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
Wednesday 18th May 2022
13:00
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Government’s contracts with Randox Laboratories Ltd
18 May 2022, 1 p.m.
At 1.30pm: Oral evidence
Shona Dunn - Second Permanent Secretary at Department of Health and Social Care
Dame Dr Jenny Harries - Chief Executive at UK Health Security Agency
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Department Event
Thursday 19th May 2022
09:30
Department for Transport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
19 May 2022, 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.
Oral Question
Monday 23rd May 2022
14:30
Department for Education
Topical Question No. 7
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
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Select Committee Meeting
Monday 23rd May 2022
15:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Managing cross-border travel during the COVID-19 pandemic
23 May 2022, 3:30 p.m.
At 4.00pm: Oral evidence
Alex Chisholm - Permanent Secretary at Cabinet Office
Patricia Hayes - Second Permanent Secretary at Home Office
Shona Dunn - Second Permanent Secretary at Department of Health and Social Care
Gareth Davies - Second Permanent Secretary at Department for Transport
Phil Douglas - Director General at Border Force
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Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 24th May 2022
13:30
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 25th May 2022
13:00
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Secure training centres and secure schools
25 May 2022, 1 p.m.
At 1.30pm: Oral evidence
Antonia Romeo - Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Justice
Dr Jo Farrar - Chief Executive Officer at Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service
Helga Swidenbank - Executive Director, Youth Custody Service at Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service
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Department Event
Tuesday 7th June 2022
11:30
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Jun 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 8th June 2022
13:00
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Whole of Government Accounts
8 Jun 2022, 1 p.m.
At 1.30pm: Oral evidence
Sir Tom Scholar - Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury
Cat Little - Director General Public Spending at HM Treasury
Vicky Rock - Director Public Spending at HM Treasury
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Select Committee Meeting
Monday 13th June 2022
15:30
Public Accounts Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: British Steel Pension Scheme
13 Jun 2022, 3:30 p.m.
At 4.00pm: Oral evidence
Andrew Bailey - Governor at Bank of England
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Department Event
Thursday 30th June 2022
11:30
Department for Transport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
30 Jun 2022, 11:30 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.
Department Event
Tuesday 12th July 2022
11:30
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Oral questions - Main Chamber
12 Jul 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (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 27th April 2022
Elections Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 10 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 306 Noes - 215
Speeches
Wednesday 30th March 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
Q12. Last Friday, it emerged that there had been an oil spill in Beverley Brook, a river that flows through …
Written Answers
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Refugees: Afghanistan
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the Government plans to commence operation of the second …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 10th May 2022
P&O Ferries and employment rights
That this House condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of P&O Ferries to fire 800 staff without notice …
Bills
Tuesday 8th March 2022
Gender Pay Gap Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to review the effectiveness of gender pay gap reporting requirements.
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
Monday 16th May 2022
Moratorium on fracking
That this House expresses concern at reports that Cuadrilla have been given another year to explore options for its wells; …
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 418 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)
(15 debate interactions)
Eleanor Laing (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
Rachel Maclean (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
(12 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Transport
(36 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(28 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).

Petitions with highest Richmond Park signature proportion
Petitions with most Richmond Park signatures
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

11th May 2022
Sarah Olney signed this EDM on Monday 16th May 2022

Moratorium on fracking

Tabled by: Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democrat - Bath)
That this House expresses concern at reports that Cuadrilla have been given another year to explore options for its wells; regrets that fracking for shale gas is still being considered despite the renewable alternatives that are available; urges the Government to ensure the moratorium on fracking is made both statutory …
9 signatures
(Most recent: 17 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 4
Liberal Democrat: 2
Independent: 1
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
10th May 2022
Sarah Olney signed this EDM on Monday 16th May 2022

Covid-19 testing and school exams

Tabled by: Munira Wilson (Liberal Democrat - Twickenham)
That this House recognises the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on pupil and staff absences; believes there is potential for further disruption in the coming weeks; commends the tireless work of school leaders, teachers and support staff to ensure schools are as safe as possible for the exam season; yet …
13 signatures
(Most recent: 16 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 9
Labour: 3
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

Monday 27th January 2020

3 Adjournment Debates led by Sarah Olney

Friday 22nd October 2021
Wednesday 9th June 2021
Wednesday 7th October 2020

3 Bills introduced by Sarah Olney


A Bill to require the Secretary of State to review the effectiveness of gender pay gap reporting requirements.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 2022

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 - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 6th May 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

914 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
22 Other Department Questions
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how much funding has been distributed to businesses through the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund to date.

The Government has awarded councils £1.5 billion to be distributed through the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund. Reporting arrangements have been put in place to monitor council’s progress in implementing their local schemes and delivering support to businesses. Councils have now provided initial monitoring information and the Government’s intention is that this will be published in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment his Department has made of the proportion of local authorities that have distributed funds to businesses through the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund.

The Government has awarded councils £1.5 billion to be distributed through the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund. Reporting arrangements have been put in place to monitor council’s progress in implementing their local schemes and delivering support to businesses. Councils have now provided initial monitoring information and the Government’s intention is that this will be published in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
10th May 2022
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, how much public money was spent on subsidising food and drink in outlets on the Parliamentary estate in 2021-22.

Final audited figures for the net cost of catering for 2021–22 will be published in July, and I shall write to the hon. Member when these figures are known.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what recent steps he has taken to help coordinate a whole of Government response to tackling the climate and ecological emergency ahead of the COP15 Biodiversity Conference.

The COP15 meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity is a crucial moment in 2022 to ensure global action on tackling biodiversity loss by 2030.

The UK government is taking a wholly joined up approach to delivering world-leading climate & ecological commitments through our Net Zero Strategy, the Environment Act, and our Environmental Improvement Plan, including an historic target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has plans to publish an estimated turnaround time for applications to the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The Home office are working to ensure as many visas are processed as possible.

I refer the Hon Member to the data published at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/ukraine-family-scheme-application-data. Further data will be published in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what the average number of days is between an application being submitted to the Homes for Ukraine scheme and the outcome of that application being reached.

The Home office are working to ensure as many visas are processed as possible.

I refer the Hon Member to the data published at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/ukraine-family-scheme-application-data. Further data will be published in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recent report from the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation on car-dependency and new housing developments; and what steps he is taking to help ensure that new housing developments have easy access to public transport provision.

The Government has taken, and is taking a number of steps to make sure that developments are easily accessible by public transport. We have set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that transport issues should be considered from the earliest stages of plan-making and development proposals, so that opportunities to promote walking, cycling and public transport use are identified and pursued. The NPPF is clear that significant development of new homes should be focused on locations which are or can be made sustainable, through limiting the need to travel and offering a genuine choice of transport modes.

Last year, the Government published the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which highlighted the principles of low carbon transport that should apply in spatial planning. We are also supporting the delivery of an update to Manual for Streets, the Government’s guidance on street design which ensures that when considering the design of streets in housing and other development, pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users should be at the top of the hierarchy.

As we set out in the Net Zero Strategy, through our programme of changes to the planning system we intend to review the NPPF to make sure it contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation as fully as possible. One of our Levelling Up missions is also that local public transport connectivity across the country will be significantly closer to the standards of London on service levels, fares and ticketing.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether a sole occupier of a home who takes in a Ukrainian refugee will lose their Council Tax discount.

The Government is clear that the entitlement to the council tax single person discount should not be impacted by an individual's participation in the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what financial support the Government plans to make available to pension-age Ukrainian refugees.

I refer the Hon Member to the guidance for local authorities available online at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans his Department has in place to help accommodate Ukrainian refugees in the UK who are unable to leave within (a) 6 months and (b) 3 years.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils. There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors. Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps his Department is taking to financially support British nationals hosting Ukrainian refugees outside of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Further to the oral statement by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up on 14 March, guidance for local authorities has been published on Gov.uk at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils. There are also published FAQs available online at www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions as well as information for sponsors. Information is available on safeguarding checks at these links, as well as on eligibility for the scheme. Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened for applications on 18 March and is accessible via links from homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk . Those who had recorded their interest in the scheme were also contacted on that date. Details on future phases of the scheme will be announced in due course.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has any plans to review Part 14 of the Town and Country (General Permitted Development) Order 2015.

To support the generation of renewable energy, national permitted development rights in Part 14 of the General Permitted Development Order enable the installation of microgeneration renewable energy equipment. While we keep all permitted development rights under review, we have no immediate plans to amend the Part 14 rights.

Stuart Andrew
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will commit to publishing a regular update on the allocation of levelling up funding.

Since October 2021 the Government has allocated around £1.9 billion throughout the UK through the Levelling Up Fund, Community Renewal Fund and Community Ownership Fund.

All funding offers and allocations for these funds and others can be found on gov.uk. We will continue to do this for all future funding programmes. In the Levelling Up White Paper, we also set out our ambitious plans for using data and spatial mapping to give everyone the chance to see how this government is levelling up the country.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of provision of public toilets in England; and what plans his Department has to help ensure there is an adequate provision of public toilets across the country.

Local authorities are best placed to make decisions about public toilet provision in their localities. The provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2022-23 makes available an additional £3.5 billion to councils, including funding for adult social care reform. This is an increase in local authority funding for 2022-23 of over 4% in real terms, which will ensure councils across the country have the resources they need to deliver local services.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to begin the review of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

We know there is concern that the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, part II, has not kept pace with today’s commercial property sector.

Government announced a review of the landlord and tenant legislation in December 2020, and recommitted to the review as part of the Build Back Better High Streets strategy. The review will develop proposals for a framework that helps support the efficient, flexible use of space and supports high streets and town centres


Officials are currently engaging across departments and with industry stakeholders to inform the scope and focus of the review; further details will be announced in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of findings on the disparity in mortality rates of women following operations performed by male and female surgeons.

We are committed to improving women’s health. Independent reports such as Baroness Cumberlege’s review in 2021 were a catalyst in shining a light on women’s experiences of the healthcare system. In December we published Our Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy, which sets out our ambitions for improving women’s health and reducing disparities – we will publish the Women’s Health Strategy this year.

We are also clear that wider patient safety must be a top priority for the NHS in England. Significant measures introduced by the Government and those being implemented by NHS England as part of the NHS Patient Safety Strategy are about improving the way the NHS learns from avoidable patient harm and the response to harmed patients.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many of his Department's (a) laptops, (b) mobile phones, (c) memory sticks and (d) external hard drives have been lost or stolen in each of the last five years.

The following table includes the number of lost/stolen devices in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in the last five years.

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Laptops

1

6

18

2

7

Mobile phones

0

13

8

3

9

Memory sticks

0

0

0

0

0

External hard drives

0

0

0

0

0

All departmental IT is fully security encrypted.

The departmental security unit records and investigates each reported loss from the Department. If appropriate, the police are invited to undertake further inquiries.

Any mobile device reported as lost is immediately and remotely deactivated and the contents deleted. The user account on any laptop reported as lost is immediately and remotely locked.

