Sarah Olney Portrait

Sarah Olney

Liberal Democrat - Richmond Park

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

(since January 2020)

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport)

(since September 2020)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020


Select Committee Meeting
Monday 6th December 2021
15:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: DWP Employment Support 2: Kickstart scheme
6 Dec 2021, 3:30 p.m.
At 4.00pm: Oral evidence
Peter Schofield - Permanent Secretary at Department for Work & Pensions
Jonathan Mills - Director General, Policy Group at Department for Work & Pensions
Karen Gosden - Area Director Work and Health Services and SRO for Kickstart at Department for Work & Pensions
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Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 8th December 2021
13:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Financial Sustainability of Schools in England
8 Dec 2021, 1:30 p.m.
At 2.00pm: Oral evidence
Susan Acland-Hood - Permanent Secretary at Department for Education
Indra Morris - Director General Children Social Care at Department for Education
Warwick Sharp - Director at Education and Skills Funding Agency
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Department Event
Wednesday 8th December 2021
14:30
Department for Transport
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
8 Dec 2021, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 16th December 2021
09:30
Department for Transport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
16 Dec 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Transport (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.
Division Votes
Wednesday 1st December 2021
Finance (No. 2) Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 11 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 301 Noes - 206
Speeches
Wednesday 24th November 2021
Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill

The Liberal Democrats welcome the Bill and we hope it will be passed swiftly in order to protect struggling businesses. …

Written Answers
Monday 29th November 2021
Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Diagnosis
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help reduce diagnosis …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 19th October 2021
DVLA waiting times
That this House is dismayed by the growing backlog of licence applications at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; recognises …
Bills
Monday 21st June 2021
Commercial Rent (Prohibition of Upward-Only Reviews) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to prohibit the use of upward-only rent review clauses in commercial rent agreements; to nullify existing such clauses; …
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: Alexander Lourie
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: …
EDM signed
Wednesday 1st December 2021
New Zealand Free Trade Agreement
That this House notes the recent free trade agreement with New Zealand; expresses strong concern that imports from New Zealand …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 3rd March 2020
School Toilets (Access During Lessons) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish guidance for state-funded schools on allowing pupil access to toilets …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Sarah Olney has voted in 306 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Sarah Olney 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
Paul Scully (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(17 debate interactions)
Rachel Maclean (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
(10 debate interactions)
Eleanor Laing (Conservative)
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Transport
(32 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(26 debate contributions)
Department for International Trade
(22 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Sarah Olney's debates

Richmond Park Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

Enact legislation to protect retail workers. This legislation must create a specific offence of abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker. The offence must carry a penalty that acts as a deterrent and makes clear that abuse of retail workers is unacceptable.

The Government should class in-person interaction with family members and unmarried partners abroad as an essential reason to travel.

The government should allow BTEC students to achieve teacher predicted grades rather than being forced into a system that is unethically downgrading thousands of students grades.

Please don’t send students back until we know we have had the priority groups vaccinated such as the elderly, the extremely clinically vulnerable, and those with underlying health conditions.

Cancel all standardise testing for year 11 and year 12 students in 2021. By replacing tests with smaller amounts of course work and teacher assessment, students would have a fair chance at achieving their target grades and it would relieve stress for teachers and students.

Schools can be a breeding ground for the spread of coronavirus. Children are mingling at schools and returning to families who are potentially vulnerable, keeping rates high.

It's only been since schools opened that infection rates have been high in Kent, and keeping them open may keep it high.

To not decide to scrap free travel for those who are under 18. As a teenager who has relied so much on free travel, it has allowed for me to go to school without the worry of an extra expense and explore around the beautiful city of London also. Destroying free travel would hurt so many of us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Sarah Olney

30th November 2021
Sarah Olney signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 1st December 2021

New Zealand Free Trade Agreement

Tabled by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)
That this House notes the recent free trade agreement with New Zealand; expresses strong concern that imports from New Zealand will undercut the environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards of British beef, lamb and dairy farmers; acknowledges the Department for International Trade’s assessment that the estimated impact on GDP …
9 signatures
(Most recent: 1 Dec 2021)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 8
Independent: 1
25th October 2021
Sarah Olney signed this EDM on Monday 22nd November 2021

Over 100 days of Dr AlSingace’s hunger strike in Bahrain

Tabled by: Paula Barker (Labour - Liverpool, Wavertree)
That this House is deeply concerned by the ongoing hunger strike of 59-year-old human rights defender and academic Dr Abduljalil AlSingace, in Bahrain; raises alarm that his hunger strike began on 8 July 2021 and has exceeded 100 days; expresses concern that Dr AlSingace has been hospitalised since 18 July …
32 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Nov 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 9
Scottish National Party: 8
Liberal Democrat: 7
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Sarah Olney's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

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

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


1 Urgent Question tabled by Sarah Olney

Sarah Olney has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Sarah Olney


A Bill to prohibit the use of upward-only rent review clauses in commercial rent agreements; to nullify existing such clauses; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Monday 21st June 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 18th March 2022

A Bill to prohibit anti-abortion protests within 150 metres of abortion clinics; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 11th March 2020

646 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
4 Other Department Questions
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of setting up a national just transition commission to facilitate Levelling Up in the transition to net zero by coordinating regional bodies with devolved powers for identifying local needs.

The upcoming Levelling Up White Paper will build on the actions Government is already taking to both deliver net zero and level up across the country. This will include those set out in the Net Zero strategy and set out new interventions to improve livelihoods and drive economic growth in all parts of the UK.

The Net Zero Strategy sets out our commitments to enable local areas to deliver net zero - this includes the intention to continue the Local Net Zero Programme to ensure that all local areas have the capability and capacity for net zero delivery.

Almost £22 million has been invested through the programme to date. The Strategy also states that we will establish a Local Net Zero Forum to bring together representatives from national and local government on a regular basis to discuss policy and delivery options on net zero.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals to allow leaseholders to buy out their freehold.

Under the current system, too many leaseholders find the process for extending their lease or buying their freehold prohibitively expensive, too complex and lacking transparency. The Government is addressing this historic imbalance to ensure fairness for leaseholders, whilst taking account of the legitimate rights of freeholders. We will continue to ensure we meet this objective as we bring forward reforms.

The Government will abolish marriage value, cap the treatment of ground rents at 0.1% of the freehold value, and prescribe rates for the calculations at market value. The Government will also introduce an online calculator, further simplifying the process for leaseholders and ensuring standardisation and fairness for all those looking to enfranchise.

Existing discounts for improvements made by the leaseholder and for security of tenure will be retained, as will a separate valuation methodology for low-value properties known as ‘section 9(1)’. Leaseholders will also be able to voluntarily agree to a restriction on future development of their property to avoid paying ‘development value’.

We will translate these measures into law as soon as possible, starting with legislation to set ground rents on newly created leases to zero in the current session. This will be the first part of seminal two-part reforming legislation in this Parliament.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of tailored support for the wraparound childcare sector during the covid-19 outbreak to improve measures to tackle gender inequality.

Wraparound childcare is a Department for Education policy, therefore the Minister for Women and Equalities would not be best-placed to lead discussions on this issue with the Chancellor. The Equality Hub provides evidence and expertise to support cross-government work on economic and social recovery, working closely with the COVID-19 Taskforce and the relevant delivery departments. This includes working with the Department for Education to highlight the pressures faced by those balancing work with childcare, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as we know that the majority of these pressures fall on women.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Jan 2021
To ask the President of COP26, whether he has had discussions with the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on moving the Intersessional Conference taking place prior to the COP26 Summit online.

The UK continues to work closely with the UNFCCC Secretariat, UNFCCC Subsidiary Body Chairs, and COP25 Presidency Chile to ensure we maximise progress ahead of COP26. Decisions regarding the Bonn intersessional will be made by the UNFCCC COP Bureau, where all countries are represented.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
21st May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to resolve customs delays at the UK-EU border.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ 175882 on 28 April 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the length of time in which overseas electors can vote beyond 15 years.

In line with the commitment in the 2019 Conservative manifesto, the Government will scrap the rule that prevents British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from participating in UK parliamentary elections. Many British citizens overseas retain deep ties to the United Kingdom and it is right that we respect this.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will put in place a mandatory two-week notice period for changing guidelines for marriages and civil partnerships ceremonies.

May I apologise for the delay in answering the question. On 5 November, the Department for Health and Social Care acted swiftly in accordance with growing evidence of virus prevalence to put in place new national COVID-19 restrictions in England. Under these new restrictions, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are not permitted to take place, except in exceptional circumstances where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover. We recognise that the restrictions may be disappointing for those who are planning such events. However, by their nature, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are events that bring families and friends together from across the country and sometimes across the world, making them high risk events for transmission of the virus.


For further information on COVID-19 restrictions, please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november. Information for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is available on related websites.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that Article 8 of the Withdrawal Agreement is implemented in full.

The UK government is committed to implementing the Withdrawal Agreement, including Article 8.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of lowering thresholds to file shareholder resolutions at annual general meetings for the purposes of encouraging stronger stewardship and wider stakeholder engagement as businesses transition to net zero.

The right to file resolutions is an important means through which shareholders can exercise effective stewardship, including on environmental matters. The law needs to provide a balance between giving shareholders such opportunities whilst at the same time ensuring that companies are not burdened with handling resolutions from shareholders who do not represent any significant body of opinion amongst the investor base.

The Department keeps this (and other aspects of company law) under review and is currently considering recommendations made by the Asset Management Taskforce’s Stewardship and Stakeholder Working Groups and the Pension Scheme Voting Implementation Taskforce for Government to consider lowering the thresholds for filing shareholder resolutions.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason there is different (a) maternity and (b) adoption financial support for the self-employed; and what steps he plans to take to help ensure that the self-employed are supported during the process of adoption.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) forms part of a package of employment rights and protections available specifically to the employed. These rights do not extend to the self-employed because of the difference in the nature of the employment. If you are self-employed and expecting, you can apply for Maternity Allowance which is designed for the flexible nature of self-employment and will support you to take a break from your business prior to, and after, giving birth.

The Government recognises that it is crucial to the success of an adoption placement that an adopter takes time off work to care for and bond with their child. So far, the Government has focused on supporting employed parents as they do not generally have the same level of flexibility and autonomy over how and when they work as self-employed parents do. Statutory adoption guidance says that Local Authorities should consider making a payment - equivalent to Maternity Allowance - in cases where adopters do not qualify for any statutory payment because of their self-employment.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing (a) judges and (b) public officials to remove or hide their home address from Companies House in the event that they have a company registered at that address.

As set out in the 2020 Government response to the corporate transparency and register reform consultation, the Department will proceed with the proposal to allow applications to suppress a historic registered office address when it is a director’s residential address. The Department will also proceed with proposals to allow applications to suppress a residential address when it is the registered office address of a live company, if a valid, alternative address is provided, or when in use at the point at which a company was dissolved. These proposals require primary legislation and we will legislate when Parliamentary time allows.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to (a) reduce barriers to investment and (b) encourage pension funds to invest in the green economy.

The UK financial services industry, with their access to global capital pools and outstanding professional services, are poised to enable private capital to flow into our net zero investment needs. As set out in the Net Zero Strategy, we are colloquial instead, ensuring more disclosure and transparency in the financial markets on climate risks through new Sustainability Disclosure Requirements.

At the same time, targeted public intervention via the British Business Bank (BBB), UK Export Finance and the UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) coupled with strong policy frameworks, will bring down the cost of capital and will bring investment from the private sector.

The Government has been a global champion in promoting safer, better, greener pensions. On 1 October 2021, Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures regulations and statutory guidance came into force, requiring trustees to consider, assess and report on the financial risks and opportunities of climate change within their portfolios.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses have defaulted on a loan provided through the (a) Bounce Back Loan and (b) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme (i) in total and (ii) by size of business.

Estimates of potential guarantee claims by lenders under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) were provided in the Department’s 2019/20 Annual Report and Accounts.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to match steps the EU is taking on support for green hydrogen.

This August, the UK published the first ever UK Hydrogen Strategy, alongside key policy detail on how we will support new low carbon hydrogen production and ensure standards are in place to deliver the carbon emissions savings we need to meet net zero. This is the most substantive hydrogen strategy and policy package of its kind in the world and one that places the UK firmly at the forefront of the race to develop hydrogen as a promising replacement for fossil fuels in the global transition to net zero.

By setting out our approach not only for the financial mechanisms that will support new hydrogen production facilities, but also making firm commitments across networks, markets, standards and sector development, this package includes steps that have not been taken elsewhere in the EU or any of its member states.

The UK Hydrogen Strategy sets out the government’s ‘twin-track’ approach to supporting both electrolytic ‘green’ and carbon capture (CCUS)-enabled ‘blue’ hydrogen production. The UK has expertise and assets to support these and other low carbon production routes, helping us drive cost effective supply volumes in the 2020s in line with our 2030 5GW ambition, whilst scaling up electrolytic hydrogen.

We are currently consulting on new policy interventions to support low carbon hydrogen, including the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, a hydrogen business model to incentivise the production and use of low carbon hydrogen, and a UK standard to ensure the hydrogen production we support is sufficiently low carbon.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to (a) facilitate and (b) encourage the roll-out of solar panels.

Solar is a key part of the government’s strategy for low-cost decarbonisation of the energy sector. Achieving our ambitious 2050 Net Zero target will require significant increases in renewable electricity generation, and we will need to increase deployment across a range of technologies, including solar PV.

Since 2010, we have quadrupled the electricity we generate from renewables – installing 99% of the UK’s solar capacity and over 800,000 installations – exceeding out historic projections on solar PV deployment. We now have over 13.3GW of solar capacity installed in the UK, which is enough to power over 3 million homes.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will take steps to support businesses ineligible for the expanded retail discount scheme for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses.

On 25 March, the Government announced an additional £1.5 billion relief for ratepayers who have not been able to access existing relief throughout the pandemic. The new £1.5 billion relief will enable councils to provide a meaningful and certain level of support to those most affected.

Further funding has been made available via the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) to support those businesses that have had their trade adversely affected. Local Authorities in England have been allocated £2bn in this additional discretionary funding, to provide support that best suits their area. It should be used as quickly as possible when and where most needed. The FAQs issued to Local Authorities on 6 May reiterate that ARG funding can be used as a top-up for businesses that are in receipt of grants under other schemes.

Additionally, the Government have extended the moratorium on commercial landlords’ right to forfeiture for the non-payment of rent to the 25 March 2022 and we will introduce legislation to help landlords and tenants resolve historic Covid-19 rent debt through binding arbitration if necessary.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase the development of renewable energy to support a green economic recovery following the covid-19 outbreak.

Through my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and our Energy White Paper we have set out concrete steps to build back greener from the pandemic and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The Ten Point Plan announced our ambitious target to quadruple the capacity of our offshore wind to deliver 40GW, including 1GW of floating offshore wind by 2030. To help deliver this, we announced in March that two new ports on the Humber and on Teesside will build the next generation of offshore wind projects –part of an up to £95 million investment to boost the UK’s world-leading industry and create 6,000 new jobs in the North. Alongside this, UK Government also launched the Offshore Wind Investment Programme on 22 February to support the delivery of manufacturing investment in the offshore wind supply chain across the whole of the UK.

We have also announced that our next Contracts for Difference scheme to support the deployment of renewable energy will be held in December this year and will be our biggest auction to date – including a pot for established renewable technologies to ensure technologies such as onshore wind and solar can play their full role in meeting net zero.

Meanwhile, we are investing £320m to accelerate the growth of the UK heat networks market through the Heat Networks Investment Project and are preparing to launch the Green Heat Network Fund in April 2022. A new Clean Heat grant scheme will also support the deployment of heat pumps and, in limited circumstances, biomass boilers. Further information will be set out in the Government response to the consultation later this year and the scheme is due to open in April 2022. The Green Gas Support Scheme is due to launch in autumn this year and aims to increase the proportion of green gas in the grid. The Green Gas Support Scheme will be funded by the Green Gas Levy and will provide tariff-support for new biomethane produced via anaerobic digestion and injected into the gas grid.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to adjust the parameters of the upcoming Contracts for Difference fourth allocation round to support a green economic recovery following the covid-19 outbreak.

We will publish specific auction parameters well in advance of the next allocation round. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution set out our very firm commitment to industry, including our plans to strengthen supply chain commitments to boost UK growth. We are also aiming to deliver up to double the amount of renewables we procure through the next Contracts for Difference allocation round, and this will be crucial for stimulating investment in the sector.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of the UK's departure from the EU on staffing levels in the hospitality industry.

We are in regular dialogue with the hospitality sector to understand how business operating models have been affected by leaving the EU.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he makes of the merits of providing a direct grant of up to £30,000 to each small brewer in England to compensate for the costs of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the impact the pandemic has had on hospitality businesses including breweries. That is why we have provided an unprecedented support package of £352 billion including grants, loans, business rates relief, VAT cuts and the job retention scheme.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department plans to extend the scope of Additional Restrictions Grants.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) continues to enable Local Authorities to put in place discretionary business support. Local Authorities are free to provide support that suits their local area including to support those businesses not required to close but which have had their trade severely affected by the restrictions and those businesses that fall outside the business rates system. Local Authorities can use their local expertise to target businesses to support in their local area.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an additional £425m will be made available via The Additional Restrictions Grant, meaning that more than £2bn has been made available to Local Authorities since November 2020.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of installing solar panels on (a) government, (b) commercial and (c) industrial buildings.

The generation of renewable electricity from rooftop solar on commercial, industrial and public sector buildings reduces carbon emissions, helps save money on energy bills, protects against electricity price fluctuations and puts unused roof space to good use. Consuming most of the electricity generated on site can also reduce the amount of electricity lost in networks. Projects can be installed relatively quickly, creating new local jobs and contributing to green recovery.

There is currently around 13.5GW of solar PV in the UK of which up to around 3GW is installed on non-domestic roofs[1]. We will need to see sustained increases in deployment of all types of solar, alongside other renewables, to meet our ambitious net zero targets.

Those installing rooftop solar (and other small scale low carbon technologies) can receive payment for any surplus electricity that is exported to the grid through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme launched in October 2020 provides grants to install low carbon energy efficiency and heating solutions, including rooftop solar panels, in government and public sector buildings.

[1] Source: BEIS solar PV deployment statistics (April 2021 ) at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/solar-photovoltaics-deployment

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his department is taking to increase the number of signatories to the 2020 Stewardship Code.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) received 162 stewardship reports from asset managers and service providers by the first deadline of 31 March this year and will receive reports from asset owners at the end of April. This is in line with the target of 200 applications for 2021 as a whole. The FRC is currently assessing the quality of these reports and will announce the outcome of this process in late summer 2021. The FRC carried out an early review of reporting in autumn 2020 and was encouraged by how many investors had already started to engage with the spirit of the Code and were using it to review their practices and reporting.

In November 2020, HM Treasury’s Asset Management Taskforce report recommended initiatives to increase the uptake of the Code among pension funds, service providers that support investors, and asset managers. The FRC is supporting these initiatives, including chairing the Stewardship Regulators Group.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the (a) number received and (b) quality of annual reports submitted by asset managers to the 2020 Stewardship Code.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) received 162 stewardship reports from asset managers and service providers by the first deadline of 31 March this year and will receive reports from asset owners at the end of April. This is in line with the target of 200 applications for 2021 as a whole. The FRC is currently assessing the quality of these reports and will announce the outcome of this process in late summer 2021. The FRC carried out an early review of reporting in autumn 2020 and was encouraged by how many investors had already started to engage with the spirit of the Code and were using it to review their practices and reporting.

In November 2020, HM Treasury’s Asset Management Taskforce report recommended initiatives to increase the uptake of the Code among pension funds, service providers that support investors, and asset managers. The FRC is supporting these initiatives, including chairing the Stewardship Regulators Group.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to negotiate the automatic mutual recognition of professional qualifications with the EU for (a) architects and (b) other professions.

The recognition of professional qualifications is important for individuals wishing to practise their chosen profession outside the jurisdiction in which they qualified. It is for this reason that UK negotiators worked hard to secure a best-in-class Free Trade Agreement with the EU, which includes a framework for regulators and professional bodies to agree the recognition of professional qualifications for specific professions. It is important that regulators are able to maintain professional standards. In negotiating recognition arrangements such as mutual recognition agreements, it is for UK regulators and professional bodies to decide what arrangements – including, potentially, on automatic recognition - they want to agree with their EU counterparts.

The Government is supporting the Architects Regulation Board (ARB) as they explore recognition arrangements under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement with their European counterparts through the forum of the Architects’ Council of Europe. The ARB also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland in December 2020.

The Government has also established a dedicated team to support regulators and professional bodies to enter recognition arrangements with their international counterparts. The team is working with regulators and professional bodies across the UK’s professions and sectors to progress this work.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of reducing the VAT charge on solar panels.

Taxation is a matter for HM Treasury. However, BEIS Ministers are in regular contact with Treasury Ministers to discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including options for facilitating deployment of the low- cost renewable technologies needed to help meet our 2050 net zero target.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress OneWeb has made towards being operational by 2022.

OneWeb currently has 110 satellites in orbit, with an additional 36 satellites due to be launched on 25th March. The launch pipeline is planned to complete UK coverage this year, so that commercial service introduction can be commenced in the UK by the end of 2021. Global coverage is planned for 2022.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will extend the bounce back interest free period on loans by an additional six months during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government launched the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) to ensure that the smallest businesses could access loans of up to £50,000 to help businesses through this difficult period. Under BBLS no repayments are due from the borrower for the first 12 months of the loan, giving businesses the breathing space they need during this difficult time. In addition, the Government covers the first 12 months of interest payments charged to the business by the lender.

We have always been clear that businesses are responsible for repaying any finance they take out. However, we recognise that some borrowers will benefit from flexibility for their repayments. That is why we announced the Pay As You Grow measures.

Pay As You Grow was designed to provide Bounce Back Loan borrowers more time and flexibility over their repayments by giving them the option to:

  • Extend the length of the loan from six years to ten.
  • Make interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan.
  • Once six payments have been made, have the option of a six-month repayment holiday.

On 8th February, the Government announced that these options would be made more generous – removing the requirement to make six payments before accessing the six-month repayment holiday.

Businesses will be able to use these options either individually or in combination with each other. In addition, they have the option to fully repay their loan early and will face no early repayment charges for doing so.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether it remains his Department's policy to deliver the £2 billion pledged to the Green Homes Grant as set out in Sustainable Warmth: protecting vulnerable households in England, published on 11 February 2021.

The £2 billion pledged to the Green Homes Grant (GHG) is comprised of £500m of funding for the Local Authority Delivery element and £1.5 billion of funding originally allocated to the Voucher Scheme for use in the 2020/21 financial year. £320 million of funding was announced for the Voucher Scheme for 2021/22 in the November 2020 Spending Review.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support supply companies within the hospitality sector through mechanisms such as invoice factoring to ensure that suppliers' cashflows are protected when the hospitality sector reopens after the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted and forward payment contracts resume again.

Since the start of the pandemic the government has worked closely with the hospitality sector to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and has responded with a substantial package of business support. We also hold discussions with businesses in the supply chain.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) renewable energy, (b) insulation and (c) glazing installers participating in the Green Homes Grant scheme are paid on time.

The scheme administrator is working to ensure vouchers are paid as quickly as possible. Payment to installers is a four-step process. It requires the customer to confirm the work has been completed, the installer to lodge the work and the scheme administrator to undertake scheme checks before they can proceed to payment. Once it has reached the payment stage, the administrator aims to make payments within five-working days. However, if an inspection is deemed necessary then the process will take longer, especially given the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to issue written guidance to (a) nannies and (b) their employers on working safely during the covid-19 outbreak and lockdown.

As working in other peoples’ homes is an essential part of a nanny’s work, they need to ensure they follow the Safer Working guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people's homes.

When nannies need to enter their clients’ homes, they should take appropriate Covid-19 secure precautions such as socially distancing wherever possible, washing their hands often, using a separate towel to dry their hands or making sure there is appropriate ventilation. If the nanny or anyone in the household has Covid-19 symptoms, they must not go to work and they must self-isolate.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the number of new jobs created by the Green Homes Grant scheme to date since its commencement.

The scheme has the capacity to support 80,000 jobs. The extension announced on 18 November 2020 has allowed an extra year to take advantage of the Green Homes Grant, helping tradespeople and households plan their workload and create new jobs in their communities.

We have worked to ensure that jobs are created across the country and there are now, on average, 76 Green Homes Grant installers per local authority area in England. Official scheme statistics will be published in due course.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department is providing for the further development of small anaerobic digestion plants.

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), which came into force on 1 January 2020, gives small scale low-carbon electricity generators, including from small anaerobic digestion (AD) stations, the right to be paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid.

AD for heat is currently supported through the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (NDRHI), which provides tariff support for biogas and biomethane plants. The RHI is due to close to new applicants on the 31st March 2021. In November 2020 BEIS published a Government Response detailing changes to the NDRHI to aid non-tariff guarantee eligible projects that were under development prior to the 17th August that may struggle to meet the 31st March 2021 application deadline due to COVID-19 related delays. Eligible projects, including on-site biogas, will be afforded an additional 12 months after scheme closure in which to submit a properly made full application.

The Green Gas Support Scheme, due to launch in Autumn 2021, will provide tariff based support for AD plants producing biomethane for injection into the gas grid. The scheme is due to run for four years.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of redirecting renewable energy subsidies away from biomass to wind and solar power.

Sustainable, low carbon bioenergy has helped us move to a low-carbon energy mix, increase our energy security, and keep costs down for consumers. Bioenergy remains an important part of a diverse energy mix, needed to achieve our Net Zero ambitions. We have introduced mandatory sustainability criteria for biomass for heat and power generation. This is to ensure biomass reduces carbon emissions and is sourced sustainably. Generators only receive subsidies for the electricity output which complies with our sustainability criteria.

In November 2020, we announced that we would make the changes required to exclude coal-to-biomass conversions from future Contract for Difference (CfD) allocation rounds. However, we have no plans to remove support for biomass generating stations that are already supported under the Renewables Obligation (RO) and the CfD. Such generators undertook their investments in establishing their stations under these schemes and have a statutory right to their existing support, as set out in the schemes’ implementing legislation. All support for coal-to-biomass conversions ends in 2027.

In March 2020 we announced that onshore wind and solar projects will be able to bid in the Contracts for Difference allocation round 4. The round will open in late 2021 and aim to deliver up to double the renewable capacity of last year’s successful round, potentially providing enough clean energy for up to 10 million homes.

On 17 November, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out his ambitious ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution – an innovative and ambitious programme of job creation and investment. This includes deploying enough offshore wind to generate more power than every home uses today, quadrupling our generation capacity to 40GW by 2030.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of which EU state-aid rules prevent large retailers from claiming more support from the Government’s £4.6bn emergency covid-19 grant scheme.

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 has put forward an unprecedented package of business support throughout the pandemic. In situations where businesses are not able to access grants, they may be able to access other support including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the loan schemes that have been made available.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason his Department's policy is to comply with EU state-aid rules regarding the eligibility of large retailers for the Government’s £4.6bn emergency covid-19 grant scheme.

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 has put forward an unprecedented package of business support throughout the pandemic. In situations where businesses are not able to access grants, they may be able to access other support including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the loan schemes that have been made available.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to give local authorities the power to implement noise limits on fireworks.

Existing legislation controls the sale, availability and use of fireworks, as well as setting a curfew and noise limit. Under the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015 there are strict labelling requirements. Fireworks are categorised and labelled according to their explosive content and category. The fireworks categories must be marked on the label and give an indication of the noise level and hazard level.

The Fireworks Regulations 2004 limits noise from fireworks available to consumers to a maximum of 120 decibels. These noise limits are GB wide and Local authority Trading Standards officers are responsible for their enforcement.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to require mandatory labelling of firework packaging with information about the noise level of the firework.

Existing legislation controls the sale, availability and use of fireworks, as well as setting a curfew and noise limit. Under the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015 there are strict labelling requirements. Fireworks are categorised and labelled according to their explosive content and category. The fireworks categories must be marked on the label and give an indication of the noise level and hazard level.

The Fireworks Regulations 2004 limits noise from fireworks available to consumers to a maximum of 120 decibels. These noise limits are GB wide and Local authority Trading Standards officers are responsible for their enforcement.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the deadline for the Local Authority Delivery Scheme on the development of sustainable jobs and skills.

BEIS estimates the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme will support on average 8,000 jobs per annum over the years 2020/21 and 2021/22.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to use the results of the Local Authority Delivery scheme to assess the effectiveness of local authorities in the future.

BEIS has embedded evaluation into the delivery plans of the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme so that Government can learn about its effectiveness, implement learning into the future of energy efficiency schemes and consider what ongoing role Local Authorities should have in the delivery of such schemes.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of aligning the deadlines for Local Authority Delivery scheme phases 1a, 1b and 2 to the Voucher Scheme deadline of March 2022.

The Local Authority Delivery and Vouchers schemes have been designed to work alongside each other whilst reflecting the differences in delivery methods.

BEIS has allocated Local Authority Delivery funding to 55 projects totalling £74.3m of expenditure for delivery by March 2021, which can play an important role in sustaining and creating jobs in all regions of England.

BEIS anticipates funding in excess of £124m of LAD scheme projects with a delivery date of September 2021, and a further £300m is allocated to the regional Local Energy Hubs for delivery by December 2021.

These staggered dates intend to balance the aim of the scheme to support economic recovery whilst being pragmatic over delivery timescales.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the deadline for delivery of the Local Authority Delivery Scheme 2.

