Theresa Villiers Portrait

Theresa Villiers

Conservative - Chipping Barnet

Petitions Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 1st Mar 2021
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
24th Jul 2019 - 13th Feb 2020
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee)
28th Nov 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
6th Sep 2012 - 14th Jul 2016
Minister of State (Department for Transport) (Rail and Aviation)
14th May 2010 - 6th Sep 2012
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
3rd Jul 2007 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
10th May 2005 - 3rd Jul 2007
Environmental Audit Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 16th Jan 2006


Oral Question
Wednesday 6th July 2022
11:30
Wales Office
Oral Question No. 6
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on providing support with the cost of living for people in Wales.
Save to Calendar
Oral Question
Wednesday 6th July 2022
12:00
Cabinet Office
Oral Question No. 15
If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 6 July.
Division Votes
Monday 27th June 2022
Northern Ireland Protocol Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 283 Conservative Aye votes vs 0 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 295 Noes - 221
Speeches
Thursday 30th June 2022
Iran’s Nuclear Programme
My right hon. Friend is making a powerful speech. Does he agree that, far from the JCPOA-minus that seems to …
Written Answers
Thursday 30th June 2022
Park and Ride Schemes
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to promote park-and-ride schemes at rail and …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 3rd February 2021
Air Quality Bill 2019-21
A Bill to make provision for improving air quality.
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 26th July 2021
1. Employment and earnings
13 July 2021, received £200 from the Telegraph Media Group Ltd, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT, for an …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 30th January 2018
Kew Gardens (Leases) (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
A Bill to Provide that the Secretary of State’s powers in relation to the management of the Royal Botanic Gardens, …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Theresa Villiers has voted in 457 divisions, and 4 times against the majority of their Party.

12 Oct 2020 - Agriculture Bill - View Vote Context
Theresa Villiers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 14 Conservative No votes vs 327 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 332 Noes - 279
20 Jul 2020 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Theresa Villiers voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative Aye votes vs 323 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 263 Noes - 326
13 May 2020 - Remote Division result: New Clause 2 - View Vote Context
Theresa Villiers voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Conservative Aye votes vs 326 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 277 Noes - 328
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Theresa Villiers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 97 Conservative No votes vs 224 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 369 Noes - 126
View All Theresa Villiers 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government efficiency)
(20 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(16 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(13 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
View all Theresa Villiers's debates

Chipping Barnet Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Chipping Barnet signature proportion
Petitions with most Chipping Barnet signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Every year across the UK, millions of farmed animals are kept in cages, unable to express their natural behaviours and experiencing huge suffering. These inhumane systems cannot be the future of British farming. The UK Government must legislate to ‘End the Cage Age’ for all farmed animals.

We have the second most expensive childcare system in the world. A full time place costs, on average, £14,000 per year, making it completely unaffordable for many families. Parents are forced to leave their jobs or work fewer hours, which has a negative impact on the economy and on child poverty.

Now the hedgehog has been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the UK, we are calling on the Government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection.

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.

The Government should explore using the new sanctions regime that allows individuals and entities that violate human rights around the world to be targeted, to impose sanctions on members of the Nigerian government and police force involved in any human rights abuses by the Nigerian police.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Latest EDMs signed by Theresa Villiers

Theresa Villiers has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Theresa Villiers, 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.


Theresa Villiers has not been granted any Urgent Questions

1 Adjournment Debate led by Theresa Villiers

Tuesday 8th September 2020

12 Bills introduced by Theresa Villiers


To make provision for the incorporation of the Direct Payments Regulation into domestic law; for enabling an increase in the total maximum amount of direct payments under that Regulation; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 30th January 2020 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to prevent the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009 from expiring on 11 November 2019.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 4th July 2019 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 10th February 2016

A Bill to make provision about the Independent Reporting Commission, extend the period for the appointment of Northern Ireland Ministers, modify the pledge made by Northern Ireland Ministers on taking office, provide for persons becoming Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to give an undertaking, and make provision about the draft budget of the Northern Ireland Executive, in pursuance of the agreement made on 17 November 2015 called A Fresh Start: The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 4th May 2016 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 19th November 2015

To make provision in connection with social security and child support maintenance in Northern Ireland; to make provision in connection with arrangements under section 1 of the Employment and Training Act (Northern Ireland) 1950; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 25th November 2015 and was enacted into law.


To make provision about donations, loans and related transactions for political purposes in connection with Northern Ireland; to amend the Northern Ireland Assembly Disqualification Act 1975 and the Northern Ireland Act 1998; to make provision about the registration of electors and the administration of elections in Northern Ireland; and to make miscellaneous amendments in the law relating to Northern Ireland.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 13th March 2014 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 30th January 2012

To make provision about the regulation of operators of dominant airports; to confer functions on the Civil Aviation Authority under competition legislation in relation to services provided at airports; to make provision about aviation security; to make provision about the regulation of provision of flight accommodation; to make further provision about the Civil Aviation Authority’s membership, administration and functions in relation to enforcement, regulatory burdens and the provision of information relating to aviation; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 19th December 2012 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 30th January 2012

To make provision about the regulation of operators of dominant airports; to confer functions on the Civil Aviation Authority under competition legislation in relation to services provided at airports; to make provision about aviation security; to make provision about the regulation of provision of flight accommodation; to make further provision about the Civil Aviation Authority’s membership, administration and functions in relation to enforcement, regulatory burdens and the provision of information relating to aviation; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 19th December 2012 and was enacted into law.


A has been called and Parliament is no longer sitting. The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before . This means the Bill will make no further progress. To make provision about targets, plans and policies for improving the natural environment; to make provision for the Office for Environmental Protection; to make provision about waste and resource efficiency; to make provision about air quality; to make provision for the recall of products that fail to meet environmental standards; to make provision about water; to make provision about nature and biodiversity; to make provision for conservation covenants; to make provision about the regulation of chemicals; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - Ways And Means Resolution: House Of Commons
Monday 28th October 2019
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision for improving air quality.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 3rd February 2021
(Read Debate)

A has been called and Parliament is no longer sitting. The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before . This means the Bill will make no further progress. To make provision about the mode of trial and maximum penalty for certain offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 15th October 2019

To prohibit the export of live farmed animals for slaughter or fattening; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 25th October 2017
(Read Debate)

The Bill was read and discharged. Bill withdrawn on Wednesday 24 October 2018.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 10th October 2018

459 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
13 Other Department Questions
27th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether sale of a property will continue to be a valid ground on which to end a tenancy once plans to abolish section 21 evictions are implemented.

As well as abolishing section 21 'no fault' evictions, we will introduce comprehensive, fair and efficient grounds to ensure landlords have confidence they can regain possession when it is reasonable. This includes introducing a new mandatory ground for landlords who wish to sell their property. To protect tenants' security, landlords will not be able to use this ground in the first six months of a tenancy.

These reforms to the grounds for possession are set out in the government response to our consultation 'A New Deal for Renting', published alongside our White Paper on 16 June 2022.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the abolition of ground rents on leaseholders' ability to ensure that building owners take responsibility for (a) building safety and (b) responding effectively to fire safety problems.

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill currently in Parliament will put an end to ground rents for new residential leasehold properties as part of the most significant changes to property law in a generation. The Bill's provisions will lead to fairer, more transparent homeownership for thousands of future leaseholders. Leaseholders pay ground rent on top of their property purchase price and service charges, yet there's no clear service provided in return.

The Ground Rent Bill is focused entirely on the issue of ground rents. The role of ensuring that the fabric of the building is maintained and safe for residents is an essential part of the relationship between freeholder, leaseholder and in some cases a managing agent. The cost of complying with these obligations is usually recoverable from the leaseholders through the service charge fund. In most cases the lease will allow the freeholder to recover the actual costs of the works, and the freeholder may also pass on the cost of managing or overseeing the works.

The Government is committed to bringing about the biggest improvement in building and fire safety for a generation. The Building Safety Bill contains measures to protect leaseholders by providing a legal requirement for building owners to prove they have tried all routes to cover the cost of essential safety works, along with evidence that this has been done. If this does not happen, leaseholders will be able to challenge these costs in the courts.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of abolishing ground rents on the effectiveness of the Building Safety Bill in ensuring accountability for building safety.

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill currently in Parliament will put an end to ground rents for new residential leasehold properties as part of the most significant changes to property law in a generation. The Bill's provisions will lead to fairer, more transparent homeownership for thousands of future leaseholders. Leaseholders pay ground rent on top of their property purchase price and service charges, yet there's no clear service provided in return.

The Ground Rent Bill is focused entirely on the issue of ground rents. The role of ensuring that the fabric of the building is maintained and safe for residents is an essential part of the relationship between freeholder, leaseholder and in some cases a managing agent. The cost of complying with these obligations is usually recoverable from the leaseholders through the service charge fund. In most cases the lease will allow the freeholder to recover the actual costs of the works, and the freeholder may also pass on the cost of managing or overseeing the works.

The Government is committed to bringing about the biggest improvement in building and fire safety for a generation. The Building Safety Bill contains measures to protect leaseholders by providing a legal requirement for building owners to prove they have tried all routes to cover the cost of essential safety works, along with evidence that this has been done. If this does not happen, leaseholders will be able to challenge these costs in the courts.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 26 October 2021 to Question 58318, what his Department's definition is of marriage value.

In January 2021, the Government announced a package of reforms on enfranchisement valuation. This included removing marriage value, which as set out in the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, is where leaseholders with less than 80 years should pay extra value when the landlord's and leaseholder's separate interests are 'married' into single ownership.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent discussions he has had with the professional building owner sector on proposals to abolish ground rents.

Leaseholders pay ground rent on top of their property purchase price and service charges, yet there's no clear service provided in return. The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill currently in Parliament will put an end to ground rents for new residential leasehold properties as part of the most significant changes to property law in a generation. The Bill's provisions will lead to fairer, more transparent homeownership for thousands of future leaseholders.

Following a consultation exercise, the Government announced its plans to restrict ground rents on new lease agreements in December 2017. The technical consultation Implementing Reforms to the Leasehold System in England ended on 26 November 2018 and we responded to it in June 2019. This received responses from a wide range of people, including professional building owners. On 7 January 2021, we announced that legislation would be brought forward in the upcoming session of Parliament, to set future ground rents to zero.

Since the announcement in 2017, ministers have met many professional owners and their representatives, as well as investors and developers. Details of Ministers' official meetings with external organisations are published and can be found on Gov.uk.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he has had with bodies representing communities with Latin American heritage.

The Government's vision is for a country where people live, work, learn and socialise together and share rights and responsibilities, whatever their background. The Government is committed to levelling up our country and strengthening communities to ensure everyone can progress, no matter their background.  The Government is committed to strengthening community integration across the country and is running several programmes on improving access to education, jobs and other opportunities for communities across the country. The Department has discussions with communities across the United Kingdom and would welcome the opportunity to discuss how government and civil society can promote understanding of Latin American communities.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the effect of restricting ground rents, as proposed in the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill, on (a) the involvement of professionals in managing blocks of flats and (b) fire safety.

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill currently in Parliament will put an end to ground rents for new residential leasehold properties as part of the most significant changes to property law in a generation. The Bill’s provisions will lead to fairer, more transparent homeownership for thousands of future leaseholders. Leaseholders pay ground rent on top of their property purchase price and service charges, yet there’s no clear service provided in return.

This will be the first part of seminal two-part reforming legislation in this Parliament. In January 2021, the Government announced a package of reforms on enfranchisement valuation. The Government will abolish marriage value, cap the treatment of ground rents at 0.1% of the freehold value, and prescribe rates for the calculations at market value. Our reforms to enfranchisement valuation ensure that sufficient compensation is paid to landlords to reflect their legitimate property interests.

The Ground Rent Bill is focused entirely on the issue of ground rents. Service and management charges are beyond the scope of this Bill. The role of ensuring that the fabric of the building is maintained and safe for residents is an essential part of the relationship between freeholder, leaseholder and in some cases a managing agent. The cost of complying with these obligations is usually recoverable from the leaseholders through the service charge fund. In most cases the lease will allow the freeholder to recover the actual costs of the works, and the freeholder may also pass on the cost of managing or overseeing the works.

The Government is committed to bringing about the biggest improvement in building and fire safety for a generation.  The Building Safety Bill contains measures to protect leaseholders by providing a legal requirement for building owners to prove they have tried all routes to cover the cost of essential safety works, along with evidence that this has been done. If this does not happen, leaseholders will be able to challenge these costs in the courts.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an estimate of the financial value of the marriage value which will be removed from freeholders under the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill.

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill currently in Parliament will put an end to ground rents for new residential leasehold properties as part of the most significant changes to property law in a generation. The Bill’s provisions will lead to fairer, more transparent homeownership for thousands of future leaseholders. Leaseholders pay ground rent on top of their property purchase price and service charges, yet there’s no clear service provided in return.

This will be the first part of seminal two-part reforming legislation in this Parliament. In January 2021, the Government announced a package of reforms on enfranchisement valuation. The Government will abolish marriage value, cap the treatment of ground rents at 0.1% of the freehold value, and prescribe rates for the calculations at market value. Our reforms to enfranchisement valuation ensure that sufficient compensation is paid to landlords to reflect their legitimate property interests.

The Ground Rent Bill is focused entirely on the issue of ground rents. Service and management charges are beyond the scope of this Bill. The role of ensuring that the fabric of the building is maintained and safe for residents is an essential part of the relationship between freeholder, leaseholder and in some cases a managing agent. The cost of complying with these obligations is usually recoverable from the leaseholders through the service charge fund. In most cases the lease will allow the freeholder to recover the actual costs of the works, and the freeholder may also pass on the cost of managing or overseeing the works.

The Government is committed to bringing about the biggest improvement in building and fire safety for a generation.  The Building Safety Bill contains measures to protect leaseholders by providing a legal requirement for building owners to prove they have tried all routes to cover the cost of essential safety works, along with evidence that this has been done. If this does not happen, leaseholders will be able to challenge these costs in the courts.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether freeholders will receive compensation for the loss of marriage value under the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill.

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill currently in Parliament will put an end to ground rents for new residential leasehold properties as part of the most significant changes to property law in a generation. The Bill’s provisions will lead to fairer, more transparent homeownership for thousands of future leaseholders. Leaseholders pay ground rent on top of their property purchase price and service charges, yet there’s no clear service provided in return.

This will be the first part of seminal two-part reforming legislation in this Parliament. In January 2021, the Government announced a package of reforms on enfranchisement valuation. The Government will abolish marriage value, cap the treatment of ground rents at 0.1% of the freehold value, and prescribe rates for the calculations at market value. Our reforms to enfranchisement valuation ensure that sufficient compensation is paid to landlords to reflect their legitimate property interests.

The Ground Rent Bill is focused entirely on the issue of ground rents. Service and management charges are beyond the scope of this Bill. The role of ensuring that the fabric of the building is maintained and safe for residents is an essential part of the relationship between freeholder, leaseholder and in some cases a managing agent. The cost of complying with these obligations is usually recoverable from the leaseholders through the service charge fund. In most cases the lease will allow the freeholder to recover the actual costs of the works, and the freeholder may also pass on the cost of managing or overseeing the works.

The Government is committed to bringing about the biggest improvement in building and fire safety for a generation.  The Building Safety Bill contains measures to protect leaseholders by providing a legal requirement for building owners to prove they have tried all routes to cover the cost of essential safety works, along with evidence that this has been done. If this does not happen, leaseholders will be able to challenge these costs in the courts.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will publish a plan for lifting covid-19 restrictions on admitting visitors to Parliament.

Following a full discussion at its meeting on Monday 8th March, the House of Commons Commission published on its website a roadmap on the plans for easing restrictions: The roadmap is available at the link below:

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/348/house-of-commons-commission/news/150524/commons-roadmap-out-of-lockdown/

At this present time the priority of the Commission continues to be the safety of all Members and staff and the continuation of Parliamentary business. Any decisions relating to non-passholder access is a matter for the Commissions of both Houses and will be reviewed at a later point based on the current public health advice at that time.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will publish a plan for lifting covid-19 restrictions on working practices in the House.

Following a full discussion at its meeting on Monday 8th March, the House of Commons Commission published on its website a roadmap on the plans for easing restrictions. The roadmap is available at the link below:

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/348/house-of-commons-commission/news/150524/commons-roadmap-out-of-lockdown/

4th Mar 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will set a date to permit the return of hon. Members' staff to the House as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

In line with Government advice and regulations, it is expected that the majority of people should continue working from home.

Following a full discussion at its meeting on Monday 8th March, the House of Commons Commission published on its website a roadmap on the plans for easing restrictions: The roadmap is available at the link below:

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/348/house-of-commons-commission/news/150524/commons-roadmap-out-of-lockdown/

It was agreed by the Commission that, where a Member is satisfied that a relevant exemption exists in addition to a wellbeing need, a limited number of Members’ staff may return from 9th March. This position will be reviewed at a later point based on the current public health advice at that time.

10th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, which Minister is now responsible for regulatory reform related to the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

As a result of leaving the EU, we now have the freedom to conceive and implement rules that serve our own interests and that are specifically tailored to the needs of the UK economy.

Ministers across departments have responsibility for regulatory reform in their respective areas and for ensuring we seize the opportunities of Brexit. In September 2021, we announced a package of regulatory reforms covering areas as diverse as: data reform, gene editing, clinical trials directive, the Future of Transport and AI strategy. Cabinet Office officials will continue to work with departments to deliver further reforms.

An announcement will be made in due course to confirm which Minister will lead this work, following the resignation of my Rt Hon Friend Lord Frost.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent progress he has made on implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform relevant to his Department.

On 16 September, Lord Frost announced how the government intends to implement recommendations of the Taskforce. This includes: concluding the consultation on developing a new regulatory framework, setting out bold strategies and proposals in the areas of data reform, gene editing, medical devices and Artificial Intelligence.

Across Government, departments are continuing to implement the recommendations, including bringing forward legislation when parliamentary time allows. The Brexit Opportunities Unit in the Cabinet Office is driving this work forward across government.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will add Latin American to the list of ethnic identities to be included in the next census.

The UK Statistics Authority is responsible for delivering the census and the National Statistician will make recommendations in 2023 on the future of the census. Census 2021 questions were based on their recommendations following 3 years of extensive research, consultation and evidence gathering. Any future census would follow a similar process when deciding on the format of questions.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will set a date when marriages can resume as the covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Government understands the huge significance of weddings. We recognise that because weddings have not been able to take place in recent months this has caused difficulty and distress for many people. As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, published in May, the Government has been examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups better to facilitate small weddings. We have worked closely with faith leaders and local government on how best to achieve this. The Prime Minister announced on 23 June that wedding and civil partnership ceremonies will be able to take place in England from 4 July. People should avoid having a large ceremony, and should invite no more than thirty family and friends. Venues should ensure they are COVID-19 secure.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to introduce voter ID as a requirement in elections.

The Government is committed to introducing Voter ID to strengthen the integrity of our electoral system and give the public confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century.

We will bring forward legislation when Parliamentary time allows.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to upgrade energy infrastructure to meet increased electricity demands as a result of the transition to electric vehicles.

Mechanisms are already in place to ensure that the electricity demand from the transition to electric vehicles can be met, both in terms of electricity generation capacity and electricity network capacity.

The market is already set up to bring forward investment in new generation capacity. The Contracts for Difference scheme supports investment in new low carbon generation, and additional demand can be managed through adjustments to the amount of capacity secured through the Capacity Market auctions.

Ofgem, as the independent regulator, uses the price control framework to ensure that electricity network companies provide the required infrastructure to deliver the capacity to meet both current and future demand on the network. Additionally, electric vehicles offer new opportunities for consumers to be part of a smarter and more flexible energy system. Smart charging during off-peak periods when electricity demand is low reduces the need for additional generation capacity and network reinforcement.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress he has made on implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform relevant to his Department.

My Rt. Hon. Friend will be unsurprised to hear that I welcomed the radical and ground-breaking report from TIGRR. On 16 September, my Noble Friend the Rt. Hon. Lord Frost outlined the Government’s overall response to the report. This included the list of recommendations which BEIS agreed to take forward. Lord Frost also wrote to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green. These can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/brexit-opportunities-regulatory-reforms

BEIS is continuing work to implement the agreed recommendations, subject to parliamentary time allowing.

Recent public consultations relevant to the agreed TIGRR recommendations include:

Offshore Networks Coordination – https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/offshore-transmission-network-review-proposals-for-an-enduring-regime; and

Reforming the framework for better regulation – https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reforming-the-framework-for-better-regulation.

We are analysing responses to the consultations and will announce more in due course. The conclusions of the latter consultation in particular – on which we are working closely with Lord Frost’s Brexit Opportunities Unit – will allow us to modernise our approach to regulatory design and deliver the aims for regulation in the Plan for Growth: to cut red tape, unlock cutting-edge technologies and boost competition.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many covid-19 vaccine doses he has ordered for a booster jab programme in autumn 2021.

The Government has confirmed we are preparing for a booster programme to take place later this year. We have secured early access to 397 million vaccines doses through supply agreements with six separate vaccine developers, of which four have been approved for use and three are currently in deployment. This includes agreements with:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech for 100 million doses
  • University of Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses
  • Moderna for 17 million doses
  • Novavax for 60 million doses
  • Janssen for 20 million doses
  • Valneva for 100 million doses

In addition, the Government has a reservation agreement with GlaxoSmithKline/Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses and a non-binding agreement with CureVac for 50 million doses.

Final decisions on what a booster programme would look like – including which vaccines will be used - will depend on the data from ongoing clinical trials, such as the COV-Boost trial, and advice from the independent medical experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many covid-19 vaccine doses will be available for booster jabs to be given in September and October 2021.

The Government has confirmed we are preparing for a booster programme to take place later this year. We have secured early access to 397 million vaccines doses through supply agreements with six separate vaccine developers, of which four have been approved for use and three are currently in deployment. This includes agreements with:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech for 100 million doses
  • University of Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses
  • Moderna for 17 million doses
  • Novavax for 60 million doses
  • Janssen for 20 million doses
  • Valneva for 100 million doses

In addition, the Government has a reservation agreement with GlaxoSmithKline/Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses and a non-binding agreement with CureVac for 50 million doses.

Final decisions on what a booster programme would look like – including which vaccines will be used - will depend on the data from ongoing clinical trials, such as the COV-Boost trial, and advice from the independent medical experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support fashion businesses that are having difficulties complying with new customs requirements for export to the EU.

We are working closely with the fashion and textiles sector to ensure businesses get the support they need around specific aspects of our new trading relationship with the EU.

We are operating export helplines, running webinars with policy experts and offering businesses support via our network of 300 international trade advisers. In addition, we invested millions to expand the customs intermediaries sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what value for money assessment he has carried out on the Government's investment in the One Web satellite system.

The Government carried out a detailed examination of the business which demonstrated a rational commercial case for investment. As my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State set out, even with substantial cuts to OneWeb's base case financial projections, the investment would have a positive return.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding the Government plans to invest in the OneWeb satellite system.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State confirmed that the Government will invest $500 million and take a significant equity share in OneWeb. This investment is made alongside Bharti Global Ltd. Bharti will provide the company commercial and operational leadership and bring OneWeb a revenue base to contribute towards its future success.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses.

The Government announced the introduction of the Small and Micro Business Assessment (SaMBA) in June 2013. It requires that Impact Assessments provide clear evidence of the potential impact of regulations on small and micro businesses.

The default assumption under SaMBA is that there will be a legislative exemption for small and micro businesses where a large part of the intended benefits of the measure can be achieved without including them. As a result of this policy, small firms can have confidence that future regulation will be more manageable for them and that they will not face disproportionate regulatory burdens.

The Department is currently reviewing the way we account for regulatory impacts on business and considering options for future policies, and more detail will be announced in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department has made on finding a safe and effective vaccination against covid-19.

The Government is leading efforts to find and manufacture a vaccine, working with industry and experts, both here in the UK and internationally?to?ensure?we are in the best position possible to support the discovery, manufacture and mass-deployment of a successful vaccine?should a candidate prove successful. A number of?agreements to procure millions of doses of vaccines have been made, ensuring the greatest possible chance of securing access to a safe and effective vaccine.?The UK has now secured access to 6 different candidates, across 4 different vaccines types, including University of Oxford’s vaccine being developed with AstraZeneca and agreements with?BioNTech/Pfizer alliance, Valneva, Novavax, Janssen and GSK/Sanofi Pasteur.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of easing covid-19 lockdown restrictions to allow pubs to return to pre-lockdown levels of capacity.

Opening up more of Britain in a COVID-Secure way is only possible if everyone continues to stay alert to the risks of Coronavirus by keeping 2m apart where possible (or 1m with precautions if not), washing their hands regularly, following the rules when they are visiting businesses and, crucially, getting a test immediately if they develop symptoms and self-isolating if they are instructed to by NHS Test and Trace.

Government has set out COVID-Secure guidance to help businesses – like pubs – take the measures that will protect themselves and their customers.

We are taking a phased approach to further reopening of sectors in the economy, in line with prevailing public health conditions. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and every step is weighed against the evidence.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will include the Campaign for Pubs in his Department's discussions with the hospitality sector.

The Government has had regular engagement with a wide range of stakeholders from across the hospitality industry, including the pub sector. The Department will continue to engage with a variety of representatives from the sector to discuss how to support pubs through this challenging period.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish formal guidance on distribution of (a) magazines, (b) leaflets and (c) other printed material in line with the Public Health England advice that circulation of such material does not increase risk of transmission of covid-19.

The Government will not be publishing additional guidance in relation to this. However, the Government is reviewing existing guidance in light of the updated information from Public Health England.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will undertake an investigation into compliance with statutory rules on (a) notice and (b) consultation of the redundancies at Debenhams.

Employers proposing to make 20 or more employees redundant from one establishment are required to consult employees or their representatives:

- at least 45 days before the first dismissal takes effect where 100 or more redundancies are proposed.

- at least 30 days before the first dismissal takes effect where 20 or more redundancies are proposed.

The consultation must include consultation on ways to avoid redundancies, reducing the numbers of redundancies, or mitigating their impact. Where an employer has failed to adequately consult with their employees about impending redundancies, those employees may apply to an Employment Tribunal for a Protective Award.

Within the same timescales, the employer must notify my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of the proposed collective redundancies. Failure to notify is an offence.

If special circumstances exist making it unreasonable for the employer to comply with the consultation or notification obligations, the employer must take such steps as are reasonably practicable to comply.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether pubs and restaurants could be permitted to reduce social distancing measures by introducing temperature checks for customers.

The Pubs and Restaurants taskforce is considering a range of measures to support the reopening of this sector as soon as it is safe to do so.

