Seema Malhotra Portrait

Seema Malhotra

Labour (Co-op) - Feltham and Heston

Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Employment)

(since April 2020)
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
2nd Mar 2020 - 16th Jan 2021
Panel of Chairs
23rd Mar 2020 - 23rd Apr 2020
Committee on Exiting the European Union
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion
15th Nov 2016 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Committee on Exiting the European Union
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
14th Sep 2015 - 26th Jun 2016
Shadow Minister (Home Office)
8th May 2015 - 14th Sep 2015
Opposition Whip (Commons)
7th Oct 2013 - 30th Mar 2015
Justice Committee
6th Feb 2012 - 25th Nov 2013


Scheduled Event
Wednesday 12th May 2021
19:00
Adjournment - Main Chamber
12 May 2021, 7 p.m.
Support for grassroots football in Feltham and Heston
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Department Event
Monday 17th May 2021
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
17 May 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (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
Monday 28th June 2021
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
28 Jun 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (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 28th April 2021
Fire Safety Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 194 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
Speeches
Monday 26th April 2021
Financial Services Bill

I start by paying tribute to Rachel Neale and the UK Mortgage Prisoners group for their incredible resilience and the …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
Travel: Quarantine
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to covid-19 quarantine …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 3rd March 2021
World Book Day 2021
That this House recognises 4th March 2021 as World Book Day in the UK and Ireland celebrating authors, illustrators, books …
Bills
Wednesday 6th March 2013
Blood, Organ and Bone Marrow Donation (Education) Bill 2012-13
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
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: Mr Hardial Singh Buttar
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation …
EDM signed
Thursday 25th March 2021
Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day 2021
That this House notes that Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day takes place on 25 March 2021; supports the ambition to raise …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Seema Malhotra has voted in 238 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Seema Malhotra 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
Guy Opperman (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
(20 debate interactions)
Matt Warman (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
(15 debate interactions)
Chi Onwurah (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Work and Pensions
(39 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(16 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Seema Malhotra's debates

Feltham and Heston 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 most Feltham and Heston signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

The Government must make a public statement on the #kissanprotests & press freedoms.

India is the worlds largest democracy & democratic engagement and freedom of the press are fundamental rights and a positive step towards creating a India that works for all.

Football is a powerful tool of which allows a range of benefits such as employment, and other important aspects of life. Football can be associated with passion, emotion, excitement and dedication across the community. With Fans attending football games a range of economic benefits are there too.


Latest EDMs signed by Seema Malhotra

24th March 2021
Seema Malhotra signed this EDM on Thursday 25th March 2021

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day 2021

Tabled by: Mary Kelly Foy (Labour - City of Durham)
That this House notes that Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day takes place on 25 March 2021; supports the ambition to raise awareness of cerebral palsy; welcomes the publication of the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cerebral Palsy entitled Early identification, intervention and pathways of care of infants and young …
30 signatures
(Most recent: 19 Apr 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 23
Plaid Cymru: 3
Scottish National Party: 2
Independent: 1
Conservative: 1
3rd March 2021
Seema Malhotra signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Wednesday 3rd March 2021

World Book Day 2021

Tabled by: Seema Malhotra (Labour (Co-op) - Feltham and Heston)
That this House recognises 4th March 2021 as World Book Day in the UK and Ireland celebrating authors, illustrators, books and reading; further congratulates World Book Day for its 24th ‘World Book Day’ being held this year; notes that data shows that the UK ranks 17th for literacy among 34 …
11 signatures
(Most recent: 15 Mar 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 4
Scottish National Party: 3
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Seema Malhotra's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Seema Malhotra, 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.


Seema Malhotra has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Seema Malhotra has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Seema Malhotra


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to establish a duty on schools and colleges in England with pupils aged 16 years and over to enable pupils to gain greater understanding of the processes and benefits of blood, organ and bone marrow donation; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 6th March 2013

Seema Malhotra has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


360 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
2 Other Department Questions
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people received honours in each constituency between August 2016 and August 2020.

Honours recipients are not categorised by constituency. However, the honours lists, as published on GOV.UK, are searchable by county.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, how many people aged (a) 16 and under and (b) over 16 years old undertook work experience in the Government Equalities Office in each of the last three years.

Work experience is considered to be any paid five-day or more placement in a government department.

The Civil Service aims to increase opportunities for people of all backgrounds and create a Civil Service fit for 21st century Britain through work experience, internships and apprenticeship schemes.

For people aged 16 and under there was the following number of work experience placements in the Government Equalities Office:

2017: 0

2018: 0

2019: 0

For people over 16 years old there was the following number of work experience placements in the Government Equalities Office:

2017: 0

2018: 2

2019: 2

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Attorney General, how many people aged (a) 16 and under and (b) over 16 years old undertook work experience in his Department in each of the last three years.

The Civil Service aims to increase opportunities for people of all backgrounds and create a Civil Service fit for 21st century Britain through work experience, internships and apprenticeship schemes. However, the confidentially of work undertaken at the Attorney General’s Office makes offering work experience opportunities difficult.

For people aged 16 and under there was the following number of work experience placements:

2017: 0

2018: 0

2019: 0

For people over 16 years old there was the following number of work experience placements:

2017: 0

2018: 0

2019: 0

Michael Ellis
Attorney General
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he had made of the effect on employment levels in the event that an agreement is not reached on a future relationship with the EU by the end of the transition period.

Any responsible Government has a duty to prepare for all scenarios. Planning for the end of the transition period is well underway and we have already been engaging with businesses and industry, including ensuring our borders are ready by the end of the year, and will continue to do so.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent steps his Department has taken to increase diversity on public boards.

Annual reports by the Commissioner for Public Appointments and the Cabinet Office include data on those taking up and holding public appointments. The government has published and is implementing the Public Appointments Diversity Action Plan, available on gov.uk. I will keep this plan under review and the next update will reflect the Government's levelling up agenda, including regional diversity, and diversity of thought.

Michael Gove
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to increase diversity in the (a) nomination for and (b) award of UK honours.

Significant progress has been made in recent years to improve diversity in the honours system. For example, we now consistently see around half of awards overall going to women, and in the New Year 2020 Honours List, 51% of honours went to women. Around 10% of awards go to recipients from a BAME background. The Cabinet Office will consider whether further steps to improve diversity and representation are required. We welcome more nominations from under-represented regions and we are running a programme of regional events to promote the system in those areas most under-represented.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support research and innovation to help accelerate progress towards achieving zero-carbon aviation.

The Government is supporting the development of future green aviation technologies as part of our £1.95bn Aerospace Technology Institute programme and the £125m Future Flight Challenge.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what fiscal support he is providing to hairdressing businesses in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We have put in place one of the most generous packages of support in the world, worth over £280 billion. For hairdressing businesses, this includes a business rates holiday, various loans schemes and the extended furlough scheme. Closed businesses such as hairdressers can currently receive a grant of up to £3,000 a month and a one-off payment up to a maximum £9,000.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has also announced an additional one-off ‘Restart Grants’ for businesses, including for the personal care sector in England. This new Restart Grants Scheme will provide up to £18,000 for business premises in the sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many of the 53 recommendations of The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, published on 11 July 2017, have been legislated for to date; and what his Department’s policy is on the recommendations of that report that have not been implemented by the Government.

We have already made significant progress in implementing recommendations arising from the Taylor Review, including legislating for stronger protections for vulnerable agency workers and quadrupling the maximum fine for employers who treat their workers badly.

In the Queens’ Speech, we announced that we will bring forward an Employment Bill to deliver on Manifesto Commitments relating to the recommendations of the Review.

As Matthew Taylor said, some of the recommendations are complex and it is important that we work with stakeholders to get them right.

We remain committed to bringing forward legislation that balances the needs of both employers and worker to make workplaces fairer, provide better support for working families and encourage flexible working.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department is providing to help (a) women business owners grow their business online and (b) women wanting to start their own business in Feltham and Heston constituency.

Support is available to all business owners wishing to grow their businesses online through the Growth Hub network and programmes such as Be the Business. Advice and support on adapting to and recovering from the disruption caused by Coronavirus, including through digital means, is also available through the Recovery Advice for Business Scheme, hosted on the Enterprise Nation website and supported by BEIS.

The Start-Up Loans Company provides funding and intensive support to new entrepreneurs. Since 2012 40% of Start Up Loans have gone to women, worth well over £210m. Of these, 12 start-up loans valued at £160,150 have been provided to businesses in Feltham.

More widely, there are now 1.2 million female-led small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. This accounts for 22% of SMEs in the UK. Innovate UK have launched the Women in Innovation Awards to find and support the UK’s most promising female innovators to develop their ideas and scale up their businesses. The 2020/21 Awards competition is currently open and closes on 14th October 2020. 10 female innovators will be awarded with a cash boost of £50,000 each, as well as receive vital business support to help them develop and grow their business, including coaching and mentoring.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many HR1 forms have been received by the Redundancy Payments Service in each of the last 12 months.

The monthly breakdown of HR1s received is as follows:

September 2019 - 303

October 2019 - 343

November 2019 - 305

December 2019 -196

January 2020 - 372

February 2020 - 329

March 2020 - 485

April 2020 - 447

May 2020 - 871

June 2020 – 1,888

July 2020 – 1,784

August 2020 – 966.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what (a) funding from the public purse and (b) support the Government is providing for young entrepreneurs in (i) Feltham and Heston constituency and (ii) the UK.

The Start Up Loans company, part of the Government-backed British Business Bank, provides loans to start and grow new businesses. Since the programme’s launch in 2012, 2,550 loans have been made in the London region worth £17,460,947 to entrepreneurs aged 18-24. In the same period, 4,935 loans have been made worth £40,522,593 in the London region to individuals aged 24-30. This information is not held by constituency.

Business Support Helpline is a national service that provides information to help entrepreneurs of all ages to start up. In the past 12 months the Helpline supported 534 entrepreneurs under the age of 25 and in London Economic Action Partnership area covering Feltham and Heston.

Nationally, as part of the Plan for Jobs, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 8 July 2020, businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice hired under the age of 25. This will be in addition to the £1,000 payment the Government currently provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. £111 million was also announced to triple the scale of traineeships in the UK.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many applications have been received for the coronavirus future fund from companies in (a) Hounslow, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) each region of England.

On 18th August 2020 the British Business Bank published updated Future Fund data which gives a regional breakdown of 590 companies that have been approved for £588.3 million.

In England, a total of 562 loans have been approved at a value of £573.1m since the scheme was launched 20 May. In the North West, 29 loans have been approved, worth £27.6m, and in Yorkshire and the Humber 19 loans have been approved, worth £14.6m. In the North East 21 loans have been approved at a value of £19.5m, and in the West Midlands 17 loans have been approved at a value of £15.6m. In the East Midlands, 4 loans have been approved at a value of £2.1m and in the East of England 43 loans have been approved at a value of £45m. Furthermore, in the South West 21 loans have been approved at a value of £12.9m and in the South East 76 loans have been approved, worth £89.5m.

This data is only available at regional level and not constituency level; therefore, figures for Hounslow are unavailable. However, in London 332 loans have been approved at a value of £346.3m. In Scotland, 11 loans have been approved at a value of £4.1m and in Wales, 12 loans have been approved, at a value of £6.1m.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Department for Work and Pensions Committee report, DWP's response to the coronavirus outbreak, published on 22 June 2020, what the planned timescale is for bringing forward the Employment Bill; and whether that Bill will contain provisions for people in low-paid work and the gig economy.

This Government has a proud history of protecting and enhancing workers’ rights.

We remain committed to delivering the workers’ rights enhancements set out in our 2019 manifesto.

We have already made significant progress in implementing recommendations arising from the Taylor Review, including legislating for stronger protections for vulnerable agency workers and extending the right to a written statement to workers.

We have passed legislation that means almost 300,000 workers, including people in low-paid work and the gig economy, will have a right to a payslip for the first time. This helps workers in the flexible economy to better understand their pay and identify if their employer is not meeting their minimum pay obligations.

As we set out in our 2019 recent Manifesto, this Government is committed to continue building on this record by testing proposals to ensure that people are treated fairly at work.

However, as Matthew Taylor himself has said, many of his recommendation are complex and highly technical to implement. It is only right that we take time to consider how best to achieve change that works for all.

We continue to work with stakeholders to test proposals, thus ensuring that employment law reflects the reality of modern and new working relationships.

We intend to make further announcements on the next stages in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will review the Business in difficulty criteria of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support smaller businesses.

Although the UK has left the EU, under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU State Aid rules continue to apply in the UK until the end of the Transition Period. The EU Commission have introduced a ‘temporary framework’ providing flexibility on State Aid rules to support businesses impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak. The Government has notified the European Commission of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) under the temporary framework, in line with State Aid rules.

Certain State Aid rules apply to businesses accessing the CBILS, including around the business in difficulty criteria. In recognition of the impact of Coronavirus, companies that do not pass the business in difficulty test are eligible for the CBILS, unless they were in difficulty on 31 December 2019, prior to the outbreak.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government support package for innovative firms hit by coronavirus announced on 20 April 2020, how many businesses (a) have accessed this support through; and how much and what proportion of funding from the £750 million to be allocated through Innovate UK has been to disbursed to (i) new applicants and (ii) existing award holders.

On 20th April, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £1.25bn coronavirus package to protect firms driving innovation in the UK.

This included £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms which will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme.

The Government has since confirmed that up to £500m of this is for existing customers including £200m of accelerated payments and up to £300m for continuity grants and loans. £20m of the remainder has been used to double the number of businesses receiving funding through the IUK call for business led innovation in response to the crisis which was open to new customers. Over 800 companies have been successful in this competition. IUK has also allocated up to £39m to increase the business advisory support services available new and existing high-growth potential SMEs. Announcements for the remaining money will be made in due course.

Beyond the Fast-Response competition, it is currently too early to state the number of businesses that have accessed this funding.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance the Health and Safety Executive has issued to employers on the duty of care they have to employees who are self-isolating because they care for or live with someone who is shielding.

The Government has introduced important social distancing measures for all types of businesses to consider in order to minimise the risk of transmission in the workplace. The Government has been clear that it is vital that all employers follow this guidance, which is clinically led and based on expert advice.

The Government has stated that vulnerable people who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) need to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. Additionally, the government guidance sets out that members of staff who are vulnerable or extremely vulnerable, as well as individuals whom they live with, should be supported by their employers as they follow the required social distancing and shielding measures. Employers should help these individuals work from home if possible.

If clinically vulnerable people cannot work from home, they should be offered the safest available on-site roles, staying 2m away from others wherever possible. If they have to spend time within 2m of other people, employers need to carefully assess whether this involves an acceptable level of risk.

If a business is not operating in line with the government guidance, there is a role for the relevant health and safety enforcing authority – the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or a Local Authority. Where the enforcing authority identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks – for example, employers not taking appropriate action to socially distance or ensure workers in the shielded category can follow the NHS advice to self-isolate for the period specified – the enforcing authority will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. These actions include the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements with the guidance.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to support the manufacturing sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

Manufacturing is a critical part of our economy and the Government is engaging with industry to ensure that we can support our manufacturing sectors during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many businesses across the aerospace, chemical, automotive, steel, aluminium, pharmaceutical, packaging, and other sectors have answered the call to action. These businesses are playing a direct role in combatting COVID-19 by producing the materials and equipment necessary, as well as enabling the services that we need to fight the spread of the virus and keep the country running.

We have put in place an unprecedented package of Government support to give manufacturers and their suppliers the support they need to ensure business continuity. These measures include:

  • £330 billion worth of Government-backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK.
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to help small and medium-sized businesses to access vital financial support.
  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) to allow more firms to benefit from Government-backed support at this difficult time.
  • The Bounce Back Loans scheme for small businesses, which complements the CBILS and CLBILS schemes.
  • Deferring VAT payments for firms to the next quarter, until the end of June, which represents a £30 billion injection into the economy.
  • Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a Government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month. This will be backdated to 1 March 2020 and available for at least three months.
Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions the Government has had with Rolls Royce on (a) worker safety, (b) job protections, (c) financial support from the public purse and (d) manufacturing personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government regularly speaks with Rolls-Royce and has worked closely with the company in response to COVID-19. The company has set out the steps it has taken, consistent with the Government’s guidance, on worker safety; job protections utilising the Job Retention Scheme; developing and donating Personal Protective Equipment; and manufacturing ventilators.

We have discussed with Rolls-Royce the various Government business support schemes available to the company and its suppliers. Rolls-Royce has also been part of the Department’s regular engagements with the wider aerospace sector about business support during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, what plans the Government has to (a) transpose the European Accessibility Act 2019 into UK law or (b) bring forward legislative proposals to ensure ensure equivalent or enhanced protections for disabled people after the transition period; and if he will make a statement.

The deadline for transposing the European Accessibility Act (EAA) is 27 June 2022. As the Government has committed not to extend the Transition Period the UK will not be required to transpose the EAA.

The UK already has robust legislation on accessibility through the protections covered by the Equality Act 2006, Equality Act 2010, and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland. The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on grounds of disability and imposes a duty on providers of goods and services to make reasonable adjustments to prevent this.

The Government will consider how further to improve or enhance accessibility through domestic legislation, including by using emerging technologies to develop innovative solutions to accessibility challenges, and provide real benefit to citizens with disabilities over the years ahead.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many (a) civil servants and (b) diplomats are working on COP 26 preparations.

The COP26 Team in Cabinet Office consists of 140 civil servants (as of 12th February), including an international engagement team. The unit works closely with colleagues across Whitehall, and with the FCO’s overseas network, on the successful delivery of COP26.

The Government is committed to making a success of COP26, working across Departments.

A key element of this is working towards the UK’s net zero commitment, which is very important to this Government both domestically and internationally.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the report entitled Absolute Zero, published by UK FIRES in November 2019 on eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

We are committed to delivering on our world-leading target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050. As announced by the Prime Minister, 2020 is a Year of Climate Action which aims to inspire positive action on climate change across the UK in the build-up to COP26.

The Government considers a wide variety of viewpoints on how to reach net zero. We agree with the advice of the Committee on Climate Change that a full range of solutions will be needed to meet our targets, including behaviour change, new technologies to reduce emissions across the economy, as well as greenhouse gas removal technologies that can capture carbon dioxide from the air.

The UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country. In doing so, we are now the world leader in offshore wind and have many other strengths in key decarbonisation technologies such as smart energy systems and electric vehicles. In the next decade, we will work with the market to deliver two million new high quality jobs in clean growth, creating opportunities across the country from future export markets.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people aged (a) 16 and under and (b) over 16 years old undertook work experience in her Department in each of the last three years.

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

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the findings of the Jack Petchey report entitled, Shaping our Future - The Covid-19 Youth Survey.

The Secretary of State has not had any discussions with Cabinet Colleagues on the findings of the Jack Petchey report, Shaping our Future - The Covid-19 Youth Survey.

The Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people and the important role of youth services in supporting them. We have supported the development of specific Covid-19 guidance for the youth sector, which has helped tens of thousands of organisations feel confident in safely delivering vital services to young people.

We also recognise that young people have an important role to play in the nation’s recovery from the pandemic. Since the beginning of March, Government ministers have continued to engage directly with young people, through our youth engagement programme, on the impacts of Covid-19, from employment support to mental health and loneliness.

We are also engaging with young people as part of DCMS’ Youth Review, announced by HM Treasury as part of the 2020 Spending Review. Their views will help to set a clear direction for the out-of-school youth agenda.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the findings of the Jack Petchey report entitled, Shaping our Future - The Covid-19 Youth Survey.

The Secretary of State has not had any discussions with Cabinet Colleagues on the findings of the Jack Petchey report, Shaping our Future - The Covid-19 Youth Survey.

The Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people and the important role of youth services in supporting them. We have supported the development of specific Covid-19 guidance for the youth sector, which has helped tens of thousands of organisations feel confident in safely delivering vital services to young people.

We also recognise that young people have an important role to play in the nation’s recovery from the pandemic. Since the beginning of March, Government ministers have continued to engage directly with young people, through our youth engagement programme, on the impacts of Covid-19, from employment support to mental health and loneliness.

We are also engaging with young people as part of DCMS’ Youth Review, announced by HM Treasury as part of the 2020 Spending Review. Their views will help to set a clear direction for the out-of-school youth agenda.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of local youth clubs that have permanently closed since April 2020.

My department does not hold data around the number of youth clubs that have closed since April 2020.

Government recognises the important role that youth groups play in communities, which is why we recently announced the £16.5 million Youth Covid-19 Support Fund (YCSF) that will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth services across the country. The YCSF opened on Friday 15 January 2021 and will remain open until 19 February. It will help to mitigate the impact of lost income during the winter period due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ensure services providing vital support can remain viable.

This funding will be drawn from the unprecedented £750m package for the voluntary and community sector. More than £60m of this has already been directed towards organisations supporting children and young people.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department allocated funding to the Fatima's Next Job Could be in Cyber advert.

The CyberFirst recruitment campaign is delivered by skills provider QA with funding allocated through the National Cyber Security Programme.

Oliver Dowden
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to publish guidance to allow bowling alleys to safely reopen.

Bowling alleys will be able to reopen from 1 August provided they have written a COVID-19 risk assessment.

We have worked closely with stakeholders to develop further Covid-19 Secure reopening guidance for venues such as bowling alleys. Specific guidance on bowling alleys has been published within UKHospitality’s ‘COVID-19 Secure Guidelines for Hospitality Businesses.’ We continue to meet regularly with the wider sector through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce’s Sport and Visitor Economy working groups.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, our decisions have been and will continue to be based on scientific evidence and public health assessments.

To support businesses - including bowling alleys - through Covid-19, the Government has introduced a comprehensive support package, including business rates relief for eligible leisure businesses and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether VE Day celebrations will be (a) cancelled or (b) postponed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make statement.

The government announced on 20 March that the national commemorations to mark VE Day 75 are being scaled back due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus.

The UK Government and the Devolved Administrations are working on plans to ensure the nation can mark VE Day in May and provide a fitting tribute to the Second World War generation.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has plans to issue guidance on holding VE Day celebrations to Royal British Legions as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

In light of the COVID- 19 outbreak, all VE Day 75 event organisers should follow the guidance and advice that is regularly being issued and updated by the Government and Public Health England.

The Government is working closely with the Royal British Legion which has issued up to date advice to its branches.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many people aged (a) 16 and under and (b) over 16 years old undertook work experience in the Department in each of the last three years.

The Civil Service aims to increase opportunities for people of all backgrounds and create a

Civil Service fit for 21st century Britain through work experience, internships and

apprenticeship schemes.

DCMS does not run a central work experience scheme and therefore does not hold data on work experience placements for people under 16. The figures for people over 16 years old are as follows:

2017: 3 on the Summer Diversity Internship Programme

2018: 2 (1 on the Summer Diversity Internship Programme and 1 on the Autism Internship Exchange Programme)

2019: 5 (4 on the Summer Diversity Internship Programme and 1 on the Autism Exchange Internship Programme)

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the legacy benefits of the London 2012 Olympics.

Government commissioned an independent consortium to carry out a meta-evaluation of the benefits of London 2012. These reports are published on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/london-2012-meta-evaluation) and cover a broad range of research areas such as economic benefits, sustainability standards and the impact on volunteering.

Government, in conjunction with the Mayor of London, published four annual reports on legacy between 2013 and 2016. These described legacy benefits in the areas of sport and physical activity, economic impact, communities, East London regeneration and the impact from the Paralympics. Again, these reports are available on GOV.UK via https://www.gov.uk/society-and-culture/2012-olympic-and-paralympic-legacy.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with British TV and film production companies on increasing the number of female actresses in lead roles in television and film.

The Secretary of State regularly meets with film and television representatives from a range of backgrounds as part of her role. However, due to the confidential nature of many of these meetings, we are unable to give details of such engagements. Increasing screen diversity is a priority for government, and we continue to work with our arm’s length body the British Film Institute (BFI) to improve representation both on and off screen, including through supporting the wider adoption of their world-leading Diversity Standards.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent estimate she has made of the number of households affected by broadband not-spots in each local authority area.

Almost every premise in the UK is able to get broadband through a fixed, wireless or satellite connection. However, a small minority of premises are unable to get a decent service, providing 10 Mbps download speeds and 1 Mbps upload speeds. In their latest Connected Nations report, Ofcom estimated that these premises numbered only around 155,000 and was likely to reduce further by March 2020, when the Government’s Broadband Universal Obligation (USO) will come into force. The USO gives households without a decent service a legal right to request one up to a Reasonable Cost Threshold of £3,400 per premise.

Alongside the USO, investment by Government and the commercial sector has ensured that superfast broadband, providing download speeds of at least 24 Mbps, is now available to 96% of UK premises, and that access to full fibre broadband has increased by 1.5 million premises over the past year and is now available to 10% of the UK. The Government is ambitious to go further and, as part of this, has committed £5 billion to subsidise the deployment of full fibre and gigabit broadband in less commercially viable areas.

Further information on broadband availability in each local authority area can be found on the Connected Nations section of Ofcom’s website.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what funding her Department has made available to help tackle loneliness in Hounslow.

Government’s strategy on tackling loneliness in England includes a range of new policies that are benefiting people across England, including in Hounslow. This includes improving and expanding social prescribing and running a new communications campaign on social connection.

Government established the £11.5m Building Connections Fund in 2018. This funds 126 projects across England that bring people and communities together. 15 grants, totalling £1.25m, have been made to projects in London. This includes a £93,000 grant to the Afghanistan & Central Asian Association for a project based in Hounslow offering activities such as tea sessions, one to one mentoring and social events.

In October 2019 the Minister for Civil Society announced £2m of new grant funding for frontline organisations tackling loneliness. Details of this funding, including the application process, will be announced in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with colleges and universities on the loaning of books to students who are studying at home during the covid-19 lockdown.

Higher education providers should consider appropriate provision to support access to university facilities for the purposes of online learning.

On 22 February 2021, we issued updated guidance on students returning to, and starting, higher education in the 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. As outlined in the guidance, we expect university libraries to stay open to provide library services during the lockdown, including the provision of study space and borrowing materials if necessary. Libraries have continued to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, including by offering order and collect services and providing digital services.

We are clear 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.

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 (Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional steps his Department plans to take to support remote learning in primary schools during the covid-19 outbreak.

Given the critical importance of ensuring that all children and young people continue to learn during the national lockdown, the Department has updated the expectations for schools to clarify and strengthen what is expected during the period of restricted attendance and draws on our evolving understanding of best practice in remote education: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak#section-5-contingency-planning-for-outbreaks.

With most pupils now having to learn remotely, and schools and colleges having made huge progress in developing their remote education provision, it is right that we increase the expectations on what remote education they receive. Schools are now expected to provide remote education that includes either recorded or live direct teaching alongside time for pupils to work independently to complete assignments that have been set. Online video lessons do not necessarily need to be recorded by teaching staff at the school. Oak National Academy lessons, for example, can be provided in lieu of school led video content.

The number of hours expected for different age groups has also changed. Hours include both direct teaching and time for pupils to complete tasks or assignments independently. Primary schools are now expected to provide, as a minimum:

  • 3 hours a day for Key Stage 1, on average across the cohort with less for younger children.
  • 4 hours a day for Key Stage 2

Primary schools are also expected to have a system in place for checking on a daily basis whether pupils are engaging actively with their work, and learning. Primary schools will need to work with families to identify swiftly where pupil engagement is a concern and find effective solutions.

The Department recognises that different expectations are appropriate for younger and older age groups when learning remotely. We expect schools to consider the remote education expectations in relation to pupils’ age, stage of development or special educational needs. The number of hours of remote education we expect schools to deliver also varies according to pupil stage.

We also recognise that younger children in Key Stage 1 or Reception often require high levels of parental involvement to support their engagement with remote education, which makes digital provision a particular challenge for this age group. We do not expect that solely digital means will be used to teach these pupils remotely.

There is a wide range of resources available to support schools to meet the expectations we have set.