The Green Homes Grant, Local Authority Delivery Scheme is part of a package of measures aimed at providing an urgent stimulus to the economy. BEIS intends to allocate £300m to the regional Local Energy Hubs for delivery by December 2021. This aims to balance the aim of the scheme to support economic recovery whilst being pragmatic over delivery timescales.

These economic stimulus schemes are part of a longer term, sustained investment in the growth of skills and jobs to build the supply chains necessary to achieve net zero. We have recently published the Energy White Paper and we plan to publish a Heat and Building Strategy outlining our approach alongside an updated Fuel Poverty Strategy for England, that builds upon the commitments in the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, to extend the Energy Company Obligation and implement the Home Upgrade Grant.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has developed a plan for the future of the UK infrastructure market over the next 30 years to allow regulators to work with a consistent and stable set of priorities.

The Government has set out its strategic objectives and priorities for infrastructure investment in the National Infrastructure Strategy, and the 2018 National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline. The latter includes projects in both the public and private sectors, and there will be an estimated c£600bn of investment over the next decade. The pipeline will be updated in Spring 2021.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of updating the economic regulatory duties that sit with each individual sectoral regulator to (a) reflect the need to deliver net zero emissions by 2050 and (b) support regulators to make transparent trade-offs where necessary.

The Government has established new coordination arrangements since setting the net zero target. This includes two cabinet committees, chaired by my Rt. Hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to turbo-charge the net zero transition and co-ordinate action. The four main departments with lead responsibility for decarbonising sectors of the economy have also set up boards to oversee delivery of their policies aimed at reducing emissions.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) undertook a study on economic regulation, which the Government responded to alongside the National Infrastructure Strategy. The Government agreed with the NIC that regulator duties should be coherent, covering price, quality, resilience and the environment, and has committed to consider new and existing duties in the round as part of a policy paper in 2021.

The Government supports the work already undertaken by the regulators to deliver net zero, and will continue to review the most appropriate measures, including legislated climate duties, alongside existing duties to ensure regulators make the necessary contributions to achieve legislated net zero targets.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his policy on the EU Withdrawal Agreement is that it obliges the establishment of a central patent court seat in London under the Unified Patent Court Agreement.

The Government will not be participating in the Unified Patent Court (UPC), nor establishing a seat in London, due to the UPC’s links with the EU Court of Justice. Consequently, on 20 July 2020, the UK withdrew its ratification of the UPC Agreement. Withdrawing ratification clarifies the UK’s status in the Agreement and will help facilitate its orderly entry into force for other States, if they so choose. The locations of the central division of the UPC is a matter for the remaining participating states to decide.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to measure the effect of Green Homes Grant scheme funding on the energy performance certificate rating of each home that receives that funding.

Developed to help stimulate economic recovery and support and create tens of thousands of jobs; the scheme provides funding for homeowners to install energy efficiency and low carbon heat measures which give greatest thermal benefits and carbon reductions, but which consumers are typically less likely to install on their own.

In order to ensure installations will be of the highest quality, the scheme requires that all businesses and tradespeople that install measures must be TrustMark registered, as well as MCS certified for heat and PAS certified for energy efficiency. That means they will have been thoroughly vetted for technical competence, customer service and trading practices, and will be operating in accordance with the TrustMark customer charter, and MCS and PAS industry standards.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to paragraph 7.26 of the Spending Review 2020, how much of the over £1 billion to make further progress towards delivering the government’s commitment to invest in the energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation of schools, hospitals and homes will be allocated to the Green Homes Grant scheme.

In the Spending Review 2020, the Government has committed to invest over £1 billion next year into making new and existing homes and public buildings more efficient, including through the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme and the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. Paragraph 4.7 of the Spending Review sets out the Government’s intention to extend the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme with £320 million of funding in 2021-22.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Exchequer Secretary to the Environmental Audit Committee of 2 December 2020, on what calculations she based her assessment that it would cost only £3,000 on average to raise each existing English home to an Energy Performance Certificate Band C rating.

The Government is currently consulting on proposals to raise the energy performance standard to EPC Band C for the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in England and Wales. This is proposed as a phased trajectory for achieving the improvements, applying to new tenancies only from 2025 and all tenancies from 2028. The consultation proposes a cost cap of £10,000, requiring landlords to spend up to this amount to improve their properties.

Under this cap, the average cost per household for all properties treated under these regulations is £4,700. This includes properties that do not meet the required standard, and is specific to the PRS. Spend towards this cap, to comply with these regulations, can only be counted from 2023. The Green Homes Grant provides vouchers to homeowners in England to cover two thirds of eligible energy efficiency improvements, up to a total government contribution of £5,000. Landlords are eligible to apply for funding through the Green Homes Grant, however this would not count towards the £10,000 cost cap as the scheme ends before 2023.

The £3,000 figure relates to the contribution the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme can make towards a property that requires, on average, the same level of energy efficiency work as those under the PRS analysis above.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 26 November 2020 to Question 119331 on Green Homes Grant Scheme, what the reasons are for the difference in the number of (a) energy efficient jobs that will be created by implementing Point 7 of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan up to 2030 and (b) energy efficiency jobs supported by the Green Homes Grant Scheme in 2020-21.

Further to the response on 26 November to Question 119331, the 50,000 jobs supported by 2030 relate to the package of measures from ‘Point 7: Green Buildings’ outlined in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan. The 2030 figure is based on the expected additional work required by 2030 in order to align with our plans for buildings to improve their energy efficiency and align with our Carbon Budgets.

The 80,000 jobs supported by the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme relates to the £1.5 billion funding allocated for 2020/21. It is a time-limited scheme to help boost employment and support economic recovery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason the Answer of 10 November 2020 to Question 908549 on the Green Homes Grant Scheme states that the expected number of jobs supported through the Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme was over 80,000 and Point 7 of the Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, published in November 2020, states that developing greener buildings could deliver support for around 50,000 jobs by 2030.

Further to the response on 10 November to Question 908549, the 80,000 jobs supported by the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme relates to the £1.5 billion funding allocated for 2020/21.

The 50,000 jobs supported by 2030 are as a result of the package of measures for ‘Point 7: Green Buildings’ outlined in my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan. This figure relates to energy efficiency work done by 2030.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the time required to fully train each apprentice installer of domestic heat pumps.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is working closely with industry, the Department for Education the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, to ensure that there are clear routes for new entrants to join the heat pump installation market, through higher education including apprenticeships.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education estimates that the typical duration of an apprenticeship to become a Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician is 48 months.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answers of 7 September 2020 to Question 82123 and of 10 November 2020 to Question 908549, for what reason the estimate of the number of jobs that that funding could support was 140,000 in September and 80,000 in November.

The answer provided on 7 September 2020 to Question 82123 was for the expected number of jobs created by over £3 billion of investment in the green recovery, as announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8 July. This included the £2 billion Green Homes Grant Scheme, £1 billion to improve the efficiency of public sector buildings, alongside a £50 million fund to pilot the right approach to decarbonise social housing.

The answer provided on the 10 November 2020 to Question 908459 was for the expected number of jobs created through the £1.5 billion Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what process his Department is following in order to independently assess the wider social and economic implications of UKRI’s proposed Open Access policy.

As outlined in the recently published R&D Roadmap, Open Access is central to the Government’s ambitions for research and innovation, with openness being key to world class research, and to maximise the benefit of public research funding to other researchers, businesses and wider audiences.

As part of the UKRI Open Access review, UKRI is working with BEIS to consider implications for stakeholders. UKRI and BEIS co designed analysis on the social and economic costs and benefits of Open Access, which UKRI commissioned from an independent consultancy. This will assess the possible implications for various groups such as Learned Societies, Research Organisations, Disciplines and Publishers, as well as perspectives of users of Open Access publications including businesses. This independent evidence on costs and benefits, and the responses to the consultation on the proposed policy run by UKRI from Feb-May 2020, now provide the basis for considering the wider social and economic implications.

The UKRI open access review will report in Spring 2021. Together with its final policy, UKRI will publish key pieces of analysis and this will include the assessment of possible implications for stakeholders, and the analysis of consultation responses.

UKRI supported Plan S and joined the coalition because working internationally is important to help achieve open access, and Plan S broadly aligns with UKRI Open Access principles. UKRI is considering the Plan S principles and guidance, including with regards to rights retention, alongside other evidence and inputs within the broader aspects of the Review. The outcomes of the review will determine the decision on the final UKRI Open Access policy.

BEIS continues to work closely with UKRI to ensure that the policy supports economic Open Access models where the fair, transparent and reasonable costs of Open Access publishing are met.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to implement cOAlition S’s Rights Retention Strategy in relation to UKRI's new Open Access policy.

As outlined in the recently published R&D Roadmap, Open Access is central to the Government’s ambitions for research and innovation, with openness being key to world class research, and to maximise the benefit of public research funding to other researchers, businesses and wider audiences.

As part of the UKRI Open Access review, UKRI is working with BEIS to consider implications for stakeholders. UKRI and BEIS co designed analysis on the social and economic costs and benefits of Open Access, which UKRI commissioned from an independent consultancy. This will assess the possible implications for various groups such as Learned Societies, Research Organisations, Disciplines and Publishers, as well as perspectives of users of Open Access publications including businesses. This independent evidence on costs and benefits, and the responses to the consultation on the proposed policy run by UKRI from Feb-May 2020, now provide the basis for considering the wider social and economic implications.

The UKRI open access review will report in Spring 2021. Together with its final policy, UKRI will publish key pieces of analysis and this will include the assessment of possible implications for stakeholders, and the analysis of consultation responses.

UKRI supported Plan S and joined the coalition because working internationally is important to help achieve open access, and Plan S broadly aligns with UKRI Open Access principles. UKRI is considering the Plan S principles and guidance, including with regards to rights retention, alongside other evidence and inputs within the broader aspects of the Review. The outcomes of the review will determine the decision on the final UKRI Open Access policy.

BEIS continues to work closely with UKRI to ensure that the policy supports economic Open Access models where the fair, transparent and reasonable costs of Open Access publishing are met.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to publish its assessment of the wider social and economic implications of UKRI’s proposed Open Access policy.

As outlined in the recently published R&D Roadmap, Open Access is central to the Government’s ambitions for research and innovation, with openness being key to world class research, and to maximise the benefit of public research funding to other researchers, businesses and wider audiences.

As part of the UKRI Open Access review, UKRI is working with BEIS to consider implications for stakeholders. UKRI and BEIS co designed analysis on the social and economic costs and benefits of Open Access, which UKRI commissioned from an independent consultancy. This will assess the possible implications for various groups such as Learned Societies, Research Organisations, Disciplines and Publishers, as well as perspectives of users of Open Access publications including businesses. This independent evidence on costs and benefits, and the responses to the consultation on the proposed policy run by UKRI from Feb-May 2020, now provide the basis for considering the wider social and economic implications.

The UKRI open access review will report in Spring 2021. Together with its final policy, UKRI will publish key pieces of analysis and this will include the assessment of possible implications for stakeholders, and the analysis of consultation responses.

UKRI supported Plan S and joined the coalition because working internationally is important to help achieve open access, and Plan S broadly aligns with UKRI Open Access principles. UKRI is considering the Plan S principles and guidance, including with regards to rights retention, alongside other evidence and inputs within the broader aspects of the Review. The outcomes of the review will determine the decision on the final UKRI Open Access policy.

BEIS continues to work closely with UKRI to ensure that the policy supports economic Open Access models where the fair, transparent and reasonable costs of Open Access publishing are met.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the time required to train an installer of (a) insulation for solid walls and (b) domestic heat pumps.

We understand that an increased number of skilled tradespeople will be required to retrofit homes with energy efficiency and low carbon measures as a result of the Green Homes Grant scheme. Presently, an existing builder could take on skilled people and become certified to install solid wall insulation within 14 days, provided they meet the requirements.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has for land currently held by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority; and if he will make a statement.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has established a Strategic Land Management Board, comprising members from across the NDA group and wider Government, to consider how to divest or lease NDA land where it becomes surplus to requirements. The Board ensures a consistent and optimal approach is taken when considering options for the reuse of NDA sites, in line with wider commercial and operational objectives for the organisation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussion he has had with the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets on establishing a Right to Local Supply to ensure the costs of supplying energy are proportionate to the size of the supplier.

A key aim for Ofgem is to ensure that customers retain choice and flexibility in the market and get good value and service from their supplier.

Ofgem can award supply licences that are restricted to a geographical area and has just consulted on how to use this facility more effectively to bring forward innovation. Ofgem’s Licence Lite regime also aims to reduce the cost and complexity of entering and operating in the market for suppliers.

Ofgem’s Innovation Link helps innovators navigate the sector’s arrangements and their Energy Regulation Sandbox enables trails and rollout of new products, services, business models and methodologies without some of the usual rules applying.

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 assessment he has made of the potential merits of the consumption of electricity from local, renewable community generation schemes in Greater London.

The Government recognises the valuable contribution that community energy can make in helping to meet our target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have funded the Greater South East Energy Hub to work with Community Energy England to raise the profile of community energy and promote it more widely.

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) gives small scale low-carbon electricity generators, including community energy projects, the right to be paid for the renewable electricity they export to the grid. There are currently more than 10 SEG tariffs on offer from electricity suppliers, which small scale generators can choose from.

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, if his Department will expand the Energy Company Obligation to support fuel poor households who are under greater financial pressure as a result of covid-19.

The Government has introduced a number of financial support mechanisms to support households who may be under greater financial pressure due to Covid-19. Specifically, on energy efficiency, around half of the £2 billion Green Homes Grant will be targeted at low income and vulnerable households.

In addition, the Energy Company Obligation is providing support worth around £640 million per year to help fuel poor and low income households stay warm while reducing their energy bills.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of community energy to meeting the fourth and fifth greenhouse gas emissions budgets under the Climate Change Act 2008.

The Government is building on its Clean Growth Strategy and has already made significant progress towards meeting the UK’s net zero target. We have met our first and second carbon budgets that were established under the Climate Change Act 2008, and we are on track for the third.

As a Government, we have supported community energy through the £10m Rural Community Energy Fund, and through extensions for community groups under the Feed in Tariffs to ensure that communities can develop renewable energy projects. We are also working closely with Community Energy England on the Community Energy Hub and in creating a regional network of support for communities getting involved directly in reducing their carbon footprint. This includes developing a new tool for parish councils, as well as the SCATTER tool for local authorities.

Our forthcoming sector strategies on energy, heat and buildings and the environment, and our wider plans to deliver a green economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, will contain further proposals to support us in meeting carbon budgets 4 and 5. Two cabinet committees, chaired by my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister and my Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, have also been established to turbo-charge the net zero transition and co-ordinate action across Government.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of district heating systems for reducing the number of fuel poor households as part of his Department’s Fuel Poverty Strategy.

District heating systems, or heat networks, have the potential to reduce consumer bills and therefore may contribute to reducing fuel poverty. We will consider the role and potential impact of heat networks as part of our planned update to the Fuel Poverty Strategy for England.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the statement that the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) has value but is not sufficient in the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee's report, Energy efficiency: building towards net zero, Twenty-First Report of Session 2017–19, HC 1730, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of widening the scope of the ECO.

The costs of the Energy Company Obligation are ultimately borne by domestic energy customers. Government needs to balance the costs to bill payers alongside the low income and vulnerable households whose homes are upgraded. ECO will work alongside other regulatory policy and direct funding to decarbonise buildings in the transition to net zero.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on reform of Employee Share Ownership schemes.

There have been no recent discussions on reform of the Employee Share Ownership scheme between my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer and my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of (a) the Government's criteria for COP26 sponsors that companies should have set ambitious net zero commitments by 2050 or earlier, with a credible short-term action plan to achieve this and (b) COP26 organisers holding discussions with (i) Equinor, (ii) Shell and (iii) BP on sponsorship of COP26.

The Government has set strict sponsorship criteria for COP26 and will partner with companies who have set ambitious net zero commitments by 2050 or earlier, with a credible short-term action plan to achieve this. The Government will continue to talk to a wide range of companies as part of wider COP26 policy engagement to move the global economy to net zero emissions.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what funding is available for low-income households to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

The Energy Company Obligation, worth £640m per year, is focused on low income and vulnerable households across Great Britain. Our recently launched Green Homes Grant in England will further support customers in making their homes more energy efficient, including up to £10,000 for low income households.

In addition to the available funding to support low-income households with improving the energy efficiency of their homes, we also provide support with energy bills for low income and vulnerable consumers through the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.

We intend to publish an updated Fuel Poverty Strategy for England in due course which will provide further information on the range of schemes available to support low income and vulnerable households in improving the energy efficiency of their homes.

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, if he will make it his policy to raise the minimum level of energy efficiency standard for private rented accommodation from band E to band D.

The Department has just launched a consultation on improving the energy performance of privately rented homes in England and Wales. Under the Government’s recommended option, landlords would be required to reach EPC Band C for new tenancies from 1 April 2025 and all tenancies by 1 April 2028. The preferred policy option will deliver 7.9 MtCO2e in carbon emission savings over Carbon Budgets 4 and 5. Landlords are encouraged to take advantage of the Green Homes Grant to fund necessary improvements.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential economic effect of UK Research and Innovation’s proposed Open Access policy.

Open Access is central to the Government’s ambitions for research and innovation, with openness being key to world class research. Public funding should result in public benefit, and therefore the Government and UKRI support the principle that published outputs of publicly funded research should be widely and freely accessible to all, under conditions that allow for maximum reuse, as recently reiterated in the R&D roadmap.

Understanding the overall economic impact of the Review’s proposed policy is important and UKRI has commissioned independent analysis to assess the possible implications for various groups such as Learned Societies, Research Organisations, Disciplines and Publishers. BEIS will consider the wider social and economic implications, using this independent evidence on costs and benefits, and the responses to the consultation on the proposed policy run by UKRI from Feb-May 2020.

UKRI’s mission is to work in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities and Government to create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish and to create social and economic impact. The Open Access Review will continue under these principles, with UKRI continuing to conduct further evidence gathering, analysis and stakeholder engagement and the issues raised by the Honourable Member are all being considered by UKRI as part of the ongoing process.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of UK Research and Innovation’s open access policy on research-intensive universities.

Open Access is central to the Government’s ambitions for research and innovation, with openness being key to world class research. Public funding should result in public benefit, and therefore the Government and UKRI support the principle that published outputs of publicly funded research should be widely and freely accessible to all, under conditions that allow for maximum reuse, as recently reiterated in the R&D roadmap.

Understanding the overall economic impact of the Review’s proposed policy is important and UKRI has commissioned independent analysis to assess the possible implications for various groups such as Learned Societies, Research Organisations, Disciplines and Publishers. BEIS will consider the wider social and economic implications, using this independent evidence on costs and benefits, and the responses to the consultation on the proposed policy run by UKRI from Feb-May 2020.

UKRI’s mission is to work in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities and Government to create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish and to create social and economic impact. The Open Access Review will continue under these principles, with UKRI continuing to conduct further evidence gathering, analysis and stakeholder engagement and the issues raised by the Honourable Member are all being considered by UKRI as part of the ongoing process.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of UK Research and Innovation’s Open Access policy on international collaboration between UK-based and overseas researchers.

Open Access is central to the Government’s ambitions for research and innovation, with openness being key to world class research. Public funding should result in public benefit, and therefore the Government and UKRI support the principle that published outputs of publicly funded research should be widely and freely accessible to all, under conditions that allow for maximum reuse, as recently reiterated in the R&D roadmap.

Understanding the overall economic impact of the Review’s proposed policy is important and UKRI has commissioned independent analysis to assess the possible implications for various groups such as Learned Societies, Research Organisations, Disciplines and Publishers. BEIS will consider the wider social and economic implications, using this independent evidence on costs and benefits, and the responses to the consultation on the proposed policy run by UKRI from Feb-May 2020.

UKRI’s mission is to work in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities and Government to create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish and to create social and economic impact. The Open Access Review will continue under these principles, with UKRI continuing to conduct further evidence gathering, analysis and stakeholder engagement and the issues raised by the Honourable Member are all being considered by UKRI as part of the ongoing process.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the 30 person limit for weddings includes staff at the wedding venue.

As set out in COVID-19: Guidance for wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations, 30 people is the maximum number for all attendees at the event, including the couple and guests. It also includes any third-party suppliers, such as photographers or security. It does not include staff employed by the venue or third-party catering staff.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance his Department provides for the workplace for (a) employees on the ADHD spectrum and (b) their employers.

The Government appreciates that people with mental health conditions – including those on the ADHD spectrum – may face challenges in the workplace and encourages employers to take appropriate steps to support them.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) produces guidance on supporting mental health in the workplace aimed at both employers and workers: https://www.acas.org.uk/supporting-mental-health-workplace.

Acas has also produced a framework for positive mental health at work and offers training on understanding mental health issues in the workplace: https://archive.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1900.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the skills gap in the workforce required to retrofit the UK’s housing stock with insulation; and if he will take steps to close that gap.

A good supply of skilled workers is essential in order to meet our aspiration for as many UK homes as possible to be EPC Band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable. In 2018, the domestic and non-domestic energy efficiency sectors employed 153,600 people, but many more will be required. The Government has sponsored the development of Trustmark and PAS 2035 to ensure high standards among energy efficiency installers. The Government is further funding six local supply chain demonstration pilots to support development and training of the supply chain for home energy retrofit. We will continue to work with installers and training providers in order to grow the sector.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will take steps to provide additional support for disabled people during the covid-19 outbreak by enabling disabled people to work flexibly.

The Government is fully committed to supporting disabled people affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, including making sure they can continue to work. The Government continues to support disabled employees to access assistive technology and other forms of support they need to remain in work. For example, Access to Work is continuing to provide support for people with a disability or health condition whether they are working in the workplace or are working from home.

Employers also have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers including making reasonable adjustments to support disabled workers to be able to work.

Currently the Government advice is that people should be working from home where it is possible to do so. Existing employment law gives employees the right to request flexible working, which includes remote working.

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Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Queen's Speech of December 2019, what progress has his Department made on investing £9.2 billion to improve the energy efficiency of homes and public buildings.

Tackling climate change and reaching our legally-binding emission reduction targets continue to be a top priority for the Government.

We remain committed to our aspiration for as many homes as possible to reach Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2035 where practical, cost-effective, and affordable. Improving the energy efficiency of existing homes will play a critical role in delivering our greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, including Net Zero by 2050 as well as lifting households out of fuel poverty.

We continue to enable greenhouse gas emission reductions in public buildings through the Public Sector Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme, and the fund for England will stand at £385 million by the end of 2020/21.

BEIS remains committed to energy efficiency and decarbonising buildings, in line with the Manifesto commitment to invest £9.2 billion in low carbon buildings. The funding decisions are a matter for my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has encourage the uptake of energy efficiency retrofitting by households to increase private sector investment in that sector.

In the Clean Growth Strategy, we set our aspiration for as many homes as possible to be Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable.

The Government is planning to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy in due course, which will set out the immediate actions we will take for reducing emissions from buildings.

These actions include the deployment of energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating as part of an ambitious programme of work required to enable key strategic decisions on how we achieve the mass transition to low-carbon heat and set us on a path to decarbonising all homes and buildings.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what steps he is taking to ensure that employees will not be forced to accept (a) zero-hour contracts and (b) other reduced employment conditions, without being given the option of redundancy, when the furlough ends.

An employment contract is a matter between an individual and their employer.

Any changes to an employment contract – including an individual’s working hours – should be made by agreement in a way that is consistent with employment law. This Government is clear that employers must take their employment responsibilities seriously and cannot simply opt out of them.

An employer can decide to make a worker redundant when their furlough ends under certain conditions, if they deem this to be the best course of action to take for their business.

The legal position in relation to redundancy remains the same. Any redundancy process should be fair and reasonable, with appropriate equalities considerations.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to provide local licensing authorities with regulatory powers over public firework displays; and if she will make a statement.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is developing a fact-based evidence base on the key issues that have been raised around fireworks. This includes looking at data on noise and disturbance, anti-social behaviour, non-compliance, environmental impact, and the impact on humans and animals. This will build a full picture of the data around fireworks in order to identify whether further action is appropriate.

21st Jan 2020
What recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of business rates on high street businesses.

This Government will conduct a fundamental review of business rates.

My Retail Sector Council industry co-chair and I have already met the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to discuss the Council’s review of the costs retailers face, including business rates.

I will continue to engage with Treasury colleagues as we deliver this important manifesto commitment.

15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if her Department will make provisions to support small and medium-sized enterprises in the travel sector beyond 30 September 2021 when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.

The Government has provided over £35 billion in support to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors over the course of the pandemic and is committed to supporting the safe return of tourism to the UK, as set out in the Government's Tourism Recovery Plan published in June.

Businesses across the economy, including the travel industry, can draw on over £350 billion worth of loans, rates relief, VAT deferrals and the furlough scheme, the latter of which ended on 30 September. The Government continues to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

The Government is regularly engaging with travel industry bodies - such as UKInbound, the European Tour Operators Association and the Association of British Travel Agents - to monitor the pandemic’s impact and to support the sector’s recovery.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support small and medium-sized enterprises within the travel sector.

The Government has provided over £35 billion in support to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors over the course of the pandemic and is committed to supporting the safe return of tourism to the UK, as set out in the Government's Tourism Recovery Plan published in June.

Businesses across the economy, including the travel industry, can draw on over £350 billion worth of loans, rates relief, VAT deferrals and the furlough scheme, the latter of which ended on 30 September. The Government continues to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

The Government is regularly engaging with travel industry bodies - such as UKInbound, the European Tour Operators Association and the Association of British Travel Agents - to monitor the pandemic’s impact and to support the sector’s recovery.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of providing further financial support to the travel sector.

The Government has provided over £35 billion in support to the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors over the course of the pandemic and is committed to supporting the safe return of tourism to the UK, as set out in the Government's Tourism Recovery Plan published in June.

Businesses across the economy, including the travel industry, can draw on over £350 billion worth of loans, rates relief, VAT deferrals and the furlough scheme, the latter of which ended on 30 September. The Government continues to take a flexible approach and keep all impacts and policies under review.

The Government is regularly engaging with travel industry bodies - such as UKInbound, the European Tour Operators Association and the Association of British Travel Agents - to monitor the pandemic’s impact and to support the sector’s recovery.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing mandatory police permits for street charity collectors who ask for direct debits.

Effective and responsible fundraising underpins the success of the charity sector, and is essential for charities’ independence. Face to face (direct debit) fundraising is self-regulated by the Fundraising Regulator and there are no national official figures on volumes. The Fundraising Regulator stands up for best practice in fundraising, in order to protect donors and support the vital work of fundraisers.

Direct Debit fundraising does not require licences or permits, however the fundraiser must meet Chartered Institute of Fundraising site management agreements that are in place with the local authority for regular face-to-face fundraising on the street. These Site Management Agreements (SMA) set controls on where and when fundraising can take place.

If members of the public are concerned that a group or individuals are acting fraudulently they should report this matter to their local police force. They can also complain to the Fundraising Regulator.

Government continues to encourage and support collaborative work between the charity sector, licensing and enforcement agencies in an effort to curb unlicensed or bogus collections.

5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to expand the Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme to include urban areas with poor broadband connectivity.

The Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme closed on 31st March 2021. The programme sought to test ways in which the government could intervene to provide gigabit broadband coverage in rural areas which were unlikely to be covered through commercial roll-out. The experience of the RGC programme has helped shape Project Gigabit, which is aimed at all premises which are not likely to be covered commercially.

The government is working closely with telecoms providers through detailed market reviews to ensure that only premises which are not likely to get commercial gigabit coverage are in scope for Project Gigabit. This will include premises in urban areas if there are no commercial coverage plans in place.

Today, over two in five premises can access gigabit-capable networks, up from just one in ten in November 2019. By the end of the year, 60% will have access, and by 2025 the government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage, working with industry to reach as close to 100% as possible.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to support professional writers.

A thriving UK publishing industry is crucial to support the development of professional writers. We know that the Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to the publishing industry. The Government’s response has been one of the most generous and comprehensive in the world, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Bounceback Loan Scheme and business rates reliefs. The publishing sector has also benefited from the government's introduction of a zero rate of VAT to e-publications, which will make it clear e-publications are entitled to the same VAT treatment as their physical counterparts.

In terms of direct support for authors, Arts Council England’s (ACE) ‘time-to-write’ grants are a vital source of funding that allow authors to dedicate time to the completion of manuscripts. Authors also receive support via ACE's Developing Your Creative Practice Fund, which was designed with the expectation that writers would be among the beneficiaries.

In addition, over the course of the pandemic, ACE contributed £400,000 to the Society of Authors’ ‘Authors Emergency Fund’, in order to ensure that authors whose income had been decimated by the pandemic were able to remain active in their discipline.

The Government also maintains a strong legal framework to protect the rights and interests of writers, including through copyright and the Public Lending Right.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the date by which OneWeb will be able to provide rural broadband for the whole of the UK.

The government is investing £5 billion to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to the hardest to reach 20% of premises in the UK. Our approach is technologically neutral but, at present, satellite broadband does not meet the technical specification for funding under the £5 billion programme.

OneWeb was acquired by a consortium led by the UK Government and the Bharti Group in October 2020: both investing $500 million for 42%, creating a $1 billion equity investment. This is not part of the government’s £5 billion investment to deliver gigabit-capable broadband. OneWeb’s LEO satellite constellation will deliver high-speed, low latency internet both in the UK and internationally. This is an opportunity for the UK to promote its interests globally - with access to a global fleet of satellites that have the potential to connect people across the globe, providing broadband from the Shetlands to the Sahara and from Pole to Pole. OneWeb has launched a total fleet of 110 satellites in orbit and is currently scheduled to commence commercial services by the end of 2021, with global coverage planned for 2022.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department plans to use satellite technology to complete the UK high capacity broadband network.