There has been no data loss or compromise as a result of these losses.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
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)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether there was a cost to the public purse from expenditure on (a) alcohol, (b) food, (c) suitcases and (d) a fridge at gatherings being investigated by the (i) Second Permanent Secretary to Cabinet Office and (ii) Metropolitan Police.

No.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department plans to publish a report on the review of all EU retained laws being undertaken to determine whether those laws are beneficial to the UK.

The Queen’s speech will set out in further detail the Government’s legislative programme in the normal way.

This legislation on retained EU law will be informed by the Cabinet Office's ongoing reviews into the substance and status of retained EU law. Legislation will be accompanied by the normal documents that will explain the benefits of making it easier to amend or remove retained EU Law.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what his planned timetable is for bringing forward legislative proposals with the aim of ensuring that it is easier to amend or remove retained EU law.

The Queen’s speech will set out in further detail the Government’s legislative programme in the normal way.

This legislation on retained EU law will be informed by the Cabinet Office's ongoing reviews into the substance and status of retained EU law. Legislation will be accompanied by the normal documents that will explain the benefits of making it easier to amend or remove retained EU Law.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to The Benefits of Brexit: How the UK is taking advantage of leaving the EU published in January 2022, what assessment he has made of the way in which the Withdrawal Agreement enabled the UK to establish a strategic partnership with Australia and the USA through AUKAS.

Following our withdrawal from the European Union, the UK is able to pursue an independent foreign, trade and security policy. As set out in ‘The Benefits of Brexit’, this gives us greater flexibility to pursue the UK’s international objectives: to sit at the heart of a network of like-minded countries, defend human rights and uphold global norms. This new and agile approach is demonstrated through AUKUS. AUKUS is a concrete articulation of the UK’s ambition, made in the ‘Integrated Review’, to deepen defence, security and foreign policy ties with like-minded partners in the Indo-Pacific and more widely across the globe. The agreement reflects the unique level of trust and cooperation between our three countries.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if his Department will publish a breakdown of the projected £1 billion of red tape faced by businesses that will be removed via Brexit Freedoms Bill, by (a) business sector and (b) type of red tape cut.

The review into the substance of retained EU law and departmental appraisals will be used to establish how best to meet the target. In due course, as we progress with this work, we will consider whether to publish a breakdown of the target.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government has taken to inform small and medium sized enterprises of the new import processes taking effect from 1 January 2022; and how much money the Government has spent on dispersing that information.

Government officials and Ministers meet weekly with representatives of trade bodies that represent SMEs, such as the Federation of Small Businesses and the Confederation of British Industry, to discuss how best to target information at SMEs. We also engage larger companies to ensure they help prepare smaller companies in their supply chains for the changes ahead.

The Government has also prepared several freely available tools to assist all traders with the new import processes being introduced from 1 January 2022. This includes the publication and continuous updating of the Border Operating Model; over 200 webinars delivered by the Cabinet Office reaching around 20,000 UK and EU traders to date, and a haulier handbook translated into 17 languages.

In addition, our ‘Check, Change, Go’ communications campaign has been designed using polling and insights from SMEs. Based on these insights, all paid for marketing has been developed to target these audiences to ensure they are aware of the effect of new rules in place between the EU and the UK.

Given much of this activity falls within standard government business as usual, it is not possible to disaggregate all costs relating to communications specifically for preparing small and medium sized businesses. However the Cabinet Office publishes expenditure on gov.uk, including on public information campaigns on a rolling monthly basis as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the total cost to the Government is of new border infrastructure, including IT systems, put in place to process goods imported from the EU.

In July 2020, the Government announced a £705 million package of investment in border infrastructure, staff and technology to ensure GB border systems would be ready for the transition period. This included the £200 million Port Infrastructure Fund (PIF), £270 million for inland infrastructure and a further £235 million for border IT, systems and recruitments.

As of early December 2021, £95.5 million in grants from the PIF had been disbursed to ports to cover verified expenditure to date. Of the £200 million PIF, we expect all of the £195 million allocated to ports to be spent by the end of the current (2021-22) financial year. Additionally, by December 2021, the Department for Transport had spent £292.2 million on inland border infrastructure and the running of Information and Advice sites.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has ongoing funding to deliver the key priorities for EU Exit. As of early December 2021, HMRC had spent, for example, £9 million scaling up the existing Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system, £45 million on the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) and an additional £76 million on Inland Border Facility (IBF) development.

Since departments have border-related funding built into their baseline budgets, it is not straightforward to provide the total cost to the Government of all new border infrastructure and IT systems to date. Spending is ongoing and will be accounted for by departments in the usual way.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many of the Prime Minister's office (a) laptops, (b) mobile phones, (c) memory sticks and (d) external hard drives have been lost or stolen in each of the last five years.

For management and staffing purposes, the Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office.

Figures are not available for 2017. Subsequent figures for the whole of the Cabinet Office as a department are as follows:

2018

2019

2020

2021

Laptops

46

63

40

32

Mobile phones

80

136

69

87

Memory sticks

0

0

0

0

External hard drives

0

0

0

0

To place this context, in 2020-21, the Cabinet Office (core department) had 9,248 staff.

All departmental IT is fully security encrypted.

Any mobile device reported as lost is immediately and remotely deactivated and the contents deleted. The user account on any laptop reported as lost is immediately and remotely locked.

The Departmental security unit records and investigates each reported loss from the Department. If appropriate, the police are invited to undertake further inquiries.

There has been no data loss or compromise as a result of these losses.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
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)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of number of (a) businesses and (b) individuals qualified to implement retrofitting measures in homes and buildings across England in the latest period for which figures are available.

In order to participate in government schemes, an installer business must be TrustMark registered, and PAS 2030:2019 or Microgeneration Certification Scheme certified. There are 1,690 installer businesses that meet those requirements, as of 28th April 2022. There are also 2,832 TrustMark registered Retrofit Coordinators and Retrofit Assessors.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of number of (a) businesses and (b) individuals qualified to implement retrofitting measures in homes and buildings across England in the latest period for which figures are available.

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

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to require online retailers to state the country of origin in which the goods offered for sale were manufactured.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (CCRs) require traders to provide consumers with specified pre-purchase information including information about the main characteristics of goods, services or digital content but this does not necessarily include the country of origin. The Government have no plan to change this rule.

However, consumers are free to enquire from the seller as to the origin of products, and to base their decision of whether or not to purchase on the reply. Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), traders are banned from giving consumers false information or using misleading statements or presentation about the geographical or commercial origin of products including in response to requests for information by consumers. The Regulations carry criminal penalties and are enforced by local trading standards officers.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to his answer of 25 November 2021 to question 75086, what steps he plans to take to make a comparative assessment of the effect of burning (a) wood pellets and (b) coal at the Drax power station on achieving net zero in the absence of information on the carbon transport costs of either process.

The Renewables Obligation Order (RO) and Contracts for Difference (CfD) sustainability criteria require that electricity generation from biomass does not exceed a set greenhouse gas threshold and produces life-cycle emission savings:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/contracts-for-difference-cfd-allocation-round-4-standard-terms-and-conditions

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/renewables-obligation-sustainability-criteria.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2022 to Question 134378 on Nuclear Weapons: Russia, when the Government plans to publish an update on UKRI funding to research projects with Russian collaboration.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 9 March 2022 to Question 134378.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what legal restrictions there are on his Department in publishing the businesses that received loans under the (a) Covid Business Interruption Loans Scheme, (b) Covid Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and (c) Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Some information about loans accessed through the Government’s Covid-19 loan guarantee schemes are made available on the European Commission State Aid Transparency Database and the UK Subsidy Transparency Database, where required to ensure compliance with EU and international law.

A variety of complex legal, contractual and commercial considerations apply in relation to any additional release of loan recipient data.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what information his Department holds on which private sector companies are using large scale bioenergy with carbon capture and storage to reduce their carbon footprint.

We are not aware of any private sector companies using large scale bioenergy with carbon capture and storage.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether any trees burnt in UK power stations since 2003 were sourced from the UK.

Ofgem publishes data relating to UK derived biomass on its website which can be accessed here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/biomass-sustainability-dataset-2019-20.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the total value of loans issued to businesses with premises or registered interests in the Russian Federation was under the (a) Covid Business Interruption Loans Scheme, (b) Covid Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and (c) Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

In order to be eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme or the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, a business was required to be trading in the United Kingdom. We do not hold data on whether recipients of the schemes have premises or registered interests in the Russian Federation.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of OneWeb’s decision to suspend all satellite launches from Baikonur on the (a) planned timetable for launches and (b) market value of that company.

OneWeb is currently assessing options for alternative launches. The Government is working closely with other shareholders to discuss next steps.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives of OneWeb on the decision to suspend all satellite launches from Baikonur.

OneWeb is currently assessing options for alternative launches. The Government is working closely with other shareholders to discuss next steps.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Department has made of the effect of OneWeb's decision to suspend all satellite launches from Baikonur on that company's ability to compete with SpaceEx.

OneWeb is currently assessing options for alternative launches. This exercise is commercially sensitive. The Government is working closely with other shareholders to discuss next steps.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what information his Department holds on the expected timescale for OneWeb delivering a commercial service.

The OneWeb Board has voted to suspend all launches scheduled from Baikonur. OneWeb is currently assessing options for alternative launches. This exercise is commercially sensitive. The Government is working closely with other shareholders to discuss next steps.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on the continuation of Government supported research projects involving Russian collaboration; and if he will conduct an assessment of the implications for his policies on international research collaboration of the invasion of Ukraine.

As I noted on 27 February, BEIS is rapidly reviewing all Russian beneficiaries of UK science, research, technology and innovation funding. This is a fast moving policy area and the Government will provide an update in due course.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the evidential basis behind the age profile of forests logged for wood pellets used in the Drax power station having remained constant.

The Government does not hold this information. The Government only supports sustainable biomass and generators only receive subsidies for biomass that complies with strict sustainability criteria.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the reports from (a) the European Academies' Science Advisory Council, (b) the Ember think tank and (c) Chatham House which suggest that burning wood pellets risks making climate change worse.

The Government only supports sustainable biomass and generators only receive subsidies for biomass that comply with strict sustainability criteria.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 9 February 2022 to Question 116010, what the estimated cost to the public purse is of the assessment of the economic impact on businesses from reintroducing imperial measurements that will be carried out in due course.

Impact assessments are an established part of the normal civil service policy-making process and the cost of undertaking them is not assessed individually.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislative proposals on the introduction of paid neonatal leave before the end of this Parliament.

The Government is committed to bringing forward legislative proposals on the introduction of paid neonatal leave, to support those new mothers and fathers who need it during some of the most stressful days of their lives.

The Government will bring forward these reforms to our employment framework when Parliamentary time allows.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he will take to ensure that plans for the UK taxonomy are robust and lead to effective progress towards a more sustainable world.

