Back Loan Top Up facility in November 2020, what estimate he had made of how many businesses had already taken out a Bounce Back Loan and (a) would and (b) would not be eligible for a Bounce Back Loan Top Up; and what estimate he had made of how much would be borrowed through Bounce Back Loan Top Ups.

The Government has amended the scheme rules to allow those businesses who have borrowed less than their maximum loan (the lower of 25% of their turnover or £50,000) to top-up their existing loan. We understand that some businesses didn’t anticipate the disruption to their business from the pandemic would go on for this long; this will ensure that they are able to benefit from the loan scheme as intended.

Prior to the Top Up facility becoming operational, 1,336,320 loans had been approved, with a total value of £40.20 billion (figures as at 18 October 2020).

The Department estimated that around 360,000 businesses could be eligible for a Top Up based on the parameters of the scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as of 22 December 2020 how many businesses have (a) applied and (b) secured a Bounce Back Loan Top Up; and how many Bounce Back Loan Top Up loans are being processed by accredited Business Bank Loan banks.

As of 13 December 2020, 62,311 Bounce Back Loan Scheme top-ups had been approved, worth £0.56 billion.

Bounce Back Loan figures are also available on the Government website: www.gov.uk/government/collections/hm-treasury-coronavirus-covid-19-business-loan-scheme-statistics

Decisions on whether to capture information relating to the processing of loan applications are at the discretion of the lender.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of businesses who had secured a Bounce Back Loan had borrowed the maximum amount of 25 per cent of their estimated turnover, up to 10 November 2020.

As of 10 November 2020, 27% of businesses offered a Bounce Back Loan were offered one of a value equivalent to exactly 25% of their stated turnover.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses that have applied to Top Up their initial Bounce Back Loan since November 2020 have had their applications rejected.

As of 13 December 2020, 62,311 Bounce Back Loan Scheme top-ups had been approved, worth £0.56 billion.

Decisions on whether to capture information relating to rejected loans are at the discretion of the lender.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish guidance for local authorities on the criteria for dispensing the £1,000 grant to wet-led pubs in lieu of Christmas trade in Tier 2 and 3 local covid alert level areas.

Guidance for the Christmas Support for ‘wet-led’ Pubs was published on 9th December 2020 for local authorities and businesses. The criteria for qualification and funding is detailed in the guidance. Local authorities are responsible for the distribution of the grant to qualifying businesses.

Further information can be found on GOV.UK: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/946376/christmas-support-payment-la-guidance.pdf.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on what date and at what time hairdressing salons in tier 2 covid-19 areas are allowed to re-open after the November 2020 lockdown restrictions come to an end.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister addressed the nation on Monday 23 November setting out Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan. The COVID-19 Winter Plan sets out that the current national restrictions will be lifted on 2 December. Close Contact Services, including hairdressing salons, can open in all tiers from 2 December at 00:01.

Our Safer Working guidance has been updated ahead of the new tiering regime.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will to extend the domestic Green Homes Grant scheme for twelve months to March 2022 to allow the full uptake of the scheme and to help stimulate new green jobs.

The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme is designed to help stimulate economic recovery and to support and create tens of thousands of jobs. The time-limited nature of the Scheme is determined by the nature of the funding available from HM Treasury. Any potential funding allocations for future years will be determined in the next Spending Review.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the domestic Green Homes Grant through to March 2022 in the context of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make it his policy to extend that scheme.

We understand that COVID-19 restrictions may affect the availability of installers, along with their ability to install measures in households. We have therefore stated installers must follow government guidance on ‘Construction and other outdoor work’ and any other relevant COVID-19 guidance when undertaking installations. Based on the latest advice from my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister, tradespeople may continue to work as they are unable to do so from home.

The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme is designed to help stimulate economic recovery and to support and create tens of thousands of jobs. The time-limited nature of the Scheme is determined by the nature of the funding available from HM Treasury. Any potential funding allocations for future years will be determined in the next Spending Review.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government's guidance is for employers in the event that an employee is unable to go into work as a result of their dependants having been instructed by a school to self-isolate during the covid-19 outbreak.

In the first instance, people who are unable to go into work because they have childcare responsibilities resulting from coronavirus should discuss their situation with their employer. It may be that they can come to an agreement which works well for both parties.

Additionally, employees have?the right to take time off work to help someone who depends on them (a 'dependant') in an unexpected event. The courts have been clear that a failure in childcare provision can constitute an unexpected event – even if it is known about in advance. Time off for dependants can be taken for a reasonable period of time depending on the particular circumstances.

All employees have the legal right to request flexible working, provided they have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks. Employers can only reject a request where they have sound business reasons for doing so. Having flexible start and finish times, or working from home can help parents to balance work and childcare needs.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much of the £10 million Green Distilleries Competition funding has been allocated.

The BEIS Energy Innovation Team recently launched the first phase of the Green Distilleries competition. The application window closed very recently, and applications are currently being assessed. This feasibility phase will award a total of £500,000 for engineering studies, with the most promising projects going on to receive further funding next year to develop their technologies as part of phase 2. The competition will help the distillery sector innovate for a Net Zero future and has received a large amount of interest from the industry.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill will help the UK achieve commitments agreed under the 2015 UN Paris Climate Agreement.

The Climate Change Act 2008 was the first of its kind in the world and made the UK the first country to introduce a legally binding, long-term emissions reduction target. In June 2019, following advice from the Committee on Climate Change, the UK Government set a legally binding target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050. In doing so, the UK became the first major economy to legislate for a net zero target. This will bring an end to the UK’s contribution to climate change.

The Government is deeply committed to domestic and international efforts to tackle climate change. This year alone, the Government has committed billions in spending as we increase support for our low-carbon economy and green jobs. In November 2021, the UK will provide global leadership on climate change as President Designate and host of COP26 in Glasgow. We are determined to use this platform to raise global climate ambitions to achieve the transformational change required by the Paris Agreement.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions has he had on unemployment levels in York in the next 12 months.

York has been an economic success story over the past decade. Unemployment in the wider local enterprise partnership area halved between 2010 and March 2020, and is almost 50 per cent lower than the average for England.

At a local level, the Government’s Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF) have enabled City of York Council to pay out over £46.5m in grant payments to over 3,500 business premises in York. The Government is also continuing to invest in York and North Yorkshire’s long term economic potential including a three-year Local Growth Deal worth over £145m, a £15.4m share of the Getting Building Fund, and investment in the York Central Enterprise Zone which will support 6,500 new jobs in the next few years.

These local investments supplement our unprecedented support for businesses and employees on at the national scale, including the measures announced on 24 September in my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Winter Economy Plan. This package includes a new Jobs Support Scheme to protect millions of returning workers, an extension of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, and help for businesses in repaying government-backed loans. We have also strengthened the welfare the safety net to help people who need it, including by increasing the standard allowance for Universal Credit and the Working Tax Credit by up to £1,000 this year.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, of the £15m allocated for Citizens Advice to respond to the covid-19 outbreak, how much has been (a) allocated to and (b) received by each organisation.

Of the £15m, £13.5m has been allocated to Citizens Advice and £1.5m allocated to Citizens Advice Scotland.

To date, Citizens Advice have received £10,947,678.00, and Citizens Advice Scotland have received £1,282,921.00.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people have been made redundant from voluntary and community organisations in each week since January 2020 for organisations where there were (a) more and (b) less than 20 redundancies.

The Government does not hold this information:

  • Employers are required to report their intention to make over 20 redundancies at any individual establishment to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Proposed redundancies do not always become actual redundancies, and may be prevented through restructuring or sale of the company.

  • The Government’s Redundancy Payments Service pays redundant employees when the employer has either demonstrated financial difficulties or is insolvent. Therefore, not all redundancies made are recorded.

  • The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes used to categorise business activities is not required for the Redundancy Payments Service. Only 9% of employers on their records have a logged SIC. Therefore, they cannot identify redundancies within the voluntary or community organisation SIC.
Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional support the Government is providing to help start up businesses establish themselves in the current economy.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) aims to make?the UK the best place to start, scale up and grow a business.

The Start Up Loans Company, part of the British Business Bank, provides government-backed business loans of up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum with repayment terms of 1 to 5 years. As well as finance, every loan recipient is also offered a dedicated mentoring service and access to a free expert business mentor for 12 months to help them with every aspect of setting up a business. At the end of March 2020, the Start Up Loans programme had delivered more than 71,500 loans, providing more than £586 million of funding.

For new businesses starting up or for existing businesses wishing to scale up, all advice and guidance – including employee support, tools to identify the right finance, and checklists for setting up the business in line with regulations – the main source of information is the GOV.UK website, with support also available via the Business Support Helpline on FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098 and the British Business Bank online Finance Hub.

Start up businesses may also contact the network of 38 local Growth Hubs in England. These are a gateway for local information, guidance, and expertise for businesses across England, including on taxes, finance and funding schemes.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what value of grants from the Discretionary Grant Fund have been awarded to (a) small businesses in shared offices or other flexible work spaces, (b) regular market traders with building costs, (c) bed and breakfast businesses and (d) charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates.

On 1 May, the Government announced up to £617 million available in the form of the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund to support certain small businesses that are not liable for business rates or rates relief and are therefore out of scope of the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund. Local authorities were responsible for defining precise eligibility for the scheme in their area, subject to businesses meeting the national eligibility criteria set out in the guidance. Local authorities continue to pay grants to eligible businesses. We will publish data on Discretionary Grants Fund payments to businesses in due course and once all payments have been made. We do not receive management information from local authorities broken down by sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much of the £617 million of the Government's Discretionary Grant fund has been granted to businesses by local authorities.

On 1 May, the Government announced up to £617 million available in the form of the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund to support certain small businesses that are not liable for business rates or rates relief and are therefore out of scope of the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund. Local authorities were responsible for defining precise eligibility for the scheme in their area, subject to businesses meeting the national eligibility criteria set out in the guidance. Local authorities continue to pay grants to eligible businesses. We will publish data on the amount granted to businesses under the Discretionary Grants Fund in due course and once all payments have been made.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason (a) day nurseries and (b) children's indoor play centres were not identified as priority business types in the Discretionary Grant programme.

The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund was primarily and predominantly aimed at:

  • Small and micro businesses, as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006;
  • Businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs;
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis;
  • Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

A number of priority groups were identified, including small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, following consultation with local authorities.

Recognising that economic need varies across the country, local authorities have had the discretion to exercise their local knowledge and have been responsible for defining the precise eligibility for this Fund. Mandatory criteria requires that a business was trading as of 11 March, however local authorities have been allowed to determine which cases to support within those criteria.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which Bounce Back Loan scheme accredited lenders are providing access to that scheme to new customers.

In order to offer the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), finance providers must be accredited by the Government-owned British Business Bank. Accrediting new lenders for BBLS is a priority for the Bank. It is working at pace to accredit more lenders to further extend the scheme’s reach and provide more choice for businesses.

There are currently 26 accredited lenders for the BBLS. Several of these lenders are currently accepting applications from new customers and this is changing frequently. More information on all accredited lenders can be found on the British Business Bank website.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will fund innovation and skills hubs as part of the economic recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

Ensuring that our businesses have access to the skills they need will be key to supporting economic recovery. We are working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Education, the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Treasury on ensuring that skills support is an important part of the response to impact of Covid-19 on the economy. As part of our recovery and our wider R&D ambitions, we will be supporting University-Business engagement through a range of approaches, including collaborative research, innovation and skills activity.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure the economic resilience of supply chains during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have put in place an unprecedented package of Government support to help with business continuity and to give businesses and their suppliers the support they need to help ensure they can get back up and running after the Covid-19 crisis.

We have also worked closely with businesses, business bodies, trade unions, Public Health England and workplace safety experts to develop “national consensus” on the safest ways of working across the economy, with specific guidance drafted for different types of workplaces.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to extend employment protection rights for pregnant women to people that are in the process of adopting children.

Pregnancy is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. Pregnant women also get additional consideration under Health and Safety legislation because of the different risks they may face in the workplace. The Government has no current plans to extend these rights to people who are in the process of adopting children.

Employees looking to adopt are already entitled to paid time off to attend adoption appointments. They are also entitled to up to 52 weeks Adoption Leave. When on Adoption Leave, they have additional redundancy protections which equate to those for Maternity Leave.

Following consultation last year, the Government has committed to extend the redundancy protection which a parent currently enjoys while on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave, for a period for six months following a return to work.

We will bring these measures forward as soon as there is an appropriate opportunity.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a green and sustainable economic programme on the level of economic recovery after the covid-19 outbreak.

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

The UK has shown that growing our economy and cutting emissions can be achieved at the same time. We have grown our economy by 75% while cutting emissions by 43% over the past three decades. Low carbon businesses and their supply chains support hundreds of thousands of existing jobs and will be key to future job growth.Many of the actions we need to take to reach our target of net zero emissions by 2050 will support the future growth of our economy.

The Government recently launched a £40 million venture capital fund to supercharge the development of next generation clean, low-carbon technologies, and since lockdown was announced, we have published the first stage of our Transport Decarbonisation plan and have announced a £2 billion package for cycling and walking.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support and enable self-employed business people to return safely to trading.

The guidance we have published on safer working is designed to help employers, workers and the self-employed understand how to work safely, including what employers need to think about to adapt a workplace to manage risk in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

We know that every organisation is different. Employers and the self-employed can use the guidance to create specific plans for their business in consultation with those who are affected by their operations, including workers and contractors. Plans will depend on the nature of the business, such as the sector, and the details of the workforce and operations.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the provision of additional funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships to support the local regeneration of the economy.

Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) continue to play a crucial role in driving economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone. That is why Government has invested heavily through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to unlock economic growth and regeneration opportunities.

The March 2020 Budget confirmed up to £387 million in 2021 and2022 for local areas to continue with existing priority Local Growth Fund projects.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to support local economies in broadening their economic base.

It is clear that the UK economy will face significant challenges as a result of COVID-19. It is important to ensure that decisions to support the economy in the short term also support our longer term economic vision for a stronger, fairer, greener economy that builds on UK strengths in science, international relations and ease of doing business.

We recognise that some sectors and regions are likely to be harder hit than others, so we will continue work on the levelling up agenda, building on the strengths of local places and creating new opportunities for long-term economic growth in parts of the country that have been worst affected.

Government will work with places across England to build on the development of their Local Industrial Strategies to define a local vision for economic recovery and renewal. Officials in the Cities and Local Growth Unit will work with places to understand the full scale of the challenges they face in the short- to medium-term, through the MHCLG-led Economic Recovery Working Group.

Achieving Net Zero also remains a priority and we will consider how transitioning to a carbon neutral economy and creating new sources of competitive advantage in green technology and sustainable business can be achieved.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of investment in innovation and skills on the regeneration of local economies.

Innovation and skills will play a vital role in the regeneration of local economies. However, they are only part of the picture in the regeneration of local economies. We are considering how we can support the UK create good jobs, tackle weak growth and productivity, level-up our regions to deliver a UK economy which is stronger, cleaner, more sustainable and more resilient.

As we look to build back better, it is crucial that we listen to what business is telling us about what they need and how Government should approach recovery and renewal. Last week, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State led a series of roundtables, bringing together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics to consider the measures needed to support the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19. The insight gathered through these roundtables will help identify ways in which Government can work together with business and other stakeholders to support a green and resilient recovery, and ensure the UK is at the forefront of new and emerging industries.

Innovation and Research & Development (R&D) play a crucial role in supporting local economies to recover and renew. The Government is committed to increasing R&D investment across the economy to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, building on existing strengths in areas with high potential for future growth, and providing innovation-led support in less R&D intensive regions to support their continued growth. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), working together with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), is engaging with local partners to assess the current impacts being felt in local economies to build a strong understanding of how investment in research and innovation will contribute to the regeneration of local economies going forward through the development of local recovery plans and an ambitious R&D Place Strategy.

Matching high quality skills provision with local economic need is crucial to improving regional productivity and contributing to the regeneration of local economies. The Government takes a multi-faceted approach to addressing this challenge.

In response to the impact of Covid-19 on national and local economies, the Department for Education (DfE) is developing proposals that target skills support at those who will be hardest hit. Any new support will flex in response to local demand and will assist places in their economic recovery.

DfE has also established Skills Advisory Panels (SAPs) working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs). These have helped places to identify local skills priorities, based on analysis of the local area, and agree how these will be met through local education and training provision. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is also working closely with my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education on the developing skills proposals. Through this work Government is continuing to work with local areas to identify local labour market priorities and enable an effective response.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to prevent an increase in unemployment in (a) York and (b) England as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has announced a package of support for businesses to help with their ongoing business costs and prevent an increase in unemployment in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19. This package of support includes?the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) and the?Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF).

The SBGF and RHLGF have supported many thousands of small businesses?with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by Covid-19.?As of 7 June, £10.23 billion has been paid out to over 954,000 business properties under the two schemes, and the City of York Council has paid grants to 3,280 business premises, totalling £43,675,000.

In addition, on?1 May,?the Business Secretary announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities?in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants.?The?Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

We are working closely with all local authorities to get remaining funding to businesses as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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 he has to establish an independent judge-led inquiry into the Post Office Horizon Accounting System case.

Postmasters are the backbone of the Post Office, and their branches are vital to communities across the country. That is why Government takes POL's relationship with its postmasters very seriously.

Government is committed to establishing an independent review to consider whether the Post Office has learned the necessary lessons from the Horizon dispute and court case and to provide an independent and external assessment of its work to rebuild its relationship with its postmasters.

We are continuing to make progress on the scoping of the Independent Review and on the identification of a suitable Chair. We will announce further details on this shortly.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to support business to comply with social distancing measures when covid-19 lockdown measures are eased.

On Monday the Government published guidance on how to work safely in a number of different working environments so that employers can use the guidance which is most relevant to them. This guidance will help organisations meet their obligations under health and safety law, and the Government will continue to engage across the economy as this guidance beds in.

If work cannot be carried out from home then it is important that social distancing is maintained, as per the scientific advice. If social distancing cannot be carried out, employers should consider whether the task can go ahead, or if it can be altered to allow for social distancing.

The Government has also announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency, including a Bounce Back Loans scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a risk analysis of the potential effect easing the covid-19 lockdown on local businesses.

The Government has published guidance to help businesses make their workplaces as safe as possible to allow employees to return. This requires a risk assessment to be carried out, in line with health and safety legislation.

The guidance was developed with business representatives, unions, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive to consider what might be needed to adapt workplaces in order to minimise the risk of transmission as much as possible while accommodating a return to work at the appropriate time – to make them safer places in the current climate. The variation in types of local business and working environments mean that risk assessments are more appropriately carried out by the business itself.

If businesses do not take action to comply with the relevant legislation and guidance, they could face a range of actions from the Health and Safety Executive or the local authority to improve control of workplace risks. These actions include the provision of specific advice through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements with the guidance.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses have accessed the business interruption loan scheme; and what the value is of loans made to date.

As of 29 April, in total over £4.1 billion worth of loans have been issued under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to over 25,262 businesses.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what financial support her Department has provided to small and medium-sized enterprises in (a) the City of York local authority and (b) Yorkshire and the Humber in each year since 2010-11.

The below table lists the number of start-ups according to ONS Business Demography UK data (the most recent of which is for 2018). Please note, this data refers to the number of VAT/PAYE registrations, and is available at the following links:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=/businessindustryandtrade/business/activitysizeandlocation/datasets/businessdemographyreferencetable/current/previous/v2/businessdemographyexceltables2015.xls

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/activitysizeandlocation/datasets/businessdemographyreferencetable

Number of start-ups

Year

York UA

Yorkshire and the Humber

England

2010

665

16,630

207,520

2011

655

17,235

232,460

2012

720

17,990

239,975

2013

945

23,120

308,565

2014

880

23,465

312,920

2015

830

25,140

344,065

2016

870

26,775

373,580

2017

775

22,600

339,345

2018

850

23,405

340,045


We want to make the UK the best place to work and grow a business. The Government-owned British Business Bank’s programmes are supporting more than £7.0bn of finance to over 91,000 SMEs, the majority outside London and the South East. The BBB in collaboration with ten Local Enterprise Partnerships, combined authorities and growth hubs manages the £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF). By September 2019, NPIF had invested £135m in over 500 ambitious SMEs across the Northern Powerhouse region, in deals that have attracted an additional £123m of investment from the private sector. This support seeks to address the disparity in the availability of finance across the UK and was further bolstered last autumn, with the launch of the £100m Business Angel investment programme designed to support clusters of business angels outside London. The BBB also established a UK-wide network of relationship managers to help tackle regional imbalances in access to finance.

The number of loans made by the BBB’s Start Up Loans programme in York local authority and Yorkshire & Humber is as follows:

Start-Up Loans:

FY

York LA

Yorkshire & Humber

2012-13

3 loans - £22,000

160 loans - over £726,000

2013-14

26 loans - £139,000

1,083 loans - over £5.5m

2014-15

24 loans – over £167,000

965 loans – over £5.1m

2015-16

26 loans – over £215,000

765 loans - over £5.8m

2016-17

25 loans - £244,000

762 loans – over £8m

2017-18

32 loans – over £448,000

774 loans – over £10.2m

2018-19

26 loans – over £264,000

783 loans – over £7.8m

2019- 31 December 2019)

17 loans – over £154,000

583 loans – over £6.3m

The local York, North Yorkshire and East Riding and Leeds City Region Growth Hubs provide a free, impartial, ‘single point of contact’ to help businesses in these areas identify and access the right support for them at the right time no matter their size or sector.

SMEs across Yorkshire and Humber are also benefiting from over £1.3 billion investment over the years 2015-2021 through Yorkshire and Humber LEP Growth Deals. This includes over £145m through the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP Growth Deal and £695m through the Leeds City Region LEP Growth Deal.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many small and medium-sized enterprise start-ups there were in (a) York, (b) Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) England in each year since 2010.

The below table lists the number of start-ups according to ONS Business Demography UK data (the most recent of which is for 2018). Please note, this data refers to the number of VAT/PAYE registrations, and is available at the following links:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=/businessindustryandtrade/business/activitysizeandlocation/datasets/businessdemographyreferencetable/current/previous/v2/businessdemographyexceltables2015.xls

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/activitysizeandlocation/datasets/businessdemographyreferencetable

Number of start-ups

Year

York UA

Yorkshire and the Humber

England

2010

665

16,630

207,520

2011

655

17,235

232,460

2012

720

17,990

239,975

2013

945

23,120

308,565

2014

880

23,465

312,920

2015

830

25,140

344,065

2016

870

26,775

373,580

2017

775

22,600

339,345

2018

850

23,405

340,045


We want to make the UK the best place to work and grow a business. The Government-owned British Business Bank’s programmes are supporting more than £7.0bn of finance to over 91,000 SMEs, the majority outside London and the South East. The BBB in collaboration with ten Local Enterprise Partnerships, combined authorities and growth hubs manages the £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF). By September 2019, NPIF had invested £135m in over 500 ambitious SMEs across the Northern Powerhouse region, in deals that have attracted an additional £123m of investment from the private sector. This support seeks to address the disparity in the availability of finance across the UK and was further bolstered last autumn, with the launch of the £100m Business Angel investment programme designed to support clusters of business angels outside London. The BBB also established a UK-wide network of relationship managers to help tackle regional imbalances in access to finance.

The number of loans made by the BBB’s Start Up Loans programme in York local authority and Yorkshire & Humber is as follows:

Start-Up Loans:

FY

York LA

Yorkshire & Humber

2012-13

3 loans - £22,000

160 loans - over £726,000

2013-14

26 loans - £139,000

1,083 loans - over £5.5m

2014-15

24 loans – over £167,000

965 loans – over £5.1m

2015-16

26 loans – over £215,000

765 loans - over £5.8m

2016-17

25 loans - £244,000

762 loans – over £8m

2017-18

32 loans – over £448,000

774 loans – over £10.2m

2018-19

26 loans – over £264,000

783 loans – over £7.8m

2019- 31 December 2019)

17 loans – over £154,000

583 loans – over £6.3m

The local York, North Yorkshire and East Riding and Leeds City Region Growth Hubs provide a free, impartial, ‘single point of contact’ to help businesses in these areas identify and access the right support for them at the right time no matter their size or sector.

SMEs across Yorkshire and Humber are also benefiting from over £1.3 billion investment over the years 2015-2021 through Yorkshire and Humber LEP Growth Deals. This includes over £145m through the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP Growth Deal and £695m through the Leeds City Region LEP Growth Deal.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate she has made of the number of people paid below the Real Living Wage in (a) London and (b) the rest of the UK.

This Government is committed to building an economy that works for everyone. Through the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the National Living Wage (NLW) the Government protects the lowest paid within our society and ensures they are fairly rewarded for their contribution to the economy.

The NMW and NLW rates are legal minimum thresholds. These rates are different from the Living Wage which is a voluntary minimum rate of pay endorsed by the Living Wage Foundation. The Government commends the work of the Living Wage Foundation and those employers who commit to paying the Living Wage rates.

In April 2020, we will be increasing the NLW by 6.2% to £8.72 meeting the Government’s target of reaching 60% of median earnings by 2020. The Low Pay Commission estimates that these increases to the NMW and NLW will directly benefit over 2.8 million people. Last year, the Chancellor pledged to raise the NLW further, to two-thirds of median earnings, to an expected £10.50 by 2024, making the UK the first major economy in the world to set such an ambition.

15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the extension of covid-19 lockdown restrictions on loneliness.

Government is monitoring the level of loneliness via the Community Life Survey; the most robust source for assessing the level of loneliness across the UK. As this survey only produces yearly data, our understanding of loneliness over the various lockdowns is supplemented by more timely tracking data from the UCL COVID Study and the ONS Social Impacts of Coronavirus Study.

We will continue to work closely with the civil society sector and across government to assess how we can best support the continuation of vital work to tackle loneliness.

Government is committed to tackling loneliness. We have delivered £34 million of funding to tackle loneliness over the past year, are encouraging organisations to take action and are aiming to reduce the stigma of loneliness through our campaign ‘Let’s Talk Loneliness’.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his priorities are for tackling loneliness in 2021.

In the Tackling Loneliness Strategy, published October 2018, government set out three overarching goals which guide its work on loneliness: reducing stigma by building a national conversation on loneliness; driving a lasting shift so that loneliness is considered in the work of government and other organisations across society; and improving the evidence base on loneliness. Delivering progress against these three goals remains a priority, particularly as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.


Over the coming year, we will carry out a range of activity to make progress against our three goals. We will deliver communications activity to amplify loneliness messaging and reduce the stigma associated with loneliness. We will continue to work across government and support organisations to tackle loneliness through our Tackling Loneliness Network. We will convene a new group of funders interested in social connection, meeting regularly to share learning and look for opportunities to align and join up funding where possible. Finally, we will convene organisations interested in coordinating research activity so that we can fill priority gaps in our understanding of the issues surrounding loneliness.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has commissioned research into the effect of covid-19 on the civil society sector.

My department regularly engages with representatives of the charity and social enterprise sectors and reviews emerging evidence to understand the impact of ongoing restrictions. My officials have reached out to stakeholders following the Prime Minister’s announcement to seek feedback and offer an opportunity to discuss potential implications further.

We recognise that the restrictions that have been necessary over the last year have impacted on the ability of many in the charity and social enterprise sectors to generate income, including from trading and fundraising. While many of these restrictions have already been lifted, including allowing the return of non essential retail, we understand that this extension will continue to limit certain activities. Guidance is available on a range of activities that will be relevant to charities and social enterprises including, for example organised events and grassroots sport and sports facilities. We have also worked with the Institute of Fundraising and Fundraising Regulator to support the development of guidance on the safe return to fundraising activities, and will continue to do so as events unfold.

We have not commissioned independent research into the impact of the pandemic on the charity and social enterprises sectors. However, we are working closely with stakeholders and academic institutions looking into the effect on these sectors, including Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Hallam University. We will also carefully consider the findings of the independent inquiry into the impact of the crisis on social enterprises, launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Enterprises on 10 June. This work will collectively enable government to generate a complete picture of the impact of the crisis on charities and social enterprises.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government's announcement of 14 June 2021 not to move ahead with Step 4 of the Government's roadmap for the easing of covid-19 restrictions from the 21 June 2021, what assessment he has made of the effect of that announcement on social enterprises.