The taskforce consulted with a cross-section of the sector to develop guidance, with representation from trade bodies to small and medium sized operators, unions, as well as the supply chain. We consulted these stakeholders due to their expertise and real-life knowledge and experience of the challenges faced by the industry during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The guidance will be published in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislation to remove the legal obligation of pubs to pay rent to their landlords for a period of three months due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the significant impact on pubs caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and has announced measures, included in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill, to prevent landlords from using aggressive debt recovery tactics.

These measures include a temporary ban on statutory demands and winding up orders where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus, to ensure they do not fall into deeper financial strain. Government is also laying secondary legislation to provide tenants with more breathing space to pay rent by temporarily preventing landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery.

However, while landlords are urged to give their tenants the breathing space needed, the Government calls on tenants to pay rent where they can afford it, or what they can, in recognition of the strains felt by commercial landlords too.

A working group has been established by the government with the commercial rental sector to develop a code which encourages fair and transparent discussions between landlords and tenants over rental payments during the coronavirus pandemic and guidance on rent arrear payments.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Prime Minister's covid-19 announcement on 10 May 2020, on what date the Government plans to permit the re-opening of (a) hairdressing and (b) beauty salons.

On 11th May we published our COVID-19 recovery strategy, which sets out a roadmap to a phased recovery. Over the coming months, the Government will introduce a range of adjustments to current social distancing controls, timing these carefully according to both the current spread of the virus and the Government’s ability to ensure safety. Each step may involve adding new adjustments to the existing restrictions or taking some adjustments further.

The ambition at step three of the roadmap is to?open at least some of the remaining businesses and premises that have been required to close, including personal care?(such as hairdressers and beauty salons), and we will work with the sector to develop safe ways for them to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so. The Government’s current planning assumption is that this step will be no earlier than 4 July.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Prime Minister's covid-19 announcement on 10 May 2020, whether personal trainers are permitted to meet a single client in a park to undertake a personal training session.

The Government has published guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. If businesses are not required to close at this time, they can use this guidance to consider how they can operate to keep employees and customers safe.

Businesses should carry out a risk assessment to identify sensible measures to control risk in the workplace, wherever that might be. General guidance on how to complete risk assessments is available on the Health and Safety Executive website, and the guidance we published on 11 May sets out the steps employers should consider in relation to the risks of COVID-19. The guidance can be accessed at www.gov.uk/workingsafely.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will suspend state aid rules for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme so that loss-making companies can be considered eligible for that scheme.

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.

It is not possible for the UK (or indeed any EU Member State) to unilaterally suspend the EU State aid rules.

However, it should be noted that the European Commission has introduced some flexibilities into the rules to deal with the impacts of the Coronavirus, in the form of a Temporary Framework.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is a State Aid approved scheme under the Temporary Framework. Companies that are in difficulty are eligible for support, in recognition of the impact of Coronavirus, unless they were in difficulty on 31 December 2019, prior to the outbreak.

CBILS does include a provision enabling banks to make the facility available on a de minimis basis to businesses that would not otherwise be eligible, for example because they were in difficulty as at 31 December 2019.

However, the British Business Bank is establishing a new Future Fund to support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. This will launch in May and is intended to help businesses that have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The £500m scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding which will be match funded by private investment.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ask the European Commission to exempt the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme from EU state aid rules.

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.

Although the European Commission declined to suspend the State aid rules because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Commission introduced flexibilities into the rules to deal with the impacts of the Coronavirus, in the form of a Temporary Framework. This facilitates aid going to the companies who need it most, quickly and with more efficiently.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was approved by the Commission (on 25th March) under this Temporary Framework. No exemption from the State Aid rules is required.

Since the launch of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Government has received a lot of helpful feedback on how the scheme has been working. We have been working with the financial services sector to ensure that companies feel the full benefits from this support. The Government will continue to seek to identify new areas for improvement across the scheme as a whole.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what international leaders he plans to meet as part of preparations for the UN Conference of the Parties in Glasgow.

The successful delivery of COP26 will require widespread diplomatic engagement with our international partners at all levels. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, along with the Prime Minister and Cabinet colleagues, will meet a number of international leaders at key moments throughout the year in order to encourage greater climate ambition and achieve an ambitious, shared outcome at COP26.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
20th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she will publish the review of legislation on gambling regulation.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 13 June to Question UIN 13827.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has taken steps in response to the Islamic Centre of England's holding of a vigil in memory of General Qassem Soleimani in June 2020 contravening regulatory advice and guidance set out by the Charity Commission.

Any evidence that a registered charity is engaged in misconduct or mismanagement should be referred to the Charity Commission, as the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.

In June 2020, the Charity Commission exercised its power under section 75A of the Charities Act 2011 to issue an Official Warning to the Islamic Centre of England as it found the trustees had failed to discharge their legal duties towards the charity, which resulted in misconduct and/or mismanagement. The Charity Commission has an open and ongoing regulatory case into the charity to follow up on compliance with the requirements of the Official Warning.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether people visiting indoor shooting ranges from separate households may participate at the same time when the relevant covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. On Monday 22 February, my Rt Hon Friend, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England.

Step 2 of the roadmap will take place no earlier than 12 April, and will allow indoor leisure facilities - including shooting ranges - to reopen for individual use only except in certain circumstances. These include supervised activities for children which can take place in groups of up to 15.

Shooting ranges are permitted to have people attend their site from separate households providing they are adequately distanced, following covid-secure guidelines including ventilation limits and do not mix with other households. The relevant National Governing Body will be able to provide further guidance on how to undertake these activities in a covid secure manner.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, from 12 April 2021 whether indoor shooting ranges are permitted to have people attend their site from separate households providing they are adequately distanced and following covid-secure guidelines.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. On Monday 22 February, my Rt Hon Friend, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England.

Step 2 of the roadmap will take place no earlier than 12 April, and will allow indoor leisure facilities - including shooting ranges - to reopen for individual use only except in certain circumstances. These include supervised activities for children which can take place in groups of up to 15.

Shooting ranges are permitted to have people attend their site from separate households providing they are adequately distanced, following covid-secure guidelines including ventilation limits and do not mix with other households. The relevant National Governing Body will be able to provide further guidance on how to undertake these activities in a covid secure manner.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether a negative covid-19 test result will be required for admitting spectators to the pilot projects for re-opening major events which are referred to in the Government's roadmap for lifting covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

As the Prime Minister set out in the roadmap, the Government will run a scientific Events Research Programme over the Spring. The pilots will run from April onwards across a range of settings.

The series of pilots will use enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes.

Further details regarding the Events Research Programme will be published in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to begin the pilot projects for re-opening large events as set out in the Government's roadmap for lifting covid-19 restrictions.

As the Prime Minister set out in the roadmap, the Government will run a scientific Events Research Programme over the Spring. The pilots will run from April onwards across a range of settings.

The series of pilots will use enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes.

Further details regarding the Events Research Programme will be published in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will include in its plans for the easing of covid-19 lockdown restrictions a date by which (a) gyms, (b) squash courts and (c) other indoor sports facilities can re-open.

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

On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. The approach focuses on data, not dates. Each step has a “no earlier than” date, 5 weeks later than the previous step, to allow time to assess the impact of the previous step and provide a week’s notice before changes occur.

Step 2 will take place no earlier than 12 April and as part of this indoor sport facilities including gyms for individual use will reopen. Group exercise and indoor adult sport will be allowed as part of Step 3 of the roadmap which will take place no earlier than 17 May. This will be subject to social contact limits.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Minister for Digital and Culture's response to the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet's Oral Question of 10 December 2020, Official Report, Column 975, what the scope is of the evidence base required by his Department from the festival and events sector to prove that Government support for a covid-19 insurance scheme is needed.

We are aware of the concerns which have been raised about the potential challenge of securing insurance for live events including festivals.

Understandably, the bar for considering Government intervention is set extremely high, especially in light of other support available including the considerable extension to the furlough. Officials have been working closely with the affected sectors over the last few months to understand the challenges and to keep the situation under review.

Evidence of market failure specific to DCMS sectors must be clearly demonstrated and robust for us to explore whether this is the right vehicle for support at this time.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support travel management companies affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

We recognise that these are extremely challenging conditions for businesses in the tourism sector, including travel management companies. We continue to closely monitor
the situation.


Travel management companies have been able to access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package, including the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, VAT deferrals, as well as various generous loan schemes. We are continuing to engage across Government and with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the recovery of travel and tourism across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the revised social distancing guidance permits cricket coaching outdoors with one trainer and one learner.

The government has announced that people can now go outside more than once a day for exercise, alone, with members of their household, or with one person from outside their household, as long as they are following social distancing guidelines.

One to one training outside can take place, provided social distance is maintained and all current hygiene advice is adhered to.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether local authority obligations to provide school places for Ukrainian refugee children arriving under the family reunion route apply in the area where they live or in the area where their sponsoring family member lives.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education wrote to all directors of children’s services on 1 April 2022 asking them to assist refugees from Ukraine in finding school places as quickly as possible. The department followed this up with a similar message to every local authority admission officer on 4 April 2022.

Admission authorities in England must always apply their published admission arrangements. There are no exceptions for Ukrainians or children of any other nationality.

Local authorities in England do not have additional school admission obligations in relation to refugees from Ukraine, they have the same right to a school place as any other child resident in the UK. Local authorities in England have a duty to provide sufficient school places for children living in their area. Parents have a duty to ensure any of their children who are of compulsory school age receive a suitable education.

It is not necessary to have a fixed home address in order to be allocated a school and admission authorities would be in breach of their legal obligations if they refused admission on this basis. The school admissions code states that admission arrangements must be clear about how a child’s home address will be determined.

The department provides advice, in Ukrainian and Russian, to parents on finding a school place in the Ukraine welcome pack, similar to the advice we provide Hong Kong British National (Overseas) and Afghan migrants. The department have also recently updated our website giving advice to local authorities and schools on the admission rights of foreign nationals.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether local councils have additional obligations regarding school places in respect of Ukrainian refugees, as compared to other children.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education wrote to all directors of children’s services on 1 April 2022 asking them to assist refugees from Ukraine in finding school places as quickly as possible. The department followed this up with a similar message to every local authority admission officer on 4 April 2022.

Admission authorities in England must always apply their published admission arrangements. There are no exceptions for Ukrainians or children of any other nationality.

Local authorities in England do not have additional school admission obligations in relation to refugees from Ukraine, they have the same right to a school place as any other child resident in the UK. Local authorities in England have a duty to provide sufficient school places for children living in their area. Parents have a duty to ensure any of their children who are of compulsory school age receive a suitable education.

It is not necessary to have a fixed home address in order to be allocated a school and admission authorities would be in breach of their legal obligations if they refused admission on this basis. The school admissions code states that admission arrangements must be clear about how a child’s home address will be determined.

The department provides advice, in Ukrainian and Russian, to parents on finding a school place in the Ukraine welcome pack, similar to the advice we provide Hong Kong British National (Overseas) and Afghan migrants. The department have also recently updated our website giving advice to local authorities and schools on the admission rights of foreign nationals.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether school applications from Ukrainian refugees will be assessed according to the same criteria as other children.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education wrote to all directors of children’s services on 1 April 2022 asking them to assist refugees from Ukraine in finding school places as quickly as possible. The department followed this up with a similar message to every local authority admission officer on 4 April 2022.

Admission authorities in England must always apply their published admission arrangements. There are no exceptions for Ukrainians or children of any other nationality.

Local authorities in England do not have additional school admission obligations in relation to refugees from Ukraine, they have the same right to a school place as any other child resident in the UK. Local authorities in England have a duty to provide sufficient school places for children living in their area. Parents have a duty to ensure any of their children who are of compulsory school age receive a suitable education.

It is not necessary to have a fixed home address in order to be allocated a school and admission authorities would be in breach of their legal obligations if they refused admission on this basis. The school admissions code states that admission arrangements must be clear about how a child’s home address will be determined.

The department provides advice, in Ukrainian and Russian, to parents on finding a school place in the Ukraine welcome pack, similar to the advice we provide Hong Kong British National (Overseas) and Afghan migrants. The department have also recently updated our website giving advice to local authorities and schools on the admission rights of foreign nationals.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether educational settings supporting children with SEND will continue to receive Government assistance with funding covid-19 testing after 1 April 2022.

Regular testing in all education and childcare providers, including special schools and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision, ended on 31 March. In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, a local Health Protection Team might advise a residential SEND setting to re-introduce some time-limited asymptomatic testing for targeted groups of staff and pupils or students (secondary age or above).

From 1 April 2022, the UK Health and Security Agency has issued updated guidance on health protection in education and childcare settings. The guidance contains practical advice on managing a range of infections and outlines the steps regarding self-isolation for those with a positive COVID-19 test result.

This replaces all guidance previously issued for the children’s social care sector. It is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-protection-in-schools-and-other-childcare-facilities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the provision of free covid-19 testing will continue in special education settings after 1 April 2022.

Regular testing in all education and childcare providers, including special schools and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision, ended on 31 March. In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, a local Health Protection Team might advise a residential SEND setting to re-introduce some time-limited asymptomatic testing for targeted groups of staff and pupils or students (secondary age or above).

From 1 April 2022, the UK Health and Security Agency has issued updated guidance on health protection in education and childcare settings. The guidance contains practical advice on managing a range of infections and outlines the steps regarding self-isolation for those with a positive COVID-19 test result.

This replaces all guidance previously issued for the children’s social care sector. It is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-protection-in-schools-and-other-childcare-facilities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to require Comer Homes to progress the delivery of the new building for St Andrew the Apostle School in Barnet.

The Department is currently paying rent to the Comer Group of £901,250 per annum, excluding VAT, for the use of buildings and outside space as the temporary accommodation for St Andrew the Apostle School.

There is no contract between the Department and the Comer Group for the construction of the school’s permanent building. The Comer Group is required by the local planning authority to provide a site for a school as part of planning approval for a residential development on their wider site.

The Comer Group has submitted a revised planning application for its proposed development which incorporates the Department’s revised school designs. Subject to the approval of planning, the Department will exchange on the site and progress the construction of the school’s new building.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will publish the contractual documents agreed with Comer Homes in respect of the construction of a new building for St Andrew the Apostle School in Barnet.

The Department is currently paying rent to the Comer Group of £901,250 per annum, excluding VAT, for the use of buildings and outside space as the temporary accommodation for St Andrew the Apostle School.

There is no contract between the Department and the Comer Group for the construction of the school’s permanent building. The Comer Group is required by the local planning authority to provide a site for a school as part of planning approval for a residential development on their wider site.

The Comer Group has submitted a revised planning application for its proposed development which incorporates the Department’s revised school designs. Subject to the approval of planning, the Department will exchange on the site and progress the construction of the school’s new building.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much rent his Department is paying for the premises occupied by St Andrew the Apostle School in Barnet.

The Department is currently paying rent to the Comer Group of £901,250 per annum, excluding VAT, for the use of buildings and outside space as the temporary accommodation for St Andrew the Apostle School.

There is no contract between the Department and the Comer Group for the construction of the school’s permanent building. The Comer Group is required by the local planning authority to provide a site for a school as part of planning approval for a residential development on their wider site.

The Comer Group has submitted a revised planning application for its proposed development which incorporates the Department’s revised school designs. Subject to the approval of planning, the Department will exchange on the site and progress the construction of the school’s new building.

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with the National Youth Agency on allowing youth summer camps run by (a) the scouts, (b) faith groups and (c) other organisations to resume.

The Department recognises the significant benefits that summer camps and other forms of education outside the classroom can have on children’s academic development as well as their mental health and wellbeing.

Since 17 May 2021, out of school settings, including outdoor education centres, have been able to operate in groups of any size for both indoor and outdoor provision. It remains important to continue minimising mixing between children where possible.

Since 21 June, out of school settings have been able to undertake residential visits and overnight stays with groups of up to 30 children. The Department has provided updated guidance which sets out how this can be operated safely. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-holiday-and-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has listened to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle COVID-19.

Education and childcare settings continue to be supported with appropriate guidance on safety measures, and the Department is committed to ensuring that out of school settings are able to effectively manage risks, create an inherently safer environment and maximise face to face education wherever possible. As new evidence or data emerges, the Government will act accordingly to ensure that all out of school settings have the right safety measures in place and that measures remain proportionate to the threat posed by COVID-19. The advice on residential visits and the need for protective measures will be reviewed again in advance of Step 4.

The Department is also working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Youth Agency to ensure we have full awareness of the effect the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the youth sector. In response to youth sector engagement, dedicated youth sector COVID-19 guidance has been developed by the National Youth Agency in collaboration with DCMS, the Department, youth sector organisations and public health experts.

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on lifting covid-19 restrictions to allow on youth summer camps to take place.

The Department recognises the significant benefits that summer camps and other forms of education outside the classroom can have on children’s academic development as well as their mental health and wellbeing.

Since 17 May 2021, out of school settings, including outdoor education centres, have been able to operate in groups of any size for both indoor and outdoor provision. It remains important to continue minimising mixing between children where possible.

Since 21 June, out of school settings have been able to undertake residential visits and overnight stays with groups of up to 30 children. The Department has provided updated guidance which sets out how this can be operated safely. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-holiday-and-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has listened to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle COVID-19.

Education and childcare settings continue to be supported with appropriate guidance on safety measures, and the Department is committed to ensuring that out of school settings are able to effectively manage risks, create an inherently safer environment and maximise face to face education wherever possible. As new evidence or data emerges, the Government will act accordingly to ensure that all out of school settings have the right safety measures in place and that measures remain proportionate to the threat posed by COVID-19. The advice on residential visits and the need for protective measures will be reviewed again in advance of Step 4.

The Department is also working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Youth Agency to ensure we have full awareness of the effect the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the youth sector. In response to youth sector engagement, dedicated youth sector COVID-19 guidance has been developed by the National Youth Agency in collaboration with DCMS, the Department, youth sector organisations and public health experts.

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he youth summer camps will to be able to resume with groups of more than 30 children.

The Department recognises the significant benefits that summer camps and other forms of education outside the classroom can have on children’s academic development as well as their mental health and wellbeing.

Since 17 May 2021, out of school settings, including outdoor education centres, have been able to operate in groups of any size for both indoor and outdoor provision. It remains important to continue minimising mixing between children where possible.

Since 21 June, out of school settings have been able to undertake residential visits and overnight stays with groups of up to 30 children. The Department has provided updated guidance which sets out how this can be operated safely. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-holiday-and-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has listened to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle COVID-19.

Education and childcare settings continue to be supported with appropriate guidance on safety measures, and the Department is committed to ensuring that out of school settings are able to effectively manage risks, create an inherently safer environment and maximise face to face education wherever possible. As new evidence or data emerges, the Government will act accordingly to ensure that all out of school settings have the right safety measures in place and that measures remain proportionate to the threat posed by COVID-19. The advice on residential visits and the need for protective measures will be reviewed again in advance of Step 4.

The Department is also working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Youth Agency to ensure we have full awareness of the effect the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the youth sector. In response to youth sector engagement, dedicated youth sector COVID-19 guidance has been developed by the National Youth Agency in collaboration with DCMS, the Department, youth sector organisations and public health experts.

21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with local authorities in England on potential changes to bandings applied to children with Education, Health and Care Plans.

We do not prescribe in detail how local authorities should allocate their high needs funding, including how top-up funding should be used for children with education, health and care (EHC) plans. However, local authorities and schools have statutory duties under the Children and Families Act 2014 to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Paragraph 94 of the operational guide on high needs funding arrangements (available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-needs-funding-arrangements-2021-to-2022) says that: “Many local authorities have systems which indicate the range of top-up funding that might be provided for children and young people with a particular complexity of need (sometimes referred to as ‘banded’ funding systems). These can be helpful in providing clear and transparent funding arrangements for many types of need that may be met in a range of different institutions. Where a local authority makes a large number of placements at an institution or range of institutions, a system for the local authority and institutions to agree levels of top-up funding in advance can be a very efficient way of allocating this funding. However, the final allocation of funding must be sufficient to secure the agreed provision specified in any EHC plan.”

However, the department does not play a part in local authorities’ decisions on whether to follow such banded funding systems or not.

The government is committed to delivering real improvements to the SEND system, which will be taken forward through the SEND review, which has sought views from family representative groups and partners across education, health and care. We share a common ambition to reform the SEND system so that children and young people can have the support they need at the earliest possible point, whilst streamlining the EHC planning process, so that we can both improve these children’s outcomes and make the system more sustainable. We will consult publicly on the review’s proposals, so that everyone with an interest can have their say on the system of the future.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will issue guidance to local councils on maintaining the appropriate bandings for children with Education Health and Care Plans, consistent with each child's level of need.

Local authorities are statutorily responsible for securing the special educational provision specified in a child or young person’s education, health and care (EHC) plan.

The department’s published high needs operational guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-needs-funding-arrangements-2021-to-2022.

It states that: “While we expect commissioning local authorities to work constructively with institutions to agree the levels of top-up funding required, local authorities where the student is ordinarily resident bear the ultimate responsibility for decisions on top-up funding, as they are accountable for spending from their high needs budgets… Where a local authority makes a large number of placements at an institution or range of institutions, a system for the local authority and institutions to agree levels of top-up funding in advance can be a very efficient way of allocating this funding. However, the final allocation of funding must be sufficient to secure the agreed provision specified in any EHC plan.”

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what adaptations he plans to make to the Ofsted inspections and standards regime in response to the exceptional circumstances prevailing in schools in England as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

It is intended that Ofsted will step up its inspections over the summer term, with a view to returning to its full programme from September 2021. Inspections will resume in the summer term in a way that is fair and proportionate. Ofsted has published details of its summer inspection programme for schools, which can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ofsted-coronavirus-covid-19-rolling-update, and is piloting some changes to its inspection guidance to take account of the challenges raised by COVID-19. It will publish updated inspection handbooks with full details of these changes later this month.

The Government will not publish any school or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams results for 2020 or 2021 in performance tables. Further information on the current accountability arrangements can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-school-and-college-performance-measures/coronavirus-covid-19-school-and-college-accountability-2020-to-2021. Announcements on performance data arrangements for future years will be made in due course.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what specific support the Government is providing to independent training providers for regular covid-19 testing of (a) staff and (b) students.

Since January, we have been delivering the same programme of rapid asymptomatic testing for the primary school, secondary school and further education college workforce and for children, young people and students in year 7 and above in all schools, including secondary schools, special schools, alternative provision, and colleges.

Testing is voluntary but staff, pupils and students are strongly encouraged to participate as testing regularly helps to reduce the spread in school and college settings through asymptomatic transmission.

It is important to continue to test pupils and staff to manage the spread of COVID-19 and encourage staff, pupil and students to get into a regular habit of testing themselves twice every week and 3 to 4 days apart. NHS Test and Trace will be supplying sufficient test kits to schools and colleges to enable this to happen.

From 25 March 2021, independent training providers and adult community learning providers have been able to order home test kits for their students and staff. Staff and students attending these providers should conduct testing at home, twice every week and 3 to 4 days apart.

Staff and students are strongly encouraged to participate in twice weekly testing, helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in education settings by identifying those that may be carrying the virus unknowingly. However, testing is voluntary and individuals should be allowed to attend school, college or work even if they decide not to take part in testing.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department will provide to same support to Further Education Colleges on covid-19 testing as is currently provided to secondary schools.

Since January, we have been delivering the same programme of rapid asymptomatic testing for the primary school, secondary school and further education college workforce and for children, young people and students in year 7 and above in all schools, including secondary schools, special schools, alternative provision, and colleges.

Testing is voluntary but staff, pupils and students are strongly encouraged to participate as testing regularly helps to reduce the spread in school and college settings through asymptomatic transmission.

It is important to continue to test pupils and staff to manage the spread of COVID-19 and encourage staff, pupil and students to get into a regular habit of testing themselves twice every week and 3 to 4 days apart. NHS Test and Trace will be supplying sufficient test kits to schools and colleges to enable this to happen.

From 25 March 2021, independent training providers and adult community learning providers have been able to order home test kits for their students and staff. Staff and students attending these providers should conduct testing at home, twice every week and 3 to 4 days apart.

Staff and students are strongly encouraged to participate in twice weekly testing, helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in education settings by identifying those that may be carrying the virus unknowingly. However, testing is voluntary and individuals should be allowed to attend school, college or work even if they decide not to take part in testing.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide covid-19 tests for staff and students at Bodens Performing Arts School in Barnet.

Dance and drama schools are considered Independent Training Providers (ITPs). As part of this, from 25 March home test kits for students and staff can be ordered from here: https://request-testing.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/.

Tests will be delivered based on student and staff numbers and will provide three and a half weeks’ worth of testing. Once test kits have arrived on site and a collection point has been set up, students and staff can be offered home test kits for regular twice weekly testing. Testing remains voluntary but strongly encouraged.

Test kits can be reordered every 10 working days.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to enable retired teachers to take part in volunteer programmes to assist children and young people with catch-up learning.

Former teachers returning to the classroom are an important component of the Department’s recruitment strategy, and we continue to prioritise initiatives that capitalise on any potential increased interest in the profession from former teachers. This includes former teachers who wish to provide support with the recovery phase of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department is using a Return to Teaching Adviser Service to support these efforts. This service provides one-to-one support to former teachers interested in returning to teach mathematics, physics and modern foreign languages. Through the Return to Teaching Adviser Service, the Department has also encouraged former teachers to support wider pupil catch up efforts, such as the National Tutoring Programme.

In addition, throughout the recovery phase of the COVID-19 outbreak, volunteers may be used to support the work of the school as would usually be the case, in appropriate roles and subject to proper support, assessment and checks, as set out in the Department’s guidance ‘Keeping children safe in education’, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to make additional support available for mental health provision for school pupils in response to anxiety caused by covid-19-related disruption.

I refer my right hon. Friend, the Member for Chipping Barnet, to the answer I gave on 25 February 2021 to Question 156401.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional funding he plans to make available to support schools as they reopen to students.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of any periods of reduced attendance, with this year marking the first year of a three-year increase to core funding - the biggest in a decade. This will ensure they can continue to pay their staff and meet other regular financial commitments.

In February 2021, the Department appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on the approach to education recovery and the development of a long-term plan to help pupils make up their lost education over the course of this Parliament. As an immediate step, we have made available a further £700 million to support education recovery measures. This builds on the £1 billion from last year and brings the total available to £1.7 billion. Funding will support pupils in nurseries, schools and colleges and provides an additional ‘Recovery Premium’ to schools, expansion of tutoring in schools and colleges, summer schools in 2021 and early language support.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department is taking steps to help schools improve ventilation to reduce the risk of covid-19 transmission.

At each stage of the Department's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have listened to the latest medical and scientific advice. The Department has worked closely with other Government departments, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector, to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, and to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

It is important to ensure that schools are well ventilated and that a comfortable teaching environment is maintained.