In October 2021, the Government published ‘Greening Finance: A Roadmap to Sustainable Investing’, which set out its approach to economy-wide Sustainability Disclosure Requirements, including reporting against the UK Green Taxonomy. This underlines the Government’s commitment to the taxonomy being science-based, accessible, and built for the UK to support a global transition to net zero. The Government has been working with the Green Technical Advisory Group and the Energy Working Group during the development of draft Technical Screening Criteria to achieve this ambition.

As the Prime Minister has stated, the Government intends to consult on the inclusion of nuclear in the draft technical standards for a UK green taxonomy and the development of Technical Screening Criteria is currently ongoing. As set out in the Roadmap, the Government expects to consult on draft Technical Screening Criteria in coming months, ahead of legislating by the end of the year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including nuclear and gas as taxonomy aligned endeavours in the EU’s Green Taxonomy; and if he will make a statement.

In October 2021, the Government published ‘Greening Finance: A Roadmap to Sustainable Investing’, which set out its approach to economy-wide Sustainability Disclosure Requirements, including reporting against the UK Green Taxonomy. This underlines the Government’s commitment to the taxonomy being science-based, accessible, and built for the UK to support a global transition to net zero. The Government has been working with the Green Technical Advisory Group and the Energy Working Group during the development of draft Technical Screening Criteria to achieve this ambition.

As the Prime Minister has stated, the Government intends to consult on the inclusion of nuclear in the draft technical standards for a UK green taxonomy and the development of Technical Screening Criteria is currently ongoing. As set out in the Roadmap, the Government expects to consult on draft Technical Screening Criteria in coming months, ahead of legislating by the end of the year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has assessed the merits of mandating large asset managers sign up the FRC’s New Stewardship Code as part of their responsibilities to their fiduciaries.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires that asset managers disclose clearly the nature of their commitment to the Financial Reporting Council’s UK Stewardship Code. Where an asset manager chooses not to follow the Code, it must disclose its alternative investment strategy. The FRC continues to gather evidence of the quality of stewardship practice and reporting under the revised Stewardship Code introduced in 2020. The FRC and the FCA are due to review the regulatory framework for effective stewardship formally in 2023, including the operation of the revised Code.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what financial support his Department is providing to SMEs that wish to become carbon negative.

Businesses have significant power to drive change towards achieving our domestic net zero goal. To underline the importance of this area, last year the Government led the Race to Zero campaign targeting small and microbusinesses across the UK. Over 2,700 have joined the Race to Zero to date.

The Government has worked closely with the international UN-backed SME Climate Hub, which is part of the global Race to Zero campaign, to embed a UK campaign page known as the UK Business Climate Hub. This campaign page offers free advice to small business on how to be greener and save money, along with inspiring UK case studies. Upon making their SME climate commitment to join the Race to Zero, businesses gain free access to a suite of resources to help them measure, reduce and report on emissions.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support SMEs who wish to make their business carbon neutral.

Businesses have significant power to drive change towards achieving our domestic net zero goal. To underline the importance of this area, last year the Government led the Race to Zero campaign targeting small and microbusinesses across the UK. Over 2,700 have joined the Race to Zero to date.

The Government has worked closely with the international UN-backed SME Climate Hub, which is part of the global Race to Zero campaign, to embed a UK campaign page known as the UK Business Climate Hub. This campaign page offers free advice to small business on how to be greener and save money, along with inspiring UK case studies. Upon making their SME climate commitment to join the Race to Zero, businesses gain free access to a suite of resources to help them measure, reduce and report on emissions.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if we will negotiate a supplementary agreement with the EU on conformity assessment and the markings of industrial, electrical and electronic goods.

Throughout negotiations, it was a UK priority to agree a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) across as many sectors as possible with the EU. We were not able to reach an agreement on this proposal.

MRAs remain a useful tool, and we will continue to seek them in negotiations with partners where this would be beneficial. Nevertheless, the priority and key focus for the UK now is implementing our deal with the EU and supporting industry to adjust to the changes and opportunities ahead.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential economic value and impact on GDP of reviewing the EU ban on markings and sales in imperial units.

We are reviewing the EU ban on the use of imperial units for markings so that businesses have more choice over the measures they use.

This is an important step in taking back control of our national rules, and we will consult to ensure that we have the best evidence available on which to make changes. An assessment of the economic impact on businesses will be carried out in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the potential effect on GDP of enabling a Crown Stamp symbol to appear on pint glasses.

The Government wants to provide businesses with the option to use the crown stamp symbol so that it can appear on pint glasses once again. The use of the crown stamp symbol on pint glasses will be voluntary. Businesses will have freedom to choose whether or not to apply the symbol to pint glasses, alongside the legally required UKCA and M markings. No additional conformity assessment processes will be required and we do not anticipate any impact on GDP.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the effect on energy efficiency over the next 10 years of electricity produced by (a) wind, (b) solar and (c) burning trees.

Projections of renewable generation are taken from BEIS Energy and Emissions Projections: Net Zero Strategy baseline (partial interim update), Annex J – Total electricity generation by source, published 7th December 2021. BEIS does not publish a disaggregation of renewables sources.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to move from burning 25 million trees per year at Drax to shorter rotation bioenergy; and whether Drax turbines are technically constrained by burning this alternative feedstock.

The UK only supports biomass that complies with strict sustainability requirements and generators only receive subsidies for compliant biomass

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps her Department is taking to (a) improve protections for workers paid through umbrella payroll companies and (b) secure the employee rights of those workers.

The Government wants to ensure it has a detailed and up to date understanding of the umbrella company market and how it is continuing to evolve. Therefore, the Government launched a Call for Evidence on 30 November 2021, which is intended to complement the Government’s commitment to bring umbrella companies into scope of state enforcement.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much (a) the Government has spent on covid-19 vaccines as at 25 January 2022 and (b) the supply of that vaccine is estimated to cost in 2022 and 2023.

We are not able to disclose costs of vaccines procured to date, as details of contracts between the Government and vaccine manufacturers are commercially sensitive.

As announced in the Spending Review of October 2021 the Government has now made available £9.6 billion for key COVID-19 programmes and related health spending over this Spending Review period.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the extent to which planned programmes to improve home energy efficiency will deliver the Committee on Fuel Poverty's 2025 Band D milestone and 2030 Band C target; and steps he plans to take in the event that those targets are not reached.

The Government outlines its approach to tackling fuel poverty in England in its “Sustainable Warmth” policy paper, published in February 2021. The Government’s fuel poverty target for England is to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as feasibly possible achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C, by 2030.

There are a range of schemes in place to deliver energy efficiency measures to low-income households. For example, the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, the Home Upgrade Grant and the Energy Company Obligation will all help deliver against the Government’s 2030 target, and 2025 milestone.

The Government will continue to monitor the delivery of schemes to ensure support reaches those qualifying households and progress towards the 2030 target and interim milestone.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how his Department has allocated the additional £60 million to retrofit social housing which the Government committed to spending in the Sustainable Warmth policy paper published in February 2021.

The Government committed £60 million of funding to continue upgrading the least efficient social housing in the Autumn 2020 Spending Review. This was increased to around £160 million for the first Wave of the fund, in March 2021. The Government launched the grant competition for Wave 1 of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund in August 2021 and will provide circa. £160 million funding in 2021/22 financial year, delivering up to March 2023. The bidding window closed on 15 October 2021 and the outcomes of bids will be disclosed in due course.

In the Heat and Buildings Strategy and Net Zero Strategy, launched in October 2021, the Government announced that a further £800 million had been committed for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund in the 22/23 to 24/25 financial years as part of the 2021 Spending Review process.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to publish the final design for the Energy Company Obligation ECO4: 2022-2026.

The Government will issue a response to the ECO4 consultation in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to bring forward legislative proposals to tackle the growing cost of energy consumption.

The current rising energy costs has been precipitated by unprecedented conditions in global energy markets. The Energy Price Cap continues to protect households, ensuring they pay a fair price for their energy.

Extensive engagement continues across government at both ministerial and official level on this situation to understand, and help mitigate the impacts of, high global energy prices. The Government’s priority is to ensure costs are managed and energy supplies maintained.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to respond to his Department's joint consultation with Ofgem on proposals for a Future System Operator; and what assessment he has made of the relative potential merits of (a) strategic planning of infrastructure investment and (b) a sector-by-sector approach.

The recent consultation on a Future System Operator closed on the 28th September. Within the consultation the Government invited views on a whole systems approach, including joining up planning and co-ordination of networks in the gas and electricity sectors and improving strategic decision making in the energy system. A response to this consultation will be published in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions and communications he has had with online marketplaces with regards to the UK’s exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime.

Ministers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have spoken to a wide variety of stakeholders with regards to the UK’s exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of an international copyright exhaustion regime on the UK’s book industry; and what plans he has to publish that assessment.

The Government recently held a consultation on the UK’s future exhaustion of intellectual property rights regime. The potential impact of an international exhaustion regime on the UK’s book industry is likely to form part of the overall assessment, alongside the potential effect on other sectors of the economy. The Government will provide an update on this consultation in due course.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the amount of aviation turbine fuel, Avtur, consumed in the UK in 2019-20.

Consumption of aviation turbine fuel in 2019 and 2020 is published in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics table 3.2-3.3.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many meetings Ministers have held with representatives of the toys industry in the last year; and what steps his Department is taking to tackle the impact of (a) supply chain issues, (b) trade disruption and (c) labour shortages on the import and manufacture of toys.

The Department publishes details of Ministers’ meetings with external organisations on a quarterly basis, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

We recently established a Supply Chain Advisory Group and Industry Taskforce, which provides a link between business and the Government to identify causes of supply chain issues and what Government action may be proportionate.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many of his Department's (a) laptops, (b) mobile phones, (c) memory sticks and (d) external hard drives have been lost or stolen in each of the last five years.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has lost or had stolen the following numbers of laptops and mobile phones:

Date

Number of Laptops Lost

Number of Laptops Stolen

Number of Mobile Phones Lost

Number of Mobile Phones Stolen

2017

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

2018

6

6

27

5

2019

16

28

125

32

2020

10

18

63

12

2021 (to 09 Dec)

6

14

74

11

Information about the loss or theft of memory sticks and external hard drives is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
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)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will allocate funding for decarbonising the housing stock to help deliver net zero emissions by 2050.

The Government recognises that decarbonising our country’s 30 million buildings is essential to meet our ambition of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Government is investing £9 billion in improving the energy efficiency of our buildings, including £1.3 billion this financial year.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (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.

26th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 April 2022 to Question 154260 on Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Aviation, how many rail journeys officials in her Department made between (a) London and Edinburgh, (b) London and Glasgow and (c) Southampton and Newcastle in 2019-2020.

The total number of rail journeys to and from requested locations taken by Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport officials between April 2019 and March 2020 is broken down below:

  • London and Edinburgh: 15

  • London and Glasgow: 66

  • Southampton and Newcastle: 0

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 April 2022 to Question 154260 on Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Aviation, what the total cost of the 246 domestic flights taken by officials in her Department was between April 2019 and March 2020.