The government is investing £5 billion to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to the hardest to reach 20% of premises in the UK. Our approach is technologically neutral but, at present, satellite broadband does not meet the technical specification for funding under the £5 billion programme.

Satellites are already providing commercial broadband services in the UK, and these services include the provision of backhaul.

The government recognises that the UK has some very remote places that may be too expensive to build a gigabit-capable broadband networks to, even with substantial public subsidy. Less than 0.3% of the country or less than 100,000 premises are likely to fall into this category. On 19 March, the government launched a call for evidence to explore the barriers to improving the broadband of these premises and how innovative new technologies (such as Low Earth Orbit satellites, high altitude platforms and new terrestrial wireless solutions) could help.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential upload speeds to be attained using satellite enabled broadband in the UK.

The government is exploring new technologies that can provide improved broadband services in the UK. This includes the use of satellites, as well as innovative terrestrial wireless technologies. On 19 March, the government launched a call for evidence to explore the barriers to improving the broadband of very hard to reach premises and how innovative new technologies (including Low Earth Orbit satellites) could help.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the tourism sector in line with climate objectives.

The tourism sector has an important role to play in reducing the UK's emissions and therefore ensuring the UK reaches its net zero emissions target.

My officials and I regularly engage with tourism stakeholders about environmental sustainability, which has been discussed at the Tourism Industry Council and at meetings between the G20 Tourism Ministers.

The £45m Discover England Fund has supported the development of a number of sustainable tourism products, including the The National Park Experience Collection.

DCMS continues to prioritise policies aimed at encouraging sustainable development to the benefit of local communities across the country. The Tourism Recovery Plan, which will be published in Spring, will set out how the Government will support the sector’s short and long term recovery from COVID-19.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the role of satellites is in the delivery of the hardest to reach gigabit connections.

The government is investing £5 billion to deliver gigabit-capable broadband to the hardest to reach 20% of premises in the UK. Our approach is technologically neutral but, at present, satellite broadband does not meet the technical specification for funding under the £5 billion programme.

However, the government recognises that the UK has some very remote places that may be too expensive to build a gigabit-capable broadband network to, even with substantial public subsidy. Less than 0.3% of the country or less than 100,000 premises are likely to fall into this category. On 19 March, the government launched a call for evidence to explore the barriers to improving the broadband of these premises and how innovative new technologies (such as Low Earth Orbit satellites) could help.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department will take to support the reopening of the night-time economy.

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, night time 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.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Covid19 Response, Spring 2021, published in February 2021, CP 398, whether the Government classifies outdoor riding schools as an outdoor sports facility; and whether outdoor riding schools will be allowed to reopen on 29 March 2021 as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Sports and physical activity providers and facilities are at the heart of our communities, and play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.

On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. As part of step 1, from 29 March outdoor sports facilities can reopen, broadening the options for outdoor exercise and recreation. These facilities, such as riding schools, can be used by people in line with the wider social contact limits.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the effect on public health of Facebook Marketplace sales continuing as normal during the covid-19 lockdown period.

DCMS has made no such assessment.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to update UK international data transfer frameworks to enable onward transfers to other jurisdictions in future free trade agreements.

The UK does not intend for Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) to provide a legal basis, as a matter of domestic law, for the cross border transfer of personal data. Our domestic adequacy process and international data protection frameworks are separate from, but complementary to, data provisions in FTAs.

The UK's International Transfer Regime (ITR) forms an integral part of our domestic data protection framework. The UK is committed to maintaining high personal data protection standards, including when it is transferred across borders.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the Government’s emergency funding package for people working in arts and culture is delivered as soon as possible.

Each Arms Length Body, Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the British Film Institute, is responsible for delivering the Fund and were chosen due to their long established grant delivery role, and their expertise and understanding of the sectors in which they operate. This has enabled funding to be delivered at pace whilst still ensuring robust due diligence is conducted through the applications and distribution process.

In total, over £500m of the Culture Recovery Fund has been allocated. This is across capital and recovery grants and is in addition to £188m allocated to the devolved administrations as part of the Barnett formula, and £100m for the national cultural institutions and English Heritage Trust.

9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when payments for all Culture Recovery Fund awards will be made.

Over £500m of the Culture Recovery Fund has been allocated. This is across capital and recovery grants and is in addition to £188m allocated to the devolved administrations as part of the Barnett formula, and £100m for the national cultural institutions and English Heritage Trust.

Repayable finance awards are currently under negotiation, with outcomes expected to be announced in the coming weeks, and part of the £120m capital funding is still to be allocated.

Successful applicants need to formally accept their offer, provide the relevant delivery body with their bank details and request their payment (this includes meeting any payment conditions). Once that’s done and there are no issues, payments take 10-15 working days to process.

14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the decision of the European Court of Justice of 6 October 2020 on the UK’s retention of data, what steps he is taking to secure a data-sharing agreement with the EU after the end of the transition period.

The European Court of Justice issued a ruling on 6 October on the UK’s bulk communications data regime operated by the UK’s intelligence services and its use for protecting national security.

The ruling relates to a previous power (in the Telecommunications Act 1984) that has since been replaced by provisions in the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

The ruling has no immediate direct impact on the work of our security and intelligence agencies as it will now be referred back to the UK courts (the Investigatory Powers Tribunal) for them to consider its effect on the UK’s current bulk communications data regime.

Talks with the EU on our future data sharing relationship (“adequacy decisions”) continue and the process is moving forward. If agreed, these will permit the continued free flow of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK.

The adequacy process involves the European Commission assessing the UK’s data protection framework to assure that we are at least “essentially equivalent” to EU standards. We are considering any implications of the ruling on this process.

8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the facilitation of an alternative deal that will see ARM become a publicly traded company listed in the London Stock Exchange.

The Government monitors acquisitions and mergers closely. When a takeover may have a significant impact on the UK we will not hesitate to investigate further and take appropriate action. We are examining this deal carefully to understand its impact on the UK.

8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of placing a legal obligation on Nvidia to keep ARM’s headquarters in Cambridge if the planned sale of ARM to Nvidia goes ahead.

The Government monitors acquisitions and mergers closely. When a takeover may have a significant impact on the UK we will not hesitate to investigate further and take appropriate action. We are examining this deal carefully to understand its impact on the UK.

24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that UK-EU data transfer can be undertaken legally from 1 January 2021.

The free flow of personal data between the EU and the UK is important to the UK economy and underpins our future trade and security cooperation.

To continue the free flow of data from the EU to the UK, we are seeking adequacy decisions from the EU under both the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Law Enforcement Directive (LED), before the end of the transition period. This process is moving forward and talks between the UK and EU have been underway since 11 March. The EU’s adequacy assessment is separate from other UK-EU negotiations.

To continue the free flow of data from the UK to the EU, we have legislated so that personal data for general processing can continue to flow freely, on a transitional basis, from the UK to the 30 EEA States and the EU Institutions after the end of the transition period. We have also ensured that personal data for law enforcement purposes can flow freely, on a transitional basis, to the 27 EU Member States to support cross-border cooperation in preventing crime.

We will keep these arrangements under review and will, in any event, conduct adequacy reviews within four years of them coming into effect (i.e. by 1 January 2025), as required by our law.

16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether meditation and yoga classes are defined as exercise and education under the rule of six covid-19 regulations.

Sports and physical activity such as yoga play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.

Organised sporting or licensed physical activity is allowed to continue in groups of more than six. This can be in any public place – indoors or outdoors – or a private outdoor space like a garden; but not inside a private home. This includes exercise classes, including yoga classes, but social interaction with other participants must be limited.

These activities either need to be organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity; and/or involve someone who has received an official license to use equipment relevant to the activity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance.

Government advice showing the rules for sport and physical exercise can be found on the Gov.UK website on this page

If in doubt, yoga practitioners should ask their national governing body British Wheel of Yoga for any more detailed advice or guidance.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what criteria he is using to assess when it will be safe to allow choirs to recommence rehearsing and performing.

We are committed to getting the performing arts sector fully back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so. It is a priority of my department to work with the arts and cultural sectors to address the challenges of reopening.

The Secretary of State recently revealed a five stage roadmap that the government will work through to get the performing arts sectors back up and running as soon as possible:

  • Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences)

  • Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes

  • Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience and pilots for indoor performances with a limited socially-distanced audience

  • Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors)

  • Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)

On 9 July we published guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants which will help people understand how they can work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe. This guidance applies to training, rehearsal and pre-production activities, and performances which take place with or without a live audience, wherever these activities occur.

DCMS and PHE are supporting a study looking at C-19 transmission risks associated with singing and playing wind instruments. The PERFORM study involves leading scientists and is working with musicians and representatives from the Royal Opera House and the BBC. Its findings will inform our guidance and approach. that we want to get the performing arts industry fully up and running as soon as it is safe to do so.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the potential effect of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s proposals for older river boats on established river services on the River Thames between Kew and Richmond.

No DCMS ministers have had discussions with the Secretary of State for Transport regarding this matter. However, National Historic Ships UK (NHS-UK, an independent advisory body reporting to DCMS), responded to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's 2019 consultations on behalf of the sector, and discussed the potential impacts of the new requirements on vessels on the National Historic Ships Register, which it maintains. NHS-UK praised the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s inclusive approach.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of interest rate changes on student loans on graduate income.

The student loan system in England removes financial barriers for those hoping to study higher education, while sharing its costs between learners and the general taxpayer, which is fair. After finishing study, monthly student loan repayments are linked to income, not to interest rates or the amount borrowed. Repayments are made only on earnings above the repayment threshold, and borrowers are protected. If their income drops, so do their repayments. Any outstanding debt is written off after the loan term ends at no detriment to the borrower.

As part of the review of post-18 education and funding, we are carefully considering a range of options to ensure that student finance continues to deliver value for money for both students and the taxpayer. The interim conclusion of the review of post-18 education and funding was published on 21 January 2021, and we will conclude the review in full in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much Government funding has been allocated to adult education in each region in each year since 2019.

The government supports adult education, outside of apprenticeships, through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), National Skills Fund, European Social Fund (ESF) and Advanced Learner Loans.

A complete regional breakdown of funding allocations across these funding streams is not available. However, the government does publish the following online at GOV.UK:

The amount of AEB allocated by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to providers is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/19-funding-allocations#supporting-documents and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-allocations-to-training-providers-2021-to-2022.

The figures from 2019/20 onwards, following AEB devolution, are in respect of funding allocated to providers for learners resident in non-devolved areas.

Starting this year, the government is investing £2.5 billion in the National Skills Fund. This is a new investment, which includes £375 million in the financial year 2021-22, exclusive of Barnett. This is broken down as follows:

  • £138 million to deliver on my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister’s skills speech (£95 million for Free Courses for Jobs offer and £43 million for Skills Bootcamps)
  • £127 million for measures announced in the Plan for Jobs (including apprenticeships, traineeships, and Sector-based Work Academy Programmes)
  • £110 million (including £50 million capital) for piloting skills reforms

ESF contract values from 2014 to 2020, covering rounds one and two, for contracts starting in 2016 and 2019 respectively, are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esf-2014-to-2020-programme-list-of-contracts.

The Department forecasts demand for Advanced Learner Loans with HM Treasury annually. These tuition fee loans are for provision across England in all areas. The total value of loans approved by the Student Loans Company in the 20219/20 academic year was £182.4 million.

The Department also publishes adult learner data, which includes a breakdown of how many learners are supported by region: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/further-education-and-skills.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) apprenticeships and (b) traineeships were started in each month of 2021 in the (a) HGV driver, (b) nursing, (c) home and other types of carer, (d) nursery and primary education, (e) professional chef, (f) sales and retail assistant, (g) cleaners and (h) butcher and slaughter professions.

The attached table contains apprenticeship starts, reported to date, for the provisional 2020/21 full academic year for selected apprenticeship standards and frameworks. Please note that these reflect the subject of the apprenticeship and do not necessarily align with the profession of the apprentice. These are provisional figures and subject to change – finalised figures will be published in November 2021. Figures for all apprenticeship starts are published here: https://content.explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/api/releases/922d9d6b-8a91-428f-8133-0dc5425b9cd5/files/0785fe06-5be8-42b8-7aff-08d9826bde18.

For traineeships, whilst our data allows us to identify learners undertaking work experience, it is not possible for us to identify the profession involved. In the first three quarters of the 2020/21 academic year (August to April), reported to date, there were 13,600 traineeship starts in England, an increase of 23.8% from the equivalent point in 2019/20.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to (a) support the sustainability of the childcare sector and (b) facilitate access to affordable and high-quality early years providers.

Early years are a vital part of a child’s education, enabling them to develop the cognitive, social, and emotional skills that set them up for life.

To facilitate access to affordable and high-quality early years provision, we have spent over £3.5 billion in each of the past 3 years on the government’s early years entitlements. This financial year the department is investing £44 million for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers.

The department is also investing £180 million on education recovery in the early years, to support the youngest children’s learning and development.

With regard to sustainability, despite the reduction in the number of children in the age range for early years provision, the number of childcare places on Ofsted’s early years register has remained broadly stable since August 2015, at around 1.3 million places.

Ofsted also has regard to the early years foundation stage framework in carrying out its inspections and reporting on the quality and standards of early years provision and, overall, quality in this sector is very high with 96% of all childcare providers on Ofsted’s early years register judged either Good or Outstanding at their most recent inspection, the highest level ever.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make resources available to support the wide-scale roll-out of automated external defibrillators in schools across England.

All new and refurbished state funded schools are required to have at least one defibrillator installed on their premises. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, discussed this important issue in the House of Commons this week and said: ‘It was incredibly moving to speak to Mark King and listen to his tragic experience of losing his son, Oliver – he was joined by Jamie Carragher as well. It really does focus us on the need to do as much as possible to encourage schools to have defibrillators. That is why we will look at changing the regulations, which are underpinned by legislation, to ensure that all schools have defibrillators in the future and hopefully prevent such a tragedy visiting more families.’

Defibrillators are currently available for schools and other education providers in the UK to purchase through the NHS Supply Chain at a reduced cost. These arrangements are available to all UK schools, including academies and independent schools, sixth form colleges, further education institutions and early years settings, including holiday and out-of-school providers.

The department wants as many schools as possible to have this equipment and we are exploring all available options to see what more we can do.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is his policy that schools are planned to be able to lift all covid-19 restrictions in September 2021.

The Department’s goal continues to be supporting children and young people to attend face-to-face education, and to reverse the long-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their education, wellbeing and wider development. That is why the Government has prioritised education as it works through the steps of the roadmap to ease restrictions.

As the COVID-19 outbreak progresses, it remains important that the Government is able to respond to the evolving public health situation. Depending on COVID-19 measures in place at the time, and subject to Step 4 of the roadmap commencing on the revised date of 19 July, there may be a need for regional or local safety measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19, which could have an impact on education and childcare in the coming months. The road map is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021#roadmap.

Given the impact that restrictions on education can have on children and young people, any measures in schools should only ever be considered as a last resort, kept to the minimum number of schools or groups possible, and for the shortest amount of time possible. Any restrictions on attendance should only ever be considered as a last resort and should involve a ministerial decision.

Central Government may offer local areas of particular concern an enhanced response package to help limit increases in transmission. In enhanced response areas, Directors of Public Health may recommend some additional measures in any schools or nurseries.

These measures are detailed within the contingency framework for education and childcare, which describes how schools and nurseries should plan for spikes in infection in their local areas. This is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings.

All schools and nurseries should have outbreak management plans outlining how they would operate if any of the measures described within the contingency framework were recommended in their setting or area, and this could include because their area is an enhanced response area.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the catch-up and recovery plan being developed by Sir Kevan Collins is planned to be published.

Sir Kevan Collins, the Education Recovery Commissioner, was not asked to publish a plan but rather to advise the Government on developing its plan. This has been published, through announcements of significant investments in education recovery in June 2021.

The Department will continue to focus on education recovery to make sure that no child is left behind with their education, with over £3 billion committed for catch-up so far. As part of this, the Department recently announced an additional £1 billion for tutoring and £400 million for training to support great teaching, which were both key areas Sir Kevan recommended we pursue.

This comes on top of a £650 million universal catch-up premium for schools, £200 million for face-to-face summer schools this summer, a £302 million recovery premium which will go to schools in the coming year, £18 million to support language development in the early years from next year, and £550 million to fund small group tuition. The recovery premium alone will mean that the average primary school will receive around £6,000 extra funding, and the average secondary school around £22,000 extra funding to further support pupils to catch up.

Education recovery requires a long-term approach. The next step will be a review of the evidence on extending the school day to make sure that any investment here delivers the best education for children.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to take steps in response to the recommendations of the National Secular Society's report entitled Religiosity inspections: the case against faith-based reviews of state schools, including repeal of section 48 of the Education Act 2005.

Section 48 of the Education Act 2005 places a duty on the governing body of maintained schools that are designated as having a religious character, to arrange for the inspection of any denominational education and collective worship. This requirement applies to maintained faith schools and academies (via the funding agreement). In arranging the inspection, the school must consult with the appropriate religious body, specified in regulations. This approach brings a consistency of approach and oversight to the inspections.

The Government greatly values the contribution that faith schools make to the education sector by providing high quality school places and choice for parents. Section 48 inspections provide assurance in relation to the religious education and collective worship provided in these schools. There are no plans to change the current arrangements for the inspection of designated faith schools.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that young people receive teaching on the climate crisis.

It is important that young people are taught about climate change. For this reason, climate change and related topics such as sustainability are included throughout both the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. In primary science and geography, pupils are given a firm foundation for the further study of the environment in secondary school. For example, in primary science, pupils are taught about how environments can change as a result of human actions. They are taught about animals’ habitats, including that changes to the environment may pose dangers to living things. In primary geography, pupils are taught about seasonal and daily weather patterns, climate zones and human geography, including land use, economic activity, and the distribution of natural resources.

In secondary science, pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. This is expanded on in GCSE science where pupils consider the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change. In secondary geography, pupils look at how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. As part of GCSE geography, pupils look at the causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards.

In 2017, the Department introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable students to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled. Schools and teachers can go beyond the topics set out in the National Curriculum, or do more in-depth teaching of these topic areas, if they so wish.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which member of the Cabinet has responsibility for representing the needs of babies and young children.

Members of the Cabinet have responsibility for representing the needs of babies and young children within their individual department remits. For example, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has responsibility for Childcare and Early Education and children’s social care.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support children who have fallen behind in school as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education and are committed to helping pupils make up education lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

To address this challenge, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, committed to working with parents, teachers, and education providers to develop a long-term plan to help education settings to support pupils make up their education over the course of this Parliament.

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 to fund summer schools, expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years settings, schools, and providers of 16 to 19 education.

The Department has appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on the development of the long-term recovery plan. Sir Kevan will engage with parents, pupils, and teachers in the development of this broader approach and review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on education. We will share further details in due course.

26th Apr 2021
What steps his Department is taking to support local authorities in delivering their statutory duty to lead the transition to sixth form process for 16- and 17-year olds in their area.

The department takes seriously its duty to support students during transition years and to assist them with progression to further education or training. We continue to support local authorities and monitor participation figures, with 94.4% of 16 and 17 year olds receiving an offer in education and training in 2020. Under the September Guarantee, all 16 and 17 year olds are entitled to an offer of a suitable place in education or training regardless of qualifications gained, and the government plans to invest over £7 billion during 2020/21, to ensure there is a place in education or training, including apprenticeships, for every 16 to 19 year old.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) primary and (b) secondary school pupils who will not receive pupil premium funding as a result of the eligibility dates changing from January 2021 to October 2020.

The January 2021 census will be used to determine pupil premium eligibility for alternative provision and pupil referral units for the financial year 2021-22. Pupil premium eligibility for mainstream and special schools will be based on the October 2020 census.

Per pupil funding rates will be the same as in 2020-21, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding from £2.4 billion in 2020-21 to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals. In addition to this the Government announced a further £300 million for a one-off Recovery Premium which will be allocated to schools based on the same methodology as the pupil premium. In this way, schools with more disadvantaged pupils will receive larger amounts.

The Department will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021-22 in June 2021. This will provide the public with information on the specific amounts that regions, local authorities, and schools are receiving through the pupil premium for 2021-22.

Data on the number of pupils who have become eligible for free school meals since 2 October 2020 is currently being collected in the spring school census and is not yet available.

The Department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found via this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the evidential basis was for his Department's guidance on pupils in Year 7 and above wearing a face covering in classrooms and during activities during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. The Department is continuing to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, in order to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the effect of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

On 22 February 2021, the Department published “Evidence summary: COVID-19 - children, young people and education settings" which includes a section on face coverings. It can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evidence-summary-covid-19-children-young-people-and-education-settings.

The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance, which includes updated advice on face coverings. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

In addition, the Department published updated guidance on the use of face coverings in education for schools and other education institutions that teach people in Year 7 and above in England. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

Since 8 March 2021, we recommended that face coverings should also be worn by staff and pupils in classrooms and in other learning environments such as workshops and during activities, unless social distancing can be maintained.

The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of COVID-19 droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.

We recognise that the wearing of face coverings may impact communication, but, on balance, increased use of face coverings will strengthen the current safety measures in place in education settings.

We are recommending these additional precautionary measures for a time limited period until Easter. As with all measures, we will keep this under review and update guidance as necessary.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the evidential basis is for the decision that students in Year 7 and above should wear a face covering in classrooms and during activities.

The Department continues to work closely with other Government Departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. The Department is continuing to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, in order to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the effect of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

On 22 February 2021, the Department published “Evidence summary: COVID-19 - children, young people and education settings" which includes a section on face coverings. It can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evidence-summary-covid-19-children-young-people-and-education-settings.

The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance, which includes updated advice on face coverings. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

In addition, the Department published updated guidance on the use of face coverings in education for schools and other education institutions that teach people in Year 7 and above in England. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education.

As the guidance outlines, where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.

Since 8 March 2021, we recommended that face coverings should also be worn by staff and pupils in classrooms and in other learning environments such as workshops and during activities, unless social distancing can be maintained.

The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of COVID-19 droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.

We recognise that the wearing of face coverings may impact communication, but, on balance, increased use of face coverings will strengthen the current safety measures in place in education settings.

We are recommending these additional precautionary measures for a time limited period until Easter. As with all measures, we will keep this under review and update guidance as necessary.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure the safety of vulnerable children unable to attend wraparound care during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are committed to ensuring the safety and protection of vulnerable children and young people. Work is being co-ordinated across the government to address the increased needs of vulnerable children and young people and their families. During the period of national lockdown which was announced on 4 January 2021, primary, secondary, alternative provision, special schools and further education providers have remained open to vulnerable children and young people.

Throughout all restrictions to date, children's social care services and early help services have continued to support vulnerable children and young people and their families. There are a range of exemptions to national restrictions which allow key services to operate for these children and young people including childcare, contact between birth parents and children in care, therapy or other forms of support, as well as essential youth services such as 1-1 youth work and support groups.

We recognise the value that the wraparound childcare sector offers to our children and young people, in terms of the enriching activities they provide and the valuable support they provide to our critical worker parents and vulnerable children. That is why we have ensured they have been able to open for all children eligible to attend school for on-site provision and encouraged all local authorities to consider how they could use local grants made available to them by the government to help bolster this part of the childcare sector in their areas, to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This includes the expanded Holiday Activities and Food Programme, comprising of a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities, to provide healthy food and enriching activities over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

We are acutely aware of the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on young people and the vital role our youth services play. That is why more than £60 million of the unprecedented £750 million package for the voluntary and charity sector has been directed towards organisations supporting children and young people. More recently, a Youth COVID-19 Fund has been announced: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-165-million-youth-covid-19-support-fund. The fund will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country. This is on top of £200 million of government investment in early intervention and prevention support initiatives to support children and young people at risk of exploitation and involvement in serious violence, made available through the Youth Endowment Fund. This will provide a transformational investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support youth workers and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he has issued to universities on the effect of face coverings on deaf students during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government expects all higher education (HE) providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all disabled HE students. Wherever possible, disabled students should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices and individual reasonable adjustments made by their HE providers.

On 22 February 2021, we published updated guidance on Students returning to, and starting higher education in Spring Term 2021, available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963446/HE_guidance_spring_term_220221_FINAL.pdf. This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity. Face coverings do not need to be worn when outdoors on the premises.

Transparent face coverings, which may assist communication with someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, can also be worn. There is currently very limited evidence regarding the effectiveness or safety of transparent face coverings.

Those who rely on visual signals for communication, or communicate with or provide support to such individuals, are currently exempt from any requirement to wear face coverings.

Face visors or shields should not be worn as an alternative to face coverings. They may protect against droplet spread in specific circumstances but are unlikely to be effective in reducing aerosol transmission when used without an additional face covering. They should only be used after carrying out a risk assessment for the specific situation and should always be cleaned appropriately.

We are now advising providers that they can resume in-person teaching and learning for students who are studying practical or practice-based subjects (including creative arts) and require specialist equipment and facilities from 8 March 2021. Providers should not ask students to return if their course can reasonably be continued online. The government will review, by the end of the Easter holidays, the options for timing of the return of remaining students. This review will take account of the latest data and will be a key part of the wider roadmap steps.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of the national school curriculum in (a) primary and (b) secondary school is dedicated to learning about food, cooking and nutrition.

The national curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the Department expects schools to cover in each subject. The curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects should be taught nor how much time should be spent on each subject. The Department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their pupils, and to make choices about what they teach.

Cooking and nutrition education is a discrete strand of the design and technology programme of study within the national curriculum. It is compulsory in state-maintained schools for all Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 (for pupils aged 5 to 14) and can be used as an exemplar for free schools and academies. The curriculum aims to teach children how to cook and how to apply the principles of healthy eating and good nutrition. It recognises that cooking is an important life skill that will help children to feed themselves and others healthy and affordable food. By the end of Key Stage 3, pupils should be able to cook a repertoire of predominantly savoury dishes and be competent in a range of cooking techniques. In September 2016, the Government also introduced a new GCSE in food preparation and nutrition. The new GCSE enables pupils to acquire a proper understanding of the scientific principles behind food and nutrition and use a number of practical techniques to prepare and cook food.

27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made the profit made by private companies awarded contracts to deliver the free school meals voucher scheme throughout the covid-19 outbreak.

The department do not comment on the commercial arrangements of third parties. However, we can confirm that we have paid no more than the face value of goods received - in this case, vouchers.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to encourage universities to deliver high quality learning for students throughout the covid-19 outbreak.

On 13 January, I wrote to the Office for Students (OfS), as regulator for English higher education (HE) providers, outlining the government’s expectations of the higher education sector. Following this, the OfS wrote to HE providers setting out the actions they are taking in connection with providers’ compliance to existing regulatory requirements.

The government’s clear and stated expectation is that universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students regardless of their background have the resources to study remotely. This is more important than ever at the moment, with the vast majority of students studying solely online. The OfS has made it clear that HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected, regardless of whether a provider is delivering its courses through face-to-face teaching, remote online learning, or a combination of both.

The OfS has published information for providers providing guidance on how best to ensure students continue to receive a high quality academic experience in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak. This sets out that providers should make all reasonable efforts to provide alternative teaching and support for students that is at least broadly equivalent to the provider’s usual arrangements. The OfS will keep this guidance under review to ensure it remains relevant to the developing circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The OfS is taking very seriously the potential impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on teaching and learning. The OfS is actively monitoring providers to ensure that they maintain the quality of their provision, that it is accessible for all, and that they have been clear in their communications with students about how arrangements for teaching and learning may change throughout the year. The OfS is also following up directly with providers where they receive notifications from students, parents or others raising concerns about the quality of teaching on offer and requiring providers to report to them when they are not able to deliver a course or award a qualification. If the OfS has concerns, it will investigate further.

Students have rights under consumer law that they may be able to rely on if they are dissatisfied with their provider’s response to COVID-19. In the first instance, students should speak to their provider to see if they can resolve their issue. We expect student complaints and appeals processes to be operated flexibly, accessibly and sympathetically by providers to resolve any concerns. If a student at a provider in England or Wales is not satisfied with their provider’s final response, they should go to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, which has published guidance on this issue.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will (a) require private schools to review their decision to proceed with International GCSEs this summer and (b) ensure that all pupils in England are awarded grades based on teacher assessment.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Government considers that exams cannot be held this summer in a fair way. The Government has therefore announced that exams for GCSEs, AS and A levels and for many other regulated qualifications should not go ahead this summer as planned.

Together with Ofqual, we launched a consultation on 15 January 2021 on our proposals that in summer 2021, students taking GCSE, AS and A levels regulated by Ofqual should be awarded grades based on teacher assessment. The landscape for other regulated qualifications is diverse and teacher assessment is not appropriate for all vocational, technical and other general qualifications that are not GCSEs, AS or A levels, particularly where the qualification demonstrates occupational competency. The approaches proposed for these other regulated qualifications are set out in the consultation.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has asked the interim chief regulator at Ofqual, Simon Lebus, to find a clear and accessible route for private candidates, and those not in school this year, to be assessed and receive a grade.

International GCSEs are not regulated by Ofqual and are not part of the arrangements we have put in place for summer 2021 for GCSEs and A/AS levels. We are in contact with the exam boards that provide international GCSEs and understand that they have not yet taken final decisions on whether or not exams should go ahead in England this summer.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support private candidates not affiliated with a school, during the covid-19 outbreak.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Government considers that exams cannot be held in a way which is fair. We have therefore announced that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead this summer as planned.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has asked the Chief Regulator at Ofqual to find a clear and accessible route for private candidates, and those not in school this year, to be assessed and receive a grade. The Department and Ofqual launched a two week consultation on how to fairly award all pupils a grade that supports them to progress to the next stage of their lives, including consulting specifically on four different approaches for private candidates to receive a grade.