My department regularly engages with representatives of the charity and social enterprise sectors and reviews emerging evidence to understand the impact of ongoing restrictions. My officials have reached out to stakeholders following the Prime Minister’s announcement to seek feedback and offer an opportunity to discuss potential implications further.

We recognise that the restrictions that have been necessary over the last year have impacted on the ability of many in the charity and social enterprise sectors to generate income, including from trading and fundraising. While many of these restrictions have already been lifted, including allowing the return of non essential retail, we understand that this extension will continue to limit certain activities. Guidance is available on a range of activities that will be relevant to charities and social enterprises including, for example organised events and grassroots sport and sports facilities. We have also worked with the Institute of Fundraising and Fundraising Regulator to support the development of guidance on the safe return to fundraising activities, and will continue to do so as events unfold.

We have not commissioned independent research into the impact of the pandemic on the charity and social enterprises sectors. However, we are working closely with stakeholders and academic institutions looking into the effect on these sectors, including Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Hallam University. We will also carefully consider the findings of the independent inquiry into the impact of the crisis on social enterprises, launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Enterprises on 10 June. This work will collectively enable government to generate a complete picture of the impact of the crisis on charities and social enterprises.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the extension of covid-19 lockdown restrictions on charities' ability to fundraise.

My department regularly engages with representatives of the charity and social enterprise sectors and reviews emerging evidence to understand the impact of ongoing restrictions. My officials have reached out to stakeholders following the Prime Minister’s announcement to seek feedback and offer an opportunity to discuss potential implications further.

We recognise that the restrictions that have been necessary over the last year have impacted on the ability of many in the charity and social enterprise sectors to generate income, including from trading and fundraising. While many of these restrictions have already been lifted, including allowing the return of non essential retail, we understand that this extension will continue to limit certain activities. Guidance is available on a range of activities that will be relevant to charities and social enterprises including, for example organised events and grassroots sport and sports facilities. We have also worked with the Institute of Fundraising and Fundraising Regulator to support the development of guidance on the safe return to fundraising activities, and will continue to do so as events unfold.

We have not commissioned independent research into the impact of the pandemic on the charity and social enterprises sectors. However, we are working closely with stakeholders and academic institutions looking into the effect on these sectors, including Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Hallam University. We will also carefully consider the findings of the independent inquiry into the impact of the crisis on social enterprises, launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Enterprises on 10 June. This work will collectively enable government to generate a complete picture of the impact of the crisis on charities and social enterprises.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the UK ceasing its participation in the European Solidarity Corps programme on UK charities which benefit from participation in that scheme; and what plans his Department has to support those charities.

The UK government set out its approach to negotiations with the European Union in February 2020. This stated that the UK government was open to considering participation in some EU programmes where it is in the UK and the EU’s interests that we do so. The decision was taken not to seek participation in the next European Solidarity Corps (2021-27) programme.

The UK continues to participate fully in the 2018-2020 European Solidarity Corps programme. This means that projects that successfully bid for funding during the 2018-2020 programme will continue to receive EU funding for the full duration of the project, including where funding runs beyond 2020 and the end of the transition period.

Looking to the future, international opportunities for young people outside of formal education settings, such as the types of activities funded under the European Solidarity Corps and Erasmus+ (Youth) programmes, are being considered as part of the DCMS-led Youth Review. Future funding is subject to decisions at the next Spending Review.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government made available an unprecedented £750 million package of support, specifically to charities, social enterprises and the voluntary sector to ensure that charities and other civil society organisations, including those at risk of financial hardship, were able to continue their vital work.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether, from 21 June 2021, outdoor singing can take place, including for choirs.

I know that the restrictions on singing are frustrating to large numbers of amateur choirs and performance groups across the country and that many people have made sacrifices in order to drive down infections and protect the NHS over the last year. I can assure you that everyone across Government wants to ease these restrictions as soon as possible.

Following the move to Step 3 on 17 May, non-professional groups of up to six people can now sing indoors, in line with the rule of 6 applying to many other indoor activities and gatherings. They can also perform or rehearse in groups of up to 30 outdoors, or in multiple groups of 30 outdoors provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, in line with other large events that follow the organised events guidance for local authorities.

We will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review. Further detail on Step 4 will be set out as soon as possible.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with stakeholders on additional funding for (a) social enterprises and (b) charities over the last 12 months.

Government recognises the huge contribution of charities and social enterprises in the national effort against coronavirus, and the significant challenges that many have experienced.

The Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran, DCMS officials, and the VCSE Crown Representative, Claire Dove, have been engaging with civil society stakeholders on a regular basis throughout the pandemic. This has included engagement with the major membership bodies, as well as those specifically representing ethnic minority, women’s, and disabled communities. A core Civil Society Stakeholder Group (CSSG) has provided a crucial channel for strategic engagement between government and sector leaders. These discussions have helped ensure the particular needs of the charity and social enterprise sectors are considered fully.

The sector continues to benefit from a multi-billion-pound package of government support. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and grants for premises required to close. This support builds on over £1 billion in targeted funding, including the £750 million package for charities and social enterprises. At this time government does not have plans to offer additional targeted funding for these sectors.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the impact of Local Trust initiatives on tackling inequality in (a) local communities and (b) local communities in York.

Big Local is funded (£200m) by the National Lottery Community Fund and managed by Local Trust, who work nationally with a range of partners. The Local Trust targets places that have been overlooked for funding and resources in the past and may face issues like the decline of local industry, high levels of unemployment, or a pressing need for new support services or activities. There are 150 Big Local areas with more than 1,600 local people directly involved in the governance of them. Up to a third of those who join Big Local have never been involved in community volunteering in the past. Each Big Local area has until 2026 to spend at least £1million with residents in charge of deciding how the money is spent.

In 2012, Tang Hall in York was selected as a Big Local area and was given £1m to spend over 10 years to make Tang Hall a better place to live. Since 2015, Tang Hall has been building a relationship with the local community, by: providing advisory and support services; creating opportunities for the community to grow; supporting social, educational and recreational projects through small grants; and by commissioning large projects, such as Youth Provision, The Tang Hall Food Cooperative and TAPTY Creative Play.

The Big Local programme has a substantial evaluation plan, spanning its lifetime to 2026; early findings of which can be viewed on the Local Trust website.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the proportions of problem gambling disorders that result from gambling (a) in person and (b) online.

The Health Survey for England 2018 showed that the problem gambling rate for Yorkshire and the Humber was 0.5% and 0.7% for the North East. The rate for England was 0.5%.

According to the 2016 Combined Health Surveys, the overall rate of problem gambling for adults in Great Britain was 0.6%. Among those who had engaged in any gambling activity the rate was 1.2% and for those who gambled online the rate was 3.5%. The surveys do not show causation but the proportion of those taking part in an activity who are considered problem gamblers.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the prevalence of problem gambling in (a) York, (b) North Yorkshire and (c) England.

The Health Survey for England 2018 showed that the problem gambling rate for Yorkshire and the Humber was 0.5% and 0.7% for the North East. The rate for England was 0.5%.

According to the 2016 Combined Health Surveys, the overall rate of problem gambling for adults in Great Britain was 0.6%. Among those who had engaged in any gambling activity the rate was 1.2% and for those who gambled online the rate was 3.5%. The surveys do not show causation but the proportion of those taking part in an activity who are considered problem gamblers.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he made of the potential merits of establishing a community wealth fund from the Dormant Assets scheme.

The Dormant Assets Scheme currently dedicates the English portion of funding to youth, financial inclusion, and social investment initiatives. The Dormant Assets Bill, introduced to the House of Lords on 12 May, seeks to expand the Scheme to a wider range of assets and enables these causes to be reviewed. Provided the Bill passes, the government has committed to launching a consultation to give the public and industry stakeholders a say in how funds are spent in England. No decisions will be made on whether the causes in England should change until the responses to this consultation have been duly considered.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing more than 30 people in a community choir to sing outside as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

I know that the restrictions on singing are frustrating to large numbers of amateur choirs and performance groups across the country and that many people have made sacrifices in order to drive down infections and protect the NHS over the last year. I want to assure you that everyone across the government wants to ease these restrictions as soon as possible.

However, it is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions. We have followed the views of public health experts on singing. We are aware, through the NERVTAG and PERFORM studies that singing can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission through the spread of aerosol droplets. This was backed up by a consensus statement from SAGE, resulting in the suggested principles of safer singing being published. Professional activity can take place in larger numbers because it is work based activity and is exempt from legal gathering limits.

We will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation. Further detail on step 4 will be set out as soon as possible.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reasons the limit on the number of people singing together is different for professional and amateur singers in step three of the roadmap easing covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

I know that the restrictions on singing are frustrating to large numbers of amateur choirs and performance groups across the country and that many people have made sacrifices in order to drive down infections and protect the NHS over the last year. I want to assure you that everyone across the government wants to ease these restrictions as soon as possible.

However, it is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions. We have followed the views of public health experts on singing. We are aware, through the NERVTAG and PERFORM studies that singing can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission through the spread of aerosol droplets. This was backed up by a consensus statement from SAGE, resulting in the suggested principles of safer singing being published. Professional activity can take place in larger numbers because it is work based activity and is exempt from legal gathering limits.

We will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation. Further detail on step 4 will be set out as soon as possible.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what evidence has been used to reach a decision that community singing cannot commence at Step 3 of the covid-19 lockdown easement roadmap.

I know that the restrictions on singing are frustrating to large numbers of amateur choirs and performance groups across the country and that many people have made sacrifices in order to drive down infections and protect the NHS over the last year. I can assure you that everyone across the government wants to ease these restrictions as soon as possible.

However, it is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions. We have followed the views of public health experts on singing. We are aware, through the NERVTAG and PERFORM studies that singing can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission through the spread of aerosol droplets. This was backed up by a consensus statement from SAGE, resulting in the suggested principles of safer singing being published.

We will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation. As set out in the roadmap, we hope to remove all legal limits on social contact at step 4. Further detail on step 4 will be set out as soon as possible.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Dormant Bank and Building Society Acounts Act 2008, Reclaim Fund Ltd scheme, how many reclaims from the scheme there have been since it was set up; and how many have ended up in dispute and been referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Reclaim Fund Ltd (RFL) is legally obliged to retain a portion of the funds it receives as a result of the Dormant Assets Scheme in order to repay owners who come forward to reclaim their money. Data provided by RFL indicates that it has processed reclaims for 134,031 accounts, totalling £106m in value, up to 31 December 2020.

RFL is part of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) scheme. However, as participating banks and building societies hold the customer relationships, RFL does not have any data on how many reclaim disputes, if any, have been referred to FOS by participating firms. RFL has had no direct referrals to FOS.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many and what proportion of people were reconnected with their assets (a) before and (b) after they were transferred to the Reclaim Fund Ltd in each year since the inception of that scheme.

The Dormant Assets Scheme is voluntary and industry-led. Neither the government nor Reclaim Fund Ltd (RFL) hold data on how many people have been reconnected with their assets prior to them being classed as dormant and transferred to RFL. This data is held by the individual banks and building societies that choose to participate in the Dormant Assets Scheme.

RFL data indicates that circa 7.5% of funds transferred from dormant accounts – a total of £106m since the Scheme’s inception in 2011 – has been reclaimed by customers after their dormant assets were transferred to Reclaim Fund Ltd.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much of the £750 million in funding announced for the voluntary and community sector on 8 April 2020 came from Reclaim Fund Ltd.

None of the £750 million funding announced for the voluntary and community sector in April 2020, came from the Reclaim Fund Ltd transferred under the Dormant Assets Scheme. All of the funding was central government funding.

Separate to the £750m funding package, in May 2020 the DCMS Secretary of State announced the unlocking of £150m of dormant assets funding to help charities, social enterprises and individuals in need of support during the coronavirus outbreak.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what initiatives have been supported by the £150 million in funding allocated from Reclaim Fund Ltd during the covid-19 outbreak.

In May 2020 the DCMS Secretary of State announced that £150 million of dormant assets funding would go to help charities, social enterprises and individuals in need of support during the coronavirus outbreak. This funding was completely separate to the government’s £750 million support package for the voluntary and community sector, announced in April 2020.

The £150 million of dormant assets funding – consisting of £71 million of new funds alongside repurposing £79 million already unlocked – has supported a variety of initiatives focused on youth, financial inclusion, and social investment:

  • £10 million was used by Youth Futures Foundation to launch an emergency levelling up fund for young people from the communities hit hardest by this crisis, including those from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic groups.

  • £65 million was used by Fair4All Finance to create a robust programme to tackle the heightened needs of the financially marginalised as a result of the crisis.

  • £45 million was used by Big Society Capital to allow better access to investment, including emergency loans for charities, social enterprises and some small businesses facing cash-flow problems and disruption to their trading.

  • £30 million was used by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, making up to £10 million available for emergency support through social lenders, while also developing a wider £20 million programme of flexible recovery finance for the social sector.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much of the £150 million of funding from Reclaim Fund Ltd which was allocated to good causes during the covid-19 outbreak contributed to the £750 million in funding announced on 8 April 2020.

In May 2020 the DCMS Secretary of State announced that £150 million of dormant assets funding would go to help charities, social enterprises and individuals in need of support during the coronavirus outbreak. This funding was completely separate to the government’s £750 million support package for the voluntary and community sector, announced in April 2020.

The £150 million of dormant assets funding – consisting of £71 million of new funds alongside repurposing £79 million already unlocked – has supported a variety of initiatives focused on youth, financial inclusion, and social investment:

  • £10 million was used by Youth Futures Foundation to launch an emergency levelling up fund for young people from the communities hit hardest by this crisis, including those from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic groups.

  • £65 million was used by Fair4All Finance to create a robust programme to tackle the heightened needs of the financially marginalised as a result of the crisis.

  • £45 million was used by Big Society Capital to allow better access to investment, including emergency loans for charities, social enterprises and some small businesses facing cash-flow problems and disruption to their trading.

  • £30 million was used by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, making up to £10 million available for emergency support through social lenders, while also developing a wider £20 million programme of flexible recovery finance for the social sector.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of whether a higher proportion of funds from dormant bank and building society accounts transferred to the Reclaim Fund Ltd could potentially be transferred to the National Lottery Community Fund.

Reclaim Fund Ltd (RFL) is legally obliged to retain a portion of the funds it receives as a result of the Dormant Assets Scheme in order to repay owners who come forward to reclaim their money. Overseen by HM Treasury, it is RFL’s responsibility to determine the appropriate proportion of funding that it can prudently release.

RFL currently releases 60% of the money it receives to social and environmental initiatives through The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF), and reserves 40% for meeting reclaims. RFL’s approach is based on actuarial modelling and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidance. Over time, this has enabled RFL to change the proportion of funds transferred to TNLCF: in 2016, RFL decreased their reclaim provision from 60% to 40%.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his priorities are for delivering the loneliness strategy.

In the Tackling Loneliness Strategy, published October 2018, government set out three overarching goals which guide its work on loneliness: reducing stigma by building a national conversation on loneliness; driving a lasting shift so that loneliness is considered in the work of government and other organisations across society; and improving the evidence base on loneliness. Delivering progress against these three goals remains a priority, particularly as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the coming year, we will make progress against our three goals by: delivering communications activity to amplify loneliness messaging; supporting organisations to tackle loneliness through our Tackling Loneliness Network; and convening organisations interested in coordinating research activity so that we can fill priority gaps in our understanding of the issues surrounding loneliness.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to measure delivery of the Government's loneliness strategy.

In the Tackling Loneliness Strategy, published October 2018, the government committed to publishing annual progress reports to provide an update on the implementation of policies set out in the strategy.

The first annual report was published in January 2020 and the second in January 2021. The two reports set out progress to date, including action by frontline workers across the public sector to recognise and act on loneliness, the launch of the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign, and the inclusion of standardised loneliness measures in a range of national surveys. The 2021 report also set out the government’s response to tackling loneliness during Covid-19, including investing over £34 million to charities focused on reducing loneliness in response to the pandemic.

Copies of the progress reports are available in the Libraries of the House and online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/loneliness-annual-report-the-first-year

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/loneliness-annual-report-the-second-year

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the upgraded York exchange to provide fibre to the cabinet service, how many cabinets in York have not yet been upgraded to deliver fibre to households and businesses.

There are no cabinets involved, as full fibre brings fibre direct from the exchange to the premise. It would only go via a cabinet in a Fibre On Demand scenario, where existing infrastructure was used as a stop-gap, but there are none of these in York under this LFFN project.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of when all seated outdoor stadiums will re-open to sports fans.

The government recognises the importance of spectators to competitive sport and remains committed to working towards their full return to stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so.

We have now entered a period of loosening restrictions under Step 3 of the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ which permits fans to return to both indoor and outdoor elite sporting events, albeit under capacity caps.

Large seated outdoor stadiums with over 16,000 seated capacity, where crowds can be safely distributed, are eligible to utilise a special provision allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity (whichever is lower), helping more fans to return safely to some of our iconic venues.

Government further welcomes the return of spectators at selected events as part of the science-led Events Research Programme (ERP). The ERP is currently running its first phase of April and May pilot events to inform decisions around the safe removal of social distancing at Step 4 of the roadmap. The pilots are running across a range of settings, venues, and activities, so that findings support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors.

As stated in the roadmap, we hope to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact later this summer, no earlier than 21 June. This will be subject to the outcomes of the 4 government-led reviews, including the ERP.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Prime Minister's statement that the Government will be doing much more over the winter to support the voluntary sector, Official Report, 2 November 2020, Vol. 683, col. 41, what recent assessment he has made of the progress the he has made on that commitment.

Government recognises the huge contribution of charities in the national effort against coronavirus, and the significant challenges that many in the sector have experienced.

Charities continue to benefit from a multi-billion-pound package of government support. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, now extended to the end of September. Many charity shops have benefited from the Chancellor’s £4.6 billion in lockdown grants for premises required to close, and will have been able to access Restart Grants to safely relaunch trading. My department has also worked with the Fundraising Regulator and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising to support the development of guidance to help make responsible and safe fundraising a possibility.

This support builds on over £1 billion in targeted funding, including the £750 million charities package, which has helped more than 14,000 organisations across the country respond to the impact of Covid-19.

We will continue to work with the sector to assess their emerging needs as we move into recovery.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his announcement of 8 April 2021 on the allocation of £750 million of funding for civil society organisations in response to the covid-19 outbreak, how much of the underspend of that allocation (a) has been submitted and (b) he estimates will be submitted to his Department.

The £750 million sector funding package offered unprecedented support to allow charities and social enterprises to continue their vital work and adapt their service delivery to support our national response to the pandemic.

The financial reconciliation for the financial year ending 31 March 2021 is currently being completed. This process will determine any underspends on the VCSE Covid-19 Support Package which may need to be returned to the Exchequer.

Over the past year, DCMS has been as flexible as possible under the terms of the grant agreements to allow charities to repurpose or reprofile funding in order to meet the needs of their communities arising from the pandemic, and minimise potential underspends.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement of 8 April 2021 on the allocation of £750 million of funding for civil society organisations in response to the covid-19 outbreak, how much of that funding has been returned to the Exchequer.

The £750 million sector funding package offered unprecedented support to allow charities and social enterprises to continue their vital work and adapt their service delivery to support our national response to the pandemic.

The financial reconciliation for the financial year ending 31 March 2021 is currently being completed. This process will determine any underspends on the VCSE Covid-19 Support Package which may need to be returned to the Exchequer.

Over the past year, DCMS has been as flexible as possible under the terms of the grant agreements to allow charities to repurpose or reprofile funding in order to meet the needs of their communities arising from the pandemic, and minimise potential underspends.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to transfer assets residing in dormant accounts to the Community Trust Fund.

Following the government's commitment to expand the Dormant Assets Scheme, the Dormant Assets Bill was introduced to the House of Lords on Wednesday 12 May. This will enable the Dormant Assets Scheme to accept a wider range of dormant assets – expanding from bank and building society accounts to include certain assets in the insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors.

The Government recognises the public interest in how this funding is spent in England, and has concluded that some increased flexibility in determining this would be beneficial. The Bill therefore amends the approach to restrictions in England in the 2008 Act to mirror the model used for the devolved administrations.

Subject to this measure passing, the Government will be launching a public consultation on the way that funds are spent in England to give people a say in how future funds are spent. The consultation will inform English expenditure only, and the current restrictions on initiatives focused on youth, financial inclusion, or social investment will continue until or unless a new order is made.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the creation of a European Super League on football clubs in the National League North division.

The Government has been vocal in its opposition to the European Super League, which would have been to the detriment of the whole football pyramid including the English Football League and the National League System.

Before the announcements on 19th April, the department had not had any discussions on these proposals. Once announced, the Government met with multiple football stakeholders, including the Football Association, to discuss the issue and what action was needed.

The Government was pleased to see the withdrawal of all English teams from the project - the right result for football fans, clubs and communities across the country.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced an independent fan-led review of football governance on 19 April. This will be chaired by the Honourable Member for Chatham and Aylesford.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to release guidance on the holding of sporting events with crowds present as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government has committed to taking a cautious approach to easing restrictions, guided by data rather than dates, to avoid a surge in infections that could put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. The roadmap sets out indicative, “no earlier than” dates for each step which are five weeks apart. This allows four weeks for the data to begin to reflect the impact of the previous step and a further week’s notice for individuals and businesses to prepare. ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ sets out a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. Each full step of our roadmap will be informed by the latest available science and data and will be five weeks apart in order to provide time to assess the data and provide one week’s notice to businesses and individuals.

We will ensure that interim results gathered from research programmes are fed into policy development swiftly to avoid missing reopening opportunities because of insufficient data.

Current guidance for DCMS sectors in relation to Covid-19 is available on gov.uk and we will continue to provide updated guidance on reopening safely as we progress through the Steps of the roadmap.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport owns the overarching guidance for grassroots and elite sport and is working closely with other government departments to ensure the return of spectators is covid-secure. Guidance updates will be published prior to the commencement of Step 3 to allow organisers time to comply with the changes.

For guidance on any individual sports you should refer to guidance produced by the relevant national governing body.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what communications he (a) has had and (b) plans to have with hon. Members on venues in their constituencies hoping to run pilot sporting events with spectators in attendance as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Events research programme (ERP) is overseen by an industry-led steering group co-chaired by Nicholas Hytner and David Ross and working closely with national and local public health authorities. The board will consider the evidence from the pilot events and make recommendations to the Prime Minister and the Secretaries of State for DCMS, BEIS and DHSC on how restrictions could be safely lifted.

As part of our stakeholder engagement, we liaise with a number of companies and organisations in DCMS sectors, and will continue to engage with stakeholders and the scientific community to help shape ERP plans. The ERP delivery team is also working closely with the event operators, local Directors of Public Health and local authorities. I wrote to you on 16 April offering a conversation, and am happy to speak with any member with a pilot event being run within their constituency.

We have selected our pilots to examine a range of settings, venue types, and activity types (e.g. seated or not, indoor/outdoor etc) so that the data is generalisable and findings can inform thinking on the reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors.

An independently-chaired Science Board of cross-Whitehall Chief Scientific Advisors, independent scientists, and public health experts established the pilot approach to generate usable data across a variety of settings and sectors. Priority has been given to settings which allow for testing of mitigations in varying configurations. The ambition of the ERP remains, building a set of replicable data that can be extrapolated to other settings and sectors. To achieve this goal, focus will be given to settings identified by our Science Board.

There may be the opportunity to feed in options for our second phase of pilots over May-June. We will share more information with stakeholders on this process and what scientific criteria we will need these events to cover in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support he is providing to venues hoping to run pilot sporting events with spectators in attendance as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Events Research Programme (ERP), working closely with local authorities and organisers, will undertake studies to get fans and audiences back safely as restrictions are gradually eased. The pilot programme will be used to provide key scientific data and research into how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen in line with the Roadmap out of lockdown as part of Step 4, commencing no earlier than 21 June. The pilots will be run across a range of settings, venue types, and activity types so that findings could support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors.

The ERP delivery team is working closely with the event operators, local Directors of Public Health, local authorities and police to ensure each pilot is conducted safely. All events will be supported by highly capable safety teams and have the full support and buy-in from the relevant local authorities, police and Directors for Public Health

In terms of financial support on 19 November 2020 the Government announced a rescue package worth £300 million to help major spectator sports which have been affected by the pandemic, In the recent budget a further £300m was announced for the recovery package across all sports. The Culture Recovery Fund and Sports Recovery packages have provided close to £2.5 billion in sector specific support to date. On 26 January Sport England also published their strategy ‘Uniting the Movement’ and as part of this have committed an extra £50million to help grassroots sports clubs and organisations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether busking is permitted under covid-19 rules.

Indoor and outdoor performance events with a socially distanced audience are permitted from Step 3 of the Government’s Roadmap (not before 17 May). Busking is permitted from Step 3.

Busking may involve attendees converging on and congregating in a site for a specific performance or activity, and may risk audiences gathering in an uncontrolled environment.

We will continue to work with stakeholders on reopening the live music sector, in line with the timetable set out in the Roadmap.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether holiday apartments that are accessed via a publicly shared hallway within a residential block of flats are permitted to reopen as covid-19 restrictions are lifted on businesses on 12 April 2021.

From Step 2, no earlier than 12 April, self-contained holiday accommodation will be open for leisure stays. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities (kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as: lifts, staircases, lounges, sitting areas and internal corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. A reception area is not to be treated as a shared facility or indoor communal area if they are required in order to be open for check-in purposes, but should only be used for the purposes of check-in.

The Government’s phased approach to reopening means that any holiday accommodation that relies on sharing the facilities listed above must remain closed until Step 3, no earlier than 17 May. This will require the continued closure of any holiday lets or serviced accommodation within apartment buildings that share any of the facilities listed above.

From Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, all remaining accommodation will be permitted to reopen for leisure stays.

The Government’s COVID-19 Secure guidance for hotels and guest accommodation and the visitor economy will be kept up to date over the coming months, in line with the reopening process for the sector.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason isolated apartments used for holiday accommodation with a shared lobby area not permitted to open on 12 April.

Self contained accommodation can open in Step 2 of the Roadmap, which will be no earlier than the 12th April. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities (such as kitchens, sleeping facilities and indoor communal areas such as lobbies, staircases and corridors) are exclusive to single households and their support bubbles.

This means certain types of holiday accommodation cannot open until Step 3, including apartments that can only be accessed via a shared lobby area.

The Government’s reopening plan is to take a cautious, gradual and phased approach to reopening. This will reduce the risk of unsustainable pressure on the NHS, potentially leading to another lockdown. In aggregate, Step 2 prioritises outdoor activity over indoor activity, and activity within households rather than between them, based on the scientific advice about likelihood of transmission. Travel and tourism inherently involves a lot of travel across the country, as well as household mixing. Allowing all guest accommodation and household mixing to reopen at Step 2, before more of the population is vaccinated, could substantially increase the risk of the NHS being put under unsustainable pressure.

The Government has put in a number of measures to assist the sector prior to reopening, including the extension of the furlough scheme, VAT cut and business rates relief as well as the new restart grants.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support venues in the nighttime economy during the imposition of covid-19 restrictions.

Many businesses that operate within the nighttime economy, including nightclubs and music venues, have received support via the Government’s wider £280bn business support package, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and grants to businesses forced to close due to Covid-19.

In addition, the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) has also provided support for venues that operate in the nighttime economy, such as nightclubs and music venues. So far, £170m has been awarded from the CRF to over 690 organisations classed as ‘music’. Within that over £54m has been awarded to over 300 music venues specifically. Examples of venues that have received CRF funding so far include Motion, Night People, Village Underground, Ministry of Sound and Fabric.

Additionally, a second round of CRF funding was announced in December 2020 with application portals closing on 26 January 2021. As in round one, nighttime economy businesses were eligible to apply and we know that many businesses have done so. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their applications by the end of March 2021.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2021 to Question 145062, for what reason data is not available on levels of employment in the voluntary and community sector.

Employment data for the voluntary and community sector is currently collected and published quarterly. Due to existing survey and reporting requirements, there is currently a 3 month lag between publication and the reference period. VCSE organisations are not easily identifiable in other, more timely data sources such as ONS BICS due to the way industries are categorised under the current Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. The most recent employment estimates for the sector cover the period October 2019 - September 2020 and was published in January 2021. Existing official estimates for the sector also do not specifically cover jobs lost due to COVID and instead are intended to provide an overall stock figure for employment within the sector.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the average increase in demand for the services of voluntary and community organisations has been since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

While robust and representative data is not available on the average increase in demand for services of voluntary and community organisations, we recognise that many charities are experiencing pressures as a result of Covid-19, including increasing demand for some services.