The total cost of domestic flights taken by Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport officials between April 2019 and March 2020 was £40,465.77.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to Greening Government Commitments Annual Report, April 2019 to March 2020, published in October 2021 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason there was an increase in the number of domestic flights taken by her Department between 2009-10 and 2019-20; and if she will provide a breakdown by (a) origin and (b) destination of those flights in 2019-20.

The increase in domestic flights taken by DCMS officials in 2019/20 compared to 2009/10 can be explained by the following:

  • The department is less London centric, increasing its presence across the UK.

  • The department has increased in size from 454 FTE in 2009/10 to 1,304 FTE in 2019/20, a 187% increase. The increase in FTE is contributed to by the increased remit of the department, specifically within digital and international policy.

A total of 246 domestic flights were taken by DCMS officials between April 2019 and March 2020, to attend external meetings and conferences.

A breakdown of the flight data, detailing the origin and destination of flights taken in 2019/20 can be found in the attached PDF.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate she has made of the total funds to be allocated for Unboxed: Creativity in the UK.

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is an ambitious programme of ten major multi-site and digital creative projects. The programme objectives are to bring people together and celebrate our collective and unique offer to the world. To deliver this, UNBOXED is taking the projects to over 80 places across the UK which have not generally staged such events in the past, all for free.

This programme aims to deliver a wide range of social, cultural and economic benefits which will be independently assessed and a report will be published in early 2023. In particular, the programme will help contribute to people’s happiness and wellbeing across the UK through taking part in and enjoying world-class cultural events, and help support the creative sector’s recovery from the pandemic through employment opportunities and new partnerships. It will demonstrate innovative uses of technology, drive up engagement with science and technology, and showcase the very best of the UK’s creativity to the world.

These benefits are already starting to be realised. For example, thousands of people have enjoyed ‘About Us’, a spectacular light and music production in Paisley, Londonderry, Caernarfon and Luton. Fifty young people are working on ‘Storytrails’, and hundreds of young people are contributing creative work to ‘Tour de Moon’. ‘Green Spaces Dark Skies’ has invited 20,000 people to carry lights in areas of outstanding natural beauty across the UK to create a magical light show. There is an extensive learning and participation programme which includes hundreds of lesson plans, workshops, school trips and other learning resources inspired by the ten projects.

The total budget for UNBOXED is £120 million, of which £98 million has been allocated to DCMS, and the remainder made available to the Devolved Administrations via the Barnett Formula (led by HM Treasury).

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support the 25th anniversary of World Book Day.

We recognise the vital part that books, reading and public libraries play in the lives of so many people, and the pleasure they bring to people of all ages.

DCMS is supporting World Book Day through organisations that are in receipt of public funds provided by the department. Arts Council England provided funding of £94,360 to World Book Day in January 2021, to deliver a multi-year project - ‘Growing reading for pleasure for children & young people 2021-2022’. The project finishes in August 2022 and includes support for this year’s World Book Day event on 3 March.

In addition, Libraries Connected (the sector support organisation for libraries) has been encouraging public libraries to take part in the celebrations, to order publicity materials and to sign up and promote the £1 books. Libraries Connected is also highlighting World Book Day through its social media channels, website and other publicity, as will DCMS.

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 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.

17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make it his policy to ensure that professional football clubs have at least 51 per cent fan ownership.

Fans are the beating heart of their clubs and it is vital they have their voices heard.

The Government has launched its fan-led review of football governance, which will be a root-and-branch examination of the big issues facing the national game.

I would not want to pre-judge the recommendations of the review but I can confirm that club ownership, including models found in other countries, will be examined as part of the review.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
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)
26th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the provision of (a) training programmes and (b) other support for people seeking to become qualified to fit retrofitting measures in homes.

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

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many new schools built in England in each of the last 10 years have achieved net zero status.

Over the past ten years, the department has designed schools that are good quality, easy to manage and maintain, and deliver low energy solutions.

In November 2021, the department launched its first specification to deliver schools that are net zero carbon in operation. All schools that are procured under this specification will not only be net zero in operation but will also incorporate a wider range of measures to tackle climate change. The department’s full specification can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/school-design-and-construction#output-specification

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has held with the University and College Union about grievances of university staff relating to pensions, pay and working conditions.

Higher education providers are autonomous and responsible for the pay and pension provision of their staff.

While the government has no direct role in the disputes, we have been clear that we want this disagreement resolved in a way that avoids further disrupting students’ learning. We strongly encourage a resolution that delivers good value for students, staff, and providers.

The Pensions Regulator is currently working with the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), Universities UK and a range of other stakeholders as they work to find a long-term solution to the funding challenges faced by the USS.

The USS is a private pension scheme. It has more than 450,000 members, and sizable assets and liabilities. USS is one of the largest private pension schemes in the country, with assets worth over £80 billion in December 2020.

The Office for Students (OfS) has wide-ranging powers to ensure students’ interests are protected, and they expect providers to do all they can to avoid disruption to students. The OfS has written to universities to make their expectations clear: universities must abide by the conditions of registration and ensure they meet obligations under consumer protection law in relation to the impact of industrial action.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to ensure that the provision of free schools meals is extended to children from immigrant families.

The department will be extending free school meal (FSM) eligibility to children from all households with no recourse to public funds. Further information is available at: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2022-03-24/hcws714.

This builds on the department’s existing benefits-related criteria which ensures 1.7 million children receive a free nutritious school meal each day, and the universal infant FSM policy which has been in place since 2014, benefitting a further 1.3 million infant children.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of potential merits of deferring (a) Key Stage 1 SATs, (b) Key Stage 2 SATs and (c) other statutory primary school assessments during the academic year 2021-22 to enable teachers to focus on supporting children to catch-up on learning after the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is taking forward a full programme of primary assessments to take place in the 2021/22 academic year. The assessments will help parents, schools and the department to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pupils more clearly, and how this varies between different groups of pupils (for example, disadvantaged pupils compared with the wider population), schools and local authority areas. At a local level, the data will provide vital information to parents about their child’s attainment, support transition to secondary schools, and identify where additional support is best targeted to individuals. At a national level, the data will help inform policy decisions about support for schools, enable analysis to underpin education recovery initiatives and understand their effectiveness, and to track system progress as we emerge from the pandemic.

Although schools should encourage pupils to work hard and achieve well, the department does not recommend that they devote excessive preparation time to assessment. The department trusts schools to administer assessments in the appropriate way.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to allocate additional funding to cover the costs of (a) sickness cover for teachers and (b) sanitation in schools incurred as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The department recognises that schools are facing pressures. Teachers and school leaders have contributed hugely to the nation’s efforts to respond to the challenges arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, and we are very grateful for their continued hard work.

School funding remains a key priority for the department. The government is increasing funding to deliver year on year, real terms per pupil increases to school funding. This is starting with a £7 billion increase in the core schools budget by the financial year 2024-25, compared with the financial year 2021-22, taking total funding to £56.8 billion by 2024-25.

Future increases in funding have been frontloaded to rapidly get money to schools. In the financial year 2022-23 alone, core schools funding will increase by £4 billion, compared to 2021-22. This represents a 5% increase in real terms per pupil boost. This will help schools rise to the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, increase teacher pay, and meet the cost of the Health and Social Care Levy, while continuing their work to raise attainment.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, schools have continued to receive core funding, regardless of any periods of reduced attendance. Schools have the flexibility to make their own decisions on how to prioritise their spending to invest in a range of resources and activities that will best support their staff and pupils. Schools will be able to use their existing budgets to help with the costs associated with COVID-19 absences.

The department re-introduced the COVID-19 workforce fund in the autumn term to provide financial support to eligible schools and colleges. The fund has been extended until Easter to cover the cost of term-time staff absences experienced between 22 November 2021 and 8 April 2022. The fund is available to support schools and colleges facing the greatest staffing and funding pressures to continue to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils.

All schools can access a range of school resource management tools to help them get the best value from their resources. Schools in financial difficulty should contact the Education and Skills Funding Agency or their local authority.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make a comparative assessment of the (a) percentage of asylum seekers at a school and (b) applications for disapplication of the national curriculum.

The department does not collect data on the asylum seeker status of children and therefore cannot make an assessment of the percentage of asylum seekers at a school and applications for disapplication of the national curriculum.

The number of pupils recorded as not following the national curriculum is published at a school level in the file ‘School level underlying data.’ This is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to introduce measures for the assessment of (a) GCSEs and (b) A-Levels for the 2021-22 academic year to reflect disruption from school absence due to covid-19 infection.

The department continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on education closely, including through attendance data. It remains the government’s firm intention that examinations and assessments should go ahead next year. The department and Ofqual consulted on and announced a range of adaptations to exams and assessments over this academic year. The package of measures includes:

  • Choice of topics in GCSE English literature, history, ancient history and choice of content in GCSE geography.
  • Provision of advance information by 7 February 2022 on the focus of the content of exams to be used as revision guidance in all GCSE subjects without optionality, and in AS and A levels.
  • Changes to the requirements for the delivery of practical activities in science subjects, and assessment in art and design.
  • Provision of support materials in GCSE mathematics, physics and combined science exams.

The department engaged with a range of stakeholders, including students and parents, on these measures, and sought to ensure that students have breadth of knowledge, whilst also giving them support with focusing revision.  In the interests of fairness to students, Ofqual has also confirmed that 2022 will be a transition year for grading and has set out its plans for a mid-point between 2021 and pre-COVID-19 grades.

If there is significant further disruption to education, the government has the flexibility to bring forward advance information to support students further. Furthermore, the government understands that contingency arrangements are also needed to deal with the unlikely event that exams cannot go ahead fairly or safely.  Following a joint consultation with Ofqual, the department has confirmed that should exams not be able to go ahead, students will receive teacher assessed grades (TAGs) instead. The changes to the TAGs process for 2022 takes account of lessons learned from 2021 and minimises burdens on both teachers and students. Further information on plans for 2022 assessments can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/contingency-plans-confirmed-for-gcses-as-and-a-levels.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
10th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will issue updated guidance on disapplication of the national curriculum.

The department recognises that teaching a broad and balanced curriculum is important to the academic, social, and personal development of children and young people. All schools should continue to teach a broad and balanced curriculum in all subjects.

In response to education catch-up, taking the planned, sequenced curriculum as a starting point, schools should prioritise teaching missed content that will allow pupils to make sense of later work in the curriculum. This includes key knowledge, skills, vocabulary, concepts, and the links between concepts. For schools that are required to follow it, these are outlined in the national curriculum.

Schools can use existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important content in which pupils are not yet secure. Further information can be found in the non-statutory guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teaching-a-broad-and-balanced-curriculum-for-education-recovery.

Up to and including key stage 3, prioritisation within subjects of the most important components for progression is likely to be more effective than removing subjects. This avoids depriving pupils of the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.