The Department and Ofqual have strongly encouraged all our stakeholders, including private candidates and their parents, to respond. 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.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether (a) primary and (b) secondary schools will be required to remain open during the February half-term holiday for the children of key workers.

The Department is considering the arrangements for February half term and will give advance notice to schools and colleges.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the cancellation of exams in summer 2021, what his guidance is on payments to exam invigilators employed on zero hour contracts; and if he will publish that guidance.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Government considers that examinations cannot be held in a way which is fair. We have, therefore, announced that GCSE, AS and A level examinations will not go ahead this summer as planned.

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. The Department is considering what further guidance may be helpful to schools with their workforce planning and schools should continue to check updates to our guidance on restricting attendance in the national lockdown: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952443/210114_School_national_restrictions_guidance_FINAL_14012021.pdf.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will classify construction workers as key workers to allow them to send their children to school.

During this period of national lockdown, schools should allow only vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend. All other pupils should not attend and should learn remotely. The Department has resisted restrictions on attendance at schools since the first lockdown but, in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we now need to use every lever at our disposal to reduce all our social contacts wherever possible. Limiting attendance is about supporting the reduction of the overall number of social contacts in our communities.

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. The following guidance sets out who is able to attend school to receive face to face education: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

The document sets out the high-level role types, and the list in the guidance is not exhaustive, but it should offer sufficient information to help parents and carers to identify if their work falls under one of the umbrella groups.

The Department will continue to review the restrictions on schools and will ensure that children and young people return to face to face education as soon as possible.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what resources he has made available to schools which have had to replace teachers who are absent, directly or indirectly due to covid-19.

Getting all children and young people back into school for this academic year has been a national priority, and schools have 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 the 2020-21 financial year, £4.8 billion in 2021-22, and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20. On average, schools are attracting 4.2% more per pupil in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20. As stated in the Department’s guidance for schools on full opening, schools should use these existing resources when making arrangements for this term. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The published guidance sets out the options available for schools seeking to manage staffing capacity and absences as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to using supply teachers and other temporary or peripatetic teachers, schools can also consider using existing staff more flexibly, including support staff and initial teacher training staff, or volunteers, as would usually be the case.

On 27 November 2020, the Government announced a new short-term COVID-19 workforce fund that will fund the costs of teacher absences over a threshold, for those schools with high staff absences that are also facing significant financial pressures: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-funding-to-support-schools-and-colleges-during-covid-pandemic. This will help ensure that schools can remain open. The fund will help meet the cost of staff absences experienced during the period from the beginning of November until the end of this term. Guidance on the claims process will be published shortly so schools can have confidence in the costs they can incur and be eligible to reclaim.

Where schools do hire agency workers, we recommend they consider using the Department’s and Crown Commercial Service’s agency supply deal, as this offers a list of preferred suppliers that must be transparent about the rates they charge: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/deal-for-schools-hiring-supply-teachers-and-agency-workers.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2020 to Question 110928 on Union Learning Fund: Coronavirus, what additional steps his Department is taking to support adults who (a) need to reskill because of the covid-19 outbreak and (b) do not have have essential qualifications.

The department wants to ensure that a wide range of opportunities are available to people of all ages to meet their future skills needs.

We are continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), worth £1.34 billion in the 2020/21 financial year. The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to support adults to gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship, or further learning. This includes; full funding for learners who need English and maths skills to undertake a range of courses in GCSEs; functional skills and other relevant qualifications from entry level to level 2; and support through courses and qualifications at pre-entry, entry level 1 to 3, level 1 and level 2 for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

More information about the AEB is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adult-education-budget-aeb-funding-rules-2019-to-2020.

The department has also introduced a number of additional measures this year as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, such as through the Plan for Jobs announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in July 2020, and the Lifetime Skills Guarantee announced by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, in September. More information about the Plan for Jobs is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee is aimed at eligible adults, including those that have become unemployed. As part of this, adults who do not currently have a level 3 qualification will be fully funded for their first full level 3 course, enabling participants to access the valuable courses that will help them get ahead in the labour market. This offer will be funded from the National Skills Funding, established to help people learn new skills and prepare for the economy of the future. More information about the National Skills Funding, and other measures to help prepare adults for the economy of the future, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/major-expansion-of-post-18-education-and-training-to-level-up-and-prepare-workers-for-post-covid-economy.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has also announced skills bootcamps, which will be available in 6 areas across the country. The bootcamp training courses will provide valuable skills based on employer demand and are linked to real job opportunities, helping participants to get jobs, and employers to fill much-needed vacancies. We are planning to expand the bootcamps to more of the country from spring 2021, and we want to extend this model to include other technical skills training.

In addition, the recent expansion of The Skills Toolkit means that people can now choose from over 70 courses, covering digital, adult numeracy, employability and work readiness skills, which have been identified as the skills employers need the most. These courses will help people stay in work or take up new jobs and opportunities.

Through our lifelong loan entitlement, we will also make it easier for adults and young people to study more flexibly. This will allow them to space out their studies across their lifetime, transfer credits between colleges and universities, and enable more part-time study.

Apprenticeship opportunities will also be increased, with more funding for small and medium sized enterprises taking on apprentices, and greater flexibility in how their training is structured.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, regularly meets with the Chancellor of the Exchequer but has not done so specifically to discuss the Union Learning Fund.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the economic merits of the Union Learning Fund.

The department wants to ensure that a wide range of opportunities are available to people of all ages to meet their future skills needs.

We are continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), worth £1.34 billion in the 2020/21 financial year. The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to support adults to gain the skills they need for work, an apprenticeship, or further learning. This includes; full funding for learners who need English and maths skills to undertake a range of courses in GCSEs; functional skills and other relevant qualifications from entry level to level 2; and support through courses and qualifications at pre-entry, entry level 1 to 3, level 1 and level 2 for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

More information about the AEB is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adult-education-budget-aeb-funding-rules-2019-to-2020.

The department has also introduced a number of additional measures this year as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, such as through the Plan for Jobs announced by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in July 2020, and the Lifetime Skills Guarantee announced by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, in September. More information about the Plan for Jobs is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee is aimed at eligible adults, including those that have become unemployed. As part of this, adults who do not currently have a level 3 qualification will be fully funded for their first full level 3 course, enabling participants to access the valuable courses that will help them get ahead in the labour market. This offer will be funded from the National Skills Funding, established to help people learn new skills and prepare for the economy of the future. More information about the National Skills Funding, and other measures to help prepare adults for the economy of the future, is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/major-expansion-of-post-18-education-and-training-to-level-up-and-prepare-workers-for-post-covid-economy.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has also announced skills bootcamps, which will be available in 6 areas across the country. The bootcamp training courses will provide valuable skills based on employer demand and are linked to real job opportunities, helping participants to get jobs, and employers to fill much-needed vacancies. We are planning to expand the bootcamps to more of the country from spring 2021, and we want to extend this model to include other technical skills training.

In addition, the recent expansion of The Skills Toolkit means that people can now choose from over 70 courses, covering digital, adult numeracy, employability and work readiness skills, which have been identified as the skills employers need the most. These courses will help people stay in work or take up new jobs and opportunities.

Through our lifelong loan entitlement, we will also make it easier for adults and young people to study more flexibly. This will allow them to space out their studies across their lifetime, transfer credits between colleges and universities, and enable more part-time study.

Apprenticeship opportunities will also be increased, with more funding for small and medium sized enterprises taking on apprentices, and greater flexibility in how their training is structured.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, regularly meets with the Chancellor of the Exchequer but has not done so specifically to discuss the Union Learning Fund.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of enabling parents to remove their children from school without prosecution during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is vital that pupils continue to attend school for their education, wellbeing and long-term development. Time spent out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children.

Parents have a duty to ensure that any of their children who are of compulsory school age receive a full-time education, either through regular attendance at school or through alternative arrangements, such as home schooling. Where a child is registered at a school, they must attend unless a statutory reason applies (for example, due to sickness, or where a leave of absence has been granted). Where children are not able to attend school as they are following clinical or public health advice related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the absence will not be penalised.

The usual powers to secure high levels of attendance continue to be available to schools and local authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak. These include schools’ and local authorities’ ability to use parental responsibility measures, such as fixed penalty notices, and local authorities’ ability to prosecute as a last resort. Schools should consider concerns from pupils, parents and households who may be reluctant or anxious about attending school, and put the right support in place to address this.

Parents may choose to educate their child at home (elective home education) rather than at a school. If they do so, they must provide a suitable full-time education if the child is of compulsory school age. Where a pupil is withdrawn from school for elective home education, there is no obligation for the school to keep that place open.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the accessibility of counselling and support services for students in higher education.

Protecting the mental health of higher education students is a priority for this government and we continue to work closely with the higher education sector to promote good practice in mental health and wellbeing.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has overall policy responsibility for young people’s mental health and we continue to work closely with them to take significant steps to support the mental health and wellbeing support for young people in higher education settings.

DHSC is committed, through the NHS Long Term Plan, to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year into mental health services by 2023-24. This will see an additional 345,000 children and young people, and adults, able to access support through NHS-funded services.

Higher education providers as autonomous bodies, independent from government, are responsible for their own decisions about how best to support their students. Whilst it is for providers to identify and address the needs of their student body, many providers have boosted their existing welfare and counselling services to ensure support services can be accessed, this is particularly important for those students having to self-isolate or who are affected by local restrictions.

The government has worked closely with Universities UK to embed the Step Change programme within the higher education sector. The strategic framework calls on higher education leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority and embed good mental health practices beyond student service teams. The government expects all providers to engage actively with the guidance.

Student Space, funded with £3 million from the Office for Students, provides dedicated support services through a collaborative online platform to help students access vital mental health and wellbeing resources. The platform bridges gaps in support arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and is designed to work alongside existing services.

In addition, higher education providers have been asked to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of students, enabling them to use funding worth up to £23 million per month from April to July this year and £256 million for the academic year 2020-21, starting from August, to go towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

The government has provided over £9 million to leading mental health charities to help them expand and reach those most in need. Students struggling with their mental health can also access support via the NHS and online resources from Public Health England, alongside support from the mental health charity Mind.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of requiring secondary school pupils to wear face coverings at all times on school premises.

At each stage of the Department’s response to the pandemic, we have listened to the latest medical and scientific advice, and if we think that the guidance should be revised based on further evidence then we will not hesitate to act swiftly and decisively.

On 21 August, the World Health Organisation published a new statement advising that “children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions 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 revised its guidance on face coverings in schools and colleges, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education.

As the guidance outlines, in areas of national government intervention, face coverings should be worn by staff, visitors and pupils in secondary schools when moving around indoors, such as in corridors or communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. All schools nationwide, including primary schools, have the discretion to require the use of face coverings by adults and pupils in year 7 and above in indoor communal areas where social distancing cannot be safely managed. Children in primary school do not need to wear a face covering.

Based on current evidence, and in light of mitigation measures that schools will have put in place, face coverings are not necessary in the classroom. Face coverings can have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should be avoided.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to prioritise policy on the mental health and wellbeing of children.

The government is committed to promoting and supporting the mental health of children and young people. The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has policy responsibility for children and young people’s mental health. We are working closely with them and taking significant steps to support the mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people in education.

We have particularly prioritised children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Getting children and young people back into school and college is itself key to their wellbeing. We have worked hard to ensure that all pupils and learners were able to return to a full high-quality education programme in September. Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package, with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020-21 academic year, is supporting education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place.

To ensure that staff are equipped to support wellbeing as children and young people returned to schools and colleges, we made it a central part of our guidance both on remote education and on the return to school. We supported this with a range of training and materials, including webinars which have been accessed by thousands of education staff and accelerating training on how to teach about mental health as part of the new relationships, sex and health curriculum, so that all pupils can benefit from this long-term requirement.

To continue this support we are investing £8 million in the Wellbeing for Education Return programme, which will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and practical skills they need to support teachers, students and parents, to help improve how they respond to the emotional impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The programme is funding expert advisers in every area of England to train and support schools and colleges during the autumn and spring terms. Further information about the Wellbeing for Education Return programme is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wellbeing-for-education-return-grant-s31-grant-determination-letter.

In further education, the department has provided £5.4 million of competitive grant funding through the College Collaboration Fund and 5 of the projects funded support student and staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support.

In the long term, we remain committed to our major joint green paper delivery programme with DHSC and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support. Mental health support teams are part of the commitment made in the NHS England Long Term Plan that funding for mental health services will grow faster than the overall NHS budget, creating a new ringfenced local investment fund for all ages worth at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023-24. This will mean that by 2023-24, at least an additional 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 years will be able to access support via NHS England funded mental health services.

We are also continuing to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of vulnerable children, including by supporting the £7 million ‘See, Hear, Respond service’ led by Barnardo’s, in partnership with national children’s charities and local organisations, to support vulnerable children at most risk of harm or having negative experiences on their health and wellbeing. Providing additional support through a £6.5 million COVID-19 Adoption Support Fund scheme to support 61,000 adoptive and special guardianship families and extending our £1 million mental health assessment pilots for looked-after children until March 2021. We will also be considering the issues around provision for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health issues as part of our special educational needs and disabilities review.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that disabled people have access to education in a safe environment during the covid-19 outbreak.

Supporting all children and young people and keeping them safe is the highest priority for the government, especially at this time. That is why, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, educational settings have been asked to ensure that children and young people with education, health and care (EHC) plans can continue to attend where appropriate and, following a risk assessment, where their needs can be safely met in the educational environment.

Returning to normal educational routines as quickly as possible will be critical for children and young people’s education and wellbeing. From 1 June, we asked special educational settings to welcome back as many children and young people as could be safely catered for in their setting, based on their risk assessment as the primary deciding factor. In mainstream settings, we asked that children and young people with EHC plans in eligible year groups experience the same return to settings as their peers without EHC plans in the same year group, informed by their risk assessments. However, the prevalence of COVID-19 has decreased and the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of all children and young people, including those with special educational needs and disability (SEND), returning to their educational setting so that they can receive high-quality teaching and specialist professional care.

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 in September, including for special education settings. We have also updated the guidance for higher education providers on reopening university campuses.

The guidance has been developed with medical experts from Public Health England and we continue to work closely with the country’s best scientific and medical experts to ensure that children, young people and staff are as safe as possible. The guidance provides specific advice on approaches for reducing the risk of transmission as well as other operational considerations for educational settings to follow as they prepare for welcoming back all pupils and students with SEND in both mainstream and specialist settings.

The guidance for special educational 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.

The guidance for further education settings is available here: 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.

The guidance for higher education settings is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses.

We will continue to work closely with special education settings, parents and carers, local authorities and other partner organisations ahead of September. For instance, we know that specific transport arrangements for children and young people with SEND will be critical. We will publish guidance for local authorities who provide dedicated school transport shortly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will extend the eligibility of the Education and Skills Funding Agency's post-16 provider relief scheme established in response to the covid-19 outbreak to all apprenticeship providers.

Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Notice 2/20 has allowed us to apply a degree of flexibility to our normal funding arrangements. However, this flexibility only extends to support for organisations with a direct contract for services procured via a process compliant with Public Contract Regulations 2015.

Providers delivering apprenticeship training to employers that pay the apprenticeship levy, or to smaller (non-levy) employers where the training has been arranged through the Apprenticeship Service since 9 January 2020, do not hold a procured contract for services with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to do so, but hold a contract for services with employers for the delivery of training. Therefore, it is not possible to extend eligibility to the Provider Relief Scheme to these providers.

However, we have made significant changes to some aspects of our funding rules training to ensure that providers are able to continue to deliver quality apprenticeships and maintain their income throughout the disruption. Additionally, training providers have in many cases developed effective online learning resources which enables them to retain their apprentices on programme and so to continue to receive funding from ESFA.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequacy of SEN funding.

No child or young person should be held back from reaching their potential, including those with complex special needs. We have announced £780 million of additional high needs funding for 2020-21 financial year. This is an increase of 12% compared to 2019-20, bringing the total amount provided to support those with the most complex needs to £7.2 billion and is the largest year-on-year increase since the high needs funding block was created in 2013.

Richmond upon Thames will receive £27.6 million in high needs funding in 2020-21 which is £2.4 million more than in 2019-20.

We will also invest a total of £365 million through the special provision capital fund from 2018-19 to 2020-21. This funding will help local authorities to create new places and improve facilities for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. Funding for future years will be decided in due course as part of the Spending Review. Richmond upon Thames has been allocated a total of £2.7 million from 2018-19 to 2020-21 through the special provision capital fund.

The response to cost pressures cannot just be about the amount of funding available. We have launched a review of the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system to see what further improvements are necessary to make sure every child gets the education that is right for them. This review will help us to establish a sustainable and effective SEND system in the future.

We are also working with local authorities that have the largest deficits on their Dedicated schools grant (DSG), including Richmond upon Thames, to make sure that they have realistic recovery plans and that they have the support they need to implement them. The government has recently made clear that DSG deficits must be carried forward from year to year, unless local authorities obtain the Secretary of State’s agreement to pay them off from general funds. We are working with stakeholders to prepare further guidance on this subject.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to restore the UK’s hedgerow network.

Following our exit from the Common Agricultural Policy, environmentally sustainable farming will be fundamental to our approach to England’s agricultural system. The development of our new environmental land management schemes will recognise the role of hedgerows and fund their creation and management.

For example, a Hedgerow Standard has been included within the initial phase of piloting of the Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme. Within this Standard, farmers will be rewarded for carrying out actions including maintaining or creating hedgerow trees on their land. Newly planted hedgerows, for which capital grants will be available, will be immediately available for annual payment under this standard.

Existing Agri-environment schemes, such as Countryside Stewardship, continue to fund hedgerow management, restoration and laying to deliver recognised benefits for wildlife, landscape and the historic environment. Hedgerow management is one of the most popular options within Countryside Stewardship, with several options available for planting, managing and restoring hedgerows.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support communities worst hit by the impacts of climate change such as flooding and biodiversity loss.

Climate change is already with us, and further changes are expected in the coming decades, despite ambitious commitments from the UK and the global community to cut carbon emissions. Building the resilience of our society, economy and environment to the impacts of climate change is therefore a priority for government, on land and at sea.

Between 2015 and 2021 government invested £2.6 billion to better protect 314,000 homes from flooding. In July 2020, Defra published its floods Policy Statement, setting out the Government’s long-term ambition to create a nation more resilient to future flood and coastal erosion risk.

Starting from 2021, the Government will invest £5.2 billion in a six-year capital investment programme for flood and coastal erosion risk management to build over 2,000 new flood defences. This investment will better protect 336,000 properties, including 290,000 homes, from flooding and coastal erosion by 2027.

In addition, up to £170 million will be spent to accelerate work on 22 shovel-ready flood defence schemes that will begin construction before the end of 2021/2022, which will provide an immediate boost to jobs supporting local economies as communities recover from the impact of coronavirus.

An additional £200 million will be invested in the Innovative Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme. This will help over 25 local areas over six years to take forward wider innovative actions that improve their resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.

In England, we are establishing a Nature Recovery Network. As part of the Network, we are taking steps to bring 75% of protected sites by area into favourable condition, and to create or restore 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside of protected sites. Restoring and expanding habitats is good for wildlife, but nature recovery also provides wider environmental benefits, from clean air to recreation to tackling climate change.

Such restoration will be hugely beneficial in helping to support the resilience of ecosystems themselves to climate change. For example, improving the condition and diversity within, and connectivity between, our wildlife habitats will help species survive in their existing locations, and allow them to move towards more suitable climates where necessary.

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), has recently worked with Defra's Local Adaptation Advisory Panel, to publish adaptation guidance for local authorities. This good practice guide outlines practical steps for local authorities to enhance local resilience. ADEPT has also published its blueprint to accelerating resilience to climate change risks and green recovery at the local level.

The UK is at the forefront of marine protection with 372 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) protecting 38% of UK waters. We have built a comprehensive network of MPAs and are focusing on making sure they are protected properly.

In June the Government published its response to the Benyon Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMA). The government will designate a number of sites in 2022. JNCC and Natural England, along with Cefas, have developed and published ecological criteria based on the principles outlined in the Benyon Review to start selecting potential HPMA locations.

A number of estuarine and coastal habitat restoration initiatives to benefit people and nature are underway, including the Environment Agency’s Restoring Meadow, Marsh and Reef initiative. Natural England is also leading the EU-funded LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES project, which aims to restore seagrass and maerl habitat in five Special Areas of Conservation.

Marine nature-based solutions, including the protection and restoration of blue carbon habitats, will contribute towards achieving the government’s vision for ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse ocean and seas’ and our climate change objectives. The UK Marine Strategy provides the framework for monitoring, assessing and taking measures to achieve and maintain Good Environmental Status in our seas.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support those communities most affected by climate change in the UK.

Climate change is already with us, and further changes are expected in the coming decades, despite ambitious commitments from the UK and the global community to cut carbon emissions. Building the resilience of our society, economy and environment to the impacts of climate change is therefore a priority for Government.

Adaptation is a challenge for the whole of society, and is fundamentally place-based. Local authorities and communities have a critical role to play in developing community resilience. The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) in conjunction with Defra's Local Adaptation Advisory Panel, has published adaptation guidance for all local authorities. This good practice guide outlines practical steps for local authorities to enhance local resilience. ADEPT has also published its blueprint to accelerating resilience to climate change risks and green recovery at the local level.

In addition, the Cabinet Office provides Local Resilience Forums with the National Security Risk Assessment and Local Risk Management Guidance to support their work to develop effective local resilience plans and fulfil their statutory duty to conduct local risk assessments.

Defra has made significant progress to protect communities from future flooding and coastal erosion. Last year, the Government published its long-term Policy Statement which sets out our ambition to create a nation more resilient to future flood and coastal erosion risk. The Policy Statement includes five policies and over 40 supporting actions which will accelerate progress to better protect and better prepare the country against flooding and coastal erosion in the face of more frequent extreme weather as a result of climate change.

The Government is making record investment in flood and coastal defences. We have doubled the amount invested in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over the next 6 years. This will fund around 2,000 new defence schemes to better protect 336,000 properties.

At the March 2020 Budget, the Government announced a £200 million 'place-based resilience programme', which will run for 6 years from 2021. This will help to inform future approaches to prepare communities for flooding and coastal erosion across the country. Funding will help around 25 local areas to take forward wider innovative actions that improve their resilience to flooding and coastal erosion including natural flood management, property flood resilience and community engagement.

The Government published its latest National Adaptation Programme in 2018, and will publish the next one in 2023, building on this year's advice and evidence from the independent Climate Change Committee. As well as the Defra policies I have mentioned, the Government's programme contains actions from all relevant Government departments and sectors of the economy. For example, MHCLG's Future Buildings Standard consultation recently proposed a new regulation to prevent the health risks of overheating in new buildings. And DHSC is establishing a climate resilience working group to drive adaptation and health protection actions across the health sector.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to invest in climate change preparedness to protect communities from adverse effects of climate change.

Climate change is already with us, and further changes are expected in the coming decades, despite ambitious commitments from the UK and the global community to cut carbon emissions. Building the resilience of our society, economy and environment to the impacts of climate change is therefore a priority for Government.

Adaptation is a challenge for the whole of society, and is fundamentally place-based. Local authorities and communities have a critical role to play in developing community resilience. The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) in conjunction with Defra's Local Adaptation Advisory Panel, has published adaptation guidance for all local authorities. This good practice guide outlines practical steps for local authorities to enhance local resilience. ADEPT has also published its blueprint to accelerating resilience to climate change risks and green recovery at the local level.

In addition, the Cabinet Office provides Local Resilience Forums with the National Security Risk Assessment and Local Risk Management Guidance to support their work to develop effective local resilience plans and fulfil their statutory duty to conduct local risk assessments.

Defra has made significant progress to protect communities from future flooding and coastal erosion. Last year, the Government published its long-term Policy Statement which sets out our ambition to create a nation more resilient to future flood and coastal erosion risk. The Policy Statement includes five policies and over 40 supporting actions which will accelerate progress to better protect and better prepare the country against flooding and coastal erosion in the face of more frequent extreme weather as a result of climate change.

The Government is making record investment in flood and coastal defences. We have doubled the amount invested in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over the next 6 years. This will fund around 2,000 new defence schemes to better protect 336,000 properties.

At the March 2020 Budget, the Government announced a £200 million 'place-based resilience programme', which will run for 6 years from 2021. This will help to inform future approaches to prepare communities for flooding and coastal erosion across the country. Funding will help around 25 local areas to take forward wider innovative actions that improve their resilience to flooding and coastal erosion including natural flood management, property flood resilience and community engagement.

The Government published its latest National Adaptation Programme in 2018, and will publish the next one in 2023, building on this year's advice and evidence from the independent Climate Change Committee. As well as the Defra policies I have mentioned, the Government's programme contains actions from all relevant Government departments and sectors of the economy. For example, MHCLG's Future Buildings Standard consultation recently proposed a new regulation to prevent the health risks of overheating in new buildings. And DHSC is establishing a climate resilience working group to drive adaptation and health protection actions across the health sector.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will agree ambitious targets for ocean recovery with the devolved Adminstrations.

The Government has already agreed ambitious targets for ocean recovery with the Devolved Administrations, through our statutory UK Marine Strategy (UKMS). The UKMS sets out a vision for UK waters to achieve clean, safe, healthy, biologically diverse and productive seas, which are used sustainably. It also provides a legal framework, agreed with the Devolved Administrations, for assessing and monitoring the status of our seas and to put in place the measures needed to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES).

In October 2019 we published an updated UKMS Part One which provided an assessment of UK marine waters, objectives for GES and targets and indicators to measure progress towards GES. Meanwhile, the updated UKMS Part Two, published in March 2021, sets out the monitoring programmes we will use to assess those targets and indicators in the period up to 2024. We are currently in the process of developing an updated UKMS Part Three, which will set out an updated programmes of measures for achieving or maintaining GES, and aim to consult on this later in 2021.

The UKMS demonstrates the combined commitments of the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations to work together to protect our biologically diverse and productive seas. However, to protect our seas and facilitate ocean recovery effectively, we also need to work with other countries. The UK plays a leading role in OSPAR (the regional sea convention for the North East Atlantic). We coordinate our efforts with our neighbours to ensure the best protection for our seas whilst maintaining their sustainable use.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to remove the internal border for assistance dog owners between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The UK has been formally ‘listed’ as a ‘Part 2’ third country for the purposes of the EU pet travel regulations, which means that new rules apply to pet movements from Great Britain to the EU and also – under the Northern Ireland Protocol – to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland. The health and documentary requirements for such pet travel are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations; there are no derogations for assistance dogs under these regulations.

We will continue to press the European Commission on securing Part 1 listed status and in regaining recognition of our freedom from the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, as achieving these would alleviate some of these new requirements for pet owners and assistance dog users. We meet all the animal health requirements for this, and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

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

We are proactively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements from Great Britain to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We will continue to work closely with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing penalties for dog owners whose dog attacks wildlife.

There are already several potential penalties available to deal with dog owners who do not keep their animals under control.

It is an offence under section 3(1) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control. Under section 2 of the Dogs Act 1871 a magistrates' court may make any Order they consider appropriate to require an owner to ensure that their dog is kept under proper control. The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 also includes specific measures to enable the police and local authorities to tackle irresponsible dog ownership.

Defra has also commissioned research in collaboration with Middlesex University to consider the effectiveness of current dog control measures. The report is currently being peer reviewed and will be finalised in light of peer review comments. Our intention is to publish the final report later this year.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the timeframe for enactment of the Environment Bill and potential biodiversity targets under that legislation, if he will take steps to help ensure the effectiveness of Aichi targets at the Convention on Biodiversity.

The UK is committed to playing a leading role in developing an ambitious and transformative framework of international targets under the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), which will replace the existing Aichi targets. The new CBD goals and targets are expected to be agreed later this year, at CBD COP15.

Due to exceptional pressure on the parliamentary timetable as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Environment Bill will be carried over into the Second Parliamentary Session. Key work on implementing the Bill’s measures will continue at pace and the deadline to bring forward targets by October 2022 will remain.

This timing will allow us to set at least one new, long-term, legally binding target for biodiversity under the Environment Bill, reflecting the priorities of the CBD’s global framework as well as our existing priorities set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP).

That does not mean that we will wait until October 2022 to start delivering on our international commitments. The 25 YEP marked a step change in ambition for biodiversity and the wider natural environment in England, addressing many of the emerging themes in the CBD framework, and we are already bringing forward key actions to deliver on that ambition.

We are setting a new legal foundation to improve the environment through the Environment Bill and our strengthened Agriculture and Fisheries Acts. We are investing in nature restoration and in nature-based solutions to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change and to safeguard green jobs, for example through our Nature for Climate and Green Recovery Challenge funds. We are developing a new Environmental Land Management scheme that will reward farmers and land managers for delivering environmental public goods, and we are extending protection on land and sea. We will set out further plans over the coming year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the report entitled Potential role of veterinary flea products in widespread pesticide contamination of English rivers, published in the Science of the Total Environment Journal in January 2021, what steps he is taking to prevent toxic insecticides contaminating rivers across England.

Defra, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Environment Agency (EA) are working closely together to improve our understanding of the risks posed by chemicals in the water environment and to respond appropriately. This includes EA monitoring of rivers for insecticides and other pesticides to enable us to identify and act upon any emerging issues associated with their use and occurrence in the environment.