Get Help with Remote Education provides a one stop shop for teachers, signposting the support package available: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education. This includes helping primary schools to access technology that supports remote education, as well as peer to peer training and guidance on how to use technology effectively. It also includes practical tools, a good practice guide and school led webinars to support effective delivery of the curriculum. Information is also available on issues such as safeguarding, statutory duties and expectations, supporting pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and recovery and catch up to stop pupils falling behind. We worked with some of the demonstrator schools and colleges to help develop a self-assessment framework, to help schools review and improve their approach to remote education through technology. This has now been launched as the Review your Remote Education Provision framework: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-your-remote-education-provision.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This includes over 800,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities by 17 January. All schools, trusts and local authorities have now been given the opportunity to order their full current allocation of devices.

The Department has also made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20, and then for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Specialist content for pupils with SEND is also available. Since the start of the spring term 2021, 4.1 million users have visited the Oak National Academy platform and 28 million lessons have been viewed, as of 17 January 2021. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for 2020-21.

The BBC has adapted their education support for the spring term 2021 and will be making educational content available on the television. This will help to ensure all children and young people can access curriculum based learning from home. Starting on Monday 11 January, each week day on CBBC will see a three hour block of primary school programming from 9am. Bitesize Daily primary and secondary will also air every day on BBC Red Button as well as episodes being available on demand on BBC iPlayer. This TV offer is in addition to the BBC’s online offer, which parents, children and teachers can access when and where they need it.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how may requests for (a) laptops and (b) broadband access he has received from each school in Feltham and Heston constituency; and how many (i) laptops and (ii) connectivity solutions he has provided to each of those schools.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.

As of Monday 18 January, over 800,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to state schools, academy trusts and local authorities.

Figures on requests for, and delivery of, devices by constituency are not available.

More information on the number of devices delivered can viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data. We will be publishing updated data on a weekly basis.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most, during the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Government is providing this significant injection of devices on top of an estimated 2.9 million laptops and tablets already owned by schools before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.

We are grateful to EE, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone for their collaboration. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

All four major mobile network operators - Vodafone, O2, Three and EE - have also committed to working together to make access to Oak National Academy free for school children. Additionally, BT and EE are making access to BBC Bitesize resources free from the end of January 2021.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many laptops have been (a) ordered and (b) delivered from the Government scheme to support online remote learning for (i) primary schools and (ii) secondary schools in each region of England in January 2021.

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. Over 750,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities by the end of last week, nearly 140,000 of which had been delivered this month.

The number of devices available for each school, trust or local authority is based on recent data on free school meal eligibility. On 12 January 2021 we announced that we will be providing a further 300,000 devices over the course of this term.

Figures on the number of devices delivered is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data. These figures are broken down by local authority and academy trust, depending on which organisation ordered devices. Information on delivery by region is not available.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on student tuition fees during the covid-19 outbreak.

This has been a very difficult time for students, and the government is working with the sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies. 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 now, with the vast majority of students studying solely online.

Universities are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees, up to a maximum of £9,250 for standard full-time courses offered by approved (fee cap) providers for the 2020/21 academic year. The government has already announced that maximum tuition fee caps will remain frozen for the 2021/22 academic year.

The Office for Students (OfS), as regulator for higher education (HE) providers in England, 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.

Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student. If students have concerns, there is a process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their university. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint. The OIA website is available via the following link: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This sets out the CMA’s view on how the law operates to help consumers understand their rights and help businesses treat their customers fairly. This is available via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds.

The OfS has also published guidance on student consumer protection during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available via the following link: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/for-students/student-and-consumer-protection-during-coronavirus/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's policy is on fees charged to school pupils to re-sit (a) GCSE and (b) A-level examinations in autumn 2020.

The Department is providing funding support to schools on autumn exam fees and we expect school and colleges to pay these on behalf of all the students they enter in the autumn. This is set out in our guidance on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/responsibility-for-autumn-gcse-as-and-a-level-exam-series/centre-responsibility-for-autumn-gcse-as-and-a-level-exam-series-guidance.

The autumn exams are an important backstop to the summer grade process and we are helping schools and colleges to offer them to students by assisting with additional space and invigilators where required, as well as covering exam fee deficits to ensure that exam fees are not passed on to students.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his Department's policy is on appeals by students of their centre assessed grades; and if he will make a statement.

Ofqual has published summary guidance, agreed with school and college leaders, which makes clear what the process was for putting together centre assessment grades and the grounds of appeal which are available. The guidance can be viewed here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/887018/Summer_2020_Awarding_GCSEs_A_levels_-_Info_for_Heads_of_Centre_22MAY2020.pdf.

Any students who have evidence of bias or discrimination will be able to go through the normal complaints procedure at their school or college or complain to the exam board, which could investigate potential malpractice.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the funding of school sport in the academic year 2020-21.

The Government’s School Sport and Activity Action Plan set out a range of measures to ensure that all children have access to high quality PE and sport sessions during the school week and opportunities to be physically active throughout the school day, to help them do the 60 minutes a day of physical exercise recommended by the Chief Medical Officer.

The Government has provided £2.4 million in funding to support this activity in 2019-20 and has worked with Active Partnerships, teaching schools and sport providers to support children to take part in activities that encourage good physical health.

Physical activity is important for children’s physical and mental wellbeing and will be especially important for children who have had restricted opportunity to exercise while at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department has published online educational resources approved by subject experts for schools and parents to help children to learn at home, including for PE:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/online-science-pe-wellbeing-and-send-resources-for-home-education.

The Department is working to ensure that schools are fully supported as they re-open and are able to give pupils opportunities to be physically active during the school day.

The Department will confirm arrangements for the primary school PE and Sport Premium in the 2020-21 academic year as soon as possible.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with representatives of employers on the continuation of planned apprenticeships in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow post COVID-19. The flexibilities we have introduced are enabling apprenticeships to continue. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

We are continuing to meet with employers and their representative organisations. I hosted a series of round tables with employers and business representative groups to discuss what more is needed to support employers, including the Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The National Apprenticeship Service continues to support employers, intermediary organisations and stakeholders through regular virtual meetings, and timely communications about changes to apprenticeship policies in response to COVID-19. Insight gathered from our engagement with employers and their representative bodies is used to help shape further flexibilities.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Downing Street Press Conference on 19 April 2020, how many eligible children had received (a) laptops and (b) 4G routers through the Government’s scheme as at 31 May 2020.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

The Government is providing over 200,000 laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. The Government is also providing over 50,000 4G wireless routers to care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in year 10 who do not have internet connections.

The Department has also partnered with BT to give 10,000 young people free access to BT WiFi hotspots, who do not have access to good internet by other means.

Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and distribute the laptops and tablets to children and young people who need devices. The Department invited local authorities to order devices for the most vulnerable children first, children with a social worker and care leavers.

Devices are being delivered to local authorities and academy trusts daily and will continue to be distributed throughout June.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 18 May 2020 to Question 46667 on Education: Coronavirus, what recent estimate the Government has made of the number of (a) primary and (b) secondary school pupils who are unable to access their school online classroom as a result of not having (i) digital devices and (ii) internet access at home in each (A) region and (B) nation of the UK; and how many and what proportion of secondary school pupils unable to access their school online classroom are eligible for (1) laptops and (2) routers under the Government scheme announced on 19 April 2020.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

The Government is providing over 200,000 laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. The Government is also providing over 50,000 4G wireless routers to care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in year 10 who do not have internet connections.

The Department has also partnered with BT to give 10,000 young people free access to BT WiFi hotspots, who do not have access to good internet by other means.

Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and distribute the laptops and tablets to children and young people who need devices. The Department invited local authorities to order devices for the most vulnerable children first, children with a social worker and care leavers.

Devices are being delivered to local authorities and academy trusts daily and will continue to be distributed throughout June.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what representations he has received from (a) children’s charities and (b) schools on the effect on learning of a lack of access to school online classrooms during the covid-19 outbreak.

It is up to each school to determine how to deliver education to its pupils and we recognise that many schools have been regularly sharing resources with pupils. This could be in the form of online learning as well as high quality printed resources where needed.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G routers.

The Department has also partnered with BT to give 10,000 young people free access to BT WiFi hotspots, who do not have access to good internet by other means.

We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G routers.

We are committed to ensuring that all children can continue to learn remotely in a number of ways during these very difficult circumstances, and are supporting sector-led initiatives such as the Oak National Academy. This brand-new enterprise has been created by 40 teachers from schools across England. It will provide 180 video lessons for free each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from reception through to Year 10. By 24 May, over 2.3 million users had visited the Oak Academy site and over 10.7 million lessons had been accessed.

Schools can also utilise the many resources which have been made by publishers across the country.

The Department has published an initial list of high quality online educational resources, which have been identified by some of the country’s leading educational experts to help pupils learn at home.

Schools and families will also be able to draw on support from the BBC which is broadcasting lessons on television. Some of the BBC educational content is offline, via the red button, which disadvantaged pupils without digital devices or connectivity will still be able to access.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 18 May 2020 to Question 46667, on Education: Coronavirus, how much of the £100 million funding that the Government has committed to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education is being allocated to (a) devices and (b) connectivity; and how much of that funding has been spent to date.

The government has committed over £100 million to help schools and young people continue their education at home and access online social care services. We have committed over £14 million on technical support to give schools access to cloud-based education platforms, nearly £6 million to support a new demonstrator school network who are offering peer support on how to use education technology, and over £85 million to provide laptops, tablets and 4G internet devices, including security and e-safety packages and their distribution, and to top up the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund.

The department has also partnered with BT to give 10,000 young people free access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots, who do not have access to good internet by other means.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate the Government has made of the number of (a) primary and (b) secondary school pupils who are unable to access their school online classroom due to school closures during the covid-19 outbreak as they do not have digital devices or internet access at home by each (i) region and (ii) nation of the UK.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education. We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. We are also providing 4G routers to care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged Year 10 pupils who do not have sufficient internet connections.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets and allocated devices based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to bring forward (a) limits on and (b) eligibility requirements for funding reimbursed and refunded to schools that procure free school meals from retailers not included in the National Voucher Scheme.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure, and this will ensure they are able to meet their regular financial commitments, while delivering the provision required during this unprecedented period.

Where possible, schools are encouraged to work with their existing suppliers to provide meals or food parcels. If they are unable to use this, we have developed a national scheme to provide supermarket vouchers via the Edenred online portal. This portal allows schools to directly order vouchers to be sent to families for use at Aldi, McColl’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and M&S. Schools will not have to pay for these vouchers as the costs of this scheme will be picked up centrally by the Department for Education.

We recognise that it may not be convenient or possible for schools in some areas to use these supermarkets. Where schools use their own alternatives to the national voucher scheme they are able to claim for additional costs incurred in supporting free school meal pupils. As set out in our guidance, schools will be able to claim up to a certain limit, depending on their number of pupils, and where they are unable to meet these additional costs from their existing resources. In exceptional instances where individual schools face additional costs that are higher than the grant’s limits, schools will be able to able to apply to increase their limit. The full additional costs guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, from which budget he plans to reimburse funding for schools procuring free school meals from retailers not included in the National Voucher Scheme.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure, and this will ensure they are able to meet their regular financial commitments, while delivering the provision required during this unprecedented period.

Where possible, schools are encouraged to work with their existing suppliers to provide meals or food parcels. If they are unable to use this, we have developed a national scheme to provide supermarket vouchers via the Edenred online portal. This portal allows schools to directly order vouchers to be sent to families for use at Aldi, McColl’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and M&S. Schools will not have to pay for these vouchers as the costs of this scheme will be picked up centrally by the Department for Education.

We recognise that it may not be convenient or possible for schools in some areas to use these supermarkets. Where schools use their own alternatives to the national voucher scheme they are able to claim for additional costs incurred in supporting free school meal pupils. As set out in our guidance, schools will be able to claim up to a certain limit, depending on their number of pupils, and where they are unable to meet these additional costs from their existing resources. In exceptional instances where individual schools face additional costs that are higher than the grant’s limits, schools will be able to able to apply to increase their limit. The full additional costs guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 lockdown on the (a) employment and (b) income of (i) full-time and (ii) part-time students.

The government is working closely with the sector on a wide range of issues and student wellbeing is at the heart of those discussions. It will be a matter for universities to deal with individual students’ situations.


Eligible students studying on full-time and part-time courses will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current, 2019/20, academic year.


We have engaged closely with the Office for Students to enable providers to draw upon existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. As a result, providers will be able to use the funding, worth around £23 million per month for April and May, towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment, and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.


Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment. Information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronaviruscovid-19.


As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.


These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support schools that wish to access free school meal vouchers from a retailer that is not listed as part of the free school meals voucher scheme.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Through the national voucher scheme, schools and families could initially access eGift cards for Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and M&S. On Monday 27 April Aldi were added to this list and on Wednesday 29 April McColl’s were also added. We recognise that it may not be convenient or possible for some families to visit one of these supermarkets and we are continuing to work to see if additional supermarkets can be added to this list.

Where none of these supermarkets are convenient for families, schools can directly purchase vouchers for alternative supermarkets and be reimbursed for the costs.

Full details are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make a direct address to children and young people on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on their lives and education.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, directly addressed young people in the Downing Street press conference on Sunday 19 April, acknowledging the challenges that they are facing in their lives and education and the contribution that they are making to the national effort:

“And to any young people watching, I wanted to say to you how sorry I am that you have had your education disrupted in this way. I know how hard it must be and I would like to thank you for making the adjustments you have had to make.

I know you will be missing your friends, your teachers and your lessons. I want you to know that you are an important part of this fight too and I cannot thank you enough for all that you are doing.”

The department continues to plan a range of activities in the coming weeks to engage with diverse groups of young people who have been affected in different ways by the outbreak. This included a recent address to young people on the new national online learning platform Oak National Academy via an online assembly on Thursday 30 April, which is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgdhOstV6iI&feature=emb_logo.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether schools that wish to access free school meals vouchers from retailers that are not listed as part of the free school meals voucher scheme will be reimbursed for the costs of purchasing those vouchers.

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are eligible for and claiming benefits related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the Department for Education.

Through the national voucher scheme, schools and families could initially access eGift cards for Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and M&S. On Monday 27 April Aldi were added to this list and on Wednesday 29 April McColl’s were also added. We recognise that it may not be convenient or possible for some families to visit one of these supermarkets and we are continuing to work to see if additional supermarkets can be added to this list.

Where none of these supermarkets are convenient for families, schools can directly purchase vouchers for alternative supermarkets and be reimbursed for the costs.

Full details are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will (a) bring forward a Comprehensive Children’s Recovery Plan and (b) provide ringfenced resources for schools, local authorities, civil society, and children’s service providers.

The government is doing everything it can to ensure that all parts of the education system are getting the guidance and support they need to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable groups. The government has already announced it will make extra funding available for schools to cover the unique challenges and financial costs of the COVID-19 outbreak. The money will cover specific unforeseen additional costs up to the end of the 2019 to 2020 summer term including £3.2 billion for local authorities.

We know that there will be many challenges across the sector, and we are working hard to mitigate the impact on education, childcare and children’s social care and prepare to help the sector recover from the crisis.

We are working with schools, teaching unions and other partners to make sure we have the right guidance and support in place once we are ready to re-open education settings.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will appoint a Special Envoy for Children reporting directly to the Prime Minister to lead an emergency Children’s Taskforce on the impact Covid-19 is having on children.

The government recognises the significant effect COVID-19 may have on children and will do whatever it takes to protect them. The government has taken a range of actions to ensure that children are supported, particularly those who are most vulnerable. This includes keeping schools and other educational settings open for vulnerable children, such as those with a social worker or with an Education, Health and Care Plan, and encouraging attendance from them where that would be in their best interests; providing resources to support children to continue learning at home; funding vouchers for free schools meals; and providing additional funding for the NSPCC to support their helpline for those with concerns about children. The government has also given local authorities more than £3.2 billion to support local services at this time, including children’s social care. The department has also announced additional support for adoptive families and up to £12.1 million of new money to continue 14 separate projects that are aimed at supporting vulnerable children and families.

Ministers and officials have had, and continue to have, discussions with organisations representing the interests of children, including with the Children’s Commissioner for England, in order to monitor and minimise the impact for children, particularly for those who are most vulnerable. The department has also already established a Vulnerable Children and Young People National Board to provide a forum to share good practice across the sector and provide a cohesive and ambitious system-wide response to support vulnerable children and young people through the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State for Education will therefore not appoint an additional role of a Special Envoy for Children.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support pupils who do not have access to equipment for online learning during school closures due to the covid-19 outbreak.

On 19 April 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced that devices will be provided for the most disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for exams (in Year 10), or receive support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Local authorities, trusts and other relevant organisations overseeing schools have been given guidance on how to place online orders for government-funded and allocated devices for eligible children and young people.

Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we will also provide the capability for them to access the internet.

Additionally, the country’s major telecommunication companies will make it easier for families to access selected educational resources by temporarily exempting these sites from data charges.

For those in rural areas or without a connection, schools will be able to draw on support from the BBC which is broadcasting lessons on television; as well as their existing resources and the many resources offers which have been made by publishers across the country.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Scottish Government on the effectiveness of nuture groups in Scotland.

Ministers at the Department for Education have not discussed nurture groups with their counterparts in the Scottish Government.

I met with Nurture UK in January 2020 to discuss the use of nurture groups in schools and the evidence they have collected.

In 2018, the Department published updated Mental Health & Behaviour in Schools Guidance, which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2. The purpose of this guidance is to help schools to identify pupils whose behaviour may be a result of an underlying mental health difficulty, and to understand when and how to put in place support. It includes links to further sources of practice and advice, including Nurture UK. It is for schools to decide whether a nurture group might be of benefit, based on the evidence of impact and the needs of their pupils.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage industry to engage with local schools on increasing (a) employment and (b) apprenticeship opportunities.

As part of our careers strategy setting out our aim to develop a world-class careers system, the Careers and Enterprise Company is taking forward work in this area.

It has developed the Enterprise Advisers Network, resulting in schools, colleges and businesses working together on a national scale. Over 150 businesses are engaged as cornerstone employers and more than 2,500 business people are working with schools and colleges as Enterprise Advisers to improve careers provision. This has led to at least 2 million young people regularly meeting employers and learning about the world of work.

It is establishing 40 Careers Hubs around the country, which are groups of 20 or more secondary schools and colleges located in the same geographic area, working together, and with partners in the business, public, education and voluntary sectors to ensure careers outcomes are improved for all young people and providing young people aged 11-18 with employer encounters.

In addition, schools must open their doors to providers of technical education and apprenticeships to give all young people a better understanding of the qualifications, courses and subjects available. This is enshrined in law, requiring all maintained schools and academies to publish a policy statement setting out how they will do this.

We also offer a free service to schools through the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge (ASK) project to ensure that teachers have the knowledge and support to enable them to promote apprenticeships to their students. As part of the ASK project, we work with employers to offer Apprenticeship Live broadcasts that schools can stream directly into the classroom. Employers can use these to showcase their apprenticeship programmes and they give students and teachers the opportunity to speak to employers and their apprentices directly. In 2018/19 we delivered over 40 live broadcasts covering a variety of sectors, reaching over 130,000 students and 1,965 teachers.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the proportion of students in pupil referral units achieving grade 5 or above in GCSE English and Maths.

The Government is taking forward an ambitious programme of action on behaviour, exclusion and alternative provision (AP). This will respect head teachers’ powers to use exclusion, enable schools to support children at risk of exclusion, and ensure that excluded children continue to receive support and a good education.

Engagement in full-time, high-quality education is a protective factor against children’s risk of involvement in serious violence. Research has shown that excluded children have a higher risk of being both a victim and perpetrator of crime. However, we must be careful not to draw a simple causal link. The surrounding issues and causes of serious violence are complicated. The Department is working with the education and care sectors, the Home Office and other Government Departments to help make our streets safer by supporting children and young people who are at risk of being caught up in serious violence.

The Department recognises that timely access to full-time, high-quality AP plays a critical role in improving outcomes for excluded pupils who may have vulnerabilities that make them at risk of involvement in crime. We will expand AP and improve the quality of the sector so that pupils in AP receive the right support and an education on par with that received by their mainstream peers. Further information on the timeframes for this work will be provided in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of permanent school exclusions.

The Government is taking forward an ambitious programme of action on behaviour, exclusion and alternative provision (AP). This will respect head teachers’ powers to use exclusion, enable schools to support children at risk of exclusion, and ensure that excluded children continue to receive support and a good education.

Engagement in full-time, high-quality education is a protective factor against children’s risk of involvement in serious violence. Research has shown that excluded children have a higher risk of being both a victim and perpetrator of crime. However, we must be careful not to draw a simple causal link. The surrounding issues and causes of serious violence are complicated. The Department is working with the education and care sectors, the Home Office and other Government Departments to help make our streets safer by supporting children and young people who are at risk of being caught up in serious violence.

The Department recognises that timely access to full-time, high-quality AP plays a critical role in improving outcomes for excluded pupils who may have vulnerabilities that make them at risk of involvement in crime. We will expand AP and improve the quality of the sector so that pupils in AP receive the right support and an education on par with that received by their mainstream peers. Further information on the timeframes for this work will be provided in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on researching the link between the level of permanent school exclusions and youth crime.

The Government is taking forward an ambitious programme of action on behaviour, exclusion and alternative provision (AP). This will respect head teachers’ powers to use exclusion, enable schools to support children at risk of exclusion, and ensure that excluded children continue to receive support and a good education.

Engagement in full-time, high-quality education is a protective factor against children’s risk of involvement in serious violence. Research has shown that excluded children have a higher risk of being both a victim and perpetrator of crime. However, we must be careful not to draw a simple causal link. The surrounding issues and causes of serious violence are complicated. The Department is working with the education and care sectors, the Home Office and other Government Departments to help make our streets safer by supporting children and young people who are at risk of being caught up in serious violence.

The Department recognises that timely access to full-time, high-quality AP plays a critical role in improving outcomes for excluded pupils who may have vulnerabilities that make them at risk of involvement in crime. We will expand AP and improve the quality of the sector so that pupils in AP receive the right support and an education on par with that received by their mainstream peers. Further information on the timeframes for this work will be provided in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent surveys his Department has undertaken with young people on their educational needs.

The Department commissions or co-funds a number of studies with young people. Current live projects include longitudinal studies such as the Millennium Cohort Study and the second Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE2), which collect evidence about the lives and experiences of young people and the transitions they make from education into early adulthood.

Other surveys include the ‘Pupils and their parents or carer: omnibus survey’, which gathers the views from pupils (and their parents or carers) in state-funded secondary schools on a wide range of topics, including subject choice, careers guidance and career aspirations. In addition to commissioned social research, the Department also engages with young people on an ad hoc basis to inform policy development and improve existing services.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to undertake a review on his Department's policies in relation to the (a) wellbeing and (b) needs of children in care.

Information on the number of children in care since 2010 is published in table H1 of the annual statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2018 to 2019’, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The drivers of demand are complex. A sector-led ‘Care Crisis Review’ in 2018 found that there are many inter-linked factors contributing to the rise in care proceedings and children entering care. We are funding a What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care whose first research priority is to look at what works in safely reducing the need for children to enter care.

The government is committed to supporting children in care and wants all looked-after children to have a secure, stable and loving family environment to support them through childhood and beyond. In December, we announced an additional £45 million for the adoption support fund to reduce the number of children waiting for a permanent home and to strengthen relationships with their adoptive parents. We are also providing councils with an additional £1 billion for adults and children’s social care in every year of this Parliament. As set out in the manifesto, we are committed to undertaking a review of the care system. This review will allow us to go even further and to ensure that all care placements and settings provide children and young people with the support they need.

Since 2010 we have improved support for children in care, and have invested funding and support in local authorities in a range of areas including:

  • £200 million in the Innovation Programme, testing new approaches in children’s social care, including targeted support for looked after children
  • established the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care to drive improvement and ensure that innovation and best practice are at the heart of local authority social work
  • introduced the Corporate Parenting Principles through the Children and Social Work Act 2017, for the first time setting out how local authorities can be a good ‘corporate parent’
  • put in place measures such as the local authority Virtual School Head, giving looked-after children top priority in school admissions and extra funding to meet their needs through the Pupil Premium Plus, worth £2,300 per child
  • invested £1 million to pilot high quality mental health assessments for children on entry to local authority care

This is in addition to the commitments we have made to improve the lives of children in residential and foster care, through our strategies published in 2016 and 2018.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department has provided to local authorities for children in care since 2010.

Information on the number of children in care since 2010 is published in table H1 of the annual statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2018 to 2019’, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The drivers of demand are complex. A sector-led ‘Care Crisis Review’ in 2018 found that there are many inter-linked factors contributing to the rise in care proceedings and children entering care. We are funding a What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care whose first research priority is to look at what works in safely reducing the need for children to enter care.

The government is committed to supporting children in care and wants all looked-after children to have a secure, stable and loving family environment to support them through childhood and beyond. In December, we announced an additional £45 million for the adoption support fund to reduce the number of children waiting for a permanent home and to strengthen relationships with their adoptive parents. We are also providing councils with an additional £1 billion for adults and children’s social care in every year of this Parliament. As set out in the manifesto, we are committed to undertaking a review of the care system. This review will allow us to go even further and to ensure that all care placements and settings provide children and young people with the support they need.

Since 2010 we have improved support for children in care, and have invested funding and support in local authorities in a range of areas including:

  • £200 million in the Innovation Programme, testing new approaches in children’s social care, including targeted support for looked after children
  • established the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care to drive improvement and ensure that innovation and best practice are at the heart of local authority social work
  • introduced the Corporate Parenting Principles through the Children and Social Work Act 2017, for the first time setting out how local authorities can be a good ‘corporate parent’
  • put in place measures such as the local authority Virtual School Head, giving looked-after children top priority in school admissions and extra funding to meet their needs through the Pupil Premium Plus, worth £2,300 per child
  • invested £1 million to pilot high quality mental health assessments for children on entry to local authority care

This is in addition to the commitments we have made to improve the lives of children in residential and foster care, through our strategies published in 2016 and 2018.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the change in the number of children in care since 2010.

Information on the number of children in care since 2010 is published in table H1 of the annual statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2018 to 2019’, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The drivers of demand are complex. A sector-led ‘Care Crisis Review’ in 2018 found that there are many inter-linked factors contributing to the rise in care proceedings and children entering care. We are funding a What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care whose first research priority is to look at what works in safely reducing the need for children to enter care.

The government is committed to supporting children in care and wants all looked-after children to have a secure, stable and loving family environment to support them through childhood and beyond. In December, we announced an additional £45 million for the adoption support fund to reduce the number of children waiting for a permanent home and to strengthen relationships with their adoptive parents. We are also providing councils with an additional £1 billion for adults and children’s social care in every year of this Parliament. As set out in the manifesto, we are committed to undertaking a review of the care system. This review will allow us to go even further and to ensure that all care placements and settings provide children and young people with the support they need.

Since 2010 we have improved support for children in care, and have invested funding and support in local authorities in a range of areas including:

  • £200 million in the Innovation Programme, testing new approaches in children’s social care, including targeted support for looked after children
  • established the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care to drive improvement and ensure that innovation and best practice are at the heart of local authority social work
  • introduced the Corporate Parenting Principles through the Children and Social Work Act 2017, for the first time setting out how local authorities can be a good ‘corporate parent’
  • put in place measures such as the local authority Virtual School Head, giving looked-after children top priority in school admissions and extra funding to meet their needs through the Pupil Premium Plus, worth £2,300 per child
  • invested £1 million to pilot high quality mental health assessments for children on entry to local authority care

This is in addition to the commitments we have made to improve the lives of children in residential and foster care, through our strategies published in 2016 and 2018.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding his Department has made available to support English language classes for adults in Hounslow.

The department funds education and training, including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for adults aged 19 and over, through the adult education budget (AEB). With effect from 1 August 2019, approximately half the AEB has been devolved to 6 mayoral combined authorities and delegated to the Mayor of London acting through the Greater London Authority (GLA). These authorities are now responsible for funding adult education provision, including ESOL, for learners who are resident in their areas.

As the London Borough of Hounslow is within the area of the GLA, they are now responsible for commissioning and funding ESOL provision for adults who are resident in their areas, rather than the department.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress has been made since August 2019 on the (a) scope, (b) model and (c) implementation of a deposit return scheme in England and Wales.