In exceptional circumstances, and where a subject is not one mandated, schools may consider it appropriate to suspend some subjects for some pupils. When this happens, schools are expected to be able to show that this is in the best interests of these pupils, and this should be in discussion with parents. Further guidance on disapplying aspects of the national curriculum can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disapplying-aspects-of-the-national-curriculum.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many of his Department's (a) laptops, (b) mobile phones, (c) memory sticks and (d) external hard drives have been lost or stolen in each of the last five years.

The information is not readily available and can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
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)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding through the Government's long-term education recovery plan; and what recent representations he has received from stakeholders in the education sector on the extent to which that Government funding will ensure educational recovery for children who have lost learning as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department has invested £3 billion in education recovery to help tackle the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Pupils, students, parents and staff have all experienced major disruption, and we realise that continuous action is required to ensure a strong recovery in nurseries, schools and colleges.

The Department has also invested more than £400 million to provide laptops, tablets and internet access to ensure that children could be taught remotely when required. Alongside this, we have supported the Oak National Academy, helping schools to provide high quality online lessons.

Ministers and officials have engaged extensively in recent months with a wide range of stakeholders on the approach to education recovery. The Department looks forward to continuing to engage with the sector and stakeholders on all aspects of the education recovery package, to ensure its effective implementation.

This Government has committed to an ambitious, long-term education recovery plan and the next stage will include a review of time spent in school and college and the impact this could have on helping children and young people to catch up. The findings of the review will be set out in the coming months to inform the Spending Review.

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)
22nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has for proposals for a legislative nature restoration target; and whether he plans to make funding available to the public and private sectors to support that target.

The Environment Act 2021 requires a new legally binding target to be set to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, alongside other biodiversity targets we are currently consulting on. This world leading target will drive wide-ranging actions to deliver nature recovery.

This target will be supported by significant investment from public and private sources, recognising the scale of the challenge. This includes over £750 million through the Nature for Climate Fund, biodiversity net gain and future farming agri-environment schemes.

The Government has also set a new target to mobilise at least £500 million in private finance to support nature's recovery every year by 2027 in England, rising to more than £1 billion by 2030. As part of the work to realise this ambition, we are catalysing a pipeline of investible nature projects through the £10 million Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund and developing an impact fund that blends £30 million of public capital with private sector capital to invest in projects of this type.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has produced an impact assessment on the setting of UK limits for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide levels above those in WHO guidance.

An Impact Assessment was carried out in 2010 when the UK transposed the EU Ambient Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC into UK Legislation, the 'Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010'. These Regulations set limit values for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide concentrations. This Impact Assessment can be found at the following URL: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/1001/impacts

We are taking an evidence-led process to set our new air quality targets through the Environment Act 2021 (applicable to England). An Impact Assessment will be published as part of the upcoming public consultation on this and other targets under the Act.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the number of local authorities that have areas with levels of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide that are above (a) UK limits and (b) WHO guidance.

Under the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010, Defra undertakes an annual assessment of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations. In September 2021, Defra published the latest ‘Air Pollution in the UK’ report, detailing the results of this assessment, and is available through the following URL:

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/documents/annualreport/air_pollution_uk_2020_issue_1.pdf.

Local authorities carry out air quality monitoring as part of the Local Air Quality Management process and provide Defra with annual reports on the status of air quality within their local authority boundary. Summary statistics for all their air quality measurements can be found within their annual status report, publicly available on the website of the respective local authority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 21 February 2022 to Question 121866, on Animal and Plant Health Agency: Customs, at how many commercial ports construction work is underway to build the necessary infrastructure and facilities to enable the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks to be carried out from 1 July 2022.

21 ports are building the necessary infrastructure and facilities to enable the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks to be carried out from 1 July 2022.

For plants and plant products, a total of 47 applications are being/have recently been processed for new inspection facilities. This includes 22 new or extended Border Control Posts (BCPs). The remainder are either ‘inspection centres’ (7) or ‘control points’ (18).

Sea ports: Sevington, Bristol, Dover, Immingham, Heysham, Hull, Killingholme, Liverpool, Purfleet, Thamesport, London Gateway, Tilbury 2, Newhaven, Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Southampton, Harwich, Felixstowe, Tees and Tyne.

Inclusion on this list does not mean that ports will be designated as BCPs.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Department will introduce equivalent protections to cats as those proposed for dogs in the Kept Animals Bill to provide for a ban on the import of (a) kittens under 6 months, (b) pregnant cats which are more than 42 days pregnant and (c) cats which have been declawed.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June and is progressing through Parliament. The Bill includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an 8-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. The consultation proposed to maintain the existing requirements for cats. This is because there is currently limited evidence that there is a significant illegal trade in cats or significant numbers of low welfare movements. The number of non-compliant cats seized at the border is much lower than for dogs, for example, in 2020 we seized and detained 17 kittens (under 15 weeks) compared to 543 puppies. We have also not seen the same issues with pregnant cats being imported, with no pregnant cats seized and detained in 2020.

The consultation sought views on whether maintaining the existing requirements in relation to cats was the right approach. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take on board the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

We will continue to work closely with stakeholders prior to the introduction of the legislation, to ensure that our final measures are well considered and led by the latest evidence.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a veterinary or SPS agreement with the EU in order to (a) reduce the complexity of or (b) eliminate the need for Export Health Certificates on agri-food imports and exports.

I refer the hon. Member the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Oldham West and Royton on 28 January 2022, PQ UIN 111667.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the complexity of documentation pertaining to exporting food with the European Union for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Government is committed to improving export processes for traders, for example through greater digitisation, to help reduce burdens.

Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls for exports of plants, seeds and products of animal origin to the EU are set by the EU.

Under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement we hold regular discussions with the EU. This allows us to take a risk-based approach to our respective SPS border controls and provides a basis for cooperation on avoiding unnecessary barriers to trade.

In addition, we seek to facilitate trade to the EU for GB exporters by regularly raising technical issues with certain Member States.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to (a) curb trail hunting on Government-owned land and (b) improve the effectiveness of the law on hunting.

This Government’s manifesto was clear that no changes will be made to the Hunting Act. The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs, except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act, and completely bans hare coursing. Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, by what date he expects the substance tetraethyllead to be banned from use by all sectors of the UK aviation industry.

Annex 14 of UK REACH (the Authorisation List) lists substances of very high concern that cannot be used after a specified ‘sunset date’ unless an authorisation has been applied for and been granted. As part of its recent draft recommendation for substances that are a priority for adding to Annex 14, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommended that no action on tetraethyllead is needed under UK REACH at the moment. The HSE set out that it may be appropriate to revisit the regulatory approach to tetraethyllead when technical evaluations of potential alternatives are completed, as none are currently available. This is expected to happen by the mid-2020s. As the process for recommending substances for Annex 14 prioritisation is a regular one, the regulatory approach to tetraethyllead will be reassessed in future prioritisation rounds.

The Department for Transport is working to encourage industry to transfer to cleaner aviation fuels where possible. In December 2020, the Secretary of State for Transport asked officials to speed up work on encouraging the aviation sector to use unleaded fuels such as UL91 which it is believed a significant proportion of the piston engine aviation fleet can use.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
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)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will increase investment in new forms of finance to fund ocean recovery.

We are at a pivotal moment for ocean recovery, and the Government is supporting ocean protection through appropriate funding, both domestically and internationally. We are extending our Blue Belt initiative with £7 million of funding, which is now on course to provide world-leading marine protection for over 4 million km2 before the end of this year. Additionally, the Government's £80 million Green Recovery Challenge fund is helping environmental organisations start work on projects across England, including marine and coastal projects, to restore nature and tackle climate change. The Government has also launched the £6.1 million Fisheries and Seafood Scheme which will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the English seafood sector and support a thriving marine environment.

The Government has pledged £500 million to create a new Blue Planet Fund to help developing countries reduce poverty, protect and sustainably manage their marine resources and address human-generated threats across four key themes: biodiversity, climate change, marine pollution, and sustainable seafood. Financed from the UK Official Development Assistance Budget, the Fund will be managed by Defra and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and will be launched later this year.

Beyond public investment, this Government also recognises the importance of mobilising private finance for the development of sustainable ocean-based economies, which are particularly dependent on a healthy ocean. Building on experience and growth in climate and green finance over the last ten years, new ocean-specific private finance initiatives (Blue Finance) are beginning to gain global traction across the world, covering topics such as marine biodiversity, blue carbon and marine plastic pollution. We are collaborating with international partnerships to scale up innovative finance solutions and considering how the Blue Planet Fund could support mobilising Blue Finance. This has recently been highlighted in the G7 Climate and Environment Ministers’ Communique, published on 21 May 2021, where the G7 committed to strengthening support to the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, whose purpose is to build resilience in communities most vulnerable to ocean risk, by pioneering finance and insurance products.

Departmental budgets for future years beyond 2021-22 will be set through the Spending Review later this year. Further details, including the envelopes for the Spending Review, will be set out in due course.

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
28th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment he has made of the impact on the UK manufacturing industry of a free trade agreement with India.

On 13th January, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade formally launched UK-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, during her visit to New Delhi. An ambitious UK-India FTA could boost UK exports by up to £16.7 billion across a range of sectors, in the long run. This could serve to benefit all nations and regions of the UK. Our analysis shows that UK manufacturers could stand to benefit from an agreement, particularly in the automotive and electrical equipment sectors.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
26th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between the UK and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations and the Human Rights Watch annual report published on 13 January 2022 which documented serious human rights violations in all GCC countries, what steps the Government plans to take to ensure that any FTA with the GCC does not risk facilitating ongoing human rights violations in those countries.

The Gulf Cooperation Council is a major trading partner of the United Kingdom, with an overall trade relationship worth £32.4 billion in 2020. HM Government has recently completed a consultation to hear the views of British businesses and the British people directly on a future trade deal with the GCC and will look carefully at the results. We are clear that more trade need not come at the expense of our values.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Government’s assessment that Australian imports of beef will primarily displace EU imports as a result of the new free trade agreement, if she will publish results of research undertaken to assess the resultant impact on transport-related carbon emissions.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
21st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Government’s prediction that Australian imports of beef will primarily displace EU imports as a result of the new free trade agreement, whether her Department has assessed the resultant impact on transport-related carbon emissions.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how her Department will track the value of services sold to Australia under the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA); and how it will assess whether that trade of services would not have occurred without a FTA.

The Department has committed to conducting and publishing a monitoring report two years after entry into force of the UK-Australia FTA, and every two years thereafter.

This will monitor the implementation of the FTA by measuring the evolution of trade flows and utilisation of the agreement. It will also discuss, where possible, the extent to which short-term changes in trade flows can be attributed to an FTA itself rather than wider factors.

The Department has also committed to publishing an evaluation report five years after entry in to force. This will analyse a broad range of impacts, including those relating to trade in services.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, which clauses of the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement require parliamentary approval.