Parasiticides are used in veterinary medicines for the treatment of fleas and ticks on cats and dogs. It is possible that following their use, some parasiticides may reach the aquatic environment. However, the environmental exposure assessments conducted for such flea products consider the exposure of the aquatic environment to be acceptably low. Recent research has estimated that the contribution of veterinary medicine parasiticides to the levels of these chemicals of concern in UK waterways to be less than 3% of the total. Such products are accompanied by advice, to users, to keep treated animals out of watercourses for 2 to 4 days after treatment and to avoid washing products off into the sewage system. Therefore, existing steps are taken to reduce the exposure of the environment from parasiticides used to treated animals. We urge people to continue to follow the manufacturer's instructions on the safe use and disposal of all veterinary products, including flea treatment products, and their packaging.

Due to concerns and uncertainties raised by previous research and monitoring data, the VMD commissioned research in 2019 to investigate the potential environmental exposure pathways for flea and tick products. This work aims to assess the significance of their use as veterinary medicines on the aquatic environment. This research is due to be completed in March 2023. In addition, parasiticides may also enter the environment from several other sources such as ant/cockroach/fly bait products, products used in greenhouses, and possibly from products used to protect wool, cotton and synthetic materials. The relevance of these exposure routes is yet to be elucidated.

Pending the findings from this commissioned research, and other available evidence, currently the VMD does not intend to change the existing regulatory controls on veterinary medicines, including the use of flea treatments for pets and the existing risk mitigation warnings, which protect animal health, human health and the environment.

Defra will continue to consider the scientific evidence to inform any policy decisions or other interventions.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing hemp farming in the UK.

Defra will be commissioning a project on the potential use of underutilised, underdeveloped or novel crops, including hemp. We are also considering the role of hemp in the Bioeconomy and the opportunities this presents for UK farmers.

The provision to cultivate (under Home Office Licence) low THC Cannabis (industrial hemp) for seed and fibre production does already exist in the UK.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what restrictions his Department will place on the use of PFAS chemicals to ensure the protection of the UK's health and environment after the transition period.

A number of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are already banned or highly restricted. The UK is a Party to the Stockholm Convention, which has already agreed restrictions on the use of certain PFAS. There are also restrictions in place under the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation.

At the end of the transition period the UK will put in place its own domestic chemicals regulatory framework. Existing restrictions under REACH will be brought into UK law. Our commitments under the Stockholm Convention will continue to apply.

Future UK decisions to control the environmental and human health impacts of substances will be taken under our independent regime and will be based on rigorous assessment of the scientific evidence, including looking at approaches taken by chemical regimes across the world. Ensuring the continued effective safe management of chemicals to protect human health and the environment and respond to emerging risks remains our priority.

We are working to improve our understanding of the emissions and risks of PFAS in the UK, and how we manage these chemicals will be considered in our forthcoming Chemicals Strategy. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) also regularly reviews new PFAS and will be considering the upcoming review by the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) of the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) latest scientific opinion on PFAS in food.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the proposed timescale is for bringing forward legislation to phase out the burning of peatland in protected areas.

The Government has always been clear of the need to phase out burning of protected blanket bogs to conserve these vulnerable habitats. We are currently looking at how legislation could achieve this and considering the next steps. Real progress is being made in promoting sustainable alternatives. We have urged landowners to adopt these and continue to work with them constructively.

The Government is committed to phasing out rotational burning. We recognise the debate on both sides, and we are considering all the evidence to ensure that any legislation is effective. The considerations are complex and it is important that we take the right steps to restore and protect this valuable habitat. We will set out further plans for peatland restoration and protection in the England Peat Strategy which will be published in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the planned timescale is for the complete phase-out of the burning of peatland in protected areas.

The Government has always been clear of the need to phase out burning of protected blanket bogs to conserve these vulnerable habitats. We are currently looking at how legislation could achieve this and considering the next steps. Real progress is being made in promoting sustainable alternatives. We have urged landowners to adopt these and continue to work with them constructively.

The Government is committed to phasing out rotational burning. We recognise the debate on both sides, and we are considering all the evidence to ensure that any legislation is effective. The considerations are complex and it is important that we take the right steps to restore and protect this valuable habitat. We will set out further plans for peatland restoration and protection in the England Peat Strategy which will be published in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his policy to make English and Welsh waterways more accessible after the transition period.

After the transition period, Government policy will continue to recognise that access to waterways brings positive public benefits including health and well-being from exercise and recreation in the open air, as well as connecting communities more widely with the natural environment. Our waterways are enthusiastically used by a range of people with differing interests, including pedestrians, cyclists, anglers, paddle craft, and motorboaters amongst others. We believe it is essential that all interests work together when considering how the accessibility of waterways might be improved. This might include waterside path improvement, which would be led by the navigation or local authority involved. We believe that access to unregulated waterways should be achieved through encouraging voluntary access agreements, between riparian landowners and others with an interest in using the waterway, which take into account local circumstances.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage consumers to make more environmentally friendly purchase decisions.

The Government is committed to encouraging consumers to make more environmentally friendly purchasing decisions.

In the Resources and Waste Strategy (2018), we committed to incentivise consumers to purchase sustainably, provide consumers with better information on the sustainability of their purchases, and to ban the most problematic plastic products.

The single-use plastic carrier bag charge has been successful in reducing usage by 95% in the main supermarkets to date. Accordingly, we will, from next year, increase the charge to 10p, and extend it to all retailers. We introduced a ban on polluting microbeads in personal care products and have also introduced restrictions from October 2020 on the supply of plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers.

We are also seeking powers in our landmark Environment Bill to charge for single-use plastic items, and to introduce requirements for improved labelling and consumer information focused on the resource efficiency of products, for example their repairability and durability and on how to dispose of products at end of life.

We also want to increase the sustainability of the food sector. The UK will work with leading food service sector representatives to develop and consult upon a Sustainable Food Service Sector Action Plan to be published in 2021 and delivered throughout 2022, which will provide information to associations, member companies, customers, and end users on issues relating to forest risk commodities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Environment Agency is taking in relation to Thames Water following reportedly unmonitored sewage spills into the Thames from the Mogden sewage treatment works.

The Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed that there have not been any unmonitored discharges into the River Thames from Mogden Sewage Treatment Works (STW).

The EA monitors all discharges to the River Thames from Mogden STW.

Storm sewage discharges occur when sewers or sewage works are overwhelmed by the extra water from rainfall. These outfalls are permitted by the EA and act as relief valves to prevent sewage backing up and flooding property and roads. The EA has powers to investigate non-compliance with permit conditions at Mogden STW and take appropriate action should non-compliance be established

As a regulatory requirement, Event Duration Monitoring (EDM) has been installed on Water Company storm overflows over the last five years. This has been part of the Asset Management Planning process agreed between the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat), the EA and the Water Companies. Further monitoring is planned for the period 2020 to 2025 with more than a 1,000 monitoring installations across the country.

The program of installation was completed in March 2020 and since then the EA has accurate and complete EDM data sets. The data has been published and it has been acknowledged that data sets prior to March 2020 were sometimes incomplete as monitoring equipment was commissioned and data handling and reporting protocols were implemented.

However, protocols in place before and during the installation of the EDM ensured that the EA and the public received notification of all storm discharges from Mogden STW through storm sewage discharge notifications. The notifications include details of times and volumes, and the EA were able to use the data to monitor the site’s discharges within the requirements of their permit.

Although it is not a regulatory requirement, this storm discharge data is made publicly available by Thames Water. The EA continues to receive and assess the data from Mogden STW when it discharges to the river.

A new Storm Overflows Taskforce has been established comprising of Defra, the EA, Ofwat, the Consumer Council for Water, Water UK and Blueprint for Water. The Taskforce is meeting regularly to set out clear proposals to reduce the frequency and volume of storm sewage discharges into waterways in extreme weather. The Taskforce is also exploring further short term actions water companies can take to accelerate progress in reducing storm sewage discharges.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure mutual recognition between the UK and EU on organic food certification.

The Government proposed an organics equivalence agreement in its Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) proposals. Organics is currently included in the UK’s proposed CFTA legal text as a technical annex and the negotiations are ongoing.

In addition, the six UK control bodies have applied to the EU for recognition as equivalent for the purpose of trade. We understand that these applications by the individual organic control bodies are progressing.

To ensure a smooth transition process, we will recognise the EU as equivalent for the purpose of trade in organics until 31 December 2021. This temporary measure will give certainty to the organic sector and it remains our objective to negotiate a durable, long-term organics equivalence agreement with the EU.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how disabled people who need plastic straws can access them following the ban on the sale and distribution of single-use plastic items.

Single-use plastic straws can still be purchased from registered pharmacies (both in-store and online) and can be provided in catering establishments on request to any customer, without proof of need. These exemptions will ensure that those that require straws can continue to access them safely and independently.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to issue guidance on food and drink labelling to businesses trading in (a) the EU and (b) Northern Ireland after the end of the transition period.

Ministers meet regularly with food manufacturers, and representatives of other parts of the supply chain, to discuss preparations for the end of the transition period including for food labelling.


The GOV.UK website provides guidance on these matters and is kept under review and updated as appropriate. EU food labelling requirements are a matter for the EU and the EU has set out its position on how food and drink should be labelled where EU rules apply.


We will provide a period of adjustment for labelling changes required at the end of the transition period, wherever this is possible. During this period the changes that UK businesses need to make when selling between different markets will be minimised. We are working to determine the appropriate time industry needs to make changes and will provide guidance as soon as we can do so, to ensure that businesses have clarity and certainty.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timescale is for phasing out badger culling.

Bovine TB (bTB) is one of the most difficult and intractable animal health challenges that England faces today. Tackling the reservoir of infection in wildlife, chiefly badgers, is an important element of Defra's bTB eradication strategy for England. Earlier this year, we published our response to the Godfray Review, which sets out the next phase of our strategy to combat bTB. Our response noted that while it is important to retain the ability to introduce new cull zones where epidemiological evidence points to a reservoir of disease in badgers, we envisage that any remaining areas would join the current cull programme in the next few years and that the badger cull phase of the strategy would then wind down by the mid to late 2020s. Culling would, however, remain an option thereafter where epidemiological assessment indicates that it is needed.

That plan to wind down the current badger culling programme has not changed. As noted in the Government response to the Godfray Review, it is unrealistic to switch immediately to badger vaccination but we are already doing a great deal to make sure the transition happens. In July, we announced that world-leading bTB cattle vaccination trials are set to get underway in England and Wales as a result of a major breakthrough by government scientists. These trials enable work to accelerate towards planned deployment of a cattle vaccine by 2025.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the development of a vaccine for cattle to prevent the spread of bovine TB.

Developing a TB vaccine for cattle is one of the Government’s priorities. A cattle vaccine could be a game-changer in terms of providing a strong additional tool to help eradicate bovine TB.

In July 2020, we announced that the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) had granted permission for field trials of both the candidate Cattle BCG vaccine and the candidate skin test to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals (the DIVA skin test).

Like other veterinary medicines, both the Cattle BCG vaccine and the DIVA skin test will need VMD marketing authorisations before they can be deployed.

It is hoped that field trials will provide the evidence required for future marketing authorisations and for the DIVA skin test to be internationally recognised. The aim is to start field trials in 2021 and complete them in 2024.

Provided the field trials go as hoped, and VMD considers the marketing authorisation applications satisfactory with respect to quality, safety and efficacy, the timeline envisages those authorisations being granted in 2025.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to provide additional support for disabled people during the covid-19 outbreak to ensure that disabled people are able to access a weekly shop for essential items.

We know that a large number of disabled people continue to rely on friends, family and wider community support as they face difficulties accessing food. Where that is not possible, there are a number of options available for people to access support. Individuals can request support from a volunteer via NHS Volunteer Responders, who can shop on their behalf.

We continue to work with local authorities, supermarkets and charities to ensure that vulnerable groups get the support they need to access food and other essential supplies. These organisations are able to sign-post people to commercial food delivery options, help them access priority supermarket delivery slots or refer them to the NHS Volunteer Responder programme.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) can also register for support online or via an automated helpline. As part of the registration process, we have asked individuals to indicate whether they have unmet basic care needs, such as social care and social contact needs. Local authorities are best placed to respond to these needs, and we are sharing data with them to ensure vulnerable individuals get the support they need while shielding.

Where people who are CEV have asked for help accessing food, they have been offered centrally provided food boxes and supermarkets have offered priority delivery slots. Boxes will continue until the end of July and seven supermarkets have confirmed that access to priority supermarket delivery slots will continue beyond the end of July for those already signed up for support.

We have also made available an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. Local authorities are already working hard to support those who are vulnerable and this additional funding will contribute to that work.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to designate areas of UK coastal fishing waters as Highly Protected Marine Areas.

We welcome the publication of the review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), which was published on 8 June 2020 and is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/highly-protected-marine-areas-hpmas-review-2019. I am grateful to Richard Benyon and the advisory panel for their work. We will consider Richard Benyon's report and issue a formal response to him in due course, recognising our continued priority to support the cross-Government response to Covid-19. From there on, we have an opportunity to develop a programme of work to bring forward highly protected areas for the first time in English waters. We would of course consult widely with the public and stakeholders, including fishers, before any decision to designate an HPMA.

A healthy and sustainable fishing industry in the long-term is dependent on a healthy marine environment, and the Fisheries Bill creates a robust framework for managing our fisheries sustainably in the future. The panel has concluded that HPMA can be a valuable tool to help deliver healthy seas. However, we recognise that some members of the fisheries community may be concerned by the impact of the Review’s recommendations on their livelihoods. The report suggests several ways in which government can reduce the impact on the fishing industry, for example by siting protected areas within existing protected areas and be adopting early, continuous engagement with all stakeholders when considering the location for an HPMA. Extensive consultation will take place before any decisions are made.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2020
If she will publish an action plan on promoting gender mainstreaming across all her Department's work.

Support for women and girls is part of this government’s mission. I will always champion gender equality in international development because that’s the only way we will create a fairer, safer and more prosperous world, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Next year DFID will publish an implementation plan for its Strategic Vision for Gender Equality to set out our objectives and progress on ensuring women and girls are at the heart of everything DFID and its partners deliver. I’m proud of how far we’ve come but there’s plenty more to do.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has a policy on the level of violence within a country that would result in the UK Government not (a) entering or (b) continuing negotiations on a potential trade deal.

More trade need not come at the expense of our values. We will continue to take a balanced and proportionate approach with international trading partners.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
11th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made for the implications of her policy of her policies of the report from the UN Group of Experts on Yemen on its decision to resume the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.

HM Government is always concerned to learn of allegations such as those contained in the Group of Eminent Experts’ latest report. The United Kingdom urges the parties to the conflict to investigate these allegations, to take action to uphold rights and responsibilities, and to co-operate with the Group in future.

We take our export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department has made a further assessment of the evidence of whether UK anti-riot equipment was used during the US Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.

Officials in the Export Control Joint Unit have carried out two reassessments of whether the events in the United States – since George Floyd was killed on 25th May 2020 – give rise to a clear risk under Criterion 2a of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”) that crowd control equipment exported to the US might be used for internal repression.

The first reassessment was completed in July and it was determined that no clear risk that such equipment might be used for internal repression existed. The second reassessment was completed in September 2020 and this concluded likewise.

Given the broad list of end-users covered by the licences, the reassessments assumed that it was possible that crowd control equipment exported from the United Kingdom was and/or could be sold to and used by police forces involved in these or similar protests, whether or not this was the case; accordingly, this supersedes an assessment on whether such equipment was actually used.

It is important not to lose sight of the fact that the US remains a beacon for freedom, opportunity and democracy. The US maintains the rule of law and has robust institutions. Further, there is democratic oversight, accountability and extensive public scrutiny, including by an active civil society and free press.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when she plans to publish guidance on how rules of origin will operate after the end of the transition period.

We have already made our guidance on non-preferential rules of origin publicly available on GOV.UK. The guidance sets out the product specific rules, to determine the origin of imports outside of a preferential agreement.

We are working at pace to progress our discussions with existing and future trading partners and will continue to update our guidance on preferential rules of origin as we agree new provisions with them. Guidance can be found on GOV.UK for those countries with whom we have already signed a Free Trade Agreement.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that UK climate commitments are a priority for the activities of the Board of Trade.

To ensure the UK’s climate commitments are a focus of the Board of Trade, two relevant experts have been appointed as Advisers.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure (a) ethical and (b) resilient supply chains are prioritised in (i) her Department's policies and (ii) future trade agreements.

The United Kingdom is a trading nation and global value chains drive prosperity, through specialisation, innovation and cheaper products.

We will continue to work with business to fully understand global supply chains that they are part of – and the opportunities to build in further resilience for the future. Our future trade agreement programme will reduce barriers to trading with new markets, and help provide more resilience in doing so. Alongside this, the United Kingdom will tirelessly fight protectionism and unfair trade practices, including through the G20 and in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Britain’s values are clear. We are committed to working with international partners and businesses to tackle modern?slavery?in global supply chains, as HM Government believes it is vital that trade is not based on the exploitation nor abuse of workers.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will take steps to ensure that the UK is a global champion of (a) ethical trade and (b) doing business with integrity.

The United Kingdom is a trading nation and global value chains drive prosperity, through specialisation, innovation and cheaper products.

We will continue to work with business to fully understand global supply chains that they are part of – and the opportunities to build in further resilience for the future. Our future trade agreement programme will reduce barriers to trading with new markets, and help provide more resilience in doing so. Alongside this, the United Kingdom will tirelessly fight protectionism and unfair trade practices, including through the G20 and in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Britain’s values are clear. We are committed to working with international partners and businesses to tackle modern?slavery?in global supply chains, as HM Government believes it is vital that trade is not based on the exploitation nor abuse of workers.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that supply chains are free of slavery and human trafficking in new trade deals.

The United Kingdom is a trading nation and global value chains drive prosperity, through specialisation, innovation and cheaper products.

We will continue to work with business to fully understand global supply chains that they are part of – and the opportunities to build in further resilience for the future. Our future trade agreement programme will reduce barriers to trading with new markets, and help provide more resilience in doing so. Alongside this, the United Kingdom will tirelessly fight protectionism and unfair trade practices, including through the G20 and in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Britain’s values are clear. We are committed to working with international partners and businesses to tackle modern?slavery?in global supply chains, as HM Government believes it is vital that trade is not based on the exploitation nor abuse of workers.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when and where the first round of negotiations for the UK US free trade deal is due to take place.

Details of the first round of negotiations for the UK US Free Trade Agreement will be made available to Parliament after our negotiating objectives have been published.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, when and where the next meeting of the UK US Trade Working Group is due to take place.

The UK-US Trade and Investment Working Groups were focused on strengthening our trade and investment relationship and laying the groundwork for potential free trade agreement before the UK had the left the EU. Now that we have left the EU, we are able to begin negotiating a free trade agreement with the US. Details about the first round of negotiations will be made available to Parliament after our negotiating objectives have been published.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many official meetings the Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser has attended with (a) senior UK civil servants and (b) politicians in each of the last 12 months; and what the job title was of each civil servant.

Over the last 12 months the Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser has held multiple meetings, almost all of which were attended by a member of the Senior Civil Service (SCS) other than himself.

The Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser meets with Department for International Trade ministers several times a week while parliament is sitting. He has also met with ministers from other government departments, special advisers and MPs.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many official meetings she has had with the Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser in each of the last 12 months.

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade meets frequently with the Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser and has had a number of formal meetings with him since her appointment on 24 July 2019.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many official visits abroad have been made by the Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser in each of the last 12 months; to which countries those visits were; and which officials accompanied him on those visits.

The Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser has made one official visit abroad in the last year. He visited the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland on 7-8 October 2019 for World Cotton Day. He was accompanied by a Department for International Trade Private Secretary.

Information on senior official visits abroad is publicly available on gov.uk at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dit-senior-officials-travel-and-hospitality-and-permanent-secretary-meetings.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to help ensure that airport staff are able to commute to work via bicycle.

The Department has published various forms of practical advice and guidance for employers on how to enable more of their employees to walk and cycle to work, and in May 2021 I chaired an event with a number of major employers and delivery partners, including Heathrow Airport Limited, to discuss what steps we could all take to make this happen. The Department encourages airport operators to set targets in their Surface Access Strategies for the numbers of passengers, visitors and staff who arrive at their airports by sustainable transport modes including cycling, but ultimately it is a matter for each individual airport operator to decide what facilities to provide to enable its staff to cycle to work and how to encourage this. Heathrow Airport, for example, has been working with Sustrans on an initiative to increase the number of staff who cycle to work. Other incentives include the Cycle to Work scheme, which enables employees to hire a cycle and safety equipment from their employer through a salary sacrifice arrangement, effectively providing access to cycles at a discount.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 May 2021 to Question 1353 on Railway Stations: Pedestrian Areas, if he will provide the latest timeframe and funding plan for the rollout of tactile paving across the rail network.

Network Rail has received an initial £10 million to install tactile paving at priority stations not already funded. I will make further announcements on future rounds of funding in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the proposal to increase the legal requirement to keep a child in a rear facing car seat to age 3.

The technical standards for child restraint systems used in the United Kingdom are developed by a group of experts within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), of which the Department for Transport is an active member.

The requirements are kept under constant review. The latest standard introduced enhanced safety provisions, including extending the requirement for child restraint systems to be only rearward facing for children up to 15 months of age.

The UNECE expert group considered extending this requirement to children of 4 years of age but decided against this having assessed a range of evidence, including biomechanical data and injury thresholds, together with consideration of ease of use and vehicle geometry.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he will carry out the review of road traffic offences.

The Government takes road safety seriously and keeps the law under regular review.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the status is of the memorandum of understanding between his Department and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in respect of Hammersmith Bridge.

The Government has set out a clear commitment to support the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) in finding a long-term solution for Hammersmith Bridge, as agreed in the Transport for London (TfL) Extraordinary Funding and Financing Agreement of 1 June 2021. As a condition of this Agreement, the Department for Transport, TfL and LBHF are finalising a memorandum of understanding (MoU). This will set out the agreed next steps and the clear roles and responsibilities for each party.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what is the deadline for ending the sale of motorcycles that operate on fossil fuels.

The Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP) was published on 14 July 2021 and sets out the Government’s commitments and the actions needed to decarbonise the entire transport system in the UK.

Zero emission powered light vehicles are a clean and efficient way of getting around and can reduce congestion, air, and noise pollution from transport. While cars and vans outnumber motorcycles on UK roads, motorcycles are an important and sizeable vehicle population, with 1.4 million licensed in 2020 and we do not want to see them remaining fossil fuelled as the rest of the vehicle fleet cleans up.

In the TDP, the Department commits to consulting this year on a phase out date of 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible, for the sale of new nonzero emission powered two and three wheelers (and other L category vehicles).

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that disabled passengers are aware of their rights on public transport.

The Department is committed to ensuring disabled passengers are aware of their rights when using public transport. Our Inclusive Transport Strategy commits us to ensuring all operators across all modes of public transport provide information on passenger rights. Good progress has been made but we know there is still more we and the transport sector can do.

For the aviation sector, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) provides information on the rights for disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility on their website and has worked with airports and airlines to improve the accessibility contents on their websites.

As part of train operating company (TOC) licences we require each TOC to have an Accessible Travel Policy (ATP) setting out the level of services and facilities disabled passengers can expect, how to get staff assistance and how to get help if things go wrong.

For Maritime, passengers must be informed of their rights when making a booking and these passenger rights details must be provided on posters displayed at ports and on board vessels.

Our National Bus Strategy requires local authorities to produce Bus Service Improvement Plans which must include Passenger Charters providing information on what passengers can expect when using their services.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department plans to take to reconcile the population increases resulting from the London Plan’s targets for house building with proposed reductions to rail services that will affect (a) Richmond Park and (b) other constituencies in London.

The Department is in regular dialogue with South Western Railway and monitoring very closely developments on the Dec-22 Timetable Specification. Stakeholders are encouraged to reference future developments in their responses to the consultation to help South Western Railway plan for future demand.

The industry is committed to working with local communities and stakeholders to match capacity to demand in the future, based on robust plans that can demonstrate value for the taxpayer.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions officials in his Department have had with representatives of South Western Railway on the potential impact of timetable changes proposed for December 2022 on areas near to affected stations with planned local development projects that have been designed on the basis of current public transport provision levels.

The Department is in regular dialogue with South Western Railway and monitoring very closely developments on the Dec-22 Timetable Specification. Stakeholders are encouraged to reference future developments in their responses to the consultation to help South Western Railway plan for future demand.

The industry is committed to working with local communities and stakeholders to match capacity to demand in the future, based on robust plans that can demonstrate value for the taxpayer.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals on national minimum standards for taxi and PHV licensing to improve safety for passengers.

The Government will continue to engage with the taxi and private hire vehicle sector on our plans for reforming regulation, including options to introduce new legislation. The Department is supporting licensing authorities to make use of their extensive existing powers through the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards issued last year and will consult on updated best practice guidance for licensing authorities later this year.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the ICE discussion paper: public transport funding post-covid, published on 21 June 2021, what plans he has to transition future (a) investment and (b) spending on public transport post-covid-19.

My department noted the ICE’s discussion paper with interest, in particular its observations that high quality public transport has a key role to play in reducing emissions, improving air quality and tacking congestion. Ensuring the long-term strength of the transport system post-Covid-19 is critical to our recovery.

We have continued to support the transport sector through Covid-19, providing additional funding to keep critical services running. We recognise there is uncertainty about the future level of transport demand, including changes in peoples' behaviour post pandemic, and we continue to monitor these trends. However, we are confident that through our reforms and investment in areas such as buses, cycling and walking, as well as rail, we can increase public transport demand and provide people with better access to jobs and opportunities. This will boost the whole of the UK economy as we build back better from Covid-19.

We will continue to engage experts from across the transport sector, such as the ICE, as we develop our approach.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives of Heathrow Airport Holdings on the provision of subsidised public transport for airport workers.

In recognition of the challenging times that the aviation sector continues to face due to Covid-19, Ministers have kept an open dialogue with UK airports, including Heathrow.

The issue of the provision of subsidised public transport for airport workers at Heathrow is a matter for the airport operator.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to provide further support to the DVLA to reduce the backlog of expired driving licences that are awaiting for renewal; and if he will further extend expired driving licences until that backlog has been reduced.

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

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application for a driving licence. The DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day which must be dealt with in person. Ongoing industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services union is leading to delays for customers who make paper applications.

The DVLA continues to look into opportunities to reduce the backlog and Ministers regularly review progress. The DVLA has been developing additional new online services and recruiting additional staff. The DVLA is exploring the possibility of securing extra office space to house more staff to work predominantly on driver’s medical casework and queries. This will be surge capacity accommodation and resource to help reduce backlogs while providing future resilience and business continuity.

Currently, paper applications are likely to take between six and ten weeks to process. There may be additional delays in processing more complex transactions, for example, if medical investigations are needed as part of a driving licence application. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.

All driving licences that expired between 1 February and 31 December 2020 were extended for 11 months to help drivers at the height of the pandemic. There are no plans to introduce any further extension to driving licences.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department made of the potential merits of alternative fuel sourced trains for East West Rail.

EWR will operate an interim fleet of trains for the first services in Connection Stage 1 – Oxford to Milton Keynes - and Connection Stage 2 – Oxford to Bedford – to ensure the benefits of EWR for those passengers can be realised as soon as possible.

For its long-term fleet, which will be introduced at a later date, EWR Co is currently developing its procurement strategy. The procurement strategy will outline how long the new fleet will be in operation for. To develop this strategy, EWR Co is taking into consideration the feedback received on what future customers of EWR want from their on-train experience at the recently held non-statutory consultation. This will ensure value for money for the taxpayer and an efficient and effective operation for EWR customers.

EWR will be a new, environmentally sustainable way to travel across the region. EWR Co is exploring innovative ways to become a net-zero carbon railway, consistent with the Government’s legally binding target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the entire UK economy by 2050.

As Government is considering the case for the electrification of EWR, EWR Co is undertaking a review by looking at options including full electrification along the whole route as well as various options for partial electrification using battery / electric hybrid rolling stock, and other sustainable rolling stock options.

The results of this review and steps to be taken will be announced in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Government plans to bring in (a) battery powered, (b) hydrogen powered and (c) overhead electric-line powered trains on East West Rail.

EWR will operate an interim fleet of trains for the first services in Connection Stage 1 – Oxford to Milton Keynes - and Connection Stage 2 – Oxford to Bedford – to ensure the benefits of EWR for those passengers can be realised as soon as possible.

For its long-term fleet, which will be introduced at a later date, EWR Co is currently developing its procurement strategy. The procurement strategy will outline how long the new fleet will be in operation for. To develop this strategy, EWR Co is taking into consideration the feedback received on what future customers of EWR want from their on-train experience at the recently held non-statutory consultation. This will ensure value for money for the taxpayer and an efficient and effective operation for EWR customers.

EWR will be a new, environmentally sustainable way to travel across the region. EWR Co is exploring innovative ways to become a net-zero carbon railway, consistent with the Government’s legally binding target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the entire UK economy by 2050.

As Government is considering the case for the electrification of EWR, EWR Co is undertaking a review by looking at options including full electrification along the whole route as well as various options for partial electrification using battery / electric hybrid rolling stock, and other sustainable rolling stock options.

The results of this review and steps to be taken will be announced in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how long the new rolling stock on East West Rail is expected to be in operation.

EWR will operate an interim fleet of trains for the first services in Connection Stage 1 – Oxford to Milton Keynes - and Connection Stage 2 – Oxford to Bedford – to ensure the benefits of EWR for those passengers can be realised as soon as possible.

For its long-term fleet, which will be introduced at a later date, EWR Co is currently developing its procurement strategy. The procurement strategy will outline how long the new fleet will be in operation for. To develop this strategy, EWR Co is taking into consideration the feedback received on what future customers of EWR want from their on-train experience at the recently held non-statutory consultation. This will ensure value for money for the taxpayer and an efficient and effective operation for EWR customers.