The government has committed £750 million of targeted support to enable voluntary and community sector organisations to maintain and enhance services for those affected by the crisis during this difficult time. This package continues to support the vital work of these organisations.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the amount of funding for voluntary and community organisations lost since the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and what comparative assessment he has made of the level of funding for those organisations in (a) 2017, (b) 2018, (c) 2019 and (d) 2020.

A complete picture of the impact of covid-19 outbreak on the finances of the voluntary and community sector is not available at this time. However, we recognise that many charities are experiencing pressures as a result of Covid-19, including having to adapt usual forms of income generation, such as fundraising and trading.

Government’s £750 million sector funding package is allowing charities and social enterprises to continue their vital work and support our national response to the pandemic. This was in addition to the unprecedented package of support available across the economy to enable organisations to get through the months ahead. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which continues to be a lifeline to a multitude of organisations, as well as grants to support those operating premises that have been required to close due to national restrictions.

We continue to work closely with the voluntary and community sector to assess the impact of the crisis and their emerging needs.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of volunteering in the voluntary and community sector since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Volunteers around the country are making vital contributions to the COVID-19 response, supporting people in need and complementing the delivery of essential public services. The Government is grateful to all volunteers for their energy, compassion and willingness to support the country through these challenging times.

Through the NHS Volunteer Responders programme alone, volunteers have undertaken over 1.4 million tasks in support of over 144,000 unique clients, as of 25 January 2021.

As part of ongoing work to assess trends in volunteering during the pandemic, DCMS published the results of the Community Life COVID-19 Re-contact Survey in December 2020. The survey estimated that, across England, 21% of people volunteered through an organisation or group (formal volunteering) between March and July 2020. 9% of respondents were new volunteers and 6% had volunteered previously, but now gave more time. People who identified as ethnic minorities (excluding white minorities) were more likely to start volunteering for the first time during COVID-19. 47% of people informally volunteered, giving unpaid help to other people who are not relatives and 52% of informal volunteers were helping people affected by COVID-19. 72% of COVID-19 informal volunteers started their activities during the pandemic

The full results of the survey can be found at GOV.UK and copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on allocating additional funding for voluntary and community organisations during the covid-19 outbreak.

The £750 million sector funding package offered unprecedented support to allow charities and social enterprises to continue their vital work and adapt their service delivery to support our national response to the pandemic.

On top of this, the Government continues to make an unprecedented package of support available across the economy to enable organisations to get through the months ahead. Charities continue to access these schemes, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the scheme to defer VAT bills to the end of June, and the business rate holiday for shops as well as government backed loan schemes.

We will continue to work with the sector to assess their emerging needs and understand how we can best support them during the current period.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to provide an additional funding support package for charities during the covid-19 outbreak in the first three months of 2021.

The £750 million sector funding package offered unprecedented support to allow charities and social enterprises to continue their vital work and adapt their service delivery to support our national response to the pandemic.

On top of this, the Government continues to make an unprecedented package of support available across the economy to enable organisations to get through the months ahead. Charities continue to access these schemes, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the scheme to defer VAT bills to the end of June, and the business rate holiday for shops as well as government backed loan schemes.

We will continue to work with the sector to assess their emerging needs and understand how we can best support them during the current period.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many jobs have been lost in the voluntary and community sectors since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

While reliable live data is not available on levels of employment in the voluntary and community sectors, we recognise that many charities are experiencing pressures as a result of Covid-19, including having to adapt fundraising and trading activities to take account of local and national restrictions.

Government has made available an unprecedented Covid-support package to protect jobs and livelihoods. In addition, we have committed a £750 million of targeted support to enable voluntary and community sector organisations to maintain and enhance services for those affected by the crisis during this difficult time. This package continues to support the vital work of these organisations.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to plan for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022.

DCMS is leading the cross government support to the Royal Household as it plans to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The Jubilee, along with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Festival of the UK, will contribute to an outstanding year of national events in 2022.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding his Department allocated to the National Railway Museum in the financial year (a) 2018-19 and (b) 2019-20.

The National Railway Museum (NRM) is part of the Science Museum Group (SMG). DCMS allocates Grant-in-Aid (GIA) to the SMG who distribute the funding across all their sites.

GIA funding information for 2018/19 and 2019/20 is published in SMG’s Annual Report and Accounts. Estimates for this financial year are published in Central Government Supply Estimates 2020/21. SMG is allowed to access additional resource GIA funding over the financial year 2020/21 in order to mitigate possible deficits as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 over the financial year. Funding is not yet fully confirmed for 2021/22.

In addition NRM has been awarded £18.5m over three years, from 2020/21 to 2022/23, from the Culture Investment Fund to support NRM’s Vision 2025 transformation project.

Search Engine, which launched in 2008, has dramatically opened up access to the museum’s archive collection and library. Since opening, 400,000 people have used the facility, which now includes more than 1,000 paintings, 2,350 prints and drawings and 1.75m photographs. DCMS does not hold information on the funding allocated to Search Engine stock purchases but the SMG has confirmed that it is adequate to meet all current and anticipated needs.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding his Department allocated to the National Railway Museum for stock purchases by its library Search Engine in the financial year (a) 2018-19 and (b) 2019-20.

The National Railway Museum (NRM) is part of the Science Museum Group (SMG). DCMS allocates Grant-in-Aid (GIA) to the SMG who distribute the funding across all their sites.

GIA funding information for 2018/19 and 2019/20 is published in SMG’s Annual Report and Accounts. Estimates for this financial year are published in Central Government Supply Estimates 2020/21. SMG is allowed to access additional resource GIA funding over the financial year 2020/21 in order to mitigate possible deficits as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 over the financial year. Funding is not yet fully confirmed for 2021/22.

In addition NRM has been awarded £18.5m over three years, from 2020/21 to 2022/23, from the Culture Investment Fund to support NRM’s Vision 2025 transformation project.

Search Engine, which launched in 2008, has dramatically opened up access to the museum’s archive collection and library. Since opening, 400,000 people have used the facility, which now includes more than 1,000 paintings, 2,350 prints and drawings and 1.75m photographs. DCMS does not hold information on the funding allocated to Search Engine stock purchases but the SMG has confirmed that it is adequate to meet all current and anticipated needs.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the projected funding allocation is from his Department to the National Railway Museum for the financial year (a) 2020-21 and (b) 2021-22.

The National Railway Museum (NRM) is part of the Science Museum Group (SMG). DCMS allocates Grant-in-Aid (GIA) to the SMG who distribute the funding across all their sites.

GIA funding information for 2018/19 and 2019/20 is published in SMG’s Annual Report and Accounts. Estimates for this financial year are published in Central Government Supply Estimates 2020/21. SMG is allowed to access additional resource GIA funding over the financial year 2020/21 in order to mitigate possible deficits as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 over the financial year. Funding is not yet fully confirmed for 2021/22.

In addition NRM has been awarded £18.5m over three years, from 2020/21 to 2022/23, from the Culture Investment Fund to support NRM’s Vision 2025 transformation project.

Search Engine, which launched in 2008, has dramatically opened up access to the museum’s archive collection and library. Since opening, 400,000 people have used the facility, which now includes more than 1,000 paintings, 2,350 prints and drawings and 1.75m photographs. DCMS does not hold information on the funding allocated to Search Engine stock purchases but the SMG has confirmed that it is adequate to meet all current and anticipated needs.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding he plans to allocate to the National Railway Museum for stock purchases by the library Search Engine in the financial year (a) 2020-21 and (b) 2021-22.

The National Railway Museum (NRM) is part of the Science Museum Group (SMG). DCMS allocates Grant-in-Aid (GIA) to the SMG who distribute the funding across all their sites.

GIA funding information for 2018/19 and 2019/20 is published in SMG’s Annual Report and Accounts. Estimates for this financial year are published in Central Government Supply Estimates 2020/21. SMG is allowed to access additional resource GIA funding over the financial year 2020/21 in order to mitigate possible deficits as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 over the financial year. Funding is not yet fully confirmed for 2021/22.

In addition NRM has been awarded £18.5m over three years, from 2020/21 to 2022/23, from the Culture Investment Fund to support NRM’s Vision 2025 transformation project.

Search Engine, which launched in 2008, has dramatically opened up access to the museum’s archive collection and library. Since opening, 400,000 people have used the facility, which now includes more than 1,000 paintings, 2,350 prints and drawings and 1.75m photographs. DCMS does not hold information on the funding allocated to Search Engine stock purchases but the SMG has confirmed that it is adequate to meet all current and anticipated needs.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress his Department has been made on implementing the Arts Council 10 Year Plan.

The detail of how ACE will deliver the Let’s Create strategy is set out through Delivery Plans, lasting for 3-4 years each. ACE was due to publish its Delivery Plan for 2020-23 in May, but this has been delayed due to the current crisis. A new timetable for publication has not yet been set. Given that Delivery Plans are shorter-term documents which set out how ACE will deliver the strategy, reflecting the priorities of the current government, ACE and DCMS are working closely to develop ACE’s 2020-23 Delivery Plan and will publish in due course.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he is taking steps to ensure that local authorities support public local museums and galleries during the next phases of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Local authority owned museums and galleries, who have exhausted other avenues for funding, were entitled to apply for support through the government’s major £1.57 billion support package for cultural organisations. This funding is designed to support organisations through the coronavirus pandemic, available until spring 2021.

Culture and Heritage are at the heart of communities across the country, enriching the lives of millions and this financial investment is testament to the role this sector plays in our lives.

This fund will protect cultural assets of international, national and regional importance, including supporting the levelling up agenda by preventing the loss of valuable cultural fabric from our towns and regions.

In addition, MHCLG is providing local authorities with an unprecedented package of support, including £3.7bn of un-ringfenced grants. This direct ?financial support ?the government has provided is just part of a comprehensive package of support? which includes cashflow measures as well as grants and business rates reliefs for businesses. The Secretary of State for Communities has also announced a co-payment scheme to cover?irrecoverable losses in sales, fees and charges?income?in 2020/21, such as revenue from cultural assets which have been depressed by the pandemic.

The Government continues to monitor the impact of these and other measures and both my department and Arts Council England, the sector’s development body, are in regular touch with local authority museums to engage them on such issues.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he is taking steps to ensure that local authorities support local libraries during the next phases of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is providing local councils with unprecedented support during the pandemic with a £4.3 billion package, including £3.7 billion which is not ringfenced and £600 million to support social care providers. This is part of a wider package of almost £28 billion which the Government has committed to support local areas, with funding going to councils, businesses and communities.

DCMS has a statutory duty to superintend, and promote the improvement of, the public library service provided by local authorities in England. To assist delivery of this statutory duty, DCMS issued a joint letter with the Local Government Association to all local authorities in England requesting detail of restoration of their library services given the opening of physical library buildings is now permitted. This detail will assist the department’s engagement with local authorities and its ongoing monitoring of library service provision.

DCMS continues to work closely with Libraries Connected and other key stakeholders to ensure that the Libraries Connected Service Recovery Toolkit remains relevant and continues to assist libraries with their opening and reintroduction of their services during the pandemic.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the news story, Chancellor sets out extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities, published on 8 April 2020, how much of the £5 million allocated to the Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund has been (a) allocated to and (b) received by organisations.

On 13 May 2020, government launched the £5 million Loneliness Covid-19 grant fund to enable national organisations working to tackle loneliness and build social connections to continue and adapt their critical work. On 15 June 2020, nine grants, totalling £4,920,000, were announced. Further details on successful organisations, including project descriptions and grant amounts, can be found here. The remaining £80,000 has been set aside for an independent evaluation of the Loneliness Covid-19 Fund.

As of Thursday 17th September, £2,029,599.80 has been disbursed to organisations. The remaining £2,890,400.20 of grant funding will be disbursed to and spent by organisations by end-December 2020. The £80,000 of evaluation costs will be spent by end-March 2021.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional (a) business and (b) financial support for the tourism industry he has discussed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

We are in regular contact with the Treasury regarding the impact of Covid-19 on tourism and hospitality. We continue to monitor the situation and are taking steps to support the sector as it moves to the autumn season.

As well as providing business support and stimulating consumer demand via domestic marketing activity and through the recent Eat Out To Help Out scheme, the Government has implemented a series of financial measures that will assist tourism business over the coming months. This includes the cut to VAT which will last into January and business rates relief for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses, which will last until the end of March.

We are continuing to engage across Government and with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the recovery of tourism and hospitality across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional (a) business and (b) financial support for the hospitality industry he has discussed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

We are in regular contact with the Treasury regarding the impact of Covid-19 on tourism and hospitality. We continue to monitor the situation and are taking steps to support the sector as it moves to the autumn season.

As well as providing business support and stimulating consumer demand via domestic marketing activity and through the recent Eat Out To Help Out scheme, the Government has implemented a series of financial measures that will assist tourism business over the coming months. This includes the cut to VAT which will last into January and business rates relief for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses, which will last until the end of March.

We are continuing to engage across Government and with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the recovery of tourism and hospitality across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he is taking steps to ensure that local authorities support local theatres during the next phases of the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government recognises how severely regional theatres, and the wider Arts sector, have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

Local authority owned theatres, who have exhausted other avenues for funding, were entitled to apply for support through the government’s major £1.57 billion support package for cultural organisations. This funding is designed to support organisations through the coronavirus pandemic until spring 2021.

In addition, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government is providing local authorities with an unprecedented package of support, including £3.7bn of non-ring fenced grants. This direct financial support provided by the government is just part of a comprehensive package of support which includes cash flow measures as well as grants and business rates reliefs for businesses.

The Government continues to monitor the impact of these and other measures, and both my department and Arts Council England, the sector’s development body, are in regular contact with local authorities to engage them on such issues.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how his Department is recording redundancies from voluntary and community organisations making fewer than 20 people redundant during the covid-19 outbreak.

Employers proposing to make fewer than 20 redundancies are not required to report this. DCMS continues to engage closely with the community and voluntary sector to understand the impact of covid-19 on the sector and its important work. However, DCMS does not record redundancy data.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the news story, Chancellor sets out extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities, published on 8 April 2020, how much of the £370 million National Lottery Community funding has been (a) allocated and (b) received by organisations to date.

The Government has made available an unprecedented £750 million package of support, specifically for charities, social enterprises and the voluntary sector. This will ensure charities and other civil society organisations, including those at risk of financial hardship, can continue their vital work during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Of the £750m, £200 million of this money is being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF). As of 13th September 2020, £116,162,678 million has been awarded to organisations through this Fund, which is being disbursed to them in accordance with the payment profiles set out in the onward grant agreements. Of this amount, £58,332,938 has been allocated to medium sized organisations and £25,795,260 to small organisations.

The eligibility criteria used by NLCF to assess CCSF funding applications can be found on the NLCF’s website: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/covid-19-funding-over-10k#section-2. A list of all organisations that have been awarded funding from the CCSF will be published once the allocation process is complete.

£85 million has been allocated to the ‘Community Match Challenge’ which is matching funds raised by philanthropists, foundations and grant making organisations to further support small to medium sized organisations from across the country working with those who are most vulnerable and have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. This Fund closed for bids on 2nd August and the outcome will be announced shortly.

A further £4.8 million will be distributed to the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership - a group that comes together to improve national and local coordination before, during and after emergencies - to help strengthen the voluntary sector’s response to coronavirus and future emergencies.

To support the BBC’s 'Big Night In' (BNI), the Government matched the generous donations of the public across the country with a grant for £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust (NET) which is working in Partnership with the UK Community Foundations and a further £17 million which was shared between Comic Relief (CR) and Children in Need (CiN). As of 11 September, £16,641,702.24 has been allocated by all three funds with awards disbursed to charities through the usual process. The eligibility criteria used to assess applications for BNI funding can be found here for the NET element of the funding: https://www.ukcommunityfoundations.org/our-programmes and here for CR and CiN funding: https://www.comicrelief.com/funding

£360 million has been allocated by central government departments with £200 million of this directly supporting hospices across the country. The remaining funding has been allocated and awarded, as follows, with distribution to charities undertaken by the relevant department in accordance with the relevant grant agreements:

Fund/Department/Allocation

Awarded (as at 11 September 2020)

£5m Loneliness Fund, DCMS

£4.92m

£14m Zoos Support Fund, DEFRA (with top-up of £86m from HMT in July)

£2.19m

£6m Homelessness Fund, MHCLG

£5.92m

£34.15m Vulnerable Children Fund, DfE and Home Office

£11.8m through HO £21.8m through DfE

£27m Domestic Abuse Survivors and Survivors of Sexual Violence, MoJ and Home Office

£22.1m through MoJ £1.7m through HO

£1.8m Survivors of Modern Slavery, Home Office

£1.7m

£5.4m Legal Advice, MoJ

£5.2m

£16m Meals for Those in Need, DEFRA

£15.7m

£15m Support for the Citizens Advice service, BEIS

£15m

£22m Support for Health Charities, DHSC

£23.7m (includes additional DHSC match funding over minimum requirements)

£6m Support for Armed Services, MoD

£6m

£10m Domestic Abuse safe accommodation fund, MHCLG

£8.8m

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the news story, Chancellor sets out extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities, published on 8 April 2020, how much of the funding allocated to small and medium organisations has been (a) allocated and (b) received by organisations to date; and what the regional allocation is of that funding.

The Government has made available an unprecedented £750 million package of support, specifically for charities, social enterprises and the voluntary sector. This will ensure charities and other civil society organisations, including those at risk of financial hardship, can continue their vital work during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Of the £750m, £200 million of this money is being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF). As of 13th September 2020, £116,162,678 million has been awarded to organisations through this Fund, which is being disbursed to them in accordance with the payment profiles set out in the onward grant agreements. Of this amount, £58,332,938 has been allocated to medium sized organisations and £25,795,260 to small organisations.

The eligibility criteria used by NLCF to assess CCSF funding applications can be found on the NLCF’s website: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/covid-19-funding-over-10k#section-2. A list of all organisations that have been awarded funding from the CCSF will be published once the allocation process is complete.

£85 million has been allocated to the ‘Community Match Challenge’ which is matching funds raised by philanthropists, foundations and grant making organisations to further support small to medium sized organisations from across the country working with those who are most vulnerable and have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. This Fund closed for bids on 2nd August and the outcome will be announced shortly.

A further £4.8 million will be distributed to the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership - a group that comes together to improve national and local coordination before, during and after emergencies - to help strengthen the voluntary sector’s response to coronavirus and future emergencies.

To support the BBC’s 'Big Night In' (BNI), the Government matched the generous donations of the public across the country with a grant for £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust (NET) which is working in Partnership with the UK Community Foundations and a further £17 million which was shared between Comic Relief (CR) and Children in Need (CiN). As of 11 September, £16,641,702.24 has been allocated by all three funds with awards disbursed to charities through the usual process. The eligibility criteria used to assess applications for BNI funding can be found here for the NET element of the funding: https://www.ukcommunityfoundations.org/our-programmes and here for CR and CiN funding: https://www.comicrelief.com/funding

£360 million has been allocated by central government departments with £200 million of this directly supporting hospices across the country. The remaining funding has been allocated and awarded, as follows, with distribution to charities undertaken by the relevant department in accordance with the relevant grant agreements:

Fund/Department/Allocation

Awarded (as at 11 September 2020)

£5m Loneliness Fund, DCMS

£4.92m

£14m Zoos Support Fund, DEFRA (with top-up of £86m from HMT in July)

£2.19m

£6m Homelessness Fund, MHCLG

£5.92m

£34.15m Vulnerable Children Fund, DfE and Home Office

£11.8m through HO £21.8m through DfE

£27m Domestic Abuse Survivors and Survivors of Sexual Violence, MoJ and Home Office

£22.1m through MoJ £1.7m through HO

£1.8m Survivors of Modern Slavery, Home Office

£1.7m

£5.4m Legal Advice, MoJ

£5.2m

£16m Meals for Those in Need, DEFRA

£15.7m

£15m Support for the Citizens Advice service, BEIS

£15m

£22m Support for Health Charities, DHSC

£23.7m (includes additional DHSC match funding over minimum requirements)

£6m Support for Armed Services, MoD

£6m

£10m Domestic Abuse safe accommodation fund, MHCLG

£8.8m

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the news story, Chancellor sets out extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities, published on 8 April 2020, how much of the £370 million allocated to the National Lottery Community Fund and held back for emergencies has been allocated to date; what criteria was used to allocate that funding; and which organisations have received an allocation of that funding.

The Government has made available an unprecedented £750 million package of support, specifically for charities, social enterprises and the voluntary sector. This will ensure charities and other civil society organisations, including those at risk of financial hardship, can continue their vital work during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Of the £750m, £200 million of this money is being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF). As of 13th September 2020, £116,162,678 million has been awarded to organisations through this Fund, which is being disbursed to them in accordance with the payment profiles set out in the onward grant agreements. Of this amount, £58,332,938 has been allocated to medium sized organisations and £25,795,260 to small organisations.

The eligibility criteria used by NLCF to assess CCSF funding applications can be found on the NLCF’s website: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/covid-19-funding-over-10k#section-2. A list of all organisations that have been awarded funding from the CCSF will be published once the allocation process is complete.

£85 million has been allocated to the ‘Community Match Challenge’ which is matching funds raised by philanthropists, foundations and grant making organisations to further support small to medium sized organisations from across the country working with those who are most vulnerable and have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. This Fund closed for bids on 2nd August and the outcome will be announced shortly.

A further £4.8 million will be distributed to the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership - a group that comes together to improve national and local coordination before, during and after emergencies - to help strengthen the voluntary sector’s response to coronavirus and future emergencies.

To support the BBC’s 'Big Night In' (BNI), the Government matched the generous donations of the public across the country with a grant for £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust (NET) which is working in Partnership with the UK Community Foundations and a further £17 million which was shared between Comic Relief (CR) and Children in Need (CiN). As of 11 September, £16,641,702.24 has been allocated by all three funds with awards disbursed to charities through the usual process. The eligibility criteria used to assess applications for BNI funding can be found here for the NET element of the funding: https://www.ukcommunityfoundations.org/our-programmes and here for CR and CiN funding: https://www.comicrelief.com/funding

£360 million has been allocated by central government departments with £200 million of this directly supporting hospices across the country. The remaining funding has been allocated and awarded, as follows, with distribution to charities undertaken by the relevant department in accordance with the relevant grant agreements:

Fund/Department/Allocation

Awarded (as at 11 September 2020)

£5m Loneliness Fund, DCMS

£4.92m

£14m Zoos Support Fund, DEFRA (with top-up of £86m from HMT in July)

£2.19m

£6m Homelessness Fund, MHCLG

£5.92m

£34.15m Vulnerable Children Fund, DfE and Home Office

£11.8m through HO £21.8m through DfE

£27m Domestic Abuse Survivors and Survivors of Sexual Violence, MoJ and Home Office

£22.1m through MoJ £1.7m through HO

£1.8m Survivors of Modern Slavery, Home Office

£1.7m

£5.4m Legal Advice, MoJ

£5.2m

£16m Meals for Those in Need, DEFRA

£15.7m

£15m Support for the Citizens Advice service, BEIS

£15m

£22m Support for Health Charities, DHSC

£23.7m (includes additional DHSC match funding over minimum requirements)

£6m Support for Armed Services, MoD

£6m

£10m Domestic Abuse safe accommodation fund, MHCLG

£8.8m

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the news story, Chancellor sets out extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities, published on 8 April 2020, how much of the £20 million allocated as match funding to the Big Night In initiative has been (a) allocated and (b) received by organisations to date; and what criteria was used to allocate that funding.

The Government has made available an unprecedented £750 million package of support, specifically for charities, social enterprises and the voluntary sector. This will ensure charities and other civil society organisations, including those at risk of financial hardship, can continue their vital work during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Of the £750m, £200 million of this money is being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF). As of 13th September 2020, £116,162,678 million has been awarded to organisations through this Fund, which is being disbursed to them in accordance with the payment profiles set out in the onward grant agreements. Of this amount, £58,332,938 has been allocated to medium sized organisations and £25,795,260 to small organisations.

The eligibility criteria used by NLCF to assess CCSF funding applications can be found on the NLCF’s website: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/covid-19-funding-over-10k#section-2. A list of all organisations that have been awarded funding from the CCSF will be published once the allocation process is complete.

£85 million has been allocated to the ‘Community Match Challenge’ which is matching funds raised by philanthropists, foundations and grant making organisations to further support small to medium sized organisations from across the country working with those who are most vulnerable and have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. This Fund closed for bids on 2nd August and the outcome will be announced shortly.

A further £4.8 million will be distributed to the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership - a group that comes together to improve national and local coordination before, during and after emergencies - to help strengthen the voluntary sector’s response to coronavirus and future emergencies.

To support the BBC’s 'Big Night In' (BNI), the Government matched the generous donations of the public across the country with a grant for £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust (NET) which is working in Partnership with the UK Community Foundations and a further £17 million which was shared between Comic Relief (CR) and Children in Need (CiN). As of 11 September, £16,641,702.24 has been allocated by all three funds with awards disbursed to charities through the usual process. The eligibility criteria used to assess applications for BNI funding can be found here for the NET element of the funding: https://www.ukcommunityfoundations.org/our-programmes and here for CR and CiN funding: https://www.comicrelief.com/funding

£360 million has been allocated by central government departments with £200 million of this directly supporting hospices across the country. The remaining funding has been allocated and awarded, as follows, with distribution to charities undertaken by the relevant department in accordance with the relevant grant agreements:

Fund/Department/Allocation

Awarded (as at 11 September 2020)

£5m Loneliness Fund, DCMS

£4.92m

£14m Zoos Support Fund, DEFRA (with top-up of £86m from HMT in July)

£2.19m

£6m Homelessness Fund, MHCLG

£5.92m

£34.15m Vulnerable Children Fund, DfE and Home Office

£11.8m through HO £21.8m through DfE

£27m Domestic Abuse Survivors and Survivors of Sexual Violence, MoJ and Home Office

£22.1m through MoJ £1.7m through HO

£1.8m Survivors of Modern Slavery, Home Office

£1.7m

£5.4m Legal Advice, MoJ

£5.2m

£16m Meals for Those in Need, DEFRA

£15.7m

£15m Support for the Citizens Advice service, BEIS

£15m

£22m Support for Health Charities, DHSC

£23.7m (includes additional DHSC match funding over minimum requirements)

£6m Support for Armed Services, MoD

£6m

£10m Domestic Abuse safe accommodation fund, MHCLG

£8.8m

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the news story, Chancellor sets out extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities, published on 8 April 2020, how much of the £360 million allocated to Government departments for further distribution has been allocated to each department to date; and how much has been spent by each Government department.

The Government has made available an unprecedented £750 million package of support, specifically for charities, social enterprises and the voluntary sector. This will ensure charities and other civil society organisations, including those at risk of financial hardship, can continue their vital work during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Of the £750m, £200 million of this money is being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund (CCSF). As of 13th September 2020, £116,162,678 million has been awarded to organisations through this Fund, which is being disbursed to them in accordance with the payment profiles set out in the onward grant agreements. Of this amount, £58,332,938 has been allocated to medium sized organisations and £25,795,260 to small organisations.

The eligibility criteria used by NLCF to assess CCSF funding applications can be found on the NLCF’s website: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/covid-19-funding-over-10k#section-2. A list of all organisations that have been awarded funding from the CCSF will be published once the allocation process is complete.

£85 million has been allocated to the ‘Community Match Challenge’ which is matching funds raised by philanthropists, foundations and grant making organisations to further support small to medium sized organisations from across the country working with those who are most vulnerable and have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. This Fund closed for bids on 2nd August and the outcome will be announced shortly.

A further £4.8 million will be distributed to the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership - a group that comes together to improve national and local coordination before, during and after emergencies - to help strengthen the voluntary sector’s response to coronavirus and future emergencies.