Parliament has a statutory scrutiny role for treaties (including Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)), under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act (CRaG) 2010.

Parliament will also be required to approve any primary and secondary legislation needed to implement the UK-Australia FTA. As per the draft explanatory memorandum for the agreement the need for primary legislation has been identified in order to implement the Procurement Chapter of the Treaty. Secondary legislation will be required for provisions of the Intellectual Property chapter. The Government will also implement changes to tariffs under the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how much his Department has spent on advertising the Export Support Service to British businesses.

Between 1st October 2021, the date Export Support Service was launched, and Friday 17th December 2021, the Department has incurred costs of £113,705 excluding VAT on Export Support Service advertising to businesses across the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many of her Department's (a) laptops, (b) mobile phones, (c) memory sticks and (d) external hard drives have been lost or stolen in each of the last five years.

The number of laptops and mobile phones that were lost and stole in the last 4 years are below:

Laptop

Mobile Phone

Lost

Stolen

Lost

Stolen

2018

8

4

19

7

2019

9

16

73

17

2020

4

5

44

6

2021

5

5

38

3

These numbers cover the End User Compute managed service project for the Department for International Trade which started in February 2018 so records prior to that are not available. We have no record of any lost or stolen memory stick or external hard drives.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International 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.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make it her policy not to include investor state dispute settlements in future trade agreements; and will she make a statement

The United Kingdom has already negotiated investment agreements with Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions with over 90 trading partners. The precise details of any future Free Trade Agreement are a matter for formal negotiations, and we would not seek to pre-empt these discussions.

HM Government recognises the important role that investment protections with ISDS can play in protecting British investors abroad – including pensioners across the country through their pension funds, and SMEs. Where ISDS is included in future agreements, we will seek to ensure fair outcomes of claims and high ethical standards for arbitrators, with increased transparency and efficiency of proceedings.

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 (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)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the conclusion of the inquest jury that a lack of tactile paving contributed to the death of Cleveland Gervais, what plans his Department has to increase the (a) provision of and (b) funding for tactile paving.

In FY2021/22, Network Rail received an initial £10 million funding and have installed tactile paving at priority stations. Announcements on future rounds of funding and on the provision of tactile paving across GB stations will be made in due course.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many incidents have been reported of (a) material falling from planes and (b) landing on property under flight paths in (i) the Heathrow area and (ii) nationwide in each of the last 5 years.

The DfT does not maintain a log of such incidents, however the CAA may hold some information pertaining to this which is available upon direct request from them.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make as assessment of the potential merits of preventing automated BOTS from booking driving tests on the DVLA website.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) does not employ, encourage or licence anyone to provide a driving test cancellation checking service. The Apps/BOTS are not approved by the DVSA as they make it harder for candidates to get a test and can also result in people paying more for a test than the official test fee. Using such services also means that any changes to the driving test may not necessarily be relayed to the candidate.

The DVSA is taking steps to block cancellation services from accessing its booking system. As well as checking if the user accessing the system is human, using CAPTCHA checks, the DVSA has introduced Advanced Bot Protection into its firewall, which will allow the DVSA to have greater scrutiny of traffic on its booking services.

The DVSA will continue to inform candidates of the official channels for booking a test and has taken measures to encourage learners to use the official booking website by ensuring that it appears as high as possible on popular search engines and by promoting the official website on social media.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many incidents have been reported of objects and other material falling out of planes and landing on property under the flight path in each of the last five years (a) in the area around Heathrow Airport and (b) nationally.

The DfT does not maintain a log of such incidents.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has consulted under Article 438 of the UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the planned measures in the Aviation Consumer Policy Reform proposals; and if he will make statement.

The Aviation Consumer Policy Reform Consultation was shared with the relevant EU officials. The consultation is open to responses from anyone with an interest in the proposals, including from the EU.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what legislative steps he plans to take to (a) provide the Civil Aviation Authority with additional powers and (b) mandate alternative dispute resolution within the aviation sector.

The Government remains committed to ensuring consumers are protected when travelling by air, which is why we published the Aviation Consumer Policy Reforms Consultation in January 2022. Next steps, including consideration of any potential legislative requirements, will be published following comprehensive analysis of the responses received on the consultation following its closure on the 27 March 2022.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government plans to include in the Brexit Freedoms Bill the proposals that are taken forward after consultation from the Aviation Consumer Policy Reform proposals.

The Government remains committed to ensuring consumers are protected when travelling by air, which is why we published the Aviation Consumer Policy Reforms Consultation in January 2022. Next steps, including consideration of any potential legislative requirements, will be published following comprehensive analysis of the responses received on the consultation following its closure on the 27 March 2022.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the MOT failure rate for (a) diesel, (b) petrol, (c) plug-in hybrids and (d) battery electric vehicles in each of the last five years.

The table below shows the initial failure rate for all MOT vehicle classes from Class 1 (small motorcycles) up to and including Class 7 (goods vehicles between 3,000kg and 3,500kg).

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency does not hold data to differentiate between hybrid vehicles that are Plug-In, and those which are not.

Calendar Year

Diesel vehicles

Petrol vehicles

Hybrid vehicles

Battery electric vehicles

2017

34.19%

34.56%

20.56%

18.32%

2018

33.64%

33.78%

19.97%

19.15%

2019

32.10%

32.07%

18.05%

19.08%

2020

30.77%

30.26%

16.63%

18.34%

2021

30.47%

28.76%

15.76%

17.65%

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate his Department has made of levels of carbon emissions from pleasure boats on the River Thames; and what plans he has to reduce those emissions.

DfT has not produced specific estimates of carbon emissions from pleasure boats on the River Thames. The levels of carbon emissions from domestic shipping, including pleasure boats, are published by BEIS as part of the final estimates of UK territorial greenhouse gas emissions.

The Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP) published last year, set out our commitments to decarbonise shipping emissions, including from pleasure boats. This includes including consultations on the establishment of indicative targets from 2030 to 2050, and a potential phase out date for non-zero domestic emission vessels in the UK.

Alongside the TDP we launched a £23m Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, match funding innovative projects in zero emission shipping technologies. Building on the success of this initiative, this month we have announced £206 million of R&D investment in zero emission technologies, as part of the establishment of a UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance his Department has published for wheelchair users and train staff on evacuating a train in the event of a fire.

The Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB) helps design standards and guidance for the UK railway to support the safe evacuation of the public and rail staff from trains in the event of a fire, including persons with disabilities and reduced mobility. The procedures for evacuating trains safely reflect Rail Industry Standards (RIS) that have been developed over time, building on best-practice and the views of professional experts. They cover the actions that need to be taken by train drivers, station guards and signallers in the event of a fire, including relevant fire safety training. These standards are also supported by National Technical Rules (NTRs) and National Technical Specification Notices (NTSNs) covering the design, operation and maintenance of trains and equipment, which continue to be reviewed over time.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the adequacy of facilities to store e-scooters on trains.

The carriage of e-scooters on the National Rail network is a matter for individual train companies. It is the operators’ responsibility to make this assessment.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the risk of spontaneous combustion of e-scooter batteries.

We require e-scooters taking part in the rental trials to meet the following description with regard to e-scooter battery safety: “The vehicle and its components of the electrical system including the battery, shall be so designed, constructed and fitted as to minimise and protect against the risk of electrolyte leakage, fire, explosion, electric shock and to ensure electromagnetic compatibility.”

We have been liaising with operators and local authorities involved in the trials to ensure that appropriate safety measures are put in place to mitigate against any risk.

We are also coordinating with a number of government departments, including the Office for Product Safety and Standards at BEIS, to ensure that battery safety is considered as part of future regulations for both private and rental e-scooters entering the UK market.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, If he will review his Department's estimates of projected traffic growth on the strategic network to take account of changed behaviours as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Department regularly reviews the evidence on the drivers of travel demand and sources of uncertainty and will publish an update to the road traffic forecasts 2018 in due course. The next set of National Road Traffic Projections (NRTP) will provide a strategic view of how demand for road travel may evolve in the future and explore uncertainties associated with future demand including the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. The Department collects numerous sets of data that help inform its view on travel demand, which will inform NRTP, including:

The National Travel Attitudes Study asks questions about changes in travel behaviours, such as levels working from home before and during the pandemic. This longitudinal survey data is a key element of the Department’s evidence on changing travel habits during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as people’s intentions going forward.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy that the production of a provisional environmental impact assessment report is undertaken before any decision is made to identify a preferred route for a new road.

On the Strategic Road Network, a Preferred Route Announcement (PRA) is made at the end of National Highway’s Project Control Framework (PCF) Stage 2 (Options Selection).

Prior to the PRA, National Highways undertake an environmental assessment of all new road projects and produce the following documents.

  • Environmental Scoping Report - considers the information required for reaching a (reasoned) conclusion on the likely significant effects of a project on the environment.
  • Habitats Regulations Assessment - assessment and reporting of the implications of highway projects on European sites.
  • Environmental Assessment Report – Reports on the assessment of environmental effects associated with each option considered, including the preferred route.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening - The identification of likely significant effects on the environment and consequential need for an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Decisions on which transport schemes are taken forward are made not solely on the benefit to cost ratio, but on the basis of the five case model outlined in the Department Transport’s Business Case in line with the principles of the Treasury Green Book.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to reject any proposed new road scheme where the benefit-cost ratio is less than two.

On the Strategic Road Network, a Preferred Route Announcement (PRA) is made at the end of National Highway’s Project Control Framework (PCF) Stage 2 (Options Selection).

Prior to the PRA, National Highways undertake an environmental assessment of all new road projects and produce the following documents.

  • Environmental Scoping Report - considers the information required for reaching a (reasoned) conclusion on the likely significant effects of a project on the environment.
  • Habitats Regulations Assessment - assessment and reporting of the implications of highway projects on European sites.
  • Environmental Assessment Report – Reports on the assessment of environmental effects associated with each option considered, including the preferred route.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening - The identification of likely significant effects on the environment and consequential need for an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Decisions on which transport schemes are taken forward are made not solely on the benefit to cost ratio, but on the basis of the five case model outlined in the Department Transport’s Business Case in line with the principles of the Treasury Green Book.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his latest timetable is for the fitting of tactile paving on all railway platforms.

The Department has been working with Network Rail on a plan for the roll-out of tactile surfaces on all platforms in Great Britain. Network Rail has received an initial £10 million to install tactile paving at priority stations not already funded. Tactiles are being installed at stations across the network with more to come.

I will make further announcements on the future rounds of funding and the programme in due course.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will publish (a) an estimated timeline for the creation of Great British Railways and (b) a date by when that organisation is expected to be fully functional.

The Government demonstrated its commitment to establishing Great British Railways as the guiding mind for the future of our railways in the Williams Shapps Plan for Rail published May last year. We will be starting extensive and detailed consultation with the industry and other interested stakeholders on the legislative aspects of rail reform soon and necessary legislation will be introduced thereafter.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a legal requirement for drivers to stop and report collisions with cats.