Current evidence recommends that the way to control COVID-19 is the same, even with the current new variants. The PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ which have been in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak set out in our published guidance, which includes ventilation, continue to be the right measures to take. These measures create an inherently safer environment for children, young people, and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. PHE keeps all these controls under review, based on the latest evidence. Schools therefore need to continue to implement these controls to the fullest extent. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Our guidance signposts to further advice from the Health and Safety Executive on air conditioning and ventilation during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance can be found here:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation.htm.

5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to set out his plans for measures to assess students seeking BTEC qualifications.

Written exams scheduled in February and March should not go ahead unless they are taken to demonstrate occupational competency. Alternative arrangements will be needed to award qualifications that are taken instead of, or alongside, GCSEs and AS/A levels, including many BTECs used for progression to further or higher education, where the primary method of assessment is written exam(s). Our joint consultation with Ofqual proposed this is also the case for April onwards.

We sought views through the consultation on the detail of these alternative arrangements and the qualifications that should be in scope of this approach. The department’s joint consultation with Ofqual closed on 29 January. The department and Ofqual will work together to publish our decisions by the end of February, once the consultation responses have been analysed. Further information on this is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-alternative-arrangements-for-the-award-of-vtqs-and-other-general-qualifications-in-2021.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what measures he plans to put in place to assess students studying for BTEC exams in 2021.

Written exams scheduled in February and March should not go ahead unless they are taken to demonstrate occupational competency. Alternative arrangements will be needed to award qualifications that are taken instead of, or alongside, GCSEs and AS/A levels, including many BTECs used for progression to further or higher education, where the primary method of assessment is written exam(s). Our joint consultation with Ofqual proposed this is also the case for April onwards.

We sought views through the consultation on the detail of these alternative arrangements and the qualifications that should be in scope of this approach. The department’s joint consultation with Ofqual closed on 29 January. The department and Ofqual will work together to publish our decisions by the end of February, once the consultation responses have been analysed. Further information on this is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-alternative-arrangements-for-the-award-of-vtqs-and-other-general-qualifications-in-2021.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ensure that all early years' settings in England have access to regular asymptomatic covid-19 testing.

The Department is continuing to work closely with colleagues across government and local authorities to secure the most effective approach to asymptomatic testing for the whole of the early years sector.

We are rolling out our asymptomatic testing programme to primary schools with deliveries of test kits which started from 18 January 2021. This programme will offer all primary school, schools based nursery and maintained nursery school staff home Lateral Flow Device test kits for twice weekly testing. This will help to break the chains of transmission of COVID-19 in nurseries and schools by identifying asymptomatic positive cases. Those who test positive will then self-isolate, helping to reduce transmission of the virus.

Community testing programmes are currently being rolled out across the country. These are led by local authorities and provide asymptomatic testing through testing sites based in the local community. This testing is primarily focused on those who must leave home to work during lockdown.

Early years staff, as critical workers, continue to have priority access to DHSC-led symptomatic PCR testing via the online portal: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will include early years settings in the charitable and private sector in his Department's programme of regular asymptomatic covid-19 testing.

The Department is continuing to work closely with colleagues across government and local authorities to secure the most effective approach to asymptomatic testing for the whole of the early years sector.

We are rolling out our asymptomatic testing programme to primary schools with deliveries of test kits which started from 18 January 2021. This programme will offer all primary school, schools based nursery and maintained nursery school staff home Lateral Flow Device test kits for twice weekly testing. This will help to break the chains of transmission of COVID-19 in nurseries and schools by identifying asymptomatic positive cases. Those who test positive will then self-isolate, helping to reduce transmission of the virus.

Community testing programmes are currently being rolled out across the country. These are led by local authorities and provide asymptomatic testing through testing sites based in the local community. This testing is primarily focused on those who must leave home to work during lockdown.

Early years staff, as critical workers, continue to have priority access to DHSC-led symptomatic PCR testing via the online portal: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will cancel phonics tests in 2021 in England in response to the pressures resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

Getting the fundamentals right at an early age is vital for success at secondary school and in later life. It is important, therefore, to gauge standards at an early but appropriate age, identify those pupils who need extra help, and then ensure they receive it. Once pupils can decode, using consistent synthetic phonics, they are able to focus on their wider reading skills and develop a love of reading.

The phonics screening check is considered essential to support the Department’s wider aim to help address any lost time in education during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is a short, light-touch assessment, to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an expected standard.?The aim is simply to identify the pupil’s decoding ability, so that those who need help can be identified and supported by the school.

The Department is enabling a more flexible approach in schools in 2021, accommodating those absent on the scheduled date for the phonics screening check by extending the existing timetable variation window by a further week, until 25 June 2021.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much and what proportion of the catch-up funding for schools announced in the Spending Review 2020 is (a) new and (b) the subject of previous Government announcements.

The Spending Review announcement allows us to carry on delivering on our £1 billion catch up package, including £350 million on the National Tutoring Programme, and extending the success of this ambitious programme for another year. This will ensure that a pupil’s circumstances are not a barrier to getting the support they need to unlock their potential. Our £1 billion catch up package helps schools to address the learning loss their pupils are facing due to the COVID-19 outbreak and also includes a £650 million Catch-up Premium which schools can use based on their pupils’ specific needs.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to extend supplementary funding for maintained nursery schools to cover the 2021-22 financial year.

Maintained nursery schools (MNS) are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities, to enable them to continue protecting the funding of MNS during the summer term in 2021.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of MNS, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

The department has secured a continuation of around £60 million of supplementary funding for MNS in the 2021-22 financial year, as part of this Spending Review. The department continues to consider what is required to ensure a clear, long-term picture of funding for all MNS, including those in Barnet. We will say more about this soon.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to include in his next tranche of supplementary funding maintained nursery schools in boroughs that were not included in his Department's most recent supplementary funding for early years settlement.

Maintained nursery schools (MNS) are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities, to enable them to continue protecting the funding of MNS during the summer term in 2021.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of MNS, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

The department has secured a continuation of around £60 million of supplementary funding for MNS in the 2021-22 financial year, as part of this Spending Review. The department continues to consider what is required to ensure a clear, long-term picture of funding for all MNS, including those in Barnet. We will say more about this soon.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to include maintained nursery schools in boroughs which were not included in his Department's supplementary funding for such schools in a long term funding settlement for maintained nursery schools.

Maintained nursery schools (MNS) are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities, to enable them to continue protecting the funding of MNS during the summer term in 2021.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of MNS, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

The department has secured a continuation of around £60 million of supplementary funding for MNS in the 2021-22 financial year, as part of this Spending Review. The department continues to consider what is required to ensure a clear, long-term picture of funding for all MNS, including those in Barnet. We will say more about this soon.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to provide additional financial resources to schools to help cover new costs associated with the covid-19 outbreak.

Getting all children and young people back into school for the new academic year has been a national priority. To support schools with this, they have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020-21 financial year, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20. On average, schools are attracting 4.2% more per pupil in 2020-21, compared to 2019-20. As stated in our guidance, schools should use these existing resources when making arrangements for this term. The full guidance on the reopening of schools is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have also been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half-term holidays. The guidance about claiming additional funding for exceptional costs associated with COVID-19 is available through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools/school-funding-exceptional-costs-associated-with-coronavirus-covid-19-for-the-period-march-to-july-2020.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to provide schools in England with additional funding to fund supply teachers needed to cover for staff who are self-isolating as a result of advice from NHS Test and Trace.

The Department’s guidance for schools on full opening sets out the options available for schools seeking to manage staffing capacity as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to using supply teachers and other temporary or peripatetic teachers, schools can also consider using existing staff more flexibly, including support staff and ITT trainees, or volunteers, as would usually be the case. This guidance can be found: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have continued to receive their budgets as usual, which has ensured they have been able to continue to pay for staff and meet their other regular financial commitments. As stated in our guidance, schools should continue to use their existing resources to manage staffing capacity. Where schools do hire agency workers, we recommend they consider using the Department for Education and Crown Commercial Service’s agency supply deal, as this offers a list of preferred suppliers that must be transparent about the rates they charge.

We continue to work with stakeholders and representative bodies to understand the staffing capacity pressures that schools are facing and how we might best support them.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing secondary schools in England to end the autumn 2020 term a week early to help control the spread of covid-19.

It continues to be the Department’s aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time. The Government has taken a national decision to prioritise education during the current period of national restrictions in order to avoid any further reduction in face to face education for children and young people.

Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current attainment and children’s future ability to learn.

The risk to children of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be, and so they should continue to go to school.

The Department published ‘Guidance for full opening: schools to support schools’ to welcome back all pupils from the start of the autumn term and schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise risk of transmission. The full guidance can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

It is important that children are in school, for their education and wellbeing, and to help working parents and guardians. The Department does not currently have plans to ask schools to change their Christmas holidays or close early this term.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what advice his Department is providing to schools on parents who wish to keep their children at home in self-isolation because a member of the household has a serious health condition.

Being in nursery, school and college is vital for children and young people’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of nursery, school and college is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development.

Children and young people who live with someone who is confirmed clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend education or childcare even during this period of national restrictions.

Nurseries, schools and colleges have implemented a range of protective measures recommended by the Public Health England endorsed guidance published by the Department which, when followed, creates an inherently safer environment for pupils, staff and their families.

The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#res.

If parents or carers are anxious about their child attending education, we recommend that they discuss this with their school leadership to understand their concerns and provide reassurance regarding the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk of transmission in the setting.

Where children are not able to attend school as they are following clinical or public health advice related to COVID-19, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. That absence will not be penalised.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether parents who are shielding as a result of serious health problems are permitted to keep their children out of school.

Being in nursery, school and college is vital for the education of children and young people, and for their wellbeing. Time out of nursery, school and college is detrimental to the cognitive and academic development of children.

Children and young people who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend education or childcare during this period of national restrictions.

Education settings have implemented a range of protective measures recommended by the Public Health England endorsed guidance published by the Department for Education, which, when followed, create an inherently safer environment for pupils, staff and families. The guidance can be found through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#res.

If parents or carers are anxious about their child attending education, the Department recommends that they discuss this with their school leadership, who will understand their concerns and provide reassurance regarding the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk of transmission in educational settings.

Where children are not able to attend school as they are following clinical or public health advice related to COVID-19, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Such absences will not be penalised.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether children who have been required to self-isolate at home are allowed to return to school as soon as they have received a negative covid-19 test result.

On 2 July, the Department published guidance to help schools prepare for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. This includes guidance for how schools should manage cases of COVID-19 amongst the school community. The guidance can be viewed at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Anyone with any of the three main COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and access a test as soon as possible. Where a pupil or member of staff receives a test which delivers a negative result, and they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to COVID-19, they can stop self-isolating. Other members of their household can also stop self-isolating.

If a pupil or member of staff is self-isolating because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including if they are part of a class or group that has been asked to self-isolate, and they develop symptoms themselves within their 14-day isolation period, they should follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection and get a test. Where the test delivers a negative result, the individual must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period as they could still develop COVID-19 within the remaining days.

The guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 can be viewed at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the re-opening of before and after school club provision for children of working parents as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We recognise that breakfast and after-school provision are important sources of additional childcare for working parents and carers. It is for this reason that, as of 4 July, all providers offering before or after-school care and other out-of-school activities to children have been able to open with protective measures in place.

As outlined in guidance for the full opening of schools, we are encouraging schools to resume offering breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from the start of the autumn term. Schools should also work closely with any external wraparound providers which their pupils may use, to ensure as far as possible, children can be kept in a group with other children from the same bubble they are in during the school day. The full opening of schools guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

We have published further updated guidance for providers who run before and after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings for children on the protective measures that should be put in place from the start of the autumn term. This is to ensure they are operating as safely as possible when all children return to school. The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether free schools meals are being offered to all pupils in the first three years of primary school in England.

We allocate £600 million per year to ensure that 1.4 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meals (UIFSM) policy in 2014. Now that schools are reopen to all children, those in reception, year 1 and year 2 in England’s state-funded schools will receive a free meal. During the period in which schools were largely closed, the government continued to provide support to those eligible for benefits related free school meals (FSM) through the National Voucher Scheme.

Now that schools and their kitchens are open again, we expect them to provide free school meals to all those entitled to benefits related FSM and UIFSM to those children attending school. If a child needs to miss school for COVID-19 related matters, such as self-isolation due to a case of COVID-19, then we have asked schools to provide meals to those entitled to benefits related FSM.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will include Barnet within the scope of his transitional funding for maintained nursery schools.

Maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities to enable them to continue protecting the funding of maintained nursery schools during the summer term in 2021. This provides maintained nursery schools with certainty about funding for the 2020-21 academic year. It is a one-term continuation of current maintained nursery school supplementary funding; it is not a new transitional fund.

What happens after the 2020-21 academic year will be determined by the Comprehensive Spending Review in the context of our priorities across early years as a whole. Future arrangements will be for all maintained nursery schools, including those in Barnet.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of maintained nursery schools, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of postponing autumn A-level exams to the end of November 2020 to give students unable to take their A-levels in summer 2020 additional time to prepare for those exams.

We want students who wish to sit autumn exams to be able to do so at the earliest opportunity following the cancellation of exams in the summer. A level exams will be sat in October so that students receive results before Christmas and can use them to progress to their next step as soon as possible.

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ensure that schools support students who were unable to take A-levels in summer 2020 and wish to take those exams in autumn 2020 by (a) offering completion of those A-level syllabuses, (b) offering revision classes and (c) providing access to (i) libraries, (ii) text books, (iii) online and (iv) other resources.

In most cases, students will have received grades in the summer which will enable them to move onto their next step. Students who were unable to receive grades or are not happy with their grades are able to take exams in the autumn if they choose. If a student wants to sit an exam, we expect the school or college that entered them in the summer to enter them in autumn. Schools are able to provide additional support to students sitting their exams in the autumn if they have capacity to do so. The Department is offering an Exam Support Service to help all schools and colleges run the autumn series. Schools and colleges will be able to book fully funded space for the exams if they need it to avoid disruption to teaching. They will also be able to claim funding for autumn exam fees and invigilation costs if these exceed the savings they have made in the summer.

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to extend access to breakfast clubs prior to the start of the school day.

We are committed to supporting schools and children so that they are able to benefit from our breakfast club programme. The department is investing up to £35 million into the National School Breakfast Programme, using funds from Soft Drinks Industry Levy revenues. We have also announced that the programme will be extended by a further year, until March 2021, with up to an additional 650 schools being supported.

Many schools operate their own breakfast and after school clubs, and from the start of the autumn term should be working to resume this provision. As part of our guidance to schools on full opening, we have provided guidance to schools to help them in reopening this valuable support, more information is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#wraparound-provision-and-extra-curricular-activity.

We have also published updated guidance for providers who run before and after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings for children on the protective measures that should be put in place from the start of the autumn term, to ensure they are operating as safely as possible when all children return to school. The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to announce a new funding settlement for maintained nursery schools.

Maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities to enable them to continue protecting the funding of maintained nursery schools during the summer term in 2021. This provides maintained nursery schools with certainty about funding for the 2020-21 academic year.

What happens after the 2020-21 academic year will be determined by the Comprehensive Spending Review in the context of our priorities across early years as a whole. Future arrangements will be for all maintained nursery schools, including those in Barnet.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of maintained nursery schools, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ensure that a new funding settlement for maintained nursery schools includes the Borough of Barnet.

Maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities to enable them to continue protecting the funding of maintained nursery schools during the summer term in 2021. This provides maintained nursery schools with certainty about funding for the 2020-21 academic year.

What happens after the 2020-21 academic year will be determined by the Comprehensive Spending Review in the context of our priorities across early years as a whole. Future arrangements will be for all maintained nursery schools, including those in Barnet.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of maintained nursery schools, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether UK students enrolled at US universities who cannot continue their studies there as a result of the covid-19 pandemic are eligible to apply for a student loan to finish their studies at a UK university.

Eligibility for student finance is governed by a range of criteria, including residency, type of course, where and how a student is studying, previous study and whether or not the student holds a higher education qualification.

Generally, tuition fee support for full-time courses is available for the length of a student’s course, plus one extra year if needed, minus any years of previous study. Where a student has undertaken a previous full-time higher education course but has not achieved a qualification, previous study rules will generally apply to the calculation of tuition fee loan entitlement, apart from when the previous course was wholly self-funded (i.e. that the student received no public support from within the UK or elsewhere).

However, the regulations make provision for students to receive a year’s additional tuition fee support where Student Finance England is satisfied that the student has been unable to complete a year of study for compelling personal reasons. Maintenance loans and supplementary grants are generally available to eligible students until an honour’s degree has been achieved.

Student Finance England will assess students’ entitlement to funding in line with existing regulations and guidance. Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, UK students who start studying in the US and later transfer to a UK higher education provider due to the COVID-19 outbreak may be able to access some student support for their new course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide guidance to the Student Loans Company on how to handle applications from UK students enrolled in US universities who cannot continue their studies there as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and wish to resume higher education in Britain.

Eligibility for student finance is governed by a range of criteria, including residency, type of course, where and how a student is studying, previous study and whether or not the student holds a higher education qualification.

Generally, tuition fee support for full-time courses is available for the length of a student’s course, plus one extra year if needed, minus any years of previous study. Where a student has undertaken a previous full-time higher education course but has not achieved a qualification, previous study rules will generally apply to the calculation of tuition fee loan entitlement, apart from when the previous course was wholly self-funded (i.e. that the student received no public support from within the UK or elsewhere).

However, the regulations make provision for students to receive a year’s additional tuition fee support where Student Finance England is satisfied that the student has been unable to complete a year of study for compelling personal reasons. Maintenance loans and supplementary grants are generally available to eligible students until an honour’s degree has been achieved.

Student Finance England will assess students’ entitlement to funding in line with existing regulations and guidance. Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, UK students who start studying in the US and later transfer to a UK higher education provider due to the COVID-19 outbreak may be able to access some student support for their new course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of treating students from Commonwealth countries the same as students from England for the purposes of university fees.

To be eligible for home fee status in England, a student must have ‘settled’ status or a recognised connection with the UK on the first day of the first academic year of their course. This includes those who are covered by EU law, have long residence in this country or who have been granted international protection by the Home Office.

Students must normally have been resident in the UK and Islands (Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) or, in some cases, the European Economic Area and Switzerland or UK/EU Overseas Territories, for the 3 years prior to that date.

Commonwealth citizens who have the right of abode in the UK are considered ‘settled’ and are eligible for home fee status on that basis.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish details of the tutoring scheme to help children catch up on lessons missed as a result of the covid-19 lockdown.

On 19 June we announced a £1 billion COVID-19 “catch-up” package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time due to the pandemic.

Alongside a £650 million one-off grant to support pupils that recognises that all young people have lost time in education, a National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million, will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people. This will help to accelerate their academic progress and tackle the attainment gap between them and their peers.

We are working at pace to finalise the arrangements for both parts of the catch-up package and will publish guidance and allocations shortly.

This £1 billion package is on top of the £14.4 billion three-year core funding increase announced last year and the £2.4 billion pupil premium schools continue to receive to support their disadvantaged pupils.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the guidance issued by his Department entitled, Get technology support for children and schools during coronavirus (Covid-19), published on 19 April 2020, what the timeframe is for Queen Elizabeth's Girls School, Barnet, to be invited to apply to that programme in accordance with the undertaking contained in that guidance that schools would be sent information on how to do this.

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

We are providing 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. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers for internet access.

On 24 April, local authorities (LAs) and academy trusts were invited to forecast the number of devices they needed to support children and young people that they are responsible for in the eligible categories. LAs are responsible for ordering devices for children with a social worker and care leavers, as well as disadvantaged Year 10 pupils in LA-maintained schools. Academy trusts are only responsible for disadvantaged Year 10 pupils in their schools.

After LAs and academy trusts completed their forecast, the Department for Education confirmed the number of devices and routers that they would receive. LAs and academy trusts were offered the option to request additional devices for eligible children where needed.

The Department invited LAs and academy trusts to order devices throughout May and June. All LAs and academy trusts can now order the devices they have forecast.

As of 30 June, over 200,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers had been delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts. This information can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

This includes 20 devices for Queen Elizabeth’s Girls School, Barnet.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to ensure that the partial re-opening of schools in England from 1 June 2020 does not lead to a reduction of school hours offered to the children of key workers.

The Department has provided guidance explaining that the children of any parent who works in a critical sector or are critical to the COVID-19 response will be prioritised for education provision regardless of the year group they are in:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

It makes clear that, now that we have made progress in reducing the transmission of COVID-19, we are encouraging all eligible children to attend school (where there are no shielding concerns for the child or their household), even if parents are able to keep their children at home.

The Department has also published guidance for schools to prepare for wider opening of schools:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june

The planning guide for primary schools explains that if schools cannot reach an arrangement that enables all eligible children to attend consistently, schools should focus first on continuing to provide places for priority groups of all year groups (children of critical workers and vulnerable children).

The advice to secondary schools on preparing for wider opening from the 15 June states that children of critical workers and vulnerable children in all year groups should be encouraged to attend school full-time.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether private schools with pupil numbers of less than 30 are permitted to re-open to all year groups so long as social distancing rules are complied with.

We want to get all children back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows. As set out in the guidance, we have asked primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. We are also asking secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 students and 16 to 19 learners in the first year of their course who are due to take key exams next year. This request applies to all schools, including in the independent sector, and including small schools and schools with alternative exam arrangements, transition years, curricula and pedagogy.

It is important that only the requested cohorts return at this time. As the guidance states, we are prioritising younger children in the first phases of wider opening, for several reasons. Firstly, because there is moderately high scientific confidence in evidence suggesting younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with COVID-19; and secondly because evidence shows the particularly detrimental impact which time spent out of education can have upon them. In addition, older children are more likely to have higher numbers of contacts outside of school so pose a greater transmission risk, and they are typically better able to learn at home. It is therefore important that schools adhere to the guidance to ensure that only students that have been prioritised return to school, in the numbers and groupings that have been considered, minimising risks for them and their wider social groups and households.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether independent schools are permitted to re-open for Year 8 pupils which, in the independent schools system, is often the year before which they move on to secondary education.

We want to get all children back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows. As set out in the guidance, we have asked primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. We are also asking secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 students and 16 to 19 learners in the first year of their course who are due to take key exams next year. This request applies to all schools, including in the independent sector, and including small schools and schools with alternative exam arrangements, transition years, curricula and pedagogy.

It is important that only the requested cohorts return at this time. As the guidance states, we are prioritising younger children in the first phases of wider opening, for several reasons. Firstly, because there is moderately high scientific confidence in evidence suggesting younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with COVID-19; and secondly because evidence shows the particularly detrimental impact which time spent out of education can have upon them. In addition, older children are more likely to have higher numbers of contacts outside of school so pose a greater transmission risk, and they are typically better able to learn at home. It is therefore important that schools adhere to the guidance to ensure that only students that have been prioritised return to school, in the numbers and groupings that have been considered, minimising risks for them and their wider social groups and households.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the National Education Union's five tests for Government before schools can reopen.

On 28 May, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced that the Government’s five tests had been met. Based on all the evidence, the decision was made to progress with wider opening of schools from 1 June.

The Department has been engaging with the National Education Union throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, including in relation to transmission rates, social distancing, testing, managing infection and protection for the most vulnerable.

Our guidance on protective measures sets out the steps schools should take to reduce the risk of transmission: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the National Education Union on the five tests that it has proposed on determining when schools should re-open.

The Department is currently working closely with the sector to determine the best way for schools to open for more pupils, in line with the five key tests set out by the Government. There continues to be extensive engagement with teaching unions, including the National Education Union, and other school stakeholders, both at a ministerial and official level.

Details of engagement:

  • Weekly meetings with senior policy officials and key stakeholders along with other main teaching unions, governance, social care, school trusts and local government;
  • A weekly meeting with wider stakeholders including support staff, further education and school business organisations;
  • Weekly calls for evidence from key stakeholders on key policy questions to inform decision making on reopening;
  • Weekly meetings between my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and the main teaching unions and stakeholder groups;
  • Ad hoc additional stakeholder meetings to address key issues as and when they arise; and
  • Weekly guidance update notifications are sent to stakeholders and school leaders.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish a response to the proposals from Universities UK on achieving stability in the higher education sector following covid-19, published 10 April 2020.

On 4 May, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures, drawing on proposals from the universities sector, to ease pressures on universities’ finances, boost support for students, stabilise university admissions this autumn and ensure sustainability in higher education (HE) at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

To stabilise admissions, temporary student number controls will be put in place for domestic and EU students for the academic year 2020/21.These measures mean that providers will be able to recruit students up to a temporary set level, based on provider forecasts, which allows additional growth of up to 5% in the next academic year, and ensures that the admissions process for students will be fair and orderly.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, will also have the discretion to allocate an additional 10,000 places on top of the controls, of which 5,000 will be allocated to students studying nursing or allied health courses, to ensure growing numbers that will support our vital public services. This measure will only apply to UK/EU domiciled full-time undergraduate students, with certain specified exemptions. These controls will not apply to international (non-EU) students.

The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, will also consult on a new temporary condition of registration. The OfS’s proposed condition would prohibit registered providers from engaging in any form of conduct which, in the opinion of the OfS, could reasonably have a material negative effect on the stability or integrity of the English HE sector.

The government has reprofiled tuition fee payments, expected to be worth £2.6 billion, for providers so that they receive more cash in the first term of academic year 2020/21. The government has also announced that £100 million of public funding will be brought forward to the current academic year to help protect vital university research activities in England. Additionally, the government has confirmed that providers are eligible to apply for the government’s financial support schemes, which are estimated by the OfS to be worth at least £700 million to the sector.

Universities have an integral part to play in our economy, society and culture, which is highlighted now more than ever through their leading role in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will give priority to pupils (a) with an Education Health and Care Plan, (b) with a disability and (c) who have suffered physical or mental trauma in any forthcoming phased re-opening of schools and lifting of covid-9 restrictions.

As part of the response to COVID-19, educational settings have and will continue to be asked to ensure vulnerable children and young people can attend. ‘Vulnerable children’ include those children and young people who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan. They are typically those with the most complex needs, including due to mental health and disabilities. They also include children and young people who do not have an EHC plan, who are assessed as ‘otherwise vulnerable’ and are, therefore, in need of continuing education provision.

Vulnerable children and young people across all year groups continue to be encouraged and expected to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so. This should remain a priority for educational providers and local authorities, including as more children and young people begin to return to on-site provision.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether nurseries receiving support with the cost of employee salaries should stop or reduce charges to parents for services not being provided as a result of the closure of childcare and education settings.

We are working hard to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on all parts of our society, including individuals and business. Childcare providers will have individual agreements with parents and therefore we urge all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, given the great uncertainty they will be facing too.