To support the BBC’s 'Big Night In' (BNI), the Government matched the generous donations of the public across the country with a grant for £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust (NET) which is working in Partnership with the UK Community Foundations and a further £17 million which was shared between Comic Relief (CR) and Children in Need (CiN). As of 11 September, £16,641,702.24 has been allocated by all three funds with awards disbursed to charities through the usual process. The eligibility criteria used to assess applications for BNI funding can be found here for the NET element of the funding: https://www.ukcommunityfoundations.org/our-programmes and here for CR and CiN funding: https://www.comicrelief.com/funding

£360 million has been allocated by central government departments with £200 million of this directly supporting hospices across the country. The remaining funding has been allocated and awarded, as follows, with distribution to charities undertaken by the relevant department in accordance with the relevant grant agreements:

Fund/Department/Allocation

Awarded (as at 11 September 2020)

£5m Loneliness Fund, DCMS

£4.92m

£14m Zoos Support Fund, DEFRA (with top-up of £86m from HMT in July)

£2.19m

£6m Homelessness Fund, MHCLG

£5.92m

£34.15m Vulnerable Children Fund, DfE and Home Office

£11.8m through HO £21.8m through DfE

£27m Domestic Abuse Survivors and Survivors of Sexual Violence, MoJ and Home Office

£22.1m through MoJ £1.7m through HO

£1.8m Survivors of Modern Slavery, Home Office

£1.7m

£5.4m Legal Advice, MoJ

£5.2m

£16m Meals for Those in Need, DEFRA

£15.7m

£15m Support for the Citizens Advice service, BEIS

£15m

£22m Support for Health Charities, DHSC

£23.7m (includes additional DHSC match funding over minimum requirements)

£6m Support for Armed Services, MoD

£6m

£10m Domestic Abuse safe accommodation fund, MHCLG

£8.8m

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the tourism sector on extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We recognise the significant impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector. We continue to monitor the situation and the Government has put in place an unprecedented economic package to support the sector, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Visitor Economy Working Group, we continue to engage with stakeholders from the tourism sector on the economic support packages available, and to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery on an ongoing basis.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the effect of changes in local government funding on resources available to voluntary sector organisations in the 2021-22 financial year.

The Secretary of State regularly meets with my cabinet colleagues to discuss a broad range of issues. Future funding decisions remain subject to the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) which was launched by the Chancellor in July. The Review, which will be published in the autumn, will set out the government’s spending plans for the parliament.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the continued allocation of funding to medical research charities.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has committed a £750m targeted funding package to ensure the Voluntary, Community and social Enterprise sector can continue its vital work.

Ministers and officials in DCMS have maintained regular contact with other departments throughout the pandemic, including DHSC and BEIS, as we develop our response. BEIS and DHSC have been closely liaising with the Association of Medical Research Charities, as well as individual charities, to understand the impact of the pandemic on this sector and identify how best Government and charities can work together to ensure that patients continue benefiting from charity funded research.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that all redundancies made in the community and voluntary sector are being recorded.

Any employer, including an employer within the community and voluntary sector, that is proposing to make 20 or more redundancies must notify the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Failure to do so is an offence. As charities are independent organisations, it is for them and their trustees to ensure that any proposed redundancies at this scale are reported in a timely manner.

DCMS has had and continues to have regular engagement with the community and voluntary sector. However, DCMS does not record redundancy data.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he last conducted a review of the effectiveness of the Charity Commission.

DCMS has regular discussions with the Charity Commission around the regulatory framework for charities in England and Wales.

The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 gave the Charity Commission extra regulatory powers including strengthening the protection of charities against abuse. DCMS carried out a Post-Implementation Review of the Act which was published on 16th March 2020. Based on the evidence within the Post-Implementation Review, DCMS concluded that the Charity Commission had used these new powers effectively. The National Audit Office published a progress update on the Commission in November 2017, recognising that it "has improved significantly" since its 2013 report.

Increased use of the Commission’s powers also shows progress: In 2019/20 the Commission concluded 6,246 regulatory action cases, of which 181 were statutory inquiries, and opened 67 new inquiries. It used its regulatory powers almost 2,000 times. This is compared with 15 statutory inquiries and 200 uses of legal powers in 2012-13.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the financial challenges faced by the voluntary and community sector as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS is continuing to work closely with the civil society sector to assess the needs of the sector and how the government can best support it to continue its vital work. The Government has committed an unprecedented £750m targeted funding package to support the Voluntary and Community Sector, which builds on the significant package of support available across sectors, including the Job Retention Scheme. A further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts has been unlocked to support urgent work tackling youth unemployment, providing emergency loans for civil society organisations and improving the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

The ‘Community Match Challenge’ which is matching funds raised by philanthropists, foundations and grant making organisations will further support small to medium sized organisations from across the country working with those who are most vulnerable and have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. This Fund closed for bids on 2nd August and the outcome will be announced shortly.

Ensuring charities can begin fundraising activities will be a crucial part of the sector’s recovery. On the 24th June, DCMS published a collection of guidance for DCMS sectors relating to COVID-19. This includes practical guidance and resources from the Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising supporting charities to safeguard the public, staff and volunteers as they plan to return to fundraising activities in a safe and responsible way. This can be viewed at;

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-dcms-sectors-in-relation-to-coronavirus-covid-19

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on support from charities and social enterprises to the Kickstart programme.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has held discussions with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, including on how DCMS sectors have been impacted by Covid-19, particularly in relation to unemployment and where new opportunities may arise so that workers could be helped to pivot into new roles. Throughout Kickstart policy development, Government officials have engaged with a wide range of stakeholders, including a number of voluntary sector organisations.

Employers from all industries and across the private, public and voluntary sectors will be able to get involved in creating new jobs, funded by the Kickstart scheme. Government will continue to engage with organisations in order to encourage a wide range of delivery partners to support the scheme and make it a success.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on adapting the Kickstart scheme to make it easier for charities and social enterprises to participate in that scheme.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has held discussions with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, including on how DCMS sectors have been impacted by Covid-19, particularly in relation to unemployment and where new opportunities may arise so that workers could be helped to pivot into new roles. Throughout Kickstart policy development, Government officials have engaged with a wide range of stakeholders, including a number of voluntary sector organisations.

Employers from all industries and across the private, public and voluntary sectors will be able to get involved in creating new jobs, funded by the Kickstart scheme. Government will continue to engage with organisations in order to encourage a wide range of delivery partners to support the scheme and make it a success.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to help ensure resources from the £1.57 billion funding for cultural, arts and heritage institutions are distributed to groups supporting under represented people with protected characteristics.

The Culture Recovery Fund will provide targeted support to critical cultural, arts and heritage organisations to help them survive and recover through the coronavirus pandemic. Funding will be prioritised to institutions of national and international significance and those that are crucial to levelling up places and communities, including smaller organisations and cultural venues that are at the centre of their communities.

Key organisations in England are able to apply for grants or loans. When making funding decisions, the Arms Length Bodies delivering the funding will be taking into account an organisation’s track record of delivering social benefit and welcoming diverse audiences. Organisations in receipt of this funding will also be expected to demonstrate progress in diversity and outreach over the coming years.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that diversity is prioritised in support for (a) organisations and (b) people working in the arts and creative industries.

The Government’s aim is to see cultural and creative sectors that are strong, vibrant and inclusive, and this can only be achieved through a diverse and representative workforce. We recognise there is still much to be done to improve diversity and inclusion across the arts and creative industries, and are working with industry and sector bodies - including the BFI, Arts Council England and the Creative Industries Council - on a range of measures to ensure the sector better reflects the diversity of the UK through the current pandemic and beyond.

Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, DCMS ministers and officials have been regularly engaging with stakeholders across the cultural and creative industries to ensure that their issues are fully understood in government. As part of this engagement, we have spoken with a number of organisations and individuals that are representative of the diverse nature of the nation, including at a roundtable I hosted which specifically examined the impact of Covid-19 on diversity in these sectors.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which BAME charities are in receipt of (a) (i) direct or (ii) indirect funding from a Government department or (b) direct funding from a local authority.

On 8 April the Chancellor announced a £750 million funding package for charities.This includes £360 million of targeted funding by central government departments for charities providing vital services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Individual government departments have allocated this funding in line with their usual internal procedures. In addition, part of this package will include an open fund aimed at smaller charities and social enterprises working with vulnerable people affected by the crisis in England delivered through the National Lottery Community Fund.

My department and the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF - our distribution partners for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund) have been - and continue to - engage extensively with diverse and underrepresented groups during the development of the response and are working with a number of organisations to improve the reach of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. A diverse advisory panel has been set up to support the distribution process for the fund.

No DCMS funds have been allocated to local government for onward distribution. The department does not hold information on direct funding allocated by local government.

Announcements and the breakdown of government funding can be found on the gov.uk website here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19 . Details of the funds awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund and by DCMS will be published in due course. Individual departments will be responsible for publishing their own data.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which LGBTQ+ charities are in receipt of (a) (i) direct or (ii) indirect funding from a Government department or (b) direct funding from local authorities.

On 8 April the Chancellor announced a £750 million funding package for charities.This includes £360 million of targeted funding by central government departments for charities providing vital services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Individual government departments have allocated this funding in line with their usual internal procedures. In addition, part of this package will include an open fund aimed at smaller charities and social enterprises working with vulnerable people affected by the crisis in England delivered through the National Lottery Community Fund.

My department and the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF - our distribution partners for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund) have been - and continue to - engage extensively with diverse and underrepresented groups during the development of the response and are working with a number of organisations to improve the reach of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. A diverse advisory panel has been set up to support the distribution process for the fund.

No DCMS funds have been allocated to local government for onward distribution. The department does not hold information on direct funding allocated by local government.

Announcements and the breakdown of government funding can be found on the gov.uk website here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19 . Details of the funds awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund and by DCMS will be published in due course. Individual departments will be responsible for publishing their own data.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which charities supporting women in receipt of (a) (i) direct or (ii) indirect funding from a Government department or (b) direct funding from local authorities.

On 8 April the Chancellor announced a £750 million funding package for charities.This includes £360 million of targeted funding by central government departments for charities providing vital services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Individual government departments have allocated this funding in line with their usual internal procedures. In addition, part of this package will include an open fund aimed at smaller charities and social enterprises working with vulnerable people affected by the crisis in England delivered through the National Lottery Community Fund.

My department and the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF - our distribution partners for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund) have been - and continue to - engage extensively with diverse and underrepresented groups during the development of the response and are working with a number of organisations to improve the reach of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. A diverse advisory panel has been set up to support the distribution process for the fund.

No DCMS funds have been allocated to local government for onward distribution. The department does not hold information on direct funding allocated by local government.

Announcements and the breakdown of government funding can be found on the gov.uk website here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19 . Details of the funds awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund and by DCMS will be published in due course. Individual departments will be responsible for publishing their own data.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which charities supporting disabled people are in receipt of (a) (i) direct or (ii) indirect funding from a Government department or (b) direct funding from local authorities.

On 8 April the Chancellor announced a £750 million funding package for charities.This includes £360 million of targeted funding by central government departments for charities providing vital services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Individual government departments have allocated this funding in line with their usual internal procedures. In addition, part of this package will include an open fund aimed at smaller charities and social enterprises working with vulnerable people affected by the crisis in England delivered through the National Lottery Community Fund.

My department and the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF - our distribution partners for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund) have been - and continue to - engage extensively with diverse and underrepresented groups during the development of the response and are working with a number of organisations to improve the reach of the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. A diverse advisory panel has been set up to support the distribution process for the fund.

No DCMS funds have been allocated to local government for onward distribution. The department does not hold information on direct funding allocated by local government.

Announcements and the breakdown of government funding can be found on the gov.uk website here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19 . Details of the funds awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund and by DCMS will be published in due course. Individual departments will be responsible for publishing their own data.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the evidence used to determine that swimming pools are not yet considered safe to open with social distancing in place.

The consideration of different venues and the activities involved are underpinned by understanding the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with particular activities.

We recognise the importance of re-opening our indoor and outdoor pools and we agree that swimming is a great way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. There are concerns about transmission around points of contact within such facilities, like changing rooms due to the high volume of contacts. As such, we need to provide reassurance that these facilities will be safe, and are working hard to achieve this in the coming weeks.

The Government is actively working towards a safe way to re-open these facilities, with supporting guidance.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to ensure that universal credit claimants participating in the Innovation in Democracy Programme do not receive deductions to their universal credit as a result of that participation.

The Innovation in Democracy Programme supported three local authorities to trial innovative models of deliberative democracy to involve citizens in local decision-making through the use of citizens’ assemblies. The programme ran from November 2018 to March 2020. The citizens’ assemblies took place between September and December 2019.

All participants were offered £300 for the 4 days of the citizens assembly. In addition, participants were reimbursed for costs of travel, childcare and other caring costs.

With regards to people on Universal Credit or other means-tested benefits, we advised all prospective assembly members to speak to a trusted source of welfare benefits advice.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish a covid-19 recovery strategy for voluntary and community sector organisations.

The Government has published its Covid-19 Recovery Strategy and its phased approach to easing lockdown restrictions. The Roadmap is a three-step timetable of policy measures, for lifting restrictions. It will seek to do so in as limited and targeted a way as possible, including reacting by re-imposing restrictions in specific geographic areas or in limited sectors where most proportionate.

DCMS is working with the civil society sector on potential recovery scenarios and will continue to assess the needs of the sector and how we can best support it. A number of task forces are being established to work closely with stakeholders in different sectors to develop ways in which they can make these businesses and public places COVID-19 Secure. DCMS is working to ensure that charities and social enterprises interests are represented in the cross-government process to recovery, including the relevant task forces.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what further steps he is taking to provide additional financial support for the Voluntary and Community Sector in addition to the £750 million announced on the 8th April 2020.

The Government has announced a broad package of support for businesses and charities to ensure that organisations that need support are able to access it. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020.

In addition to the broad package of support and the £750m to specifically support the Voluntary and Community Sector, the government has also unlocked a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts. These will be distributed to organisations to support urgent work for groups in need to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what research his Department has commissioned on the effect of 5G technology on (a) older people and (b) young children.

Electromagnetic radiation is not new and research on the topic has found no credible evidence that radio waves, including those from 5G, have an impact on public health, including that of the elderly, young people, children and babies. Government is guided by Public Health England’s (PHE) independent advice, who are committed along with Ofcom to continually monitoring and assessing the evidence applicable to this and other radio technologies. Central to PHE’s advice are the guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The ICNIRP is formally recognised by the World Health Organisation and its guidelines underpin health protection policies at UK and European levels.

Ofcom continues to monitor the levels of electromagnetic radiation near mobile base stations, and in all cases, including the recent measurements taken near 5G-enabled base stations, the levels recorded were well below the limits for general public exposure outlined by the ICNIRP Guidelines. The highest level recorded was approximately 1.5% of these guidelines. While a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves under 5G is possible, such an increase would remain well within guidelines and is anticipated to have no consequence for public health.

With regard to animals, electromagnetic radiation has the potential to impact insect movement, but there is currently no evidence that human-made electromagnetic radiation has population level impacts on insects. In 2015, UK researchers were involved in a major global review of the status and threats to wild and managed insect pollinators for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). In their report, the team of leading scientists did not identify mobile phone signals as significant threats to insect populations.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of electro magnetic frequency radiation from 5G technology on (a) physical health and (b) mental health.

Electromagnetic radiation is not new and research on the topic has found no credible evidence that radio waves, including those from 5G, have an impact on public health, including that of the elderly, young people, children and babies. Government is guided by Public Health England’s (PHE) independent advice, who are committed along with Ofcom to continually monitoring and assessing the evidence applicable to this and other radio technologies. Central to PHE’s advice are the guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The ICNIRP is formally recognised by the World Health Organisation and its guidelines underpin health protection policies at UK and European levels.

Ofcom continues to monitor the levels of electromagnetic radiation near mobile base stations, and in all cases, including the recent measurements taken near 5G-enabled base stations, the levels recorded were well below the limits for general public exposure outlined by the ICNIRP Guidelines. The highest level recorded was approximately 1.5% of these guidelines. While a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves under 5G is possible, such an increase would remain well within guidelines and is anticipated to have no consequence for public health.

With regard to animals, electromagnetic radiation has the potential to impact insect movement, but there is currently no evidence that human-made electromagnetic radiation has population level impacts on insects. In 2015, UK researchers were involved in a major global review of the status and threats to wild and managed insect pollinators for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). In their report, the team of leading scientists did not identify mobile phone signals as significant threats to insect populations.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effects of the high frequency of signals from 5G technology on (a) babies, (b) young people and (c) animals.

Electromagnetic radiation is not new and research on the topic has found no credible evidence that radio waves, including those from 5G, have an impact on public health, including that of the elderly, young people, children and babies. Government is guided by Public Health England’s (PHE) independent advice, who are committed along with Ofcom to continually monitoring and assessing the evidence applicable to this and other radio technologies. Central to PHE’s advice are the guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The ICNIRP is formally recognised by the World Health Organisation and its guidelines underpin health protection policies at UK and European levels.

Ofcom continues to monitor the levels of electromagnetic radiation near mobile base stations, and in all cases, including the recent measurements taken near 5G-enabled base stations, the levels recorded were well below the limits for general public exposure outlined by the ICNIRP Guidelines. The highest level recorded was approximately 1.5% of these guidelines. While a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves under 5G is possible, such an increase would remain well within guidelines and is anticipated to have no consequence for public health.

With regard to animals, electromagnetic radiation has the potential to impact insect movement, but there is currently no evidence that human-made electromagnetic radiation has population level impacts on insects. In 2015, UK researchers were involved in a major global review of the status and threats to wild and managed insect pollinators for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). In their report, the team of leading scientists did not identify mobile phone signals as significant threats to insect populations.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what emergency funding his Department is making available to community radio stations throughout the UK to help prevent their closure as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Community Radio Fund was set up in 2005 and has an annual budget of £400,000, which is used to help support community radio stations across the UK. It is administered by Ofcom, and applications are assessed by an independent panel.

For the financial year 2020-21, we have worked with Ofcom to use this Fund to provide emergency cash grants to help community radio stations to meet urgent liabilities and to keep themselves in business. Ofcom announced details of 81 awards on 4 June - allocating a significant proportion of the Fund’s budget for the year - and will be inviting applications for a further emergency funding round shortly to ensure that the full amount goes to those stations most in need of support at this time.

We are continuing to liaise with stakeholders across the sector regarding ways in which the Government can support community radio through Covid-19 and beyond.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the (a) overseas and (b) internal tourist trade; and what support he plans to provide to (i) York and (ii) other cities which are dependent on tourism.

We are aware that COVID-19 has significantly impacted the tourism industry. We remain in regular contact with outbound and domestic tourism stakeholders to closely monitor COVID-19’s economic effect on UK tourism, and continuously assess the impact.

We have supported Destination Management Organisations - including in Yorkshire - to continue their vital business support roles via a £1.3 million VisitEngland scheme. Two Yorkshire Destination Management Organisations (Make it York and Welcome to Yorkshire) have combined received over £40,000 in support from the VisitEngland scheme.

My Department has launched the Cultural Renewal Taskforce to help our sectors to safely reopen. To inform this taskforce, I chair a Visitor Economy Working Group which specifically focuses on developing guidance for restarting tourism activity.

We will continue to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support tourism’s recovery in cities across the country. We are actively considering all the recovery ideas suggested to us by stakeholders.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his announcement of £150 million charity funding in the covid-19 press conference on 20 May 2020, how much of that funding is new money; and from which sources that money is derived.

£71 million of the £150 million of funding announced on 20 May 2020 is new money. Government has worked with the dormant assets organisations to repurpose £79 million of their allocations in response to the crisis. Combined, the £150 million will support urgent work in England to tackle youth unemployment; expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations; and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

This funding comes from the dormant assets scheme. The scheme enables banks and building societies to voluntarily transfer funds from dormant accounts. Dormant accounts are those that have not been touched for at least 15 years and where the bank or building society is unable to get in touch with the customer to reunite them with their money. Customers can reclaim their money at any time. Since its inception in 2011, over £745 million has been released to social or environmental causes through the scheme.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how small (a) national and (b) local charities specialising in loneliness can access the £5 million covid-19 loneliness grant fund.

As part of a major effort to tackle loneliness during the Covid-19 outbreak, on 13th May the government launched a £5m grant fund. This closed for applications on 29th May.

Applications were invited from national organisations and umbrella organisations able to fund local organisations in their networks. The grants will support them to adapt and continue their work to tackle loneliness and to deliver effective, targeted relief for those most at risk of loneliness as a result of Covid-19.

Loneliness is also a priority category of the £200m Coronavirus Community Support Fund provided by The National Lottery Community Fund, targeted at small and medium sized VCSE organisations to help them maintain and enhance services for vulnerable people affected by the current crisis.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on enabling furloughed charity staff to (a) volunteer for their organisation, (b) volunteer for their organisation in a different role from that of their substantive work, (c) volunteer to assist with fundraising and (d) engage in raising funds for their organisation by participating in fundraising events akin to other members of the public.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working with other Government departments and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to identify areas where volunteers can contribute to the COVID-19 response.

To mitigate the risk of fraudulent claims and to protect individuals, the Government made it clear that under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, those furloughed cannot work or volunteer for their own organisation. If workers were allowed to volunteer for their employer, the employer could ask them to work in an effectively full time way while only paying 80% of the wages.

The Government recognises and values the role volunteers are playing in the Covid-19 response and their contribution to broader charitable causes; furloughed employees can take part in volunteer work, provided that it does not provide services or generate revenue for their employer or another company associated or linked to their employer.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional access to digital connectivity will he provide to ensure that those from lower socio-economic communities have equal access to broadband.

The UK broadband market is very competitive with a variety of packages at different price points to meet the needs of different consumers. In addition, both BT and KCOM offer lower cost landline and broadband packages for those in receipt of qualifying state benefits.

The Government is also committed to improving broadband across the country to ensure that all communities have the access that they need, including those from lower socio-economic groups. We have introduced the broadband Universal Service Obligation, which gives everyone the right to request decent broadband providing at least 10 Mbps download speeds up to a Reasonable Cost Threshold of £3,400 per premise. In addition, we are committed to delivering even faster, nationwide gigabit capable broadband as soon as possible. We will be investing £5 billion to subsidise deployment to the least commercial 20% of premises in the country.

In recognition of the particular challenges that communities are facing at the current time as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Government has also agreed a package of measures with the UK's fixed and mobile providers to support consumers, particularly the most vulnerable. As part of these commitments, providers have agreed to provide new and generous offers to their vulnerable customers, ranging from free mobile data boosts to free landline calls, and to lift all broadband data caps.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help ensure that community and voluntary organisations core funding needs are met in the next 12 months.

The government has pledged £750 million to ensure the voluntary and community sector continues its vital work supporting the country during the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes £360m distributed through government departments and £200m for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, being delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund. The government has unlocked a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts, which will be distributed to organisations to support urgent work to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

We have published clear and comprehensive guidance on the £750 million, plus other sources of support, at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

This is a package of emergency response funding targeted at supporting VCSE organisations on the frontline of responding to Coronavirus, or providing other essential services. We are continuing to assess the medium and long-term impact on VCSE organisations and engaging with sector groups to inform our plans for future support.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Charities Commissioner to ensure that charities are do not go into administration as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

DCMS and the Charity Commission are proactively engaging across the sector to maintain a complete picture of the impact of coronavirus, and working to identify the additional support charities require through this time of financial instability. The Government announced an unprecedented £750million package to ensure VCSE organisations can continue their vital work during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Charity Commission is ensuring its approach to regulation during the Covid-19 crisis is as flexible and pragmatic as possible in the public interest. In line with this approach, the Charity Commission has published guidance for charities which covers a range of topics such as the use of reserves to manage financial difficulties and extensions to account filing deadlines. The guidance is available on the Gov.uk and is being updated regularly: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector

The Government has also introduced the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill which will relieve the burden on businesses, including charities, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The Bill will introduce temporary easements on company filing requirements and Annual General Meetings (AGMs), introduce new corporate restructuring tools, and temporarily suspend parts of insolvency law, allowing businesses, including charities to focus all their efforts on continuing to operate.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to introduce a financial recovery programme for voluntary and community organisations.

The government has pledged £750 million to ensure the voluntary and community sector continues its vital work supporting the country during the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes £360m distributed through government departments and £200m for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, being delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund. The government has unlocked a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts, which will be distributed to organisations to support urgent work to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

We have published clear and comprehensive guidance on the £750 million, plus other sources of support, at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19. This guidance will be updated frequently.

This is a package of emergency response funding targeted at supporting VCSE organisations on the frontline of responding to Coronavirus, or providing other essential services. We are continuing to assess the medium and long-term impact on the sector.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of reduction in finances to voluntary and community organisations over the last (a) 12 weeks, (b) 6 month and (c) 12 months.

We have been working closely with the sector to understand the financial impacts of the crisis. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations estimated that the sector could lose £4.3bn in the first 12 weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is too early to determine whether this is an accurate assessment.

My department will continue to monitor the health of the sector, its contribution to the nation’s Covid-19 response and the financial impacts on organisations.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the equity of distribution of funding allocated to voluntary and community organisations in areas of deprivation.

The government has pledged £750 million to ensure the voluntary and community sector continues its vital work supporting the country during the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes £360m distributed through government departments and £200m for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. The government has unlocked a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts, which will be distributed to organisations to support urgent work to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

Funding will support organisations working with communities experiencing disproportionate challenges during the crisis and providing services and support for vulnerable people across the country.

It is vital that funding reaches organisations in areas of deprivation. However, as applications are still open for several of the funds and there are announcements yet to be made, it is too early to assess distribution to organisations in areas of deprivation.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he last made an assessment of the effectiveness of the Compact with the Voluntary and Community Sector.

The Government recognises the importance of working together with civil society organisations to support them, maintain their independence and involve them in policy making. We continue to work closely with the sector to ensure meaningful engagement and a productive and effective relationship.

This has been particularly important in the Covid-19 crisis throughout which the Government has been engaging regularly with charities, social enterprises and their representative bodies to respond to the current situation.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of enabling furloughed staff from charities to participate in fundraising activities for their organisations.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, furloughed employees can take part in voluntary work, provided that volunteering tasks do not supply services or generate revenue for their employer or a company linked or associated to their employer. This would therefore prevent charity employees who are furloughed from volunteering for the organisation they are employed by. The core focus of the scheme is to help those who otherwise would have been made unemployed and provide support to businesses as quickly as possible.

The system has been carefully designed to encourage employees who have been furloughed to take up opportunities to support the delivery of essential services through volunteering, while avoiding the possibility of individual employees being put in a situation where they are doing their contracted work for little or no payment.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department plans to issue guidance on the £750m funding for the voluntary and community sector; and what the timeframe is for (a) local authorities and (b) national funders to be able to distribute that funding,

The government has pledged £750 million to ensure the voluntary and community sector continues its vital work supporting the country during the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes £360m distributed through government departments and £200m for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, being delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund. The government has unlocked a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts, which will be distributed to organisations to support urgent work to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

We have published clear and comprehensive guidance on the £750 million, plus other sources of support, and how organisations can apply for funding -

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19. This guidance will be updated frequently.

This is a package of emergency response funding and we are working with other government departments and other funding partners to ensure the funding is distributed as quickly as possible.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on (a) charities going into administration and (b) emergency support to prevent that situation occurring.

The Government recognises the importance of working together with civil society organisations to support them, maintain their independence and involve them in policy making. We continue to work closely with the sector to ensure meaningful engagement and a productive and effective relationship.

This has been particularly important in the Covid-19 crisis throughout which the Government has been engaging regularly with charities, social enterprises and their representative bodies to respond to the current situation.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on allocating funding from the public purse to ensure the financial sustainability of (a) voluntary and (b) community organisations.

The government has pledged £750 million to ensure the voluntary and community sector continues its vital work supporting the country during the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes £360m distributed through government departments and £200m for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, being delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund. The government has unlocked a further £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts, which will be distributed to organisations to support urgent work to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

We have published clear and comprehensive guidance on the £750 million, plus other sources of support, at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-voluntary-community-and-social-enterprise-vcse-organisations-to-respond-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

This is a package of emergency response funding targeted at supporting voluntary and community sector organisations on the frontline of responding to Coronavirus, or providing other essential services. It builds on the significant package of support available across sectors, including the Job Retention Scheme.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional financial support he plans to provide in response to the covid-19 outbreak to support local economies that depend on (a) tourism, (b) the hospitality sector and (c) the heritage sector.