The Government has made no assessment of the potential merits of introducing a legal requirement for drivers to stop and report collisions with cats. A focus for this Government is to make roads safer for all users, which will in turn reduce the risk to all animals.

Under section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, a driver is required to stop and report an accident involving specified animals including horses, cattle, asses, mules, sheep, pigs, goats or dogs, but not cats or wild animals. This requirement arises from their status as working animals rather than as domestic pets. To introduce such a measure within the provision of section 170, would require primary legislation.

However, although there is no obligation to report all animal deaths on roads, Rule 286 of The Highway Code advises drivers to report any accident involving an animal to the police, and if possible, they should make enquiries to ascertain the owner of domestic animals, such as cats, and advise them of the situation.

The Government recognises how distressting it can be for someone to lose a pet, especially without knowing what has happened. We committed in our Manifesto, and reaffirmed in our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, to introducing compulsory cat microchipping and plan to introduce the necessary legislation this year. We understand that the vast majority of local authorities now have arrangements in place to scan dead cats and dogs found by the roadside and we will continue working with them and other stakeholders to develop and promote best practice in this area.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to section 53 of the Williams-Shapps Plan for rail, when in 2022 the Department plans to publish its comprehensive environment plan for the railways.

The Secretary of State set out in May 2021 the government’s ambitions for Britain’s railways through the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail. This included the commissioning of a comprehensive environment plan, to be delivered in 2022, from Great British Railways. As part of a call for evidence launched by the transition team charged with setting up Great British Railways, the Government set out in December that ‘delivering environmental sustainability’ would be one of the long-term objectives for the rail sector. I look forward to providing further updates on the development of the plan.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department has made in implementing the first recommendation of the Rail Accident Report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch into a person struck by a train at Eden Park station on 26 February 2020.

The Department has been working closely with Office of Rail and Road, Network Rail and the Rail Safety and Standards Board regarding RAIB’s recommendations to the Department.

We expect industry to meet current accessibility requirements whenever it installs, renews or replaces station infrastructure, and under the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail work has started to review standards and how they are better implemented by the industry in the future.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the (a) hours of staff time and (b) cost to his Department of the negotiating rounds with Transport for London in relation to the setting of Extraordinary Funding and Financing Agreements since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Government has provided Transport for London (TfL) with over £4.5bn of emergency funding support. Staffing and resources for the preparation and monitoring of these funding agreements is proportionate to the overall demand it places on the Department. This is regularly reviewed to ensure the resources in place are appropriate.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason there is no depiction of non-abled bodied individuals, such as those who use wheelchairs or mobility scooters, as pedestrians in the Highway Code.

The Department is committed to fair and inclusive imagery in The Highway Code and keeps the depictions of road users in the publication under review.

The updated Highway Code, published on 29 January, includes updates to improve road safety for users of wheelchairs and mobility scooters and there are depictions of a wheelchair user as a pedestrian in Rule H2 and Rule 192.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 2 February 2022 to Question 113799, what percentage of the storage capacity at the port of Felixstowe is currently in use.

Whilst the Department is aware of operational status at Felixstowe, the information is provided on a discretionary, commercially confidential basis. I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave on 2 February to Question UIN 113799 , that the port is in a position to appropriately manage current container volumes.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his Answer of 1 February 2022 to Question 111677 on Railways: Fares, if he will publish a copy of the Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook.

The Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook is owned by the Passenger Demand Forecasting Council, of which the Department is a member. As per the Passenger Demand Forecasting Scheme rules only members and associate members of the scheme are granted a license to the Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department conducted an impact assessment for pedestrian and cyclist safety when calculating the level of financial support provided by the Government to TfL.

Transport in London is devolved and is the responsibility of the Mayor of London and Transport for London, including spending on their active travel and healthy streets programmes. Government has supported the network with over £4.5bn of emergency funding since the start of the pandemic in recognition of its reliance on fare revenue and Government continues to mitigate this loss of revenue due to the pandemic.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the updates to the Highway Code introduced in January 2021, what his definition is of the term pedestrian used in that Code.

For the purposes of The Highway Code, the term ‘pedestrian’ is to have its ordinary understood meaning within the context of using a highway. Rule H2 of The Highway Code advises that pedestrians include wheelchair and mobility scooter users.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the current guidance is for disabled people should the vehicle they are driving break down on a smart motorway.

National Highways’ objective is for all road users, including disabled road users, to feel confident that they will have the help they need if they break down, or need assistance on England’s Strategic Road Network (SRN), including on smart motorways. It has produced a short film in partnership with Disabled Motoring UK: Driving on England’s motorways – a disabled driver's perspective - YouTube.

This is alongside the following guidance for road users in the event of a breakdown if they are unable to exit their vehicles:

  • Stay in your vehicle
  • Keep your seatbelts and hazard warning lights on
  • Call 999 immediately. The emergency services can alert National Highways, so that its operators can close motorway lanes and send other help as required, such as a National Highways Traffic Officer
  • Road users are advised to tell operators if they are disabled and/or a vulnerable motorist such as an older person or travelling alone
  • If a road user is unable to use the roadside phones, they can contact National Highways via text on 0738 028 3600 for roadside assistance and for British Sign Language users the SignLive service is available
  • Road Users are advised to always carry any medication they need with them and to prepare for their journey in advance

Additionally, in September 2021, National Highways launched a partnership with Hidden Disabilities Sunflower to create a free Sunflower for their vehicle, as part of National Highways’ commitment to ensuring disabled road users travel safely on its roads. Displaying the Sunflower indicates that a road user has a non-visible disability and may need additional support from traffic officers and others. Displaying this means that the road user will get the help they need if they break down on the motorway.

It should also be noted that the Secretary of State has paused the rollout of future ALR smart motorway schemes until a full 5 years’ worth of safety data is available, and during the pause, we will continue to make sure all existing ALR smart motorways are equipped with best-in-class technology and resources and are as safe as they can possibly be.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the current operational capacity of the port at Felixstowe.

The Department engages closely with the Port of Felixstowe to understand the current status of its operations. The last quarter of 2021 was challenging against a background of global and domestic supply chain issues. Felixstowe worked closely with industry partners across the supply chain to manage operational volumes.

While January and February remain operationally busier than normal, the Port with its supply chain partners is in a position to appropriately manage current container volumes and operations.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of taking coordinated steps across government to embed cycling and walking policies in relevant government departments and strategies.

The Department agrees that this is essential and does its utmost to ensure that cycling and walking policies are at the heart of other Government strategies and programmes. Ministers and officials work closely with their counterparts in other Government Departments, and key documents such as the Prime Minister’s 2020 Gear Change plan and the statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy are agreed across Government.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Institution of Civil Engineers' paper, entitled Safe, affordable and reliable transport systems: Civil engineering insights on UK government cycling and walking strategies, published in December 2021, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the recommendation in that paper that the funding process for local authorities for walking and cycling should be simplified in the Second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, due in April 2022.

The Department held constructive discussions with the Institution of Civil Engineers in the autumn of 2021 as part of the process of developing the Second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS2), which will be published in the spring. It has considered this and other recommendations carefully and will seek to ensure that the process for allocating future tranches of walking and cycling funding to local authorities, which will be managed by Active Travel England, is as streamlined as possible.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy that the commission rates of Great British Railways align with other sellers of rail tickets.

With the support of the Secretary of State, the Rail Delivery Group is currently conducting a Retail Review of the rail retailing landscape which encompasses cost of sales, commission rates, and notice periods of changes. Any future decisions on these areas will be informed by the findings of that review when it concludes.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department carried out yield management analysis prior to taking the decision to increase rail fares this year by 3.8 per cent.

The Department takes guidance from the Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook on the effect of changes to fares on rail demand and revenues.

No analysis has been made on the yield management of the maximum cap set for regulated fares increases for March 2022. While fares changes affect total industry revenue there are also a number of other impacts that affect it. This includes, most notably at the moment, the pandemic’s impact on passenger travel and train operators have the capacity to price many fares more flexibly to maximise commercial revenues.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the potential increase in revenue from passengers in respect of the forthcoming increase in rail fares of 3.8 per cent.

The Department takes guidance from the Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook on the effect of changes to fares on rail demand and revenues.

No analysis has been made on the yield management of the maximum cap set for regulated fares increases for March 2022. While fares changes affect total industry revenue there are also a number of other impacts that affect it. This includes, most notably at the moment, the pandemic’s impact on passenger travel and train operators have the capacity to price many fares more flexibly to maximise commercial revenues.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many flights with no or very few passengers have operated in the UK to ensure that landing slots are retained by airlines in (a) 2020, (b) 2021 and (c) 2022 to date.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on air passenger demand and this has inevitably led to flights with fewer passengers. We do not hold reliable data on the number of flights with no or very few passengers flown in order to retain slots.

Since the start of the pandemic the Government has implemented alleviation from the usual slot usage requirements – these were originally intended to protect airlines’ finances while minimising the risk of airlines operating environmentally damaging ghost flights solely to retain slots. The rules requiring airlines to use slots in order to retain them were fully suspended for the Summer 2020, Winter 2020/21 and Summer 2021 seasons. The UK’s exit from the EU means that it has been able to take a more tailored approach that reflects the UK’s specific circumstances.

As the pandemic has gone on, the Government is now also keen to encourage recovery. In the Winter 2021/22 Season which will last until 27 March 2022 we have set the usage requirement for slots at 50%. We also gave airlines the option of handing back slot series that they were not intending to use before the season started to allow other airlines to use them.

A draft Statutory Instrument setting out arrangements for Summer 2022 was published on 24 January 2022.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to coordinate with train operators on the eventual lifting of (a) work from home instructions and (b) other Plan B covid-19 measures to help ensure that there will be enough trains running to meet the anticipated demand.

Throughout the pandemic, the Department has worked with operators as they manage their timetables to ensure that services meet the demand for travel and deliver good value for money. The Department will continue to engage with operators on changes to guidance and other Plan B measures to ensure that services meet demand as staff absence pressures ease.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of trains operating on London commuter routes each week are (a) diesel, (b) hybrid and (c) fully electric.

The overall fleet break down of all the operators utilising a London Terminal is 83% electric, 9% bi-mode and 8% diesel-only.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government has consulted commuter groups on the anticipated rise in the cost of rail fares.

Since announcing the rise on 17 December, the Department has consulted a number of key stakeholders, including those that represent passengers.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential impact of a rise in rail fares on passenger numbers.

Rail fares increases will be capped and tied to the Retail Price Index (RPI) figure for July 2021 (3.8%). The Government has deliberately continued to use the July figure as it was lower than the months since, as an August or September RPI figure would have led to a 4.8% or 4.9% change with October being even higher at 6%.

No specific assessment has been made on environmental impacts or on those on the rail industry in general. On passenger numbers, the Department takes guidance from the Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook on the effect of changes to fares on rail demand and revenues.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential impact of a rise in rail fares on the environment.