Since the publication of the Summary of responses to the Consultation on introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Defra officials have been developing proposals for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers using further evidence and ongoing engagement with stakeholders. We are seeking powers in the Environment Bill to introduce deposit return schemes, which can be set up to sustain, promote or secure an increase in recycling or reuse of materials, or to reduce the incidence of littering or fly-tipping. The Government is minded to introduce such a scheme for drinks containers from 2023, subject to further evidence and analysis. The proposed scope, model and implementation of a deposit return scheme for drinks containers will be presented in a second consultation in 2020.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
Whether she had discussions with (a) civil society and (b) development partners on the potential merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before the decision to merge those Departments was made.

As with any government change like this, the announcement came first to Parliament. Baroness Sugg meets British Development Civil Society Organisations regularly. Strong consultation with a wide range of partners will continue to be a key component of our work to create the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what her Department's policy is on funding for UNRWA.

The UK is a long-term supporter of UNRWA as a vital humanitarian and stabilising force in the region. We recognise UNRWA’s unique mandate from the UN General Assembly, to protect and provide protection and core services to Palestinian refugees across the Near East.

The UK provides multi-year funding to UNRWA. Our contribution to UNWRA will help to provide basic education to more than 533,000 children a year (half of which are girls), access to health services for 3.5 million Palestinian refugees and social safety net assistance for around 255,000 of the most vulnerable.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the accuracy of the estimate by the UN Population Fund that the covid-19 pandemic could result in an additional 2 million girls worldwide being subject to FGM.

Evidence shows that women and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR) are under pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; this includes progress towards ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by 2030.

We are tracking UNFPA’s estimates and other assessments as they emerge, and are in frequent touch with our partners in countries to monitor the constraints and the barriers women, girls and marginalised groups may be facing as a direct or indirect impact of COVID-19.

UKaid is continuing to support efforts to tackle FGM during the pandemic, including through increased remote working and using media platforms. For example, our £15 million programme in Sudan continues to support advocacy and last month we saw a significant step towards the outlawing of FGM in Sudan.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she plans to take to tackle the rise in (a) gender-based violence, (b) child, early and forced marriages, (c) FGM and (d) other harmful practices faced by adolescent girls globally as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

I am deeply concerned about the surge in gender-based violence (GBV), FGM and other harmful practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are urgently adapting existing programmes to ensure women and girls continue to access support during the lockdown. For example, in Nepal, DFID is financing safe spaces for women in nine shelters and 42 COVID-19 quarantine sites. In Uganda, DFID is supporting the Government's response to the spikes in GBV by funding 13 shelters across the country and working to ensure safety of frontline staff and survivors.

The UK leads the world in our support to the Africa-led movement to end FGM. In 2018 we announced a £50 million UK aid package – the biggest single donor investment worldwide to date – to tackle this issue across the most-affected countries in Africa. In February up to £3.5 million of this was allocated to the WHO and UN for vital work with governments and health systems to tackle the harmful practice.

Significant gains have been made in the last 10 years to reduce child marriage, but COVID-19 is putting this progress at risk. DFID’s flagship global programme to end child marriage supported just under 3 million adolescent girls to attend school and skills training in 2018 alone. The UN Global Programme is developing innovative ways to continue to reach and support vulnerable girls during the COVID-19 crisis, including moving services online.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what official development assistance his Department is allocating to the production of sustainable energy in sub-Saharan Africa.

DFID has a substantial and growing portfolio of programmes supporting sustainable energy in Africa.

This includes providing finance for off-grid energy systems to reach the rural poor in Africa, technical assistance to improve African countries’ renewable energy policies, and investing in clean energy research and innovation such as the Faraday Battery Challenge and the Ayrton Fund.

CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, also invests in sustainable energy companies, for example in the world’s largest pay-as-you-go solar company, Kenya’s M-Kopa Solar, as well as Mettle Solar in South Africa, and PEG in Ghana.

The commitment that the UK will double its spend on international climate finance to £11.6 billion by 2026 will lead to increased UK commitment to the provision of sustainable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has undertaken forecast modelling to produce scenarios on when international travel may resume in 2021.

DfT maintain a capability to produce a range of demand scenarios, reflecting the uncertainty surrounding the potential shape of recovery, for internal use.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the proportion of an airport's fixed costs that will be covered by the Airports and Ground Operators Support Scheme.

The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme will support airports and ground handlers that have been severely impacted by the pandemic while retaining relatively high fixed costs, including business rates liabilities. We do not comment on the commercial or financial matters of private firms, because this information is commercially sensitive.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of lifting the £8 million cap in the Airports and Ground Operators Support Scheme.

The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme intends to allow commercial airports and ground handlers operating at airports in England to be able to apply for support to the equivalent of their site’s business rates liabilities, up to a cap of £8m, if they meet the qualifying criteria and conditions. Final details of the scheme are still to be made and we aim to launch the scheme shortly.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he has made on securing a common international standard for passenger covid-19 testing; and if he will make a statement.

This is a very important issue. The UK has been leading work with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to help civil aviation restart and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. A key part of ICAO’s work has been agreeing guidance last November for States to use testing more as a means to reduce the reliance on quarantine or self-isolation measures, such as the UK’s Test to Release scheme. Building on this, ICAO is now looking at how to reflect progress on vaccination within that guidance and how to support the mutual recognition of tests and vaccination records for international travel. When I spoke to the ICAO President in December, I welcomed ICAO’s work so far and committed UK support.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress is being made on plans for the expansion of Heathrow Airport; and if he will make a statement.

On 16 December 2020 the Supreme Court overturned the earlier Court of Appeal decision and declared that the Airports National Policy Statement is lawful. We will carefully consider the Court’s judgment and set out any next steps in due course.

The Government have always been clear that Heathrow expansion is a private sector project which must meet strict criteria on air quality, noise and climate change, as well as being privately financed, affordable, and delivered in the best interest of consumers.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will instruct the Global Travel Taskforce to work with representatives of the airline caterers sector.

A core function of the Global Travel Taskforce (GTT) will be to afford policy makers a chance to discuss issues further with those outside of government, as it considers robust and sustainable proposals that will facilitate safer international travel. In its work, the GTT will therefore seek to consult representatives from across the sector.

Further information on the GTT can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/global-travel-taskforce

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on targeted support for the aviation sector and its supply chain.

The aviation sector is crucial to the UK’s economy and businesses across the industry are able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures we have put in place during this time. This includes a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital, two business interruption loan guarantee schemes for different sizes of business, Time to Pay flexibilities with tax bills, financial support for employees and VAT deferrals.

In exceptional circumstances, where a viable company has exhausted all options and its failure would disproportionately harm the economy, the Chancellor has made clear that the Government may consider bespoke support on a ‘last resort’ basis.

The Department for Transport is in close contact with the travel sector, ensuring that the Government is kept fully aware of the latest developments with all firms and to understand where additional policy measures may address specific industry issues.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the alleviation of business rates for airports in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement.

Business rates are managed by HM Treasury in conjunction with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Local Authorities. The Department for Transport and HM Treasury have been engaging closely with industry, through the Expert Steering Group, to understand their assessment of the outlook for the sector and implications of any sector specific support measures, including business rates.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of road accidents caused by drivers affected by obstructive sleep apnoea.

The Department does not collect data on drivers affected by obstructive sleep apnoea in road accidents specifically.

There were 1,528 reported road accidents involving personal injury where a contributory factor of driver fatigue was reported in Great Britain in 2018.

Detailed final statistics on reported personal injury road accidents in Great Britain for 2019 will be published on 30 September 2020.The latest annual published statistics are for 2018.

Contributory factors assigned by police officers do not assign blame for the accident to any specific road user, however they do provide some insight into why and how road accidents occur. They give an indication of which factors the attending officer thought contributed to the accident. Officers do not need to carry out a full investigation of the incident before allocating contributory factors; they usually use professional judgement about what they can see at the scene. Not all accidents are included in the contributory factor data; only accidents where the police attended the scene and reported at least one contributory factor are included.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he is making on plans for the development of a southern rail access to Heathrow.

Southern Access to Heathrow (SAtH) would provide extensive benefits to the areas surrounding Heathrow and the South East of England, making getting to the airport quicker, easier and greener for millions of travellers in the boroughs surround the airport, across the south of England as well as creating regeneration opportunities and making Britain a more attractive place to invest and connect UK exporters to new international markets.

While a fast pace on SAtH is important, the scheme is very much in its infancy, and there is as yet much to be developed. It is crucial to the success of the project that time is taken in this early stage to ensure that the initial outcome based specification and commercial model on which the scheme will developed, are appropriate and the right solution to ensure value for money to the fare payer, the scheme proposer and the tax payer.

My Department continues to work closely with the market, including scheme promoters, operators and capital investors, along with the wider private sector and following Ministerial approval and alignment to the HM Treasury Infrastructure Finance Review; my Department intends to provide further guidance to the market regarding the commercial approach for SAtH early in 2021.

We also are continuing to work alongside Network Rail and Heathrow Airport Limited, to integrate with Western Rail Link to Heathrow, while ensuring alignment with other major infrastructure projects, to guarantee the most efficient design and delivery of SAtH.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish his strategy for the recovery of the aviation sector following the covid-19 outbreak.

The government have been developing a recovery plan for aviation, and are aiming for this to be published this autumn.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with (a) catering, (b) security, (c) hospitality and (d) ground handling companies in the aviation sector on the (i) challenges those businesses face as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and (ii) adequacy of Government support to maintain employment in their businesses.

We have worked closely with the sector alongside Treasury colleagues on the question of Government support. As we have always stated Government stands ready to support companies during this pandemic. Companies can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures, including: schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees. If firms find themselves in trouble because of coronavirus, and have exhausted the measures already available to them, the Government is prepared to enter discussions with individual companies seeking bespoke support as a last resort, having exhausted all other options.??Any intervention would need to represent value for money for taxpayers.

It would be inappropriate to comment on discussions held with individual companies.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential merits of a flexible extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for businesses in the aviation sector.

The Department for Transport is in regular contact with HM Treasury regarding the challenges facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19. The sector is crucial to the UK’s economy and businesses across the industry will be able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures we have put in place during this time.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with airports on developing an international standard for testing of passengers at UK airports as part of the Government's covid-19 recovery plan.

The Government is working with a range of aviation sector representatives and international partners to drive forward a shared agenda on public health and aviation through regular meetings and correspondence, and remain committed to an open dialogue to actively engage with the sector as we work towards our shared ambition of getting aviation up and running again.

15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department’s policy is on the introduction of a common international standard on testing at UK airports.

The Government recognises the importance of international standards, and the UK has been working with a range of international partners to drive forward a shared agenda on public health and aviation through regular meetings and correspondence, including through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The UK is a member of the governing Council of ICAO and has played a leading role in the ICAO Civil Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART), which was set up specifically to address the aviation industry’s recovery from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CART published guidance, including on public health measures for aviation, on 2 June. As a member of the governing Council of ICAO, the UK will continue to drive the agenda on public health measures for aviation as the sector’s recovery progresses and as the global health situation evolves, including exploring options for testing air passengers.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives of British Airways regarding the steps they are taking to reduce the exposure of their staff to covid-19.

The Government is working round the clock to keep people safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Public Health England has developed specific guidance for flight crews on keeping themselves and their passengers safe, including guidance on safe principles of working and on the use of personal protective equipment.

Officials are continuing to engage with the aviation sector to ensure they are supported in implementing new operational practices. This includes facilitating a weekly phone call with Public Health England to enable the aviation industry to raise operational questions directly wherever necessary.

Officials are in regular contact with Trade Unions and are seeking their input on best practice guidance for safe working during COVID-19. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has also introduced a requirement for aircrafts to be disinfected after every flight, this will further mitigate health risks to staff and passengers.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people aged (a) 16 and under and (b) over 16 years old undertook work experience in his Department in each of the last three years.

The Civil Service aims to increase opportunities for people of all backgrounds and create a Civil Service fit for 21st century Britain through work experience, internships and apprenticeship schemes.

For people aged 16 years and over there was the following number of work experience placements offered through the Summer Diversity (SDIP) and Autism Exchange (AEP) Internship Programmes, and the Fast Stream Early Talent Work Experience Social Mobility Programme (FSET).

Period

SDIP

AEP

FSET*

2017

10

2

No data available

2018

14

2

6

2019

11

1

5

*FSET is also open to 15 year olds.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department is providing to job seekers with no access to the internet to apply for jobs online.

Throughout the pandemic, Jobcentres have remained open for anyone who needs face-to-face support and cannot be helped in any other way. We have continued to provide vital support to the most vulnerable and those who cannot access our services remotely. Digital and phone options remained as they were, ensuring that customers can access all the help available to them.

From 12 April we restarted face to face services as we returned to our normal opening hours from 9am to 5pm for Jobcentres in England and Wales. We will restart the same face to face service in Scotland from 26 April. All Jobcentre Plus offices across the country have Wi-Fi and computers available for claimants to access the internet.

Our priority continues to be supporting people back into work though our network of dedicated Work Coaches, as we help Britain to build back better from this pandemic.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of universal credit claimants without access to the internet at home.

No such assessment has been made.

The Office for National Statistics statistical bulletin ‘Internet access – households and individuals, Great Britain: 2020’ reported that in January to February 2020, 96% of households in Great Britain had internet access. This can be accessed at:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/householdcharacteristics/homeinternetandsocialmediausage/bulletins/internetaccesshouseholdsandindividuals/2020

Our Universal Credit Claimant Survey found that 96 per cent of claimants have regular access to the internet. Of these, 9 in 10 claimants have access at home via a computer or through a mobile phone. This can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-full-service-claimant-survey

From 12 April 2021 we restarted face to face services as we returned to our normal opening hours from 9am to 5pm for jobcentres in England and Wales. We will restart the same face to face service in Scotland from 26 April. All Jobcentre Plus offices across the country have Wi-Fi and computers available for claimants to access the internet.

For those claimants who are unable to access or use our digital services, there is assistance available to make and maintain their Universal Credit claim using the Freephone Universal Credit helpline.

Running alongside the national Jobcentre offer is Help to Claim, delivered by Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland, providing people with assistance in making a Universal Credit claim. Help to Claim offers tailored, practical support to help people make their claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. It is widely available through a variety of channels, including by telephone and web chat.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2021 to Question 169973, on Kickstart Scheme, if she will provide a breakdown of the 6,000 Kickstart placement starts by sector.

We are currently unable to publish a breakdown of job starts by sector for the Kickstart Scheme.

However, we have published a list of available Kickstart vacancies by sector. I refer the hon. Member to PQ 167248.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2021 to Question 169973, on Kickstart Scheme, if she will provide a breakdown of the 50,000 Kickstart vacancies by sector.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 167248.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March to Questions 167206 and 167207, how many kickstart placements (a) have started and (b) are currently advertised as vacancies via Jobcentres in each (i) region and (ii) nation of the UK.

I refer the honourable member to PQ 169973 in relation to the number of jobs started and to PQ 165550 for regional vacancies.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her policy is on re-introducing the minimum income floor for self-employed universal credit claimants.

After careful consideration of the ongoing public health situation, the temporary suspension of the minimum income floor (MIF) for UC self-employed claimants has been extended to the end of July 2021. Gainful self-employment tests and the MIF, where applicable, will be gradually reintroduced from August, at which time Work Coaches will be given discretion to further suspend the MIF to ensure that those claimants who continue to be severely affected by covid-19 restrictions can be supported on a case-by-case basis.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March to Question 167206 and 167207, how many kickstart placements (a) have started and (b) are currently advertised as vacancies via Jobcentres in each constituency.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 157063.

Over 150,000 jobs have been approved for the Department of Work and Pensions’ Kickstart scheme. Over 50,000 of these jobs have been made available for young people, including almost 6,000 jobs started.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support she is providing to claimants looking to move into self-employment.

The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) supports people on eligible benefits who want to move into self-employment.

It is available to:

  • people aged 18 and over in receipt of Universal Credit and in eligible regimes;
  • over 18s claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA);
  • the dependent partners of JSA and ESA claimants; and
  • Income Support claimants who are sick or who are lone parents.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what consultation her Department has undertaken with employers on their experience of the Kickstart scheme to date.

The Department for Work and Pension’s continues to actively engage with employers around the Kickstart Scheme. We have established Kickstart District Account Managers to enable local engagement and we continue to work closely with employers and partners at a national level, to gather insight and feedback. In response to such feedback we recently removed the threshold for 30 jobs required for a direct application to the scheme, to allow employers a choice in how they engage with Kickstart. We will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart scheme throughout its implementation

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department provides to young people who are eligible but not ready for a Kickstart placement.

This Government is committed to providing support to help young people move into work, as we recover from the Covid pandemic. Our Plan for Jobs continues to address youth unemployment and has been designed to deliver targeted support to those most in need and continues to adapt to a changing labour market.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme is available for young people aged 16-24, on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. Work Coaches refer eligible young people to Kickstart jobs and support them through the application process.

The DWP Youth Offer is for all 18 to 24 year olds making a claim for Universal Credit and who are in the Intensive Work Search (IWS) group. As part of this, the 13-week Youth Employment Programme, which focuses on referring young people to the most appropriate support. This could include Kickstart placements, but also Sector-based Work Academy Programmes, traineeships, work experience, Mentoring Circles or apprenticeships.

Youth Hubs are co-located and co-delivered with our network of external partners, for those young people who need support with any skills gaps to bring them closer to labour market opportunities. DWP Youth Employability Coaches across the country are flexibly supporting young people with significant complex needs and barriers to help them move into employment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average number of applications is from eligible young people for each Kickstart placement.

Data regarding the average number of applications from eligible young people for each Kickstart job is not available.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the average length of time from Kickstart placement applications to Kickstart placement approvals.

Since the launch of the Kickstart Scheme we have made changes to the assessment process to enable a quicker turnaround of applications, whilst ensuring that we continue to protect taxpayer’s money through robust and fair procedures. We have over 400 staff deployed to process and approve Kickstart applications.

As of 16th March 2021, the average actual time between the issuing of a grant agreement and the time the associated application was received by the department was around 21 days.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many adults seeking to upskill have been referred by work coaches to adult education courses in each of the last 12 months; and what assessment her Department has made of the effect of undertaking adult education courses on employment outcomes for unemployed adults seeking work.

Information relating to the number of adults seeking to upskill that have been referred by Work Coaches to adult education courses in each of the last 12 months is not centrally collated by DWP.

There has not been a formal DWP assessment of the effect of undertaking adult education courses on employment outcomes for unemployed adults seeking work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what representations she has received on the potential merits of (a) Kickstart gateways and (b) participating employers being able to advertise Kickstart placements in addition to their promotion in jobcentres.

Although some employers and Gateway organisations have suggested that they would like to advertise their Kickstart jobs, this has been resisted to ensure that these funded opportunities are provided to the young people most likely to benefit from them.

Kickstart has been created in response to the Covid19 pandemic, with the key aim of offering jobs to those young people aged between 16 and 24 claiming Universal Credit who are most at risk of long term unemployment. It is a central part of the scheme design that a young person can only access a Kickstart job through a Work Coach referral. Work Coaches will identify young people who meet these criteria and who are most likely to benefit from the support offered by the Kickstart Scheme. The Work Coach will match those young people with suitable Kickstart job opportunities and encourage them to apply.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many kickstart placements (a) have started and (b) are currently advertised as vacancies via Jobcentres in each (i) constituency, (ii) local authority district and (iii) region and nation as at 8 March 2021.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 165550

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employers were participating in the kickstart scheme in each (a) constituency, (b) local authority and (c) each region and nation of the UK as at 8 March 2021.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 165550

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency.

As of the 12th March 2021, there have been over 900 unique gateway applications approved and over 1,200 unique employer bids accepted on the Kickstart Scheme. Over 150,000 jobs have now been approved and over 5,000 young people have started their placements.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employer applications to the Kickstart programme her Department has received from each English region in the past 12 months.

We are currently unable to break applications down by region. An employer can make multiple applications and, at the application stage, provide their registered address rather than the location of the jobs being applied for.

We are able to provide this information for jobs that are available for young people to apply to. Figures for 25th of February show over 30,000 have been made available for young people to apply to, including the almost 4,000 jobs that had started at that time. Below is a table showing this information split by region.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency.

Region

Number of jobs made available for young people to apply to

East Midlands

2600

East of England

2670

London

5790

North East

1400

North West

4410

South East

3800

South West

2320

West Midlands

3030

Yorkshire and The Humber

2720

These numbers are rounded to the nearest 10. Jobs made available for young people to apply to includes 1,000 non-grant funded jobs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support the Government is providing to help create employment opportunities for people aged 16-24 who are not in employment, education or training but do not claim universal credit.

DWP is leading cross-government collaboration to identify and promote opportunities in sectors with immediate or growing demand for jobs, including for Young People. DWP launched the Job Help website in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which offers job search advice, showcases recruiting sectors and signposts to job vacancies to help people successfully find work. In addition, the package of support put in place by this Government, including the furlough scheme, has protected many jobs during the pandemic, including for young people.

This Government’s Plan for Jobs is delivering a comprehensive package of support for young people, which DWP is providing in collaboration with the Department for Education, schools and other partners. This means that whatever their needs, young people can find the right support, education or training that will ultimately lead to sustained employment.

DWP is committed to providing targeted support for young people, including those who are still claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance. This support offer involves basic skills training, traineeships, apprenticeships, work experience and Sector-Based Work Academy Programme (SWAPs).

For young people not accessing benefits, the DWP Youth Offer includes Youth Hubs co-located and co-delivered with our network of external partners to offer a range of skills and work related services to help young people access the labour market. Some Youth Hubs will offer a drop-in service for all young people (subject to location capacity), at which point they will be offered advice and signposting to opportunities.

In addition, DWP Support for Schools is a demand-led programme for young people aged 12-18 at risk of becoming NEET or might face disadvantages when looking for work. It facilitates school-to-work transition, training and further study for young people better suited to vocational qualifications, such as traineeships or apprenticeships, instead of a traditional degree, to help them fulfil their career ambitions.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will be introduced in 2022 and a portion of the Fund will be targeted to people most in need through bespoke employment and skills programmes that are tailored to local need. This will support improved employment outcomes for those who face labour market barriers, including Young People. To help local areas prepare for the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in 2022, the Government is providing an additional £220m funding through the UK Community Renewal Fund (UKCRF). This Fund aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and innovative new approaches, and will invest in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on encouraging employers to participate in the Kickstart programme.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Work and Pension’s engage across government regularly to promote the Kickstart Scheme to encourage employers and organisations to participate in Kickstart

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on how the Flexible Support Fund is spent.

The Flexible Support Fund may be used for a wide range of activities at the discretion of Jobcentre Plus District Managers and Work Coaches, but must support core Department for Work and Pensions objectives.

Data available for the most recently audited Financial year is provided below.

Flexible Support Fund Expenditure by DWP Region £’000

Region

Total

South

11,398

Scotland

2,896

Central & Wales

8,259

North

13,555

Other

303

Total

36,411

Source : Hyperion

Figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand.

The data provided in the above table forms part of the expenditure position reported within the DWP Annual Report & Accounts 2019-20.

Flexible Support Fund Expenditure by Category £’000

Category

Total

Partnerships

3,586

Removing Barriers

13,277

Training

16,923

Childcare *

1,569

Other

1,055

Total

36,411

Source : Hyperion

Figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand.

* Childcare is only reported as a separate category from October 2019. Childcare expenditure between April 19 – September 19 cannot be separately identified and is reported within the Removing Barriers category.

The data provided in the above table forms part of the expenditure position reported within the DWP Annual Report & Accounts 2019-20.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of households in which parents have had their benefit awards reduced as a result of a child starting an apprenticeship in each of the last five years.

No such estimates have been made.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claims for funeral expenses payment were (a) made and (b) successful in each month since March 2019.

The number of Funeral Expenses Payment (FEP) applications received, and awards, for each month since March 2019 is provided in the table below.

FEP devolved to Scotland on 16 September 2019. From this date FEP is only awarded in England and Wales. Therefore, the figures report on Great Britain up to 16 September 2019, and on England and Wales from that date onwards.

Number of Funeral Expenses Payments applications received, and awards, 1 March 2019 to 31 January 2021

Month

Number of Applications Received

Number of Awards

March 2019

3,620

2,510

April 2019

3,410

2,090

May 2019

3,730

2,080

June 2019

2,730

1,790

July 2019

3,020

1,790

August 2019

2,960

1,910

September 2019

2,710

1,860

October 2019

3,300

2,480

November 2019

3,000

2,550

December 2019

2,580

1,510

January 2020

2,730

1,270

February 2020

3,910

1,270

March 2020

3,660

1,330

April 2020

2,790

2,920

May 2020

5,880

4,420

June 2020

4,760

4,480

July 2020

3,850

3,090

August 2020

3,100

2,040

September 2020

3,520

2,360

October 2020

3,450

2,220

November 2020

3,600

2,370

December 2020

3,060

1,830

January 2021

3,890

2,050

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claims for bereavement support payment were (a) made and (b) successful in each month since March 2019.

Monthly official statistics for Bereavement Support Payment, including claims received and decisions made between April 2017 and September 2020, are published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the performance of employment programmes procured via the Dynamic Purchasing System.

Programmes procured through the Dynamic Purchasing System are monitored at a Jobcentre district level against the criteria agreed with the partner organisation as part of the procurement process. This information is discussed at district performance review meetings and is not collated nationally.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral evidence of the Minister for Employment to Work and Pensions Committee on 11 February 2021, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleague's on the Prime Minister’s announcement of 30 June 2020 of an opportunity guarantee for young people.

Department for Work and Pensions’ officials work closely with a range of partners including local authorities, key stakeholders and colleagues in other Government Departments (including the Department for Education, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and HM Treasury) to deliver against our shared goal to support young people into employment.

Since September 2020 the DWP Youth Offer has provided wrap-around support for 18-24-year-old claimants in the Intensive Work search regime of Universal Credit. This is through the 13-week Youth Employment Programme, complemented by joined-up local delivery through Youth Hubs and with additional support offered by specialist Youth Employability Coaches for those young people with complex needs. This tailored intervention allows Work Coaches to adapt their approach to suit each claimant’s needs.

The Youth Offer is providing a guaranteed foundation of support for young people, ensuring they are able to access the right support, education or training to support their work and career ambitions.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to ask the Secretary of State, how many claimants her Department has provided with a laptop or computer in each of the last twelve months; and what recent estimate she has made of the number of claimants without online access to their journal.

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

Throughout the pandemic, jobcentres have remained open for anyone who needs face-to-face support and cannot be helped in any other way. To help keep customers and staff as safe as possible in the latest phase of the pandemic, jobcentre opening hours have changed to 10am to 2pm. This temporary change means we can continue providing safe, essential services for those who need to come into the Jobcentre and who are unable to interact with us on the phone or digitally. The opening hours of our phone lines remain as they were.

All Jobcentre Plus offices across the country have Wi-Fi and computers available for claimants to access the internet.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral evidence of the Minister for Employment at the Work and Pensions Committee on 11 February 2021, how claimants are being supported via virtual mentoring circles; and will she make a statement.

Mentoring Circles are one of the ways we are supporting young people through the Plan for Jobs. Mentoring Circles form part of the wider suite of initiatives available to young people, including the DWP Youth Offer and Kickstart.

Mentoring Circles are employer-led virtual sessions where employment experiences are shared with mentees aged 16 – 24 years old. Alongside receiving practical advice on their CVs and job applications, participants are given the opportunity to practice interviews and develop employability skills. The sessions also give young people the opportunity to hear from their peers facing similar barriers.