EWR will be a new, environmentally sustainable way to travel across the region. EWR Co is exploring innovative ways to become a net-zero carbon railway, consistent with the Government’s legally binding target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the entire UK economy by 2050.

As Government is considering the case for the electrification of EWR, EWR Co is undertaking a review by looking at options including full electrification along the whole route as well as various options for partial electrification using battery / electric hybrid rolling stock, and other sustainable rolling stock options.

The results of this review and steps to be taken will be announced in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many flexi-season tickets have been sold since their introduction by each rail franchise.

Rail ticket sales data is commercially sensitive and managed by the Rail Delivery Group on behalf of train operators, the Department is therefore not able to provide this information. The RDG can be contacted at info@raildeliverygroup.com.

The Department will continue to engage with the Rail Delivery Group and train operators to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the new flexible season tickets now that they have been launched across the network.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many flexi-season tickets have been sold (a) online and (b) at ticket machines since their introduction.

Rail ticket sales data is commercially sensitive and managed by the Rail Delivery Group on behalf of train operators, the Department is therefore not able to provide this information. The RDG can be contacted at info@raildeliverygroup.com.

The Department will continue to engage with the Rail Delivery Group and train operators to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the new flexible season tickets now that they have been launched across the network.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many flexi-season tickets have been sold since their introduction.

Rail ticket sales data is commercially sensitive and managed by the Rail Delivery Group on behalf of train operators, the Department is therefore not able to provide this information. The RDG can be contacted at info@raildeliverygroup.com.

The Department will continue to engage with the Rail Delivery Group and train operators to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the new flexible season tickets now that they have been launched across the network.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many closed railway lines the Government has assessed for reopening in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 to date.

In 2020, the Government pledged £500 million for the Restoring Your Railway Fund to deliver its manifesto commitment and start reopening lines and stations. The Department is always considering potential schemes that come forward. As part of the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund, we have assessed 199 bids to develop proposals to build and enhance rail lines and stations, and awarded funding to 25 so far. We expect to announce the outcomes of the third round in the summer.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to publish the findings of its consultation entitled Pavement parking: options for change, announced on 31 August 2020.

The Department received over 15,000 responses to the consultation. We are carefully considering the consultation findings and the results will inform our policy decisions. We will be publishing a response when we have completed this work, which is a priority.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many new bus routes have been created in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

Changes to bus services are notified to the Traffic Commissioners. The Traffic Commissioners Annual Report for 2020-21 has not yet been published; the latest available report covers 2019-2020. The latest published data from the Traffic Commissioners regarding the number of new registrations can be found online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/traffic-commissioners-annual-reports

The numbers of new and/or cancelled registrations will not be the same as the number of starts and/or cessations of bus services. A registration that is cancelled may be complemented by a new service introduction that is an exact match or a slight variation to the one which has been cancelled.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government plans to take steps in response to local authorities reportedly delaying the introduction of clean air zones as a result of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on traffic levels.

Following the initial impact of the pandemic Government agreed last summer to requests to delay work on the introduction of Clean Air Zones in a number of areas, recognising the significant uncertainties and economic hardship arising from Covid19.

While levels of Nitrogen Dioxide emissions (NO2) fell across the UK during lockdown, levels are rising again in many places as traffic levels increase. That is why various interventions such as Clean Air Zones are needed to tackle pollution levels and to improve public health. We have therefore made clear that we expect local authorities to progress their work to implement measures to tackle NO2 exceedences in the shortest possible time, including introduction of Clean Air Zones where these are needed.

We continue to engage with local authorities and keep plans for all Clean Air Zones under regular review to ensure we deliver compliance in the shortest time possible.

We are pleased that Bath and North East Somerset introduced their Clean Air Zone on 15 March 2021 with Birmingham following on 1 June. Portsmouth City Council is expected to launch its CAZ over the winter, and further zones expected to be introduced next year.

Local authorities have been supported by the Government with a comprehensive package of technical and financial support to deliver compliance with roadside NO2 concentration limits.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support the Government is providing to local authorities to introduce clean air zones.

Under the 2017 UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations and its further Supplement in 2018, 61 local authorities were directed to develop plans for delivering Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) compliance in the shortest possible time.

As a result of this process, a number of local authorities have determined that Clean Air Zone is needed to deliver legal NO2 levels in the shortest possible time. Where this is the case, Government is providing guidance to local authorities to implement the zone, as well as financial assistance to help local businesses and individuals adapt - including grants to help upgrade vehicles supported by £880m of ringfenced support. The first two Clean Air Zones have been implemented by Birmingham City Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council, with further zones expected to be introduced later this year and next year.

Under the Transport Act 2000, local authorities are permitted to implement a charging zone to achieve air quality objectives independently of the Government’s NO2 programme.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to reflect this. The Mayor received funding to implement measures to improve air quality as part of the 2015 £5bn transport funding settlement.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it will be in the remit of the Office of Rail and Road to authorise new rail stations without tactile paving.

The authorisation of new stations will be in the remit of the ORR. However, I would not expect any new station to be designed without tactile paving in the first place.

I have also asked Network Rail to develop a plan to equip all existing platforms with tactile paving and expect to make an announcement shortly.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason Transport for London is required to undertake a review of its bus services in July 2021; and what assessment he has made of the level of accuracy of such an exercise being undertaken before passenger numbers have recovered to a stable level due to the covid-19 outbreak.

In June the Government agreed a third extraordinary funding and financing package for Transport for London (TfL) worth around £1.08bn. As part of this deal, the Mayor has agreed to carry out a review of service levels. This review is aimed at generating a range of service options to efficiently manage services and associated costs to support the achievement of financial sustainability by the target date of April 2023.

We will continue to monitor passenger demand over this period to accurately assess service levels and keep Londoners moving.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made on the benefits of a clear pipeline of upcoming work for managing costs in the rail sector.

As is made clear in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, boosting supply chain productivity and line of sight over the future pipelines of work is imperative for an efficient, modern and innovative railway.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Procurement Green Paper, if he will set out a clear pipeline of work for rail enhancement projects.

In line with our policy of providing transparency to the rail enhancements supply chain, we will publish an update to the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline in the coming months.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish an updated Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP).

In line with our policy of providing transparency to the rail enhancements supply chain, we will publish an update to the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline in the coming months.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's support for the Rail Supply Group Work Pipeline Visibility Charter, if he will publish an updated Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) list as soon as possible.

In line with our policy of providing transparency to the rail enhancements supply chain, we will publish an update to the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline in the coming months.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Government is taking to (a) improve awareness among drivers of the harms of idling engines and (b) encourage drivers to turn their engines off where possible.

Unnecessary vehicle idling is already an offence under The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002, with equivalent devolved powers. It is also the subject of rule 123 of the Highway Code, which drivers are required to learn and observe.

Local Authorities, which are responsible for enforcement, are free to take other measures to discourage engine idling, including additional signage at specific locations. The Department for Transport has authorised the use of such signs by some traffic authorities where required.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people his Department has employed who previously worked at Heathrow Airport from 2011 to 2021.

The Department and its Executive Agencies do not store information in an individual’s employee records regarding their former employer(s).

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many employees have left his Department to work at Heathrow Airport in each of the last three years.

The Department and its Executive Agencies do not store information in employee records regarding what organisations staff join upon leaving the Department.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of particulate and plastic pollution from (a) brakes, (b) tyres and (c) road wear on human health; and what steps the Government is taking to tackle that matter.

The Department for Transport has not conducted an assessment of the potential effect of particulate and plastic pollution from brake, tyre and road wear (collectively referred to as ‘non-exhaust emissions’) on human health. However, in 2020 the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) reviewed and published a statement on the existing evidence on the subject.

In February, the Department for Transport commenced a significant research project to understand better the measurement techniques, materials properties and control parameters of brake and tyre wear emissions from road vehicles. The project will report in 2023 and will be used to inform policy decisions and any potential legislation that may be required to control and reduce these emissions. The Department is also taking a leading role within the UNECE Particle Measurement Programme (PMP), which is developing an internationally recognised test procedure for measuring non-exhaust particle emissions from vehicles.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department's policy is on the proportion of seats that can be safely occupied on a train; and how that matter is being enforced in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.

In line with the Government’s guidance on social distancing and safer transport, train operators have taken significant measures on their vehicles to support social distancing. All train operators are expected to carry out their own risk assessments on the most appropriate action to take, taking account of factors such as the design of different types of rolling stock. Some operators of long-distance services have limited capacity by selling only a set number of seats and requiring reservations. In addition, train operators have increased services levels as we move through the roadmap to provide additional capacity as demand increases.

Passengers are urged to check before they travel and to plan ahead, as transport services and roads are likely to be busier as restrictions ease. They are reminded to follow safer travel guidance when they travel, including wearing a face covering unless exempt, sanitising their hands regularly and keeping their distance where possible.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason there can only be two train timetable changes per year.

It is important for passengers that the timetable is as stable as possible so they can plan their journeys effectively. Timetables are also highly complex and need meticulous planning to be able to operate reliably. The rail industry responded rapidly to re-plan services during the pandemic and as we recover it will be important to balance this flexible response to demand changes with the clear need to provide stability to passengers and to plan changes in a robust way.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the effect of a reduction in subsidies to the rail industry on the frequency of services provided.

The amount of Government support to the rail industry and what the rail industry must do for the travelling public in return for that money is regularly reviewed at Spending Reviews (for passenger services) and regular Periodic Reviews (which set rail infrastructure funding for a set 5-year period, with the next one due in 2023). While frequency is one factor in train service provision, other factors, such as reliability and on-board capacity are equally important, and are balanced to provide an appropriate total service for passengers. Factors such as improved working practices in the industry and total passenger revenue, in addition to Government support, all impact the total funding to the industry. All these factors will be balanced when considering rail services, of which frequency is one aspect.

It should be noted that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Department put in place emergency measures to support all operators holding franchise contracts with the UK government. The total costs of these measures in 2020/21 is estimated to be around £8.5 billion in Government support.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Answer of 5 March 2021 to Question 158995, when Network Rail plans to deliver a costed plan for a wider roll out of platform edge tactiles for stations, where tactiles are not being delivered under another programme; and what assessment he has made of whether a faster roll out of tactiles at stations is possible.

We are working with Network Rail to potentially accelerate the roll out of tactile edge paving, including a funding plan by autumn 2021.

Tactiles will be installed on over 100 accessible routes as part of Access for All programme by 2024. Whenever the industry installs, replaces or renews platform infrastructure, it must install tactiles.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the total level of expenditure on Emergency Recovering Measures Agreements for train operating companies is since October 2020.

Train operators provide management accounts to government, and are paid by government, once per rail period and there are 13 such periods in each financial year. Reliable data therefore cannot be produced from 1 October exactly as the accounting dates do not align.

However, periodic data on operational support payments made to each franchised operator from 1 March 2020 to 6 February 2021, is published at the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dft-payments-to-passenger-rail-operators-under-emergency-agreements

Financial Year 2020-21 Rail Period 7 started on 20 September 2020, and 1 October 2020 fell within it.

The nine ERMA train operators include: C2C (Essex Thameside), South Western Railway, TransPennine Express, West Midlands Trains, Greater Anglia (East Anglia), GTR (Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern), Chiltern Railways, East Midlands Railways, and Avanti West Coast (West Coast Partnership).

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that transport infrastructure contracts are awarded to British companies.

The Department for Transport buys goods and services in line with government procurement policy and the current legislative framework. My Department aims to take full benefit of the flexibilities afforded by our departure from the EU to reform procurement legislation. We are working with wider government to review and reshape our procurement regulations, to ensure they drive social, environmental and economic benefits across the country.

With regards to transport infrastructure, steel is one strategic area in which the DfT is working across government and with industry to ensure that UK producers have the best possible chance of competing for and winning contracts, through the newly formed Steel Procurement Taskforce.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to support the tourism industry in the next three months.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the aviation industry and wider tourism sector because of Covid-19. Firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor.

In total, we estimate that as of the end of April 2021 the air transport sector benefited from around £7bn of Government support since the start of the pandemic. The extension of Government-backed loans and furlough payments announced at the budget build on this and will help ensure this vital and vibrant part of the UK economy is ready to bounce back in the wake of the pandemic.

As set out in the Global Travel Taskforce report, the Government will publish a Tourism Recovery Plan, outlining the longer-term recovery of the sector. The Government will set out proposals soon, including plans for a marketing campaign to welcome visitors back to the UK as soon as it is safe to do so.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring airlines to check passengers' coronavirus paperwork and to ensure they have booked testing packages for their return to the UK.

It is already a legal requirement for carriers to check these measures have been complied with, and there are financial penalties for operators and passengers for non-compliance.

We are working closely with airlines to ensure passengers are compliant with the requirements of passage to the United Kingdom. Airlines are in an excellent position to assist in ensuring compliance with the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) away from the border, facilitating a smoother arrivals process in UK ports. They are able to communicate with passengers at various stages of the journey, from booking passage to departure, ensuring passengers comply with their requirement to complete the PLF and that the relevant testing packages have been booked.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with representatives of the (a) London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and (b) Port of London Authority on legal responsibility for the closure of the River Thames at Hammersmith Bridge.

As asset owners, London Borough Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) are responsible for the closure of Hammersmith Bridge. In August 2020, LBHF instructed the Port of London Authority (PLA) to close the river under the bridge.

LBHF and PLA are both members of the Government-led Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce. Within this forum, discussion on the closure of Hammersmith Bridge is ongoing. To date, the Taskforce has met 14 times. Our continued leadership through the Taskforce has meant that the Case for Continued Safe Operation Board accepted PLA’s proposal to allow limited and controlled river transits when there are no workers on the bridge; this is only for vessels which cannot carry out their activity elsewhere on the river.

Discussions continue at officials’ level between the Department, LBHF and the PLA. DfT engineers have also extensively engaged with their counterparts at LBHF to offer support in evaluating the condition of the bridge

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his policy is on dedicating sections of roads for use as bus and cycle lanes.

The Department has made no such estimate on the removal of bus lanes. Local authorities are responsible for managing their roads, including provision of bus lanes and cycling infrastructure. They are free to make their own decisions about the streets under their care, provided they take account of the relevant legislation.

The Department has issued guidance for local authorities on reallocating road space in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. This includes bus and cycle-only corridors as one measure local authorities may consider. This can be accessed at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/reallocating-road-space-in-response-to-covid-19-statutory-guidance-for-local-authorities.

In July 2020, the Department also published Local Transport Note 1/20: Cycle Infrastructure Design. This provides good practice advice on designing high-quality cycling infrastructure and includes advice on bus and cycle lanes.

Bus lanes are open to cyclists by default, and whilst not specifically a cycle facility, bus lanes can offer some degree of segregation for cyclists as they significantly reduce the amount of interaction with motor traffic. Local Transport Note 1.20 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-infrastructure-design-ltn-120

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance he has issued to local transport bodies on the removal of bus lanes to enable the creation of sections of road dedicated to cyclists.

The Department has made no such estimate on the removal of bus lanes. Local authorities are responsible for managing their roads, including provision of bus lanes and cycling infrastructure. They are free to make their own decisions about the streets under their care, provided they take account of the relevant legislation.

The Department has issued guidance for local authorities on reallocating road space in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. This includes bus and cycle-only corridors as one measure local authorities may consider. This can be accessed at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/reallocating-road-space-in-response-to-covid-19-statutory-guidance-for-local-authorities.

In July 2020, the Department also published Local Transport Note 1/20: Cycle Infrastructure Design. This provides good practice advice on designing high-quality cycling infrastructure and includes advice on bus and cycle lanes.

Bus lanes are open to cyclists by default, and whilst not specifically a cycle facility, bus lanes can offer some degree of segregation for cyclists as they significantly reduce the amount of interaction with motor traffic. Local Transport Note 1.20 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-infrastructure-design-ltn-120

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) length of bus lanes removed between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021 to (i) provide more space for motorists and (ii) create sections of road dedicated to cyclists; and if he will list the locations where those lanes have been removed.

The Department has made no such estimate on the removal of bus lanes. Local authorities are responsible for managing their roads, including provision of bus lanes and cycling infrastructure. They are free to make their own decisions about the streets under their care, provided they take account of the relevant legislation.

The Department has issued guidance for local authorities on reallocating road space in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. This includes bus and cycle-only corridors as one measure local authorities may consider. This can be accessed at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/reallocating-road-space-in-response-to-covid-19-statutory-guidance-for-local-authorities.

In July 2020, the Department also published Local Transport Note 1/20: Cycle Infrastructure Design. This provides good practice advice on designing high-quality cycling infrastructure and includes advice on bus and cycle lanes.

Bus lanes are open to cyclists by default, and whilst not specifically a cycle facility, bus lanes can offer some degree of segregation for cyclists as they significantly reduce the amount of interaction with motor traffic. Local Transport Note 1.20 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-infrastructure-design-ltn-120

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the cost to the public purse was of the KPMG report examining Transport for London’s finances that was commissioned in June 2020.

Costs associated with the Government Led Review of Transport for London’s financial position totalled £1,216,107. This expenditure is critical to providing evidence to support Government’s policy making, including the funding settlement with TfL from October 2020, worth up to £1.7 billion. This is part of the overall extraordinary government support of up to £3.3 billion for TfL to date.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much his Department has spent on costs associated with KPMG's report on the Government-led financial review of Transport for London, commissioned by his Department in June 2020.

Costs associated with the Government Led Review of Transport for London’s financial position totalled £1,216,107. This expenditure is critical to providing evidence to support Government’s policy making, including the funding settlement with TfL from October 2020, worth up to £1.7 billion. This is part of the overall extraordinary government support of up to £3.3 billion for TfL to date.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has made to the Port of London Authority to re-open the River Thames at Hammersmith Bridge for commercial traffic to support the river economy, jobs and businesses.

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, as the bridge owner, took the decision to close Hammersmith Bridge to river traffic in August 2020, as advised within the Case for Continued Safe Operation. The Government wants to see the bridge reopened to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic as soon as it is safe to do so.

For some time, the Department for Transport and the Port of London Authority have been in discussion with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham on the possibility of revisiting the Case for Continued Safe Operation to allow river traffic when engineers are not working on the bridge. Controlled transits are now allowed at specific times every Sunday, and discussion continues on how a greater number of transits can be permitted, in line with increased demand as the river community emerges from both winter and COVID-19 lockdown.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many bridges in the London region are substandard; and what assessment he has made of the economic effect of the reduced carrying capacity of those bridges.

Ownership of bridges in London is varied and owners include Transport for London, Network Rail and individual London Boroughs. Local transport infrastructure maintenance is a devolved matter. Therefore, it is the owners’ responsibility to ensure that their asset is maintained to the appropriate standard. The Department does not hold specific information on the condition of each individual structure. As such, the Department does not assess the economic effect of any reduced carrying capacity on London bridges.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage Network Rail and Train Operator Companies to install tactile paving and other accessibility features when renewal works are taking place.

The Department expects the industry to meet current accessibility requirements whenever it installs, renews or replaces station infrastructure.

Failure to do so can lead to enforcement action by the Office of Rail and Roads.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will ensure that the decision making process for new and transferred trains includes an assessment to ensure that step gaps at stations are not increased as a result of those trains.

When introducing new or cascaded trains, it is a matter for operators to undertake risk assessments at each station to ensure that platforms conform to relevant standards before the trains are approved for entry into service. The platforms have to pass a design test and a practical physical test, demonstrating compliance.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to financially support local authorities in repairing substandard bridges to their full carrying capacity within the next five years.

The Department will allocate over £1.1 billion capital funding for local highways maintenance, including bridge repair, to local highway authorities in England, outside London, during 2021/21. The Department will work with HM Treasury on a multi-year settlement for areas, including local highways maintenance, at the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the mutual recognition of qualifications for tour guides accompanying tours into the EU will cover registered driver guides using their own car to conduct tours.

Now the Transition Period is over, the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive no longer applies to UK nationals. This means that if a UK national wishes to practice a regulated profession in the EU, they will need to meet the legal requirements of the relevant EU Member State. Professionals should consult the European Commission Regulated Professionals Database to understand whether the profession in question is regulated, and secondly, what other licenses or authorisations they may need to work in that profession. It is important to note that the recognition of a professional qualification does not automatically cover the licences to operate vehicles in the EU.

The Government is committed to establishing arrangements with EU countries that facilitate motoring with the minimum of bureaucracy. In 2020, all EU countries, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have confirmed recognition of UK driving licences which means that International Driving Permits will not be required by visiting UK motorists with photocard driving licences from 1 January 2021.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason ferry trips are not included in the Government's refund guarantee for cancelled Christmas rail and coach trips.

The preparations and communications the Department made for Christmas travel were focussed towards road and rail passengers as these sectors were deemed at greatest risk of possible congestion. They were explicitly encouraged to pre-book, unlike the ferry sector where, on domestic routes, it is less likely to require pre-booking.

For international ferry routes, the existing compensation requirements under EU law applied where services had been cancelled by the operator and passengers should have been offered either a rebooking or a refund. For domestic ferry routes, existing compensation requirements also applied which we expect operators have honoured.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the level of (a) income generation and (b) Treasury funding of the introduction of flexible season tickets on the railways.

Passenger demand has fallen dramatically over the last year and its recovery is uncertain. Due to this and a potential shift in passenger behaviours, rail income in the future is also uncertain. Any flexible season ticket products will aim to encourage and support passengers returning to the railway when it is safe to do so. We are continuing to work closely with industry to develop a solution and will provide further details in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure recognition of UK driving licences with EU countries.

The Government is committed to establishing arrangements with EU countries that facilitate private motoring with the minimum of bureaucracy In 2020, all EU countries, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have confirmed recognition of UK driving licences which means that International Driving Permits will not be required by UK visitors with photocard driving licences from 1 January 2021.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the review into Transport for London’s future financial position and future financial structure being conducted by KPMG and as set out in the extraordinary funding and financing agreement of 14 May 2020 will be published in full.

The Government’s review into Transport for London’s future financial position continues to be a matter of live policymaking. Ministers continue to monitor the public interest test for when publication is appropriate.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the average cost of reinstating one mile of rail track on a disused line where the track bed remains available.

The Department has made no such estimate. The Government is progressing work on a number of rail reinstatement schemes through its Restoring Your Railway programme. Each scheme will have unique characteristics in terms of the works required to deliver the desired train service outputs.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the award of a 9,000-ton contract for steel plate for bridges on the HS2 route by joint venture Eiffage-Kier-Ferrovial-Bam to a French subsidiary of Eiffage, what steps he is taking to ensure that such contracts are awarded to UK companies.

The Government’s guidance on the procurement of steel was published in November 2015 and subsequently updated in December 2016. All major government projects are required to take cognisance of the Crown Commercial Service Procurement Policy Note 11/16: “Procuring Steel in Major Projects - Revised Guidance” (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-1116-procuring-steel-in-major-projects-revised-guidance ).

Whilst HS2 Ltd. does not directly buy steel, it does apply a strategic and transparent approach to the sourcing of steel for the HS2 Programme through its Tier 1 contractors and their supply chains. HS2 Ltd is governed by the Utility Contract Regulations and ensures a fair procurement process which complies the with UK procurement law and the Government policy on the procurement of steel. I can confirm that the UK steel industry is already delivering for HS2 including 1,130 tonnes from Darlington-based Cleveland Bridge. Celsa Steel in Cardiff for 1,800 tonnes of loose steel and rebar. Caunton Engineering in Nottinghamshire for 2,400 tonnes of structural steel.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of The Times investigation which recently found that 4,000 of about 9,000 bridges and large culverts on motorways or A-roads showed evidence of defects or damage that may significantly affect their capacity.

All bridges and structures on the Strategic Road Network are regularly inspected by Highways England to ensure that they remain safe to operate. Through regular inspection, Highways England is also able to plan maintenance works in a way that minimises disruption for road users.

Identification of damage or defects, which can include cosmetic defects, does not mean a structure is unsafe. Where defects or damage is detected, further detailed engineering inspections are undertaken to determine the cause and whether maintenance is required. If repairs are needed, they will be appropriately prioritised and included in Highways England’s ongoing maintenance programme.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will (a) outline the criteria his Department used to determine which stations were chosen for funding under the Access for All scheme and (b) publish the assessment of the extent to which Kew Gardens Rail Station meets those criteria.

Selection criteria included taking into account the priorities of the rail industry, and targeting stations with no existing step free access. The programme was heavily over-subscribed and as Kew Gardens was not nominated by the train operating company, and has some step free access, it was not selected for the programme.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his tweet of 27 November 2020 stating that stabilisation works on Hammersmith Bridge will begin in the week commencing 30 November 2020, whether it is his policy that those works will commence in the week commencing 30 November 2020; and what source will be providing the funding for those works.

The Department is pleased that, following the latest Taskforce meeting, contractors have commenced working on-site at Hammersmith Bridge from this week on mitigation and stabilisation work to get it re-opened for pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic.

The funding for this work comes from the fixed contribution that TfL committed to make this Financial Year towards the stabilisation and repair of the Bridge, as per the extraordinary funding and financing package agreed with Government on 31 October 2020.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to introduce further restrictions on night time flights at UK airports.

The Department has today launched a consultation which will inform future decisions on night flight restrictions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of (a) introducing subsidies for and (b) increasing the availability of adaptable or non-standard bicycles for people with mobility issues who require adapted models.

It is essential that as wide a range of people as possible have the opportunity to take up cycling, in all its forms. On 28 July the Prime Minister launched ambitious plans to boost cycling and walking which included a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over the next 5 years. The Plan includes a commitment to increasing access to e-cycles (including adapted e-cycles) by setting up a new national e-cycle support programme, to help those who are older, have to travel longer distances, or are less able to take up conventional pedal cycling.

On 18 November the Department also announced a £1m E-Cycle Extension fund which will support programmes to increase the use of e-cycles, including adapted e-cycles, within a number of local authority areas over the coming months, as a way of helping to inform decisions on the national programme.

These measures are part of a broader approach which includes ensuring that cycle infrastructure should be accessible to everyone. This will help bring non-traditional groups to cycling, including older and disabled people. The Department’s guidance on the Cycle to Work scheme was also revised in 2019 to make clear that more expensive cycles, including adapted cycles, could be supported under the scheme.

The Department will keep under review the case for further support for adapted and non-standard bicycles.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) the provision of fewer parking spaces and (b) other provisions to encourage people to drive less do not adversely affect the (i) independence and (ii) confidence of people with mobility issues.

The Active Travel Fund was announced on 9 May and provided £225m of funding for local authorities to enable them to reallocate road space and make changes to road layouts in response to COVID-19.

Alongside the funding, the Department published statutory guidance to local authorities under the Traffic Management Act 2004. This provides advice on the changes that Government expects them to make to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. It is for local authorities to decide what specific measures are appropriate on their roads to achieve this. They are responsible for ensuring that their actions are within the law and are accountable to local people for their decisions and their performance.

The updated guidance reiterates what consultation requirements apply, and that the needs of disabled people must be taken into account and that an Equalities Impact Assessment should be carried out for proposed changes. It also makes clear that any changes to Blue Badge parking provision must be carefully considered and that local groups representing disabled people should be consulted.

The guidance is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reallocating-road-space-in-response-to-covid-19-statutory-guidance-for-local-authorities.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with Network Rail on improving the ability of wheelchair users to communicate with train managers and drivers.

On-board communication between wheelchair users and the train managers and drivers is a matter for train operators not Network Rail. On the overwhelming majority of trains there is space for wheelchair users that includes the ability to communicate with train managers and drivers. Trains that are not fully compliant with accessibility regulations are in the process of being replaced with new trains that will feature communication equipment required under the relevant accessibility regulations.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of directly refunding passengers in the event of flight disruption to help ensure that airlines do not collapse during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Chancellor has already announced a host of measures to help businesses in this period with £330bn worth of Government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses. The Government has no current plans to either create a scheme specifically to issue refunds on behalf of businesses, or assess the potential benefits of such a scheme. The Government has been clear that airlines and travel agents should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund if it is requested, and this should be done in a timely manner.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of providing (a) bailout funding or (b) loans to airlines that (i) would or (ii) would not be contingent on commitments to reduce emissions to ensure that airlines can continue to operate during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the aviation industry as a result of Covid-19 and firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital and flexibilities with tax bills.

In the Chancellor’s letter to the aviation sector on 24 March 2020, he made it clear that the Government would consider bespoke financial support for firms as a last resort, once all other options had been exhausted. This means firms must have exhausted the comprehensive package of economy-wide measures we have put in place and all other funding options, including with shareholders and commercial debt providers. In order to protect the interests of taxpayers, any support would need to represent value for money. Companies receiving support also need to agree to appropriate conditions, including conditions relating to tax, supplier payment terms, climate change and corporate governance.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to increase rail (a) capacity, (b) staffing and (c) funding over the Christmas 2020 period to ensure people travelling are able to follow social distancing guidance.

We have been clear that our priority remains the safety of staff and passengers. Rail operators are running the maximum level of services that can be resourced reliably, in a context of rising staff absence caused by COVID-19. The government recognises that public transport, including rail transport, is instrumental in keeping the country moving. This is why we have made sufficient funding available to rail operators to ensure services can run, so those who need to travel can do so with confidence. We continue to support the rail industry in providing crucial rail services, as we have done since the beginning of the pandemic.