We acknowledge that in many cases, the insurance that early years providers have will not cover them for income lost during COVID-19-related closures. That is one of the reasons why we announced on 17 March that we will continue to pay funding to local authorities for the early years entitlements for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds and that funding would not be clawed back from local authorities due to closures or children being unable to attend.

We expect local authorities to follow the Department for Education’s position and to continue paying childminders, schools and nurseries for the early years entitlements – even if providers have suspended delivery of those entitlements due to COVID-19. This protects a significant proportion of early years providers’ income. In addition, the government has set out a range of support for businesses and workers to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on them. Many early years providers will qualify for this support.

This support being provided for individuals includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which means that for each employee not working but kept on payroll, the government will contribute 80% of their wages up to £2,500, backdated to 1 March 2020. Self-employed people may be eligible for taxable grants under the government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Further details of these schemes can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

Details of further assistance and benefits available for individuals can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19.

We will be keeping under close review what further support businesses and workers may require.

Guidance on closures of childcare and early years settings is available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support nursery and childcare providers can receive as a result of the packages of economic support he has announced over the last two weeks.

The government has set out specific measures to support childcare providers during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Funding for the government’s early years entitlements will continue during any periods of nursery, preschool or childminder closures or when children cannot attend
  • To support private nurseries at this time, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has also announced that they will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year from 1 April

Childcare providers will also benefit from the wider measures the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced to support the people and businesses of the UK:

  • A three-point plan announced in the Budget providing £12 billion of support for public services, individuals and businesses whose finances are affected by the outbreak
  • A package to provide additional support for businesses and individuals totalling £350 billion
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment. This means that businesses can put workers on temporary leave and the government will pay them cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, providing they keep the worker employed
  • A scheme to help the UK’s self-employed who are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will enable those eligible to receive a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment
  • On 28 March, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, announced that the government will also temporarily suspend the wrongful trading provisions to give company directors greater confidence to use their best endeavours to continue trading during this pandemic emergency, without the threat of personal liability should the company ultimately fall into insolvency

The government is also providing the following additional support:

  • deferral of Self-Assessment income tax payments due in July 2020 and VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020
  • grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates
  • increased amounts of Universal Credit
  • the Coronavirus Bussiness Interruption Loan Scheme

The latest guidance from the department for early years and childcare providers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the difference between official figures which report around 30,000 cats entering the UK legally commercially and non-commercially between March 2020 and March 2021 and the findings of Cats Protection’s Cats and Their Stats report that 70,000 cats entered the UK in the same period.

The estimate of 70,000 cats detailed in the Cats Protection’s ‘Cats and Their Stats’ report appears to be based on an estimate of the number of cats obtained between March 2020 and March 2021 and the proportion of individuals that reported in a survey that they had sourced a pet from abroad during the same period. The official Government statistics show that between March 2020 and March 2021 27,601 cats entered the UK under the non-commercial rules and 8,511 cats entered under the commercial rules.

The official statistics are based on data submitted by pet checkers and carriers for non-commercial movements. Data for commercial movements in 2020 is taken from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES), and data for commercial movements in 2021 is taken from the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS). We are working with the Cats Protection to understand the difference between the reported figures.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021 and completed committee on 18 November 2021. The Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an 8-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take onboard the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of Cats Protection’s Cats and Their Stats report finding, that around 70,000 cats were imported into the UK between March 2020 and March 2021.

The estimate of 70,000 cats detailed in the Cats Protection’s ‘Cats and Their Stats’ report appears to be based on an estimate of the number of cats obtained between March 2020 and March 2021 and the proportion of individuals that reported in a survey that they had sourced a pet from abroad during the same period. The official Government statistics show that between March 2020 and March 2021 27,601 cats entered the UK under the non-commercial rules and 8,511 cats entered under the commercial rules.

The official statistics are based on data submitted by pet checkers and carriers for non-commercial movements. Data for commercial movements in 2020 is taken from the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES), and data for commercial movements in 2021 is taken from the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS). We are working with the Cats Protection to understand the difference between the reported figures.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021 and completed committee on 18 November 2021. The Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

In August 2021, the Government launched an 8-week consultation on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain. We are currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will publish a summary in due course. This will allow us to take onboard the views of the public and interested groups in order to shape our future policy.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to publish his consultation on banning the use of peat in amateur horticulture.

We intend to publish this consultation in December 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent progress he has made on implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform relevant to his Department.

Defra is the lead department for a number of recommendations in the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) report, concerning agri-environmental innovation, including biodiversity offsetting and greater use of agri-tech vital for sustainability, biodiversity, food security and investment.

Four measures responding to these recommendations were included in Lord Frost’s package of proposed individual regulatory reforms to laws in September: Reform of the regulation of gene-edited organisms, Biodiversity Net Gain, Digitisation of Export Health Certificates and rationalising the existing Environmental Permitting and Licensing regimes.

I am pleased to say strong progress continues to be made with each of these measures:

  • The Government response to the Gene Editing consultation was published in September, setting out how we plan to pave the way to enable use of gene editing technologies on plants, where genetic changes could have occurred naturally or could have been a result of traditional breeding methods.
  • The Environment Act, which is the legislative vehicle for Biodiversity Net Gain, has now received Royal Assent. A consultation on Biodiversity Net gain is expected to be published shortly.
  • Trials of some e-certification systems for Digitisation of Export Health certificates are currently underway, with solutions expected to be delivered in 2022.
  • Defra is continuing to develop proposals for reform of environmental licensing and permitting, with a view to ensuring that our regimes are streamlined, proportionate and deliver effective environmental protection.
Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will provide a substantive response to the letter dated 13 June 2021 from the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet on the challenges faced by agricultural shows following the covid-19 outbreak.

I apologise for the delay in responding. A reply will be sent next week.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will have discussions with representatives of Amazon on the provisions of the Waste Regulations 2011.

Businesses that handle waste, including companies like Amazon, are obliged to follow the waste hierarchy, under the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, which requires action to prevent waste as the priority option. Ministers are in discussion with the Environment Agency, as the responsible enforcement body in England, about this. Failure to meet the legal obligation to take all reasonable steps to apply these steps can lead to enforcement action.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Natural England on the effect of artificial lawns on species loss and biodiversity.

Surfaces such as artificial grass are, on their own, of no value for biodiversity.

We currently have no plans to ban or restrict the use of artificial grass. We prefer to help people and organisations make the right choice rather than legislating on this matter. As with all single-use plastic products, we will continue to review the latest evidence on impacts and take a systematic approach to reducing unnecessary use.

Research has shown that gardens and public spaces can be very important habitats, for example for pollinating insects. Working with a range of partners, Defra has established a ‘Bees’ Needs’ campaign including advice on providing habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, including in gardens.

Local authorities should comply with the legal and policy safeguards in place to protect biodiversity and ensure sustainable drainage. The strengthened biodiversity duty being introduced through the Environment Bill should also serve to encourage public authorities to consider more sustainable alternatives.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has carried out an assessment of the effect of artificial lawns on species loss and biodiversity.

Surfaces such as artificial grass are, on their own, of no value for biodiversity.

We currently have no plans to ban or restrict the use of artificial grass. We prefer to help people and organisations make the right choice rather than legislating on this matter. As with all single-use plastic products, we will continue to review the latest evidence on impacts and take a systematic approach to reducing unnecessary use.

Research has shown that gardens and public spaces can be very important habitats, for example for pollinating insects. Working with a range of partners, Defra has established a ‘Bees’ Needs’ campaign including advice on providing habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, including in gardens.

Local authorities should comply with the legal and policy safeguards in place to protect biodiversity and ensure sustainable drainage. The strengthened biodiversity duty being introduced through the Environment Bill should also serve to encourage public authorities to consider more sustainable alternatives.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government's Roadmap out of lockdown, whether reaching the end of step one of that roadmap on 29 March 2021 means that voluntary litter-picks can take place where social distancing is observed.

The Government continues to use its influence to support national clear-up days, which help to empower and engage communities in tackling litter and to change attitudes towards littering.

I recently spoke at the launch of Keep Britain Tidy’s 2021 Great British Spring Clean, encouraging as many people and businesses as possible to participate in the Great British Spring Clean, and committed to volunteer during the event. By doing so, we are setting the tone for the summer ahead, by showing that litter is not acceptable, and that people care deeply about protecting their local environment.

We have published specific advice on our gov.uk website which states that voluntary litter picking can be carried out, and that groups must follow government guidance on staying safe outside the home. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste#litter-picking-during-coronavirus

Volunteers are always advised to use safety equipment, including thick gloves, litter-pickers and heavy-duty bags.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote the 2021 Great British Spring Clean campaign.

The Government continues to use its influence to support national clear-up days, which help to empower and engage communities in tackling litter and to change attitudes towards littering.

I recently spoke at the launch of Keep Britain Tidy’s 2021 Great British Spring Clean, encouraging as many people and businesses as possible to participate in the Great British Spring Clean, and committed to volunteer during the event. By doing so, we are setting the tone for the summer ahead, by showing that litter is not acceptable, and that people care deeply about protecting their local environment.

We have published specific advice on our gov.uk website which states that voluntary litter picking can be carried out, and that groups must follow government guidance on staying safe outside the home. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste#litter-picking-during-coronavirus

Volunteers are always advised to use safety equipment, including thick gloves, litter-pickers and heavy-duty bags.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will use the ANPR camera network to gather evidence for the enforcement of regulations on litter and flytipping.

Enforcement against littering and fly-tipping on the road network is a matter for the local authority.

The Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system is used by the police to check the number plates of passing vehicles against police databases and can identify vehicles which are of interest to the police. Local authorities do not have access to the ANPR camera network.

The ANPR cameras are not suitable for use in gathering evidence of littering or fly-tipping in progress due to the system recording vehicle images and number plates only. In cases of serious waste crime where the police are involved in enforcement, vehicles involved may be considered of interest and would be captured on police databases.

With effect from April 2018, we have introduced new powers enabling councils in England (outside London) to issue civil fixed penalties of between £65 to £150 to the keepers of vehicles from which litter is thrown. Councils in London already had similar powers. This enables them to take enforcement action, even when the precise offender cannot be identified.

Councils can already take action based on camera footage as long as they are satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, litter was thrown from that vehicle. It is for councils to decide whether they have sufficient evidence to take enforcement action in any given case.

Vehicles of those suspected of committing a waste crime, including fly-tipping, can be searched and seized. Guidance available to local authorities recommends that when investigating a fly-tipping incident information such as the description of any vehicles involved should be gathered. This guidance is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fly-tipping-council-responsibilities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing auditable tracking for products and packaging to assist with the enforcement of rules on litter and flytipping.

The Litter Strategy sets out how we intend to work with the relevant industries to tackle certain types of problematic litter, such as fast food packaging, and our Resources and Waste Strategy set our strategic approach to prevent, detect and deter waste crime, including fly-tipping.

The Resources and Waste Strategy commits us to introducing mandatory electronic waste tracking, subject to consultation. This will help to ensure that waste is dealt with appropriately and will reduce the incidence of waste crime and fly-tipping.

No formal assessment has been made of the potential merits of introducing auditable tracking for packaging. However, exploratory discussions suggest that the burden on businesses and enforcement bodies, along with data protection issues, would mean the costs could outweigh the benefits of such a policy.

We are exploring other measures to tackle littered packaging. Our recently published consultation on extended producer responsibility for packaging proposes that producers who make or handle consumer-facing packaging should fund the full net-costs associated with the packaging they place on the market once it becomes waste, including litter-related costs. We have also recently launched our consultation on the deposit return scheme, which will incentivise proper disposal of in-scope material by consumers. We will continue to engage with producers as these measures come forward.

In recent years, to support local authorities in their enforcement, Defra has bolstered local authorities’ powers to tackle fly-tipping, such as by introducing the power to issue fixed penalty notices (including to householders who pass their waste to an unlicensed waste carrier) and to stop and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers. We have also introduced new powers to allow penalties to be issued to the keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown (recognising that it is often difficult to identify the individual who threw the litter), and published guidance on the use of enforcement powers for littering and related offences.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much his Department has spent on communications to discourage litter and flytipping in each of the last five years.

Defra has spent the following amounts externally on communications to discourage litter and fly-tipping. The cost of other activities, such as social media messaging, cannot be separated. Likewise, spend on Defra staff cannot be disaggregated.

Year

Purpose

Amount

2016-2017

Initial scoping and research for “Keep it, Bin it” national anti-litter campaign

£15,868

2017-2018

Development of “Keep it, Bin it” campaign, partnership strategy and stakeholder research, as well as testing and development of a campaign identity

£124,412

2018-2019

“Keep it, Bin it” campaign branding, creative assets and launch

£67,855 – (following years funded by external partners)

2019-2020

Development of Household Waste Duty of Care Toolkit

£6,703

2020-2021

Development and launch of “Respect the Outdoors” campaign, which includes messaging about litter among other issues

£96,650

2020-2021

Contribution to Keep Britain Tidy’s “Love Parks” campaign and use of creative assets

£30,000

The Environment Agency has also contributed funds in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to the ‘right waste, right place’ information campaign, managed by the Environmental Services Association, which aims to help small businesses and establishments meet their Duty of Care obligations, and seeks to deter fly-tipping incidents.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding his Department has allocated to Keep Britain Tidy in each of the last five years.

In the last five years, no funding has been specifically allocated to Keep Britain Tidy, but it has successfully bid for a number of litter-related contracts:

Year

Project

Contract value awarded

2017-18

Survey of roadside litter on trunk roads other than motorways

£79,000

2017-18

Research into packaging design to reduce litter and littering

£8,993

2017-18

Waterside Care community engagement project

£5,833

2018-19

Economic valuation of the non-market benefits of dealing with specific types of litter that a Deposit Return Scheme in England would help to overcome

£41,525

2019-20

Research into litter composition, including composition of dropped versus binned litter and brands of littered Items

£92,320

2020-21

North West bathing waters programme

£30,000

2021-22

Macro plastic North West

£74,240

Keep Britain Tidy has also been awarded the following grant funding towards delivery of national clear-up days and campaigns:

Year

Grant

2016 (Clean for the Queen)

£9,500

2017 (Great British Spring Clean)

£10,000

2020 (Love Parks / Respect the Outdoors)

£30,000

Defra has an annual contract with Keep Britain Tidy to host the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group’s (NFTPG) website: http://www.tacklingflytipping.com/

Year

Contract value awarded

2016/17

£3,828

2017/18

£3,828

2018/19

£3,828

2019/20

£3,903.60

2020/21

£3,903.60*

*Awarded but not yet paid

In 2017, under the £450,000 Litter Innovation Fund, Keep Britain Tidy was awarded £39,717 across 4 grants. Full details are available at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/litter-innovation-fund

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's 2018 publication Our Waste, Our Resources: A strategy for England, when he plans to implement the proposals mandating a consistent approach between local authorities in England on kerbside collection of waste for recycling.

We consulted on recycling consistency reforms in 2019 and following support for these measures, the Environment Bill states that waste collection authorities in England must arrange for the collection of a core set of materials (glass; metal; plastic; paper and card; food waste; and garden waste) from households for recycling.

We will be seeking further views in an upcoming second consultation on recycling consistency, which will be published in spring 2021 and will include detail on transition timelines for local authorities. We want to implement recycling consistency as soon as is practically possible, taking into account factors including lead-in times for local authorities to procure vehicles and other capital goods and any existing contractual arrangements.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many cats entered the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme in each month of 2020.

The number of cats entering Great Britain under the Pet Travel Scheme in each month of 2020 is as follows:

January

2844

February

1608

March

1475

April

284

May

407

June

1253

July

2217

August

2772

September

3708

October

3175

November

2369

December

3147

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the EU has agreed to list the UK as a third country from which it will accept exports of food and other products of animal origin.

The UK has successfully applied for authorisation (known as ‘listing status’) to export animal products and live animals to the EU from 1 January 2021.The legal instruments giving effect to our listing were published in the EU’s Official Journal on 28 December and will apply from 1 January 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of restricting the use of glue traps as a means of pest control to improve animal welfare.

We are aware of the concerns around the use of glue traps and are engaging with key stakeholders about the issue.

This Government remains committed to high standards of animal welfare. We are in the process of developing a range of important animal welfare and animal-related measures to strengthen our position as a world leader in this field. This includes delivering our manifesto commitments to introduce new laws on animal sentience, to ban live exports, restrict the imports of trophies from endangered species and ban keeping primates as pets.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113020 on Plastics: Pollution, what his policy is for tackling plastic which escapes into the open environment and cannot be collected and therefore recycled.

As stated previously in the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113020 on Plastics: Pollution, our priority is to prevent plastic entering the environment at all, including through littering, with a focus on upstream measures to turn off the tap on plastic pollution. The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to move away from a take, make, use, throw society to one where materials are kept in circulation for longer. It also commits to eliminating avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan. Our Litter Strategy sets out our aim to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering behaviour within a generation. Littering of any materials, including biodegradable plastics, is a criminal offence, and councils have legal powers to take enforcement action against offenders.

The Government published a call for evidence last year to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on 14 October 2019 and we are currently analysing the responses received. We will publish a Government response shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113021 on Seas and Oceans: Plastics, whether it his policy to encourage the use of plastic which biodegrades more quickly than conventional plastics in the event that it is improperly disposed of.

As stated previously in the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113020 on Plastics: Pollution, our priority is to prevent plastic entering the environment at all, including through littering, with a focus on upstream measures to turn off the tap on plastic pollution. The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to move away from a take, make, use, throw society to one where materials are kept in circulation for longer. It also commits to eliminating avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan. Our Litter Strategy sets out our aim to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering behaviour within a generation. Littering of any materials, including biodegradable plastics, is a criminal offence, and councils have legal powers to take enforcement action against offenders.

The Government published a call for evidence last year to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on 14 October 2019 and we are currently analysing the responses received. We will publish a Government response shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Laboratoire d’Océanographie Microbienne of 4 September 2020 that oxo-biodegradable plastics biodegrade in seawater, and do so with higher efficiency than conventional plastics.

It is current practice in science for research to be published in international peer reviewed journals. The peer review process is central to quality assurance and ensures reliable and reproducible research findings enter the public domain and inform debate.

We would be happy to review the data once it has undergone peer review and has been published.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113023 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, did not refer to industry standards (a) BS 8472 and (b) ASTM D6954 in relation to the degradability, biodegradability, and non-toxicity, of oxo-biodegradable plastic products.

My answer was given in response to my Rt Hon Friend’s question about European Standard EN 13432, PQ UIN 113024.

As stated in the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113023, the Government published a call for evidence in July 2019 to help consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence further considered existing standards, which includes BS EN13432, BS 8472, and ASTM D6954. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy and will publish a response to the call for evidence shortly.

As I outlined previously, I appreciate the engagement of industry in our call for evidence and welcome further engagement in future consultations and policy development as our work develops.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the opinion issued by the European Chemicals Agency on 30 October 2018 that they were not convinced that microplastics are formed by oxo-biodegradable plastic.

In January 2017, the European Commission asked the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to prepare an Annex XV restriction dossier concerning the placing on the market and use of oxo-degradable plastics. However, ECHA withdrew its intention to prepare the dossier in May 2019, on request from the European Commission, following the inclusion of oxo-degradable plastics in the Single-Use Plastics Directive.

This information can be found at: https://echa.europa.eu/registry-of-restriction-intentions/-/dislist/details/0b0236e18244d9bb.

This decision was a matter for the European Commission and it would not be appropriate to comment on an investigation which was not completed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113024 on plastics: recycling, whether it is his policy that packaging that has passed the tests prescribed by BS EN13432 should not be considered genuinely biodegradable because it is tested to biodegrade in special conditions found in an industrial composting facility and not in the open environment.

As stated in the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113024 on plastics recycling, the Government published a call for evidence in July 2019 to help consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence further considered existing standards including BS EN13432. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy and will publish a response to the call for evidence shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2020 to Question 105307 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, if he will prohibit the description of plastic as compostable if it is the type of plastic required by European Standard EN13432 to convert almost entirely into CO2 and not into compost.

EN 13432:2000 is an industry-derived harmonised EU standard which lays down minimum requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation. It is a standard that has been adopted by national standards bodies in many of the EU Member States. In the UK it is published as BS EN 13432 by the British Standards Institution. Only packaging which has passed relevant tests and assessments can carry the standard. It has not been adopted into UK legislation.

Turning to standards and biodegradability more broadly, we are concerned that, in the absence of robust standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the market place, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal. Furthermore, concerns persist that plastics which are claimed to be biodegradable, if littered or otherwise released into the environment in an uncontrolled way, may not degrade quickly or at all, and they can only be composted if they meet relevant standards.

As a consequence of these concerns, the Government published a call for evidence in July 2019 to help consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on 14 October 2019 and we are grateful for the responses submitted to us by industry and others. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy and will publish a response to the call for evidence by the end of the year.

We appreciate the engagement of industry in the call for evidence and welcome further engagement in future consultations and policy development as our work develops.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2020 to Question 105307 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, for what reason the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee did not hold discussions with the Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association as part of that review; and if they will do so now.

The Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee is an independent scientific advisory committee. We tasked them to conduct a literature review of the published scientific literature. Stakeholder engagement was therefore not part of this process.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2020 to Question 105307 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, if he will work with the Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association to review existing standards for the verification of oxo-biodegradable plastics to reduce confusion in the marketplace.

EN 13432:2000 is an industry-derived harmonised EU standard which lays down minimum requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation. It is a standard that has been adopted by national standards bodies in many of the EU Member States. In the UK it is published as BS EN 13432 by the British Standards Institution. Only packaging which has passed relevant tests and assessments can carry the standard. It has not been adopted into UK legislation.

Turning to standards and biodegradability more broadly, we are concerned that, in the absence of robust standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the market place, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal. Furthermore, concerns persist that plastics which are claimed to be biodegradable, if littered or otherwise released into the environment in an uncontrolled way, may not degrade quickly or at all, and they can only be composted if they meet relevant standards.

As a consequence of these concerns, the Government published a call for evidence in July 2019 to help consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on 14 October 2019 and we are grateful for the responses submitted to us by industry and others. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy and will publish a response to the call for evidence by the end of the year.

We appreciate the engagement of industry in the call for evidence and welcome further engagement in future consultations and policy development as our work develops.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2020 to Question 105307 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, what the Government's policy is on plastic which escapes into the open environment which cannot be collected.

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. Our priority is preventing plastic from entering the marine or terrestrial environment, and our focus is on creating a circular economy. The UK is recycling more than ever, achieving a 46% plastic packaging recycling rate in 2017, and the Government is committed to minimising the movement of waste for disposal elsewhere. Through our Resources & Waste Strategy we have committed to take action to help stimulate investment in domestic reprocessing and recycling infrastructure. This includes through new policies such as extended producer responsibility and deposit return schemes for drinks containers (subject to further evidence and analysis); raising recycling targets for packaging across a number of materials and waste streams to increase the amount and quality of recycling and improve environmental outcomes.

The Government does not hold data that differentiates between non-biodegradable and biodegradable plastic litter. However, the UK does collect data on the quantity and type of marine litter in our waters, including data on seafloor litter, floating litter and beach litter, following methods agreed through the OSPAR Convention’s monitoring and assessment programmes. Data is available through the Marine Online Assessment Tool: https://moat.cefas.co.uk/. This data is used to help us monitor the levels and trends of plastic pollution and inform our decisions on how to tackle marine litter.

We also published the Litter Strategy for England in April 2017, setting out our aim to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering within a generation. The Litter Strategy brings together communities, businesses, charities and schools to bring about real change by focusing on three key themes: education and awareness; improving enforcement; and better cleaning and access to bins. A copy of the Litter Strategy can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/litter-strategy-for-england.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2020 to Question 105307 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, what estimate he has made of the amount of non-biodegradable plastic which has escaped into the open environment in England and its territorial waters in the last 12 months.

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. Our priority is preventing plastic from entering the marine or terrestrial environment, and our focus is on creating a circular economy. The UK is recycling more than ever, achieving a 46% plastic packaging recycling rate in 2017, and the Government is committed to minimising the movement of waste for disposal elsewhere. Through our Resources & Waste Strategy we have committed to take action to help stimulate investment in domestic reprocessing and recycling infrastructure. This includes through new policies such as extended producer responsibility and deposit return schemes for drinks containers (subject to further evidence and analysis); raising recycling targets for packaging across a number of materials and waste streams to increase the amount and quality of recycling and improve environmental outcomes.

The Government does not hold data that differentiates between non-biodegradable and biodegradable plastic litter. However, the UK does collect data on the quantity and type of marine litter in our waters, including data on seafloor litter, floating litter and beach litter, following methods agreed through the OSPAR Convention’s monitoring and assessment programmes. Data is available through the Marine Online Assessment Tool: https://moat.cefas.co.uk/. This data is used to help us monitor the levels and trends of plastic pollution and inform our decisions on how to tackle marine litter.

We also published the Litter Strategy for England in April 2017, setting out our aim to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering within a generation. The Litter Strategy brings together communities, businesses, charities and schools to bring about real change by focusing on three key themes: education and awareness; improving enforcement; and better cleaning and access to bins. A copy of the Litter Strategy can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/litter-strategy-for-england.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of joining the World Wine Trade Group.

The UK is rejoining the International Organisation of Vine and Wine in January 2021 after an absence of approximately 16 years. This will give the UK international influence over decisions on wine practices and processes and continued credibility in the international trade in wine. UK membership of other international organisations, including the World Wine Trade Group, is being kept under review.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether businesses importing fine wine from the EU will be required to use wine import certificates from 1 January 2021.

The Government will legislate for a temporary easement of the requirement for VI-1 certification for imports of EU wine. Wine imports from the EU will not require VI-1 certification until 1 July 2021 and sensible exemptions will be made, including for shipments of less than 100 litres.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to minimise new compliance costs connected with the importation of fine wine from the EU after 1 January 2021.

The Government recognises that the VI-1 requirement will be a new cost to EU operators. However, despite VI-1 certification being an existing requirement for non-EU wines they remain competitive at retail. There are a number of practical exemptions from the requirement, including for shipments of less than 100 litres.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Symphony Environmental Technologies' d2p oxo-biodegradable technology.

The government recognises that innovation into biodegradable plastics could help reduce the environmental impacts of plastics if they are disposed of in the right way. However, this is often not the case. We are concerned that, in the absence of robust and comprehensive standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the market place, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal.