Sessions are accessed via various digital platforms. Steps can be taken via the Flexible Support Fund to facilitate access to virtual sessions for participants requiring additional support to do so.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral evidence of the Minister for Employment at the Work and Pensions Committee of 11 February 2021, what steps her Department has taken to ensure that Kickstart scheme placements provide young participants with a positive experience; and what criteria her Department is using to assess whether such placements are providing that experience.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ is committed to delivering high quality Kickstart jobs across GB. We have put a rigorous approval process in place to ensure Kickstart jobs support young people to develop basic work skills, build their experience and CV. Ongoing customer insight work and regular contact between Kickstart Scheme participants and their work coaches is being undertaken. We will continue to gather insight and in due course, evaluate our findings.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support in-work progression.

While our current focus is on supporting people back into work, our longer-term ambition remains to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to progress. Alongside an existing programme of research and tests, the In-Work Progression Commission was launched in March 2020 and will report in the coming months with recommendations on what more the Department, wider Government and employers can do to support individuals to progress in work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral evidence of the Minister for Employment to the Work and Pensions Committee of 11 February 2021, when her Department’s TAP programme started; and if she will make a statement.

DWP Train and Progress is an internal campaign designed to reinforce the importance of Work Coach engagement to identify and help address claimants’ skills needs as part of the overall support offered to help claimants meet their work and career goals.

The initial phase of this campaign to better align the DWP employment and skills offer was launched on 8 February 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many full-time equivalent work coaches her Department employs; and what the average caseload is for each full-time equivalent work coach as at 24 February 2021.

The department employs 20217 Work Coaches and their average workload for IWS (Intensive Work Search) cases is 180. These figures were correct at the date of the last reporting period which was 31 January 2021 for the number of Work Coaches employed and 21 February 2021 for the average caseload. We are currently recruiting an additional 13,500 Work Coaches which we are on track to achieve by the end of the financial year.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart scheme placements have been (a) approved and (b) started by young people to date.

As of 4 February 2021, there have been (a) over 100,000 approved job placements and (b) over 2,000 young people starting jobs as a part of the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart scheme.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many work placements her Department plans to create under the Kickstart scheme in the next (a) three, (b) six and (c) 12 months.

There will be no cap on the number of jobs that can be created by the Department of Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme and we are actively encouraging further applications from employers. The department plans to create as many new jobs for young people as possible.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Prime Minister on his announcement of 30 June 2020 of an opportunity guarantee for young people.

The Government recognises that young people have been especially vulnerable during the pandemic and are committed to providing support to help them move into work in these difficult times. Our £30bn Plan for Jobs includes specific interventions targeted at young people.

From September 2020 we started the implementation of the DWP Youth Offer for all 18 to 24 year olds making a claim to Universal Credit and who are in the Intensive Work Search Group.

Our 13-week Youth Employment Programme delivers wrap-around support for many of the Plans for Jobs initiatives, and helps young people to take up work-related training or a job, such as Kickstart, which has so far seen over 100,000 successful applications with over 2,000 young people starting work, a traineeship, an apprenticeship and Sector-based Work Academy Programmes. The Youth Employment Programme is live and our dedicated Work Coaches are delivering the programme to young people.

Youth Hubs are co-located and co-delivered with our network of external partners and have been rolling out nationally, with many hubs providing support digitally to young people during the current restrictions.

Youth Employability Coaches are providing flexible support to young people with significant complex needs and barriers to help them move into employment. We are also offering this group of young people six weeks of in-work support when they find a job.

This programme will provide a guaranteed foundation of support for 18 to 24 year olds in the Intensive Worksearch Regime of Universal Credit. This means that whatever their needs, young people can find the right support, education or training that will ultimately lead to sustained employment.

We will continue to monitor our policies and processes to ensure young unemployed people are effectively supported during the current economic situation.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish a list of the employers who have successfully applied to participate in the Kickstart scheme that are providing over 30 placements; and for each of those employers, if she will publish the number of Kickstart scheme placements (a) approved and (b) started.

The Department of Work and Pensions will publish a list of successful employers in due course, in line with normal government grant policy.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the timetable is for the rollout of the Restart programme; and if she will make a statement.

The commercial process commenced on 10th December 2020. We expect contracts to be awarded in Spring 2021, with go live Summer 2021.

Further detail on the scheme will be announced in due course.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many mandatory reconsideration requests her Department received from claimants affected by the benefit cap in each month of 2020.

The available information is in the table. It shows the total number of Universal Credit Mandatory Reconsiderations requested by people in households where the benefit cap applies, and the reconsideration may not be related to the application of the benefit cap.

Month

Mandatory Reconsiderations requested from UC benefit cap cases

Jan-20

280

Feb-20

210

Mar-20

300

Apr-20

210

May-20

310

Jun-20

320

Jul-20

280

Table covers Great Britain only

Mandatory Reconsiderations by month requested

Answers are rounded to the nearest 10

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 25 January 2021 to Question 140818 on Unemployment: Older People, how many Older Claimant Champions are employed by her Department.

We currently have 10 Older Claimant Champions at DWP regional level who work collaboratively with our 34 District Older Claimant Champions to raise the profile of our older claimants. The champions act as a single point of contact for cascading messages, communications and best practice to colleagues locally and nationally. They raise awareness with Work Coaches, employers and providers of the products available to them for example local groups, online tools and more.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many full-time equivalent work coaches her Department employs; and what the average caseload is for each full-time equivalent work coach.

The department employs 20217 Work Coaches and their average workload for IWS (Intensive Work Search) cases is 190. These figures were correct at the date of the last reporting period which was 21/01/2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart placements were (a) approved by her Department and (b) started by young people in January 2021.

By the end of January 2021, for the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart scheme, there were (a) more than 100,000 approved across the scheme. And again by the end of January (b) more than 2,000 young people had started a Kickstart job since the scheme launched.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish data on Kickstart scheme (a) placements and (b) starts in each (i) sector, (ii) region and (iii) nation of the UK.

The Department for Work and Pensions was pleased to announce that more than 100,000 jobs placements have been approved with 2,000 young people having started in Kickstart jobs, and we are pleased that so many young job seekers are able to benefit from, and participate in, the scheme under current public health restrictions. The DWP is committed to publishing a more detailed breakdown in due course.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of applications to the Kickstart programme from (a) employers and (b) Kickstart gateway organisations have been approved in each month since applications opened.

As of 04/02/2021 (a) over 550 Employer applications, and (b) over Gateway 1,650 applications have been approved for funding from the Department of Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme.

Data on the precise date applications were approved has not been fully quality assured. As such we have given cumulative figures.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the answer of 4 November to Question 109371 on Employment Services: Young People, by what date she plans to have established 116 youth hubs.

Further to my answer on 20 January 2021 the timeline for opening Youth Hubs is dependent on COVID restrictions. We are working with local partners to ensure the transition to physical hubs can be undertaken as quickly as possible, when circumstances allow.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 19 January 2021 to Question 136526 on Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus, on what date she reviewed the adequacy of the benefit cap grace period; and who she consulted as part of that review.

There are currently no plans to extend the grace period. Getting our claimants back into work remains my primary concern and, of course, returning to employment will significantly increase the likelihood of a household not being affected by the cap.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of benefits claimants who do not have access to a computer and the internet.

No estimate has been made.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support she is providing to unemployed people without access to a computer or the internet to help them find work.

Throughout the pandemic, jobcentres have remained open for anyone who needs face-to-face support and cannot be helped in any other way. To help keep customers and staff as safe as possible in the latest phase of the pandemic, jobcentre opening hours have changed to 10am to 2pm. This temporary change means we can continue providing safe, essential services for those who need to come into the Jobcentre and who are unable to interact with us on the phone or digitally. The opening hours of our phone lines remain as they were.

While face-to-face appointments and all face-to-face activity outside the Jobcentre have been suspended temporarily, Work Coaches continue to provide support and help to find work by phone, as well as through digital channels where available. All Jobcentre Plus offices across the country have Wi-Fi and computers available for claimants to access the internet.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department is providing to people aged over 50 to help them get back into work.

The department is supporting people of all ages back in to work. The Government’s Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people, including those aged over 50, get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and to build the skills they need to get into work. This includes £895m to double the number of Work Coaches in Jobcentre Plus by March 2021; a £150m increase in the Flexible Support Fund which will also boost the capacity of the Rapid Response Service to help those facing redundancy move into other jobs; and £10m for a new online support service that will provide tailored one-to-one job finding support to the recently unemployed.

The Government also aims to triple the number of sector-based work academy programme placements, supporting unemployed claimants of all ages through training and work experience to find a job. We are also investing £238m into Job Entry: Targeted Support (JETS) to offer new support to those who have been made unemployed for three months.

To support the long term unemployed, in the Spending Review 2020, Government has also announced the Restart programme that will provide intensive and tailored support to over one million people and help them find work.

The Department also has a network of Older Claimant Champions throughout all of the 34 Jobcentre Plus districts. These Jobcentre Plus staff work collaboratively with Work Coaches to raise the profile of over 50s claimants, highlighting the benefits of employing them and sharing best practice.

Further, Government recognises the importance of planning effectively for the future and in encouraging productive workplace conversations. We therefore launched a webpage in 2019 to promote the mid-life MOT, which offers support from the National Careers Service, Public Health England and Money and Pensions Service to those considering a change in career by encouraging them to take stock across the key areas of skills, health and financial planning.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many mandatory reconsideration applications her Department has received from claimants disputing the application of the benefit cap in each of the last 24 months; and in how many cases a decision has been (a) made and (b) overturned.

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

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the implications for her benefit cap policy of the findings of the Child Poverty Action Group in its report Capped in The New Year that an estimated 35,000 households will be capped at the start of 2021 as their grace period expired in December 2020 and a further 41,000 will be capped in the first few months of 2021, as their grace period expires from January to March 2021.

The information to undertake such an assessment is not currently available. The Benefit Cap quarterly statistics scheduled for publication later in the year will set out the volume of capped households for the periods in question. The relevant publication dates can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/search/research-and-statistics?keywords=benefit+AND+cap&content_store_document_type=upcoming_statistics&organisations%5B%5D=department-for-work-pensions&order=relevance

The benefit cap grace period is applied irrespective of whether or not the household has sufficient benefit income to be in scope for the cap. This ensures that a claimant will benefit from the grace period exemption should any change of circumstances bring them into the scope of the cap during that period. Many claimants who have the grace period applied will not be in scope of the cap when the grace period ends.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households are not having their benefits capped as a result of the benefit cap grace period.

Information relating to households not having their benefits capped as a result of the benefit cap grace period is not readily available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of unemployed young people who are not claiming unemployment-related benefits.

No estimate on this has been made.

The Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs announcement in July outlined a comprehensive package of support for young people, which DWP is providing in collaboration with the Department for Education, schools and other partners. This will mean that whatever their needs, young people can find the right support, education or training that will ultimately lead to sustained employment.

We are also committed to ensuring that young people, and those supporting them, are aware of the broader offer available. The national Good Place to Start campaign encourages young people to visit our advice and signposting hub, where they can access a range of advice about job search, specific initiatives such as Kickstart, and signposts to expert careers and skills help.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart placements have been (a) approved by her Department and (b) started by young people in each month since the programme started.

As of 12/01/2021 there have been 9,371 Kickstart job placements made available for Job Centre Plus Work Coaches to refer eligible young people to. The table below shows the total number job placements approved by the scheme as well as the total number of young people starting a job through Kickstart each month since the scheme started. January’s figures should be available at the beginning of next month. These numbers have been affected by the Christmas period and new public health restrictions but continue to grow each month as more applications are received.

New Approved Job Placements per Month

New Starts per Month

September 2020

5,946

0

October 2020

9,224

5

November 2020

10,046

282

December 2020

31,906

1,394

Once approved and the grant agreement with the employer or Gateway is signed, a Kickstart job placement becomes available once the employer has provided the job details and confirmed when they want to fill it. It is then advertised via Job Centre Plus for referrals of eligible young people to apply for, ensuring they get a full rounded experience of both applying for and undertaking employment.

We are delighted that young people are able to continue to apply for, start and benefit from Kickstart job placements while public health restrictions remain in place.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many full-time equivalent work coaches her Department employs; and what the average caseload is for each full-time equivalent work coach.

The department employs 19457 Work Coaches and their average workload for IWS (Intensive Work Search) cases is 190.19. These figures were correct at the date of the last reporting period which was 31 December 2020 and 10 January 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many youth hubs have been opened to date; and in which (a) regions and (b) nations of the UK those youth hubs are based.

Youth Hubs are not currently operating a physical face to face service due to national lockdown restrictions, however 15 were open in the months ahead of this. Youth Hub locations are external partner owned premises who have the overall autonomy in the decisions for physical opening and offering of face to face appointments.

Support is currently being provided digitally through Work Coaches linked to existing and planned hubs across the UK, to make sure that young people who are unemployed continue to receive help whilst restrictions are in place.

When fully implemented, hubs will be located in every Jobcentre Plus district across England, Wales and Scotland.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the eligibility criteria of the benefit cap grace period.

There are no plans to amend the eligibility of the benefit cap grace period. Helping claimants back into work, including through delivery of our Plan for Jobs, remains a primary focus, as returning to employment will significantly increase the likelihood of a household not being affected by the cap.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what equality impact assessment she has made of the effect of the benefit cap during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State has reviewed the adequacy of the benefit cap grace period and has no current plans to alter it. Helping claimants back into work, including through delivery of our Plan for Jobs, remains a primary focus, as returning to employment will significantly increase the likelihood of a household not being affected by the cap.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the length of the benefit cap grace period.

Ministers continue to fulfil the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty and to monitor the current situation as it develops. The published benefit cap statistics are currently available to August 2020. Statistics for the number of households capped in Universal Credit and Housing Benefit in November 2020 will be published on the 30 March 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/benefit-cap-statistics.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Sector-based work academy programme starts there have been in each month since the initiative started in each (a) region, (b) nation and (c) sector.

The data available shows cumulative starts to the programme for the current financial year. Data collection began in June 2020, with staff retrospectively reporting starts from April to June 2020 to provide a full picture of the financial year.

Data up to 6th December 2020 shows that there have been a total of 44,130 starts to a Sector-based work academy programme (SWAP). The breakdown of these starts by nation and region is displayed in the following tables:

Table 1: SWAP starts by nation

Total

England

39,670

Scotland

4,370

Total

44,130

Table 2: SWAP starts by region

Total

West Midlands

3,210

Central, East & North Scotland

3,320

South & West Scotland

1,050

London & Essex

8,530

North & East Midlands

5,470

North Central

4,880

North East

3,940

North West

3,500

South East

5,730

South West

4,510

Total

44,130

Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Components may not sum due to rounding.

We do not hold data on Sector-based work academy programme starts by month, or by sector.

These figures reflect the number of starts by claimants in receipt of Universal Credit (UC), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support (IS).

Official Statistics for the period August 2011 (scheme launch) to November 2017 were published in July 2018. These show there were 330,090 starts to sector-based work academy training. This data covers legacy benefit claimants only.

Data for claimants using the current Universal Credit Full Service is not available for this time period.

Further statistics can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/employment-schemes-work-experience-sector-based-work-academy-and-skills-conditionality-starts-to-november-2017

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have become economically inactive since the start of March 2020.

In the latest data for August – October 2020 the estimated number economically inactive aged 16-64 was 8,602,000. Further information on this can be found here.

Source: ONS Labour Force Survey. Estimate is seasonally adjusted. Economically inactive individuals are not employed and have not looked for work in the last four weeks and/or are not available to start work within the next two weeks.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the number of applications to local authorities for discretionary housing payments from households subject to the benefits cap in the last 12 months.

Our Discretionary Housing Payment statistics* give details of the amount of DHP expenditure related to welfare reforms, including the Benefit Cap. We do not specifically hold data on the number of DHP applications from Benefit Cap claimants.

* https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/discretionary-housing-payments-statistics

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on supporting back into work older people who have lost their jobs since March 2020.

The department is supporting people of all ages back in to work. The Government’s recently announced Plan for Jobs provides new funding to ensure more people, including older workers, get tailored Jobcentre Plus support to help them find work and to build the skills they need to get into work. This includes £895 million to double the number of Work Coaches in Jobcentre Plus by March 2021; a £150m increase in the Flexible Support Fund which will also boost the capacity of the Rapid Response Service to help those facing redundancy move into other jobs; £40m for a new online support service will provide tailored one-to-one job finding support to the recently unemployed.

The Government also aims to triple the number of sector-based work academy programme placements, supporting unemployed claimants of all ages through training and work experience to find a job. A further £95 million will expand the Work and Health programme to offer new support to those who have been made unemployed.

To support long term unemployed, in the Spending Review 2020, Government has also announced the Restart programme that will provide intensive and tailored support to over one million people and help them find work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many welfare claimants have a 9-month benefit cap grace period due to end in (a) January, (b) February and (c) March 2021.

The Department can identify the number of households who have a grace period and when it is due to end. However, those volumes do not equate to the number of people who will be in scope of the cap when their grace period ends. This is because the grace period is applied irrespective of whether or not the household has sufficient benefit income to be in scope for the cap. This ensures that a claimant will benefit from the grace period exemption should any change of circumstances bring them into the scope of the cap during that period. Many claimants who have the grace period applied will not be in scope of the cap.

The Department is not able to provide information on the number of households who will newly be subject to the benefit cap at the end of their grace period because any estimate does not account for changes to personal circumstances which would see some claimants continue to be exempt.

i. The table below shows, for the latest available data as at August 2020, the number of Universal Credit households with a grace period due to end in each calendar month of January 2021 to March 2021.

Calendar Month

Number of grace periods ending in Universal Credit

January 2021

128,100

February 2021

29,800

March 2021

25,900


ii. A regional breakdown of the number of Universal Credit households in Great Britain with a grace period due to end in December 2020 is provided in the table below for the latest available data, as at August 2020.

Region

Number of grace periods in Universal Credit ending in December 2020

England

139,400

of which:

North East

6,200

North West

18,200

Yorkshire and the Humber

12,200

East Midlands

10,800

West Midlands

13,700

East of England

15,600

London

27,300

South East

21,800

South West

13,600

Scotland

13,200

Wales

7,000

Not Known

700

iii. As at August 2020, there are 51,800 couples with dependent children and 18,800 single parents, who have a Universal Credit grace period due to end in December 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many welfare claimants in each region and nation of the UK have a 9-month benefit cap grace period due to end in December 2020.

The Department can identify the number of households who have a grace period and when it is due to end. However, those volumes do not equate to the number of people who will be in scope of the cap when their grace period ends. This is because the grace period is applied irrespective of whether or not the household has sufficient benefit income to be in scope for the cap. This ensures that a claimant will benefit from the grace period exemption should any change of circumstances bring them into the scope of the cap during that period. Many claimants who have the grace period applied will not be in scope of the cap.

The Department is not able to provide information on the number of households who will newly be subject to the benefit cap at the end of their grace period because any estimate does not account for changes to personal circumstances which would see some claimants continue to be exempt.

i. The table below shows, for the latest available data as at August 2020, the number of Universal Credit households with a grace period due to end in each calendar month of January 2021 to March 2021.

Calendar Month

Number of grace periods ending in Universal Credit

January 2021

128,100

February 2021

29,800

March 2021

25,900


ii. A regional breakdown of the number of Universal Credit households in Great Britain with a grace period due to end in December 2020 is provided in the table below for the latest available data, as at August 2020.

Region

Number of grace periods in Universal Credit ending in December 2020

England

139,400

of which:

North East

6,200

North West

18,200

Yorkshire and the Humber

12,200

East Midlands

10,800

West Midlands

13,700

East of England

15,600

London

27,300

South East

21,800

South West

13,600

Scotland

13,200

Wales

7,000

Not Known

700

iii. As at August 2020, there are 51,800 couples with dependent children and 18,800 single parents, who have a Universal Credit grace period due to end in December 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many welfare claimants that have a 9-month benefit cap grace period due to end in December 2020 are (a) families with children and (b) single-parent households.

The Department can identify the number of households who have a grace period and when it is due to end. However, those volumes do not equate to the number of people who will be in scope of the cap when their grace period ends. This is because the grace period is applied irrespective of whether or not the household has sufficient benefit income to be in scope for the cap. This ensures that a claimant will benefit from the grace period exemption should any change of circumstances bring them into the scope of the cap during that period. Many claimants who have the grace period applied will not be in scope of the cap.

The Department is not able to provide information on the number of households who will newly be subject to the benefit cap at the end of their grace period because any estimate does not account for changes to personal circumstances which would see some claimants continue to be exempt.

i. The table below shows, for the latest available data as at August 2020, the number of Universal Credit households with a grace period due to end in each calendar month of January 2021 to March 2021.

Calendar Month

Number of grace periods ending in Universal Credit

January 2021

128,100

February 2021

29,800

March 2021

25,900


ii. A regional breakdown of the number of Universal Credit households in Great Britain with a grace period due to end in December 2020 is provided in the table below for the latest available data, as at August 2020.

Region

Number of grace periods in Universal Credit ending in December 2020

England

139,400

of which:

North East

6,200

North West

18,200

Yorkshire and the Humber

12,200

East Midlands

10,800

West Midlands

13,700

East of England

15,600

London

27,300

South East

21,800

South West

13,600

Scotland

13,200

Wales

7,000

Not Known

700

iii. As at August 2020, there are 51,800 couples with dependent children and 18,800 single parents, who have a Universal Credit grace period due to end in December 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department's policy is on the frequency with which work coaches are expected to meet clients on universal credit.

The frequency of interventions that Universal Credit Work Coaches undertake with claimants is determined by the individual circumstances of the claimant, the duration of their claim, and the level of support required at that particular time. Since Covid restrictions began earlier this year, claimants have been supported by Work Coaches applying a more flexible approach, using their knowledge of the customer and the local situation to determine whether support should be provided in person, by phone or through digital channels. Our job centres have remained open so that vulnerable customers needing face to face support have been able to access it.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of young people who have started a Kickstart placement in each region and nation of the UK.

Over 100 young people started working in Kickstart funded job placements within the first weeks of the scheme opening to participants on the 2nd November. As of 20/11/20 there were nearly 20,000 approved roles which we are currently matching young people to.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many spot checks the Health and Safety Executive has carried out in each industry since March 2020.

Since March 2020 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has carried out a total of 48,165 spot-checks to assess COVID-secure control measures in the workplace.

Industry sector

Number of spot-checks

Agriculture

1808

Construction

3158

Extractive Utilities

241

Manufacturing

21581

Services

13181

Water / Waste Management

3100

Unknown

5096

Total

48165

Note: Figures were extracted from HSE’s live operational database and provide the picture on the date of extraction (19 November 2020) and are subject to change. HSE is currently undertaking an extensive data cleansing and reconciliation exercise which means that these volumes are estimated. Updated volumes, post the reconciliation exercise, will be available from Wednesday 25 November 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many spot checks in schools the Health and Safety Executive has carried out since March 2020.

Since March 2020, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has carried out a total of 4508 spot-checks to assess COVID-secure control measures in schools.

To ensure all possible steps are taken to protect schools and continue providing education in the classroom, HSE planned a programme of spot checks and inspections at schools across England, Wales and Scotland.

The spot check and inspection programme enables advice and support to be given to individual schools and helps them manage any risk, keeping staff, pupils and others safe while providing confidence and reassurance to schools, staff, parents and pupils. Schools have been receptive and in the main HSE have found most of them are following the guidance to be COVID-secure. HSE has helped some schools by suggesting improvements, particularly in relation to social distancing, ventilation and frequency of cleaning regimes.

Note: Figures were extracted from HSE’s live operational database and provide the picture on the date of extraction (25 November 2020) and are subject to change e.g. there can be a delay between the spot check and the information being recorded on the database.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many welfare claimants have a 9-month benefit cap grace period due to end in December 2020.

The benefit cap restores fairness between those receiving out-of-work benefits and taxpayers. Universal Credit claimants may benefit from a nine-month grace period where their benefit will not be capped if they have a sustained work record with monthly earnings of at least £604 for the past year. Households can still receive benefits up to the equivalent gross earnings of around £24,000, or around £28,000 in London.

i. As at August 2020, there were 160,300 Universal Credit households with a grace period due to end in December 2020. The grace period is applied irrespective of whether or not the household has sufficient benefit income to be in scope for the cap. This ensures that a claimant will benefit from the grace period exemption should any change of circumstances bring them into the scope of the cap during that period. This does not necessarily mean that all of these claimants will actually be capped in December when their grace period ends.

ii. As at May 2020, 19,100 new Universal Credit claimants whose claims started since 23 March 2020 inclusive had been affected by the benefit cap.

iii. Information relating to Universal Credit claimants who started a claim in March 2020 and have been exempt from the benefit cap due to the nine-month grace period is not readily available; to provide it would incur disproportionate costs. The Department is not required to calculate the level of benefit payment that takes a claimant above the benefit cap threshold while a claimant is in the nine-month grace period because the claimant is exempt from the benefit cap during this time.

There are currently no plans to change the benefit cap grace period. The benefit cap provides fairness for hard-working taxpaying households, whilst providing a reasonable safety net of support for the most vulnerable. Whilst this means that some claimants will have a limit on the total amount of benefits they can receive, there are a range of exemptions for when the cap should not be applied including exemptions for the most vulnerable claimants who are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how may new universal credit claimants have been affected by the benefit cap since 23 March 2020.

The benefit cap restores fairness between those receiving out-of-work benefits and taxpayers. Universal Credit claimants may benefit from a nine-month grace period where their benefit will not be capped if they have a sustained work record with monthly earnings of at least £604 for the past year. Households can still receive benefits up to the equivalent gross earnings of around £24,000, or around £28,000 in London.

i. As at August 2020, there were 160,300 Universal Credit households with a grace period due to end in December 2020. The grace period is applied irrespective of whether or not the household has sufficient benefit income to be in scope for the cap. This ensures that a claimant will benefit from the grace period exemption should any change of circumstances bring them into the scope of the cap during that period. This does not necessarily mean that all of these claimants will actually be capped in December when their grace period ends.

ii. As at May 2020, 19,100 new Universal Credit claimants whose claims started since 23 March 2020 inclusive had been affected by the benefit cap.

iii. Information relating to Universal Credit claimants who started a claim in March 2020 and have been exempt from the benefit cap due to the nine-month grace period is not readily available; to provide it would incur disproportionate costs. The Department is not required to calculate the level of benefit payment that takes a claimant above the benefit cap threshold while a claimant is in the nine-month grace period because the claimant is exempt from the benefit cap during this time.

There are currently no plans to change the benefit cap grace period. The benefit cap provides fairness for hard-working taxpaying households, whilst providing a reasonable safety net of support for the most vulnerable. Whilst this means that some claimants will have a limit on the total amount of benefits they can receive, there are a range of exemptions for when the cap should not be applied including exemptions for the most vulnerable claimants who are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of claimants who started a universal credit claim in March 2020 have been exempt from the benefit cap due to the 9-month grace period.

The benefit cap restores fairness between those receiving out-of-work benefits and taxpayers. Universal Credit claimants may benefit from a nine-month grace period where their benefit will not be capped if they have a sustained work record with monthly earnings of at least £604 for the past year. Households can still receive benefits up to the equivalent gross earnings of around £24,000, or around £28,000 in London.

i. As at August 2020, there were 160,300 Universal Credit households with a grace period due to end in December 2020. The grace period is applied irrespective of whether or not the household has sufficient benefit income to be in scope for the cap. This ensures that a claimant will benefit from the grace period exemption should any change of circumstances bring them into the scope of the cap during that period. This does not necessarily mean that all of these claimants will actually be capped in December when their grace period ends.

ii. As at May 2020, 19,100 new Universal Credit claimants whose claims started since 23 March 2020 inclusive had been affected by the benefit cap.

iii. Information relating to Universal Credit claimants who started a claim in March 2020 and have been exempt from the benefit cap due to the nine-month grace period is not readily available; to provide it would incur disproportionate costs. The Department is not required to calculate the level of benefit payment that takes a claimant above the benefit cap threshold while a claimant is in the nine-month grace period because the claimant is exempt from the benefit cap during this time.

There are currently no plans to change the benefit cap grace period. The benefit cap provides fairness for hard-working taxpaying households, whilst providing a reasonable safety net of support for the most vulnerable. Whilst this means that some claimants will have a limit on the total amount of benefits they can receive, there are a range of exemptions for when the cap should not be applied including exemptions for the most vulnerable claimants who are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to amend the length of the benefit cap grace period.