Operators seek to provide as much capacity as possible so that those who need to travel can observe social distancing, and continue to deploy additional staff at stations to manage passenger flows, provide advice and guide passengers. Measures implemented to promote social distancing include messaging at trains and stations to remind people to keep apart, floor stickers and one-way systems to control passenger flows, and regular reminders to encourage passengers to use the whole length of the train when boarding.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the devolved Administrations on ensuring rail capacity is increased over the Christmas 2020 period.

Decisions concerning service levels in each of the four nations is a matter for each country’s respective government. Cross-border operators continue to consider guidance published by each government when planning services, as well as expected passenger demand and the level of service that can be resourced within existing staffing constraints.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of a moratorium on non-essential engineering works over the Christmas 2020 period to reduce travel disruption.

Carrying out engineering works is essential to ensure that the railway remains safe for passengers and staff, and that changes can be made to improve passenger journeys. Network Rail and train operators take all possible measures to minimise the impact this essential work has on passengers. This includes diverting trains from their usual routes, and planning engineering works in a way that preserves connectivity, and providing alternative transport by road where needed.

This winter, engineering works will involve upgrades and routine maintenance around Britain. Most of the railway will stay open for business as usual, but passengers should check their journeys in advance if they are planning to travel during this time. Operators will also provide passengers with advance notice, so they know how their journeys will be affected and what alternatives are available.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that airlines are providing swift refunds to passengers in the event of disruption due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Department has been clear that airlines and travel agents should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund, if it is requested and this should be done in a timely manner. The Civil Aviation Authority is routinely reviewing the refund policies and practices of all UK airlines, as well as a number of international airlines that operate flights to and from the UK. The CAA has utilised its review to influence airlines to change their processes and practices in order to improve performance in providing refunds. The CAA’s actions have led to an improved quality of service and performance from most airlines. The CAA continues to work with carriers to drive down waiting times, while recognising the challenges businesses are facing.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to release the next wave of Fix your Bike Scheme vouchers.

The Department plans to do this very shortly. The release of vouchers has been staggered in order to prevent repairers from being overwhelmed. The first release was a small pilot to allow the Department to monitor the scheme’s impact and adapt it as necessary. Further details will be announced in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of exempting people from covid-19 quarantine rules who due to contractual obligations must travel fortnightly to the EU.

There is an exemption for people who live in the UK but work in another country and travel between the UK and country of work at least once a week. It is for the individual to assess whether they qualify for an exemption and to ensure they can evidence the criteria as required for the exemption. As with all measures, this list of exemptions remains under regular review.

The full list of exemptions is available on gov.uk at the link below: full list here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the number of his Department’s bike repair vouchers that have been used by low-income households.

The Department holds no information on this. Applicants for the first pilot tranche of vouchers were not asked for details of their household income. To date, 62,101 vouchers have been issued in the pilot release.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department’s plans for further provision of bike repair schemes will target people on the lowest incomes.

The Department has no current plans to target bike repair vouchers at low income households for the remainder of the pilot phase, but will keep this under review for future releases. The Department will also be working with a national cycling charity for the next release to ensure that a portion of vouchers reach people with disabilities.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much of the £2 billion active travel fund announced on 9 May 2020 has been spent in each local authority.

£225 million has been allocated to local authorities via the Emergency Active Travel Fund in 2020-21. £42 million was provided to local authorities in tranche 1, and most authorities have now spent these funds on scheme delivery. The Department intends to announce tranche 2 allocations shortly. Final allocations for tranche 1 and indicative allocations for tranche 2 can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/emergency-active-travel-fund-local-transport-authority-allocations/emergency-active-travel-fund-total-indicative-allocations Decisions on allocating the remainder of the £2 billion, due to be spent during this parliament, are subject to the Spending Review.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an estimate of how many miles of rail could be reinstated if half the Government's £27 billion road building programme is used instead for that purpose.

We have a £10.4bn budget for rail enhancements in Control Period 6 (2019-2024), £500m of which is available for Restoring Your Railway schemes. All rail enhancement schemes are assessed on a case by case basis and have unique costs and benefits.

Through the second Road Investment Strategy, the Government is investing £27.4 billion in the operation, maintenance, renewal and enhancement of England’s Strategic Road Network (SRN) between 2020 and 2025. This investment focuses on both making journeys safer and more reliable, and minimising the SRN’s effects on adjacent local communities and environments.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding (a) has been allocated since July 2019 and (b) he plans to allocate from 5 October 2020 to 31 December 2020 to contingency ferries in the event that the UK does not reach an agreement on future trading relations with the EU.

For the period since July 2019 £13,769,940 has been spent on additional freight capacity. The Government is currently procuring additional freight capacity for the period from December 31st 2020 to June 2021. Once this process is concluded the value of the contracts will be placed in the public domain.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Government's £27 billion road building programme on (a) overall road traffic volumes and (b) congestion on unimproved roads linked to roads funded under that programme.

Through the second Road Investment Strategy, the Government is investing £27.4 billion in the operation, maintenance, renewal and enhancement of England’s Strategic Road Network (SRN) between 2020 and 2025. This investment focuses on both making journeys safer and more reliable, and minimising the SRN’s effects on adjacent local communities and environments.

The impact of enhancements on future traffic flows in an area is considered on a scheme by scheme basis as options are assessed and developed, including through consultation with local highway authorities and other interested parties. World-leading traffic models that provide a consistent approach to traffic modelling of the SRN have been developed and used by Highways England to forecast how traffic flows and speeds change following infrastructure investment. They take account of the latest evidence on how increased road capacity impacts on traffic volumes and economic welfare (the concept of ‘induced demand’). They include a representation of not just the SRN but also the local road network to model wider impacts, such as congestion.

We continue to build on our evidence base to ensure that we have the most robust methodology possible for assessing the induced effects of increasing road capacity.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the Government's response to the Williams Rail Review consultation which closed on 31 May 2019.

The Government is committed to reforms that deliver a passenger-focused railway, with reliable and safe services. We have now ended the franchising system, paving the way for the wider reforms which will be set out in the upcoming Williams Review White Paper. The Government wants to make progress as quickly as it can, but the impact of Covid-19 has posed challenges. We will publish this as soon as the course of the Covid-19 pandemic allows.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with railway operators on making the price of a single rail journey equivalent of a return ticket for that journey.

The Department launched a trial of Single Leg Pricing with LNER on 2 January 2020, removing return tickets for journeys between London King’s Cross and Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh. Removing returns has simplified the fares structure, with flexible single fares purchased just before travel now costing around half of the old return fare and no more singles priced at £1 less than the return. Passengers are able to mix and match tickets much more easily, providing better value for money, tickets that suit their travel plans and cheaper journeys overall.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with rail operators on plans to make (a) three-day (b) other part-time season tickets available to rail passengers across England.

Government recognises that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a fundamental change in working patterns and that this could have long-term effects on commuter behaviours.

In response, the Department for Transport has proactively worked with the rail industry, and is currently considering proposals received from train operators, to try to ensure better value and convenience for part-time and flexible commuters.

These are unprecedented times and our immediate focus is on ensuring that we keep the railway available and safe for those who rely upon it.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the speed limit for mobility scooters on UK roads to that in the EU.

The Government has not made an assessment of increasing the speed limits of mobility scooters for use on the roads. The safety of all road users is a key priority for the Government and the current speed limit for mobility scooters is based on both safety and mobility considerations and balances the interests of all road users.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what evidence-based assessment he has made of the effectiveness of quarantine measures for people coming in to the UK from abroad in containing covid-19.

Throughout the outbreak, we have brought in the right measures at the right time based on scientific advice. Scientific advice can give us estimates of the incidence of coronavirus internationally and domestically, and ministers decide how to respond to the risk of imported cases based on this advice.

The scientific advice shows that when domestic transmission is high, imported cases represent a small amount of the overall total and they make no significant difference to the epidemic. However, this can change when the domestic transmission/rate of infection is low, and people are arriving from countries with a higher rate of infection. Requiring arrivals to the UK to self-isolate for 14 days will reduce the risk of transmission from this group.

These measures are to be subject to review every 28 days, to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and remain effective and necessary.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential for disruption to travel corridors after the end of the transition period.

Travel corridors are a global approach to managing health risks from travel. We keep this approach under constant review.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to mitigate the disruption caused by the closing of travel corridors; and what steps his Department is taking to avoid quarantine measures in the future.

We have consistently advised travellers that travel corridors can, and do change quickly.

As the Secretary of State set out in the House on 07/09/2020 – there is a tension between bringing in to force regulations at pace which are designed to protect the health of the public and allowing travellers and operators the chance to consider incoming regulations. Our current approach, a Thursday announcement followed by a Saturday coming in to force date tries to straddle those concerns. It is also an approach that has been agreed across the four nations, and takes on board operational considerations at the border. However, we reserve the right to bring regulations in to force quicker if their strong public health rationale to do so.

While it is right that we continue to ask individuals to self-isolate if they have visited a high risk destination, we are working actively on the practicalities of using testing to release people from self-isolation in fewer than 14 days.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to (a) provide the public with the information necessary to confidently plan travel and holidays while staying safe during the covid-19 pandemic; and (b) communicate that information in a timely and accessible manner.

As we have consistently made clear, Covid-19 has profoundly changed the nature of international travel, and those who chose to travel should do so with their eyes open. It is right that we prioritise the health of the public.

There is a tension between bringing in to force regulations at pace which are designed to protect the health of the public and allowing travellers and operators the chance to consider incoming regulations. Our current approach, a Thursday announcement followed by a Saturday coming in to force date tries to straddle those concerns. It is also an approach that has been agreed across the four nations, and takes on board operational considerations at the border. However, we reserve the right to bring regulations in to force quicker if their strong public health rationale to do so.

Travel advice is available here:

[https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus]

Advice on travel corridors is available here:

[https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors]

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to allocate financial support for the travel industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the travel sector as a result of COVID-19. The sector is crucial to the UK’s economy and businesses across the industry will be able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures we have put in place during this time.

This includes a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which facilitates access to finance for businesses affected by the outbreak. Firms are also able to access ‘Time to Pay’ scheme which eases restrictions with tax bills and VAT deferrals.

The Government is also ensuring financial support for employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme covering 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, alongside the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions. If employees have exhausted all other avenues, they should write to the Transport Secretary.

The Department for Transport is in close contact with the travel sector ensuring that the Government is kept fully aware of the latest developments with all firms and to understand where additional policy measures and address specific industry issues.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to introduce covid-19 testing for departures and arrivals at airports.

We are actively working on the practicalities of using testing to release people from self-isolation earlier than 14 days. Department officials are working with health experts with the aim of cutting the self-isolation period without adding to infection risk or infringing on our overall NHS test capacity.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his time frame is for responding to requests for Government funding to provide for a temporary bridge and repairs to Hammersmith bridge.

The Department wants to see the Hammersmith Bridge opened as soon as safely possible, so that – at a minimum – people can cycle and walk across the bridge.

We recognise the situation needs to be resolved as soon as possible for the benefit of commuters and local residents.

To ensure progress is made quickly we are working with all relevant stakeholders to enable us to move forward.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what support the Government is providing to the British cruise ship industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department have been working in close partnership with the British cruise industry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to have regular discussions on a wide range of operational and other challenges.

The British Cruise industry, as with all parts of the economy, has been able to apply for, and access, the full range of the HMG business support measures.

I am eager to see a swift return to operations as soon as it is safe to do so. I have been working in collaboration across government, with the cruise industry, to review and enhance protocols to ensure a COVID-19 safe environment. These collective efforts will, I hope, allow the safe resumption of cruise operations in due course, and I support them in their efforts to rebuild public confidence.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many complaints the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency received on smoky vehicles relating to (a) lorries, and (b) buses.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has received 2051 complaints about smoky vehicles during 2020. It does not hold separate data for lorries and buses.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency does not accept reports on excessively smoky vehicles other than lorries and buses.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has no statutory powers to act on reports of excessively smoky vehicles other than lorries and buses.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential (a) archaeological effect and (b) effect on Stonehenge's status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site of the proposed upgrade to the A303.

Highway England’s Development Consent Order application for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme is currently with the Secretary of State for determination. In making his decision, the Secretary of State will consider carefully the findings of the Examining Authority regarding the impacts of the scheme, and the representations received since the close of the examination, including those made in response to consultation following the recent archaeological discovery at the site in June 2020. I am unable to comment further on this live planning application.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of operational railways platforms that are (a) owned and (b) managed by Network Rail that do not have tactile warnings installed to warn visually-impaired people of the platform edge.

Data on the facilities available at stations is collected and held by the Rail Delivery Group, who you can contact using info@raildeliverygroup.com.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, by what date his Department plans for every operational platform that is (a) owned and (b) managed by Network Rail will meet the European Technical Specification for Interoperability covering Persons of Reduced Mobility of the provision of tactile warnings installed to warn visually-impaired people of the platform edge.

The Department expects the industry to meet current accessibility requirements whenever it installs, renews or replaces station infrastructure. In addition, by 2030, we envisage equal access for disabled people using the transport system, with assistance if physical infrastructure remains a barrier.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to enable two people from different households to share a car following the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will put in place plans for disabled people who rely on other people to drive them.

Our priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to keep people safe by minimising the risk of transmission. This is why we continue to recommend that people should consider walking, cycling or using their own vehicle rather than sharing a vehicle with people from other households or support bubbles.

We appreciate that this will not be an option for everyone and recognise the importance of car sharing for people with disabilities. Our Safer Travel Guidance for Passengers outlines clear steps that people should attempt to follow if they have to travel in the same vehicle with people outside their household or support bubble (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers).

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that Train Operating Companies provide training to their staff on responding effectively to the disability and accessibility needs of train users.

All train operators are required by the Office of Rail and Road to provide disability awareness training to all frontline staff, and all new staff including senior and key managers, as a condition of their licence. The Office of Rail and Road is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the delivery of disability training by train operators.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of e-scooters on blind people.

The Department has carried out a preliminary assessment of the impacts of e-scooters on blind people. We recognise that people with disabilities, in particular blind or visually-impaired people, may be more affected by some of the negative impacts of e-scooter use. However, there is limited evidence available. Trials have been designed to enable us to gather robust evidence of the impact of e-scooters on all road users. We have attempted to minimise the impacts on pedestrians during trials, for example by not allowing e-scooter use on pavements and asking local areas to consider in their trail plans ways to avoid scooters creating an obstruction when not in use.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has carried out an impact assessment on the effects of the easing of restrictions on the use of e-scooters on blind people.

The Department has carried out a preliminary assessment of the impacts of e-scooters on blind people. We recognise that people with disabilities, in particular blind or visually-impaired people, may be more affected by some of the negative impacts of e-scooter use. However, there is limited evidence available. Trials have been designed to enable us to gather robust evidence of the impact of e-scooters on all road users. We have attempted to minimise the impacts on pedestrians during trials, for example by not allowing e-scooter use on pavements and asking local areas to consider in their trial plans ways to avoid scooters creating an obstruction when not in use.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will hold discussions with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) Transport for London on increasing funding to the Education and Skills Funding Agency to increase the 16-19 bursary in London to cover travel costs after the end of free travel for under-18s in London.

The Department for Transport is working closely with Transport for London and the Department for Education on how the temporary suspension of free bus travel for under 18s can be operationalised. This includes considering whether there are further categories of children, in addition to those eligible under the Education Act 1996, that should receive free transport.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will extend the expiry period for driving theory tests during the covid-19 outbreak.

The two-year validity period of the theory test certificate is set in legislation. This is so the candidate’s theoretical knowledge and ability to identify developing hazards remains current. To extend the validity period would require legislative change.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve the time taken by the DVLA to (a) renew driving licences and (b) respond to queries.

The quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence is to do so online. All the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) online services are available and working as normal. Postal applications have to be dealt with in person and will therefore take longer to process as the DVLA has a reduced number of staff on-site to comply with social distancing requirements and ensure staff safety.

All photocard driving licences expiring between 1 February and 31 August have been extended by seven months. Drivers do not need to take any action to benefit from this change and the DVLA will write to them when their licence is due for renewal.

The DVLA’s contact centre is open for all customers Monday to Friday 8am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm, and Saturday 8am to 2pm.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of relaxing the 14-day timeline for refunds within the Package Travel Regulations.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial (BEIS) Strategy has legislative responsibility for the Package Travel Regulations. My officials are in close contact with BEIS on this, but any changes to the Package Travel Regulations would be a decision for BEIS.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to ensure that airlines to meet their legal obligations to refund customers within seven days.

There have been no changes to consumer law, and airlines are expected to abide by this and honour consumer rights. We have been clear with industry that when consumers are entitled to a refund and ask for one, refunds must be paid, and the process should not be unduly difficult for consumers.

Airlines are expected to provide cash refunds to consumers who have requested one in a timely manner, but we recognise that this is placing unprecedented demand on their systems and processes, which means there are some delays in these refunds being processed.

The department is in regular conversation with UK airlines and wider membership bodies, and is working closely with the sector, the regulator and consumer groups to help ensure airlines deliver on their commitments. The Civil Aviation Authority are responsible for enforcing European Regulation 261/2004. Despite current pressures, they have also been clear that they expect airlines to continue to act in a way which best serves the interests of their customers.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he undertook an equality impact assessment of the suspension of free travel for under-18s in London.

The Department for Transport is working with Transport for London to identify how the temporary suspension of free travel for under 18s in London can be implemented. This includes undertaking an equality impact assessment of the proposal.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his letter to the Mayor on London of 3 June 2020 on ending of free travel for under 18 year olds in London, if he will place in the Library a copy of the academic research referred to in concluding that young people using the free travel concession made up half of all bus users during the morning rush hour, many of them for extremely short journeys which would not have been made had they not been free.

The Government set a number of conditions alongside the funding provided to Transport for London to reduce demand on public transport so that those who need to use services can do so safely. The temporary suspension of free travel for under 18s in London is one of those measures. The academic research to which the Secretary of State referred in his letter of 3 June 2020 is a study called ‘On the buses: a mixed-method evaluation of the impact of free bus travel for young people on the public health’ (full reference below). This makes clear that before the crisis, young people using the free travel concession made up half of all bus users during the morning rush hour, many of them for extremely short journeys which would not have been made had they not been free.

Research reference

Green J, Steinbach R, Jones A, et al.

Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2014 Feb

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK263964/

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made with the Mayor of London on the effect of social distancing requirements during the covid-19 outbreak on train capacity in Kingston; and what plans the Government has to provide financial support to local authority leaders in Kingston to encourage sustainable modes of travel to work.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, capacity across public transport networks is constrained to allow social distancing. The Government’s message is clear that public transport should only be used for essential journeys and passengers should, wherever possible, find alternative methods of travel.

The London Borough of Kingston upon Thames has recently been allocated an indicative £100,000 from the Emergency Active-Travel Fund to help the borough fund pop-up and temporary interventions to create an environment for safe walking and cycling in the borough.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to reduced train capacity in the event that social distancing measures are enforced, what plans he has to prevent a significant increase in the use of private cars by commuters.

Guidance to passengers has been clear that they should stay local and walk or cycle where possible. This message is being reinforced across government, for example to children returning to school and their carers. The government has also released £250m for schemes to support increased walking and cycling in England. At the same time, services on public transport will continue to increase.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the Government's policy is during the covid-19 outbreak on approved driving instructors who cannot work from home but cannot follow social distancing rules while working.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recommends that, currently, approved driving instructors (ADI) should only provide lessons to candidates who have an essential need. ADIs should ask pupils to bring appropriate identification to demonstrate the need for the lesson: a payslip, letter or identification badge should suffice.

When providing driving lessons, all ADIs should put in place appropriate measures, in line with the latest Public Heath England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

It is the responsibility of the ADI and the pupil to consider the risks to their health and to decide if the driving lesson is essential.

ADIs whose registration lapses in the next three months, and who are observing government guidelines not to work, can delay renewing their registration until restrictions are lifted. Legislation provides that ADIs have one year in which to apply to re-register without having to take the qualification tests again.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to direct the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency to reopen motorcycle training schools for CBT certification to enable (a) businesses to get back to work and (b) people to travel with out the need to use public transport.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has suspended most motorcycle tests to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But it is continuing to provide emergency tests for those whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response.

Motorcycle approved training bodies (ATB) can continue to provide compulsory basic training (CBT) for critical workers.

Trainers should ask their pupils to bring appropriate ID with them to demonstrate the need for the training – for example, an ID badge, payslip or letter from their employer.

It is the responsibility of the trainer, and the pupil, to consider the risks to their health before deciding if the training is essential.

All ATBs should put in place appropriate measures, in line with the latest Public Health England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Motorcycle manoeuvring areas will be available for any essential training. The DVSA will contact ATBs who have a module 1 motorcycle test booked.

CBT, direct access scheme (DAS) or DVSA enhanced rider scheme instructor registration certificates that are due to expire before the end of June 2020, will automatically be renewed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to undertake a review of the Airports National Policy Statement under section 6 of the Planning Act 2008.

On 27 February 2020 the Court of Appeal ruled that, when designating the Airports National Policy Statement, the previous government did not take account of the Paris Agreement, non-CO2 emissions and emissions post-2050. As part of its judgment, the Court has declared that the Airports National Policy Statement is of no legal effect unless and until the Government carries out a review under the Planning Act 2008.

The Government has taken the decision not to appeal the Court of Appeal’s judgment.

The Court’s judgment is complex and requires careful consideration. The Government will set out its next steps in due course.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what parties have written to his Department requesting a review of the airports national policy statement.

The Department has received requests from six parties to review the Airports National Policy Statement. The requests have come from Plan B Earth, Heathrow Hub Limited, the Mayor of London, a joint request from five London Boroughs (the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Richmond, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead) with Greenpeace and two individuals.

25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an updated assessment of the economic effect of Heathrow expansion as a result of new proposals to phase the delivery of additional capacity.

The Court of Appeal ruled on 27 February that when designating the Airports National Policy Statement, which was backed by Parliament, the previous Government did not take account of the Paris Agreement, non-CO2 emissions and emissions post 2050. We have always been clear that Heathrow expansion is a private sector project which must meet strict criteria on air quality, noise and climate change, as well as being privately financed, affordable, and delivered in the best interest of consumers. The Government has taken the decision not to appeal this judgment. The promoters of the scheme will be able to seek permission from the Supreme Court to appeal if they wish.

As part of its judgment, the Court has declared that the Airports National Policy Statement is of no legal effect unless and until the government carries out a review under the Planning Act 2008. The Court’s judgment is complex and requires careful consideration. We will set out our next steps in due course.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has undertaken to ensure that the expansion of Heathrow by over 700 aircraft each day is compatible with the Government’s policy on achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Government is committed to setting a clear ambition for the aviation sector and is carefully considering the advice of the Committee on Climate Change.

We are planning to consult shortly on an update to the Government’s position on aviation and climate change. It is critical that we consider how the sector can play its part in delivering our net zero ambitions, while continuing to thrive.

The Airports National Policy Statement guarantees that a new Northwest runway at Heathrow will only be built if an applicant for development consent can demonstrate that any increase in carbon emissions from the scheme will not materially impact the government’s ability to meet its carbon reduction targets.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps have been taken in relation to Heathrow’s planned alternation policy since the 2019 consultation.

Following a vote in Parliament, the Airports National Policy Statement was designated as government policy in June 2018. It sets out a number of requirements that an applicant for development consent must meet – these include an expectation of a ban of six and a half hours on scheduled night flights and predictable respite from aircraft noise.

Expansion is a private sector project. It is for an applicant to submit an application for development consent. Heathrow Airport Limited consulted on its proposed application between 18 June – 13 September 2019, and it has also said that it will consult again in April of this year.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Transport for London on the potential effect of proposals made by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on established river boat services between Kew and Richmond.

Two public consultations were carried out on the proposals. The first between 6 November 2018 and 29 January 2019 and the second between 29 May and 10 July 2019.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Chief Executive and an MCA Director met with members of the London Assembly on 16 July 2019 to discuss the proposals.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his policy is on (a) low carbon river transport in London and (b) the role of older passenger boats on the River Thames in transporting tourists to attractions at (a) Kew, (b) Richmond and (c) Hampton Court.

Transport in London is devolved and the responsibility of the Mayor and Transport for London. It is for the Mayor to take decisions relating to River Thames operations and transport services.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he last met with operators of older passenger boats on the River Thames to discuss the proposals made by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on the use of those boats.

Officials from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) last met with London Operators on 24 October 2019, which was the most recent occurrence of the routine biannual London Operator’s meeting.

The MCA has also held 5 Workshops on the proposals since 2016, supplemented by updates and discussions at the regular Domestic Passenger Ship Steering Group which includes industry representation from across the UK.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the updated impact assessment from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on its proposals for older passenger boats.

The updated Impact Assessment will be published when the Regulations are laid in Parliament in accordance with the Government’s usual legislative process.

The earlier version of the Impact Assessment was published for comment during public consultation between 6 November 2018 and 29 January 2019.

9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that all holders of a Turkish Businessperson Visa applying for a National Insurance number are granted it within 16 weeks of submitting their online application and CA5400D form.

The National Insurance Number (NINo) interviewing service was suspended from 17th of March 2020 as a result of COVID-19. Since fully re-opening on 28th April 2021, we have been experiencing high demand for the NINo Service.

Additional staff have been recruited and trained in the NINo process to reduce backlogs.

Whilst we are advising applicants it may take up to 16 weeks to process their application, the majority are being dealt with in around 4-6 weeks, however some may take longer if additional checks are required.

Additionally, we reviewed the National Insurance number process for Turkish Businesspersons and introduced a more streamlined process for this group on 9th June 2021.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to reduce the cost of transferring (a) workplace and (b) personal pensions overseas through a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).

In the same way as transfers to UK pension schemes, a transfer to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) is covered by the requirement to take regulated financial advice if transferring more than £30,000 from a Defined Benefit scheme. This cost is a commercial matter for the firms and financial advisors who are subject to Financial Conduct Authority authorisation to conduct this activity, and who choose to provide the service.

A transfer to a QROPS may also be subject to the overseas transfer charge (OTC). This is not a cost of transferring, it was introduced to limit the opportunities for tax avoidance so that the generous tax regimes of the UK and the tax rules of other countries cannot be manipulated to provide more relief than was intended. Whilst the Government keeps all policy under review there are no plans to make any changes to the overseas transfer charge at this time.

Transfers to overseas schemes have been connected to pension scams in recent years and this is why HMRC requirements around QROPS were tightened in 2017. My department has been working alongside the FCA on regulations in relation to pension transfers, which aim to facilitate transfers to legitimate schemes while preventing transfers to scams.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of job placements made via the Kickstart scheme (a) to date, (b) in each of the last six months and (c) by region.

As of the 11th October, 86,000 young people have started a Kickstart job. Over 204,900 roles have been made available for young people to apply to through the scheme and over 307,500 jobs have been approved for funding.

The tables below list the number of starts per month over the last 6 months as well as the number of Kickstart jobs which have been made available and started by young people to date by geographical area of Great Britain. The figures used are correct as of the 11th October and these figures have been rounded according to departmental standards.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system, which has been developed quickly.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Table 1- Jobs started on the Kickstart Scheme by month.

Month

Monthly Starts

April

9,480

May

10,300

June

11,940

July

11,610

August

11,280

September

16,640

Table 2- Jobs made available and started on the Kickstart Scheme by Location.

Location

Jobs Made Available

Total Jobs Started

East Midlands

12,500

5,240

East of England

16,400

6,060

London

43,500

18,560

North East

8,300

4,000

North West

25,400

10,930

Scotland

15,200

7,420

South East

23,500

9,330

South West

14,700

5,610

Wales

11,100

4,190

West Midlands

18,500

7,870

Yorkshire and The Humber

15,800

6,760

*These numbers are rounded and so may not match provided totals. Jobs Made Available include 1,000 non-grant funded vacancies and Total Starts include around 900 starts to non-grant funded jobs

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if the Government will recognise British Sign Language as an official language.

On 18 March 2003 the UK government formally recognised that British Sign Language (BSL) is a language in its own right. Provision for accessing services by users of BSL are covered by the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Existing equality legislation already means employers, service providers and public bodies have to provide services in BSL and other formats when it is reasonable to do so. The Public Sector Equality Duty requires public bodies to have due regard to the needs of all those with protected characteristics.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that workplaces promote and facilitate the use of British Sign Language.

Provision for accessing services by users of British Sign Language (BSL) are covered by the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty. Equality legislation means that employers, service providers and public bodies have to provide services in BSL and other formats when it is reasonable to do so. The Public Sector Equality Duty requires public bodies, when carrying out their functions, to have due regard to the needs of a range of protected characteristics, including disability.

11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to encourage businesses to use a gateway for the Kickstart scheme.

We encourage any employer looking to access the scheme, who needs support in the application process or delivering employability support, to apply for funding through one of the Kickstart gateways. Guidance on finding a Kickstart Gateway, including a list of many approved Gateways that continues to be updated, can be found on the Kickstart scheme website.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support the work provided by gateways in the Kickstart scheme.

I refer the honourable member to PQ 145148.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will extend the period for which housing benefit claimants can be absent from home beyond 52 weeks to ensure that people who have been shielding away from home throughout the covid-19 outbreak who intend to return to their home continue to be eligible for housing benefit.

There are currently no plans to extend the allowable period of temporary absence beyond 52 weeks. This is already an extension to the usual allowable period of 13 weeks.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has responded to recent representations from the Canadian Government on proposals for a reciprocal social security agreement that covers the uprating of pensions.

The Department for Work and Pensions has not had any recent discussions on this issue with the Government of Canada. The Department plans to respond shortly to the request from Canada for a reciprocal social security agreement.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people (a) applied to and (b) benefitted from the Access the Work scheme from March to October 2020.

The information requested past March is intended for future release in the 2020/21 Official Statistics publication.