We will continue to engage with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support local economies by helping these key sectors through this crisis.

We have announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency. For example, we recently announced a Bounce Back Loan scheme to support small businesses, and have extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

We have also allocated additional funding to Local Authorities in England in the form of a discretionary grant fund of up to £617m. This is aimed at certain small businesses who were not eligible for the existing business grants fund schemes.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on voluntary and community organisation finances.

My department is aware of the financial impact that covid - 19 has on charities finances and is continuously monitoring the overall health of the sector.

The £750 million package of support announced by the Chancellor on 8 April is available for all charities, irrespective of size, providing frontline services to vulnerable people affected by the pandemic and at risk of financial hardship, due to the increase in demand for services.

We will continue to work closely to assess how we can support charities in doing their important work.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with voluntary and community organisations on their future resilience in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers and officials are in regular contact with the voluntary sector and are establishing mechanisms to collate robust and ongoing insights into the overall health of the sector.

We are aware that many charities continue to face a significant loss of income due to Covid-19, through reductions in fundraising, trading and investment income.

Support measures such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can assist with easing the burden placed on organisations that are unable to operate due to social distancing restrictions. The £750 million package of support for charities announced by the Chancellor on 8 April provides targeted support to organisations providing frontline services to vulnerable people affected by the pandemic.


We will continue to work closely to identify further support charities require through this time of financial instability.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to allocate additional funding to cover the overhead costs of charities and other not-for-profit organisations facing reduced income during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is aware of the financial challenges charities are facing during the coronavirus outbreak. This is why the £750m funding we have announced is specifically aimed at supporting those who need to continue providing their services as part of the national coronavirus response.

In addition, many charities and not-for-profit organisations will have access to cross-cutting support already announced. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which enables them to furlough staff. They can also defer VAT bills to the end of June, pay no business rates for their shops next year and can get a Business Interruption Loan. Many charity shops are already eligible for 80% charitable rate relief, and will benefit from the new enhanced retail rate relief at 100%.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many organisations in (a) York and (b) Yorkshire and the Humber have received funding from Arts Council England in each year since 2015-16.

Funding awarded to arts organisations and individuals in (a) York and (b) Yorkshire and the Humber from Arts Council England since 2015-16 is as follows:

(a) York

  • 2015/16 - 26

  • 2016/17 - 25

  • 2017/18 - 24

  • 2018/19 - 29

(b) Yorkshire and the Humber

  • 2015/16 - 448

  • 2016/17 - 462

  • 2017/18 - 405

  • 2018/19 - 476

Note that some organisations may receive funding under different names - for example, they may be part of a larger consortium or local council. These figures could therefore include duplicates, and may be slightly inflated.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding was awarded to organisations in (a) York and (b) Yorkshire and the Humber from Arts Council England in each year since 2015-16.

Funding awarded to (a) York and (b) Yorkshire and the Humber from Arts Council England since 2015-16 is as follows:

(a) York

  • 2015/16 - £4,282,815

  • 2016/17 - £4,484,841

  • 2017/18 - £4,103,363

  • 2018/19 - £3,663,769

(b) Yorkshire and the Humber

  • 2015/16 - £63,523,976

  • 2016/17 - £80,184,676

  • 2017/18 - £61,387,922

  • 2018/19 - £65,354,904

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much funding was awarded to the Royal Opera House from Arts Council England in each year since 2015-16.

Funding awarded to the Royal Opera House from Arts Council England since 2015-16 is as follows:

  • 2015/16 - £26,064,991

  • 2016/17 - £25,577,828

  • 2017/18 - £25,498,841

  • 2018/19 - £24,845,615

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of a tourist tax.

The Secretary of State has had no discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a tourist tax.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to enable schools to become more energy efficient.

The Department supports sustainability through our capital funding and programmes, both to reduce carbon and save schools money on energy. Responsible bodies, such as local authorities, academy trusts and dioceses can use their capital funding allocations to invest in improving energy efficiency in schools.

Since 2015, the Department has allocated £11.3 billion to maintain and improve school buildings, including improving energy efficiency. This includes £1.8 billion in the current 2021/22 financial year. In addition, the 10 year school rebuilding programme has been launched with a commitment to 500 rebuilding projects over the next decade. This will replace school buildings that are ageing or in poor condition with modern, energy efficient designs, transforming education for thousands of pupils.

The Further Education Capital Transformation Fund delivers the Government’s £1.5 billion commitment to upgrade the estate of both further education (FE) colleges and designated institutions in England. This will target colleges in the worst condition whilst supporting the Government's objectives on achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Alongside this substantial investment in the school and FE estate, we have provided schools and responsible bodies with guidance on energy efficiency such as minimising energy, water and waste within our Good Estate Management for Schools manual. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/good-estate-management-for-schools.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy set up the £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme in 2020 which provided grants for eligible public sector bodies, including schools, to fund energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation measures. Higher education institutions were also eligible for these grants. Phase 2 of this scheme opened in April 2021 and will allocate £75 million of funding.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with school leads in local authorities on the delivery of a recovery curriculum.

There are no plans to change the curriculum framework for England. The Government has committed to a long term education recovery plan to support children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges, and nurseries.

The Department recognises the importance of schools and colleges teaching a broad and balanced curriculum as important to the academic, social, and personal development of children and young people. Schools should ensure that all pupils, particularly those who are disadvantaged, vulnerable or have special educational needs and disabilities, are given the necessary support.

All maintained schools and academies are required to offer a broad and balanced curriculum and, where appropriate, teaching time should be prioritised to address the most significant gaps in pupils’ knowledge. Schools can use existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important content in which pupils are not yet secure.

The Department continues to engage regularly with representatives of local authorities on the development and implementation of the recovery programme.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking rebuild school buildings which are old and have high maintenance costs.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced a new, ten-year School Rebuilding Programme last June, which will replace poor condition school buildings with modern, energy efficient designs. The first 50 schools to benefit have been announced, as part of a commitment to 500 rebuilding projects over the next decade. The department expects to confirm a further 50 projects this year and plans to consult on the approach to prioritising future projects later in 2021.

In addition, the Priority Schools Building Programme has been rebuilding or refurbishing buildings in poor condition at over 500 schools across England.

The department also allocates condition funding to schools and those responsible for school buildings to maintain and improve the condition of school buildings. £11.3 billion has been allocated in condition funding since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed in this financial year. Allocations are informed by consistent data on the condition of the school estate.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many nurseries have closed (a) nationally, (b) in Yorkshire and (c) in York since March 2020.

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


Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of not-for-profit organisations on helping to deliver a programme of activities for children and young people for summer 2021.

Ensuring that children and young people have access to activities this summer which support their physical and mental health and wellbeing is a priority for the Government. This is especially important as many children and young people have missed out on vital education and social experiences which support their educational and personal development.

The Department is delivering a number of programmes this summer to support this aim, including the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme and the summer schools programme, which will form part of a broader programme of enrichment activities running over the summer to support children, young people and their families.

The HAF programme provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays, giving disadvantaged children and young people opportunities they might otherwise miss. In order to support local authority HAF co-ordinators in delivering well-rounded and engaging programmes for the children and young people in their area, we have engaged with a variety of national organisations and groups, such as Sport England, Arts Council England and the National Citizens Service. We have worked with our national partners to provide local authorities with advice, support and information on a range of topics, communicated through guidance, newsletters, resource packs and webinars.

The Department is also working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on a broader programme of enrichment activities, events and resources that will be available for children and young people during the school summer holidays. As part of this work, the Department has been engaging with a number of organisations including the National Literacy Trust, Royal Society and Play England.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will use funding for the National Tutoring Programme to fund youth work and associated activities during the summer holidays in 2021.

In summer 2020, the Department announced a £1 billion COVID-19 catch up package to help to tackle the impact of lost teaching time as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including a £350 million National Tutoring Programme (NTP) for disadvantaged pupils. In November 2020, it was confirmed this would fund the programme for the academic years 2020/21 and 2021/22. The programme has two pillars:

  • Approved Tuition Partners will offer high quality, subsidised tuition to schools.
  • Schools in the most disadvantaged areas will be supported to employ in house academic mentors to provide tuition to their pupils.

The Department awarded the Education Endowment Foundation funding to deliver the Tuition Partners pillar of the programme this academic year, which requires them to make high quality, subsidised tutoring available to schools across all regions through Tuition Partners. 33 Tuition Partners were approved to deliver tuition, and there is a good blend of national and regional providers that can offer support to schools across all regions in England. Further information regarding these approved Tuition Partners, including a guide to the cost of tuition charged by each partner, the subjects taught and the regions covered can be found here: http://www.nationaltutoring.org.uk/resources/guide-to-approved-tuition-partners-2020-21.

The Department also provided funding to Teach First to deliver the academic mentors pillar of the programme this academic year. This included the recruiting and placing of mentors in schools and providing ongoing support and monitoring.

In addition to the 5-16 programme, the NTP also made available up to £96 million to support small group tuition for 16-19 year olds, and £9 million to support the improvement of early language skills in reception classes this academic year.

Since the programme’s launch in November 2020, over 227,000 pupils in over 5400 schools have accessed subsidised tuition support through the NTP. Tuition support will be available to continue through the summer holidays, where appropriate, to ensure pupils to receive their 15 hour block of tuition.

As part of the education recovery plan announced 2 June 2021, the Department shared plans to invest additional funding to help further expand tuition support. This includes:

  • £218 million of new funding to be directed to the Tuition Partner and Academic Mentor pillars of the NTP. This is in addition to the £215 million already announced to be invested in the academic year 2021/22.
  • £579 million of funding will be provided to schools to develop localised school led tutoring provision using new or existing school staff. This will work alongside the NTP offer and will see tutors directly employed by schools.

As part of the wider recovery package announced in February 2021, to further help support catch up on lost education because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department has committed £200 million to deliver summer schools this year. The aim of the programme is for secondary schools to deliver summer schools which offer a blend of academic teaching and enrichment activities.

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 want children to enjoy the school holidays and to access fun, enriching experiences and eat healthy, nutritious meals. That is why we are investing up to £220 million in the Holiday Activities and Food programme which has been expanded to every local authority across England this year.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department has allocated to the City of York for the National Tutoring Programme; and how much of that funding has been spent to date.

In summer 2020, the Department announced a £1 billion COVID-19 catch up package to help to tackle the impact of lost teaching time as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, including a £350 million National Tutoring Programme (NTP) for disadvantaged pupils. In November 2020, it was confirmed this would fund the programme for the academic years 2020/21 and 2021/22. The programme has two pillars:

  • Approved Tuition Partners will offer high quality, subsidised tuition to schools.
  • Schools in the most disadvantaged areas will be supported to employ in house academic mentors to provide tuition to their pupils.

The Department awarded the Education Endowment Foundation funding to deliver the Tuition Partners pillar of the programme this academic year, which requires them to make high quality, subsidised tutoring available to schools across all regions through Tuition Partners. 33 Tuition Partners were approved to deliver tuition, and there is a good blend of national and regional providers that can offer support to schools across all regions in England. Further information regarding these approved Tuition Partners, including a guide to the cost of tuition charged by each partner, the subjects taught and the regions covered can be found here: http://www.nationaltutoring.org.uk/resources/guide-to-approved-tuition-partners-2020-21.

The Department also provided funding to Teach First to deliver the academic mentors pillar of the programme this academic year. This included the recruiting and placing of mentors in schools and providing ongoing support and monitoring.

In addition to the 5-16 programme, the NTP also made available up to £96 million to support small group tuition for 16-19 year olds, and £9 million to support the improvement of early language skills in reception classes this academic year.

Since the programme’s launch in November 2020, over 227,000 pupils in over 5400 schools have accessed subsidised tuition support through the NTP. Tuition support will be available to continue through the summer holidays, where appropriate, to ensure pupils to receive their 15 hour block of tuition.

As part of the education recovery plan announced 2 June 2021, the Department shared plans to invest additional funding to help further expand tuition support. This includes:

  • £218 million of new funding to be directed to the Tuition Partner and Academic Mentor pillars of the NTP. This is in addition to the £215 million already announced to be invested in the academic year 2021/22.
  • £579 million of funding will be provided to schools to develop localised school led tutoring provision using new or existing school staff. This will work alongside the NTP offer and will see tutors directly employed by schools.

As part of the wider recovery package announced in February 2021, to further help support catch up on lost education because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department has committed £200 million to deliver summer schools this year. The aim of the programme is for secondary schools to deliver summer schools which offer a blend of academic teaching and enrichment activities.

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 want children to enjoy the school holidays and to access fun, enriching experiences and eat healthy, nutritious meals. That is why we are investing up to £220 million in the Holiday Activities and Food programme which has been expanded to every local authority across England this year.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in the context of the ability of students living in private accommodation to travel to their term time address at any time, for what reason he has suggested to universities that the start of the 2021-22 academic year should be staggered.

As autonomous institutions it is for universities to determine their own provision, including arrangements for the start of term, taking account of any government guidance.

The government will announce further easing of COVID-19 restrictions at Step 4 of the roadmap, including the outcome of the review of social distancing measures, which will be no earlier than 21 June. In light of these developments, we are working with universities to identify a number of scenarios we should consider in planning for the autumn term, taking account of the latest public health advice. We intend to update the higher education guidance in due course to support the return of students for the new academic year.

As outlined in guidance, we expect providers to continue to organise the return of students in a way that minimises the logistical risks of large numbers of students travelling between households at the same time. We encourage providers to work with other local providers to manage the return of students in a way that minimises transport pressures. Providers should apply what they have learned over the course of this academic year to minimise the risk of outbreaks at the start of the new term.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many local authority-owned outdoor education centres have closed since March 2020.

The Department for Education does not monitor, collect, or hold any information on outdoor education centres.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the latest evidence on the effect of mask wearing in school communal spaces on covid-19 transmission.

From 17 May, in line with Step 3 of the roadmap, face coverings are no longer recommended for pupils in classrooms or communal areas in schools. Face coverings are also no longer recommended for staff in classrooms. This is supported by Public Health England (PHE).

In all schools the Department continues to recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible.

When the policy was introduced, it was an appropriate additional safety measure while rates of infection were high in the community. Since then, the epidemiological position improved, and vaccine rates have increased, shifting the balance of risks. As the four tests for easing restrictions in Step 3 of the roadmap were met, it was an appropriate time to remove the recommendation for pupils to wear face masks and staff in communal areas.

Our policy on face coverings and the system of controls is kept under review and is informed by the latest scientific and medical advice from PHE. Further information on the use and effectiveness of face coverings can be found at: https://phe.koha-ptfs.co.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-retrieve-file.pl?id=9adedb17d5622f9cd7e42febcadb19ad and https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963639/DfE_Evidence_summary_COVID-19_-_children__young_people_and_education_settings.pdf.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether directors of public health will be able to determine whether staggering the start of the term is required based on the covid-19 social distancing measures put in place by universities for September 2021.

Universities have worked extremely hard to ensure their facilities are COVID-secure and are as safe as possible for students to return to campus. As autonomous institutions it is for universities to determine their own provision, including arrangements for the start of term, taking account of any government guidance.

We expect universities to work closely with local Directors of Public Health, particularly on their plans for managing outbreaks, to keep students and staff as safe as possible.

The government will announce further easing of restrictions at Step 4 of the roadmap, including the outcome of the review of social distancing measures, which will be no earlier than 21 June 2021. In light of these developments, we will continue to work with the sector via the mission groups and the Higher Education Taskforce on plans for the autumn, taking account of the latest public health advice. We will update the higher education guidance in due course to support the return of students for the new academic year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take to ensure that teacher training focuses on (a) trauma and attachment challenges and (b) support for children in the care system and those children who are adopted.

The Government has provided £8 million for a Wellbeing for Education Return training programme, which has been used by more than 90% of councils since its launch last summer, to provide free expert training, support and resources for young people, staff or parents dealing with additional pressures from the last year – including trauma, anxiety, or grief.

Teaching quality is the most important in-school factor in improving outcomes for children and young people. Reforms to teacher training and early career support are a critical part of the Department’s plans to improve school standards for all.

From September 2021, all new teachers will benefit from at least 3 years of evidence-based training, professional development and support. This starts with initial teacher training (ITT), based on the new ITT Core Content Framework, and is followed by a new two-year entitlement to high quality professional development and support underpinned by the Early Career Framework.

The ITT Core Content Framework sets out a mandatory minimum entitlement, describing the fundamental knowledge and skills that all new entrants to the profession need to effectively teach all children. It is not intended to be a curriculum and it remains for individual providers to design a coherent and well sequenced curriculum appropriate for the subject, phase, age range and needs of the children that trainees will be teaching. Courses must be designed so that trainees can demonstrate that they meet all the Teachers' Standards at the appropriate level.

From September 2021, the Government is funding an entitlement for all early career teachers in England to access high quality professional development and support at the start of their career.

New teachers will now receive development support and training over two years instead of one. The support for early career teachers includes:

o 5% off timetable in the second year of induction for all early career teachers to undertake induction activities including training and mentoring.

o Freely available high quality development materials based on the Early Career Framework.

o A dedicated mentor and support for these mentors.

o Funding for mentors to spend time with early career teachers in the second year of induction. This is based on 20 hours of mentoring across the academic year.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the caps on the Adoption Support Fund does not limit the therapeutic support available to children and young people.

Since its launch in 2015, the Adoption Support Fund has given out over £200 million to provide therapeutic support to 36,000 children and young people. The average cost of applications funded is significantly below the fair access limit of £5,000 per child per year that have been set for the provision of therapies. The fair access limit enables a consistent and fair offer to be provided and maximises the number of children and young people that can be supported by the fund.

For the small number of children who require funding above the fair access limit, the fund will provide additional funding for some of these children, but only where a local authority or regional adoption agency agrees to provide 50% match funding towards any costs above the limit. 126 local authorities and regional adoption agencies have contributed £2.9 million towards the cost of support for children and young people whose needs exceed the limits and where there is a risk of an adoption breakdown.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing international students to quarantine at their university on arrival in the UK.

International students are a vital and valued part of our higher education sector. I speak regularly with my counterparts across government about how various COVID-19 policies may affect students with a view to minimising burdens for students while maintaining public health, and I have remained in close contact with ministers at the Department of Health and Social Care who are responsible for the Managed Quarantine Service.

Hotel quarantine is in place for all travellers that have travelled from or through a red-list country to prevent the spread of potentially harmful COVID-19 variants in the UK, and there is a need to have strict rules in place to prevent the vaccine effort from being undermined.

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

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

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether all children with special educational needs and disabilities will have additional tutor support for the 2021-22 academic year in response to missed schooling over the last 12 months.

We are committed to helping all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to make up learning lost as a result of COVID-19.

We have made available £1.7 billion in funding to support education recovery. In June 2020, we announced a £1 billion catch-up 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 for summer schools, expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for the next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years settings, schools and providers of 16-19 education.

Both special schools and alternative provision will be able to access funding to provide for summer schools and access the National Tutoring Programme. Eligible pupils in special schools, special units in mainstream primary and secondary schools and alternative provision 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 want children to enjoy the school holidays and to access fun, enriching experiences and to eat nutritious meals. That is why we are investing up to £220 million in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every local authority across England this year.

Children eligible for benefits-related free school meals will have the option to join a holiday club programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer in 2021, giving these young people opportunities that they might otherwise lose out on. It is our clear expectation that all local authority co-ordinators will ensure that their provision is fully accessible and that children with SEND can access appropriate provision.

Young people with SEND aged 19 to 24 who have an education, health and care plan will be eligible for support via the 16 to 19 Tuition Fund, where they meet the fund criteria. Providers are asked to have regard to the needs of students with SEND when prioritising students that would benefit most for small group tuition. Furthermore, the proposals to support early language and literacy catch up will benefit all children, including those with SEND.

The department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy both for the summer term of the 2019-20 academic year, and then for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to year 11. This includes specialist content for pupils with SEND. The Oak National Academy’s resources will continue to be available for free throughout the summer term and summer holidays.

We are committed to ensuring that the National Tutoring Programme is as inclusive as possible. When selecting Tuition Partners for this academic year, we worked with the Education Endowment Foundation to ensure that they have had the relevant experience of 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.

We are currently progressing the procurement process for the supplier of the programme for next academic year. Once appointed, we expect the supplier to work with potential Tuition Partners to ensure the programme offers appropriate provision for children with SEND.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether children with special education needs and disabilities will have priority access to a recovery programme of activities over the summer 2021 school holidays.

We are committed to helping all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to make up learning lost as a result of COVID-19.

We have made available £1.7 billion in funding to support education recovery. In June 2020, we announced a £1 billion catch-up 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 for summer schools, expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for the next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years settings, schools and providers of 16-19 education.

Both special schools and alternative provision will be able to access funding to provide for summer schools and access the National Tutoring Programme. Eligible pupils in special schools, special units in mainstream primary and secondary schools and alternative provision 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 want children to enjoy the school holidays and to access fun, enriching experiences and to eat nutritious meals. That is why we are investing up to £220 million in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every local authority across England this year.

Children eligible for benefits-related free school meals will have the option to join a holiday club programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer in 2021, giving these young people opportunities that they might otherwise lose out on. It is our clear expectation that all local authority co-ordinators will ensure that their provision is fully accessible and that children with SEND can access appropriate provision.

Young people with SEND aged 19 to 24 who have an education, health and care plan will be eligible for support via the 16 to 19 Tuition Fund, where they meet the fund criteria. Providers are asked to have regard to the needs of students with SEND when prioritising students that would benefit most for small group tuition. Furthermore, the proposals to support early language and literacy catch up will benefit all children, including those with SEND.

The department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy both for the summer term of the 2019-20 academic year, and then for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to year 11. This includes specialist content for pupils with SEND. The Oak National Academy’s resources will continue to be available for free throughout the summer term and summer holidays.

We are committed to ensuring that the National Tutoring Programme is as inclusive as possible. When selecting Tuition Partners for this academic year, we worked with the Education Endowment Foundation to ensure that they have had the relevant experience of 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.

We are currently progressing the procurement process for the supplier of the programme for next academic year. Once appointed, we expect the supplier to work with potential Tuition Partners to ensure the programme offers appropriate provision for children with SEND.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether all children with special educational needs will have access to additional support in response to the covid-19 outbreak before the summer 2021 school holidays.

We are committed to helping all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to make up learning lost as a result of COVID-19.

We have made available £1.7 billion in funding to support education recovery. In June 2020, we announced a £1 billion catch-up 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 for summer schools, expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for the next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years settings, schools and providers of 16-19 education.

Both special schools and alternative provision will be able to access funding to provide for summer schools and access the National Tutoring Programme. Eligible pupils in special schools, special units in mainstream primary and secondary schools and alternative provision 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 want children to enjoy the school holidays and to access fun, enriching experiences and to eat nutritious meals. That is why we are investing up to £220 million in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every local authority across England this year.

Children eligible for benefits-related free school meals will have the option to join a holiday club programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer in 2021, giving these young people opportunities that they might otherwise lose out on. It is our clear expectation that all local authority co-ordinators will ensure that their provision is fully accessible and that children with SEND can access appropriate provision.

Young people with SEND aged 19 to 24 who have an education, health and care plan will be eligible for support via the 16 to 19 Tuition Fund, where they meet the fund criteria. Providers are asked to have regard to the needs of students with SEND when prioritising students that would benefit most for small group tuition. Furthermore, the proposals to support early language and literacy catch up will benefit all children, including those with SEND.

The department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy both for the summer term of the 2019-20 academic year, and then for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to year 11. This includes specialist content for pupils with SEND. The Oak National Academy’s resources will continue to be available for free throughout the summer term and summer holidays.

We are committed to ensuring that the National Tutoring Programme is as inclusive as possible. When selecting Tuition Partners for this academic year, we worked with the Education Endowment Foundation to ensure that they have had the relevant experience of 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.

We are currently progressing the procurement process for the supplier of the programme for next academic year. Once appointed, we expect the supplier to work with potential Tuition Partners to ensure the programme offers appropriate provision for children with SEND.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment has he made of the effect of the closure of nurseries as a result of financial difficulties following the covid-19 outbreak on the sufficiency of available childcare.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, providers have, like other businesses, been supported by the various business support packages put in place, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and the new Recovery Loan Scheme. Information on these schemes is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recovery-loan-scheme. Childminders have been able to access support via the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and eligible nurseries have also been able to access a nurseries discount as part of business rates relief. Information on these is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme and https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-business-rate-relief/nurseries-discount.

The most recently published results (wave 3) of the ‘Survey of childcare and early years providers and coronavirus’, published in March this year, set out that the majority of school-based providers (98%), group-based providers (96%), and childminders (89%) reported being open at the time of the survey being taken. This data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/survey-of-childcare-and-early-years-providers-and-coronavirus-covid-19-wave-3.

We have not seen a significant number of parents unable to secure a childcare place this term, during the most recent lockdown in the spring term, or since early years settings re-opened fully on 1 June 2020. Where parents have been unable to temporarily secure a childcare place, for example due to their usual setting being temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this has been quickly resolved locally, and local authorities are not reporting sufficiency of supply issues. The next Ofsted statistical release on the number of childcare places is due to be published on 30 June 2021.

As a department, we engage with local authorities on accessibility of childcare on a regular basis. We continue to work with the early years sector to understand how they can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate, and affordable childcare is available for those returning to work now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to safeguard adopted children who have contact with their birth parents outside of formal contact arrangements.

Local authorities have a legal duty to provide a comprehensive adoption service.

This specifically includes “Assistance, including mediation services, in relation to arrangements for contact between an adoptive child and a natural parent, natural sibling, former guardian or a related person of the adoptive child.”.

We will be working with local authorities and Regional Adoption Agencies to improve support around contact with birth relatives, including that which has started via social media.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will consider a sectoral solution to ensure that no further education institutes are negatively affected as a result of the effect of covid-19 on enrolments; and what comparative assessment he has made of that approach with each institution having to make a separate application for special interventions to be made.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has moved quickly to support the further education (FE) sector to manage and ensure, as far as possible, that adults and young people could still access education.

We have not considered mitigations from a sectorial perspective but have instead provided additional funding to support colleges such as enhanced 16 to 19 in year growth funding, the 16 to 19 Tuition Fund, funding for high value courses for 18 and 19-year-old school and college leavers, and the increased funding for traineeships. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) continued to pay 16 to 19 grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for both the 2019/2020 and 2020/21 financial years.

We have sought to align this support with the normal business processes of colleges but, because these measures had to be established quickly and with appropriate steps to get value for public money, some have involved separate application processes.

Our aim is to minimise the burden on FE colleges and to enable them to meet the needs of learners and we will keep the position under review.

We are aware that adult college enrolments in some areas for particular provision may be adversely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and to mitigate this, we are lowering the reconciliation threshold for ESFA grant funded Adult Education Budget (AEB adult skills including non-formula funded community learning and 19-24 Traineeships) and Advanced Learner Loan Bursary fund providers for 2020 to 2021, from 97% and 100% respectively to 90%. We announced this change in March 2021, to help providers plan their provision better for the remainder of the 2020/21 academic year.

For those providers who are eligible and are at risk of insolvency, they would be referred to the Insolvency Regime or Emergency funding process.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his most recent assessment is of the effectiveness of pupils wearing face masks in (a) classrooms and (b) corridors and other shared indoor areas in preventing the transmission of covid-19.

Following my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister’s announcement on Step 3 on 10 May 2021, the Department published updated guidance for schools, which included updated advice on face coverings in line with Step 3 of the roadmap. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

As the guidance outlines, based on the current state of the COVID-19 outbreak and the positive progress being made, it is no longer necessary to recommend the additional precautionary face coverings measures put in place from 8 March.

From 17 May, in line with Step 3 of the roadmap, face coverings will no longer be recommended for pupils and students in classrooms or communal areas in schools. Face coverings will also no longer be recommended for staff in classrooms. This is supported by Public Health England (PHE).

In all schools we continue to recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible.

When the policy was introduced, it was an appropriate additional safety measure while rates of infection were high in the community. Now that the four tests have been met, and rates are continuing to fall, the balance has shifted, and it is an appropriate time to remove the recommendation.