The benefit cap restores fairness between those receiving out-of-work benefits and taxpayers. Universal Credit claimants may benefit from a nine-month grace period where their benefit will not be capped if they have a sustained work record with monthly earnings of at least £604 for the past year. Households can still receive benefits up to the equivalent gross earnings of around £24,000, or around £28,000 in London.

i. As at August 2020, there were 160,300 Universal Credit households with a grace period due to end in December 2020. The grace period is applied irrespective of whether or not the household has sufficient benefit income to be in scope for the cap. This ensures that a claimant will benefit from the grace period exemption should any change of circumstances bring them into the scope of the cap during that period. This does not necessarily mean that all of these claimants will actually be capped in December when their grace period ends.

ii. As at May 2020, 19,100 new Universal Credit claimants whose claims started since 23 March 2020 inclusive had been affected by the benefit cap.

iii. Information relating to Universal Credit claimants who started a claim in March 2020 and have been exempt from the benefit cap due to the nine-month grace period is not readily available; to provide it would incur disproportionate costs. The Department is not required to calculate the level of benefit payment that takes a claimant above the benefit cap threshold while a claimant is in the nine-month grace period because the claimant is exempt from the benefit cap during this time.

There are currently no plans to change the benefit cap grace period. The benefit cap provides fairness for hard-working taxpaying households, whilst providing a reasonable safety net of support for the most vulnerable. Whilst this means that some claimants will have a limit on the total amount of benefits they can receive, there are a range of exemptions for when the cap should not be applied including exemptions for the most vulnerable claimants who are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many full-time equivalent work coaches stopped working for her Department in each of the last 12 months.

The number of full-time equivalent Work Coaches to have left the department in each of the last 12 months is below: -

Nov-19

12.86

Dec-19

62.22

Jan-20

47.36

Feb-20

51.30

Mar-20

62.44

Apr-20

49.68

May-20

45.63

Jun-20

45.85

Jul-20

50.18

Aug-20

74.70

Sep-20

79.26

Oct-20

54.49

Total 635.96

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) improvement notices and (b) prohibition notices have been issued and (c) prosecutions have been instigated by the Health and Safety Executive in relation to employers not adequately managing the risks of covid-19 transmission in each month since March 2020.

The numbers of COVID-19 related Health and Safety Executive (HSE) intervention cases where the outcome is recorded as being an enforcement notice are shown in the table below. A breakdown of notices by type (prohibition / improvement notices) is not available.

Month (2020)

Number of intervention cases resulting in notices

March

0

April

1

May

9

June

15

July

32

August

26

September

30

October

23

Total

136

To date, there have been no COVID-19 transmission related prosecutions instigated by HSE.

Note - the above quoted numbers were taken from HSE’s live operational database on 5th November 2020 and are subject to change e.g. as there can be a delay before actions are updated on the database.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will provide additional funding to the Health and Safety Executive.

This year the Health and Safety Executive has been provided with an additional £19m to help ensure that workplaces are COVID secure. Future funding decisions will be made as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Health and Safety Inspectors (a) are employed by the Health and Safety Executive and (b) have been recruited by her Department in each month since March 2020.

On 31st October 2020 HSE employed 960 full-time equivalent (FTE) inspectors plus an additional 9 FTE ex-HSE inspectors who have been employed on a temporary basis to work with HSE in delivering spot check inspections to ensure COVID compliance.

Mar-20

Apr-20

May-20

Jun-20

Jul-20

Aug-20

Sep-20

Oct-20

Inspectors Recruited by month (FTE)

3

2

1

21

0

9

0

1

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many youth hubs her Department plans to establish in each (a) region and (b) nation of the UK; how many of those youth hubs have opened to date; and how much additional funding has been allocated to each youth hub.

DWP’s current plan is to establish 116 youth hubs nationally; 94 in England, 17 in Scotland and 5 in Wales, including at least one youth hub in each Jobcentre Plus District within Great Britain.

Currently there are 15 youth hubs open offering either a face to face or digital offer. The opening schedule for face-to-face youth hubs, delivered with our network of external partners, is subject to COVID-19 restrictions at a national and local level.

Our 2020/2021 Flexible Support Fund(FSF) has been boosted by £150m as a result of Covid-19. Districts will be able to apply for funding from the FSF to support the opening of Youth Hubs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the (a) number of people whose universal credit payments will be affected by the re-introduction of the minimum income floor on 13 November 2020 and (b) average amount by which those universal credit payments will be so affected.

After careful consideration of the ongoing public health situation and the national working environment, the current easement of the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit that was due to expire on 12th November 2020 will be extended to the end of April 2021.

Regulations will be laid and made prior to 12th November 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the (a) operation of the minimum income floor and (b) effect of that floor on household incomes; and if she will publish that assessment prior to the reinstatement of that floor.

After careful consideration of the ongoing public health situation and the national working environment, the current easement of the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit that was due to expire on 12th November 2020 will be extended to the end of April 2021.

Regulations will be laid and made prior to 12th November 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many jobs are available for young people to apply for under the Kickstart Scheme; and what management data her Department holds on that scheme.

I refer the honourable member to my answer to question 107629, answered on 2 November 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many full-time equivalent work coaches her Department employs; how many new work coaches were recruited in October 2020; and what the average caseload is for each full-time equivalent work coach.

The current number of Work Coaches employed is 15028 which includes 2194 recruited in October 2020. The average caseload for each full-time equivalent Work Coach is 280.25, this includes the light touch cases were some of the customers are already in work. However, the average caseload where the customer is on an intensive work search programme is just over 180.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many covid-19 related workplace concerns have been reported to the Health and Safety Executive (a) by phone and (b) online by (i) members of the public and (ii) employees in each month since March 2020.

(1) Covid-19 related concerns reported online

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has received a total of 14817 workplace concerns reported via its online concerns reporting process since March 2020 to 27th October 2020. The notifier gave their status as ‘employee’ in 5263 cases, and as ‘member of the public’ in 4256 cases.

Table 1 shows the number of covid-19 related workplace concerns raised with HSE since March 20 to 27th October 2020, identifying the numbers reported by employees and members of the public:

Employee

Member of the Public

Other*

Total

Mar

787

324

676

1787

Apr

938

729

1106

2773

May

735

558

732

2025

Jun

549

394

504

1447

Jul

525

683

496

1704

Aug

367

494

415

1276

Sep

647

588

653

1888

1st – 27th Oct

715

486

716

1917

Total

5263

4256

5298

14817

(2) Covid-19 related telephone enquiries

HSE has received a total of 22371 covid-19 related telephone enquiries since March 2020 to 27th October 2020.

Table 2 shows the number of telephone enquiries by month since March 2020 to 27th October 2020.

Total

Mar

1793

Apr

480

May

3315

Jun

4838

Jul

3863

Aug

2313

Sep

3130

1st – 27th Oct

2639

Total

22371

Notes

i. Table 2 figures include other covid-19 related enquires. A breakdown of specific covid-19 concerns by telephone and the breakdown of the source of the call (employee, member of the public or other) is not possible to obtain.

ii. All figures were extracted from HSE’s live database and provide the picture as at 27th October 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many serious workplace accidents have been reported to the Health and Safety Executive in each year since 2015 under the 2013 Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations; and in which industries those accidents took place.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) places duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain workplace injuries, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses)

The tables below show the number of serious workplace injuries (fatal/non-fatal) which have been reported under RIDDOR since 2015 in the main industry sectors.

Table 1: Fatal injuries to workers (i.e. employees and the self-employed; excluding railways)

Main industry

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20p

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

32

27

26

29

32

20

Mining and Quarrying

1

2

5

4

0

0

Manufacturing

18

28

18

15

26

15

Gas, electricity & water supply; sewerage, waste & recycling

6

8

18

13

7

6

Construction

35

47

31

37

31

40

Services

48

35

37

41

51

26

All industries

140

147

135

139

147

107

Table 2: Fatal injuries to non-workers (e.g. members of the public; excluding railways)

Main industry

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20p

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

4

2

3

4

7

1

Manufacturing

2

0

0

0

0

0

Gas, electricity & water supply; sewerage, waste & recycling

7

0

0

4

3

3

Construction

3

2

5

7

5

4

Services

86

71

41

36

45

43

All industries

102

75

49

51

60

51

Table 3: non-fatal ‘specified’ injuries to workers (excluding railways)

Main industry

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19p

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

435

417

395

408

384

Mining and Quarrying

77

71

69

62

67

Manufacturing

2956

2851

2807

2793

2821

Gas, electricity & water supply; sewerage, waste & recycling

675

679

623

658

645

Construction

2481

2542

2606

2510

2424

Services

12478

12505

12085

12944

12357

All industries

19102

19065

18585

19375

18698

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans the Health and Safety Executive has to maintain oversight of how employers are (a) meeting their responsibilities in the context of the covid-19 outbreak and (b) equipped to respond effectively to (i) their employees, or members of their supply chain, testing positive for covid-19 or (ii) being close contacts of such a person.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) continues to use a blended approach combining communications with policy, sector and operational interventions to ensure appropriate measures are in place to protect workers and the public from the risks of Covid-19 in the workplace. This includes continuing spot check work, including on site interventions with employers as well as investigating reported concerns and the most serious reported cases of Covid-19 under the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. Advice on Covid-19 related risks is provided by HSE’s Concerns and Advice Team and up to date guidance and information is available on or via HSE’s website. HSE continues to work closely across government, with the devolved administrations, industry sectors and a range of other stakeholders to enable employers to put practical measures in place to control Covid-19 workplace risks. Where necessary, HSE takes appropriate enforcement action to ensure compliance with health and safety law.

HSE does not have a role in establishing or enforcing the NHS Test and Trace service. However, when responding to queries or concerns, HSE signposts to relevant GOV.UK guidance on NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace which provides advice for employers on supporting employees when they are asked to self-isolate.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many covid-19 related cases opened by the Health and Safety Executive (a) are open and (b) have been closed in each month since March 2020.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has opened a total of 36658 covid-19 related cases arising from social distancing concerns, spot checks, outbreaks and investigations following reports received under the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. HSE currently has open 10691 such cases and has closed a total of 25967 since March 2020.

Table 1 shows the numbers of cases opened (which remain open) and closed in each month since March 2020:

Calendar Month and Year

Open Cases

Closed Cases

Mar

0

6

Apr

19

1710

May

55

1077

Jun

374

2310

Jul

746

4263

Aug

1637

4648

Sep

3216

6282

1st – 27th Oct

4644

5671

Totals

10691

25967

Total open cases and closed cases

36658

Notes:

(i) The figures were extracted from HSE’s live operational database and provide the picture on the date of extraction (27th October 2020). Any new cases yet to be added to the system will not be included.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many visits have been carried out by the Health and Safety Executive in each month since March 2020 to inspect whether workplaces were covid-secure; and how many of those visits in each month were carried out in each (a) region and (b) nation of the UK.

Since March 2020, HSE has recorded a total of 10045 visits to workplaces on Covid-19 security. The visits include spot checks specifically on Covid-19, inspections as part of an investigation into a concern raised about Covid-19 and inspections and investigations into other matters at which Covid-19 is also checked.

Table 1 - Breakdown of visits by month:

Month

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

1st – 27th Oct

Total

Total

2

39

131

175

1586

1461

2056

4595

10045

Table 2 - Breakdown of visits by country:

Country

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

1st- 27th Oct

Total

England

2

35

110

140

1281

1232

1713

4154

8667

Scotland

-

2

13

14

190

172

247

231

869

Wales

-

1

8

17

103

48

86

194

457

Dutyholder based in Northern Ireland but inspection took place in GB

-

1

-

1

2

6

4

6

20

Unable to verify site postcode with ONS system

-

-

-

3

10

3

6

10

32

Total

2

39

131

175

1586

1461

2056

4595

10045

Note: The health and safety at work regulator for Northern Ireland is the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) which is not a part of HSE. Figures given are therefore for visits in England, Scotland and Wales.

Table 3 Breakdown of visits by region.

Region

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

1st – 27th Oct

Total

East Midlands

-

2

12

23

143

112

127

311

730

East of England

-

4

15

17

114

89

151

546

936

London

1

4

4

17

158

120

131

247

682

North East

-

2

14

6

76

64

149

307

618

North West

-

4

10

17

189

255

411

1169

2055

South East

-

4

22

21

186

174

320

434

1161

South West

1

1

19

21

124

164

110

254

694

West Midlands

-

9

3

8

80

92

109

638

939

Yorkshire and The Humber

-

5

11

10

211

162

205

248

852

Dutyholder based in Northern Ireland but inspection took place in GB

-

1

-

1

2

6

4

6

20

Unable to verify site postcode with ONS system

-

-

-

3

10

3

6

10

32

Total

2

39

131

175

1586

1461

2056

4595

10045

Notes

i. Data is not available by region for Wales and Scotland.

ii. All figures were extracted from HSE’s live database and provide the picture as at 27th October 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with employers in the aviation industry on pre-employment security checks for Kickstart placements.

Discussions on the specific recruitment needs of the aviation sector are happening at a local level where airports are situated, and nationally by our National Employer and Partnership Team. As part of our placed based approach we tailor the support required to meet local employer’s needs, and where pre-employment checks have been identified as a potential issue the District teams have proactively taken steps to address this. For example, in West London they build pre-employment security checks into the screening process for airport based opportunities; in Manchester a series of upskilling sessions were delivered to Work Coaches, including an overview of pre-employment requirements for working at the airport.

We have had a number of conversations with employers and their representatives across all sectors for the launch of the Kickstart Scheme. Whilst the responsibility for undertaking security and other pre-employment checks rests with those parties, the Department will fund a ‘start up’ payment of £1500 for each placement approved which would assist with the costs of such checks.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with local jobcentres on the length of time it takes to conduct pre-employment security checks for jobs in the aviation industry.

Discussions on the specific recruitment needs of the aviation sector are happening at a local level where airports are situated, and nationally by our National Employer and Partnership Team. As part of our placed based approach we tailor the support required to meet local employer’s needs, and where pre-employment checks have been identified as a potential issue the District teams have proactively taken steps to address this. For example, in West London they build pre-employment security checks into the screening process for airport based opportunities; in Manchester a series of upskilling sessions were delivered to Work Coaches, including an overview of pre-employment requirements for working at the airport.

We have had a number of conversations with employers and their representatives across all sectors for the launch of the Kickstart Scheme. Whilst the responsibility for undertaking security and other pre-employment checks rests with those parties, the Department will fund a ‘start up’ payment of £1500 for each placement approved which would assist with the costs of such checks.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications to the Kickstart scheme from (a) employers and (b) intermediaries her Department has received from each region and nation of the UK.

The department is now processing many applications from across Great Britain for Kickstart. This is currently a clerical process, so reliable management information, particularly on geographical areas, is not yet available to publish.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart scheme placements have been (a) pledged by employers and (b) made available for young universal credit claimants to apply for in each region and nation of the UK.

The department is now processing many applications from across Great Britain for Kickstart. This is currently a clerical process, so reliable management information, particularly on geographical areas, is not yet available to publish.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she will take (a) to ensure that requirements for employers participating in the Kickstart scheme to deliver support and training will be assessed and monitored by her Department and (b) in the event that those requirements are not met.

The quality of the Kickstart vacancy and of the employability support will be assessed in the application process, and spot checks will also be held to identify any concerns in quality after a placement has started. Employers and Kickstart gateways commit to provide a quality placement and level of support as a part of their grant agreement with the department, and appropriate action will be taken in response to any breach of this agreement.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many full-time equivalent work coaches her Department employs, (b) how many new work coaches (i) were recruited in September and (ii) have been recruited to date in October 2020 and (c) how many full-time equivalent work coaches are being trained to work specifically with young people.

All Work Coaches within DWP are trained to help individual customers with their work search activity. As part of the Youth Offer, launched earlier this year we have introduced the role of the Youth Employability Coach to support those young people in receipt of Universal Credit who are furthest away from the labour market and require support to overcome multiple barriers to work.

Our local leaders are using their place based plans to establish the resource required to deliver all elements of the Youth Offer including the 13-week intensive support programme for all young people making a new claim to UC, alongside deployment of experienced Work Coaches into our network of Youth Hubs.

At the end of September 2020 circa 15,000 Full Time Equivalent Work Coaches were employed by the Department. We are on target to recruit 4,500 Work Coaches by end of October.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the average number of claimants each work coach is supporting in each region.

The size of a Work Coach caseload varies as it is dependent on a number of factors, including the level of customer support required, the needs of the local labour market, the Work Coach working pattern and each claimant’s Labour Market Regime.

The Department continually assesses the service being offered to customers and staff numbers, including the number of Work Coaches, are kept under constant review.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many full-time equivalent work coaches are employed by her Department in each region.

The total number of full-time equivalent Work Coaches employed by the Department is 14,007, broken down as follows:

Central England and Wales – 3,603

North of England – 3,852

Scotland – 1,414

South of England – 5,138

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to review her Department's policy on face-to-face appointments at job centres for (a) 18-24 year olds and (b) other people during the application of covid-19 restrictions requiring staff to work from home where possible.

In line with Public Health guidance and with safety measures in place across the Jobcentre network, face-to-face appointments can be booked with claimants who will benefit from this support, including young people. Updated guidance has been issued to Jobcentres and is reviewed regularly.

Our teams are designated as key workers, determined to serve our communities face-to-face, over the phone and online. As we double the number of Work Coaches, we will continue to expand our multi-channel engagement with claimants, including booking appointments across our network to support people face-to-face where they need it.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy only to permit urgent face-to-face jobcentre appointments to take place during the application of covid-19 restrictions requiring staff to work from home where possible.

In line with Public Health guidance and with safety measures in place across the Jobcentre network, face-to-face appointments can be booked with claimants who will benefit from this support, including young people. Updated guidance has been issued to Jobcentres and is reviewed regularly.

Our teams are designated as key workers, determined to serve our communities face-to-face, over the phone and online. As we double the number of Work Coaches, we will continue to expand our multi-channel engagement with claimants, including booking appointments across our network to support people face-to-face where they need it.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employers have applied for funding as part of the Kickstart scheme since that scheme was established.

I am pleased to confirm that my department is now processing many applications from across the UK, this is currently a clerical process, so reliable management information is not yet available.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training is provided to work coaches to support universal credit claimants with (a) Asperger’s syndrome and (b) autism; and what processes are in place to identify people in need of specific support.

The Department is committed to providing the best possible support for all Universal Credit claimants to meet their individual circumstances. Jobcentre and Service Centre staff undergo a comprehensive learning journey designed to equip them with the tools, skills and behaviours required to provide a high quality service to all claimants, including those with Asperger’s syndrome and autism. They receive on-going learning in their roles and have access to guidance which is refreshed at regular intervals.

Part of our training programme advises Universal Credit Work Coaches to consult with their Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) if the claimant has complex personal circumstances which need to be better understood, including Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) which is complemented with a specific online training product. This has been designed so Universal Credit Work Coaches can refer to it whenever they need to.

Additionally, Universal Credit Work Coaches are equipped with guidance to enable them to provide a high quality service to all claimants including those in need of specific support. Universal Credit guidance includes examples of life events, personal circumstances, health issues and disabilities which could affect the claimant's ability to access and use Universal Credit services.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what length of training programme new work coaches are expected to undertake before they are able to support claimants independently.

Currently, new Work Coaches undertake a training programme which in total is 52 working days. This currently consists of 32 days facilitated learning with 20 days’ consolidation interspersed throughout, enabling them to become an effective Work Coach with both the knowledge and skills to support claimants. As will all DWP employees, even after an initial learning intervention line managers and employees continue to discuss and agree ongoing skills development

To strengthen the ongoing development of colleagues we are also currently testing a transformed approach based on research from public and private sector. This will contain 20 days facilitated learning plus 5 days structured, practical consolidation. This is followed up with a suite of products enabling colleagues to learn in a flexible, digital way, better supporting the continuously learning culture.

We are evaluating the impact of this approach and will refine and iterate as we go. Testing will continue over the next 6 weeks, refining where needed, until we are confident we can move to this model for all new Work Coaches.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made in enabling appointments with work coaches to be held by video.

Tests of the use of video for appointments with Universal Credit Work Coaches started in July and are currently being tested with claimants and Work Coaches in five job centres across the UK. Tests continue to inform understanding of the benefits to claimants and Work Coaches, to identify where barriers may exist for some claimants and to identify any limitations that may need to be overcome. The tests will inform any future evaluation of the use of video as part of the Department’s operating model.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department’s policy is on the requirement to attend face-to-face appointments with work coaches at jobcentres; and whether any updated guidance has been issued to jobcentres.

In line with Public Health guidance and with safety measures in place across the Jobcentre network, face-to-face appointments can be booked with claimants who will benefit from this support.

Updated guidance has been issued to Jobcentres and is reviewed regularly.

As we double the number of Work Coaches, we will continue to expand multi-channel engagement with claimants, including booking appointments across our network to support people face-to-face where they need it.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many work coach (a) recruitment campaigns and (b) hires there were in each of the last 12 months.

The table shows by month the number of recruitment campaigns launched in that month and the number of hires. The hires link to recruitment campaigns launched in earlier months. In the 12 months from 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020 the Department has run 30 work coach recruitment campaigns, these are a mixture of large scale campaigns across regions and much smaller targeted campaigns in specific locations. The number of hires to date from these campaigns is shown by month in the table below.

In line with standard departmental practice in statistics, we do not publish details of numbers less than 5, or where individuals might otherwise be identified in the data, as this would breach our data protection obligations.

All departmental recruitment activity (apart from that to bring in new administrative officers) was suspended as part of our immediate COVID response from March through to June to ensure maximum supply to process benefit claims.

Month

Recruitment Campaigns

Number of Hires

2019

Sep

3

Less than 5

Oct

6

30

Nov

58

Dec

74

2020

Jan

3

533

Feb

1

160

Mar

2

62

Apr

Less than 5

May

0

Jun

4

10

Jul

11

61

Aug

374

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she had made of the potential effect of not reaching an agreement on the future relationship with the EU on unemployment levels in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland.

The Department for Work and Pensions is fully prepared for all possible outcomes of our negotiations with the European Union regarding our future relationship, including the event no agreement can be reached.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many full-time equivalent work coaches there are in her Department.

As at 31 August 2020, c14,000 full-time equivalents were employed on Work Coach activity.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of households with children subject to the benefit cap; and what assessment she has made of the correlation between that cap and levels of rent arrears among those families.

As published in August here, there are 132,900 households with children that had their benefits capped at May 2020. No assessment has been made of the level of rent arrears among these households. Claimants can approach their Local Authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment if they need additional support to meet rental costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many sector-based work academy partnerships are in place between the NHS and JobCentre Plus; and how many job seekers have been supported through such partnerships since they were established.

The information requested is not available.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with Centrepoint on supporting young people with special needs or disabilities who are looking for work.

Ministers are committed to engaging with stakeholders like Centrepoint. The Minister for Welfare Delivery has met with Centrepoint a number of times over the last 12 months. His conversations with them tend to be wide-ranging and include topics such as support for disadvantaged young people who are in work, claiming benefits or looking for work.

The Government will be bringing forward a Green Paper on health and disability support, which will focus on how the welfare system can better meet the needs of people with disabilities and health conditions. The Green Paper will be strongly influenced by the views of disabled people and representatives from disability organisations, drawing on the significant engagement we have conducted, which will continue over the Autumn

The National Strategy for Disabled People is a key manifesto commitment for this Government and its delivery remains important for ministers, including No. 10. Its significance is even greater as we re-build the UK's economy and society in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We want to achieve practical changes for disabled people, which remove barriers and increase opportunity. We are engaging widely with stakeholders and will ensure disabled people can directly share their views and insights on their key challenges. We plan to publish this high ambition strategy in Spring 2021.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her latest estimate is of the (a) job vacancy rate and (b) unemployment rate in each region and nation of the UK.

The official statistics on vacancies are not available for each region and nation of the UK. However, experimental statistics on online job adverts are available from ONS at a regional level. These statistics are provided by ONS in partnership with Adzuna (an online job search engine). Statistics on regional unemployment can be found here.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what core training is undertaken by new work coaches on supporting people with special needs or disabilities who are looking for work.

Work Coaches receive training to support all claimants with complex needs, including those with special needs or disabilities and have access to guidance, complex needs toolkit and district provision toolkit, that provide local support for claimants who require additional and specialist support when looking for work.

  • This would include referral or sign positing to specialist support for any specific needs or work support.
  • Training and access to information on diversity and inclusion, disability confidence, unconscious bias, help to claim and modern day slavery.
  • Specific Benefit training for Work Coaches includes:

- How to identify and support claimants with complex needs including special needs or disabilities

- How we can provide extra support for example, referral to specialist employment advisers, money guidance, requirement for appointees

- Working with appointees to support the claimants

- Using Complex needs toolkit and District provision toolkit, for local provision and support

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the ethnic breakdown is of her Department’s workforce at each civil service grade.

The declaration of ethnic origin is entirely voluntary within our internal HR reporting system. As a consequence, we do not hold an exhaustive record of all DWP employee ethnic origin, which could be used to provide a response to the question being asked.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to improve the (a) recruitment and (b) progression of its BAME staff.

The Department is committed to the Civil Service ambition to become the UK’s most inclusive employer and increasing the representation of under-represented groups to make DWP more diverse.

We are undertaking work to better understand the lived experiences of BAME colleagues and the career progression barriers they face. For example, we have implemented Listening Circles and held Let’s Talk About Race conversations throughout our organisation and are using the insight and feedback captured to help inform our departmental Race Priorities and Plan.

We have strengthened our commitment to Sponsorship and have extended this to all of our Senior Civil Servants with the expectation that their personal intervention will support BAME colleagues to move into new roles/projects to further develop their skills, or move to a role on promotion.

To further support career progression we also continue to actively promote Civil Service development opportunities which include: Future/Senior Leaders Scheme; the Civil Service Ethnic Diversity Programme; and access to the Civil Service Race to the Top staff networks.

We have introduced a departmental Catalyst programme which provides under-represented colleagues at Grades 6 and 7 with access to development opportunities, inspirational speakers and senior sponsorship to support their career and leadership journeys.

We have implemented a number of improvements to our recruitment and selection methods which include: improved marketing of DWP as a diverse and inclusive employer of choice; mandated ethnic minority representation for our senior recruitment panels; implemented anonymised recruitment to minimise bias; and introduced a new strengths based approach to our recruitment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for universal credit made by people aged under 25 in (a) March, (b) April, (c) May, (d) June and (e) July are still being processed.

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

Universal Credit is standing up to the challenge in this unprecedented time with around 90% of claimants paid in full and on time.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she made of the (a) effectiveness of enhanced RIDDOR reporting, (b) potential merits of appointing a confidential reporting body for all near misses and accidents that do not qualify for RIDDOR reporting and (c) potential merits of extending Working Well Together safety campaigns to industries outside the construction sector to reduce the number of working at height fatalities.

The 2019 report from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for falls from height (FFH) made a number of recommendations to the Government to reduce fatal and serious injuries from FFH in the UK. Recommendations were subsequently considered at a Westminster Hall debate. The Minister for Disabled Persons, the Rt. Hon. Justin Tomlinson MP made a formal Ministerial statement setting out the Government response.

The APPG discussed the issue of enhanced RIDDOR reporting with The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and highlighted that the free text section of the online RIDDOR reporting form already allows for recording of the additional detail requested by the APPG. The access industry was tasked with considering industry guidance for using the free text section to improve intelligence and consistency of this data. HSE agreed to explore this further with the APPG.

The Ministerial Statement also confirmed HSE’s position on the APPG recommendation for the appointment of a confidential reporting body. HSE agreed that if such a body were to be set up, for it to be truly independent, it would need to be led by industry not HSE.