In 2015, a government report concluded that existing biodegradable standards are only applicable to very specific conditions such as industrial composters. ?A review of oxo-biodegradable plastics has also conducted by the Hazardous Substance Advisory Committee in 2019. This can be found on their website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/hazardous-substances-advisory-committee

As a consequence of these concerns, the government published a call for evidence last year to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on the 14 October 2019 and we are currently analysing the responses received. We will publish a government response before the end of the year. You can find out more information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/standards-for-biodegradable-compostable-and-bio-based-plastics-call-for-evidence

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association's campaign on oxo-degradable plastic.

The government recognises that innovation into biodegradable plastics could help reduce the environmental impacts of plastics if they are disposed of in the right way. However, this is often not the case. We are concerned that, in the absence of robust and comprehensive standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the market place, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal.

In 2015, a government report concluded that existing biodegradable standards are only applicable to very specific conditions such as industrial composters. ?A review of oxo-biodegradable plastics has also conducted by the Hazardous Substance Advisory Committee in 2019. This can be found on their website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/hazardous-substances-advisory-committee

As a consequence of these concerns, the government published a call for evidence last year to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on the 14 October 2019 and we are currently analysing the responses received. We will publish a government response before the end of the year. You can find out more information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/standards-for-biodegradable-compostable-and-bio-based-plastics-call-for-evidence

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support local authorities tackle increased littering during the covid-19 lockdown.

We recognise that in the current circumstances local authorities may have more challenges than usual, including when collecting waste. The Government has responded with an unprecedented £4.3 billion support package for local authorities. This includes £3.7 billion of un-ringfenced grants which can be used by councils to meet local priorities including, should they see fit, cleaning up litter. Defra has also published guidance for local authorities on the prioritisation of waste collection services.

Defra has also supported, and provided funding for, Keep Britain Tidy's Love Parks campaign, which encourages people to treat our parks with respect this summer. Further information about the campaign is available at:

www.keepbritaintidy.org/news/new-campaign-launched-face-littering-epidemic-parks.

Defra has also launched a 'Respect the Outdoors' campaign this summer. This has been promoted both online and in locations near to urban parks, beaches and national parks to further highlight the impacts of littering, as well as unauthorised barbeques and campfires, and breaches of the countryside code.

It remains an offence to drop litter, and councils have legal powers to take enforcement action against offenders. Anyone caught littering may be prosecuted in a magistrates' court, which can lead to a criminal record and a fine of up to £2,500 on conviction. Instead of prosecuting, councils may decide to issue a fixed penalty of between £65 and £150.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on restricting the export of live animals for slaughter.

We have a manifesto commitment to end excessively long journeys for live animals going for slaughter and fattening, which is an opportunity we have gained through leaving the EU. We intend to issue a consultation on how we deliver on that commitment in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, whether the food shipments from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will require submission of export health certificates.

We have always acknowledged the special status held by the island of Ireland as a single epidemiological unit. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) this will require changes to provide for agri-food checks and assurances. The NIP calls for shipments of animals and animal products to meet the EU’s sanitary and phytosanitary standards. Movements of these goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland may therefore require an export health certificate, dependent on negotiations.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, whether he plans that food products consisting of a variety of ingredients will require an Export Health Certificate for each ingredient when shipped from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The conditions for which composite products (such as a food product containing cheese and potato) require an EHC are outlined by the Commission. The conditions include, but are not limited to, the type of composite product and the amount of animal origin product in the composite.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, whether changes will be made to the arrangements for certification of produce as organic which is moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

As the Government has set out in the recent Command Paper on the UK’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, we have always been clear that it makes sense to protect supply chains and that there will need to be some checks to help movements of agri-food from Great Britain (GB) into Northern Ireland (NI), supported by relevant electronic processes. This may include GB organic food producers needing to provide certificates for inspection for their goods on entry into relevant NI ports, dependent on negotiations.

The process by which controls are conducted for GB-NI movements, and their frequency, will need to be discussed with the EU in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This will be done within the context of limiting additional controls at NI ports as far as possible. We will actively seek to simplify and minimise electronic documentary requirements where possible.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what conclusions have been issued by the joint working party on reforming the rules on fish discards referred to on page 32 of the 2018 White Paper on Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations.

The Government remains fully committed to ending the wasteful discarding of fish and working closely with the UK fishing industry and other stakeholders to address this issue.

Since publishing the 2018 Fisheries White Paper, Defra has held a number of workshops with industry and other stakeholders, including NGOs, on how the rules on fish discards can be reformed so that they are tailored to our industry and our marine environment. This engagement will continue throughout the development of our future policy.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to page 27 the 2018 White Paper on Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations, what steps he has taken in response to the scientific trial of an effort system for fishing in English inshore waters.

In the 2018 Fisheries White Paper Defra stated that we would consider a targeted scientific trial using an effort (days at sea) based regime in place of a quota regime for some low impact inshore fisheries.

In summer 2019, Defra ran a call for evidence on developing a new approach for allocating additional fishing quota in England. This included a question on trialling effort for some low impact fisheries, to determine whether fishing can be carried out sustainably under an effort based regime.

For 2020, we will continue to work with industry and other stakeholders to develop our approach for allocating and managing any additional quota in England. This includes whether we should trial an effort based approach. We plan to consult on this later this year.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, when he plans to publish guidance for food retailers on the formalities to be complied with in moving food from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

We have developed Export Health Certificates (EHCs) and accompanying Notes for Guidance for exports from GB to NI in preparation for the end of the Transition period. These shall be available publicly before the end of year.

The physical inspection of goods entering Northern Ireland is devolved and the devolved competent authority is DAERA. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the EU reserves the right to supervise these inspections.

We will inform industry later this year about actions they need to take to ensure they can continue trading after the transition period has ended.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which body will be responsible for carrying out physical inspections of goods and animals moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

We have developed Export Health Certificates (EHCs) and accompanying Notes for Guidance for exports from GB to NI in preparation for the end of the Transition period. These shall be available publicly before the end of year.

The physical inspection of goods entering Northern Ireland is devolved and the devolved competent authority is DAERA. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the EU reserves the right to supervise these inspections.

We will inform industry later this year about actions they need to take to ensure they can continue trading after the transition period has ended.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government has taken since 23 July 2019 to ensure that new fisheries rules coming into effect at the end of the transition period can be effectively enforced.

As an independent coastal state, the UK will have full responsibility over how it ensures compliance in its fisheries at the end of the transition period. As control and enforcement is a devolved matter, Defra, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive continue to work together to share information and ensure a coordinated approach to monitoring, compliance and enforcement across UK waters.

In England, our robust enforcement system is delivered by several agencies working in partnership, in particular the Marine Management Organisation, the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities and the Royal Navy. Since 23 July 2019 we have taken significant steps to ensure authorities can enforce fishing regulations through securing a sizeable increase in control and enforcement capability. This includes an increase to the number of frontline warranted officers, increased aerial surveillance and additional vessels to enhance patrolling capacity at sea.

Further details of the increase in fisheries control and enforcement capacity can be found in the answer given to the hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith on 7 January 2020, PQ UIN 145, and the answer given to the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan on 13 February 2020, PQ UIN 14762.

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-12-19/145]

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-02-10/14762]

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the UK Marine Strategy produced under the UK Marine Strategy Regulations 2010 is expected to achieve its 2020 targets on good environmental status on marine habitats and species as referred to on page 32 of the 2018 White Paper on Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations.

The updated UK Marine Strategy Part One, published in October 2019, provides an assessment of the state of UK seas and shows the progress made towards achieving Good Environmental Status (GES).

The assessment showed that we have made progress towards GES for UK seas and that some marine species, including grey seals, have achieved GES in UK seas. However, the assessment identified other areas, including some bird species and seabed habitats, where more needs to be done.

We are taking action to address those areas where we have not yet reached GES, and intend to publish an update to the UK Marine Strategy Part Three, outlining the programmes of measures that will continue to move us towards GES, in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what provisions he has put in place to ensure that regulatory activities carried out by the European Chemicals Agency functions can be continued in the UK after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

The preparations we made for the possibility of a no deal exit mean that we are well placed to be ready with our own independent regulatory regime for 1 January 2021. At the end of the Transition Period the UK will have its own independent chemicals regulatory framework, UK REACH. We will bring REACH in to UK law and put in place the systems and capacity to ensure the effective management and control of chemicals which safeguard human health and the environment, and that we can respond to emerging risks. UK REACH will retain the principles and fundamental approach of the EU REACH system, with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment, as well as enhancing innovation and competitiveness.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the resumption of tree planting as lockdown restrictions due to the covid-19 outbreak are eased.

Lockdown started towards the end of the 2019/2020 tree planting season and under normal conditions we would not expect planting to start again until the autumn.

The Forestry Commission and the Rural Payments Agency have remained open for new woodland creation applications and continued to process those applications subject to the restrictions imposed by Government guidance on COVID-19.

The following schemes have remained open for woodland creation applications: Countryside Stewardship, Woodland Carbon Fund, Woodland Carbon Guarantee, Woodland Creation Planning Grant and the HS2 Woodland Fund. The second application window of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund opened during lockdown and was subsequently extended to give applicants more time to apply.

Claims for tree planting under existing grant agreements have continued to be paid, with additional measures being put in place by the Forestry Commission and the Rural Payments Agency to support claimants under lockdown restrictions.

Officials have remained in regular and close contact with the forestry sector, which has continued to operate, where and when it has been safe to do so, throughout lockdown. For example, tree nurseries have responded by amending working practices to ensure social distancing can be maintained while ensuring that plants are available for next year’s tree planting season.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, what steps he plans to take to ensure document and inspection requirements are not onerous in relation to the movement of lorries with mixed loads consisting of various different food products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The Government is working to consider options to facilitate the movement of mixed loads. We will inform industry later this year about actions they need to take to ensure they can continue trading after the transition period has ended.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to paragraph 33 of The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, published May 2020, what steps he is taking to ensure that there will be an adequate number of vets available to sign off the export health certificates which might be required for the shipment of food from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Our aim has been to support the market in meeting likely demand for Certifying Officers to certify export health certificates. We provided funding for training of veterinarians to become Official Veterinarians (OVs) which enables them to certify exports of products of animal origin. In addition, we have created a Certification Support Officer role freeing up certifier time and increasing capacity. As of May 2020 1,217 OVs have completed this training.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the covid-19 outbreak has affected the timetable for delivery of the new Environmental Land Management Scheme.

The timeline for ELM will remain unchanged. The National Pilot is due to commence in late 2021 and run to 2024. Full ELM scheme rollout will be from 2024.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the start date is for the national pilot of the new Environmental Land Management Scheme.

The timeline for ELM will remain unchanged. The National Pilot is due to commence in late 2021 and run to 2024. Full ELM scheme rollout will be from 2024.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the term Other structures used in clause 41(c) of the Environment Bill 2020 includes roads.

Clause 41(c) excludes ‘Buildings and other structures’ from the definition of the ‘natural environment’ in the Bill. However, individual types of buildings and structures are not specified on the face of the Bill. It will be for the Secretary of State and the Office for Environmental Protection to interpret this definition for the purposes of implementing Chapters 1 and 2 of the Bill respectively, based on the details of the specific issue before them and the clause which they are implementing through any particular decision. If a dispute arises about the interpretation of these provisions, the courts may ultimately provide a judgment on the matter.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to ensure the delivery of food to people in self-isolation; and when such plans will be in operation.

I continue to have regular conversations with retailers and the wider supply chain so that we can take the action required to make sure that everyone can get the food and groceries they need.

We have put in place measures to ensure that those identified by the NHS as being extremely clinically vulnerable and who are without a support network of friends and family receive basic food and essential supplies. Packages of essential groceries are being delivered across England to people in this category, which should arrive within seven days after support is requested via the online NHS webportal or via the phone.

In addition, we have worked with supermarkets to place these customers at the front of the queue for online delivery slots.

We are working quickly to support people who do not fall into the category of being clinically vulnerable, but still need help getting essential food supplies. I regularly speak to other departments, industry, charities and local authorities, working together to make sure that the non-shielding vulnerable have access to food.

Many people are already being well supported by their friends, families, neighbours and local communities. We are working with retailers and the voluntary sector to ensure that people are supported to shop for others safely.

Over 750,000 people across England signed up as NHS Volunteer Responders via the mobile app GoodSam. Over 600,000 volunteers have been verified as NHS Volunteer Responders via the Good Sam platform, and can now receive tasks to help those in their communities. These volunteers will help vulnerable people in England who are at most risk from coronavirus to stay well, including through shopping for vulnerable people for food and essential supplies.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to restrict the use of cages in farming.

The Government cares very much about the welfare of animals and is examining the evidence around the use of cages for farm animals and considering the options.

We have been clear it is our ambition that farrowing crates should no longer be used for sows. Indeed, the new pig welfare code clearly states that “the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets”. I am pleased to confirm the UK is already ahead of most pig producing countries in terms of non-confinement farrowing, with around 40% of our pigs housed outside and not farrowed with crates.

The Government is examining the future use of cages for all laying hens and I welcome the commitment from our major retailers, with positive support from our egg producers, to stop retailing eggs from enriched colony cage production systems by 2025. I am pleased to state that the UK already has a much larger free range sector by far than any EU country, with over 50% of our hens kept in free range systems.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has plans to support the use of free farrowing systems in pig farming.

The Government cares very much about the welfare of animals and is examining the evidence around the use of cages for farm animals and considering the options.

We have been clear it is our ambition that farrowing crates should no longer be used for sows. Indeed, the new pig welfare code clearly states that “the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets”. I am pleased to confirm the UK is already ahead of most pig producing countries in terms of non-confinement farrowing, with around 40% of our pigs housed outside and not farrowed with crates.

The Government is examining the future use of cages for all laying hens and I welcome the commitment from our major retailers, with positive support from our egg producers, to stop retailing eggs from enriched colony cage production systems by 2025. I am pleased to state that the UK already has a much larger free range sector by far than any EU country, with over 50% of our hens kept in free range systems.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to place restrictions on the use of enriched cages in farming.

The Government cares very much about the welfare of animals and is examining the evidence around the use of cages for farm animals and considering the options.

We have been clear it is our ambition that farrowing crates should no longer be used for sows. Indeed, the new pig welfare code clearly states that “the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets”. I am pleased to confirm the UK is already ahead of most pig producing countries in terms of non-confinement farrowing, with around 40% of our pigs housed outside and not farrowed with crates.

The Government is examining the future use of cages for all laying hens and I welcome the commitment from our major retailers, with positive support from our egg producers, to stop retailing eggs from enriched colony cage production systems by 2025. I am pleased to state that the UK already has a much larger free range sector by far than any EU country, with over 50% of our hens kept in free range systems.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals on animal sentience.

The Government has committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in a rigorous and comprehensive way after the transition period and will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows. Defra is currently assessing how best to support Government departments in considering the welfare needs of sentient animals when they are developing and implementing Government policy.

Defra engages with a wide range of stakeholders on a number of animal welfare issues, including animal sentience.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the targets to be set under the Environment Bill will include a target on litter.

The Government will be required to set at least one target for each of the four priority areas: air quality; biodiversity; water; and waste reduction and resource efficiency. The power to set targets will not be limited to these four priority areas. Long-term targets could be set in respect of any matter which relates to the natural environment, or people’s enjoyment of it, in order to drive significant improvement of the environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the remit of the proposed Office of Environmental Protection will include holding public bodies to account on compliance with duties to collect litter.

The Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) will be established with the principal objective of contributing to environmental protection and the improvement of the natural environment. The OEP will have powers that will enable it to hold all public authorities to account for their implementation of any legislative provisions that fall under the definition of environmental law as set out in the Environment Bill. In this context, the OEP’s remit is not defined by reference to specific subjects such as litter, but rather by reference to the question of whether legislation is mainly concerned with environmental protection. The OEP will also need to consider the seriousness of any alleged breach, and whether there are more appropriate avenues to resolve the matter, in determining where and how to act in relation to any specific case.

Legal duties in relation to litter, or indeed any other subject, would therefore need to be considered against the definition of environmental law in the Environment Bill in order to determine whether the OEP has powers to act. This will be for the OEP to assess in the first instance.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timeframe is for the publication of Sir Ian Cheshire's report on global supply chains.

Sir Ian Cheshire’s report on global supply chains is due to be published on 30 March this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding has been allocated from the public purse to the Mayor of London in each of the last 10 years to improve air quality.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under Part IV of the Environment Act (1995) to reflect this. Under the Environment Act the Mayor may direct the boroughs in the Greater London area concerning how they should assess and prioritise action in their areas.

London received funding for air quality as part of the 2015 £5.7 billion Transport for London funding settlement and has also received further funding for specific projects totalling almost £147 million.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will take steps to ensure that UK Official Development Assistance programmes help developing countries reduce the use of antibiotics in farming.

UK Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) supports developing countries to develop sustainable farming systems which are good for livelihoods, for human and animal health, and the environment, and which are resilient to climate change. This includes fostering the responsible use of antibiotics for animal health and welfare, while monitoring and preventing the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a top UK government priority.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the interlinkages between the health of humans, animals and the environment. UK ODA promotes the importance of taking a One Health approach that addresses all three in an integrated manner for an effective and sustainable recovery.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s Fleming Fund has provided over £9 million of funding to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) since 2016 to address AMR and support the appropriate use of antibiotics in farming in 12 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). UK ODA also funds the CGIAR AMR Hub (the global agricultural innovation network) that aims to develop One Health solutions to support LMICs in controlling agriculture-associated AMR risks.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking ensure that religious minorities are not discriminated against during the establishment of aid projects.

The UK Government works to ensure that religious minorities are not discriminated against during the establishment of aid projects and is committed to delivering its aid according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of assistance irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity.

The situation of minority communities is taken into account when assessing those most in need of protection and assistance. This includes when a community is being targeted or is otherwise vulnerable because of their faith. We regularly challenge our partners to demonstrate that they are doing all they can to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people, including those from religious minorities.

Vulnerable religious minority groups can experience discrimination, violence and stigma. For this reason, guidance has been circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our work and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities, and other vulnerable groups, must be considered when developing practical programmes of assistance. DFID’s due diligence assessments ensure that all organisations supported have the correct procedures in place to tackle any discrimination of religious minorities.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable with faith leaders and the chief executives of faith-based development organisations. The meeting covered how faith groups are contributing to the response to COVID-19; where those interventions have been most effective; the challenges for faith groups, and, how DFID could work more effectively with faith groups.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) Christians and (b) other religious minorities are not discriminated against during the distribution of UK aid.

The UK Government works to ensure that Christian and other religious minorities are not discriminated against during the distribution of UK aid.

The UK is committed to delivering its aid according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance. This includes vulnerable religious minorities.

Vulnerable religious minority groups will experience crises such as COVID-19 outbreaks differently. Crises are likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes of assistance.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations about the specific challenges minority faith communities are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that her Department's spending on poverty relief includes (a) Christians and (b) other religious minorities who are persecuted for their faith.

The UK Government works to ensure that all aid reaches the most vulnerable including those from Christian and other religious minorities who are persecuted for their faith.

The UK is committed to delivering its humanitarian aid according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance. This includes vulnerable religious minorities.

DFID’s use of country context analysis has increased the extent to which religious dynamics and religious groups are factored into all of our country programmes. DFID undertakes interdisciplinary analysis of a country’s politics, society, state and economy to identify the most significant problems that hinder development and the main entry points and opportunities to create change. There is a strong emphasis on how politics, security, and demographics interact with economic growth and human development. This includes the role of religion and the persecution of religious minorities.

Vulnerable religious minority groups will experience crises such as COVID-19 outbreaks differently. Crises are likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes of assistance.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations about the specific challenges minority faith communities are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her policy on the trade terms on agriculture agreed in principle with Australia (a) will or (b) will not become the standard terms to be offered to other countries with lower food and animal welfare standards.

All trade deals are different, and tailored to the relationships and markets of the countries involved. However, the Government has committed that it will never lower food standards. The UK’s food standards are overseen independently by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland. Decisions on these standards are made separately from any trade agreements.

The UK-Australia trade deal does not compromise our animal welfare high standards and does not create new permissions for imports from Australia.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to use its trade policy to promote higher animal welfare standards around the world.

HM Government is working to secure world-class free trade agreements that uphold our manifesto commitment to not compromise on the animal welfare standards for which our country is rightly renowned. To promote higher animal welfare standards, we will consider the full range of mechanisms available to us, including at international fora such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Trade Organisation.

We have secured ground-breaking provisions on animal welfare with Australia and New Zealand. This includes a standalone animal welfare chapter, a non-regression clause and a comprehensive partnership to work with Australia and New Zealand to progress animal welfare internationally.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the oral contribution of the Secretary of State for Scotland of 23 June 2021, Official Report 842, on safeguards to stop the UK market being flooded with beef or experiencing a collapse in price following the trade agreement with Australia, if she will publish details of those safeguards referred to.

Any deal the Government signs with Australia will include protections for the agriculture industry and will not undercut UK farmers unfairly or compromise the UK’s high animal welfare standards. Beef imports from Australia account for only a tiny fraction of the UK’s overall beef imports – around 0.5% in 2020.

Throughout negotiations the Government has listened closely to the concerns of farmers and other stakeholders. The Government has agreed 15 years of capped tariff free imports from Australia. In addition, a general bilateral safeguard mechanism will provide a safety net for industry if they face serious injury from increased imports as a direct consequence of the Free Trade Agreement. This applies to all products.

Further details on what has been agreed is available on gov.uk.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she plans to include review mechanisms in a potential free trade agreement which could be agreed with Australia to ensure matters relating to agriculture can be regularly reviewed to help ensure they are operating fairly.

Any deal the Government signs with Australia will include protections for the agriculture industry and will not undercut UK farmers or compromise high standards.

The Government is currently involved in agreeing the outstanding details of this negotiation with the aim of reaching agreement in principle with Australia later this month. The Government has an objective to provide for regular review of the operation of the whole agreement. The agreement will provide forums for an ongoing dialogue between Australia and the UK to raise and discuss matters relating to agriculture in future.

The Government’s goal is a long-term sustainable future for British farming, based on high standards, competitiveness, and productivity, which meets the growing demand for the UK’s world-class produce.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to ensure that the interests of the UK farming sector are taken into account in negotiations for a free trade agreement with Australia.

The Government is working to secure an ambitious free trade deal with Australia that benefits businesses across the UK.

Any deal signed with Australia will include protections for the agriculture industry and will not undercut UK farmers or compromise high standards. Tariffs for sensitive goods can be staged over time, with safeguards built in. Australian meat accounts for a very low proportion of total UK imports, and Australian meat imported into the UK is produced to high standards.

The Government keeps farmers and senior figures from across industry closely involved throughout all trade negotiations through the Trade Advisory Group (TAG). This allows closer engagement, so the Government better understands their views and the impact of each deal on the industry.

The Government will continue to work with the industry, keeping representatives involved throughout the process and helping the industry capture the full benefits of trade.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to promote park-and-ride schemes at rail and tube stations.

Rail station parking capacity is a matter for the relevant station operator and Network Rail. All station operators should consider the views of local authority partners on this issue.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects rail services on the GTR Great Northern line to return to the level they were at prior to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State has requested that Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) prioritise its services in the most efficient way, adapting to what passengers need for the future. All service offers will be kept under review and, where appropriate, adjusted to reflect fluctuations in demand. Where evidence supports the (re)introduction of services, the Department will work with GTR to consider what action is needed.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish his decision on the application he has received from TfL for permission to build over Cockfosters underground station car park.

The Secretary of State will write to the Member shortly with an update.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to respond to the Freedom of Information request relating to the application he has received from TfL to grant permission to build over Cockfosters underground station car park submitted by the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet on 26 January 2022.

The Department is conducting a public interest test regarding the release of this information and plans to have a final response with the Member as soon as possible.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2021 to Question 87625, on Transport for London: Property Transfer, if he will place in the Library the documents he is considering to assist him to make his decision on the application submitted by TfL under under section 163 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 to dispose of operational land at Cockfosters tube station.

Transport for London’s application, submitted under section 163 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999, relating to Cockfosters Underground Station remains under consideration. It would not therefore be appropriate to publish a copy in the House of Commons Library at this time.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2021 to Question 87625, on Transport for London: Property Transfer, if he will place in the Library a copy of the applications made to his Department by Transport for London under section 163 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 to dispose of operational land at (a) Arnos Grove Underground Station in the London borough of Enfield in 2020-21 and (b) Canons Park Underground Station, Rayners Lane Underground Station and Stanmore Underground Station in the London borough of Harrow in 2019.

The applications submitted by Transport for London to the Department contain sensitive information and are subject to agreements with potential developers. It would not be appropriate to publish this information. However, the planning process provides the necessary transparency in relation to these applications.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2021 to Question 87625, on Transport for London: Property Transfer, whether he plans to undertake a public consultation in respect of his decision on the application submitted by Transport for London under under section 163 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 to dispose of operational land at Cockfosters Underground Station.

The application at Cockfosters Underground Station is still under consideration. Section 163 applications are submitted by TfL and as part of this process, the Secretary of State is informed of any public consultation that has been undertaken. This forms part of the Secretary of State’s consideration as to whether operational land is no longer required by TfL for discharging its functions, as per the requirements under section 163 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2021 to Question 87625, on Transport for London: Property Transfer, if he will place in the Library a copy of the application submitted by Transport for London under section 163 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 to dispose of operational land at Cockfosters Underground Station.

The application relating to Cockfosters Underground Station is still under consideration. It would not therefore be appropriate to publish a copy of the application submitted by Transport for London in the House of Commons Library at this time.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2021 to Question 87625, on Transport for London: Property Transfer, if he will set out his reasons for approving the applications submitted by Transport for London under section 163 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 to dispose of operational land at (a) Arnos Grove Underground Station in 2020-2021, (b) Canons Park Underground Station in 2019, (c) Rayners Lane Underground Station in 2019 and (d) Stanmore Underground Station in 2019.

The Secretary of State granted consent to the application at Arnos Grove Underground Station based on TfL’s application and the consideration as to whether the operational land was no longer required by TfL for discharging its functions. This is in line with the requirements under section 163 of the Greater London Authority Act. The applications relating to Canons Park, Rayners Lane and Stanmore Underground stations were consented to by the previous Secretary of State, in accordance with the same requirements.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will ensure that no additional funding provided to Transport for London is used to fund projects to build over station car parks.

Transport in London is devolved and the responsibility of the Mayor and Transport for London (TfL). It remains the responsibility of the Mayor to make planning decisions, including on station car parks, as part of his wider transport strategy.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Prime Minister's announcement of 21 November 2021 that all new homes must include electric charging points, whether the costs of installing those charging points are to be met by housebuilders.

The Prime Minister recently announced that new buildings with associated parking such as homes, supermarkets and workplaces, as well as those undergoing major renovation, will be required to install electric vehicle charge points from next year under new legislation to help ensure a smooth transition to electric vehicles.