While this recommendation moves children towards a greater sense of normality, measures within the PHE-supported system of controls remain very important to reduce transmission schools, for example, social distancing and regular hand washing. Regular rapid testing will also continue to help find and isolate asymptomatic cases when they do occur, and we continue to encourage everyone to play their part and test themselves twice each week.

The reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students or staff may be advised for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks, including variants of concern. In all cases, any educational drawbacks should be balanced with the benefits of managing transmission. The Local Action Committee structure (bronze/silver/gold) should be used in such circumstances to re-introduce the use of face coverings. Immediate outbreak response (at the level of individual settings or a cluster of settings) remains for local directors of public health to advise on.

There are local areas in all nations where the number of new infections is increasing. Some local areas have had continued rapid growth in variants, and of particular concern is the B.1.617.2 variant (a variant first identified in India, where it is now widespread). There are now multiple fast-growing clusters of this variant in the UK, with the largest in the North West of England.

Where head teachers have concerns about the use of face coverings in response to a particular local outbreak or variant of concern, they should seek the advice of their local Director of Public Health who will advise on whether the reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students or staff may be needed for a temporary period.

Our policy on face coverings and the system of controls is kept under review and is informed by the latest scientific and medical advice from PHE. Further information on the use and effectiveness of face coverings can be found at: https://phe.koha-ptfs.co.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-retrieve-file.pl?id=9adedb17d5622f9cd7e42febcadb19ad and https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963639/DfE_Evidence_summary_COVID-19_-_children__young_people_and_education_settings.pdf.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will support schools to provide education for pupils in years 11 and 13 to continue with their education until the end of the summer term 2021.

Many schools usually incorporate a period of independent study leave in the summer term for Year 11 and 13 pupils as exams approach. However, this year the needs of the cohort will be different, and a period of independent study leave may not be applicable.

The 2021 exams approach requires schools to submit grades by 18 June 2021. This process requires considerable staff resource, and we recognise that in practice, for many pupils, work completed after the May half term will not contribute towards their grades.

The Department has therefore set out guidance about valuable activities pupils should be engaged in. Schools should make appropriate judgements on the activities for their own pupils. This might not mean full-time provision and could include visits to education establishments, independent study or remote provision combined with attendance in person. The guidance about activities that schools can consider is found in Annex B, here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#annex-b.

We are not changing the legislation that governs compulsory school age. As usual, pupils cease to be of compulsory school age on the last Friday of June in the year in which they turn 16. That means that those pupils (most of whom will be in Year 11) are not required to attend school after this date.

This year, many schools will already have plans in place for the last half of the summer term to support their current pupils. We strongly encourage all schools to maximise opportunities that meet the progression needs of their students during this period.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support he is providing colleges of further education to support the mental health of their students.

Further Education providers (FE) deliver mental health support to their students in their wrap around, pastoral offer. This includes a number of initiatives supported by the department.

For example, we set up the ‘Wellbeing for Education Return’, an £8 million scheme funding expert advisers and training in every local authority area to support wellbeing recovery as children and young people returned to school and FE from September 2020.

Some of the colleges funded through the £5.4 million College Collaboration Fund are developing new ways to support student and staff mental health and wellbeing, including the ‘Let’s Chat’ programme developed by Weston College. Once developed, these resources will be available to all further education providers online. Details of the College Collaboration Fund are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/college-collaboration-fund-ccf-projects/resources-college-collaboration-fund-ccf.

More recently we have announced a £79 million boost to children and young people’s mental health support, including through Mental Health Support Teams. The support teams – which provide early intervention on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in schools and colleges – will grow from the 59 set up by last March to around 400 by April 2023, supporting nearly 3 million children and young people. This increase means that millions of children and young people will have access to significantly expanded mental health services.

We also know that some FE providers are creating their own innovative programmes to support student and staff mental health. The Sheffield College have rolled out their Uniheads mental health platform, which helps students develop good mental health knowledge and skills, build mental fitness, and address poor mental health.

The department has convened a Mental Health in Education Action Group, which will look specifically at how we support young people with their wellbeing as they return to school, college, and university after this difficult year. On 3 February 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, appointed Dr. Alex George as a Youth Mental Health Ambassador to advise the government and raise the profile of mental health education and wellbeing in schools, colleges, and universities.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the funding allocation for the academic year 2021-22 of a reduction in numbers in academic year 2020-21; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of using data from a longer timeframe to determine funding allocations.

Funding for both schools and providers of 16-19 education is based on student numbers from the previous academic year. Therefore, where an institution has significantly higher or lower numbers of young people enrolled than in the previous year, this will impact on their funding allocation in the following year. This system of lagged funding is well established and understood because it allows institutions to receive clear allocations each year based on data about students and the courses they study and to make plans with confidence. For providers of 16-19 education, the Department considers business cases from individual institutions where their allocation has been significantly affected by exceptional circumstances. Local authorities also have flexibility, within the funding they are allocated in the dedicated schools grant, to set aside funding to create a small fund to support good or outstanding schools with falling pupil numbers, where local planning data shows that the surplus places will be needed within the next three financial years.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support he is providing to further education colleges that plan to continue teaching year 11 and year 13 pupils beyond May 2021.

It is critical that support to year 11 and year 13 students who are completing their programme of study should continue to be supported to progress after May half term this year, as set out in government guidance.

The government is working closely with colleges, schools and universities to ensure that students are supported in the transition between education phases. Many institutions have already established excellent practice in this area, which we intend to extend more broadly.

Additional new support for young people to catch up includes the 16-19 Tuition Fund, which is £96 million this year – providing 15 hours of small group tuition for young people, targeted at those with lower attainment. We have announced that the fund will increase to £102 million next year.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the financial effect on colleges of further education of such colleges not being able to furlough staff under the terms of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

College corporations were able to utilise the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to support their staff where the corporation’s income streams, either public or non-public, ceased or reduced. The CJRS should only have been used where certain conditions were met, including that the employee on furlough worked in an area of business where services were temporarily not required, the salary was not covered by public funding and that the employee was not involved in delivering provision that had already been funded. Consequently, college corporations not able to furlough staff under the terms of CJRS would have received relevant government funding and therefore there should not have been any adverse financial impact. The Education and Skills Funding Agency continues to support college corporations where they are impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional funding he is allocating to further education colleges for students who experience food poverty; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing free school meals for such students.

The government recognises the benefits of providing a healthy meal to the most disadvantaged students and is committed to providing free meals to those that need them.

From September 2014, further education institutions have been required to make provision for free meals to eligible disadvantaged students. The institution can decide for themselves whether to offer a meal, or a voucher or credit to exchange for a meal on-site or off-site.

Further guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/free-meals-in-further-education-funded-institutions-guide-for-the-2020-to-2021-academic-year.

Additionally, the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund, introduced in 2011, provides financial support to help students overcome specific barriers to participation so they can remain in education. It can be used in conjunction with free meals in further education funding, to meet individual student needs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will support extending the provision of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme in schools so that every child has the opportunity to participate in that scheme.

The Government wants as many pupils as possible to benefit from the life-changing activities offered by the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award scheme. The award provides extraordinary opportunities for personal development for both pupils and staff. It improves young people’s life chances and prepares them for the challenges and responsibilities of employment and adult life by improving attendance, behaviour, aspirations and attainment.

Most schools are committed to developing these skills in their pupils by providing a rich extra-curricular offer, including after-school clubs and programmes such as the DofE scheme, the National Citizen Service (NCS), or the cadets. The Department published non-statutory guidance for schools in November 2019 to help schools improve their character education and the personal development of their pupils. The guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/845905/Character_Education_Framework_Guidance.pdf.

We are working closely with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to help ensure that all children and young people can have the opportunity to take part in high quality programmes such as the DofE Award and the NCS.

The DofE programme is one of the #iwill Fund's match funders. The #iwill Fund is a £50 million joint investment between the DCMS (£25 million) and the National Lottery Community Fund (£25 million). The fund supports the creation of new opportunities to engage young people in England in volunteering and community engagement in their local areas, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Through #iwill, DofE works with established DofE centres in schools, clubs, and other organisations to support more disadvantaged young people. In 2019, to mark the DofE's Diamond Anniversary, DofE created a £3 million fund, supported by £1 million from #iwill, to support young people to transform their lives and develop vital skills and attributes that employers look for.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support colleges to offer an increased capacity for adult skills as part of a covid-19 recovery package.

We know that adults, aged 19 and over, are being adversely impacted by disruptions to their learning. Adult Education Budget (AEB) funded learners, aged 19 and over, do have the ability to pause their learning and return to it later. Students aged 19 to 24 with an education health and care plan will continue to access catch up support from the Tuition Fund.

For adults aged 19 and over we introduced a change to the AEB funding rules for the 2020-21 academic year to enable providers to use learner support funds to purchase IT devices and/or internet access for disadvantaged students to help them meet technology costs. In areas where the AEB budget is devolved, mayoral authorities determine adult student support arrangements.

We are also investing £95 million from the National Skills Fund in the free courses for jobs offer over the current Spending Review period. This offer gives an estimated 11 million adults in England who are 24 and over and do not yet have A levels or equivalent qualifications the opportunity to take their first level 3 qualification for free.

This £95 million includes a funding uplift for qualifications included in this offer, to support providers to scale up their level 3 provision for adults and meet the needs of adult learners as we build back better from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the disruption to higher education as a result of the covid-19 outbreak, what plans his Department has to review the Education and Skills Funding Agency's proposals to clawback adult skills funding from colleges in the event that they miss their 2020-21 academic year targets by more than 10 per cent.

We are lowering the reconciliation threshold of Education and Skills Funding Agency grant funded Adult Education Budget (AEB) - adult skills including non-formula funded community learning and 19-24 Traineeships - and Advanced Learner Loan Bursary fund providers for 2020 to 2021, from 97% and 100% respectively to 90%.

The allocations for COVID-19 Skills Offer, including funding for the new level 3 adult offer, are ringfenced and the reconciliation threshold for under-delivery of this provision will remain at 97%.

Our primary aim is to support providers to continue to deliver as much quality provision as possible, including above the 90% threshold, whether that be face-face where permitted, online or otherwise remotely, and including subcontracting (for AEB-funded provision only) where that is in line with our subcontracting conditions set out in the rules and contracts.

We acknowledge the situation is still difficult for providers but equally we know that many providers have been able to deliver remotely during lockdown very successfully and the return to face-to-face learning should enhance further providers’ ability to deliver.

This 90% threshold is the final position for the 2020-21 academic year and will not be subject to change. There will not be a business case process. In areas where the AEB has been devolved, Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority are responsible for considering any provider flexibilities in their areas.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Education and Skills Funding Agency 2020 to 2021 end of year reconciliation for adult education budget and advanced learner loans bursary grant funded providers, if he will (a) remove or (b) further lower the reconciliation threshold.

We are lowering the reconciliation threshold of Education and Skills Funding Agency grant funded Adult Education Budget (AEB) - adult skills including non-formula funded community learning and 19-24 Traineeships - and Advanced Learner Loan Bursary fund providers for 2020 to 2021, from 97% and 100% respectively to 90%.

The allocations for COVID-19 Skills Offer, including funding for the new level 3 adult offer, are ringfenced and the reconciliation threshold for under-delivery of this provision will remain at 97%.

Our primary aim is to support providers to continue to deliver as much quality provision as possible, including above the 90% threshold, whether that be face-face where permitted, online or otherwise remotely, and including subcontracting (for AEB-funded provision only) where that is in line with our subcontracting conditions set out in the rules and contracts.

We acknowledge the situation is still difficult for providers but equally we know that many providers have been able to deliver remotely during lockdown very successfully and the return to face-to-face learning should enhance further providers’ ability to deliver.

This 90% threshold is the final position for the 2020-21 academic year and will not be subject to change. There will not be a business case process. In areas where the AEB has been devolved, Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority are responsible for considering any provider flexibilities in their areas.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the budget is for the Adoption Support Fund for the financial year 2021-22.

Following the Spending Review settlement in November 2020, the department is finalising individual programme allocations for the 2021-22 financial year. The budget for the Adoption Support Fund will be considered as part of that process.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress has been made on the provision of dongles for the purpose of home education online.

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

To date, over 60,000 4G wireless routers have been delivered to pupils without a connection at home.

We have also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online. We are grateful to EE, Lycamobile, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile and Vodafone for supporting the mobile data offer. We are currently engaged with additional mobile network operators and continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to announce the detail of the assessment process to replace summer exams for 2021.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Government considers that examinations cannot be held in a way which is fair. The Department has therefore announced that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead this summer as planned.

The Department has already confirmed proposals that, in summer 2021, students taking GCSE, AS and A levels regulated by Ofqual should be awarded grades based on an assessment by their teachers.

To ensure that our approach is developed with the sector, Ofqual and the Department have now concluded a two-week consultation on how to ensure all students are supported to move to the next stage of their lives. The Department is working at pace to provide further clarity to the sector and details of alternative arrangements to exams will be confirmed in our response to the consultation, which will be published by the end of February 2021. ​

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will review the adequacy of the publicly available information and guidance from his Department for students relating to alternative student finance.

I refer the hon. Member for York Central to the answer I gave on 14 January 2021 to 135997. As stated in my answer to 135997, the government will provide an update on the Alternative Student Finance product, including any necessary information and guidance, in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January 2021 to Question 135997, if he will provide a timetable for the delivery of a model of alternative student finance.

I refer the hon. Member for York Central to the answer I gave on 14 January 2021 to 135997. As stated in my answer to 135997, the government will provide an update on the Alternative Student Finance product, including any necessary information and guidance, in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria will be used to determine when to re-open further education colleges during the covid-19 outbreak.

On Wednesday 27 January 2021, the government confirmed that education attendance restrictions should continue post-half term.

This follows my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January 2021 of national restrictions and that the position would be kept under review during January, with pupils and young people expected to return to face to face learning at school and college after the February half term at the earliest if the public health data permitted this.

Following an in-depth analysis of both the COVID-19 prevalence data and the data on NHS capacity, it has been concluded that this will not yet be possible, and that school and college attendance must continue to be limited to help support the reduction in the overall number of social contacts in communities.

Further education (FE) providers will remain open for onsite attendance to vulnerable students, the children of critical workers and a small number of FE students and apprentices who would otherwise be completing their courses or apprenticeships in January, February or March 2021, where it is not possible for their training or assessment to be completed remotely. This includes:

  • Those who are due to do a licence to practise, or other occupational competence, assessment in January, February or March 2021.
  • Those training for some critical worker roles, for example engineering, health and social care, manufacturing technologies, nursing and subjects and vocations allied to medicine, transportation operations and maintenance, agriculture, education and training and building and construction (where this is connected to utilities and communications) that are due to complete in the next 3 months.

The decision to continue restricting attendance does not suggest that schools and colleges have become significantly less safe places for young people. Instead, limiting attendance is about continuing to support the reduction in the overall number of social contacts in our communities. This is a vital intervention in the context of a current stubbornly high prevalence of COVID-19.

When Parliament returns from recess in the week commencing 22 February 2021, we intend to set out the results of our review and publish our plan for taking the country out of lockdown. We will continue to review restrictions in education and will ensure that remaining students and apprentices return to face-to-face education as soon as possible.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of asking teachers to come out of retirement and assist in the recovery phase of the covid-19 outbreak to educate and support children and young people with their learning.

The return of former teachers to the classroom is an important component of the Department’s recruitment strategy, and we continue to prioritise initiatives that capitalise on any potential increased interest in the profession from former teachers. This includes former teachers who wish to support with the recovery phase of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department is using our Return to Teaching Adviser Service to support these efforts. The service provides one-to-one support to former teachers interested in returning to teach maths, physics and modern foreign languages. The Return to Teaching Adviser Service assists these former teachers with their applications, helps them prepare for interviews, and signposts them to the further support. Through the Return to Teaching Adviser Service, we have also encouraged former teachers to support the Department’s wider pupil catch-up efforts, such as the National Tutoring Programme.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial support is available to supply teachers who are not teaching as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. Schools have autonomy over these budgets and their employment arrangements and decisions on staffing are made at the local level.

If supply staff employed via employment agencies are unable to work due to COVID-19, their employment agency can place them on furlough and use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to claim for 80% of their wages, including during school holiday periods, provided that the eligibility criteria are met: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Employers can now flexibly furlough their employees for the hours the employee would usually have worked in that period, whilst also being able to work outside of the hours they are furloughed. Employees can work for any amount of time, and any in work pattern, but they cannot do any work for their employer during hours that employers record them as being on furlough.

The decision to furlough an employee, fully or flexibly, is entirely at the employer's discretion as it is dependent on a range of factors that the employer is best placed to determine, for example, the amount of work available for employees.

The Department has produced further guidance that may be helpful to schools with their workforce planning and schools should continue to check updates here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

The Government has provided additional financial support for those who are unable to work because they have COVID-19 or are self-isolating, which is outlined in the following guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-employed-and-cannot-work?priority-taxon=5ebf285a-9165-476c-be90-66b9729f50da#if-someone-you-live-with-has-symptoms-of-coronaviru.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of giving every school pupil at each Key Stage access to a laptop or desktop IT device and broadband for the future delivery of education.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, by securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This includes over 870,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities by 25 January.

The number of devices available to each school, trust and local authority is determined by their number of children eligible for Free School Meals. All schools, trusts and local authorities have now been given the opportunity to order their full current allocation of devices.

The Government is providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. On 12 January, we announced that we will be providing a further 300,000 devices over the course of this term.

Figures on the number of devices delivered is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-4. These figures are broken down by Local Authority and Academy Trust. Figures on delivery by constituency are not available.

The Get Help with Technology scheme will enable schools to support disadvantaged children in years 3-11 and aged 16-19 who do not have access to a laptop or tablet privately or through school. In the context of unprecedented global demand for laptops and tablets, the year groups were set following conversations with school leaders and on the basis that children in younger years would be unlikely to be working on a laptop or tablet independently.

Where pupils experience barriers to digital remote education, we expect schools to offer different forms of remote education such as printed resources or textbooks. This should be supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils on track or answer questions about work.

We have also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data for the academic year to help disadvantaged children get online. We are grateful to EE, O2, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer. We have also delivered 54,000 4G wireless routers for pupil and care leavers without connection at home.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many dongles have been requested by City of York Council to support remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak; and how many of those dongles have been delivered.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. As of Monday 25 January 2021, over 870,000 laptops and tablets have been delivered to state schools, trusts and local authorities.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Department has delivered 787 laptops and tablets directly to York local authority. We have also delivered devices to academy trusts that include schools in York, which are not included in this figure.

The Government is providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the outbreak.

Where schools need additional devices, in order to support disadvantaged children, they should contact the Department’s service team at: covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of pupils who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

Figures on the number of devices delivered are available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-4.

These figures are broken down by local authority and academy trust. Figures on delivery by constituency are not available.

The Department has partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online, as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home on a daily basis.

Local authorities, academy trusts and schools can identify any 4G wireless routers they have received that are not being used and reallocate them to children and young people with the greatest need.

Data on delivery of 4G wireless routers will be published in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to provide compensation to students who are unable to move into their student accommodation because of the covid-19 outbreak.

The government plays no role in the provision of student residential accommodation. Universities and private accommodation providers are autonomous and are responsible for setting their own rent agreements. Whether a student is entitled to a refund or to an early release from their contract will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between them and their provider.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and we encourage universities and private landlords to review their accommodation policies to ensure they are fair, clear and have the interests of students at heart.

Officials speak regularly with representatives of private and university owned accommodation, as well as sector bodies. The government worked closely with universities to ensure they were well prepared for the return of students in the autumn term, and we have published updated guidance to help them keep students and staff as safe as possible.

If students have concerns about their accommodation fees, they should first raise their concerns with their accommodation provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, and their higher education (HE) provider is involved in the provision of the accommodation, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for HE to consider their complaint.

If a student thinks their accommodation provider is treating them unfairly, they can raise a complaint under the accommodation codes of practice, as long as their provider is a code member. The codes can be found at: https://www.thesac.org.uk/, https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code/how-to-complain and https://www.rla.org.uk/about/nrla-code-of-practice.shtml.

We recognise that in these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. The Department for Education has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. The government is currently making available up to a further £20 million on a one-off basis to support those that need it most, particularly disadvantaged students. The funding is being distributed by the OfS to approved fee cap providers, who will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will cap the income repayment threshold for student loans in the aftermath of the covid-19 outbreak.

There are no current plans to cap the income repayment threshold for student loans.

The repayment of student loans is governed by the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009 (as amended).

The current system protects borrowers if they see a reduction in their income. Repayments are made based on a borrower’s monthly or weekly income, not the interest rate or amount borrowed, and no repayments are made for earnings below the repayment thresholds. The repayment threshold is adjusted annually in line with average earnings.

Repayments are calculated as a fixed percentage of earnings above the relevant repayment threshold - if income drops, so do repayments made. Any outstanding debt is written off at the end of the loan term with no detriment to the borrower.

If, at the end of the year, the borrower’s total income is below the relevant annual threshold, they may reclaim any repayments from the Student Loans Company made during that year.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many laptops have been requested by City of York Council to enable pupils to access remote learning during the covid-19 outbreak; and how many of those laptops have been delivered.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, by securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This includes over 870,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities by 25 January.

The number of devices available to each school, trust and local authority is determined by their number of children eligible for Free School Meals. All schools, trusts and local authorities have now been given the opportunity to order their full current allocation of devices.

The Government is providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. On 12 January, we announced that we will be providing a further 300,000 devices over the course of this term.

Figures on the number of devices delivered is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-4. These figures are broken down by Local Authority and Academy Trust. Figures on delivery by constituency are not available.

The Get Help with Technology scheme will enable schools to support disadvantaged children in years 3-11 and aged 16-19 who do not have access to a laptop or tablet privately or through school. In the context of unprecedented global demand for laptops and tablets, the year groups were set following conversations with school leaders and on the basis that children in younger years would be unlikely to be working on a laptop or tablet independently.

Where pupils experience barriers to digital remote education, we expect schools to offer different forms of remote education such as printed resources or textbooks. This should be supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils on track or answer questions about work.

We have also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data for the academic year to help disadvantaged children get online. We are grateful to EE, O2, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer. We have also delivered 54,000 4G wireless routers for pupil and care leavers without connection at home.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the levels of adequacy of home learning environments (a) nationally and (b) in York for pupils of (i) secondary age and (ii) primary age during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. As of Monday 25 January 2021, over 870,000 laptops and tablets have been delivered to state schools, trusts and local authorities.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Department has delivered 787 laptops and tablets directly to York local authority. We have also delivered devices to academy trusts that include schools in York, which are not included in this figure.

The Government is providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the outbreak.

Where schools need additional devices, in order to support disadvantaged children, they should contact the Department’s service team at: covid.technology@education.gov.uk. They should include the number of pupils who require support and an explanation of how they have gathered this evidence.

Figures on the number of devices delivered are available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data/2021-week-4.

These figures are broken down by local authority and academy trust. Figures on delivery by constituency are not available.

The Department has partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online, as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home on a daily basis.

Local authorities, academy trusts and schools can identify any 4G wireless routers they have received that are not being used and reallocate them to children and young people with the greatest need.

Data on delivery of 4G wireless routers will be published in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to ensure that his Department's annual early years census will take account of children being absent from nursery settings as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

On 17 December 2020, the government announced a return to funding early years settings for the spring term on the basis of attendance, as measured by the January 2021 census. The early years census count is still going ahead as expected and the census guidance is unchanged. To support local authorities we have issued some technical advice on how that guidance can be applied this year.

In summary, children who are ill or self-isolating can be counted, as can those whose parents have temporarily withdrawn their children from open nurseries and childminders out of caution, and so long as the parent/guardian has not altered their parental declaration relating to expected hours with the provider.

Children should not be counted in the census where a setting has closed or restricted attendance, unless as a result of situations as set out in the supporting technical advice eg. staff sickness, COVID-19 isolation, staff shielding.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage all schools to routinely offer every child eligible for free school meals attending school a hot meal each school day during the covid-19 lockdown that has been in place since 5 January 2021.

Guidance has been published for schools providing meals during the period of national lockdown and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

Schools should provide meal options for all pupils who are in school, including vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. Meals should be available free of charge to all infant pupils and pupils who meet the benefits-related free school meals eligibility criteria.

The government will continue to provide schools with their expected funding for benefits-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals throughout this period.

I wrote to schools in October encouraging them to make sure hot meals were provided. They should speak to their catering team or provider about the best arrangements for providing meals for those pupils in school. Schools have the freedom to decide on the best approach for their pupils and have a range of options which include lunch parcels, local vouchers or the department’s national voucher scheme. All meals provided in school must still comply with the school food standards: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standards-for-school-food-in-england.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the eligibility for attendance at school by pupils during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown on (a) the numbers of children attending school and (b) the ability of schools to practice social distancing.

During this period of national lockdown, schools should allow only vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend. All other pupils should not attend and should learn remotely.

The Department publishes weekly national-level data on pupil attendance. The data for 13 January shows that attendance in state primary schools in England was at 21% and at 5% in state secondaries. Further information on this data is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Limiting attendance does not suggest that schools have become significantly less safe for young people. Instead, limiting attendance is about supporting the reduction of the overall number of social contacts in our communities.

For vulnerable children and young people, the children of critical workers who still attend school, and their teachers, the Public Health England endorsed system of protective measures that schools have been implementing throughout the autumn term means that any risks are well managed and controlled.

Schools should continue to minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible as part of their wider set of protective measures. This can be achieved through keeping groups separate and by maintaining the distance between individuals. Whilst schools are attended by vulnerable children and the children of critical workers only, where possible, schools should keep group sizes small. Any additional space available where there are lower numbers of pupils attending should be used to maximise the distance between pupils, and between staff and other people.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will consider the potential merits of requiring two parent households where one parent is a key worker to keep their children at home during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown period.

During this period of national lockdown, schools should allow only vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend. All other pupils and students should not attend and should be taught remotely.

Schools should speak to parents and carers to identify who needs to go to school, and parents should keep their children at home where they can. Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required.

If it proves necessary, schools can ask for simple evidence that the parent in question is a critical worker, such as their work ID badge or pay slip.

We know that every school will have a different number of children of critical workers who need to attend. It is important that on-site provision is provided for these pupils. There is no limit to the numbers of these pupils who may attend, and schools should not limit attendance of these groups. We expect schools to work with critical worker parents to ensure their child is given access to a place if it is required, so that parents can continue providing vital services.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will instruct Ofsted to prioritise their role in supporting and advising schools in responding to the covid-19 outbreak above returning to their inspection regime while the national covid-19 lockdown remains in place.

The intention is that Ofsted’s routine graded inspections will remain suspended for the spring term, and that during this period Ofsted will carry out monitoring inspections of schools most in need. These will include inadequate schools and some schools that require improvement. These non-graded inspections will have a strong focus on remote education, and an emphasis on being supportive, with inspectors helping schools to prioritise the right things and pointing them to sources of support.

Ofsted will also continue to have the power to inspect schools where it has significant concerns, including where those concerns relate to remote education or safeguarding.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide financial support to schools to enable them to occupy larger buildings so that they can provide education to pupils in a covid-secure environment in classroom settings.

On 7 January we published further guidance, ‘Restricting attendance during the national lockdown: schools’, which sets out what all schools will need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021. This includes the system of controls that schools must continue to adopt to the fullest extent possible to reduce risks in their school and create an inherently safer environment. Guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf

Schools should continue to minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible. This can be achieved through keeping groups separate and by maintaining the distance between individuals. Whilst schools are attended by vulnerable children and the children of critical workers only, where possible schools should keep group sizes small. Any additional space available where there are lower numbers of pupils attending should be used wherever possible to maximise the distance between pupils and between staff and other people.

We do not consider it necessary for schools to make significant adaptations to their site to enable them to operate in this way. Following a risk assessment, some schools may determine that small adaptations to their site are required. This will be at the discretion of individual schools, based on their particular circumstances. As such, schools should use their existing resources for this purpose, where necessary.

Schools continue to receive their budgets this year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. School budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to the 2019-20 financial year. This increase in funding will help schools with costs associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking in response to the consultation on a Sharia compliant alternative student finance product.

The government is committed to ensuring that all students with the potential to benefit from further and higher education are able to access it. The government will provide a further update on the Alternative Student Finance product in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason nursery providers are not included in his Department's lateral flow testing programme to support covid-19 testing to detect asymptomatic cases; and if he will make it his policy to include nursery providers in that programme.