The number of applications and beneficiaries for the period April 2019 to March 2020 is available in the latest Access to Work statistics publication but this is not broken down by month. Data on a monthly basis would not be exact as the number of people applying to and benefitting from certain Access to Work elements will not be captured within a month’s time frame. Hence, we generally choose to aggregate at a yearly level to avoid data inconsistencies.

The latest Access to Work official statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/access-to-work-statistics

Background

Access to Work

Access to Work (ATW) is a demand-led, discretionary grant to de-risk the recruitment and retention of disabled people for employers. The grant contributes to the disability related extra costs of working faced by disabled people and those with a health condition that are beyond reasonable adjustment, but it does not replace an employer’s duty under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments. The grant provides personalised support and can provide workplace assessments, travel to/in work, support workers, specialist aids and equipment for individuals to enable disabled people and those with a health condition to move into or retain employment. And can fund up to £60,700 worth of flexible, personalised support per person per year.

During the pandemic Access to Work has continued to provide support whether disabled people were working in the workplace or working from home. Acknowledging the challenges Coronavirus had for disabled people, Access to Work introduced a series of measures.

  • Prioritising new applications from key workers and those with jobs starting within the next 4 weeks;
  • Adapting existing awards to meet new working environments. Such as, switching from face to face British Sign Language Interpreting to Video Remote Interpreting services where possible as well as making greater use of assistive technology and software;
  • Accepting e mail claim forms from customers who request this as a reasonable adjustment
  • Extending the timeframe customers have to submit payment claim forms to 9 months;
  • Accepting employer and support worker signatures via email;
  • Extending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end by 6 months;
  • Adapting the way our assessments are undertaken to support customers who don’t know what support they need and/or where coping strategies are required as part of the Mental Health Support Service;
  • Supporting furloughed employees who need mental health support, by flexing access to the Mental Health Support Service;
  • Providing support for deaf Access to Work customers to maintain work readiness whilst on furlough; and
  • Funding Personal Protective Equipment for Access to Work customers who employ their own support workers.

Recognising the challenges Covid-19 has for employers and disabled people, Access to Work has introduced a new more flexible offer to support disabled people to move into and retain employment. The new offer complements support provided by employers and contains a flexible mix of support that can be adapted to meet the needs of new Covid-19 working arrangements. The offer includes:

  • support to work from more than one location,
  • a package of home working support which can be blended with workplace support,
  • mental health wellbeing support for people returning to work after a period of furlough or shielding,
  • travel-to-work support for those who may no longer be able to safely travel by public transport due to the nature of their disability, and
  • prioritising Access to Work applications from disabled people in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Group.

The 2019/20 AtW statistics illustrate the increase in support provided by Access to Work, with over 43,000, the highest ever number of people with disabilities and health conditions receiving tailored and flexible support to do their job.

Access to Work has continued reaching out to underrepresented groups including those with Mental Health conditions, seeing the highest ever number of people approved for Access to Work, 8,710 people, almost double the number of people compared to the previous year.

AtW is helping more people:

– In 2019/20 the highest ever number of people received payments – 43,400 up 20% on 18/19.

– In 2019/20 over 37,000 people received an award for an Access to Work grant up 25% on 2018/19

Expenditure increased to £141.7 million, a new record amount, equating to an 8% increase in real terms expenditure on 18/19.

Further information can be found in the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2020/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2020

24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to encourage employers to provide adaptive technology for employees with mobility issues who are working from home during the covid-19 outbreak.

Access to Work (AtW) encourages employers to provide assistive technology for disabled employees by waiving employer contributions meaning employers are more incentivised to try assistive technology providing the disabled person with the support they need.

Atw also provides specialist aides and equipment for disabled people within the workplace whilst supporting employers by providing advice and guidance on what support maybe available. This support includes assistive technology which employers can discuss with their employees and where agreed AtW will provide grant funding for this technology.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department’s strategy is on retraining and reskilling people over the age of 60 who have become unemployed since the start of the covid-19 outbreak and who may struggle to find employment again.

The Government’s Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people, including older workers, get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and build the skills they need to get into work. This includes doubling the number of Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches, increasing the number of sector-based work academy placements which support unemployed claimants of all ages through training and work experience to find a job, and a new online job finding support service.

DWP launched an online mid-life MOT in 2019, which aims to engage individuals more actively in health, finance and skills planning. The MOT directs individuals to the National Careers Service which offers a universal service for adults in England including people aged 50 years and over who are unemployed or at risk of unemployment. This should be of particular benefit for those out of work due to COVID-19 who may need to retrain or pivot career.

Adult skills?are?key in supporting the economy and tackling disadvantage and we are working with the Department for Education who are continuing to invest £1.34 billion in 2020/21 in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB). The principal purpose of the AEB is to engage adults and provide the skills and learning they need to equip them for work, an apprenticeship or further learning. From 1 August 2019, adults with limited digital skills can get access to fully funded specified digital skills qualifications. The AEB also funds learning in the workplace, where a learner has a statutory entitlement to full funding.

On 29 September, the Prime Minister also announced the launch of new digital bootcamps, in six areas, to support local regions and employers to fill in-demand vacancies. The bootcamp training courses will provide valuable skills based on employer demand and will offer a fast track to a job interview on completion. Pending the success of the initial bootcamps, the Department for Education are planning to expand the digital bootcamps to more of the country from Spring 2021 and we also want to extend this model to include other technical skills training.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to increase the uptake of pension credit over the next five years.

While over 1.5 million pensioners currently receive Pension Credit, the Government wants to make sure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are rightly entitled.

In February we launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit and help dispel some of the misconceptions that people might have about Pension Credit eligibility.

We are also continuing to work with our stakeholders to help spread the messages from the campaign.

Our online Pension Credit toolkit (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-credit-toolkit) has been updated with the recent awareness campaign materials to supplement the resources it already contains for those working with pensioners, such as guides and information designed to help older people understand how they could get Pension Credit.

In May this year we launched an online claim service for Pension Credit to supplement the existing telephone and postal claim services (https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit). The online service enables pensioners to apply for Pension Credit at a time that best suits them.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to support universal credit claimants who are shielding due to disability and long-term health conditions as benefit sanctions are reintroduced as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

A claimant’s work related requirements are agreed in discussion with their Work Coach and tailored to their individual capability, capacity and specific circumstances, ensuring they are realistic and achievable. Claimants will not be asked to do anything unreasonable in light of the impact of their health condition, and any work related requirements will be compatible with public health guidelines.

Where a claimant has failed to meet their requirements, we will look at any evidence of good reason, including individual circumstances and health considerations, such as shielding, when considering if a sanction is warranted.

An equality analysis has been undertaken by the Department for Work and Pensions on the reinstatement of conditionality across affected benefits, and provided to the Secretary of State so she can fulfil her Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) responsibilities. The reintroduction of conditionality and sanctions represents a return to business as usual and not a change in policy which requires direct consultation. The operation of these policies are reviewed on an ongoing basis through consultation with stakeholders.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the reintroduction of benefit sanctions in July 2020 effect on universal credit claimants who are still shielding due to (a) disability or (b) long-term health conditions.

A claimant’s work related requirements are agreed in discussion with their Work Coach and tailored to their individual capability, capacity and specific circumstances, ensuring they are realistic and achievable. Claimants will not be asked to do anything unreasonable in light of the impact of their health condition, and any work related requirements will be compatible with public health guidelines.

Where a claimant has failed to meet their requirements, we will look at any evidence of good reason, including individual circumstances and health considerations, such as shielding, when considering if a sanction is warranted.

An equality analysis has been undertaken by the Department for Work and Pensions on the reinstatement of conditionality across affected benefits, and provided to the Secretary of State so she can fulfil her Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) responsibilities. The reintroduction of conditionality and sanctions represents a return to business as usual and not a change in policy which requires direct consultation. The operation of these policies are reviewed on an ongoing basis through consultation with stakeholders.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to provide additional statutory maternity pay to mothers who are unable to find childcare to enable their return to work during the covid-19 outbreak.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and Maternity Allowance (MA) provide a measure of earnings replacement to help women who have worked during or close to their pregnancies to stop working towards the end of their pregnancy and in the months after childbirth, in the interests of their own and their babies' health and wellbeing.

We currently have no plans to extend maternity pay or allowance. If SMP or MA entitlement ends, Universal Credit and/or Employment and Support Allowance are available to claim for people unable to work because they are directly affected by coronavirus or self-isolating according to Government advice.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help reduce diagnosis times for people (a) with polycystic ovaries and (b) with endometriosis.

The National Institute of Health Research hosted research to explore the experiences of women presenting in primary care with endometriosis-like symptoms. The results were published earlier this year and will help to understand delays in diagnosis and inform our work on the Women’s Health Strategy.

A call for evidence was launched to inform the priorities, content and actions of the Strategy and included questions on gynaecological conditions, including endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Following analysis of the responses, we will detail our commitments on endometriosis and PCOS within the Strategy.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase funding for (a) research into and (b) treatment of endometriosis.

The Department, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), has invested £8.4 million into research in endometriosis since 2013. It is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions, including allocating funding for future financial years. However, the NIHR’s funding is available through open competition for endometriosis research and we encourage researchers to submit applications in this area.

At present, there are no plans to increase funding for treatment of endometriosis. A call for evidence was launched to inform the priorities, content and actions of the Women’s Health Strategy which included questions on gynaecological conditions, such as endometriosis. Following analysis of the responses, we will detail our commitments on endometriosis within the Strategy.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help GP surgeries meet demand for appointments.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 4 November 2021 to Question 67228.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve maternal outcomes for black women.

To support NHS maternity services improve maternal outcomes for black women, NHS England and NHS Improvement published ‘Equity and Equality: Guidance for Local Maternity Systems’, which can be found at the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/C0734-equity-and-equality-guidance-for-local-maternity-systems.pdf

This guidance asks Local Maternity Systems (LMS) to produce an equity and equality analysis (covering health outcomes, community assets and staff experience) by 30 November 2021 and to co-produce an equity and equality action plan by 28 February 2022.

LMS are being asked to include evidence-based interventions that have been demonstrated to improve maternal outcomes in their action plans: implement maternal medicine networks with key performance indicators relating to outcomes and equalities; offer referral to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme to women with a previous gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) diagnosis who are not currently pregnant and do not currently have diabetes. Women of Black African, Black Caribbean and South Asian ethnic groups are at high risk of developing GDM, so this intervention helps improve prevention and early detection of Type 2 diabetes; implement maternal mental health services with a focus on access by ethnicity; ensure personalised care and support plans are available to all, which has a positive impact on health inequalities; ensure the Maternity Voices Partnerships reflect the ethnic diversity of the local population, to encourage the uptake of services among those that may be reluctant to get involved and design interventions that are relevant to the local population, improving outcomes for black women.

LMS are also being asked to include plans to deliver the NHS Long-Term Plan commitment for targeted and enhanced Continuity of Carer with 75% of women from Black, Asian and Mixed ethnic groups receiving Continuity of Carer by 2024 and additional midwifery time to support women from the most deprived areas. Women who receive Continuity of Carer are 16% less likely to lose their baby and have an improved experience of care.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are providing £6.8m to support LMS to implement their Equity and Equality Action Plans.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has commissioned research to investigate trends in the level of health visitor numbers and childhood immunisations since 2015.

No specific research has been commissioned.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the number of health visitors in England to deliver the Healthy Child Programme.

No recent assessment has been made. The Healthy Child Programme should be led by health visitors alongside a range of delivery partners. It is the responsibility of local authorities, with their provider, to determine service requirements based upon local needs.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which Minister oversees the work of the Start for Life Unit in his Department.

I am the Minister with responsibility for the Start for Life Unit.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the timetable for announcing a Cabinet Minister to oversee implementation of the Government’s Early Years Healthy Development Review, The Best Start for Life: a vision for the 1,001 critical days, published on 25 March 2021.

As outlined in the Early Years Healthy Development Review’s report, published in March 2021, a Cabinet Minister will oversee ensuring that Start for Life is kept at the heart of policy-making decisions across government.

The timing and nature of appointments to the Cabinet are at the discretion of the Prime Minister. A decision on responsibilities going forward will be made in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the proportion of health visitor contacts that fulfil the May 2021 Public Health England guidance which states that mandated reviews should be face-to-face, delivered by a health visitor, or under their supervision, since that guidance was published.

The information is not available in the format requested. However, NHS Digital has recently published monthly health visitor statistics, including information on the proportion of mandated reviews delivered face to face, which is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/community-services-statistics-for-children-young-people-and-adults/august-2021/data-sets

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the proportion of babies born since March 2020 that have been seen face-to-face by a health visitor.

The information is not available in the format requested. However, NHS Digital has recently published monthly health visitor statistics, including information on the proportion of mandated reviews delivered face to face, which is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/community-services-statistics-for-children-young-people-and-adults/august-2021/data-sets

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will (a) review the schedule of prescription exemptions and (b) make it his policy that prescriptions for people with chronic mental health conditions are free of charge.

We currently have no plans to review or extend the prescription charge medical exemptions list to include chronic mental health conditions. Approximately 89% of prescriptions are already dispensed free of charge and arrangements are in place to help those most in need. To support those who do not qualify for an exemption, the cost of prescriptions can be spread by purchasing a prescription pre-payment certificate. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help GP surgeries meet demand for appointments.

We are increasing capacity in general practice by creating an extra 50 million appointments a year by increasing and diversifying the workforce. This will mean improved access for patients and support for staff to provide a wider range of care options outside of hospital.

To help general practitioner (GP) surgeries meet demand for appointments, we have announced a £250 million Winter Access Fund. This will assist patients with urgent care needs to see a member of the practice team when required, with a focus on increasing capacity for urgent same day care and taking account of patient preferences.

NHS England and Health Education England are working with the profession to increase the size of the GP workforce in England. This includes measures to increase recruitment, address the reasons why doctors are leaving the profession and encourage them to return to practice.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to create a unified stem cell donor recruitment policy across Anthony Nolan, NHS British Bone Marrow Registry, DKMS and Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry, to (a) improve clarity for donors and (b) create an aligned UK stem cell register.

The Department’s stem cell programme supported the development of the United Kingdom’s aligned stem cell registry. All donors in the UK recruited by DKMS, Anthony Nolan, the Welsh Blood Service and NHS Blood and Transplant are accessed by the UK aligned registry. The Department’s Stem Cell Strategic Forum’s report due in early 2022 will address the future of UK stem cell supply.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timetable is for ensuring that covid-19 vaccinations completed overseas are recognised under the NHS COVID Pass.

Since 30 September a pilot has been in place for overseas vaccinations to be recorded in the National Immunisation Management Service with some data available through the NHS COVID Pass. The Vaccine Data Resolution Service are contacting patients with overseas vaccinations in their health records to present evidence of their vaccination at their regional centre and receive any additional vaccinations required. The pilot involves three vaccination sites in England with additional locations available from 11 October as the pilot is deployed nationally. At the end of October, there will be one vaccination site in every region in England offering this service. Currently any Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen or Moderna vaccinations administered by the European Medicines Agency, the Food and Drug Administration or Swissmedic will be recorded via the NHS COVID Pass.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of adding only those providers that have been vetted and found to meet the minimum standards for the type of commercial covid-19 testing service they offer to the list of private providers of covid-19 testing on the Government website.

Private providers are added to the GOV.UK list once their self-declaration has been assessed by United Kingdom Accreditation Service as meeting the Government’s minimum standards. This includes applying for and progressing through the three-staged accreditation process providing sample collection and/or sample testing services.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that public health services are physically accessible to disabled people, who may be more frequent users of such services.

All providers of goods and services, including National Health Service organisations and others that provide public health services, are required to make reasonable adjustments where physical barriers prevent access in existing buildings under the Equality Act 2010.

NHS England and NHS Improvement produce health building notices to provide best practice guidance on the design and planning of new healthcare buildings and on the adaptation or extension of existing facilities, including to improve accessibility, which are available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/estates/health-building-notes/

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to support residents in care homes who are spending much of their time in isolation as a result of outbreaks of covid-19 in care homes.

The Government has updated guidance on outbreaks in care homes to reduce the duration of restrictions. Following identification of two positive COVID-19 cases, if no further cases are detected in whole home testing on day 0 or in further testing of those who tested negative between days four to seven restrictions may be lifted, subject to a risk assessment. This may mean that measures are only in place for approximately seven days, depending on polymerase chain reaction testing times. This is less than the 14-day period of restrictions that was previously required.

In addition, all residents should be supported to nominate an essential care giver who may visit them to attend to care and wellbeing needs. The care giver should be enabled to visit in most circumstances, including if the care home is in outbreak. Window and pod visits may also take place, subject to a risk assessment.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the provision of pills for home abortions is controlled to prevent those pills from being (a) supplied for sale and (b) to people who are in the later stages of an abortion and for whom the pills are not suitable.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued clinical guidelines for healthcare professionals called ‘Coronavirus infection and abortion care’. The guidance sets out the circumstances where women should be asked to attend a clinic for an ultra-sound scan. However it states that “most women can determine the gestational age of their pregnancy with reasonable accuracy by last menstrual period (LMP) alone”. The guidance includes a decision aid for clinicians to use to help determine if an ultra-sound scan is required. This includes detailed questions to identify gestational age.

The best way to assure the safety of medicines is for the clinic to supply medicines obtained through the regulated supply chain, appropriately labelled for individual patients to be safely used only by those patients. The pills are only supplied following a robust consultation.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the policy that staff at CQC-registered care homes must have received both covid-19 doses from 11 November 2021 on staffing levels in those homes.

The Department has published an impact statement detailing the expected effect of the vaccination as a condition of deployment policy on care homes. The department will publish a full impact assessment in due course. We continue to monitor the impact of the policy on care homes as we approach 11 November.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that the 0 to19 Public Health Nursing Service continues to support the delivery of the Government's Healthy Child Programme in Hampshire.

Local delivery models for the Healthy Child Programme vary and local authorities are encouraged to use the national commissioning guidance. We will continue to work with the Local Government Association, professional bodies and locally through Public Health England centres, to share evidence and guidance that allows councils to make the best decisions to meet local need.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that funding continues to be available for dementia research.

The Department funds research on health and social care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The usual practice of the NIHR is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including dementia. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

We are currently exploring ways to significantly boost further research on dementia, including medical and care interventions.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce pressure on GP services.

We have made an additional £270 million available from November 2020 until September 2021 to ensure general practice can continue to provide necessary care. Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are also encouraged to make use of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, representing an average of 12 to 13 additional full time equivalent members of staff in post for each PCN. The NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Access Improvement Programme is supporting practices which are experiencing the greatest challenges to embed new ways of working, such as remote consultations as part of total triage.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) the average waiting time is for mental health services and what plans he has in place to reduce those times.

The data is not held in the format requested as a national access and waiting times standard for National Health Service mental health services has not yet been defined.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to invest at least an additional £2.3 billion a year into mental health services by 2023/24. This increased investment will ensure that an additional 345,000 children and young people and 380,000 more adults will have timely access to NHS-funded mental health services. We published our COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan in March to address waiting times for mental health services, and invest in the NHS workforce.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidential basis is for the decision that adults who have received both doses of a covid-19 vaccine in the UK will need to isolate for 10 days when arriving from France.

From 8 August, arrivals from or transited through France in the last 10 days who have been fully vaccinated under the United Kingdom vaccination programme approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency do not need to quarantine. They are still expected to take a day two test.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Government's guidance is on the number of weeks that should elapse between receipt of the first and second dose of the covid-19 vaccine for pregnant women; and what the evidence is behind that guidance.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends an interval of eight weeks between doses of all the available COVID-19 vaccines, including for pregnant women. On 14 May 2021, in response to the increasing rates of infection of the Delta variant, the Government amended the interval of second doses for the most vulnerable cohorts who were offered a vaccine in phase one of the programme, from 12 weeks to eight weeks. The eight-week dose interval was applied to all eligible cohorts from 6 July.

The current evidence shows that a longer dose interval produces a better immune response. As such, the JCVI has advised against reducing the dose interval further in order to maximise the effectiveness of the vaccination programme. The JCVI regularly reviews its advice, taking into account new data and evidence on the effectiveness of the programme and epidemiological situation.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the transition to a midwifery-led continuity of care model is adequately resourced and supported.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have committed to the provision of midwifery-led continuity of carer, so that it becomes the default model of care for women using maternity services across England by March 2023.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided local maternity systems with £90.05 million from 2018 to 2021 to fulfil transformational objectives, including implementing continuity of carer models. An additional £96 million was announced earlier this year in response to the emerging findings from the Ockenden Report, the majority of which will be invested in additional midwives and obstetric capacity.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the families and friends of patients with brain tumours.

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) mental health services can be accessed by adults with physical health problems, including those with brain tumours, as well as their family and friends whose mental health may be impacted as a result of this physical illness. Many IAPT services have strong links with a range of health and care settings to ensure that patients and carers receive the right support as quickly as possible, including secondary care and the patient groups within it.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is his Department's policy that vaccines should be mixed in the event that a recipient of one dose of the AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine subsequently experiences a blood clotting condition.

Public Health England’s Green Book, which provides COVID-19 vaccination information for public health professionals, advises that individuals who are suspected of having experienced a clotting episode with concomitant thrombocytopaenia following the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine should be properly assessed. If they are considered to have the condition, further vaccination should be deferred until their clotting has completely stabilised and they should then be considered for a second dose of an alternative COVID-19 vaccine.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to commit increased funding for brain tumour research.

In May 2018 the Government announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Brain tumour research is a difficult area with a relatively small research community. We are increasing this field, by providing workshops for researchers and training for clinicians.

The NIHR released a public announcement to the research community in April 2018, making clear our desire to receive brain tumour research funding applications. We are relying on researchers to submit high-quality research proposals. All applications that were fundable in open competition have been funded.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to answer to question 5226, tabled on 21 May 2021, what data is mandatorily held by (a) health services and (b) his Department on the provision of joint replacement treatment.

Hospital trusts mandatorily submit data to the secondary uses services database, which includes information such as patient age and sex, admission and discharge, their diagnoses and which procedures were performed. NHS England and NHS Improvement can access the pseudonymised data through the Hospital Episode Statistics database held by NHS Digital or the National Commissioning Data Repository, held by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Although not mandatory, NHS England and NHS Improvement extract data on hip, knee, and shoulder replacements and provide this information to trusts and health systems. The Department does not hold any data.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many Health Visiting training places were available in the year 2019-2020.

In 2019-20, Health Education England funded 517 training places on the health visiting programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 25 May 2021 to Question 1148 on Early Years Healthy Development Review: Finance, whether the recommendations outlined in the Early Years Healthy Development Review are Government policy.

The Early Years Healthy Development Review, published The Best Start for Life: A Vision for the 1,001 Critical Days on 25 March 2021. This sets out a vision for ensuring families with babies are supported in the period from conception to age two. The vision is Government policy and the Department is currently working towards implementation of the commitments made in the Review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to review the role of pharmacy and adjust the funding structure for pharmacy to enable that sector to play a bigger part in primary care provision.

In 2019, the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement, with support from HM Treasury, agreed the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) 2019-24 five-year deal with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC). The CPCF commits £2.592 billion annually to the sector. There are ongoing discussions with HM Treasury about the delivery of the CPCF.

The five-year deal sets out how it is planned to further integrate, community pharmacy into the National Health Service, delivering more clinical services and embedding their role in providing advice on medicines and preventing ill health.

NHS111 can now refer patients to a community pharmacist for minor illnesses or the urgent supply of a prescribed medicine. At the end of 2020, we extended this service to general practitioner surgeries, who can now also formally refer patients to community pharmacy for consultation. Earlier this year, we introduced the Discharge Medicines Service with referrals from hospitals to community pharmacies to support patients with their medicines following discharge. We expect to introduce more clinical services in community pharmacy to relieve pressure on other parts of the NHS and play a larger role in primary care provision.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations he has made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on delivering more sustainable funding for community pharmacies.

In 2019, the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement, with support from HM Treasury, agreed the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) 2019-24 five-year deal with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC). The CPCF commits £2.592 billion annually to the sector. There are ongoing discussions with HM Treasury about the delivery of the CPCF.

The five-year deal sets out how it is planned to further integrate, community pharmacy into the National Health Service, delivering more clinical services and embedding their role in providing advice on medicines and preventing ill health.

NHS111 can now refer patients to a community pharmacist for minor illnesses or the urgent supply of a prescribed medicine. At the end of 2020, we extended this service to general practitioner surgeries, who can now also formally refer patients to community pharmacy for consultation. Earlier this year, we introduced the Discharge Medicines Service with referrals from hospitals to community pharmacies to support patients with their medicines following discharge. We expect to introduce more clinical services in community pharmacy to relieve pressure on other parts of the NHS and play a larger role in primary care provision.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 822 on Children: Coronavirus, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the effect of parental stress and adversity on (a) social and (b) emotional outcomes of children.

No such assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to question 824 on Babies: Coronavirus, if his Department will allocate further ring-fenced funding to local authorities to support them to meet local demand for increased services for babies.

There are currently no plans to do so. Local authorities receive funding through the public health grant to commission services for babies. The public health grant to local authorities in England will increase from £3.279 billion in 2020/21 to £3.324 billion in 2021/22, an increase of 1% in cash terms.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 822 on Children: Coronavirus, if his Department will make an assessment of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the development of children aged two years and under.

Health visitors assess child development through universal health and wellbeing reviews, with a formal development assessment completed at the two to two and a half year review. Currently there are no plans for further assessments of child development.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 821 on Children, for what reason there is no single Cabinet minister responsible for the needs of babies and young children.

The needs of babies and young children are covered by multiple Government departments and represented by Cabinet Ministers from those departments. The Government recognises the importance of these earliest years. In March 2021, the Government published “The Best Start for Life: A Vision for the 1,001 Critical Days”. This document set out a commitment to nominate a Cabinet Minister to ensure Start for Life is kept at the heart of decision-making across Government. The Prime Minister will decide who fulfils this role in due course.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many hospitals in England provide joint replacement treatment within the 18 week target time.

The data is not held in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the evidential basis is for the guidance issued his Department on the use of facemasks in gyms.

There is some evidence that wearing face coverings while taking part in exercise may be harmful to health, especially for people who have underlying heart or lung conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised that people should not wear face coverings during strenuous physical activity. The WHO’s advice ‘Mask use in the context of COVID-19: Interim guidance’ is available at the following link:

https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/337199/WHO-2019-nCov-IPC_Masks-2020.5-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that joint replacement surgeries are prioritised in the NHS.

The Department is taking steps to ensure the National Health Service can treat patients safely as quickly as possible. Joint replacement is being prioritised through the High Volume, Low Complexity programme and the Getting It Right First Time programme. These programmes will provide best practice examples to help improve and joint replacement surgeries across the NHS.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason only six people are allowed to sing non-professionally indoors under covid-19 restrictions.

The Government has no plans to amend regulations to allow more than six people to sing non-professionally indoors. In general, limiting mixing indoors, where the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is much higher, is critical to halting the spread of the virus. Singing is considered a high-risk activity because it increases the risk of transmission through small viral particles in the air and droplets.

The Government keeps these and other COVID-19 restrictions under continual review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will amend covid-19 regulations to allow more than six people to sing non-professionally indoors.

The Government has no plans to amend regulations to allow more than six people to sing non-professionally indoors. In general, limiting mixing indoors, where the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is much higher, is critical to halting the spread of the virus. Singing is considered a high-risk activity because it increases the risk of transmission through small viral particles in the air and droplets.

The Government keeps these and other COVID-19 restrictions under continual review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish clearer guidance on the (a) collection and (b) distribution of milk formulas at food banks.

Food banks are independent, charitable organisations and the Government does not have any role in their operation. Decisions about which donations to accept and make available to food bank users are therefore a matter for food bank providers. There is strict legislation currently in place in the form of the overarching Food for Specific Groups legislation (Retained Regulation No 609/2013) and specifically Retained Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/127. They regulate, labelling and marketing of infant formulae and follow-on formulae.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a Cabinet minister with responsibility for the needs of babies and young children.

The Prime Minister will nominate a Cabinet Minister who will have responsibility for the ‘Start for Life’ period. A decision on who fulfils this role will be made in due course.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of the funds needed to implement the recommendations in the early years Leadsom review have been secured.

The implementation phase of the Early Years Healthy Development Review is being funded by the Department. During this phase the team will work with local leaders and HM Treasury to understand efficiencies and to build the economic case for further investment in the Start for Life. The vision document and the areas for action it describes, do not pre-empt any future spending events.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the development of children aged 2 years and under.

No such assessment has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will fund catch-up support targeted at babies born (a) during and (b) soon before the outbreak of covid-19 to (i) enable additional contact with families with very young babies, (ii) fulfil health visitor and GP appointments that have been missed and (iii) identify risks, issues and offer support.

Local authorities are responsible for commissioning early years public health services to meet local needs, which can include such catch-up support.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential long-term economic merits of increasing core funding for (a) local authorities and (b) Clinical Commissioning Groups for services that support families from conception to age two.

We have made no recent assessment.

Local authorities receive funding to commission services that provide support to families from conception to the age of two. The public health grant to local authorities in England will increase from £3.279 billion in 2020/21 to £3.324 billion in 2021/22, an increase of 1% in cash terms. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are allocated funding from NHS England using the CCG funding allocation formula, which takes into consideration attributes of its local population to assess the level of need.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to reduce the cost of PCR tests required for travel.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of expediting publication of the Early Years Healthy Development Review.

While the exact date of publication is not yet confirmed, we expect to publish the Review shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Government's planned timeframe is for the publication of the Early Years Healthy Development Review.

While the exact date of publication is not yet confirmed, we expect to publish the Review shortly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)