Rail fares increases will be capped and tied to the Retail Price Index (RPI) figure for July 2021 (3.8%). The Government has deliberately continued to use the July figure as it was lower than the months since, as an August or September RPI figure would have led to a 4.8% or 4.9% change with October being even higher at 6%.

No specific assessment has been made on environmental impacts or on those on the rail industry in general. On passenger numbers, the Department takes guidance from the Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook on the effect of changes to fares on rail demand and revenues.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government has conducted an assessment of the potential impact of a rise in rail fares on the railway industry.

Rail fares increases will be capped and tied to the Retail Price Index (RPI) figure for July 2021 (3.8%). The Government has deliberately continued to use the July figure as it was lower than the months since, as an August or September RPI figure would have led to a 4.8% or 4.9% change with October being even higher at 6%.

No specific assessment has been made on environmental impacts or on those on the rail industry in general. On passenger numbers, the Department takes guidance from the Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook on the effect of changes to fares on rail demand and revenues.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Government plans to publish the (a) responses to the call for evidence for the Roads policing review and (b) final report for that review.

The call for evidence saw 149 responses submitted, many of which were incredibly detailed. We will publish once we have given the responses our full consideration.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to amend the criteria for fixed speed cameras in the forthcoming Roads policing review.

Following a thematic inspection of roads policing, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services recommended that the Department review DfT Circular 1/2007 on the use of speed cameras, which includes guidance and best practice on the deployment of fixed speed cameras. The Department has taken this recommendation forward by convening a working group of key stakeholders, who are currently working collaboratively to redraft the Circular.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to Written Statement on Transport for London funding extension, dated 5 January 2022, if he will publish the letter setting out the details of that extension.

Government recently agreed to extend the 1 June 2021 extraordinary funding settlement for TfL to 4 February 2022. The details of this extension are set out in a Written Ministerial Statement and the letter will be published in due course.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 17 June 2021 to Question 12937 on Transport for London: KPMG, what progress he has made on monitoring the public interest test for the publication of the KPMG report into Transport for London financial sustainability; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward the publication of that report through redacting sensitive financial information.

The Government’s review into Transport for London’s future financial position continues to be a matter of live policymaking. The Government will continue to monitor the public interest test for when publication might be appropriate. This includes consideration of whether publishing a redacted version of the report would meet the public interest test.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to make a statement in the House of Commons on the recent changes to the Highway Code.

The Secretary of State for Transport does not have any plans to make a statement on the proposed alterations of The Highway Code to improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders as a revised version of The Highway Code was laid before both House of Parliament on 1 December 2021 in accordance with section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The revised Highway Code will remain in Parliament for a period of 40 days and if Parliament agrees to the proposed changes being made, The Highway Code will be updated in early 2022.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to amend rule 66 of the Highway Code.

The proposed changes to The Highway Code to improve road safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders includes amendments to Rule 66 of The Highway Code.

In accordance with section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, the revised version of The Highway Code was laid before both House of Parliament on 1 December 2021 for approval.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will update the publication of information relating to his Department’s payments to passenger rail operators under emergency agreements and National Rail Contracts.

On 21 October 2021, the Department published operational support payments to the Train Operating Companies along with the scores and fees determined through the evaluation of operator performance. This release on the Government website www.gov.uk covered the period between September 2020 to March 2021 (performance and fees) and 1 April 2021 to 24 July 2021 (operational support). The Department is committed to providing periodic updates of this information on an ongoing basis.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason his Department has contributed (a) 80 per cent of the funding to the Great Yarmouth Third River Crossing and (b) 33 per cent of the total cost for the repairs to Hammersmith Bridge.

The Great Yarmouth Third River Crossing is part-funded by the Department as part of the wider Large Local Majors road funding scheme. Local authorities bid for funding from the Large Local Majors Fund and its successor, the Major Road Network Fund. Hammersmith Bridge is owned by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. As it is not classed as a major road by Transport for London (TfL), it was not part of TfL's bid to that funding programme.

The Government agreed to providing funding to the Hammersmith Bridge project, of up to one third of the costs of repair, initially to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic and, depending on cost, to motorists, as part of the TfL funding agreement of 01 June 2021.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many of his Department's (a) laptops, (b) mobile phones, (c) memory sticks and (d) external hard drives have been lost or stolen in each of the last five years.

DfT has recorded the number of devices reported lost/stolen from 2017 – 2021 as below.

Laptops

Mobiles

Memory Sticks

External Hard Drives

2017

3

24

0

0

2018

9

48

1

0

2019

39

76

0

0

2020

9

33

0

0

2021

13

35

1

0

* DVSA do not hold data for 2017 and 2018.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding for cycle training is available to Transport for London in 2021-22; and how does that amount compare with that of the previous five financial years.

Delivery statistics for the period 2006/7-2019/20, showing the amount of funding allocated and subsequently provided to each local authority in England, outside London, are published on the Bikeability website at https://www.bikeability.org.uk/about/funding-and-delivery/ .

The funding of cycle training in the capital is a matter for the Mayor of London. Since the start of the pandemic the Department has made over £200 million of funding available to Transport for London (TfL) and the London boroughs to support the delivery of active travel measures in the capital, including a one-off £2 million payment to enable more adult cycle training in the summer of 2020. Decisions on how to use the funding including how much to allocate to individual boroughs are a matter for the Mayor of London and TfL.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding has been provided for cycle training to each local authority, including TfL, in each of the last three years.

Delivery statistics for the period 2006/7-2019/20, showing the amount of funding allocated and subsequently provided to each local authority in England, outside London, are published on the Bikeability website at https://www.bikeability.org.uk/about/funding-and-delivery/ .

The funding of cycle training in the capital is a matter for the Mayor of London. Since the start of the pandemic the Department has made over £200 million of funding available to Transport for London (TfL) and the London boroughs to support the delivery of active travel measures in the capital, including a one-off £2 million payment to enable more adult cycle training in the summer of 2020. Decisions on how to use the funding including how much to allocate to individual boroughs are a matter for the Mayor of London and TfL.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of the £18 million Bikeability Cycling Proficiency Training scheme funding has been allocated to London.

The funding of cycle training in the capital is a matter for the Mayor of London. Since the start of the pandemic the Department has made over £200 million of funding available to Transport for London (TfL) and the London boroughs to support the delivery of active travel measures in the capital, including a one-off £2 million payment to enable more adult cycle training in the summer of 2020. Decisions on how to use the funding including how much to allocate to individual boroughs are a matter for the Mayor of London and TfL.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much money his Department has made available to each London Borough for cycle training in 2021-22.

The funding of cycle training in the capital is a matter for the Mayor of London. Since the start of the pandemic the Department has made over £200 million of funding available to Transport for London (TfL) and the London boroughs to support the delivery of active travel measures in the capital, including a one-off £2 million payment to enable more adult cycle training in the summer of 2020. Decisions on how to use the funding including how much to allocate to individual boroughs are a matter for the Mayor of London and TfL.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he will commit to reviewing the UK’s current policy committing travellers to (a) disembarkation and (b) additional screening in Turkey for flights from Northern Cyprus.

Under the Chicago Convention, only the Republic of Cyprus may designate Ercan as an international airport and permit flights to operate from within its territory. It has not done so. Therefore, travel from Ercan to Turkey and onwards to the UK is on two distinctly separate flights, a consequence of which is passengers must disembark the first aircraft to board their second flight. International law requires all passengers be appropriately screened before boarding an aircraft.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many of those appointed to oversee the Highways England smart motorway project hold either a (a) CEng or (b) IEng qualification.

National Highways does not routinely record the qualifications of employees and if any qualifications are required for specific roles, these are requested as part of selection and recruitment processes, to ensure that employees are suitably qualified for those posts.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what is the (a) remit and (b) annual budget of the Civil Aviation Authority's Airfield Advisory Team.

The Civil Aviation Authority’s Airfield Advisory Team (AAT) were set up to provide independent non-regulatory advice and support to General Aviation airfields on a range of matters affecting their operations.

The annual budget for the AAT in FY21/22 is £375,000.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on train revenues of the proposed introduction of contactless pay-as-you-go ticketing on trainlines in the (a) North and (b) Midlands.

This year’s spending review set aside £360 million investment to modernise industry ticketing and retailing systems. This includes an expansion of pay-as-you-go travel on rail to more than 200 stations in the wider south east and more than 700 stations in urban areas across the country including more than 400 in the north, exceeding our manifesto commitment. This investment will deliver significant benefits to passengers by making the process of paying for travel convenient and simple, removing the uncertainty from having to select a ticket in advance and freeing up staff to support passengers.

The assessment of the proposal is still in development, but our early, high level view is that it will increase revenue overall by attracting more passengers to rail.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has carried out a yield analysis of the potential effect on passengers of the proposed introduction of contactless pay-as-you-go ticketing system on trainlines in the (a) North and (b) Midlands.

This year’s spending review set aside £360 million investment to modernise industry ticketing and retailing systems. This includes an expansion of pay-as-you-go travel on rail to more than 200 stations in the wider south east and more than 700 stations in urban areas across the country including more than 400 in the north, exceeding our manifesto commitment. This investment will deliver significant benefits to passengers by making the process of paying for travel convenient and simple, removing the uncertainty from having to select a ticket in advance and freeing up staff to support passengers.

The assessment of the proposal is still in development, but our early, high level view is that it will increase revenue overall by attracting more passengers to rail.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of days in each of the past three years on which one or more electrical signs on any motorway in England have failed to work.

National Highways operates a large number of electronic signs for purposes including setting speed limits, closing lanes and providing information to road users. National Highways holds data on the percentage of time that roadside technology is operable rather than the number of days each device has failed to work. For the operating period April 2020 to March 2021, message Sign availability was 99.61%.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the existence of any potential conflicts of interest between subcontractors appointed to Highways England's smart motorways project and Highways England's project manager for that project.

National Highways manages its own conflict of interest policy. The Company has a duty to manage public funds responsibly and effectively in a transparent way. Everyone employed by the Company, regardless of employment or contract status, must record any interests with a potential, actual or perceived conflict of interest.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) funding his Department has provided to ICF Consulting Services and (b) assessment he has made of the outcomes of that funding.

The total paid to ICF Consulting Services to provide support to General Aviation airfields through the Airfield Development Advisory Fund (ADAF) was £1,297,466.14.

The scheme provided vital support to over 90 General Aviation airfields and associated businesses to help improve their operations and future-proof their business. The scheme offered a range of support and advice, including on business planning, operational advice, marketing, and communications. Over 90% of applicants for the scheme were approved.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many plug-in car grants were given in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 to date.

There were 39287 approved orders for the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) in 2019 and 92879 approved orders for the PiCG in 2020. We are unable to provide detailed information for 2021 to date because orders for the PiCG are allowed 9 or 12 months to complete and are not counted as approved until the car is registered, delivered to the customer and the grant subsequently paid.

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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
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.