Rapid, regular testing for people without symptoms of COVID-19 has been made available across the country from week commencing 11 Jan with the eligibility of the community testing programme expanded to cover all 317 local authorities.

The best way currently for those in private early years settings and childminders to access asymptomatic testing is via the community testing programme.  Local authorities have been encouraged to target testing at critical workers such as early years staff during the national lockdown.  We continue to look at more direct approaches.

We are rolling out our asymptomatic testing programme to primary schools, who will receive testing kits for staff this week. This includes schools-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools. The asymptomatic testing programme will offer all primary school, schools-based nursery and maintained nursery school staff home Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test kits for routine testing.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure a child-focused approach to safeguarding children is taken in homes with domestic violence.

Domestic abuse can have a devastating and longstanding impact on children and young people’s health, wellbeing and development. Therefore, this government is committed to passing the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, which includes the first ever statutory definition of domestic abuse, recognises children as victims of domestic abuse and introduces an independent Domestic Abuse Commissioner, who will be required to consider the impact of domestic abuse on children and the services available to them.

Our statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard children, Working Together to Safeguarding Children (2018), is clear that ‘a child centred approach is fundamental to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of every child; whatever the form of abuse or neglect, practitioners should put the needs of children first when determining what action to take’. This includes families where children are experiencing domestic abuse.

We are strengthening social care delivery through our children’s social care reform programme of initial education, continued professional development and professional regulation. Under the post qualifying standards, all social workers should be able to identify the impact of domestic abuse and act to protect vulnerable children.

This year, we have also invested £6.5 million to place social workers in schools to help teachers to identify signs of children at risk of exploitation or neglect. We have also provided more than £12 million for 14 children’s social care innovation projects across the country to continue delivery and extend their evaluation to capture further learning. These projects aim to support children and young people at increased risk of harm, including domestic abuse programmes.

For children experiencing domestic abuse during the COVID-19 outbreak, attending an education setting plays a key safeguarding role. We have, therefore, asked schools to remain open for children who are vulnerable, as well as for those children of workers critical to the COVID-19 response. The government is also providing support for school staff who are concerned about children experiencing domestic abuse, through the Operation Encompass Teachers’ National Helpline, which remains available to all staff in educational settings during term-time and the current lockdown restrictions.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking with local authorities to ensure that they have sufficient supplies of mobile broadband dongles to distribute to pupils so that they can participate in remote education during the covid-19 lockdown that has been in place since 5 January 2021.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services.

The Department has provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year, and continues to provide 4G wireless routers where children need to access remote education.

We have also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile network operators to provide free data to disadvantaged families, which will support access to education resources, including Oak National Academy, and other websites. Schools are able to request free mobile data uplifts via the Get Help with Technology service: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/.

We are grateful to Three, EE, Tesco Mobile, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Virgin Mobile, O2 and Vodafone. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

A number of mobile network providers are also progressing the zero-rating of educational resources, such as Oak Academy and BBC Bitesize.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that BTEC students who will not sit exams receive a fair grade at the end of their courses during the covid-19 outbreak.

We want to ensure that no student is disadvantaged if they are unable to take their exam or assessment during the 2020/21 academic year.

We are working with Ofqual, awarding organisations, and other stakeholders, including through a public consultation, to agree the arrangements that will be put in place so that students receive a fair grade at the end of their course.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the transmission rate is of covid-19 for (a) students in (i) higher and (ii) further education, (b) secondary school pupils, (c) primary school pupils and (d) nursery-aged pupils.

The Department does not hold data on what the transmission rate is of COVID-19 for (a) students in (i) higher and (ii) further education, (b) secondary school pupils, (c) primary school pupils and (d) nursery-aged pupils.

Advice from the Children's Task and Finish group is that children are at very low risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and there is also no current evidence that staff are at higher risk of infection than those working in other sectors: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948617/s0998-tfc-update-to-4-november-2020-paper-on-children-schools-transmission.pdf.

The safety and wellbeing of staff, students and pupils in education and childcare settings is always our priority. The Government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities in this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on education.

On 7 January, the Department published guidance to universities and students returning to higher education in the spring term. This guidance sets out how the Department will support universities to enable students to return as safely as possible following the winter break, by staggering this process following the period of national lockdown and to facilitate testing for all.  The guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950367/Students_returning_to_and_starting_higher_education_in_Spring_Term_2021.pdf.

The Department also published ‘Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak’, which sets out what all schools will need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The Department also published guidance for all early years settings and local authorities in England, which provides information on how the national lockdown restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 impact early years and childcare settings: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950653/Education_and_childcare_settings_-_national_lockdown_from_5_January_2021_.pdf.

On 8 January, the Department published guidance on actions for further education colleges during the COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision.

The Department will continue to keep our plans under review and ensure our position is informed by the latest evidence.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the covid-19 infection rate is for (a) students in (i) higher and (ii) further education, (b) secondary school pupils, (c) primary school pupils and (d) nursery-aged pupils.

The Department does not hold data on COVID-19 infection rates amongst (a) students in (i) higher and (ii) further education, (b) secondary school pupils, (c) primary school pupils and (d) nursery-aged pupils.

The Office for National Statistics publishes figures on infection rates by age group: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/8january2021#age-analysis-of-the-number-of-people-in-england-who-had-covid-19.

Section 5 shows test positivity rates broken down by age. The age categories are:

  • “age two years to school Year 6” includes those children in primary school and below
  • “school Year 7 to school Year 11” includes those children in secondary school
  • “school Year 12 to age 24 years” includes those young adults who may be in further or higher education

Advice from the Children's Task and Finish group is that children are at very low risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and there is also no current evidence that staff are at higher risk of infection than those working in other sectors. This advice is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948617/s0998-tfc-update-to-4-november-2020-paper-on-children-schools-transmission.pdf.

The safety and wellbeing of staff, students and pupils in schools and nurseries is always our priority. The Government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our registered childcare settings, schools, colleges, and universities in this unprecedented situation, while mitigating the impact on education.

On 7 January, the Department published guidance to universities and students returning to higher education in the spring term. This guidance sets out how we will support universities to enable students to return as safely as possible following the winter break, by staggering this process following the period of national lockdown and to facilitate testing for all. The guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950367/Students_returning_to_and_starting_higher_education_in_Spring_Term_2021.pdf.

The Department also published ‘guidance: Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak’, which sets out what all schools will need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The Department also published guidance for all early years settings and local authorities in England, which provides information on how the national lockdown restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 impact early years and childcare settings: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950653/Education_and_childcare_settings_-_national_lockdown_from_5_January_2021_.pdf.

On 8 January, the Department published guidance on actions for FE colleges and providers during the COVID-19outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision.

The Department will continue to keep its plans under review and ensure its position is informed by the latest evidence.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many secondary schools were zoning children in year group bubbles; how effective that approach has been; how many entire year group bubbles have been isolated since the introduction of that approach; and how many have seen outbreaks within the bubbles.

Since the start of the autumn term, schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise the risk of transmission. The measures set out in the Department’s guidance have been endorsed by Public Health England. The Department published further guidance on 7 January which sets out what all schools need to do during the COVID-19 outbreak from January 2021: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf.

Having assessed their risk, schools must work through the system of controls in our guidance, adopting measures to the fullest extent possible in a way that addresses the risk identified in their assessment, works for their school and allows them to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum for pupils. These decisions are made by head teachers who are best placed to decide the most appropriate measures for the circumstances in their own schools.

The measures include minimising contact between individuals and maintaining social distancing wherever possible. The overarching principle to apply is reducing the number of contacts between pupils and staff. This can be achieved through keeping groups separate in ‘bubbles’ and through maintaining the distance between individuals. The Department does not require schools to provide data on how their individual establishments decide to group their pupils or on positive cases per group of pupils. The Department routinely publishes attendance data: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Schools must take swift action when they become aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for COVID-19, having developed symptoms and taken a PCR test outside of school. Secondary schools participating in the rapid asymptomatic testing programme should follow the mass asymptomatic testing guidance to ensure contacts of the positive case are tested: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/asymptomatic-testing-in-schools-and-colleges.

Any secondary schools not participating in the rapid asymptomatic testing programme must follow the advice in our restricting attendance during the national lockdown guidance: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf. They can contact the dedicated advice service for support, who will work with schools to guide them through the actions they need to take. Schools must send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 10 days from the day after contact with the individual who tested positive.

If schools have two or more confirmed cases within 10 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where COVID-19 is suspected, they may have an outbreak and must continue to work with their local health protection team who will be able to advise if additional action is required. In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other pupils self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure, perhaps the whole site or year group. If schools are implementing the controls in our guidance, whole school closure based on cases within the school will not generally be necessary and should not be considered except on the advice of health protection teams.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many volunteers have signed up to support the delivery of Lateral Flow Device tests in schools; and how those volunteers will be vetted to ensure the school site is safe.

We are not collecting the data on the numbers of volunteers each school is recruiting. We have provided comprehensive guidance to schools on how asymptomatic testing should be operationalised. School and college leaders are in the best position to secure the necessary resource for testing, which is from within their own school and local communities.

Schools and colleges are responsible for ensuring that volunteer and test staff have passed the necessary assessments before testing begins, which are set out in the published NHS Test and Trace training guidance for schools and colleges. It is the responsibility of the schools or college to ensure all staff and volunteers on their site meet the appropriate safeguarding requirements, including Disclosure and Barring Service, in accordance with the existing Department for Education guidance.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what training and support has been put in place for (a) school staff and (b) volunteers to provide Lateral Flow Device testing.

Together with the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS Test and Trace, we have provided, and continue to provide, extensive support to help with testing. We have:

  • Published guidance materials and ‘how to’ handbooks
  • Run webinars
  • Provided an online training package
  • Established a dedicated DfE Helpline
  • Provided leadership support to manage a test site alongside delivering education with guidance on logistics, strategic planning and the practicalities of delivering mass testing
  • Clinical support, for children and young people whose physical and health needs prevent them from administering their own test, and where parents existing school staff cannot assist

All schools have access to commercial routes for hiring temporary, non-clinical workers, via a range of existing frameworks.

1,500 military personnel have been committed to supporting schools and colleges and deployments have already begun where these have been requested.

Schools will also receive financial support. A total of £78 million has been made available to meet the costs of testing and payments will be made to schools retrospectively.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when all pupils will have access to the IT and broadband required to access education remotely if not in school during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services.

As of Monday 25 January, we have delivered over 870,000 laptops and tablets to schools, trusts and local authorities. Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

We have partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.

We are grateful to EE, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

A number of mobile network providers are also progressing the zero-rating of educational resources, such as Oak Academy and BBC Bitesize.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish his equality impact assessments on the impact of covid-19 on end of year assessments.

The Government announced that, from 5 January 2021, schools and colleges have moved to remote provision, except for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. In light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department will not be asking students to sit GCSE, AS and A level exams this summer as planned.

The Department will continue to engage with a range of relevant stakeholders when developing plans for our policy on GCSE, AS and A level assessments in 2021, as will the exams regulator Ofqual.

There will be a rapid consultation on how to fairly award all pupils, including private candidates and students taking vocational qualifications, with a grade that ensures they can progress to the next stage of their lives. A full equalities impact assessment, informed by the results of the consultation, will be published in due course.

Ofqual’s equalities analysis for 2020 can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/896443/Equalities_impact_assessment_appeals_consultation_300620.pdf#:~:text=Ofqual%20has%20an%20ongoing%20programme%20of%20work%20to,next%20on%20the%20grade%20awarded%20to%20the%20centre.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
4th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to ensure that students returning from overseas placements for Christmas 2020 have access to no-symptom covid-19 testing.

All universities have been asked to work in partnership with the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care to deliver an asymptomatic mass testing programme. Asymptomatic testing is an important tool to help students adhere to safety measures to protect themselves, their friends, family, and wider community.

All international arrivals, including domestic students on international placement, are required to complete a passenger locator form on arrival in the UK, and passengers travelling from a country not on the national exemption list are required to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days. See: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control.

From 15 December, there will be the option in England to take an accredited COVID-19 test from a private testing provider after 5 days of self-isolation, with a negative result releasing students from the need to isolate from day 6. Students should discuss what provisions are in place to support them in accessing COVID-19 testing.

In addition, asymptomatic testing will be available across participating universities up until the 16 December. Students returning from countries on the national exemption list who would like to take advantage of this provision should discuss what testing provision is available at their university.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to provide additional funded childcare places in areas subject to Tier 2 and Tier 3 local covid alert level restrictions to help support parents and carers with work commitments.

The government continues to support families with their childcare costs, and we are planning to spend over £3.6 billion on our early education entitlements during the 2020/21 financial year. The early years entitlements include 15 hours a week of childcare for disadvantaged 2 year olds, 15 hours a week for all 3 and 4 year olds and an additional 15 hours a week for 3 and 4 year old children of eligible working parents. Parents’ eligibility to the early years entitlements is not affected by being in a tier 2 or tier 3 area.

On 20 July 2020, we announced that we will continue to pay local authorities for the childcare places that they usually fund, for the autumn term. This will give nurseries and childminders another term of secure income, regardless of whether fewer children are attending because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

At the Spending Review, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a further £44 million investment for the 2021/22 financial year, for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers. Further details and information on how this will be distributed will be made available as soon as possible.


Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Special Guardianship Orders and Adoption Orders are not delayed by constraints in the family courts system as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Adoption and Special Guardianship are a priority for this government as it is so important that children can move into their forever home. Therefore, during the COVID-19 outbreak, we have encouraged local authorities and regional adoption agencies to continue to support adoption processes. We recognise the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the family courts system. We are working closely with the judiciary, the Ministry of Justice and our other key partners in the family justice system to make sure that we prioritise children’s welfare during this difficult and unprecedented time. We are working together to do everything we can to promote the best outcomes for children and are adapting our ways of working to respond to the challenges we are facing.

Following initial closures, most courts have now reopened providing (limited) capacity for hearings that aren’t suitable to be heard remotely to take place in person. Judicial capacity has been increased, with sitting days now above usual levels in most areas. All urgent public law children cases will continue to be prioritised, to help safeguard the welfare of the most vulnerable children.

This department and the Ministry of Justice have been working closely with sector leads to understand the impact of rising volumes and local variation in public family law proceedings, and to develop and implement a number of recovery and reform actions to reduce pressure on the system. Adoption net receipts and orders fell considerably over the lockdown period. The President of the Family Division wrote to Designated Family Judges on 13 May to clarify the guidance so that adoption order hearings would continue during this crisis period. This guidance appears to have led to an increase in orders.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to allocate additional funding to support children with complex disabilities to return to school during the covid-19 outbreak.

We know that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), along with their parents, carers and families, will have faced real difficulties during the COVID-19 outbreak. We have published a range of guidance to support children, families, carers and educational settings.

We are increasing high needs funding for children with complex SEND by an extra £1.5 billion across this year and next year. We are also providing schools with an additional catch-up support worth £1 billion. Of this, £650 million has been committed towards a COVID-19 catch-up premium. This has been introduced to support mainstream and special schools to make up for lost teaching time upon a pupil’s return to school.

All pupils have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, so schools’ allocations from the catch-up premium will be calculated on a per pupil basis. This will provide each mainstream school with a total of £80 for each pupil and special schools, alternative provision and hospital schools with £240 for each place, across the 2020-21 academic year. We have applied additional weighting to specialist settings, recognising the significantly higher per-pupil costs that they face. However, all schools should use the total catch-up premium funding available to them as a single total from which to prioritise support for particular pupils, including children with SEND or education, health and care plans, according to their needs.

Additionally, the Department for Education has worked with our partners, the Department of Health and Social Care, Health Education England, Public Health England and key voluntary sector organisations, to launch Wellbeing for Education Return. This project, backed by £8 million, is training local experts to provide additional advice and resources for schools and colleges to help support pupil, student, parent, carer and staff wellbeing, resilience and recovery in light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown. It will give staff the confidence to support pupils, students, and their parents.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to implement increased access to respite care for parents and families of disabled children during the covid-19 outbreak.

Supporting the most vulnerable children and young people is a priority for us, especially at this time. We know that this period is particularly hard for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their families, and those who support them.

Short breaks (or ‘respite care’) are funded opportunities for disabled children and young people to be cared for away from their family homes, which local authorities have a statutory duty to provide.

Local authorities have been allocated a further £4.6 billion to help their communities through the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding is un-ringfenced, recognising that local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major COVID-19 service pressures in their local area. This funding can support local authorities to deliver their respite offers (in line with their existing duties) and to address increased costs.

We have also committed, this year, £37.3 million (including £10 million in response to the COVID-19 outbreak) to the Family Fund, which provides grants to low-income families caring for disabled children or seriously ill children, including for family breaks.

We have gathered more detailed examples of innovative ways of delivering short breaks during the COVID-19 outbreak, including using direct payments and carrying out virtual direct activities. We have communicated best practice to Directors of Children's Services and encouraged local authorities to adopt a flexible approach, to ensure that as many disabled children and young people as possible can continue to access these respite services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to monitor the safe return to school for children with complex needs during the covid-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been extremely challenging for many families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Supporting them continues to be a priority for this government, and their wellbeing has been central to our response throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

We are monitoring the safe return to school for children with complex needs during the COVID-19 outbreak, through monitoring attendance data and engaging with local authorities where there appear to be issues. We are also working closely with Public Health England to ensure we maintain joint up-to-date guidance about support in schools and colleges, for children and young people with complex needs.

Additionally, the department’s SEND advisers and case leads have had regular engagement with all local authorities to support and monitor SEND practice from the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. They are also providing regular briefings for local authorities, to support their understanding of guidance and help them understand how to use it in practice.

We have also paused area SEND inspections and commissioned Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission to deliver a series of interim visits, which began this month, to understand children and young people’s experiences and learn from what has worked well for them in this time. These visits help to support local areas to prioritise and meet the needs of children and young people with SEND in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. They also enable learning for all local areas, government and stakeholders on how best to rebuild a better SEND system in future through a series of national reports.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that children with SEND have an up-to-date Education, Health and Care Plan before returning to school during the covid-19 outbreak.

The temporary changes that were made to two aspects of the law on education, health and care (EHC) needs assessments and plan processes, at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, have now ceased. Any case started, or in progress, since the temporary changes to timescales for EHC plans expired on 25 September, is now subject to the usual statutory timescales, and all therapies and support that would usually be in place for children with EHC plans should now have been restored.

The Chief Nurse of Public Health England has written to all Directors of Nursing advising that professionals supporting children and families, such as health visitors, school nurses, designated safeguarding officers and nurses supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), should not be redeployed to other services. This ensures ongoing support from health bodies towards making sure that all EHC plan assessments and reviews are up to date.

Alongside this, the department has held frequent conversations with local authority SEND and health leaders since March, to explore the challenges they face and to provide support in undertaking their statutory duties for EHC plans. When local authorities have had a need for a Written Statement of Action, identified through their local area inspection, we have continued to work with them throughout the COVID-19 outbreak on improvement through our team of specialist advisors. Each year we also deliver a training programme to local authorities and health and social care staff, on their statutory duties for EHC plans and reviews, and we have continued to do this on a virtual basis.

In addition, we have started a programme of visits by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission working with local areas to understand the experiences of children and young people with SEND and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak, and to support local areas to prioritise and meet their needs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to provide financial assistance for low income families of children sent home from school to self-isolate during the covid-19 outbreak.

As schools and their kitchens are now open, they should provide healthy, nutritious meal options for all children who are in school, and meals should be available free of charge to all infant pupils and pupils who meet the benefits-related free school meals (FSM) eligibility criteria. If children are eligible for benefit-related FSM but are self-isolating, we expect catering providers to be in a strong position to support any eligible pupils through food parcels, be those daily or weekly. We have put guidance in place for schools on how they can support children these circumstances, which is complemented by advice from the schools food trade organisation LACA and Public Health England on what a good food parcel should comprise. Our latest guidance for schools is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

We believe that, through the hard work of teachers and staff, pupils will continue to receive the education they deserve, whatever the circumstances. The department has invested over £195 million to support remote education and access to online social care, delivering over 220,000 laptops and tablets, during the summer term, for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to a digital device. The department is adding to this support by making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available to support disadvantaged children that might face disruption to their education. Since September, over 100,000 of these have been delivered to schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason the process for establishing an Education, Health and Care Plan for SEND children is dependent on a diagnosis.

As set out in the Children and Families Act 2014, local authorities must assess the need for an education, health and care (EHC) plan where a child or young person has or may have special educational needs, and where it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made in accordance with an EHC plan. A medical diagnosis of an illness or disability is not required to secure an EHC needs assessment or final EHC plan.

The special educational needs and disabilities Code of Practice sets out that local authorities may develop criteria as guidelines to help them decide when it is necessary to carry out an EHC needs assessment (and following assessment, to decide whether it is necessary to issue an EHC plan). However, local authorities must be prepared to depart from those criteria where there is a compelling reason to do so, in any particular case, and demonstrate their willingness to do so where individual circumstances warrant such a departure. Local authorities must not apply a blanket policy to particular groups of children or young persons or certain types of need, as this would prevent the consideration of a child’s or young person’s needs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason the process for establishing an Education, Health and Care Plan for SEND children is dependent on the medical model of disability and not the social model of disability.

As set out in the Children and Families Act 2014, local authorities must assess the need for an education, health and care (EHC) plan where a child or young person has or may have special educational needs, and where it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made in accordance with an EHC plan. A medical diagnosis of an illness or disability is not required to secure an EHC needs assessment or final EHC plan.

The special educational needs and disabilities Code of Practice sets out that local authorities may develop criteria as guidelines to help them decide when it is necessary to carry out an EHC needs assessment (and following assessment, to decide whether it is necessary to issue an EHC plan). However, local authorities must be prepared to depart from those criteria where there is a compelling reason to do so, in any particular case, and demonstrate their willingness to do so where individual circumstances warrant such a departure. Local authorities must not apply a blanket policy to particular groups of children or young persons or certain types of need, as this would prevent the consideration of a child’s or young person’s needs.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to reduce the size of classes in (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 2 July, the Department published guidance to help schools prepare for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full time from the beginning of the autumn term. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The guidance, which was developed working closely with Public Health England, sets out a range of protective measures which, when implemented in line with a revised risk assessment, create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. Measures include minimising contacts between groups and maintaining distance where possible, encouraging regular handwashing, and enhanced cleaning.

The overarching principle schools will be applying is to reduce the number of contacts between children and staff. This can be achieved through keeping groups separate and through maintaining the distance between individuals. These are not alternative options and both measures will help, but the balance between them will change depending on children’s ability to distance, the layout of the school, and the feasibility of keeping distinct groups separate whilst offering a broad curriculum (especially at secondary). It is for schools to decide, but it is likely that for younger children the emphasis is on separating groups and for older children it is on distancing.

Class sizes can now return to normal and spaces used by more than one class or group can be cleaned between use. Schools can look to maximise the use of their site and any associated available space, such as rooms in an associated place of worship for schools with a religious character, if feasible.

There cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach where the system of controls describes every scenario. Head teachers are best placed to understand the needs of their schools and communities, and to make informed judgments about how to balance delivering a broad and balanced curriculum with the measures needed to manage risk.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans for (a) GCSE, (b) BTEC and (c) A-level (i) exams and (ii) assessments to take place in 2021.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, asked Ofqual in June to consider a short delay to the GCSE, AS and A level exam timetable for the Summer 2021 series. The Department is continuing to work with Ofqual, the exam boards, regulators in the devolved administrations, and groups representing schools, colleges and higher education to consider the best approach, which gives children and schools additional catch-up time but does not hold up progression. We recognise the importance of providing clarity as soon as possible for students, schools and colleges on the timing of exams in 2021, and an announcement will be made once it is appropriate to do so.

The Department has also been working with Ofqual regarding requirements for assessments and examinations for vocational and technical qualifications, which includes BTEC qualifications. Ofqual has also consulted and engaged with awarding organisations to agree revisions to its Extraordinary Regulatory Framework for vocational and technical qualifications (including BTECs) and its associated guidance on how awarding organisations might adapt assessments in 2020/21, including timetabling considerations.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he requested data on the effect of the algorithm generated 2020 A-level results on the attainment gap between the date his Department received those results results and the publication of those results.

The Department was made aware of provisional data showing the impact of the proposed awarding process on attainment gaps between different groups of students shortly before Ofqual published those data in July 2020. The provisional data showed that there would generally be no widening of the gaps in attainment between different groups of students as a result of the proposed awarding process. The Department was provided with finalised data shortly before A and AS level results day as part of the standard pre-release of results, and this confirmed that this position had not changed.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in reference to a letter of 18 June 2020 from the Secretary of State to the Chief Regulator of Ofqual, what the evidential basis is for the statement that exams are the best fairest form of assessment.

The Department reformed GCSEs and A levels from 2011 to be in line with the highest performing education systems. We consulted widely with schools, colleges, universities and employers, both on the principles for reform and the detail of the content of individual subjects, to help them prepare for their introduction. The move to a linear exams system encourages a deeper understanding of the material and facilitates greater preparation for further study, rather than a focus on preparing for module resits.

The independent qualifications regulator, Ofqual, advised that non-exam assessment (NEA) should only be used when it is the only valid way to assess essential elements of the subject. For example, NEA is still required in modern foreign languages (the speaking assessment) and in art and design.

Research suggests that there is evidence that students’ characteristics can influence teacher judgements. We therefore continue to believe that exams are the best and fairest way of judging students’ performance. Following the difficulties experienced with awarding grades without exams this summer, we are determined that exams should go ahead next year.

The Department will continue to work with school and college stakeholders, Ofqual and the exam boards, to ensure that exams in 2021 are fair and proceed smoothly.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the oral Answer of 7 September 2020 by the Minister for School Standards, Official Report, column 350, what comparative assessment he has made of the effectiveness of (a) continuous assessment, (b) coursework and (c) exams in assessing student's performance.

The Department reformed GCSEs and A levels from 2011 to be in line with the highest performing education systems. We consulted widely with schools, colleges, universities and employers, both on the principles for reform and the detail of the content of individual subjects, to help them prepare for their introduction. The move to a linear exams system encourages a deeper understanding of the material and facilitates greater preparation for further study, rather than a focus on preparing for module resits.

The independent qualifications regulator, Ofqual, advised that non-exam assessment (NEA) should only be used when it is the only valid way to assess essential elements of the subject. For example, NEA is still required in modern foreign languages (the speaking assessment) and in art and design.

Research suggests that there is evidence that students’ characteristics can influence teacher judgements. We therefore continue to believe that exams are the best and fairest way of judging students’ performance. Following the difficulties experienced with awarding grades without exams this summer, we are determined that exams should go ahead next year.

The Department will continue to work with school and college stakeholders, Ofqual and the exam boards, to ensure that exams in 2021 are fair and proceed smoothly.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) nursery, (b) primary and (c) secondary school children have been (i) sent home or (ii) remained at home due to displaying covid-19 symptoms for each day of September 2020.

Keeping close track of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in schools is a priority for the Government. The Department is currently collecting data from schools on a daily basis, as well as gathering information from local areas and following up with individual settings to confirm that procedures for requiring pupils to isolate are well understood and that necessary decisions are made on the basis of public health advice.

The Department collects data on the number of schools that have indicated that they have sent children home due to COVID-19 containment measures and have attendance data for schools that have done so. We are currently looking at the quality of the data with a view to publishing it as part of the official statistics series. The series includes published data on school openings and attendance, which shows that over 99.9% of state-funded schools were open on 10 September and that attendance in state-funded schools was 88%. More information is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

From the autumn term, pupils in all year groups have now returned to school full time. Our latest guidance on full opening sets out the public health advice schools should follow and how we expect schools to operate in the autumn term. The department’s guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Public Health England (PHE) leads in holding data on infection, incidence and COVID-19 cases overall. PHE have published data on COVID-19 incidents by institution, including educational settings, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports (page 16).

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will enable and support local authorities to deliver an equivalent to the National Tutoring Programme.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) is an ambitious scheme that will provide additional, targeted support for those pupils who need the most help to catch up and will seek to stimulate a longer term supply of high quality and low cost tutoring for the future.