We expect that the cost of installing a chargepoint in the first instance will fall on the property owner or developer. In order to ensure developers do not incur excessive costs for installing chargepoints, we have introduced an exemption for new residential properties where the installation of a chargpoint would increase grid connection costs by more than £3,600 (although cable routes will still be required). We expect developers will be able to benefit from economies of scale by purchasing charging infrastructure in bulk. This policy will reduce the overall costs of installing chargepoints in homes and avoiding potentially costly retrofitting in the future for consumers and developers.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the letter from his Department to the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet dated 17 November 2021 regarding the proposals by the Mayor of London to build over a number of station car parks, what permissions he has granted to the Mayor of London in each of the last five years to dispose of Transport for London property in the boroughs of (a) Barnet, (b) Enfield and (c) Harrow.

Under section 163 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999, Transport for London is able, with the consent of the Secretary of State, to dispose of any of its property which in the opinion of the Mayor is not required by Transport for London for the purposes of discharging any of its functions. It is not for the Department for Transport involve itself in local planning decisions.

In the last five years, the Secretary of State for Transport has consented to applications submitted by Transport for London under section 163 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 to dispose of operational land at Arnos Grove Underground Station in the London borough of Enfield (2020 - 2021); and at Canons Park Underground Station, Rayners Lane Underground Station and Stanmore Underground Station in the London borough of Harrow (2019).

The Secretary of State is currently reviewing an application submitted by Transport for London relating to Cockfosters Underground Station (application submitted in May 2021).

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Prime Minister's announcement of 21 November 2021 that all new homes must include electric charging points, what steps he will take to ensure new homes without on-site parking bays have access to parking spaces with charging points.

This policy applies not only to new homes but also to new or existing buildings undergoing major renovation. This will help ensure drivers without off-street parking at home charge have access to a range of charging options and can charge conveniently as they go about their lives at offices and shops.

Alongside these regulations the Government is investing over £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major A roads to dash any anxiety around long journeys, and supporting the installation of chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging easier than refuelling a petrol or diesel car. This includes the £20m per year On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) which is available to all UK local authorities to provide public chargepoints for their residents without access to private parking. The ORCS has so far awarded funding to over 135 different local authorities, to install more than 4,600 chargepoints for residents who do not have off-street parking.

Government and industry have supported the installation of over 26,000 publicly available charging devices, including more than 4,900 rapid devices – one of the largest networks in Europe.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Prime Minister's announcement of 21 November 2021 that all new homes must include electric charging points, whether that policy applies to properties which already have planning permission but which have not yet been built.

This requirement is triggered by building notices under the Building Regulations regime rather than planning permission. Properties which have their initial building notices or full plans deposited by the coming into force date will not be legally required to meet the new regulations. However, they must begin building work by no later than 12 months after the coming into force date, otherwise the new regulations will need to be met. This applies to all work under the same building notice/plans. This is the typical way that transitional arrangements have been applied in the past.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Prime Minister's announcement of 21 November 2021 that all new homes must include electric charging points, whether that policy applies to properties without designate onsite parking spaces.

This policy will ensure that new and existing buildings undergoing major renovation which have associated parking within the site boundary will have a chargepoint. Alongside these regulations the Government is investing over £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major A roads to dash any anxiety around long journeys, and supporting the installation of chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging easier than refuelling a petrol or diesel car. This includes the £20m per year On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) which is available to all UK local authorities to provide public chargepoints for their residents without access to private parking. The ORCS has so far awarded funding to over 135 different local authorities, to install more than 4,600 chargepoints for residents who do not have off-street parking.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Prime Minister's announcement of 21 November 2021, that all new homes must include electric vehicle charging points, if he will ask the Mayor of London to amend the London Plan so that it does not discourage the provision of on-site parking bays.

The requirements to be set out in law that all new homes must include electric charging points will be a requirement for England, including London.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Prime Minister's announcement of 21 November 2021 that all new homes must include electric charging points, if he will ask the Mayor of London to amend the London Plan to accommodate the new policy.

The requirements to be set out in law that all new homes must include electric charging points will be a requirement for England, including London.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress he has made on implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform relevant to his Department.

As set out in Lord Frost’s letter of 16 September, and his statement to the House of Lords on the same date, the Government welcomed the report of the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR), and the transport regulatory reform recommendations that it contained.

Space Industry Regulations were approved by Parliament in July this year, paving the way for the first space launch from the UK next year and tackling the challenge of liability identified by TIGRR.

Our Future of Transport Regulatory Review consultation – which closed on 22 November – also sought views in relation to a number of the recommendations. We are currently analysing the responses to this consultation and will publish a response in due course.

In addition, we are exploring Parliamentary vehicles and potential funding mechanisms to deliver further measures arising from the recommendations.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will publish in full the criteria used to inform the categorisation of countries in the covid-19 traffic light system.

Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) risk assessments of countries and territories, alongside wider public health factors. Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country and territory include genomic surveillance capability, COVID-19 transmission risk and variant of concern transmission risk. A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of replacing covid-19 PCR tests with lateral flow tests for people arriving from amber list countries.

Testing remains a vital part of our borders regime to protect public health and prevent the importation of variants of concern. As only PCR tests can be used to identify variants of concern, they are required for tests on arrival in the UK. However, lateral flow tests can be used for pre-departure testing if they meet minimum performance standards.

The government keeps all measures under the review and the next formal review will take place by 1 October.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to accelerate the safe reopening of international travel to more destinations.

The Government continues to explore expanding our approach of opening up to other countries, where it is safe to do so and will work with international partners as we progress towards a safe, sustainable and robust return to international travel.

The government keeps all measures under the review and the next formal review will take place by 1 October.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he has made on talks with his US counterpart on further opening up of international travel between the UK and the US since the G7 transport leaders conference.

At the G7 in Carbis Bay, the Prime Minister and President Biden made clear the importance of bringing about the return of safe trans-Atlantic travel as soon as possible.

The UK/US Experts Working Group (EWG) has ambitious objectives and has established a productive dialogue. It will continue to meet regularly to develop meaningful options to ensure the return of safe and sustainable international travel.

The reopening of transatlantic travel to vaccinated US passengers reflects the impact of the US-UK EWG’s extensive activity to work through the detail of our respective inbound systems and provide the platform to kickstart the economy as we recover from the pandemic.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to modernise the blue badge system to allow local authorities to give blue badge holders the option of registering their car with the scheme and enable parking enforcement wardens to check the registration plate for entitlement to park, rather than requiring a blue badge to be displayed.

Current legislation provides local authorities with the means to tackle abuse of the Blue Badge scheme locally, such as the power to retain and cancel badges found to be stolen. The Department for Transport continues to work closely with local authorities aiming to improve the consistency of local enforcement to tackle fraud and misuse of the Blue Badge Scheme by acting swiftly and sharing best practice. The Department keeps the Blue Badge scheme under review and is always looking to identify potential ways to develop and improve the scheme over time to make it better for the user.

Some local authorities also offer Blue Badge holders living and working in their area the option to apply for a local disabled driver parking permit, meaning the Blue Badge is not on display while the motorist is parked in their local area.

At present, a Blue Badge can be used in any vehicle in which the badge holder is travelling and must only be displayed where the parking concessions are being used or while the badge holder is travelling in the vehicle, ensuring that enforcement officers can carry out their duties. This is a requirement of the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) Regulations 2000.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on tackling theft of blue badges from cars.

Current legislation provides local authorities with the means to tackle abuse of the Blue Badge scheme locally, such as the power to retain and cancel badges found to be stolen. The Department for Transport continues to work closely with local authorities aiming to improve the consistency of local enforcement to tackle fraud and misuse of the Blue Badge Scheme by acting swiftly and sharing best practice. The Department keeps the Blue Badge scheme under review and is always looking to identify potential ways to develop and improve the scheme over time to make it better for the user.

Some local authorities also offer Blue Badge holders living and working in their area the option to apply for a local disabled driver parking permit, meaning the Blue Badge is not on display while the motorist is parked in their local area.

At present, a Blue Badge can be used in any vehicle in which the badge holder is travelling and must only be displayed where the parking concessions are being used or while the badge holder is travelling in the vehicle, ensuring that enforcement officers can carry out their duties. This is a requirement of the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) Regulations 2000.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
4th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the cost of covid-19 testing for people wishing to travel to green list countries.

We are working with the travel industry and private testing providers to see how we can further reduce costs for the British public while ensuring travel is as safe as possible. We are considering a range of options including cheaper tests being used when passengers return home. The price of tests has reduced significantly in recent weeks, with some providers offering testing packages for green arrivals starting at £43.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of whether (a) Madeira and (b) other similar island locations pose a lower covid-19 risk than other locations on the UK's red list of countries for which hotel quarantine is required.

The government introduced a travel ban for Madeira, along with mainland Portugal and the Azores, on 15 January 2021 and since 15 February individuals who have been in Madeira in the 10 days before they arrive in the UK must quarantine in a government approved hotel.

The decision to introduce additional measures for arrivals who have been in Madeira and other countries on the red list in the 10 days before they arrive in the UK, is in direct response to scientific and medical data, which represents an increased risk to UK public health and an increased risk of community transmission of the new COVID-19 variants identified in other countries.

The government has made it consistently clear that it will take decisive action to contain the virus, including imposing travel bans if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to oppose a third runway at Heathrow.

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 are carefully considering the Court’s judgment.

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)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's negotiations with the Mayor of London for a bail-out for Transport for London (TfL), what assessment he has made of TfL's capacity to deliver major capital projects such as proposals to build over London Underground station car parks.

The Government has agreed a further extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL of up to £1.7bn to ensure the continuation of public transport services in London.

As part of this deal, by 11 January 2021 TfL will produce a single, comprehensive management plan with options as to how a trajectory to financial sustainability by 2023 can be achieved, including their contribution to capital projects within London. As transport in London is devolved, it is for the Mayor and TfL to assess the merits of capital projects in which they wish to invest, and their capacity to deliver such projects.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of Transport for London's capacity to manage its projects to build flats over station car parks.

The Government has agreed a further extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL of up to £1.7bn to ensure the continuation of public transport services in London.

As part of this deal, by 11 January 2021 TfL will produce a single, comprehensive management plan with options as to how a trajectory to financial sustainability by 2023 can be achieved, including their contribution to capital projects within London. As transport in London is devolved, it is for the Mayor and TfL to assess the merits of capital projects in which they wish to invest, and their capacity to deliver such projects.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure young people using e-scooters are educated on using them safely and with appropriate regard to pedestrians.

In a number of local areas across the country, trials of rental e-scooters are underway. They will run for 12 months and the results will be closely scrutinised to inform future policy. In all trial areas, e-scooter rental operators provide digital training to users as well as in person training at events. E-scooter operators use geofencing technology to limit the speeds e-scooters can reach and the areas they can operate in. They also incentivise considerate parking of vehicles, for example, by rewarding users who utilise parking bay zones. In order to register to use a trial e-scooter, a form of driver licence is required, therefore, no one under 16 years of age is legally able to use a rental e-scooter.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Transport for London on whether (a) the proposed building over of station car parks and (b) other capital projects are excluded from the Government’s funding proposals for Transport for London announced on 21 October 2020.

The Government has agreed a further extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL of up to £1.7bn to ensure the continuation of public transport services in London.

As part of this deal, the Mayor has chosen to make £160 million in savings over the next 6 months to move TfL onto a more financially sustainable footing.

Matters relating to the Mayor’s plans for housing development in London are devolved and subject to local planning consents.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to exclude (a) the proposed building over of station car parks and (b) other capital projects from the scope of the Government’s funding proposals for Transport for London announced on 21 October 2020.

The Government has agreed a further extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL of up to £1.7bn to ensure the continuation of public transport services in London.

As part of this deal, the Mayor has chosen to make £160 million in savings over the next 6 months to move TfL onto a more financially sustainable footing.

Matters relating to the Mayor’s plans for housing development in London are devolved and subject to local planning consents.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Mayor of London on his plans to build over London Underground station car parks.

Matters relating to the Mayor’s plans for housing development in London are devolved and subject to local planning consents.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will include in his Department's upcoming agreement with Transport for London for additional funding a condition that it cannot be used to facilitate building over London Underground station car parks.

The Government has agreed a further extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL of up to £1.7bn to ensure the continuation of public transport services in London.

Matters relating to the Mayor’s plans for housing development in London are devolved and subject to local planning consents.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is his policy that the additional funding for Transport for London which his Department is negotiating will include capital projects.

We are currently in discussions with Transport for London and the Mayor on a further extraordinary funding agreement. The Mayor has many choices to make to balance the books of Transport for London over the long term. When he has made those choices, they will become conditions attached to support from the UK taxpayer. It would be inappropriate to disclose any further details while those discussions are ongoing.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will ensure that none of the recent funding provided by the Government to Transport for London will be used, directly or indirectly, to fund the Mayor of London's plans to build over station car parks at Cockfosters, High Barnet, Finchley Central and Arnos Grove.

In May the Government agreed a £1.6 billion funding and financing package for Transport for London to enable them to continue operating essential services. Matters relating to the Mayor’s plans for housing development in London are devolved and subject to local planning consents.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Office of Rail and Road on ensuring continued provision for parking at stations owned by Network Rail and TfL.

My Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State, and I have regular meetings with the Chair and Chief Executive of the Office of Rail and Road to discuss a wide range of issues, but we have not recently discussed the provision of car parking at stations.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government is negotiating with Bulgaria to establish an air bridge to allow covid-19 quarantine free travel between Bulgaria and the UK.

The Government has regular discussions with countries on a range of issues.

Our approach to travel corridors has been guided by the science and we have worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking will minimise the risk of importing COVID-19 cases, while helping to open our travel and tourism sector.

Although Bulgaria was not included in the travel corridors announced on 3 July, the Health Regulations relating to the self-isolation requirements remain under constant review. The next formal review will be on 27 July 2020.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Government of Singapore on the potential establishment of an air bridge between the UK and Singapore and the consequent removal of quarantine requirements for people travelling to the UK from Singapore.

The Government has regular discussions with countries on a range of issues.

Our approach to travel corridors has been guided by the science and we have worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking will minimise the risk of importing COVID-19 cases, while helping to open our travel and tourism sector.

Although Singapore was not included in the travel corridors announced on 3 July, the Health Regulations relating to the self-isolation requirements remain under constant review. The next formal review will be on 27 July 2020.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the cost to the public purse is of the Williams Rail Review.

The Williams Rail Review is funded from the Department for Transport’s existing budget. Neither Keith Williams nor the members of the Expert Challenge Panel are being paid.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons findings and recommendations of the Williams Rail Review have not yet been published.

The Department remains committed to delivering wholescale reform of the rail sector to put the priorities of passengers first.

The Williams Rail Review was in the final stages of drafting at the outbreak of COVID-19. The Government views the purpose of the reforms as important as ever, but further work needs to be done now to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the sector. We are progressing with this work.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the conclusions of the Williams Review on rail services.

The Department remains committed to delivering wholescale reform of the rail industry to put the priorities of passengers first.

The Williams Rail Review was in the final stages of drafting at the outbreak of COVID-19. The Government views the purpose of the reforms as important as ever, but further work needs to be done now to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the sector. We are progressing with this work.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with local authorities on the provision of additional parking spaces in response to the advice for people to avoid using public transport where possible during the covid-19 outbreak.

On Wednesday 3 June, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport and the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, co-chaired a roundtable with the Local Government Association, London Councils, parking operators and other associations and organisations with an interest in parking and active travel. This was to encourage the parking sector to develop schemes that would enable commuters to park their cars and then cycle or walk the last part of their journey into town centres, easing the pressure on public transport. Department officials have worked closely with the LGA, London Councils and the British Parking Association throughout the Covid-19 emergency.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to encourage the use of powered two wheel vehicles as an alternative to public transport during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s guidance issued on 12 May refers to “Private cars and other vehicles” as an alternative to using public transport, and encourages the public to “consider all other forms of transport before using public transport”. This would include private vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds where the journey to be made is appropriate.

In response to COVID-19, we are accelerating and expanding planned trials of rental e-scooters, allowing all areas that want to host trials to do so. We will introduce legislation in June to allow trials to begin.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Mayor of London on the potential effect on London's productivity of the London Streetspace programme announced by the Mayor of London on 6 May 2020.

Ministers and officials at the Department for Transport meet regularly with the Mayor’s office to discuss a range of matters relating to transport in London. The Government considers active travel to be key in allowing people to return to work in safety and I look forward to seeing the Mayor’s plans develop in this area.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the risk of covid-19 being spread in the UK by people arriving from overseas into UK airports.

Airlines and airports have implemented additional measures in response to COVID-19 in line with advice from PHE, SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Airports are displaying posters and digital signage relaying Government information about COVID-19. Passengers arriving into UK airports are being given a leaflet with information about the measures in place in the UK, and announcements are made on aircraft an hour before landing.

Targeted screening measures were carried out at UK airports for inbound passengers during the containment phase of the pandemic when the aim was to prevent the virus coming in to the UK.

Whilst there is community transmission within the UK, the role played by imported cases is less significant and so our focus in the current delay phase has not been on screening measures at the border.



As you would expect our approach is being kept under review as the pandemic develops. This may mean that measures and procedures change as we control the spread of, and understand more about, the virus. Any changes to our approach will be led by advice from SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Protecting the health of the UK public will always come first.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government plans to stop flights to and from Iran due to the covid-19 outbreak in that country.

In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is working to a scientifically-led, step-by-step action plan, focusing on taking the right measures at the right time.

Whilst there is community transmission within the UK, the role played by imported cases is less significant and so our focus in the current delay phase has not been on screening measures at the border. Additionally, it is vital that flights are still able to land in the UK in order to allow Britons who have been stranded abroad as a result of the pandemic to return home, and to allow key supplies to continue moving into and around the UK.

Airlines and airports have already implemented additional measures in response to COVID-19 in line with advice from PHE, SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Airports are displaying posters and digital signage relaying Government information about COVID-19. Passengers arriving into UK airports are being given a leaflet with information about the measures in place in the UK, and announcements are made on aircraft an hour before landing.

Government will keep this process under review as the pandemic develops. This may mean that measures and procedures change as we control the spread of, and understand more about, the virus. Any changes to our approach will be led by advice from SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Protecting the health of the UK public will always come first.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding has been allocated to the Mayor of London for reducing emissions from transport in each of the last 10 years.

The Government has provided the following amounts to help reduce emissions from transport in London since 2011:

Scheme

Amount

Funding for 338 Low-carbon buses (this figure is for the Green Bus Fund from 2009-2012)

£23m

Funding for 54 Low-emission buses

£6.4m

Funding for Ultra-Low Emission taxis

£25m

ULEV Taxi Infrastructure scheme

£5.2m

Go-Ultra Low Cities Scheme

£13.1m

Air Quality Grant (pre-2019)

£2m

Support to increase ULEV uptake

£10m

Clean Bus Technology Fund

£6.5m

Clean Vehicle Technology Fund

£0.5m

Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme 2019

£7.0m

Air Quality Grant 2019

£0.77m

Hydrogen for Transport Programme

£0.5m

Plug-in Car Grant paid out in respect of vehicles registered in London (current available figure)

£45m

Plug-in Taxi Grant paid for taxis licenced in London (payment made to vehicle manufacturers)

£13.52m

TOTAL

£158.39m

TfL also received £5.7bn over the period 2016 to 2021 for general transport funding, which included funding to cover the implementation of measures to address air quality.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding has been allocated to the Mayor of London for reducing emissions from buses in each of the last 10 years.

The Government has provided the following amounts to Transport for London (TfL) to help reduce emissions from buses over the last 10 years:

Year

Scheme name

Amount (£)

2019

Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme

£6,956,000

2017-19

Clean Bus Technology Extension Fund

£3,000,000

2017-19

Clean Bus Technology Fund

£3,000,000

2016

Low Emission Bus Scheme

£6,407,000

2015

Clean Bus Technology Fund

£500,000

2014

Clean Vehicle Technology Fund

£500,000

2009-12

Green Bus Fund

£22,999,740

TOTAL

£43,362,740

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government's programme to help tackle health inequalities will include improved access to occupational health.

Quality Occupational Health (OH) services have the potential to prevent work-related illness and avoidable sickness absence, support disabled people and those with ill health conditions to remain in work, support business productivity and potentially reduce pressures on the NHS.

Following the publication of the response to the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation, we are exploring a number of policy options in partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care to increase access to quality and cost effective OH services, whilst ensuring that the market has the capacity to provide the services. We are particularly focusing on improving access to OH for SMEs and the self-employed as evidence suggests that smaller employers are less likely to provide access to OH than larger employers.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Government's response to the Health is Everyone's Business consultation, published on 4 October 2021, what steps the Government is taking to help expand access to occupational health.

Quality Occupational Health (OH) services have the potential to prevent work-related illness and avoidable sickness absence, support disabled people and those with ill health conditions to remain in work, support business productivity and potentially reduce pressures on the NHS.

Following the publication of the response to the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation, we are exploring a number of policy options in partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care to increase access to quality and cost effective OH services, whilst ensuring that the market has the capacity to provide the services. We are particularly focusing on improving access to OH for SMEs and the self-employed as evidence suggests that smaller employers are less likely to provide access to OH than larger employers.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government's policies on levelling up will include increasing access to occupational health schemes.

Quality Occupational Health (OH) services have the potential to prevent work-related illness and avoidable sickness absence, support disabled people and those with ill health conditions to remain in work, support business productivity and potentially reduce pressures on the NHS.

Following the publication of the response to the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation, we are exploring a number of policy options in partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care to increase access to quality and cost effective OH services, whilst ensuring that the market has the capacity to provide the services. We are particularly focusing on improving access to OH for SMEs and the self-employed as evidence suggests that smaller employers are less likely to provide access to OH than larger employers.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to expand access to occupational health as a means to improve productivity and support individuals with health conditions such as long covid.

Quality Occupational Health (OH) services have the potential to prevent work-related illness and avoidable sickness absence, support disabled people and those with ill health conditions to remain in work, support business productivity and potentially reduce pressures on the NHS.

Following the publication of the response to the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation, we are exploring a number of policy options in partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care to increase access to quality and cost effective OH services, whilst ensuring that the market has the capacity to provide the services. We are particularly focusing on improving access to OH for SMEs and the self-employed as evidence suggests that smaller employers are less likely to provide access to OH than larger employers.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Government's response to the Health is Everyone's Business consultation, published on 4 October 2021, what steps the Government is taking to help tackle potential unequal and inconsistent access to occupational health.

Quality Occupational Health (OH) services have the potential to prevent work-related illness and avoidable sickness absence, support disabled people and those with ill health conditions to remain in work, support business productivity and potentially reduce pressures on the NHS.

Following the publication of the response to the Health is Everyone’s Business consultation, we are exploring a number of policy options in partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care to increase access to quality and cost effective OH services, whilst ensuring that the market has the capacity to provide the services. We are particularly focusing on improving access to OH for SMEs and the self-employed as evidence suggests that smaller employers are less likely to provide access to OH than larger employers.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to create a national emergency helpline for mental health which is separate from the NHS 111 service.

We have no plans to do so. Currently, all National Health Service mental health providers in England have 24 hours a day, seven days a week all-age urgent mental health helplines available, which provide access to trained mental health professionals for those experiencing a mental health crisis or those concerned for someone who may be experiencing such a crisis. By 2023/24, we aim to enable individuals to select a mental health option via NHS 111 to reach a local specialist NHS urgent mental health service.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will include steps to improve survival rates for pancreatic cancer in his Department's forthcoming Ten Year Cancer Plan.

Officials are analysing response to call for evidence to inform the development of the 10 Year Cancer Plan, which will be published later this year. The Plan will address all types of cancer, including those which are rare and less survivable, such as pancreatic cancer.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that free covid-19 lateral flow tests continue to be available to people wishing to visit relatives in care homes after 1 April 2022.

The regular asymptomatic testing regime in adult social care from 1 April 2022 is currently under review. Until 1 April, testing for visitors to care homes should align with current guidance on testing in care homes. We will set out further details in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether free covid-19 lateral flow tests will be made available to care home and hospital visitors after 1 April 2022.

The regular asymptomatic testing regime in care settings and hospitals after 1 April 2022 is currently under review. Testing for visitors to these settings should continue in line with the current guidance. We will set out further details on the future of asymptomatic lateral flow device testing in these settings in due course, including which groups will be eligible for tests after the provision of free testing for the general public ends.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure that people can visit relatives in hospitals in England.

We recognise the contribution that visiting makes to the wellbeing of patients. The Government and NHS England are clear that providers are expected and encouraged to facilitate visits wherever possible, and to do so in a way which manages the risks. Visiting policies are ordinarily at the discretion of local NHS Trusts and other NHS bodies, based on national principles, who will make their own assessment as to the visiting arrangements that can be in place given local prevalence of COVID-19 and the specific setup of their facilities. The national guidance encourages providers to actively find ways to ensure visiting can take place.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to prioritise police officers for the covid-19 booster vaccine.

All adults over 18 years old are now eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccine and the booster dose will now be given no sooner than three months after completion of the primary course. The booster vaccine is being offered in order of descending age groups, with priority given to the vaccination of older adults and those in at-risk group. This includes all those aged over 16 years old with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19. Police officers will be invited for a booster dose according to their age and/or clinical risk. They are not currently prioritised according to their occupation.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had recent discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on reform of the tax rules related to GPs’ pensions.

The Department continues to have regular discussions with HM Treasury relating to the NHS Pension Scheme. The Scheme provides generous retirement benefits for National Health Service staff after a lifetime of service. Members who reach the £1.073 million lifetime allowance for tax-free saving will have built up an annual pension of approximately £46,000 per year and tax-free lump sum of approximately £139,000. This provides considerable financial security in retirement.

We are committed to ensuring that NHS staff do not find themselves reducing their work commitments due to the interaction between their pay, their pension and the relevant tax regime. The two thresholds above which the tapered annual allowance applies were each raised by £90,000 from 6 April 2020. This means that no-one with a threshold income below £200,000 is affected by the tapered annual allowance. An estimated 96% of general practitioners are now out of scope of the tapered annual allowance based on their NHS earnings.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress he has made on implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform relevant to his Department.

The Department has been working closely with the Cabinet Office Brexit Opportunities Unit to take forward the relevant recommendations set out in the Taskforce on Innovation Growth and Regulatory Reform report. Following announcements made earlier in the autumn, we continue to engage with officials and arm’s length bodies on these proposals. Further details on the announcements is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/brexit-opportunities-regulatory-reforms

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the NHS 111 service on trends in the level of patient numbers attending A&E departments in NHS hospitals.

No such assessment has been made. NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that the proportion of NHS 111 callers referred to emergency departments has remained stable at approximately 11% since August.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of effectiveness of the NHS 111 service at (a) identifying and (b) recommending patients who can be treated in primary care settings instead of A&E departments.