The possibility of extending Working Well Together (WWT) safety campaigns to other industries has been discussed by the WWT steering group. They felt that they wanted to stay focused on construction industries at present.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she had with the (a) Health and Safety Executive and (b) Access Industry Forum on reducing the number of serious injuries and fatalities from working at height.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) regulatory activities include inspection and enforcement of workplace activities and will address risks of working at height where they are relevant. In the 2019/20 work year, HSE served 239 Improvement Notices and 809 Prohibition Notices to secure improved management of risk and prevent work where there was uncontrolled risk relating to work at height. HSE also undertook specific of programmes of work targeting industries where incidents relating to work at height are prevalent such as agriculture and construction. HSE has published guidance on steps necessary to tackle this risk in a range of workplaces: https://www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/index.htm.

DWP regularly meet with HSE to discuss a range of topics. HSE have recently reiterated their support to the APPG for working at height as it takes forward actions to reduce injuries and fatal accidents. This includes engagement with the Access Industry Forum on this important topic.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the number of (a) fatalities and (b) serious injuries which occur as a result of working at height.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) regulatory activities include inspection and enforcement of workplace activities and will address risks of working at height where they are relevant. In the 2019/20 work year, HSE served 239 Improvement Notices and 809 Prohibition Notices to secure improved management of risk and prevent work where there was uncontrolled risk relating to work at height. HSE also undertook specific of programmes of work targeting industries where incidents relating to work at height are prevalent such as agriculture and construction. HSE has published guidance on steps necessary to tackle this risk in a range of workplaces: https://www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/index.htm.

DWP regularly meet with HSE to discuss a range of topics. HSE have recently reiterated their support to the APPG for working at height as it takes forward actions to reduce injuries and fatal accidents. This includes engagement with the Access Industry Forum on this important topic.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department’s policy is from 1 July 2020 on applying benefit sanctions for claimants who have been assessed as failing to comply with their claimant commitment.

From the 1st of July, we will be contacting claimants to introduce a personalised claimant commitment.

Claimant commitments must be reasonable for this unprecedented time, reflecting the reality of a person’s local jobs market and personal circumstances to help prepare them for getting back into work. The claimant commitment will take into account local and national public health guidelines.

Sanctions are only used when people fail to meet their agreed commitments without good reason – and UC sanction rates have fallen to the lowest rate on record.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department's planned expenditure on staff costs for 2020-21 as listed on page 170 of her Department's Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20, HC 401, published on 30 June 2020, how many (a) full-time equivalent work coaches and (b) other staff her Department plans to employ for the year 2020-21 at (i) August and (ii) December 2020.

At the time of publication of the Department’s 2019-20 Annual Report and Accounts, projected spending on staff costs (as per the core tables on page 170) was around £3 billion for 2020-21; as per Spending Round 2019. This equates to approximately 68,900 FTE of which around 13,500 are work coaches (as of May 2020). These numbers would have remained relatively static over the year.

Since publication of the Annual report and Accounts the Government set out in its Summer Economic Statement, on 8 July, a labour market package that included significant investment to enhance work search support in response to the current pandemic by doubling the number of work coaches before the end of 2020/21 - this equates to an additional 13,500 work coaches to be recruited over the remainder of this financial year.

We know that the short term unemployed are more likely to be able to move into work either on their own or with just Jobcentre core support. Given the economic situation, we plan, for a period, to bolster the support provided through Jobcentres by using contracted providers to offer additional help. We will expand the Work and Health Programme and provide a bespoke offer to the more recently unemployed, activating their jobsearch and engagement with the labour market.

For other staffing the Department is continually assessing the service being offered to customers. In addition, as part of our monitoring of the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market we will continue to actively keep staff numbers and broader provision under review in order to ensure that we can provide the most effective support to those who have lost work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department is providing for universal credit claimants to undertake courses to reskill.

Evidence suggests that the numbers of people requiring DWP support will increase further over the coming months, particularly as the CJRS winds down. Many of these people will effectively be ‘job ready’ and will not require extensive support from Government to return to work. Our ‘Good Place to Start’ campaign has already gone live, with digital advertising that signposts jobseekers to our job websites.

The Department will now go further and will spend £895 million to double the number of work coaches in Jobcentre Plus before the end of the financial year across Great Britain. Work coaches are at the core of our employment offer and this increase will provide more people with the tailored support they need to move into work. We know some people might require additional support to get back into work, and DWP is launching a “Getting Britain Back into Work” package, which builds on and bolsters the existing support offered by our Jobcentre Plus network. The package includes:

- Kickstart Scheme a £2b fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment.

- Expanded Youth Offer – increasing the intensive support offered to those 18-24 in the Intensive Work Search group in Universal Credit. Further support will be available through Youth Hubs with specialist Youth Employment Coaches.

- Expansion of the Work and Health Programme – to introduce additional voluntary support for those on benefits in England and Wales that have been unemployed for more than 3 months.

- Flexible Support Fund (FSF) – increase the funding for the FSF by £150m to increase the capacity of the Rapid Response Service (RRS), supporting those facing redundancy.

- Expanding sector based work academies – increase participation in our sector-based work academy programmes, offering training, work experience and a guaranteed interview. We will establish bespoke opportunities, working with employers and training providers to support claimants to fill job vacancies and pivot into new careers, including in priority sectors such as construction and social care.

- Job finding support service – £40 million to fund additional capacity to introduce an online, one-to-one service to help those who have been recently unemployed.

Taken together, the package will ensure that we can get Britain back into work quickly.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her latest estimate is of the (a) job vacancy rate and (b) unemployment rate in each region and nation of the UK.

The latest official statistics on vacancies, from the Office for National Statistics, cover the period Mar-May 2020. These statistics estimate the number of UK vacancies at 476,000, or 1.6 vacancies per 100 employee jobs. These statistics can be found here.

Estimates of vacancies are not available for each region and nation of the UK.

The latest official employment statistics, from the Office for National Statistics, cover the period Feb-Apr 2020. These statistics can be found here.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department’s policy is on length of time to be allocated to benefit claimants for (a) first claimant commitment interviews, (b) work search reviews and (c) work-focused interviews; and whether those time allocations have changed from 1 July 2020.

As we re-introduce claimant commitments we are initially conducting these interviews by phone and testing a 30-minute commitment appointment. We will evaluate this testing and as with all policies we will keep this continually under review. Jobcentre Plus offices continue to remain open to help vulnerable claimants who may not be able to access support through the phone or their journal.

The work search reviews will continue with the timings of the existing intervention regime where work coaches have the option to pick from a range of appointment lengths.

The Department is continually assessing the service being offered to customers and we continue to keep staff numbers under review as part of our response to the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market. We are rapidly making provisions to return to face-to-face appointments with work coaches to support jobseekers as part of our reopening on jobcentre’s in line with public health guidance across the country.

We have already committed to increasing the number of Work Coaches and Case Managers and recruitment is already underway.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the ratio of work coaches to work coach managers at jobcentres in each year since 2013.

Since 2013, the Department has worked within a 1:12 ration of Work Coach Managers to Work Coaches nationally.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much was spent on the Youth Obligation Support Programme in the 2019-20 financial year; how many young people entered the Youth Obligation Support Programme in that year; what proportion of young people on the Youth Obligation Support programme in 2019-20 were sanctioned compared with young people not on that programme over that same period; what proportion of young people on the Youth Obligation Support programme in 2019-20 were offered a traineeship or work placement if they were still on the Youth Obligation after six months; and how many young people on the Youth Obligation Support programme in that time period left the programme before six months without finding work.

The budget for Youth Obligation Support Program (YOSP) for the 2019-2020 Financial year was £43m.

Participation in the program is not automatically recorded by the Universal Credit system. The available data has been recorded manually by Work Coaches between January 2019 and January 2020. This is the latest 12-month period for which data is available. It is internal management information and does not meet the quality standards required for published Official Statistics.

123,000 18-21 years olds started YOSP between the 1st February 2019 and 31st January 2020.

In January 2020, 6.9% of 18-21 year old claimants on YOSP and in receipt of Universal Credit, who were subject to conditionality at the point where the sanction was applied had a deduction taken from their UC full service award, compared to 4.8% of all other claimants in the same age range.

Young people on YOSP are subject to the Intensive Work Search Regime and have to attend additional appointments as well as being likely to have more mandatory requirements than other young people. Therefore, young people on YOSP may have more requirements which they may fail to meet. A failure to meet a mandatory requirement can lead to a sanction where the claimant cannot demonstrate good reason for the failure.

The proportion of participants who were still on YOSP after 6 months who were referred to an Apprenticeship, Sector Based Work Academy, Traineeship or Work Experience in the period 1st February 2019 – 31st January 2020 was 18%.

Clerical data shows 55,400 young people left before 6 months on the YOSP program between 1st February 2019 – 31st January 2020. There are a number of reasons why participants may leave the programme, 60% move into a job or apprenticeship. Of the remaining 40% (22,300), the main reason for leaving is the claimant choosing to end the UC claim. This may include people who have found a job but have not reported that to their Work Coach.

Note

Figures are rounded to nearest 100

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what changes she has made to the Youth Obligation Support Programme in response to the covid-19 outbreak; and what employment support her Department is providing to job seekers aged 21 and under.

We acknowledge that it is important that Jobcentres continue to support young people through the economic recovery post-COVID-19. They have already started to re-engage with new and existing claimants and are signposting them to appropriate support.

We are exploring any potential changes to our existing youth offer to address the needs of young people, ensuring we work with them through this period of economic uncertainty.

DWP is also engaging with a number of external stakeholders including the Youth Employment Group (set up by the Prince’s Trust, Youth Employment UK, the Institute for Employment Studies, the Youth Futures Foundation and Impetus).

The department is continuing to work across Whitehall to develop a range of support aimed at all young people, including those from more complex backgrounds.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of (a) the number of additional full-time equivalent (i) staff and (ii) work coaches her Department would require to re-introduce the conditionality regime for universal credit on 1 July 20230 and(b) the average claimant caseload her Department allocates to each full time work coach.

The Department is continually assessing the service being offered to customers and we continue to keep staff numbers under review as part of our response to the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market and our support for jobseekers during this difficult time.

We don’t currently have figures on average customer caseload for Work Coaches as the COVID-19 pandemic meant many of DWP staff were redeployed to ensure customers receive their payments on time and in full.

We have already committed to increasing the number of Work Coaches and Case Managers, and recruitment is already underway.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what consultation her Department is undertaking with (a) unions, (b) job centres and (c) staff on re-introducing the universal credit conditionality regime on 1 July 2020.

The department has widely discussed the reintroduction of conditionality requirements with trade unions, and Jobcentre staff, including Work Coaches.

We are managing this in a phased approach to ensure we have the capacity to deliver an effective service for our customers. During the pandemic we have remained open for our most vulnerable customers, and from 1st July, our Jobcentres are further opening up, with appropriate safety measures in place for covid-19, to enable them to safely see more and more claimants. Work Coaches will be working with claimants to start to help them in their work search and creating and agreeing their Claimant Commitment.

Claimant Commitments must be reasonable for the ‘new normal’, acknowledging the reality of a person’s local jobs market and personal circumstances to prepare them for getting back into work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many additional work coaches she plans to recruit by September 2020.

The Department is continually assessing the service being offered to customers and we continue to keep staff numbers under review as part of our response to the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 12 June 2020 to Question 55988, on Jobcentres: Staff, how many full-time equivalent work coaches are currently employed by her Department.

For the period January 2020 to May 2020, approximately 13,500 full-time equivalent (FTE) work coaches were employed by the Department. These are the latest figures we hold.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support for searching for work her Department is providing to jobseekers.

DWP have developed and launched two new websites, Job Help and Employer Help, that directly link to Find a Job.

These sites promote a range of guidance and advice supporting decisions on identifying transferrable skills, promoting opportunities of seeking alternative roles or working in different sectors of the economy. Find a Job is a central place for employers to post their vacancies and for job seekers to look for work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2020 to Question 55987, what information her Department holds on the ethnicity of universal credit claimants; what information on ethnicity is planned for future publication; and when her Department plans to publish that ethnicity information.

DWP statisticians are currently working to collate and quality assure the standard ethnicity data collected from Universal Credit claimants. The Department has committed to publishing the statistics as soon as the Departmental statisticians judge that the data meet the standards set out in the UK Statistics Authority Code of Practice.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to support local authorities to introduce employment strategies in response to covid-19 related unemployment.

DWP is continuing to work with other Government departments to monitor the evolving economic and labour market situation to identify the most effective ways to help people stay in or close to work both now and in the future.

DWP launched two new websites Job Help and Employer Help to provide guidance and advice, including support on identifying transferrable skills and useful inks to promote other gov.uk provision, such as, the DWP Find a Job site, the National Careers Service and the new Department for Education online skills training initiative, the Skills Toolkit, which launched on 28 April.

The Ministry for Housing, communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have held meetings of the Economic Recovery Working Group and Regional Stocktake meetings, which DWP have been involved in. This brings together Mayors, LEP’s and other key local growth partners, to discuss emerging themes and concerns across the country. MHCLG officials are also working directly with a range of local growth partners to monitor on-going activity at all levels to inform the national response.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have also held 5 business-focused groups to ensure that we are continuing to bring the business voice into decision on economic recovery, which DWP have participated in.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Health and Safety Inspectors were employed by the Health and Safety Executive at the end of May in each of the last 10 years up to and including 2020.

The table below shows the number of inspectors employed by the Health and Safety Executive in each of the last 10 years up to and including 2020:

Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Inspectors

10/11

11/12

12/13

13/14

14/15

15/16

16/17

17/18

18/19

19/20

Total

1234

1170

1104

1036

1029

1018

988

976

981

971

  1. Figures provided are the total number of staff in all grades and roles, including trainees, managers and specialists with warrants, on 31st May for each financial year.
  2. Figures provided do not include Inspectors from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) which became an independent statutory public corporation on 1 April 2014.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many full-time equivalent work coaches were employed by her Department in (a) January, (b) February, (c) March, (d) April and (e) May 2020; and how many additional work coaches she plans to recruit before August 2020.

For the period January 2020 to May 2020, approximately 13,200 full-time equivalent (FTE) work coaches were employed by the Department. During this period, we have seen an unprecedented number of new benefit claims, with work coaches and thousands of DWP staff moving roles to ensure these claims were processed and claimants paid on time.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the annual budget of the Health and Safety Executive (a) is in 2020-21 and (b) was in each of the last 10 years.

The table below shows the annual budget of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the last 10 years up to 2020-21:

10/11 £M

11/12 £M

12/13 £M

13/14 £M

14/15 £M

15/16 £M

16/17 £M

17/18 £M

18/19 £M

19/20 £M

20/21 £M

Government Funding

203

175

159

154

138

134

133

128

126

128

133

Income

124

116

117

125

81

90

91

93

91

95

96

Annual Spending

327

291

276

279

219

224

224

221

217

223

229

Notes

  1. Figures provided are based on net operating expenditure reported in HSE’s Annual Report and Accounts and excludes Capital spend.
  2. Figures provided prior to 2014/15 include the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) which became an independent statutory public corporation on 1 April 2014.
  3. The 2019/20 figures are as per the draft Annual Report and Accounts due to be published in July 2020.
  4. The 2020/21 figures are as per the budget settlement with DWP and exclude any additional COVID-19 funding.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department (a) holds and (b) reports on the number of universal credit applications by applicants who are (i) white, (ii) mixed, (iii) Asian or Asian British, (iv) black or black British, (v) Arab, (vi) other and (vii) preferred not to say.

Ethnicity information is scheduled for future publication, and the Department is currently aiming to publish the statistics routinely as part of Universal Credit official statistics in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the finding in the report by Policy in Practice, entitled The interaction of covid-19 measures and the benefit cap on low-income Londoners, that 22,000 existing benefit claimants in London became capped following the increases in benefits awards introduced by the Government in April 2020 as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We have noted the findings in this report.

The benefit cap provides fairness for hard-working taxpaying households, whilst providing a reasonable safety net of support for the most vulnerable claimants who are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits. The London cap of £23,000 is equivalent to gross family earnings of around £28,000.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the value of additional support that households subject to the benefit cap at the start of February 2020 have been unable to receive.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Claimants can approach their Local Authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment if they need additional support to meet rental costs.

There is already £180m in Discretionary Housing Payments for local authorities to distribute for supporting renters with housing costs in the private and social rented sectors in 2020/21. This includes an additional £40m to tackle affordability pressures in the private rented sector.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of households that had (a) Housing Benefit and (b) Universal Credit capped in (i) March 2020 and (ii) April 2020 in each Region and Local Authority of the UK.

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

The published Benefit Cap statistics are currently available to February 2020. Statistics for the number of households capped in Housing Benefit and Universal Credit in March 2020 and April 2020 will be published on the sixth of August. This release will also contain data on households capped up to May 2020. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/benefit-cap-statistics

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish her Department’s response to the DWP Statistics Publication Frequency Review, published in December 2019.

Our response to DWP statistics publication frequency: statistical notice was published on 19 December and can be found at the top of the page here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/dwp-statistics-publication-frequency-statistical-notice

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have claimed universal credit in each region of the UK since 12 March 2020.

Information on People on Universal Credit in each region, up to 9th April 2020, is published online and can be found at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

The next People on Universal Credit statistics will be released on 16th June 2020

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions,how many people in each age group have claimed for universal credit since 12 March 2020.

Statistics for Universal Credit starts by age can be found on Stat-Xplore:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

As of 19 May 2020, the latest published statistics run up to 9 April 2020.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of Job Centre Plus staff were working (a) from home and (b) on site in (a) March, (b) April and (c) May 2020.

The following figures cover all DWP staff, not just Jobcentre Plus and come with the following caveats.

- Data started to be recorded from 23rd March, so the March value represents 23rd-31st March data only

- May data is up to and including 20th May

- Below figures exclude weekends and public holidays

Month

Average of Total Users

Average of Home Users

Average of Pct from home

Mar

52,281

12,708

24%

Apr

53,308

15,870

30%

May

57,387

22,596

39%

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 6 May 2020 to Question 42043, what steps she is taking to (a) increase the number of job vacancies posted to her Department’s find a job website, (b) increase the take-up of those vacancies and (c) ensure that vacancies are for roles where Government guidance on social distancing during the covid-19 can be observed.

We are working with departments across Government to understand supply & demand across the labour market and, where there are shortages, we are working with them to promote the Government Find a Job matching service. We are also reaching out to employers and sector bodies through our social channels to encourage them to place vacancies on the site.

The Department has launched a new website for jobseekers to maximise take up of vacancies. Jobhelp.dwp.gov.uk provides job search hints and tips as well as crucial advice on transferable skills for those people who need to change sectors. It also highlights live large-scale recruitment in a range of industries as well as the Find a Job Government Skills matching service.

BEIS have issued the Working Safely guidance which was developed in conjunction with HSE and other partners, including ACAS. Under the new guidance, employers should do a risk assessment and employees, or potential employees, can report an employer if they have concerns that the guidance isn’t being followed. Contact details to report concerns are on the HSE website.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the operational feasibility of (a) suspending and (b) increasing the benefit cap.

There are currently no plans to change the benefit cap. The Benefit Cap restores fairness between those receiving out-of-work benefits and taxpayers in employment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether Job Centre Plus staff who are categorised as extremely vulnerable during the covid-19 outbreak are required to go into the workplace.

Any staff who are in the extremely vulnerable categories are not permitted to go into the office and working from home where possible. The Department has procured significantly more portable computers to expand our home working capacity. We are taking all practical steps to protect the health and safety of those colleagues working in our offices, e.g. through social distancing. We will continue to follow all government guidance on keeping our staff safe.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 May 2020 to Question 42870, what steps the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has taken in response to suspected incidents of Covid-19 related to (a) dangerous occurrences and (b) cases of occupational disease and death, where such cases have been reported to the HSE.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published criteria it uses to select which incidents of occupational disease and dangerous occurrences it will investigate. HSE is working through the process of applying those criteria to the dangerous occurrence and occupational disease notifications it has received in relation to Covid-19.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many additional call centre staff and inspectors the Health and Safety Executive plans to recruit using the additional £14 million of funding announced by the Government.

An additional sum of up to £14 million has been made available to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to support their advice and regulatory activities, such as extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment. HSE is currently developing plans as more businesses return to work, it has already begun carrying out proactive checks to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect workers from COVID-19.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the capability of the Health and Safety Executive to discharge its responsibilities during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is playing a crucial role in the Government’s response to covid-19, including its continued work with trade unions, employers and stakeholders to help ensure workplaces are safe environments. The Government is making additional funding available to support covid-19 activity. Ministers meet regularly with senior officials from HSE to discuss how it is discharging its responsibilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that complaints made to Health & Safety Executive on workplace risk are not prevented from progressing because employees are concerned about disclosing to employers that a complaint has been made.

Under normal conditions, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would cover a site visit to investigate a complaint that cannot be disclosed, by telling the business that they have been selected for an inspection. However, during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, HSE has not carried out routine pro-active inspections and has therefore not been able to follow concerns unless the fact of the complaint being made can be disclosed. Now that movement restrictions have been eased, inspectors are visiting workplaces following up any reports or concerns about safety in the workplace including over Covid and ensuring compliance. On the spot inspections are expected to resume imminently.

For any disclosable concerns that HSE does follow up, it will always maintain anonymity if the complainant makes this request.

HSE has stated its policy about handling non-disclosable concerns in the first phase of pandemic restrictions on its web page for reporting a complaint where it also promises to review the position as the restrictions ease.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the capability of the Health and Safety Executive to discharge its responsibilities during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is playing a crucial role in the Government’s response to covid-19, including its continued work with trade unions, employers and stakeholders to help ensure workplaces are safe environments. The Government is making additional funding available to support covid-19 activity. Ministers meet regularly with senior officials from HSE to discuss how it is discharging its responsibilities during the covid-19 outbreak.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that the Health and Safety Executive proactively inspects workplaces where employees are known to be at heightened risk from covid-19.

Following the Government’s announcement that additional funds are being made available to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to support their work, and the publication of guidance by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy on 11th May 2020 on working safely during the coronavirus pandemic, inspectors are visiting workplaces to follow up any reports or concerns about safety in the workplace and on the spot inspections are expected to resume imminently.

HSE takes a risk-based approach when identifying workplaces to inspect. In addition, HSE continues to address reported workplace concerns with employers, including those relating to employees with a heightened risk from Covid-19.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it here policy to grant transitional protection payments to claimants on legacy benefits that receive a lower benefits payment for applying for universal credit during the covid-19 pandemic.

Where someone’s circumstances change significantly it’s right that we reassess their benefit entitlement. A claimant making a new claim due to changes in their circumstances has always been likely to receive a different level of entitlement than they had had on their previous benefit.

As these claimants’ circumstances will have changed, it would be not possible to make a meaningful comparison between their previous level of entitlement to legacy benefits and their entitlement to Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on guidance issued to employers in relation to the (a) relaxation of covid-19 lockdown measures and (b) duty of care to employees that are (i) shielding because they are vulnerable and (b) self-isolating because they care for or live with someone who is shielding.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was involved in cross-government work, Safer Workplaces, coordinated by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which produced guidance on the safety measures businesses will need to adopt as they reopen. It contains practical steps to achieve social distancing and hygiene in the workplace. The guidance also covers who should be at work; including those who are at high risk (also referred to as extremely clinically vulnerable in recent guidance) or those who live with people at high risk.

The guidance “Working Safely During Coronavirus COVID-19” was published on 11 May 2020 and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate has she made of the number of claimants in (a) March and (b) April 2020 that received a lower monthly benefit payment than their previous legacy benefit as a result of applying for universal credit during the covid-19 lockdown.

The information requested is not available.

For people considering claiming Universal Credit, we have updated our information on gov.uk and on understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk, where links to independent benefit calculators are also published.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to raise awareness of the option for split payments of universal credit during the covid-19 outbreak.

Split payments can be considered by the Jobcentre Work Coach at the outset of the Universal Credit claim, or during it. They can also be triggered and put in place by information received from the claimant, their representative, or their caseworker.

Jobcentre staff remain available to provide support, in person, for vulnerable customers and those in urgent need of help – such as survivors of domestic abuse, or those who have no access to a phone or the internet. This support includes the option of Split Payments to prevent hardship to the claimant and their family.

All Universal Credit colleagues receive training on complex needs, including training on supporting survivors of abuse and how to signpost to expert partner organisations.

They also have access to the latest guidance, on domestic abuse and Alternative Payment Arrangements, including Split Payments.

A further internal guide to support survivors of domestic abuse will be launched, which will further raise awareness of how colleagues can support survivors of abuse.

We work closely with partner organisations and stakeholders and have escalation routes to provide local community based, joined up services. We are maintaining these strong relationships during this difficult time to ensure we continue to support our most vulnerable claimants.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of claimants will receive lower benefit payments as a result of the automatic suspension of existing legacy benefits payments on making a claim for universal credit.

The information requested is not available. For people considering claiming Universal Credit, we have updated our information on gov.uk and on understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk, where links to independent benefit calculators are also published.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with trade union leaders on establishing a national council for reconstruction and recovery.

The Government published guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. This was developed with input from a wide range of businesses, Trade Unions and representative organisations, as well as Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive, and was led by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is continuing to work with unions on developing sensible guidance for businesses that gives UK workers the utmost confidence they can now return to work safely. The Government will of course consider any new suggestions carefully.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Welfare Delivery at the Work and Pensions Select Committee on 23 April 2020, what steps she has taken to ensure that universal credit claimants that are self-employed are aware that capital set aside for their self-assessment tax bill will not affect their claim.

The Understanding UC website provides information on UC and self-employment including the treatment of business assets. The Department also provides regular updates to self-employment groups, including the Federation of Small Business, with the ability for stakeholders to ask questions about issues of concern and engages regularly with the media to ensure information is disseminated.

For claimants with capital over £16,000 we contact the claimant to understand the composition of their capital to determine eligibility. Part of that consideration would be whether the declared capital included business assets which would be disregarded.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of universal credit were subject to the benefit cap in (a) January, (b) February ,(c) March and (d) April 2020.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs. However, whilst the stats requested are not readily available, as part of a regular publication, new statistics for Benefit Cap Households to February 2020 are due to be published on Thursday 7th May at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/benefit-cap-statistics

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of universal credit were ineligible for the benefits cap grade period as a result of a reduction in their working hours in (a) January, (b) February, (c) March and (d) April 2020.

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

However, whilst the stats requested are not readily available, as part of a regular publication, new statistics for Benefit Cap Households to February 2020 are due to be published on Thursday 7th May at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/benefit-cap-statistics

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many new vacancies were posted on her Department’s find a job website in (a) January, (b) February and (c) March and (d) April of (i) 2019 and (ii) 2020.

The number of job adverts posted on the website are displayed in the table provided.

Month

Unique Posts

January 2019

212026

February 2019

180230

March 2019

190847

April 2019

181236

January 2020

197768

February 2020

175282

March 2020

142933

April 2020

75555

The Department has launched a new employment campaign signposting people to roles in critical sectors helping the country through this pandemic. The new job site also includes advice on how to apply and links to online training.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the potential effect of covid-19 on (a) employment levels and (b) the number of people claiming universal credit.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions met with the Chief Medical Officer recently to discuss issues surrounding the potential effect of COVID-19. Government officials are working closely together to understand its potential impacts on employment and benefits, including Universal Credit.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people aged (a) 16 and under and (b) over 16 years old undertook work experience in her Department in each of the last three years.

The Civil Service aims to increase opportunities for people of all backgrounds and create a Civil Service fit for 21st century Britain through work experience, internships and apprenticeship schemes.

This information could only be provided at disproportionate cost due to the time and the cost to gather this data as it is not collated centrally.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims by EEA nationals have been (a) appealed and (b) overturned on appeal in each of the last four years.

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has provided to covid-19 quarantine hotels on the provision of food at different times for people observing Ramadan whilst staying in those hotels.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, from what date parents who have to stay at home as a result of their children being required to self-isolate are able to receive the Test and Trace Support Payment.

Parents and guardians will be able to make an application if their child’s first day of self-isolation is 8 March or later. Applicants in areas that do not have an application process for parents and guardians in place from 8 March will be able to make a backdated application.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support research into low-grade gliomas.

In 2018 the Government announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

We are relying on researchers to submit high-quality research proposals in this very difficult area. Workshops for researchers are being booked and we are encouraging more researchers to become involved.