The Department’s delivery partners for the NTP, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Teach First, have set out the processes for delivering and accessing tuition support for the academic year. Information is set out on the NTP website: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/faqs. Both the EEF and Teach First have a wealth of knowledge and experience in education and the education training sector. They will work to scale up the provision of tutoring whilst remaining strongly focussed on issues of quality and accessibility.

If local authorities wish to become an approved tuition partner to provide high quality tutoring, they can apply through the open competition overseen by the EEF. Local authority maintained schools, like all schools, will be able to see the approved list of tuition partners available to them, additionally, if they meet the necessary criteria, they will also be able to apply for an academic mentor. The Department will work with our delivery partners and other partners, including local authorities, to ensure that there is as good an offer as possible across all regions.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to help ensure the safety of adults with additional needs (a) travelling to and (b) taking part in activities at adult education centres during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is our priority to make sure that all students return to education this September as this is the best place for their education, development and wellbeing. Colleges are making every effort to ensure students and staff are as safe as possible for face to face teaching and are confident they will achieve this.

The department has published guidance which sets out how further education colleges can reopen safely for all learners, including those that are older or vulnerable. The guidance has been developed in close consultation with sector and medical experts from Public Health England. It sets out in detail the steps colleges should take to protect their staff and learners with a requirement to undertake full health and safety COVID-19 risk assessments and implement the September reopening protective measures. The full guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/what-fe-colleges-and-providers-will-need-to-do-from-the-start-of-the-2020-autumn-term.

In many areas, students make extensive use of the wider public transport system, particularly public buses, to travel to education. Students and staff using public transport should refer to the Department for Transport’s safer travel guidance for passengers which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers.

Further education providers are being advised to work with their local authority to consider the transport needs of students with special educational needs and disabilities and those with an education, health and care plan and to identify when it might be necessary to take steps to manage demand on public transport or to arrange additional transport. Local transport authorities have received additional funding for school and college dedicated transport to support students in their region return to further education providers. More information regarding this funding is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/multi-million-pound-funding-package-for-school-transport.

The 16-19 bursary fund offers financial support for students who need additional support in a range of areas including accessing digital learning, and other forms of support. For adults we are introducing changes to the Adult Education Budget funding rules for the 2020 to 2021 academic year. This is to enable providers to use learner support funds to purchase IT devices for students aged 19 plus and to help them meet students’ IT connectivity costs, where these costs are a barrier to accessing or continuing in their training.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much of the Vulnerable children fund has been allocated to organisations to date; and how much each organisation has received.

In April 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced £750 million funding for frontline charities dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. As part of this funding £360 million was allocated to government departments for distribution to charities providing key services that support vulnerable people. Of that funding, the Department for Education (DfE) was allocated and is currently distributing a total of £26.4 million.

The attached table details the grants that have been awarded from the £26.4 million.

Payments to all the above organisations are processed and final payments are expected through September to November. Over 50% of the Vulnerable Children National Charities Strategic Relief Fund has been distributed and payments to complete distribution of funds are on track.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with Ofqual on the effect of the lockdown due to the covid-19 outbreak on end-of-year assessments.

The Government is committed to ensuring that students taking exams in 2021 receive the qualifications they deserve, and that next year’s exam series proceeds fairly and efficiently and commands public confidence.

Exams and assessments are the best and fairest way of judging students’ performance, and we expect next year’s exam series to go ahead. However, we recognise that students due to sit exams and assessments next year will have experienced disruption to their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As such, we have been working closely with Ofqual, the exam boards and groups representing teachers, schools, and colleges to consider our approach to exams and other assessments next year.

Ofqual has already consulted on a range of possible adaptations to GCSE, AS and A level exams and assessments next year on a subject-by-subject basis, and has announced some changes that will reduce pressure on teaching time, and help ensure those young people taking exams next year have the same opportunities to progress as the students before them.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support he is providing to pupils who are not able to attend school due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Between May and August, the Department delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets to children who would not otherwise have access, as part of over £100 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care.

The Department is now supplementing this support by making available an initial 150,000 additional devices in the event that face to face schooling becomes disrupted as a result of local COVID-19 restrictions. This scheme will enable schools to support disadvantaged children in years 3 to year 11 who cannot otherwise access devices. Schools will also be able to order devices for disadvantaged children across all year groups who are shielding as a result of official or medical advice, all year groups who attend hospital schools and those completing their Key Stage 4 at a further education college.

The Department has also provided over 50,000 4G wireless routers to support disadvantaged children with internet connectivity. These routers come with free data for the autumn term and will allow local authorities and academy trusts to support children who may have their education and care disrupted because of official COVID-19 restrictions or disruption to face to face contact. In partnership with BT, the Department has also launched a service to provide children and young people free access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots.

The Department is also working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families who rely on a mobile internet connection. We are piloting an approach where mobile network operators are providing temporary access to free additional data offering families more flexibility to access the resources that they need the most.

We expect all schools to have remote education contingency plans in place by the end of September. The Department published guidance on Thursday 2 July that sets out what is expected from schools for their remote education provision:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#section-3-curriculum-behaviour-and-pastoral-support

We have published a comprehensive range of advice and guidance to support schools. This includes examples of teaching practice during coronavirus, which provides an opportunity for schools to learn from each other’s approaches to remote education:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-practice-for-schools-during-coronavirus-covid-19

The guidance also includes examples of how schools can support pupils without internet access by, for example, providing physical work packs, which can be accessed here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-practice-for-schools-during-coronavirus-covid-19

The Department has also supported sector-led initiatives like Oak National Academy, which launched on 20 April. By 12 July, 4.7 million unique users had accessed the Oak National Academy website and 16.1 million lessons had been viewed. The Department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20, and then for the 2020-21 academic year to provide video lessons for Reception up to Year 11. This will include specialist content for pupils with SEND.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of pupils taking a different form of end-of-year assessment due to the covid-19 outbreak at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

Exams and assessments are the best and fairest way of judging students’ performance, and the Department expects next year’s exam series to go ahead. The Department is working closely with Ofqual, the exam boards and groups representing teachers, schools and colleges to ensure that this happens as smoothly as possible. Ofqual has already consulted on a range of possible adaptations to GCSE, AS and A level exams and assessments next year, on a subject by subject basis, and has announced some changes that will reduce pressure on teaching time, and help to ensure that the young people taking exams next year have the same opportunities to progress as the students before them.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons his Department is not planning to introduce a combination of end-of-year and continuous assessment at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

Exams and assessments are the best and fairest way of judging students’ performance, and the Department expects next year’s exam series to go ahead. The Department is working closely with Ofqual, the exam boards and groups representing teachers, schools and colleges to ensure that this happens as smoothly as possible. Ofqual has already consulted on a range of possible adaptations to GCSE, AS and A level exams and assessments next year, on a subject by subject basis, and has announced some changes that will reduce pressure on teaching time, and help to ensure that the young people taking exams next year have the same opportunities to progress as the students before them.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had to enable local authorities to lead recovery in the education sector as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Department is working to support local authorities in their education, early years and children’s social care roles. Department for Education ministers and officials continue to engage regularly with representatives of local authorities about their role and the Department’s Regional Education and Care Teams continue to meet with local authorities to understand and tackle barriers to school attendance.

To help the system and local authorities monitor and respond to possible increases in demand for their services, the Department is continuing to deploy Ofsted inspectors and Partners in Practice resources to support local authorities most in need of extra help with children’s social care services.

The Department is providing a package of support totalling £4.3 billion to help meet the immediate COVID-19 related pressures, including in children’s social care and in delivering services for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Department is continuing to convene the early years COVID-19 local authority working group on a regular basis to discuss issues relating to the recovery of the early years sector and the role of local authorities.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that Btec assessments can be adapted in the event of further lockdown restrictions placed on educational settings during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has been working with Ofqual regarding requirements for assessments and examinations for vocational and technical qualifications, which include BTEC qualifications, in the 2020/21 academic year. Ofqual is currently consulting and engaging with awarding organisations to agree revisions to its Extraordinary Regulatory Framework and its associated guidance on how awarding organisations can adapt assessments in 2020/21 to take account of any public health restrictions.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional steps he is taking to ensure that universities have the resources they need to respond to the covid-19 outbreak.

We are working closely with the higher education sector to provide both practical and financial support through the COVID-19 outbreak. On 10 September, we published updated guidance to the higher education sector on reopening buildings and campuses, which is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

This updated guidance provides further advice on, among other topics, reopening university buildings, face coverings and social contacts, student accommodation, local outbreaks including student movement, and on NHS test and trace.

Furthermore, we announced a higher education support package in early May. HM Treasury confirmed higher education providers are eligible to apply for government business support schemes, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced its research stabilisation package on 27 June.

From the autumn, the government will provide a package of grants and no-interest or low-interest loans to cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 2020-21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity.

On 16 July, we also announced further information about the higher education restructuring regime. This may be deployed as a last resort, if a decision has been made to support a provider in England, when other steps to preserve a provider’s viability and mitigate the risks of financial failure have not proved sufficient.

We have also announced that, subject to parliamentary approval, we will completely remove temporary student number controls to help ensure that there are no additional barriers to students being able to progress to higher education.

We have lifted caps on domestic medicine and dentistry courses for 2020-21 and supported providers to offer places to as many students who have met the grades for their current offer as they have capacity for, and where there are clinical placements available, through additional grant funding to support the costs of this provision.

We are providing additional teaching grant funding to increase capacity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and other high-cost subjects which are vital to the country’s social needs and economy. The Office for Students (OfS) will consult the sector on the details of how the allocations are made.

Providers will also be eligible to bid for a share of up to £10 million of funding to support capital expenditure. This funding will be used to support the infrastructure required to accommodate additional students recruited as a result of the changes to policy on A level grades. The fund will be administered by the OfS, and providers will be eligible to bid for projects that support expansion in 2020-21.

We will continue to monitor the situation and consider the effects that deferrals will have on future years. Funding decisions for future years will be taken at the Spending Review.

Lastly, and most importantly, we are supporting providers to protect students’ mental health and wellbeing. This is a priority and I wrote to all higher education providers asking them to ensure they continue to support students. We have clarified that providers can use funding worth £256 million for the academic year 2020-21, starting from August, towards student hardship funds and mental health support. Furthermore, the OfS has provided up to £3 million to fund the Student Space platform to bridge gaps in mental health support for students. Student Space is a collaborative mental health resource to support students at English and Welsh universities through the unique circumstances created by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what role academic mentors will play in will play in closing the covid-19 educational attainment gap.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) will support some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils to catch up on missed education. The Academic Mentors strand, delivered by Teach First, will support schools in the most disadvantaged areas to recruit high quality Academic Mentors and train and place them as members of school staff.

Academic Mentors will work closely with school staff to provide intensive small group and one to one tuition to those disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils that are most at risk of falling behind. Mentors will bring additional capacity to schools to support pupils to catch up, whilst allowing teachers to continue overall classroom teaching. Schools will be able to tailor the support their mentor offers, for example, they might provide revision lessons or additional support to pupils that are shielding.

Academic Mentors can be graduates with some experience in education or working with pupils, qualified teachers, or they may be working towards an initial teacher training qualification or otherwise considering a career in education. Teach First will provide a package of training for successful applicants, before and during their placement. This includes one week of initial training for those who are already qualified as teachers and two weeks for those that hold a degree but are not qualified as teachers. This will include elements such as assessment, planning and safeguarding. In addition, schools as the employers will see Academic Mentors as part of their staff team, supporting and managing them to deliver tuition support that is appropriate, timely, and linked to their curriculum.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) training and (b) experience academic mentors recruited to help close the covid-19 educational gap in schools in disadvantaged areas will be given.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) will support some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils to catch up on missed education. The Academic Mentors strand, delivered by Teach First, will support schools in the most disadvantaged areas to recruit high quality Academic Mentors and train and place them as members of school staff.

Academic Mentors will work closely with school staff to provide intensive small group and one to one tuition to those disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils that are most at risk of falling behind. Mentors will bring additional capacity to schools to support pupils to catch up, whilst allowing teachers to continue overall classroom teaching. Schools will be able to tailor the support their mentor offers, for example, they might provide revision lessons or additional support to pupils that are shielding.

Academic Mentors can be graduates with some experience in education or working with pupils, qualified teachers, or they may be working towards an initial teacher training qualification or otherwise considering a career in education. Teach First will provide a package of training for successful applicants, before and during their placement. This includes one week of initial training for those who are already qualified as teachers and two weeks for those that hold a degree but are not qualified as teachers. This will include elements such as assessment, planning and safeguarding. In addition, schools as the employers will see Academic Mentors as part of their staff team, supporting and managing them to deliver tuition support that is appropriate, timely, and linked to their curriculum.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons each school receives an initial supply of only 10 home testing kits for covid-19; and whether he plans to increase this initial supply.

An initial supply of home test kits have been provided to schools and colleges to distribute in exceptional circumstances when a child or staff member faces significant barriers to accessing a test, and where providing one directly will significantly increase the likelihood that they will get tested.

Guidance for schools and colleges on home test kits has been published: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-home-test-kits-for-schools-and-fe-providers/coronavirus-covid-19-home-test-kits-for-schools-and-fe-providers.

Information has been sent to schools and will be published shortly on how additional test kits can be ordered. The number of kits available to each school will depend on the size of the school.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment the Government has made of the (a) ability and (b) safety of children with SEND returning to school as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Supporting all children and young people and keeping them safe is the highest priority for the government, especially at this time. The decision to ask pupils to return to school has not been taken lightly, and it is based on the latest available evidence. Our NHS Test and Trace system is up and running, and we are clear about the measures that need to be in place to create safer environments within education settings. This enables children to return to their educational setting so that they can receive high-quality teaching and specialist professional care.

Additionally, the risk to children and young people themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is very low and there are negative impacts of being out of school or college. Returning to normal educational routines as quickly as possible will be critical for children and young people’s education and wellbeing, particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities. Most pupils and students will be able to return to their setting. However, some pupils and students who are no longer required to shield but who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional. More advice is available from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health here:
https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-shielding-guidance-children-young-people#children-who-should-be-advised-to-shield.

On 2 July, the government published detailed plans for schools and colleges that set out what is needed to plan for a full return of their pupils and students from the beginning of the autumn term, including for special schools and other specialist settings. This has been developed with medical experts from Public Health England and includes putting in place a ‘system of controls’ to minimise the risk of transmission in their settings.

The guidance for special schools and other specialist settings can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

The guidance for mainstream settings is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils will be home educated in September 2020 compared to September 2019 (a) nationally and (b) in York.

The information requested is not held by the Department.

Local authorities have a duty to check electively home educated children are in receipt of a suitable education. Individual local authorities may hold data on the number of children they know to be electively home educated within the authority area.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish the Government's proposals for (a) a recovery curriculum and (b) the conduct of end of year assessments.

We have published detailed guidance on curriculum expectations for the next academic year:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#section-3-curriculum-behaviour-and-pastoral-support.

Our guidance asks school to provide an ambitious and broad curriculum from the start of the autumn term, while making use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content if required. Up to and including Key Stage 3, prioritisation within subjects is likely to be more effective than removing subjects, which pupils may struggle to pick up later. Schools should aim to return to their normal curriculum in all subjects by summer term 2021. To help support schools to make up for lost teaching time, the Government has announced a catch-up package worth £1 billion, including a ‘Catch-up Premium’ worth a total of £650 million to support all pupils to catch up.

The Department has confirmed its intention for the national curriculum 2021 assessments to take place in accordance with their usual timetable. Our intention is for all existing statutory Key Stage 1 and 2 assessments to return in 2020/21.

Exams and assessments are the best and fairest way of judging students’ performance, and we expect next year’s exam series to go ahead. However, we recognise that students due to sit exams and assessments next year will have experienced disruption to their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As such, we have been working closely with Ofqual, the exam boards and groups representing teachers, schools and colleges to consider our approach to exams and other assessments in 2021.

Ofqual has already consulted on a range of possible adaptations to GCSE, AS and A level exams and assessments next year on a subject-by-subject basis, and has announced some changes that will reduce pressure on teaching time, and help ensure those young people taking exams next year have the same opportunities to progress as the students before them.

We will continue to discuss these issues with school and college stakeholders, Ofqual and the exam boards, to ensure that exams in 2021 are fair and proceed smoothly.

On the timing of exams next year, the Secretary of State asked Ofqual in June to consider a short delay to the GCSE, A and AS level exam timetable in 2021, to free up additional teaching time. We are continuing to work with Ofqual, the exam boards, regulators in the devolved administrations, and groups representing schools, colleges and higher education to consider the best approach, and decisions will be confirmed as soon as possible.


Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that all school pupils have access to face masks.

The Department’s priority is for pupils to safely return to schools and colleges and we have taken the latest medical and scientific advice into account at each stage of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On 21 August 2020, the World Health Organisation published a new statement (https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-children-and-masks-related-to-covid-19) advising that children aged 12 and over should wear face coverings under the same condition as adults, in particular when they cannot guarantee at least a 1 metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area. As a result, the Department has revised its guidance on face coverings in schools and colleges. The guidance for schools can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

It is reasonable to assume that staff and young people will now have access to face coverings due to their increasing use in wider society, and Public Health England has made available resources on how to make a simple face covering.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government is providing additional financial support to higher education providers to support larger numbers of students following the removal of temporary student number controls.

We have announced that, subject to parliamentary approval, we will completely remove temporary student number controls to help ensure there are no additional barriers to students being able to progress to higher education.

We are working closely with the sector to create additional capacity and ensure providers are as flexible as possible. To do this, we are taking steps such as lifting caps on domestic medicine and dentistry courses in the next academic year. We are also supporting providers to offer places to as many students who have met the grades for their current offer as they have capacity for and where there are clinical placements available, through additional grant funding to support the costs of this provision.

We are also providing additional teaching grant funding to increase capacity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and other high-cost subjects which are vital to the country’s social needs and economy. The Office for Students (OfS) will consult the sector on the details of how the allocations are made.

Providers will also be eligible to bid for a share of up to £10 million funding to support capital expenditure. This funding will be used to support the infrastructure required to accommodate additional students recruited as a result of the changes to policy on A level grades.

The fund will be administered by the OfS, and providers will be eligible to bid for projects that support expansion in 2020-21.

We will continue to monitor the situation and to consider the effects that deferrals will have on future years. Funding decisions for future years will be taken at the Spending Review.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to recruit an adequate number of (a) short breaks foster carers and (b) community short breaks carers to care for children with disabilities.

Local authorities have a duty to ensure they have sufficient placements that meet the needs of their looked-after children in their area, this includes foster care placements for short breaks. These placements are for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and children with behavioural difficulties to enjoy a short stay on a planned, regular basis with the same short break-carer as a strategy to relieve strain on a permanent placement or birth family.

Data on the approved households for each placement type can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/childrens-social-care-statistics.

It is vital that local authorities can find the right carers to meet the needs of vulnerable children. The department commissioned behavioural insights research which commenced in November 2019, to explore the barriers and motivations of prospective carers and seek recommendations for more targeted approaches in local recruitment. We will share these findings with fostering services and recruitment managers.

The department also recently funded 7 feasibility studies in commissioning and sufficiency planning, bringing together local authorities with their partners to explore innovative practices, including collaborative approaches to foster care recruitment. We are also exploring whether digital approaches could help us in supporting local authorities to improve matching of children to carers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the adequacy of the number of short breaks foster carers (a) nationally and (b) in York.

Local authorities have a duty to ensure they have sufficient placements that meet the needs of their looked-after children in their area, this includes foster care placements for short breaks. These placements are for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and children with behavioural difficulties to enjoy a short stay on a planned, regular basis with the same short break-carer as a strategy to relieve strain on a permanent placement or birth family.

Data on the approved households for each placement type can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/childrens-social-care-statistics.

It is vital that local authorities can find the right carers to meet the needs of vulnerable children. The department commissioned behavioural insights research which commenced in November 2019, to explore the barriers and motivations of prospective carers and seek recommendations for more targeted approaches in local recruitment. We will share these findings with fostering services and recruitment managers.

The department also recently funded 7 feasibility studies in commissioning and sufficiency planning, bringing together local authorities with their partners to explore innovative practices, including collaborative approaches to foster care recruitment. We are also exploring whether digital approaches could help us in supporting local authorities to improve matching of children to carers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Government plans to issue guidance on whether grandparents can provide childcare for their grandchildren as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Anyone providing informal childcare, including grandparents looking after their grandchildren, will need to adhere to the social distancing guidance published by the Cabinet Office.

The ‘staying alert and safe (social distancing)’ guidance states that members of up to two households can meet indoors, provided that social distancing measures are adhered to.

Where there is only one adult in a household, they can make a ‘support bubble’ with another household of any size. Where a support bubble has been formed, social distancing measures from people within that bubble are not required.

The social distancing guidance can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing-after-4-july#meeting-family-and-friends.

Guidance on support bubbles can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household-from-4-july#making-a-support-bubble-with-another-household.

Information about looking after grandchildren can also be viewed at section 2.6 of the following guidance:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether teachers will be given access to weekly covid-19 diagnostic testing from September 2020.

Testing for COVID-19 is most effective for those who are experiencing symptoms. The test is less likely to pick up a positive case in someone who is not displaying symptoms, meaning that there is a risk of providing false reassurance. Routine asymptomatic testing is in place in environments where the risk of transmission is higher, such as hospitals and adult care homes. There are no plans to extend this to schools. As essential workers, teachers and all staff working in education or childcare have priority access to a test if they display symptoms of COVID-19.

In order to determine the role that antibody tests could play in the response to the outbreak, we need a greater understanding of how the immune system responds to the virus. For example, it is not currently known how long an antibody response to the virus lasts, nor whether having antibodies means a person cannot be re-infected or transmit the virus to others. The Government will make decisions about any expansion of antibody testing based on the science as it becomes clear.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether teachers will be given access to covid-19 antibody tests from September 2020.

Testing for COVID-19 is most effective for those who are experiencing symptoms. The test is less likely to pick up a positive case in someone who is not displaying symptoms, meaning that there is a risk of providing false reassurance. Routine asymptomatic testing is in place in environments where the risk of transmission is higher, such as hospitals and adult care homes. There are no plans to extend this to schools. As essential workers, teachers and all staff working in education or childcare have priority access to a test if they display symptoms of COVID-19.

In order to determine the role that antibody tests could play in the response to the outbreak, we need a greater understanding of how the immune system responds to the virus. For example, it is not currently known how long an antibody response to the virus lasts, nor whether having antibodies means a person cannot be re-infected or transmit the virus to others. The Government will make decisions about any expansion of antibody testing based on the science as it becomes clear.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether additional holiday club places will be made available to working parents in summer 2020.

On 23 June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, confirmed that from 4 July, all providers running holiday clubs and activities for children will be able to reopen over the summer holidays. The department has published two pieces of guidance about community activities, holiday and after-school clubs, as well as other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5.

The department has published guidance for the sector on the protective measures they should follow to ensure they operate as safely as possible, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The department has also published guidance for parents on how to minimise the spread of the virus if they choose to send their children to activities over the summer, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

In addition, the department is funding the Holiday Activities and Food programme. This is integral to our approach to provide healthy food and activities to children over the summer. On 22 June, we announced 17 local authority areas that will benefit from the programme this summer, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities, and will build on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to provide additional (a) pre and (b) after school services to support working parents when schools reopen in the autumn term.

As of 4 July, all organisations offering wraparound care or other out-of-school activities to children (including holiday clubs) have been able to open for both indoor and outdoor provision, provided they are able to follow the Government’s protective measures guidance.


Those offering out-of-school activities to children (including holding clubs) should follow the following protective measures guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

Schools should consider resuming any breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from the start of the autumn term. Schools should carefully consider how they can make such provision work alongside their wider protective measures, including keeping children within their year groups or bubbles where possible.

We will provide further guidance closer to the time on the protective measures people should put in place to ensure they can continue to operate safely when all pupils return to schools in the autumn.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has provided to schools on whether it is permissible for schools to allow pupils to return on a part-time basis in the event that schools are not able to implement satisfactory safety measures during the covid-19 outbreak for all pupils to return in the autumn term.

We are asking schools to prepare for all pupils to return full-time from the start of the autumn term. Schools should not put in place rotas. We have published guidance to support schools to plan for the autumn term. There cannot be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and school leaders will be best placed to understand the needs of their schools and communities, and to make informed judgments about how to balance delivering a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils with the measures needed to manage risk.

We do not consider it necessary for schools to make significant adaptations to their site to enable them to welcome all children back to school. We also do not think schools will need to deliver any of their education on other sites (such as community centres or village halls) because class sizes can return to normal and spaces used by more than one class or group can be cleaned between use. Following a risk assessment, some schools may determine that small adaptations to their site are required, such as additional wash basins. This will be at the discretion of individual schools, based on their particular circumstances.

Full guidance for schools is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will fully fund summer holiday club places for children on free school meals.

On 22 June, we announced 17 local authority areas that will benefit from our Holiday Activities and Food programme this summer, providing thousands of disadvantaged children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities. Grant funding was allocated based on a competitive bidding process.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term-time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government understands that children and parents face an unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a COVID Summer Food Fund. This will support families with children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period.

We have also recently announced a £1 billion COVID ‘catch-up’ package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time. £650 million will be shared across state primary, secondary and special schools over the 2020-2021 academic year. Schools are best placed to decide how this money is spent, but that can include, where appropriate, funding places at summer schools.

We recognise that all young people have lost time in education because of the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of their income or background. Following the announcement from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, confirming that holiday clubs will now be allowed to reopen during the summer holidays, we have published 2 pieces of guidance about community activities, holiday and after-school clubs, and other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much additional funding he plans to allocate to provide additional teaching staff to schools from September 2020.

The Government intends all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. On 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for this. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

As stated in our guidance, schools should use their existing resources when making arrangements to welcome all children back for the autumn. There are no plans at present to reimburse additional costs incurred as part of that process.

Schools have been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to COVID-19, between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half term holidays. Schools have also continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20.


Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much additional funding he plans to allocate to ensure that schools are able to make sufficient adaptations to ensure compliance with Government guidance on covid-19 in relation to the re-opening of schools in September 2020.

The Government intends all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. On 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for this. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

As stated in our guidance, schools should use their existing resources when making arrangements to welcome all children back for the autumn. There are no plans at present to reimburse additional costs incurred as part of that process.

Schools have been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to COVID-19, between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half term holidays. Schools have also continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20.


Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding he plans to allocate to support children who have suffered trauma during the covid-19 outbreak.

The return to school is a vital factor in supporting the mental wellbeing of pupils. We have encouraged schools to focus on pastoral support as more pupils return to school this term. Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are now able to return to primary school, and Year 10 and Year 12 pupils are able to receive face-to-face support at secondary school. Primary schools with capacity can bring back additional groups, in line with existing protective measures. We have also given schools the flexibility to have face-to-face ‘check-ups’ with all pupils during the summer term.

The department has now published detailed plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education from September. The guidance highlights the particular need to focus on pastoral support and mental wellbeing as a central part of what schools provide, in order to re-engage them and rebuild social interaction with their friends and teachers. This will involve curriculum provision as well as extra-curricular and pastoral support, and our recently published relationships, sex and health education training module will support teachers with preparation to deliver content on mental health and wellbeing. The guidance for schools is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-and-colleges-to-reopen-in-full-in-september.

To support the return to school, the government has announced a £650 million ‘catch up’ premium, as part of our wider £1 billion Covid catch-up package, to be shared across state-funded schools over the 2020-21 academic year. School leaders will have the discretion on how to use this funding to best support their pupils to catch up for lost time, which in some cases will include support to parents, carers and children to help them re-engage with learning.

Access to mental health support is more important than every during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open, and leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. During Mental Health Awareness Week, the government also announced that a further £4.2 million will be awarded to mental health charities, including the Samaritans, Young Minds and Bipolar UK. All NHS mental health trusts have been asked to ensure that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, which is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

In addition, the Government has provided funding to voluntary and community sector organisations to support them to offer free confidential support to children and young people. This can be accessed anytime either by texting SHOUT to 85258, or by calling Childline on 0800 1111 or The Mix on 0808 808 4994. Children and young people can also find online information on COVID-19 and mental health on the Young Minds website, which is available at:
https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/reports/coronavirus-impact-on-young-people-with-mental-health-needs/.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jul 2020