No such assessment has been made. NHS England and NHS Improvement advise that NHS 111 seeks to recommend the best service for patients needs. This is based on the assessment of the stated symptoms either by NHS Pathways or by a clinician. Wherever possible, recommendation to an emergency department is avoided if another suitable service is available, including referral to primary care settings.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had recent discussions with the Chancellor on the Exchequer of the adequacy of the level of taxation on GPs pensions.

The Department continues to have a regular discussion with HM Treasury on a range of issues relating to the NHS Pension Scheme.

The NHS Pension Scheme provides generous retirement benefits for National Health Service staff. Members who reach the £1.073 million lifetime allowance for tax-free saving will have accrued an annual pension of approximately £46,000 per year and tax-free lump sum of £139,000. This provides considerable financial security in retirement.

We are committed to ensuring that NHS staff do not find themselves reducing their work commitments due to the interaction between their pay, their pension and the relevant tax regime. The two thresholds which the tapered annual allowance applies to were each raised by £90,000 from 6 April 2020. Therefore no-one with a threshold income below £200,000 is affected by the tapered annual allowance. An estimated 96% of general practitioners are now out of scope of the tapered annual allowance based on their NHS earnings.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the rate of retention of female GPs.

We are encouraging general practitioners (GPs) to stay in the workforce for longer by addressing the reasons why doctors leave the profession and encouraging them to return to practice. Although these are open to GPs of all genders, those aimed at encouraging better flexible working may be particularly beneficial for female GPs, who may be more at risk of leaving the profession due to caring responsibilities. This includes the GP Retention Scheme, which provides enhanced flexibility and a package of financial and educational support to help GPs who might otherwise leave the workforce.

Funding and support has also been made available for local Primary Care Flexible Staff Pools, to increase capacity in general practice and create a new offer for local GPs wanting to work flexibly. For GPs, pools can offer the flexibility of a locum role with increased job security and the benefits of a salaried position.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the rate of retention of GPs.

We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, Health Education England and the profession to increase recruitment, address the reasons why doctors leave the profession, and encourage them to return to practice.

The updated GP Contract Framework announced a number of new retention schemes alongside continued support for existing schemes for the general practice workforce. These include the GP Retention Scheme, the International Induction Programme, the Return to Practice Programme, the Fellowship Programme, the New to Partnership Payment and Supporting Mentors Scheme.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support the recruitment and training of more GPs.

We have increased the number of general practitioner (GP) training places, with 4,000 trainees accepting a place this year, from 2,671 in 2014. To support training for GPs and a more balanced distribution of trainee capacity across the National Health Service, the proportion of time GP trainees spend in general practice during training will rise from 18 to 24 months.

The Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme is aimed at attracting doctors to train as GPs in hard to recruit areas. The Scheme offers a £20,000 salary supplement to attract trainee GPs to work in areas of the country where training places have been unfilled for a number of years. Additional investment has seen the number of places on the Scheme expand to 500 in 2021/22 and this will increase to at least 800 in 2022/23.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help increase the number of GP surgery appointments available to the public.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Sarah Olney MP) on 4 November 2021 to Question 67228.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) treatments, (b) diagnostic tests and (c) operations undertaken by the NHS in each year since 2010.

Data on the number of treatments and operations undertaken by the National Health Service is not available in the format requested. The following table shows the number of diagnostic tests conducted in year since 2010.

2010

14,871,766

2011

15,596,624

2012

16,716,609

2013

17,615,951

2014

18,777,918

2015

19,985,469

2016

20,999,112

2017

21,842,681

2018

22,616,427

2019

23,619,514

2020

18,252,314

Source: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/diagnostics-waiting-times-and-activity/

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of people receiving treatment at A&E departments in England in each year since 2010.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 8 November 2021 to Question 67098 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of NHS England including records of covid-19 booster vaccinations in the NHS App in the context of the requirement by Israel and Austria of proof of a booster vaccination for specific travellers to those countries.

The NHS COVID Pass can now be used to demonstrate proof of a booster or third dose for outbound international travel and this is available through the NHS App and NHS.UK. Booster vaccinations are not required for domestic certification in England.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure people travelling to countries, such as Israel, which require proof of three Covid-19 vaccination doses can provide appropriate certification to gain entry to those countries.

Booster vaccinations are currently not recorded on the NHS COVID Pass as they are not required for domestic certification in England or at the United Kingdom border. We recognise that some countries are altering their vaccination requirements, therefore we are keeping this under review.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ask the NHS to allow people to book their appointments for booster covid-19 vaccinations in advance so that they can schedule an appointment immediately after the expiry of six months from the date of their second dose.

On 8 November, the National Booking Service was updated to allow those eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccine to pre-book their vaccination five months after their second dose.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the NHS plans to include booster vaccinations in the NHS app.

There are currently no plans to record booster vaccinations on the NHS COVID Pass, as they are not required for domestic certification in England.

Internationally, no countries currently require boosters of a COVID-19 vaccination as part of their entry requirements. However, we are aware that some countries have begun introducing expiry dates on vaccination for travel. The Government is reviewing the implications of booster doses for international travel and we are currently exploring whether and how boosters could be incorporated into the NHS COVID travel Pass.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ask NHS England to ensure that people who do not have access to online services are notified of their covid-19 booster vaccination appointment by other non-digital means.

The National Health Service will contact those who are eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccination by letter, email or text message. For those unable to book their appointment online themselves, it is possible for bookings to be made on someone’s behalf. Appointments can also be booked by calling 119.

The NHS Immunisation Management Service may contact those who have received a letter but not booked an appointment by telephone to offer further help and support if required.

Walk-in centres are also available for COVID-19 booster vaccine appointments, for those who do not have access to online services.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ask NHS England to include records of covid-19 booster vaccinations in the NHS App.

There are currently no plans to record booster vaccinations on the NHS COVID Pass, as they are not required for domestic certification in England.

Internationally, no countries currently require boosters of a COVID-19 vaccination as part of their entry requirements. However, we are aware that some countries have begun introducing expiry dates on vaccination for travel. The Government is reviewing the implications of booster doses for international travel and we are currently exploring whether and how boosters could be incorporated into the NHS COVID travel Pass.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with NICE on access to Fampridine by people with multiple scleroris.

We have had no such discussions. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing evidence-based guidance for the National Health Service on whether medicines represent a clinical and cost-effective use of resources.

NICE was unable to recommend fampridine in its clinical guideline on managing multiple sclerosis (MS) which was originally published in 2014. However, NICE is now updating this guideline, which will include reviewing the recommendation on fampridine. NICE expects to publish its draft guidance on the management of MS for consultation in December this year, with final guidance expected on 1 June 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve NHS (a) treatment and (b) support for those suffering from chronic long-term pain conditions.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have established a task and finish group to produce guidance on the provision of high-quality services for people living with long-term pain conditions by April 2022. The guidance is aimed at integrated care systems to provide core principles which can be used to inform the development of local models of care to support people living with chronic pain.

NHS England and NHS Improvement will appoint a National Clinical Director for Prescribing in November 2021. The National Clinical Director will be responsible for promoting safe use of medicines, such as opioids for patients suffering from chronic pain conditions, as recommended in the 2021 National Overprescribing Review.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with NICE on their guidelines for the treatment of chronic pain.

We have had no such discussions. The National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing authoritative, evidence-based recommendations for the National Health Service on whether new medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. NICE has published a range of guidance on the management of chronic pain, including ‘Chronic pain (primary and secondary) in over 16s: assessment of all chronic pain and management of chronic primary pain’ in April 2021 which is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/NG193

Healthcare professionals should take the NICE guideline fully into account in the care and treatment of their patients.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if vaccinated children in England are able to obtain a QR code to prove their vaccination status when travelling abroad.

The NHS COVID Pass is currently available to those aged 16 years old and over. Few countries require children’s’ vaccination status, as testing is generally available or entry on the parent/guardians’ status. The Government recognises that a small proportion of children over 12 years old have or will receive a full course of vaccination following the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s advice and the growing requirement abroad for children to demonstrate their status. The international standards for travel require a full course to be recognised as ‘fully vaccinated’. We are exploring ways for fully vaccinated children over 12 years old to demonstrate their vaccination status for travel. Those aged 12 to 15 years old offered one Pfizer dose should continue to follow destination countries’ entry requirements for unvaccinated arrivals.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, by what date it will be possible for vaccinated children in England to obtain QR codes to prove their vaccination status when travelling abroad.

The NHS COVID Pass is currently available to those aged 16 years old and over. Few countries require children’s’ vaccination status, as testing is generally available or entry on the parent/guardians’ status. The Government recognises that a small proportion of children over 12 years old have or will receive a full course of vaccination following the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s advice and the growing requirement abroad for children to demonstrate their status. The international standards for travel require a full course to be recognised as ‘fully vaccinated’. We are exploring ways for fully vaccinated children over 12 years old to demonstrate their vaccination status for travel. Those aged 12 to 15 years old offered one Pfizer dose should continue to follow destination countries’ entry requirements for unvaccinated arrivals.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to increase funding for research into mental health conditions.

The Departmental National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the largest funder of mental health research in the United Kingdom. We are increasing year on year spend in mental health research and invested £93 million in 2019/2020. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including mental health. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made based on the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. As is common with other research funders, it is not usual practice for the NIHR to ring-fence a proportion of its budget for research into particular topics or conditions. The following table shows the NIHR’s spend on mental health research in each year from 2015-16. Information for 2020/21 is not yet available.

Year

Funding

2015/16

£73,055,090

2016/17

£76,627,407

2017/18

£80,318,055

2018/19

£93,377,813

2019/20

£93,411,275

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that people taking part in the Valneva covid-19 vaccine trial can obtain certification to show that they have been double vaccinated, even if only one of their two doses was the Valneva vaccine.

All clinical trial participants can now gain access to a NHS COVID Pass for domestic purposes. Valneva clinical trial sites now have access to upload their trial data and have begun doing so in line with their unblinding schedule. Once complete, all Valneva clinical trialists will be able to access a NHS COVID Pass for international purposes.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with NICE and the NHS on making the drug Sacituzumab Govitecan, also known as Trodelvy, available on the NHS in England.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is currently appraising sacitizumab govitecan and expects to issue guidance in June 2022, with draft guidance expected in April 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the customer service provided by Atruchecks, a company listed on the Government's website as a covid-19 PCR test provider.

The service standards of all private providers, including Atruchecks, are subject to continuous assessment. Organisations may be removed if they are found to be non-compliant with the minimum standards, fail to meet their accreditation deadlines where applicable or have been raised as a possible public safeguarding risk. For day two and day eight testing, the Government closely monitors the performance, including delivery and testing services, of private providers to ensure they deliver a high quality service to customers. Providers providing inadequate services receive a five-day warning to demonstrate they have rectified their service, and if not, are removed from the GOV.UK list. Private providers may be reinstated to the list once they have undertaken corrective action and provided the Department with such evidence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that providers of covid-19 PCR tests listed on the Government's website are reputable operators providing acceptable levels of customer service.

The service standards of all private providers, including Atruchecks, are subject to continuous assessment. Organisations may be removed if they are found to be non-compliant with the minimum standards, fail to meet their accreditation deadlines where applicable or have been raised as a possible public safeguarding risk. For day two and day eight testing, the Government closely monitors the performance, including delivery and testing services, of private providers to ensure they deliver a high quality service to customers. Providers providing inadequate services receive a five-day warning to demonstrate they have rectified their service, and if not, are removed from the GOV.UK list. Private providers may be reinstated to the list once they have undertaken corrective action and provided the Department with such evidence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of removing the covid-19 testing requirements for double vaccinated people arriving from green list countries.

We currently have no plans to do so.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will review his policy of quarantine for travellers who have had covid-19 vaccinations from two different suppliers following an assessment of the evidence on the effect of mixing vaccines on levels of protection from covid-19.

From 22 September, international travellers vaccinated with two different doses across approved countries or two different doses of the approved vaccines will be eligible for reduced quarantine and testing requirements when returning to the United Kingdom from non ‘red list’ countries.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will remove Atruchecks from the list of covid-19 PCR test providers on the Government's website.

We have no current plans to do so.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to impose a legal duty on the Integrated Care Systems to be established under the Health and Social Care Bill to give parity of esteem to mental health services.

The Health and Care Bill establishes new National Health Service bodies known as integrated care boards (ICBs) and requires the creation of integrated care partnerships. The ICB will take on the commissioning functions of clinical commissioning groups as well as some of NHS England’s commissioning functions.

In exercising their commissioning functions under section 3 and 3A of the National Health Service Act 2006, ICBs must act consistently with the Secretary of State’s duty to promote a comprehensive health service in England, to improve mental as well as physical health.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Integrated Care Systems to be established under the Health and Social Care Bill give parity of esteem to mental health services.

Under the Health and Care Bill, each integrated care board (ICB) and their partner local authorities will be required to establish integrated care partnerships (ICP), bringing together health, social care, public health, and other perspectives to develop a strategy to address the needs of the area. We fully expect both organizations to give parity of esteem to mental health services. We are giving local areas flexibility to design their ICPs and ICBs, including how best to involve mental health services.

The Government remains committed to investing at least a further £2.3 billion a year to mental health services by 2023-24, which will see spending for mental health services growing faster than the overall National Health Service budget.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to allow people who have previously had covid-19 and who test positive for antibodies to avoid self-isolation after being in contact with someone who has tested positive for covid-19.

From 16 August 2021, those who are fully vaccinated, participants of approved vaccine trials, individuals under 18 years and 6 months of age, and those unable to have the vaccine for medical reasons, are not required to self-isolate if they are a contact of a positive case. These individuals will instead be advised to take a polymerase chain reaction test or given age-related public health advice (in the case of young children).

Individuals who do not fall within the categories above, regardless of a positive COVID-19 antibody test result, are legally required to self-isolate if they are the contact of a positive case. There are currently no plans to change self-isolation regulations for people who previously had COVID-19 and who subsequently test positive for relevant antibodies.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he taking to help ensure that people who are advised not to have the covid-19 vaccination for clinical reasons are not disadvantaged by the Government's proposals for use of covid-19 certificates.

Any venue that adopts COVID-19 status checks as a condition of entry must comply with the relevant legal obligations such as the Equalities Act 2010 when deciding whether or not to accept medical exemptions.

Senior clinicians are currently drafting clinical guidance which will include and apply to conditions such as multiple sclerosis and other disabilities.

We will set out our plans shortly for a clinical review of medical exemptions which will enable individuals to show their COVID-19 status using the NHS COVID Pass.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will include people on GP lists for flu vaccinations in his autumn 2021 programme of booster covid-19 vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim advice on a potential COVID-19 booster vaccination programme on 30 June which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jcvi-interim-advice-on-a-potential-coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-for-winter-2021-to-2022

The JCVI advises a two staged approach, with individuals in stage one offered a booster and flu vaccine, as soon as possible from September. Individuals at stage two would be offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as practicable after stage one, with equal emphasis on deployment of the flu vaccine where eligible. Adults aged over 50 years old and those aged 16 to 49 years old who are in an influenza or COVID-19 at-risk group, are included in stage two.

Final decisions on the timing and scope of the booster programme, as well as cohorts and eligibility, will be made later in the year, informed by further independent advice from the JCVI.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will include people with asthma in his autumn 2021 programme of booster covid-19 vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim advice on a potential COVID-19 booster vaccination programme on 30 June, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jcvi-interim-advice-on-a-potential-coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-for-winter-2021-to-2022

The JCVI advises a two staged approach, with individuals in offered a booster, and flu vaccine as soon as possible from September. Individuals in stage two should be offered a booster vaccine as soon as practicable after stage one, with equal emphasis on deployment of the flu vaccine where eligible. Adults aged over 50 years old and those aged 16 to 49 years old who are in an influenza or COVID-19 at-risk group are included in stage two. Influenza at-risk groups are defined in the Green Book include some sufferers of chronic respiratory disease such as asthma.

Final decisions on the timing and scope of the vaccine booster programme, as well as cohorts and eligibility, will be made later in the year, informed by further independent advice from the JCVI.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to increase young people's access to early support hubs focused on mental healthcare.

I refer my Rt hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Coventry South (Zarah Sultana MP) on 25 June 2021 to Question 18607.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to ensure that elderly people who are bed-bound and unable to leave home can receive their covid-19 vaccinations.

As part of our vaccination programme, teams of experienced vaccinators have visited those who are housebound and unable to travel to a vaccination site, including elderly people.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commission research to establish whether covid-19 vaccinations work effectively for people who have received kidney transplants.

As part of the COVID-19 Immunity National Core Study, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is providing initial funding of £1.8 million for 12 months towards the OCTAVE study. The OCTAVE study will examine the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in clinically at-risk groups, including patients with certain immunosuppressed conditions, including renal transplant patients.

Public Health England has been monitoring the effectiveness of vaccinations in clinical risk groups including those with immunosuppression.

From the evaluation of the vaccine programme, the data shows that completion of the two dose schedule correlates well with protection from both disease and severe outcomes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to provide free covid-19 antibody tests to people with a diagnosis of cancer for whom those tests have been recommended.

Free antibody testing is available through the National Health Service for people with a diagnosis of cancer when requested by clinicians, either for diagnostic purposes or to support clinical treatments. Antibody testing through our at-home testing service is currently only available to specific groups for research and surveillance purposes including people in those cohorts living with immune suppressed conditions.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support unpaid carers by expanding access to respite care.

We are working with local authorities, in collaboration with Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure, where possible, the safe resumption of vital day services and other forms of respite care.

Under current restrictions, day services can continue to meet with up to 30 participants, where formally organised and we have worked with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance for day care managers, commissioners and providers, to help them make decisions on the safe operation of day services. Throughout the pandemic, we have provided almost £1.8 billion in specific funding.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the NHS on whether Omalizumab will be made available for the treatment of nasal polyp disease.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing authoritative, evidence-based recommendations for the National Health Service in England on whether medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. The NHS in England is legally required to fund medicines recommended in a NICE appraisal


NICE’s appraisal of omalizumab for treating chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps was terminated because the drug manufacturer did not provide an evidence submission. The manufacturer has confirmed that it has not made an evidence submission for the appraisal because the technology will not be launched in the United Kingdom for treating this indication. NICE will review this decision if the manufacturer comes forward with an evidence submission. In the absence of guidance from NICE, NHS commissioners should make decisions on the availability of treatments based on an assessment of the available evidence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will have discussions with NICE on recommending that Omalizumab is made available by the NHS for treating nasal polyp disease.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing authoritative, evidence-based recommendations for the National Health Service in England on whether medicines represent a clinically and cost-effective use of resources. The NHS in England is legally required to fund medicines recommended in a NICE appraisal


NICE’s appraisal of omalizumab for treating chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps was terminated because the drug manufacturer did not provide an evidence submission. The manufacturer has confirmed that it has not made an evidence submission for the appraisal because the technology will not be launched in the United Kingdom for treating this indication. NICE will review this decision if the manufacturer comes forward with an evidence submission. In the absence of guidance from NICE, NHS commissioners should make decisions on the availability of treatments based on an assessment of the available evidence.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to take part in events to mark Carers' Week from 7 to 13 June.

We recognise the significance of the week and will be participating in several events.

Carers’ Week is an important week, helping to raise awareness of the vital role unpaid carers play in supporting loved ones, relatives and friends.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the harm caused to people with mental health conditions when support is delayed until those people have severe problems.

No such assessment has been made.

Under our mental health recovery action plan, the National Health Service will receive a further £500 million in this financial year to address waiting times for mental health services, to give more people the mental health support they need and to invest in the NHS workforce. This is in addition to the extra £2.3 billion invested in expanding and transforming mental health services in England by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the NHS is able to diagnose mental health conditions at an early stage.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued the guideline ‘Common mental health problems: identification and pathways to care’ which is available at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg123

This guideline assists healthcare professionals make an assessment of a possible mental health condition. Where initial questions indicate a possible mental health disorder, but the practitioner is not competent to perform a mental health assessment, the guideline provides for the patient to be referred to an appropriate healthcare professional.

The General Medical Council’s ‘Outcomes for Graduates’ sets out what newly qualified doctors must know and be able to do. This includes a requirement to be able to explain, and illustrate by professional experience, the principles for the identification, safe management and referral of patients with mental health conditions.

We have also announced that in 2021/22 the National Health Service will receive an additional £500 million, of which £79 million will be used to significantly expand children’s mental health services, including a faster increase in the number of mental health support teams in schools and colleges during this year. This will help support schools and health care professionals to respond to early signs of mental health conditions in children and young people.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to improve the speed of diagnosis of endometriosis.

Research exploring the experiences of women who present with endometriosis-like symptoms in primary care is currently underway, hosted by the National Institute of Health Research. The results will be published later this year and will help to understand delays in diagnosis.

On 8 March, we launched a 12-week call for evidence as part of the first Government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England. The online survey within the call for evidence seeks information on gynaecological conditions, including endometriosis. The treatment and diagnosis of endometriosis will be carefully considered as part of the ongoing work on the Women’s Health Strategy.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve patient access to specialist treatment for endometriosis.

Research exploring the experiences of women who present with endometriosis-like symptoms in primary care is currently underway, hosted by the National Institute of Health Research. The results will be published later this year and will help to understand delays in diagnosis.

On 8 March, we launched a 12-week call for evidence as part of the first Government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England. The online survey within the call for evidence seeks information on gynaecological conditions, including endometriosis. The treatment and diagnosis of endometriosis will be carefully considered as part of the ongoing work on the Women’s Health Strategy.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the planned timescale is for the review of potentially using certificates showing a (a) covid-19 vaccination or (b) recent negative covid-19 test result.

The Government announced on 22 February that it will review whether COVID-19 status certification could play a role in reopening the economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. This will include assessing to what extent certification would be effective in reducing risk, and the potential uses to enable access to settings or a relaxation of COVID-19 secure mitigations. The Government will also consider the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of this approach and what limits, if any, should be placed on organisations using certification. It will draw on external advice to develop recommendations that take into account any social and economic impacts, and implications for disproportionately impacted groups and individuals’ privacy and security. COVID-19 status certification involves using testing or vaccination data to confirm in different settings that people have a lower risk of transmitting the virus to others.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to make an (a) assessment of and (b) certify ventilation systems which reduce the risk of transmission of covid-19.

The Health Technical Memoranda (HTM) 03-01 provides guidance on the design and management of heating and specialised ventilation in health sector buildings, including guidance regarding the adequate ventilation of healthcare facilities to ensure staff safety. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-specialised-ventilation-for-healthcare-premises-parts-a-and-b

The HTM gives comprehensive advice and guidance on the legal requirements, design implications, maintenance and operation of specialised ventilation in all types of healthcare premises. It applies to new installations and major refurbishments of existing installations. Under the HTM all hospital trusts are required to have an Authorising Engineer (Ventilation) who provides independent auditing and advice on ventilation systems and who reviews and witnesses documentation on validation. The Care Quality Commission is responsible for compliance with the HTM under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (revised), and the Department has no current plans to change this approach

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are any exemptions from hotel quarantine requirements for frail elderly people who need social care support.

There are very limited exemptions to the requirement to book and enter managed quarantine if a person has been in a ‘red list’ country at any point in the 10 days prior to their arrival into England. These exemptions are set out on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

Those with concerns about being in a quarantine hotel on health or wellbeing grounds, can seek an assessment by a medical professional after check-in. People needing to be exempted from managed quarantine on medical grounds are assessed on a case by case basis, from a clinical assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are any exemptions from hotel quarantine requirements for people with mental health conditions.

There are very limited exemptions to the requirement to book and enter managed quarantine if a person has been in a ‘red list’ country at any point in the 10 days prior to their arrival into England. These exemptions are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

If someone has concerns about being in a quarantine hotel on health or wellbeing grounds, they can seek an assessment by a medical professional after check-in.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, by what date he plans to have made the covid-19 vaccine available to all home carers.

Frontline social care workers, who provide care in people’s homes, are prioritised for vaccination in group two. In addition, unpaid carers are included in priority group six which comprises of all individuals aged 16 to 64 years old with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. This also includes those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people volunteering to support the covid-19 vaccination programme will receive priority for vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

As set out by the JCVI, priority is given to frontline staff at high risk of acquiring infection, and at risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment. Volunteers working on the COVID-19 vaccination programme may fall under frontline healthcare workers or frontline social care workers, subject to the activity that they are undertaking.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when clinically extremely vulnerable people who are under 70 will be included in England's covid-19 vaccination programme.

In line with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the vaccine is being rolled out to priority groups, including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and health and care workers. The vaccine will then be rolled out to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions.

Our top priority is to offer a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in JCVI cohorts 1-4 by mid-February – groups that account for more than four out of every five Covid fatalities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to prioritise clinically extremely vulnerable people under the age of 80 for the covid-19 vaccine.

In line with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the vaccine is being rolled out to priority groups, including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and health and care workers. The vaccine will then be rolled out to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions.

Our top priority is to offer a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in JCVI cohorts 1-4 by mid-February – groups that account for more than four out of every five Covid fatalities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will allow three households to mix indoors in pubs and restaurants during the Christmas 2020 relaxation of covid-19 restrictions.

From 2 December, the rules on who people can meet with in bars, pubs and restaurants will depend on the tier in their area. The rules might be different for indoor and outdoor hospitality settings. Between 23 and 27 December, the rules on who people can meet in bars, pubs and restaurants will not change.

Although there are exemptions to gatherings for work purposes, individuals must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in the local tier.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria he plans to apply to determine which covid-19 tier each local authority area will be included in at the end of the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown arrangements.

Decisions on tiers are made by Ministers based on public health recommendations from senior clinical and scientific advisors, guided by five key indicators - the case detection rate in all age groups, case detection among the over 60 year olds, the rate at which case rates are rising or falling, positivity rate and pressures on the National Health Service.  Final decisions on tiering are made by the COVID-19 Operations Committee.

As of 6 January, all areas have been moved into tier 4 and the Government will review the tiering allocations every 14 days.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to make a separate decision for each London borough when determining which covid-19 tier areas should enter after 2 December 2020.

In September 2020, the Mayor of London, on behalf all London local authorities, signed an agreement with the Department that London local authorities will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as a region. Since then, London councils, through their various governance bodies, have regularly reiterated their desire to respond as a region.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the criteria he will use to determine when an area can be moved to a lower tier of covid-19 restrictions.

Decisions on tiers are made by Ministers based on public health recommendations from senior clinical and scientific advisors, guided by five key indicators - the case detection rate in all age groups, case detection rates among the over 60 year olds, the rate at which case rates are rising or falling, positivity rate and pressures on the National Health Service.  Final decisions on tiering are made by the COVID-19 Operations Committee.