The following table sets out relevant NIHR expenditure on low-grade gliomas over the last five years:

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

£770,000

£577,000

£1.01 million

£866,000

£942,000

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of research into low-grade gliomas in each of the last five years.

In 2018 the Government announced £40 million over five years for brain tumour research as part of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

We are relying on researchers to submit high-quality research proposals in this very difficult area. Workshops for researchers are being booked and we are encouraging more researchers to become involved.

The following table sets out relevant NIHR expenditure on low-grade gliomas over the last five years:

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

£770,000

£577,000

£1.01 million

£866,000

£942,000

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how may people have been vaccinated for covid-19 by (a) local authority and (b) parliamentary constituency, to date.

We publish daily data on the number of people who have received a vaccination - first and second dose - in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the Government's coronavirus data dashboard which is available at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/vaccinations

This data shows both vaccinations given in a 24-hour period and the cumulative vaccinations given since reporting began on 11 January. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland publish additional data on vaccinations by cohort.

In England, NHS England also releases a weekly publication of vaccination data by a number of metrics, including local authority and parliamentary constituency, which is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to work with scientists to communicate the safety and effectiveness of the covid-19 vaccines.

The Government Public Health England (PHE), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and the National Health Service (NHS) work together to deliver immunisation programmes in the United Kingdom. The Government is advised on the safety, efficacy and strategy for the vaccines by independent scientists, including those from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Commission on Human Medicines’ Expert Advisory Group.

The Department, alongside the NHS and PHE, provides advice and information to the public to support those getting the vaccine and to anyone who might have questions about the vaccination process.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's policy is on eligibility for the Test and Trace Support Payment for parents of primary aged children who need to stay at home and are unable to work as a result of their child self-isolating on the instruction of their school.

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is for people who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. If a child is self-isolating because they have tested positive, other household members will also need to self-isolate and will be able to claim under the scheme, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is providing for people with long covid in (a) Feltham and Heston and (b) England.

NHS England has provided £10 million to fund over 40 pioneering ‘long COVID-19’ specialised clinics including 5 in London, with one in south west London. The plans for these clinics were published on 15 November, and commissioning guidance was made available on 6 November.

A number of these clinics are already established, and the new clinics will start to accept patients at the end of November. More details will be made available shortly.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that consultants are able to access the £40 million of funding allocated for brain tumour research projects through the National Institute for Health Research.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including brain tumour research. As with other Government funders of health research, the NIHR does not allocate funding for specific disease areas. The level of research spend in a particular area, is driven by factors including scientific potential and the number and scale of successful funding applications.

The Department works closely with research funding partners such as Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, and brain tumour charities, who fund research into new scientific discoveries.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 14993, whether he has had additional discussions since that date with NHS England on alternative procurement routes for primary care modernisation proposals after the suspension in 2019 of new Local Improvement Finance Trust projects.

The National Health Service is currently supporting developments and improvements through the Estates and Technology Transformation Fund (ETTF) and an improvement grant budget within primary care estates. The ETTF aims to accelerate changes in general practice infrastructure to enable improvement in access and service quality. The ETTF is investing £800 million in both capital and revenue between 2016 and 2021. This is in addition to annual investment in general practice information technology and ‘business as usual’ capital.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to support the re-development of primary care facilities that are no longer fit for purpose.

The National Health Service is currently supporting developments and improvements through the Estates and Technology Transformation Fund (ETTF) and an Improvement Grant budget within primary care estates. The ETTF aims to accelerate changes in general practice infrastructure to enable improvement in access and service quality. The ETTF is investing £800 million in both capital and revenue between 2016 and 2021. This is in addition to annual investment in general practice IT (Information Technology) and ‘business as usual’ capital.

The NHS Long Term Plan outlines a prominent role for primary care networks for delivering the shift of activity from the acute sector to an in-community care environment. The Health Infrastructure Plan, published September 2019, recognises that community care and primary care is critical to the delivery of personalised and preventative health. Future NHS capital funding, including for primary care, will be provided as part of the Department's multi-year capital settlement at the Spending Review which will conclude in autumn 2020.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the number of (a) women who present with heart related problems in the final month of pregnancy and (b) still births that occur in pregnancies where the mother has presented with heart related problems in the final month of pregnancy.

As listed in the following table, NHS Digital has provided the following information regarding heart-related problems and pregnancy for the years 2015-16 to 2018-19:

- patients whose record shows a diagnosis of hypertension in their final month of pregnancy (2nd row, excluding stillbirths);

- patients whose record shows a diagnosis of cardiac disease in their final month of pregnancy (3rd row, excluding stillbirths); and

- patients whose record shows a diagnosis of cardiac disease or hypertension in their final month of pregnancy and who subsequently had a stillbirth (4th row).

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

Hypertension excluding stillbirths

490

920

1025

1185

Cardiac disease excluding stillbirths

30

35

55

110

Hypertension and cardiac disease including stillbirths

*

5

*

5

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will respond to the letter of the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston of 1 May 2020 reference ZA30070.

I replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 21 August 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support NHS staff who are unable to attend work as they live with a person who is shielding.

Government advice recommends that those National Health Service staff who live with a person who is shielding do not have to adopt shielding measures themselves but must follow advice in social distancing and hygiene to minimise the spread of the virus at home.

Employers should be supporting their staff to stay well and to protect their families and guidance has been published by NHS Employers to provide support NHS Human Resources Directors. The guidance provides specific advice on what employers should do to support those staff who live with someone who is shielding. More information is available at this link:

https://www.nhsemployers.org/covid19/staff-terms-and-conditions/staff-terms-and-conditions-faqs/pay#Shielding

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's policy is on home visiting community phlebotomy for children with serious health conditions which require them to be shielding during the covid-19 outbreak.

When shielding, adults and children should continue to receive the healthcare and support they need at home wherever possible, preferably virtually or online. Where remote service delivery is not possible, for example in the case of phlebotomy, this should be delivered through infection-controlled home visiting where clinically necessary. In guidance issued on 4 June, systems were therefore instructed to expand and resource all relevant home-based services such as a home-visiting phlebotomy service. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/06/C0583-nhs-update-on-shielding-june-2020.pdf

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to incentivise companies to use their manufacturing facilities to produce personal protective equipment during the covid-19 outbreak.

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with 8 manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks. Details of this work can be found in the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will extend the length of Maternity Exemption Certificates during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has no current plans to extend the period of maternity exemption certificates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the NHS contact-tracing app being developed by NHSX will be accessible to disabled people.

We continue to work to ensure the National Health Service COVID-19 app is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. We are committed to regular audits of the app by independent specialist assessors to conduct usability testing of the app, including dedicated research to solely focus on accessibility. We will publish an Accessibility Statement in due course which will be kept under review and updated as necessary.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will implement a national bereavement support line to provide counselling and support for families during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has no plans at present to create a national bereavement support line but we are taking a cross-Government approach to address bereavement support, and what is needed to ensure that families and friends of those deceased get the support they need.

A number of charities and voluntary organisations provide a range of valued services for people experiencing bereavement.

Cruse Bereavement Care provides a national helpline. For National Health Service staff, a confidential bereavement support line and other sources of support are available at the following link:

https://people.nhs.uk/help/

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the guidance published by Public Health England on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from covid-19, if he will take steps to include people with motor neurone disease in the extremely vulnerable group.

Individuals who have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable have been advised to shield to protect themselves. Six categories of clinical conditions were used to identify individuals who are extremely vulnerable due to complex health problems. It was determined that people with motor neurone disease (MND) would not be included in this list, as there are many stages to the disease, with varying levels of severity. This is under constant clinical review.

General practitioners (GPs) and hospital clinicians have the discretion to add individual patients to the list based on case-by-case clinical assessments of each individual’s needs. GPs and hospital specialists have completed initial reviews of their patient lists, and are continuing to identify patients as their clinical conditions change. Anyone with MND who is concerned that that the severity of their symptoms means they may be clinically extremely vulnerable, should contact their GP to discuss.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many calls were made to NHS 111 in the week beginning 9 March 2020; and how many callers waited over one hour for their calls to be answered.

Data is not available in the format requested. NHS 111 performance is published by NHS England via their statistical work areas on a monthly basis and is available via the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/nhs-111-minimum-data-set/nhs-111-minimum-data-set-2019-20/

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of Covid-19 to date.

The Department is following Government plans to contain, delay, research and mitigate against COVID-19. Whilst in the current ‘contain’ phase all costs are being managed within the National Health Service existing health funding allocations. The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on capital investment needed to deliver the modernisation of the primary care estate outlined in the Health Infrastructure Plan published on 30 September 2019.

We are having ongoing discussions with the Chancellor about capital investment in the National Health Service, including primary care.

In September 2019, the Government announced the next stage of our strategic investment in the future of the NHS: the Health Infrastructure Plan (HIP). The HIP will ensure our world-class healthcare staff have world-class facilities to deliver cutting edge care.

As part of this, the Government recognises that more community and primary care is pivotal to the delivery of more personalised, preventative healthcare as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Department will receive a multi-year capital settlement at the next capital review, which will help the Department and the NHS to deliver the ambitions of the HIP.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with NHS England on alternative procurement routes for primary care modernisation proposals after the suspension in 2019 of new Local Improvement Finance Trust projects.

The local NHS England and NHS Improvement teams for the proposed National Health Service Local Improvement Finance Trust schemes in Heston and West Hull were informed in June 2019 that they will need to be locally prioritised and funded through available public capital.

There are a range of procurement routes available to deliver prioritised public capital schemes; these include using existing construction frameworks such as Procure 22 and standalone procurements. The most appropriate procurement route for each scheme in terms of value for money and affordability is considered as part of the business case for each scheme.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much was spent from the public purse by the NHS on alcohol-related hospital admissions in (a) 2018-2019, (b) 2017-2018, (c) 2016-2017 and (d) 2015-2016.

Data on spending on drug and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment (including alcohol related hospital admissions) by National Health Service bodies and providers is not collected centrally. Local authorities report their spending on drug and alcohol treatment and prevention to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. This information is published by the Office for National Statistics and is known as the local authority outrun. Local authority spend for 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 is shown in the following table. Figures for 2019/20 have not yet been published.

Service Provision

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Treatment for alcohol misuse

£202,777,000

£186,803,000

£182,384,000

Preventing and reducing harm from alcohol misuse

£38,073,000

£45,478,000

£43,682,000

Treatment for drug misuse

£425,345,000

£393,017,000

£365,488,000

Preventing and reducing harm from drug misuse

£67,584,000

£67,009,000

£67,805,000

Drug and alcohol misuse services for children and young people

£49,400,000

£44,239,000

£40,066,000

Overall spend

£783,179,000

£736,546,000

£699,425,000

The annual local authority outruns can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2018-to-2019-individual-local-authority-data-outturn

Through the NHS Long Term Plan, up to 50 hospitals will establish Alcohol Care Teams, which could prevent 50,000 admissions over five years.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much was spent from the public purse by (a) NHS bodies and (b) local authorities on (i) drug and (ii) alcohol abuse (A) prevention and (B) treatment in (1) 2016-17, (2) 2017-18, (3) 2018-19 and (4) 2019-2020 to date.

Data on spending on drug and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment (including alcohol related hospital admissions) by National Health Service bodies and providers is not collected centrally. Local authorities report their spending on drug and alcohol treatment and prevention to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. This information is published by the Office for National Statistics and is known as the local authority outrun. Local authority spend for 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 is shown in the following table. Figures for 2019/20 have not yet been published.

Service Provision

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Treatment for alcohol misuse

£202,777,000

£186,803,000

£182,384,000

Preventing and reducing harm from alcohol misuse

£38,073,000

£45,478,000

£43,682,000

Treatment for drug misuse

£425,345,000

£393,017,000

£365,488,000

Preventing and reducing harm from drug misuse

£67,584,000

£67,009,000

£67,805,000

Drug and alcohol misuse services for children and young people

£49,400,000

£44,239,000

£40,066,000

Overall spend

£783,179,000

£736,546,000

£699,425,000

The annual local authority outruns can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2018-to-2019-individual-local-authority-data-outturn

Through the NHS Long Term Plan, up to 50 hospitals will establish Alcohol Care Teams, which could prevent 50,000 admissions over five years.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) funding and (b) guidance his Department has provided for neuro-cognitive rehabilitation services in the NHS.

Neuro-cognitive rehabilitation is offered in a number of settings. NHS England commissions specialised in-patient rehabilitation for those patients with the most complex needs. However, the vast majority of rehabilitation care is locally commissioned by clinical commissioning groups who are best placed to meet the needs of their local population.

The Service Specification for ‘Specialist Rehabilitation for Patients with Highly Complex Needs’ sets out the categories of patient need and the levels of service in addition to describing the pathways into and out of the specialised service. The specification can be found at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/d02-rehab-pat-high-needs-0414.pdf

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides the guidance on several neurological conditions and, where appropriate, suitable rehabilitation guidance is provided. NICE also provides Quality Standards on ‘Head injury’ and ‘Rehabilitation after critical illness in adults’ which provide further guidance on neuro-rehabilitation. These can be found at the following links:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs74/resources/head-injury-pdf-2098848108229

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs158/resources/rehabilitation-after-critical-illness-in-adults-pdf-75545546693317

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Israeli Government on the covid-19 vaccination rates of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

We welcome the steps that the parties have taken so far to coordinate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage further dialogue in this regard. The UK Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised vaccines with the Israeli Authorities on 24 February, encouraging the Government of Israel to continue to facilitate the transfer of vaccines to the Palestinian Authority when required. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv and the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem are in regular contact with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities respectively, and will continue to raise timely and appropriate access to COVID-19 vaccines.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on the demolition of Palestinian homes.

Our Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised ongoing demolitions with the Israeli Authorities, in a meeting alongside like-minded partners on 25 February. I called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised my concerns about demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Afghanistan on the protection of minorities, particularly Afghan Hindus and Sikhs in that country.

We continue to urge the Government of Afghanistan to ensure that the rights of minorities are protected, in line with the Afghan Constitution. The Minister of State for South Asia, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, last raised human rights with the Afghan Foreign Minister on 14 May. Most recently, the UK's Ambassador to Afghanistan, Alison Blake CMG, discussed citizens' rights with Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on 3 September. The UK strongly condemns the targeting of innocent people based on their beliefs. The Minister publicly condemned the 25 March attack in Kabul on a Sikh Gurdwara.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 18 May 2020 to Question 46666 on British Nationals Abroad: Coronavirus, of the 150 charter flights delivered by the Government to support repatriation efforts, from which countries charter flights have been commissioned by the Government to repatriate British citizens; and if he will publish the (a) date, (b) starting location and (c) final destination of each such charter flight.

I refer you to the answer of PQ 46666.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the number of (a) UK nationals and (b) British residents who are non-UK nationals who have been stranded overseas as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

We estimate that the number of British travellers that may still require support to return home across the globe is now in the low tens of thousands. It is difficult to be more precise, including in relation to the numbers on 7 May, because there have been instances of multiple registrations by the same individual and people not reporting their return to the UK via other means. Our priority has been to get British travellers home. But, exceptionally, during the crisis, where there is space on HMG repatriation flights we are seeking to help vulnerable non-British UK residents with indefinite leave to remain return to the UK. This goes beyond what we usually do, since our consular assistance is ordinarily for UK nationals.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will publish (a) the countries from which charter flights have been commissioned by the Government to repatriate British citizens and (b) the (i) date, (ii) starting location and (iii) final destination of each such charter flight.

British travellers who need and want to return to the UK is one of the Government's highest priorities. Since the outbreak in Wuhan, we estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes - the majority supported by our work to keep vital routes open. Since the Foreign Secretary announced £75m to support repatriation efforts on 30 March, the Government has so far delivered a programme of over 150 charter flights from where commercial options are no longer viable. These flights have brought over 31,000 travellers, from 27 countries and territories, back to UK airports in the East Midlands, London and Manchester.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department is providing to UK nationals stranded abroad and running low on medication due to the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

All our individual country travel advice pages include advice on how to access local medical care and prescriptions. In many countries, it is possible to make an appointment with a local doctor to arrange an alternative prescription. We recognise that local measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 are presenting challenges for some people and are working with authorities in each country to resolve these. British nationals should call the relevant embassy, high commission or consulate before they run out of medication if they have not been able to replace it using our published advice.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic steps his Department has taken to support Sikh minorities in Afghanistan following the attack on a Sikh temple in Kabul on 25 March 2020.

We strongly condemn the attack on a Sikh Gurdwara in Kabul on 25 March. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia with responsibility for human rights and Her Majesty's Ambassador to Kabul have both condemned the attack. The UK continues to urge the Government of Afghanistan to ensure the rights of all ethnic and religious groups are protected, in line with the Afghan constitution.

At the Universal Periodic Review of Afghanistan at the UN Human Rights Council in 2019, the UK recommended that the Afghan Government establish an independent mechanism to strengthen security protection for all religious and ethnic minorities.

We will continue to engage with organisations and individuals which represent the Afghan Sikh and Hindu community, in Afghanistan and the UK. This helps us to maintain a full understanding of the challenges faced by their communities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with his EU counterparts on Palestine ahead of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 20 January 2020.

The United Kingdom is strongly supportive of a regional and international approach to the Middle East peace process. We have regular discussions with EU counterparts, the United States, other key partners and multilateral institutions like the UN, to support resolutions and policies that encourage Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to take steps that rebuild trust. This is crucial for negotiations to succeed. We work closely with EU partners to make clear our serious concerns about the situation on the ground.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to provide support to the UN Relief and Works Agency.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is an essential humanitarian and stabilising force in the region, providing vital services to millions of Palestinian refugees every day. In 2019/20 the UK has committed £65.5 million to UNRWA, matching our 2018 contribution. The UK’s support helps provide education to more than 532,000 children (half of which are girls), health services for around 3.1 million people and social safety net assistance for 255,000 of the most vulnerable. UNRWA’s three year mandate was renewed at the UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee on 13 December; the UK voted in favour.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many staff were employed by the Valuation Office Agency in (a) 2016, (b) 2017, (c) 2018, (d) 2019 and (e) 2020; and how many staff are currently employed by that office.

The VOA publish staff numbers in their Annual Reports. Reports from 2016 onwards can be found at: https://bit.ly/3t9cTdg.

The VOA publish the latest staff figures in the Workforce Management Information report, which can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmrc-and-voa-workforce-management-information-january-2021.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many businesses are awaiting confirmation of their rateable value so that they can receive a rate demand from their local authority; and how many of those awaiting confirmation received a visit from the Valuation Office Agency in (a) 2019, (b) January to March 2020 and (c) since March 2020.

The table below shows the number of cases the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) had outstanding in England at 31 December 2020 for properties that were new or required a split or merger (reconstitution). It also includes the number of property inspections undertaken on any of these outstanding cases.

When assessing properties the VOA have access to a variety of information sources, which means it is not always necessary to visit a property to complete a case. The VOA will inspect where they need to gather additional information or confirm facts.

The VOA’s systems are property based, rather than occupier based, and therefore the information is by case/property, rather than by business.

Outstanding

New Assessments(1)

4,854

of which had either a full, partial or external inspection in:

Jan 2019 - Dec 2019

-

Jan 2020 - Mar 2020

-

Apr 2020 - Dec 2020

55

Reconstitution(1)

5,678

of which had either a full, partial or external inspection in:

Jan 2019 - Dec 2019

0

Jan 2020 - Mar 2020

-

Apr 2020 - Dec 2020

12

(1) New Assessments and Reconstitutions represent all cases of these types in either a Check, Challenge or Assessment Review.

For disclosure reasons, numbers above 0 and below 5 are denoted with a ‘-‘.

Statistics on all outstanding Checks, Challenges and Assessment Reviews are published on a quarterly basis at www.gov.uk/government/statistics/non-domestic-rating-challenges-and-changes-2017-and-2010-rating-lists-december-2020.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to support long term R&D innovation (a) for all regions and nations of the UK and (b) to support the industries and jobs of the future.

Looking ahead, this Government is determined to build back better with an ambitious target to raise total investment in research and development to 2.4% of UK GDP by 2027.

Already this year, to forge the UK’s future as a global scientific superpower, the government is investing £14.6bn in research and development in 21-22. This funding will be allocated on a UK-wide basis and will therefore help locations across the UK, by:

  • Supporting business-led innovation to drive productivity and competitiveness, with at least £490m in 21-22 for Innovate UK to support high tech innovation.
  • Funding to address global challenges, including £128 million in 21-22 for Covid-19 Vaccines R&D and over £280 million in 21-22 for net zero innovation, helping the economy to build back stronger and greener.

As much of this will be allocated competitively, it is difficult to predict beneficiaries, however:

  • The Net Zero Innovation Portfolio is expected to have a strong regional impact due to the localised and distributed nature of energy production and infrastructure. This will build on the current energy innovation programme, which included the UK’s first Carbon Capture & Use plant in Cheshire and tested the world’s largest offshore wind turbine blade in Northumberland.
  • As part of public investment in transport innovation, the government is investing £3 million in the Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub and £20 million in a new Clean Maritime Demonstration Programme, which will include feasibility studies on key sites such as Orkney and Teesside.

Further information on allocations will be determined in due course.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a targeted extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for the (a) aviation sector and (b) other sectors in the event that those sectors are subject to covid-19 restrictions after April 2021.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the aviation industry as a result of COVID-19, and firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the substantial package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital and flexibilities with tax bills. The aerospace sector and its aviation customers are being supported with almost £11 billion made available through loan guarantees, support for exporters, the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility and grants for research and development. This includes £8 billion of UK Export Finance Guarantees.

The Chancellor has always been clear that the Government would keep the situation under review, adapting its approach as the context evolved. The Government will set out the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and support jobs at Budget.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be created in the UK in 2021.

In its November Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast employment to be 31.9 million in 2021. The OBR noted that the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), along with other new measures, was expected to reduce the level of unemployment by around 300,000 in the second quarter of this year, relative to what would have happened in their absence.

The Government’s Plan for Jobs aims to both create and protect jobs, through packages such as, a £3 billion green investment package that could help support around 140,000 green jobs, a £1 billion public buildings programme, and £5.8 billion for shovel-ready construction projects.

The Government has also launched a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, creating hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people at risk of long-term unemployment, as well as a guaranteed foundation of support for young people on Universal Credit.

The Budget on the 3 March will set out the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many times the Financial Conduct Authority intervened with firms with company numbers 743416 and 622666, currently known as Lendy Ltd, to ask them to modify or withdraw a financial promotion in each year since 2014.

As you may be aware, there is an ongoing Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) enforcement investigation into the collapse of the firms known as Lendy Ltd. It is important to stress that the independence of the FCA’s investigation, and its wider supervision of firms, is vital to its role. The FCA’s credibility, authority and value to consumers would be undermined if it were possible for the Government to intervene in such operational matters.

As such, it is not appropriate for the Government to publicly discuss the FCA’s discharging of their supervisory duties in respect of Lendy’s financial promotions. However, I have passed your requests onto the FCA for them to respond to directly. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment the Financial Conduct Authority has undertaken on promotions issued by firms with company numbers 743416 and 622666, currently known as Lendy Ltd.

As you may be aware, there is an ongoing Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) enforcement investigation into the collapse of the firms known as Lendy Ltd. It is important to stress that the independence of the FCA’s investigation, and its wider supervision of firms, is vital to its role. The FCA’s credibility, authority and value to consumers would be undermined if it were possible for the Government to intervene in such operational matters.

As such, it is not appropriate for the Government to publicly discuss the FCA’s discharging of their supervisory duties in respect of Lendy’s financial promotions. However, I have passed your requests onto the FCA for them to respond to directly. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Financial Conduct Authority on its investigation into the circumstances that led to the collapse of firms with company numbers 743416 and 622666, currently known as Lendy Ltd.

The FCA is an independent non-governmental body responsible for regulating and supervising the financial services industry. Although the Treasury sets the legal framework for the regulation of financial services, it has strictly limited powers in relation to the FCA. The Treasury has no general power of direction over the FCA and cannot intervene in individual cases. This matter is the responsibility of the FCA.

There are currently no plans to undertake a review of the conduct of the Financial Conduct Authority in relation to the collapse of the firms known as Lendy Ltd.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to undertake an independent review of the conduct of the Financial Conduct Authority in relation to the collapse of firms with company numbers 743416 and 622666, currently known as Lendy Ltd.

The FCA is an independent non-governmental body responsible for regulating and supervising the financial services industry. Although the Treasury sets the legal framework for the regulation of financial services, it has strictly limited powers in relation to the FCA. The Treasury has no general power of direction over the FCA and cannot intervene in individual cases. This matter is the responsibility of the FCA.

There are currently no plans to undertake a review of the conduct of the Financial Conduct Authority in relation to the collapse of the firms known as Lendy Ltd.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the financial services sector on tackling financial exclusion.

Tackling financial exclusion remains a key priority for the Government and HM Treasury engages on a regular basis with a wide range of stakeholders, the financial services sector and the regulators to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their background or income, have access to useful and affordable financial products and services.

The Government established the Financial Inclusion Policy Forum in November 2017 with a membership of leaders from across the financial services sector, charities and consumer groups. The Forum is co-chaired by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion and meets twice a year. It provides leadership and ensures collaboration across government and with the sector in tackling financial exclusion. The Forum’s last meeting was in November 2020.

In recent months, the Government has worked closely together with the financial services industry, charities and the regulators to provide unprecedented support to those at risk of financial exclusion as a result of COVID-19. This work is detailed in the Government’s Financial Inclusion Report 2019-20, which was published on 19 November 2020 and can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-inclusion-report-2019-2020.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what guidance he has provided to banks on the opening of new (a) personal, (b) business, and (c) charity accounts in (i) Tier 1, (ii) Tier 2, and (c) Tier 3 covid-19 restriction areas.

The Government recognises that bank and building society branches continue to play an important role in providing access to banking for individuals, businesses and charities, including for those who either do not have access to digital services or require specialist support. The Government has worked with the financial regulators and the industry to ensure that personal, business and charity customers can continue to access bank branches for essential services, including opening accounts, in all Covid-19 restriction tiers. The vast majority of branches have remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

For personal account customers, the 9 largest personal current account providers in the UK are legally required to offer fee-free basic bank accounts to customers who do not have a bank account in the UK or who are ineligible for a bank’s standard current account. Throughout Covid-19, designated providers have continued to offer basic bank accounts.

Unprecedented demand for services has meant banks have faced significant capacity pressures which has limited their ability to meet demand, for business bank accounts in particular. Banks are doing all they can to meet this demand in these difficult circumstances.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of permitting a standard variable rate of over 4 per cent on former Northern Rock mortgages now managed by unregulated lenders, following confirmation by the Bank of England that interest rates will remain at 0.1 per cent; and what recent discussions he has had with the Financial Conduct Authority in relation to their oversight of unregulated lenders.

The setting of SVRs is a generally a matter for lenders, in which the government plays no role. In government sales of NRAM mortgages, however, purchasers have been restricted in the changes they can make to the SVR for at least 12 months after the transfer of ownership. The purchasers in most recent UKAR asset sales have been required to set the SVR by reference to the SVRs charged by a basket of 15 active lenders, for the lifetime of customers’ loans.

Recent data from Moneyfacts found the average standard variable rate (SVR) across the entire mortgage market to be 4.44%. The rates former NRAM customers pay are therefore consistent with market standard rates.

In all sales of UKAR assets, the servicer of customers’ loans has remained FCA-regulated. In all but the first sale, the legal title holder of customers’ loans has also remained FCA-regulated.

The Government is open to considering an extension to the regulatory perimeter where the benefits to consumers and markets can be demonstrated. It is important to note, though, that a change in perimeter will not help customers to switch to a cheaper deal, or materially lower the rates of their mortgage.

Thousands of borrowers will now find it easier to switch to an active lender or continue interest only payments thanks to recent rule changes by the FCA, and we continue to work with the FCA to look for practical new solutions to help borrowers.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the progress of the Kickstart scheme.

Ministers and officials in Her Majesty’s Treasury continue to work closely with colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions on the development and progress of the Kickstart scheme.