As of 6 January, all areas have been moved into tier 4 and the Government will review the tiering allocations every 14 days.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish his plans for delivering covid-19 vaccinations to people living in the London Borough of Barnet.

The National Health Service is ready to deliver a COVID-19 vaccination programme as soon as it is authorised for use by the medicines’ regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The health and social care system is working together to ensure that the vaccines are delivered safely and efficiently to the public and detailed planning is underway building on the NHS’s expertise delivering immunisation programmes including the flu vaccination programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that teachers are prioritised for covid-19 testing.

We are committed to supporting schools to stay open and as part of this, tests continue to be delivered to schools to allow teachers and pupils with symptoms to be prioritised for tests. The Government have developed a dedicated route to enable schools to order additional tests kits online via a replenishment portal which is available at the following link:

https://request-testing.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will include teachers in the list of groups that will be given priority to receive covid-19 vaccinations.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who provide advice to Government on which vaccine(s) the United Kingdom should use, and which groups to prioritise. The JCVI will consider each vaccine and provide their advice to the Government once detailed information on the characteristics and clinical properties of the approved vaccine becomes available.

The committee – in their interim advice - have advised that for Phase 1, the vaccine first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors in the initial phase. We will consider the Committee’s advice carefully as further data emerges in preparation for subsequent phases. Our vaccination programmes are led by the latest scientific evidence and we expect the Committee’s advice to develop as more evidence is gathered.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether shoe repair businesses can operate during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

Evidence is clear that action is needed on a national scale to suppress the spread of the virus. We have introduced restrictions across England to reduce face to face contact and limit the rate of infection.

This includes the closure of many businesses and venues, except for essential retail. A business which has as its main activity shoe-repair services is permitted to operate. This does not include shops that would otherwise be considered non-essential retail, for example a shoe-shop, that offers some repairs.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that Care Quality Commission staff carrying out care home inspections are regularly tested for covid-19 to help prevent the transmission of that virus by those staff.

We recognise the need to ensure professionals are able to visit care homes safely. We will begin weekly PCR testing of Care Quality Commission inspectors shortly.

Any symptomatic member of staff is eligible for testing through the self-referral portal.

We will continue to review our social care testing strategy for adult social care in light of the latest evidence and available capacity.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific basis for the rule that pubs and restaurants must close at 10.00pm.

The Government’s process for understanding and analysing the data involves experts across the country feeding through scientific advisory groups and sub groups to make sure decisions are informed and supported by a strong evidence base.

The evidence considered by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and used to support the Government response to COVID-19 is shared on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to enable an increase in the number of face-to-face GP appointments during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement on 31 August issued guidance stating that general practitioner (GP) practices must offer face-to-face appointments at surgeries and continue to use remote triage, video, online and telephone consultations where appropriate – whilst also considering those unable to access or engage with digital services. The importance of providing face-to-face appointment for those who need them was reiterated in a further NHS England and NHS Improvement letter of 14 September, in which it also shared a communications toolkit designed to support clear communication with patients about how they can access the right type of appointment.

The Government has published clear guidance on appropriate personal protective equipment for health and social care workers, including GPs. The guidance is consistent with World Health Organization guidance for protecting health and social care workers from COVID-19 and should allow the safe recommencement of regular face-to-face GP appointments.

Practices continue to undertake routine and preventative work including vaccinations and immunisations and screening, as well as supporting their more high-risk patients with ongoing care needs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to enable people with older smartphones to download the NHS covid-19 app.

The National Health Service COVID-19 app requires users to be owners of smartphones that can install Apple iOS 13.5 and above and Android Marshmallow and above. This is related to the hardware needed for this Bluetooth technology to work effectively and is the same in all countries with apps using the Google and Apple exposure notification API for contact tracing.

People who do not have a compatible smartphone will still benefit from other people downloading the app. This is because people who use the app will help to break chains of transmission.

The app complements regular contact tracing. They work together to protect vulnerable groups, including those who are unable, or do not wish, to use digital tools.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what items of personal protective equipment people conducting covid-19 testing are required to wear to be covid-secure; and what steps the Government is taking to help ensure adequate supplies of that equipment are available for covid-19 testing.

The Government has worked with private sector partners to establish local test sites in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals for COVID-19 without access to a car as part of the Government’s national testing programme. They are set up in different types of locations, such as car parks, town halls and sports courts, where there is space and local demand for testing.

We have detailed clinical operating procedures, developed in collaboration with clinical experts, for local walk-through testing sites. Layouts at walk-through testing sites have been carefully designed to ensure people can move around them safely and prevent spread of the virus; social distancing will be maintained throughout the testing process; and people attending the sites are asked to wear a face covering.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the NHS has the capacity to catch up on the backlog of cancer (a) tests and (b) treatments which have accrued as a result of being postponed due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service is working to restore the full operation of all cancer services, with local delivery plans being delivered by Cancer Alliances.

We are working with general practitioners and the public to restore the number of people coming forward and being referred with suspected cancer to at least pre-pandemic levels.

Sufficient diagnostic capacity in COVID-19 secure environments will be supplied through the use of independent sector facilities, the development of Community Diagnostic Hubs and Rapid Diagnostic Centres. Additionally, all cancer screening programmes will be fully restarted.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to enable the NHS to recruit additional specialist staff to improve early diagnosis of cancer.

The NHS People Plan – 2020/21, sets out actions to support transformation across the whole NHS, including the following commitment on the cancer workforce.

In 2021, Health Education England is prioritising the training of 400 clinical endoscopists and 450 reporting radiographers. Training grants are being offered for 350 nurses to become cancer nurse specialists and chemotherapy nurses, training 58 biomedical scientists, developing an advanced clinical practice qualification in oncology, and extending cancer support-worker training.

Many of these staff will be trained to improve early diagnosis of cancer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether health professionals (a) are required to be and (b) have been present onsite at covid-19 testing centres at all times.

Healthcare professionals are not required to be present at COVID-19 testing centres.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests have been carried out in the borough of Barnet in the last six weeks.

We publish data on the number of pillar 2 tests processed in each local authority weekly alongside the Test and Trace statistics publication on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-test-and-trace-statistics-engaland-weekly-reports

The total number of pillar 2 tests processed in Barnet in the six weeks prior to 16 September is was 25,502, with a daily average of 607.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, as part of preparations in the NHS for winter 2020-21, what steps he has taken in response to the conclusion of Public Health England that BAME communities are at greater risk of harm from covid-19.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) leads the cross-Government activity responding to the conclusion of Public Health England that black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities are at greater risk of harm from COVID-19. The Department continues to support the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities on this work. We are also working with other Government departments, local authority public health systems and experts such as the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies producing reactive and proactive guidance and measures to protect BAME and other vulnerable communities from COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made in investigating the matters raised in the letter dated 11 August 2020 from the Rt hon Member for Chipping Barnet regarding decisions made by the Windsor Ascot & Maidenhead Clinical Commissioning Group, now part of NHS East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, on the continuing care of the late Valerie-Anne Culliford.

The Department replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 15 September 2020.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to enable residents in supported living facilities for disabled people to be tested for covid-19.

We are rolling out testing of all staff and residents in extra care and supported living settings which meet certain risk-based criteria. These settings must be a closed community with substantial facilities shared between multiple people and, where most residents receive personal care (rather than help with cooking, cleaning and shopping).

If a supported living or extra care setting has a suspected outbreak, they should contact their local health protection team immediately who will undertake an initial risk assessment, provide advice on outbreak management and decide what testing is needed.

Our testing policy is based on clinical advice on relative priorities and available testing capacity and our testing policies continue to be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to enable care workers providing services in supported living facilities for disabled people to get themselves regularly tested for covid-19.

We have begun to roll out an initial round of testing in extra care and supported living settings which meet certain risk-based criteria. These settings must be a closed community with substantial facilities shared between multiple people and most residents receive personal care (rather than help with cooking, cleaning and shopping).

We have been piloting testing initially with Bromley, Hertfordshire and Sheffield, and we are now looking to roll out testing nationally in these settings.

As with care homes, we will use the data from the initial testing rounds to inform our retesting approach and take forward any lessons learnt from the pilots.

Our testing policy is based on clinical advice on relative priorities and available testing capacity and our testing policies continue to be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate visits to supported living facilities for disabled people in a covid-19-secure way.

We appreciate the challenges which people in supported living and their families have faced as a result of lockdown.

Supported living managers should work with the people they support to follow Government guidelines for visiting in supported living arrangements and social distancing which are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supported-living-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-supported-living

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

Providers should advise individuals about the safest way to have visitors.

As policy develops, we will continue to update the relevant guidance. Providers should continue to refer to existing guidance as the easement of lockdown continues.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to end the contract agreed with private sector health providers in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

National Health Service patients are benefitting from an unprecedented partnership with private hospitals in the United Kingdom as we battle the COVID-19 outbreak. The Government has provided additional funding to the NHS to allow them to continue to use additional hospital capacity from the independent sector until the end of March 2021.


Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there is an exception to the 2 metre social distancing rule to allow people with visual impairments to seek help from passers-by in crossing the road.

The Government is committed to supporting blind and partially sighted people through every stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and are working across Government to ensure that all disabled people are able to get the support they need.

The Government has published advice regarding social distancing for blind and/or partially sighted individuals who need to go out for a walk or to access essential goods. The regulations allow for a person from another household to guide them (under the ‘provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person’ provision). This guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-providing-unpaid-care/guidance-for-those-who-provide-unpaid-care-to-friends-or-family

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the exceptions to social distancing rules are for people with visual impairments who depend on assistance from others.

The Government is committed to supporting blind and partially sighted people through every stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and are working across Government to ensure that all disabled people are able to get the support they need.

If a blind and/or partially sighted person needs to go out for a walk or to access essential goods they can contact friends or family who may be able to help the person to be guided safely. If a person cannot organise alternative care they can contact their local authority or health care provider. The Government has published advice regarding social distancing for blind and/or partially sighted individuals who need to go out for a walk or to access essential goods. The regulations allow for a person from another household to guide them (under the ‘provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person’ provision). This guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-providing-unpaid-care/guidance-for-those-who-provide-unpaid-care-to-friends-or-family

On 23 June, the Prime Minister announced changes to the Regulations which come into effect on 4 July. Included in these changes is that two households of any size can now meet inside and outdoors. This change in the Regulations enables more opportunity for assistance through contact with family members for those with visual impairments.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of deploying temperature checks more extensively to reduce the risk of covid-19 being spread in workplaces which are re-opening as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Thermal screening at ports of entry was considered by expert committees including the Department’s, New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group. The findings were that thermal screening would be of limited benefit and that it was not the best use of public health resource. From that work, we would conclude that temperature checks are unlikely to be an effective means of protecting workplaces as many cases are asymptomatic and of the symptomatic cases not all will experience fever as a symptom, and therefore would not be identified through temperature checks.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to provide personal protective equipment to people caring for elderly relatives at home.

The Government recognises the crucial role family carers play, especially during this difficult period.

On 8 April the Government published guidance for unpaid carers which provides general advice, including advice on infection control, links to other information and support, and advice on caring where someone has symptoms. This can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-providing-unpaid-care

The Government will continue to work closely with carer organisations and others to support family carers during this period and beyond. This includes working with Carers UK to provide carers with practical advice which can be found at the following link:

https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people caring for elderly relatives at home are entitled to be tested for covid-19; and whether they have priority for that testing.

All symptomatic social care staff, including volunteer carers and unpaid carers, can access testing through the essential worker portal at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of replacing the two metre social distancing rule with a one metre rule during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government maintains that, wherever possible, two metre social distancing should continue to be adhered to. The Government collaborates closely with Public Health England to ensure guidance on two metre social distancing is kept up to date as the regulations change in light of latest medical and scientific evidence.

In easing the lockdown, the Government accepts that maintaining two metre social distancing may be difficult in certain circumstances and will be issuing updated workplace guidance to address that and, subject to legislation, is mandating the use of face coverings on public transport from 15 June.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure community pharmacies can obtain personal protective equipment during the covid-19 pandemic.

Deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) packs were made to community pharmacies in March. Further supplies of PPE have been distributed to wholesalers and distributor networks supplying community pharmacies.

Where there remains an urgent need for additional PPE stock, which community pharmacies are unable to obtain through their business as usual wholesaler routes, they should contact their Local Resilience Forums who can provide supplies to respond to local spikes in need. For those who are critically short of PPE, they should phone the National Supply Distribution Response for an urgent delivery. We will continue to work to ensure community pharmacies have access to PPE.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether covid-19 lockdown guidance permits families who are shielding as a result of a serious underlying health condition to leave their homes for a brief period of exercise once a day.

We have updated our guidance for people who are shielding taking into account that COVID-19 disease levels have decreased over the last few weeks. On 1 June 2020 the shielding guidance was updated to advise that those shielding may wish to consider spending time outdoors once a day. This can be with members of their own household (which could be their family) or, for those shielding alone, with one person from another household.

For those who do choose to go outside, particular care should be taken to minimise contact with others outside their household and they should follow social distancing guidelines. Updated guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19#clinically-extremely-vulnerable-groups

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support pharmacies during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has reprioritised services within the community pharmacy contractual arrangements to release capacity to deliver support to patients and, since March, made available £350 million in extra advance payments to alleviate cash flow pressures. Additional funding has been provided to cover the costs of Bank Holiday opening, a new medicine delivery service for shielded patients, and to contribute to measures taken by community pharmacy to support social distancing. From June, reimbursement prices of the most commonly prescribed generic medicines were increased by £15 million per month. More generally, an unprecedented financial package is supporting all businesses, including community pharmacies, such as tax deferrals and cash grants of up to £25,000 for small businesses.

We continue to work with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee to assess what further support community pharmacy may require to continue to supply medicines and to help their communities stay well.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will establish a helpline for careworkers to raise concerns on (a) the operation of the care home they work for and (b) its treatment of (i) staff and (ii) patients.

Speak Up Direct is a helpline and website operated by Social Enterprise Direct and funded by the Department with the current contract in place since 2017. It provides workers in social care and the National Health Service with guidance on how to register their concerns, including where to speak up about the operations of care homes and the treatment of staff and patients.

Speaking up is vital for ensuring patient safety and improving the quality of services and we will continue to encourage and support the right of workers to raise concerns.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will give priority to care homes in covid-19 testing.

Social care settings and the National Health Service are priority areas for testing under the Government's Testing Programme.

Following the launch of the Care Home Portal on 11 May, Whole Care Home testing through the National Testing Programme was initially made available to care homes that primarily look after older people or people with dementia. We met our target to reach those homes by 6 June, delivering over 1 million testing kits to almost 9,000 of these care homes.

From 7 June, we expanded eligibility for the service to all remaining adult care homes, which can now access whole care home testing for all residents and staff through the digital portal. We are issuing over 50,000 tests a day to care homes across the country, with the majority of these in high priority outbreak areas.

Any symptomatic or asymptomatic care home staff or residents can get a test and care homes with suspected positive cases will be able to access Whole Care Home testing via their local Health Protection Team. Care home staff are able to access testing through multiple channels, such as regional test sites, home testing, mobile testing units, as well as through the care home portal online.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many care home (a) workers and (b) residents have been tested for covid-19 over the last two weeks.

The Department does not routinely publish information on the number of care home staff and residents who have been tested for COVID-19 at present, but we are exploring the feasibility of including this information as part of the NHS Test and Trace Statistics publications in the near future.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that the (a) Rosetrees and (b) Lady Sarah Cohen House care homes in Friern Barnet receive the covid-19 tests they have requested for their staff and residents.

We can confirm that, based on the most recent data held, both of these homes have received the test kits they have ordered.

Rosetrees requested 350 test kits on 10th September, these were dispatched three days later and delivered on the 15th September.

Lady Sarah Cohen House requested 200 test kits on 18th August, this order was dispatched on the 25th August and delivered to the home on the 27th August.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that care home workers and NHS staff are regularly tested for covid-19 even when those people are not displaying symptoms.

We have made testing available to all symptomatic National Health Service staff and social care staff as a priority. We are also testing those in these groups who are asymptomatic in specific circumstances where appropriate.

For NHS workers specifically, NHS England has recently published guidance on when testing of this nature might be appropriate, including where an incident has taken place, an outbreak or where high prevalence has been established. We are now introducing twice weekly testing.

For care home workers, all adult care homes are able to access testing kits, for weekly testing of staff through the care home testing portal. We have the capacity to send out over 120,000 test kits a day to care homes.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is the Government's policy that hospital patients will not be discharged to care homes unless those patients have tested negative for covid-19.

We announced in our Adult Social Care Action Plan, on 15 April 2020, that testing will be provided to all care home residents before they are discharged from hospital into a care home.

For some individuals who have suffered from COVID-19, we expect that a period of specialist National Health Service support will be needed. Given the total length of stay for these individuals, most will be able to transfer directly to the appropriate social care setting with ‘COVID-free’ status. However, a small number of people may be discharged from the NHS within the 14-day period from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms needing ongoing social care. Some care providers will be able to accommodate these individuals through effective isolation strategies or cohorting policies. If appropriate isolation/cohorted care is not available with a local care provider, the individual’s local authority will be asked to secure alternative appropriate accommodation and care for the remainder of the required isolation period.

All residents, whether COVID-19-positive or not, can be safely cared for in a care home if appropriate infection control, isolation and cohorting advice is followed, as set out in the ‘Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home’ guidance published on 2 April 2020.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we will continue to review our guidance in line with scientific advice.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria the Government plans to use to determine when covid-19 lockdown measures can be lifted.

The Government has set out five conditions which needs to be met before it is safe to adjust any measures.

The first is to protect the National Health Service’s ability to cope; second, we need to see a fall in the death rate; third, we need reliable data from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies showing that the rate of infection has decreased across all settings; fourth, we need to be confident that the range of operational challenges are in hand; and fifth we must be confident that any adjustments to current measures will not lead to a significant second peak of infections.

When we are confident on these five points, guided by science and data, we will look to adjust measures to protect public health whilst allowing some economic and social activity. We will only do this when evidence says that it is safe to do so.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of NHS staff working in the borough of Barnet have been tested for covid-19 in each of the last six weeks.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Testing is a vital part of the United Kingdom’s response to COVID-19. The Government is working with industry, academia, the National Health Service and many others, to dramatically increase the number of tests being carried out each day, including for critical key workers. This includes providing tests for NHS, social care and then wider critical key workers (and their families) who are in self or household isolation, to support them to return to work as soon as possible, if they are well enough to do so.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many deliveries of personal protective equipment were made to (a) NHS and (b) social care providers in the borough of Barnet in each of the last six weeks.

The Government published ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): personal protective equipment (PPE) plan’ on 10 April. It incorporates guidance on who needs PPE and when they need it, routes to ensure those who need it can get it at the right time and sets out actions to secure enough PPE to last through the crisis.

We are working around the clock to give the social care sector and wider National Health Service the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak. Between 25 February and 20 April we delivered over 900 million items of PPE across the health and social care system within England.

However, information is not collected centrally on the number of items of PPE delivered to each borough. ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): personal protective equipment (PPE) plan’ can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-plan

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with the UN Relief and Works Agency on the Palestinian Authority’s school curriculum.

We strongly condemn all forms of violence and incitement to violence. We accompany our support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) with stringent attention to implementation of their neutrality policy, including how they apply this to textbooks and other learning material to ensure they reflect UN values. In Gaza and the West Bank, UNRWA uses the Palestinian Authority's (PA's) curriculum in their schools after rigorously reviewing that it is in line with UN values. Officials from the British Consulate General Jerusalem regularly discuss the curriculum with counterparts in UNRWA and the PA.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
17th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the matters raised in EDM 615 on Recognising the 1988 massacre in Iran.

The UK Government takes any allegations of extrajudicial killings seriously, and we have always been clear that Iran must uphold its international legal obligations, including conducting thorough and independent investigations into suspected human rights violations, both past and present. We strongly support the work done by the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran and urge Iran to allow him access to the country, so that he can also conduct research and investigations into human rights concerns reported there, including the events of 1988.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential effect on the UK's reputation of the issue of an invitation to Iran's president Ebrahim Raisi to attend the COP26 summit, in light of Mr Raisi's involvement in serious human rights violations.

COP26 invitations are controlled by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and, as such, the hosting state does not determine invitations. Iran matters to the global climate agenda, and we will use diplomacy to achieve our objectives. To advance these objectives, the UK Government has invited Iran to attend the COP26 World Leader Summit. The UK has also designated Iran as a Human Rights Priority Country and we will use all appropriate opportunities to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor human rights record, including during the United Nations General Assembly session. We call on President Raisi to set Iran on a different course, which includes committing to improving human rights in Iran.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his counterpart in Turkey on the incursion into the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone by Turkish drilling ships.

The UK has consistently stated our support for the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone. We continue to believe that any development of Cyprus' oil and gas should be for the benefit of all Cypriots. We believe the most enduring way of resolving difficult issues such as this is to achieve a Cyprus settlement. We encourage all parties to redouble their efforts in pursuit of this.

We welcome Turkey's withdrawal of survey vessels from waters around Cyprus and the Aegean in recent months as a significant contribution towards de-escalation of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. We urge all parties to support measures aimed at de-escalation and reducing tensions; and to resolve issues through dialogue. The UK will continue to work with all parties in support of this.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will have discussions with his Turkish counterpart on the importance of respecting the provisions in UN Security Council resolution 550 on Famagusta.

The UK strongly supports the numerous Security Council Resolutions covering the issue of Varosha, notably 550 (1984) and 789 (1992), and the 9 October UN Security Council Presidential Statement calling for Turkish actions to cease and be reversed.

We are monitoring the situation closely and are urging the sides to refrain from actions which could undermine the chances of a Settlement. Most recently, I reiterated this point in my conversation with Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakci on 28 June during my visit to Turkey.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency on designing programmes to help Palestinians registered with the agency to achieve economic independence.

We are clear that the status of Palestinian refugees must be agreed as part of wider peace negotiations. Until that time, the UK remains firmly committed to supporting the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and Palestinian refugees across the Middle East. We are a leading donor to UNRWA and our economic development programme aims to lift the overall standard of those living in Gaza by increasing trade and job creation and enabling greater movement and access for people and goods.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that recipients of aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency are evaluated on criteria based on need.

The UK is a longstanding supporter of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). We recognise UNRWA's unique mandate from the UN General Assembly (UNGA), to protect and provide protection and core services to Palestinian refugees across Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Officials are in regular contact with UNRWA to ensure high quality aid delivery and judge that UNRWA is effective in allocating resources on the basis of need.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter of 7 May 2021 from the Rt. hon. Member for Chipping Barnet on whether the UK Government will boycott the Durban IV UN conference on racism.

The United Kingdom is committed to combatting all forms of racism, including antisemitism, both at home and abroad. We believe that one of the most effective ways to tackle injustices and advocate respect among different religious and racial groups is to encourage all states to uphold their human rights obligations. Some of the antisemitic actions and speeches in and around the 2001 Durban conference and its various follow-up events gave rise to serious concerns. We will consider UK attendance in the light of developments between now and the commemoration event, including the likelihood of any recurrence of antisemitism. A reply will be sent shortly to the letter of 7 May from the Rt.Hon. Member for Chipping Barnet.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make it his policy to boycott the UN Durban IV Conference on racism.

The United Kingdom is committed to combatting all forms of racism, including antisemitism, both at home and abroad. We believe that one of the most effective ways to tackle injustices and advocate respect among different religious and racial groups is to encourage all states to uphold their human rights obligations. Some of the antisemitic actions and speeches in and around the 2001 Durban conference and its various follow-up events gave rise to serious concerns. We will consider UK attendance in the light of developments between now and the commemoration event, including the likelihood of any recurrence of antisemitism.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his counterpart in Bahrain on prison conditions and respect for human rights in that country.

Defending human rights and promoting democracy around the world is a core priority for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and its diplomatic network. The UK government monitors events and cases in Bahrain closely. We regularly raise human rights issues and individual cases with the Government of Bahrain, at senior levels, both in private and public. The Government of Bahrain has been clear in public statements that access to medical care for those in detention is guaranteed by the Constitution of Bahrain. Any concerns regarding prison conditions should be submitted to the Independent Ombudsman and the National Institute of Human Rights for further investigation. We continue to encourage the government of Bahrain to deliver on its international and domestic human rights commitments.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what objectives he has for the UK's participation in the informal talks sponsored by the UN Secretary General on Cyprus in Geneva from 27 to 29 April 2021.

A Cyprus Settlement is in the best interests of the Cypriot communities, the wider region and the UK. The Foreign Secretary will represent the UK as a Guarantor Power at the UN-led informal five-party talks from 27-29 April. The aim of the meeting - as set out by the UN Secretary General - is to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable timeframe. The UK will continue to actively support the UNSG in his effort to this end.

The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Cypriot FM on 22 March and the Turkish Foreign Minister on 23 March. The Foreign Secretary visited the island on 4 February and met President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and the UN. The Foreign Secretary also met the Greek Foreign Minister on 2 February. The UK is urging all sides to approach the UN talks in a spirit of flexibility and compromise. During my visit to Cyprus (7-9 April), I reiterated this message and the UK's support for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Government of the Republic of Cyprus on the informal talks sponsored by the UN Secretary General on Cyprus in Geneva from 27 to 29 April 2021.

A Cyprus Settlement is in the best interests of the Cypriot communities, the wider region and the UK. The Foreign Secretary will represent the UK as a Guarantor Power at the UN-led informal five-party talks from 27-29 April. The aim of the meeting - as set out by the UN Secretary General - is to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable timeframe. The UK will continue to actively support the UNSG in his effort to this end.

The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Cypriot FM on 22 March and the Turkish Foreign Minister on 23 March. The Foreign Secretary visited the island on 4 February and met President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and the UN. The Foreign Secretary also met the Greek Foreign Minister on 2 February. The UK is urging all sides to approach the UN talks in a spirit of flexibility and compromise. During my visit to Cyprus (7-9 April), I reiterated this message and the UK's support for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to attend the informal talks sponsored by the UN Secretary General on Cyprus in Geneva from 27 to 29 April 2021.

A Cyprus Settlement is in the best interests of the Cypriot communities, the wider region and the UK. The Foreign Secretary will represent the UK as a Guarantor Power at the UN-led informal five-party talks from 27-29 April. The aim of the meeting - as set out by the UN Secretary General - is to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable timeframe. The UK will continue to actively support the UNSG in his effort to this end.

The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Cypriot FM on 22 March and the Turkish Foreign Minister on 23 March. The Foreign Secretary visited the island on 4 February and met President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and the UN. The Foreign Secretary also met the Greek Foreign Minister on 2 February. The UK is urging all sides to approach the UN talks in a spirit of flexibility and compromise. During my visit to Cyprus (7-9 April), I reiterated this message and the UK's support for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)