As of 11 November, the scheme has received 4,359 applications from employers and gateway organisations across Great Britain and 19,672 job placements have been created for young people at risk of long-term unemployment. The roles cover a range of different sectors, including construction, arts and entertainment, health social work, manufacturing, retail, transport and the public and voluntary sector.

The first Kickstart participants have started in their roles and we expect hundreds of thousands more jobs to be created over the next year.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect on unemployment of the covid-19 outbreak in areas with a high proportion of aviation-related jobs.

The Government recognises the challenging circumstances facing the aviation industry as a result of Covid-19 and firms experiencing difficulties can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital and flexibilities with tax bills. The aerospace sector and its aviation customers are being supported with over £9 billion support through the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, grants for research and development, loan guarantees and support for aerospace exports.

The Chancellor also announced on 5 November that the CJRS will be extended until March, with employees receiving 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. This will continue to protect jobs and businesses across the UK in light of recent developments in the path of the virus, and the new temporary restrictions announced by the Prime Minister.

The Government also recognises that every region and community will be feeling the impact of this crisis and remains committed to helping the unemployed return to work and supporting those most vulnerable to job losses. We will continue to work closely with local areas to make sure that individuals and businesses are directed to the right support during this difficult period, and will continue to consider how best to target interventions at the places where they are most needed.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish an economic impact assessment of the effect on airports of his decision to (a) withdraw the VAT Retail Export Scheme for all passengers and (b) remove tax-free sales for non-excise goods throughout the UK.

Ahead of the end of the transition period, the Government has announced the VAT and excise duty treatment of goods purchased by individuals for personal use and carried in their luggage arriving from or going overseas (passengers). The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom (UK) will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the UK, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain will not be extended to EU residents and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods will be removed across the UK.

The Government published a consultation which ran from 11 March to 20 May. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation. The Government is also continuing to meet and discuss with stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

The detailed rationale for these changes is included in the written ministerial statement and summary of responses to the recent consultation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-09-11/hcws448 and https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-duty-free-and-tax-free-goods-carried-by-passengers. A technical note has also been issued to stakeholders to expand on this document and to respond to issues raised by stakeholders.

HMRC estimate that VAT RES refunds cost about £0.5 billion in VAT in 2019 for about 1.2 million non-EU visitors. In 2019 the ONS estimated there were substantially more EU visitors (24.8 million) than non-EU passengers (16.0 million) to the UK. This implies an extension to EU residents would significantly increase the cost by up to an estimated £0.9 billion. This would result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU visitors which already happens without a refund mechanism in place, potentially taking the total cost up to about £1.4 billion per annum.

The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales currently affects airports that fly to non-EU destinations. The extension of duty-free sales to EU bound passengers will be a significant boost to all airports in England, Scotland and Wales, including smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

HMRC estimate that about £150 million of VAT is not charged as a result of tax-free airside sales. As with the VAT RES, extending the relief to the EU would significantly increase the cost of the scheme and result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU-bound passengers which already happens.

The final costings will be subject to scrutiny by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility and will be set out at the next forecast.

The Government also recognises the challenges that the aviation sector is facing as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19 and has supported the sector throughout the pandemic, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on airports of the proposals he made in the Consultation on the potential approach to duty- and tax-free goods arising from the UK’s new relationship with the EU: A summary of responses, published by his Department in September 2020.

Ahead of the end of the transition period, the Government has announced the VAT and excise duty treatment of goods purchased by individuals for personal use and carried in their luggage to or from Great Britain. The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the United Kingdom, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales of non-excise goods and the VAT Retail Export Scheme will not be extended to passengers travelling to the EU, and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales currently affects airports that fly to non-EU destinations. The extension of duty-free sales to EU bound passengers will be a significant boost to all airports in England, Scotland and Wales, including Heathrow and smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free before.

The Government also recognises the challenges the aviation sector is facing as it recovers from the impacts of Covid-19 and has supported the sector throughout the pandemic, and continues to do so, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of appointing a senior minister with responsibility for financial wellbeing.

The Government aims to ensure that people across the UK have good financial wellbeing. It does this by supporting individuals’ financial capability so they can access the guidance they need and develop the skills and confidence to successfully manage their finances. It is also a priority for the Government to promote financial inclusion and ensure that consumers can access useful and affordable financial products and services, which also contributes to having a positive financial wellbeing.

Within Government, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury has policy responsibility for the financial inclusion, financial education, financial advice, money guidance and debt advice. The Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion holds responsibility for pensions and pensions guidance. The Economy Secretary and the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion also co-chair the Government’s Financial Inclusion Policy Forum, which brings together leaders on financial inclusion to ensure collaboration between government and the sector.

Money and pensions guidance is delivered through the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), an arms-length body of the Department of Work and Pensions. MaPS was established in January 2019, merging the three former organisations providing free-to-use financial guidance to simplify the existing public financial guidance landscape and offer more holistic support to consumers. MaPS also has a statutory function to develop and coordinate the UK’s strategy on financial capability and as such recently published its “National Financial Wellbeing Strategy”, which sets out goals to improve the UK’s financial wellbeing over the next ten years.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support he is providing to airports in England and Wales in response to the economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19 and firms experiencing difficulties as a result of COVID-19 can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

As the Chancellor set out in his letter to the aviation sector, should individual firms still find themselves in difficulty after exhausting all other options, the Government is willing to enter discussions with them as a last resort. Any intervention would need to represent value for money for taxpayers.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will amend rules of the Enterprise Investment Scheme to help protect Future Fund investors from losing relief on previous investments.

The Government intends to amend the legislation for both the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) to ensure that individuals who have made EIS or SEIS investments prior to a Future Fund loan investment in the same company will not lose relief on those existing investments when the Future Fund loan converts to shares or is repaid.

This will ensure that investors who have used the EIS or SEIS for a previous investment are not disincentivised from providing further support to innovative companies eligible through the Future Fund.

The legislation will take effect from the start date of the Future Fund, which is 20 May 2020.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that people (a) who are shielding, (b) who live with people who are shielding and (c) identified as clinically vulnerable during the covid-19 outbreak but are not shielding are furloughed by employers where that is an option.

Employees who are unable to work because they are shielding in line with public health guidance, or who need to stay home with someone who is shielding, can be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Those who are clinically vulnerable but not shielding are eligible for furlough on the same grounds as other employees. Any decision to access the CJRS is at the employer’s discretion.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people have been furloughed through the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme in each sector of the economy since the start of that scheme.

Applications for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) opened on Monday 20 April. By midnight on 24 May, one million employers had submitted claims to HMRC representing 8.4m furloughed employments and £15bn.

This is a new scheme and HMRC are currently working through the analysis they will be able to provide based on the data available. HMRC will make the timescales for publication and the types of data available in due course.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many organisations have applied for support through the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme since the start of that scheme.

Applications for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) opened on Monday 20 April. By midnight on 24 May, one million employers had submitted claims to HMRC representing 8.4m furloughed employments and £15bn.

This is a new scheme and HMRC are currently working through the analysis they will be able to provide based on the data available. HMRC will make the timescales for publication and the types of data available in due course.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many organisations using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme have furloughed (a) less than 10, (b) 10-50, (c) 51-100, (d) 101-150, (e) 151-200, (f) 201-250, (g) 251-300 and (h) more than 300 employees since the start of that scheme.

It has not been possible to provide an answer based on complete data in the time available.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support furloughed employees that were employed after 28 February 2020 and are not eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme eligibility cut-off date has been pushed back from 28 February to 19 March, so that employers can claim for furloughed employees that were on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and for whom HMRC received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before the 19 March 2020. This means that employees who were originally ineligible can now participate in the scheme.

Those not eligible may be able to access other Government support, including a package of temporary welfare measures and up to three months’ mortgage payment holidays for those struggling with their mortgage payments.
Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the 12-month Business Rates holiday to the furniture and furnishings manufacturing sector.

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief, given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, such as manufacturers, has also been made available.

These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms to keep people in employment, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and VAT deferrals.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to take steps to encourage companies to rehire and furlough employees that ceased work on or after 28 February 2020 to take up a new job which has fallen through as a result of covid-19.

The eligibility cut-off date for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been pushed back from 28 February, allowing employers to claim for furloughed employees that were on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and for whom HMRC received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before the 19 March 2020. This means that employees who were originally ineligible can now participate in the scheme.

Employers can agree to re-employ individuals who stopped working for them after 28 February 2020 and place them on furlough. This applies even if they are not re-employed until after 19 March 2020, as long as they were on the employer’s payroll on or before 28 February 2020. Use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is at the discretion of the employer. If a firm chooses not to do this, individuals may be able to access the other support Government is providing, including a package of temporary welfare measures and up to three-month mortgage payment holidays for those struggling with their mortgage payments.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including (a) mobile food vendors and (b) other non-business rate hospitality businesses in his cash grant support package for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

The Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund have been designed to support the smallest businesses, and smaller businesses in some of the sectors which have been hit hardest by the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Both schemes have been tied to the business rates system because these businesses are likely to face particularly high fixed costs, such as fixed rents and other building-related costs. The grants schemes are already making a real difference to many thousands of businesses, which have received a total of around £1 billion since the schemes were launched.

Small businesses which are not eligible for these grants’ schemes should be able to benefit from other measures in the Government’s unprecedented package of support for business, including:

  • An option to defer VAT payments by up to twelve months;
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, now extended to cover all businesses including those which would be able to access commercial credit;
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to support businesses with their wage bills;
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, to provide support to the self-employed.

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply - https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what dividends the Government has received from Northern Rock Asset Management in each of the last five years; and what recent estimate he has made of the market value of the assets of Northern Rock Asset Management.

NRAM Ltd is a subsidiary of UK Asset Resolution (UKAR) and does not pay dividends directly to HM Treasury. NRAM Ltd’s assets are not market-traded. However, its most recent Annual Report and Accounts state that as of 31 March 2019, NRAM Ltd had total capital and reserves of £5,129 million. This is before a dividend of £2,690m was paid to UKAR in May 2019 and a further dividend of £1,950m was paid to UKAR in July 2019. NRAM has made no other dividend payments to UKAR. UKAR paid dividends of £2.7 billion to HM Treasury in 2019.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the risks to the UK economy of covid-19 in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021.

The government is actively monitoring the outbreak and is well prepared for any effect it may have on the UK economy. The impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the UK economy is highly uncertain and it is too early to assess the impact. As an open economy, the UK is exposed to a global economic slowdown caused by Covid-19.

Decisions taken since 2010 mean the public finances have been restored, the economy has grown each year and we have reached near record levels of employment. Those strengths mean we are well-placed to deal with any potential impact caused by Covid-19.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on funding for additional resources for the NHS to respond to the spread of covid-19.

The Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Health often meet to discuss funding issues. Public safety is the government’s top priority and the Treasury is ready to work with departments facing pressures from the coronavirus outbreak to ensure they have appropriate budget cover.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make publish unredacted (a) marketing documents and (b) information memoranda provided by (i) HM Treasury, (ii) UK Asset Resolution and (iii) NRAM Ltd to potential bidders for portfolios of former Northern Rock mortgages.

The details of these transactions are commercially sensitive and are, or have been, subject to non-disclosure agreements. Publishing these documents would damage the government’s reputation as a seller of assets, which would impair our ability to undertake future asset sales.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish unredacted data on (a) the interest revenue produced by the former Northern Rock mortgage book in public ownership, (b) the overall revenue produced by that book including revenue from redemptions, (c) the level of arrears at (i) one month or more and (ii) three months or more as a percentage of the overall balance of that book and (d) the average loan-to-value ratio of that book at (A) monthly and (B) quarterly intervals from the date Northern Rock was nationalised.

NRAM publishes detailed information on its asset portfolios and revenue in its annual report and accounts – these reports are available at https://www.ukar.co.uk/nram/nram-financial-results/2019.

UKAR regularly publishes a corporate factsheet on its overall portfolio and financial position – the latest edition of this update is available on UKAR’s website at https://www.ukar.co.uk/~/media/Files/U/Ukar-V3/documents/ukar-factsheet-05-06-2019.pdf

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of available appointments slots with the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services in each of the next three months for people applying for UK citizenship.

UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) centres are run by Sopra Steria Ltd (SSL) on behalf of UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI).

UKVCAS appointments are released to all customers simultaneously, irrespective of the route they have applied under.

SSL release new UKVCAS appointments on a daily basis, 28 days in advance. The number of appointments added into the system is not constant as it depends on a number of factors.

In w/c 18 January 2021, 15,030 appointments were offered across the network of UKVCAS service points.

UKVI works closely with SSL to monitor appointment levels to ensure sufficient appointments are made available overall and including in geographical regions where there appears to be most demand.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has provided an extension to people applying for British citizenship by naturalisation to provide their fingerprints, photo and additional information and book a citizenship ceremony during the covid-19 outbreak.

Extra time is being provided to customers applying for British citizenship to enable them to enrol their biometric information, which includes providing their photograph and fingerprints. We are also providing additional time to customers to provide further information in support of their application.

Normally, a customer is required to attend their citizenship ceremony within three months of receiving their invitation from the Home Office. Due to the current pandemic this period has been extended to six months.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, how many Downing Street covid-19-related press conferences have been held since the start of the outbreak; and how many of those press conferences have been led by a (a) male and (b) female member of the Cabinet.

Transcripts of lead ministerial statements from covid-19 related press conferences can be found on the gov.uk website.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the levels of catalytic converter theft in the last twelve months; and what steps her Department is taking to reduce levels of such theft.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) collects data on incidents regarding theft from a vehicle, including details of the items stolen, such as car parts. From April 2019 to March 2020, an estimate of recorded household incidents from the CSEW shows that in 1.6% of incidents of theft from vehicles, a catalytic converter was stolen. The figures are published here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/adhocs/12496catalyticconvertersstoleninincidentsoftheftfromvehiclesyearendingmarch2015toyearendingmarch2020crimesurveyforenglandandwales

The Government recognises the negative impact this crime has on industry and the public, causing distress and disruption to victims. We continue to work to understand what more can be done to tackle the theft of catalytic converters. In May I held a meeting with representatives of the motor industry to discuss vehicle crime, including the theft of catalytic converters. In November, the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Vehicle Crime hosted a problem-solving workshop on catalytic converter theft to discuss what action can be taken to reduce these thefts.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many items of MPs’ correspondence have not received a reply within the 20-day target in the last six months.

The Department work to a target of responding to 95% of MPs written correspondence within 20 working days.

On policy related correspondence the Department has replied to 4,023 letters from hon. Members in the last six months. Of these 2,600 have been replied to in over 20 days.

The latest published data on UKVI performance against the service standard is held at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/customer-service-operations-data-august-2020

This includes data from quarter 2 - 2017 up to and including the end of quarter 2-2020/21. We are proposing the release of data for quarter 3, in due course.

Performance has been impacted by a very significant increase in the volume of correspondence received, alongside the need for Ministers and officials to instigate a remote process for drafting and signing correspondence during the period of COVID-19 restrictions. An action plan is currently in place to clear backlogs and drive up performance.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance her Department has produced for victims of domestic abuse on their safety during the covid-19 outbreak and period of social distancing.

We are acutely aware of the need to put victims at the heart of our approach to tackling domestic abuse at this time. We are working closely with the domestic abuse sector to monitor and assess impacts and needs.

The Government has posted advice regarding national helpline on gov.uk to guide victims to the most appropriate support for their individual needs. This has been extensively promoted through our awareness raising campaign #YouAreNotAlone.

The Home Office has provided £2m of funding including to help bolster such helplines at this time; £1.2m of this has been allocated. This is in addition to the £750 million funding package announced by the Chancellor, £76 million of which will support survivors of?domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery?as well as ensure that vulnerable children and young people continue to get the help they need. From this funding the HO launched a £2m fund for national and regionally based domestic abuse organisations, bids to which are currently being assessed.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what additional resources her Department plans to make available to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to help it perform its role as regulator for the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018; and if she will make a statement.

As an independent public body, decisions on the allocation of resources within the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)’s overall budget are matters for the Commission. In the current financial year, the EHRC has an allocated budget of £17.7m and has revised its allocated funding for enforcement of these regulations using existing funds.

The Government Equalities Office monitors the volume of complaints about accessible websites made in the first instance to the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS), and is satisfied that this remains well within the current budgets of both the EASS and the EHRC. This position will be kept under review.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain on the grounds of long residency her Department received in each month over the last two years; and how many of those applications submitted prior to 30 June 2019 are yet to be processed.

We do not publish this data for this specific group of applicants but as per the In-Country migration statistics published in August 2019, 98.2% of settlement applications were decided within the six-month service standard.

This figure will include applications made by those seeking Indefinite Leave to Remain on the grounds of long residency.

The data can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/in-country-migration-data-august-2019.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people aged (a) 16 and under and (b) over 16 years old undertook work experience in his Department in each of the last three years.

The Department does not offer any formal work experience opportunities to individuals aged 16 and under.

The Department participates in a number of programmes open to individuals over 16 years old.

The Summer Diversity Internship Programme is a six to nine-week paid internship for individuals in their last year of undergraduate study, organised by Cabinet Office. The Early Diversity Internship Programme is a one-week shadowing opportunity for first year undergraduates, organised by Cabinet Office.

There is also a shorter Work Experience programme for individuals aged 17 to 18, organised by Cabinet Office. We also participate in Movement to Work, a work experience programme for young people (18-30 years old) who are not in education, employment or training.

In 2019 we also ran a Smart Futures programme for young people (16-17 years old). Placements numbers for the last three years are detailed in the below table:

Programme

2019

2018

2017

Summer Diversity Internship Programme

24

23

22

Early Diversity Internship Programme

12

8

8

Work experience programme

2

0

2

Movement to Work

5

5

0

Smart Futures

10

0

0

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her policy is on the charging of the immigration health surcharge to people that are victims of sex trafficking and that have successfully applied for leave to remain.

There is a specific exemption from the requirement to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge for individuals making immigration applications which relate to the person’s identification as a victim of slavery, including victims of sex trafficking.

This ensures that victims of this horrendous crime are not prevented from seeking leave to remain by the cost of making an application. Separately, NHS regulations make clear that those identified as a victim of human trafficking are not subject to overseas visitor charges.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce anti-social behaviour in Feltham and Heston constituency.

We recognise the impact that anti-social behaviour can have on victims, which is why we reformed the powers available to tackle it through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The Act provides police and local agencies with a range of flexible tools and powers that they can use to respond quickly and effectively to anti-social behaviour.

Strengthening police numbers is a priority for the Government. Our commitment to recruit 20,000 additional police officers over the next three years will assist Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables to deploy resources to tackle incidents of anti-social behaviour and crime as they see fit. South Yorkshire Police have a year 1 recruitment target of 151

The powers are deliberately local in nature, and it is for local agencies to determine whether their use is appropriate in the circumstances. We keep anti-social behaviour policy under review through the Anti-social Behaviour Strategic Board which brings together key partners.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans his Department has to support VE day celebrations in local communities.

The Ministry of Defence will be supporting a number of regional events through the provision of Service personnel, Armed Forces' bands and aircraft for flypasts. Service personnel will be present in local parades and processions across the UK and the Channel Islands. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are planning to carry out flypasts over at least 90 events on Friday 8 May 2020 and a further 70 during the weekend of 9-10 May 2020.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent progress he has made on bringing forward legislative proposals on leasehold extension and commonhold reform.

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. We are taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market.

We will reform the process of enfranchisement valuation that leaseholders must follow to calculate the cost of extending their lease or buying their freehold. The Government will abolish marriage value, cap the treatment of ground rents at 0.1% of the freehold value, prescribe rates for the calculations at market value, and introduce an online calculator.

Through our reforms, the length of a statutory lease extension will increase to 990 years, from 90 years (for flats) and 50 years (for houses). Leaseholders will be able to extend their lease with zero ground rent on payment of a premium. Leaseholders will also be able to voluntarily agree to a restriction on future development of their property to avoid paying ‘development value’.

Having closely reviewed the Law Commission’s report on Commonhold, we will establish a new Commonhold Council as a partnership of industry, leaseholders and Government that will prepare homeowners and the market for the widespread take-up of commonhold. This will take time and close working with consumers and industry, and the Commonhold Council will be the critical first step.

The Government will respond to the Law Commission’s remaining recommendations on enfranchisement, commonhold and right to manage in due course. The Government will also ban the sale of new leasehold houses, give freehold homeowners equivalent rights to challenge unfair charges, and close loopholes to prevent unfair evictions.

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 upcoming session. This will be the first part of major two-part legislation to implement leasehold and commonhold reforms in this Parliament.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of rolling out the voluntary right to buy scheme to housing association tenants in Feltham and Heston constituency.

The Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands pilot is now in its final stages, and an independent evaluation of the pilot was published in February 2021. The Government committed to evaluate new pilot areas.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress his Department has made on contributing to the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund; and if he will make a statement.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK. The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government and the Department of Work and Pensions have been working closely on the development of UK Shared Prosperity Fund, in collaboration with other government departments.

The November 2020 Spending Review sets out the main strategic elements of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The UK Government will publish a UK-wide investment framework in spring 2021 and confirm multiyear funding profiles at the next Spending Review.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what consultation the Minister for Employment has conducted on the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund with (a) representatives of the employment support sector and (b) more widely.

The Government has been engaging with key stakeholders on the design and priorities of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund since 2016, including holding a series of engagement events.  Over 500 stakeholders attended these events across a variety of sectors, including businesses, public bodies (such as Local Enterprise Partnerships, Mayoral Combined Authorities, local governments), higher education institutions, voluntary and charity sector and rural partnership groups.

Our engagement events have taken place across the UK including in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. We will continue to work closely with interested parties as we develop the fund.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) section 8 and (b) section 21 notices issued by landlords to tenants subject to the benefits cap who have fallen into arrears in the last two years.

The Department does not routinely collect data on the number of Section 21 or Section 8 notices served by landlords. However, the Ministry of Justice publishes national statistics on possession actions in county courts by private and social landlords at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mortgage-and-landlord-possession-statistics-july-to-september-2020.

To protect tenants over the winter, we have changed the law so that landlords must provide tenants with six months’ notice before they can bring a claim to the county court for possession in all but the most serious cases. This means that tenants served notice today do not need to leave their homes until June 2021 providing more time to seek advice to find alternative accommodation or support.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had in the last six months with (a) Firstport and (b) A2Dominion on their level of service charges for leaseholders and the quality of service they provide to them.

The Secretary of State has not had discussions with the organisations Firstport or A2Dominion regarding their use of service charges within the last six months. The Government believes very strongly that service charges should be fair, transparent and communicated effectively wherever they are used, and that there should be a clear route to challenge or redress if things go wrong.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether representatives from (a) Firstport and (b) A2Dominion have participated in departmental (i) committees and (ii) advisory boards on (A) policy development and (B) departmental priorities in the last three years.

Representatives from Firstport and A2Dominion attended an official led technical working group for reviewing leasehold major works consultations (Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985) in 2017/18, last meeting in April 2018. Firstport and A2Dominion have not participated in any further departmental committees or advisory boards on policy development or departmental priorities in the last three years.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the ability of people who are shielding to access existing support for accessing (a) food, (b) medicines, (c) other essentials.

The Government has established an outbound call centre to proactively call people who have not yet registered to confirm their support needs. Up to 200,000 calls a day have been made at peak volumes. The shielding programme was set up at an unprecedented speed in March to help clinically extremely vulnerable individuals access support, including food, basic supplies and medicines. Anyone who has an NHS or GP letter advising them they need to shield, and has registered as having no other means of accessing food, has been eligible for a Government parcel containing food and essential supplies to be delivered to their home. For those who have requested support, we have delivered over 2.5 million food packages to those at highest risk across England, and an NHS Medicine Delivery Service is available from community pharmacies and dispensing doctors where family, friends or volunteers cannot collect prescriptions. In April alone community pharmacies provided over 400,000 free medicine deliveries to shielding individuals. Additionally, the Department works closely with local authorities so that they can also adequately support their shielding population.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what (a) financial, (b) emotional an (c) additional support the Government plans to provide to people (i) who are shielding, (ii) who live with people who are shielding and (iii) identified as clinically vulnerable when the family members and volunteers they rely on return to work as lockdown restrictions are lifted during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government launched the shielding programme in March to help clinically extremely vulnerable individuals get food parcels, basic supplies and put them in contact with local services and volunteers to provide social and emotional support. The Government will continue to provide the support that the shielded in our communities need. We will continue with our package of financial support, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Income Support Package until October and Statutory Sick Pay. In line with the current public health advice, those living with shielding people are not advised to shield themselves, and should follow social distancing guidance, remaining alert and safe.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had with the Local Government Association on the adequacy of funding allocated by local authorities for the provision of youth services.

I and my Ministerial colleagues and officials have very regular engagement with the Local Government Association (LGA) and other representatives of local government on a wide range of issues, including services for children and young people.

In 2020-21, local government will receive the largest year-on-year increase in spending power in almost a decade. Core Spending Power will rise by an estimated 4.4 per cent in real terms, to around £49.2 billion. This will help provide valuable support for services to young people. Longer term funding decisions will be made at the next Spending Review.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what (a) funding and (b) resources his Department has allocated to local authorities to help reduce the carbon footprint of those authorities.

98 per cent of local authorities are taking action to reduce emissions from their areas, or from their own estate. Councils are vital agents for change, able to bring together local people and local opportunities, through effective use of planning, housing and waste management powers. My Department is engaging with councils and the Local Government Association, as well as other departments in Westminster, to ensure this vital role is supported appropriately by central government policy.

This year’s proposed local government finance settlement for 2020-21 will provide access to the largest year-on-year increase in spending power in a decade, an increase of £2.9 billion or 4.4 per cent in real terms. Local authorities are able to spend non-ringfenced funding as they see fit to meet local priorities, including reducing their carbon footprint, and are accountable to their local electorate for their spending.

Luke Hall
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to review the handling of disputes by (a) housing associations and (b) property management companies in respect of service charge increases for leaseholders.

The law is clear that service charges must be reasonable and, where costs relate to work or services, these must be of a reasonable standard. Where leaseholders feel that the increase in the level of service charges which they are asked to pay is unreasonable, they can make a complaint to one of the Government-recognised redress schemes: The Property Redress Scheme or The Property Ombudsman, which all managing agents are required to belong to. They may also make an application to the First-tier Tribunal to make a determination on the reasonableness of their service charges.

In October 2018 the Government established an independent Regulation of Property Agents working group, chaired by Lord Best, to raise standards across the property sector, which also considered how fees such as service charges should be presented to consumers.

The working group published its final report to Government on 18 July 2019. The report recommended that a new regulator be given a statutory duty to include provisions to ensure transparency of service charges in its regulatory code, as well as responsibility for enforcement action where infringements by managing agents take place. We are considering the report’s recommendations and will announce next steps in due course.

The Government also announced plans in January 2019 for a new Housing Complaints Resolution Service by establishing a single point of access to all current redress schemes. The Service aims to provide housing consumers with a clear and simple route to redress.

We have established a Redress Reform Working Group with existing housing redress schemes and consumer bodies, and intend to develop the Service in collaboration with them.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many young offenders received (a) no visitors, (b) one visitor and (c) more than one visitor a month in each young offender institution in each of the last 12 months.

This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Governors and Directors of contracted prisons are required to actively encourage young people in custody to maintain outside contacts and meaningful family ties, which is integral to the children’s’ right to family life as well as their rehabilitation. Visits are also vital in sustaining their relationships with close relatives and friends, where appropriate, while helping to maintain community ties.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many people aged (a) 16 and under and (b) over 16 years old undertook work experience in his Department in each of the last three years.

During the last three years there has been no formal work experience undertaken in the Northern Ireland Office by anyone over 16 years old.

Informal work experience for people below the age of 16 was undertaken on seven occasions over the last three years.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many people aged (a) 16 and under and (b) over 16 years old undertook work experience in his Department in each of the last three years.

In each of the last three years, the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland has offered a small number of work experience opportunities to people under and over the age of 16.

Due to the small numbers involved, specific details cannot be provided to protect the privacy and identity of the individuals concerned.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland